Abu l-Jaysh al-Balkhi

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Abu l-Jaysh al-Balkhi
Full NameMuzaffar b. Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Khurasani
Religious AffiliationIslam, Imamiya
ProfessorsAbu Sahl al-Nawbakhti
Studentsal-Shaykh al-Mufid
Notable rolesMuhaddith and Theologian
WorksAl-Arzaq wa l-ajal, Al-Imama on Imamate

Muzaffar b. Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Khurāsānī (Arabic: مُظَفّر بْن مُحَمّد بْن اَحْمد الخُراسانی, d. 367/977-8), known as Abu l-Jaysh al-Balkhī (Arabic: اَبوالجَیش البَلْخی), was a Twelver Shiite theologian and Muhaddith. He was a student of Abu Sahl al-Nawbakhti and a teacher of al-Shaykh al-Mufid. Among Twelver Shiite scholars, he is more known for his theological expertise.


There is no information on Abu l-Jaysh's date of birth. He worked apparently as a publisher or trader of books, as indicated by the title "al-Warraq" given to him in some reports.


Abu l-Jaysh studied under Abu Sahl al-Nawbakhti (d. 311/924). Moreover, he studies with scholars such as Ibn Hammad al-Iskafi, Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abi l-Thalj, and Muhammad b. Ja'far al-Alawi al-Husayni and heard hadiths from them.


Al-Shaykh al-Mufid was the most well-known student of Abu l-Jaysh. Al-Mufid heard and narrated hadiths from him. Another student of Abu l-Jaysh was Abu Yasir, known also as Ghulam Abi l-Jaysh (the Servant of Abu l-Jaysh). He was among the teachers of al-Shaykh al-Mufid when the latter came to Baghdad. He advised al-Mufid to study with Ali b. Isa al-Rummani.

His Knowledge of Hadith

Al-Najashi mentions that Abu l-Jaysh heard many hadiths, and al-Shaykh al-Tusi describes him as "knowledgeable about narrations." Al-Shaykh al-Mufid in his al-Irshad and al-Amali and al-Shaykh al-Tusi in his al-Amali have recorded some of his hadiths.

His Status in Islamic Theology

Abu l-Jaysh is known among Twelver Shiite scholars mostly as a theologian. As it seems from the titles of his works, he composed works on controversial issues in theology. He was a special student of Abu Sahl and through him Abu Sahl's views were transmitted to the later theologians.


Abu l-Jaysh had a number of works on imamate. Among the titles of his works are the following:

  • Al-Arzaq wa l-ajal (Provisions and Times of Death)
  • Al-Imama (Imamate)
  • Al-Insan wa annahu ghayr hadhihi l-jumla (The Human Being and That He is Other Than This Combination).
  • Khisal al-kamal (Components of Perfection)
  • Al-Radd ala man jawwaz ala l-qadim al-butlan (Refutation of the One Who Considered the Non-Existence of the Eternal Possible)
  • Al-Fadak
  • Majalis ma'a l-mukhalifin fi ma'an mukhtalifa (Sessions with the Opponents on Various Topics). This work contained an account of debates between Abu l-Jaysh and his opponents from other theological schools.
  • Naqḍ al-Uthmaniyya li l-Jahiz (Refutation of Uthmaniyya by Jahiz)
  • Naqḍ ma ruwia min manaqib al-rijal (Refutation of What Has Been Reported About the Virtues of Men).
  • Al-Nukat wa l-aghrad (Points and Purposes). This was a book on imamate.