Who was the Greatest Companion of them All?

Introduction

Who was the greatest companion of the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt?[1]

Different answers can be given depending on a multitude of considerations.

However, if we are speaking about the companions of the two Imams who, for historical reasons, did the most to lay the foundations of the Madhhab and clarify its teachings, I mean the two Imams al-Baqir and al-Sadiq, then the answer is near at hand.

 

The Big Four

Our starting point has to be four individuals identified by al-Sadiq himself:

حمدويه، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، عن سليمان بن خالد الأقطع قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: ما أحد أحيا ذكرنا و أحاديث أبي عليه السلام إلا زرارة و أبو بصير ليث المرادي و محمد بن مسلم و بريد بن معاوية العجلي و لو لا هؤلاء ما كان أحد يستنبط هذا، هؤلاء حفاظ الدين و أمناء أبي عليه السلام على حلال الله و حرامه، و هم السابقون إلينا في الدنيا و السابقون إلينا في الآخرة

1. Sulayman b. Khalid al-Aqta said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام say: There is no one who has enlivened our remembrance and the narrations of my father عليه السلام except Zurara, Abu Basir Layth al-Muradi, Muhammad b. Muslim and Burayd b. Muawiya al-Ijli.

If it wasn’t for them then there wouldn’t be anyone who could derive these (i.e. the Ahkam). They are the protectors of the religion and the trustees of my father عليه السلام upon the Halal of Allah and His Haram. They are the foremost to us in this world, and the foremost to us in the hereafter[2].

حمدويه بن نصير، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن جميل بن دراج قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: بشر المخبتين بالجنة بريد بن معاوية العجلي و أبو بصير ليث بن البختري المرادي و محمد بن مسلم و زرارة، أربعة نجباء أمناء الله على حلاله و حرامه، لو لا هؤلاء انقطعت آثار النبوة و اندرست

2. Jamil b. Darraj said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام say: Give glad tidings of Paradise to the humble – Burayd b. Muawiya al-Ijli, Abu Basir Layth b. al-Bakhtari al-Muradi, Muhammad b. Muslim and Zurara.

Four noble-ones and trustees of Allah upon his Halal and Haram. If it wasn’t for them the traces of prophethood would have perished and been destroyed[3].

حدثنا الحسين بن الحسن بن بندار القمي، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، قال حدثني محمد بن عبد الله المسمعي، قال حدثني علي بن حديد و علي بن أسباط، عن جميل بن دراج قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: أوتاد الأرض و أعلام الدين أربعة محمد بن مسلم و بريد بن معاوية و ليث بن البختري المرادي و زرارة بن أعين

3. Jamil b. Darraj said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام say: The Pegs of the Earth and the Scholars of the Religion are four – Muhammad b. Muslim, Burayd b. Muawiya, Layth b. al-Bakhtari al-Muradi and Zurara b. A’yan[4].

حدثني محمد بن قولويه و الحسين بن الحسن، قالا حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله، قال حدثنا محمد بن عبد الله المسمعي، قال حدثني علي بن حديد المدائني، عن جميل بن دراج قال: دخلت على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام … فقال: … إنه ذكر أقواما كان أبي عليه السلام ائتمنهم على حلال الله و حرامه و كانوا عيبة علمه و كذلك اليوم هم عندي، هم مستودع سري أصحاب أبي عليه السلام حقا إذا أراد الله بأهل الأرض سوءا صرف بهم عنهم السوء، هم نجوم شيعتي أحياء و أمواتا يحيون ذكر أبي عليه السلام بهم يكشف الله كل بدعة ينفون عن هذا الدين انتحال المبطلين و تأول الغالين ثم بكى فقلت: من هم؟ فقال: من عليهم صلوات الله و رحمته أحياء و أمواتا، بريد العجلي و زرارة و أبو بصير و محمد بن مسلم … قال جميل: و كنا نعرف أصحاب أبي الخطاب ببغض هؤلاء رحمة الله عليهم

4. Jamil b. Darraj said: I entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام … He (the Imam) said: … he (i.e. the man who was here before you) has mentioned (spoken against) a group to whom my father had entrusted the Halal of Allah and His Haram. They were the containers of his knowledge, and likewise are they to me to this day. They are the stores of my secret. The true companions of my father. When Allah intends bad (outcome) for the inhabitants of the Earth – He alleviates the bad from them (i.e. the inhabitants of the Earth) because of these (i.e. companions).

