Works on Isṭilāḥ al-Ḥadīth (Ḥadīth terminology)

From amongst the first to author a work on the topic of isṭilāḥ al-ḥadīth was al-Ramāhurmuzī,[1] thereafter al-Ḥākim[2]and then Abū Nu’aym.[3] Thereafter came many others, notable amongst them, al-Khaṭīb,[4] Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ[5] and Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ,[6] the latter of which penned Ma’rifat Anwā’ ‘Ilm al-Ḥadīth more famously known as Muqaddimah Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ. 

Thereafter, the notable scholar Hāfidh ibn Ḥajar[7] authored a concise treaty titled Nukhbat al-Fikar fī Musṭalaḥ Ahl al-Athar and subsequently wrote a commentary on this work titled Nuzhat al-Naẓar fī Tawḍīḥ Nukhbat al-Fikar. The majority of scholars after this period relied on this work due to its brevity, structure, clarity, and authenticity and it was used widely in madāris[8] across the Muslim world as a basis to commentate and further expand on the science. 

Imām Raḍī al-Dīn[9] wrote Qafw al-Āthār fi Ṣafw ‘Ulūm al-Āthār based on Nukhbat al-Fikar, and the Muqaddimah of Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ along with  their respective commentaries. In this, he elaborated the position of the Aḥnāf wherever they differed. 

Summary of key works on Isṭilāḥ al-ḥadīth 

Al-Muḥaddith al-FāṣilAbū Muḥammad al-Rāmahurmuzī
Ma’rifat Ulūm al-ḤadīthAl-Ḥākim Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Nisābūrī
Ma’rifat Ulūm Al-Ḥadīth ‘Alā Kitāb Al-ḤākimAbū Nu’aym al-Aṣfahānī
al-Kifāya fī ‘Ilm al-Riwāyāh Al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī
Ma’rifat Anwā’ ‘Ilm al-ḤadīthAl-Hāfidh Abū ‘Amr ibn al-Ṣalāḥ
Tadrīb al-Rāwī[11]  Al-Suyūtī  
Alfiyyat al-ḤadīthAl-Suyūtī  
Alfiyyat al-Ḥadīth[12]Al-Irāqi 
Nukhbat al-Fikar[13]Ibn Ḥājar

[1] Al-Qāḍi Abū Muḥammad al-Rāmahurmuzī (260-360AH) entitled his work al-Muḥaddith al-Fāṣil. This work includes discussions on areas such as the etiquettes of the narrator, disciples and hadith masters, methods of delivery, and the efforts of hadith masters in the pursuit of knowledge.

[2] Al-Ḥākim Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Nisābūrī (321-405AH) is the author of Mustadrak Al-Ḥākim. His book, Ma’rifat Ulūm al-Ḥadīth, was neither ordered systematically nor refined; however, it was a valuable treatise covering fifty sections dealing with the rules of narration.

[3] Abū Nu’aym al-Aṣfahānī (336-430AH) wrote Ma’rifat Ulūm Al-Ḥadīth ‘Alā Kitāb Al-Ḥākim adding to al-Ḥākim’s work, however there were still many sections left incomplete.

[4] Al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī (392-463AH) wrote al-Kifāya on the rules of narration and al-Jami‘ li Akhlāq al-Rāwī Wa Adab al-Sāmi’, on the etiquettes of narration. In fact, he wrote separate treatises on almost all areas of hadith criticism. Al-Ḥāfidh Abū Bakr ibn Nuqta said: ‘Every impartial observer knows that all ḥadīth scholars after al-Khatīb  al-Baghdādī were dependent upon his books.’

[5] Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ (376-544AH) authored the famous Al-Shifā fi Sharh Al-Mustafa ﷺ. He called his book al-Ilmā‘.

[6] Al-Hāfidh Abū ‘Amr ibn al-Ṣalāḥ (577-643AH)

[7] Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Maḥmūd  ibn Aḥmad ibn Hajar al-’Asqalānī al-Shāfi‘ī (773-852AH), more commonly known as: Ibn Ḥājar, Qāḍī al-Quḍāt and Amīr al-Mu’mineen fi al-Ḥadīth.

[8] Plural of madrasah.

[9] Imām Raḍī al-Dīn ibn al-Ḥanbalī al-Ḥanafi (908-971AH), more famously known as Ibn al-Ḥanbali.

[10] Nawāwi wrote Al-Irshād as an abridgement of Muqaddimah Ibn Ṣalāh. This was later summarised in his al-Taqrīb.

[11] Suyūtī came after and summarised al-Nawāwi’s al-Taqrīb into Tadrīb al-Rāwī. 

[12] Al-Irāqi summarised Muqaddimah Ibn Ṣalāh into a poem form. This became the subject of several commentaries, including two, one long and one short, by the author himself. 

[13] Ibn Ḥājar wrote Nukhbat al-Fikar forty years before his death in 812AH Thereafter, he compiled its commentary entitled Nuzhat al-Naẓr. 

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