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Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī is a collection of hadīth compiled by Abu Abdullāh Muhammad Ibn Ismā`īl al-Bukhārī(rahimahullāh). His collection is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet (). It contains roughly 7563 hadīth (with repetitions) in 98 books.
The translation provided here is by Dr. M. Muhsin Khan.
Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullāh) is known as the Amīr al-Mu'minīn in hadīth. His genealogy is as follows: Abu Abdullāh Muhammad Ibn Ismā`īl Ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn al-Mughīrah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhārī. His father Ismā`īl was a well-known and famous muhaddith in his time and had been blessed with the chance of being in the company of Imām Mālik, Hammād Ibn Zaid and also Abdullāh Ibn Mubārak (rahimahullahum).
Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullah) was born on the day of Jumuah (Friday) the 13th of Shawwāl 194 (A.H.). His father passed away in his childhood. At the age of sixteen after having memorized the compiled books of Imām Wakīy and Abdullāh Ibn Mubārak, he performed Hajj with his elder brother and mother. After the completion of Hajj he remained in Makkah for a further two years and upon reaching the age of eighteen headed for Madīnah, compiling the books "Qadhāyas-Sahābah wa at-Tābi'īn" and "Tārikh al-Kabīr." Imām al-Bukhārī also traveled to other key centers of Arabia in search of knowledge like Syria, Egypt, Kufa, Basra, and Baghdad.
Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullah) first started listening and learning ahādīth in 205 A.H., and after benefiting from the `ulama of his town he started his travels in 210 A.H. His memory was considered to be one of a kind; after listening to a hadīth he would repeat it from memory. It has been known that in his childhood he had memorized 2,000 ahādīth.
There are a number of books compiled by Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullah). His Ṣaḥīḥ is regarded as the highest authority of the collection of hadīth. He named this book "Al-Jāmi` al-Musnad as-Ṣaḥīḥ al-Mukhtasar min Umuri Rasulullahi sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam wa Sunanihi wa Ayyāmihi." After he finished, he showed the manuscript to his teachers Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) for approval, along with Ibn al-Madini, and lastly Ibn Ma`īn. It has also been recorded that it took Imām al-Bukhārī a period of 16 years to gather the ahādīth and to write the Ṣaḥīḥ, which sets the date back to 217 A.H. as the year in which he started the compilation; Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullah) being merely 23 years of age.
Before he actually placed a hadith in his compilation he performed ghusl and prayed two raka`ah nafl prayers asking Allah for guidance. He finalized each hadith in the rawdah of Masjid an-Nabawi (between the Prophet's () grave and his minbar) and wrote the hadīth in the masjid. Only after being completely satisfied with a hadīth did he give it a place in his collection.
Methods of Classification and Annotation:
Imām al-Bukhārī (rahimahullah) imposed conditions which all narrators and testifiers in the hadith chain must have met before a hadith was included in his book:
1. All narrators in the chain must be just (`adl).
2. All narrators in the chain must possess strong memory and all the Muhadditheen who possess great knowledge of ahadith must agree upon the narrators' ability to learn and memorize, along with their reporting techniques.
3. The chain must be complete without any missing narrators.
4. It must be known that consecutive narrators in the chain met each other (this is Imām al-Bukhārī's extra condition).
Imām an-Nawawi (rahimahullah) relates that all scholars in Islām have agreed that Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī has gained the status of being the most authentic book after the Qur'an. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī consists of 7,563 ahādith including those ahādith which have been repeated. Without repetitions however, the total number of hadith is around 2,600.
In the year 864/250, he settled in Nishapur. It was there that he met Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj, who would be considered his student, and eventually collector and organizer of the hadith collection Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim which is considered second only to that of al-Bukhārī.
Political problems led him to move to Khartank, a village near Samarkānd where he died in the year 256 A.H./870 A.D.
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Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Muslim ibn al-Hajjāj al-Naysāburi(rahimahullāh). His collection is considered to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet (), and along with Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī forms the "Sahihain," or the "Two Sahihs." It contains roughly 7500 hadīth (with repetitions) in 57 books.
The translation provided here is by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui.
