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Dawud b. al-Qasim b. Ishaq

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Companion of Imam (a)
Dawud b. al-Qasim b. Ishaq
Full Name Dawud b. Qasim b. Ishaq b. 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib
Companion of Imam al-Rida (a)Imam al-Jawad (a)Imam al-Hadi (a)Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a)
Teknonym Abu Hashim
Well Known As Abu Hashim al-Ja'fari, Dawud b. Qasim al-Ja'fari
Wellknown Relatives Qasim b. Ishaq (father)
Place(s) of Residence Baghdad
Death/Martyrdom 261/875
Works Akhbar Banu Hashim • a book of poetry

Dāwūd b. al-Qāsim b. Isḥāq b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Jaʿfar b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: داود بن القاسم بن إسحاق بن عبدالله بن جعفر بن أبي طالب), known as Abū Hāshim al-Ja'farī ( ابوهاشم الجعفري) and Dāwūd b. al-Qāsim al-Jaʿfarī (Arabic:داود بن القاسم الجعفري) (d. 261/875) was a companion of four Shiite Imams (a): Imam al-Rida (a), Imam al-Jawad (a), Imam al-Hadi (a), and Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a). He was considered as a reliable, well-known Imami transmitter of hadiths.

Birth and Lineage

His father was Qasim b. Ishaq, a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and a follower of Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah, known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya. It is said that he was appointed as the ruler of Yemen by al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, but before he started his career there, al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was murdered.

Abu Hashim's grandmother (that is, Qasim b. Ishaq's mother) was Umm Hakim, the daughter of Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr. He was the father of Abu Hashim, Imam al-Sadiq's (a) cousin.

There is little information about the Abu Hashim's life. However, according to some sources, he resided in Baghdad. He was probably born in late 2nd/8th century, since he met Imam al-Rida (a) when he travelled from Medina to Merv in the city, Izeh (or Idhaj).

As a Deputy

The organization of deputies was a medium of interactions between Shi'as and their Imams (a). It was formed when the Imams (a) came to be carefully monitored and restricted by the Abbasid Caliphs, as well as in order to prepare the Shi'as for the Occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a). Abu Hashim al-Ja'fari was a reliable companion of the Imams (a) who served as Imam al-Mahdi's (a) deputy during his Minor Occultation for a while.

Role in Hadith Transmition

Several Shi'a hadith transmitters narrated form him, some of them are as follow:

In the Views of Prominent Shiite Scholars

Prominent Shiite scholars of rijal and history, including Abu Ja'far al-Barqi (d. 274/887 or 280/893), al-Kashshi (d. 330/941), al-Mas'udi (d. 346/957), al-Shaykh al-Tusi (d. 460/1067) in his al-Fihrist and al-Rijal, Ibn Dawud al-Hilli (d. 707/1307), al-'Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1325) and others have characterized Abu Hashim as a scholar, a pious worshiper, of an honorable place, dignified, and respected by the Imams (a).

Accusation of Ghuluww

Many scholars have praised the scholarly and spiritual character of Abu Hashim, but al-Kashshi has accused him of ghuluww (exaggeration about the place of the Imams) in his biography of Abu Hashim in his al-Rijal. No one other than al-Kashshi has made such an accusation.

It seems that Abu Hashim was accused of ghuluww because of transmitting many hadiths regarding the miracles of the Imams (a). Shiite scholars usually consider the attribution of such miracles to be a case of ghuluww, but it seems that he only transmitted hadiths in which such miracles have been attributed to the Imams (a). Although it is only al-Kashshi who accused Abu Hashim of ghuluww, most Shiite biographers tried to counter such an accusation, for example:

  • Al-Mamaqani takes his service as a deputy of Imam Mahdi (a) to be the greatest evidence of reliability that can be there, maintaining that there are no doubts about the reliability and dignity of this man.
  • In his response to the accusation of ghuluww, Ayatollah al-Khoei said that it can be considered from two respects: (I) there must be a distortion in hadiths transmitted by him, or (II) the hadiths have a meaning other than their apparent meaning. Both of these are ruled out because of Abu Hashim being distinctively respected by the Infallibles (a). Thus, there is no objection to his reliability.


Two books, Akhbar Banu Hashim and a book of poetry are attributed to Abu Hashim. The latter consists of poems regarding the virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a). Both books were collected by Ibn 'Ayyash, but neither is available today.


Abu Hashim was brave and outspoken towards cruel rulers of his time. He criticized the Abbasid Caliphs, for which he was imprisoned several times. After the uprising of Yahya b. Zayd and his martyrdom, when Yahya's head was taken to Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Tahiri, some people congratulated him on that. But Abu Hashim entered the ruler's building and told him: "O the ruler! You have been offered congratulations on the murder of someone for whose death Prophet Muhammad (s) would be offered condolences."

However, he was respected by the rulers. For example, in 251/865, when there was an uprising in Kufa led by Husayn b. Muhammad al-'Alawi with 600 warriors, Abu Hashim al-Ja'fari was sent by Muzahim b. Khaqan—the Abbasid agent—to negotiate with Husayn.


He passed away in Jumada I, 261/February, 875. According to al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, he was on an exile from Baghdad to Samarra in 252/866 and lived there until he died. It is said that his grave in Baghdad is well-known.