ḤASANI, ABU’L-ʿABBĀS AḤMAD B. EBRĀHIM, Zaydi scholar from Āmol in Ṭabarestān, who flourished in the first half of the 3rd/9th century and taught three Caspian Zaydi imams. His full lineage is Aḥmad b. Ebrāhim b. Ḥasan b. Ebrāhim b. Ḥasan b. Moḥammad b. Solaymān b. Dāwud b. Ḥasan b. Ḥasan b. ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb. His ancestor Moḥammad b. Solaymān had led a Zaydi revolt in Medina in concert with the rebellion of Abu’l-Sarāyā in Iraq in 199/814. His grandfather Ḥasan b. Ebrāhim moved to Āmol and assisted the later founder of the Zaydi imamate in the Yemen, Yaḥyā b. Ḥosayn al-Hādi elā’l-Ḥaqq, whose mother was his paternal aunt, during his visit to the town between 270/884 and 275/889. Abu’l-ʿAbbās Ḥasani became the most prominent propagator of Hādi’s religious and legal doctrine in Ṭa-barestān in his generation. As such, he is counted among the Qāsemiya, the legal school founded by Hādi’s grandfather Qāsem b. Ebrāhim, as against the Nāṣeriya, the school founded by al-Nāṣer al-Oṭruš. Later reports that he was originally an Imami are unreliable.
Nothing is known about his early education in feqh. When he visited Ray in 322/934 as a young man, he was already sufficiently well-trained to engage in legal disputation in defence of the doctrine of al-Hādi. According to his own account (Abu Ṭāleb, Efāda, p. 132), he went there in order to hear the Kufan Zaydi scholar Abu Zayd ʿIsā b. Moḥammad al-ʿAlawi and the famous Šāfeʿi Hadith expert Ebn Abi Ḥātem al-Rāzi among others. He also attended the debating sessions of the Ḥanafi scholar Abu Bakr al-Ḵaṭṭāb, and may have studied kalām there too under Abu Bakr Moḥammad b. Ebrāhim al-Maqāneʿi al-Rāzi, a pupil of Abuʾl-Qāsem al-Balḵi. Like Hādi he adhered to the Baghdad school of the Moʿtazela. He is known to have heard traditions also in Kufa, Mecca, and Hamadān. Among the numerous traditionists from whom he transmitted were the prominent Zaydi scholars Ebn ʿOqda of Kufa and ʿAbd-al-ʿAziz b. Esḥāq b. Jaʿfar, known as Ebn al-Baqqāl, of Baghdad, the compiler of the Majmuʿ al-feqh of Zayd b. ʿAli. He taught Abu ʿAbd-Allāh b. Dāʿi, the later Imam al-Mahdi (d. 360/970), Zaydi law in the 320s/930s. Later he taught the Boṭḥāni brothers Abu’l-Ḥosayn, the later Imam Moʾayyad be’l-lāh (d. 411/1020), and Abu Ṭāleb, the later Imam al-Nāṭeq be’l-Ḥaqq (d. ca. 424/1033), law and kalām.
His works included: 1. Šarḥ al-Aḥkām, a commentary on Hādi’s comprehensive law book al-Aḥkām. It consisted of six volumes and was extant in the Yemen in the 11th/17th century. 2. Šarḥ al-Montaḵab, a commentary on Hādi’s legal compendium al-Montaḵab. 3. al-Noṣuṣ, on proof texts, which is frequently quoted in later Zaydi legal works. 4. Šarḥ al-Noṣuṣ, a commentary on the former. 5. Masāʾel al-ḵelāf, in which he discussed points of conflict between the legal doctrine of Hādi and Qāsem and of Abu Ḥanifa and Šāfeʿi. 6. al-Radd ʿalā’l-nāḥel le’l-ḵelāf bayn al-Hādi wa’l-Nāṣer le’l-Ḥaqq, in which he presumably argued that there was no conflict between the legal doctrines of Hādi and Nāṣer Oṭruš. 7. al-Maṣābiḥ, containing biographies of the Prophet and the Zaydi imams, is extant in manuscript form. Unfinished at the time of his death, it was completed by his pupil ʿAli b. Belāl largely on the basis of material left by him. The book reflects his strong support of the imamates of Qāsem, Hādi and his sons, Moḥammad al-Mortaẓā and Aḥmad al-Nāṣer, as well as his hostility towards the Zaydi emirs of Ṭabarestān, Ḥasan b. Zayd and Moḥammad b. Zayd, whom he characterizes as unjust rulers.
The death date given for him in the late sources, 353/964, seems too early, if the birth date of Abu Ṭāleb Nāṭeq, given as 340/951-52, is correct. His tomb in Āmol was still recognized and visited in the 7th/13th century.
Abu Ṭāleb Yaḥyā b. al-Ḥosayn, al-Efāda, ed. M. Yaḥyā Sālem ʿEzzān, Sanʿa, 1417/1996, index.
Wilferd Madelung, ed., Arabic Texts concerning the History of the Zaydi Imāms, Beirut, 1987, index.
Ebn Abi’l-Rejāl, Maṭlaʿ al-bodur, ms., s.v.
Aḥmad b. ʿAbd-Allāh Jendāri, Tarājem al-rejāl, Cairo, 1341/1923, p. 3.
E. Griffini, Corpus juris di Zayd b. ʿAli, Milan, 1919, index.
Wilferd Madelung, Der Imam al-Qāsim ibn Ibrāhim, Berlin, 1965, pp. 172-75 and index.
Originally Published: December 15, 2003
Last Updated: March 20, 2012
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Vol. XII, Fasc. 1, p. 41