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Dawud b. al-Nu'man

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Companion of Imam (a)
Dawud b. al-Nu'man
Companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a)
Epithet Bayya' al-anmat, al-Anbari
Religious Affiliation Twelver Shia
Lineage Nakha'i
Wellknown Relatives 'Ali b. al-Nu'man (brother)
Professors Abu Ayyub al-HazazIshaq b. 'Ammar
Students [who have narrated from him:] Ali b. Hakam, Ibn Abi 'Umayr, Ali b. Asbat and Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahman
Activities Transmitter of hadith

Dāwūd b. al-Nuʿmān (Arabic: داود بن النعمان) was a Twelver Shi'a transmitter of hadith in the 2nd/8th century whose name is among those who transmitted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a), and Imam al-Rida (a). Some scholars of rijal (biographical evaluation) have not considered him reliable, but some reliable sources have quoted from him.

Family and Titles

Family of Dawud were Nakha'i from Kufa and were in Wala' covenant with Banu Hashim. Dawud b. al-Nu'man was also known as al-Anbari which seemingly refers to al-Anbar city where he lived, near Euphrates, 10 Farsakhs from Baghdad. Al-Kashshi has mentioned him with the title of Bayya' al-Anmat (Arabic: بیّاع الأنماط, seller of carpets), perhaps referring to his job which was selling carpet.


Al-Kashshi has praised Dawud with good qualities. Al-'Allama al-Hilli,in Khulasat al-aqwal, has also considered him reliable. But, he has not been considered so in other books of rijal.

Al-Najashi first mentions Ali b. al-Nu'man al-A'lam, the smaller brother of Dawud reliable and then says that Dawud was better than his brother. Some have considered al-'Allama al-Hilli's support of Dawud due to the mentioned speech of al-Najashi.

But, some others believe that al-Najashi's word does not mean as a support for him, and by the word "'Uluww" [elevation, promotion], al-Najashi meant promotion in level, speaking of which is common among scholars of rijal. The support for this opinion is al-Najashi's word in biography of Dawud b. al-Nu'man when he describes Dawud b. al-Nu'man using the word "Akbar" [bigger] which refers to him being older than Ali.

It is also thought probable that al-'Allama Hilli's word has root in the al-Kashshi's support. After mentioning the supportive comment, al-'Allama al-Hilli has mentioned al-Kashshi's word. Also, some have mentioned the weakness of the two previous probabilities, and have proposed the probability of the omission of the supportive phrase from recent copies of al-Najashi's rijal.

Since al-'Allama al-Hilli had access to the books of Ali b. Hakam, Sa'd b. 'Abd Allah, Ibn 'Uqda and others, later scholars referred to for checking reliability of people, some consider his support for reliability of person as proof. An evidence for this opinion is that no problem has occurred to those chains of hadiths in which Dawud b. al-Nu'man is mentioned and Ibn Abi 'Umayr and other reliable sources of hadiths have narrated from him.

Companion of Imams (a)

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned Dawud among the companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a). However, al-Najashi has doubted about narrating from Imam (a) by Dawud which may have been because most of the hadiths of Dawud are transmitted by one or two people after Imam (a). But, his direct hadiths from Imam (a) is against such as doubt.

Moreover, Dawud has also narrated from Abu 'Ubayda Ziyad b. 'Isa al-Hadhdha' who passed away at the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a).

Al-Najashi has considered Dawud among transmitters of Imam al-Kazim's (a) hadiths and al-Shaykh al-Tusi has considered him among the companions of Imam al-Rida (a). But, if al-Najashi's address of "A'la" about Dawud means "'uluww" [high] in level, he would not have met Imam al-Rida (a). Al-Kashshi too has mentioned the biography of Dawud among the companions of Imam al-Rida (a). However, Dawud has no hadith from Imam al-Rida (a).

His Sources of Hadith

Dawud has transmitted hadiths from the following people:

As well as his brother Ali, his sister's son, 'Ali b. Hakam, Ibn Abi 'Umayr, Ali b. Asbat and Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahman have narrated hadiths from him.

His Book

According to al-Najashi, he had a book but no description is available for it now. From the appearance of al-Kashshi's word, it can be understood that Dawud made a will to pass his books to Muhammad b. Isma'il. Al-Kashshi's words in this regard have been considered partially omitted and they believe that he had meant Ali b. Numan.

Attributing the will to 'Ali b. al-Nu'man does not reject Dawud b. al-Nu'man's will, and it is even possible that both brothers have made such a will; especially that the position of Muhammad b. Isma'il in the views of the companions can justify the will of both brothers.