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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 bin 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 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. [1]


Table of Contents


His teachers

His shaykhs included: Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhaari, Yahya ibn Yahya al-Teemi, Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Yahya ibn Ma’een, Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah and many others. 


His students

Many students learned the Science of Hadith from Imam Muslim. Those who became famous and occupied a prominent position are: Abu Hatim Razi, Musa bin Harun, Ahmad bin Salamah, Abu `Isa Tirmidhi, Abu Bakr bin Khuzaimah, Abu `Awanah and Hafiz Dhahbi.


His well known books include: al-Jaami’ al-Saheeh; al-Kuna wa’l-Asma’; al-Tabaqaat; al-Tamyeez; and al-Munfaridaat wa’l-Wahdaan. 


For more information on the lives of these two imams, see their biographies in Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 12/391-471; 557-580. [2]


Famous book

Imam Muslim compiled many books and treatises on Hadith, the most important of his works is the compilation of the Hadith collection Al-Jami `As-Sahih, which is famous by the name of Sahih Muslim. Some scholars of Hadith opine that in some respects it is the best and most authentic collection of Ahadith. Imam Muslim laboriously collected 3,00,000 Ahadith, but after a critical study, he selected only 4,000 Ahadith for this collection. Other contributions of Imam Muslim on the subject of Hadith are: Al-Kitab Al-Musnad Al-Kabir Alar-Rijkl, Al-Jami'Al-Kabir, Kitab-ul-Asma' wal-Kuna, Kitab-ul'Ilal, Kitab-ul-Wahdan, etc. [3]


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.


His Death

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. [4]



[1] [4]




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