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3rd Century Hijrah : The Period of Taba Tabiens


In the 2nd century Hijrah, most of the scholars and students devoted themselves mainly to the learning and teaching of Islamic jurisprudence. But in the 3rd century, this got shifted to complete set of Ahadith. The task of evaluation, classification and compilation of Ahadith was mostly completed by the end of this century. Following are a few significant contributions of this period.

1. Much attention was focused on Ilm al-Hadith. It was sub-divided into several branches and significant contributions were made in each branch. Efforts were directed to evolve comprehensive and strict criteria for evaluating the authenticity of Ahadith. Specific terms such as Sahih, Hasan and Dhaief were coined to reflect the relative authenticity of Ahadith.

2. Another significant contribution of this age was the addition of the narrator's name to each Hadith : technically known us "Isnad". Each Hadith was prefixed with a continuous chain of narrators going back to its original source, the Holy Messenger.

3. In this period, a new branch of 'llm al Hadith' known as 'Asma al Rijaal’ (the names of men) was evolved to study the credibility of narrators. Biographical details were collected and documented for over 100,000 Hadith narrators. These include such details as their piety, intelligence, memory, profession, age and place of birth and death, etc. The credibility of each narrator was evaluated based on a set of very strict criteria. If a narrator failed to meet these criteria, all Ahadith narrated by him were discarded. Those who met this criterion were in turn classified according to the relative level of their reliability. This branch helped in getting the relative credibility of every Hadith.

4. The work undertaken during the second century were not too exhaustive e.g. 'Moatta' the famous collection of Imam Malik had only 1,700 Ahadih, which relate primarily to acts of devotion. So several scholars undertook the task for more comprehensive works on Hadith, encompassing all aspects of personal and social life.

The most significant being the authors of Sihah al Sittah (The six correct ones) :

(i)  Mohammad Ismail al Bukhari (I 94 - 256 AH)
(ii)  Abul Hussain Muslim Al Hajjaj (204 - 261 AH)
(iii) Abu Abdullah Mohammad b Yazid (Ibn Majah) (209 - 295 AH)
(iv) Abu Daud Suleiman b Ashath (202 - 275 AH)
(v)  Abu Esa Mohammed al Trimidhi (209 - 279 AH)
(vi)  Abu Abdul Rehman Nisai (264 - 303 AH)

Besides this, the works of Imam Ahmed b. Hamal (1 64 - 241 AH) and Imam Abdullah al Darim(181 - 225) are also considered as reliable and authentic. The former, Musnad al Ahmed contains 30,000 Ahadith and latter Sunnah al Darimi contains 3,500 Ahadith and is regarded to be the earliest compilation under the heading 'Sunnah'.

5. Another significant contribution of this century was the classification of book of Hadith based on their level of reliability. The 'Sihah al Sittah (The six correct ones) are considered as reliable. Amongst these, the works of Imam Bukhari and Muslim are considered to be the most reliable and termed as 'Sihah' (The correct). Other terms such as same, Musnad, etc. were introduced to classify the book of Hadith.

Here only a short list of the famous Muhaddithean (compilers of Hadith) is being presented who worked during fourth century Hijrah and after

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