Question:
Was there any sect by the name of "Ya'furiyah" (followers of Abdullah bin Abi Ya'fur) that considered the Imams as "noble scholars"? If such a sect existed in Islam, how did it develop and where did it take its beliefs from?

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Answer:
There is not much information about Ya'furiyah in history. What has been mentioned in historical resources is the following: 1. Ya'furiyah sect refers to the followers of Muhammad bin Bashir who ceased to believe in the Imamate (leadership) of Musa bin Ja'far and later denied his Imamate. This group believed that those who believed in the Imamate of the Imams after Musa bin Ja'far were unbelievers. Among the religious obligations, they accepted only prayer, fast and Khums rejecting other Shari'ah injunctions. They allowed marriage with maharem (unmarriageable kins) and slaves. 2. Ya'furiyah refers to the followers of a man named Sulayman al-Aqta'. 3. They are the friends of Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s) who believed in the Imamate of Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s) and who made up some of his closest companions including Abdullah bin Yafur. Since he was the oldest man of the group, the sect was named after him. 4. Ya'furiyah is a group of Imamiyah Shia that believes that the Imams are free of any ignorance. Therefore, there are various and irreconcilable reports about this group. Detailed Answer There is not much information about Ya'furiyah in history. The few historical sources that have dealt with the history of Islamic and Shia sects and denominations including Ya'furiyah provide insufficient, sporadic and often contrasting details into Ya'furiyah and its beliefs. The reports existing in historical sources can be summed up as under: 1. Ya'furiyah refers to the followers of Muhammad bin Bashir who emerged during the lifetime of Musa bin Ja'far and who ceased to believe in the Imamate of his son, Ali bin Musa. They also denied the Imamate as well as the infallibility of the Imams after him (Ali bin Musa). This group maintained that those who believed in the Imamate of the Imams after Musa bin Ja'far were unbelievers. Of course, this group also rejected later the Imamate of Musa bin Ja'far (a.s) and accepted the Imamate of Muhammad bin Bashir and his son after him. This group believed that God made only the prayer, fast and Khums obligatory and that Zakat, Hajj and other religious injunctions did not exist. They allowed marriage with maharem (unmarriageable kins) and sexual relations with slaves.[1] Some sources have named this sect as "Al-Bashiriyah" i.e. the followers of Muhammad bin Bashir.[2] 2. Some others have considered them as a group of Imamiyah and the companions of "Sulayman Al-Aqta'".[3] 3. Some other historians are of the view that Ya'furiyah refers to the friends and companions of Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s) who after him accepted the Imamate of Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.).[4] Some of the people in this group were the closest and most respectable companions of the Imam (a.s). They included Abdullah bin Abi Ya'fur, Aban bin Taghlib, Hesham bin Salim, Jamil bin Darraj and Hesham bin Hakam.[5] Perhaps, since Abdullah bin Ya'fur had been the eldest person among the companions, this group was later called "Ya'furiyah" after him. 4. Ya'furiyah is one of the Imamiyah sects that believed that the Shia Imams were free of ignorance.[6] As it is clear, the reports about this group are scattered, dichotomous and irreconcilable. If we take the said reports into consideration, such a group having one of the aforementioned characteristics existed for a short period of the history of Islam and Shi'ism during the early third hegira century. Today, this group has become extinct and there is no sign of it or of its beliefs.

Refrence:

[1] Abi Ja'far Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ali Tusi, Rejal al-Kashi, p. 479, edited by Hasan Mustafavi, Mashad University Press, 1968. [2] Ibn Muhammad Hasan bin Musa Nawbakhti, Feraq al-Shi'ah, pp. 92 - 93, Najaf Ashraf Haideriyah Publications, 1388.A.H. [3] Mashkoor, Muhammad Jawad, History of Shia and Islamic Sects until the Fourth Century, p. 151, Ishraqi Publication, cited from Rejal al-Kashi and Maqalat al-Islamiyeen. [4] Therefore, what is ascribed to Al-Bashiriyah sect is not but their beliefs. [5] Ibn Muhammad bin Musa Nawbakhti, Feraq al-Shi'ah, p. 89. [6] Ali bin Ismail Ash'ari, Maqalat al-Islamiyeen, vol.1, p. 116, Cairo Publication, 1369 A.H. ------------------------------ Ref: www.Islaqmquest.net


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