Kumayl Ibn Ziyad Nakha’i

Both, great Shi’a and Sunni scholars have admired Kumayl for his strong belief, purified soul, moral conduct, and sincere intentions. They agree on Kumayl’s justice and greatness. Kumayl is among the noble disciples of Amir al-Mu’minin (as) and Imam Hasan (as).1 Amir al-Mu’minin too, has considered Kumayl as his ten most faithful disciples.2 Kumayl has been one of the sincerest lovers and friends of Imam ‘Ali (as).3

The recommendations and bequests that Imam ‘Ali (as) has made to Kumayl indicate the latter’s strong belief and great insight. The sunnis, who have never had a favorable opinion about the disciples of Ahl al-Bayt (as), too, consider Kumayl as a trustee in all issues.4 The ascetics believe Kumayl to knowing Imam ‘Ali’s secrets and spiritual knowledge. Kumayl accompanied the Great Prophet of Islam (S) for eighteen years and benefited from the blessings of prophethood. He was martyred by Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf Thaqafi, due to his magnitude, which had already been informed to him in advance, by, Imam Ali (as).

When Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf was appointed as the ruler of Iraq by the Umayyid ruler, he sought after Kumayl to kill him for his affection for the Ahl al-Bayt (as), as being a shi’a was the greatest sin in the Umayyid regime. Kumayl hid himself, and Hajjaj stopped the release of any pension for his relatives from baytul mal (public treasury).

Being informed of Hajjaj’s action, Kumayl said: “I will not be alive long so I don’t want any of my relatives to be deprived of their pension because of me.” He left his hiding place and went to Hajjaj. Hajjaj told him: “I was looking for you in order to punish you.” Kumayl said: “Do as you wish, since I will not live long. You and I will return to Allah. My master, ‘Ali, has informed me that you are my killer.” Then Hajjaj ordered to behead Kumayl who at that time was ninety years of age. His holy tomb is in Thuwiah, a place between Najaf and Kufah, and the believers go for pilgrimage to it.

  • 1. Mustadrakat Ilm Rijal: 6/314.
  • 2. Rasa’il Sayyid Murtaza.
  • 3. Bihar al-Anwar: 33/399, chapter 23, tradition 620.
  • 4. Mustadrakat Ilm Rijal: 6/314.