Zahr b. Qays al-Ju'fi
|Zahr b. Qays al-Ju'fi|
Fighting with Imam al-Husayn (a)
|Full Name||Zahr b. Qays al-Ju'fi al-Kufi|
|Place of Residence||Kufa|
|Known for||Companion of Imam 'Ali (a)|
|Notable roles||The head of Kufa police, Governor of Isfahan|
|Activities||Testifying against Hujr b. 'Adi, carrying the heads of the Martyrs of Karbala, fighting against al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, ...|
Zaḥr (Zajr) b. Qays al-Juʿfī al-Kūfī (Arabic: زَحْر (زَجْر) بن قَیْس الجُعْفی الکوفی) was a member of Imam 'Ali's (a) army in the battles of Jamal and Siffin. He joined Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan after the Imam's (a) martyrdom, and testified against Hujr b. 'Adi. He was the head of Kufa police when the Event of Karbala occurred, and after the event, he carried the heads of the Martyrs of Karbala, together with the Captives of Karbala, from Kufa to Yazid b. Mu'awiya in Syria, and gave a report of the Event of Karbala to Yazid.
Zahr b. Qays b. Malik b. Mu'awiya b. Sa'na al-Ju'fi was from the family of Ju'fi b. Sa'd, and the Banu Madhhij tribe. In the Battle of Muhallab with Khawarij, he was the head of the Asad and Madhhij tribes.
His name is also said to be "Zajr" or "Zafr". His children included Jabala, Juham, Furat, and Jamal (Hammal). Furat was killed in the riot of the Kufi noblemen against al-Mukhtar, and Jabala was killed in Dayr al-Jamajim.
In the Period of the Caliphs
Ibn Hajar mentioned Zahr b. Qays in his al-Isaba. During the caliphate of the Third Caliph, Zahr and Jurayr b. 'Abd Allah al-Bajli were 'Uthman's agents in Jabal lands. He was Jurayr's assistant in the administration of the lands.
Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned Zahr b. Qays as a companion of Imam 'Ali (a). After the murder of 'Uthman, Zahr served in the administration of Imam 'Ali (a). The Imam (a) sent him with a letter to Jurayr b. 'Abd Allah al-Bajli—'Uthman's agent in Hamadan area—to ask people there to pledge their allegiance to the Imam (a). When he arrived there with the letter, he delivered a sermon concerning the virtues of Amir al-Mu'minin (a).
Battle of Jamal
In the Battle of Jamal, Zahr accompanied Imam 'Ali (a). He composed some poems in the praise of the Imam (a). After the battle, the Imam (a) sent him to Kufa with a letter, in which he described the grounds and reasons of the battle, recommending people of Kufa to ask Zahr b. Qays any questions about the battle.
Battle of Siffin
Zahr b. Qays attended the Battle of Siffin as well. Imam 'Ali (a) sent him to Qatqatana with a number of cavalries in order to block the transportation of provisions and foods to the army of Mu'awiya. Before Qays's departure, Imam 'Ali (a) recommended him to shed as less blood as possible and draw his sword only when necessary. Zahr departed to Qatqatana. When Mu'awiya learned about it, he sent Dahhak b. Qays to combat Zahr. In this encounter, Zahr b. Qays and his soldiers managed to push Dahhak and his fellows back. There is a poem by Ayman b. Kharim b. Fatik depicting Zahr's valor and courage in the Battle of Siffin. Zahr b. Qays was one of the people who insisted on making a compromise with Mu'awiya in the Battle of Siffin.
Just before his martyrdom, Amir al-Mu'minin (a) sent Zahr and 400 soldiers to al-Mada'in. Zahr and his fellows heard about the Imam's (a) martyrdom in al-Mada'in.
The Event of Karbala
After the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a), Zahr joined Mu'awiya and his agents and testified against Hujr b. 'Adi.
During the Event of Karbala, he was appointed by 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad as the head of Kufa police. After the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions, he was commissioned by Ibn Ziyad to carry the heads of the martyrs as well as the captives to Yazid b. Mu'awiya in Syria. When Zahr b. Qays went to Yazid, he gave him a report on the Event of Karbala.
After the Event of Karbala
After the death of Yazid b. Mu'awiya, Zahr b. Qays joined 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr, and together with 'Abd Allah b. Muti', he tried to prevent al-Mukhtar's Uprising. Ibn Muti' sent Zahr and a number of other people to al-Kinda district to block the progress of al-Mukhtar and his companions. In the riot of the noblemen of Kufa against al-Mukhtar, Zahr was in charge of the battle in al-Kinda district. However, when the riot failed, he joined Mus'ab b. Zubayr. He accompanied the army of Mus'ab b. Zubayr in his war against al-Mukhtar. He was commissioned by Mus'ab to conquer the Murad district of Kufa. Zahr accompanied Mus'ab b. Zubayr in his war against 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan as well, but he and many commanders of Mus'ab's army joined 'Abd al-Malik's army after being promised the rule of Isfahan. Zahr was given the rule of Isfahan in 71/690.
Zahr b. Qays later served in the administration of Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi. During the riots of Khawarij in Iraq and other areas, including Iran, he was appointed by Hajjaj as the commander of an army of 1800 soldiers to combat Shabib b. Yazid al-Shibani, but he was defeated. He was injured in the battle, and when he was moved to Kufa, he was honored by Hajjaj b. Yusuf. According to some sources, he also accompanied Muhallab b. Abi Sufra in a war against Khawarij.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from زحر بن قیس جعفی in Farsi WikiShia.