Translated by Dr. Muhsin and Zahra' Shuja '-Khani
The issue of marja'iyyat-i 'ilmi for Muslims has been widely discussed and debated for centuries and its importance among the Muslims has been steadily growing as the time factor distances them from the period of the revelation of the Qur'an and the era of the Prophet (S.A.W.). Needless to say, it is of prime importance that all Muslims strive in earnest towards arriving at a common strategy of approaching this subject which plays a most pivotal role in ensuring the unity of the Islamic ummah. Keeping in view that the Glorious Qur'an as well as the sirah and the sunnah of the noble Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) are the two main unifying pillars for all Muslims, it is the marja'iyyat-i 'ilmi or scholarly authority that interprets the Qur'an and extracts Islamic laws from the Divine Book. However, Islamic scholars have comprehended certain matters from different angles and this fact has resulted in some major differences in the laws pertaining to Islamic beliefs and fiqh. The same problem shows up in matters concerning the Tradition of the Prophet (S.A.W.). Consequently, it is unfortunate that the marja'iyyat-i 'ilmi is one of the most crucial issues on which Muslims have yet to agree.
This discussion focuses on the marja'iyyah of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in accordance with the Prophet's sunnah, sourcing its and the history of Islam.
A study of the issue of marja'iyyah in the Qur'an and the hadith reveals that all the related texts emphasize on the marja'iyyah of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), and although there may be Muslims, we have overlooked those for the purpose of this study and have instead focused on the ones on which there is agreement.
At the onset, let us refer to certain verses from the Glorious Qur'an that confirms the indisputable authority of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Allah Almighty says: "... so ask the People of the Reminder (Ahl al-Dhikr) if you do not know" (16: 43 and 21:7).
The exegesis of Ibn Jarir al-Tabari quotes Jabir al-Ju'fi as saying that when this verse was revealed, Imam 'Ali (A.S.) stated: "We are the People of the Reminder (the Qur'an)".
I asked 'Ali (A.S.) about the verse, 'so ask the People of the Reminder', to which his reply was: 'By Allah we are the followers of the Reminder, we are the people of wisdom, and we are the source of interpretation and revelation.'
Allah Almighty says: ".. none knows its Qur'an's interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge (al- reasikhun fi al- 'ilm)..." (3:7)
Without a doubt, this is the reference to the Ahl al-Bayt, as mentioned by different exegetes of the Holy Qur'an, since none were "firmly rooted in knowledge" than the "Gateway of the City of knowledge" Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and his infallible descendents.
Imam 'Ali (A.S.) says in this regard:
"Where are those who falsely and unjustly claimed that they are deeply versed in knowledge, as against us, although Allah raised us deeply versed in knowledge, as against us, although Allah raised us in position and kept them down, bestowed upon us knowledge but deprived them, and entered us (in the fortress of knowledge) but kept them out. With us guidance is to be sought and blindness (of misguidance) is to be changed into brightness."
Allah Almighty says: "... and whoever has knowledge of the Book." (13:43)
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri is quoted as having said:
I asked the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) who this ayah referred to, and he replied, 'My brother, 'Ali bin Abi Talib'.
4. Allah Almighty says: "Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying." (33:33)
This ayah has been explained by the Prophet (S.A.W.) in these words: "My Ahl al-Bayt and I are cleansed and pure of sin." Besides, the Prophet (S.A.W.) has also said: "Myself and 'Ali, Fatimah, and Hasan and Husayn, and nine of the descendants of Husayn are pure and infallible." This verse of purification indicates the special divine favour bestowed upon the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) by keeping them away from pitfalls and delusion, such that they serve as great human exemplars and stand out as the final word in times of dispute among secondary sources.
