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Description of Sunan Ibn Majah
About Sunan Ibn Majah
Sunan Ibn Mājah is a collection of hadīth compiled by Imām Muḥammad bin Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Qazvīnī (raḥimahullāh). It is widely considered to be the sixth of the six canonical collection of Ḥadīth (Kutub as-Sittah) of the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws). It consists of 4341 aḥādīth in 37 books.
Abū `Abdullāh Muḥammad bin Yazīd bin `Abdullāh ar-Rab`ī al- Qazvīnī, famously known as Ibn Mājah, was born in 209 AH to a non-Arab tribe by the name of Rab`i in Qazvin (Iran). Various explanations have been given for his nickname, Ibn Mājah, the more prominent being that Mājah was his mother. Some scholars believe that Mājah was the nickname of his father.
Travels to learn Hadith:
Ibn Mājah spent his early years studying Ḥadīth in his hometown of Qazvin, which had by then become a major center of hadith sciences. In 230 AH, at the age of 21 or 22, he travelled to various countries to seek more knowledge. He travelled to Khurasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Sham to attend the gatherings of hadīth scholars. He also studied under scholars in Makkah and Madinah, and later travelled to Baghdad, which, according to Imām adh-Dhahabī was the home of chains of narration and memorization the (Dār al isnād al `āli wal ḥifẓ), the seat of the caliphate and knowledge. He never gave up on his quest for knowledge and continued his travels to Damascus, Homs, Egypt, Isfahan, Ashkelon, and Nishapur and became a pupil of the major scholars of ḥadīth of those times.
Imām Ibn Mājah studied under some of the eminent teachers in Makkah, Madinah, and Qazvin. In Madinah, he studied under Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Muṣ`ab az-Zubairi, Aḥmad bin Abi Bakr al-`Awfi, and Ḥāfiẓ Ibrāhim bin al-Mundhir. His teachers in Makkah were Ḥāfiẓ Jalwāni, Abū Muḥammad Ḥasan bin `Ali al-Khilāl, Ḥāfiẓ Zubair bin Bakkār, the judge of Makkah, and Ḥāfiẓ Salamah bin Shabib. Prominent among his teachers in Qazvin are `Amr bin Rāfi` al-Bajali, Ismā`īl bin Tawbah, and Muḥammad bin Abū Khālid al-Qazvīnī. He also studied under other renowned teachers like Jubārah bin Mughallis, Abū Bakr bin Abi Shaibah, Nasr bin `Ali Nishapuri, Abū Bakr bin Khallād al-Bāhilī, Muḥammad bin Bashshār, Abūl-Ḥasan `Ali bin Muḥammad Tanāfisī, and `Ali bin Mundhir.
Ibn Mājah had a great number of pupils scattered far and wide, in Qazvin, Isfahan, Hamadan, Baghdad, and other places. Notable among them are `Ali bin `Abdullāh al-Falāni, Ibrāhīm bin Dīnār al-Jarshi, Aḥmad bin Ibrāhīm al-Qazvīnī, Ḥāfiẓ Abū Ya’la al-Khalīlī, and Abū `Amr Aḥmad bin Muḥammad bin Ḥakim al-Madanī al-Iṣfahānī.
His rank among scholars:
Imām Ibn Mājah was a great Ḥadīth scholar, interpreter of the Qur’ān, and historian, whose rank has been acknowledged by various scholars of different ages. Imām adh-Dhahabī says, “Imām Ibn Mājah remembered aḥādīth by heart. He was a critic in the field of Ḥadīth Sciences, truthful, upright and a man of wide learning.” In Tadhkiratul-Ḥuffāẓ he writes, “He was a great memorizer of aḥādīth and a Ḥadīth scholar and Qur’ān exeget of Qazvin.” Abū Ya`la al-Khalīlī said, “He was very trustworthy and an authority; and had a deep knowledge of the hadīth sciences.” `Allāmah Sindī said, “Among the Imāms of hadīth he had a high rank and was pious and a trustworthy scholar by consensus.”
Upon completing his education, Imām Ibn Mājah dedicated the later years of his life to writing and left behind three great works: as-Sunan, at-Tafsīr, and at-Tārīkh. As-Sunan is a prominent collection of ḥadīth ranked sixth among the six sound books of hadīth. At-Tafsīr is a commentary on the Qur’ān in which Imām Ibn Mājah collected aḥādīth and comments of the companions and Tabi`īn supported with chains of narrations. At-Tārīkh is a great book of history and a manifestation of his knowledge and scholarship. The last two books, praised by scholars such as Ibn Kathīr, no longer exist.
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