Imām Muslim's full name is Abu al-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjāj ibn Muslim ibn Warat al-Qushayri al- Naysaburi (206-261 AH/821-875 AD). Imām "Muslim," as his nasba shows, belonged to the Qushayr tribe of the Arabs, an offshoot of the great clan of Rabi'a.
He was born in Naysabur (Nishapur) in 206/821. His parents were righteous people who left such an indelible impression on his mind that he spent his life as a God-fearing person and always adhered to the path of righteousness. Imām Muslim travelled widely to collect hadith in Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, where he attended the lectures of some of the prominent Muhadith of his time: Isḥāq b. Rāḥawayh, Aḥmad b. Hanbal, 'Ubaydullah al-Qawariri, Qutaiba bin Sa’id, 'Abdullah ibn Maslama, Harmalah bin Yahya, and others. After completing his education, he settled down at Nishapur. There he came into contact with Imām al-Bukhārī. Imām Muslim was impressed with Imām al-Bukhārī's knowledge that he kept himself attached to him up to the end of his life. Another muhaddith that influenced Imam Muslim was Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhali and he attended his lectures regularly, but when the difference of opinion between Muhammad b. Yahya and Imam Bukhari on the issue of the creation of the Holy Qur'an sharpened into hostility, Imam Muslim sided with Imam Bukhari and abandoned Muhammad b. Yahya altogether. He was therefore a true disciple of Imām al-Bukhārī.
He wrote many books and treatises on Hadith, but the most important of his works is the collection (Jami’) of his Sahih. He originally named his book Musnad as-Ṣaḥīḥ, and mentioned in his book that he wrote authored such a book in response to a question from one of his students.
Imām Muslim meticulously collected 300,000 hadith and after a thorough examination of them retained only 4000, the genuineness of which were fully established. He prefixed to his compilation a very illuminating introduction, in which he specified some of the principles in which he had followed in the choice of his material. Imam Muslim has to his credit many other valuable contributions to different branches of Hadith literature, and most of them retain their eminence even to the present day. Amongst these Kitab al-Musnad al-Kabir 'Ala al-Rijal, Jami' Kabir, Kitab, al-Asma' wa'l-Kuna, Kitab al-Ilal, Kitab al- Wijdan are very important.
Methods of Classification and Annotation:
Imam Muslim strictly observed many principles of the science of Hadith, which had been slightly ignored by his great teacher Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on both of them).
Imam Muslim considered only such traditions to be genuine and authentic as had been transmitted to him by an unbroken chain of reliable authorities up to the Prophet () and were in perfect harmony with what had been related by other narrators whose trustworthiness was unanimously accepted and who were free from all defects. He divided narrators and sub-narrators into 3 levels:
1. Those people who are completely authentic in their memory and character with no deficiency whatsoever. They were known to be honest and trustworthy.
2. People of slightly lesser memory and perfection than the previous category, yet still trustworthy and knowledgeable, not liars by any measure. Examples of people in this category include `Ata ibn Said and Layth ibn Abi Sulaim.
3. People whose honesty was a subject of dispute or even discussion. Imam Muslim did not concern himself with such people. Examples in this category include Abdullah ibn Maswar and Muhammad ibn Said al-Maslub.
Moreover, Imam Bukhari, while describing the chain of narrators, sometimes mentions their kunya and sometimes gives their names. This is particularly true in case of the narrators of Syria. This creates a sort of confusion, which Imam Muslim has avoided.
Imam Muslim takes particular care in according the exact words of the narrators and points out even the minutest difference in the wording of their reports. Imam Muslim has also constantly kept in view the difference between the two well-known modes of narration, haddathana (he narrated to us) and akhbarana (he informed us). He is of the opinion that the first mode is used only when the teacher is narrating the hadith and the student is listening to it, while the second mode of expression implies that the student is reading the hadith before the teacher. This reflects his utmost care in the transmission of a hadith. Imam Muslim has taken great pains in connecting the chain of narrators. He has recorded only that hadith which, at least, two reliable tabi'in (successors) had heard from two Companions and this principle is observed throughout the subsequent chain of narrators.
