the virile among men,
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Thabit ibn Ahmad ibn Mahdi al-Shafi‘i (392-463), with Abu al-Ma‘ali Ibn al-Juwayni and Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri the third most important figure in the fourth generation-layer of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari’s school, praised by al-Dhahabi as "the most peerless imam, erudite scholar and mufti, meticulous hadith master, scholar of his time in hadith, prolific author, and seal of the hadith masters." Al-Qinnawji said: "He was a jurist whose preference went to hadith and history." His father – a memorizer of Qur’an and the main preacher (khatîb) in Darzijan Southwest of Baghdad – sat him at the age of eleven in the class of Ibn Razquyah al-Bazzar (d. 412), after which he travelled first to Baghdad then Naysabur around 415, back to Baghdad, then Asbahan for two years, Ray, Hamadhan, Dinawar, back to Baghdad, then al-Sham and Mecca for pilgrimage, then Baghdad or his nearby native Darzijan until 451, then Damascus until 459, then Tyre (Sûr) until 462, then Baghdad again where he died.
Al-Khatib wrote abundantly on the science of hadith and became the undisputed hadith authority in his time according to his student, the Hanbali hadith master Ibn ‘Aqil. He heard countless hadith masters, among them Abu Bakr al-Barqani (who also narrated from him), Abu Nu‘aym al-Asbahani, al-‘Abdawi, and the pious centenarian virgin scholar Karima bint Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Marwaziyya (d. 463) – one of al-Kushmihani’s students – from whom al-Khatib took al-Bukhari’s Sahih in five days during his pilgrimage trip at age fifty-two. He took Shafi‘i fiqh from Abu al-Hasan ibn al-Mahamili and the qadi Abu al-Tayyib al-Tabari, whom he frequented for several years. Among his famous students: al-Nasr al-Maqdisi, Ibn Makula, al-Humaydi, Abu Mansur al-Shaybani – who transmitted his Tarikh – and the Hanbali Abu Ya‘la.
Ibn Makula and al-Mu’taman al-Saji said that the people of Baghdad never saw anyone such as al-Khatib after al-Daraqutni. Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Suri ranked al-Khatib far above Abu Nasr al-Sijzi. Abu ‘Ali al-Baradani said: "It is probable al-Khatib never met his equal." Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayini said: "Al-Khatib is the Daraqutni of our time." Ibn Makula said:
He was one of the foremost scholars whom we witnessed in his science, precision, memorization, and accuracy in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah e . He was an expert in its minute defects, its chains of transmission, its narrators and transmitters, the sound and the rare, the unique and the denounced, the defective and the discarded. The people of Baghdad never had someone comparable to Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar al-Daraqutni after the latter, except al-Khatib.
Sa‘id al-Mu’addib asked al-Khatib: "Are you the hadith master Abu Bakr?" He replied: "I am Ahmad ibn ‘Ali; hadith mastership ended with al-Daraqutni."
About hadith mastership al-Khatib wrote:
He does not excel in hadith science nor is able to peruse its complexities and shed light on its hidden benefits except he who has gathered its variants, collated its loose ends, brought it all together, and worked assiduously to compile it under its topical subheadings, organizing its different types. This activity strengthens competence, cements memorization, purifies the heart, hones the personality, expands the tongue, greatly improves language, unveils ambiguities and clarifies them. It also earns memorability and immortality, as the poet said:
die then knowledge keeps alive their memory,
‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Ahmad al-Kattani said: "Al-Khatib followed the [doctrinal] school of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari – Allah have mercy on him." Al-Dhahabi reports this and comments: "This is true. For al-Khatib explicitly stated, concerning the reports on the Divine Attributes, that they are passed on exactly as they were received, without interpretation." Ibn al-Subki comments: "This is al-Ash‘ari’s position, yes. But al-Dhahabi is the victim of his lack of knowledge of Shaykh Abu al-Hasan’s position just as others were also victims: for al-Ash‘ari also has another position allowing for figurative interpretation (al-ta’wîl)." Al-Dhahabi does go on to relate al-Khatib’s precise disowning of both nullification (ta‘tîl) and anthropomorphism (tajsîm) of the divine Attributes:
Abu Bakr al-Khatib said: "As for what pertains to the divine Attributes, whatever is narrated in the books of sound reports concerning them, the position of the Salaf consists in their affirmation and letting them pass according to their external wordings while negating from them modality (kayfiyya) and likeness to things created (tashbîh). <A certain people have contradicted the Attributes and nullified what Allah I had affirmed; while another people have declared them real then went beyond this to some kind of likening to creation and ascription of modality. The true objective is none other than to tread a middle path between the two matters. The Religion of Allah I lies between the extremist and the laxist.> The principle to be followed in this matter is that the discourse on the Attributes is a branch of the discourse on the Essence. The path to follow in the former is the same extreme caution as in the latter. When it is understood that the affirmation of the Lord of the Worlds [in His Essence] is only an affirmation of existence and not of modality, it will be similarly understood that the affirmation of His Attributes is only an affirmation of their existence, not an affirmation of definition (tahdîd) nor an ascription of modality. So when we say: Allah I has a Hand, hearing, and sight, they are none other than Attributes Allah I has affirmed for Himself. We should not say that the meaning of ‘hand’ is power (al-qudra) nor that the meaning of ‘hearing’ and ‘sight’ is knowledge (‘ilm), nor should we say that they are organs (lâ naqûlu innahâ jawârih)! Nor should we liken them to hands, hearings, and sights that are organs and implements of acts. We should say: All that is obligatory is  to affirm them because they are stated according to divine prescription (tawqîf), and  to negate from them any likeness to created things according to His saying ( There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him) (42:11) ( and there is none like Him) (112:4)."
