Chapter on the Interpretation of al-Samad, Self-sufficient

Ali ibn Muhammad and Muhammad ibn al-Hassan has narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad from Muhammad ibn al-Walid, whose title was Shabab al-Sayrafi from Dawud ibn al-Qasim al- Ja'fari who has said the following.

"I asked Imam abu Ja'far al-Thani (the 2nd (a.s.), 'May Allah take my soul in your service, what is the meaning of the word al-Samad?'" The Imam replied, al-Samad means the Lord to Who one turns for help, big or small."

H 324, Ch. 18, h 2

A group of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn abu 'Abdallah from Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Yunus ibn 'Abd al-Rahman from al-Hassan ibn al-Sari from Jabir ibn Yazid al-Ju'fi who has said the following.

"I asked Imam abu Ja'far (a.s.) a few things about the Oneness of Allah. The Imam replied, "Allah, Holy are Whose names, with which He is mentioned is Exalted and Most High in His Own-self. He is One. In Oneness He is the One and only in Oneness. He then made His creatures to know Him as the only One. He is One, Self-sufficient and the Holy. All things worship Him and He has the knowledge of all things."

Al-Kulayni has said that this is the correct meaning of al-Samad but not what al- Mushabbihah (people who consider Allah similar to certain things) believe. Al-Samad literally means solid as opposed to hallow which applies only to physical objects. Allah, the Most High, is far above such attributes. 

Had such attribute applied to Allah, the Most High, it would have contradicted with Allah's statement that says, "There is nothing similar to Him."

In the Ahadith of the scholar, the Imam (a.s.) al-Samad refers to a master whom people consider a recourse or stronghold and such meaning is close to Allah's words, "There is nothing similar to Him." (42:11)

An example of such usage is what abu Talib had expressed in praise of the holy Prophet (s.a.) during his performing Hajj in throwing pebbles onto the pillars of stones that symbolically stand for Satan. He has used the word al-Samad to mean aiming.

An other example is found in the expression of ibn Zabarqan, "Mr Rahibah is but a master and a (al-Samad) recourse."

One more example can be found in the expression of Shaddad ibn Mu'awiyah about Kudhayfah ibn Badr, "Hold it O Hudhayfa, you are a master, ( al-Samad) recourse." There are many such examples in normal usage.

Allah, the Majestic, the Most High, the Master and the Recourse to Who all man and Jinn turn for help in their difficulties and from Him they expect relief.