Sahih Muslim has been explained by Imam an-Nawawi and one of his teachers Abu `Amr ibn Salah.
His Students Imam Muslim had a very wide circle of students, who learnt Hadith from him. Some of them occupy a very prominent position in Islamic history, e.g. Abu Hatim Razi, Musa ibn Harun, Ahmad ibn Salama, Abu 'Isa Tirmidhi, Abu Bakr ibn Khusaima, Abu ‘Awana and Al-Dhahabi.
Imam Muslim lived for fifty-five years. He spent most of his time in learning Hadith, in its compilation, in its teaching and transmission. He always remained absorbed in this single pursuit and nothing could distract his attention from this pious task. He died in 261/875, and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur.
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Sunan an-Nasā'ī is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Aḥmad an-Nasā'ī (rahimahullāh). His collection is unanimously considered to be one of the six canonical collections of hadith (Kutub as-Sittah) of the Sunnah of the Prophet (). It contains roughly 5700 hadīth (with repetitions) in 52 books.
Aḥmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn `Alī ibn Sīnān Abū `Abd ar-Raḥmān al-Nasā'ī (214 - 303 AH/ ca. 829 - 915 AD/CE), was born in the year 214 A.H in the famous city of Nasa, situated in Western Asia known at that time as Khurasan which was a famous centre for Islamic knowledge where many Ulama were situated and studies in hadith and fiqh was at its peak. He primarily attended the gatherings and circles of knowledge in his town where he specialized in his study of hadith. When he was 20 years old, he started traveling and made his first journey to Qutaibah. He covered the Arabian Peninsula seeking knowledge from the Ulama and Muhadditheen of Iraq, Kufa, Hijaz, Syria and Egypt . Finally he decided to settle in Egypt.
Memory, Piety, and other qualities:
He was a man full of taqwa and he possessed a photographic memory too. The famous scholar and commentator of the Holy Qur'an Al-Dhahabi would say narrating from his teachers that this Great Imam was the most knowledgeable in Egypt. The Great Imam would put on good clothing according to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh and would eat poultry everyday with nabeedh acting on the Sunnah so that he could worship Allah with ease. In fact it is narrated that the man would fast every other day which is classified in the hadith as the fast of Dawud (as) he would worship Allah continuously throughout the nights and teach Hadith throughout the day. The Imam would also perform Hajj nearly every year and would also take part in Jihad. He was a truthful man.
Teachers and Students:
Imam an-Nasa'i studied from many teachers, the famous ones are: Ishaq ibn Rahweh, Imam Abu Dawud Al-Sijistani (author of Sunan Abu Dawud) and Qutaibah ibn Saeed. After the Imam had decided to stay in Egypt he started to lecture, mostly narrating ahadith to the extent that he became famous by the title Hafidhul Hadeeth. Many people would attend his gatherings and many famous Great Scholars became his students and notably the most famous ones are:
• Imam Abul Qasim Tabarani
• Imam Abu Bakr Ahmed ibn Muhammad also known as Ibn as-Sunni.
• Sheikh Ali, the son of the famous Muhaddith, Imam Tahawi.
It is also narrated that Imam Tahawi personally narrated from this Imam.
Muqallid or Mujtahid
Imam an-Nasa'i was a follower of the Shafi'i Fiqh according to many scholars. Some other scholars consider him to be a Hanbali and Sheikhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah has also stated this. It is likely that he was a Mujtahid more inclined towards the Hanbali Fiqh but many a time would differ from the Hanbali scholars.
The great Imam also left behind many beneficial works, many of which unfortunately are not published but we can without any doubt conclude from what we have understood that his knowledge and excellence is no less than that of Imam Bukhari and ibn Hazm.
