Abdullah ibn Ja'far

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Abdullah ibn Ja'far (Arabic: عبد الله بن جعفر‎‎) (died 680) was a companion and relative of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a nephew of Ali.

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Ja'far ibn Abu Talib and Asma bint Umais. They had emigrated to Abyssinia in 616, and Abdullah and his two brothers were born there.[1] Abdullah accompanied his father (probably the rest of the family) and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas in overseas preaching in north-east India, including Manipur, and China, after leaving Abyssinia in 615 by sea. They later returned to Abyssinia by 624.[dubious ]

The family returned to Arabia in 628 and settled in Medina.[2] Ibn Hajar quoted Muhammad as having said that Abdullah was like him in character, then taking him by the right hand and praying to God to extend his mercy over the household of Abdullah bin Ja'far.[citation needed]

Marriage and Family Life[edit]

Ali had particularly wished that his daughters should marry Ja'far's sons.[3] When Abdullah asked for Zainab's hand, Ali accepted it. Her marriage settlement was equal to her mother's.[citation needed]

Abdullah and Zainab had five children.

  • Ali ibn Abdullah.
  • Awn ibn Abdullah.
  • Abbas ibn Abdullah.
  • Muhammad ibn Abdullah.
  • Umm Kulthum bint Abdullah.[4]

Although Abdullah was a man of means, Zainab lived a modest life.[citation needed] They were charitable to the poor; the Arabs called Abdullah "the sea or the cloud of munificence".[citation needed]

The marriage of Zainab did not diminish her strong attachment to her family.[citation needed] Ali also felt a great affection for his daughter and nephew.[citation needed] He told Ja'far not to prevent Zainab from going on a journey with her brother Husayn.[citation needed] When Ali became the Caliph in 656 and moved from Medina to Kufa, Zainab and Abdullah joined him.[citation needed]

Abdullah was concurrently married to Layla bint Masud.[5]

After Zainab's death, Abdullah married her sister, Umm Kulthum bint Ali, who was the widow of his brother Muhammad. This marriage was childless, and Umm Kulthum also predeceased Abdullah.[6]


Muslim historians have noted Abdullah's status before Ali as a military leader.[citation needed] During Ali's caliphate in Kufa, Abdullah was one of his four chief lieutenants (the other three being Ali's three eldest sons).[citation needed]

When Husayn received a request from the men of Kufa to come and lead them, Abdullah urged him not to go unless the Kufans first overthrew their Umayyad magistrates.[citation needed] When Husayn nevertheless left on the expedition that ended with Karbala, Abdullah sent his young sons Awn and Muhammad with his wife, Husayn's sister Zainab.[dubious ]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, p. 196. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  2. ^ Ibn Saad/Bewley p. 196.
  3. ^ Ibn Saad/Bewley p. 299.
  4. ^ Ibn Saad/Bewley p. 300.
  5. ^ Ibn Saad/Bewley p. 300.
  6. ^ Ibn Saad/Bewley p. 299.

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