May 18, 2024
AL-MUSNNAF
Al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq is indeed considered by many scholars to be one of the first comprehensive collections of Hadith, and it may be considered an early f

Al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq is indeed considered by many scholars to be one of the first comprehensive collections of Hadith, and it may be considered an early form of an encyclopedia of Hadith. While there were contemporary works, such as Al-Muwatta Imam Malik, that collected Hadith, al-Musannaf‘s sheer volume and scope make it an impressive and pioneering achievement in the field of Hadith studies.

Al-Musannaf of Imam Abd al-Razzaq was one of the earliest and most comprehensive collections of hadiths, organized thematically by subject matter. It was compiled in the late 8th century CE, before the compilation of the Sahah
Sittah
, which were collections of hadiths by other scholars that were compiled in the 9th and 10th centuries CE. The Muwatta of Imam Malik, which was compiled in the early 9th century CE, was also an important collection of hadiths, but it was not as comprehensive as Al-Musannaf.

Before the compilation of Al-Musannaf, many hadiths were scattered across various sources and not organized in any particular order. Al-Musannaf was one of the first collections to organize hadiths by subject matter, making it a
valuable reference work for Islamic scholars and students of Islamic jurisprudence. It also includes a large number of hadiths that were not included in other collections, further contributing to its importance. Am-Musannaf is available in hardcopy, ranging from 10 to 12 volumes.

Al-Musannaf of Imam Abd al-Razzaq is considered by many scholars to be the first encyclopedia of hadiths due to the following reasons:

Thematic organization:

Al-Musannaf is organized thematically by subject matter, which is a unique feature not found in previous collections of hadiths. The hadiths are arranged by topic, such as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, marriage, etc., making it easier for scholars to locate and study the hadiths relevant to their area of research.

Comprehensive coverage:

Al-Musannaf covers a wide range of topics, including jurisprudence, theology, ethics, history, and biography. It contains approximately 21,000 hadiths, making it one of the most comprehensive collections of hadiths from the early Islamic period.

Multiple sources:

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) collected hadiths from a wide range of sources, including his own teachers, other prominent scholars, and written sources. He also traveled extensively to collect hadiths and verify their authenticity.

Attention to authenticity:

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was known for his strict standards of authenticity and reliability. He would only include hadiths in his collection that were narrated by reliable sources and had a sound chain of transmission.

Influence on later collections:

Al-Musannaf had a significant influence on later collections of hadiths, including Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, and Sunan Ibn Majah. Many of the hadiths in these later collections can be traced back to Al-Musannaf.

In conclusion, Al-Musannaf of Imam Abd al-Razzaq is considered by many scholars to be the first encyclopedia of
hadiths due to its thematic organization, comprehensive coverage, multiple sources, attention to authenticity, and influence on later collections. Its significance cannot be overstated, as it served as a foundation for the development of hadith studies and had a lasting impact on Islamic scholarship.

 

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him).

Imam Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani al-Himyari (126 AH/744 CE – 211 AH/827 CE) was a famous Islamic scholar and hadith collector. He was born in Sana’a, Yemen, and studied under many renowned scholars of his
time. His forefathers had been associated with Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) who was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and a cousin of the Prophet. Imam Abd al-Razzq (May Allah have mercy on him)  was an Arab scholar so claiming that all collections of Hadiths were compiled by non-Arab scholars is totally misleading and contradictory.

According to historical sources, Hammam ibn Nafi’ who was Imam Abd al-Razzaq’s father, was a prominent scholar
of hadith and studied hadith and Islamic law under a number of prominent scholars, including Imam Ikrimah (May Allah have mercy on him), who was a liberated slave of Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and a
well-known scholar of hadith in his own right. His brother Wahab ibn Nafi’ was also a direct pupil of Imam Ikrimah (May Allah have mercy on him).

Hammam ibn Nafi’ was known for his expertise in hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, and his teachings had a
significant impact on the development of Islamic scholarship in the early centuries of Islam. His son, Imam Abd al-Razzaq, inherited his father’s passion for learning and became one of the most well-respected scholars of hadith in
Islamic history. Imam Abd al-Razzaq’s brother Abd al-Wahhab ibn Hammam was also a prominent Hadith scholar.

 

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) shared the golden period of Islam with five prominent Imams of Islamic Jurisprudence, Imam Ja’afar al-Sadiq (702-765 CE), Imam Abu Hanifah (696-767 CE), Imam Malik (711-795 CE), Imam Shafiyee (767-820 CE)  and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855), may Allah have mercy on all of them.

