LIST OF GREAT SCHOLARS OF HADEETH
The term muhaddith refers to a specialist who intensely knows and narrates hadith, the chains of their narration isnad(Sanad), and the original and famous narrators. The requirements for a muhaddith are the same requirements that apply to the reception and transmission of reports (riwayah) in the Islamic tradition more generally: truthfulness, integrity, a competent and accurate memory, being free of prejudice or compulsion that might be presumed to distort the reporting.
Muhaddith is someone who knows hadiths and their chain of transmissions [tariq], names of narrators, and the various wordings [matan]. Technically, the term ‘muhaddith or Muhaddis’ can refer either to a transmitter of hadith or a collector or the compiler of ahadith.
He is Abu ‘Abdullah, Abmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Ash-Shaibani, known by the name Ibn Hanbal. He was a celebrated theologian, jurist and a Hadeeth scholar. He is also one of the four Fiqh Imam. Imaam Ahmad was born at Baghdad in Rabi’-ul-Awwal, 164 H. He studied the Hadeeth and Fiqh together with other Islaamic disciplines in Baghdad, then travelled to Ash-Sham and Hijaz for further studies. He was persecuted during the rule of Al-Ma’mun bin Harun Ar-Rashid for refusing to acknowledge the Bid‘aa (innovation) of claiming that the Qur'aan was the creation of Allaah * introduced by the Mu’tazila. He however, stood firm against all the trials and saved the Sunnah from the innovation of the wretched Mu ‘tazila thoughts. He was the mostly persecuted and most firm one amongst all the Imam. He is most famous for collecting the Hadeeth of the Prophet compiled in the Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, which contain 28 to 29 thousand Hadeeth. It was said that Ibn Hanbal memorized one million Hadeeth. Ibn Hanbal died in Baghdad on Friday, 12 Rabi’-ul-Awwal 241 H.
*The Creed of the Ahlus-Sunnahh is that the Qur'aan is the Kalaam or Word of Allaah
He is the Amir-ul-Mu ‘mimn in the knowledge of Hadeeth, and his full name is Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammad bin Isma’il bin Ibrahim bin Al-Mughira bin Bardizbah Al-Ju’fi Al-Bukhari. He was born in Shawwal 194 H. In Bukhara in what is now Uzbekistan. Al-Bukhari studied Hadeeth at an early age and travelled widely over the Muslim world collecting Hadeeth and compiled the most authentic ones in his book Al-Jami ‘As-Sahih, which later became known as As-Sahih Al-Bukhari and contains 2602 Hadeeth which he selected from the thousands of Hadeeth that he had memorized. Al-Bukhari studied under famous Hadeeth Imam like Malik bin Anas and Yahya bin Ma’in. He died in Samarqand, the present day capital of Uzbekistan
Muslim’s full name is Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj Al-Qushairi An-Nishapuri. He was born in 204 H., in the city of Nishapur near the city of Mashhad in present Iran. Muslim is considered second only to Al-Bukhari in the science of the methodology of Hadeeth. He started the study of Hadeeth at an early age and travelled to ‘Iraq, Hijaz, Ash-Sham and Egypt and studied under the scholars of Hadeeth at that time like Al-Bukhari, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ibn Abee Shaiba. He also taught the famous Hadeeth scholars like At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Abu Haatim.
Muslim compiled the Hadeeth book Al-Musnad As-Sahih, which became known as Sahih Muslim. This book, which is considered by the Muslim ‘Ulama as the second most authentic Hadeeth book after Sahih Al-Bukhari, contains 9,200 Hadeeth. Imam Muslim died at his birthplace in Rajab 261 H. Sahih Muslim has been translated to English.
Abu Da’ud, Sulaiman bin Al-Ash’ath bin Ishaq Al-Azdi As-Sijistani, who was one of the eminent Imam of Hadeeth, was born in 202H. He studied Hadeeth under Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal along with Al-Bukhari and taught many of the later scholars of Hadeeth, like At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasaa’ee. Though Abu Da’ud collected 5,00,000 Hadeeth, he compiled 4,800 Hadeeth only in his book entitled As-Sunan, which he taught in Baghdad and other major cities at that time. He died at Basra on Friday in the month of Shawwal 275 H. Sunan Abu Dawood has been translated to English.
