Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani

Abû Nu`aym’s extreme mutual enmity with the Hanbalî hadîth Master Ibn Mandah for the same reasons gave rise to sharp criticism from both sides. However, the rule followed by the succeeding scholars in this and every case of mutual disaffection between contemporary rivals (aqrân mutanâfisûn ), is to ignore the attacks of each with regard to the other. Another problem sometimes raised with respect to Abû Nu`aym is his narration of a number of forgeries in Hilyat al-Awliyâ’, but the scholars have replied that he always named his narrators, which allows one to assess the reliability of every report he cites. Ibn al-Salâh in his manual of hadîth science named Abû Nu`aym among the seven scholars of highest excellence in the authorship of works in Islâm.2

Abû Nu`aym authored over a hundred works Among them:

* Al-Arba`în `alâ Madhhab al-Mutahaqqiqîn min al-Sûfiyya, in print

* Dalâ’il al-Nubuwwa (“The Signs and Proofs of Prophethood”), devoted entirely to the person of the Prophet Muhammad MHMD , this large work – partly in print – was expanded by al-Bayhaqî to seven volumes in a like-titled work.

* Dhikr Akhbâr Asbahân (“Memorial of the Chronicles of Ispahan”), in print

* Al-Du`afâ’, in print

* Fadâ’il al-Khulafâ’ al-Arba`a wa Ghayrihim, in print

* Fadîlat al-`Adilîn min al-Wulât, a collection of over forty narrations on just government and the duties of the governed towards the rulers. Al-Sakhâwî documented each narration in detail and both the work and its documentation were published.

* Hilyat al-Awliyâ’ wa Tabaqât al-Asfiya’ (“The Adornment of the Friends of Allâh awjand the Biography-Layers of the Pure Ones”) in ten volumes, one of the earliest comprehensive encyclopedias of Sûfî personalities. The book sold in Abû Nu`aym’s lifetime in Naysabûr for four hundred gold dinars and received many editions to our time. Ibn al-Jawzî attacked him for including the Companions in it, then proceeded to epitomize it in his two-volume Sifat al-Safwa, in which he studiously avoided using the words sûfî and tasawwuf. Ibn Kathîr praised the work as an illustration of the author’s strength in hadîth narration. Ibn al-Subkî relates that this book was among Shaykh al-Islâm Taqî al-Dîn al-Subkî’s favorite works. Abû Nu`aym stated the following in his introduction: I have compiled a book that comprises the names, narrations, and sayings of a number of personalities among the most eminent verifying Sûfîs and their Imâms, arranged in the order of their biographical layers (Tabaqât) and including those famous for abundant worship together with their methods. It begins with the time of the Companions, their Successors, and those who came after them.

* Juz` fî Turuq Hadîth Inna Lillâhi Tis`atun wa Tis`îna Isman, in print

* Al-Mahdî.

* Ma`rifat al-Sahâba wa Fadâ’ilihim (“Knowing the Companions and Their Merits”), in print. This book was the basis of subsequent similar works by Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Ibn al-Athîr, and Ibn Hajar.

* Musnad al-Imâm Abî Hanîfa, in print

* Al-Mustakhraj `alâ al-Bukhârî (“Additional Narrations Meeting al-Bukhârî’s Criterion”), in print

* Al-Mustakhraj `alâ Muslim (“Aditional Narrations Meeting Muslim’s Criterion”), in print

* Riyâdat al-Abdân, in print

* Al-Shu`arâ’ (“The Poets”).

* Al-Sifât. Al-Suyûtî mentioned it in his commentary on Sûrat al-Nâs in his book al-Iklîl fî Istinbât al-Tanzîl.

* Sifat al-Janna (“Description of Paradise”), in print

* Tabaqât al-Muhaddithîn wal-Ruwât (“Biography-Layers of the Hadîth Scholars and Narrators”).

* Tasmiyatu mâ Intahâ ilaynâ min al-Ruwât `an al-Fadl ibn Dukayn `Aliyan, in print

* Tasmiyatu mâ Intahâ ilaynâ min al-Ruwât `an Sa`îd ibn Mansûr `Aliyan, in print

* Tathbît al-Imâma wa Tartîb al-Khilâfa, in print, a refutation of Shî`ism.

* Al-Tibb al-Nabawî(“Prophetic Medicine”).

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