Great Muhadditheen

Chapter No.: 

Imam Abu Haniefa (RA)

Hafiz Ibne Taymiya writes in Kitab-ul-Istiqsa that there have been such Imams who were Imams of both Muhadditheen as well as Fuqaha and are included in both these groups.

He says that most of the Imams of Hadith and Fiqh like Maalik, Shafaee, Ahmad Ishaq bin Rahovi, Abu Ubaid, Awdha’ee, Thouri and Laith have been of the same status. Similarly Imam Abu Haniefa, Imam Abu Yousuf have been of the same status (i.e., Imam of both Muhadditheen and Fuqaha). (Kitab-ul-Ishtiqsa)

So there should be no confusion in including these four Imams viz; Imam Abu Haniefa, Imam Maalik, Imam Shafaee and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal in the group of leading Muhadditheen.

Noaman bin Thabit commonly known as Abu Haniefa is reported to have born in 71 Hijra in Kufa. His father Thabit is reported to have met Hadhrat Ali (RA) who had made Dua for him. (Introduction to Awjaz’t-Masaalik)

According to Ibne Qayyim, there were three main centres of Ilmi-Nabuwwah after Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) namely Makkah, Madinah and Kufa, where the chief teachers were Ibne Abbas (RA), IBne Umar (RA) and Abdullah-Bin Masood (RA) respectively. (Aelam-ul-Muwaqieen)

Hafiz lbne Taymiyah further writes: "When Hadhrat Ali (RA) reached Kufa, the people of Kufa had already learned Islam from Hadhrat Sa'ad bin Abi Waqas, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Masood, Hadhrat Hudhaifa, Hadhrat Amar, Hadhrat Abu Musa (RA) and many others whom Hadhrat Umar (RA) had sent to Kofa." (Minhajus-Sunnah)

It is said that one thousand and fifty Sahaabah-al-Kiram including 24 those distinguished Sahaabah, who had participated in Badr had gone to Kufa and settled there. (Fathul Mugeeth—Muhadditheen Izaam)

Abdullah bin Mubarak says that after reaching Kufa, he asked the people as to who was the most pious person in Kufa, they replied Abu Haniefa.

Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Delhvi says that the number of teachers from whom Imam Sahib learned is around four thousand. His main teacher was Hammad who at that time was chief inheritor of the school of Abdullah bin Masood (RA). Hammad died in 120 Hijra.

Alama Shoarani says that the distinguished quality of Imam Abu Haniefa is that by whichever Hadith he has justified his viewpoint, he has obtained that from distinguished Taabaeen, who cannot be alleged with falsehood.

Imam Sahib performed Haj 55 times

Haj has always been a great means of learning. Those days it served that purpose to a great degree. Imam Abul Hassan Murgeenani has narrated with proper 'Sanad' that Imam Abu Haniefa had performed Haj 55 times. (Munaqibul-Imam)

He used to learn from a great number of Ulema during Haj particularly from Atah bin Rabah in Makkah and from Salim bin Abdullah in Madinah.

Students of Imam Sahib

Hafiz Ibne Hajar says that it is difficult to count the students of Imam Abu Haniefa. His contribution has been very great, not only in Fiqh but also in Hadith and Tasawwuf which one can easily understand by looking at the galaxy of great scholars who progressed under his guidance. In Fiqh, everybody is well aware of the status of Imam Abu Yousuf, Imam Muhammad and Imam Zufr, who have been the shining students of Abu Haniefa's school. In Hadith Imam Abu Haniefa has equally contributed by teaching great Muhadditheen like Abdullah bin Mubarak, Laith bin Sa'ad, Imam Maalik and Musaa bin Kudam. Great Sufi saints like Fudhail Ibne Iyaz and Dawood Taayee were also from the students of Imam Abu Haniefa.

Sufiyan bin Uyianiya, a great Muhadith says, "Abdullah bin Abbas was an Aalim of his time, after him it was Imam Shoabi and then Imam Abu Haniefa. All the three were unparallel in their respective times. My eyes have not seen anyone like Abu Haniefa." (Maufiqe an Muhadditheen Ezaam voL 2, p 51 )

Sufiyan Thouri told of a person who was returning after meeting Imam Abu Haniefa, "You are returning from one who is best Faqeeh on earth."

lmam Shafaee says, "One who wants to know Fiqh, should necessarily get attached to Imam Abu Haniefa and his men.(Introduction to Awjaz 56)

Great prediction about Imam Abu Haniefa in Hadith as interpreted by Shah Walliullah Muhadith Delhvi

Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Nayeem on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) have narrated a Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as follows:

"If knowledge be in Pleiades (Thurya), some people from Persia will even get it from that". (Musnad Imam Ahmad VoL 2, p 296)

This Hadith has also been narrated by Ahmad and Tabri on the authority of Abdullab bin Masood (RA).

Hadhrat Shah Walliullah Dellivi writes about this Hadith in his Maktoobat, "Faqir (Shah Walliullah) says that Imam Abu Haniefa is included in this."

Has Imam Abu Hahiefa seen Sahaabah?

Answer is yes. Hafiz Ibne Hajar writes that there were several Sahaabah in Kufa during the time of Imam Abu Haniefa. Great Muhaditheen like Ibne Hajar Asqalani, Alama Zahbi, Alama Nawavi, Zainu-ud-Din Iraqi, Ibne Jawzi and Imam Dari Qatni, all have accepted the fact that Imam Abu Haniefa was a Taabaee and had seen several Sahaabah. (Introduction to Oujuz-ul-Masalik)

Why there are few Hadith only, quoted on the authority of Abu Haniefa?

Imam Abu Haniefa took great precautions before narrating a Hadith. Famous Muhaddith, Yahya bin Moeen says,

"Imam Abu Haniefa is highly authentic, he narrates only that Hadith which he remembers and does not narrate any Hadith which he does not remember." (Taarikh-i-Baghdad—M. Izaam, vol 13, P-419)

Alama Ibne Khaldoon writes: "There are less narrations from Imam Abu Haniefa as his pre-conditions for narration were quite strict."

Abdul Wahib Sheerani says: "About the Hadith which is narrated from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Imam Abu Haniefa, before acting upon the Hadith puts the precondition that quite a good number of pious people should have also narrated that Hadith .

Imam Shafaee says: "All people (to come) are dependent on Abu Haniefa in Fiqh "(as family members are dependent on the head of the family).

