Jabir b. Yazid al-Ju'fi
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|Jabir b. Yazid al-Ju'fi|
|Full Name||Jabir b. Yazid b. al-Harith al-Ju'fi|
|Companion of||Imam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a)|
|Kunya||Abu 'Abd Allah, Abu Muhammad, Abu Yazid|
|Epithet||Al-Ju'fi al-Kufi, al-'Arabi al-Qadim|
|Place(s) of Residence||Kufa|
|Works||Nawadir, Kitab al-Jamal, Kitab al-Siffin, ...|
Jābir b. Yazīd b. al-Ḥārith al-Juʿfī (Arabic: جابر بن یزید بن الحارث الجُعْفی) (b. ? - d. 128/746), was one of Tabi'un (those who met the companions of the Prophet (s)), a great Shi'a jurist, narrator and exegete of the Qur'an, and an outstanding companion of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a).
Epithets and Titles
He is also given two titles of "al-Ju'fi al-Kufi" and "al-'Arabi al-Qadim". Al-Shaykh al-Tusi referred to him with the title "al-Azdi", but al-Tustari (a famous contemporary scholar of 'ilm al-rijal) does not accept this report. He believes al-Shaykh al-Tusi used that title because he confused between Jabir b. Yazid and Jabir b. Zayd.
According to narrations from Imam (a), Jabir had an important position and he was praised by Imams (a). For instance, Jabir was called "the knower of the secrets of Ahl al-Bayt (a)" in his first meeting with Imam al-Baqir (a). There are two hadiths from Imam al-Baqir (a) which consist important advice to Jabir.
As reported by Jabir himself, in his first meeting with Imam al-Baqir (a), he introduce himself a Kufan from Ju'fi family and said that he traveled to Medina to learn from Imam (a). In this meeting, Imam (a) gave him two books and wanted him not to disclose the content of one of the books until Umayyads were in power.
In the View of Scholars
Al-Ya'qubi mentioned Jabir among Shi'a jurists of Umayyad and Abbasid periods. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid recorded his name among the scholars about whom there was no negative reports. Ibn Shahrashub mentioned Jabir as one of the close companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and the door to the knowledge of Imam al-Baqir (a).
Sunni Scholars announced him as one of the top Shi'a scholars and leaders and acknowledged his reliability.
Ibn Sa'd described Jabir's social position and knowledge as follows: "whenever Khalid b. 'Abd Allah al-Qasri (the judge of Kufa) was sitting in the court for judgment, Jabir was sitting beside him (as a consultant)."
Al-Tirmidhi said, "were it not been for the Jabir, Kufa would be void of the knowledge of hadith."
Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani reported that the Sunni traditonists had to narrate from Jabir because he was narrating unique traditions.
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said, "despite the Sunni mainstream, Jabir would write hadiths he has heard following the tradition of Shi'a hadith transmitters."
Al-Najashi attributed many books to Jabir such as Tafsir, Nawadir, Kitab al-Jamal, Kitab al-Siffin, Kitab al-Nahrawan, Maqtal Amir al-Mu'minin (a), Maqtal al-Husayn (a).
There are other books attributed to Jabir namely, Risalat Abi Ja'far ila Ahl al-Basra (the letter of Imam al-Baqir (a) to the Shi'as of Basra) and "Hadith al-Shura" (the complete text of this book is recorded by al-Tabrisi) .
Names of those who narrated from Jabir or those he narrated from are recorded in different collections of 'ilm al-rijal.
Due to religious beliefs of Jabir, his authenticity was accepted by some scholars and rejected by some others. Early scholars of 'ilm al-rijal doubted his authenticity for he narrates both authentic and unauthentic narrations. Ibn Dawud al-Hilli mentioned Jabir among unreliable narrators. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi did not mention anything about his authenticity.
As reported by al-'Allama al-Hilli, Ibn al-Ghaza'iri is quoted as saying that, "Jabir b. Yazid is trustworthy and reliable." Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili supported Jabir's authenticity. Muhaddith Nuri and al-Khoei tried to justify the quotes from early scholars about the authenticity of Jabir.
Even though some Sunni biographers accepted Jabir's reliability, others have criticized the authenticity of his hadiths for his ghuluw (exaggeration about the Prophet of Islam (a) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a)) and also for some of his beliefs such as Raj'a. He is also accused of being a companion of 'Abd Allah b. Saba.
There are different reports about when Jabir passed away but the famous account reported his death in 128/745-6.
The content of this article is mainly adopted from جابر جعفی in Farsi WikiShia.