These are a few of his famous works:
Sunan Al-Sughra/Mujtana/Al-Mujtaba (popular today as Sunan an-Nasa'i)
Amul Yawmi Wallaylah
Kitaby Dufai wal Matrookeen
Al-Jarhu wa Ta'adeel
His famous book known as Sunan al-Nasa'i which is taught around the world in every Islamic institute and which possesses a virtue of being one of the Kutub Sittah (the six books generally taught in hadith). In reality when the Imam had finished compiling Sunan Al-Kubra he presented to the governor of Ramalah so the governor asked him “Is it all sahih?” He replied in the negative, thus the governor suggested and requested that he compile another book and gather in there the Sahih Hadith. So then he did this and named his book Sunan Al-Sughra (the small Sunan) and Al-Mujtaba and Mujtana (both mean carefully chosen) and this is the Sunan which we know as Sunan An-Nasa'i. In this book he follows the footsteps of Imam Muslim and Imam al-Bukhari (R.A). Overall most of the ahadith are Sahih and where he narrates a weak narration he clearly clarifies the weakness. Thus it is 3rd in number in the Kutub Sittah after Bukhari and Muslim according to some Ulama' because of its Sahih narrations. He clearly clarifies the hard words and brings different narrations for particular ahadith as Imam Muslim does.
Controversies arose between the Khawarij (who cursed Ali and revered Muawiya) and the khutbas of Imam an-Nasa'i, he was tortured and forced to move from Palestine to Egypt. In Egypt his trials did not stop and he was persecuted further. From Egypt he intended to go to Makkah but as he arrived in Makkah he passed away at the age of 88 on Monday 13th of Safar 303 AH in the holy city near the Ka'ba and he was buried between Safa and Marwa. Ibn Hajr and adh-Dhahabi state that he passed away in Ramalah, Palestine during the journey to Makkah and the body was sent to Makkah and buried between Safaa and Marwa.
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Jāmi` at-Tirmidhī is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Abu `Isa Muhammad at-Tirmidhī (rahimahullāh). His collection is unanimously considered to be one of the six canonical collections of hadith (Kutub as-Sittah) of the Sunnah of the Prophet (). It contains roughly 4400 hadīth (with repetitions) in 46 books.
He is Abū ‛Īsa Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsa ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsa ibn al Ḍaḥḥāk al-Sulamī at-Tirmidhī (209-279 AH/824–892 AD). Imam at-Tirmidhi was born in the year 209 A.H. during the reign of the Abbasid Khalifa Ma'mun al-Rashid. The Abbasid Caliphate, despite its brilliant contributions to Islam, brought along with it many problems. Greek philosophy had a free flow into the Islamic world. This was fully sanctioned by the government until eventually it declared the Mu`tazila school of thought as the state religion. Anyone who opposed the Mu`tazila school of thought would be opposing the state. With the influence of Greek philosophy among the people, many Muslims began attempting to reconcile between (this brand of) reason and revelation. As a result many deviations were introduced and many innocent and weak Muslims were led away from Allah and His Prophet ()). Many scholars of Islam had come to the fore in order to defend the Shari`ah. Forgeries and interpolations in Hadith by rulers who wished to fulfill their personal motives were common. In the first century `Umar bin Abdul `Aziz (ra) initiated a movement for the compilation of the hadith of the Prophet (s) as there was a fear of them being lost. A number of scholars of Islam undertook this task, six among them stand taller than the rest. One of the six was Imam Abu `Isa Muhammed ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi.
Having grown up in an environment of learning and possessing many great qualities naturally drove Imam Tirmidhi to dedicate his life totally towards the field of Hadith. He obtained his basic knowledge at home and later travelled to far off lands in search of knowledge of this science. He studied Hadith under great personalities such as Imam al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim and Imam Abu Dawud. In some narrations Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim are his students as well. Once Imam al-Bukhari mentioned to him "I have benefited more from you than you have benefitted from me." Musa ibn `Alaq once said: "When Imam al-Bukhari passed away, he left no one in Khurasan who compared with Abu `Isa Tirmidhi in knowledge, memory, piety and abstinence." Imam at-Tirmidhi said that he compiled this book and presented it to the learned scholars of Hijaz, Iraq and Khurasan and they were pleased with it.
