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Aban b. Taghlib

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Companion of Imam (a)
Aban b. Taghlib
Full Name Aban b. Rubah
Companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Teknonym Abu Sa'id
Well Known As Aban b. Taghlib
Place of Birth Maybe Kufa
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Death/Martyrdom 141/758-59
Professors Sulayman al-A'mash, 'Asim b. Abi l-Najud, ...
Works Al-Gharib, Ma'ani al-Qur'an, Kitab al-Qira'at, Al-Fada'il, Kitab Siffin

Abū Saʿīd Abān b. Rubāḥ al-Bakrī al-Jurayrī al-Kindī al-Rabaʿī al-Kūfī (Arabic: ابوسعید بن رُباح البَکری الجُرَیری الکِنْدی الرَبَعی الکوفی) (b. ? - d. 141/758-59), known as Aban b. Taghlib (Arabic: أبانِ بن تَغْلِب) was a Shi'a litterateur, reciter and exegete of the Qur'an and scholar of fiqh and hadith. Aban spent most of his life with the Followers (Tabi'un) and learned a lot from them. He had the opportunity to meet Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a). It is said that he narrated about 30,000 hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a).

Genealogy and Teknonym

His title as al-Jurayri was because he was mawla of (affiliated with) Banu Jurayr b. 'Ubada. His other title was al-Bakri referring to Bakr b. Wa'il who was the great ancestor of the tribe. Most references have mentioned his teknonym as Abu Sa'id or Abu Sa'd and some references have mentioned his teknonym as Abu Umayma.[1]


There is no information about his date and place of birth, but since he is known as al-Kufi, he possibly lived most of his life in Kufa and maybe he has been born there.

In the View of the Followers and Imams (a)

Aban lived most of his life with Tabi'un (the Followers) and learned a lot from them, therefore Ibn Hibban regarded him among the most famous followers of the Followers in Kufa, even though al-Najashi quoted from Abu Zur'a that Aban narrated also from Anas b. Malik (d. 93/711-12), the Companion.[2]

Aban had the opportunity to meet Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) and learned different types of knowledge such as hadith from them and reached a high position in the school of Imam al-Sadiq (a).[3]

Aban was famous for the multitude of his narrations from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and it is said that he narrated about 30,000 hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a).[4]

Great Knowledge in Different Sciences

He learned recitation of the Qur'an from 'Asim b. Abi l-Najud, Talha b. Musarrif, and Sulayman al-A'mash and was among the three people who had the opportunity to learn the whole Qur'an from al-A'mash.[5] He was among the greatest reciters of the Qur'an and used to recite the Qur'an in a special way which was known to reciters.[6] Al-Shaykh al-Tusi quoted from Muhammad b. Musa b. Abi Maryam, the author of al-Lu'lu' that Aban was the most famous person of his time in reciting the Qur'an.[7]

In addition to the Qur'an and hadith, Aban was considered a distinguished scholar in fiqh, 'Arabic literature, lexicology and syntax.[8] According to al-Tusi, Imam al-Sadiq (a) once chose him to stand against a challenging expert in 'Arabic literature.[9]

Defending Shi'a

At the time of Aban, due to Muslims' familiarity with culture and teachings of other nations, intellectual and ideological challenges were made in different topics and different schools defended their theological and jurisprudential thoughts according to their own principles and Aban was among those who defended and preached Shi'a based on the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (a). Therefore, he received a great position before Imams (a) of Shi'a and his peers referred to him to listen to his knowledge in hadiths and rulings.

Imam al-Baqir (a) had told Aban, "sit in the mosque of Medina and issue rulings for people! I love that people similar to you would be seen among Shi'a."[10]

In the View of the Scholars of Rijal

Shi'a scholars of rijal regarded him as trustworthy.[11]

However, Sunni scholars of rijal have different views about him. Some scholars such as Ahmad b. Hanbal, Yahya b. Mu'in, Abu Hatam, and al-Nasa'i regarded Aban as trustworthy.[12] On the other hand, Sa'di al-Juzjani considered him za'igh (distracted from truth), with a disliked religious affiliation and mujahir (one who recites bismillah in daily prayers with a loud voice).[13] Al-Dhahabi defended Aban and answered to wrong accusations about him in detail.[14] Ibn 'Uday said that although Aban made ghuluw [exaggeration] about Shi'a, still his narrations are reliable.[15] It is important to note that in the 2nd/8th century, ghuluw meant "to object to the enemies and opposers of Ali (a)"].[16] Therefore, one needs to distinguish between these people and those who exaggerated about Imams (a).