They are the stars of my Shia in life and after death. They enliven the remembrance of my father. By them does Allah expose every innovation. They expunge from this religion the impersonation of the falsifiers and the wrong interpretation of the exaggerators. Then he cried.

I (Jamil) said: Who are they?

He said: Those upon whom are the salutations of Allah and His mercy whilst alive and after death – Burayd al-Ijli, Zurara, Abu Basir and Muhammad b. Muslim …

Jamil said: We used to identify the companions of Abi al-Khattab by their hatred towards these (i.e. four pillars), may Allah have mercy on them[5].

The common thread running through these reports is the role the four men had in perpetuating the Hadith of the Imams (especially of the legalistic kind).

 

The Top Two

If forced to narrow it down even further then it has to be between Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim.

We already have evidence of a bipartite division of the four into an upper tier and a lower tier in the words of the Imam himself:

و بهذا الإسناد عن محمد بن عبد الله المسمعي، عن علي بن أسباط، عن محمد بن سنان، عن داود بن سرحان قال: سمعت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام يقول: … فلو سمعوا و أطاعوا لأودعتهم ما أودع أبي عليه السلام أصحابه، إن أصحاب أبي عليه السلام كانوا زينا أحياء و أمواتا، أعني زرارة و محمد بن مسلم و منهم ليث المرادي و بريد العجلي، هؤلاء القوامون بالقسط هؤلاء القوالون بالصدق هؤلاء السَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ أُولئِكَ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ

Dawud b. Sirhan said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام say: … If only they (i.e. my companions) would hear and obey – I would have deposited to them (taught them) what my father deposited to his companions. The companions of my father were an adornment whilst alive and after their death. I mean Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim. Among them also are Layth al-Muradi and Burayd al-Ijli.

These are the upholders of Justice. These are the speakers of Truth. These are “the forerunners, the forerunners, they are the ones brought near (to Allah)” (56:10-11)[6].

Note how the Imam names Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim first, before adding Layth al-Muradi and Burayd al-Ijli to the duo.

 

‘Status of our Shia’

Words of praise from the Imam (such as the ones encountered above) went a long way in revealing the status of a specific companion to the rest of the Shia.

But what was it that made a companion stand out above the rest in the eyes of the Imam? Is there a general standard by which to compare the companions?

محمد بن سعد الكشي بن مزيد و أبو جعفر محمد بن أبي عوف البخاري، قالا حدثنا أبو علي محمد بن أحمد بن حماد المروزي المحمودي رفعه قال: قال الصادق عليه السلام: اعرفوا منازل شيعتنا بقدر ما يحسنون من رواياتهم عنا، فإنا لا نعد الفقيه منهم فقيها حتى يكون محدثا. فقيل له: أو يكون المؤمن محدثا؟ قال: يكون مفهما و المفهم محدث

Imam al-Sadiq عليه السلام said: Recognize the status of our Shia (followers) based on the number of narrations from us that they have mastery over, for we do not consider a Faqih from among them to be a Faqih unless he is also a Muhaddath (spoken to/inspired).

It was said to him (the Imam): And can a believer be a Muhaddath? He said: He (the believer) is Mufahham (made to understand) and the one made to understand is a Muhaddath[7].

It is clear from this that the Imams did not conceive the role of their ideal companion as that of a stenographer, limited to dutifully recording their words or memorizing them, and passing it along.

Rather, it was ‘mastery’ over the Hadith being transmitted and a superior ‘understanding’ of their contents that counted for greatness. This quality is called Afqahiyyaderiving from the root ف ق ح (f-q-h) and connoting ‘deep understanding or comprehension’.

