The Third Period

  • Specificity of this Period
  • Uloom  al-Hadeeth (The Sciences of Hadeeth)
    – The Compilers of Hadeeth in the Third Period
    – Tabaqaat of Books of Hadeeth

This period extended from about half of the second century Hijrah to the end of the fourth century Hijrah.

Specificity of this Period

1.    Prophetic  ahaadeeth,  athaar of the  Companions  and  statement s of the  Successors were categorised and a distinction made between them.
2.    Narration’s that were accepted were gathered separately and the books of the second century were checked and authenticated.
3.    During this period not only were the narrations gathered but to preserve ahaadeeth, the scholars formulated sciences, (more than 10023) on which thousands of books have been written.

Uloom al-Hadeeth (The Sciences of Hadeeth)

1.     Asma ar-Rijaal

In this science the condition, births, deaths, teachers and students of narrators were gathered in detail and from these details judgments on the position of the narrators, as to whether they were truthful, trustworthy or unreliable, were made. This science is very interesting; details of over 500,000 narrators have been collated.

In this science many books have been written. Some of them are:[Translator’s  Note:  Imaam  Haazamee  (d.784H),  author  of “Kitaab  al-Ee’tibaar  Fi  Naskh…” said,“The types of sciences of Mastalah al-Hadeeth reach about 100 and each topic is knowledge in itself, if a student of knowledge was to spend all his life in this field he would not reach its end.” See Tadreeb ar-Rawee (p. 9). Muhaddith Ibn Salaah mentions 65 types in his book Uloom al-Hadeeth.]


  • Tahdheeb al-Kaamil of Imaam Yoosuf Muzee (d.742H), one of the most important books in this field.
  • Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb of Haafidh Ibn Hajr,[Translator’s Note: Also his book “al-Isabah fee Tameez as-Sahaabah” was summarized by his student as -Suyootee (d.911H) in Aain al-Isabah.”] who also authored the famous explanation of Bukhaaree in 12 volumes by the name of Fath ul- Baaree Sharh Saheeh al- Bukhaaree.
  • Tadhkirratul-Huffaadh of ‘Allaamah Dhahabee (d.748H)

3.       Ilm Masatalah al-Hadeeth (Usool of Hadeeth)

In the light of this knowledge the standard and rules of ahaadeeth, their authenticity and weakness were established. The famous books in this field are:

  • Uloom al-Hadeeth al-Ma’aroof Muqqadimah of Ibn as-Salaah [Translator’s Note: Shaykh Nawaab Siddeeque Hassan Khaan (d.1307H) said in his book “Manhaj al-Wusool fi Istalaah Ahaadeeth ar-Rasool” that Imaam Ibn Katheer had written a summary of it called “al-Baa’ith al-Hatheeth A’la Ma’arifah Uloom al-Hadeeth.”]by Abu Amar Uthmaan Ibn as-Salaah (d.557H).

Later books include:

  • Tawjeeh an-Nadhar of ‘Allaamah  Taahir Ibn  Saalih al-Jazaa’iree  (d.1338H)
  • Qawaid at-Tahdeeth of ‘Allaamah Sayyid Jamaal- ud-Deen Qaasimee (d.1332H)

4.       Ilm Ghareeb al-Hadeeth

In this knowledge the meaning of difficult words (in Arabic) have been investigated and researched.[Translator’s  Note:   The  first  book  authored  on  this  subject  was  by  Abu  Ubaidah  Mu’amar  Ibn Muthnah Basree (d.210H) which was brief. A larger work was written by Abul-Hassan Nadar Ibn Shumeel Maaznee (d.204H). Then Abu Ubaid Qaasim Ibn Salaam (d.222H) wrote a book upon which he spent his whole life. Then Ibn Qutaibah (276H) followed him.]

  • al-Faaiq  of Zamaksharee (d.538H). [Translator’s Note: Its full name is “al-Faiq Fee Ghareeb al-Hadeeth.”]
  • an-Nihayah of al-Ma’aroof Ibn  Aatheer (d.606H). [Translator’s Note: Its full name is “An-Nihaayah Fee Ghareeb al-Hadeeth wal-Athar.” Al-Armawee wrote an appendix to it, then Imaam as -Suyootee (d.911H) wrote a summary of “An-Nihaayah…” calling it “Ad -Darr an-Natheer Talkhees Nihayah Ibn Aatheer.”]