Our teacher Dr. Nur al-Din ‘Itr comments al-Khatib’s position thus:
This is a vulnerable spot where feet tread a slippery path. Many are those who fell into likening Allah to His creatures because of it, or into something like it – our refuge is in Allah! – while believing that this was the position of the pious Salaf y but Allah has exonerated the latter from holding it. … Imam al-Khatib passed the obstacle at which point pens lapsed and illusions flared, for he refuted the Mu‘tazila and their likes who contradict the divine Attributes, and he understood the position of the Salaf as it truly is by affirming those Attributes with a kind of affirmation that commits to Allah I the knowledge of their reality, not an affirmation of dimensionality and modality (athbata tilka al-sifât ithbâtan yufawwidu ‘ilma haqîqatihâ ilâ Allâhi ta‘âlâ lâ ithbâta tahdîd wa takyîf). He thereby asserted the school of the Salaf as it really was, not as some erratic people in our time understand it to be. The latter are in fact arrogant wranglers who cannot tell the difference between the Salaf’s committal of the actual knowledge of these matters to Allah I , their holding His Transcendence above whatever anthropomorphism the terms may suggest, and the anthropomorphism of the ignorant Karramiyya!
Abu al-Faraj al-Isfarayini said: "Al-Khatib was with us in Hajj, and he used to conclude an integral recitation of Qur’an outloud every day. People would gather around him as he was mounted, saying: ‘Narrate hadith to us,’ and he would narrate to them." ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-Shihi said: "I was al-Khatib’s travelling companion from Damascus to Baghdad, and he used to recite the entire Qur’an once every day and night."
Ibn al-Abanusi reported that al-Khatib used to read while walking. This is a common habit among hadith masters. Al-Khatib himself narrated that ‘Ubayd ibn Ya‘ish said: "For thirty years I never ate at night with my own hand. My sister would spoonfeed me while I wrote hadith."
Al-Khatib wrote in his Tarikh Baghdad in the entry devoted to Isma‘il ibn Ahmad al-Naysaburi al-Darir: "He went to pilgrimage and narrated hadith, and what a wonderful shaykh he was! When he went to Hajj he took with him a load of books, intending to reside in Mecca or Madina for a while. Among them was al-Bukhari’s Sahih which he had heard from al-Kushmihani. I read it before him entirely in three sittings. The third session lasted from the beginning of the day until night, and it ended with the rising of dawn." Al-Dhahabi comments: "This was – by Allah! – the kind of reading faster than which no-one ever heard."
Abu al-Qasim ibn al-Muslima, al-Qa’im bi Amrillah’s vizier – nicknamed Ra’is al-ru’asa’ – and a hadith scholar, patronized al-Khatib with a small fortune which enabled the latter to devote himself to teaching and writing. He passed an edict that no teacher nor preacher in Baghdad narrate a hadith without authenticating it with al-Khatib first. He once asked the latter to verify a document which some Jews produced claiming that it was the Prophet’s e exemption of the tax on non-Muslims (jizya) for the Jews of Khaybar written, they said, in the hand of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib t . Al-Khatib looked at the document then declared it a forgery on the grounds that it was witnessed by Mu‘awiya – who entered Islam in the year of the conquest of Mecca, whereas Khaybar was conquered in the year 7 – and Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh who died during the battle of Banu Qurayza two years before Khaybar.
