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Safwan b. Mihran

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Companion of Imam (a)
Safwan b. Mihran
Companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a)
Kunya Abu Muhammad
Epithet Al-Jammal
Religious Affiliation Shi'a
Place of Birth Kufa
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Works A book of hadith
Activities Narrating hadiths

Ṣafwān b. Mihrān al-Asadī al-Kāhilī (Arabic: صَفوان بن مِهران بن مُغیرة الأسَدی الکاهِلی) was a transmitter of hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a). He appears in the chains of transmitters of many hadiths, ziyarahs, and supplications, such as Ziyarah al-Arba'in, Ziyarah al-Warith, and Supplication of 'Alqama. Safwan was known as "Jammal" (camel renter) because he possessed a number of camels and rented them to people.


There is not much information about Safwan's years of birth and death. He is considered as a prominent figure of the 2nd/8th century and a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a). And since he was known as "al-Kufi", he was probably born in Kufa.

Safwan took Imam al-Sadiq (a) from Medina to Kufa many times, visiting the grave of Imam 'Ali (a) together with the Imam (a). Imam 'Ali's (a) grave was unknown to the public at the time, but Safwan was one of the few people who knew its location. According to Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi in his book, Kamil al-ziyarat, Safwan visited the grave of Imam 'Ali (a) for 20 years and performed his prayers there.

He is the grandfather of Abu 'Abd Allah al-Safwani who performed a mubahala with the judge of Mosul in the presence of Sayf al-Dawla al-Hamdani. After the mubahala, the judge caught a fever, his hand turned black, and then died the other day.

In the Views of Prominent Scholars

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid said that Safwan was a prominent, close, and reliable companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a). According to al-'Allama al-Hilli, he was from Kufa, he was reliable, and his kunya was Abu Muhammad al-Jammal. And according to al-Najashi, Safwan was from Kufa and was reliable.

Presentation of Beliefs to Imam al-Sadiq (a)

Safwan presented his beliefs to Imam al-Sadiq (a) as follows, and the Imam (a), verifying his beliefs, prayed for him.

Al-'Allama al-Majlisi cited a hadith from Safwan al-Jammal in which he said:

I presented my beliefs to Imam al-Sadiq (a) in this way: I bear witness that there is no god except Allah who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad (s) is the messenger of God and his proof (hujja) for the people, and after him, 'Ali (a), the Amir al-Mu'minin, is God's proof for the people. The Imam (a) said: May God Have His Mercy for you. I said: after him, al-Hasan b. 'Ali (a) is God's proof for the people. The Imam (a) said: May God Have His Mercy for you. I then said: after him, al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) is God's proof for the people. The Imam (a) said: May God Have His Mercy for you. I then said: after him, 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) is God's proof for the people, and after him, Muhammad b. 'Ali (a) is God's proof for the people, and then you are God's proof for the people. The Imam (a) said: May God Have His Mercy for you.

Renting Camels to Harun

An important hadith about Safwan which indicates his faith and his obedience of the Imams (a) is the one in which he told the story of renting his camels to Harun al-'Abbasi.

Safwan had many camels and he made a living by renting them, and this was why he was known as "al-Jammal". One day he went to Imam al-Kazim (a). The Imam (a) told him: "everything about you is good except one thing!" He asked: "may I be thy ransom! What is it?" The Imam (a) said: "that you rent your camels to this man (that is, Harun, the Abbasid caliph)". Safwan said: "I do not do this out of avarice and foolishness. I rent my camels to him because he goes to hajj rituals. I do not serve and accompany him. Instead, I send my servant to him". The Imam (a) asked: "does he owe you anything?" Safwan replied: "yes". The Imam (a) asked: "do you want him to live as long as he can pay his debts to you?" Safwan replied: "yes". Then the Imam said (a): "if a person wants them to live, then he is one of them, and a person who is one of them (the enemies of God) will go to the Hell".

After the conversation with Imam al-Kazim (a), Safwan al-Jammal sold all of his camels. When Harun heard the news, he summoned Safwan and told him: "I am told that you have sold all of your camels. Why did you do so?" He replied: "because I am too old and senile, and my servants cannot manage to do this". Harun said: "no way! I know that you have sold your camels at the order of Musa b. Ja'far (a), and had you not been a long companion of mine, I would kill you".

Repairing the Grave of Amir al-Mu'minin (a)

Safwan said in a hadith that he was with Imam al-Sadiq (a) on a trip. The Imam (a) showed him a place and told him: "this is the grave of my ancestor Amir al-Mu'minin (a)". The Imam (a) gave some dirhams to Safwan, with which he repaired the holy grave.

Transmission of Hadiths

Safwan was a transmitter of hadiths in the 2nd/8th century. He appears in the chains of transmitters of 71 hadiths. He transmitted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a). His hadiths have been transmitted by a number of hadith transmitters, such as Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr and Ma'dan b. Muslim. Safwan has transmitted Ziyarah al-Warith, Ziyarah al-Arba'in, and the Supplication of 'Alqama. Two of his brothers, al-Husayn and Miskin, were also Shiite transmitters of hadiths, and Abu 'Abd Allah al-Safwani was one of his grandchildren.

One of the well-known hadiths transmitted by Safwan is the one in which Imam al-Sadiq (a) explicitly announced Imam al-Kazim (a) as the next Imam.

Safwan also wrote a book containing hadiths from the Imams (a) about jurisprudential rulings, history, wars, Ghazwas, and the like. His book is transmitted by al-Najjashi through 3 intermediary transmitters, and was transmitted by al-Shaykh al-Tusi through 4 intermediary transmitters.