Hisham Ibn Salim
By: Muhammad Rida Ja‘fari
Here we shall consider Abu Muhammad, Hisham ibn Salim al- Jawaliqi, al-Kufi. His Imami biographers say of him: Hisham ibn Salim was a client of Bishr ibn Marwan from the capture of al-Juzajan,1 conquered in the year 32/653 during the caliphate of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.2It is narrated of him on the authority of the two Imams as-Sadiq and al-Kazim, peace be upon them, that he was trust- worthy, veracious in belief, and so well-known for his attachment to wilayah that none can deny it.3
His patron, Bishr ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam al-Umawi (30/651–75/694) ruled Kufah for his brother, the caliph ‘Abdu 'l- Malik, in the first year of his reign, 71/691, and then Basrah and Kufah were brought under him in 12.74/4.694. His reign lasted only a few months, and he died at the beginning of 75/694.4 It is inevitable that we pause, if briefly, on this portion of Hisham's life, since it has a strong bearing on what we shall say about his opinions and the nature of the hadith, which he relied on in the doctrines, he held.
It is apparent that the person who was captured on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan was Abu Hisham Salim and not Hisham himself, since it is extremely unlikely that Hisham's life – no matter what date we assign to the beginning of his life – could have stretched from 32/653, the year of the conquest of al-Juzajan, to after the death of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in 148/765 – whatever we designate as the length of time he remained alive after him. In addition, Salim is an Arab name, which was commonly understood at that time as the name for a slave, and this naming would have been incorrect unless the captive on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan had been the father of Hisham who was then given an Arabic name.
Perhaps the attribution of clientage which the Shaykhu 't- Taifah at-Tusi cites for Hisham ibn al-Hakam, 'al-Ju‘fi, their patron'5 was what Hisham inherited from his father Salim, because those who captured him were from the tribe of al-Ju‘fi, the Qahtani tribe of the Yemen. This does not contradict what Hisham's biographers mention regarding his being a client of Bishr ibn Marwan al-Umawi al-Qurashi al-‘Adnani. It suggests that Hisham himself was a client of Bishr, because he had purchased him, and does not suggest anything more than that.
He broke his former clientage, which his father bequeathed to him, and perhaps this is the clue to the neglect by all of his biographers to mention his former, broken clientage, and their being satisfied to mention the subsequent one alone.
I do not know when Bishr purchased him, or how old he was on the day he was purchased, but it is safe to say that at that time Hisham was young; rather it is probable that he had not even reached puberty when his patron Bishr died in 75/694. It is reliably stated that Hisham was not an Imami when he was purchased, since it would have been odd for his previous patrons to have sold a Shi‘i slave to Bishr ibn Marwan, the Ummayad, who was far from being a Shi‘i. It is even more unlikely that it be supposed that they were Shi‘i and that Bishr followed them in faith. It is clear from this that he could not then have been a Shi‘i, but that he held Ummayad beliefs after he became their client.
It is evident from his opinions, which I shall mention subsequently, that he was oriented towards the hearing of hadith; it is also evident from these opinions, and due to the fact of his non- Imami upbringing, that he was oriented towards non-Imami hadith. His views and thoughts were stamped by the hadith, which he heard, to the point where it was difficult for him to rid himself of these opinions. It is also evident that Hisham ibn Salim, after many years, perhaps when he had reached fifty years of age or more, chose the Imami School.
This is confirmed by the fact that the first of the Imams, peace be upon them, with whom he came into contact was the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him (83/702–148/765), although he was alive at the time of as-Sajjad (38/659–94/712) and during the period of al-Baqir (57/676–114/733), peace be upon them, since if we establish Hisham's age at the death of Bishr in 75/694 as being ten – and in my opinion this is the lowest estimate of his age – then Hisham was fifty at the time of al-Baqir's death. His abstention from contact with the Imam of his time during this long period, and the delay of contact until the period of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, has no believable explanation other than that he did not believe in the Imamate until as-Sadiq's time, at which time he joined him.
Hisham's life was long, and he lived up to the time of the Imam al-Kazim, peace be upon him (129/746–183/799).
1. The name of a region lying between Balkh, to the west of it, and Marw ar- Rudh: see Mu‘jamu 'l-buldan, vol.2, p.182; ar-Rawdu 'l-mi‘tar, p.182; The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p.423.
2. at-Tabari, vol.1, pp.2900-1; Futuhu 'l-buldan, vol.3, pp.503-4.
3. an-Najashi, p.305; al-Kishshi, p.281; al-Barqi, pp.34-35; Majma‘u 'r-rijal, vol.6, pp.234, 238; al-‘Allamah, Khulasatu 'l-aqwal, p.179; Abu Dawud, p.368; Mu‘jam rijali 'l-hadith, vol.19, pp.363-4.
4. at-Tabari, vol.2, pp.816, 822, 834, 862; Ibnu 'l-Athir, vol.4, pp.331, 347; al-Ma‘arif, pp.355, 458, 571; Khalifah, at-Tarikh, vol.1, pp.341, 345, 349, 384, 385; Tarikh Dimashq, vol.10, pp.111-29; Siyar a‘lami 'n-nubala’, vol.4, pp.145-6.
5. ar-Rijal, p.329, no.17.