5. Allah Almighty says: "Say (O Muhammad to mankind): I do not ask of you any reward for it (for conveying the message of Allah) but love for my near relatives..." (42:23)
A narration of 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas mentions that when the Prophet (S.A.W.) was asked who were the 'near relatives' in this verse referred to, he replied: 'Ali and Fatimah and their two sons. Sa'id bin Jubayr is quoted to have said: "The 'near relatives' are Muhammad's (S.A.W.) Household."
This verse draws the hearts and the intellects towards the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), and stresses that a sincere feeling of loyalty towards the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) is itself the reward for the followers of this faith.
Moreover, the verse which states: "Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you..." (3:31), also implies that there is a direct relationship between 'love' and 'obedience'.
Some of the outstanding incidents and the famous sayings of the Prophet which confirm the prime position and authority of the Ahl al-Bayt in relation to the ummah, after him are as follows:
The Hadith al-Kisa' (The Hadith of the Cloak) clearly defines who the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) are. Ibn 'Abbas is quoted to have said:
"The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) spread a cloak over 'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (A.S.) and recited: 'Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying'. "Umm Salamah has said: "When the (aforementioned) ayah was revealed, the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) prayed for 'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn and covered them with a Khaybari cloak and said, 'My Lord, these are my Ahl al-Bayt, keep them away from uncleanness and keep them clean and pure.' "Then Umm Salamah asked the Prophet (S.A.W.): "Am I also one of them (the Ahl al-Bayt)" , to which the Prophet answered: "You are very good, but no (you are not one of the Ahl al-Bayt)."
This hadith has been quoted very widely through Umm Salamah by such people as 'Ata' bin Yasar, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Abu Hurayrah, Hakim bin Sa'd, Shahr bin Hawshab, 'Abdullah bin al-'Abidin. However, there is also another hadith quoted through 'Ayishah which Safiyyah bint Shaybah al-'Awam bin Hawshab and Jami' bin 'Umar have narrated through 'Ayishah, which is as follows:
"The Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) left home early one morning, covering himself with a ... (sic) made of black wool. Then Hasan bin 'Ali arrived and went under that covering; then Husayn joined them, following which Fatimah, joined in their company; (and) then 'Ali, too, entered into the covering; then the Prophet (S.A.W.) recited: 'Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O peoplet of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying."
Many of the Prophet's (S.A.W.) companions have narrated this hadith, including Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Abu Barzah, Abu al-Hamra', Abu Ya'la Ansari, Anas bin Malik, Bara' bin 'Azib, Thawban, Jabir bin 'Abdullah Ansari, Zayd bin Arqam, Zaynab bint Abi Salamah, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Sabih the retainer of Umm Salamah, 'Abdullah bin Ja'far, 'Umar bin Abi Salamah, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, as well as others, and all their narrations unanimously emphasize that the Prophet (S.A.W.) referred to "'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn (A.S.) as his Ahl al-Bayt". Most of the documents related to this particular hadith have been extracted from the sihah of the Ahl al-Sunnah and their encyclopedias of ahadith.
2. The Hadith al-Thaqalayn, too, confirms that the term "itrah" in the hadith refers directly to the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) and testifies to their comprehensive marja'iyyah. The Prophet (S.A.W.) has stated: "I am leaving behind among you, two valuable things; and if you hold fast to them, you will never go astray after my departure. One of them is greater than the other. The Book of Allah, which is the divine rope that hangs down from the skies on to the earth, and my 'itrah, (which is), my Ahl al-Bayt. These two will never be separated from each other even when they return to me at the pond of Kawthar. Thus, beware how you treat them after I am gone."