References of Hadith

His references of hadith, except the mentioned three Imams (a) and Anas b. Malik are as follows:


Famous narrators of the 2nd/8th century heard hadiths from Aban and narrated from him. 'Abd Allah al-Mamaqani counted them about 50 people, some of whom are:


The books attributed to Aban are not available today. Some of those books are as follows;

  • Al-Gharib: In this book, Aban explained infrequent words in the Qur'an. To explain those words, he referred to what he heard from 'Arabs. Aban was the first person who wrote about 'ilm gharib al-Qur'an [the unfamiliar words of the Qur'an].[19] This book was the first work in this field and was very important in studying the words and exegesis.[20]

Lexicologists and exegetes of 2nd/8th century referenced to this book. Abd al-Rahman b. Azudi al-Kufi benefited from other works in this field and wrote a book which contains the common points and differences in them.

  • Ma'ani l-Qur'an
  • Kitab al-Qira'at
  • Al-Gharib fi l-Qur'an; al-Najashi mentioned the name of this book as Gharib al-Qur'an
  • Al-Fada'il[21]
  • Kitab Siffin[22]


  1. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7-8
  2. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7
  3. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7
  4. Al-Hilli, al-Rijal, p.9-10
  5. Al-Suyuti, Bughya, vol.1 p.404
  6. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7
  7. Al-Tusi, al-Fihrist, p.7
  8. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7-8
  9. Al-Tusi, Ikhtiyar, p.4
  10. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7-8
  11. Al-Tusi, al-Fihrist, p.5; al-Hilli, al-Rijal, p.9-10
  12. Ibn Abi Hatam, al-Jarh, vol.1 p.297; Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqt, vol.6 p.250; Ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, vol.6 p. 67; al-Dhahabi, al-Mughni, p.6
  13. Ibn al-Jawzi, Kitab al-du'afa' , vol.1 p.15
  14. Dhahabi, Mizan, vol.1 p.5-6
  15. Ibn 'Uday, al-Kamil, vol.1 p.380
  16. Al-Dhahabi, Mizan, vol.1 p.5-6
  17. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7; al-Tusi, Ikhtiyar, p.4
  18. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7; al-Tusi, Ikhtiyar, p.4; al-Tusi, Al-Fihrist, p.6
  19. Al-Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.2 p.98
  20. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.7; al-Tusi, Al-Fihrist, p.5-6
  21. Al-Tusi, al-Fihrist, p.6-7
  22. Al-Najashi, Rijal, p.8


  • Najashi, Ahmad b. 'Ali al-. Rijal. Mumbai, 1317
  • Hilli, Hasan b. 'Ali al-. Rijal. Tehran, 1342
  • Suyuti, Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Bakr al-. Bughya al-Wu'at fi tabaqat al-lughawiyyin wa al-nuhat. Cairo, 1384/1964
  • Tusi, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-. Al-Fihrist. Mashhad, 1351
  • Tusi, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-. Ikhtiyar ma'rifat al-rijal. Mashhad, 1348
  • Ibn Abi Hatam, 'Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad. Al-Jarh wa l-ta'dil. Hyderabad Dakan, 1371/1952
  • Ibn al-Jawzi, 'Abd al-Rahaman b. 'Ali. Kitab al-du'afa' wa l-matrukin. Beirtu, 1406/1986
  • Dhahabi, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-. Mizan al-i'tidal. Cairo, 1382/1963
  • Ibn 'Uday, 'Abd Allah. Al-Kamil fi du'afa' al-rijal. Beirut, 1405/1985
  • Amin, Muhsin al-. 'A'yan al-Shi'a. Beirut: 1403/1983