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Ibn Majah

Ibn Majah

Ibn Majah
ابو عبد الله محمد بن يزيد بن ماجه الربعي القزويني

Autor of: Sunan ibn Majah – سُنن ابن ماجه
Al-Imam: Abū ʻAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Rabʻī al-Qazwīnī


Al-Imam Ibn Majah

Abū ʻAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Rabʻī al-Qazwīnī. (Arabic: ابو عبد الله محمد بن يزيد بن ماجه الربعي القزويني‎; fl. 9th c. CE) commonly known as Ibn Mājah, was a medieval scholar of hadith. He compiled the last of Sunni Islam’s six canonical hadith collections, Sunan Ibn Mājah.

Muslim scholar:

  • FullName: Abū ʻAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Rabʻī al-Qazwīnī
  • Title: Ibn Mājah
  • Born: 824 CE Qazvin
  • Died: 887 (or 889) CE
  • Ethnicity: Persian
  • Era:    Islamic golden age
  • Notable work(s): Sunan ibn Mājah, Kitāb at-Tafsīr and Kitāb at-Tārīkh


Ibn Mājah was born in Qazwin, the modern-day Iranian province of Qazvin, in 824 CE/209 AH to a family who were clients (mawla) of the Rabīʻah tribe. Mājah was the nickname of his father, and not that of his grandfather nor was it his mother’s name, contrary to those claiming this. The hāʼ at the end is un-voweled whether in stopping upon its pronunciation or continuing because it a non-Arabic name.

He left his hometown to travel the Islamic world visiting Iraq, Makkah, the Levant and Egypt. He studied under Abū Bakr ibn Abī Shaybah (through whom came over a quarter of al-Sunan), Muḥammad ibn ʻAbdillāh ibn Numayr, Jubārah ibn al-Mughallis, Ibrāhīm ibn al-Mundhir al-Ḥizāmī, ʻAbdullāh ibn Muʻāwiyah, Hishām ibn ʻAmmār, Muḥammad ibn Rumḥ, Dāwūd ibn Rashīd and others from their era. Abū Yaʻlā al-Khalīlī praised Ibn Mājah as “reliable (thiqah), prominent, agreed upon, a religious authority, possessing knowledge and the capability to memorize.”

According to al-Dhahabī, Ibn Mājah died on approximately February 19, 887 CE/with eight days remaining of the month of Ramadan, 273 AH, or, according to al-Kattānī, in either 887/273 or 889/275. He died in Qazwin.


Al-Dhahabī mentioned the following of Ibn Mājah’s works:

  • Sunan Ibn Mājah: one of the six canonical collections of hadith
  • Kitāb al-Tafsīr: a book of Qur’an exegesis
  • Kitāb al-Tārīkh: a book of history or, more likely, a listing of hadith transmitters

The Sunan

The Sunan consists of 1,500 chapters and about 4,000 hadith. Upon completing it, he read it to Abū Zurʻah, a hadith authority of his time, who commented, “I think that were people to get their hands on this, the other collections, or most of them, would be rendered obsolete.”

Sunan ibn Majah
سُنن ابن ماجه

Sunan Ibn Mājah (Arabic: سُنن ابن ماجه‎) is one of the Al-Kutub al-Sittah (six major hadiths), collected by Ibn Mājah.


It contains over 4,000 aḥādīth in 32 books (kutub) divided into 1,500 chapters (abwāb). About 20 of the traditions it contains were later declared to be forged[citation needed]; such as those dealing with the merits of individuals, tribes or towns, including Ibn Mājah’s home town of Qazwin.


Sunni regard this collection as sixth in strength of their Six major Hadith collections.

Nonetheless this position was not settled until the 14th century or later. Scholars such as al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277) and Ibn Khaldun (d. 808/1405) excluded the Sunan from the generally accepted books; others replaced it with either the Muwaṭṭaʾ of Imām Mālik or with the Sunan ad-Dārimī. It was not until Ibn al-Qaisarani’s formal standardization of the Sunni cannon into six books that Ibn Majah’s collection was regarded the esteem granted to the five other books.

