The two Persian students of Ibn Abbas

Our master Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas had many famous students, among them many non-Arabs such as the leader of the Salaf, Sa’id Ibn Jubayr (of Habashi/Ethiopian origin), ‘Ikramah (Berber, North African origin) and ‘Ataa Ibn Abi Rabah (of Nubian/Sudani origin) and many others.

1. Mujahid:

His full name was Mujahid ibn Jabr (Arabic: مُجَاهِدْ بِنْ جَبْر) (645-722 CE), his kunya was Abal-Hajjaj, he was a Tabi‘i and one of the major early Islamic scholars. He was a client (mawla) of the Makhzumi Qurashi tribe and hence he is sometimes called Al-Makhzumi Al-Qurashi (i.e. Al-Qurashi by allegiance not Nassab/lineage. The scholars usually describe him as:


. شيخ القراء والمفسرين. إمام، ثقة، فقيه، عالم، كثير الحديث، برع في التفسير وقراءة القرآن والحديث.

…the Shaykh/master of Qur’an reciters and Mufassirs, the Imam, the reliable one, the scholar, he narrated many hadith and excelled in the recitation of the Qur’an and Hadith …

Mujahid himself said:

قال مجاهد بن جبر: “لا يحل لأحد يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر أن يتكلم في كتاب الله إذا لم يكن عالما بلغات العرب”
الإتقان في علوم القرآن (4/213

“It is not permissible for anyone who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement to speak about the book of Allah without being a scholar in the language of the Arabs.”

He was one of the leading Qur’an commentators of the generation after that of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his Companions. He is the first to compile a written exegesis of the Qur’an i.e. the first compiled and written down Tafsir was written by an ethnic Persian. It is related by Ibn Sa’d in the Tabaqat and elsewhere that he went over the explanation of the Qur’an together with Ibn ‘Abbas thirty times.

There are obviously many quotes from the highest authorities and scholars of this Ummah in regards to the uprightness of this great man, here is one:

قال عنه الذهبي في السير: أجمعت الأمة على إمامة مجاهد والاحتجاج به.

Imam Al-Dhahabi (Al-Turkistani) said in his Al-Siyar:

The Ummah has unanimously agreed on the leadership (in knowledge) of Mujahid and to refer back to him.

2. Tawus Ibn Kaysan

Ibn Hajar related that Tāwus was a Persian who inhabited an area called al-Jund and that he was the master of Hamadan in Iran. Ibn Hayyān said about him:

“He was among the worshipers of the people of the Yemen and the masters of the leading members of the next generation.”

He performed the hajj forty times and narrated some of the whispered prayers of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin. Ibn Kaysan was also a student of Abdullah ibn Abbas.
Hadith from him are recorded by Muhammad al-Bukhari (85 traditions), Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (78 traditions), al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal.