Would you please through light on who Tirmidhi, Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Khuzayma were and did they come after the four Imams (Abu Hanifa, Shaafi, Malik and Hanbal)?

The Details of the Question

Kindly through on who they were and how many authentic books of Hadiths are there? Thank you so much.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In the works that were compiled immediately after the classification of the basic hadith works, the repetitive hadiths were removed from the compilations and comprehensive works were written.

The most important person to do it was Abu’l-Hasan Razin b. Muawiya al-Abdari as-Sarakosti (d. 535/1140), an Andalucian scholar. He replaced Sunan of Ibn Majah with Muwatta of Imam Malik and gathered the hadiths of Kutub as-Sitta (Six Books) under the name “at-Tajrid li’s-Sihah wa’s-Sunan".

In Razin's book, there are some hadiths that do not exist in the original resources he compiled the hadiths from. Razin wrote the names of the narrators of those hadiths but he did not mention the resources and where he took them from. The narrations given as the addition of Razin are those ones. However, some of them can be sound hadiths and some of them can be weak. In the translation and explanation of the mentioned work, Ibrahim Canan pointed to the resources of some narrations.

Afterwards, Ibnu’l-Athir al-Jazari (d. 606/1209) made a similar work and compiled “Jami’u’l-Usul li Ahadithi’r-Rasul”. This work was translated by Kemal Sandıkçı into Turkish.

Majduddin Firuzabadi (d. 817/1414) shortened Jami’u’l-Usul and wrote “Taysiru’l-Wusul ila Jami’il-Usul”.

The 18-volume work known as Kutub as-Sitta and translated and explained by İbrahim Canan is actually the translation and explanation of Taysiru’l-Wusul. Other hadiths in the work of Imam Malik were also added to it. There are three more books added to those six books. Thus, these famous books amount to nine and they are calledKutub at-Tis'a (Nine Books).

1. Muhammad b. Ismail b. Ibrahim al-Bukhari and His Sahih

Imam Bukhari was born in 194/810 in Bukhara. He belongs to the group Atba-u Atbai’t-Tabiin. He says he memorized three hundred thousand hadiths, one hundred thousand of them sound ones, as a result of his journeys in quest of knowledge for forty years. The number of the teachers he took lessons from amounted to one thousand. He compiled his book, which contained hadiths he heard from seventy thousand hadith narrators, in sixteen years. Bukhari started to write books when he was a student. He wrote other books like at-Tarikhu’s-Saghir, at-Tarikhu’l-Awsat, at-Tarikhu’l-Kabir, al-Adabu’l-Mufrad, ad-Duafa. He died in 256/870 in Hartank, near Bukhara.

His most famous book is his hadith book known as "Bukhari", which is actually called al-Jamiu’l-Musnadu’s-Sahih. Bukhari chose the hadiths he included in his Sahih among six hundred thousand hadiths. It consists of 9 volumes, 97 books and 3730 chapters. It contains 7275 hadiths together with repetitions and 2761 hadiths without repetitions.

2. Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri and his Sahih

Imam Muslim was born in 202/818 in Nishabur. He earned his living in trade; he met Imam Bukhari toward the end of his life. However, he did not report hadiths from Bukhari in his work. He belongs to the group of Atba-u Atbai’t-Tabiin. He died in 261/875.

His most famous book is his book called al-Musnadu’s-Sahih. Imam Muslim wrote it by choosing among three hundred thousand hadiths. He did not divide his book into chapters. The titles of the chapters in his book were added later by Nawawi (d. 676/1277). Muslim consists of 4 volumes 54 books and 1322 chapters; it contains 3033 hadiths without repetitions.

3. Muhammad b. Isa bin Thawra at-Tirmidhi and his Jami'

Tirmidhi was born in 209/827. He lost his eyesight toward the end of his life. He died in  279/892 in Tirmidh. He belongs to the group of Atba-u Atbai’t-Tabiin.

The most famous book of Tirmidhi, who wrote several books in various fields of the science of hadith, is his al-Jamiu’s-Sahih also known as Sunanu’t-Tirmidhi. This work is regarded as the third book of Kutub as-Sitta. It consists of 10 volumes, 46 books, 2496 chapters and 3956 hadiths.

4. Abu Abdirrahman Ahmad b. Shu’ayb an-Nasai and his Sunan

Nasai was born in 214/829 in Nasa. He died in Makkah in 303/915. Nasai first included both sahih (sound) and weak hadiths in his book called as-Sunan al-Kabir, in which he compiled hadiths about fiqh. Afterwards, upon request, he wrote his book called al-Mujtaba by including only the sound hadiths from his book as-Sunan al-Kabir. His Sunan includes 8 volumes, 54 books and nearly 2400 chapters.

5. Abu Dawud Sulayman b. Ash’as b. Ishaq al-Azdi as-Sijistani and his Sunan

Abu Dawud was born in 202/818 in Sijistan. He died in 275/888 in Basra.Abu Dawud's Sunan includes 5 volumes, 40 books 1889 chapters and 4800 hadiths.

6. Ibn Majah and his Sunan

His original name is Abu Abdillah Muhammad Bin Yazid al-Qazwini. He was born in 209/825 in Qazwin. He also wrote books on tafsir and history apart from his Sunan. He died in 273/886.

His book consists of two volumes, 37 books except the introduction, 1515 chapters and 4341 hadiths. It is said that 613 of the hadiths that exist in his Sunan have weak chains.

7. Imam Malik and his Muwatta

Imam Malik was born in 93 (Hijri year) in Madinah and died in 179 in Madinah. He is among Atbau’t-Tabiin.  Imam Malik rejected the offers of the sultans to decide Muwatta to be the only book to be applied by saying, “Others may have heard and found hadiths that we may not have heard.”

Muwatta is a work that generally shows the system and content of the hadith works before him. Muwatta consists of two volumes, 61 books and 1720 hadiths. 

8. Darimi and his Sunan

Abu Muhammad Abdullah b. Abdirrahman at-Tamimi as-Samarkandi ad-Darimi was born in 181 (Hijri year) in Samarkand. He died in 255/868 in Marw when he was about 75. His most famous book is his Sunan, which is also called Musnad by some hadith scholars. Sunan consists of two volumes, an introduction of 163 pages, 23 books, 1403 chapters and 3500 hadiths.

9. Ahmad b. Hanbal and his Musnad

Ahmad b. Hanbal was born in 164 (Hijri year) in Baghdad. He underwent torture for 18 months in prison due to the issue whether the Quran was created or uncreated. He died in 241 when he was about 77. He belongs to the group of Atba-u Atbai’t-Tabiin. His famous book called Musnad includes more than twenty-seven hadiths reported by 904 Companions. The Companions included in Musnad were listed based on the date of becoming Muslims, then on their tribes and then on the cities they settled in.  Musnad also includes first hadith pages. It was written between Hijri years 200 and 228 by being chosen among 750 bin hadiths. His purpose to write this book was to bring together all of the hadiths he thought to be sound or possible to be sound.

10- Ibn Huzayma lived in the 3rd century (Hijri). He was born in Nishabur and died at the beginning of the 4th century. (death 311)

He started to learn hadiths when he was a child; he went to several centers of knowledge like Baghdad, Ray and Jurjan and took lessons from the scholars there.  Ibn Huzayma had a great knowledge about hadith and was shown great respect in the age he lived.

His main books are: 1. Sahih, 2. Kitabu’d-Dua, 3. Kitabu’t-Tawhid.

Ibn Huzayma compiled his book called Sahih based on the titles of chapters. He included all of the sanads (chains) of the hadiths that he was able to find and also gave information about the people who reported the hadiths where it was necessary. He pointed to the differences among the texts of hadiths and tried to compromise the hadiths that seemed to be contradictory. He holds the view that there cannot be two sahih hadiths that are opposite each other. His chapter titles are generally long and detailed.

Only one-fourth of his Sahih reached today. It was published by the name Muhammad Mustafa al-A‘zami Sahihu Ibn Huzayma. (I-IV, Beirut 1395/1975)

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