A Concise History of Sunni Literature Pertaining To Hadith Terminology
As in any Islamic discipline, there is a rich history of literature describing the principles and fine points of hadith studies. Ibn Hajar provides a summation of this development with the following: “Works authored in the terminology of the people of hadith have become plentiful from the Imams both old and contemporary:
- From the first of those who authored a work on this subject is the Judge, Abū Muḥammad al-Rāmahurmuzī in his book, al-Muhaddith al-Faasil, however, it was not comprehensive.
- And al-Hakim, Abū Abd Allah an-Naysaburi, authored a book, however, it was neither refined nor well arranged.
- And following him, Aboo Nu’aym al-Asbahaanee, who wrote a mustakhraj upon the book of the later, (compiling the same narrations al-Hakim cited using his own isnād.) However, some things remain in need of correction.
- And then came al-Khatib Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, authoring works in the various disciplines of the science of hadith a book entitled al-Kifaayah and in its etiquettes a book entitled al-Jami` Li `Adab ash-Sheikh wa as-Saami`. Scarce is the discipline from the disciplines of the science of hadith that he has not written an individual book regarding, as al-Hafith Abu Bakr ibn Nuqtah said: “Every objective person knows that the scholars of hadith coming after al-Khatib are indebted to his works.” After them came others, following al-Khateeb, taking their share from this science."
- al-Qadi ‘Eyaad compiled a concise book naming it al-`Ilmaa'.
- Abū Hafs al-Mayyaanajiyy authored a work giving it the title Ma Laa yasu al-Muhaddith Jahluhu or That Which a Hadith Scholar is Not Allowed Ignorance Of. There are numerous examples of this which have gained popularity and were expanded upon seeking to make plentiful the knowledge relating to these books and others abridged making easy their understanding.
- This was prior to the coming of the memorizer and jurist Taqiyy ad-Deen Aboo ‘Amrin ‘Uthmaan ibn al-Salah ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ash-Shahruzuuree, who settled in Damascus. He gathered, at the time he had become a teacher of hadith at the Ashrafiyyah school, his well known book, editing the various disciplines mentioned in it. He dictated it piecemeal and, as a result, did not succeed in providing it with an appropriate order. He occupied himself with the various works of al-Khatib, gathering his assorted studies, adding to them from other sources the essence of their benefits. So he combined in his book what had been spread throughout books other than it. It is due to this that people have focused their attention upon it, following its example. Innumerable are those who rendered his book into poetry, abridged it, sought to complete what had been left out of it or left out any extraneous information; as well as those who opposed him in some aspect of his work or supported him."
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