Abu ‘Iesa, Muhammad bin ‘lesa bin Sura At-Tirmidhee was born in 209 H. In a town called Tirmiz in Uzbekistan near the northern border of Afghanistan. He was a student of Al-Bukhari, and compiled 4,000 Hadeeth in his book called Al-Jami which later came to be known as Sunan At-Tirmidhi. He also contributed tremendously to the methodology of Hadeeth and composed a book on it called Al-’Ilal (the discrepancies). He was famous for his piousness. He became blind and finally died on 13 Rajab 279H. An abriged version of Sunan at-Tirmidhi is available in English in the Alim computer software CD.
Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman, Ahmad bin ‘Ali bin Shuiaib bin ‘Ali Al-Hafiz was born in 215H. In Nisa’, a city in Khurasan. He became famous for the study of the methodology of Hadeeth, memorizing and mastering it. His book known as Sunan An-Nasa‘ee is third to Sahih Al-Bukhari in terms of containing the least weak Hadeeth. He lived in Egypt then moved to Damascus in Syria and died in Makkah in the year 303 H.
Other Hadeeth Scholars
Abu Ya’qub, Ishaq bin Ibrahim At-Tamimi Al-Hanzali Al-Marwazi was an eminent and great Haafidh, who was a resident and the ‘Aalim of Nishapur. He was also considered as the Sheikh of the east of his time and was known as Ibn Rahawaih. Imam Ahmad said, “I don’t know an ‘Aalim equal to Ishaq in Iraq. Abu Zar’a also said, “There was no body so good at memorizing the Hadeeth than Ishaq.” Abu Hatim also said, “His mastery (of the Hadeeth), accuracy and accuracy and memorization were very surprising.” Ibn Rahwaih was born in the year 166 H and died on l5th Sha’ban 238 H.
Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin Ibrahim bin Isma’il bin Al-’Abbas Al-Isma’ili Al-Jurjani was born in 277 H. He was considered as an Imam and a Hafidh, and was given the title Sheikh-ul-lslam due to his wide knowledge and because he was the leader of the Shafi’ees in his region.
Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin ‘Amr bin ‘Abdul-Khaliq Al-Basri was one of the eminent and learned Hadeeth scholars who had attained the rank of Hafidh in the memorization of Hadeeth. He authored two books on Hadeeth which are Al-Musnad Al-Kabir and Al-’Ilal. He studied under At-Tabarani and others. Al-Bazzar died in 292 H.
Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin Al-Husain was born in Sha’ban in the year 374H. He was considered a learned Hafidh among the eminent Imams of Hadeeth and a jurisprudence scholar in the Shafi’ee Madhhab. He wrote many books like As-Sunan Al-Kubra and As-Sunan As-Sughra. Adh-Dhahabi said, “His books exceed one thousand volumes.” Al-Baihaq, which he is named after, is a town near Nishapur. Al-Baihaqi died in 458 H.
Abu Hatim, Muhammad bin Idris bin Al-Mundhir Al-Hanzali Ar-Razi was born in the year 195 H. He was an eminent Hafidh and an Imam and one of the prominent scholars who excelled in the methodology of Hadeeth. He was also one of the most respected scholars in the knowledge Al-Jarh wat-Ta’dil (verifying the reliability and unreliability of the narrators of the Hadeeth).
Abu Muhammad, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ali bin Al-Jarud An-Nishapuri,who lived near Makkah, was an Imam and a Hafidh who was among those ‘Ulama who mastered the recitation of the Qur’an. He authored Al-Muntaqa fil-Ahkam and was among the pious scholars of his time. Ibn Al-Jarud died in 307 H.
Imam Abu Muhammad, Al-Harith bin Abu Usama Muhammad bin Dahir At-Tamimi Al-Baghdadi was a Hafidh and authored Al-Musnad which he did not arrange. Ibrahim Al-Harbi and Abu Hatim verified him as reliable, and Ad-Daraqutni said, “He is truthful.” Al-Harith was born in 186 H. And died on the day of ‘Arafa 282 H.
Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammed ‘Abdullah An-Nishapuri Al-Hakim known as Ibn Al-Baiyi’ was born in 321H. He was a celebrated Imam in the verification of Hadeeth. He authored Al-Mustadrak in the methodology of Hadeeth. It is said that he studied under one thousand professors and authored many valuable books. Al-Hakim was pious and religious. He died in Safar 405 H.
Abu Hatim, Muhammad bin Hibban bin Ahmad bin Hibban Al-Busti was born in Bust in Sijistan. He was one of the celebrities in the knowledge of Hadeeth, pious, Faqih, learned and one of the students of Ibn Khuzaimah. He died in Samarqand in 354 H., while in his eighties.
