By Editorial Staff
Ibrahim brought his wife Hajar and her son Isma`il, while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque.
As you hold the remote control of your TV with your hand going through the news channels, once you stop at a broadcaster or a guest who talks about the mid-eastern religion that has caused great annoyance to the whole world by its barbarity, bloodiness, backwardness, underdevelopment, fundamentalism, etc., you will be shocked. Yes, you will be shocked when you hear about the boundless transgression of Islam against the social rights of people, especially woman who has been subject to blatant injustice specifically in her rights to freedom, education, equality, political representation, judiciary, presidency, etc.
How unfair Islam is! How come that people allow these savage commandments and beliefs to circulate! Even, in spite of this, why does Islam spread and its followers increase all over the world to the extent that it is said that Islam is the largest spreading religion in comparison with other religions?
Now take your time to read the following story about a wife of a Prophet, Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) to know how Islam dealt with women.
Story of Hajar
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: “Ibrahim (peace be upon him) brought his wife and her son Isma`il (peace be upon him), while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. In those days, there was no human being in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward.
Isma`il’s mother followed him saying: “O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him: “Has Allah commanded you to do so?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not neglect us.”
She returned while Ibrahim proceeded onwards. Having reached the Thaniya, where they could not see him, he faced Ka`bah, raised his both hands and supplicated:
O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) in order, O our Rubb, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. (Ibrahim 14:37)
Isma`il’s mother went on suckling him and drinking from the water which she had. When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at Isma`il, tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from As-Safa, and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble till she crossed the valley and reached Al-Marwah mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between As-Safa and Al-Marwah) seven times.”
Ibn ‘Abbas further related: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “This is the source of the tradition of the Sa`i – i.e., the going of people between the two mountains.”
When she reached Al-Marwah (for the last time), she heard a voice and she exclaimed: ‘Shshs!’ (Silencing herself) and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said: ‘O (whoever you may be) You have made me hear your voice; have you any succor for me?’ And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or with his wing), till water flowed out from that place. She started to make something like of a basin around it, using her hands in this way and began to fill her water- skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out until she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) further said, “May Allah bestow mercy on Isma`il’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam flow without trying to control it (or had she not scooped in that water) while filling her water-skin, Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her: ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the site on which the House of Allah will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah will never let neglected His people.’ The House of Allah (the Ka`bah) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left.
She continued living in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum passed by her and her child. As they were coming from through the way of Kada’, in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had a habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said: ‘This bird must be flying over water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came towards the water.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) added, “Isma`il’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?’ She replied: ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) further said, “Isma`il’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them. The child (i.e., Isma`il) grew up and learnt Arabic from them (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty, they gave him one of their daughters in marriage…” (Al-Bukhari)
This was a part of the story of lady Hajar.
Dear reader, did you stop at the saying of the Prophet which I made bold in the story:
“This is the source of the tradition of the Sa`i – i.e., the going of people between the two mountains.”
Sa`i, in brief, is one of the rituals of Hajj (pilgrimage) which is one of the five fundamentals of Islam. The ritual of Sa`i involves nothing but going in meditation and remembrance of Allah between the mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwah while hurrying up in the valley between them and supplicating Allah when reaching the tops of both mountains. Did you know, dear reader, that Hajar, the woman, did the same early before Muhammad came? Did you know that all Muslims, men and women, who visit the Ka`bah for Hajj and `Umrah (minor pilgrimage) have to do the same while they perform the ritual of Hajj or `Umrah or otherwise their whole worship will be in vain? Did you find, dear reader, any matching example of dignity, esteem, respect and glorification of the woman like this? Did you ever ponder on the Islamic message to know the status of woman in Islam? Do you know that a whole chapter of Qur’an is titled “An-Nisa’” i.e. Women?
This is clear evidence about the status of women, the status of the mother in Islam, which reflects clear impacts of women on the construction of Islamic message and its code of worship. Islam has been depicted as unfair to women because its enemies went to its texts and took it out of their contexts and pictured Islam as unjust, savage and uncultured religion. However, the truth is as evident as you read now.
By Abdul Wahid Hamid
Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb from the Banu Najjar was a great and close companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was known as Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (the father of Ayyub) and enjoyed a privilege which many of the Ansar in Madinah hoped they would have.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s house had two storeys. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet could stay there.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached Madinah after his migration from Makkah, he was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Ansar of Madinah. Their hearts went out to him and their eyes followed him with devotion and love. They wanted to give him the most generous reception anyone could be given.
The Prophet first stopped at Quba’ on the outskirts of Madinah and stayed there for some days. The first thing he did was to build a mosque which is described in the Qur’an as the “mosque built on the foundation of piety (taqwa)”. (At-Tawbah 9:108)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Madinah on his camel. The chieftains of the city stood along his path, each one wishing to have the honor of the Prophet alighting and staying at his house. One after the other stood in the camel’s way entreating, “Stay with us, O Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah).” “Leave the camel,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) would say. “It is under command.” The camel continued walking, closely followed by the eyes and hearts of the people of Yathrib (the ex-name of Madinah). When it went past a house, its owner would feel sad and dejected and hope would rise in the hearts of others still on the route.
