al-Hakim al-Naysaburi

Al-Hâkim, Muhammad ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Muhammad ibn Hamdûyah, Abû `Abd Allâh al-Dabbî al-Tamhânî al-Naysabûrî al-Shâfi`î, also known as Ibn al-Bayyi` (321-405). The Imâm, hadîth Master, expert in hadîth criticism, and Shaykh of hadîth Masters. He took hadîth from about two thousand authorities in Khurâsân, Iraq, Transoxiana and elsewhere. Among the most prominent of the Masters who narrated hadîth from him are his own teacher al-Dâraqutnî – who declared him stronger in hadîth than Ibn Mandah, – al-Bayhaqî, al-Qushayrî, and others. Abû Hazim said that al-Hâkim was peerless in his time in Khurâsân, the Hijâz, al-Shâm, Iraq, Rayy, Tabaristân, and Transoxiana. His fame became widespread with lightning speed in his own lifetime. Al-Dhahabî said: “I saw an incredible thing, which is that the muhaddith of al-Andalus Abû `Umar al-Talamankî copied al-Hâkim’s book `Ulûm al-Hadîth (“The Sciences of Hadîth”) in the year 389 from a shaykh which he named, from another narrator, from al-Hâkim.”

Al-Hâkim belongs to the second generation of the Ash`arî school, having taken al-Ash`arî’s doctrine at the hands of his students, among them Abû Sahl al-Su`lûkî. He took tasawwuf from al-Sulamî’s grandfather and teacher Abû `Amr ibn Nujayd, Abû al-Hasan al-Bûshanjî, Abû Sa`îd Ahmad ibn Ya`qûb al-Thaqafî, Abû Nasr al-Saffâr, Abû Qâsim al-Râzî, Ja`far ibn Nusayr, Abû `Amr al-Zujâjî, Ja`far ibn Ibrâhîm al-Hadhdhâ’, and Abû `Uthmân al-Maghribî. Al-Hâkim said: “I drank water from Zamzam and asked Allâh for excellence in writing books”. He authored the following works among others:

Al-Abwâb (“The Chapters”)

Al-Amâlî (“The Dictations”)

Amâlî al-`Ashiyyât (“Night Dictations”)

Fadâ’il al-Shâfi`î (“The Immense Merits of al-Shâfi`î”)

Fawâ’id al-Nusakh (“Benefits of the Copies”)

Fawâ’id al-Khurâsâniyyîn (“Benefits of the People of Khurâsân”)

Al-Iklîl fî Dalâ’il al-Nubuwwa (“The Diadem: The Marks of Prophethood”)

Al-`Ilal (“The Defects of Hadîth”)

Tafarrada bi Ikhrâjihi Kullu Wâhidin min al-Imâmayn (“Reports Found Only in al-Bukhârî or Only in Muslim”)

Al-Madkhal ilâ `Ilm al-Sahîh (“Introduction to the Science of Sound Reports”)

Ma`rifat Anwâ` `Ulûm al-Hadîth (“Knowledge of the Different Types of the Hadîth Sciences”)

Al-Mustadrak `alâ al-Sahîhayn (“Supplement for What is Missing From al-Bukhârî and Muslim”)

Muzakkâ al-Akhbâr (“Verified Reports”)

Al-Sahîhân (“The Two Books of sahîh Hadîths”)

Al-Talkhîs (“The Summary”)

Tarâjim al-Musnad `alâ Shart al-Sahîhayn (“The Reports of Ahmad’s Musnad That Match the Criteria of the Two Books of Sahîh“)

Tarâjim al-Shuyûkh (“Biographies of the Shaykhs”)

Târîkh `Ulamâ’ Ahl Naysabûr (“History of the Scholars of Naysabûr”), etc.

It is narrated that a man of letters named Abû al-Fadl al-Hamadhânî came to Naysabûr where he acquired a following and was named Badî` al-Zamân (“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 hadîth,” exclaiming: “Memorizing hadîth! Is it worthy of mention?” When he heard of this, al-Hâkim sent him a book of hadîth and challenged him to memorize it in a week. Al-Hamadhânî 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-Hâkim said: “Therefore know yourself, and understand that to memorize such as this is beyond your sphere.”

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