Imam Maalik (RA)

Abdullah Maalik bin Anas bin Maalik bin Abi Aamir Umair bin al-Asahi al-Humairi was born in Madinah. Imam Maalik (RA) is one of those few famous scholars of Hadith who need little introduction. He was the most authentic scholar of Hadith of his time. He was among Taba-Taabaeen group. His piousness and Taqwa was of highest degree. He learned and narrated Hadith from noted Muhadditheen like Nafae, Ibne Umar, Muhammad bin Al-Munkidr, Zehri and from a large number of Taabaeen and Taba-Taabaeen group of Muhadditheen. Great scholars like Yahya bin Syed Ansari, Sufiyan Thouri, Sufiyan bin Uyainiya, Awdhaee, Shoaba, Laith bin Syed, Ibne Mubarak, Imam Shafaee, Ibne Wahab and many others have been students of Imam Maalik (RA) and have learned Hadith from him.

Imam Shafaee used to say about him, "Had there not been Imam Maalik (RA) and Ibne Uyainiya, the knowledge of the people of Madinah would have got annihilated". He also said, "Whenever, Ulema are mentioned, Imam Maalik (RA) stands out as a shining star."

Till then Bukhari and Muslim had not been written. That way Imam Maalik (RA) was first to compile an authentic book on Hadith.

Another noted scholar of Hadith Hadhrat Zahab bin Khalid used to say about Imam Maalik (RA), "Between east and west there has been no one more trustworthy of Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) than Imam Maalik (RA)."

He himself used to say that it happened on very few occasions that he (Imam Maalik) had listened Hadith from someone and that from whom he listened had not come to him for Fatwa later on.

Imam Maalik (RA) was unique in honouring the Hadith of Rasulullah. When someone used to visit him for learning Deeni Knowledge, he used to direct his servant to enquire from the visitor whether he wants to ask for a Fatwa or to know a Hadith. If the visitor wanted to ask for a Fatwa, then Imam Sahib would come out and give him the Fatwa. If the visitor wanted to know the Hadith, then Imam Sahib would tell him to wait, would have a fresh bath for himself; dress himself with fresh washed clothes, use some fragrance (Itr) and then would sit by the side of a nice cushion with grace and then used to narrate the Hadith. He used to say that Hadith is a royal thing, its etiquettes should be also royal.

It is mentioned that once Caliph Haroon Rashid visited Madinah, Imam Maalik (RA) also went to see him. After meeting him, Imam Maalik (RA) started to leave, Haroon Rashid requested him to come to his palace to teach Hadith to his sons—Amin and Mamoon. On listening this Imam Maalik (RA) looked at him with hatred and told Caliph Haroon Rashid not to belittle the thing (i.e., Ilm) whose rank has been elevated by Allah. He further said to him that whole world goes after Ilm and lIm does not go to any one, and that this Ilm sprouts directly from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and to honour it is obligatory on you people (Haroon Rashid). This fearless statement from the mouth of this great lover of Hadith set Haroon Rashid's mind right and he behaved sensibly. While admitting the truthfulness of Imam Maalik (RA)'s statement he told him that indeed he had made a wrong statement and apologised for the same. Haroon Rashid then used to send his sons to Imam Maalik (RA) for learning Hadith. Imam Maalik (RA) never gave them any extra attention, he used to teach them with other common students.

One day Haroon Rashid sent some money to Imam Maalik (RA). Imam Maalik asked his attendants to keep it safe. Then one day, Haroon Rashid told Imam Maalik (RA) that if he could come to his Darbar, they would make his book and his ideology very popular. Imam Maalik (RA) replied that he had compiled his book as per his knowledge. There is apprehension that there are many mistakes in that. Others could be more knowledgeable than him, so there was no purpose in inviting others towards his viewpoint. With this, he returned that money back to Haroon Rashid who again apologised for what he had done.

Imam Shafaee says that one day he saw beautiful horses and Egyptian mules outside Imam Maalik's (RA) house which surprised him. Imam Maalik (RA) said to Imam Shafaee, "O! Abu Abdullah, they have come as gift, now you accept Imam Maalik (RA) to keep one. Imam Maalik (RA) replied that he feels ashamed if he would walk on horse in the land in which lies the grave of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)"

Imam Maalik, in his whole lifetime has left Madinah only once when he went to perform Haj. Rest he spent his whole life in Madinah, teaching Hadith in Masjid-e-Nabwi.

Motaa of Imam Maalik (RA)

Alama Abu Bakr Ibne Arabi says, "The status of Motaa is first and basic, and Bukhari is second in status in this regard as it is on the basis of these two books that books like Muslim and Tirmizi have been compiled." (Bustan)

Haafiz lbne Hasaan says in Kitabus-Siqat, “Imam Maalik is the first scholar from Madinah who started knowing details of the narrators of Hadith and did not accept the Hadith of those narrators who were not authentic. He neither quotes any Hadith that is not Sahih nor narrates any Hadith from unauthentic narrator." (Tahzeeb-ul-Tahzeeb)

Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddith Delhvi says about Mota, "The principal of the school of thought of Imam Maalik is based on the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) (which may be Musnad or Mursal) and on the Ath'ar of Hadhrat Umar (RA). To give justification from the practice of Hadhrat Ibne Umar (RA) and to derive conclusion on the basis of the Fataawa of Sahaabah and Taabaeen of Madinah particularly when a group of Taabaeen has consensus on that particular Fatawa, is also the principle of Imam Maalik"

Ibne Hajar Asqalani further explains the same as, "Imam Maalik compiled Motaa and in this he opted for strong narrations from the people of Hijaz. He also included in it the saying of Sahaabah-al-Kiram and Fataawa by Taabaeen and later scholars”. (Fathul-Bari)

Imam Shafaee says, "There is no book on earth more authentic than the book of Imam Maalik after the book of Allah (i.e., Qur’an)."

Author of Mijlah-us-Sa'ada says, "There is consensus among the Ulema that as per status Mota is after Tirmizi, but in reality it is at number three i.e., after Muslim." (Muqadam Awjazul Masaalik)

Haafiz Ibne Hajar further says, "Some Imams have stated that it is difficult to give preference to book of Bukhari over that of Maalik as both are very careful about the authenticity (of narrations) even if the narrations of Bukhari are more but that cannot be basis for preference." (Fathul-Bari)

Imam Shafaee (RA)

Abu Abdullah bin Idrees bin al-Abbas bin Uthman bin Shafe bin Said bin al-Mutalib bin Abdul Aziz bin Hashim bin al-Mutalib bin Abd Manaf al-Qarshi al-Mutalabi.

