JAWHARI, ABU ʿABD-ALLĀH AḤMAD b. Mo-ḥammad b. ʿObayd-Allāh b. Ḥasan b. ʿAyyāš, 10th century Imami transmitter of Hadith (d. 1010). His nesba was derived from his profession, which was the selling of, and working with, gemstones (jawāher). It is not clear whether this was his family trade or he was the first to practice it and assume the name, but it is certain that he had enough expertise in the appraisal of jewels and the craft of jewelry to write a book on various kinds of pearls and their craft (Ketāb al-loʾloʾ wa ṣanʿatohu wa anwāʿohu), indicating his prominence in this craft (Najāši, I, p. 87; Ebn Šahrāšub, p. 57; Ḵoʾi, III, p. 78).
He was a friend of the Imami biographer, Abu’l-ʿAbbās Najāši and his father, but Najāši did not record the Hadith from him, saying, “I found that our shaikhs consider him weak, therefore I did not report his Hadith” (Najāši, I, p. 87), but Ayatollah Abu’l-Qāsem Ḵoʾi correctly noted that Najāši did indeed rely on Jawhari’s Hadith in the biography of Ḥosayn b. Besṭām (Ḵoʾi, III, p. 79). In fact, Najāši had him as a source in more instances than the one time that Ḵoʾi reported; Najāši refered to him as “Abu ʿAbd-Allāh b. ʿAyyāš” or “Ebn ʿAyyāš” (Najāši, I, pp. 40, 52, 167, II, p. 430). Perhaps the reason for considering him weak pertained to the deterioration of his mental condition when he advanced in age (Ḥelli, II, p. 323).
According to his biographers, Jawhari belonged to a very prominent family with close ties to the Qāżi Abu ʿOmar Moḥammad b. Yusof, who was the uncle of Jawhari’s mother, Sokayna bent Ḥosayn b. Yusof (Najāši, p. 86).
Among Jawhari’s books are: Ketāb moqtażab al-āṯār fi ʿadad al-aʾemma al-eṯnā ʿašar, Ketāb al-aḡsāl, Ketāb aḵbār Abu Hāšem Dāwud b. Qāsem Jaʿfari, Ketāb šeʿr Abu Hāšem, Aḵbār Jāber al-Joʿfi, Ketāb al-eštemāl ʿalā maʿrefat al-rejāl wa man rawā ʿan Emām, Ketāb mā nazala men al-Qorʾān fi Ṣāḥeb-al-Zamān, Ketāb aʿmāl šahr Rajab, Ketāb aʿmāl šahr Šaʿbān, Ketāb aʿmāl šahr Ramażān, Ketāb aḵbār al-Sayyed [al-Ḥemyari, the poet], Ketāb aḵbār ʿoqalāʾ al-aʾemma al-arbaʿa, and Ketāb ḏekr man rawā al-ḥadiṯ men Bani Nāšera (Najāši, I, p. 87; Ḵoʾi, III, pp. 78-79). Of all these works only the Ketāb moqtażab al-āṯār is known to be extant in manuscripts kept in the Library of Imam Mahdi in Sāmarrāʾ (Iraq) and the Āstān-e Qods Library in Mashad (no. 8130). It was prepared for publication by Beʿṯa Foundation in Qom, 1991. It is divided into three parts: the first two parts contain the statements attributed to the Companions of the Prophet in regards to the twelve Imams, while the third part presents the poetry mentioning the number of the Imams and their names, including poems composed prior to the birth dates of several Imams (Torāṯonā 72/2, p. 251; Moḥsen al-Amin, IX, p. 325).
With two books on the biographies of Imami transmitters of Hadith, Jawhari can be considered as one of the earliest scholars of this genre (known as ʿelm al-rejāl), which was perfected after him by Najāši and Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad Ṭusi. Jawhari died in 1010 (Najāši, I, p. 87).
Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad b. ʿAli Ebn Šahrāšub, Maʿālem al-ʿolamāʾ fi fehrest kotob al-šiʿa wa-asmāʾ al-moṣannefĭn menhom, qadiman wa ḥadiṯan, Tehran, 1934 (supplement of Abu Jaʿfar Ṭusi’s Ketāb al-fehrest).
ʿAllāma Ḥasan b. Yusof Ḥelli, Ḵolāṣat al-aqwāl fi maʿrefat al-rejāl, Qom, 1996.
Abu’l-Qāsem Ḵoʾi, Moʿjam rejāl al-ḥadiṯ wa tafṣil ṭabaqāt al-rowāh, 24 vols., Beirut, 1992.
Sayyed Moḥsen al-Amin Ḥosayni ʿĀmeli, Aʿyān al-šiʿa, ed. Ḥasan al-Amin, 56 parts, Damascus, 1935-62, IX, pp. 323-25.
Abu’l-ʿAbbās Najāši, Rejāl al-Najāši, ed. Musā Šobayri Zanjāni as Fahrasat asmāʾ moṣannefin al-Šiʿa al-moštaher be-Rejāl al-Najāši, Qom, 1986.
Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: April 13, 2012
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Vol. XIV, Fasc. 6, p. 614