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Di'bil b. 'Ali al-Khuza'i

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Companion of Imam (a)
Di'bil b. 'Ali al-Khuza'i
مرقد دعبل خزاعی.jpg
The tomb of Di'bil al-Khuza'i, Shush, Iran
Full Name Di'bil b. 'Ali al-Khuza'i
Companion of Imam al-Kazim (a), Imam al-Rida (a)
Teknonym Abu Ja'far, Abu Ali
Well Known As Di'bil
Birth 148/765-766
Place of Birth Kufa
Place(s) of Residence Kufa,Baghdad
Death/Martyrdom 246/860-861
Cause of
Stirring against 'Abbasid caliphs
Burial Place Shush
Works Diwan Di'bil, Tabaqat al-shu'ara, ...

Diʿbil b. ʿAlī al-Khuzāʿī (Arabic: دِعبِل بن عَلي الخُزاعي) is among the famous Shi'a poets of 2nd/7th century. He was one of the companions of Imam Musa b. Ja'far and Imam al-Rida (a)[1]. He also had the chance to meet Imam al-Jawad (a)[2]. He visited Imam al-Rida (a) in Marv. When he had entered Khorasan, he already composed his Ta'iyya ode, but said that no one should hear that before Imam al-Rida (a). His poem reflects Shi'a history in that period.

He was powerful in sarcasm and that made him always on the run and travel from one place to another. Finally, his sarcasm against 'Abbasid caliphs caused his death. Al-Wahida fi manaqib al-'Arab wa mathalibiha and Tabaqat al-shu'ara are two of his books. Di'bil was among narrators of hadiths.

His Birth, Name and Kunya

His name is mentioned as Muhammad, Hasan and 'Abd al-Rahman and his Kunya as Abu Ja'far or Abu 'Ali.

His nanny called him Di'bil because of his humor and she actually meant Dhi'bil which was changed overtime to Di'bil.

According to his book of poems, he was born in 148 AH/765, but in Lisan al-mizan, Ibn Hajar mentioned his birth in 142 AH/759. He was originally from Kufa and it is said that he was from Qirqis, however he lived in Baghdad[3].

His Family

Di'bil's father was 'Ali b. Razin, his uncle, 'Abd Allah and his cousin, Abu Ja'far Muhammad Abu Shays b. 'Abd Allah were all poet. In Mu'jam al-shu'ara, Marzbani has mentioned his father's biography and his cousin's biography is mentioned in Al-Bayan wa al-tabyin and some other books. Di'bil's brother, Abu l-Hasan 'Ali (172 – 283 AH)/(788 - 896) was also a poet and had a book of poem in 50 pages. He visited Imam al-Rida (a) together with Di'bil in 198 AH/814 and stayed with Imam (a) until 200 AH/816. The other brother of Di'bil, Razin was also a poet.

Abu l-Hasan 'Ali, Di'bil's brother and his son Hasan (born 257 AH) were both narrators of hadith. Hasan has narrated many hadiths from his father. He lived in Wasit and engaged in doing Hisbiyya affairs [religious recommended social acts] and wrote the books: Tarikh al-a'imma and al-Nikah.

Budayl b. Warqa'

Di'bil is from Razin family. This family has had hadith narrators and poets. On the day of conquering Mecca, while smiling, the Prophet (s) prayed for Budayl b. Warqa', their ancestor who was black. The Prophet (s) prayed, "May Allah add to the beauty of your black face and gives you and your children blessings"[4].

'Abd Allah b. Budayl and His Brother

Another nobleman of Razin family was 'Abd Allah b. Budayl and his brothers, 'Abd al-Rahman and Muhammad who were the Prophet's (s) emissaries to Yemen. These three people and their brother 'Uthman also participated in Imam 'Ali's (a) army in the Battle of Siffin. Their other brother Nafi' was martyred at the time of the Prophet (s).

In the Battle of Siffin, after 'Abd Allah was martyred, Mu'awiya said, "Besides the men of Khuza'a tribe, if their women could fight, they would also fight me!"[5] Upon hearing the news of 'Abd Allah's martyrdom, Imam 'Ali (a) said, "May Allah bless him! In his life, he accompanied us and fought with our enemies and in his death, he wished well for us too"[6].

His Children

He had two sons with the names of 'Abd Allah and Husayn who were both poet. Husayn had a book of poems with about 200 pages.

His Manners

Di'bil was a bitterly sarcastic[7]. However, while traveling, when thieves saw him, they did not harass him; on the contrary, they would sit with him and eat and drink and treated him well. Also, when he spread food to eat, he invited them and called his slaves Thaqif and Sha'af who were singers to sing for them[8].

His Travels

He mostly lived in Baghdad, but he satirized al-Mu'tasim and escaped from the city for a while and came back; but he then went on some journeys. He went to Basra and Damascus and Egypt at the time of Muttalib b. 'Abd Allah b. Malik and became the ruler of Aswan following Muttalib's order; but later Muttalib dismissed Di'bil after he heard Di'bil satirized him.

Di'bil together with his brother Razin travelled to Hijaz and another time went to Rey and Khorasan together with his other brother 'Ali. He also traveled to Qom and stayed there and Shi'a living there gave him five hundred thousand Dirham every year.

His Satires

His bitter satires addressed those he considered them enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and usurpers of their position.

Some of the people Di'bil satirized were:

Narrators of Poem from Di'bil

  • Muhammad b. Zayd
  • Himdawi, the poet
  • Muhammad b. Qasim Mihriwayh

and some others.

