'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan
|'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan|
|Full Name||'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan al-Shaybani al-Kufi|
|Companion of||Imam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a)|
|Wellknown Relatives||Zurara b. A'yan, Humran b. A'yan, Bukayr b. A'yan (brothers)|
|Place(s) of Residence||Kufa|
|Students||Zurara b. A'yan, Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahman, Ibn Bukayr|
ʿAbd al-Malik b. Aʿyan al-Shaybānī al-Kūfī (Arabic:عَبدالمَلِك بن أعیَن الشَیباني الکوفي) known as Abū Ḍurays (أبوضُرَیس) was one of the chiefs of Al A'yan and among the special and trustworthy companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). After his demise, Imam al-Sadiq (a) said about him, "No one like him has ever been born." Few hadiths transmitted by him are available to us today.
The First Shi'a of Al A'yan
Sansan, the grandfather of 'Abd al-Malik was a Christian monk. Thus, naturally A'yan was also Christian. In a war between Muslims and Rome, A'yan was captured by Muslims. Then, a person from Banu Shayban tribe bought him and 'Ayan became Muslim because of him. Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Shushtari said that A'yan was Sunni and thus, his children were also Sunni, then some of them became Shi'a.
According to some reports, the first Shi'a in Al A'yan was 'Abd al-Malik. He converted to Shi'a by Salih b. Maytham, then his brother, Humran became Shia by Abu Khalid al-Kabuli. According to another report, the first child of A'yan who became Shi'a was Umm al-Aswad, 'Abd al-Malik's sister. It is said that Abu Khalid al-Kabuli was influential in this.
Position of 'Abd al-Malik in the Views of Imams (a)
'Abd al-Malik's brother, Zurara who was a top faqih of Shi'a in the 2nd/8th and 3rd/9th centuries, quoted that after 'Abd al-Malik passed away, Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "O God! We, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) were the best of people to Abu Durays. So, you place him among the family of Muhammad (s) – Your peace be upon them - on the Day of Judgment!" and elsewhere in this hadith, Imam (a) said, "no one like him has ever been born!"
After mentioning the above hadith and reviewing different hadiths and scholars' discussions about 'Abd al-Malik, Mamaqani concludes that 'Abd al-Malik was a trustable person, and even at a high position in trustworthiness, with this justification that mentioning such praises by Imam (a) about a person who is not just and trustable is unwise, because infallible Imams (a) did not exaggerate or make sophistry.
The next evidence for his authenticity and high position is that Imam al-Baqir (a) showed 'Abd al-Malik some of the works of Imam Ali (a) which were considered among the hidden sciences and secrets of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and asked him about the reason for writing them, and 'Abd al-Malik answered wisely and insightfully.
Another evidence is a narration from Ali b. Sa'id suggesting that Imam al-Sadiq (a) spoke about those present in his gathering, including 'Abd al-Malik, as followers of Imam Ali (a).
Some evidences imply that 'Abd al-Malik informed Imam (a) about the problems of people and delivered Imam's (a) response to people, suggesting that Imam (a) trusted him.
The evidences may be benefited for more conclusions and say that he has been an agency of Imam (a) in Kufa who answered the questions of people and collected religious taxes. Another sign of such a claim would be the letter of 'Abd al-Rahim Qasir to Imam al-Sadiq (a) with the handwriting of 'Abd Al-Malik and Imam's (a) reply again with the handwriting of 'Abd Al-Malik in which 'Abd al-Rahim Qasir had asked Imam (a) about the meaning of faith. This letter is among the valuable sources of Shi'a, because there, Imam (a) has referred to most important theological beliefs of that age.
His Love for Imams (a)
From some narrations, it can be learned that In addition to Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), and other Imams (a), 'Abd al-Malik loved Imam al-Mahdi (a) as well and wished to see his coming. In the report of Abu Bakr al-Hadrami, we read,
"'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan said, 'when I was with Imam al-Baqir (a), I just thought of Imam al-Mahdi (a). I stood and cried and told Imam al-Baqir (a), 'I hope I see coming of Imam (a) while I still have strength.'"
Love for Astronomy
'Abd al-Malik also was occupied with astronomy and perhaps wrote a book or books about that. Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi regarded him among those who had a knowledge of astronomy, but since he acted upon that, it had brought up some troubles in his life, thus he asked Imam al-Sadiq (a) for help and he (a) told him to burn his books.
According to Mamaqani, most narrations 'Abd al-Malik has transmitted are from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). Thus, his scientific character was formed by them.
Others from whom he transmitted hadith are as follow:
- Abu Bashir
- Sulayman b. Khalid
- Abu Harb b. Abu l-Aswad al-Du'ali
- Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sullami
- Shaqiq b. Salama al-Asadi
- 'Abd Allah b. Shaddad b. Hadd
- 'Abd al-Rahman b. Udhayna
- Salih b. Maytham
Pupils and Narrators
Some of the pupils and narrators of 'Abd al-Malik are:
- His brother, Zurara
- Abu Muhammad Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahman
- Ibn Bukayr
- Sayf b. 'Amira. He was among the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a)and Imam al-Kazim (a) and an authentic transmitter of hadith, but he was Waqifid.
- Muthanna b. Walid, Muthanna was among the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and had a hadith book.
- 'Ubayd b. Zurara. He was among transmitters of hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a) and a great personality. He has transmitted hadiths from the two Imams (a) and Zayd b. Ali.
- Hammad b. 'Uthman. Apparently, it was Hammad b. 'Uthman Nab, among the People of Consensus.
- Sufyan al-Thawri. He was among the companions and students of Imam al-Sadiq (a), but did not believe in Wilaya of Imams (a) and was among critics of Imam (a).
- Sufyan b. 'Uyayna. Although Ibn 'Uyayna was among the students of Imam al-Sadiq (a), but he did not believe in the Wilaya of him and other Imams (a). Thus, Imam (a) listed hi among those who would die in absolute ignorance.
- 'Abd al-Malik b. Abi Sulayman. He was a great Sunni faqih.
- 'Abd al-Rahman b. Mahdi. He was among the best of those who memorized the Qur'an, a famous faqih and Sunni narrators of hadiths.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عبدالملک بن اعین in Farsi WikiShia.