Al-Khatib came to settle in Damascus, fleeing Baghdad in Safar 451 in fear for his life during the Fatimi-leaning Turk Arslan al-Basasiri’s (d. Dhu al-Hijja 451) attempted coup against al-Qa’im bi Amrillah (422-467) and the Abbasid caliphate, although Damascus itself was under Fatimi rule. He then fled Damascus again in 459 to go to Tyre until 462, whence he returned to Baghdad, visiting Syrian Tripoli, Aleppo, and all the main cities on his way. Ibn Nasir narrated: "When al-Khatib read hadith in the mosque of Damascus, his voice could be heard from one end of the mosque to the other and he spoke in pure Arabic." He is also noted for his accurate and elegant handwriting.
Al-Mu’taman narrated that al-Khatib said: "Whoever authors books puts his mind on a plate for display to people." He fled from Damascus to Tyre because of enmity from the Rafidi governor of Damascus and accusations that he was a Nasibi or enemy of Ahl al-Bayt on grounds of narrating Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s book on the merits of the Companions and Ibn Rizquyah’s book on the merits of al-‘Abbas. "At that time the call to prayer in Damascus included the phrase hayya ‘alâ khayri al-‘amal."
Abu Mansur ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali al-Amin narrated that when al-Khatib returned from al-Sham he was wealthy in garments and gold but without heir. So he wrote to al-Qa’im bi Amrillah: "My property will go back to the public treasury (bayt al-mâl), so give me permission to distribute it among those I choose." He then distributed it – two hundred dinars – to the scholars of hadith.
Ibn Tahir said: "I asked [the Sufi hadith master] Hibat Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Warith al-Shirazi: ‘Was al-Khatib like his books in memorization?’ He said: ‘No, if we asked him of something he might take days to answer us and if we pressed him he would get angry. He was abrupt and his memorization was not on a par with his books.’" This assessment is belied by the scholars’ comparison of al-Khatib to al-Daraqutni and by the example of his extemporaneous response cited below. Furthermore, al-Dhahabi relates from al-Sam‘ani that Hibat Allah (d. 486) entered Baghdad in 457 when al-Khatib was away, and the latter did not return until 462, one year before his death.
Al-Khatib frequented Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayini’s classes for three years at a time when Abu Ishaq was the unchallenged headmaster of the Shafi‘i school in his time. One day he mentioned the narrator Bahr ibn Kaniz al-Saqqa’ then turned to al-Khatib and asked: "What do you say concerning him [i.e. his reliability]?" Al-Khatib replied: "If you give me permission then I shall mention his state." Al-Isfarayini then sat back like a student before his master, while al-Khatib gave a lengthy and detailed account of the narrator’s grading on the spot. Abu Ishaq was one of those who carried al-Khatib’s bier to his grave.
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik al-Hamadhani said in his Tarikh: "The science died at the time of al-Khatib’s death."
Ibn ‘Asakir narrated: "When al-Khatib first drank Zamzam water he asked Allah I for three petitions [according to the Prophetic narration "Zamzam water makes good whatever [need in the world and the hereafter] it is drunk for"]: to be able to narrate the history of Baghdad in that city, to dictate hadith in the mosque of al-Mansur [in Baghdad], and to be buried near Bishr al-Hafi. He obtained all three."
Abu al-Barakat Isma‘il ibn Abi Sa‘d al-Sufi said:
Shaykh Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al-Turaythithi, known as Ibn Zahra’ al-Sufi, was in our ribât and had prepared for himself a grave next to Bishr al-Hafi’s grave. He used to go there once a week to sleep in it, reciting the entire Qur’an at that time. When Abu Bakr al-Khatib died after stipulating that he be buried next to Bishr al-Hafi, the scholars of hadith came to Ibn Zahra’ asking permission to bury him in Ibn Zahra’s grave and cede his place to him. He refused, saying: "How can I allow a spot I have prepared for myself to be taken away from me?" They came to my father [Abu Sa‘d al-Sufi] who invited Ibn Zahra’ and told him: "I do not say to you to give them your grave, but I ask you: if Bishr al-Hafi were alive and you were at his side, then al-Khatib came and sat farther away, would it be fit for you to sit higher than him?" He replied: "No, I would make him sit in my place." He said: "It is the same in this situation." Ibn Zahra’s heart was happy with this and he gave his permission.
