Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjaj
مسلم بن الحجاج

Full Name: Abū al-Ḥusayn ‘Asākir ad-Dīn
Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjāj ibn Muslim ibn Ward
ibn Kawshādh al-Qushayrī an-Naysābūrī.
Arabic:
(أبو الحسين عساكر الدين مسلم بن الحجاج بن مسلم بن وَرْد بن كوشاذ القشيري النيسابوري‎ )

After 815 – May 875) or
Muslim Nīshāpūrī (Persian: مسلم نیشاپوری‎),

Decorative Lines

Al-Imam Muslim 

Commonly known as Imam Muslim, was a Persian Islamic scholar, particularly known as a muhaddith (scholar of hadith). His hadith collection, known as Sahih Muslim, is one of the six major hadith collections in Sunni Islam and is regarded as one of the two most authentic (sahih) collections, alongside Sahih al-Bukhari.

  • Title: Imam Muslim
  • Born: after 815 Nishapur, Khorasan (in present-day Iran)
  • Died: May 875
  • Resting place: Nasarabad (a suburb of Nishapur)
  • Era: Islamic Golden Age Abbasid Caliphate
  • Occupation: Islamic scholar, Hadith compiler
  • Denomination: Sunni Islam
  • Jurisprudence: Shafi’i and ijtihad
  • Main interest(s): Hadith
  • Notable work(s): Sahih Muslim

Biography

Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj was born in the town of Nishapur (Arabic: Naysabur), in the Abbasid province of Khorasan, in present-day northeastern Iran. Historians differ as to his date of birth, though it is usually given as 202 AH (817/818), 204 AH (819/820), or 206 AH (821/822).

Adh-Dhahabi said,

“It is said that he was born in the year 204 AH,” though he also said, “But I think he was born before that.”

Ibn Khallikan says that he did not find Muslim’s date of birth or age at death reported by any of the hafizes (referring to the hadith masters), though they all agree that he was born after 200 AH (815/816). He writes that Ibn as-Salah, citing Ibn al-Bayyi`’s Kitab `Ulama al-Amsar, states the date to be 206 AH (821/822).

Ibn Khallikan writes that he acquired the work and found that Ibn as-Salah based the year of birth on Muslim’s age (55 hijri years) and date of death (25 Rajab 261) reported by Ibn al-Bayyi`. He thus agrees that Muslim must have been born in 206 AH (821/822).

The nisbah of “al-Qushayri” signifies Muslim’s belonging to the Arab tribe of Banu Qushayr, members of which migrated to the newly conquered Persian territory during the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate. However, he was not of Arab descent; he was a mawla – attributed to the Qushayr tribe by way of wala’ (alliance), according to As-Sam`ani. An ancestor of Muslim may have been a freed slave of a Qushayri, or may have accepted Islam at the hands of a Qushayri.

Estimates on how many hadiths are in his books vary from 3,033 to 12,000, depending on whether duplicates are included, or whether the text only or the isnad is also counted. His Sahih is said to share about 2000 hadiths with Bukhari’s Sahih.

He died on 25 Rajab 261 AH (May 875) at the age of 55 hijri years, according to Ibn al-Bayyi`, and was buried in Nasarabad, a suburb of Nishapur.

Among the author’s teachers were included Harmala ibn Yahya, Sa’id ibn Mansur, Abd-Allah ibn Maslamah al-Qa’nabi, al-Dhuhali, al-Bukhari, Ibn Ma’in, Yahya ibn Yahya al-Nishaburi al-Tamimi, and others. Among his students were al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi, and Ibn Khuzaymah, each of which wrote works on hadith as well. After many studies throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iraq and Syria, he settled down in his hometown of Nishapur where he first met Bukhari, with whom he would have a friendship until his death.

Estimates on how many hadiths are in his books vary from 3,033 to 12,000, depending on whether duplicates are included, or whether the text only or the isnad is also counted. His Sahih is said to share about 2000 hadiths with Bukhari’s Sahih.

Legacy

The Sunni scholar Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh was first to recommend Muslim’s work.

Ishaq’s contemporaries did not at first accept this. Abu Zur`a al-Razi objected that Muslim had omitted too much material which Muslim himself recognised as authentic; and that he included transmitters who were weak.

Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327/938) later accepted Muslim as “trustworthy, one of the hadith masters with knowledge of hadith”; but this contrasts with much more fulsome praise of Abu Zur`a and also his father Abu Hatim. It is similar with Ibn al-Nadim.

Muslim’s book gradually increased in stature such that it is considered among Sunni Muslims the most authentic collections of hadith, second only to Sahih Bukhari.

Works

Sahih Muslim: his collection of authentic hadith

Notes

Jump up ^ The name of his father has sometimes been given as حجاج (Ḥajjāj) instead of الحجاج (al-Ḥajjāj). The name of his great-great-grandfather has variously been given as كوشاذ (Kūshādh[3] or Kawshādh), كرشان‎ (Kirshān, Kurshān , or Karshān), or كوشان (Kūshān or Kawshān).

Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjaj| مسلم بن الحجاج

The full name of Imam Muslim Is Abul-Hussain ‘Asakiruddin Muslim bin Hajjaj Al Qushairi An-Naisaburi. He belonged to the Qushair tribe of the Arab clan Rabi’ah. He was bom in 202 or 206 H (819 or 821CE) in Nishapur, a town of Iran. His parents were religious people and so he was brought up in a pious environment. Because of this he spent all of his life as a pious and righteous person. A distinguishing attribute of his excellent character is that he never indulged in backbiting, which is a common human shortcoming.

Imam Muslim travelled far and wide to collect the Ahadith (traditions) in the countries of Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Syria, and benefited from the prominent scholars of that time by attending the lectures and classes of those learned persons. His teachers included Ishäq bin Rawaih, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ubaidullah Al-Qawariri, Outaibah bin Sa’id, Abdullah bin Maslamah, Harmalah bin Yahya and others.

‘Afterwards he settled down at Nishapur, where he came into contact with Imam Bukhari. Seeing the vast knowledge and deep insight of him in the of the Prophet n, Imam Muslim remained attached with him until the end of his life. He also attended the lectures of another scholar of Muhammad bin Yahya Adh Dhuhli, but when the difference of opinion arose between Imam Bukhari and Muhammad bin Yahya on the issue of the creation of the Noble Qur’an, Imam Muslim favored Imam Bukhari and left the company of Muhammad bin Yahya.

Imam Muslim compiled many books and treatises the most important his works is the compilation of the Hadith collection Al-Jami’ As-Sahih, which is famous by the name of Sahih Muslim. Some scholars of Hadith opine that in some respects it is the best and most authentic collection of Ahadith. Imam Muslim laboriously collected 3,00,000 Ahadith, but after a critical study, he selected only 4,000 Ahadith for this collection. Other contributions of Imam Muslim on the subject of Hadith are: Al-Kitab Al-Musnad Al-Kabir ‘Alar-Rijal, Al-Jami ‘Al-‘Kabir, Kitab-ul-Asma’ wal-Kuna, Kitab-ul-Ilal, Kitab-ul-Wahdan, etc.

Many students learned the Science of Hadith from Imam Muslim. Those who became famous and occupied a prominent position are:

  • Abu Hatim Räzi,
  • Musa bifl Härun,
  • Ahmad bin Salamah,
  • Abu ‘Isa Tirmidhi,
  • Abu Bakr bin Khuzaimah,
  • Abu ‘Awanah and
  • Häfiz Dhahbi.

Imam Muslim died at the age of fifty-seven years in 261H (875 CE) and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur Ta’dil), their deaths, their births and their life events. He was a leader, steadfast and extremely pious. He was firm in whatever he said, and certain concerning whatever he reported.

Adh-Dhahabi said:

“There was no one in his time who had memorized more (Ahadith) than him.’’

From the Events of His Life

He used to give Fatrn (religious verdicts) in the lands of Egypt. Then he ceased giving such verdicts. His refusal to give religious verdicts was due to a strange reason which informs us of his fairness, the gentleness of his soul and his recognition of virtue in one who possesses it. This was alluded to by At-Taj As-Subki, who said: “I heard my father (At-Taqi As-Subki) saying that Ash-Shaikh ‘Izzuddin bin Abdus-Salam used to teach Ahadith for a short period in Damascus.

Then, when he entered Cairo, he gave up teaching and began attending the gathering of Ash-Shaikh Zakiuddin Al-Mundhiri. He would sit in Al-Mundhiris lessons and listen to him amongst the ordinary group of listeners and he would not teach anything, Ash-Shaikh Zakiuddin Al-Mundhiri also gave up giving religious verdicts during this time. He said: “Wherever Ash-Shaikh ‘Izzuddin enters (i.e., a town, city or land), then the people there have no need of me!”

His Death

He died on the 4th of Dhul-Qa‘dah in the year 656 Hijri.