Tradition Of Alqama bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami – Part II ( Authencity of the Narrators of the Tradition )

The Tradition Of Alqama bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami has been narrated by

(1) Salih bin ‘Uqba (2) Sayf bin ‘Umayra and (3)Alqama’ bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami

In this article we shall discuss the Authencity of these narrators with reference to the opinions od traditionalist and scholars regarding them and whatever is written is about them in the books of Rejal.

(1) Salih bin ‘Uqba :

He is Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Qays bin Sim’an. Najashi introduces him as: Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Qays bin Sim’an bin Abi Rabiha. He narrates from his father, who in turn narrates from his own father and from Zayd bin Shahham. Whilst those who narrate from him include: Muhammad bin al-Husayn bin Abi al-Khattab and his son (i.e. Salih’s son) Isma’il bin Salih bin ‘Uqba.[1]

It needs to be pointed out here that the person by the name of Salih bin ‘Uqba mentioned in this chain must not be confused with Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Khalid al-Asadi. This is because Muhammad bin Isma’il bin Bazi’ narrates from Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Khalid al-Asadi through the intermediary of Muhammad bin Ayyub whilst he narrates without any intermediary from Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Qays bin Sim’an. This is proved from a study of the chain of authorities of Najashi to the book of Khalid al-Asadi, where he writes, after mentioning a number of his teachers and authorities…”from Muhammad bin Isma’il bin Bazi’, from Muhammad bin Ayyub, from Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Khalid al-Asadi”.[2]

Thus it can be seen that Muhammad bin Isma’il bin Bazi’ transmits from Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Khalid al-Asadi via an intermediary, whereas he transmits directly from Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Qays bin Sim’an as observed in the chain above which is the subject of the current scrutiny.

This is further supported by the chain recorded by Shaykh Tusi where he writes; “Salih bin ‘Uqba possesses a book, about which Ibn Abi Jid informed us, from Ibn al-Walid, from al-Saffar, from Muhammad bin al-Husayn, from Muhammad bin Isma’il bin Bazi’, from him”.[3] And the person meant here by the word “him” is Salih bin ‘Uqba bin Qays and not Khalid al-Asadi.

Thus he is considered in the books of Rijal (biographies) to be an Imami and praiseworthy in a general sense.

(2) Sayf bin ‘Umayra :

Najashi says: Sayf bin ‘Umayra al-Nakha’i was an Arab, a Kufan and trustworthy. He reports from Abu ‘Abdillah (the sixth Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) and Abu al-Hasan (the seventh Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.). He possessed a book and a group of our companions narrate from it.[4]

Shaykh Tusi also has explicitly declared his trustworthiness in his Fihrist.[5]

(3)Alqama’ bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami :

Shaykh Tusi regarded ‘Alqama to be one of the companions of al-Baqir (a.s.) and al-Sadiq (a.s) (d. 148 A.H. / 765 A.D.).[6]

There is no explicit statement about his veracity in the books of biographies; however other evidences testify to his reliability, such as:

1) Al-Kashi (floruit in the first half of the fourth century hijri) reports from Bukar bin Abi Bakr al-Hadhrami, who said: “Abu Bakr (al-Hadhrami) and ‘Alqama (al-Hadhrami) visited Zayd bin ‘Ali (d. 122 A.H./ 739 A.D.). ‘Alqama was older than my father. Zayd seated one of them on his right and the other on his left. It had reached their attention that he was saying; ‘the Imam from amongst us[7] is not one who is politically quiescent.[8]So Abu Bakr, who was the more courageous of the two, said to him (Zayd), ‘O Abu al-Hasan, tell me about ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). Was he an Imam when he was leading a politically quiet life[9] or did he not become an Imam till he drew his sword?

Zayd understood the intent of his speech, and so remained silent and didn’t answer. Abu Bakr repeated his question thrice and each time Zayd did not answer him.

So he (Abu Bakr) said to him (Zayd): ‘ If ‘Ali bin Abi Talib was an Imam even when he was politically inactive then it is possible that there is an Imam after him who also leads a politically inactive life, and if ‘Ali was not an Imam and leading a politically inactive life, then what is your problem here?’

(At that moment), ‘Alqama insisted that Abu Bakr should restrain himself (from carrying on his speech) and so Abu Bakr kept silent.”[10]

This tradition reveals that the two brothers possessed insight in the matter of the Imamate.

2) Furthermore,Shaykh Tusi narrates the text of the salutation, it can be determined that Sayf bin ‘Umayra, the trustworthy narrator (al-thiqa), complained to Safwan bin Mihran, also a trustworthy narrator (al-thiqa), that the supplication by which he supplicated[11], doesn’t appear in the report of ‘Alqama from al-Baqir (a.s.), whereupon Safwan excused himself and clarified that he had heard the supplication from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) during the course of the latter’s pilgrimage to his ancestor al-Husayn (a.s.).

Thus Sayf’s complaint at the absence of the supplication, and the response of Safwan that he had heard it from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), delineates from the acceptability of these two trustworthy men, the trustworthiness of ‘Alqama bin Muhammad al-Hadhrami, for if not, then Sayf bin ‘Umayra would not have advanced ‘Alqama’s report as an argument, and Safwan would not have responded to him that he had heard it (the supplication) from al-Sadiq (a.s.).

References

[1] Rijal of Najashi, vol 1 pg 444, no. 530.

[2] Rijal of Najashi, vol 1, pg 445, no. 532.

[3] Al-Fihrist pg 110, no. 364.

[4] Rijal al-Najashi vol 1, pg 425, no.502.

[5] Fihrist of Shaykh Tusi pg 104, no. 335.

[6] Rijal of Shaykh Tusi, pg 140, in the section of the Companions of al-Baqir (a.s.), no. 38 and in the section of the Companions of al-Sadiq (a.s.), pg 262, no.641.

[7] Translator’s note: The phrase ‘from amongst us’ here, means ‘from amongst the ahl al-bayt.’

[8] Translator’s note: A literal translation of the Arabic text would be ‘the Imam from amongst us is not one who lowers the curtain down over himself, rather the Imam is one who draws his sword.’

[9] Translator’s note: This is obviously a reference to the approximately twenty five years of political hiatus in the life of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), beginning from soon after the death of the Prophet till his election as Caliph in the year 35 A.H.

[10] Al-Kashi, the number of the biography is 416, and 417.

[11] Translator’s note: The supplication referred to here is the one customarily recited after the recital of the salutation text. This supplication is commonly known as the Du’a al-’Alqama.


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