Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi
|Abū `isa Muhammad ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi
أبو عيسى محمد بن عيسى الترمذي
|Born||824 CE (209 AH)
Termez, Abbasid Caliphate
|Died||892 CE (13 Rajab 279 AH)
Termez, Samanid Empire
|Era||Islamic golden age|
|Occupation||Hadith compiler, Islamic scholar|
|Main interest(s)||Hadith studies|
|Notable work(s)||Jami` at-Tirmidhi
Abū ‘Īsá Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá as-Sulamī aḍ-Ḍarīr al-Būghī at-Tirmidhī (Arabic: أبو عيسى محمد بن عيسى السلمي الضرير البوغي الترمذي; Persian: ترمذی, Termezī; 824 – 8 October 892), often referred to as Imam at-Tirmidhi, was a Persian Islamic scholar and collector of hadith who wrote al-Jami` as-Sahih (known as Jami` at-Tirmidhi), one of the six canonical hadith compilations in Sunni Islam. He also wrote Shama'il Muhammadiyah (popularly known as Shama'il at-Tirmidhi), a compilation of hadiths concerning the person and character of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. At-Tirmidhi was also well versed in Arabic grammar, favoring the school of Kufa over Basra due to the former's preservation of Arabic poetry as a primary source.
Name and lineage
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsá ibn aḍ-Ḍaḥḥāk (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن موسى بن الضحاك)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād ibn aḍ-Ḍaḥḥāk (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد بن الضحاك)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād ibn ‛Īsá (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد بن عيسى)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Yazīd ibn Sawrah ibn as-Sakan (محمد بن عيسى بن يزيد بن سورة بن السكن)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sahl (محمد بن عيسى بن سهل)
- Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sahl ibn Sawrah (محمد بن عيسى بن سهل بن سورة)
Muhammad ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi was born during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun. His year of birth has been reported as 209 AH (824/825). Adh-Dhahabi only states that at-Tirmidhi was born near the year 210 AH (825/826), thus some sources give his year of birth as 210 AH. Some sources indicate that he was born in Mecca (Siddiqi says he was born in Mecca in 206 AH (821/822)) while others say he was born in Tirmidh (Persian: Termez), in what is now southern Uzbekistan. The stronger opinion is that he was born in Tirmidh. Specifically, he was born in one of its suburbs, the village of Bugh (hence the nisbats "at-Tirmidhi" and "al-Bughi").
At-Tirmidhi began the study of hadith at the age of 20. From the year 235 AH (849/850) he traveled widely in Khurasan, Iraq, and the Hijaz in order to collect hadith. His teachers and those he narrated from included:
- Abū Rajā’ Qutaybah ibn Sa‘īd al-Balkhī al-Baghlāni
- ‘Alī ibn Ḥujr ibn Iyās as-Sa‘dī al-Marwazī
- Muḥammad ibn Bashshār al-Baṣrī
- ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah al-Jumaḥī al-Baṣrī
- Abū Muṣ‘ab az-Zuhrī al-Madanī
- Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Mālik ibn Abī ash-Shawārib al-Umawī al-Baṣrī
- Ismā‘īl ibn Mūsá al-Fazārī al-Kūfi
- Muḥammad ibn Abī Ma‘shar as-Sindī al-Madanī
- Abū Kurayb Muḥammad ibn al-‘Alā’ al-Kūfī
- Hanād ibn al-Sarī al-Kūfī
- Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Harawī
- Suwayd ibn Naṣr ibn Suwayd al-Marwazī
- Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Baṣrī
- Zayd ibn Akhzam al-Baṣrī
- al-‘Abbās al-‘Anbarī al-Baṣrī
- Muḥammad ibn al-Muthanná al-Baṣrī
- Muḥammad ibn Ma‘mar al-Baṣrī
- Abu Dawud
At the time, Khurasan, at-Tirmidhi's native land, was a major center of learning, being home to a large number of muhaddiths. Other major centers of learning visited by at-Tirmidhi were the Iraqi cities of Kufa and Basra. At-Tirmidhi reported hadith from 42 Kufan teachers. In his Jami`, he used more reports from Kufan teachers than from teachers of any other town.
At-Tirmidhi was a pupil of al-Bukhari, who was based in Khurasan. Adh-Dhahabi wrote, "His knowledge of hadith came from al-Bukhari." At-Tirmidhi mentioned al-Bukhari's name 114 times in his Jami`. He used al-Bukhari's Kitab at-Tarikh as a source when mentioning discrepancies in the text of a hadith or its transmitters, and praised al-Bukhari as being the most knowledgeable person in Iraq or Khurasan in the science of discrepancies of hadith. When mentioning the rulings of jurists, he followed al-Bukhari's practice of not mentioning the name of Abu Hanifah. Because he never received a reliabe chain of narrators to mention Abu Hanifa's decrees, he would instead attribute them to "some people of Kufa." Al-Bukhari held at-Tirmidhi in high regard as well. He is reported to have told at-Tirmidhi, "I have profited more from you than you have from me," and in his Sahih he narrated two hadith from at-Tirmidhi.
A.J. Wensinck mentions Ahmad ibn Hanbal as among at-Tirmidhi's teachers. However, Hoosen states that according to the most reliable sources, at-Tirmidhi never went to Baghdad, nor did he attend any lectures of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Furthermore, at-Tirmidhi never directly narrates from Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Jami`.
At-Tirmidhi was blind in the last two years of his life, according to adh-Dhahabi. His blindness is said to have been the consequence of excessive weeping, either due to fear of God or over the death of al-Bukhari.
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