The camel continued in this fashion with the people following it until it hesitated at an open space in front of the house of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not get down. After only a short while, the camel set off again, the Prophet left its reins loose. Before long, however, it turned round, retraced its steps and stopped on the same spot as before. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s heart was filled with happiness. He went out to the Prophet and greeted him with great enthusiasm. He took the Prophet’s baggage in his arms and felt as if he was carrying the most precious treasure in the world.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s house had two storeys. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet could stay there. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) preferred to stay on the lower floor. Night came and the Prophet retired. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari went up to the upper floor. But when they had closed the door, Abu Ayyub turned to his wife and said: “Woe to us! What have we done? The Messenger of God is below and we are higher than he! Can we walk on top of the Messenger of God? Do we come between him and the Revelation (wahy)? If so, we are doomed.” The couple became very worried not knowing what to do. They only got some peace of mind when they moved to the side of the building which did not fall directly above the Prophet. They were careful also only to walk on the outer parts of the floor and avoid the middle.
In the morning, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari said to the Prophet: “By God, we did not sleep a wink last night, neither myself nor Umm Ayyub.” “Why not, Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari explained how terrible they felt being above while the Prophet was below them and how they might have interrupted the Revelation. “Don’t worry, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari,” said the Prophet. “We prefer the lower floor because of the many people coming to visit us.” “We submitted to the Prophet’s wishes,” Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari related, “until one cold night ajar of ours broke and the water spilled on the upper floor. Umm Ayyub and I stared at the water. We only had one piece of velvet which we used as a blanket. We used it to mop up the water out of fear that it would seep through to the Prophet. In the morning I went to him and said, ‘I do not like to be above you,’ and told him what had happened. He accepted my wish and we changed floors.”
The Prophet stayed in Abu Ayyub’s house for almost seven months until his mosque was completed on the open space where his camel had stopped. He moved to the rooms which were built around the mosque for himself and his family. He thus became a neighbor of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. What a noble neighbor to have had!
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari continued to love the Prophet with all his heart and the Prophet also loved him dearly. There was no formality between them. The Prophet continued to regard Abu Ayyub’s house as his own. The following anecdote tells a great deal about the relationship between them.
Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) once left his house in the burning heat of the midday sun and went to the mosque. `Umar saw him and asked, “Abu Bakr, what has brought you out at this hour? Abu Bakr said that he had left his house because he was terribly hungry and Umar said that he had left his house for the same reason. The Prophet came up to them and asked, “What has brought the two of you out at this hour?” They told him and he said, “By Him in Whose hands is my soul, only hunger has caused me to come out also. But come with me.”
They went to the house of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. His wife opened the door and said, “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him.” “Where is Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet. Abu Ayyub, who was working in a nearby palm grove, heard the Prophet’s voice and came hurriedly. “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him,” he said and went on, “O Prophet of God, this is not the time that you usually come.” (Abu Ayyub used to keep some food for the Prophet every day. When the Prophet did not come for it by a certain time, Abu Ayyub would give it to his family.) “You are right,” the Prophet agreed. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari went out and cut a cluster of dates in which there were ripe and half-ripe dates. “I did not want you to cut this,” said the Prophet. “Could you not have brought only the ripe dates?” “O Rasulullah, please eat from both the ripe dates (rutb) and the half ripe (busr). I shall slaughter an animal for you also.” “If you are going to, then do not kill one that gives milk,” cautioned the Prophet.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari slaughtered a young goat, cooked half and grilled the other half. He also asked his wife to bake, because she baked better, he said. When the food was ready, it was placed before the Prophet and his two companions. The Prophet took a piece of meat and placed it in a loaf and said, “Abu Ayyub, take this to Fatimah. She has not tasted the like of this for days.”
When they had eaten and were satisfied, the Prophet said reflectively: “Bread and meat and busr and rutb!” Tears began to flow from his eyes as he continued: “This is a bountiful blessing about which you will be asked on the Day of Judgment. If such comes your way, put your hands to it and say, ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of God) and when you have finished say, “Al-hamdu lillah alladhee huwa ashba`na wa an`ama `alayna” (Praise be to God Who has given us enough and Who has bestowed his bounty on us). This is best.”
These are glimpses of Abu Ayyub’s life during peace time. He also had a distinguished military career. Much of his time was spent as a warrior until it was said of him, “He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of the Prophet to the time of Mu`awiyah unless he;: was engaged at the same time in another.”
The last campaign he took part in was the one prepared by Mu`awiyah and led by his son Yazid against Constantinople. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari at that time was a very old man, almost eighty years old. But that did not prevent him from joining the army and crossing the seas as a graze in the path of God. After only a short time engaged in the battle, Abu Ayyub fell ill and had to withdraw from fighting. Yazid came to him and asked: “Do you need anything, Abu Ayyub?” “Convey my salaams to the Muslim armies and say to them: ‘Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deeply into the territory of the enemy as far as you can go, that you should carry him with you and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople.’” Then he breathed his last.