 

Ashab al-Ijma

This was understood by our ancient predecessors and it comes as no surprise to find Afqahiyya as the basis for the identification of an elite (top-tier) group of companions around whom the sect as a whole coalesced.

Fiqh and its cognate Afqah occur three times in the short passage where al-Kashshi declares:

 اجتمعت العصابة على تصديق هؤلاء الأولين من أصحاب أبي جعفر عليه السلام و أبي عبد الله عليه السلام و انقادوا لهم بالفقه، فقالوا: أفقه الأولين ستة زرارة و معروف بن خربوذ و بريد و أبو بصير الأسدي و الفضيل بن يسار و محمد بن مسلم الطائفي، قالوا: و أفقه الستة زرارة، و قال بعضهم مكان أبي بصير الأسدي أبو بصير المرادي و هو ليث بن البختري

The sect is unanimous in deeming truthful the following foremost ones amongst the companions of Abi Ja’far عليه السلام and Abi Abdillah عليه السلام, and yielding to them with respect to (their) Fiqh, so they said: The most Afqah of the foremost ones are six: Zurara, Ma’ruf b. Kharrabudh, Burayd, Abu Basir al-Asadi, al-Fudhayl b. Yasar and Muhammad b. Muslim al-Ta’ifi.

They also said: The most Afqah of the six is Zurara. Some of them said in place of Abi Basir al-Asadi Abu Basir al-Muradi and he is Layth b. al-Bakhtari[8].

The inclusion of the Big Four within the ranks of the Ashab al-Ijma confirms that admittance was in large part dependent on the Imam’s words of praise.

 

The Greatest?

The last statement in al-Kashshi’s declaration has anonymous speakers (most likely representative scholars speaking on behalf of the sect) identifying Zurara as the greatest companion of them all because of his Afqahiyya.

It is important to point out however that there is an alternative tradition which demurs:

قال أبو أحمد: فسمعت عبد الرحمن بن الحجاج و حماد بن عثمان يقولان: ما كان أحد من الشيعة أفقه من محمد بن مسلم

Abu Ahmad (Ibn Abi Umayr) said: I heard Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj and Hammad b. Uthman saying: There was no one from the Shia Afqah than Muhammad b. Muslim[9].

This reconfirms our initial inference that the race is between the two of them, with it being a toss-up as to who wins out in the end.

 

The Numbers Game

It is significant that almost all the Ashab al-Ijma are represented heavily in what survives of our corpus[10]. For instance, the names of our top two, Zurara b. A’yan and Muhammad b. Muslim, are ubiquitous in Shi’i books of Hadith. They far outstrip their nearest competitors. An estimate has Zurara appearing in the chains of approximately 2211 reports in the Four Books[11], while Muhammad b. Muslim has about 2276 reports in them[12].  Obviously they have many more reports quoted on their authority in other books.

Some misread this prodigious scholarly output (Kathratu-l Riwaya) as the basis of their greatness instead of a by-product of it. They commit the logical fallacy of placing the cart before the horse[13]. There were many men who had more narrations to their name historically speaking, but whose narrations went on to be excised. A liar can, after all, fabricate a lot.

Actually, it is because of their greatness (Afqahiyya) that so much was narrated to them (by the Imams) and so much from them was included in the books.

 

How It Worked

I contend that there is a direct link, working backwards, between prodigious output as we have it, the Imam’s selection and a companion’s ability (Afqahiyya). That is, the Imams first noted the ability an individual possessed (i.e. how superior his understanding was), selected to drew them near, shared a lot of knowledge with them, advertised their appointment as repositories of their knowledge, and they consequently became prodigious[14].

 

(a) Selection

It is undeniable that the Imams were very selective about whom they  chose to draw near and train to become bearers of their knowledge. Whilst many companions heard something from the Two Imams, they were not all equal in terms of how intimate the Imams would be with them, how much time they would spend with them, and also whether they would employ Taqiyya with them or not.