Imam Tirmidhi had an exceptionally remarkable memory. If he heard something once he never forgot it. Once on his way to Makkah, Imam Tirmidhi met a scholar of hadith (muhaddith) from whom he had previously copied two chapters of hadith. Thinking that he had the notes with him he asked the scholar if he would allow him to read out these two chapters so that he could correct any errors. After realizing that he did not have those notes with him he took a blank piece of paper and read out the entire two parts from memory. When the muhaddith realized what he was doing he rebuked Imam Tirmidhi saying: "Have you no shame, why are you wasting my time." Imam Tirmidhi assured him that he had committed all the ahadith to memory. The scholar was not convinced, even though Imam Tirmidhi had recited all the hadith from memory. Imam Tirmidhi requested him to recite to him some other hadith. The scholar recited forty ahadith, which Imam Tirmidhi then repeated without making a single error, thus showing his remarkable power of committing hadith to memory.
Many books of hadith were compiled before Imam Tirmidhi decided to compile his Jami`. Dawud Tayalisi and Ahmed ibn Hanbal had compiled books consisting of both authentic and weak hadith. Later Imam al-Bukhari compiled his Sahih and omitted all weak narrations from it. His main objective was to derive masa'il (laws) from the relevant hadith. Later Imam Muslim compiled his book with a primary focus on the isnad (different chains of narrators). Imam an-Nasa'i's aim was to mention the discrepancies of the hadith whilst Abu Dawud prepared a book which became the basis for the fuqaha. Imam at-Tirmidhi combined the styles of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i by mentioning discrepancies regarding the narrators and also making his compilation a basis for jurists.
Imam Tirmidhi had a large number of students from all over the world. The most famous amongst them were Haytham ibn Kulaib, Abul Abbaas and Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shah Abdul `Aziz, who describes Imam Tirmidhi in the following words: "His memory was unique and his piety and fear of Allah ta'la was of a very high caliber. He would cry so much out of the fear of Allah, that towards the end of his life he lost his sight." According to Ibn Taymiyya and Shah Waliullah, Imam Tirmidhi was an independent jurist (mujtahid).
In the year 279 A.H. in a village called Bawag at the age of 70 , Imam Tirmidhi passed away.
This collection is titled Al-Jami` al-Mukhtasar min as-Sunan `an Rasulu Allah wa Ma`rifatu as-Sahih wa al-Ma`lul wa ma `alaihi al-`amal otherwise known as Jami` at-Tirmidhi.
Methods of Classification and Annotation:
According to the commentators of Al-Jami`, Imam Tirmidhi maintained the following conditions throughout the compilation of his book:
He never narrated hadith from those who fabricated hadith.
Tahir Muqaddisi mentions that al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi contains four types of hadith:
[a] Those ahadith that conform with the conditions of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
[b] Those ahadith that conform with the conditions of Abu Dawud and Nasa'i.
[c] Those ahadith that have certain discrepancies either in the sanad or matan.
[d] Those weak hadith that some fuqaha have relied on.
Imam Tirmidhi accepts a hadith which is narrated with the word `an provided both the narrators are contemporaries.
After mentioning a weak hadith, he explains the state of its weakness.
A mursal hadith is accepted by Imam Tirmidhi when a chain of narrators which is not broken supports it.
The status of Jami` at-Tirmidhi is among the six authentic books of hadith. It has been categorized as fifth amongst the six most authentic books of hadith. According to the most preferred opinion, al-Bukhari enjoys the highest status, followed by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah respectively. Haji Khalifa in al-Kashf al-Dhunoon has categorized Tirmidhi in third position. Al-Dhahabi has written that Tirmidhi in actual fact should be holding the third position, but due to him bringing weak narrators like Kalbi and Masloob its status has dropped. However, looking at the manner in which he set out his book it seems that Haji Khalifa's opinion is best.
The special characteristics of Jami` at-Tirmidhi:
It is a Sunan and a Jami`.
Only 83 hadith are repeated.
Imam Tirmidhi omits the major portion of the hadith and only mentions that part which is relevant to the heading. (title)
After mentioning a hadith he classifies its narration (whether it is authentic or weak, etc.)
He specifies the narrators names, e.g. if the narrators kunya (honorific name) was mentioned, he would then mention his proper name and vice versa.
One hadith in Tirmidhi is a thulaathiyaat i.e. the transmitters of the hadith between Imam Tirmidhi and the Prophet (s) are only three.