5.       Ilm Takhreej al-Hadeeth

From this knowledge we find where a particular hadeeth pertaining to a particular science can be found from the well known books of tafseer (Exegesis of the Qur’aan), belief and jurisprudence. For example:

  • al-Hidaayah of Burhaan- ud-Deen Alee Ibn Abee Bakr al-Margi’aanee (d.592H). [Translator’s Note: A very famous book of Hanafee Fiqh containing hundreds of issues clearly contradicting the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth.]
  • Ihyaa Uloom ud Deen of Abu Haamid Gazzaalee (d.505H)

Both of these books have many narrations without isnaads (chains) or references. If someone wanted to find the grading of ahaadeeth in them or their reference in a well known book of hadeeth, then the first books to mention would be:

  • Haafidh Zaila’ee’s (d.792H) book Nasb ur-Rayah
  • Haafidh Ibn Hajr al- Asqalaanee’s (d.852H) book ad-Diraayah and
  • Haafidh Zayn- ud-Deen A’raaqi’s (d.806H) work al-Mugnee an Haml al-Asfaar.

6.       Ilm al-Hadeeth al-Mawdoo’ah

In this science the people of knowledge have written books in which they separated the mawdoo (fabricated, forged) narration’s from the authentic ones. And from amongst the better known books are:

  • Qaadhi ash-Shawkaanee’s (d.1255H) book Fawaa’id al-Majmoo’ah.
  • Jalaal- ud-Deen as-Suyootee’s (d.911H) book Ila Ala al-Masnoo’ah.[Translator’s Note: Its full name is “Ila Ala al-Masnoo’ah fil-Ahaadeeth al-Mawdoo’ah” It is a summary of Ibn al-Jawzee’s book “Kitaab al-Mawdoo’aat”.]

7.       Ilm Naaskh wal-Mansookh[Translator’s Note: It is the science of the abrogating (naaskh) and abrogated (mansookh) text. Some of the books authored in this field include the works of Ahmad Ibn Ishaaq Denaari (d.318H), Muhammad Ibn Bahr Isbahaanee (d.322H), Hibatullaah Ibn Salamah (d.410H) and Ibn al-Jawzee (d.597H).]

In this science one of the most famous works is that of Muhammad Ibn Moosaa Haazamee (d.784H at the age of 35) called Kitaab al-Ee’tibaar.[Translator’s Note: This book has been printed in Hyderabad (India), Egypt and in Halab (Syria). Its name is “Al-Ee’tibaar fee Bayaan an-Naskh wal -Mansookh Minal-Aathaar.”]

8.     Ilm at-Tawfeeq Bayn al-Hadeeth

In this science the authentic (saheeh) ahaadeeth that seem to contradict each other have been explained and resolved.

  • Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H) first talked about this subject in his Risaalah famously known as Mukhtalif al-Hadeeth.
  • Imaam at-Tahawee’s (d.321H) work, Mushkil al-Aathaar, is also beneficial.

9.       Ilm Mukhtalif wal-Ma’atalaf

This science mentions the names of narrators, their kunyah’s, titles, parents, fathers or teachers, whose names may have shown similarities and due to this a person may have made a mistake:

  • Ibn Hajr’s (d.852H) book, Ta’beer al-Munabbah,  is a great example of this.

10.    Ilm Atraaf al-Hadeeth

This science helps to find a narration, the book of hadeeth it may be found in and its narrators. For example the first part of the hadeeth:

“Actions are but by intentions…”

If you wanted to find all the words of a narration and its narrators then one would need to refer to this science and the detailed books authored in it.

  • Kitaab Tuhfaa al-Ashraaf of Haafidh Muzanee (d.742H). It has a list of all the ahaadeeth in the six books. Muzanee spent 26 years on this work, which involved categorization, and after a great effort the books was completed.

11.    Fiqh al -Hadeeth

In this science all the authentic ahaadeeth related to rulings and commands were compiled. On this topic books that one may benefit from are:

  • A’laam al-Muwaqqi’een of Shaykh-ul- Islaam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H) [Translator’s Note: Its full name is “A’laam al-Muwaqq’ieen An Rabbil A’lameen”]
  • Hujjatullah al-Balighaa of Shah Waleeullaah Dehlawee (d.1176H)

Apart from these books, many others have been written concerning other subjects and topics, such as on the issue of wealth:

  • Abu Ubaid Qaasim Ibn Salaam’s book (d.224H) Kitaab al-Amwaal is famous.
  • Qaadhi Abu Yoosuf’s (d.182H) book Kitaab al-Akhraj.

