Abdullah ibn Ja'far

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Abdullah ibn Ja'far (Arabic: عبد الله بن جعفر‎) was a companion and relative of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a nephew of Ali. Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr was his step brother. He was loyal to Ahl al-Bayt in spite of his absent in Karbala, it is attributed to his credit saying that thanks to Almight Allah, if I could not support Hussain ibn Ali in Karbala my two sons (Aun o Muhammad) did.[1] According to Richard Francis Burton he widely recognized as the most sympathetic amongst Arabs. His grave is situated near Aqeel ibn Abi Talib and Abu Sufiyan bin al-Haris (the grandson of Abd al-Muttalib) in Janatual Baqi)[2]

The Grave of Abdullah bin Jaffar-e-Tayyar in Al-Baqi

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Ja'far ibn Abu Talib and Asma bint Umais. They had emigrated to Abyssinia in 616, and Abdullah and his two brothers were born there.[3]:196 Abdullah was the first of Muslims to be born in the land of Abyssinia [4] After birth of Abdullah in Abyssinia (Habesha Presently Ethopia) , king of the Kingdom of Aksum ( Al-Najashi) was blessed with a son too. He immediately asked the parents of Abdullah Ibn Jaffar about the name of their child. Upon knowing the name of Jaffar family, King of Abyssinia also chose the name “Abdullah” for his first son. It is also stated that Asma bint Umays was the nursing mother of son of Abyssinian King.[5]

The family returned to Arabia in 628 and settled in Medina.[3]:196 Ibn Hajar quoted Muhammad as having said that Abdullah was like him in character, then taking him by the right hand and praying to God to extend his mercy over the household of Abdullah bin Ja'far.[4]

Marriage and Family Life[edit]

Ali had particularly wished that his daughters should marry Ja'far's sons.[3]:299 When Abdullah asked for Zainab's hand, Ali accepted it.[6] Abdullah and Zainab had five children.

  • Ali ibn Abdullah.
  • Awn ibn Abdullah.
  • Abbas ibn Abdullah.
  • Muhammad ibn Abdullah.
  • Umm Kulthum bint Abdullah.[3]:300

According to Shaikh Muhammad Abbas Qummi, he had 20 sons from different wives, including 5 children from Zainab Binte Ali. Daira-e-Maarif Islamia (Circle of Islamic Knowledge) of University of Punjab (pages 568-70, Vol.X) describes that Zainabi is a progeny of Abdullah’s son Ali through Zainab binte Ali[6]:31

Abdullah Bin Jaffar-e-Tayyar was one of the richest people in Madina and a famous philanthropist who was called as “Bahrul Joud” which means an ocean of charity.[6]:35

When Ali became the Caliph in 656 and moved from Medina to Kufa, Zainab and Abdullah joined him.[7]

His wife’s journey with Hussain Ibn Ali[edit]

It is related that Zainab already forecast the journey (journey to Karbala) before her marriage and permission for accompanying with her brother was obtained during marriage negotiations.[8][9] With regard to Absent of Abdullah in battle of Karbala, it is said it was due to his poor eye sighting consequently he was unable to bear the rigidities of journey and war.[6]:37 Knowing Hussain’s journey to Kufa, Zainab, the wife of Abdullah ibn Jaffar begged her husband’s permission to accompany her brother.[10] Realizing anxiousness of her husband she stated that:

Abdullah then granted his permission and sent their two sons for the destined journey.[11]

Abdullah was concurrently married to Layla bint Masud.[3]:300 With reference to books ‘Nasab e Quraish Page-83’ and ‘Jameerath ul Nasab by Ibn Hazm page 62’ it is described that Layla Binte Masood bin Khalid was “Zoja-e-Sani (second wife)” through this marriage he had two daughters (Umme Muhammad and Umme Abhiha) and four sons (Yahya, Haroon, Suleh & Musa).[12]

It is also found in books that after divorcing Zainab,[13][better source needed] Abdullah married her sister, Umm Kulthum bint Ali, who was the widow of his brother Muhammad. This marriage was childless, and Umm Kulthum predeceased Abdullah.[3]:299

His vision for Hussain[edit]

Knowing death of his two sons in the battle of Karbala, people were offering condolences to Abdullah, one of his Mawili (Abu al-Lislas [a companion]) said that “this is what we have met and what has come upon us through Hussain Ibn Ali” on this statement he struck him with his sandal and told that I am pleased that my two sons killed with my brother and cousin. By God! If I had been present with him, I would have preferred not to leave him in order that I would be killed with him. He then seeking attention of people consoling him, said that “Praise be to God, Who has made life hard, console Hussain Ibn Ali with my own hands, my two sons consoled him.[14] :177

Letter to Hussain[edit]