Imam Shafaee is referred as Mutalibi because one of his ancestors. Mutalib bin Abd-Manaf was the brother of Hashim bin Abd-Manaf who was amongst the grand parents of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). As one of the grand parents was Shafaee, it is because of him that he is popularly known as Imam Shafaee. Ulema have stated that the mother of Abd Aziz bin Hashim was the daughter of Hashim bin Abd-Manaf and mother of Shafe was the sister of Hadhrat Fatima binti Asad who was the mother of Ameer-ul-Mumineen Hadhrat Ali (RA). Imam Shafaee's mother was Umm-ul-Hassan binti Harriza bin al-Qasim bin Yazid bin Hamza bin al-Qasim bin Yazid bin al-Hassan bin Ali bin Taalib. So both way Imam Shafaee is linked to Rasulullah's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) family. Ulema have also stated that Shafe bin Said had met Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in his youth and his father was arrested by Muslims when he was holding the flag of Bani Hashim during the Battle of Badr. He embraced Islam after paying Fidyah.

Ulema have different opinions about the birth place of Imam Shafaee. Some say he was born in Gaza, some say in Asqalan while others say that he was born in Muns. Then he shifted to Makkah-Al-Mukarramah and there he was brought up. He memorised the Qur'an by heart at the age of seven and Mota Imam Maalik when he was ten. He learned Islamic Jurisprudence from Mufti of Makkah—Hadhrat Muslim bin Khalid. He was granted permission for giving Fatwas by the Ulema of that time when he was just 15 years old.

Then Imam Shafaee went to Madinah Munnawara and became the student of Imam Maalik. In his early days he was interested in poetry. He himself says that one day he was sitting alone under the shade of wall of Khana Ka'aba and he heard a voice from behind saying, "O! Muhammad leave poetry and learn Islamic Jurisprudence."

Imam Shafaee says that he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream before adolescence saying to him, "O! child, I said Labaika Ya Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), from which clan are you? I said, from your. Then he told me to come nearer and open you mouth. I obeyed the order, then he put his saliva in my mouth and said go, may Allah bless you". Imam Shafaee says that after this blessing he did not err in Hadith and Arabic.

Imam Sahafee says, "When I went to Imam Maalik, he looked keenly at me for sometime, as Imam Maalik was a man of great insight. He asked my name, I replied, Muhammad. Then he told me, "O! Muhammad, fear Allah, adopt piousness and shun away the sins, Allah Ta'ala will bestow upon you great and marvelous rank from amongst the Ummah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)”. I remained with Imam Maalik till I completed acquisition of all branches of knowledge. When I asked for permission to return back home, he told me, "O! young man, Allah has put a Nur in your heart don't extinguish it with the darkness of sins."

Imam Shafaee has narrated Hadith from Imam Maalik, Uyainiya, Abdul Aziz and many others and from him scholars like Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imaam Thouri Muzni and many others have narrated Hadith.

Imam Shafaee went to Baghdad after leaving Imam Maalik, and there he remained for two years. For these two years Ulema of Baghdad took complete advantage of his presence there and learned from him a lot. He wrote his earlier books in Baghdad only. Imam Abmad bin Hambal says that they had not learned how to recognise Naasikh Hadith with the help of Mansokh, Khas Hadith with the help of Aam Hadith and Mujammal Hadith with the help of Mufassal Hadith till they did not sit before Imam Shafaee.

Yahya bin Moeen, who himself was a great Muhaddith, once asked Ahmad bin Hambal as to why he used to walk on foot on the right side of the horse of Imam Shafaee when he (Imam Ahmad) himself was a great scholar of Hadith? Imam Ahmad replied, "Had you been the lover of Ilm and Fiqh, you would have walked on the left side."

Imam Muhammad bin Hassan Sheebani while praising Imam Shafaee said, “once Imam Shafaee took on lone from him a book of Abu Haniefa namely ‘Ansat’ and he learned the whole book by heart in just twenty four hours.

In memory power, Hadith, Fiqh, explanation, masterly hold on various aspects of Ilm, physical and spiritual beauty, nicety of opinion, intimation, courage, good morals and charity, Imam Shafaee had all these qualities in highest degree of excellence.

Sayings of Imam Shafaee

* One who admonishes his brother secretly he is in fact his well wisher and adds to his beauty.

* One who admonishes his brother publicly, his act alleges him and makes him to feel ashamed.

* Taqwa is the beauty of Ulemas, good manners their ornaments and gentleness their excellence.

* Allah never makes any ignoramous person (Jaahil) His friend.

* Contentment, patience and gratitude is the beauty of Fakir.

* Poverty of Ulema is voluntary and that of ignoramous is involuntary.

Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (RA)

Imam Ahmad bin Hambal is one of the four famous Imams of Fiqh and has been a great Muhaddith of his time. He was born in Baghdad in 164 Hijra. His full name is Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Hambal bin Halal bin Asad bin Idrees bin Abdullah bin Hiban bin Asad bin Rabee’a bin Nazar bin Sa'id bin Adnan. He got his early education in Baghdad. He showed his extraordinary excellence right from his childhood and was loved by his teachers and others for his piousness. He memorised whole Qur'an by heart in childhood only. After obtaining the certificate of excellence for Hadith from scholars of Baghdad, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal travelled to many other centers of knowledge for learning more about Hadith which include Kufa, Basra, Makkah, Madinah Munawwarah, Yamen and Syria. He learned and recorded Hadith from the Muhadditheen of these places. Amongst the Muhadditheen from whom Imam Ahmad bin Hambal learned Hadith, Yazid bin Haroon, Yahya bin Syed Qatan, Sufiyan bin Uyainiya and Imam Shafaee are worth mentioning but he learned Hadith from Imam Abu Yousuf first.

Distinguished students of Imam Ahmad include Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and Abu Dawood Sajastani.

Ishaq bin Rohovia one of the main teachers of Imam Bukhari, said about Imam Ahmad, "He is a Hujjat between Allah and His bondsmen on earth."

Imam Shafaee said, "I left Baghdad at such a time when there was no one as pious and scholarly as Imam Ahmad bin Hambal"

Ahmad bin Sayeed Darmi said, "I have seen no young man as Haafiz of Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as Imam Ahmad bin Hambal."

Imam Ahmad compiled a book on Ahaadith called Musnad Ahmad. His Musnad was the best book on Hadith in his time. In this book he compiled thirty thousand Ahaadith which he chose from seven lakh and fifty thousand Ahaadith.

Abu Dawood Sajatani said, "To sit with Imam Ahmad bin Hambal is actually to sit with someone from Aakhirah".

It was because one used to forget everything about the world while in the company of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal. Ulema have stated that Imam Ahmad lived a life of austerity and never accepted any thing from anyone.

Abu Dawood Sajastani further says, "I have met about two hundred scholars of Hadith, I didn’t found anyone more excellent than Imam Ahmad."

