IMAM MUSLIM (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)
Imam Muslim (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) is one of the most distinguished scholars of Hadith in Islamic history. His book Sahih Muslim is accepted as one of the most authentic book of Ahadith and a great source of Sahih Ahadith in Islamic literature. A brief description of his life and works is provided below for our readers.
Imam Abu al-Ḥusayn Asakir ad-Dīn Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjāj ibn Muslim ibn Ward ibn Kawshadh al-Qushayrī an-Nisaburī ( أبو الحسين عساكر الدين مسلم بن الحجاج بن مسلم بن وَرْد بن كوشاذ القشيري النيسابوري), 821–875/206-261 AH (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was born in Nishabur town, in Khorasan, the then Abbasid province. Nishapur is currently located in Northeastern Iran. His date of birth is not known and there are differences of opinions among scholars in the year of his birth. Some consider the year of his birth is 202, others consider it to be 204 or 206 AH. His year of birth as 206 is based on the opinion of a majority of scholars that the Imam died at the age of 55, in the year 261 AH.
Imam Muslim belonged to Banu Qushayr tribe of Arab clan Rabi'ah. After the great Islamic conquests, various families of Banu Qushayr migrated from Arabian peninsula and settled in the new provinces. Some migrated to the West, and others to the East. Among these migrants, there was one Zurarah, who had served as provincial governor. His son Amr, and grandson Humayd Ibn Amr migrated to the East and settled down at Nisabur. Kawshadh al-Qushayri al-Nisaburi, the great grand father of Imam Muslim, was a descendant of Muhayd Ibn Amr. It is reported that Imam's father Al-Hallaj was also a Hadith scholar.
Imam Muslim received early education in Nishabur. He had an exceptional memory and inherited interest in Ahadith from his father Al-Hallaj who was also a Hadith scholar. Nishapur was home of many prominent Hadith scholars like Imam Rahawey, Imam Zuhri, Imam Bukhari and others. Imam Muslim had the opportunity to learn in the company of these great scholars.
Imam Muslim was a great admirer of Imam Bukhari, and learned a great deal in his company during Imam Bukhari's stay in Nishapur. His other teachers include, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Qutaiba bin Said, Abdullah bin Maslama, Imam Rahawey, Imam Zuhri, Ubaidullah Al-Qawariri, Harmalah bin Yahya, Shuwayh Ibn Yoonus, etc.
Imam Muslim was a distinguished student in his youth. It is reported that Imam Ishaq bin Rahawey, his teacher, once said about him, 'I wonder what this boy is going to be in future'. Abu Saimah who was a colleague of lmam Muslim during the period he compiled 'Sahih Muslim', praised him for his noble character and dedication to work.
Imam Muslim traveled far and wide to collect Ahadith. The pursuit took him to many places, like Hijaz, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.
Many students learned Science of Hadith from Imam Muslim. They include Abu Hatim Razi, Musa bin Harun, Ahmad bin Salamah, Abu Isa Tirmidhi, Abu Bakr bin Khuzaimah, Abu Awanah, etc. It is reported that Imam Muslim was inclined to Shafii school of thought.
Imam Muslim has written many valuable books on Ahadith. These include, Kitab al-Musnad al-Kabir Ala ar-Rijal, Jami Kabir, Kitab al-Asma wal-Kuna, Kitab al-Ilal, Kitab al-Wijdan, etc. Most important among these is his book 'Sahih Muslim' (الجامع الصحيح لمسلم) which is considered to be the second most reliable book of Ahadith. It is reported that Imam collected over 300,000 Ahadith and after a thorough examination retained only 4000 for his book. He wrote an illuminating introduction in his book, in which he detailed the principles he followed in selecting Ahadith for his book 'Sahih Muslim'.
Imam Muslim compiled only those Ahadith that have been transmitted by an unbroken chain of narrators whose trustworthiness is unanimously accepted.
He took particular care in describing the exact words of the narrators and clarified even the minutest difference in the wording of their reports. Imam Bukhari, while describing the chain of narrators, sometimes mentions their kunya and sometimes gives their names. This is particularly true in case of the narrators of Syria. This creates a sort of confusion, which Imam Muslim has avoided. He also kept in view the difference between two well known modes of narration, 'Haddathana' (he narrated to us) and Akhbarana (he informed us). The first mode is used when the teacher is narrating a Hadith and the student is listening to it, while the second mode of expression implies that the student is reading the Hadith before the teacher. This reflects his utmost care in the transmission of a Hadith.
The book Sahih Muslim was explained by Imam an-Nawawi, and Imam Abu Amr Ibn Salah. In addition, many guides have been written to explain Sahih Muslim.
Imam Muslim died on 25 Rajab, 261 AH (May 4, 875 AD) at the age of 55 years and was buried in Nasarabad, a suburb of Nishaaur. In this short span of time, his service to Islam and Muslim is unparalleled. He remained absorbed in his pursuit and nothing could distract his attention from his pious work.
(i) Books of Ahadith