Ibn Abi Layla

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'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Layla
Full NameAbū ʿĪsā ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Yasār al-Anṣārī al-Kūfī
Companion ofImam 'Ali (a)
TeknonymAbu 'Isa
EpithetIbn Abi Layla
Religious AffiliationShia
Birth?between 11-17 / 632-639

Abū ʿĪsā ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Yasār al-Anṣārī al-Kūfī (Arabic: أبوعیسیٰ عبدالرحمان‌ یسار الأنصاري الكوفي‌) (d. 83/702-3), known as Ibn Abī Laylā (إبْن‌ِ أبي لیلیٰ), was a Shiite faqih , judge, reciter of the Holy Qur'an, and muhaddith. He was one of Tabi'un and a well-known Muslim narrator of hadith who met 120 people from Prophet Muhammad's (s) Sahaba (or companions), hearing and narrating many hadiths from them. He was also a companion of Imam Ali (a) who attended the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan. After Imam Ali's (a) martyrdom, he remained steadfast in believing in him. Hakam b. 'Utayba, Husayn b. 'Abd al-Rahman and Yazid b. Abi Ziyad, among others, narrated hadiths from him.

Birth and Lineage

The exact birth date of 'Abd al-Rahman is not known. According to Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani,[1] he was born in the period of Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafa's caliphate, but according to other historians, he was born during 'Umar b. al-Khattab's caliphate—6 years before his caliphate was over.[2]

His father, Abu Layla, was from Medina and was one of the Ansar. He was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s) and attended the Battle of Uhud and the subsequent battles. He then moved to Kufa and fought for Imam Ali (a) and was martyred in the Battle of Siffin.[3]

One of Tabi'un and Muhadiths

'Abd al-Rahman was one of Tabi'un (people who met the Holy Prophet's (s) companions). According to 'Abd al-Rahman himself, he met 120 people from the Holy Prophet's (s) companions[4] and heard and narrated many hadiths from them.


Scholars of 'ilm al-rijal have praised Ibn Abi Layla for his piety and abstinence and considered him as a reliable narrator of hadiths, but they doubted that he could immediately narrate hadiths from people such as 'Umar b. al-Khattab and Bilal al-Habashi.[5]

A Follower of Imam Ali (a)

Attending Battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan

He was a follower of Imam Ali (a) and defended him against his opponents. In the Battle of Jamal, he held the flag in his hands.[6] He also attended the battles of Siffin and Nahrawan. He reported some events in the Battle of Siffin.[7]

Persistence on Beliefs

Ibn Abi Layla remained loyal to Imam Ali's (a) path after his martyrdom. During the reign of Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi (d. 95/714), he was appointed by him as a judge, but after a while, Hajjaj raged at him and dismissed him. Hajjaj had asked him to curse 'Ali (a), but he refused to do so.[8] Thus Hajjaj whipped on his back until it turned black.[9] This was why Ibn Abi Layla immediately joined Ibn Ash'ath when he launched a battle against Hajjaj in 83/702-3.


There is a disagreement about when and how he died, but most historians hold that he died in 83/702-3.[10]

A Scholar of Jurisprudence, Recitation of the Holy Qur'an, and Hadiths

According to Ibn al-Jazari,[11] Ibn Abi Layla learned the recitation of the Holy Qur'an from 'Ali (a). According to Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani,[12] reciters of the Holy Qur'an gathered in Ibn Abi Layla's house. Although at that time, there was no ijtihad or fatwa as they were formed later, Ibn Abi Layla was a scholar of issues of jurisprudence and the rulings of the sharia. Al-Baladhuri cited some of his views in jurisprudence.[13]

However, he is very well-known in hadiths. Many people heard and narrated hadiths from him.

Significance in Hadiths

He is mostly known for his narration of hadiths. He has a significant place among narrators of hadiths. Many people heard and narrated hadiths from him.


  1. Abū Nuʿaym, Ḥilyat al-awlīyāʾ, vol. 4, p. 353.
  2. Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Tahdhīb al-tahdhīb, vol. 6, p. 260; Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tārīkh-i Baghdād, vol. 10, p. 199.
  3. Nawawī, Tahdhīb al-ʾasmāʾ, vol. 1, p. 303.
  4. Abū Nuʿaym, Ḥilyat al-awlīyāʾ, vol. 4, p. 351.
  5. Nawawī, Tahdhīb al-ʾasmāʾ, vol. 1, p. 304; Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Tahdhīb al-tahdhīb, vol. 6, p. 261.
  6. Ibn Khalkān, Wafayāt al-aʿyān, vol. 3, p. 126.
  7. Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tārīkh-i Baghdād, vol. 10, p. 200; Ṭūsī, Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 98; Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī, vol. 2, p. 1986.
  8. Dhahabī, Tadhkirat al-ḥuffāz, vol. 1, p. 58.
  9. Quhpāʾie, Majmaʿ al-rijāl, vol. 4, p. 72.
  10. Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Tārīkh-i Baghdād, vol. 10, p. 201-202.
  11. Ibn al-Jazarī, Ghāyat al-nihāya, p. 376.
  12. Abū Nuʿaym, Ḥilyat al-awlīyāʾ, vol. 4, p. 351.
  13. Balādhurī, Futūḥ al-buldān, p. 433-434.


  • Abū Nuʿaym, Aḥmad b. ʿAbd Allāh. Ḥilyat al-awlīyāʾ wa ṭabaqāt al-aṣfīyaʾ. Beirut: 1405 AH-1985.
  • Balādhurī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā al-. Futūḥ al-buldān. Edited by Riḍwān Muḥammad Riḍwān. Beirut: 1398 AH-1978.
  • Dhahabī, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad. Tadhkirat al-ḥuffāz. Hyderabad Deccan: 1333-1334 AH.
  • Ibn al-Jazarī, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad. Ghāyat al-nihāya. Cairo: 1351.
  • Ibn Ḥibbān, Muḥammad. Al-Majrūḥīn. Edited by Maḥmūd Ibrāhīm Zāʾid. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, [n.d].
  • Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī. Tahdhīb al-tahdhīb. Hyderabad Deccan: 1325-1326 AH.
  • Ibn Khalkān, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad. Wafayāt al-aʿyān wa ʾanbāʾ ʾabnāʾ al-zamān. [n.p]. [n.d].
  • Khaṭīb Baghdādī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī. Tārīkh-i Baghdād. Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Nawawī, Yaḥya b. Sharaf. Tahdhīb al-ʾasmāʾ wa al-lughāt. Cairo: Idārat al-Ṭibāʿat al-Munīra, [n.d].
  • Quhpāʾie, ʿInāyat Allāh. Majmaʿ al-rijāl. Edited by Ḍīyāʾ al-Dīn ʿAllāma Iṣfahānī. Isfahan: 1384 Sh.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī. [n.p]. [n.d].
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Ikhtiyār maʿrifat al-rijāl. Edited by Ḥasan Muṣṭafawī. Mashhad: 1348 Sh.