Every hadith in Tirmidhi al-Jami` is ma'mul bihi (practiced upon by the jurists.)
He explains the different madhahib together with their proofs.
He gives an explanation to all difficult ahadith.
His book has been set out in an excellent sequence, making is easy to look for a hadith.
There is no fabricated hadith in the entire book.
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Sunan Ibn Mājah is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Muḥammad bin Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Qazvīnī (raḥimahullāh). It is widely considered to be the sixth of the six canonical collection of Ḥadīth (Kutub as-Sittah) of the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws). It consists of 4341 aḥādīth in 37 books.
Abū `Abdullāh Muḥammad bin Yazīd bin `Abdullāh ar-Rab`ī al- Qazvīnī, famously known as Ibn Mājah, was born in 209 AH to a non-Arab tribe by the name of Rab`i in Qazvin (Iran). Various explanations have been given for his nickname, Ibn Mājah, the more prominent being that Mājah was his mother. Some scholars believe that Mājah was the nickname of his father.
Travels to learn Hadith:
Ibn Mājah spent his early years studying Ḥadīth in his hometown of Qazvin, which had by then become a major center of hadith sciences. In 230 AH, at the age of 21 or 22, he travelled to various countries to seek more knowledge. He travelled to Khurasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Sham to attend the gatherings of hadīth scholars. He also studied under scholars in Makkah and Madinah, and later travelled to Baghdad, which, according to Imām adh-Dhahabī was the home of chains of narration and memorization the (Dār al isnād al `āli wal ḥifẓ), the seat of the caliphate and knowledge. He never gave up on his quest for knowledge and continued his travels to Damascus, Homs, Egypt, Isfahan, Ashkelon, and Nishapur and became a pupil of the major scholars of ḥadīth of those times.
Imām Ibn Mājah studied under some of the eminent teachers in Makkah, Madinah, and Qazvin. In Madinah, he studied under Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Muṣ`ab az-Zubairi, Aḥmad bin Abi Bakr al-`Awfi, and Ḥāfiẓ Ibrāhim bin al-Mundhir. His teachers in Makkah were Ḥāfiẓ Jalwāni, Abū Muḥammad Ḥasan bin `Ali al-Khilāl, Ḥāfiẓ Zubair bin Bakkār, the judge of Makkah, and Ḥāfiẓ Salamah bin Shabib. Prominent among his teachers in Qazvin are `Amr bin Rāfi` al-Bajali, Ismā`īl bin Tawbah, and Muḥammad bin Abū Khālid al-Qazvīnī. He also studied under other renowned teachers like Jubārah bin Mughallis, Abū Bakr bin Abi Shaibah, Nasr bin `Ali Nishapuri, Abū Bakr bin Khallād al-Bāhilī, Muḥammad bin Bashshār, Abūl-Ḥasan `Ali bin Muḥammad Tanāfisī, and `Ali bin Mundhir.
Ibn Mājah had a great number of pupils scattered far and wide, in Qazvin, Isfahan, Hamadan, Baghdad, and other places. Notable among them are `Ali bin `Abdullāh al-Falāni, Ibrāhīm bin Dīnār al-Jarshi, Aḥmad bin Ibrāhīm al-Qazvīnī, Ḥāfiẓ Abū Ya’la al-Khalīlī, and Abū `Amr Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Ḥakim al-Madanī al-Iṣfahānī.
His rank among scholars:
Imām Ibn Mājah was a great Ḥadīth scholar, interpreter of the Qur’ān, and historian, whose rank has been acknowledged by various scholars of different ages. Imām adh-Dhahabī says, “Imām Ibn Mājah remembered aḥādīth by heart. He was a critic in the field of Ḥadīth Sciences, truthful, upright and a man of wide learning.” In Tadhkiratul-Ḥuffāẓ he writes, “He was a great memorizer of aḥādīth and a Ḥadīth scholar and Qur’ān exeget of Qazvin.” Abū Ya`la al-Khalīlī said, “He was very trustworthy and an authority; and had a deep knowledge of the hadīth sciences.” `Allāmah Sindī said, “Among the Imāms of hadīth he had a high rank and was pious and a trustworthy scholar by consensus.”