Al-Khatib was an ascetic, industrious scholar given to worship, a trustworthy hadith master withdrawn from the courts of princes, generous, grave and earnest in his manners, and both tireless and meticulous in his work. He wrote 10,000 pages totalling 104 books, many of them remaining to our time authoritative manuals in hadith science noted for their insight and wide compass. Ibn Hajar said in his introduction to Sharh Nukhba al-Fikar: "There is hardly a single discipline among the sciences of hadith in which al-Khatib did not author a monograph." Then he cited the hadith master Ibn Nuqta’s praise: "Whoever gives credit where credit is due knows that hadith scholars, after al-Khatib, all depend on his books." Among them:
the Pursuit of Hadith
of Hadith Audition
Master’s Care To Share His Company Equally
Companions (5 sections)
45: The Exposition and Definition of the Immense Merit of Compiling And Authoring Books (15 sections)
46: Ceasing Narration In Old Age Lest Memory Is Affected And the Mind Becomes Confused:
Sharaf Ashab al-Hadith ("The Eminence of the Masters of Hadith") in which he narrated Abu Dawud’s saying: "Were it not for this band of people we would not be studying Islam." The narrations al-Khatib gathered in this precious book list the attributes used by the Imams of hadith for the scholars of the Prophetic narrations:
Concerning al-Khatib’s authentication method in Tarikh Baghdad, al-Sam‘ani narrated that he said: "Whenever in the Tarikh I mention a man concerning whom opinions vary in commendation and discreditation, then the preferred position concerning him is placed at the conclusion of his biographical notice."
Makki ibn ‘Abd al-Salam al-Maqdisi said: "I was sleeping in the house of Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Za‘farani when I saw in a dream, shortly before dawn, as if we had gathered in al-Khatib’s house to read the Tarikh as usual. To his right was the jurist, Shaykh Nasr al-Maqdisi, and to the latter’s right was a man I did not know. So I asked who he was and was told: ‘This is the Messenger of Allah e who came to hear the Tarikh.’ I thought to myself: ‘This is a huge honor for Shaykh Abu Bakr, that the Prophet (s)himself should attend his gathering.’ I also thought: ‘This is also a refutation of those who blemished the Tarikh saying that it contains undue criticism of certain people.’"
It remains true that the Tarikh contains undue criticism of Imam Abu Hanifa t in the form of an assemblage of glaringly weak and forged reports from known liars, although it also contains authentic reports to the Imam’s praise. Among the scholars who refuted the negative reports were the king al-Malik al-Mu‘azzam ‘Isa al-Ayyubi, the Hanafis Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi in the two-volume al-Intisar li Imam A’imma al-Amsar and al-Kawthari in Ta’nib al-Khatib ‘ala Ma Saqahu fi Tarjimati Abi Hanifata Min al-Akadhib and its follow-up al-Tarhib bi Naqd al-Ta’nib; the Maliki Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr with al-Intiqa’; the Shafi‘is al-Suyuti and al-Haytami respectively with Tabyid al-Sahifa and al-Khayrat al-Hisan, and the Hanbali Ibn al-Jawzi with al-Sahm al-Musib fi al-Radd ‘ala al-Khatib. Al-Dhahabi said: "Would that al-Khatib had not set upon the great figures nor narrated anything against them." However, a case has been made to exonerate al-Khatib from having included these reports in his Tarikh, and some scholars, such as Dr. ‘Itr and Dr. Mahmud al-Tahhan, consider them later interpolations.
Ibn al-Jawzi’s assessment of al-Khatib is ambiguous. On the one hand he praises his works with the words: "Whoever looks into his books knows his great standing." At the same time he takes him to task for what he terms his fanatic denigration of Hanbalis, citing, for example, al-Khatib’s description of Imam Ahmad as "the leader of hadith scholars" (sayyid al-muhaddithîn) as opposed to al-Shafi‘i’s as "the diadem of jurists," his weakening of Ibn Batta, and his citing al-Karabisi’s barb about Imam Ahmad over the issue of the uncreatedness of the Qur’an. Added to this charge is Ibn al-Jawzi’s singular claim that al-Khatib began his career as a Hanbali, then switched to the Shafi‘i school, when both early and contemporary historians concur that he began his career as a Shafi‘i and was never a Hanbali. He also states that al-Khatib took the material of most of his books "except that of the Tarikh" from those of the hadith master al-Suri, a claim flatly rejected by al-Dhahabi. Perhaps Ibn al-Jawzi’s most ironic criticism is his complaint that al-Khatib included forgeries and very weak hadiths in his books, as their number is negligible in proportion to those found in Ibn al-Jawzi’s works.