The Muslim army fulfilled the desire of the companion of the Messenger of God. They pushed back the enemy’s forces in attack after attack until they reached the walls of Constantinople. There they buried him. (The Muslims beseiged the city for four years but eventually had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses.)
Taken with modifications from the author’s “Companions of the Prophet”, Vol. 1.
Ibn Majah was an eminent scholar and memorizer of hadith. He reminds us with his ancestor Salman Al-Farisi.
Almighty Allah has chosen some people to be the knowledge-torch bearers leading the Muslim community to the straight path and guiding its way in light of the instructions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They are the religious scholars who devoted their life for teaching people the religion of God. They are the inheritors of Prophets and the most beloved ones to God the Almighty.
One of the leading figures of knowledge is the outstanding scholar of hadith Ibn Majah Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Majah Al-Rab`i Al-Qazwini. In the following lines, we will try to shed some light on the life of this great personality.
Ibn Majah was an eminent scholar and memorizer of hadith. He reminds us of his ancestor Salman Al-Farisi who was born in the Persian lands and he crossed through different places searching for the true religion. He abandoned the Magus beliefs and traveled to the Levant where he met Christian monks and adopted Christianity. Then, he was informed by one of the monks about the oncoming of the last Prophet (peace be upon him) who will appear in Arabia. Salman did not slacken and continued his way until he reached Madinah and waited there until the migration of Prophet Muhammad to follow Islam. Our scholar was a diligent seeker as well, but a seeker of the knowledge of hadith.
Ibn Majah’s birth and early life
Abu `Abdullah ibn Majah was born in 209 AH in Qazwin (Qazvin, Iran) for a practicing family of knowledge. His home city was conquered during the Caliphate of `Uthman ibn `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) in 24 AH and became a center of knowledge. It presented great religious scholars like Al-Hafizh `Ali ibn Muhammad At-Tanafisi, Al-Hafizh `Amr ibn Rafi` Al-Bajali and Isma`il ibn Tawbah.
Imam Ibn Majah was born during the Caliphate of Al-Ma’mun, whose rule witnessed a rising prosperity in all branches of knowledge. Ibn Majah rose up fond of knowledge, specially the religious sciences. He memorized the Qur’an and commenced seeking the religious sciences such as Fiqh, Hadith, Tafsir, etc. at an early age. He found in himself a special attachment to Hadith. He applied himself for narrating hadith and frequented the circles of hadith scholars in his home city, including the above mentioned scholars. His soul yearned for traveling for seeking knowledge, just as his ancestor Salman did, and as it was the custom of all seekers of hadith at that time. He made his first journey for seeking hadith at the age of 22.
Ibn Majah’s pursuit of knowledge
Ibn Majah travelled to plentiful places and learned at the hands of the scholars of hadith at his time. He journeyed to Khorasan, Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Damascus, Makkah, Madinah, Egypt, and other places. In each territory he visited, Imam Ibn Majah would remain with its scholars until he acquire their full knowledge. Among his famous Sheikhs were Ibrahim ibn Al-Mundhir Al-Hizami, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn Numayr, Harmalah ibn Yahya, Al-Hafizh Al-Hilwani Al-Khallal, Isma`il ibn Musa Al-Fazari, Jabarah ibn Al-Mughallas, `Abdullah ibn Mu`awiyah, Hisham ibn `Ammar, Muhammad ibn Rumh, Dawud ibn Rashid, Mus`ab ibn Az-Zubairi, Abu Bakr ibn Abu Shaybah, Abu Mus`ab Az-Zuhri, and many others.
After arduous journeys that took more than fifteen years, Ibn Majah returned back to his homeland where he was devoted for compilation and dissemination of knowledge. He stayed in his homeland teaching and narrating hadith to his students. He was frequented by masses of students who came from everywhere to learn at his hands and narrate hadith from him. Among his students were Muhammad As-Saffar, Is-Haq ibn Muhammad, Sulayman Al-Qazwini, Ibn Sibawayh, `Ali ibn Ibrahim Al-Qattan, `Ali ibn Sa`id Al-Ghaddani, Ibrahim ibn Dinar Al-Jarshi, `Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Salamah, Ja`far ibn Idris and many others.
Ibn Majah’s writings
Imam Ibn Majah wrote numerous books topped by his well-known book of hadith As-Sunan. This book received high praise from the scholars of hadith for his special approach and the fact that it included authentic hadiths not found in the other books of Sunan or the Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. He also compiled a great book in Tafsir, as mentioned, in Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah, but unfortunately it was lost. He also wrote a book of history that covered the era of the Prophet to his time. This book remained long after his demise, as stated by At-Tahir Al-Maqdisi and Ibn Khallikan but it was also lost.
