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Bishr b. Ghalib al-Asadi

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Companion of Imam (a)
Bishr b. Ghalib al-Asadi
Full Name Bishr b. Ghalib al-Asadi al-Kufi
Companion of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a), Imam al-Sajjad (a).
Epithet Abu Sadiq
Wellknown Relatives Ghalib b. Bishr and Bashir b. Ghalib
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Activities Transmitting the Supplication of Arafa from Imam al-Husayn (a)

Bishr b. Ghālib al-Asadī (Arabic: بِشر بن غالِب اَسَدی, alive in 66/685) was a companion of Shiite Imams and a transmitter of hadiths. He and his brother transmitted the Supplication of Arafa from Imam al-Husayn (a). He also met the third Shiite Imam when the Imam's was en route from Mecca to Iraq in Dhat 'Irq, where Husayn b. 'Ali (a) asked him about the situation in Iraq and he replied: "people's hearts are with you, but their swords are with Banu Umayya."

He was not present in the Event of Ashura, although he later regretted his failure to accompany and assist Imam al-Husayn (a).

Brief Introduction

Bishr b. Ghalib al-Asadi al-Kufi, titled as Abu Sadiq, was the son of Ghalib b. Bishr al-Asadi, a companion of the Prophet (s), and was associated with the Banu Asad clan. There is no reference to the place and time of his birth in the sources.

Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi, a Shiite author of rijal (d. 280/893), counts Bishr as a companion of the Prophet (s). Moreover, in his A'yan al-shi'a, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin (d. 1371/1952) quotes Ibn Sa'd, the author of al-Tabiqat al-kubra, as saying that Bishr was one of those companion who migrated to Kufa.

In some historical sources, a person called “Bishr b. Ghalib” is mentioned as a commander of Hajjaj b. Yusuf’s army in his battle with Khawarij rebels, and it is said that he was killed in the same battle in 76/695. There are two persons called “Bishr b. Ghalib al-Asadi” in sources of rijal, and there is no reason to assume that this person is the same as the well-known Bishr (the brother of Bushayr b. Ghalib).

Transmitter of Hadiths

Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi (d. 280/893) and Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460/1067), Shiite authors of rijal, believe that Bishr b. Ghalib was a companion of Imams (a) who has transmitted hadiths from them, although they do not provide any information about his life. Shaykh al-Tusi only refers to the fact that he was “Asadi” (from the Banu Asad tribe) and “Kufi” (from Kufa), referring to him as a transmitter of hadiths and a companion of Imam al-Husayn (a) and Imam al-Sajjad (a). Al-Barqi mentions him among the companions of Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam a-Husayn (a), and Imam al-Sajjad (a), as well as a companion of Imam 'Ali (a), adding that he lived in Kufa.

There are many hadiths transmitted by Bishr b. Ghalib in books of hadiths as well as other books concerning a variety of subject-matters, including the love for Ahl al-Bayt (a), Quranic exegesis, the reward for reading the Qurʾan, and the reappearance of al-Qa'im. He and his brother, Bushayr b. Ghalib, transmitted the Supplication of Arafa from Imam al-Husayn (a).

Denomination and Reliability

According to some researchers, there is no explicit reference to the denomination of Bishr b. Ghalib in sources of rijal. Nevertheless, the Shiite author of rijal, 'Abd Allah Mamaqani (d. 1351/1932), points out that Bishr's denominational identity was unknown, but he counts him as Imami. Drawing on what is attributed to Muhammad b. ʿUmar al-Kashshi, a fourth-century Shiite scholar of rijal, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin refers to Bishr as an erudite dignified scholar, but then adds that this phrase is not found in al-Kashshi's book of rijal, and indeed, such a language is unlikely in a statement of the reliability of a hadith transmitter by earlier scholars such as al-Kashshi, and is instead typical of the language used in the work of later scholars of rijal. However, an appeal has been made to the popularity of the Supplication of Arafa to show that he was a reliable transmitter of hadiths.

Meeting Imam al-Husayn (a)

When Imam al-Husayn (a) was leaving Mecca to Iraq, Bishr b. Ghalib met him in Dhat 'Irq. Husayn b. 'Ali (a) asked him about the situation in Iraq, and he said: “their hearts are with you, but their swords are with Banu Umayya.” The Imam endorsed him and then said: “God will do whatever He wants.”

Bishr b. Ghalib transmitted a conversation between Imam al-Husayn (a) and Ibn Zubayr, in which the third Shiite Imam elaborated the reasons why he went to Iraq.

Bishr was absent in the Event of Karbala. In his al-Tabiqat al-kubra, Ibn Sa'd believes that he visited Imam al-Husayn's mausoleum after the Event of Ashura, and expressed his regret for having failed to accompany the Imam (a).

In al-Mukhtar's uprising in 66/685, Bishr went to Medina along with Minhal b. 'Amr. Although he initially joined al-Mukhtar, he later opposed him and was consequently imprisoned by al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Imam al-Husayn (a): How did you find the people of Kufa?

You have said the truth, O the Asadi brother! God will do what He wants, and He will command what He wills.

Notes

References

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