The Hadith al-Thaqalayn has held the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in the same category as the Glorious Qur'an. This hadith has been quoted by thirty-three companions of the prophet (S.A.W.), including Abu Ayyub Ansari, Abu Dharr Ghifari, Abu Sa'id Khudri, Abu Shurayh Khuza'i, Abu Qudamah Ansari, Abu Hurayrah, Umm Salamah, Anas bin Malik, Khuzaymah Dhu al-Shahadatayn, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Zayd bin Thabit, Salman Farsi, 'Abd al-Rahman bin 'Awf, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, and 'Amr bin 'As. Some Sunni scholars have deduced that this hadith refers to the marja'yyah of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), only in the field of jurisprudence. According to their interpretation, the hadith "does not imply political leadership, but instead, refers to leadership in the fields of jurisprudence and knowledge". In this article, we are not about to discuss the implications of this hadith and shall content ourselves with the fact that both the Shi'ite and the Sunni schools are in agreement over the supremacy of knowledge. According to a researcher, one hundred and eighty-five Sunni scholars and jurists have stated that the term, " 'itrah", in the phrase "kitab Allah wa al-'itrah", refers to the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) of the Hadith al-Thaqalayn and the Hadith al-Kisa'.
3. Anas bin Malik has quoted the Prophet (S.A.W.) as saying to Imam 'Ali (A.S.): "After me, it will be you who will clarify matters when disputes arise." This hadith is a very clear proof verifying the authority of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in matters of knowledge.
4. Salman Farsi has quoted that the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "The most knowledgeable person after me is 'Ali bin Abi Talib."
5. It has been recorded that the Prophet (S.A.W.) had asked Fatimah (A.S.): "Are you not happy that I have married you to the foremost and the most knowledgeable of the Muslims?"
6. 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas quotes that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "The stars in the sky save people from drowning (in seafaring) and my Ahl al-Bayt save them from discord."
7. Abu Dharr Ghifari quotes the Prophet (S.A.W.) as having said: "Beware! My Ahl al-Bayt among the people are like Noah's (A.S.) Ark whoever boards it is saved and whoever stays away from it is drowned."
8. Imam 'Ali (A.S.) says: "Verily, we the Ahl al-Bayt are the most knowledgeable about what Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.) have said."
9. Imam 'Ali (A.S.) says: "We are the tree of Prophethood (nabuwwah) and the heart of messengership (risalah), and we are the place where the angels, descend and we are the mines of knowledge, and the fountainheads of wisdom."
10. Jabir Thamarah quotes that the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "Religion (Din) will prevail until the Day of Resurrection (or in other words), there will be twelve khulafa' for you, all of whom shall be from the Quraysh." 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud is reported to have stated that some people questioned the Prophet (S.A.W.) regarding the number of the khulafa' of the ummah, to which his answer was: "They are twelve in number, equal in number to the chiefs of Bani Isra'il." There is a large number of ahadith that can be sourced back to the various Islamic schools, all of which carry the same meaning, in spite of some apparent differences in their wordings. All Muslims unanimously agree that the number of successors, or khulafa', or umara' (p. of amir), or Imams after the noble Prophet (S.A.W.) is twelve, all of which belong to the Quraysh.
All the aforementioned narrations that have been extracted from original Sunni sources have generally been verified on the basis of Qur'anic ayahs and ahadith, and hold valid scientifically.
The Sources of the Knowledge of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
The reliable ahadith pertaining to the sources of the knowledge of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) include the following:
In explanation of the verse, "... and whoever has knowledge of the Book" the noble Prophet (S.A.W.) explains that it is in reference to 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.). And in the words of Imam 'Ali (A.S.): "I am the one who possesses the knowledge of the Book." Imam Husayn (A.S.) says: "We are the ones who possess the knowledge of the Book and its practical explanation lies with us." There is also a hadith of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) that says: "Ali will be the one who will teach people the interpretation of the Qur'an and other matters that they are unaware of after me." One of the sayings of Imam 'Ali (A.S.) states: "Ask me matters concerning the Book of Allah, because there is not a single ayah regarding which I know not if it has been revealed in the day or the night, or whether it was revealed in the plains or the mountain." 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud says: "The Qur'an was revealed upon seven letters and there is not a single letter of these which does not have an exoteric and an esoteric meaning and 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.) is the knower of the exoteric and esoteric meanings of these letters."
