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Full NameQanbar
Companion ofImam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a)
TeknonymAbu l-Sha'na'
Well Known Asslave of Imam 'Ali (a)
Religious Affiliationshi'a
Cause of
by al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf
Burial PlaceKufa or Homs
ActivitiesParticipating in the Battle of Siffin

Qanbar (Arabic: قنبر) was Imam 'Ali's (a) servant and one of his close companions. He was a member of Shurtat al-Khamis and the standard bearer of a wing in Imam 'Ali's army in the Battle of Siffin. He was martyred by al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi.


His lineage is unknown. There are no records about his ancestors. He lived for a while in Bayhaq (located in Khurasan).[1] His Kunya was Abu Shaʿnaʾ (ابو شعناء/ a knowledgeable person with unkempt hair.)[2]

His Status

In historical sources, there are some reports about Qanbar in the period of Imam 'Ali (a):

Qanbar was one of the close companions of Imam 'Ali (a). He was his servant and doorkeeper.[3] He and other close companions of Imam 'Ali (a) such as Uways al-Qarani, Maytham al-Tammar, Kumayl, Habib b. Muzahir, Malik al-Ashtar and … formed Shurtat al-Khamis.[4] After Imam 'Ali (a), he was the doorkeeper of Imam al-Hasan (a).[5]

Imam al-Sadiq (a) said: "He liked Imam 'Ali (a) very much.[6] When Imam left his house at night, he followed him without drawing his attention, to protect him.[7] Reciprocally, Imam 'Ali (a) cared about him. One day, Imam 'Ali (a) bought two garments. One of them cost 2 dirham and the other 3 dirham. Imam 'Ali (a) gave Qanbar the expensive one."[8]

During Imam 'Ali's Life

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi mentioned his name among the companions of Imam 'Ali (a).[9]

He was involved in various incidents during this period. According to Ibn Qutayba and al-Dhahabi, in the uprising against 'Uthman, he was injured protecting the Caliph beside Imam al-Hasan (a).[10]

In Siffin, when 'Amr b. 'As's slave had raised a flag, Imam 'Ali (a) gave him a flag to raise.[11] In this battle, Qanbar killed Mu'awiya's servant, Harb.[12]

When Imam 'Ali (a) saw a Jew wearing his armor, he took the lawsuit against him to Shurayh al-Qadi (the judge of Kufa). When the judge asked Imam for witnesses, Imam 'Ali (a) took Imam al-Hasan (a) and Qanbar with him.[13]

Once Imam 'Ali (a) ordered Qanbar to execute Hadd (flogging as a punishment for specific sins) on a person. Qanbar got emotional and exceeded the specific number by three. Imam 'Ali (a) forced that man to whip Qanbar three times.[14]

Zadhan said, "When Salman al-Farsi passed away, I came out of my house and saw that Imam 'Ali (a) and Qanbar dismounted their horses."[15]

When Ash'ath b. Qays came to Imam 'Ali's (a) house for a job, Qanbar did not let him in. Ash'ath punched him in the face and gave him a bloody nose.[16]

When a man insulted Qanbar, he wanted to get revenge; but Imam 'Ali (a) advised him to be tolerant and suppressed his anger. Imam 'Ali (a) told him: "Calm down, O, Qanbar, leave your insulter in [his own] humiliation."[17]

Once Qanbar had hidden some sacks filled with gold and silver dishes from bayt al-mal so that Imam 'Ali (a) would not divided them between Muslims. When Imam knew that, asked him about the reason. He said: "O, Amir al-Mu'minin! you have distributed everything and did not take anything for yourself; I just kept this for you." Imam 'Ali (a) returned them to bayt al-mal and distributed them.[18]


There is no disputes that he was martyred by the order of al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi, but there are various accounts about the details.[19] The following is one of the accounts:

When he was took to al-Hajjaj, al-Hajjaj asked, "What did you do for 'Ali?" Qanbar said, "I prepared water for his wudu." al-Hajjaj said, "What did he say during his wudu?"

Qanbar said, "When he finished his wudu he said, "So when they forgot what they had been admonished of, we opened for them the gates of all [good] things. When they rejoiced in what they were given, we seized them suddenly,
whereat, behold, they were despondent. Thus the wrongdoing lot were rooted out, and all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds" (6:44-45). Al-Hajjaj said, "I think he meant us from these verses." Qanbar said, "Yes." al-Hajjaj said, "What would you do if I cut your head off?" Qanbar said, "So I will be fortunate and you will be unfortunate." Then, al-Hajjaj ordered to decapitate him.[20] al-Hajjaj, also, killed his son.[21]

His tomb is whether in Hims, Syria or Kufa, Iraq.[22]


Some of his descendants have been mentioned among the narrators of hadiths:

  • Abi Jubayr b. Qanbar; his son who has narrated from his father.[23]
  • S'Alim b. Qanbar; his son.[24]
  • Nu'aym b. S'Alim b. Qanbar; his grandson.[25]
  • Abu al-Fadl al-'Abbas b. al-Hasan b. Khashish al-Qanbari.[26]
  • Muhammad b. 'Ali al-Qanbari; he lived in Hamadan.

According to Tarikh al-Bayhaq the masque of Hani in Nayshabur and the masque of Shadan in Sabzivar were named after his sons.[27]

In Culture and Literature

Among Shi'a, Qanbar is regarded as a symbol of loyalty and obedience to Imam 'Ali (a); thus his name is mentioned in their literature frequently.


  1. Biyhaqi, Dala'il al-nabuwwa, p.93
  2. Ibn Miskawayh, Tajarub al-umam, vol.6 p.88
  3. Mas'udi, al-Tanbih wa al-ishraf, p.258
  4. Barqi, al-Rijal, p.4
  5. Mas'udi, al-Tanbih wa al-ishraf, p.261
  6. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.2 p.59
  7. Qummi, Safina al-bihar, vol.2 p.167
  8. Thaqafi al-Kufi, al-Gharat, vol.1 p.106
  9. Tusi, Rijal, p.79
  10. Dhahabi, Tarikh al-islam, vol.3 p.459; Ibn Qutayba, al-Imama wa al-siyasa, vol.1 p.62
  11. Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.563; Ibn Athir, al-Kamil, vol.3 p.279
  12. Ibn A'tham, al-Futuh, p.610
  13. Hanbali al-Dimashqi, Shadharat al-dhahab, vol.1 p.320; Thaqafi al-Kufi, al-Gharat, vol.2 p.722
  14. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol.7 p.260
  15. Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib, vol.2 p.302; Bahrani, Madina al-ma'ajiz, vol.2 p.419
  16. Ibn Abi l-Hadid, Sharh nahj al-balagha, vol.7 p.117
  17. Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.64 p.424; Mufid, al-Amali, p.111
  18. Thaqafi al-Kufi, al-Gharat wa sharh hal, p.45
  19. Kashshi, Rijal, p.72; Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.42 p.132; Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, p.72; Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.1 p.328
  20. Thaqafi al-Kufi, al-Gharat wa sharh hal, p.535
  21. Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol.2 p.303
  22. Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol.2 p.303
  23. 'Asqalani, al-Isaba, vol.8 p.113
  24. Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol.1 p.310
  25. Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol.1 p.310
  26. Sam'ani, al-Ansab, vol.10 p.492
  27. x


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from قنبر in Farsi Wikishia.
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