Scholarly praise of Ibn Majah
- Abu Ya`la Al-Khalili said, “Scholars are in agreement that Ibn Majah is a great trustworthy scholar whose views are valid for argument. He has full awareness of Hadith and he was an excellent memorizer of hadiths. He compiled in different branches of knowledge including Sunan, Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) and history. He was well versed in these areas.
- Al-Hafizh Al-Mizzi said, “Ibn Majah is a memorizer of Hadith and compiler of As-Sunan. He had many beneficial writings and numerous scientific journeys.
- Al Hafizh Adh-Dhahabi said, “Muhammad ibn Yazid is a great memorizer of hadith and eminent exegete of the Qur’an. He wrote in hadith, history and tafsir. He was the peerless memorizer of hadith in Qazwin.
- He also said, “Ibn Majah was a great memorizer and honest critic of hadith, and his knowledge was so extensive.”
- Al-Hafizh ibn Hajar said, “Ibn Majah was one of the leading scholars, and a memorizer of hadith. He wrote in hadith, tafsir and history.
Ibn Majah’s death
After a lifetime full of learning, teaching and compiling books in hadith and other religious sciences, Imam Ibn Majah passed away in the 22th of Ramadan, 273 AH. May Allah confer His mercy upon Ibn Majah and reward him all the best for his scientific journey, circles of knowledge and useful compilations!
- `Abdul-Karim Ar-Rafi`i Al-Qazwini, At-Tadwin fi Akhbar Qazwin
- Al-Hafizh Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib Al-Kamal
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat Al-Huffazh
- Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wan Annihayah
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Siyar A`alam An-Nubalaa’
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Al-`Ibar fi Khabar man Ghabar
- Ibn Khalkan, Wafiyyat Al-A`yan
Al Bukhari: The Imam of Hadith and Sunnah
Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith
Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith
At-Tirmidhi: Imam of Hadith and Fiqh
Imam An-Nasa’i: The Great Authority of Hadith
By Dr `Ali Al-Salabi
The reaction of Lady Khadijah upon hearing the Prophet’s account of his first encounter with Jibril points to her profound wisdom, understanding, and strength of heart.
“His heart trembling, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) returned with some revealed verses in his heart. He entered upon Khadijah bint Khuwailid (may Allah be pleased with her) and said, “Cover me! Cover me!’ And so they covered him and, when the terror (of what had happened) left him, he informed Khadijah about what had happened, (after which he said), ‘I fear for myself (i.e., I fear that I have gone mad). Khadijah said, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never forsake you, for you maintain the ties of kinship, you bear the burdens of the weak, you give to people what no one else is able to give (in terms of benefits and good manners), you hospitably entertain your guests, and you help people who are afflicted with calamities.”
Khadijah’s attitude and reaction upon hearing the Prophet’s account of his first encounter with Jibril points to her profound wisdom, understanding, and strength of heart. She was not frightened or startled; rather, she was the opposite: relaxed and calm. In her mind, she compared what she was hearing with the reality of the Prophet’s character and manners. Then she arrived at the only possible correct conclusion: if one, by his very nature, is possessed of all good qualities, characteristics, and manners, then Allah (Glory be to Him) will never forsake him. She reminded him about how good he was to his relatives, which was an apt remark, for if a person is successful in keeping good relations with his relatives – who are the closest of people to him – then it is only natural that he will be successful in doing the same with other people. This was particularly appropriate since the Prophet was being prepared to convey the divine message of Islam to all of mankind. After reminding the Prophet (peace be upon him) about his many good qualities, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) wisely took him to the one person she knew who could advise him – her cousin, Waraqah, who had become a Christian and who had told her that he was waiting for the coming of a Prophet in Arabia.
Khadijah believed, and in fact knew, from the depths of her heart that the Prophet (peace be upon him) possessed a noble character and the highest of manners and qualities. She inferred from this knowledge that the Prophet would never in his life be subjected to shame and humiliation. This inference was most probably drawn from a general knowledge of historical principles: Whenever Allah blesses one of his slaves with noble and good characteristics, He will not make that slave taste humiliation and shame in his life. And Muhammad, Khadijah knew, had reached the pinnacle of nobility and goodness of character.
Khadijah took the Prophet to her cousin Waraqah ibn Naufal (may Allah have mercy on him). Waraqah, Khadijah knew, was waiting for the emergence of the final Prophet to be sent to mankind, an event that he learned about from Christian (and perhaps also Jewish) scholars, who pointed out to him that that awaited Prophet was soon due to appear. The words that Waraqah spoke to the Prophet had a very soothing and strengthening effect on the Prophet’s heart. He informed the Prophet that the being that had spoken to him was Jibril, who was a messenger between Allah and His Prophets.
