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Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith Essay


Hadith is a report of the maxims and acts of the prophet (Peace be upon him). Compilation of these reports began during the era of the prophet and continued after his death. Ahadith (plural of Hadith) are classified according to their authenticity, mode of transmission, and chain of narrators. Muslim bin-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi endeavored to collect Ahadith by establishing the authenticity of other reports (Siddiqui). He worked closely with other teachers of religion to develop an exceptional methodology of compiling Ahadith

Imam Muslim was born in Nishpuri in the year 204 A.H and was brought up in a religiously minded family. That left an ineffaceable religious intuition on his mind. His parents prepared him to spend his life serving God and holding fast to righteousness. According to Siddiqui, the religious atmosphere at home helped Muslim to become a saint of high caliber. He says that Muslim acquired respect at a young age because he never indulged in backbiting, which is a common human weakness.

In addition, Imam Muslim excelled because he had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world. The main regions he visited are Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. He attended classes of some of the famous Tradition lecturers such as Harmalah b. Yahya, Ishaq b. Rahwaih, Ahmad b. Hanbal, among others, whenever he visited the regions. After finishing his studies, he travelled back to Nishapur and began teaching Traditions. Nevertheless, he maintained an interest in researching (“Quran & Sunnah : Saheeh Sitta”).

While in Nishapur, Muslim met with Imam Bukhari and was amazed by his exceptional comprehension of Ahadith and Tradition that he attached himself to him until he passed on (” Muhammad an Sunnah.”). Imam Muslim was also a disciple of another prominent Ahadith teacher Muhammad b. Yahya al. Dhuhali.

Their relationship, however, did not last for long. When Imam Muhammad and UIma Bukhari differed in the belief on the subject of creation of the Holy Qur’an and the discrepancy generated into antagonism, Imam Muslim ditched Muhammad b. Yahya but remained a true supporter of Imam Bukhari (“Quran & Sunnah : Saheeh Sitta”).

After the death of Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim resorted to compiling his Ahadith. He incorporated new insights into his mentor’s work and produced an exceptional Hadith. Some religious commentators say Imam Muslim produced highly authentic reports on the subject than most imams, including his teacher Imam Bukhari.

He worked hard, collected and examined 300, 000 traditions, out of which he retained only four thousand (“Muhammad an Sunnah”). He, therefore, used authentic collections to produce books and treaties on his Ahadith. People still benefit from some of these collections to date. For example, “Jami’” of his “Sahih” still offers outstanding insight on religion (“Quran & Sunnah : Saheeh Sitta”). The distinctive quality has attracted immense interest on his methodology of compiling Hadith.

Imam Muslim observed several principles of the science of Hadith that Imam Bukhari, his mentor, ignored. Muslim classified his collection into three different groups: authentic (sahih), good (hasan), and weak (da’eef) information, just as Imam Bukhari. Nevertheless, he was unique because he did not incorporate both weak and good information in his final work (Siddiqui).

Muslim made use of traditions that he found to be both genuine and authentic. He considered that accurate traditions must have been passed on to him by unbroken sequence of trustworthy authorities. They must have been in ideal agreement with what had been narrated by other trustworthy individuals. In addition, they must have been unanimously acknowledged to be without imperfection (Siddiqui).

Moreover, Imam Muslim kept away from causing confusion when describing the sequence of narrators. He did not mention the “kunya” and in many cases avoided giving names of narrators. He applied this rule especially when dealing with Syria narrators (ShiÌ„hÌ£aÌ 15). He also took extraordinary care to record the most accurate accounts by according the exact words of the narrators.

He achieved this by pointing out even the least significant disparities in the wording of the narrators’ reports. Imam Muslim took considerable steps to connect the chain of narrators. This was helpful in eliminating confusion and recording factual encounters. He only recorded Ahadith that at least two trustworthy narrators had heard from at least two trustworthy companions. Subsequent chain of narrators has observed this principle (Siddiqui).

Another key methodology was using simple language. He put a difference between the two main modes of narration: “haddathana “and “akhbarana.” These terms mean he narrated to us, and he informed us, respectively. He required the first mode to be used when the teacher is narrating the Hadith while the student is listening and the second when the student is reading before the teacher (“Quran & Sunnah : Saheeh Sitta”). He constantly indicated the different modes he used to collect all the traditions.

Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi’s early lifestyle and encounter with Imam Bukhari inspired him to compile his Ahadith with proper care. He also produced one of the best Ahadith because he was hardworking, creative, and observant. These traits helped Imam Muslim to develop better research methodologies than those of his mentor Imam Bakhari.

Works Cited

“Quran & Sunnah : Saheeh Sitta.” IslamiCity.com – Islam & The Global Muslim eCommunity . N.p., n.d. Web.

ShiÌ„hÌ£aÌ„, KhaliÌ„l MaÊmuÌ„n. SÌ£ahÌ£iÌ„hÌ£ Muslim. al-TÌ£abÊ»ah 1. ed. BayruÌ„t, LubnaÌ„n: DaÌ„r al-MaÊ»rifah, 1994. Print.

Siddiqui, Abdul Hamid . “Imam Muslim.” History of Scholars. N.p., n.d. Web.

” Muhammad an Sunnah.” www.maaref-foundation.com. N.p., n.d. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2018, November 21). Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/muslim-bin-al-hajjaj-al-nisaburi-and-his-methodology-of-compiling-hadith/

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"Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith." IvyPanda, 21 Nov. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/muslim-bin-al-hajjaj-al-nisaburi-and-his-methodology-of-compiling-hadith/.

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IvyPanda. "Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith." November 21, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/muslim-bin-al-hajjaj-al-nisaburi-and-his-methodology-of-compiling-hadith/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith." November 21, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/muslim-bin-al-hajjaj-al-nisaburi-and-his-methodology-of-compiling-hadith/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisaburi and his Methodology of Compiling Hadith'. 21 November.

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