Abu al-Fadl ibn Khayrun said: "A righteous person told me that when al-Khatib died he saw him in his sleep and asked him: ‘How are you?’ Al-Khatib replied: ‘I am in [breath of life, and plenty, and a Garden of delight] (56:89)’." ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Jadda said: "I saw in my sleep, after al-Khatib’s death, a person standing next to me whom I tried to ask about al-Khatib. Before I could say anything he said to me: ‘Go to the middle of Paradise where the pious meet one another.’" Muhammad ibn Marzuq al-Za‘farani narrated from the pious jurist Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Basri: "I saw al-Khatib in my sleep wearing beautiful white clothes and a white turban, looking joyful and smiling. I do not remember whether I asked him first: ‘What did Allah do with you?’ or whether he spoke to me first but he said: Allah has forgiven me – or: granted me mercy. And whoever comes to Him – in my heart I thought: meaning, with tawhîd – He grants him mercy or forgives him. Therefore, be happy!’ This took place a few days after his death."
Main sources: Ibn ‘Asakir, Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (Saqqa ed. p. 263-266); al-Dhahabi, Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’ (Dar al-Fikr ed. 13:590-603 #4210) and Tadhkira al-Huffaz (3:1135-1145); Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi‘iyya al-Kubra (Hajr ed. 4:29-39 #259); ‘Itr, introduction to al-Khatib’s al-Rihla (p. 37-59); and Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:265-270).
1Al-Qinnawji, Abjad al-`Ulum (3:96).
2Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (9:213); Ibn al-Najjar, Dhayl Tarikh Baghdad (1:173).
3As asserted by his son Ibn Abi Ya`la in Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:204).
4Cf. Ibn al-Mubarak's saying: "If you want to make sure your narrations are authentic, confront them with one another." Narrated by al-Khatib in al-Jami` (p. 452 #1973), cf. al-Hakim in Ma`rifa `Ulum al-Hadith (p. 112f.).
5Al-Khatib, al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:422 #1914).
6The entire bracketed passage is omitted by al-Dhahabi in his citation of al-Khatib's text in his youthful work al-`Uluw [cf. Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 272 #332)] but it is mentioned in the mature Siyar and the Tadhkira.
7Narrated by al-Dhahabi with his chain from Muhammad ibn Marzuq al-Za`farani in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' (13:598) and Tadhkira al-Huffaz (3:1142-1143) from al-Khatib's epistle al-Sifat.
8`Itr, introduction to al-Khatib's Rihla (p. 48).
9Ibn Marduyah states that even during the time that Abu Nu`aym walked home from his mosque gatherings, a student would be reading a volume of hadith to him on the way. The philologist imam Tha`lab (200-291) died one day after he was hit by a running horse while walking and reading at the same time as narrated by al-`Askari in al-Hathth `ala Talab al-`Ilm (p. 77). Al-Qifti narrated in Inbah al-Ruwat `ala Anbah al-Nuhat (3:79) in the biographical notice on the Egyptian philologist Muhammad al-Sa`idi ibn Barakat (d. 520) that the latter saw, when a boy, Abu Yusuf Ya`qub ibn Khurrazad al-Najirami, "a swarthy shaykh with a long beard and round turban, holding a book in his hand which he was reading while walking." Ibn Rajan narrated in Dhayl Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:249-252) that Majd al-Din ibn Taymiyya (the grandfather) had a book read to him even when he entered the latrine! Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda related all these anecdotes in his priceless book Qimat al-Zaman `ind al-`Ulama' (p. 40-41, 48, 51, 52, 68-69).
10In al-Khatib, al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:178). Cf. al-Dhahabi, Siyar (Arna'ut ed. 11:458). The same is related about the Maliki jurist and hadith scholar Ibn Suhnun by Qadi `Iyad in Tartib al-Madarik (4:217), and something similar about al-Mundhiri by al-Nawawi in Bustan al-`Arifin (1985 ed. p. 191).
11This report is also found in the chapter on spiritual energy (himma) in al-Qasimi's Qawa`id al-Tahdith.
12Al-Isnawi, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya (1:99 #174).
13Al-Dhahabi, Siyar (14:120).
