Sahl b. Hunayf

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Sahl b. Hunayf
Personal Information
Full NameSahl b. Hunayf b. Wahib al-Awsi al-Ansari
TeknonymAbu Sa'id or Abu Sa'd or Abu 'Abd
Well-Known RelativesUthman b. Hunayf (brother)
Place(s) of ResidenceMedina, Kufa
Burial PlaceKufa
Religious Information
Presence at GhazwasBadr, Uhud
Notable RolesSuccessor of Imam Ali in Medina, member of Shurtat al-khamis, Governor of Fars
Other ActivitiesOpposing against caliphate of Abu Bakr

Sahl b. Ḥunayf (Arabic: سهل بن حُنَیف) al-Awsi al-Ansari was one of the great companions of the Prophet (s) and Imam 'Ali (a). He participated in the Battle of Badr and in the Battle of Uhud he was among the few people who did not flee and protected the Prophet (s).

When Imam Ali (a) headed to the Battle of Jamal, put him as his successor in Medina. However, he accompanied the Imam in the Battle of Siffin. He passed away after Siffin in Kufa.

Lineage and Teknonym

His name was Sahl b. Hunayf b. Wahib al-Awsi al-Ansari. His teknonym was Abu Sa'id or Abu Sa'd or Abu 'Abd.[1]

During the Prophet's Life

Sahl accompanied the Prophet (s) in the Battle of Badr and all the other battles. In the Battle of Uhud when most of Muslims fled, he was among the few ones who remained and protected the Prophet (s). On that day, he pledged allegiance to protect the Prophet (s) until his death. He fought the enemies by shooting arrows. The Prophet (s) said, "Provide arrows for Sahl; because he is very good at archery."[2]

In 9/630-1, Sahl was the standard bearer of a Sariyya (military group) which was sent by Imam Ali (a) for destroying the idol temple of Fuls.[3]

During the Three Caliphs

It has been narrated from Fadl b. Shadhan that Sahl and his brother, 'Uthman b. Hunayf, were among the first people who returned to Imam Ali (a) after the events which took place after the Prophet's demise.[4]

Sahl's name is among the 12 people who rejected the Caliphate of Abu Bakr in their speeches and wanted him to relinquish the Caliphate. It is reported that he said to Abu Bakr, "I bear witness that the Apostle of God (s) said on the pulpit, "Your Imam (leader) after me is Ali b. Abi Talib. He is the most well-wisher fro this nation."[5]

During Imam Ali's reign

He accompanied Imam Ali (a) from the time that people pledged allegiance to him. When the Imam wanted to go to the Battle of Jamal, put him as his successor in Medina. However, he accompanied Imam Ali (a) in the Battle of Siffin. After Siffin, Imam Ali (a) appointed him as the governor of the Fars; but the people of that region did not accept him, so Imam put Ziyad as their governor.[6]

Sahl and his brother, 'Uthman, were members of Shurtat al-Khamis, a group of special companions of Imam Ali (a).[7]


He passed away in Kufa in 38/658. According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam Ali (a) performed Salat al-Mayyit on Sahl's body five times (25 takbirs, 5 for each). He performed the Salat (five takbirs) walked a distance put the body on the ground performed another Salat and so on.

Explaining its reason, It is narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a) that every time Imam Ali (a) finished the Salat, a group were added, and said that they wanted to participate in the Salat al-Mayyit on his body. So Imam repeated the Salat for 5 times until they reached his grave site.[8]

It is said the Imam Ali (a) was very sad for his demise and wonderingly narrated that in the first year after Hijra, Sahl would destroy the wooden idols in his tribe and then took them to a widow of Ansar and told her to "make fire with this firewood."[9]


  1. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 7, p. 320.
  2. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 7, p. 321; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 2, p. 662-663.
  3. Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām, p. 508.
  4. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 1, p. 177-183.
  5. Ṣadūq, al-Khiṣāl, vol. 2, p. 461-465.
  6. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 7, p. 321; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 2, p. 662-663.
  7. Barqī, Rijāl, p. 4.
  8. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 7, p. 321.
  9. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 7, p. 321.


  • Amīn, Sayyid Muḥsin al-. Aʿyān al-Shīʿa. Edited by Ḥasan al-Amīn. Beirut: Dār al-Taʿāruf li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1406 AH.
  • Āyatī, Muḥammad Ibrāhīm. Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām. Edited by Abū l-Qāsim Gurjī. Tehran: Dānishgāh-i Tehran, 1378 Sh.
  • Barqī, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-. Rijāl. Tehran: Dānishgāh-i Tehran, [n.d].
  • Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Yūsuf b. ʿAbd Allāh. Al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb. Edited by ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Bajāwī. Beirut: Dār al-Jail, 1412 AH.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Al-Khiṣāl. Edited by ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1416 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl. Edited by Astarābādī. Qom: Muʾassisat Āl al-Bayt, 1404 AH.