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'Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini

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Companion of Imam (a)
'Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini
Full Name 'Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata'ini
Companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a)
Kunya Abu l-Hasan
Religious Affiliation Waqifi
Death/Martyrdom c. 200/815
Works One asl
Activities He was the representative of Imam al-Kazim (a) in financial affairs.

Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Abī Ḥamza al-Baṭāʾinī (Arabic: ابوالحَسَن عَلی بن أبي حَمزَة البَطائِني) (d. circa 200/815) is a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a) and one of the heads of Waqifiyya. He wrote a book and an asl. There is disagreement about his reliability: some scholars, such as: al-Sayyid al-Murtada, Ibn al-Ghada'iri, al-Sayyid Muhammad b. 'Ali al-'Amili, and al-'Allama al-Hilli believe that he was an unreliable narrator (da'if); on the other hand, some say that he was thiqa (reliable).

Lineage

His father, Abu Hamza al-Salim, was from Kufa and had wala' connection with Ansar. As he or his fathers wove or sold lining cloth (bitana in Arabic) he was called "al-Bata'ini".

Narration of Hadith

Al-Najashi reported that he authored several books on exegesis of the Holy Qur'an and fiqh. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi also mentioned in his al-Rijal that had a book and in al-Fihrist that he had an "asl".

From Abu Basir

Al-Bata'ini was a sighted guide for Abu Basir Yahya b. Abi l-Qasim (d. 150/767-8) and has narrated many hadiths form him. He has narrated 325 hadiths out of 545 hadiths - the total number of hadiths narrated from al-Bata'ini in the Four Books - from Abu Basir.

From Shi'a Imams and Other Hadith Narrators

Other than narrating hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a), Imam al-Rida (a), and Abu Basir, al-Bata'ini has narrated hadith from fifteen great Shi'a narrators, such as: Aban b. Taghlib, Mu'awiya b. 'Ammar, and Muhammad b. Muslim.

More than forty narrators have narrated Hadith from him including:


Waqifiyya

Main article: Waqifiyya

Based on some Hadiths, Imam al-Kazim (a) has approved al-Bata'ini and he was among the financial representatives of the Imam (a); although some reported otherwise. Al-Kashshi reported that because Imam al-Kazim (a) was in prison, a great sum of money from Shi'a payments had been accumulated in the hand of al-Bata'ini and other financial representatives of the Imam. After that Imam al-Kazim (a) was martyred in prison, by the intention of usurping these assets they denied Imam's martyrdom and claimed that he was the last Imam who has disappeared and went into occultation; this was the beginning of Waqifiyya. All sources have reported that al-Bata'ini joined the founders of Waqifiyya and became a pioneer in this movement.

Contemporaries of al-Kashshi and rijal scholars such as Ibn al-Ghada'iri, al-Najashi, al-Tusi, al-'Allama al-Hilli, Ibn Dawud al-Hilli, and later scholars have introduced him as "the head of Waqifiyya", "the founder of Waqifiyya," "one of the pillars of Waqifiyya," and have regarded him as the first person who proposed the idea of Waqifiyya; and most of them mentioned that his and his companion's motivation was their avarice.

According to hadiths, Imam al-Rida (a) debated with him and his cohorts.

Reliability

Considering the fact that he denied the Imamate of Imam al-Rida (a), there are different opinions about his reliability:

Rejection

As al-Kashshi has quoted, 'Ali b. al-Hasan b. Faddal said that he was "kadhdhab" (liar) and "muttaham" (accused).

Most rijal scholars and faqihs, such as: al-Sayyid al-Murtada, Ibn al-Ghada'iri, al-Sayyid Muhammad b. 'Ali al-'Amili, and al-'Allama al-Hilli believed that he was da'if and did not rely on the hadiths that he has narrated (exceptionally, al-'Allama has relied on his hadiths in few cases). Introducing him as Waqifi by al-Najashi, al-Kashshi, al-'Allama al-Hilli and other rijal scholars supports the opinion of unreliability of al-Bata'ini.

Confirmation

On the other hand, by mentioning some evidence such as: action of Faqihs according to the Hadiths that he has narrated, narration of Ibn Abi 'Umayr and al-Bazanti - who did not narrate hadith except from thiqa narrators - from him, having an "asl" and hadiths that praise him, some said that he was thiqa (reliable). Some scholar such as al-Kalbasi, the author of Sama' al-maqal, say that his reliability refers to the period before the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a) and his unreliability refers the period after it, when he founded Waqifiyya. They believe that his later belief in Waqifiyya is not a sign of an earlier lack of righteousness. Al-Muhaddith al-Nuri believes, great Shi'a figures have accepted the hadiths narrated by al-Bata'ini in issues that are not related to Waqifiyya, and regarded him as thiqa in such issues (this can be understood from al-Shaykh al-Tusi in 'Uddat al-usul). According to this opinion, even the hadiths that he has narrated during the time that he was Waqifi are dependable. However, considering the severe prohibition from Imam al-Rida (a) about companionship with Waqifis, this opinion cannot be trusted.

Consequently, if al-Bata'ini has narrated a hadith before the martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (a), it will be sahih and if he has narrated that afterwards, it will be muwaththaq; although Ibn Faddal has accused him of lying.

Demise

He passed away about 200/815.

Son

Al-Bata'ini's son, al-Hasan b. Ali, was also a famous figure of Waqifiyya. There is less doubt about his unreliability in rijal sources. Al-Kashshi has reported that Ibn Faddal has mentioned him as a "liar" and "accursed", and although he has heard a lot of hadiths and has transcribed an exegesis of the whole Qur'an from him, Ibn Faddal did not allow narrating hadith from him, even a single one. Al-Hasan b. Ali has also written some books. About 50 Hadiths are narrated from him in the Four Books.

References