14Narrated from Jabir by Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Majah in his Sunan, Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (3:179, 10:166) and al-Bayhaqi with a good chain as stated by al-`Ajluni (hasan lighayrih) in Kashf al-Khafa; from Ibn `Abbas by al-Hakim (1:473=1990 ed. 1:646) and al-Daraqutni in his Sunan (2:289 #238); from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (5:148); and from Mu`awiya by al-Fakihi in Akhbar Makka. Al-Busiri in Zawa'id ibn Majah and al-Nawawi declared its chain weak but a number of other hadith masters said it is a fair (hasan) narration due to the number of its chains and definitely sahîh as a mursal narration, among them Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Hajar as reported by al-Suyuti in al-Durar al-Muntathira (p. 243-244 #383) and al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (5:404), while al-Mundhiri, al-Dimyati (in al-Suyuti's Tadrib al-Rawi [Faryabi ed. 1:158=`Abd al-Latif ed. 1:145=1:80] and Ziyada al-Jami` al-Saghir), and al-Suyuti (in al-Sindi's edition of Ibn Majah, cf. al-Durar) declared the hadith sahîh. Al-Sindi added: "The people of knowledge have experienced its veracity." See also al-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, book of Manasik, chapter on Zamzam water. Ibn Hajar in Talkhis al-Habir (2:268) cites al-Dinawari's narration: "We were with Sufyan ibn `Uyayna when a man came and asked him: `O Abu Muhammad! Is the hadith you told us about Zamzam water true?' He replied yes. The man said: `I just drank it for the purpose that you narrate to me a hundred hadiths.' Ibn `Uyayna said to him: `Sit' and he narrated to him a hundred hadiths.
15Siyar (13:599-600). Dr. `Itr comments in his introduction to al-Khatib's Rihla (p. 42): "Perhaps as a divine reward for al-Turaythithi, Allah lengthened his life and he lived thirty years after this episode - Allah Almighty have mercy on him!"
16As per Dr. Yusuf al-`Ishsh's recension in his al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Mu'arrikh Baghdad wa Muhaddithuha (p. 120-137).
17Al-Khatib, Iqtida' al-`Ilm al-`Amal (p. 15-16).
18The Jami` has received two recent editions: by Shaykh Muhammad `Ajaj al-Khatib (Beirut: Mu'assasa al-Risala, 1991) and by Mahmud al-Tahhan (Ryad: Maktaba al-Ma`arif, 1983).
19As a rule, the shorter the chain, the better, since the probability of error is reduced.
20Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (hasan), Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud - al-`Iraqi said: "with a fair (hasan) chain" in al-Zabidi's Ithaf (6:280) -, Ahmad, Ibn Sa`d (4:145), and al-Nahhas in al-Nasikh wa al-Mansukh (p. 185 without mention of the kissing of the hand), all with a weak chain because of Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad according to al-Arna'ut in the Musnad (9:281-282 #5384), also by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (p. 388), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (7:101 #13352), and Ibn Abi Shayba (6:541). Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:67) cited it in his list of the narrations providing evidence for kissing the hand and he did not weaken it.
21Narrated by Ibn al-Muqri' in al-Rukhsa (p. 58 #2) with a chain Ibn Hajar graded as "strong" (sanaduhu qawî) in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:67) and he listed it among the "good" (jayyid) narrations of Ibn al-Muqri' on the topic. Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahîh), Ibn Majah, Ahmad and al-Hakim (4:399, sahîh) all narrated it without mention of the kiss unlike al-Bayhaqi who cited it in Branch 15 of his Shu`ab al-Iman (2:200 #1528) entitled: "The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honor To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him."
22Narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (#973), al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal (17:92), al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (#661), and Ahmad with a chain of sound narrators according to al-Haythami (8:42) and Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 11:57). On the assumption that `Abd al-Rahman is Ibn Razin rather than ibn `Abd Allah ibn Ka`b the chain would be "probably fair" according al-Arna'ut in the Musnad (27:83 #16551). Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda emphasized the lawfulness of kissing the hand of people of merit and eminence in Islam and its wide use among the Salaf, cf. his book al-`Ulama' al-`Uzzab (p. 47) and his notes on Ibn `Abd al-Barr's al-Intiqa' (p. 83 n. 1) as well as the monograph by his teacher Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari, I`lam al-Nabil bi Jawaz al-Taqbil. See also the hadith master Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Muqri's monograph al-Rukhsa fi Taqbil al-Yad; the hadith master Ibn al-A`rabi's monograph al-Qubal wa al-Mu`anaqa wa al-Musafaha; and Ibn Hajar's vast documentation in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 11:56-57, Isti'dhân, chapter titled Bâb al-Akhdh bi al-Yad).
23See Imam Malik's remarks on the turban in the biographical notice on him posted at the website http://sunnah.org/history/Default.htm.