Upon completing his education, Imām Ibn Mājah dedicated the later years of his life to writing and left behind three great works: as-Sunan, at-Tafsīr, and at-Tārīkh. As-Sunan is a prominent collection of ḥadīth ranked sixth among the six sound books of hadīth. At-Tafsīr is a commentary on the Qur’ān in which Imām Ibn Mājah collected aḥādīth and comments of the companions and Tabi`īn supported with chains of narrations. At-Tārīkh is a great book of history and a manifestation of his knowledge and scholarship. The last two books, praised by scholars such as Ibn Kathīr, no longer exist.
Imām Abū `Abdullāh Muḥammad Ibn Mājah Al-Qazvīnī died on Monday, 22 Ramadan, in the year 273 AH at the age of 64. The poet, Muḥammad bin Aswad al-Qazvīnī eulogized, “The loss of Ibn Mājah weakened the column of the throne of knowledge and shook up its pillars.”
The Sunan of Ibn Mājah is a collection of aḥādīth mostly arranged according to Fiqh chapters, but also includes other topics such as ‘Aqīdah, interpretation of dreams, tribulations, and asceticism. Sunan Ibn Mājah is considered one of the greatest works of Ḥadīth. When Imām Abū Zur`ah ar-Rāzī, a Ḥadīth authority of his time was shown this work, he remarked, “If this book reached the public, all or most of the existing Jāmi` would cease to be used.” These words were proven true later when Sunan Ibn Mājah eclipsed several of the Jawāmi`, Musnad and Sunan of those times.
Sunan Ibn Mājah contains 37 books, 1560 chapters and 4341 aḥādīth. It includes 1339 additional aḥādīth, known as Zawā’id of Sunan Ibn Mājah which are not found in the other five major books of Ḥadīth. According to Fuwad `Abdul Bāqi, of the 1339 additional aḥādīth contained therein, 428 aḥādīth are Ṣaḥīḥ, 199 are Hasan, 613 Ḍa`īf, and 99 are Munkar (denounced) and Mauḍū` (fabricated). Sheikh Nāṣiruddīn al-Albānī, in his book Ṣaḥīḥ wa Ḍa`īf Sunan Ibn Mājah counted 948 Ḍa`īf aḥādīth.
Ibn Mājah did not write an introduction to his book, so the conditions for the aḥādīth in his collection are not explicit. However, there are indications that he was concerned with collecting as many aḥādīth as possible on Fiqh issues. Sunan Ibn Mājah contains a larger number of aḥādīth than any of the other five books without repetition. It also includes a greater number of weak aḥādīth than the other five. Ibn Mājah was enthusiastic about finding evidences for Fiqh issues. His purpose may have been to collect as many aḥādīth, and find the chain of narrations for the aḥādīth that were the basis of rulings on Fiqh issues of the time, regardless of their authenticity or chain of narrators.
Certain qualities of Sunan Ibn Mājah set it apart from the other books of Ḥadīth and made it popular among scholars of all times:
It is written in an excellent style; the chapter titles are in harmony with the ḥadīth listed and follow the same order as books of Islamic Jurisprudence.
The chapters are well-ordered and well-arranged, with no repetition of aḥādīth (a quality lacking in other Ḥadīth books).
It is brief but comprehensive with respect to legal rulings.
On several occasions, Ibn Mājah identified aḥādīth that are Gharīb (unfamiliar). Imām at-Tirmidhī had done this earlier, but Ibn Mājah’s classification in some special chapters are unique.
Ibn Mājah gives the name of the town the narrator of a ḥadīth belonged to.
He added 482 new Ṣaḥīḥ aḥādīth that are not in the other five books of Ḥadīth.
Sunan Ibn Mājah includes 3002 aḥādīth that are common with the other five books, but Ibn Mājah narrated them with different channels of narration. The multiplicity of channels strengthen these aḥādīth. This distinguishing quality is unique to Ibn Mājah and is not found in any other book of Ḥadīth.
It contains 1339 aḥādīth that are not found in any of the other five books. These additions, also known as Zawā’id have elevated Sunan Ibn Mājah to the position of the “sixth of the Six”.