A Life Sketch of Imam Ibn Majah

Imam Ibn Majah, is a bright star that continues to shine to this day on the firmament of Hadith sciences. He is counted among the greatest and most high-ranking Imams of Hadith. He has also the honor of being one of the six Imam whose collections of Hadith are widely popular among the Muslims.

Like other Imams, he earned great fame for serving the Hadith sciences and played an important role in the recording of Ahadith. His whole life he spent watering the garden of this science. To collect and record the sayings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), he traveled to several countries, learning from the greatest Hadith scholars of his times and then gathering together those pearls in a single place for the benefit of later generations.

Ibn Majah was a great scholar of Hadith, Qur’anic interpretation and history. Especially in the field Hadith sciences, he was counted as a great memorizer of Ahadith and an expert in this field. For this very reason, Hafiz Shamsuddin Muhammad Dhahabi, Hafiz Ibn Hajar and other critics in the field of Hadith sciences have achowledged his leading position, high station, breadth of vision, and the ability to memorize Ahadith, extolling his academic and technical services in this field.

Name and Lineage

Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad bin Yazid bin ‘Abdullah Rab’i Al-Qazvini nicknamed Ibn Mijah. He was a non-Arab. He was Rab’i because he belonged to the tribe of Rab’i and was called Al-Qazvini because he belonged to Qazvin (Iran). Various explanations have been given for his nickname. Allamah Zubaidi, writing in Tajul-‘Urus, has given several explanations for the nickname, one explanation being that Majah was his mother’s name. Imam Nawawi gives weight to this explanation. Shah ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Dehlavi in Bostanul-Muhadithin says: (The correct opinion is that Majah was his mother.) That is why the Arabic word for son (fin) is written with the Arabic letter alif to indicate that Ibn Majah qualifies Muhammad, not ‘Abdullah. Anyhow, some scholars believe that Majah was his father’s name. That is also the opinion of Hafiz Ibn Hajar.

Birth and Early Education

He was born in 209 AH corresponding to 824 CE. Yaqut bin ‘Abdullah Al-Hamavi, quoting Ja’far bin Idris’ Tarikh Qazvin, wrote: Abu ‘Abdullah died in the year 273 AH and I heard him say “I was born in 209 AH.” Much of Ibn Majah’s childhood is unknown but it appears that, according to the practice of those days, after receiving his early education, he turned to the Hadith sciences in his own hometown first that had become by then the cradle of Hadith sciences.

Travels in Pursuit of Knowledge

After learning from the teachers in his own home town and the towns nearby, he began his travels in 230 AH, when he was 21 or 22 years old, to other countries to acquire more of Hadith sciences. Ibn Jawzi writes in Al-Muntazim: “He travelled to Khorasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Sham and attended the gatherings of Hadith scholars.” Imam Hanbal writes: “He journeyed to Kufah and Basrah, Egypt, and Sham. He also learned from the scholars of Makkah and Al-Madinah and, later, traveled to Baghdad that was in those times, according to Imam Dhahabi, the ‘home of chains of narration and memorization’ (Darul-Isnadul-Ali wal-Hafz), the seat of the caliphate and knowledge.

But he never ceased or tarried but continued his journeys in quest of knowledge. Again he traveled to Damascus, Horns, Egypt, Isfahan, Ashkelon (seaport in SW Palestine) and Nishapur where he became a pupil of the stars and celebrities of Hadith sciences. This gives us a good idea of how hard he strove to learn Hadith sciences and, in his desire to collect Ahadith, journeyed to distant seats of learning.

His Teachers

Imam Ibn Majah had the honor of learning Hadith sciences from a number of great scholars of his times including those of Makkah, Al-Madinah and Qazvin Among those of Al-Madinah were Hafiz Ibn Mus’ab Zubairi, Ahmad bin Abu Bakr Al-‘Awfi and Hafiz Ibrahim bin Al-Mundhir. His Makkan teachers were Hafiz Jalwani, Abu Muhammad Hasan bin ‘Ali Al-Khilal, Hafiz Zubair bin Bakkar, the Judge of Makkah, Hafiz Salamah bin Shabib, etc.

