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Abu l-Aswad al-Du'ali

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Companion of Imam (a)
Abu l-Aswad al-Du'ali
Full Name Zalim b. 'Amr b. Sufyan b. Jandal al-Du'ali
Companion of Imam Ali (a)
Birth Unkown
Place(s) of Residence Basra
Death/Martyrdom 69/688
Cause of
Activities Said to be the founder of Arabic syntax

Abū l-Aswad al-Duʾalī (Arabic: أبوالأسْوَد الدُؤَلی) was a well-known poet and Tabi'i who is mostly known as a companion of Imam Ali (a) and the founder of nahw (Arabic syntax). Very little is known about his life, which is mixed with historical contradictions. After the beginning of the Battle of Jamal when Aisha had headed towards Basra, Abu l-Aswad and another person were sent by 'Uthman b. Hunayf to negotiate with Aisha.

Abu l-Aswad's companionship of Imam Ali (a), his participation in the Battle of Jamal, and pieces of poems he composed in the praise or elegy of Imam Ali (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) led to the widespread view that he was fond of Ali (a).

According to some historical sources, he was the inventor of the science of nahw. He was also the first person who added diacritical marks to the Qur'an.

There is a disagreement in sources about the date of Abu l-Aswad's death, just like the rest of his biography. According to the majority of sources, he died in 69/688-89 when a lethal plague outbroke in Basra as a result of which many people died.