Imam 'Ali (A.S.) guides the Muslims to be in communication with the Glorious Qur'an, and in his most eloquent words says: "This is the Qur'an, so be in communication with it, and although it will never (actually) speak in words, I am informing you to be aware that it contains the knowledge of things to come." The core of the matter, therefore, is that access to all the hadith concerning the real understanding of the Qur'an is only possible through the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.). This is mainly because their first source of knowledge was divine Revelation (wahy) and they are the sources of marja'iyyah for the Muslims in the perfect extraction of the meaning of the Qur'an.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) was the second source of knowledge for the Imams (A.S.). The most famous hadith on this matter is: "I am the City of Knowledge and 'Ali is its Gate, and the entrance to a city is through its gate." Another hadith in this relation is: "I am the House of Knowledge and 'Ali is the Gate", or "I am the House of Wisdom and 'Ali is its Gate". Hakim has narrated on the authority of Buraydah Aslami that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said to 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.): "The Lord Almighty has commanded me to stay close to you and not to distance myself from you and to teach you so that you gain awareness, and it is your right by Allah to gain awareness; thus Allah has said: 'That we may make it unto you Reminder, and that retaining ears might retain it. (69:12)' "
When Imam 'Ali (A.S.) was questioned regarding the fountainhead of knowledge that people had forgotten, he said: "It is the very knowledge that Allah imparted to the Prophet (S.A.W.), and he in turn imparted the same to me, and prayed that my knowledge be augmented and that it fill my entire being." Some ahadith mention that the Messenger (S.A.W.) transferred the legacy of his knowledge to Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and that Imam 'Ali (A.S.) transferred the same to his sons Imam Hasan (A.S.) and Imam Husayn (A.S.), following which every Imam (A.S.) transferred the legacy on to the following Imam (A.S.). When Imam 'Ali (A.S.) had asked the Prophet (S.A.W.) what he would inherit from him, the Prophet said: "The Book of their Lord and the sunnah of their Prophethood." In a hadith, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A.S.) mentions: "The Lord taught the interpretation of the halal (lawful) and the Haram (prohibition) to His Prophet (S.A.W.), and the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.) taught them all to 'Ali (A.S.) in one go."
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.) stresses that the knowledge in the possession of the Imams (A.S.) did not have any specific (worldly) source and was instead the legacy of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), and says: "If we had offered decrees based on our personal thoughts and beliefs, we too would have been among the damned ones; we guide people based on the guidance of the Prophet of Allah (S.A.W.), and the most pure knowledge is in our possession which we leave as legacy (for the following Imam) one after another, and which we safeguard like a precious treasure of gold and silver for its rightful heirs."
Each Imam (A.S.) thus attains his knowledge from the Imam (A.S.) preceding him. And Imam (A.S.) never acquires his knowledge from anyone else. This knowledge is exclusively the legacy of the Imams (A.S.) even though the Imams (A.S.) are known to have passed on knowledge to some of their students based upon their aptitudes and their levels of understanding. A lot of material in available on this subject.
There is no doubt that each Imam (A.S.) bears certain personal experiences during his own lifetime that that he acquires through the person of each Imam (A.S.) and are related to the requirements of the span of the Imam's (A.S.) own specific lifetime, in turn (A.S.). Thus, although all the Imams (A.S.) work towards the same single purpose, the periods of the lifetimes of each one of them call for their own specific tools, approaches and responses. For example Imam 'Ali (A.S.) demonstrated great political acumen and unparalleled battle skills throughout his lifetime, right until his ultimate martyrdom, leaving behind him, the valuable experiences that had been gained from over fifty years of active involvement in politics, warfare, and social affairs through his own unique knowledge and understanding. This experience was inherited by all the other Imams (A.S.), and is an important insight that throws light on a correct perception of the live and the humanness of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.). The Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), too, are the creations of Allah, with the main difference being that Allah has showered them with the special grace of His Love.
