His name is Abu Husain Muslim bin al-Hajjaj bin Muslim bin Warat al-Qushairy an-Naysaburi. He belongs to the Arab tribe of Qushair.
He was brought up by his parents, and was nurtured into a man full of taqwa (God-consciousness) and always adhered to the path of righteousness.
HIS TEACHERS & WRITINGS
Imam Muslim travelled widely to collect hadith in Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. He had about 220 teachers; some were prominent Muhadditheen of that time:
- Imam al-Bukhari; Imam Muslim dedicated his time with Imam Bukhari until his teacher’s passing
- Yahya Ibn Ma’in
- Imam Aḥmad bin Hanbal
- Qutaiba bin Sa’id
- ‘Abdullah bin Maslamah Al-Qa’nabi
- Harmalah bin Yahya, a student of Imam Syafie’
Besides his Al-Jami’ As-Sahih, Imam Muslim has numerous other valuable contributions to the different branches of Hadith literature, such as;
- Kitab al-Musnad al-Kabir ‘Ala ar-Rijal
- Kitab al-Kuna wal-Asma’
- Kitab At-Tamyiz – a book on the methodologies of the Muhadditheen in critiquing hadiths
HIS SAHIH & PRINCIPLES
He wrote many books on Hadith, but the most important is his al-Jami’ as-Sahih, a collection of sahih hadiths. After meticulously collecting 300,000 hadiths, and thoroughly examining them over the course of 15 years, roughly 4000 hadiths were retained and categorised into 54 chapters. The principles that he followed through during the process is mentioned in his book as well.
His collection is considered to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of Rasulullah (pbuh). Along with Sahih Bukhari, they form the ‘Sahihain’, or the ‘Two Sahihs’. Hadiths accepted by both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim has been termed as ‘agreed upon’, and these hadiths are considered to be the most reliable and authentic.
Imam Muslim categorised narrators into 3 levels:
- Those who are completely authentic in their memory and character, with no deficiency whatsoever, and known to be honest and trustworthy.
- Those of slightly lesser memory and perfection than the previous category, yet still trustworthy and knowledgeable, not liars by any measure.
Examples of people in this category include `Ata bin Said and Layth bin Abi Sulaim.
Their narrations are only included if there is more than one narration of the hadith.
- Those whose honesty was a subject of dispute or even discussion. Imam Muslim did not concern himself with such narrators.
Examples in this category include Abdullah bin Maswar and Muhammad bin Said al-Maslub.
Imam Muslim strictly observed many principles of Ulum Hadith (the sciences of Hadith).
- Only hadiths that complete all 5 requirements of an authentic hadith is included, i.e.:
have righteous narrators with precision in narrating, possess connected chain of narrators, and are hadiths with no known defects nor conflicts compared to other hadiths.
- The narrators must be well-known for learning and preserving hadiths.
- Only hadiths from narrators of the top two levels are compiled, either as the main or supporting evidence.
- The is a possibility for consecutive narrators to have met each other, i.e. lived in the same era.
Imam Muslim points out even the smallest difference in the wordings. He takes particular care in matching the exact words of the narrators.
- Differentiating between Haddathana (“he narrated to us”) and Akhbarana (“he informed us”):
- Haddathana is used when the teacher is narrating the hadith and the student is listening to it
- Akhbarana implies that the student is reading the hadith before the teacher.
- This reflects his utmost care in the transmission of a hadith.
Imam Muslim had plenty of students who learnt Hadith from him. Some notable ones are: Ibn Abi Hatim Ar-Razi, Ahmad bin Salamah, Imam At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaimah, and Abu ‘Awanah
Imam Muslim lived his life learning and compiling Hadiths, teaching and transmitting them. He passed away in 261 Hijri, at the age of 55, and was buried in Nishapur.