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Humran b. A'yan

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Companion of Imam (a)
Humran b. A'yan
Companion of Imam al-Baqir (a)Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Kunya Abu l-Hasan and Abu Hamza
Religious Affiliation Shi'a
Lineage Al A'yan
Wellknown Relatives Zurara (brother)

Ḥumrān b. Aʿyan (Arabic:حُمران بن أعيَن) is a Shi'a hadith narrator of the 2nd/8th century and one of the eminent companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). His brother, Zurara, is one of the most famous Shi'a hadith narrators.

In addition to narrating hadith, Humran was an expert in the science of al-qira'a, Arabic syntax and lexicology, fiqh and Kalam. Aside from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), his masters in hadiths are 'Amir b. Wathila, Abu Harb b. Abu l-Aswad and 'Ubayd b. Nudayla, who are all Sunni.

Both Shi'a and Sunni have narrated hadiths from Humran b. A'yan. This has led to disagreements about his reliability.

Kunya and Lineage

Abu l-Hasan and Abu Hamza are mentioned as his Kunya. Humran is Zurara b. A'yan's brother and apparently the eldest child of Al A'yan family. He is counted among Tabi'in (the Followers).

Companionships with Imams

Humran was one of the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). He also has seen Imam al-Sajjad (a). Muwahhidi Abtahi said that he did not know any Hadith that Humran had narrated form Imam al-Sajjad (a). However, in some Hadiths sources, there are few Hadiths narrated by him from Imam al-Sajjad (a), thus Namazi Shahrudi introduced him as one of the narrators from Imam al-Sajjad (a) too.

His Masters in Hadith

Aside from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a), his masters in Hadiths are Abu Tufayl 'Amir b. Wathila al-Laythi, Abu Harb b. Abu l-Aswad and 'Ubayd b. Nudayla, who all are Sunni.

Narrators from Him

Sufyan al-Thuri, Abu Khalid al-Qammat, Zurara, 'Ubayd b. Zurara, Muhammad b. Humran, 'Amr b. Udhayna, Hisham b. Salim, Ali b. Ri'ab and Yunus b. Salim have narrated Hadiths form Humran. Al-Shaykh al-Kulayni has quoted a Hadith, which Safwan b. Yahya has narrated from Humran; therefore, Ayatullah Khu'i and Muwahhidi Abtahi have mentioned Safwan among the narrators from Humran. However, it seems that there is an omission in the chain of narrators of the Hadith in question, as Safwan lived many years afterwards and could not narrate directly from a narrator contemporaneous with Imam al-Sadiq (a).

Reliability

Both Shi'a and Sunni Muhaddiths have narrated Hadiths from Humran b. A'yan. This has led to disagreements about his reliability.

Sunnis' Viewpoint

Some Sunni scholars of rijal have regarded the Hadiths narrated by Humran as unreliable and inauthentic. Their reasons are: - Humran is a Shi'a - The Hadiths that he has narrated have strange meanings. Conversely, some other Sunni scholars of rijal, such as: Ibn Habban and Ibn 'Uday, have counted him among reliable narrators or accepted his Hadiths. Among the compilers of Sunni Hadith collections, Ibn Maja and Ahmad b. Hanbal have narrated some Hadiths from him.

Shi'a's Viewpoint

Among Shi'a rijal books, the major source about Humran is Rijal al-Kashshi, in which several Hadiths praising and admiring him are narrated form the Imams (a). These Hadiths show that he was Shi'a. Moreover, al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned him among the close companions of the Imams (a). Abu Ghalib al-Zurari has mentioned him among Shi'a elite and their great figures. Other Shi'a rijal books only quoted al-Kashshi and al-Tusi's words. Based on Hadiths and other quotes about him, Mamqani said that he is Thiqa (reliable). However, after mentioning two Hadiths form al-Kashshi, al-Shahid al-Thani said that these Hadiths are Da'if (weak) and unreliable; so their contents are not dependable let alone proving his reliability. Ayatullah Khu'i said that most of the Hadiths about him are Da'if (weak) according to their chains of narrators; although the few authentic ones are enough for proving and showing his elite status and situation. The disagreement is also evident in jurisprudential sources. Acknowledging the lack of reliable evidence for proving his reliability and by focusing on Hadiths praising him, some faqihs have only accepted the Hadiths that he has narrated. In contrast, after quoting a Hadith narrated by him, the author of Madarik al-ahkam said that due to the absence of an explicit Hadith about his reliability or even an explicit Hadith praising him, the Hadiths that he has narrated are Da'if (weak).

Expertise in Other Fields

In addition to narrating Hadith, Humran b. A'yan was an expert in the science of al-Qira'a, Arabic syntax and lexicology, Fiqh and Kalam. It is commonly known that Hamzat b. al-Habib, one of the Seven Reciters of the Holy Qur'an (al-Qurra' al-Sab'a), studied the science of al-Qira'a under Humran, who had learned it form great figures such as Imam al-Sadiq (a), Abu l-Aswad al-Du'ali or his son, Abu l-Harb b. Abu l-Aswad, and 'Ubayd b. Nudayla.

Demise

There are different reports about his demise date. Al-Dhahabi has written that he passed away a short while after 120/738; however, Ibn Jazari quoted Dhahabi, that he passed away about 130/748. On the other hand, Qafti has narrated the lament poems Humran has composed for Imam al-Sadiq (a), which shows that he has passed away after 148/766.

References