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