Imam Tirmidhi

The status of al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi among the six authentic books of hadith. al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi has been categorized as fifth amongst the six most authentic books of hadith. According to the most preferred opinion, Bukhari enjoys the highest status, followed by Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasai, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah respectively. Haji Khalifa in al-Kashf al-Dhunoon has categorised Tirmidhi in third position. Al-Dhahabi has written that Tirmidhi in actual fact should be holding the third position, but due to him bringing weak narrators like Kalbi and Masloob its status has dropped. However, looking at the manner in which he set out his book it seems that Haji Khalifa’s opinion is best.

Some of the commentaries of Tirmidhi

{1.} ‘A’ridat-ul-Ahwazi

An Arabic compilation of Qadi Abu Bakr ibn `Arabi (r) in 7 volumes.

{2} Qut-ul Mughtazi

Compiled by Jalal ad-Din Suyuti (r).

{3} Tuhfat-ul Ahwadhi

Written by Sheikh Abdur Rahmaan Mubaarakpuri in 10 volumes. He is very critical against the Ahnaaf.

 

The Terminology of Imam Tirmidhi

The classification of hadith was firmly established by Ali ibn Madini (r) and later by his student Imam Bukhari (r). However Imam Tirmidhi was the first Imam to base his book on these classifications.

Imam Tirmidhi classifies most of the Ahadith and mentions its reliability. Altogether Imam Tirmidhi uses nine different terms.

1.) sahih: That hadith wherein each reporter must be trustworthy, he must have the power of retention and the sanad of the hadith must go back to Nabi (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) without any interruption, it must agree with those of other reliable reporters and there should be no hidden defect in the matan or the sanad. N.B. Imam Tirmidhi does not consider it a prerequisite that a sahih Hadith must have several chains of narrators.

2.) hasan: That hadith which does not contain a reporter accused of lying, it is not shaaz and the hadith has been reported through more than one sanad.

3.) da`eef: Such a hadith wherein the narrators are not trustworthy, or they don’t posses the ability of retaining, or there is a break in the chain of narrators, or the hadith is shaaz or mu’alall.

4.) gharib: According to Imam Tirmidhi a hadith is classified gharib for one of the following reasons..

(a) it is narrated from one chain only.

(b) there is some addition in the text.

(c) it is narrated through various chains of transmitters but having within one of its chains an addition in the sanad.

5.) hasan gharib: These two can be combined. i.e. hasan refers to the uprighteousness of the narrators whilst gharib implies that he is alone in transmitting the hadith.

6.) sahih gharib: This term implies that the hadith is authentic but there is only one sanad.

7.) hasan sahih gharib: This hadith is hasan since it has several chains of transmitters, it is sahih as the chains are all authentic and it is gharib in the words that Imam Tirmidhi narrated.

8.) hasan sahih: This term has caused much confusion amongst the Muhadditheen since hasan is lower in rank than sahih. While sahih indicates to the excellent retention power of a narrator, hasan indicates to a deficiency in this regard hence it seems that both are opposites and is not possible to reconcile. The mutaqaddimeen have given many explanations to this :

[1] Ibn Hajar (r) has mentioned that the word “aw” is omitted hence the hadith will be either hasan or sahih. [2] Ibn Salah is of the opinion that when a hadith is reported with two sanads, one should be considered as hasan and the other as sahih. [3] Ibn Kathir says that Imam Tirmidhi has made up a new term which implies the hadith to be higher than hasan but lower than sahih. [4] Ibn Daqiq ul `Eid is of this opinion that sahih and hasan are not opposites. Rather they belong to the same category. However hasan will be considered as inferior to sahih hence they both can be combined. This opinion has been given most preference by the Muhadditheen.

CONCLUSION

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