Consider the preference the Imams had for both Muhammad b. Muslim and Zurara in terms of the unfettered access given to them and the personal tutelage enjoyed by both (which is reflected in the number of narrations that the Imams chose to narrate to them both).

Muhammad b. Muslim says in auto-biographical note:

حدثني حمدويه بن نصير، قال: حدثنا محمد بن عيسى، عن ياسين الضرير البصري، عن حريز، عن محمد بن مسلم قال: ما شجر في رأيي شئ قط إلا سألت عنه أبا جعفر عليه السلام

Nothing crossed my mind ever except that I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام  about it.

سمعت من أبي جعفر عليه السلام ثلاثين ألف حديث، ثم لقيت جعفرا ابنه فسمعت منه أو قال سألته عن ستة عشر ألف حديث أو قال مسألة

I heard from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام thirty thousand Hadith, then I met Ja’far his son and heard from him [or he said: asked him about] sixteen thousand Hadith [or he said: jurisprudential questions][15].

Hisham b. Salim reports:

قال محمد بن مسعود، حدثني علي بن محمد، قال حدثني محمد بن أحمد، عن عبد الله بن أحمد الرازي، عن بكر بن صالح، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، قال: أقام محمد بن مسلم بالمدينة أربع سنين يدخل على أبي جعفر عليه السلام يسأله، ثم كان يدخل على جعفر بن محمد يسأله

Muhammad b. Muslim stayed in Madina for four years entering upon Abi Ja’farعليه السلام and asking him questions, then he used to enter upon Ja’far b. Muhammadعليه السلام to ask him[16].

Zurara b. A’yan states:

عنه، عن أبيه، عن حماد، عن حريز، عن زرارة بن أعين … قال: وكان يأخذ بيدي في بعض الليل فينتحي ناحية ثم يجلس فيتحدث في  … المسجد الحرام فربما نام ونمت

He (the Imam) would take me by the hand in some parts of the night and seclude himself in a corner and sit and narrate to me in the Masjid al-Haram. It would happen sometimes that he would fall asleep and I too would sleep (after long discussions) …[17]

Zurara was even favoured to see the Sahifa of Ali (the earliest book in Islam after the Qur’an) which the Imams guarded as one of their most valuable possessions:

علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، ومحمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن يونس جميعا، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن الجد فقال: ما أجد أحدا قال فيه إلا برأيه إلا أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام قلت: أصلحك الله فما قال فيه أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام؟ قال: إذا كان غدا فالقني حتى أقرئكه في كتاب، قلت: أصلحك الله حدثني فإن حديثك أحب إلي من أن تقرئنيه في كتاب، فقال لي الثانية: اسمع ما أقول لك إذا كان غدا فألقني حتى أقرئكه في كتاب فأتيته من الغد بعد الظهر وكانت ساعتي التي كنت أخلو به فيها بين الظهر والعصر وكنت أكره أن أسأله إلا خاليا خشية أن يفتيني من أجل من يحضره بالتقية فلما دخلت عليه أقبل على ابنه جعفر عليه السلام فقال له: إقرء زرارة صحيفة الفرائض ثم قام لينام فبقيت أنا وجعفر عليه السلام في البيت فقام فأخرج إلي صحيفة مثل فخذ البعير فقال: لست اقرئكها حتى تجعل لي عليك الله أن لا تحدث بما تقرأ فيها أحدا أبدا حتى آذن لك ولم يقل: حتى يأذن لك أبي، فقلت: أصلحك الله ولم تضيق علي ولم يأمرك أبوك بذلك؟ فقال لي: ما أنت بناظر فيها إلا على ما قلت لك، فقلت: فذاك لك …

Zurara said:  I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام about the grandfather (i.e. his share of inheritance). He said: I have not found anyone speaking about it except by his opinion – other than the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام. I (Zurara) said: And what did the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام say? He said: Meet me tomorrow so that I can make you read it from a book. I said: May Allah set you aright, narrate it to me – for your (oral) narration is more preferable to me than making me read it in a book. So he said to me a second time: Listen to what I say to you, when it is the morrow meet me so that I can make you read it from a book.

