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The Tābi‘ūn (Arabic: اَلتَّابِعُونَ‎, also accusative or genitive Tābi‘īn اَلتَّابِعِينَ, singular tābi‘ تَابِعٌ), "followers" or "successors", are the generation of Muslims who followed the Ṣaḥābah ("companions" of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), and thus received Muhammad's teachings second hand.[1] A tābi‘ knew at least one Ṣaḥābi.[2] As such, they played an important part in the development of Islamic thought and philosophy, and in the political development of the early caliphate. The next generation of Muslims after the Tabi‘ūn are called the Tābi‘ū al-Tabi‘īn تَابِعُو ٱلتَّابِعِينَ. The first three generations of Muhammad’s followers make up the salaf اَلسَّلَفُ of Islam.

Sunni definition[edit]

Muslims from the Sunni branch of Islam define a Tâbi`î as a Muslim who:

  1. Saw at least one of the companions of Muhammad.
  2. Was rightly guided (according to the Sunni, one who adheres to the beliefs and actions of the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama'ah).
  3. One who died in that state. The Khawarij are therefore not referred to as Tabi‘un even though they saw many of Muhammad's companions.

Sunni Muslims also regard the Tabi‘un as the best generation after the Sahabah. According to Sunni Muslims, Muhammad said: "The best people are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation)" [1].

The Tabi'un are divided by most Muslim scholars into three classes:[3]

  1. The students of Sahaba who accepted Islam before the conquest of Makkah
  2. The students of Sahaba who accepted Islam after the conquest of Makkah
  3. The students of Sahaba who were not yet adults at the time of Muhammad's passing

List of Tabi‘un[edit]

The earliest of the Tabi'un to die was Zayd ibn Ma'mar ibn Zayd, 30 years after the hijra, and the last to die was Khalaf ibn Khalifa, who died in 180 A.H. Alternatively, since the status of Khalaf ibn Khalifa as a Tabee is strongly challenged by reputed scholars, the last to die from amongst them may have been Jarir bin Haazim (died 170 A.H.). Therefore, many of the Tabi'un were tasked with the preservation of Islamic traditions from the era of the Sahaba to later Muslims.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Altamira. p. 443. ISBN 0-7591-0189-2.
  2. ^ Esposito, John L. (2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 301.
  3. ^ a b Siddiqi, Muhammad (1993). Hadith Literature (PDF). Oxford: The Islamic Texts Society. p. 29. ISBN 0946621381.
  4. ^ MSA
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts Archived 2006-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hazrat Ali bin Usman Al-Hujwiri (2001). The Kashf Al-Mahjub:A Persian Treatise on Sufism. Justice Karam Shah. Zia-ul-Quran Publications Lahore Pakistan.