Darul Uloom Deoband
By 'Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri
Translated by Zameelur Rahman
[Translator’s note: The following is the translation of an Arabic speech delivered by ‘Allamah Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri when Shaykh Rashid Rida visited Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband in 1912 CE. He explained the historical and intellectual background to the seminary and the school’s methodology in hadith-commentary.]
All praise to Allah and He suffices. Peace be upon His chosen bondsmen.
This humble servant offers the greeting of Islam before this esteemed audience. Allah – Exalted is He – preserve you. We have sensed from you signs of nobility and interest in our condition. We feel an Islamic uprising turning towards us and you, and indeed we are needier of you than you are of us.
These are my teachers, my elders and my treasures before Allah in my day and my morrow. They asked me to extend gratitude to you for your generosity and for honouring us by your blessed presence. May Allah reward you and us, and elevate your ranks in religion, the worldly life and the afterlife. O Allah, accept! From Him we seek assistance.
Mawlana! Our story is a mixed story, and one part leads to the memory of another part. These lands of ours are a long distance away from the lands of Islam like Iraq, Sham and Egypt, so the symbols of Islam here are weak and the lighthouses of knowledge are hidden, except what Allah wills and who He wills, and these are few.
This group of ours is a group walking along an ancient path, not a new one. Our chain in religion is connected to the great fountainhead, the luminous moon, the famous imam, the great Shaykh Waliullah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahim al-Faruqi al-Dahlawi. The condition of the shaykh is more manifest than needs mentioning, for his writings have spread to the east and the west. However, some of the conditions of the shaykh need verbal retelling as do events I have received from our mashayikh.
From the conditions of the shaykh was that he had initially excelled in the religious sciences and their principles under his father, the great scholar, the erudite Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahim. Then he travelled to the two Harams – Allah increase them in honour and nobility – and he benefited from their scholars and their jurists. He accompanied Shaykh Abu Tahir al-Kurdi in pursuing hadith and he exerted himself therein until he became accomplished in the subject. Shaykh Abu Tahir would say: “He learnt the words from us and we learnt the meaning from him.” He meant thereby clarification of the parts of hadith that require attention and specifying the intent of the lawgiver.
Then Shaykh Waliullah returned to his lands and he became occupied with amending what the people had corrupted from the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah placed in his heart a light by which he could see the consequences of affairs, and he foresaw the coming of a battle between truth and falsehood, so he – Allah have mercy on him – began preparations to defend the religion. From that which he prepared for this [coming battle] is that he translated the Mighty Qur’an in the Persian language and he called it Fath al-Rahman. He shed it completely of Israelite accounts. By this he attempted to lay the foundations of Tawhid.
Then he commented on the Muwatta’ and he called it Al-Musawwa. [He commented on it] in the manner of the juristic scholars of hadith by verifying legal causes, selecting them and extracting them. By these are meant what is in the nomenclature of the scholars of Usul:
“Verifying a legal cause” (tahqiq al-manat) is that a ruling is issued from the lawgiver in a particular form, then that is established and is realised in all of the particulars of the type of that form. An example of this is evaluating the compensation for hunting [in the Haram during Hajj or ‘Umrah] so the price is recognised in a specific case. This is “verifying legal causes.” This is not analogy (qiyas), which is why the specific and the general are common to it, and it does not require ijtihad.
“Selecting a legal cause” (tanqih al-manat) is that a ruling is issued from the lawgiver in a form where different matters come together, and some of those things concur with the legal cause of that ruling and some of them have no bearing on it. So identifying the matter which is the legal cause is “selecting a legal cause.” An example of this is the hadith from Abu Hurayrah – Allah be pleased with him – he said: “A man came to the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – and said ‘I have perished!’ He said ‘What is your problem?’ He said: ‘I had intercourse with my wife during Ramadan.’ He said: ‘Can you free a slave?’ He said: ‘No’ He said: ‘Can you fast two consecutive months?’ He said: ‘No’ He said: ‘Can you feed sixty poor people?’ He said: ‘No’ – to the end of the hadith.” Abu Hanifah and Malik selected the legal cause of that ruling – the obligation of atonement (kaffarah) – as the act being a breaker of the fast, whether intercourse as in this scenario or eating and drinking intentionally. Thus, it being intercourse in this scenario is coincidental like all coincidents. Ahmad and Al-Shafi‘i opined that the legal cause was it being intercourse, so the ruling does not extend to eating and drinking. Another hadith is adduced as proof on the authority of Abu Hurayrah – Allah be pleased with him – he said: Allah’s Messenger – Allah bless him and grant him peace – said: “Whoever breaks the fast during a day of Ramadan without a dispensation offered by Allah, fasting a lifetime will not make up for it.” They understood it as eating and drinking intentionally and said “fasting a lifetime will not make up for it.”
“Extracting a legal cause” (takhrij al-manat) is that a ruling issued from the lawgiver in a form wherein a number of matters come together all of which are suited to be the legal cause, so the mujtahid selects a matter from those matters for the legal cause and makes that the legal cause. An example of it is the hadith prohibiting interest from the six things wherein a number of matters come together: quantity and type, foodstuff and price, and edibility and storability. Abu Hanifah opined that the legal cause of the ruling is the first quality [quantity and type], Al-Shafi‘i that it is the second [foodstuff and price], and Malik that it is the third [edibility and storability], in accordance with where their judgements led.
Hence, the difference between “selecting a legal cause” and “extracting it” is that in the first a number of matters come together which have no bearing on the legal cause, so the mujtahid selects the legal cause, and in the second a number of matters come together all of which are suited to be the legal cause, so the mujtahid prefers one of them to be the legal cause. “Selecting a legal cause” and “extracting it” are the tasks of a mujtahid, each of them rivalling the other.
Another example of this is the hadith: “The key to prayer is purification, its sanctification is glorification and its release is salutation.” The majority of the imams have opined that the wording of glorification [i.e. Allahu akbar] and the wording of salutation [i.e. al-salamu ‘alaykum] are integral, while Abu Hanifah extracted the legal cause from it as the first being any litany indicating glorification and the second being an exit [from prayer] by the [deliberate] action of the worshipper, and he opined that these two are obligatory (fard). However, the continuous practice of the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – has been established as the wording of glorification [i.e. Allahu akbar] and the wording of salutation [i.e. al-salamu ‘alaykum], so they ought to be obligatory (wajib), and Shaykh Ibn al-Humam has asserted that the wording of glorification is obligatory. The well-known opinion [in the Hanafi madhhab] is that it is an established practice (sunnah). In both of them [i.e. the wording of glorification and of salutation], a litany indicating glorification and an exit by the action of the worshipper are realised, like the realisation of a universal in a particular, so they ought to be obligatory (fard). There are many examples like this.