Superb proof of greatness of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (RA)

The teacher of scholars and chief amongst Auliyaa Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Geelani (RA) of Baghdad followed the school of thought of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal as for as fiqh is concerned. It is mentioned in Behjat-ul-Asrar that Hadhrat Sheikh (RA) used to give Fatwa as per the Fiqh of Imam Shafaee and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, but it is more famous that Hadhrat Sheikh followed the Hambali school of thought only. (Ashhe-at-ul-Lama'at)

Hafiz Ibne Taymiya says, "There is no doubt that Imam Ahmad bin Hambal was a Mujtahid and Faqeeh, but the influence of Hadith was dominant over him."

Great test o Imam Ahmad (RA)—Fitnah Khalq-i-Qur’an

During the Caliphate of Mamoon Rashid, a serious nuisance that of Khalq-e-Qur'an was faced by the Ummah which in a short span of time spread like an epidemic, particularly because of the fact that the rulers of the time adopted this opinion. Mamoon became the advocate of this opinion with his full might. He even issued the orders that those people who do not agree to this belief should be terminated from official postings. He asked his governors to test the judges of courts and if any one was not conforming with this opinion should be discharged from the court. Then he called the famous scholars and Muhadditheen and asked them questions about Khalaq-i-Qur'an and also declared his opinion in their presence. Before his death, Mamoon wrote to Ishaq bin Ibrahim third time and asked him to call all famous scholars and tell them to comply with this order. Ishaq, while complying the royal orders did the same and wrote back to Mamoon about the opinion of these scholars. On reading the opinion of these Ulema, Mamoon got outraged and issued death sentence for two of them and also ordered that the rest should be arrested and sent to him in chains. There were thirty Ulema who had not surrendered to Mamoon's opinion. Out of these finally four remained steadfast viz., Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, Sajadah, Qawaeiri and Muhammad bin Naoh. All these were tied in chains and sent to Mamoon Rashid. When these people reached Ruqa the news of death of Mamoon was received and they were sent back to the incharge administrator of Baghdad. Muhammad bin Naoh died on the way and rest reached Baghdad.

Mamoon had advised his successor Moutesim bin Rashid to remain very strong about the policy of Khalq-i-Qur'an and the later followed the advice of his predecessor very actively.

Now, the responsibility to refute the opinion of Khalq-i-Qur'an and uphold the correct view about Qur’an and face the mighty rulers was solely lying on the shoulders of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal.

Imam Ahmad was brought from Ruqa to Baghdad with four chains tied to his each leg. For three days, the debate continued but Imam Ahmad remained steadfast on his stand. Then Imam was brought to Baghdad and he was told that the Caliph would not kill him by his sword but would beat him only and would put him in such a place where he could never see the sun.

When he was produced before Montesim bin Rashid, he was whipped 28 lashes on his persistent refusal, and after every two lashes a fresh Jallad was called. Imam Ahamd only used to say, "Bring something before me from Qur'an or from Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), I will accept".

Imam Ahmad was kept in prison for 28 months. Muhammad bin Ismaiel says that he heard that the lashes which were given to Imam Ahmad were of such a severe nature that if one such lash would have been given to a strong elephant he would have run away crying. (Tarikh Dawat-e-Azimat)

Finally Imam Ahmad succeeded in withstanding this great torture and emerged as triumphant and in this way this cancerous problem got buried for all times to come.

May Allah bestow ever-increasing blessings upon his soul.

Imam Bukhari (RA)

Sahih-Bukhari, a book on Ahaadith (sayings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) compiled by Imam Bukhari is considered as the truest and the best book under the skies on earth after Qur'an Al-Karim. There is cent per cent consensus amongst all the Ulemas of all schools of thought on the viewpoint. This great book was compiled by Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Mugairah bin Bardiz popularly known as Imam Bukhari. He was born in the city of Bukhara now in Uzbekistan, that is why he is commonly known as Imam Bukhari and his book as Bukhari Sharief. Imam Bukhari is the leader of Muhadditheen—scholars of Hadith. He was called Ameer-ul-Mumineen fil-Hadith (Chief of Muslims in Hadith). Ulema of his time addressed him with different titles of honour. Whenever Imam Muslim visited him he used to request him for allowing him to kiss his feet and addressed him as— O! speaker of Excellence, O! teacher of teachers, O! chief of Muhadditheen, etc.

Imam Tirmidhi used to say that he has not seen any one like him and that Allah had made him as the beauty of the Ummah.

Ibne Khuzaima said, "There is no scholar of Hadith or Hafiz (learner of Hadith) on earth parallel to Imam Bukhari."

Some scholars used to say that Imam Bukhari was one of the signs of Allah amongst His signs in His creatures on earth.

Allah Ta'ala had bestowed upon him extraordinary memory power, unique understanding of Qur'an and Sunnah, sharpness of mind, enviable piousness, very fine inner sight and above all great authority over the knowledge of Hadith and its related branches. His father was also a great scholar and narrator of Hadith. He had the opportunity of sitting in the company of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (RA). He has narrated Hadith from the students of Imam Malik and their group and he was considered to be amongst those saints whose Dua is usually accepted by Allah. His mother was also from the same group. It is said that Imam Bukhari had become blind in his early childhood and doctors had declared him untreatable. His mother did not loose hope in Allah and she continued to make Dua for his child.

One day she saw Prophet Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS) in her dream telling her, “O! old lady, by your constant humble Dua, Allah has restored the eyesight of your son”. When Imam Bukhari woke up in the morning, his eyesight was normal.

It is reported that when he was ten years of age, he got the inspiration for learning Hadith and at the age of eleven he corrected mistakes of the collection of Ahaadith of his teacher. At the age of sixteen, he memorised by heart all the Hadith books of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mubarak and Hadhrat Wakee. It was at this age that his parents took him for Hajj pilgrimage.

At the age of eighteen, he wrote books on the excellences of the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Then he compiled "Tarikh-e-Kabeer" while sitting in the Masjid Nabwi in Madinah near Rawdh-i-Aqdas. Imam Bukhari used to write books in moonlit nights as well. He says that he stayed in Hijaz for six years, travelled twice to Syria and Egypt for collection of Ahaadith and four times to Basrah, a city in Iraq. He says that he does not remember how many times he travelled to Baghdad and Kufa for the same purpose.

He is also reported to have said that he narrated Hadith from one thousand and eighty persons and among these no one else other than scholars of Hadith is included. Imam Bukhari is considered to be the most authentic and reliable narrator of Hadith. Great Muhadditheen, like Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi, and Imam Ibne Khuzaim have narrated Hadith from Imam Bukhari. Nearly one Lakh people have narrated Hadith from Imam Bukhari.

It is reported that Imam Bukhari had inherited a lot of property from his father and was thus very wealthy. He was extraordinarily very generous, courageous and of very high morals. He used to take great care of the students of Hadith and for himself he usually ate very little. It is also reported that for forty years he did not use salted dish with bread.

