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