This is what Shaykh Waliullah attended to in the commentary of Al-Muwatta’. He also preferred therein a comprehensive jurisprudence. The shaykh also concluded in his book Al-Insaf fi Bayan Asbab al-Ikhtilaf and ‘Iqd al-Jid fi Masa’il al-Ijtihad wa al-Taqlid that the truth in the locus of ijtihad is multiple. He transmitted this from the four imams and preferred it. By “the locus of ijtihad” is meant where there is no [verse from] the Book or mass-transmitted Sunnah. So, the truth therein is multiple. Whenever there is a clear decider, that is not a “locus of ijtihad,” and the truth then is that which coincides with that clear decider, so whoever agrees with it has agreed with the truth and whoever opposes it has opposed the truth.
The shaykh – Allah Exalted is He have mercy on him – compiled many works on the system of legislation and true beliefs, which became a lamp and a standard for all who came after him. From them are: Hujjat Allah al-Balighah, Al-Budur al-Bazighah, Al-Tafhimat al-Ilahiyyah, Al-Khayr al-Kathir and others.
Then he was followed by his children and grandchildren. From his children were: the great shaykh, the perfect wellspring, Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, then Shaykh Rafi‘ al-Din, then Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir.
Then Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was succeeded by his grandson, the benefiter of the age and its transmitter famed in all regions, Shaykh Muhammad Ishaq, and his nephew, the reviver of the Sunnah, the magnificent scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Isma‘il. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz would recite: “Praise be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Isma‘il and Ishaq” (Qur’an, 14:39). Allah benefited these lands through them. Shaykh Muhammad Ishaq studied Prophetic hadith and took to travelling long distances [in search of knowledge]. Shaykh Muhammad Isma‘il wrote books on the difference between Sunnah and dark innovation, so he revived the Sunnah when it was made to die, and he died a martyr – Allah have mercy on him.
The shaykh of our mashayikh, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani studied under Shaykh Muhammad Ishaq. He became the pivot of transmission in his time, and he eventually migrated to the Pure City [i.e. Madinah] and became the transmitter of those lands and many people took from him there.
The sun of Islam and Muslims, the Gnostic, the hafiz, the verifier, Shaykh Muhammad Qasim al-Nanotwi, the founder of this glorious seminary, and the jurist, the hafiz, the mujtahid saint, Shaykh Rashid Ahmad studied under Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani. Shaykh Muhammad Qasim compiled books on the sciences and the realities and books in refutation of the opponents [of Islam] like the materialists, so Allah brought much benefit through him. I had composed these lines of poetry on his merit:
[The complete poem is not included in the transcript of the speech]
When truth became mixed with falsehood, many questions were presented to Shaykh Rashid Ahmad so he answered them soundly. He was a mujtahid jurist. So we adopted that [i.e. Shaykh Muhammad Qasim] as an imam in the principles (usul), and this [i.e. Shaykh Rashid Ahmad] as an imam in the peripherals (furu’). A purified and select knowledge was extracted for us from them.
Then when foreigners took power over these lands [i.e. the British ruled India], a war took place between truth and falsehood, and Shaykh Muhammad Qasim founded this glorious seminary, and Allah benefited thereby many. Allah reward him the best of rewards. The end goal of the seminary is study and understanding of hadith. He believed that the foundations were necessities [and not end goals], and necessities are limited to the degree of necessity; such that Shaykh Rashid Ahmad proscribed philosophy and removed it for some years [from the curriculum] of this seminary.
This is our chain.
The path of our mashayikh in hadith and the understanding of hadith is an exemplary, balanced path, between extremes. I mean by this that the four imams each have an additional principle; that is, that Imam Malik follows the example of the practice of the inhabitants of Madinah, rather he prefers it over marfu‘ hadiths; and Al-Shafi‘i adopts the most authentic [hadith] in every chapter; and Ahmad adopts the most authentic, the authentic, the good and the weak when the weakness is slight, and he allows this and that [i.e. he allows acting according to all the hadiths], and based on this principle he compiled his Musnad; and Abu Hanifah takes these categories of hadiths and construes all the hadiths [on a subject] according to a common understanding, which is why interpretations are common with the Hanafis, and criticisms of narrators are common with the Shafi‘is. Al-Shafi‘i was the first to reject proof using mursal hadiths except when it is supported [by connected hadiths].
The imam of this science, the erudite Imam al-Bukhari – Allah have mercy on him – adopted the principle of Malik and Al-Shafi‘i – Allah have mercy on them – and rode amongst them, so he produced the most authentic of what is in the chapter and added support from the practice of the predecessors, which is why he did not produce a single hadith contradicting another hadith in his book. Hence with regards to the eclipse prayer he did not produce [any hadiths] besides the hadith of two bowings, basing this on his principle. Muslim – Allah have mercy on him – relied on the trustworthiness of the narrators so he produced the hadith of three bowings and the hadith of four bowings and even the hadith of five bowings halted (mawquf) at the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali – Allah be pleased with him. Hence, Al-Bukhari was selective and Muslim was principled.
Our mashayikh took a middle ground in the like of this. They did not adopt extremism or laxity, and they explain conflicting hadiths using explanations which nearly all listeners will accept. An example of this is the hadith of two qullahs [a volumetric unit of measurement], for it was narrated by Yazid ibn Harun and Kamil ibn Talhah and Hadiyyah ibn Khalid and Ibrahim ibn al-Hajjaj from Hammad ibn Salamah, and these are firm memorisers and trustworthy narrators, with the wording: “When the water reaches two qullahs or three it does not carry filth.” They said regarding this hadith that it is not a legal limit for he said “two qullahs or three” indicating variety, so it is an estimation and is [in reality] a reference to purity from the traces of filth from one side [of a container] to the other side, and this is the rule in the madhhab of Abu Hanifah and his two companions as stated by Shaykh Ibn al-Humam and Shaykh Ibn Nujaym. The hadiths conflicting the hadith of two qullahs are secured [by this explanation], like the hadith prohibiting urinating in stagnant water, and the hadith prohibiting inserting the hand in a vessel when having woken up from sleep, and the hadith commanding washing a vessel which was licked by a dog.
Another example of this is the hadiths of recitation behind the imam, for when they adduced as proof for omitting recitation behind the imam in prayer His – Exalted is He – statement: “When the Qur’an is recited listen to it attentively and be silent that you may receive mercy,” and his – Allah bless him and grant him peace – statement: “When he recites, be silent,” and the hadith: “Whoever has an imam, the imam’s recitation is his recitation,” they interpreted the hadith “Don’t do [this i.e. recite behind the imam] except with the mother of the Qur’an [i.e. Surah al-Fatihah], for indeed there is no prayer for one who has not read it.” This interpretation was because there is no authentic narration about the circumstance for the revelation of the verse, so the consideration is upon the generality of the wording. Also, Al-Bayhaqi narrated in Kitab al-Qira’ati Khalf al-Imam from Imam Ahmad that the ‘ulama are agreed that this verse is about recitation in prayer.
