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Abu Hamza al-Thumali

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Companion of Imam (a)
Abu Hamza al-Thumali
Full Name Thabit b. Dinar al-Thumali
Companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a)
Teknonym Abu Hamza
Epithet al-Thumali
Well Known As Abu Hamza al-Thumali
Religious Affiliation Shi'a
Birth before 82/701
Place of Birth Kufa
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Death/Martyrdom 150/767
Works Risalat al-huquq 'an Ali b. al-Husayn (a)Tafsir al-Qur'an etc.

Thābit b. Dīnār al-Thumālī (Arabic:ثابِت بن دينار الثُمالي), known as Abū Ḥamza al-Thumālī (أبو حَمزَة الثُمالي) was a Shi'a narrator of hadith and exegete of the Qur'an in the 2nd/8th century and a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Abu Hamza has narrated a supplication from Imam al-Sajjad (a) known as Supplication of Abu Hamza which is recited at dawn (sahar) during the month of Ramadan.

Birth Place

Abu Hamza was from Kufa. Al Muhallab considered him among their mawali, but al-Najashi has rejected this idea. He was from Tayy tribe and Banu Thu'al family and his title as "al-Thumali" was because he was living in the neighborhood where Thumala family of Azd tribe lived. Abu Hamza associated with Zayd b. 'Ali in Kufa and was a witness to his call and then his martyrdom. The three children of Abu Hamza, i.e. Hamza, Nuh, and Mansur were killed in the uprising of Zayd b. 'Ali.

Birth and Demise

The exact date of his birth is not known, but since he has narrated from Zadhan al-Kindi (d. 82/701), he must have been born before 82/701. The year of his demise is mentioned as 150/767. However, since al-Hasan b. Mahbub (b. 149/766 – d. 224/838) has narrated from him, the year of his demise must be after 150/767. There are other opinions about the date of the demise of Abu Hamza, the origins of which are the mistakes in hadith and rijal references made by scribes.

From the Viewpoint of the Scholars of Rijal

Al-Ya'qubi has considered Abu Hamza among fiqh scholars of Kufa and al-Kashshi and al-Najashi have mentioned narrations about his great status. There are also two narrations in al-Kashshi's Rijal criticizing Abu Hamza which have problems in their references in the view of Ayatollah al-Khoei. Abu Hamza had many sources of hadiths and many people narrated from him. Al-Mizzi and al-Khoei listed the people al-Thumali narrated from and those who narrated from al-Thumali. Although most Sunni scholars criticized him and considered him weak regarding narration of hadiths, Hakim al-Nayshaburi has narrated hadith from Abu Hamza in al-Mustadrak and have considered them authentic. In the preface of the book, he has said that all the narrators he has mentioned in the chains of hadiths are reliable. Fadl b. Shadhan has narrated from Imam al-Rida (a) that Abu Hamza was similar to Salman in his time and in another narration similar to Luqman in his time.

Works

Al-Najashi has mentioned Tafsir al-Qur'an, al-Nawadir, and Risalat al-huquq 'an Ali b. al-Husayn (a) among Abu Hamza's works.

Exegesis

The chain of reference for Abu Hamza's exegesis on the Holy Qur'an among Twelver Shi'a is through Abu Bakr Muhammad b. 'Umar Ji'abi from Abu Sahl 'Amr b. Hamdan in 307/919-920 from Sulayman b. Ishaq Muhallabi and Sulayman b. Ishaq narrated Abu Hamza's exegesis in Basra in 267/881 from his uncle, Abu 'Amr 'Abd Rabbih Muhallabi. 'Abd Allah b. Hamza al-Mansur Billah (d. 614/1217-18) has mentioned this chain of reference for Abu Hamza's tafsir and also referred to the difference between this chain of reference and the version of tafsir which has been common among Sunni Muslims. He has also mentioned some reports about the version narrated through Ji'abi. Apparently, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Tha'labi (d. 427/1035-1036) who has benefited from Abu Hamza's exegesis in his own exegesis, al-Kashf wa l-bayan has actually benefited from the mentioned version. The text of Abu Hamza's exegesis has been available until 6th/12th century. Al-Tabrisi in Majma' al-bayan and Ibn Shahr Ashub (d. 588/1192) in Manaqib Al Abi Talib (a) have narrated hadiths from this exegesis. 'Abd al-Razzaq Muhammad Husayn Hirz al-Din has collected hadiths narrated from Abu Hamza—which have either been related to tafsir or they have been referred to because they have been mentioned in Abu Hamza's tafsir— in a book titled as Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim li Abi Hamza b. Thabit b. Dinar al-Thumali.

Features of Abu Hamza's Exegesis

In Abu Hamza's exegesis, contrary to other influential commentaries, there are fewer mursal hadiths mentioned. Abu Hamza considered the cause of revelation of verses and has used the method of interpreting the Qur'an by the Qur'an while benefitting from merits of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and regarded ijtihad, recitation, lexicology, grammar and mentioning different views about the meaning of verses.

Musnad of Abu Hamza

'Abd al-Razzaq Muhammad Husayn Hirz al-Din has collected hadiths in fiqh narrated from Abu Hamza and has compiled in Musnad Abi Hamza Thabit b. Dinar al-Thumali. In different sources, there is no mention of Musnad among the works of Abu Hamza and only al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned such a name which he seems to mean an Asl (one of the al-Usul al-arba'ami'a).

Chains of Transmission in Musnad of Abu Hamza

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned the book (Asl) of Abu Hamza through two chains of transmission: first through some Twelver Shi'a scholars transmitted by al-Shaykh al-Saduq, from his father and Ibn Walid al-Qummi (d. 343/954), Musa b. Mutawakkil from Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah al-Ash'ari (d. 299/912 or 301/913) and 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far al-Himyari from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. 'Isa from al-Hasan b. Mahbub from Abu Hamza. The second chain of transmission is transmitted by Ahmad b. 'Abdun (d. 423/1032) from Abu Talib 'Ubayd Allah b. Ahmad al-Anbari (d. 356/967) from Humayd b. Ziyad who narrated the book from Yunus b. Ali al-'Attar from Abu Hamza.

Other Works

From other works of al-Thumali, al-Najashi has mentioned al-Nawadir transmitted by Hasan b. Mahbub from Abu Hamza. Also, al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned al-Nawadir together with another book called al-Zuhd and also has mentioned his way of receiving both works transmitted by Humayd b. Ziyad (d. 310/922) from Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'Ayyash b. 'Isa from Abu Hamza. Another work of Abu Hamza is Risalat al-huquq 'an Ali b. al-Husayn (a). This treatise is available in two versions with little difference, one of which has been transmitted by Ibn Babawayh and the other by Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani (4th/10th century) in Tuhaf al-'uqul.

Du'a of Abu Hamza al-Thumali

Abu Hamza learned several supplications from Imams (a). In Misbah al-mutahajjid, al-Shaykh al-Tusi narrated a supplication by Imam al-Sajjad (a) from Abu Hamza which is recited at dawn (Sahar) during the month of Ramadan, known as Supplication of Abu Hamza al-Thumali on which several commentaries have been written. This relatively lengthy supplication contains moral and mystical messages and is commonly recited among Shi'a.

References