It is reported that once he was offering Salaah and a wasp bit him seventeen times but he did not cut short his Salaah but continued.

Other famous works of Imam Bukhari Include

1. Adabul Mufrad.

2. Rafa Yadain Fi Salaah.

3. Qirat Khalfi Imam.

4. Birrul Waalidain.

5. Tarikh-i-Kabeer.

6. Tarikh-i-Ausat.

7. Tarikh-i-Sageer.

8. Khaliq-i-Afaali Ibaad.

9. Jamia Kabir.

10. Musnad Kabir.

11. Tafteer Kabir.

12. Kitabul Ashribe.

13. Kitabul Hiba.

14. Kitabul Rq’al.

15. Kitab-ul-Elal.

16. Kitabul Mabsoot.

17. Kitabul Fawa'id.

Factors responsible for compiling of Sahih al-Bukhari

Here it should be kept in mind that at the time of Sahaabah-Al-Kiram and leading Taabaeen, the Ahaadith were not compiled in written form. There were many reasons for the same. Since the Sahaabah had the opportunity of being in the blessed company of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), their memory power was extraordinary and their minds were very sharp and clear. In addition to this, the factors which led to writing of books like controversies, groupism and Fatwas etc., were not present at that time. It is also reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had forbidden Sahaabah from writing Hadith so that it may not get mingled with Qur'an, and it would have been difficult later on to distinguish between the Qur'an and the Hadith. One more reason was that most of the Sahaabah were illiterate and were not knowing how to write.

Then, Imam Zahri, Rabee bin Sabeeh and Syed bin Abu Arbah started this blessed work and wrote each chapter separately. In third generation i.e., of Taba-Taabaeen, great scholars of Hadith were born, they collected Ahaadith and devised chapters on the pattern of Fiqh. Imam Malik (RA) who was the leading scholar in Madinah wrote Mota Imam Malik and collected all those Ahaadith of Ahle-Hijaz who were authentic as per his judgment. He also included the sayings of Sahaabah and Taabaeen and their Fatwas in his book. The same work was started in Makkah-al-Mukarama by Abu Muhammad Abdul Malik bin Abdul Aziz bin Juraif; in Syria by Abdul Rehman Auzaee; in Kofa by Sufiyan Thowri and in Basra by Hamad bin Salma. They all wrote books on Hadith. From leading Muhadditheen Imam Ahmad bin Hambal and Ishaaq bin Rahoya compiled their Masaaneed. None of these early workers tried to separate weak Ahaadith from Sahih Hadith.

The credit of separating weak Ahaadith from Sahih ones goes to Imam Bukhari, who compiled his great book Sahih al-Bukhari with painstaking efforts for the first time. Imam Bukhari is reported to have said that once he saw in his dream that he was trying to swing away flies from the blessed face of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with a hand fan. He asked a godly person about his dream who was knowing the interpretation of dreams. That person told Imam Bukhari that the interpretation of this dream is that he will be able to remove falsehood from the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This dream also became one of the factors responsible for the compilation of Sahih Bukhari. It is authoritatively reported that Imam Bukhari selected the Ahaadith which he has quoted in Sahih Bukhari from six lakh Ahaadith and he also said that the number of Ahaadith which he did not include in Sahih Bukhari is more than the number which he included in this book.

Imam Bukhari wrote this book while sitting in the mosque of Khana-Ka'aba. Before writing each Hadith he used to prostrate before Almighty Allah for ISTIKHARA then offer two Rak'ats of Salaah. In another narration it is quoted that he used to take bath with Zamzam water and then offer two Rakats of Salaah near Muqami Ibrahim and then he would write the Hadith. He used to write that Hadith only which was most authentic as per his extremely strict criteria which he had devised for labeling a Hadith Sahih.

Ibne Abi has quoted from his teachers that Imam Bukhari completed his book near the blessed grave of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The two reports are correlated in such a way that he started the book in Khana Ka’bah and gave it a final shape in Madinah-al-Munawwarah.

As per Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Delhvi (RA), it is also possible that Imam Bukhari was presenting each Hadith before Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and was including it in his book only after his permission—Allah knows the best.

Imam Abu Zaid Maroozi says that while he was sleeping in Khana-Ka'aba between Rukn and Muqam-e-Ibrahim he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in dream telling him why he does not teach his book? He says that he surprisingly asked as to which was his (i.e, Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) book? He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "The book of Muhammad bin Ismail Bukhari."

There is consensus among the Ulema of the Ummah that, "The most authentic and the truest book after Qur 'an is Sahih-Al-Bukhari."

Sheikh Shuhabudin Ibne Hajar has narrated in the commentary of Sahih Bukhari that there are total of nine thousand eight hundred and eighty two Ahaadith in Sahih Bukhari including all repetitions. If repetitions are excluded then the number remains two thousand six hundred and twenty three. The best of Sahih Bukhari are those Ahaadith which have only three steps in chain of narrators up to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There are twenty two such Ahaadith.

Imam Bukhari’s (RA) departure from the world

It is reported that Imam Bukhari returned to his native place Bukhara after completing his studies and travelling far and wide. He met numerous scholars during that time from whom he imbibed lot of knowledge.

On reaching his home town, people gave him a warm welcome. People came out three miles from Bukhara and organized the reception of Imam Bukhari from there. The whole three mile long road was nicely decorated and dinars, dirhams and diamonds were showered upon him.

Imam Bukhari stayed in Bukhara for a long time teaching Hadith. Some people feeling jealous of Imam Bukhari's fame incited the ruler of the town to call Imam Bukhari to the palace and ask him to read the Ahaadith there. Imam Bukhari told the king's emissary that he cannot belittle Ilm, if the king has to learn knowledge from him, he should himself come to him. It is also reported that the ruler of the town asked Imam Bukhari to arrange a special occasion in which he would only teach his children and no one else should participate in that course. Imam Bukhari refused to differentiate people for teaching Hadith. These things created differences between Imam Bukhari and the ruler to such an extent that the ruler ordered Imam to leave Bukhara. Imam Bukhari left Bukhara and but cursed the ruler and made Dua to Allah Ta'ala in following words, “O! Allah, what they wished for me, accept that for them and their families”.

This curse of Imam Bukhari was accepted by Allah and in less than a month's time. An order was issued by the central government dismissed the ruler of Bukhara. He was taken round the city on a donkey and a person was making the announcement that the punishment of a bad person would be like this. Afterwards he was imprisoned and died in the prison only. The courtier who had favoured the ruler, also got involved in the worst tragedies. When Imam Bukhari left Bukhara, he was invited by the people of Samarqand. When he reached town near Samarqand, he heard that people of Samarqand had developed differences over his staying in Samarqand. This gave a great shock to Imam Bukhari and he raised his hands in Dua after Tahajjud Salaah with following words: “O! Allah, the earth despite its vastness had got narrowed for me, so take me towards yourself”. After less than a month after this Dua, he fell ill and departed from this world. He was born on 13th Shabaan of 194 Hijra on Friday after Asr and died on Ist Shawaal, 256 Hijra. May Allah bless his soul more and more.