In the course of their conversation, Waraqah did not hesitate but instead immediately believed that Muhammad k was the awaited Prophet, the final Messenger sent to mankind. The Prophet later issued a statement, making it clear that Waraqah was one of the dwellers of Paradise. Al-Hakim related from `Aishah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not curse Waraqah, for I indeed saw that he had a garden or two gardens (in Paradise).” (Al-Mustadrak)
In another narration, `Aishah related that Khadijah once asked the Messenger of Allah about Waraqah, and he answered, “I did indeed see him, and when I did, I saw upon him white garments. I would judge that had he been from the dwellers of Hell, he wouldn’t have had upon him white garments And Al-Haithami said, “Abu Ya`la related with a Hasan (acceptable) chain from Jabir ibn `Abdullah that, when the Messenger of Allah was asked about Waraqah ibn Naufal, he said, “I saw him in the middle of Paradise, and upon him was a silk brocade.”
Khadijah played an indispensable role in the life of the Prophet. To be sure, Allah guided the Prophet to marry an ideal wife, one that, like her husband, was by her very nature all that is good, and as such, she became the best role model for all women who came after her. She is particularly a role model for women whose husbands are Du`ah (those who invite others to the teachings of Islam), for Du`ah are not like other men: they carry the burden of a message and their efforts are constantly directed at solving the problems of not only their families, but of the entire Muslim nation. Great sacrifices – in terms of time, energy, and resources – are required of such men; they even have to give up some of the time that they would otherwise spend in the company of their families. They therefore need wives who appreciate the burdens that their husbands carry, who recognize the importance of conveying Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslims, and who stand alongside, and not in the way of, their husbands.
A righteous wife has the potential of having a tremendously positive impact on the success of the Da`wah; we have no better example that attests to this fact than the life of Khadijah and the way she stood side by side with the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the very outset of his Prophethood. So, whenever a Da`i (caller to Islam) is blessed with a righteous wife, he is one step closer to achieving success in his dealings with others. The Messenger of Allah put it best when he said, “The world is mata` (mata` is anything from which pleasure can be derived), and the best Mata’ of the world is a righteous wife.” (Muslim)
Source: Taken with modifications from the author’s “The Noble Life of the Prophet Muhammad.”
He is the ever renowned scholar of hadith and his hadith collection Sahih Al Bukhari is considered the most authentic book next to the Qur’an.
He is Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abu Al-Hasan Isma`il ibn Ibrahim ibn Al-Mughirah Al-Ga`fi Al-Muhkari, known as Al Bukhari, the ever well-known scholar of hadith. His collection of Hadith “Sahih Al Bukhari” is considered the most authentic book in Islam next to the Glorious Qur’an. This article sheds light on some of the sides of Imam Muhammad ibn Isma`il Al Bukhari biography, works, sheikhs and students.
Al Bukhari’s birth and early life:
Abu `Abdullah Al Bukhari was born on Friday 13 Shawwal, 194 A.H. in the city of Bukhara in Khorasan (Uzbekistan) in a family renowned for their uprightness and righteousness. His father Isma`il was a practicing scholar and noble man, but he did not remain long and passed away while his children were too young. His son Muhammad showed significant love of seeking Islamic knowledge. Therefore, his mother sent him to the circles of the Qur’an and Hadith to learn in them.
Imam Al Bukhari showed peerless learning capacities and excelled all his classmates. He was once asked, “When did you start seeking Hadith knowledge?” He said, “I was bestowed the talent of memorizing Hadith while I was in the kuttab (small school). He was asked, “How old were you at that time?” He answered, “10 years or less.” He was exceptionally talented in memorization which helped him memorizing thousands of hadiths in a very early age. Once, his classmates censured him for not writing hadiths like them. He told them that he committed all the hadiths they learned to memory. They tested his memory which proved perfect. One of the stories circulated about this unique talent is that of Salim ibn Mujahid who said, “I was with Muhammad ibn Salam Al-Baikandari who said to me, “If you came a little while ago, you would saw a young boy memorizing 70000 hadiths.” Salim said, ‘I went out searching for this boy until I met him.” Salim said, “I told him, ‘You allege that you memorize 70000 hadiths?’ The young Al Bukhari replied in the affirmative and said, “I will not mention a hadith from the Sahabah or their followers but I have knowledge about their birth, death and residence.  Actually, Al Bukhari was a nonpareil seeker of knowledge.
Al Bukhari’s pursuit of knowledge:
Al Bukhari started knowledge seeking in the Kuttab. He memorized the whole Qur’an at the age of 10 years then he moved to Hadith learning. When he reached 16, he has memorized the entire hadiths narrated by Ibn Al-Mubarak and Waki`. He traveled for narrating hadiths to Balkh and Nishapur. Then, he went to Makkah and remained in it for a while, then traveled to Baghdad, the Levant and Egypt. He got a lot of knowledge and narrated many hadiths. It is reported that his sheikhs is counted as more than 1000 scholars.
Al Bukhari started teaching Hadith when he was 17 years old. He used to say, “I memorized one hundred thousand authentic hadiths, and I memorized two hundred inauthentic hadiths.” Among the Sheikhs of Al Bukhari were: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Hammad ibn Shakir, Makki ibn Ibrahim and Abu `Asim An-Nabil. Among those who narrated from Al Bukhari were: Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Marwazi; and many others.
