Priority: c, Quality: b

Abu Rafi'

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Sahaba
Abu Rafi'
Personal Information
Kunya Abu Rafi'
Lineage Copt
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Mecca, Medina, Kufa
Death/Martyrdom After 40/660
Religious Information
Presence at Ghazwas All of them
Migration to Abyssinia and Medina
Known for The first author of Fiqh literature
Notable Roles The treasurer of the treasury of Kufa
Works al-Sunan wa l-ahkam wa l-qadaya

Abū Rāfiʿ (Arabic: اَبو رافِع) (d. after 40/660-1) is a famous companion of the Prophet (s) and his servant who later was freed and became the head of the clan of Al Abi Rafi'. Al-Najashi counted him among "al-salaf al-salih" (righteous pioneers [in Islam]).

During the reign of Imam 'Ali (a), he was the treasurer of Kufa.

Name

Abu Rafi' was a Copt (special tribe in Egypt). Different reports about his name has been quoted in various books. Names such as: Aslam, Ibrahim, Thabit, Hurmuz, Sinan, Qaraman, Salih, Yazid, Yasar, and 'Abd al-Rahman are reported as his name. However, in most of the sources Aslam is mentioned as his name.

As a Slave

At first, Abu Rafi' was al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib's slave. Al-'Abbas gave him to the Prophet (s). When Abu Rafi' told the Prophet (s) that al-'Abbas embraced Islam, the Prophet (s) freed him as a reward of his good news. Abu Rafi' embraced Islam in Mecca before Hijra to Abyssinia.

Immigration to Abyssinia

He was among the Muslims who immigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) under the leadership of Ja'far b. Abu Talib to get away from the hostility of pagans of Quraysh.

Immigration to Mecca

It's commonly believed that Abu Rafi' not only did not immigrate with the Prophet (s) to Medina, but also stayed there until the Battle of Badr after which he joined the Prophet (s) in Medina. However, there is another narration that contradict this report. After that he entered Medina, the Prophet (s) married him to his female slave –Salma- and 'Ubayd Allah was born from them.[1]

Participation in Battles

Abu Rafi' participated in all of the battles after he immigrated to Medina. He was counted among the Holy Prophet's (s) close companions to the point that the Prophet (s) said "every prophet has a trustee and my trustee is Abu Rafi'."[2]

During the Imamate of Imam 'Ali (a)

After the demise of the Prophet (s), Abu Rafi' became a companion of Imam 'Ali (a). He was one of Imam 'Ali's (a) companions until Imam took over the caliphate. When Mu'awiya from Syria and Talha and Zubayr from Basra raised against Imam 'Ali's (a) caliphate, Abu Rafi' said that the Prophet (s) had already foretold him this incident and said that 'Ali (a) is right and his dissenters are wrong.

Immigration to Kufa

When he was 85, he sold his house and his real properties in Khaybar and Medina and immigrated along with Imam 'Ali (a) to Kufa.[3] It was then that he said "all praise is due to Allah that I reach a position that no one else has reached to; because I swore two allegiances: al-'Aqaba and Ridwan. I prayed toward two Qiblas and I immigrated thrice."[4] In Kufa, he was appointed by Imam 'Ali (a) as the treasurer of the treasury of Kufa and his two sons –'Ali and 'Ubayd Allah- started working as Imam's (s) writers.[5]

After the Martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a)

According to a narration, Abu Rafi' was alive in the time of Imam al-Hasan's (a) caliphate and returned to Medina along with Imam al-Hasan (a) after the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a). If this narration is credible, he should have been over 90 years old at that time.

Because Abu Rafi' had sold his land and house in Medina; when he returned to Medina, Imam al-Hasan (a) gave him a half of Imam 'Ali's (a) house and a piece of land located on outskirts of Medina. After his demise, his son -'Ubayd Allah- sold the land for 170,000 (probably dirhams).[6]

Demise

There are different reports about his demise date:

  • Some said that he passed away in the year that Imam 'Ali (a) was martyred.
  • Al-Waqidi said: " he passed away awhile before or after 'Uthman.
  • Some also said that he passed away during Imam 'Ali's (a) reign[7].

But according to a narration ,quoted by al-Najashi, he had relations with Imam al-Hasan (a) and returned back to Medina with him so he was alive after the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a) and lived more than 90 years.

Narrator of Hadith

Numerous narrations has been quoted from Abu Rafi' by his children and wife -Salma- and others. Muslims, especially Shi'a have placed him among the reliable narrators of hadith.

Writing the First Jurisprudential Book

Abu Rafi' tried to gather, compile and classify hadiths. He compiled the book al-Sunan wa l-ahkam wa l-qadaya.[8] He is –apparently- the first person in the history of Islam who has written a jurisprudential book.

This book includes chapters of: prayer (salat), fasting, hajj, zakat, and judiciary. Narrations from Imam 'Ali (a) were found in the book.

See Also

Notes

  1. al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 4
  2. Qummi, al-'Abbas. al-Kuna wa l-alqab. vol. 1. p. 77
  3. al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 4
  4. al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 4
  5. Al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 2-3
  6. al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 4
  7. 'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar. al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba. Vol. 4. P. 67.
  8. al-Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Rijal. p. 4

References

  • Qummi, 'Abbas,Al-Kuna wa l-alqab, Tehran: Maktaba al-sadr.
  • Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani, Ahmad b. 'Ali, al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-sahaba. Beirut:Dar Ihya al-Turath al-'Arabi, 1328
  • Najashi, Ahmad b. Ali, Rijal.Qum: Maktabat al-Dawari