Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash
|Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash|
|Full Name||Firuz al-Basri al-Tabi'i|
|Companion of||Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a)|
|Well Known As||Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash|
|Activities||Narrating Book of Sulaym b. Qays|
Abān b. Abī ʿAyyāsh (Fīrūz) al-Baṣrī al-Tābiʿī (Arabic:اَبان بن ابیعَیاش(فیروز) البصری التابعی) (d. 138/755) known as Abān b. Abī ʿAyyāsh was a hadith scholar in the 2nd/8th century after Bi'that. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi considered him a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). He is mostly famous among Shi'ite Muslims due to narrating from Sulaym b. Qays. He was regarded as a true virtuous and religious man by everyone including Sunni Muslims.
Birth and Demise
His name is Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash or Aban b. Firuz. And his teknonym was Abu Isma'il.
There are not enough information on the time and place of birth of Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash, it is only said that he was a slave of 'Abd al-Qays. He passed away about 140/757 or 128/746.
Aban b. Abi Ayyash has narrated from famous earlier hadith scholars.
Narrations from Him
A large number of hadith scholars in the 2nd/8th century have learned hadiths or narrated hadiths from him.
In the Perspective of Rijal Scholars
Neither Shi'ite nor Sunni rijal scholars regarded Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash thiqa (reliable). However some recent Shi'ite rijal scholars including Mirza Husayn Nuri and 'Abd Allah Mamaqani tried to prove that Ibn Abi 'Ayyash was thiqa which is not accepted. Generally, well-known Sunni hadith scholars considered him unreliable.
Why he was not Thiqa
There are not any decisive evidence to reject acceptance of Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash as thiqa (reliable hadith narrator). Mirza Husayn Nuri believed Abi 'Ayyash was a Shi'ite narrator, his opponents tried to marginalize him, but such statement is not accurate according to Shi'ite rijal books.
A number of Sunni rijal scholars did not accept Abi 'Ayyash a reliable narrator, as he was weak at memorizing hadiths and had a habit of forgetting the name of narrators and content of hadiths.
Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash is unanimously accepted as a virtuous and a true believer, especially among Sunnis. According to Ibn Habban, Abi 'Ayyash was a devoted believer who fasted during the day and worshiped God during the night. He paid attention to his appearance and wore decent and pure clothes. Accordingly, Sufyan b. 'Uyayna narrated that Malik b. Dinar entitled Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash as "Tawus al-Qarra'" (a magnificently attractive man).
Being a Shi'ite
Aban was Shi'ite without a doubt. Although some reports stated that Aban was not Shi'ite, Al-Shaykh Al-Tusi regarded him as companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). However he was surprised to figure out that Aban did not narrate any hadith from them; even if he narrated hadiths, they are not mentioned in any Shi'ite hadith books.
Well-known among Shi'ites
Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash is well-known among Shi'ites because of narrating hadiths from Sulaym b. Qays. Sulaym was a companion of Imam 'Ali (a) and lived in the time of Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi (d. 95/714). As Sulaym was a Shi'a, Hajjaj was perusing him but he fled to Fars and Aban provided shelter for him. When Sulaym was on the verge of death he gave Aban a book which included the events happened after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s).
Features of His Book
As stated by Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash thought Sulaym b. Qays had read this book to Imam al-Sajjad (a) and he had approved it. But as al-'Allama al-Hilli stated, it should be taken into account that this book was narrated only by Aban b. Abi 'Ayyash which represents the harsh situation of Shi'ites in Iraq in the time of Hajjaj b. Yusuf; it must be the only original copy of the book. Regardless of the content of the book, it was the first book written by a Shi'a Muslim on Shi'ite thoughts including political thoughts of Shi'ites.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ابان بن ابیعیاش in Farsi Wikishia.