ʿABD-AL-ʿAẒĪM AL-ḤASANĪ, ABU’L-QĀSEM B. ʿABDALLĀH B. ʿALĪ B. AL-ḤASAN B. ZAYD B. AL-ḤASAN B. ʿALĪ B. ABŪ ṬĀLEB, Shiʿite ascetic and transmitter buried in the main sanctuary of Ray. Little is known about his life. He must have been born before the year 200/815, probably in Median. There he was a companion of Imams Moḥammad al-Javād (203-20/818-35) and ʿAlī al-Hādī (220-54/835-68). When the latter, on the order of the caliph al-Motavakkel, moved to Sāmarrāʾ in 233/848, ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm evidently followed him there. Later he seems to have been forced to go into hiding from the government and to have stayed some time in Ṭabarestān before coming to Ray. According to the contemporary scholar Aḥmad b. Moḥammad b. Ḵāled al-Barqī of Qom (d. 274/887-88 or 280/893-94), he lived there, still concealing his identity, in the house of a Shiʿite in the Sekkat al-mawālī in the quarter of Sarbānān. He spent the time in worship and fasting and used to visit, outside the town, a tomb which later faced his own grave, stating that a descendant of Imam Mūsā was buried there. This tomb was later identified as that of Ḥamza b. Mūsā. After ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm’s death, he was buried under an apple tree (šaǰara toffāḥ) nearby on the initiative of a Shiʿite who, in a dream had heard the Prophet state that a descendant of his would be carried from Sekkat al-mawālī and be buried under it. His shrine was later called mašhad al-šaǰara after the tree. He died probably before Imam al-Hādī, though Šarīf al-Mortażā and Shaikh al-Ṭūsī state that he was also a companion of Imam Ḥasan ʿAskarī (254-60/868-74).
As a descendant of the Prophet, a companion of Imam ʿAlī al-Hādī, and a transmitter of traditions of the Imams, ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm evidently held a position of high authority in the nascent Emāmī Shiʿite community in Ray. Imam al-Hādī is reported to have told a visitor from Ray to rely on ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm’s answers in all problematical religious matters. The titles of his works still known in the 4th/10th and 5th/11th centuries illustrate his role as a religious teacher: 1. a book on the daily ritual duties, Ketāb yawm wa layla; 2. books containing his transmission, Rewāyat ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm; 3. a book on the speeches of ʿAlī, Ketāb ḵoṭab Amīr al-moʾmenīn. None of these is extant, but Kolaynī, Ebn Bābūya, and others quote numerous traditions transmitted by him from Imams al-Javād and al-Hādī and, and with chains of transmitters, from the early Imams. His tomb was evidently venerated by Shiʿites soon after his death. According to a report first quoted by Ebn Qūlīya (d. 367/976) in his Kāmel al-zīārāt (ed. Mūsā ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn al-Amīnī, Naǰaf, 1386/1966, p. 324), Imam al-Hādī told a Shiʿite from Ray that visiting the tomb of ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm was as meritorious as visiting the tomb of Imam Ḥosayn. Not much later, Ṣāḥeb Ebn ʿAbbād, Buyid vizier in Ray, wrote an epistle on the rank and virtues of ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm, praising in particular his support of the doctrine of divine unity and justice (al-tawḥīd wa’l-ʿadl ), an aspect of ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm’s teaching which agreed with Ebn ʿAbbād’s own endeavor of furthering a combination of Shiʿism and Muʿtazilite theology. Ebn Bābūya, who partially supported Ebn ʿAbbād’s efforts, also composed a tract on the life of ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm (Aḵbār ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm b. ʿAbdallāh al-Ḥasanī), which is lost. The tomb of ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm had evidently been built up as a shrine by the time of Ebn ʿAbbād, who describes it as a mašhad. In the Saljuq age, the Shiʿite vizier Maǰd-al-dīn Barāvestānī Qommī provided generously for its restoration. It was restored, greatly enlarged, and provided with liberal endowments by the Safavid Shah Ṭahmāsp. In 1270/1854, the tomb was gilded and the hall provided with mirror work on the order of Nāṣer-al-dīn Shah Qāǰār (for the history of the shrine, see Ray).
Ṣāḥeb Ebn ʿAbbād, Resāla fī aḥwāl ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm al-Ḥasanī, in Nafāʾes al-maḵṭūṭāt, ed. M. H. Āl Yāsīn, IV, Baghdad, 1374/1955, pp. 16-22.
Ṭūsī, Fehrest kotob al-šīʿa, ed. A. Sprenger, Calcutta, 1853-55, p. 184.
Idem, Reǰāl, ed. M. S. Āl Baḥr-al-ʿolūm, Naǰaf, 1381/1961, pp. 417, 433.
Naǰāsī, Reǰāl, Tehran, n.d., pp. 186-87, 306.
Ebn Ṭabāṭaba, Montaqelat al-ṭālebīya, ed. M. M. Ḵarsān, Naǰaf, 1388/1968, pp. 156-57.
Ebn Šahrāšūb, Moʿallem al-ʿolamāʾ, ed. ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tehran, 1353/1934, p. 72.
Ebn al-Moṭahhar Ḥellī, Reǰāl, ed. M. S. Baḥr-al-ʿolūm, Naǰaf, 1381/1961, p. 130.
Ebn ʿEnaba, ʿOmdat al-ṭāleb, ed. M. Ḥ. Āl al-Ṭaleqānī, Naǰaf, 1380/1961, p. 94.
Moḥammad Bāqer b. Moḥammad Esmāʿīl Koǰūrī, Jannat al-nāʾim...fī aḥwāl al-Sayyed...ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm ʿAbdallāh al-Ḥasanī, Tehran, 1298/1881.
Moḥammad Rāzī, Zendegānī-ye Ḥażrat ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm b. ʿAbdallāh al-Ḥasanī, Tehran, 1367/1947.
H. Karīmān, Ray-e bāstān, Tehran, 1345-49 Š./1966-70, I, pp. 384-95.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, pp. 96-97
W. Madelung, “Abd-Al-Azim Al-Hasani,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, pp. 96-97; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-azim-al-hasani (accessed on 12 January 2014).