The fact of the matter is that exaggerated versions of the lives of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) have portrayed very unreal pictures as regards their personalities and their knowledge. These misrepresentations have resulted in neglect and laxity among some Muslims, exposing them to the tragedies of exaggeration and amplification.
It is from this angle that Imam 'Ali (A.S.) made sure to emphasize on the "human" aspect of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), stressing the facts that they do not directly possess any knowledge of the unknown and that their knowledge has been inherited from the Prophet (S.A.W.), through the Grace of the Lord Almighty. Imam 'Ali (A.S.) says: "Knowledge of the unseen belongs exclusively to Allah, and Allah has imparted all knowledge to His Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Prophet (S.A.W.) in turn, imparted it to me."
Imam 'Ali (A.S.) always sent his curses upon the ones who were in the habit of exaggeration. The rest of the Imams (A.S.), too, were very against magnification and exaggeration, a clear example of which can be seen in this statement of Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.), who said: "By Allah! We are mere creatures who have been created and chosen by Allah and no loss and no gain lies in our hands and if there is any mercy, it is all from Him; and if we were to sin, we too would be tormented. By Allah! We do not possess any special rights over Allah and those who follow us will never lose hope in Him. We too will face death, we too will be buried, we too will be resurrected, and we too will be held responsible, and..."
The Authority of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in the Field of Knowledge
Interestingly, despite the differences of the various schools of theology and jurisdiction, Islamic scholars have always turned to the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in order to confirm their beliefs in comparison to the Prophet's companions, the first generation of Muslims who followed them (tabi'in) and the founders of the juristic schools. The various books on hadith, fiqh, and history have referred widely to this fact. But for the devious and deceptive political move of some of the rulers of the Umayyid and the Abbassid dynasties, the Allah al Bayt (A.S.) would have not certainly continued to retain their exclusive positions within the hearts and souls of the Muslims. The misleading political moves of the rulers had spread their vicious roots so deeply within the Islamic ummah that they completely distorted facts and reality.
For the sake of brevity, we shall restrict ourselves to reviewing only sections of the sayings of some of the sahabah, tabi'in and fuqaha' (jurists) on the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.). Islamic history witnessed the age of the caliphs following the times of the Prophet (S.A.W.). And with all the complex uncertainties that cropped up immediately upon the passing away of the Prophet (S.A.W.), Abu Bakr became the caliph.
It is a well-known fact that Abu Bakr sought the help of Imam 'Ali (A.S.) in matters pertaining to the people who turned apostates and also approached him for clarification on various religious matters.
The second caliph, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, most frequently referred to Imam 'Ali (A.S.) on matters pertaining to belief, jurisdiction, and socio-political issues.
'Umar is quoted to have said to Imam 'Ali (A.S.): "O, Aba al-Hasan (A.S.)! I seek refuge in Allah from having to live in a community devoid of you", adding, "But for 'Ali (A.S.), verily, 'Umar would have perished."
He also said: "O 'Ali! You are the best in judgement and in issuing decrees. O Lord! Do not descend any difficulty upon me unless 'Ali is beside me. O' Aba al-Hasan! May Allah never try me with any difficulty unless you are by my side, and may He never place me in a city devoid of you; I seek refuge from any difficulty in which Aba al-Hasan is not beside me; O' 'Ali! May Allah not leave me alive after you." All these pleas and appeals were because Imam 'Ali (A.S.) was the key to the solution of the most intricate of religious and jurisprudential matters that 'Umar as well as the Muslims and non-Muslims were faced with.
It was 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.) who had advised 'Umar bin al-Khattab to date the Islamic calendar according to the hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) of the Messenger (S.A.W.), a suggestion that 'Umar accepted, but instead of basing the start of the New Year on 1 of Rabi' al-Awwal, the day the Prophet migrated, he chose the pre-Islamic tradition of Muharram. The second caliph had also approached Imam 'Ali (A.S.) for consultation during the war with the Sasanian and Roman Empires. Numerous books on hadith, jurisprudence, and history have recorded that the situation was no different during the times of "Uthman bin 'Affan, who like the earlier caliphs, used to seek out the help of Imam 'Ali (A.S.).