Abu Bakar Baghdadi narrated from Abdul Wahid Turawaibi that he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream with a group of Sahaabah as if waiting for someone. He says that after saying Salam, he asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as to why they were standing there like this. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "I am waiting for Muhammad bin Ismail.” It was the same night in which Imam Bukhari had departed from the world.

It is reported that when he was buried, an excellent fragrance emanated from his grave which remained for a long time after his death. May Allah shower more and more blessings on his soul.

Imam Muslim (RA)

When we talk about Hadith and Muhaddith then after Imam Bukhari (RA), the second name which comes to mind is Imaam Muslim (RA). His full name is Abu'l Husain Asakir-ud-Din Muslim bin Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi. Imam Muslim, as his lineage shows, belonged to the Qushayr tribe of the Arabs, an off-shoot of the great clan of Rabi'a. He was born in Naasabur (Nishapur) in 202/817 or 206/821. His parents were religious minded and as such he was brought up in a pious atmosphere. This left such an indelible impression on his mind that he spent the whole of his life as a God-fearing person and always adhered to the path of righteousness. He was in fact a godly person of high calibre. His excellent moral character can be well judged from the simple fact that he never indulged in backbiting, a very common human failing.

He has been amongst the most prominent scholars of the Ummah particularly in the field of Hadith. He was the great personality having a very high degree of Taqwa. He is considered among the Imams (chiefs) of scholars of Hadith. Imam Muslim (RA) dedicated his life for acquiring and then teaching of Hadith. He left his native place and then travelled far and wide to collect traditions in Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, where he attended the lectures of some of the prominent Traditionists of his time. He learned Hadith from Yahya bin Yahya and Ishaq bin Rahovia in Khurasan; from Muhammad bin Mehran in Ray; from Ahmad bin Hanbal and Abdullah bin Muslim Qutiaba bin Sa 'id in Iraq; from Syed bin Mansoor and Abu Musaib in Hijaz; from Umar bin Aswad and Hammala bin Yahya in Egypt and also from numerous scholars of Hadith of those days.

Having finished his studies, he settled down at Nishapur. There he came into contact with Imam Bukhari (RA), and was so much impressed by his vast knowledge of Hadith and his deep insight into it that he kept himself attached to him to the end of his life. He was an ardent admirer of another great teacher of Hadith, Muhammad bin Yahya-al-Dhuhali and attended his lectures regularly, but when the difference of opinion rose between Muhammad bin Yahya and Imam Bukhari, on the issue of the creation of the Holy Qur'an, which sharpened into hostility, Imam Muslim with Imam Bukhari abandoned Muhammad bin Yahya altogether. He was thus a true disciple of Imam Bukhari.

He went to Baghdad several times and taught Hadith there. Many scholars of Hadith of his status or even of higher status as regards the knowledge of Hadith, have narrated Hadith from Imam Muslim (RA), some of them include Abu Hatam Razi, Musa bin Haroon, Ahmad bin Salma, Abu Isa Tirmizi and Abu Bakr bin Khuziama etc.

Imam Muslim (RA) like Imam Bukhari compiled only those Hadith in the book called Muslim Shareef, which were most authentic called Sahih. Like Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim has also been accepted by all the Ulema of the Ummah as the most reliable book on authentic Hadith.

As Imam Bukhari said about his book that he had not quoted every Sahih Hadith in his book but had quoted only those Hadith on the authenticity of which there was consensus (Ijma). Imam Muslim (RA) adopted the same method for his book Sahih Muslim.

Abu Umar bin Ahmad bin Hanidan says that he asked Abu Abass bin Uqba about Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (RA) of Nishapur and that who was having more knowledge among these two. He replied that both were scholars, he says that he asked repeatedly the same question then he said: “O! Abu Umar, occasionally Imam Bukhari adopts wrong procedure about the people of Syria (Ahle-Sham) that he calls someone by his sir name and at other place gives the reader his first name which gives the impression that probably they are the two persons. This has happened with Imam Muslim (RA) verv rarely”. (A’seeh atul-lam’aat)

Khatib Baghdadi says that Imam Muslim (RA) studied Imam Bukhari and then followed his path righteously. When Imam Bukhari came to Nishapur in his late life, Imam Muslim (RA) remained closely attached with him and imbibed a lot from him.

The excellence of Sahih Muslim lies in those Ahaadith which have only four steps in the chain of narrators from Imam Muslim (RA) to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and there are around eighty such Ahaadith in Sahih Muslim.

The other books compiled by Imam Muslim (RA) include:

1. Musnad Kabir.

2. Jamia Kabir.

3. Kitabul Elal

4. Kitabul Awhami Muhaditheen.

5. Kitab Tabaqat-i-Taabeen.

6. Kitab al-Asma wal-Kuna.

7. Kitab al-Wijdan.

Imam Nawawi says that one who will study Sahih Muslim very minutely, its Hadith, authenticity of narrators, sequence, beauty of phraseology, depth of research and very high degree of caution and piety exercised, he will definitely not find anyone of such qualities in the latter Ummah.

There is consensus amongst the Ulema of the Ummah that Sahih Muslim is the most authentic book on Hadith after Sahih Bukhari. Some scholars rate Sahih Muslim higher than Sahih Bukhari.

Imam Muslim (RA) lived for fifty-five years in this world. In this short span of lifetime, he spent most of his time in—learning Hadith, its compilation, its teaching and transmission. He always remained absorbed in this single pursuit and nothing could distract his attention from this pious task. He died on Sunday 24th Rajab, 261 Hijrah, and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur. May Allah bless his soul.

Imam Abu Dawood (RA)

Sunan Abu Dawood finds its place among the top six books on Hadith, compiled by Imam Abu Dawood. The actual name of Imam Abu Dawood was Suleman. He was born in 202 Hijra in a place known as Seestan also called Sajastan and that is why he is also referred to as Abu Dawood Sajastani. Ulema are of different opinions about the location of Seestan. Mostly it is believed that Seestan was situated between Haraat and Sind near Bulochistan. As per Ibne Khalqan, Sajastan is a village in the Suburbs of Basra.

Some people believe that this place is also called Sajaz, so he is also referred to as Abu Dawood Sajizy

Imam Abu Dawood spent most part of his life in Baghdad and compiled his book Sunan Abu Dawood there and later on shifted to Basra and spent his last four years of life there only. He died in Basra in 275 Hijra.

