Zurara b. A'yan

Priority: c, Quality: b
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Zurara b. A'yan
Full Name'Abd Rabbih b. A'yan b. Sunsun al-Shaybani al-Kufi
Companion ofImam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a), and Imam al-Kazim (a)
TeknonymAbu 'Ali, Abu l-Hasan
Well Known AsZurara
Religious AffiliationShi'a
LineageAl A'yan
Wellknown RelativesHumran b. A'yan, al-Hasan b. Zurara, al-Husayn b. Zurara
Place(s) of ResidenceKufa
Cause of
StudentsMusa b. Bakr al-Wasiti, Aban b. Taghlib, Hannan b. Sadir, Jamil b. Darraj, Hisham b. Salim, ...
Worksal-Istita'a wa l-jabr wa l-'uhud

Zurāra b. Aʿyan b. Sunsun al-Shaybānī al-Kūfī (Arabic: زرارة بن أعین بن سُنسُن الشیباني الکوفي) (b. c 70/689-90 - d. 148/765-6) was one of the greatest Shi'a faqihs (jurists) and theologians, and among the close companions of Imam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a), and Imam al-Kazim (a). His name has also been mentioned among People of Consensus.

Imam al-Sadiq (a) has considered him as one of his greatest companions, stating: "were it not for Zurara, the narrations of my father would perish." The Imam also gave him the good tidings that he would enter the Heaven.

Zurara is a member of extended family of A'yan, a large number of members of A'yan family are among the companions and followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), grand hadith transmitters and Shi'a faqihs.

Apparently Zurara had numerous compilations, only one of which, titled al-Istita'a wa l-jabr wa l-'uhud, is mentioned in rijal books and his other books are not mentioned.

Name and Teknonym

People of Consensus

Comapnions of Imam al-Baqir (a)
Zurara b. A'yan
Ma'ruf b. Kharrabudh
Burayd b. Mu'awiya
Abu Basir
al-Fudayl b. Yasar
Muhammad b. Muslim

Companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Jamil b. Darraj
Abd Allah b. Muskan
Abd Allah b. Bukayr
Hammad b. 'Uthman
Hammad b. 'Isa
Aban b. 'Uthman

Companions of Imam al-Kazim (a) and Imam al-Rida (a)
Yunus b. 'Abd al-Rahman
Safwan b. Yahya
Muhammad b. Abi 'Umayr
Abd Allah b. al-Mughira
Hasan b. Mahbub
Ahmad b. Abi Nasr al-Bazanti

His name is 'Abd Rabbah (Arabic: عَبدرَبّه), and his title is Zurara.

He narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that he told him: "O Zurara, among the names of the inhabitants of the Heaven, your name doesn't include an alif." And he says that he told Imam "yes, may I be sacrificed for you. My original name is 'Abd Rabbih and Zurara is my title."[1]

It has been said that his teknonym was Abu 'Ali or Abu l-Hasan.[2]


Zurara belongs to the great tribe of Al A'yan, which is attributed to A'yan b. Sunsun, and has the distinction of providing scientific services for the Islamic society, that lasted for a longer period than those of any other Shi'a tribe. The members of this tribe were from the city of Kufa, and most of them resided there, too.[3]

Sunsun, Zurara's ancestor, was a Christian abbe, and surely his son, A'yan, was also a Christian. A'yan was captured by Muslims and sent to the tribe of Banu Shayban, where he embraced Islam. Muhammad Taqi Shushtari holds that A'yan was a Sunni Muslim, hence his descendants were Sunnis, too. However, some of his descendants converted into Shi'ism afterwards.[4]

Scientific Status

In his book, al-Fihrist, Ibn al-Nadim mentioned Zurara as a grand Shi'a scholar in fiqh, Hadith, and theology.

Al-Najashi described him in his Rijal as grand teacher of Shi'a Muslims in his lifetime. He was a poet, reciter of the Qur'an, faqih and Muttakallim (theologian). He had all the characteristics of a religious man; he was trustworthy, reliable and superior to other companions of his time.

He was among the People of Consensus and Shi'a scholars accepted all the narrations stated by Zurara. He was regarded one of prominent companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a).

