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Salar Abd al-Aziz

One of the most eminent scholars of the fifth/eleventh century is Abu Ya`la Hamza b. `Abd al-`Aziz al-Daylami (d. 448/1056), known as Salar, or Sallar, an eminent pupil of al-Shaykh al-Mufid and al-Sayyid al-Murtada, who himself educated and trained a number of great Shi`i scholars. He is sometimes confused with Abu Ya`la al-Ja`fari, son-in-law of al-Shaykh al-Mufid. Abu Ya`la is a common kunya (patronymic) of all those persons whose name is Hamza, such as Hamza b. al-Qasim (grandson of `Abbas b. `Ali b. Abi Talib), Hamza b. Ya`la al-Ash`ari al-Qummi (a companion of the eighth Imam of the Prophet's Family, al-Imam al-Rida), for Hamza b. `Abd al-Muttalib, an uncle of the Prophet, was called by this kunya.
Shaykh Muntajab al-Din al-Razi (d. 600/1203), in his al-Fihrist, mentions one of his works, al-Marasim al-`Alawiyya fi l-ahkam al-Nabawiyya. Ibn Shahr Ashub (d. 588/1192) refers to his other works, viz. al-Muqni` fi l-madhhab, al-Taqrib fi usul al-fiqh, al-Radd `ala Abi al-Husayn al-Basri's al-Shafi, and Kitab al-tadhkira fi haqiqat al-jawhar wa al-`arad.
Mir Mustafa al-Tafrashi (d. 1021/1612), regarding the book in refutation of Abu al-Husayn al-Basri's al-Shafi, writes in the footnotes of Naqd al-Rijal: Kitab al-radd is written in refutation of Abu al-Husayn al-Basri's al-Shafi, a famous book. The reason for writing this book was that al-Qadi `Abd al-Jabbar al-Mu`tazili al-Hamadani wrote a book in refutation of the Shi`a faith and named it al-Kafi. Afterward al-Sayyid al-Murtada compiled a book, entitled al-Shafi, a refutation of which was written by Abu al-Husayn al-Basri, which found its rejoinder in Salar's book.
Al-`Allama al-Hilli (d. 726/1326) mentions Salar as an intellectual leader of the Shi`a in the fields of fiqh and literature. Hasan b. Dawud, a contemporary of al-`Allama al-Hilli, besides al-Marasim, mentions another of Salar's works, al-Abwab wa l-fusul in fiqh. Shaykh Fakhr al-Din al-Turayhi (d. 1058/1648), in his famous dictionary Majma` al-bahrayn, writes that Salar was from Mazandaran and attended lectures of al-Murtada. He quotes Ibn al-Jinni saying that he met Salar and learned some lessons from him.
Ali Dawani refutes both these assertions, saying that Daylam was situated near the present Qazwin and Gilan, and has no relation with Mazandaran. He argues that al-Turayhi, being an Arab, was not familiar with the geographical position of Daylam. Al-Turayhi changed the places of Abu al-Fath `Uthman b. al-Jinni and Salar, describing the former as pupil and the latter as teacher, while Salar was a pupil of Ibn al-Jinni (d. 392/1002). Ibn al-Jinni was also a teacher of al-Sayyid al-Murtada and al-Radi, and he died 56 years before the death of Salar.
Al-`Allama Bahr al-`Ulum, in al-Rijal, quotes `Izz al-Din Hasan b. Abi Talib b. Rabib al-Din Abu Muhammad al-Yusufi writing in Kashf al-rumuz, that Salar was a leader of the Shi`a, and mentions that Hasan b. Husayn b. Babawayh, Mufid al-Nishaburi al-Razi, and Shaykh `Abd al-Jabbar al-Muqri al-Razi, all of whom were eminent Imamiyya scholars, were among Salar's well-known pupils.
Allama Bahr al-`Ulum adds that al-Sayyid al-Murtada, in the beginning of Ajwibat al-masa'il al-Sallariyya, writes that very critical questions, which reveal Salar's insight and expertise in fiqh, were answered by him at the instance of his teacher, al-Shaykh al-Mufid. This compliment paid by al-Murtada to Salar serves as a testimonial of his scholarship.
Salar, a contemporary of al-Tusi and a pupil of al-Mufid and al-Murtada, left behind him scores of pupils that were eminent scholars of their times and included both Shi`i and Sunni experts in fiqh, kalam, hadith, nahw (Arabic grammar), and literature. Outstanding among them are: Abu al-Salah al-Halabi, Abu Fath al-Karajiki, Shams al-Islam Hasaka and his son `Ubayd Allah b. al-Hasan (father and grandfather of Shaykh Muntajab al-Din), Mufid al-Nishaburi, Mufid al-Razi, and Abu al-Makarim Fakhir al-Nahwi.
Shaykh `Abbas al-Qummi, with reference to Rawdat, writes that Salar was the first faqih to issue a decree that congregation prayer on Friday was prohibited due to the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam. He also writes on the authority of the same book that Salar died in 448/1056 or 463/1070, and was laid to rest in Khusrow Shah, one of the villages in the province of Tabriz.
Ali Dawani is hesitant to accept the place of Salar's burial in Khusrow Shah, for this report is based on Tadhkirat al-`ulama' by Mulla Hashri. He argues that the same author claims that the grave of Qutb al-Din al-Rawandi is at Khusrow Shah, while it is situated in the courtyard of the shrine of the Ma`suma of Qum. `Ali Dawani accepts the date of his death as given by al-Safadi, that is 448/1056. He further says that Salar lived till his end at Baghdad, and, therefore, there was no reason to bury him in the suburbs of Tabriz.

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