Al Bukhari’s writings:
Imam Al Bukhari compiled numerous books but the most widely known of them is “Al-Jami` Al-Musnad As-Sahih Al-Mukhtasar min Umuri Rasullillah wa Sunanih wa Ayyamih.” It is translated as “The Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith with Connected Chains regarding Matters Pertaining to the Prophet, His practices and His Times.” It is known as Sahih Al Bukhari.
Imam Muhammad ibn Isma`il compiled other books including, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, At-Tarikh Al-Kabir, Khalq Af`al Al-`Ibad, Raf` Al-Yadain fi As-Salah, and Al-Kuna.
Al Bukhari’s devoutness:
Imam Al Bukhari was a pious, practicing and devout knowledgeable scholar. He was distinguished with his exact observance of the Sunnah without any slackness or indolence. There is nothing more evidencing on his sincerity than the spread of his “Sahih Al Bukhari” that is considered as the most authentic book next to the book of Allah, the Qur’an. Imam Al Bukhari was a shining star in the space of piousness and fear of God. He used to say, “I hope that I meet Allah and that He does not call me into account for backbiting anyone.” Yet, his absorption with Hadith did not impede him from observing Jihad. It is reported that he would frequent places of archery to be prepared for Jihad. He was reported to go to borderline cities defending the Muslim state.
Scholarly Praise of Al Bukhari:
– Raja’ Al-Hafiz said, “He (Al Bukhari) is one of Allah’s signs walking on the Earth.”
– Al-Husain As-Samarqandi said, “Muhammad ibn Isma`il is singled out with three characteristics in addition to his praised ones. He was a reserved man, unambitious about what people have and completely bent on seeking knowledge.”
– An-Najm ibn Al-Fudayl said, “I saw in a dream the Prophet was walking and Muhammad ibn Isma`il was walking behind him, wherever the Prophet place his foot Muhammad Ibn Isma`il would place his foot.”
– Yahya ibn Ja`far said, “If I was able to give to Muhammad ibn Isma`il from my lifetime, I would do that because my demise equals the death of one man while the demise of Al Bukhari means the demise of knowledge.”
– Na`im ibn Hammad said, “Muhammad ibn Isma`il is the Faqih of this Ummah.”
– Ibn Khuzaymah said, “I have never seen underneath the sky one who is more knowledgeable and memorizer of the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) than Muhammad ibn Isma`il.”
– Al-Hafiz Abu `Amr Al-Khaffaf said, “Muhammad ibn Isma`il is more knowledgeable of hadith than Is-haq ibn Rahawayh, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other scholars with 20 degrees. Whoever speaks badly about him, I curse him 1000 curses. Muhammad is the most pious and purest scholar and I have not seen anyone like him.
– `Abdullah ibn Hammad said, “I hoped that I was a hair in the chest of Muhammad ibn Isma`il.”
Al Bukhari’s words:
– I know nothing that people may need but is found in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
– I hope that I meet Allah and that He does not call me into account for backbiting anyone.
– I did not start teaching hadith until I became full-aware of the authentic and the inauthentic narrations, reviewed all the books of opinion and visited Basra 5 times or about that, and left no authentic hadith but I wrote it except what I deemed it not authentic. 
– I never willed to start any speech that included the worldly life but I will start with praising and commending Allah.
Al Bukahri’s trail and death:
When Imam Al Bukhari reached Nishapur he was majestically welcomed. The scholar of Nishapur at that time was a man called Muhammad ibn Yahya Adh-Dhahli. Shortly after Al Bukhari’s arrival, ِAdh-Dhahli’s hadith circle became empty. He got furious and enraged against Al Bukhari, and thus started spreading false rumors about Al Bukhari. He disseminated that Imam Al Bukhari believed that the Qur’an is created. Although Al Bukhari never said so and he was completely innocent of this, Muhammad ibn Yahya continued his allegations and fight against Al Bukhari until he compelled Al Bukhari to leave the whole city and return to his homeland Bukhara.
Then, Al Bukhari was subject to another ordeal by the ruler of Bukhara who asked A-Bukhari to visit him and narrate Sahih Al Bukhari to his children. Imam Al Bukhari was a self-proud man, he refused saying, “Knowledge is to be sought,” meaning that if anyone wanted to learn Sahih Al Bukhari, he should come to the circle of Hadith. This caused alienation between him and the ruler. In addition, the former rumors reached that ruler who was already aggravated by Al Bukhari’s reaction. Thereupon, He expelled Imam Al Bukhari out of Bukhara.
As he has grown old, the expulsion of Imam Al Bukhari caused painful aches inside him. On 1 Shawwal 256 A.H. Imam Al Bukhari passed away at the age of 62 years in a small town near Samarkand called Khartank. May Allah confer His Mercy upon our greatest Imam!
1- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz, 1st edition, Dar Al-Kutub Al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1998. vol. 2, p. 104.
2- Ibid p 104
3- Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah, Dar Al-Fikr, 1986, vol. 11, p. 25.
5- Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn `Ali (d 463 AH), Tarikh Baghdad, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1st edition, 2002, vol.2, p. 324.