Although Zurara had numerous compilations, only one of which, titled al-Istita'a wa l-jabr wa l-'uqud, has been mentioned in rijal books.[5]

Number of Narrations

According to the book, Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, over 2,094 narrations have been transmitted by Zurara. Also as Miftah al-kutub al-arba'a quoted, Zurara has narrated 1,254 hadiths directly from the infallibles.[6]


A large number of Shi'ite theologians are among the students of Zurara. Over hundred hadith narrators have transmitted hadiths from him such as:

Brothers and Children

Ubayd Allah, 'Abd Allah, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Yahya, and Rumi were children of Zurara.

  • Al-Husayn b. Zurara was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and was a grand reliable Shi'a Muslim.[9] Imam al-Sadiq (a) has prayed for these brothers and said: "May God support al-Hasan and al-Husayn because of their virtuous father and may God protect them from any harm, as He protected the two orphan children (by Khidr (a))."[10]
  • 'Ubayd Allah b. Zurara, also was mentioned as 'Ubayd in a number of sources, was a companion of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). He held high status in hadith sources and was a close companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a).[11] Al-Najashi stated his name among fair Shi'a Muslims who has written several books and he was among thiqat (reliable).[12]
  • Rumi b. Zurar was regarded as thiqa (reliable) in narrations of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Baqir (a). Also al-Najashi stated that he had compilations.[13]
  • Muhammad b. Zurara was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a). He has narrated hadiths from his father and Imam al-Sadiq (a).
  • Yahya b. Zurara was a companion of Imam al-Sadiq (a), and had a large number of narrations and compilations.[14]

Brothers of Zurara, 'Abd al-Rahman, Bukayr, and Humran, except for Malik and Qa'nab, all are among the prominent figures of their time.[15]

Imam al-Sadiq (a) has visited the burial site of 'Abd al-Malik, another brother of Zurara and wished him blessing of God.[16] Durays b. Abd al-Malik, his son, was among the thiqa hadith narrators.

In View of Imams

Two types of narrations have been made from Ahl al-Bayt (a) on Zurara:

Numerous hadiths from Ahl al-Bayt (a) have praised Zurara which are regarded mutawatir:

  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) stated: "were it not for Zurara, the narrations of my father would have perished."
  • Jamil b. Darraj has narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): Four men represent religion including Zurara b. A'yan and Muhammad b. Muslim."
  • Jamil b. Darraj has quoted from Imam al-Sadiq (a): give mukhbitun (the humble, as mentioned in Quran 22:34, 35) the good tidings that they would enter the Heaven, Burayd b. Mu'awiya al-'Ijili, Abu Basir, Muhammad b. Muslim and Zurara; without these four men traditions of Prophet Muhammad (s) would have been discontinued.
  • Dawud b. Sirhan has narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a): companions of my father, whether alive or departed, are outstanding: Zurara, Muhammad b. Muslim, Layth al-Muradi, and Burayd al-'Ijili. They represent justice and honesty and they are among al-Sabiqun and al-Muqarrabun[19] (the foremost people in religion and people near to Allah, as mentioned in Quran 56:10, 11).

Also a number of narrations denounced and condemned Zurara which are regarded as taqiyya by hadiths narrators. They believed such narrations were issued in order to save his life.[20].[21]

  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) told 'Abd Allah b. Zurara: give my regards to your father and say my criticism and complains to you are just for your protection as our enemies will not stop torturing and prosecuting our friends and companions. Because you are well-known among people as our close companion, I denounced you and complained about you in order to stop prosecutions and evil intentions of our enemies. Also God has stated in the Qur'an [quoted from Khidr (a)]: "As for the boat, it belonged to some poor people who work on the sea. I wanted to make it defective, for behind them was a king seizing every ship usurpingly." (Quran 18:79) May God bless you as you are a close companion of us. Al-Hasan and al-Husayn your sons have brought your massage, I hope God protect them from any harm because of virtuousness of their father.
  • Al-Kashshi stated: Muhammad b. Qulawayh quoted from al-Husayn b. Zurara: I told Imam al-Sadiq (a) my father gave his regards to you and said I will sacrifice my life for you, some news came to me in which you complained about me, which made me melancholy. Imam replied: Give my regards to your father and say, by God I wish the best for you in this life and in the Hereafter, by God I am satisfied with you and ignore people's sayings.