And the hadith, “When he recites, be silent” is an authentic hadith, authenticated by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, then his companion Abu Bakr al-Athram, then Muslim in the chapter of tashahhud from the hadith of Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, and he referred to it in the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, then Ibn Khuzaymah authenticated it, and Hafiz Abu Ja‘far ibn Jarir al-Tabari, and Hafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, and Hafiz Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi al-Zahiri, then Hafiz Zaki al-Din ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Mundhiri, then the seal of the memorisers Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani in Fath al-Bari. This is from the perspective of the chain. As for the practice of the predecessors and the imams, multitudes of the Sahabah acted upon it, as did Malik, Ahmad and Abu Hanifah. When the narrators of a hadith are trustworthy, and then supported by the practice of the predecessors, that is undoubtedly authentic, not harmed by any disapproval nor affected by any criticism.
The hadith, “Whoever has an imam, the imam’s recitation is his recitation” was related by Shaykh Ibn al-Humam from the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Mani‘ (160 – 244 H) and he authenticated it, for its chain is according to the criterion of the two shaykhs [Al-Bukhari and Muslim], and we have not till now come across any defect in it. Its chain is: Ishaq ibn Yusuf al-Azraq reported to us: Sufyan and Sharik narrated to us from Musa ibn Abi ‘A’ishah from ‘Abd Allah ibn Shaddad from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah he said: Allah’s Messenger – Allah bless him and grant him peace said – the hadith. It is supported by the mawquf hadith according to Al-Tirmidhi and the mursal according to others. Therefore, it is authentic. Thus, the explanation of the shaykh of our mashayikh Shaykh Rashid Ahmad of the hadith of ‘Ubadah through the route of Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the text of which is “Perhaps you recite behind your imam?” They said “Yes, O Messenger of Allah, we recite it quickly.” He said: “Don’t do [this]” – to the end of the hadith; he [i.e. Shaykh Rashid Ahmad] said this is proof of permissibility not proof of obligation. They would recite without a command from him – Allah bless him and grant him peace – which is why he asked “perhaps you recite behind your imam?” and when they said “yes” he said “don’t do [this] except the mother of the book” for it is a stipulated chapter from the rest of the Qur’an, apart from the chapters besides it. Hence, the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – justified its permissibility behind the imam its being stipulated from the chapters and there being no prayer without it. There being no prayer without it becomes manifest with respect to the imam and the individual worshipper (munfarid), and the effect of that is in terms of permissibility with respect to the follower (muqtadi). The issue of permissibility and undesirability is differed upon amongst the Hanafis, although they agree it is not obligatory.
They said in the issue of raising the hands and audible amin that raising and audibility have been authenticated from the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – and the Companions, and omitting raising and inaudibility have been authenticated, with an authentic chain for inaudibility in Abu Dawud, and omitting raising has been authenticated from the Commander of the Faithful ‘Umar and the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali – Allah be pleased with them – and likewise inaudible amin has been authenticated from a group of the Companions and the pious predecessors. Hence, both matters ought to be sunnah, and only the matter of preference remains. This [being said], Allah gives accordance to what is right in the original abode and the return.
Our shaykh, the reliable proof, the transmitter of his age, Shaykh Mahmud al-Hasan – Allah benefit the Muslims by extending his life – studied under Shaykh Muhammad Qasim, and he is the shaykh of the seminary now, and upon him is the pivot of transmission in these lands. He follows the path of his mashayikh. Divine accordance helped him to reconcile between contradictions and to solve problems [in hadiths]. An example of this is what he said to me once that “The plurality of bowing in the eclipse prayer was established from the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – due to a circumstance specific to him, but he advised the community to make one bowing as he said, ‘Pray as the most recent prayer you prayed from the prescribed prayers.’” I revised the matter and I said, “The Shafi‘i masters consider the comparison to be for the number of cycles (rak‘at) not for one bowing” and he said that “This makes the self-evident (badihi) theoretical (nazari), for when the Prophet – Allah bless him and grant him peace – had prayed the eclipse prayer with multiple bowings himself before the eyes of the people and the heads of witnesses, were he to legislate multiple bowings for the community, why did he omit reference to what they witnessed and shifted it to comparison with the morning prayer? This is because the multiplicity of bowing was for a temporary reason, and he instructed the community with what is recognised in prayer.” Allah gives accordance and assistance. Our final call is that all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
Nafhat al-’Anbar, p.72-81
An original Deoband.org article
This book was named 'Al-Sunan' and was called Sunan Ibn Majah attributing to the author.
Affiliation to Usool Khamsah (Five Principal Books of Hadith)
First of all, Imam Abul Fazl Muhammad bin Tahir Maqdisi (d. 507 H), in his book 'Shurootul Aaimma Al-Sittah', affiliated Sunan Ibn Majah to Usool Khamsah (the five principal books of Hadith i.e. Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami'ut Tirmizi and Sunan Nasai.). Thereafter, these six books were known as Sihah Sittah (six most authentic books of Hadith). Some scholars of Hadith have counted Muwatta Imam Malik as the sixth one instead of Sunan Ibn Majah. Firstly, Muhaddith Razin Ibn Mu'awiyah Abdrabbi Sarqati (d. 525 H) has expressed the same view in his book 'Al-Tajreed Lis Sihah was Sunan'. Later, came Imam Ibnul Aseer who also regarded, in his book 'Jami'ul Usool', Muwatta Imam Malik as the sixth out of Sihah Sittah. While, some scholars are of the opinion that Sunan Darami deserved to be counted as the sixth one in place of Sunan Ibn Majah. Since, the traditions of Sunan Darami are better in term of authenticity and correctness that those of Sunan Ibn Majah. This view was first expressed by Hafiz Salahuddin Al-Alaai and later followed him Hafiz Ibn Hajar. .
Number of Traditions in Sunan Ibn Majah
Hafiz Ibn Kaseer introduces Sunan Ibn Majah in his book 'Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah' saying: "Sunan Ibn Majah consists of 32 books, 1500 chapters and 4000 traditions. And, all the traditions are good except some of them." But, according to Sheikh Fuwad Abdul Baqi who has done research on the Sunan mentioned the below details:
"Sunan Ibn Majah comprises of 4341 traditions while 3006 out of them are found in Usool Khamsah. The rest 1339 are not found in Usool Khamsah; 428 out of 1339 are authentic and narrated by reliable sources, 199 are Hasan and 613 are Za'eef, whereas 99 of them are extremely weak even unreliable and forged.
Sunan Ibn Majah in the Eyes of Scholars
Imam Zahabi has quoted in his book Ibn Majah saying: "I showed this Sunan to Abu Zur'ah he went through it and said: I think if people find this book they will cast aside the other books of Hadith or most of them. There will not be even 30 traditions which have some weak points."
This quotation of Abu Zur'ah is sufficient enough to throw some light at the importance of Sunan Ibn Majah. Moreover, the scholars counted it among the Sihah Sittah, though they agree that it holds the sixth position due to consisting of several Za'eef traditions. Hafiz Abul Hajjaj Al-Mizzi writes that the traditions that Ibn Majah narrates individually (not found in Usool Khamsah) are most likely Za'eef. But, this stand is not justified and scholars have criticized it, s Hafiz Ibn Hajar says: "Generally, it is not so as I have discovered, though it contains many Munkar traditions (narrated by unknown narrators)." Hafiz Ibn Hajar means that traditions individually narrated by Ibn Majah are necessarily not Za'eef, because there are many traditions that Ibn Majah only brought in his are reliable. Also, the opinion of Imam Abu Zur'ah that there are less than thirty Zae'eef traditions in Sunan Ibn Majah, is also not right. Since, the scholars have scanned his opinion and verified that the number of Za'eef traditions in Sunan Majah is more than he said. Imam Zahabi writes in his book 'Siyaru A'alamin Nubalae': "If we consider the comment of Abu Zur'ah as correct then it will imply that he meant the traditions that are entirely disapproved. As far as the matter of Za'eef traditions is concerned they might be almost thousand in number. In short, some traditions of Sunan Ibn Majah are Za'eef and 34 of them have been counted as Mauzoo' (false or forged) by Ibnul Jauzi.
Commentaries & Notes
The scholars of Ummah have served Sunan Ibn Majah and have written notes and commentaries on it. Some of these commentaries and notes are as follows:
(1) Hafiz Alauddin Mughlatai has written commentary of some parts of Sunan Ibn Majah in five volumes.
(2) Misbahuz Zujajah ala Sharh Ibn Majah (Al-Suyuti)
(3) Hafiz Burhanuddin Halabi also wrote a commentary.
(4) Al-Deebajah (in 5 volumes by Sheikh Kamaluddin bin Musa)
(5) Ibnul Mulaqqin has written a commentary of the Zawaaid (traditions of Ibn Majah that were not found in Usool Khamsah) separately which is named with 'Ma Tamussu ilaihil Hajah ala Sunan Ibn Majah'.
(6) Notes of Abul Hasan Ibn Abdul Hadi Sindhi
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Some scholars have written that the name of Imam Nasai's book is 'Al-Mujtaba' or 'Al-Mujtana'. However, it is known as 'Al-Sunan Al-Sughra'. These three names are justified because it appears from the background story of the compilation. The story goes like this that Imam Nasai wrote a book named 'Al-Sunan' and presented it to the Emir of Ramallah. He questioned him whether all the tradition of the book are correct. Imam Nasai's reply was in negative. So, he ordered him to compile a book that contains only authentic traditions. Thus, Imam Nasai took out all the traditions from his book and named the new collection as ' Mujtaba' (selected ones). Also, it is right to call it as 'Al-Mujtana' since it also means 'selected'. This collection was named as 'Al-Sunan Al-Sughra' because it was a summary of the previous one. However, when it is called simply Sunan Nasai or if some scholar says that Imam Nasai narrates so and so, then it implies to this 'Al-Sunan Al-Sughra'. 'Al-Sunan Al-Sughra' was included in the Sihah Sittah (six most authentic books of Hadith). It is noteworthy that Imam Zahabi is of the opinion that it is Ibnus Sunni who has selected Sahih Ahadith from 'Al-Sunan Al-Sughra' and compiled 'Al-Mujtaba'. .
Position of Sunan Nasai in Sihah Sittah
The authors of books on Asmaur Rijal (biographies of the narrators) have placed Sunan Nasai on fifth position and it is commonly known. But, Imam Zahabi has written the ranking of Jami'ut Tirmizi is lesser than that of Sunan Abu Dawood and Sunan Nasai. It implies that Sunan Nasai is on the fourth position. Some Moroccan scholars have given it superiority even on Sahih Bukhari, but this is rare stand and what generally known is that Sunan Nasai holds the fifth position.
Numbers of the Traditions
The total number of traditions in this book is 5761 and most of them are authentic. Therefore, some people have called it as Sahih.
Sunan Nasai in the Eyes of Great Scholars
Abul Hasan Musiri says: "Whenever I looked it to the traditions I found that those narrated by Imam Nasai are nearer to authenticity than the traditions of others."
Hafiz Ibn Rashid has introduced Nasai with these words: "Sunan Nasai is an excellent book among Sunan as per its order and compilation. It assembled the patterns of Imam Bukhari and Muslim. Also, it contains descriptions of the points where some fault has occurred."
Muhammad bin Mu'awiyah Ahamr says: "Sunan Nasai is authentic and only some traditions are having faults, but Imam Nasai has not mentioned its weak points. The collection of traditions named with Al-Mujtaba is entirely perfect.
Most traditions of Sunan Nasai are perfect, therefore some people have regarded it as Sahih. Otherwise, all the traditions of Nasai are not Sahih. Nevertheless, the weak traditions in Sunan Nasai are less in number in comparison to other Sunan books.
Method of Sunan Nasai & Characteristics
(1) It surpasses other book as per its order and style of compilation
(2) Imam Nasai also mentions one Hadith under different chapter like Imam Bukhari.
(3) On the pattern of Imam Muslim, he writes different chains of a tradition and points out the differences in the wordings.
(4) He discusses the weak points of tradition and their reasons. Imam Nasai is known for expertise about secret weak points of narrations.
(5) If there is some confusion in the name, nickname or something else then he states it. He verified whether the narrator met his teacher or not, whether the Hadith is Muttasil or Mursal. At places, he elucidates the meaning of difficult words.
Commentaries and Notes on Sunan Nasai
Sunan Nasai was not given so homage which it deserves. There is no comprehensive commentary written on the book. However, there are some notes and commentaries:
(1) Al-Im'aan fi Sharh Sunan Al-Nasai (Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali bin Abdulah Ansari Undulusi)
(2) Sharh Ibnul Mulaqqan (Ibnul Mulaqqan has written commentary of the traditions of Sunan Nasai which are not mentioned in Sahihain, Sunan Abu Dawood and Tirmizi)
(3) Zahrur Ruba (Imam Suyuti)
(4) The notes and comments of Sheikh Abul Hasan bin Abdul Hadi Sindhi
(5) The notes and comments of Sheikh Muhammad Ataullah Hanif Bhojyani
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
This book is named 'Al-Sunan'. Also, it is called 'Sunan Abu Dawood attributing to the author. In the terms of Hadith, Suann is a book of Hadith that is compiled on the Fiqhi order. Sunan Abu Dawood has been written on Fiqhi pattern so it is called .Sunan'. It appears from the writings of Imam Abu Dawood that he also named his book with 'Sunan' as he says in his booklet written addressing the people of Makkah: "You asked me to tell you that the traditions written down in 'Al-Sunan' are the most authentic ones."
At another place he says: "There are some traditions in my book 'Al-Sunan' that are not 'Muttasil' (directly reaching to the Prophet-pbuh) but they are 'Mursal' (reaching to only a companion)."
These texts prove that Imam Abyu Dawood himself named his book as 'Al-Sunan'.
Method of Sunan Abu Dawood
Imam Abu Dawood himself has described his method with details in the booklet written for the people of Makka. He writes:
"You asked me to tell you that the traditions written down in 'Al-Sunan' are the most authentic ones, so you should know that they are most authentic. Yes, there are some traditions that are narrated by two chains; one is better as per the chain of narration and the other is better in view of the memory of the narrators. I chose the ones which were better as per the memorization. Still, there are only about ten traditions of this kind in my book. I wrote only one or two traditions under a chapter, though there were several other Sahih (authentic) traditions. I intended only to provide something beneficial for the people. If I wrote mote than one Hadith in a chapter that means that the later one comprises of additional meaning that the former does not. At places I have shortened the long traditions since it might be difficult for the people to understand why that particular Hadith was mentioned there. There is not a single Hadith in this book that is narrated by any Matrook (one who was forsaken) narrator. If there happened any Munkar Hadith I mentioned it but warned again it. I mentioned Munkar Hadith only when there were no other traditions higher in rank. In my book I have notified the traditions that were very weak; even some of them are not having authentic chain of narrator. However, the tradition about which I do not make any comment they are free from any fault. Among these traditions, some are more than authentic than others.
Concisely, the method he adopted in his book is as follows:
(1) He selects the most authentic Hadith related to the chapter.
(2) He did not mention all traditions related to the chapter but mentions only one or two of them.
(3) He shortens the long traditions and mentions only the part that is related to the chapter.
(4) He does not accept the traditions of a narrator about whom the scholars of Hadith have stated he is Matrook (one whose traditions have been forsaken by scholars of Hadith).
(5) If a Hadith is narrated by two ways and one way consists of some additions then he mentions it also.
(6) If a Hadith is narrated by several narrators then he takes the tradition of most trusted one.
(7) If he happened to mention any weak Hadith he wrote a note on it.
(8) Also, he mentions Munkar Hadith only when there is no other better Hadith present in the chapter.
(9) The traditions about which Imam Abu Dawood makes no remark and keeps silent then the Hadith is Salih.
The Ulama differ in what he meant by Salih. Imam Ibn Salah says that the traditions mentioned in Abu dawood without a comment if they are not found in Sahihain (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim) and none of the Imam of Hadith has criticized on it then we shall take that Hadith as 'Hasan' of Abu Dawood though it is not Hasan according to other scholars of Hadith. (Ibn Salah, Uloomul Hadith, 33)
But, Hafiz Ibn Hajar says that the traditions mentioned in Abu dawood without a comment cannot be said as Hasan; rather they are divided in to four sections: (a) the traditions are found in Sahihain or are merely Sahih. (b) Some of them are Hasan li Zatihi (c) some are Hasan li Ghairihi. The traditions about which Imam Abu Dawood kept mum are generally related to the second and third grades. (d) Some are Za'eef (weak), but the weakness is not so powerful; since none of the narrators of him is unanimously forsaken and rejected by scholars. (Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Al-Nukat, Vol1, P 453)
Imam Nawawi elucidated the saying of Imam Abu Dawood stating that the traditions that are mentioned in Abu Dawood without a comment and any noteworthy scholar labeled it as Hasan then we shall accept it as Hasan. And, if any trusted scholar of Hadith has labeled it as Za'eef or they pointed out any fault in the narrating chain leading to weakness and that particular fault is not removed then that Hadith will be regarded as Za'eef and the silence of Imam Abu Dawood will not be accepted. According to Hafiz Ibn Hajar, this statement of Imam Nawawi is a scholarly and research-oriented one.
Conditions of Abu Dawood for Accepting Ahadith
We have mentioned some details about the condition of Imam Abu Dawood falling under the conditions of Sahihain. Some of the remaining conditions are written below:
Hafiz Abul Fazl Muhammad bin Qahir writes the summary of the conditions in his book 'Shurootul Aaimmah Al-Sittah Page 13-16). He says that traditions of these Hadith books are of three kinds:
(1) The traditions that are mentioned in Sahihain.
(2) Traditions that are in accordance with the conditions of authors of Sunan.
(3) There are traditions which contain matters that are in a bird's view contradictory to the chapter mentioned before. But, the purpose behind it is that these traditions have not been out of the sight of these authors. They do not mean that these tradition are in fact Sahih but most of the time the authors themselves have pointed out its fault and mistake.
Some commentaries of Abu Dawood
(1) Ma'alimus Sunan (Abu Sulaiman Hamd bin Muhammad Khattabi)
(2) Mirqatus Sa'uood ila Sunan Abi Dawood (Al-Suyuti)
(3) Fathul Wadood ala Sunan Abi Dawood (Muhammad bin Abdul Hadi Sindhi)
(4) Aunul Ma'bood (Sheikh Shamsul Haq Azimabadi)
(5) Bazlul Majhood fi Hall Abi Dawood (Sheikh Khlalil Ahmad Saharanpuri)
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
This book is called with three different names:
(1) 'Al-Jami' or 'Jami'ut Tirmizi': Jami' means comprehensive. It was named so because it covers eight chapters: Jihad, Ethics, Quranic exegesis, Faith, trials, injunctions, Ashrat (signs) and Manaqib (virtues of famous personalities).
(2) 'Al-Sunan' or 'Jami'us Sunan': Sunan are called the books that were compiled on the Fiqhi order. This book was called Sunan since it was also written on the same pattern.
(3) 'Al-Jamius Sahih' or 'Al-Musnad Al-Sahih': Some scholars like Imam Hakim and Imam Khatib Baghdadi regarded it as 'Sahih'. But, according to most scholars of Hadith, can not be said as Sahih, though most of its traditions are authentic and true.
Position of Jami'ut Tirmizi
There are three opinions which differ in describing it order among the six books:
(1) It is on the third position after the Sahih Muslim and Bukhari. Those who put on the third have considered its usefulness.
(2) Some scholars who have written books on the biography of the narrators have put it on the fourth position.
(3) Imam Zahabi has counted it fifth most authentic after Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dwood, Sunan Nasai.
Method of Compilation
Imam Tirmizi has compiled his book on Fiqhi pattern. First, he gives a comprehensive chapter entitled with 'Abwab' under which he mentions tradition dividing in to many subtitles. The names of titles usually are extracted from the text of the Hadith mentioned below. Thereafter, he narrates one or two Hadith. Then, he classifies the grade of the particular Hadith. Sometimes, he quotes the comments of scholars about the narrating chain and describes the status of narrators. Finally, if there are some more traditions related to the title he indicates to them saying: "there are some more traditions from so and so on."
Conditions of Imam Tirmizi for Accepting Ahadith
It is to be mentioned clearly that Imam Tirmizi or the other authors of the Hadith books did not clarify any specific conditions. The scholars of Hadith, having studied thoroughly their books, have discovered these conditions. Imam Hazimi in his book 'Shurootul Aimmah' and Imam Maqdisi in 'Shurootul Aimmah Al-Sittah' have penned down them in details. According to these scholars of Hadith the conditions of Imam Tirmizi are inferior than those of Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Nasai. It is stated that Imam Bukhari sets the condition that the narrator is bestowed with better memory and has companied his Sheikh for a long time. Imam Muslim adheres to the conditions that the narrator should have sharp mind, he did not stick to the condition of 'companying Sheikh'. Abu Dawood and Nasai have set the condition of companying Sheikh for a long time and have not emphasized on 'sharp-mindedness' while Imam Tirmizi has not stressed on both the conditions. Also, it is worth mentioning that the meaning of the conditions that these scholars of Hadith have not gone below these conditions and have accepted traditions that were above their standard.
Sulasiyat of Jami'ut Tirmizi
'Sulasi' is a Hadith that is narrated by only a chain of three narrators reaching to the Prophet (pbuh). There is only one 'Sulasi' in Jami'ut Tirmizi. So, in this Hadith there are only three narrators between Imam Tirmizi and the Prophet (pbuh). Mulla Ali Qari has mistakenly described that there is a 'Sunai' Hadith (narrated only by two narrators). There is no such Hadith in Jami'ut Tirmizi.
False Traditions in Jami'ut Tirmizi
Imam Ibn Jauzi, in his book 'Al-Mauzuaat Al-Kubra' has counted 23 traditions of Jami'ut Tirmizi as false and forged ones. But, Imam Suyuti has defended it in his book 'Al-Qaulul Hasan fiz Zabb anil Hasan' and removed the misconceptions that were raised by Ibn Jauzi.
Importance of Jami'ut Tirmizi and Salient Features
Imam Tirmizi himself says about his book: "I compiled this book and presented it to the scholars of Hijza (Makka and Medina) they liked it, I presented it before the scholars of Iraq they also liked it, then I presented it to the scholars of Khurasan they too liked it. One who has this book in his house as if he has in his house a prophet talking. Imam Abdullah bin Muhammad Ansari says that the book of Tirmizi is more useful to him that the books of Imam Bukhari and Muslim; since, only well-versed scholar can benefit form the books of Bukhari and Muslim, but the book of Imam Tirmizi is useful for all. Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlawi writes in his book 'Bustanul Muhadditheen': "Jami'ut Tirmizi is characterized by other Hadith books for various reasons:
(1) He compiled it a better order and there is no repetition of traditions.
(2) He describes the Fiqhi stand of scholars and mentions their methods of interpretation and derivation.
(3) He gives an account of the narrators' name, nickname and other useful indications.
Sheikh Muhammad Shakir writes that the book of Imam Tirmizi includes these distinct features:
(1) After the Hadith under a chapter, he writes the names of the companions who narrated traditions having same meaning.
(2) He generally mentions the different stands of scholars of Fiqh on the matter.
(3) He pays attention to describe the weak and strong points of Hadith, and categorizes its grade. He offers a good account on the narrators.
Some commentaries of Jami'ut Tirmizi
(1) Aarizatul Ahwazi (Ibnul Arabi)
(2) Qootul Mughtazi (Al-Suyuti)
(3) Tuhfatul Ahwazi (Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri).
(4) Taqreer-e-Tirmizi (Mahmoodul Hasan Deobandi)
(5) Dars-e-Tirmizi (Mufti Taqi Usmani)
(6) Al-Arfus Shazi (Anwar Shah Kashmiri)
(7) Naf'u Qootil Mughtazi
(8) Tuhfatul Almai (Mufti Sayeed Ahmad Palanpuri)
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
The name of the book is 'Al-Musnad Al-Sahih'. Imam Muslim himself mentions it with this name. Some people called it as 'Jami'e'. However, the book is renowned with Sahih Muslim.
Cause of Compilation
Imam Mulsim described the reason of compilation himself in the foreword of the book saying: "A person wished to acquire the teachings of Hadith regarding the fundamentals of religion, practices, reward and punishment etc, so he expressed his desire to Imam Muslim and requested him to compile a book that contains all these things without repetitions. Also, Imam Muslim was grieved at seeing people not differentiating between true and false traditions. So, Imam Muslim started this work and completed it in a span of fifteen years.
Numbers of Traditions
It is said that the number of traditions in Sahih Muslim is twelve thousand. And, with the deletion of repetitions it decreases to four thousand. Sheikh Fuwad Abdul Baqi has numbered Sahih Muslim and according to him the number of it is 3034.
Method of Compilation
Imam Muslim has compiled his Sahih on the order of 'book and chapter'. But in view of the thickness of the book, he did not write their titles. Later, the scholars of Hadith have classified it into chapters or sections with their titles. Among all these classifications, the classification of Imam Nawawi is the best.
Imam Muslim did not rely chiefly on his personal findings but consulted the great scholars of his age, as he himself says: "I did not record the Hadith that was reliable to me, but I only recorded the traditions that were agreed upon by scholars." Also, he would present all traditions to Hafiz Abu Zur'ah Razi and reject the ones about which Hafiz Abu Zur'ah indicated any defect and choose the ones which were sanctioned by Hafiz Abu Zur'ah. He says: "Whatever traditions I put in this collection are with proof and whatever I rejected are also with proof. I compiled this book selecting Ahadith from a pile of three hundred thousand traditions. He paid so exclusive attention to the compilation that he himself stated: "If the scholars of Hadith will keep on writing Ahadith for two years then also they will have to depend on this book."
Position of Sahih Muslim among Sihah Sittah
Sahih Muslim is the second among the six most authentic books of Hadith. It is believed to be second collection of truest Hadith after Sahih Bukhari. Some scholars have preferred it on Bukhari. Generally, the scholars of Maghrib (Morocco) gave preference to Sahih Muslim over Sahih Bukhari as Abu Ali Neshapuri said: "There is no book more authentic than Sahih Muslim." But, Hafiz Ibn Hajar thinks that this quotation does not mean that Sahih Muslim better than Sahih Bukhari, but it only says that both are equally authentic and perfect. Briefly, the fact is that in the sense of authenticity and accuracy Sahih Bukhari is superior, while in the sense of excellent compilation, less repetitions and much sources Sahih Muslim excels.
Some Characteristics of Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim is distinguished among other collections of tradition because of below mentioned reasons:
(1) Better compilation
(2) Fluent style
(3) Paying exclusive attention to 'Riwayah Bil Lafz' (narrating exact wordings)
(4) Distinguishing between 'Haddasana' and 'Akhbarana' (two different ways of narration)
(5) Recording the exact words of narrators
(6) Switching to chains of narrations with shortening them
His Ideology about 'Mu'an'an' Traditions
The traditions which are narrated with the word 'A'n' are called 'Mu'an'an'. Imam Muslim has accepted the 'Mu'an'an' traditions of the narrators who were not Mudallis (the narrator who narrates from the teacher of his teacher instead of narrating from his teacher) provided that the period of the narrator and the narrated is same and their meeting is possible. He, in the foreword of his book, sternly objected to those who conditioned that a 'proof of meeting' is compulsory.
Some commentaries of Sahih Muslim
The number of commentaries and annotations exceeds twenty. Here are the names of some well known ones:
(1) Ikmalul Muallim fi Sharh Muslim (Qazi E'yaz)
(2) Siyanah Sahih Muslim (Ibnus Salah)
(3) Al-Minhaj fi Sharh Sahih Muslim bin Hajjaj (Al-Nawawi)
(4) Al-dibaj ala Sahih Muslim bin Hajjaj (Al-Suyuti)
(5) Fathul Mulhim (Shabbir Ahmad Usmani)
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
This book of Imam Bukhari is known as ‘Sahih-ul-Bukhari’, but it original name is very long. According to Hafiz Ibn Hajar its name is: ‘Al-Jami’us Sahih Al-Musnad min Hadith Al-Rasool Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam wa Sunanihi wa Ayyamihi’. But, according to Ibn Salah the name is: ‘Al-Jami’ul Musnad Al-Sahih Al-Mukhtasar min Umoorir Rasool Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam wa Sunanihi wa Ayyamihi’
Hafiz Ibn Hajar, in the preface of his book Fathul Bari, has mentioned the compilation background of Sahih Bukhari, that are as follows:
(1) The books that were compiled before Imam Bukhari had both Za’eef and Sahih traditions, that might prove difficult for people to differentiate between Sahih and Za’eef. Therefore, he intended to write a book that contains only true and authentic traditions.
(2) Also, he was inspired to compile a book by his teacher Ishaq bin Rahwaih who asked his students: “It would be better if you collect the authentic traditions.” Imam Bukhari says that it stuck to his heart and he started compiling his Sahih.
(3) Imam Bukhari saw a dream that he is moving a fan on the Prophet (pbuh). The scholars of the age told that it meant that he shall remove the falsehood and lie surrounding the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh). Imam Bukhari says that it inspired him to write ‘Al-Jami’us Sahih’.
Extraordinary Caution & Carefulness in Compiling Sahih Bukhari
Imam Bukhari paid his utmost attention to compile his book. He says that he did not write even a single Hadith in his book without having bath and praying two Rak’ats. Some biographers also have quoted Imam Bukhari saying: “I did not include any Hadith in this book but when I consulted Allah, prayed to him and insured its authenticity.
Duration of Compilation
Imam Bukhari himself says that he has compiled this book within a period of sixteen years. He selected these traditions from among six hundred thousand ones.
Objective of Sahih Bukhari
The objective of Imam Bukhari is to collect Sahih and authentic traditions. The original name of the book indicates to it. Moreover, he described it on many places of his book as he says: “I mentioned in my book only Sahih traditions and rejected so many Sahih traditions because of their length. There is a famous quotation of him that he has mentioned only Sahih tradition in his book and the Sahih traditions he left is more than he mentioned.
This is a proof that he intended to collect only authentic traditions, but he did not intend to collect entire Sahih traditions. So, there are many Sahih traditions in other books of Hadith apart from Bukhari. It is worth mentioning that though Imam Bukhari had determination to collect authentic traditions but the Fiqhi derivations of Imam Bukhari sayings of the Companions and their successors mentioned under the titles of chapters are not as authentic as the other traditions. But, they also include many useful things.
Number of Traditions in Sahih Bukhari
Hafiz Ibn Salah said that the number of traditions in Bukhari is four thousand with repetations. But, the renowned commentator of Sahih Bukhari, Hafiz Ibn Hajar has mentioned the number of traditions in Bukhari with details:
(1) Number of Marfu’ Muttasil traditions with repititions 7394
(2) Number of Marfu’ Mu’allaq traditions with repititions 1341
(3) Mutab’aat etc. 344
(1) Number of Marfu’ Muttasil traditions without repititions 2602
(2) Number of Marfu’ Mu’allaq traditions without repititions 0159
Repetition of Traditions in Bukhari & its Reason
Sahih Bukhari is not only a collection of traditions but also it contains Fiqhi derivations and interpretative judgments. It is known to all that most of the time one Hadith contains so many meanings and matters so the particular Hadith is mentioned under various titles. Sahih Bukhari also consists of repeated traditions. But, Imam Bukhari has hardly repeated any Hadith with the same chain of narration and words. Most of the time, he mentioned the repeated Hadith with other chain of narration, while sometime he shortens it and mentions only the part concerning to the title.
Conditions of Imam Bukhari for Acceptance of HAdith in His Sahih
It is not easy to describe the conditions of Imam Bukhari and the authors of rest five Hadith books for accepting Hadith. Since, they have not clearly set up these conditions. They have only indicated it vaguely at some places in their books. Later, the scholars have derived their conditions after a thorough study of their books and the narrators' biography. There are two books on the subject that are complementary of each other. One is 'Shurootul Aaimmah Al-Khamsah' of Imam Abu Bakr Hazmi while the other 'Shurootul Aaimmah Al-Sittah' og Abul Fazl Maqdisi. The summary of Bukhari's condition is that he narrates from those who are reliable, trusted and narrate with continuous chain to the Prophet (pbuh). He preferred the traditions of more than one narrators and accepted the traditions of single narrator also provided he is reliable. For example, analyzing the terms and conditions of Sihah Sittah, we divided that students of Imam Zuhri in five categories:
1. Those who had high class Hifz (brainpower) and had accompanied Imam Zuhri for a long time.
2. Those who had high class Hifz (brainpower) but had not accompanied Imam Zuhri for a long time.
3. Those who did not have high class Hifz (brainpower) and had accompanied Imam Zuhri for a long time.
4. Those who did not have high class Hifz (brainpower) and have not accompanied Imam Zuhri for a long time.
5. Those who are weak or those about whom there is no details available.
From amongst the five categories, Imam Bukhari only relies on the first category of narrators and these narrators meet his conditions of accepting a Hadith. He sometimes mentions some selected traditions of narrators from the second category and in some cases he refers to the traditions of the narrators from second and third category for strength. Imam Muslim accepts the traditions of the narrators from first and second categories definitely and refers to the traditions of the narrators from third and forth category for strength. Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Nasai accept the traditions of the narrators from first to third categories wholeheartedly and refer to the traditions of the narrators from the forth and fifth categories for strength. Imam Tirmizi accepts the traditions of the narrators from first to fourth category and refers to the traditions of the narrators from fifth category for strength. While, Imam Ibn Majah accepts the traditions narrators from all categories.
It is noteworthy that the traditions narrated with the word 'a'n' (from) where the narrator did not mention clearly that he listened it from his sheikh, Imam Bukhari apply a condition that the meeting between the narrator and his sheikh should be proved. While, Imam Muslim set the condition that only a possibility of meeting should be found.
Fiqhi Derivations in Bukhari's Titles
First of all, Imam lays out a chapter and then mentions the Fiqhi matter that is derived from the below Hadith and sometimes mentions a part of the Hadith. This is called as 'Tarjamatul Bab' (headline). All the authors of Sihah Sittah, except Imam Muslim, adopt the same method. But, Imam Bukhari has presented it as an art and has applied his mind so artfully and thoroughly that scholars are amazed to realize it. At some places, the headline matches the text below while sometimes the relation between the title and the Hadith is quite ambiguous. Therefore, the commentators have paid exclusive attention to it, even some of them have written separate books over the topic.
Status of Sahih Bukhari & Its Significance
Sahih Bukhari holds the first position among Sihah Sittha, therefore it is called 'most authentic book after the Quran'. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Imam Ibn Salah, Imam Nawawi, Hafiz Ibn Kaseer and other scholars of Islam have written that the Ummah has unanimously agreed that the traditions of Sahih Bukhari and Muslim are reliable and authentic except a few of them. Comparing Sahih Bukhari
Translated and partly prepared by:
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi
Imam Malik named his book on Hadith as ‘Muwatta’
and it was known with this name. There are two reasons to name the book as Muwatta:
Cause of Compiling
- 'Muwatta' means 'a thing that is made easy'. It was named Muwatta since Imam Malik made Hadith easy for people. Muhammad bin Ibrahim Kanani says that he asked Imam Abu Hatim Razi why Imam Malik’s book was named as Muwatta. He replied that Imam Malik made Hadith easy for people by writing this book. Therefore, this book is known as Muwatta.
- Muwatta also means 'a thing that is agreed upon'. The scholars of Medina approved of this book and agreed that it contains correct traditions, therefore it was named Muwatta. Imam Malik himself says: “I presented this book to seventy scholars of Fiqh at Medina and each of them approved it .
Hafiz Ibn-ul-Bar narrates from Mufazzal bin Muhammad bin Harb that in Medina, first of all, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Abi Salma compiled issues that were agreed upon. This book did not include traditions. When this book was passed on to Imam Malik he looked at it with admiration and appreciation. He remarked that had I did I would have begun it with traditions. Thus, an idea of compiling book came to his mind and later it was materialized in the shape of ‘Muwatta’. Subject of Muwatta
The subject of Muwatta is to collect the traditions of the Prophet (Sallallhu Alaihi Wasallam), the sayings of the companions and the quotations of the Tab’een. Manuscripts of Muwatta
Several students of Imam Malik narrated Muwatta from him. Their manuscripts differed in the numbers of the traditions as well as the order of the chapters. Among many manuscripts, four got popularity:
(1) Muwatta narrated by Yahya bin Yahya
(2) Muwatta narrated by Ibn Bukair
(3) Muwatta narrated by Abu Mus’ib
(4) Muwatta narrated by Ibn Wahab Numbers of Traditions in Muwatta
According to the manuscript of Yahya bin Yahya Undulusi the number of Marfoo’ traditions (narrated with a continuous chain to the Prophet) in Muwatta is 853 whereas Abu Bakr Abhari says that the number of all traditions in Muwatta is 1720. The number of Marfoo’ and Muttasil Ahadith is 600, that of Marfoo’ Mursal is 222, that of Mauqoof (sayings of the companions) is 613 and that of Maqtoo’ (sayings of the Tab'een) is 285. (Al-Suyuti, Tanwirul Hawalik, 8)
However, there are differences about the number of the traditions in Muwatta that is based on the differences between its various manuscripts. Likewise, Imam Malik himself kept on making changes and modifications in his book for a period of forty years. Duration of Compilation
After a hard work of about forty years Muwatta came in to being. Ibn Abdur Barr narrates from Umar bin Abdul Wahid that he said: We studied Muwatta before Imam Malik in forty days, so he said: "The book which I compiled in forty years, you have taken it from me in forty days.” Importance of Muwatta & Its Position
This renowned and popular book of Hadith, on one hand, is the pioneering collection of traditions and on the other hand it enjoys a high ranking as per the authenticity of the traditions and the many more advantages. One can realize the importance of the book that, according to Ibnul Hubab, Imam Malik used to narrate one hundred thousand traditions and out of which only ten thousand were recorded in Muwatta. Thereafter, he continued making modifications until it was reduced to only 500 Ahadith. Abul Hasan bin Fahar has quoted the saying of Atiq bin Yaqub that earlier Muwatta contained ten thousand traditions, but Imam Malik kept on reviewing and excluding some of the traditions until it reached to the point where it is today. Due to untiring and tremendous efforts of Imam Malik his book earned popularity. People appreciated it and regarded its traditions as correct and authentic. Imam Shaf’ee pays tribute to him saying: "Muwatta of Imam Malik is most authentic after the book of Allah.” It is to be mentioned that this saying of Imam Shaf’ee dates to the period when Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim were not compiled. However, this quotation reflects the significance of Muwatta. Apart from Imam Shaf’ee, Imam Tahtawi also has termed Muwatta as ‘Al-Sahih’. It means that some scholars have regarded all the contents of Muwatta as authentic. His sincerity and piety also played a part to popularize his book. There were some people who tried to write books on his pattern. When he was informed of them he wished to see these books. Having seen the books, he remarked: "You should know that only the things are accepted by Allah which are based on true intentions and devotion." So, today no Muwatta of that time remains except that of Imam Malik. The below story also sheds some light on his purity of intention:
When caliph Mansoor came Hejaz for Hajj pilgrimage he requested that I want to ask people to prepare copies of your book and send them to different cities and command Muslims to follow them. Imam Malik prevented him to do so saying that the traditions have reached far and wide, and people are acting accordingly. Let them follow the way of their choice.
Imam Abu Na’eem Asfahani has mentioned a similar story related to caliph Haroon Al-Rashid and Imam Malik. Imam Malik says that Haroon requested him that Muwatta should be tied to the door of Ka’bah and people should be ordered to follow it. But, Imam Malik replied: "Do not do hat, the Companions themselves have differed in smaller details of Shariah and these opinions have spread in different cities."
These stories evidently prove that Imam Malik had true intention and sincerity. Had he wished fame he would have not missed this golden chance of spreading his book and his Fiqhi School in the Islamic world. Commentaries of Muwatta
Imam Qazi I’yaz says that as much works were done on Muwatta no such works were done on any other book. He mentioned ninety scholars who have served Muwatta by any way. Some of the celebrated commentaries are:
(1) Al-Tamheed Lima fil Muwatta minal Ma’ani wal Asaneed
(2) Al-Istizkar (Summary of the above one) these two commentaries were written by Imam Ibnur Barr. These have been published and are found. It is said that there is one more commentary of him.
(3) Al-Qabas (Ibnul Arabi Maliki)
(4) Imam Suyuti also has written three books on Muwatta: (a) Kashful Mughatta fi Sharhil Muwatta (b) Tanweerul Hawalik ala Muwatta Imam Malik (c) Is’aful Mubatta fi Rijalil Muwatta
(5) Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi also has written two commentaries: (a) Al-Musaffa (in Persian) (b) Al-Musawwa (in Arabic)(6) Awjaz al-Masalik (Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Zakariya Kandhlawi)
Translated and partly prepared by: Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi