Ahmad ibn Shu’aib Al-Nasa’i
أحمد بن شعيب النسائي

Al-Nasa’i (214 – 303 AH; c. 829 – 915 CE), full name Ahmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn Alī ibn Sīnān Abū `Abd ar-Rahmān al-Nasā’ī, was a noted collector of hadith (sayings of Muhammad), and wrote one of the six canonical hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims, Sunan al-Sughra, or “Al-Mujtaba”, which he selected from his “As-Sunan al-Kubra”. As well as 15 other books, 6 dealing with the science of hadith.

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Al-Nasa’I – النسائي

  • Born: 214 AH (c. 829 CE) Nasā, present-day Turkmenistan
  • Died: 303 AH (915 CE) Ramla or Mecca
  • Nationality: Persian
  • Occupation: scholar
  • Notable work(s): Al-Sunan al-Sughra Theological work
  • Tradition or movement: Sunni

Biography

Abu Abdurrahman Ahmed ibn Shuaib ibn Ali ibn Sinan ibn Bahr ibn Dinar Al-Khurusani was born in the year 215 A.H as the Imam clearly states himself (although some say 255 A.H or 214 A.H) in the city of Nasa, situated in Western Asia known at that time as Khurusan which was a centre for Islamic Knowledge where millions of Ulama’a were situated and Hadeeth and Fiqh was at its peak.

Thus he primarily attended the gatherings and circles of knowledge (known as halqas’) in his town and attained knowledge, especially Hadeeth from the Ulama’a. Thereafter his inspiration increased of traveling around the world to seek knowledge from other various scholars of different countries and cities.

When he was 20 years old, he started traveling and made his first journey to Qutaibah. He covered the whole Arabian Peninsula seeking knowledge from the Ulama and Muhadditheen of Iraq, Kufa, Hijaz, Syria and Egypt . Finally he decided to stay in Egypt .

Teachers and students

Hafiz Ibn Hajr Rahimahullahi Aliah says that it is impossible to name and gather all his teachers but some are:

  1. Ishaq ibn Rahweh
  2. Imam Abu Daud Al-Sijistani (author of Sunan Abu Dawood) and
  3. Qutaibah ibn Saeed. Although some scholars like Hafiz ibn Hajr Rahimahullah also named Imam Bukhari as his teacher but this is incorrect because Imam Bukhari never met him. However he studied under the Huffaz-e-Hadeeth from different countries and cities.

After the Imam had decided to stay in Egypt he started to lecture, mostly narrating Ahadeeth to the extent that he became known by the title Hafizul Hadeeth.

Many people would attend his gatherings and many scholars became his students, including:

  • Imam Abul Qasim Tabrani
  • Imam Abubakr Ahmed ibn Muhammad also known as Allamah ibn Sunni
  • Sheikh Ali, the son of the Muhaddith, Imam Tahawi.

It is also narrated that Imam Tahawi personally narrated from this Imam.

Memory, piety and other qualities

He was a man full of taqwa, piety and he possessed a photographic memory too. The Sheikh Allamah Zahabi was once asked who has a better memory, Imam Muslim (author of Sahih Muslim) or this Imam he replied this Imam. Allamah Zahabi would also say that this Imam possessed more knowledge in Hadeeth than Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Abu Dawood (who was his teacher).

The Scholar and Commentator of the Qur’an would say narrating from his teachers that this Imam was the most knowledgeable in Egypt.

The Imam would put on good clothing according to the Sunnah of Muhammad and would eat poultry everyday with nabeeth acting on the Sunnah so that he could worship Allah with ease. In fact it is narrated that the man would fast every other day which is classified in the Hadeeth as Saum-u-Daoodi (the fast of Daood).he would worship Allah continuously throughout the nights and teach Hadeeth throughout the day without forgetting that to fulfill the rights of his four wives and treat his slaves like children.

The Imam would also perform Hajj nearly every year and would also take part in Jihad. He was a straight forward truthful man and nothing or none could stop him from saying the truth. At the same time he was an extremely beautiful man and the beauty of his face stayed up to his death.

Muqallid or Mujtahid

Imam al-Nasai was a follower of the Shafi Fiqh according to Allamah as-Subki, Shah Waliullah, Shah Abdulaziz and many other scholars. The leader of the Ulama’a Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri is to the opinion that he was a Hanbali and this has also been stated by ibn Taymiyyah but the truth is that he was a Mujtahid more inclined towards the Hanbali Fiqh but many a time would differ from the Hanbali scholars.

Children

As mentioned before that the Imam had four wives but the historians only mention one son whose name is Abdul Kareem, one of the narrators of the Sunan of his father.

Books

The Imam also left behind many beautiful and beneficial works. Many of which unfortunately are not published but we can without any doubt conclude from what we have understood that his knowledge and excellence is no less than that of Imam Bukhari and Allamah ibn Hazm.

These are a few of his works:

  • Sunan Al-Kubra.
  • Sunan Al-Sugra/Al-Mujtana/Al-Mujtaba.
  • Amul Yawmi Wallaylah.
  • Kitaby Dufai wal Matrookeen
  • Khasais Ali.
  • Al-Jurhu wa Ta’adeel.
  • Sunan Al-Nisai.

His book known as Sunan Al-Nisai which is taught around the globe in every Islamic institute and which possesses a virtue of being one of the Sihah Sitah (the six books generally taught in hadith).

In reality when the Imam had finished compiling Sunan Al-Kubra he presented to the governor of Ramalah so the governor asked him “is it all sahih (are all the narrators 100% authentic)?” he replied in the negative, thus the governor suggested and requested that he compiles another book and gathers in there Sahih Hadeeth. So then he did this and named his book Sunan Al-Sugra (the small Sunan) and Al-Mujtaba and Al-Mujtana (both mean carefully chosen) and this is the Sunan which we know as Sunan Al-Nasai.

In this book he follows the footsteps of Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari. Overall most of the Ahadeeth are Sahih and where he narrates a weak narration he clearly clarifies the weakness. Thus it is 3rd in number in the Sihah Sittah after Bukhari and Muslim according to some Ulama’a because of its Sahih narrations. He clearly clarifies the hard words and brings different narrations for one particular Hadeeth as Imam Muslim does. Many Ulama’a have written commentaries on this work including Allamah Sindhi, Allamah Suyuti and Hadhrat Sheikhul Hadeeth Moulana Muhammad Zakaria .

Death

Al-Nasa’i compiled a large number of Ahadeeth in favor of Ali Ibn Abi Talib and shaped them into a book known as “Khasais Ali” or “Khasais Kubra”. When Kharijites came to know about this, they asked Al-Nasa’i to also compile the Ahadeeth in favor of Muawiyah I. Al-Nasa’i rejected their will by saying that there is no Ahadeeth or saying of Prophet Muhammad in favor of Muawiyah I. The Kharijites then beat Al-Nasa’i till he died. A well-known Sunni scholar of Pakistan, Allamah Ghulam Rasool Saeedi also recorded this event in his famous book of Tazkiratul Mohadiseen.

References

  • Jump up ^ http://www.uga.edu/islam/hadith.html
  • ØJump up ^ Al-Bastawī, ʻAbd al-ʻAlīm ʻAbd al-ʻAẓīm (1990). Al-Imām al-Jūzajānī wa-manhajuhu fi al-jarḥ wa-al-taʻdīl. Maktabat Dār al-Ṭaḥāwī. p. 9.