Moreover, even 'Ayishah is known to have redirected many people who approached her with questions on religious matters, to Imam 'Ali (A.S.). She would tell them to "hasten towards Ibn Abi Talib (A.S.) and ask him", or to, "go to 'Ali (A.S.) who is more knowledgeable than I am." Hakim quotes through Qays bin Abi Hazim, that a sahabah by the name of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas had reprimanded a person who was opposing Imam 'Ali (A.S.), in the following words: "Was he ['Ali (A.S.)] not the first Muslim? Was he not the first one to offer prayers along with the Prophet (S.A.W.)? Is he not the most knowledgeable of all people?"
History testifies to the fact that the most famous title used for addressing 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.) was "Imam" (leader). The same also holds true for Imam Hasan (A.S.), Imam Husayn (A.S.), Imam 'Ali bin al-Husayn (A.S.) as well as the rest of the rest of the Imams (A.S.). It will not be out of place at this point to quote a eulogy composed by Farazdaq in favour of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), and particularly on Imam Zayn al-"Abidin (A.S.), that reads:
He is from the group (the Ahl al-Bayt), whose friendship is synonymous with faith;
Enmity with them is equal to disbelief while proximity to them is the path to salvation and ;
For the Pious, they are the Imams (Leaders), and if we were to ask:
Who are the most excellent on Earth? The answer would be them (the Ahl al-Bayt);
After the remembrance of (the Name of) Allah, is their remembrance, which prevails over the beginning and end of matter.
Similarly, Abu Nawas has composed the following eulogy in praise of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.):
They are the pure ones with pure raiment and prayers should be offered wherever their names are invoked;
By Allah! He has not created anything of which you are not the chosen ones and He has exalted you among all His servants;
You hold lofty positions and possess the Knowledge of the Book ('Ilm al-Kitab) and the hidden meanings of the surahs lie with you.
However, Abu Firas Hamdani has articulated upon the position of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in even better words, an excerpt of which we quote below in relation with our subject of discussion:
Behold! The worst injustice has taken place against din and against truth; and the Fadak which was from the Messenger (S.A.W.), they distributed among themselves;
... If thinkers were in power and if they had certainty of the Day of Judgement, they would never get angered but for (the cause of) Allah;
And if they were to become rulers, they would never neglect the truth;
Their homes constantly reverberate with the sounds of the Qur'an while your homes resound with gaiety and song.
Statements of this kind are indicative of the general belief held by the Muslims as regards the status that exclusively belongs to the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) of the Prophet. This kind of inclination was not confined to poets and the general masses, but the fuqaha' as well as the founders of the juristic schools, too, held the same fond respect for the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.). In the words of Shafi'i:
One the Day of Judgement, the family of the Prophet (A.S.) are my excuse (for gaining Divine Mercy), and they are my means to intercession;
I am hopeful that through their mediation on the Day of Judgement, the list of my deeds is handed over to me in my right hand.
Many of the renowned scholars and jurists belonging to the various Islamic schools have conducted extensive research on the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), and particularly on Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (A.S.). Ibn 'Uqdah has recorded many of the books of these scholars. These scholars include Malik bin Anas, Abu Hanifah Nu'man, Yahya bin Sa'id, Ibn Jarih, Sufyan Thawri, Shu'bah bin Hajjaj, 'Abdullah bin 'Amr, Ruh bin Qasim, Isma'il bin Ja'far, and Ibrahim bin Tahhan.
Abu Hanifah has famous saying that corroborates the statement: "If not for fasahah and balaghah (eloquence and articulacy), verily, Nu'man (Abu Hanifah) would have been ruined." This fasahah and balaghah was taught by Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) and Abu Hanifah had the honour of being one of the Imam's (A.S.) students.