And for those people who reject ahaadeeth then they are a target of incorrect understanding and for them these books can be beneficial, if consulted:

  • Kitaab al-Umm of Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H), volume 7
  • Ar-Risaalah of Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H)
  • Al-Muwaffiqaat of Imaam Abul Ishaaq ash-Shaatibee (d.790H), volume 4
  • Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah of Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H), volume 2 and
  • Al-Ahkaam of Ibn Hazm al-Anduloosee (d.456H)

In the history of the knowledge of hadeeth these books have a status:

  • Muqqadimmah Fathul-Baari of Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee (d.852H)
  • Jaami Bayaan al-Ilm of Haafidh Ibn Abdul Barr al-Anduloosee (d.463H)
  • Ma’arifah Uloom al-Hadeeth of Imaam Haakim (d.405H)

Compilers of Hadeeth in the Third  Period

1.     Imaam Ahmad Ibn  Hanbal (rahimahullaah) (b.164H d.241H)

His most important work is Musnad Ahmad; it is the composition of 30,000 ahaadeeth in 24 volumes. Most of the narrations fall into this book. Rather tha n categorizing the ahaadeeth by subject, Imaam Ahmad rahimahullaah) categorized them according to the narrations of certain Companions, under their names, and that which they narrated.

2.     Imaam    Muhammad    Ibn    Ismaa’eel    Bukhaaree    (rahimahullaah)    (b.194H d.246H)

Saheeh al- Bukhaaree is the most important work of Imaam  Bukhaaree.  Its  full  name  is “Al-Jaami’ as-Saheeh al-Musnad al-Mukhtasar man Amoor Rasoolullaah sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa Alihi wa sallam wa Ayameh”; he spent 16 years compiling it. The number of students who read as-Saheeh with him number 90,000. Sometimes the number in one gathering would reach 30,000. Imaam Bukhaaree’s standard of checking hadeeth was the most stringent of any of the other scholars of hadeeth.

3.     Imaam  Muslim Ibn Hajaaj al-Qushairee (rahimahullaah) (b.202H d.261H)

Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Imaam Bukhaaree are from amongst his teachers. Imaam’s at-Tirmidhee, Abu Haatim ar-Raazee and Abu Bakr Ibn Khuzaimah are from amongst his students. His book is rated highly in categorization.

4.       Abu Daawood Isha’at Ibn Sulaimaan as-Sijastaanee (rahimahullaah) (b.204H d.275H)

His important book is famous by the name of Sunan Abu Daawood. It is compromised mainly of narrations concerning ahkaam (rulings) and a compendium of fiqh issues concerning laws. It is composed of 4,800 ahaadeeth.

5.       Imaam Abu Eesaa at-Tirmidhee (rahimahullaah) (b.209H d.279H)

His book Jaami Tirmidhee mentions issues of  fiqh with detailed explanations.

6.       Imaam Ahmad Ibn Shu’ayb an-Nasaa’ee (rahimahullaah) (d.303H)

His book is named Sunan al-Mujtabah. His other book is as-Sunan al-Kubraa, of which some parts have printed in Bombay by Maulana Abdus-Samad al-Kaatibee.

7.       Imaam Muhammad Ibn Yazeed Ibn Maajah al-Qazdi’aanee (rahimahullaah) (d.273H)

His book is famous by the name Sunan Ibn Maajah.

Apart from these, more books have been compiled and published which cannot be detailed here. Bukhaaree, Muslim and Tirmidhee are called Jaami, i.e. they contain ahaadeeth on A’qaid, Worship, Manners, Information and other issues. Abu Daawood, an-Nasaa’ee and Ibn Maajah are called Sunan i.e. they contain ahaadeeth pertaining to life.

Tabaqaat of Books of Hadeeth

1.       On the basis and in terms of Hadeeth and the reliability of its narrations, Muwatta Imaam Maalik, Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Saheeh Muslim have a high ranking position.

2.       Abu Daawood, at-Tirmidhee and an-Nasaa’ee. The reliability of narrators in these books does not reach the level of the first category but they are considered and confided in. This category also contains Musnad Ahmad.

3.       Ad-Daarimee (d.225H), Ibn Maajah, Baihaqee, Daraqutnee (d.385H), the books of at-Tabaraanee (d.360H), writings of at-Tahaawee (d.321H), Musnad Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee and Mustadarak Haakim (d.405H). These books contain all types of hadeeth, authentic and weak.

4.       Writings of Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree (d.310H), the books of Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (d.463H), Abu Nu’aym (d.403H), Ibn Asaakir (d.571H), ad-Daylaamee (d.509H) the author of Firdaus, Kaamil of Ibn Adiyy (d.365H), the writings of Ibn Maroodiyyah (d.410H), Waaqidee (d.207H) and books by other authors are in this category.

These books are compilations and may contain many fabrications; if they are analyzed a lot of treasures can be gained.


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