Ibn Khuzaima, Muhammad bin Ishaq was born in 223 H. In Nishapur. He was considered as a Sheikh-ul-lslam (the most learned ‘Aalim of Islam) and one of the eminent and senior Hafidh. He was the Imam and Hafidh of Khurasan during his time. He also authored more than 140 books. Ibn Khuzaima died in Nishapur in 311 H.
Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin Abu Khaythama Zuhair bin Harb An-Nasa’I Al-Baghdadi was a celebrated Imam, Hafidh and an authority. He authored At-Tarikh Al-Kabir. Ad-Daraqutni said about him, “He was reliable and trustworthy.” Al-Khatib also said, “He was reliable ‘Aalim (learned), accurate Hafidh, knowledgeable in the history of people, and the narration of poetry.” He studied Hadeeth under Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ibn Ma’in. Ibn Abu Khaythama died in Jumada-ul-Ula 289 H., at the age of 94 years.
Abul-Hasan, ‘Ali bin ‘Umar bin Ahmad bin Mahdi Al-Baghdadi. He was nicknamed after a big store called Dar Al-Qutn in Baghdad. He was a great Hafidh and a unique Imam who was born in the year 306 H. He was the authority in the methodology of Hadeeth, the knowledge of the weaknesses of the Hadeeth narrations and names of the Hadeeth narrators of his time. Ad-Daraqutni died on 8th Dhul-Qa’da 385 H.
Abu Muhamrnad, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdur-Rahmnan bin Al-Fadl bin Bahram At-Tamimi Ad-Darimi As-Samarqandi was born in the year 181 H. He was a
Sulaiman bin Da’ud bin Al-Jarud Al-Basri was a Persianby origin and the freed slave of Az-Zubair. He was a great Hafidh and one of the eminent ‘Ulama. Al-Qallas and Ibn Al-Madini both said about him, “I have not seen someone who is more versed with the Hadeeth more than him.” Ibn Mahdi said, “He is a most truthful person.” He recorded Hadeeth from more than one thousand scholars. Abu Da’ud died in the year 204 H.
Abu Bakr, ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin ‘Ubaid bin Sufyan bin Abu Ad-Dunya Al-Qurashi Al-Baghdadi, the freed slave of Banu Umaiya, was born in 208 H. He was a Muhaddith and truthful ‘Aalim. He wrote some books and educated more than one of the caliphs’ sons like Al-Mu’tadid. Ibn Abu Ad-Dunya died in Jumada Al-Ula, 281 H.
Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammad bin Yahya bin ‘Abdullah bin Khalid bin Faris, the freed slave of Banu Dhuhl was born in 170 of the Hijra. He was a Sheikh-ul-lslam and Amir-ul-Mu’minin in the knowledge of Hadeeth and the Hafidh of Nishapur. He acquired Hadeeth from many professors in Al-Haramain, Ash-Sham, Egypt, Iraq, Ar-Ray, Khurasan, Yemen and Al-Jazira and became very competent in this field and became the authority of knowledge in Khurasan. Ahmad said, “I never saw someone who knows the Hadeeth of Az-Zuhri from Muhammad bin Yahya than Adh-Dhuhli. He died in Rabl’-ul-Awwal, 258H.
‘Ubaidullah bin ‘Abdul-Karim bin Yazid bin Faroukh, Abu Zur’a Ar-Razi Al-Qurashi by clientship was a Hafidh and an eminent scholar of the Hadeeth. He was also considered among the Imam of ‘Al-Jarh wat-Ta‘dil (the critical study of the Hadeeth narrators). Muslim, At-Tirmi&i, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and others narrated Hadeeth from him. Adh-Dhahabi said, “Many people heard Hadeeth from him in Al-Haramain, ‘Iraq, Ash-Sham, Al-Jazira, Khurasan, and Egypt.” He was also well acclaimed for his memorization, brightness, piousness, sincerity, knowledge and the good application of his knowledge. Abu Zur’a Ar-Razi died towards the end of 264 H. At the age of 64 years.
Abu ‘Ali Sa’id bin As-Sakan Al-Baghdadi was born in 294 H. He was a celebrated Hafidh and an authoritative Imam. He paid much attention to the study of Hadeeth, and collected and wrote books on Hadeeth, thus becoming very famous in this field. Ibn As-Sakan died in the year 353 H.
