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Sayf b. 'Amira

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Companion of Imam (a)
Sayf b. 'Amira
Full Name Sayf b. 'Amira al-Nakha'i
Companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a)
Wellknown Relatives 'Ali and Husayn (sons)
Works Narrating Ziyarat 'Ashura

Sayf b. 'Amīra al-Nakha'ī (Arabic: سیف بن عَمیره النَخَعی) was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a) from Kufa. He composed an elegiac poem about Imam al-Husayn (a) and wrote a collection of hadiths which is cited by many transmitters of hadiths. Some people believe that he was not an Imami Shi'a, but most Shiite scholars take him to be Imami. He narrated the well-known Ziyarat al-'Ashura.


There is no information about Sayf b. 'Amira's life and the year of his birth. It is only known that he lived in the periods of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Kazim (a).

Two of his sons, 'Ali and Husayn, were companions of Imam al-Rida (a) and they both wrote collections of hadiths.

Significance as a Transmitter of Hadiths

Sayf b. 'Amira was a reliable transmitter of hadiths who wrote a book which was cited by many well-known and reliable people; including: Ayyub b. Nuh, Al-Hasan b. Mahbub, Hammad b. 'Uthman, Faddala b. Ayyub, Muhammad b. Abi 'Umayr.

Although some scholars such as Ibn Shahrashub took him to be a Waqifi Shi'a and some others believed that he was not reliable, scholars such as al-Shaykh al-Tusi and Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Najashi considered him as reliable, rejecting his unreliability or being a Waqifi Shi'a.

He was a transmitter of the well-known Ziyarat al-'Ashura.

Significance in Fiqh and Social Ranking

Ibn Nadim referred to Sayf as a Shiite scholar of fiqh who transmitted the rulings of fiqh from Shiite Imams (a).

It seems that he frequently visited the palace of al-Mansur al-'Abbasi, since al-Mansur, the Abbasid caliphate, asked him a question about a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a) concerning the Signs of Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a).

He insisted on wearing black clothes for the mourning of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the period of the presence of the Imams (a). It has been referred to in some sources as a practice of some companions of the Imams (a) including him, Umm Salama and al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Significance in Literature

Sayf b. 'Amira composed a poem about Imam al-Husayn (a). In part of his poem, he explicitly mentions Ruqayya and the story of the Captives of Karbala. By Ruqayya he probably means Ruqayya, the daughter of Imam 'Ali (a), who is mentioned as one of the people who were present in Karbala in the Event of Ashura.