Zarara b. A'yun al- Shaybany (the freed servant of ahl al Bayt) reported traditions on the authority of al- Baqir and al- Sadiq, peace be on them. He died in the year 150 (A.H.). So, he lived for two years during the days of al- Kazim, peace be on him. What can the sayer say on Zarara? Can the skillful writer bring a word to include the outstanding merit of Zarara? What the Imams of guidance mentioned about him is enough evidence for his high position. What has been mentioned on Barid al- 'Ajaly is enough to underline the high position of Zarara. Still, we will mention here some traditions which has not been mentioned there. For example, one day, al-Sadiq said to him: "Zarara, your name is among the names of the people of Paradise without alif." He said: "Yes, may I be your ransom, my name is Abid Rabba. However, they call me Zarara." He (al- Sadiq) said: " Were it not for Zarara, I would have thought that the traditions of my father would go in vein." He said to al- Fayyad b. Mukhata(573): "If you want our tradition, then cleave to this sitting one and he made a sign with his hands toward Zarara."
In other tradition, he (al- Sadiq) said: "May Allah have mercy on Zarara,(574) were it not for Zarara and his matches, the traditions of my father would have become obliterated." Al- Rida, peace be on him, said: "Do you think that there is someone who declared the truth publicly more than Zarara?"
Zarara was not only a jurist but also had many outstanding merits. So, in his book al- Fihrast, b. al- Nadin said: "Zarara was the greatest man of the Shi'a in jurisprudence, tradition, theology, and Shiism."
Al- Najashy said: "He (Zarara) was the Shaykh of our companions and was the best one of them. He was a reciter (of the Koran), jurist, theologian, poet, and writer. Indeed, the qualities of virtue and of the religion had come together in him." Abu Ghalib al- Zarary said: "It has been reported that Zarara was handsome, fat, and white. He went out to perform the Friday prayer. He wore a black burnoose. And there was a rod in his hand. So, people stood up in two queues to look at him because of his good appearance. He had a strong ability to produce evidence for his beliefs. However, worship prevented him from theology. The Shi'te theologians were his students.
So, Zarara had gathered all outstanding merits. But his reputation in jurisprudence predominated all his other qualities. Whoever studies carefully jurisprudence will know the traditions reported by this man. He will find that this man reported a tradition or a group of traditions in every part of the parts of jurisprudence. He was among the first six companions of Abu Ja'far, peace be on him. The sect (i.e. the Shi'a) has agreed on the correctness of the traditions which have been reported on their authority, and acknowledged their ability in jurisprudence. And there is no wonder that Zarara was the most knowledgeable of them in jurisprudence.
People knew that Zarara was knowledgeable, virtuous, and pro the member of the House (ahl al Bayt ). Such qualities were the greatest crime with the enemies of ahl al Bayt. Zarara led a dangerous- life because of these outstanding merits. For this reason, the man (i.e. al- Sadiq) sometimes dispraised Zarara to drive away the dangers from him. Besides, it has been mentioned that he has been dispraised in some traditions. Al- Sadiq him disclosed the reason why Zarara was dispraised. In this connection, in his book 'al- Rijal', p.91, al- Kashy has mentioned a long tradition on the authority of al- Sadiq. The following is a part of it: "I (i.e. al- Sadiq) dispraise you to protect you from people and enemies because they hasten to hurt the person whom we love and make near to us. So I would to dispraise you so that they would praise you in the religion du to this dispraise." From here we know the important position of Zarara with ahl al Bayt, peace be on them. Meanwhile we know the meaning of the traditions which defame Zarara.
Adapted from: "Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.)"
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