Imam Abu Dawood learned Hadith mostly from Muhadditheen of Baghdad but he also travelled widely for this purpose to Iraq, Khurasan, Syria and Algiers. He learned Hadith from a number of Muhadditheen amongst whom Imam Ahmad, Quanbi Abu-al-Walid Tayalisi, Muslim bin Ibrahim and Yahya bin Mo'een are worth mentioning. Many teachers were common to Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Bukhari.

Imam Abu Dawood had countless student and amongst them Imam Tirmizi and Imam Nasaee are the distinguished ones.

Hakim is of the opinion that Imam Abu Dawood was Imam of all the Muhadditheen of his time.

Imam Ibrahim Harbi's comment about Imam Abu Dawood is quite famous in which he stated, “Hadith had been softened for Imam Abu Dawood in the same way as iron was softened for Hadhrat Dawood (AS)”.

Mullah Ali Qari (RA) says, “Imam Abu Dawood was at very great height as regards to piousness, Taqwa and Ibaadah”.

Reasons which motivated Imam Abu Dawood for compilation of his sunan

According to Haafiz Ibne Qayyim there were two groups of scholars, one consisted of those Hufaz of Hadith who only memorised Hadith and then quoted the same to others. They did not try to extract the rules and regulations of Shari'ah from these Ahaadith. On the other hand there was a group of Fuqahaa who dedicated themselves for derivation of Ahkam from Ahaadith and profoundly pondered over the Ahaadith. As the time passed these two groups attained distinct proportions and started criticizing each other, particularly the students of first group were very critical of the latter group in the same way as Hamidi became a staunch critic of Imam Abu Haniefa and Ahmed bin Abdullah was fiercely criticizing Imam Shafaee. Abu Hatani Raazi is quoted to have said that Imam Shafaee was a Faqih but did not know Hadith.

Observing the misunderstanding between these two groups, Imam Abu Dawood felt the need to compile such a book of Hadith in which those Ahaadith would be presented which formed the basis of the Masaalik of Fuqahaa. Imam Abu Dawood himself says that his book contains the Ahaadith which form the foundations of Maslak of Imam Maalik, Shafaee and Thouri.

Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Delhvi (RA) says that the purpose of Imam Abu Dawood was to compile those Ahaadith which laid the foundation of the Masalik of Fuqahaa. Quoting Allama Ibne Tamiyah, Alama Anwar Shah Kashmiri says that Imam Abu Dawood himself belonged to Hambli Maslak.

Sunan Abu Dawood

Imam Abu Dawood compiled his book in Baghdad and then presented it to the Muhadditheen of Baghdad, they liked it very much and also quoted Hadith from this book. When this book was presented to Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, he also liked it. Imam Abu Dawood is quoted to have said that he wrote five lakh Ahaadith from Muhadditheen and then selected four thousand and six hundred Sahih and near Sahih Hadith for his Sunan.

This book became very popular in a short span of time and no one criticized it. Some Ulema said, “If someone has only Qur'an and Sunan Abu Dawood, he does not need any other book”.

Alama Ibne Qayyim says, “Imam Abu Dawood has written such a book which proved decisive in controversial issues”.

Some pious people have seen Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying them in dream that if someone wanted to act as per his Sunnah, he should read Sunan Abu Dawood.

Four Ahaadith enough for Deen

Imam Abu Dawood says that he selected four thousand and six hundred Ahaadith from five lakh Ahaadith for his book but out of these only four are enough for one's Deen viz:

إنما أعمال بالنيات

1. “Deeds are as per intentions”

من حسن الإسلام المرء تركه ما لا يعني

2. "It is part of the excellence ofa person's Islam that he should discard that which is ofno benefit to him either in this world or in the Hereafter."

لا يحب أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه

3. "Nobody (truly) believes till he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”

ألحلال بين والحرام بين

4. "Halaal is evident and Haraam is evident."

Imam Abu Haniefa is also reported to have said to his son Hammaad that he had selected five Ahaadith from a total of five lakh Ahaadith. Out of these four are same as quoted above from Abu Dawood and fifth is:

ألمسلم من سلم المسلمون من لسانه و يده

"A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe."

Since Imam Abu Dawood considered Imam Abu Haniefa as Imam and Mujtahid, may be he followed him in selecting these four Ahaadith.

If one ponders over these four Ahaadith, they are really enough for one's guidance. First Hadith is enough for purifying the deeds and making them exclusively for the sake of Allah. In second Hadith the importance of lifetime is emphasized and one is advised to leave all those engagements which are futile and time wasting. One who realizes the importance of time, he alone succeeds in life. The third Hadith is of fundamental significance for the reformation of society. It is only by this method that you can achieve peace and harmony in society and can uproot evils like cheating, dacoity, falsehood, hoarding, eve teasing, molestation and so many such crimes because no one likes these things for himself. Fourth Hadith is enough for making one to lead a straightforward life and avoid all doubtful matters which shatter one's peace of mind and can also ruin his Iman.

Status of Sunan Abu Dawood in Sihah Sittah

Dr. Taqi-ud-din writes, “The place of Sunan Abi Dawood in Sihah Sittah (most authentic six books of Hadith are called Sihah Sittah, Sihah means true and authentic and Sittah means six in Arabic) is to be seen from two angles, one is from the angle of teaching and the other is from the angle of authenticity of its Ahaadith. The authors of Sihah Sittah have compiled these books as per their own liking. Imam Bukhari has kept in view mainly the methods of extraction of Masail (Istimbat) as is evident from the headings of the chapters of the book called Tarajim-i-Abwaab. It is quite famous saying among the teachers of Hadith that the whole earning of Imam Bukhari is in his Tarajim.

Imam Muslim has compiled Sahih Hadith with different chains of narrators at one place. Imam Abu Dawood has made the topic of his book those Ahaadith on which the Imams of Fiqh have based their Fatawa, called Mustadlat. Imam Tirmidhi's main aim is to describe the Mazaahib (different schools of thought of Fiqh). Imam Nasaee's concern has been to caution about the causations of Hadith and Ibn Majah intends to mention the less popular Hadith.

From this above mentioned account we have understood the aims and objects of these books, so we can say that after Mishkat, Tirmidhi Shareef should be taught, because first of all a student should know the Maslak of four Imams, then he needs to learn the proofs that they have put forward in their Maslak, for that Sunan Abu Dawood is there. After that the student should know the methods of lstimbaat, for that purpose Sahih Bukhari is there. Then for further consolidation Sahih Muslim should be taught, and for knowing the causations, Nasaee should be taught and in the end Ibn Majah." (Muhadditheen-Ezaam)

As regards the place of Sunna Abu Dawood in Sihah Sittah most Ulema are of the opinion that its place is after Bukhari and Muslim.

