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Sharik b. al-A'war

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Companion of Imam (a)
Sharik b. al-A'war
Full Name Sharik b. al-Harith b. 'Abd Yaghuth al-Madhhiji
Companion of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a)
Well Known As Sharik b. al-A'war
Lineage Madhhij tribe
Place(s) of Residence Basra, Istakhr
Death/Martyrdom 60/679
Burial Place Kufa
Activities Participating in the battles of Jamal, and Siffin, Ruler of Istakhr, trying to assassinate 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad

Sharīk b. al-Aʿwar (Arabic: شَریک بن الأعوَر) (d. 60/679) was a companion of Imam Ali (a) and a nobleman from Basra in the 1st/7th century. According to Shiite and Sunni sources, he was a Shiite, but he occupied official positions in the Umayyad government. In the battles of Jamal and Siffin, he was in Imam Ali's (a) army. Before the Battle of Ashura, he tried to assassinate 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad in order to help Imam al-Husayn (a) overtake the power in Kufa.

Lineage and Birth

Sharik was the son of al-Harith—known as al-A'war—, from a major clan of the Madhhij tribe.

Although Sharik was very well-known, there is not much information about his life in sources of 'ilm al-rijal and history. His mother's name, his place of birth, and much of his life are not known. In most sources, we can only find some remarkable historical events of his life. In some sources, he is listed among Basra's poets.

According to some sources, his tribe goes back to Hamadan. But given his lineage, this does not seem accurate. Moreover, people with Hamadani origin resided in Kufa, and when Sharik entered Kufa with 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, he stayed in Hani b. 'Urwa's place.

Sect and Political Activities

According to many sources, Sharik was a Shiite of Imam 'Ali (a). In some sources, Sharik is mentioned as a close companion of Imam 'Ali (a), a senior Shiite, a steadfast Shiite, lover of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam 'Ali's (a) Shiite, of a high place and position.

One remarkable point about Sharik is that some of his political activities are not coherent with the above descriptions. Some of these activities include his friendship with 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, his being a ruler during the period of 'Uthman, and his serving as the ruler of Kerman during the period of Mu'awiya at the command of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.

Some sources reported that Sharik had a meeting with 'Umar b. al-Khattab without mentioning any details of the meeting.

Agent of the Umayyad

During the period of 'Uthman in 31/651, Sharik was appointed by 'Abd Allah b. 'Amir as the ruler of Istakhr in the Fars Province, and built a mosque there. It seems that Sharik was so close to 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad that he was appointed by him as the ruler of Kerman in 59/678.

During the Period of Imam 'Ali (a)

Sharik was in Imam 'Ali's (a) army in the battles of Jamal and Siffin. After the Battle of Jamal when people of Basra pledged their allegiance to Imam 'Ali (a), he and some other noblemen of Basra escorted the Imam (a) when he was leaving the city. Sharik, as the head of Basra's noblemen, went to Nukhayla, Imam 'Ali's (a) army camp, together with 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas. Sharik was the intermediary between Imam 'Ali (a) and people of Basra. He also organized people's gatherings to hear Imam 'Ali (a) speeches. After the Battle of Jamal, Sharik and Jariya b. Qudama quenched Ibn Hadrami, an agent of Mu'awiya, who had occupied part of Basra under the pretext of avenging for 'Uthman. In this battle, Ibn Hadrami was defeated and killed.

Sharik also joined Ma'qil b. Qays al-Riyahi in quenching Khawarij in Kufa. Sharik was also active in the Battle of Siffin. In an epical speech, Sharik encouraged people to fight Mu'awiya and avoid making a compromise with him. There is no information about Sharik's activities in the period of Imam al-Hasan (a).

Meeting with Mu'awiya

One controversial event in Sharik's life was his meeting with Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan. Sources do not mention the time of the meeting, but it apparently happened in Mu'awiya's palace. Ibn Jawzi reported that in 59/678, some noblemen of Basra met with Mu'awiya. Sharik's meeting with Mu'awiya might have occurred then.

According to these accounts, Mu'awiya hated Sharik because of his support for Imam 'Ali (a). He ridiculed Sharik's name and his father's title. Sharik immediately retaliated and ridiculed Mu'awiya's name as well as the names of his parents. He also composed a poem reproaching Mu'awiya. Their conversation is reported in different ways that might reflect the tendencies of their reporters.

One remarkable point about this event is the emphasis of some writers on Mu'awiya's patience and tolerance with his enemies and their criticisms when they met him. Since these sources belonged to the Abbasid period, they should be considered with some hesitation.

Plan for the Assassination of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad

Another important event in Sharik's life, pointed out in many sources, is his plan for the assassination of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. Since Sharik was friends with 'Ubayd Allah, when 'Ubayd Allah was appointed as the ruler of Kufa, Sharik and some noblemen accompanied him when he was going there. Sharik and his company thought that Imam al-Husayn (a) was on his way to Kufa, so they tried to postpone 'Ubayd Allah's departure to Kufa and arrive there sooner. But Ibn Ziyad hasted to go to Kufa and arrived sooner than them.

Sharik became sick in Kufa and went to Hani b. 'Urwa's house. Since 'Ubayd Allah wanted to go there and visit him, he suggested that the other guest in Hani's house, Muslim b. 'Aqil, undertake the assassination of 'Ubayd Allah. Different reasons have been reported in sources for why this did not happen: Hani did not agree with the plan since he did not want anyone to be killed in his house; a woman in the house did not let it happen but Hani regretted this; Muslim b. 'Aqil appealed to a hadith from the Prophet (s) prohibiting assassinations; and Ibn Ziyad's servant found out about the plan.


Sharik passed away in 60/679 a few days after Muslim b. 'Aqil's martyrdom. Ibn Ziyad said prayers on his corpse and he was buried in Kufa's cemetery. It is said that after the martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Aqil and Hani b. 'Urwa, Ibn Ziyad found out about Sharik's plan for his assassination. This might be the reason why he destroyed Kufa's cemetery and exhumed Sharik's grave. But Ibn Ziyad himself stated that the reason for this was that he wanted to bury his father's corpse there.


There is not much information about Sharik's family. Only two of his sons, Hawi and 'Abd Allah, are mentioned in sources. 'Abd Allah attended Ibn Ash'ath's rise, and was killed by Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the Umayyad agent.