6- Ibn `Asakir Abul-Qasim `Ali Ibn Al-Hasan (d 571 AH), Tarikh Dimashq, Dar Al-Fikr, 1995, vol. 52, p. 63.
7- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Siyar A`lam An-Nubalaa’, Ar-Risalah Institution, 3rd edition, vol. 12, p. 393.
8- Ibn `Asakir Abul-Qasim `Ali Ibn Al-Hasan (d 571 AH), Tarikh Dimashq, Dar Al-Fikr, 1995, vol. 52, p. 58.
9- Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani Ahmad ibn `Ali, Tahdhib At-Tahdhib, Da’irat Al-Ma`arif An-Nizamiyyah, India, 1st edition, 1326 AH, vol. 9, p. 50.
10- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz, 1st edition, Dar Al-Kutub Al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1998. vol. 2, p. 105.
11- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Siyar A`lam An-Nubalaa’, Ar-Risalah Institution, 3rd edition, vol. 12, p. 439.
12- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Siyar A`lam An-Nubalaa’, Ar-Risalah Institution, 3rd edition, vol. 12, p. 439.
13- Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn `Ali (d 463 AH), Tarikh Baghdad, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1st edition, 2002, vol. 2, p. 340.
14- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Siyar A`lam An-Nubalaa’, Ar-Risalah Institution, 3rd edition, vol. 12, p. 448.
15- Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani Ahmad ibn `Ali, Fat-h Al-Bari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhari, Dar Al-Ma`rifah, Beirut, 1379, vol. 1, p. 7.
16- Ibid p. 484.
17- Ibn `Asakir Abul-Qasim `Ali Ibn Al-Hasan (d 571 AH), Tarikh Dimashq, Dar Al-Fikr, 1995, vol. 52, p. 87.
18- Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani Ahmad ibn `Ali, Fat-h Al-Bari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhari, Dar Al-Ma`rifah, Beirut, 1379, vol. 1, p. 485.
19- Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn `Ali (d 463 AH), Tarikh Baghdad, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1st edition, 2002, vol.2, p. 340.
21- Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani Ahmad ibn `Ali, Fat-h Al-Bari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhari, Dar Al-Ma`rifah, Beirut, 1379, vol. 1, p. 488.
22- Adh-Dhahabi Shams Ad-Din Muhammad ibn Qaymaz (d 748), Siyar A`lam An-Nubalaa’, Ar-Risalah Institution, 3rd edition, vol. 12, p. 416.
23- Ibid 445.
24- Ibid 465
25- Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn `Ali (d 463 AH), Tarikh Baghdad, Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1st edition, 2002, vol.2, p. 340.
Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith
Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith
At-Tirmidhi: Imam of Hadith and Fiqh
Imam An-Nasa’i: The Great Authority of Hadith
Ibn Majah: The Great Memorizer of Hadith
He is Muhammad ibn `Isa ibn Sawrah ibn Musa ibn Ad-Dahhak At-Tirmidhi Al-Bughi As-Sulami, from the well-known Arab tribe of Sulaim ibn Mansur. He is the compiler of the well-known book of Hadith “Jami` At-Tirmidhi” which is distinguished by At-Tirmidhi’s unique approach of the classification and verification of hadiths. Imam At-Tirmidhi is one of the outstanding scholars of Hadith who spent their lives in narrating and verifying the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him). `Amr ibn `Alak said, “When Muhammad ibn Isma`il Al-Bukhari died, he did not leave behind anyone in Khurasan like Abu `Isa (At-Tirmidhi), in terms of knowledge and God-fearing.”
His Birth and Early Life:
Abu `Isa was born in the beginning of 209 A.H. in Tirmidh. His grandfather was from Marw. Scholars differed whether he was born blind or not but the correct view is that he was not born so but he lost his eyesight in his old age because of his abundant study of Hadith. Ibn Kathir said, “It appears from the state of At-Tirmidhi that blindness happened to him after he travelled, heard (hadiths), wrote, argued and compiled (Hadith books).” Abu `Isa was exceptionally distinguished by his capacity of memorizing hadiths. Ibn Al-`Imad Al-Hanbali said, “He (At-Tirmidhi) excelled all his peers, and was a prodigy in memorization and proficiency.”
Imam At-Tirmidhi devoted his whole life for learning and studying Hadith. He travelled a lot and learned under the greatest scholars of Hadith, such as Imam Al-Bukhari who left a great effect upon our scholar Abu `Isa.
His Pursuit of Knowledge:
Imam At-Tirmidhi was bent on learning hadith. He travelled to numerous places and narrated hadiths from numerous persons. He travelled to Al-Hijaz, Basra, Kufah, Baghdad, Ar-Rayy and Khurasan. Al-Hafiz Al-Mizzi said, “He toured the places and heard from a great number of people from Khurasan, Iraq, Al-Hijaz and other places.” It is narrated that he took Hadith from more than 200 narrators of Hadith.
