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Wahb b. 'Abd Allah b. Maslama

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Companion of Imam (a)
Wahb b. 'Abd Allah b. Maslama
Companion of Imam Ali (a)
Kunya Abu Juhayfa
Epithet Wahab al-Khayr
Place of Birth Medina
Place(s) of Residence Medina, Kufa
Death/Martyrdom 74/693-4
Burial Place Kufa
Activities The head of Kufa's police (Shurta) as well as the city's treasury (bayt al-mal) in the time of Imam al-Ali (a). An authority of fiqh and hadith in Kufa

Wahb b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Maslama (Arabic: وهب بن عبدالله بن مَسْلمة), known as Abū Juḥayfa (ابوجحیفة), was from the tribe of Suwa'a b. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a. He was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and a companion of Imam 'Ali (a). He was hardly an adolescent when the Prophet (s) died.

During his caliphate, Imam 'Ali (a) appointed him as the head of his police (Shurta) and the Treasury (bayt al-mal), and gave him the title of “Wahb al-Khayr” (the Good Wahb). He was in the army of Imam 'Ali (a) in the Battle of Nahrawan.

He transmitted hadiths concerning adhan, qibla, and the proof of the imamate of the Twelve Imams (a)—these hadiths are transmitted in Sunni sources. He was an authority of fiqh and hadith in Kufa after the deaths of old companions of the Prophet (s).

Lineage, Birth, and Death

His father's name is mentioned in some sources as Jabir or Wahb as well.

Although the year of his birth is not mentioned in sources, according to Ibn Sa'd's account (confirmed by some biographers), he was hardly an adolescent when the Prophet (s) passed away. In addition to what he directly heard from the Prophet (s) as memories of his childhood, he also heard and transmitted hadiths from companions of the Prophet (s), such as Imam 'Ali (a) and al-Bara' b. 'Azib.

Abu Juhayfa died when Bushr was the ruler of Kufa. Some people, such as Ibn Habban, believe that he died exactly in 74/693-4.

Migration to Kufa

After the Prophet's (s) demise, Abu Juhayfa did not stay in Medina for long. When Kufa was constructed (beginning from 17/637), he moved to Kufa together with the family of Banu Suwa'a and adopted it as his hometown.

In the Period of Imam 'Ali (a)

According to hadiths, when Imam 'Ali (a) moved to Iraq in 36/656-7, Abu Juhayfa joined him and the Imam (a) gave him the title of "Wahb al-Khayr" (the Good Wahb). al-Barqi, an Imami scholar, mentioned him as a close companion of Imam 'Ali (a), and al-Shaykh al-Tusi also mentioned him as a companion of the Imam (a) without any explanations.

It is said that Amir al-Mu'minin (a) appointed him as the head of Kufa's police (Shurta) as well as the city's treasury. According to al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Abu Juhayfa was in the army of Imam 'Ali (a) in the Battle of Nahrawan and went to Mada'in together with the Imam (a). According to Ibn Athir, he also attended other battles of the Imam (a).

Authority in Fiqh and Hadith

When senior companions of the Prophet (s) died, Abu Juhayfa became the authority of fiqh and hadith in Kufa. Al-Ya'qubi mentioned him as a faqih (jurist) of the period of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan (reign: 65/684-5 to 86/705).

His Hadiths

Not many hadiths are transmitted from Abu Juhayfa. According to al-Nawawi's count, the hadiths transmitted by him from the Prophet (s) in reliable Sunni sources of hadiths, including al-Sihah al-Sitta, amount to 45, 7 of which are cited in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Two of his hadiths in fiqh are mostly cited and appealed to with respect to the rulings of adhan and the direction towards qibla.

One of Abu Juhayfa's hadiths which is significant for the Imamiya and is appealed to as an argument for the Twelve Imams in Sunni sources is the one in which the Prophet (s) made it explicit that there would be twelve caliphs after him.

In addition to hadiths transmitted by Abu Juhayfa from the Prophet (s) and his companions, he also transmitted some historical events, such as the stories of Nasr b. Muzahim through Ajlah b. 'Abd Allah al-Kindi.

People who Transmitted his Hadiths

It is said that people such as his son, 'Awn, 'Amir al-Sha'bi, 'Ali b. Aqmar, Abu Ishaq al-Sabi', Salama b. Kuhayl, Hakam b. 'Utayba, and Isma'il b. Abi Khalid have transmitted his hadiths.

Accepting Bushr b. Marwan's Gift

Kufa underwent many riots and rebels from 40/660-1 through 71/690-1 when Mus'ab b. Zubayr was killed. The role of Abu Juhayfa in, and his positions on, the events is not clearly known. Late in his life, he accepted a gift from Bushr b. Marwan al-Umawi when he was the ruler of Iraq (71/690-1 to 75/694-5), while other scholars of Kufa refused the gift.

References