ʿAYYĀŠĪ, ABU’L-NAŻR MOḤAMMAD B. MASʿŪD B. MOḤAMMAD B. AL-ʿAYYĀŠ AL-SOLAMĪ SAMARQANDĪ, Imami jurist and scholar of the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries. It is said that he descended from the tribe of Tamīm and was born and raised as a Sunni, but while still young he was converted to the Shiʿite Imami faith. He studied with the disciples of ʿAlī b. Ḥasan b. Fażżāl and ʿAbdallāh b. Moḥammad Ṭayālesī, the leading Imami scholars of the third/ninth century as well as with other prominent scholars of Kūfa, Baghdad, and Qom. It is reported that he spent his whole inheritance of 300,000 dinars in pursuit of scholarship and tradition and that his house, which had become a center of learning, was always filled with people. Although he is said to have related traditions on weak authorities, he is regarded as an eminent, trustworthy figure, like that of Kolaynī, among the early Imamis. He was one of the main sources for his student Kaššī’s Rejāl (Bombay, 1317, passim; Najāšī, Ketāb al-rejāl, Bombay, 1317, pp. 247-50).
Ebn al-Nadīm states that ʿAyyāšī was one of the most learned of his time and that his books carried great weight in Khorasan. He was a prolific author and Ebn al-Nadīm has given a comprehensive list of his works based on the authority of Jonayd b. Noʿaym comprising over 200 titles (Fehrest, pp. 244-46; see also Ṭūsī, Fehrest, ed. Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Āl-Baḥr-al-ʿolūm, Najaf, 1381/1961, pp. 163-65; Ebn Šahrāšūb, Maʿālem al-ʿolamāʾ , ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1353/1934, pp. 88-89; Astarābādī, Menhāj al-maqāl, Tehran, 1306, pp. 319-20). Though most of his works dealt with jurisprudence, they covered a wide range of subjects from typical Shiʿite themes, such as dalāʾel al-aʾemma, taqīya, ḡayba and rajʿa, to medicine, poetry, dreams, stars, and divination. He also wrote biographies of the first three caliphs and Moʿāwīa drawing on Sunni sources. His commentary of the Koran (tafsīr), wherein the moral excellence (fażāʾel) of Ahl al-Bayt is emphasized, enjoyed wide popularity with the Imamis and was used both by Ṭabrasī (6th/12th century) and Majlesī (11th/17th) as a source for their Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qorʾān (Tehran, I 379/ 1959, I, p. 17) and Beḥār al-anwār (Tehran, 1376/1956, I, pp. 97-100) respectively. Unfortunately, all his works except the first half of the tafsīr are lost (Mīrzā Moḥammad-Bāqer Ḵᵛānsārī, Rawżāt al-jannāt fī aḥwāl al-ʿolamāʾwa’l-sādāt, ed. A. Esmāʿīlīān, Tehran, 1390/1970, VI, pp. 129-31; al-Ḏarīʿa IV, p. 295).
See also Kaḥḥāla, XII, p. 20.
Zereklī, al-Aʿlām2 VII, p. 316.
Brockelmann, GAL, I, p. 704.
S. F. Sezgin, GAS I, p. 42.
EI2, pp. 794-95.
(I. K. Poonawala)
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 2, pp. 163-164