(5) The Great Ash`ari Scholars

(5) The Great Ash`ari Scholars

(5) The Great Ash`ari Scholars

Al-Hakim, Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Hamduyah, Abu `Abd Allah al-Dabbi al-Tamhani al-Naysaburi al-Shafi`i, also known as Ibn al-Bayyi` (d. 405). The imam, hadith master, expert in hadith criticism, and shaykh of hadith masters. He took hadith from about two thousand authorities in Khurasan, Iraq, Transoxiana and elsewhere. Among the most prominent of the masters who narrated hadith from him are his own shaykh al-Daraqutni – who declared him stronger in hadith than Ibn Mandah, – al-Bayhaqi, al-Qushayri, and others. Abu Hazim said that al-Hakim was peerless in his time in Khurasan, the Hijaz, al-Sham, Iraq, Rayy, Tabaristan, and Transoxiana. His fame became widespread with lightning speed in his own lifetime. Al-Dhahabi said: “I saw an incredible thing, which is that the muhaddith of al-Andalus Abu `Umar al-Talamanki copied al-Hakim’s book “`Ulum al-Hadith” (“The Sciences of Hadith“) in the year 389 from a shaykh which he named, from another narrator, from al-Hakim.” Al-Hakim belongs to the second generation of the Ash`ari school, having taken al-Ash`ari’s doctrine at the hands of his students, among them Abu Sahl al-Su`luki. He took tasawwuf from Abu `Amr ibn Nujayd, Abu al-Hasan al-Bushanji, Abu Sa`id Ahmad ibn Ya`qub al-Thaqafi, Abu Nasr al-Saffar, Abu Qasim al-Razi, Ja`far ibn Nusayr, Abu `Amr al-Zujaji, Ja`far ibn Ibrahim al-Hadhdha’, and Abu `Uthman al-Maghribi.

Al-Hakim said: “I drank water from Zamzam and asked Allah for excellence in writing books.” He authored: “al-Sahihan” (“The Two Books of Saheeh Hadiths“), “al-`Ilal” (“The Defects of A Hadith“), “al-Amali” (“The Dictations”), “Fawa’id al-Nusakh” (“Benefits of the Copies”), “Fawa’id al-Khurasaniyyin” (“Benefits of the People of Khurasan”), “Amali al-`Ashiyyat” (“Night Dictations”), “al-Talkhis” (“The Summary”), “al-Abwab” (“The Chapters”), “Tarajim al-Shuyukh” (“Biographies of the Shaykhs“), “Ma`rifa Anwa` `Ulum al-Hadith” (“Knowledge of the Different Types of the Hadith Sciences”), “Tarikh `Ulama’ Ahl Naysabur” (“History of the Scholars of Naysabur”), “Muzakki al-Akhbar” (“Purified Reports”), “al-Madkhal ila `Ilm al-Sahih” (“Introduction to the Science of Sound Reports”), “al-Iklil fi Dala’il al-Nubuwwa” (“The Diadem: The Signs of Prophethood”), “al-Mustadrak `ala al-Sahihayn” (“Supplement for What is Missing From Bukhari and Muslim”), “Ma Tafarrada bi Ikhrajihi Kull Wahidin min al-Imamayn” (“Reports Found Only in Bukhari or Only in Muslim”), “Fada’il al-Shafi`i” (“The Immense Merits of al-Shafi`i”), “Tarajim al-Musnad `ala Shart al-Sahihayn” (“The Reports of Ahmad’s Musnad Which Match the Criteria of the Two Books of Sahih“), etc.

It is narrated that a man of letters named Abu al-Fadl al-Hamadhani came to Naysabur where he acquired a following and was named Badee` al-Zaman (“Wonder of the Age”), whereupon he became self-infatuated. If he heard someone recite a hundred verses of poetry but once, he was able to recite them back from memory, starting from the end and back to the beginning. One day he criticized someone for saying: “So-and-so the memorizer of hadith.” He said: “Memorizing hadith! Is it worthy of mention?” When he heard of this, al-Hakim sent him a book of hadith and challenged him to memorize it in a week. Al-Hamadhani returned the book to him and said: “Who can memorize this? ‘Muhammad son of So-and-So and Ja`far son of So-and-So reported from So-and-So’ – It is filled with all sorts of different names and terms!” Al-Hakim said: “Therefore know yourself, and understand that to memorize such as this is beyond your sphere.”

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