Sa’id bin Mansur bin Shu’ba Al-Marwazi or At-Taliqani then Al-Balkhi lived near Makkah. He authored the book As-Sunan. Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal praised him immensely. Harb Al-Karmani said, “He (Saiid) dictated to me about ten thousand Hadeeth from his memory.” Sa’id bin Mansur died in Makkah in Ramadan 227 H, while in his nineties.
Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammad bin ldris bin AI-’Abbas bin ’Uthman bin Shafi’ee bin As-Sa’ib bin ‘Ubaid bin ‘Abd Yazid bin Hashim bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib bin ‘Abd Manaf Al-Qurashi Al-Makki was born in 150 H. in Ghaza and was taken to Makkah while a baby. He lived in Egypt where he died in 204 H. He was considered to be one of the most learned persons amongst the Muslim Ummah, unique, learned and the founder of the science of Usul Al-Fiqh (the principles of jurisprudence). His grandfather Shafi’i was a Sahabi who met the Prophet while a growing up boy. Imaam Shafi’ee’s book, ar-Risaala on Usool al-Fiqh has been translated to English (Islaamic Texts Society - UK, 1961) and is available with us for reference.
Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abee Shaiba Ibrahim bin ‘Uthman bin Hawasi Al-’Ansi (by clientship) was a unique Hafidh. He authored Al-Musnad wal-Musannaf and other books. He was a leader in the knowledge of Hadeeth and Abu Zur’a, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da’ud and Khalaf narrated it from him. Abu Bakr died in Muharram, 235 H.
Abul-Qasim, Sulaiman bin Ahmad bin Ayub bin Mutair Al-Lakhmi At-Tabarani was born in 260 H. in Tabariya As-Sham. He was an authoritative Imam and narrated Hadeeth from more than one thousand scholars. He left Ash-Sham to acquire the knowledge of Hadeeth and spent thirty-three years of travelling in its pursuance. He authored many interesting and amusing books, among them are Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat, and Al-Mu’jam As-Saghir. At-Tabarani lived in Asfahan and died there on 27th Dhul-Qa’da, 360 H.
Abu Ja’far, Ahmad bin Muhammad Salama bin Salama Al-Azdi Al-Misri At-Tahawi Al-Hanafi was born in the year 228 H. or 227 H. He was nicknamed after a village called Taha in Egypt. He was a follower of the Shafi’ee Madhaab (school of jurisprudence) and a student of Al-Muzni, his nephew until the latter one day told him, “By Allah, you will never became anything.”At-Tahawi then became angry and moved to Abu ‘Imran Al-Hanafi and not only became a Hanafi (a follower of the Hanaf Madhhab) but very enthusiastic in proving the Hanafi Madhhab by strengthening the reports, adducing the Hadeeth weakened by the others as evidence to support his Madhhab. Al-Baihaqi also said that he used to weaken the unfavourable Hadeeth to his Madhhab through methods not approved of by the scholars of the Hadeeth. Among his most famous books is Sharh Ma‘ani Al-Athar. At-Tahawi died in the beginning of Dhul-Qa’da,321 H.
Abu ‘Umar, Yusuf bin ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin ‘Abdul-Barr bin ‘Asim An-Namari Al-Qurtubi was born in Rabi’-uth-Thani, 368 H. He was a celebrated learned Imam and was the Sheikh-ul-lslam and Hafidh of Al-Maghrib (North West Africa). He was considered as the master of his time in the memorization and accurate rendering of the Hadeeth. He was also skilled in the science of genealogy and history. Ibn Hazm said, “I cannot talk about the knowledge of the Hadeeth like ‘Abdul-Barr, so how can I do better than him?” He has authored many books, the most famous of which is Al-Isti’ab. Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr died on a Friday in Rabi’-uth-Thani, 463 H. At the age of 95 years.
Abu Muhammad, ‘Abdul-Haq bin ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah bin Husain bin Sa’id Al-Azdi Al-Ishbili was born in 510 H. He was a Hafidh and an authority in the knowledge of Hadeeth. He resided in Bijaya in Spain where he spread his knowledge and authored books. He was famous and a celebrated ‘Aalim and was appointed as the Khatib of Bijaya. He was a Faqih and knowledgeable in the methodology of the Hadeeth, its weak ones and the history of the Hadeeth narrators. He was also described to be virtuous, pious and a strict follower of the Sunnah. He also took interest in the arts and recited poetry. ‘Abdul-Haq died in Bijaya in Rabi’-uth-Thani, 581 H.
