When and How Collection of Hadith Started
When and How Collection of Hadith Started:
As Sunnah was copied in an extremely careful manner, both in terms of its memorization and its written form. This matter has occurred directly since the time of the Prophet(PBUH) and the time of the companions till the end of the First century Hijri, until the sheets that contained the aḥādīth of the Messenger of Allāh(PBUH) were gathered together at the time of ʿUmar bin ʿAbdul ʿAzīz.
Khalīfah ʿUmar bin ʿAbdul ʿAzīz said to Abū Bakr bin Muḥammad, “Pay attention to the aḥādīth of the Messenger of Allāh(PBUH), then write those aḥādīth down, because indeed I worry about the loss of the knowledge and the demise of the scholars, and do not accept anything except only the aḥādīth of the Prophet(PBUH).
Once Abū Bakr bin Muhammad had received the command from the Khalīfah, he ordered Ibnu Shihāb Az Zuhriy, a well-known scholar and leader amongst the scholars of aḥādīth, to formally gather together the aḥādīth of the Prophet(PBUH).
The Tābiʿ al-Tābiʿīn who lived in the Second century Hijri. Their manner of collection still mixed together the words of the companions y and the fatāwā of the Tābiʿūn. Amongst the books of aḥādīth that were the most manṣūr (supported) during this century was the book Al Muwaṭṭaʾ compiled by Imām Mālik bin ʾAnas. Afterwards, at the beginning of the third century Hijriyah, there was a return to a generation of specialists in the aḥādīth who formally recorded the aḥādīth of the Prophet(PBUH). In this gathering together they advanced two methods, namely:
Specifically collect the ṣaḥīḥ aḥādīth only. The first people to gather and collect aḥādīth in this manner were:
- Imām Bukhārī (Muḥammad bin ʾIsmāʿīl Al Bukhārī, born 194 H – died 256 H), and then continued by
- Imām Muslim (Muslim bin Al Ḥajāj An Nishābūrī, born 204 H – died 261 H).
Only collect the aḥādīth of the Prophet(PBUH) alone without differentiating between those that are ṣaḥīḥ and those that are not. Amongst their books were found ṣaḥīḥ aḥādīth (authentic) and those that were ḥasan (good), ḍaʿīf (weak) and even those that were mauḍūʿ (false, fabricated).
Amongst those books that were manṣūr in the Third century Hijri were:
- Musnad Imām Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal (164 H – 241 H) 2).
- Ṣaḥīḥ Imām Bukhārī (194 H – 256 H)
- Ṣaḥīḥ Imām Muslim (204 H – 261 H)
- Sunan Abū Dāwūd (202 H – 275 H)
- Sunan Dārimiy (181 H – 255 H)
- Sunan Ibnu Mājah (209 H – 273 H)
- Sunan Nasāʾī (225 H – 303 H)
Whereas those books that were manṣūr in the Fourth century Hijri were, amongst others:
- Ṣaḥīḥ Ibnu Khuzaimah (223 H – 311 H)
- Muʿjam Kabīr, Muʿjam Ausaṭ, and Muʿjam Ṣaghīr, compiled by Imām Ṭadrani (260 H – 340 H)
- Sunan Imām Dāraqutnī (306 H – 385 H)
- Ṣaḥīḥ Ibnu Ḥibbān (died 354 H)
- Al Mustadrak by Ḥākim (321 H – 405 H)
The manuscripts of these scholars were quickly preserved within libraries throughout the Islamic world. These books were copied and reprinted and distributed to the various corners of the Islamic world.