The Students of the Imamia School of Jurisprudence
The value of a school of thought can to a great extent be determined by viewing its students' accomplishments. If a school of thought hands over well educated students to the society, then surely that school of thought has the ability to nourish the minds of its community.
Therefore, we want to give a glimpse of the different aspects of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq's life, his characters, and especially his knowledge by showing examples through his students.
Historians have estimated that nearly four thousand students have studied in the school of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Great scholars graduated from his school of thought in different fields of Islamic studies such as jurisprudence (divine law), interpretation of the Holy Quran and Hadith, history of religions, science of beliefs, and several other sciences of that era.
Gaining proficiency was highly regarded in the school of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Some of his students and their specializations are as follows:
- Hamran ibn Aa'yan in science of Quranic recitation
- Abaan ibn Taghlab in Arabic literature
- Zurarah ibn Aa'yan in jurisprudence
- Mumin Taaq in theology
- Hamzah Tayyar in philosophy
- Hisham ibn Salim in theology
- Hisham ibn Hakam in logic
From amongst the students, Hisham ibn Hakam was one of the best students in the school of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Even though Hisham was young, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) had great respect for him. Hisham had studied many religions and schools of thought but none of them convinced him except the school of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) and Imam Sadiq (A.S.). Thus, Hisham excelled in the skills of logic, inductive reasoning, and especially in debates. Many scholars thought of him as a great indisputable professor and were afraid to challenge him. Hisham had participated in many debates and discussions with people of diverse religions and beliefs. One of whom he had had a debate with about Christianity and the eternity of the hereafter, was Jathaliq Nasraani (the leader of Christians at that time).
To conclude, we will include one of the debates Hisham had with Dirar ibn Umar, a Sunni scholar, in regards to Imamah:
Hisham: Dirar! Is the criterion for qualifying someone for the position of Wilayah (Mastership) his outward or inward characteristics?
Dirar: His outward appearance, because no one can judge about a person's internal thoughts, except by the help of revelation.
Hisham: Indeed you have spoken the truth. Now tell me who has defended and helped the Prophet more? Ali or the first Caliph? Has Ali fought more in the battles against the enemies or the first Caliph?
Dirar: Of course Ali served the Prophet more, yet Abu Bakr's knowledge and certainty was more than Ali's.
Hisham: Certainty is something that can be understood only through a person?s heart. And as you yourself mentioned, none can be aware of the inner thoughts through appearance. Thus, apparently you just proved that Ali is better for the position of Wilayah.
Dirar: Yes, apparently it is so.
Hisham: Are you aware of the following prophetic narration? Prophet Muhammad said to Ali, "Your status with respect to mine is equivalent to the status of Haroun/Aaron with respect to Musa/Moses, except there will be no prophet after me."(1)
Hisham: Do you think it is right for the Prophet to say such a thing when that person does not have the true faith within him?
Hisham: Thus, it is clear that Ali ibn Abi Talib has the basis for Imamah, through both inward and outward appearances. However, in case of your leader, even his outward actions have not proven anything ... and praise be to Allah! (2)
Hisham was only one example of the graduates of Imam Sadiq's (A.S.) excellent school of thought. Then how far is the horizon of the origin of this knowledge? Only Allah (SWT) knows! ? (3)
1- This is the Hadith of Manzilat which is an authentic Hadith and has been recorded in both Shia and Sunni sources:
Al-Irshad By Shaikh Mufid v. 1, p. 8
Al-Kafi by Shaikh Kulayni v. 8, p. 106 ?
Sahih al-Bukhari v. 5, p. 24, Published by Dar al-Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut
Sahih al-Muslim, v. 4, p. 1870, Hadith 2404, Published by Dar al-Fikr Beirut-1398 (A.H)
2- Taken from the book "Fosul", written by Sayyed Murtada, famous Shiite scholar and student of Shaikh Mufid.
3- The original text is taken from the book "Hisham Ibn Hakam, the Defender of Wilayah" written by Sayyed Ahmad Safa'ei.
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