This was a time of great intellectual activity and scholarship, with these Imams making significant contributions to Islamic jurisprudence and hadith studies. Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) had the opportunity to learn from many of them directly or indirectly. This exposure to different scholars and their teachings likely
had a significant impact on his own scholarship and the development of his work, al-Musannaf.

Imam Abd al-Razzaq was known for his meticulous methodology in gathering and analyzing hadiths. He traveled
extensively throughout the Islamic world to collect hadiths and verify their authenticity. His Al-Musannaf contains a large number of authentic hadiths, many of which are not found in the other major hadith collections, which were compiled later.

Imam Abd Al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was also known for his piety, knowledge, and generosity. He was a highly respected scholar in his time, and many of his students went on to become leading scholars themselves.

Authenticity of Al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq

Imam Abd al-Razzaq lost his eyesight in the last years of his life as it has been narrated by Imam Ahmad ibn
Hanbal:Abd al-Razzaq was visited by us before the year 200 AH, while he had a healthy eyesight. And whoever heard from him after he lost his eyesight is weak in Hadith.”
[Al-Tarikh #4460 by Abu Zura’ah al-Dimashqi]

So whatever Imam Abd al-Razzaq narrated from his famous book is authentic and whatever he narrated relying on
his own memory that should be scrutinized properly.

Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) said about Imam Abd al-Razzaq:

“Whatever he narrated from his book, it is the most authentic (or correct).”

[Al-Tarikh
al-Kabir #7914
]

These statements are sufficient to prove the authenticity of al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq, though all the Hadiths collected in this compendium are not equally sound and some of them have been the subject of debate among Hadith scholars.

Al-Musannaf of Imam Abd al-Razzaq is considered an authentic source of Hadiths by many scholars. It is a comprehensive collection of Hadiths and narrations from the early generations of Muslims, and it has been studied and referenced by scholars throughout Islamic history. However, like any other Hadith collection, the authenticity of individual narrations within Al-Musannaf may vary and requires examination and verification.

Was Imam Abd al-Razzaq a Deviant Scholar?

Imam Al-Ijli (May Allah have mercy on him) in his Kitab al-Thiqat (Tarjumah #847) claimed that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was inclined to Tashayu (believing in the superiority of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib A.S). Relying on al-Ijli’s statement some scholars claim that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was a deviant Shia scholar. This claim is unfounded and contradicted by the historical record. His scholarship and contributions to the preservation of hadith continue to be widely recognized and respected in the Islamic scholarly tradition.

There is no evidence to suggest that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was a Shia scholar. In fact, he was known to be a Sunni scholar who was highly respected by scholars from different Islamic schools of thought. His collection of hadith, Al-Musannaf, is considered one of the most important and reliable sources of hadith in Sunni
Islam. Some Shia scholars have also referred to his narrations in their works, but this does not necessarily indicate that Imam Abd al-Razzaq
(May Allah have mercy on him) was a Shia scholar himself.

It is true that the term “Shia” was used in the early centuries of Islam to refer to those who preferred and supported Imam Ali (peace be upon him) over other companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However, it is important to note that the term “Tashayu” had a broader meaning than what it has come to represent in later centuries. In the early Islamic period, the term “Tashayu” was used for the doctrine of the superiority of Imma Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him to other companions). Therefore, it is possible that someone like Imam
Abd al-Razzaq
(May Allah have mercy on him) may have been considered a Shia in the early sense of the term due to his preference for Imam Ali (peace be upon him), but this would not necessarily mean that he was a member of any particular Shia sect or group who condemns Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (May Allah be pleased with all of them).

Al-Dawoodī said about Imam Abd al-Razzaq: “He was declared trustworthy by more than one scholar, his
hadith is included in the authentic compilations (Sahah Sittah), and he has unique narrations as well. He was accused of Tashau’ and he was not excessive in his love for Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) but rather he loved him and
hated those who fought against him
.” [Tabaqat al-Mufassirin:1/302]

It is important to note that accusations of deviancy or wrongdoing are serious and should not be
made without clear evidence. It is also important to evaluate any claims made about historical figures in light of the broader historical context, taking into account the biases and agendas of those who may have made such claims.

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was known for his extensive knowledge of hadith and
his meticulous methodology in transmitting and analyzing them. Many of his contemporaries, including Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him), praised him for his piety, knowledge, and dedication to the preservation of
hadith.

There is no clear record of how much time Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) spent in the service of Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him). However, it is known that Imam Ahmad was one of Imam Abd al-Razzaq’s most prominent students and spent a significant amount of time studying with him.

Imam Ahmad (May Allah have mercy on him) was known to have attended Imam Abd al-Razzaq’s lectures and studied his Al-Musannaf extensively under his direct guidance. He also narrated many hadiths from Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) and regarded him as one of the most reliable and trustworthy hadith scholars of his time.