According to Ibn Khaldun in chapter 2 volume II title “Yazid-I” from 60 to 64 AH, it is described that Abdullah sent a letter through his sons Awn & Muhammad, to Hussain, requesting that “for God sack come back”. It is my advice to you in anxiety that you would be killed and Ahle-Bayt destroyed. As a result earth’s light will come to an end, there would be no leader for Muslims. Please do not hurry in journey, I would be reaching there after this letter[15]. Later he went to Amr bin Said who was Yazid's governor of Mecca and asked him to write a letter to Hussain offering him a guarantee of harmless behavior assuring him your kindness and open-handedness. Show trust to him in your letter and request him to return. This letter was replied by Hussain too.[14]


Once a Chief of Iraqi village asked Abdullah Bin Jafar to recommend his case before Caliph Ali for accomplishment. He did so and matter of that chief was satisfied by Ali Ibn Abi Talib. As a gratification the chief sent 40,000 Darhims through some people to Abdullah, who refused the money saying that we do not sell our good deeds[16]

Muslim historians have noted Abdullah's status before Ali as a military leader.[citation needed] During Ali's caliphate in Kufa, Abdullah was one of his four chief lieutenants (the other three being Ali's three eldest sons).[citation needed]

When Husayn received a request from the men of Kufa to come and lead them, Abdullah urged him not to go unless the Kufans first overthrew their Umayyad magistrates.[citation needed] When Husayn nevertheless left on the expedition that ended with Karbala, Abdullah sent his young sons Awn and Muhammad with his wife, Husayn's sister Zainab.[dubious ]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shahin, Badr (2002). Lady Zaynab. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications. p. 82. ISBN 964-438-399-0. 
  2. ^ Francis Burton, Sir Richard (1893). Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah, Volume 2. UK: The Meccan Press, 3 Soho Square, London, W. p. 44. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  4. ^ a b Dr. Ayman Odaibat, Dr. Mona Borhan Ghazal (Al Refai) (3 March 2013). Virtuous Women In Mythology and Holy Books (English translation from Arabic). Bloomington, Indiana: Author House. p. 189. 
  5. ^ Khan, Ashfaq Ahmed. Sakhawat Ka Darya the 5th series of books “Daur-e-Nabuwat kay bacchay (Children during Prophethood) (in Urdu). Pakistan, UK, USA & Saudi Arab: Darus Salam (International publisher). p. 12.  PDF link:[1]
  6. ^ a b c d Akbar Rizvi, Syed Ali (2007). Bibi Zainab (s.a) - Granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Karachi, Pakistan: Idara Tarveej-e-Uloom-e-Islamia. p. 30. 
  7. ^ Aalulbayt Global Information Center (2003–2007). "Al-Sayeda Zainab (p.b.u.h.), the Greatest Women Messenger of Imam al-Hussain (p.b.u.h.) Revolution". Holy Karbala Net. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  8. ^ Nisar Ahmed Zainpuri, Akbar Asadi, Mehdi Raza’í (1951). Namoona-e-Sabr (Zainab) translation from Persian to Urdu (in Persian). Qum, Iran: Ansarian Publications. p. 60. 
  9. ^ Fatima Naqvi, Dr. Umme (December 2011). The Ultimate Sacrifice for Allah: Karbala. Nashriyat-e-Walayat-e-Elahia. p. 13. 
  10. ^ Shaikh Musa Muhammad (8 August 2009). "Lady Zaynab (Peace be Upon Her) - Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad in Kufa". Al-Hassanain Com. Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  11. ^ Bilgrami, M.H (1986). The Victory of Truth – The Life of Zaynab Binte Ali. Karachi, Pakistan: Zahra Publications. p. 82. ISBN 088059-151-X. 
  12. ^ Abbasi, Mehmood Ahmed (1962). Khilafat-e-Muawiya O Yazid (in Urdu). Liaquatabad, Karachi, Pakistan: Maktab-e-Mehmoodia. pp. 276–77. 
  13. ^ Lammens, H. (1912). Fatima et les filles de Mahomet, p. 125. Rome: Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici.
  14. ^ a b I.K.A. Howard, Al-Tabari. The Caliphate of Yazid b. Mutawiyah. New York: State University of New York Press. p. 73-74 (Volume XIX). 
  15. ^ Illabadi, Hakeem Ahmed Hussain. Tareekh-e-Ibn Khaldun by Nafees Academy (in Urdu) (2003 ed.). Karachi Pakistan. p. 522. 
  16. ^ Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias, Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi (March 2006). Hayat Us Sahaba - (English translation from Urdu) Volume 2. Karachi, Pakistan: Zem Zem, Publisher, Urdu Bazar. p. 282. .

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