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Abu Khalid al-Kabuli

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Companion of Imam (a)
Abu Khalid al-Kabuli
Full Name Abu Khalid al-Kabuli al-Wardan
Companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Imam al-Baqir (a)
Teknonym Abu Yahya
Epithet Kankar
Place of Birth Kabul
Place(s) of Residence Kabul, Medina, Mecca

Abū Khālid al-Kābulī al-Wardān (Arabic: أبوخالد الکابلی الوردان), known as Kankar (کنکر), was a companion and hadith transmitter (or rawi) of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Imam al-Baqir (a). He was born in Kabul in Afghanistan, and after immigration to Medina, he became a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a). In addition to his immediate transmissions from these two Imams, Abu Khalid has also transmitted hadiths from people such as Asbagh b. Nubata and Yahya b. Umm Tawil.

Name and title

"Kankar" was a nickname by which his mother used to call him when he was a child, but people did not call him so. However, since Imam al-Sajjad (a) called him "Kankar" in hadiths available to us, he was later known as Kankar. Sayyid b. Tawus has called him "Abu Yahya", but other sources do not confirm such a title.


According to hadiths, his birthplace was Kabul. Though it is not obvious exactly when he went to Hijaz, it seems that during his stay there, when he was Imam al-Sajjad's (a) companion (period of his imamate: 61-95/680-681 to 713-714), he went to Kabul at least once by Imam's (a) assistance.

The Belief in the Imamate of Imam al-Sajjad (a)

In the first days of his stay in Medina, Abu Khalid believed that Muhammad b. Hanafiyya was the Imam, serving him for a long time as an Imam whose obedience is obligatory.

It is said that during his companionship with Muhammad b. Hanafiyya, Abu Khalid had heard him a lot about the great and respectful religious position of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Yahya b. Umm Tawil urged him to visit Imam al-Sajjad (a) and when he finally visited him, the Imam (a) called him "Kankar" which was his childhood nickname. This is why he was assured that Imam al-Sajjad (a) was the Imam. Since then, he became so close a companion of the Imam that he came to be called the "gate", a "trustee" and a "disciple" of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi, al-Shaykh al-Mufid and al-Shaykh al-Tusi have considered Abu Khalid as a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Fadl b. Shadhan mentions Abu Khalid as one of the five people who followed him in the early period of his imamate.

There are hadiths about Abu Khalid's change of view about imamate; for example, the arbitration of the Black Stone that led to his change of mind about imamate. Sayyid Himyari (d. 173/789-790), who is said to have converted from Kaysaniyya to Imamiyya after hearing this event, has narrated the event in the form of poetry.

There is another account of his attempt to know the true Imam, according to which he went to Hasan al-Muthanna for a while to find the heritage of imamate and when he was disappointed by Hasan, he went to visit Imam al-Sajjad (a) and believed in his imamate.

A Companion of Imam al-Baqir (a)

When the Umayyad rulers began to oppress the Shi'a and people such as Yahya b. Umm Tawil were killed, Abu Khalid fled to Mecca and hid there for a while. Although the year of his death is not known, it is known that he was alive in the period of Imam al-Baqir (a) (imamate: 95/713-114/733) and was one of his companions.

A Transmitter of Hadiths

In addition to Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Imam al-Baqir (a), Abu Khalid has also transmitted hadiths from people such as Asbagh b. Nubata and Yahya b. Umm Tawil.

People who have transmitted hadiths from him include: Jamil b. Salih, Hisham b. Salim, Sudayr al-Sayrafi, Durays b. 'Abd al-Malik, and al-Muthanna al-Hannat.

However, al-Nashi al-Akbar points to a group of Fatimiyya as companions of Abu Khalid al-Kabuli who believed that Imam al-Sajjad (a) was not in the age of puberty when his father was martyred.

Confusion in Sources of Rijal

Some sources of rijal have confused Abu Khalid al-Kabuli with Abu Khalid al-Qammat, whose name was Yazid. Under comapnions of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Al-Shaykh al-Tusi refers to Abu Khalid as "Kankar Abu Khalid al-Kabuli" and says that his name was Wardan. He also points to a person called "Wardan Abu Khalid al-Kabuli al-Asghar (junior)" under the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and says that he also transmitted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a). He pointed out that Kankar was the name of "Abu Khalid al-Kabuli al-Akbar (senior)".

Under the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a), al-Shaykh al-Tusi refers to a person called "Kankar" as "Abu Khalid al-Qammat al-Kufi" and once again he refers under the Imam's (a) companions to "Wardan Abu Khalid al-Kankar", saying that he transmitted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a). It is noteworthy that Ibn Shahrashub also mentioned Abu Khalid al-Qammat al-Kabuli and considered him as one of Ghulat (people who exaggerate about the Imams).