So I came to him the next day after the Dhuhr, and this was the time in which I used to seclude with him, between the Dhuhr and the Asr, and I used to dislike asking him except in privacy with him (when I with him alone) – fearing that he may give me a Fatwa due to Taqiyya because of someone who was in his presence (apart from me)[18].

So when I had entered upon him – he turned towards his son Ja’far and said to him: Make Zurara read from the Scroll of the Inheritance Shares, then he stood to go and sleep. Only I and Ja’far remained in the room. He (i.e. Ja’far) stood and took out a scroll like the thigh of a camel (in its ancient appearance) and said: I will not let you read it until you swear for me an oath on Allah that you will not relate what you read in it to anyone ever until I permit you that. (Zurara comments:) He (Ja’far) did not say ‘until my father permits you’. So I said: May Allah set you aright, why do you constrain me while your father did not order you to do that.

He said to me: You will not even glance at it except on the condition I had told you about. I said: That is for you (I bind myself by it) …[19]

 

(b) Appointment

After hand-picking some companions because of their Afqahiyya and sharing their knowledge with them, the next step was to advertise the appointment of these men as repositories of their knowledge.

The Imams referred their Shia to these figures when they have questions and for some reason cannot meet them directly, or when the Imams were for some reason unavailable[20].

حدثني محمد بن قولويه، قال حدثني سعد بن عبد الله بن أبي خلف القمي، قال حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن عبد الله بن محمد الحجال، عن العلاء بن رزين، عن عبد الله بن أبي يعفور قال: قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام إنه ليس كل ساعة ألقاك و لا يمكن القدوم، و يجي‏ء الرجل من أصحابنا فيسألني و ليس عندي كلما يسألني عنه، قال فما يمنعك من محمد بن مسلم الثقفي فإنه قد سمع من أبي و كان عنده وجيها

Abdallah b. Abi Ya’fur said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام – I do not meet you (be with you) at all times, and it is impossible to travel (i.e. to come and reach you from Kufah), and a man from among our companions comes and asks me – but I do not have something (i.e. as an answer from your Hadith) for everything that he asks me about. He عليه السلام said: What prevents you from (going to) Muhammad b. Muslim al-Thaqafi – for he had heard from my father and had a most favorable (i.e. close) position with him[21].

There is also evidence that the Ashab al-Ijma were seen as decisors in areas of contention[22].

When someone complains about the differences between the companions, all sourcing back their contradictory reports to the Aimma, al-Sadiq says:

وذلك أنهم لا يطلبون بحديثنا وبحبنا ما عند الله وانما يطلبون به الدنيا، وكل يحب أن يدعى رأسا، أنه ليس من عبد يرفع نفسه الا وضعه  الله، وما من عبد وضع نفسه الا رفعه الله وشرفه فاذا أردت بحديثنا فعليك بهذا الجالس وأومى بيده الى رجل من أصحابه، فسألت أصحابنا عنه فقالوا: زرارة بن أعين

That is because they do not seek by our Hadith and by our love what is with Allah. Rather they seek by it the world. Every one of them wishes to be deemed a leader. There is not a slave who elevates himself except Allah will bring him low. There is not a slave who humbles himself except Allah will elevate him and grant him honour. If you want our Hadith then upon you is (to take it from) this seated one – and he (the Imam) pointed with his hand to a man from among his companions.

I (the companion) asked our companions about him so they said: (It is) Zurara b. A’yan[23].

 

Conclusion

How can we go about comparing companions across generations and over all time? While there are common attributes all companions would have to share, some become prioritized over others due to historical factors.

That is why it is much better to restrict oneself to a specific period. Since we are dealing with the Imama of al-Baqir and Sadiq, which was the era of “the Dissemination of Knowledge”, it is only natural that the best companion in this period had to be marked with the academic qualities of knowledge and understanding.

 

Footnotes

[1] This question rose to the fore whilst working on translating Rijal al-Kashshi, a book dedicated to the subject of the men around the Imams. I wish to acknowledge Ali al-Nawfali for contributing original ideas to the essay in his discussions with me.