24Hadith Dictation Sessions could count over 100,000 attendants all listening to a single hadith master by way of repeaters: al-Khatib, al-Jami` (2:58-62 #1171-1178).
25In al-Khatib, al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:402 #1874 and n.). In Western antiquity and late antiquity silent reading was unheard of, as shown by Augustine of Hippo's (late 4th century CE) astonishment (in the Confessions) at glimpsing Ambrose the Bishop of Milan "moving his lips in silent reading" of his book. Dr. al-Khatib's remarks on mnemonics are reminiscent of the Roman orator Cicero's method of not only reading his speeches out loud to himself in order to memorize them, but also pacing from one room of his house to another to create a mental reminder of each different section of his text.
26In al-Khatib, al-Jami` (2:402-416 #1875-1877, #1880-1889, #1899, #1904).
27This is Abu Zur`a al-Razi of Ray, `Ubayd Allah ibn `Abd al-Karim ibn Yazid (d. 264 or 268), "the master of hadith masters" (al-Dhahabi), concerning whom Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that he had memorized 700,000 hadiths. Siyar (10:470-483 #2266).
28Al-Khatib, al-Jami` (2:474 #1999).
29In Tarikh Baghdad (11:359).
30Dr. Nur al-Din `Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd (p. 63-64). The Kifaya was published by Dr. Ahmad `Umar Hashim (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, 1986) and by Abu `Abd Allah al-Sawraqi and Ibrahim Hamdi al-Madani (Madina: al-Maktaba al-`Ilmiyya, n.d.).
31Also published by Nasr Abu `Ataya in al-Nasa'i, Majmu`a Rasa'il (p. 137-238).
32`Itr, preface to al-Khatib, al-Rihla (p. 9). In his twenty-four page introduction titled "The Infinite Scholarly Challenge of Prophethood" (I`jaz al-Nubuwwa al-`Ilmi), `Itr gives a valuable overview of hadith science in Islam and puts to rest the claims of Goldziher et al. whereby hadith travel began in Umayyad times and was motivated by politics.
332nd ed. Ed. Mahmud Sa`id Mamduh (Beirut: Dar al-Basha'ir al-Islamiyya, 1988).
34Ibn al-Salah, Fatawa wa Masa'il (1:235). See also Ibn Hajar's Ajwiba (1:538-549) and al-Shawkani, al-Fawa'id al-Majmu`a (p. 57).
35Al-Khatib, Sharaf Ashab al-Hadith (p. 52 #106).
36Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb), Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (8:428, 9:15), al-Bukhari in al-Tarikh al-Kabir (5:177), Ibn Abi Shayba (11:505), al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (#686), al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (2:212), al-Haythami in Mawarid al-Zam'an (p. 594), al-Khatib in al-Fasl li al-Wasl (2:770-773) and Sharaf (p. 34-35 #63) and Ibn Hibban all with weak chains according to al-Arna'ut (3:192 #911) because of Musa ibn Ya`qub al-Zam`i and `Abd Allah ibn Kaysan (cf. al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal [15:482], Ibn `Adi, al-Kamil [6:2342], al-Daraqutni, al-`Ilal [5:112], Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib [5:326]). However, it has a witnessing narration whereby the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - said: "Invoke abundant blessings upon me on the day of Jum`a for my Community's salât is shown to me [especially] on every Jum`a, therefore, whoever among them invokes blessings upon me the most, is nearest to me in station." Narrated from Abu Umama by al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan (3:249 #5785) and Hayat al-Anbiya' (p. 11) with a fair chain according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1994 ed. 2:390 #2519=1997 ed. 2:328=3:303) "except that it is said Makhul did not hear from Abu Umama directly," while Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 11:167): "There is no harm in its chain." Ibn al-Sakan included Ibn Mas`ud's hadith among the sound narrations in his Sihah according to Ibn al-Mulaqqin in Tuhfa al-Muhtaj (1:527).
37Narrated from `Umar by al-Bazzar in his Musnad (1:413) with a fair chain as stated by al-Haythami (10:65), al-Khatib, Sharaf (p. 33-34 #62), al-Hakim (4:85-86) with a weak chain because of Muhammad ibn Abi Humayd as indicated by al-Dhahabi, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (1:147) with a weak chain according to Shaykh Husayn Asad, and from Ibn `Abbas by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (12:87) and al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (6:269-270 #2472) with the statement "Those are my brothers" instead of the last sentence, with a chain of sound narrators except for `Ata' ibn al-Sa'ib whose narrations are confused.
38Narrated from Anas by al-Khatib in Sharaf (p. 56-57 #113).
