Ja’far Duryastī and Dissemination of Shī’ī Learning of Baghdad in Iran

Among the first outstanding Iranian scholars who transferred the Shī‘ī learning of Iraq to Iran is Abu ‘Abd Allah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad Duryastī (born 380/990, alive in 473/1080)1, who came from Duryast, the locality called Darasht (or Tarasht) in present-day Tehran (which in those days was a village of Ray).

His father, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, was among the narrators of Shī‘ī traditions, and traditions narrated by his sons have reached us in later sources, including Basharat al-Mustafa. Ja‘far set out from Ray for Baghdad, where he studied under Shaykh Mufīd and Sayyid Murtada2. He was a contemporary of Shaykh Tusī and the Shaykh mentions him in his book on rijal3. After years of studies he returned to Darasht and engaged in propagation of the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt.

He is an intermediary in the ijazah of narration between Shaykh Mufīd and Sayyid Murtada ibn al-Da‘ī Hasanī in the narration of Mufīd’s Kitab al-Irshad4. After his return to Iran he was held in extraordinary respect, so much so that, according to ‘Abd al-Jalil, Khwajah Nizam al-Mulk would go to Darasht twice a week to hear his traditions5. He was the teacher of some Iranian scholars and propagator of Shī‘ī learning of Baghdad in this region.

For instance, Abu Ja‘far ibn Mahdī ‘Abid Husaynī Mar‘ashī narrates from him, and Shaykh Tabrisī, the author of Majma‘ al-Bayan, narrates from Mar‘ashī from Duryastī6. Some of his Iranian pupils are: Ahmad ibn Muhammad Marashkī (related to Marashk or Marashk, a village in the vicinity of Tus), Hasan ibn ‘Ali Arabadī, Hasan ibn Muhammad Hadīqī, Hasan ibn Ya‘qub Nayshaburī, Zayd ibn Muhammad Bayhaqī, ‘Abd al-Jabbar ibn ‘Ali Razī, Fadl Allah Rawandī and several others7. Accordingly, he was one of the most outstanding pupils of the Shī‘ī school of Baghdad who disseminated Shī‘ī learning in Iran.

His sons were also among scholars of this period. ‘Abd Allah, son of Ja‘far Duryastī, was an outstanding scholar and traditionist. He came to Baghdad in 566/1170 and returned to Ray after some years and there he died sometime after 600/12038. His fame and prestige were such that his tomb still exists in Darasht and is a shrine frequented by visitors9. Khwajah Hasan, another son of Ja‘far, was a powerful poet who composed poetry in Arabic, and several of his verses are cited by ‘Abd al-Jalil10. Khawajah Abu Turab, Hasan’s son, was also a poet11.

  • 1. Concerning him see Muntajab al-Dīn, Al-Fihrist (Tehran: 1404) ,ed. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Tabataba’ī, pp. 37-38, footnote; ‘Utarudī, Mashayikh-e figh wa hadīth dar Jamaran, Kulayn, wa Darasht (Tehran: ‘Utarud, 1373 H. SH.) , p. 164. His name and nisbah are mentioned as follows in an ijazah: “Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ‘Abbasī Duryastī ‘Absī;” see Majlisī, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 104, p. 157
  • 2. Muntajab al-Din, op. cit., p. 45, no. 67
  • 3. Afandī, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 110
  • 4. Majlisī, op. cit., vol. 104, p. 25
  • 5. Abd al-Jalil Qazwīnī, op. cit., p. 145
  • 6. Afandī, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 110
  • 7. Utarudī, op. cit., pp. 198-218. The names of many of these persons and their narrations from Duryastī and others are cited in Rawandī’s Qisas al-Anbiya’
  • 8. Hamawī, Mu‘jam al-Buldan (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah 1410 ), vol. 2, p. 550, under the entry on Duryast
  • 9. Utarudī, op. cit., p. 225
  • 10. Abd al-Jalil, op. cit., p. 231
  • 11. Ibid., p. 145