Notable among his teachers in Qazvin were ‘Amr bin Rafi’ Bajali, Ismail bin Tawbah and Muhammad bin Abu Khalid Qazvini. He also studied under other prominent teachers like Jubarah bin Mughallis, Abu Bakr bin Abu Shaibah, Nasr bin ‘Ali Nishapuri, Abu Bakr bin Khallad Bahili, Muhammad bin Bashshar, Abul-Hasan’Ali bin Muhammad Tanafisi and ‘Ali bin Mundhir.

His Pupils

The list of his pupils is very long. They are scattered far and wide, in Qazvin, Hamadan, Isfahan, Baghdad, and other places. Notable among them are ‘Ali bin ‘Abdullah Al-Falani, Ibrahim bin Dinar Al-Jarshi, Ahmad bin Ibrahim Qazvini, Hafiz Abu Ya’la Al-Khalili and Abu ‘Amr Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hakim Al-Madani Al-Isfahani.

Narrators of Sunan Ibn Majah

Among his closest students who had the honor of narrating Sunan Ibn Majak were Abul-Hasan Al-Qattan, Sulaiman bin Yazid, Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Eisa, and Abu Bakr Hamid Al-Abhari.

Recognition of his eminence by Scholars:

A great Hadith scholar, interpreter of Quran d historian, his outstanding rank, especially in the field of Hadith sciences, has been acknowledged by scholars of Haditk sciences in every age.

  • I m h Dhahabi says: “Imh Ibn S j a h remembered Ahiiditk by heart. He was a critic in the field of Haditk sciences, truthful, upright and a man of wide learning.” InGm Dhahabi wrote in Tadhfirahrl-Huffu: “He was a great memorizer of Aluidith and a Haditk scholar and Qur’k interpreter of Qamin.”
  • Abu Ya’la Khalili said: “He was very trustworthy and an authority; and had a deep knowledge of Hadifk sciences.”.
  • Allamah Sindi said: “Among the Imams of Ahadith, he had a high rank, was pious and a trustworthy scholar by consensus.”

Writings of Ibn Majah

After completing his education, Ibn Majah turned to writing and composing and left behind three great works:

As-Sunan: The Sunan Ibn Majah is counted among the Sound SIX (or, say, the SIX Books) and ranks sixth. A detailed account can be seen in the following pages.

At-Tafsir: It was a large commentary on Qur’an in which the Imam had collected Ahadith and comments of the Companions and Tabi’in”[1] supported with chains of narrations. Sayuti counted this commentary and that of Ibn Hatim among the voluminous commentaries of Qur’an. Ibn Kathir, in Al-Bidayah, said the same thing.

At-Tarikh: A great history book and a manifestation of his great scholarship and leaning, Ibn Kathir called it a complete history while Ibn Khalkan, the famous historian, called it Tarikh Malih (nice history).

It is a pity that the last two books are no longer extant.


The Imam died on Monday, 22 Ramadan 273 AH corresponding to 887 CE, aged 64. May Allah forgve him and have mercy on him. Amen.

[1] Literally, the word means ‘Followers’ or ‘Successord A technical term meaning those who saw and met a Companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)

Hafiz Abul-Fadl Muhammad bin Tahir Maqdisi said, “I saw a book ibn Majah authored on biographies and history of regions from the time of the Companions till his time. At the end of the book, there is a statement with the handwriting of his student Ja’far bin Idris that reads: Abu AbdulIah Muhammad bin Yazid Mijah died on Monday and was buried on Tuesday 22nd of Ramadin 273 AH. I heard him saying, ‘I was born in the year 209 AH.’ He was aged 64 years. The funeral prayer was performed on bim by his brother Abu Bakr, and he was buried by his brothers, Abu Bakr and Abu Abdullah; and his son, Abdullah.”

Some scholars said that Ibn Mijab died in the year 275 A H. [1]

Many a poet wrote moving elegies on his death. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, in Tahdhibut-Tahdhib, quoted a verse written by Muhammad bin Aswad Qazvini: “The loss of Ibn Majah weakened the columns of the throne of knowledge and shook up its pillars.”

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2013 by in History.
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