39Al-Hudhli narrated that al-Zuhri asked him: "O Hudhli! Does hadith please you?" Al-Hudhli said yes. Al-Zuhri continued: "Truly, it pleases the virile among men, while the effeminate among them hate it." Al-Khatib, Sharaf (p. 70 #150).
40This is a notable example of the use of al-nâs to mean the major ulema of the Sunna, as in `Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi's statement: "The People (al-nâs) in their time were four: Hammad ibn Zayd in al-Basra, al-Thawri in al-Kufa, Malik in al-Hijaz, and al-Awza`i in al-Shâm."
42In Ibn Majah.
43In al-Darimi's Sunan, Abu Hatim al-Razi, al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil (2:12), and others: Abu Sa`id al-Khudri - Allah be well-pleased with him - used to say, whenever he saw the young Tâbi`î students of hadith: "Welcome to the beneficiaries (wasiyya) of the Messenger of Allah - Allah bless and greet him," while al-Ramahurmuzi's narration in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil (p. 175) adds: "who ordered us to make you memorize the hadith and make room for you in gatherings."
44Narrated from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by al-Hakim (1:88=1990 ed. 1:164) who declared it sound, and al-Dhahabi concurred. The hadith master Mughaltay also declared it sound according to al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (2:400), while it remains a fair (hasan) narration according to al-Zuhayri and al-Suyuti. Also narrated from Abu Sa`id by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in his Jami` (1:578 #991), al-Khatib in his (1991 ed. 1:305-306 #360=1983 ed. 1:202), Ibn Wahb in his Musnad (8:167), and `Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi in al-`Ilm (1:50), all with weak chains because of Layth ibn Abi Sulaym; and by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, `Abd al-Razzaq (11:252), Tammam al-Razi in his Fawa'id (1:64, 1:69), al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (1:286), and al-Ramahurmuzi in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil (p. 176), all with very weak chains because of Abu Harun al-`Abdi (`Amara ibn Juwayn) who is discarded as a narrator (cf. Ibn `Adi, al-Kamil [5:77] and Ibn Hajar's Taqrib).
45Published in 1949 with an excellent introduction by Yusuf al-`Ishsh (Repr. Dar Ihya' al-Sunna al-Nabawiyya, 1974).
46Dr. Yusuf al-`Ishsh gave an extensive description of this work in his al-Khatib al-Baghdadi Mu'arrikh Baghdad wa Muhaddithuha. See also Dr. Akram Dya' al-`Umari, Mawarid al-Khatib al-Baghdadi fi Tarikh Baghdad. Dr. Khaldun al-Ahdab provided a thorough authentication of those hadiths in his Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad.
47Al-Sahm is also known as al-Tahqiq fi Ahadith al-Ta`liq.
48Al-Dhahabi himself deliberately refrained from narrating a single report detrimental to one of the great Imams of fiqh in his Mughni fi al-Du`afa', Diwan al-Du`afa' wa al-Matrukin, and Mizan al-I`tidal, as he explained in the introduction to the latter: "I did not mention in my book any of the Imams that are followed in the branches of the Law due to their immense standing in Islam and their greatness in the minds of people: such as Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi`i, and al-Bukhari." Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-I`tidal (1:3). Abu Ghudda and others have shown that the disparaging notices on Abu Hanifa found in today's editions of al-Dhahabi's works are interpolations. See the exhaustive documentation of this issue in Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's Encyclopedia (7:149-187).
49Respectively in the introduction to al-Khatib's al-Rihla (p. 52) and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (p. 263-301). See also Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji al-Albani's book Abu Hanifa (p. 205-277).
50Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:266, 9:214).
51This is a common distinction, as established by the remarks of the scholars cited in our notice on al-Tabari at the website http://sunnah.org/history/Default.htm.
52When al-Karabisi heard that Imam Ahmad had declared his statement an innovation whereby the pronunciation of the Qur'an was created, he said: "Pronunciation means other than the thing pronounced" (talaffuzuka ya`nî ghayra al-malfûz). Then he said of Ahmad: "What shall we do with this boy? If we say `created' he says bid`a, and if we say `not created' he says bid`a." Narrated by al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (8:65).
53Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:267).
54Cf. al-Ahdab, Zawa'id (1:104).
55Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:143, 8:266).
56Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam (8:268). Cf. al-Ahdal, Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad (1: 86).
Wallahu ta`ala a`lam wa ahkam. Wa Salla Allahu `ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa
Alihi wa Sahbihi wa sallam. Wal-hamdu liLlahi Rabbil-`Alamin.