Narrating Hadiths

Di'bil was among the companions of Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a) and also had the opportunity to live until he met Imam al-Jawad (a).

His Teachers and References

Some of those from whom he narrated hadiths are:

  • Hafiz Shu'ba b. Hajjaj (d. 160 AH/777)
  • Hafiz Sufyan al-Thuri (d. 161 AH/778)
  • Malik b. Anas, the Leader of Malikis (d. 179 AH/795)
  • Abu Sa'id Salim b. Basri (d. after 200 AH/816)
  • Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad b. 'Amr al-Waqidi (d. 207 AH/822)
  • al-Ma'mun, the 'Abbasid caliph (d. 218 AH/833)
  • Abu al-Fadl 'Abd Allah b. Sa'd al-Zahri al-Baghdadi (d. 260 AH/874)
  • Muhamamd b. Salama
  • Sa'id b. Sufyan al-Aslami al-Madani
  • Muhammad b. Isma'il
  • Majashi' b. 'Umar
  • Musa b. Sahl al-Rasibi

His Narrators

Some people who narrated hadiths from him are:

  • Abu al-Hasan 'Ali, Di'bil's brother
  • Musa b. Hamad Yazidi
  • Abu al-Salt al-Hirawi (d. 236 AH/850)
  • Harun b. 'Abd Allah al-Muhllabi (in Amali and 'Uyun)
  • 'Ali b. Hakim (in Usul al-kafi)
  • Abd Allah b. Sa'id al-Ashqari (Aghani and elsewhere)
  • Musa b. 'Isa Marvzi
  • Ibn Munadi, Ahmad b. Abi Dawud (d. 272 AH/885) (in Ibn 'Asakir's Tarikh)
  • Muhammad b. Musa Burayri (in Ibn 'Asakir's Tarikh)

His Positions

Di'bil b. 'Ali was the ruler of Khorasan for a while and then he was the ruler of Aswan in Egypt.

Being Murdered

He was murdered in 246 AH/860[9] or 248 AH/762[10] due to his satires against 'Abbasid caliphs.

In the second volume of al-Ghadir, 'Allama Amini wrote about Di'bil's murder:

"He lived about 97 years and some months. They say that he satirized Malik b. Tawq in some poems and when Malik heard them, he called Di'bil, but he ran away to Basra, where Ishaq b. 'Abbas al-'Abbasi was the ruler of.

Ishaq also had heard about Di'bil's satire about Nazar; thus, when he came to the city, sent someone to capture him and then asked for sword to behead him. Di'bil severely rejected the poem and swore upon that and sought any way to be released and said that poem has been composed by his enemies and attributed to him to make him killed. Ishaq asked for a stick and hit Di'bil so much that he defecated and then forced him to eat it.

He then released Di'bil and Di'bil escaped to Ahwaz. Malik gave ten thousand Dirham to a man to kill him unknowingly. That man found Di'bil in a village around Shush and hit his foot with a stick head of which was poisoned and Di'bil passed away the other day."[11]

There is disagreement about Di'il's grave, whether he was buried in that village where he was murdered, or in Shush, Zuwayla, Ahwaz or elsewhere.

Di'bil's Ta'iyya

Main article: ode of Ta'iyya

Di'bil read his ode of Ta'iyya which is his most famous ode before Imam al-Rida (a) for the first time.

Number of Verses

Di'bil's Ta'iyya has 102 verses, to which Imam al-Rida (a) added the two other verses as below:

And a grave is in Tus; What a sorrowful tragedy it is! [This tragedy] with sighs would keep blazing [a profound grief] in the heart Until the Resurrection, when Allah sends the Riser Relieves us from the distresses and grief

Some Commentaries

Sayyid Ni'mat Allah Jaza'iri (d. 1112 AH/1700), Kamal al-Din Muhammad b. Muhammad Qanawi Shirazi and Mirza 'Ali Aliyari Tabrizi (d. 1327 AH) were among those who wrote commentaries on Di'bil's Ta'iyya.


  1. See: Ibn Shahr Ashub, P. 151
  2. Amini, Vol.2, P.531
  3. Diwan-i Di'bil al-Khuza'i(Collections of poems of Di'bil), P.5
  4. Amini, Vol.2, P.519
  5. Amini, Vol.2, P.521
  6. Amini, Vol.2, P.522
  7. Khatib al-Baghdadi, Vol.8, P.378
  8. Amini, Vol.2, P.525
  9. Amini, Vol.2, P.547
  10. Ibn Mu'tazz, P. 97
  11. Amini, Vol.2, P.547


  • Amini, 'Abd al-Husayn. Al-Ghadir, Trans. by Muhammad Taqi Wahidi, 'Ali Shaykh al-Islami; Ed. 'Ali Ridha Mirxs Muhammad. Tehran: Bunyad Bi'that, 1391 sh.
  • Ibn Mu'tazz, 'Abd Allah b. Muhammad. Tabaqat shu'ara' al-muhaddithin Ed. 'Umar Faruq Tiba'. Beirut: Dar al-Arqam b. Abi al-Arqam, n.d.
  • Ibn Shahr Ashub, Muhammad b. 'Ali. Ma'alim al-'ulama' Ed. Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-'Ulum. Najaf: Al-Matba'a al-Haydariyya, n.d.
  • Khatib al-Baghdadi, Ahmad b. 'Ali. Tarikh Baghdad Ed. Mustafa 'Abd al-Qadir 'Ata'. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, n.d.
  • al-Khuza'i, Di'bil. Diwan Di'bil al-Khuza'i. Beirut: mu'assisa al-a'lami li l-Matbu'at, 1417 AH/1997.

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