Abu Bakr, ‘Abdur-Razzaq bin Humam bin Nafi’ Al-Himyari (by clientship) As-San’ani was considered as one of the strongholds of knowledge.Ahmad, Ishaq, Ibn Ma’in and Adh-Dhuhli narrated Hadeeth from him. He became blind in his old age and became senile. ‘Abdur-Razzaq died in 211 H. At the age of 85 years.
Abu Ahmad, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Adi Al-Jurjani was born in 279 H.He was a famous Imam, an eminent Hafidh and one of the celebrated ‘Ulama. He was also nicknamed Ibn Al-Qisar. Ibn ‘Adi died in Jumada-ul-Akhir, 365 H.
Abu Ja’far, Muhammad bin ‘Amr bin Musa bin Hamad Al-’Aqili was a Hafidh, an Imam and the author of Kitab Ad-Du’afa’ Al-Kabir. He was a celebrated scholar, and the author of many books. Al-’Aqili lived in Al-Haramain and died in 322 H.
Abul-Hasan, ‘Ali bin ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Najih As-Sa’di by clientship - Al-Madini was born in 161 H. And was considered as the most knowledgeable person regarding the Hadeeth of the Prophet and Al-Bukhari said in this context, “I never belittled myself before anyone else except before ‘Ali Al-Madini.” He was considered to be the Imam of Al-Jarh wat-Ta‘dil, the Hafidh of his time and the exemplary of Ahl Al-Hadeeth (the scholars of the Hadeeth). ‘Ali Al-Madini died at Samira in present Iraq at a place called Katibata Al-Qa’qa in the year 234 H.
Abul-Hasan, ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin ‘Abdul-Malik Al-Fasi was born in Qurtuba in Spain in 562 H. And lived in Fas in Morocco. He was a Hafidh, an Imam and a learned critic of the Hadeeth methodology. Moreover, he was more knowledgeable about the Hadeeth methodology and the mastery of the names and history of the narrators of the Hadeeth than anyone else of his time. He also authored many books and died in Rabi’-ul-Awwal, 628 H.
Abu ‘Abdullah, Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abu ‘Aamir AI-Asbahi (Dhi Asbah, his ninth grandfather was from one of the noblest tribes of Yemen) was born in 93 H. or 94 H. He was the Imam of Dar Al-Hijra (Al-Madina), the Faqih of the Ummah and the leader of Ahl al-Hadeeth. He studied under more than nine hundred professors and a large number of people learnt from him, among them being Imam Ash-Shafi’ee. The Muwatta of Imaam Malik has been translated to English.
Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Muhammad bin Yahya bin Manda was born in 310 H. And was a Hafidh, an Imam and a traveller. He was also one of the eminent scholars, who mastered many Hadeeth. It is said that he travelled all over the Muslim world of his time and returned with about forty loads of books and his teachers were one thousand seven hundred. Ibn Manda died in Dhul-Hijjah 395H.
Ahmad bin ‘Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Ishaq bin Musa bin Mahran Al-Asfahani was born in Rajab 334 H. He was a famous Hafidh, one of the eminent Muhaddithin and one of the great Huffaz. He studied under the celebrated scholars and himself taught many virtuous ‘Ulama. He authored many books, among them Al-Mustakhraj ‘Ala Al-Bukhari, and Al-Mustakhraj ‘Ala Muslim and Huliyat-ul-Awliya, which is one of the best books. It is said that when he took it to Nishapur, it sold for four hundred Dinar. Al-Asfahani died in Safar or 20th Muharram, 430 H. at-Asfahan.
Al-Hafiz Ahmad bin ‘Ali bin Al-Muthanna bin Yahya bin ‘Iesa bin Hilal At-Tamimi was born in Shawwal, 210 H.He authored AI-Musnad AI-Kabir and was considered as the Muhaddith of Al-Jazira. He was truthful, trustworthy, tolerant and religious. As-Sam’ani said, “I heard Ismaiil bin Muhammad bin Al-Fadl Al-Hafiz say: ‘I read the Musnad of Al-’Adani, the Musnad of Ibn Mani’’ and other Masanid, which are like rivers, but the Musnad of Abu Ya’la is like the sea into which all the rivers flow’.” Abu Ya’la died in the year 307 H.
From the English Translation of Bulugh al-Maraam, Published by Daar as-Salaam.