The numerous journeys of Imam At-Tirmidhi helped him get high Isnad (chain of narrators). He took hadiths from some of the teachers of both Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the teachers of Imam Al-Bukhari that Muslim did not hear from, and the teachers of Imam Muslim that Imam Al-Bukhari did not hear from. Not only that, he narrated Hadith from 42 narrators that the five Imams of Hadith (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah) did not hear from. Also, he narrated hadiths along with five scholars of Hadith (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah) from 9 teachers of Hadith.
However, Hadith was not the sole knowledge that Imam At-Tirmidh acquired because he was an encyclopedic scholar. He was versed in other branches of knowledge, such as Fiqh, Islamic History, Arabic and other sciences. He was renowned for his excellent understanding and deduction of the Fiqh rulings from hadiths. The great scholar Abu Al-Hasan An-Nadawi said, “He (At-Tirmidhi) was the first to broach what is called nowadays “Comparative Fiqh” and he had a great merit that the Muslim community has to admit. His efforts saved a lot of the Islamic heritage of the schools of Fiqh from loss.”
His Teachers and Students:
Among his well-known teachers were Ibrahim ibn Isma`il ibn Yahia, Abu Is-haq At-Tabari, Ibrahim ibn Hatim Al-Harawi, Ibrahim ibn Harun Al-Balkhi, Ibrahim ibn Ya`qub Al-Jawjajani, Muhammad ibn Bashshar ibn Bindar, Muhammad ibn Al-Muthanna, Qutaybah ibn Sa`id Al-Baghlani, `Ali ibn Hajar Al-Mirwazi, Muhammad ibn Isma`il Al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj An-Naysaburi, Ahmad ibn Mani` Al-Baghawi, Mahmud ibn Ghaylan Al-Mirwazi, Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman Ad-Darimi, Is-haq ibn Rahawih and many others.
A great deal of Hadith narrators learned at the hands of Imam At-Tirmidhi and took Hadith from him, including Abu Al-`Abbas Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Mahbubi Al-Mirwazi, Abu Sa`id Ash-Shashi, Abu Dharr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim At-Tirmidhi, Abu Muhammad Al-Hasan Al-Qattan, Abu Hamid Ahmad ibn `Abdullah Al-Mirwazi, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn `Aamer As-Samarqandi, Ahmad ibn Yusuf An-Nasafi, Al-Hasan ibn Yusuf Al-Farabri, Ar-Rabi` ibn Hayyan Al-Bahili and many others.
At-Tirmidhi is the compiler of the well-known book of Hadith “Jami` At-Tirmidhi” which is distinguished by his unique approach in the compilation of hadiths.
- Al-Jami` Al-Mukhtasar min As-Sunan `an Rasulillah, known as “Jami` At-Tirmidhi)
- Al-`Ilal As-Sughra
- Al-`Ilal Al-Kubra
- Ash-Shama’il An-Nabawiyyah wa Al-Fada’il Al-Mustafawiyyah
- Al-Asmaa’ wa Al-Kuna
- Kitab At-Tarikh
- Abu Sa`d Al-Idrisi said, “Muhammad ibn `Isa At-Tirmidhi, the blind memorizer of hadith, is one of the leading scholars of the knowledge of Hadith. He compiled the book Al-Jami`, At-Tawarikh and Al-`Ilal in a proficient and scientific way. He was an example of the memorization of hadith.”
- As-Sama`ani said, “There is no dispute that he (At-Tirmidhi) is the Imam of his age.” Also, he said, “He was one of the leading Imams of hadith.”
- Ibn Al-Athir Al-Jazari said, “He was one of the prominent memorizing scholars of hadith. Also, he was well-informed of Fiqh.”
- Abu Al-Fida’ said, “He was a leading memorizer of hadith, and he was blind. He was one of the well-known proficient scholars of hadith.”
- Ibn Kathir said regarding At-Tirmidhi, “He was one of the Imams of this matter (Hadith) at his time.”
- Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi said, “He (At-Tirmidhi was one of the prominent memorizing Imams (of Hadith) by whom Allah has benefitted Muslims.”
After a life replete with knowledge-seeking, travelling for narrating hadiths and teaching and explaining hadith, Imam At-Tirmidhi passed away on Monday 13th of Rajab, 279 A.H. in Bugh (a village lies in his hometown Tirmidh).
May Allah confer mercy upon him and reward him all the good for his efforts in preserving the Sunnah of the Prophet and narrating it to people!
– Mu`jam Al-Buldan by Yaqut Al-Hamawi
– Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz by Adh-Dhahabi
– Tarikh Baghdad by Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi
– Imam At-Tirmidhi by Iyad Khalid At-Tabba`
– Al-A`lam by Az-Zirikli
– Tabaqat Ash-Shafi`iyyah Al-Kubrah by At-Taj As-Subki
– Tabaqat Al-Huffaz by Jalaluddin As-Suyuti
– Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir
Al-Bukhari: The Imam of Hadith and Sunnah
Imam Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith
Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith
Imam An-Nasa’i: The Great Authority of Hadith
Ibn Majah: The Great Memorizer of Hadith