by Dr. G.F. Haddad

Al-Sulamī, Muh.ammad ibn al-H.usayn ibn Muh.ammad ibn Mūsā, Abū ‘Abd al-Rah.mān al-Azdī al-Sulamī al-Naysabūrī al-Shāfi‘ī (325-412), the h.adīth Master, Shaykh of the S.ūfīs, and bibliophile who authored hundreds of books, “he was of very high status” (al-Dhahabī), “the Shaykh of the Path in his time who was granted mastery in all the sciences of the realities and knowledge of the path of tas.awwuf, he authored many wondrous treatises in the science of the Folk, having inherited tas.awwuf from his father then his grandfather, and he authored, in that field, an unprece­dented amount of works, exceeding one hundred” (‘Abd al-Ghāfir al-Fārisī). He came from a mod­est home and was orphaned of his Azdī father – reputed for his refined manners and scrupu­lous transactions – in his teens, after which his maternal, Sulamī grandfather took charge of his education.

He narrated from al-Dāraqut.nī, Abū al-‘Abbās al-As.amm, Ah.mad ibn ‘Alī ibn H.asnūyah al-Muqri’, Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abdūs, Muh.ammad ibn Ah.mad ibn Sa‘īd al-Rāzī, Ibn Wārah, Abū Z.uhayr ‘Abd Allāh ibn Fāris al-‘Umarī al-Balkhī, Muh.ammad ibn al-Mu’ammal al-Māsarjisī, the h.adīth Master Abū ‘Alī al-H.usayn ibn Muh.ammad al-Naysabūrī, Sa‘īd ibn al-Qāsim al-Barda‘ī, Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad ibn Rumayh. al-Nasawī, and his grandfa­ther Abū ‘Amr Ismā‘īl ibn Nujayd ibn Muh.addith Naysabūr Ah.mad ibn Yūsuf al-Sulamī. It is related that he began to narrate as early at age eight, in 333, in writing, from his Shaykh, Abū Bakr al-S.ibghī. He did narrate occasionally from Abū Nu‘aym al-As.bahānī although the latter was his junior of five years.

Among those who narrated from him: al-H.ākim, al-Qushayrī, al-Bayhaqī, Abū Sa‘īd ibn Rāmish, Abū Bakr Muh.ammad ibn Yah.yā ibn Ibrāhīm al-Muzakkī, Abū S.ālih. al-Mu’adhdhin, the leader (ra’īs) of As.bahān Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Qāsim ibn al-Fad.l ibn Ah.mad al-Thaqafī al-Jūbārī (d. 489), Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wā al-Wakīl, known as al-Munkadirī, al-Qād.ī Ah.mad ibn ‘Alī ibn al-H.usayn al-Tawwazī – from both of whom al-Khat.īb narrates the notice on al-Sulamī in his Tārīkh Baghdād –, Abū Bakr Ah.mad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Shīrāzī al-Naysabūrī the Musnid of Khurāsān, Abū H.āmid Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad al-Ghazzālī al-T.ūsī the Elder, of Transoxiana (d. 435) – the uncle or great-uncle of H.ujjat al-Islām –, Abū Muh.ammad al-Juwaynī the father of Imām al-H.aramayn, ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ah.mad ibn ‘Uthmān al-Azharī, one of al-Khat.īb’s most famous Shaykhs, ‘Alī ibn Sulaymān ibn Dāwūd al-Khat.ībī of Awzakand in Transoxiana, his close friend and scribe the h.adīth Master Abū Mans.ūr ‘Umar ibn Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad al-Jūrī al-Naysabūrī (d. 469), the jurist Abū H.afs. ‘Umar ibn Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Umar al-Marwazī al-Jis.s.īnī, the Persian S.ūfī poet Fad.l Allāh Abū Sa‘īd ibn Abī al-Khayr al-Mayhanī, Abū Bakr Mu­h.ammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Muh.ammad al-Naysabūrī al-Tiflīsī, Abū al-H.asan Mahdī ibn Muh.ammad ibn al-‘Abbās al-T.abarī al-Māmat.īrī, known as Ibn Sarhank, Abū Bakr Muh.ammad ibn al-Qāsim ibn H.abīb ibn ‘Abdūs al-S.affār, Abū al-Qāsim Ismā‘īl ibn Zāhir ibn Muh.ammad al-Nūqānī al-Naysabūrī, and others.

He wrote h.adīth in Naysabūr, Marw, Iraq, and the H.ijāz, and narrated h.adīth for over forty years, by dictation and reading, forming several major Masters. His works became well-known and spread far and wide in his own lifetime. He also took tas.awwuf from the Ma­lāmatī Shaykhs Ibn Munāzil and Abū ‘Alī al-Thaqafī in Khurāsān as well as from the students of Abū ‘Uthmān al-H.īrī, Abū Nas.r al-Sarrāj the author of al-Luma‘, his grandfa­ther Abū ‘Amr ibn Nujayd, and Abū al-Qāsim al-Nas.rābādhī, with whom he would attend h.adīth gatherings.

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