Ali b. Yaqtin

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Ali b. Yaqtin
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the tomb of of Ali b. Yaqtin
Companion ofImam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a)
TeknonymAbu l-Hasan
Place of BirthKufa
Place(s) of ResidenceBaghdad
Burial PlaceBasra
ActivitiesHadith narrator, vizier of Harun al-Rashid by the permission of Imam al-Kazim (a) in order to help Shi'a

ʾAbu l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Yaqtīn b. Musā al-Baghdādi (Arabic: ابوالحسن علي بن یقطین بن موسی البغدادی) (b. 124/741-2 - d. 182/798-9) was a Shi'a muhaddith, jurist, and theologian. He was born in Kufa and lived in Baghdad. He was a famous Shi'a personality during the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a). The most notable thing about his life is that he was a reliable vizier of Abbasid Dynasty although he was a Shi'a. Ibn Yaqtin had an elite status before Imams and also Shi'a scholars. Biographers has attributed three books to him.

Birth and Childhood

'Ali b. Yaqtin was born in 124/741-2 in Kufa. Since his father, Yaqtin b. Musa was one of the followers of Imam al-Sadiq (a), he was chased by government agents during the reign of Marwan b. Hakam. Necessarily, he ('Ali's father), his wife and children ('Ali and 'Ubayd) fled from Kufa toward Medina. After a while, he moved to Baghdad and started working as a spice seller.[1]

Entering Abbasid Government

After the fall of Umayyad Dynasty and emergence of Abbasids, 'Ali b. Yaqtin returned to Kufa[2].[3] and entered the Abbasid government. First, he worked as a writer during the reign of al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi. He got promoted when al-Hadi al-'Abbasi[4] took over the reign. He was even trusted with the special Caliph ring and seal.[5] Finally, he become a vizier of Harun al-Rashid (d. 193/808-9).


There is no doubt that he was a Shi'a; but he always hid his faith from 'Abbasids as his father did. He was a close companion to Imam al-Kazim (a) and had a great credibility before the Imam.

According to some historical evidence that have been accepted by Shi'a scholars, he entered the Abbasid government by the permission and guidance of Imam al-Kazim (a)[6].[7] in order to help and support oppressed people especially Shi'as.[8] For many times, he was informed against about his faith and relations with Imam al-Kazim (a) in front of Harun al-Rashid; but miraculously he was not hurt in any of the cases.

Religious Status

'Ali b. Yaqtin lived during the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a) and received their attentions and approval. It is said that Imam al-Sadiq (a) prayed for him when he was a child.[9] The following hadiths, also, have been narrated from Imam al-Kazim (a) about him:

  • I like for you whatever I like for myself,[10]
  • Imam guaranteed the Heaven for him,[11].[12]
  • Imam guaranteed that the fire of the Hell will not reach him,[13]
  • When I was in Hajj no one came to my mind except 'Ali b. Yaqtin. He was in my mind until I left there.[14]

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi narrates that 'Ali b. Yaqtin would sent some letters and money to Imam al-Kazim (a) through two Shi'as and received Imam's (a) responses.[15]

Moreover, several hadiths have been narrated about his piety and faith, such as the one that Imam al-Kazim (a) witnessed that he is one of the people of the Heaven.[16]

Among Scholars

Shi'a scholars including: al-Najashi, al-Shaykh al-Tusi, al-'Allama al-Hilli, Ibn Shahrashub, al-Mamaqani, and al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei counted him as one of the closest companions of Imam al-Kazim (a) who had great status before the Imam. They described him as a jurist, theologian, reliable, trustworthy and a high prestige narrator who also had authored some books.[17].[18].[19].[20].[21] Obviously, there is no dispraise about him in rijal sources.

Scholarly Status

Many hadiths have been narrated from him in the Four Books. According to a report of rijal sources, he just narrated one direct hadith form Imam al-Sadiq (a). However, he narrated a lot from Imam al-Kazim (a).[22]


Three books have been mentioned for him in rijal sources:

  • A book in which he had compiled answers of Imam al-Sadiq (a) about the future events and occurrences.
  • Al-Shakk bi-hadratih about a debate between a skeptic and the Imam (a).
  • Masa'il 'an Abi al-Hasan Musa b. Ja'far A book in which he compiled the hadiths that he had heard form Imam al-Kazim (a)[23] (or Imam's answers to his questions)


'Ali b. Yaqtin passed away in 182/798-9 at the age of 57 in Baghdad while Imam al-Kazim (a) was imprisoned by Harun al-Rashid. Muhammad al-Amin (the crown prince of Harun) performed Salat al-Mayyit to his body.[24].[25]


  1. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 203.
  2. Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, p. 273.
  3. Mamaqānī, Tanqīḥ al-maqāl fī ʿilm al-rijāl, p. 315.
  4. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 3, p. 522.
  5. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 3, p. 408.
  6. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 72, p. 370.
  7. Khoeī, Muʿjam rijāl al-ḥadīth, vol. 13, p. 242-243.
  8. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 8, p. 371.
  9. Mamaqānī, Tanqīḥ al-maqāl fī ʿilm al-rijāl, p. 315.
  10. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 524.
  11. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 730.
  12. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 222.
  13. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 730.
  14. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 730.
  15. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 735.
  16. Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 204-205.
  17. Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, p. 45.
  18. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 154.
  19. Ḥillī, Khulāṣat al-aqwāl, p. 100.
  20. Ibn Shahrāshūb, Maʿālim al-ʿulamā, p. 99.
  21. Khoeī, Muʿjam rijāl al-ḥadīth, vol. 13, p. 242-243.
  22. Najāshī, Rijāl al-Najāshī, p. 45.
  23. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 155.
  24. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 155.
  25. Khoeī, Muʿjam rijāl al-ḥadīth, vol. 13, p. 242-243.


  • Amīn, al-Sayyid Muḥsin al-. Aʿyān al-Shīʿa. Beirut: 1403 AH.
  • Ḥillī, al-Ḥasan b. Yūsuf al-. Khulāṣat al-aqwāl. [n.p]. Nashr al-Fiqāha, 1417 AH.
  • Ibn Shahrāshūb, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Maʿālim al-ʿulamā. Qom: [n.d].
  • Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyya, 1363 Sh.
  • Khoei, Sayyid Abū l-Qāsim al-. Muʿjam rijāl al-ḥadīth. [n.p]. 1413 AH.
  • Mamaqānī, ʿAbd Allāh b. Ḥasan. Tanqīḥ al-maqāl fī ʿilm al-rijāl. Najaf: Maṭbaʿat al-Murtaḍawiyya, [n.d].
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  • Najāshī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-. Rijāl al-Najāshī. Qom: Jāmiʿat al-Mudarrisīn, 1415 AH.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī. Edited by Michael Jan de Goeje. Leiden: 1879-1881.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, known as Rijāl Kashshī. Qom: Āl-i al-Bayt, 1404 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Fihrist. Edited by Maḥmūd Rāmyār. Mashhad: Dānishgāh-i Mashhad, 1351 Sh.