In View of Shi'a Scholars

Al-'Allama al-Hilli in Khulasat al-aqwal stated on Zurara: "Zurara is a prominent figure among us (Twelvers) and he is superior to companions of his time. He is jurist, theologian, poet and reciter of Qur'an, and he had all the characteristics of a religious man; he was trustworthy and reliable in his narrations."[22]

Ahmad b. 'Ali al-Najashi has described Zurara the same as stated in Khulasat al-aqwal by Al-'Allama al-Hilli, the only difference is that al-Najashi did not mention that Zurara was thiqa (trustworthy) in narration.[23]

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi in his Rijal, in the chapter on Imam Musa b. Ja'far (a) stated: "Zurara was among the trustworthy narrators and he has transmitted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a) and Imam al-Baqir (a)."[24]

Abu Ghalib al-Zurari in a treatise written for his grandson, Muhammad b. Abd Allah, described Zurara as:

"People would stand on his way every Friday, when Zurara left his house to say Friday prayer, in order to see his spiritual and magnificent face. He was a leading figure among Twelver rijal scholars in hadith sciences and jurisprudence, he was incomparable in theology so as no one could ever do better than him in theological discussions; a large number of Shi'a mutakallims (theologians) were students of Zurara. He lived for seventy or ninety years. Zurara is indescribable in many aspects, and I am unable to inscribe all which has been said about him."

It has quoted from Ibn Abi 'Umayr, a prominent Shi'a scholar, that Jamil b. Darraj, a grand jurist and Shi'a hadith narrator said to him: "By God, compared to Zurara, we are pupils learning from our great teacher."[25]


Most of hadith narrators have stated that Zurara passed away in 148/765-6, about two months after the martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a). They said Zurara was ill in that time and he passed away then.[26] Also a number of hadith narrators mentioned that he passed away in 150/767-8.[27]


  1. Kashshī, al-rijāl, p. 133; Zurari, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, p. 35.
  2. Ibn al-Nadīm, al-Fihrist, p. 308-309.
  3. Zurārī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, Editor's introduction, page "D".
  4. Shūshtarī, Qāmūs al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 172.
  5. Mehrī, Yārān-i imāmān, Zurāra b. Aʿyan.
  6. Bāqirī Bīdhindī, Aṣḥāb ijmāʿ, Faṣlnāma-yi ʿUlūm-i Ḥadīth, No, 9.
  7. Bāqirī Bīdhindī, Aṣḥāb ijmāʿ, Faṣlnāma-yi ʿUlūm-i Ḥadīth, No, 9.
  8. Zurārī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, p. 88.
  9. Zurārī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, p. 88.
  10. Kashshī, al-rijāl, p. 139.
  11. Zurārī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, p. 88.
  12. Najāshī, Rijāl, p. 223.
  13. Najāshī, Rijāl, p. 223.
  14. Zurārī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Aʿyan, p. 96.
  15. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 161.
  16. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 161.
  17. Mufīd, al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, p. 66; Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 123; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 47, p. 390.
  18. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 170.
  19. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 170.
  20. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 125; Shūshtarī, Majālis al-muʾminīn, vol. 1, session 5, p. 344; Nāma-yi dānishwarān-i nāṣirī., vol. 9, p. 87.
  21. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 128.
  22. Ḥillī, Khulāṣat al-aqwāl, p. 152.
  23. Najāshī, Rijāl, p. 175.
  24. Ṭūsī, al-Rijāl, 350.
  25. Kashshī, al-Rijāl, 123.
  26. Kashshī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, p. 143; Shūshtarī, Majālis al-muʾminīn, vol. 3, p. 462; Qummī, Safīnat al-biḥār, vol. 1, p. 548.
  27. Najāshī, Rijāl, p. 175; Ḥillī, Khulāṣat al-aqwāl, p. 38.


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