[2] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 219.

[3] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 286.

[4] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 432.

[5] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 220. This last statement by Jamil is very important. It gives credence to the theory that there was a ‘traditionist’ wing and an ‘esoteric’ wing among the companions of the Imams, with the latter attacking the pillars of the former because of their anti-nomian stance.

[6] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 433.

[7] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 2. This is the second report with which al-Kashshi begins his book. The placement must be significant. I am of the opinion that it is the master-key opening the skeleton of the book and laying it bare. The very first report is on the same theme:

اعرفوا منازل الرجال منا على قدر رواياتهم عنا

Recognize the status of the men in relation to us based upon the number of their narrations from us.

This is an inferior variant because it limits status to the number of narrations a narrator narrates (quantity) without touching on the all important aspect of Afqahiyya (the cause of the Imam narrating a lot of narrations to a narrator).

One way to reconcile the two variants (if we must) is to note the latter’s usefulness, since once it has been confirmed that these narrations do actually go back to the Imam then the number of narrations shared to a narrator reveal his closeness to the Imam and therefore his status.

[8] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 431.

[9] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 280.

[10] With the possible exception of Abu Basir (if the confusion between Asadi and Muradi is cleared up), we do not have many narrations from the other  names apart from Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim in this group of six. However, this can be explained away by the fact that they must have been prolific at the time, but seeing as though most of their reports were identical to those narrated by Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim, it is the latter two’s variants that were preserved.

[11] Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith Vol. 8 Pg. 254 and Pg. 267.

[12] Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith Vol. 18 Pg. 246.

[13] Such people conflate the numbers we see in the books today with historical reality. They forget that they are looking at the top of the ice-berg, neglecting to see what lies submerged underneath, the efforts that went into producing the finished article we have in our hands today.  The quantity (number of narrations) for a narrator as we have it, is a product of two factors: The Imam’s selection and the scholar’s filtration, the latter being dependent to the former to quite some degree.

[14] The most that can be said about the criteria of number of narrations (quantity) by a narrator, in the times contemporary to the Imams, is that it could indirectly reveal the Imam’s selection of someone, and allude to his greatness, since he has answers to most questions asked by the masses, sourced back to the Imam, showing how close he is to the Imam. But this is all dependent on whether these narrations do actually go back to the Imam, and that is why this could not be the sole criteria, either trust would have to be established beforehand, or as more likely, the companions waited for the Imam’s words of praise confirming someones status.

As for us, who are dealing with the finished article, number of narrations, if it is directly from the Imam, can indicate the status of a man with some caveats, but if it is as an intermediary, then in many cases it is just Mashayikh al-Ijaza transmitting books which does not necessarily speak to anything.

[15] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 276.

[16] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 276.

[17] al-Kafi: Vol. 3 Pg. 370.

[18] That Zurara was aware of the possibility of the Imam answering him in Taqiyya and took steps to preclude this by only asking the Imam questions in seclusion adds authority to his reports as compared to lesser narrators.

[19] al-Kafi: Vol. 7 Pg. 94.

[20] The overlooked scholar Muhammad Baqir Behbudi draws this connection, seeing the concept of Ashab al-Ijma as a primitive precedent of what we call Maraji (points of reference) today. See his article ‘Tulu wa Ghurub Ashab Ijma‘ in the journal Fiqh, the 8th issue, Pgs. 397-414.

[21] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 273. There are other examples of the Imam directing his companions to go to the Ashab al-Ijma when they cannot come to them. See Rijal al-Kashshi No. 291 (for Abu Basir al-Asadi), and Rijal al-Kashshi No. 935 (for Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman).

[22] A practical implication of this applicable today would be to prefer the judgment of the Ashab al-Ijma (what they choose to relate) to the reports of others in cases of contradiction. Thus the words of al-Kashshi ‘yielding to them with respect to (their) Fiqh’ is taken to mean, those to whom we submit to, by worth of their understanding of Hadith.

[23] Rijal al-Kashshi No. 216.

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