The Ash’ari Family II | History of Imami Shi’i Theology (4)

In this post we will continue with the list of scholars from the Ash’ari family who have been categorized into the second and third group, post-migration to Qom.

Second Group

  1. Zakariyyah bin Idris bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
  2. Zakariyyah bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Considered a companion of Imam Sadiq, Imam Kadhim, Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad, but his narrations are all from Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. He was an important figure, to the extent that Imam Ridha (s) had informed one of his companions to refer to Zakariyyah for any religious inquiries.
  3. Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: A narrator of hadih from Imam Kadhim and Ridha. We have 11 narrations from him in our four-primary works of hadith.
  4. Isma’il bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in certain narrations where he is narrating directly from Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
  5. Marzban bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Imam Ridha.
  6. Idris bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
  7. Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
  8. Isma’il bin Adam bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He most probably lived during the life of Imam Kadhim. Even though we have no records to show that he narrated anything directly from any of the Imams, he has still been described as an important scholar of Qom by Najashi.
  9. Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He had heard narrations from Imam Ridha and also narrates from Imam Jawwad.
  10. Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Malik bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: From the companions of Imam Kadhim, Ridha and Jawwad. His name appears in 74 chains of narrations in the four-primary books.
  11. Isma’il bin Sa’d bin Sa’d bin Ahwas al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Kadhim and Ridha. 20 of his narrations from Imam Ridha appear in the four-primary books.
  12. Hamzah bin Yasa’ bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Sadiq and Kadhim and possibly had met Imam Ridha as well.
  13. ‘Imran bin Muhammad bin ‘Imran bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha.
  14. Muhammad bin Sahl bin Yasa’ bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha and Imam Jawwad. His name appears in 380 narrations in the four-primary works.

There are about 30 more names that can be added to this list. This list brings us to the end of the middle of the 3rd century Hijri. During this time period, Kufa had already severely declined, and while there is activity happening in Baghdad amongst the Shi’as, it is nothing compared to what had taken place in Kufa in the previous century. All narrators in this list were travelling to different cities to meet the Imams (depending on where the Imams were) and then coming back to Qom and spreading their narrations.

Third Group

This list of forthcoming Ash’ari scholars begins from around the beginning of the 3rd century Hijri. These scholars were naturally influenced by the teachings of the previous two groups.

  1. Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was known as Wafid ul-Qomiyyeen (the envoy of the Qomis) implying that he would travel often to meet the Imams with questions from Qom, and bring back what he had learned and heard. He was one of those individuals who had seen Imam Mahdi (s) and is deemed very reliable.
  2. ‘Ali bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: It appears he did not directly narrate from any of the Imams, but he did possess his own book of hadith.
  3. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Ridha, Jawwad and Hadi. He was one of the greatest scholars of Qom and is recognized as the main authority during his time. His name appears in 2290 narrations in the four-primary works. He is known to have been strict when it came to accepting narrations and exiling individuals who he deemed problematic. He will be discussed in greater lengthy in future posts.
  4. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Ya’qub bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad, and had various books.
  5. Muhammad bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Jawwad.
  6. ‘Ali bin Rayyan bin Salt al-Ash’ari: Companion of Imam Hadi and Imam ‘Askari. He was one of the financial-agents of Imam Hadi in Qom, and his name appears in the chains of 27 narrations.
  7. Sa’d bin ‘Abdullah bin Abi Khalf al-Ash’ari: His name appears in the chains of 1142 narrations in the four-primary books. There is confusion over whether he was a companion of Imam ‘Askari or someone who did not narrate from any of the Imams.
  8. Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: He has also been recognized as Ahmad bin Abi Zahir Musa Abu Ja’far al-Ash’ari. He is someone who did not narrate from the Imams directly, but was one of the great scholars of Qom.
  9. Adam bin Ishaq bin Adam bin ‘Abadullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 13 narrations in the four-primary books.
  10. ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin ‘Isa bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 110 narrations in the four-primary books.
  11. ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin Ishaq bin ‘Abdullah al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 2 narrations in the four-primary works.
  12. Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Mahbub al-Ash’ari: His name appears in 1118 narrations in the four-primary books and Najashi considered him a senior scholar in Qom.

With this, we end the list of some of the most important names that left their mark in the history of Qom, and who helped shape religious discourse in the city. With the third group, we see an increase in scholarly activity within Qom, partly due to the Kufan heritage being transferred over in extensive amounts through important Kufan personalities like Ibrahim bin Hashim. With the first two groups, the trend more so for these scholars of Qom was to either meet the Imams directly, or visit Kufa to take narrations from teachers that were still present there. However, in the third century Hijri, and with the emergence of the third group, it was the physical transfer of Kufa’s heritage – such as books and manuscripts of various works – that played a huge role in giving Qom its authoritative position. This is not to say that some of the scholars were no longer traveling to meet the Imams, but rather this had slowly diminished, and after the occultation of the 12th Imam, no longer had any meaning.

Over here we should also point out that with the presence of the Ash’ari family in Qom, which was in essence a Shi’i presence, many individuals from the lineage of Ali (s) and Fatima (s) also migrated and settled in Qom. The Ash’aris were known to have welcomed them into the city and gave protection to those who were merely seeking refuge in Qom. The work Muntaqalah al-Talibiyyah[1] of Ibn Tabataba (d. end of 5th century Hijri), records the name of thirty such individual who migrated to Qom with their families, many of these were either scholars of hadith themselves, or their children became scholars of hadith. Some of these individuals include Hamza bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Zayd (who Shaykh Saduq narrates a lot from), Hamza bin ‘Abdillah bin Hasan, ‘Ali bin Hamza, and Abu al-Fadhl Muhammad bin ‘Ali.

As mentioned above, during the years when scholars from the third group lived, Qom had slowly become an authority for Shi’i religious discourse, to such an extent that scholars had now begun traveling to Qom to hear and record traditions. For example, we see important figures like Rayyan bin Shabib, Husayn bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Hasan bin Sa’eed al-Ahwazi, Qasim bin Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Yaqtin, ‘Abdul Rahman bin Abi Hammad Sayrafi and more traveling to Qom for this very reason. In the next few articles we will try to address the role and influence of specific individuals, and as well as certain trends that were prevalent in Qom. For this reason, I have created a rough timeline showing when certain specific scholars who will be mentioned in subsequent articles were living and who their contemporaries were. Most dates are rough, as they are either unknown or there are multiple dates given for them.

 

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[1] Page 251-258 | Book can be downloaded here. The book has also been translated into Farsi as: مهاجران آل ابوطالب

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