A Model of Friendship
Moral virtues Nasser Mukarian

One of the most important methods in training is the method of “Role Model” or “Pattern” because the effect of model or pattern is much more than other methods in character and behavior formation of the trainee. Islam has also paid a lot attention to this method and the Holy Quran has dedicated some of the verses to introduction of such believing and unitary men and women who have shown their competence and personality in different conditions and have proven their inclination and tendency toward the right path.

To achieve this, the compiler is going to introduce some people in the second note entitled “Safwan Ibn Yahya: A Model of Friendship” so that it can open a gate to perfection and salvation for the intellectuals.


Nasser Mukarian



Safwan Ibn Yahya

A Model of Friendship

Safwan Ibn Yahya is one of the trusted jurists and reliable narrators and considered among the consensus companions (As'hab al-Ijma') [i]. He was a native of Kufa and took advantage from the presence of three Innocent Imams: Imam Jawad, Imam Kadhim and Imam Reza (peace be upon them). He had a perfect and outstanding position near Imam Reza (a.s) and one of his and Imam Jawad (a.s)’s lawyers. He was unique in his piety and worship unique among his contemporary people and never deviated from the path of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) for the worldly greed; and although he was offered to bribe a great wealth by the deviant group (Waqefiyah) [ii], but he refused to accept it. By enlightening, he prevented the people like Muhammad ibn Sinan from falling in the wrong direction and separation from Spiritual Path. [iii] He compiled nearly thirty books in Fiqh and other fields and passed away in the year 210 AH in Medina. [iv]

 To honor this prominent Shi’a jurisprudent and narrator, Imam Jawad (a.s) sent shroud, some camphor to embalm him and asked his uncle Isma’eil Ibn Musa al-Kaghim to recite prayer on his body. [v] There is a narration from Imam Reza (a.s) in the dignity of this great man as: “A loss of two predatory wolfs among shred of sheep whose owner is absent is not the same as the loss resulted by a Muslim’s ambition toward chairmanship on his religion”; Then he added: “But Safwan hadn’t any ambition to chairmanship”. [vi]

 The following two stories illustrate the height of the supreme spirit and unparalleled piety of this grand jurisprudent and narrator:

  1. On one of his trips from Mecca to his hometown Kufa, one of his neighbors gave him 2 dinars approximately two ounces) and told him to convey it to his family in Kufa. Safwan told him, “The camel on which I have ridden has been rented to carry me and my furnishings and the owner of camel is not aware of this additional burden and so I should get his permission for it”. Obviously, although Safwan who is a skilled and knowledgeable jurisprudent and knows that the amount of extra weight will not affect on the rental contract and the owner of the camel has no problem with carrying two dinars, but he doesn’t proceed without the owner’s permission to do so to express the importance of the rights of others – especially as he himself was on one side of transaction.


  1. Safwan had a job of drapery and was selling fabrics of Shapour a city in Fars province, which had the excellent quality in that time and so for this he was called Shapourian seller. His partners in this career were Abdullah Ibn Jundab and Ali Ibn al-Na’man both of whom were among the dignified and reliable narrators. Three friends made a covenant beside Ka’bah that if each of them died the one living, like his own religious duties, should say the prayers, fast and pay Zakat of the dead friend. Ironically, two of them died earlier than Safwan. According to the covenant, as Safwan was performing seventeen obligatory and thirty four recommended Rak’ah of prayers every day, he was also performing the same for each of his dead friends. Each year that he was fasting during the month of Ramazan, he fasted one month for each of them in the next months. He paid Zakat for both of them the same as the amount he was paying for his wealth. So, he was saying one hundred and fifty Rak’ah of prayers per day, fasting 3 months in each year and paying Zakat three times in each year for his wealth. Moreover, he performed the same recommended deeds for his two lost friends whenever performing for himself. [vii]




[i] - Consensus Companions or "As'hab al-Ijma'" are eighteen Muhaddith and Islamic scholar who had direct contacts with Shia Imams and great knowledge in religion. Shia scholars accept every hadith which has been narrated by them unquestioningly.

[ii] -Waqefiyah is referred to a group who after the martyrdom of Musa ibn-i-Ja’far (a.s) denied his martyrdom as well as imamate of Imam Reza (a.s) and stopped (made waqf) in the Imamate of Musa ibn-i-Ja’far (a.s). Because according to the history after the martyrdom of Musa ibn-i-Ja’far (a.s) there was a large amount of property before the delegates and companions of his holiness who were supposed to deliver those properties back to Imam Mahdi (a.s). These people were tempted by the properties and distorted the truth and that was denial of the martyrdom of Musa ibn-i-Ja’far (a.s) and rejection of Imam Reza’s Imamate. So they claimed that Imam Kazem (a.s) is alive and will appear later. With these false words they seized the properties of Imam (a.s).

[iii] - Najashi. Ahmad. Rijal Najashi. Jami’ah Modarresin Publication. P. 328.

[iv] - Ibid. P. 197-8.

[v] - Ikhtiar Marafah al-Rijal, P. 502.

[vi] - Ibid. P. 503.

[vii] - Najashi. Ahmad. Rijal Najashi. Jami’ah Modarresin Publication. P. 197-8.