References :

1. A’shee atul-Lam'at.

2. Muhaditheen-e-Ezaam

3. Hujjatullah-i-Baaliga

4. Faiz-ul-Bari

Imam Tirmidhi (RA)

Muhammad bin Eisa bin Surah bin Musa bin Zuhak Salma Tirmidhi Boghi was another famous Muhaddith whose compilation of Hadith, namely Jamia-Tirmidhi also called Sunan Tirmidhi is considered to be a standard authentic book on Hadith.

Imam Tirmidhi was born in 209 Hijra in Tirmidh, an ancient city situated on the banks of river Jeehoon. He died in 279 Hijra at the age of 70 years in this very city.

Imam Tirmidhi was born at a time when knowledge of Hadith had reached its peak. Imam Bukhari’s Dars-e-Hadith was in full bloom. Imam Tirmidhi got interested in Hadith in his childhood only. Later he travelled far and wide for the same purpose. He travelled to Khurasan, Iraq and Hijaz.

He was lucky to have great Muhadditheen like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Qutaiba bin Sayeed and Imam Abu Dawood as his teachers of Hadith.

Alama Zahbi says, “Imam Tirmidhi learned Hadith from Bukhari.” (Tehzib)

Haakim has quoted Musa bin Alak as saying:, “When Imam Bukhari died, he did not leave anyone in Khurasan who could match Imam Tirmidhi in knowledge, memory power and piousness.”

Imam Bukhari once himself said to Imam Tirmidhi, “I have learned more from you than you have learned from me.” (Tehzib)

Memory power of Imam Tirmidhi

Once Imam Tirmidhi met a Sheikh and requested him to make him know some Ahaadith. The Sheikh told him to write down. Imam Tirmidhi had no ink left in his pen, so he was just moving the pen on the paper. After sometime the Sheikh saw that he was not writing anything and that the paper was blank. The Sheikh got very angry with the Imam. Imam Tirmidhi told him that he remembered all the Ahaadith which Sheikh had narrated to him and he repeated them all. On this the Sheikh was quite impressed by his extraordinary memory power. (Muhadditheen Izam)

Jamia Tirmidhi

The name Jamia is labeled to such a book which contains the following eight chapters, viz;

1. Seer.

2. Aadab.

3. Tafseer.

4. Aqaid.

5. Fitan.

6. Ahkam.

7. Muaasharat.

8. Manaaqib

Since Jamai Tirmidhi has all these chapters, so it is also called Jamia.

Shah Waliullah Muhadith Delhvi writes about the Jamia Tirmidhi, “Abu Eisa Tirmidhi combined the methods of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim which had the generality and purity and that of Imam Abu Dawood which contained the arguments of Fuqahaa and presented this all in a nice way. He further added the Maslaks of Sahaabah, Taabaeen and Fuqahaa. In fact he wrote very comprehensive book. He also summarised nicely the chains of narrators of Hadith. He just quoted one chain and made only a reference to others. He also categorized Hadith as Sahih, Hasan, Dhaeef, Munkir. He also mentioned how a Hadith is Dhaeef, so that the students could get an idea and could also understand which was reliable and which un reliable.” (Hujatullahi-Baligah)

Imam Nasaee (RA)

Imam Nasaee’s compilation of Ahaadith commonly known as Nasaee Sharief also finds its place in first six books on Ahaadith called Sihah Sittah. His full name was Ahmad bin Ali Abu Abdul Rehman Nasaee. He was from a place near Khurasaan called Nasa. Some people wrongly pronounce his name as Nisaee, whereas it is Nasaee. He was born in 215 Hijra, at a time when Khurasaan was the known as a center of knowledge and technology.

Imam Nasaee got his early education in Khurasaan and later on toured far and wide in search of Hadith. He visited Hijaz, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Algeria and many other places. He reached to a noted Muhaddith, Qutaiba bin Sayeed when he was only 15 years of age. He stayed with him for over a year. He met many such people personally on whose authority he had heard the Hadith.

Hafiz Ibne Kathir writes, “He went upto the extreme of world, listening Hadith, spent his life with the experts of Hadith and learned Hadith from so many people difficult to count”.

Later he settled in Egypt and one year before his death, he shifted to Damascus and few days before his death he went to Makkah-Al-Mukurramah.

The following noted Muhadditheen were amongst the teacher of Imam Nasaee—Ishaq bin Rahoviya, Muhammad bin Bashar, Qutaiba bin Sayeed, Imam Abu Zar’a and Imam Bukhari.

His noted students were—Imam Abu Bakar bin Ahmad bin Sunni, Muhammad bin Qasim Undlusi, Hifiz Abu Bashir Dhoalabi, Hafiz Abu Jafar Tahawi.

Haafiz Zahbi says, “Imam Nasaee was ahead of Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Abu Dawood as regards to the causation of Hadith and recognition of Imam of Hadith." (Rijal-e-Hadith)

Imam Ibn Majah (RA)

Sixth book which finds its place in Sihah Sittah is Sunan Ibn Majah which was compiled by famous Muhaddith commonly known as Ibn Majah. His full name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Yazid Ibne al-Rabaee bin wala al-Qazneeni. He was born in 209 Hijra in a famous city of Iran called Qazneen. When he attained adolescence, there were great Muhadditheen already present in Qazneen from whom he learned Hadith right from his early age. It is thought that he started his journey in search of Hadith when he was twenty one years of age.

Historian Ibne Khalkan writes, “Ibn Majah toured Iraq, Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Makkah, Syria, Egypt and Ray for noting Hadith.” (M.Izam)

Hafiz Ibne Hajar writes, “Imam Ibn Majah heard Hadith in the cities of Khurasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Syria.” (Tehzib)

Most of the latter scholars and Muhadditheen have always paid rich tributes to Ibn Majah and have recognized him as a great Muhaddith.

Ibne Khalkan writes, “He was Imam of Hadith and was having knowledge of all its related things.” (M.Izam)

Alama Ibne Kathir writes, “The popularity of Sunan Ibn Majah is enough proof of its compiler’s deeds, knowledge, depth, information, action on Sunnah in its Usool and Faroo.”

Special features of Sunan Ibn Majah

Hafiz Ibne Hajar says, “Sunan of Ibn Majah is quite comprehensive and good book”. (Tehzib)

Ibne Kathir writes, “It is a very useful book and its chapters have been framed on the pattern of Fiqh.”

Sunan Ibn Majah contains five such Ahaadith which have only three narrators in the chain whereas Ibne Dawood and Tirmidhi contain only one such Hadith.