Imam Ahmad’s close association with Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) is evident in his compilation of al-Musnad, which includes numerous hadiths narrated from Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him). It is clear that Imam Ahmad held Imam Abd al-Razzaq in high regard and benefited greatly from his scholarship.

 

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) said to Imam Abd al-Razzaq: “May Allah reward you on behalf of your Prophet (peace be upon him) with goodness.

[Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, # 280, Vol.1, Page.209]

This statement by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) regarding Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) reflects the high esteem and respect that Imam Ahmad held for him. Imam Ahmad’s statement “May Allah reward you on behalf of your Prophet with goodness” is a form of dua or supplication, indicating his hope that Allah would reward Imam Abd al-Razzaq for his good deeds and dedication to the Prophetic traditions.

Furthermore, the fact that Imam Ahmad (May Allah have mercy on him) praised Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) in this way suggests that he viewed him as a highly trustworthy and reliable authority in the field of hadith. Imam Ahmad (May Allah have mercy on him) himself was renowned for his expertise in hadith, and his praise of Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) thus carries considerable weight and significance.

Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) is one of the narrators of the six most famous hadith collections
(Sahah Sittah), which are the collections of hadiths compiled by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, and Ibn Majah. He is widely recognized as one of the most reliable narrators of hadiths and his Al-Musannaf is considered one of the most important collections of hadiths outside of the Sahah Sittah.

Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hanbal says, my father narrated to me a Hadith of Safinah (May Allah be pleased with him).
So, I said: O father, what do you say about superiority (in leadership)? He said: Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them) are the leaders (in that order). So, I asked: What about Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him)? He said: O my son, Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him) is from the people of the household (Ahl al-Bayt) and no one can be compared to them.

(Ibn al-Jawzi, Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad, Page 219)

 

While it is true that Imam Ahmad’s close affiliation to Ahl al-Bayt (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on all of them) may indicate their superiority, it is important to note that his views and practices were not exclusively limited to the Ahl al-Bayt. The same was true for Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him).

There is some overlap in their positions regarding Imam Ali (peace be upon him), as both Imam Ahmad and Imam Abd al-Razzaq held a high regard for him and recognized his unique position and evident leadership among the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Imam Ahmad’s statement reflects his respect and admiration for all the four rightly guided Caliphs, namely Abu
Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all). However, when asked about his opinion on the superiority or preference among them, he did not mention Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) explicitly but rather referred to him as a member of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and said that no one can be compared to them that points to their superiority. This shows Imam Ahmad’s high regard for Ahl
al-Bayt
and his recognition of their elevated status in Islam.

Moreover, Hadith narrated by the scholars who inclined to Tashayu’ is generally accepted by the prominent Hadith scholars including Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him). Compilers of Sahah Sittah also accepted Hadiths from the aforementioned narrators. Imam al-Zahabi (May Allah have mercy on him) discussed this issue in his works.

Imam al-Zahabi said while commenting on Aban ibn Taghlib in the beginning of Mizan al-I’tidal:The one who says, “How can I authenticate a mubtadi’ (innovator) while al-thiqa (trustworthy) is characterized by justice and precision?” How can someone who is an innovator be just? The answer is that innovation falls into two categories: minor innovation, such as extreme Tashayu’, or Tashayu’ without extremism or distortion. This was common among the Tabi’een and their followers who were known for their religion, piety, and honesty. If we were to reject the hadiths of these people, we would be rejecting a large number of Prophetic narrations, and this would be a clear dilemma…………..

[Mizan al-I’tidal #2]

This statement indicates that Tashayu (believing in the superiority of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib A.S) was common among Tabi’een and their followers. Tabi’een refers to the generation of Muslims who succeeded the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and learned directly from them. The term “Tabi’een” literally means “followers” or “successors.”

They are considered to be the second generation of Muslims and were known for their knowledge, piety, and adherence to the teachings of Islam. The Tabi’een were instrumental in preserving and transmitting Islamic knowledge and traditions to future generations. Many of them became prominent Islamic scholars,
jurists, and hadith narrators, and their contributions have been invaluable in shaping the development of Islamic thought and practice.

The belief in the superiority of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) over other companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not a unique belief held exclusively by the Shia. Rather, many of the Tabi’een, who were the generation of Muslims that came after the companions of the Prophet, held this belief as well, as mentioned by Imam al-Zahabi in his statement. We can find in the books of Asma al-Rijal, a large number of Tabi’een and their followers who were inclined
to Tashayu’, Imam Abd al-Rzzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was one of the
m. Nevertheless, indeed, the belief in the superiority of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was common among a significant number of Tabi’een, as well as many other early Muslim scholars and leaders.

Allah knows the best.

 

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