Kutub al-Sittah

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The Kutub al-Sittah (Arabic: الكتب السته;‎) are six books containing collections of hadiths (sayings or acts of the Prophet Muhammad), compiled by six Sunni Muslim scholars in the ninth century CE. They are sometimes referred to as Al-Sihah al-Sittah, which translates as "The Authentic Six". They were first formally grouped and defined by Ibn al-Qaisarani in the 11th century.[1][2][3] Since then, they have enjoyed near-universal acceptance as part of the official canon of Sunni Islam.

Significance[edit]

Sunni Muslims view the six major hadith collections as their most important. They are, in order of authenticity:[4]

  1. Sahih Bukhari, collected by Imam Bukhari (d. 256 A.H., 870 C.E.), includes 7275 ahadith
  2. Sahih Muslim, collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 261 A.H., 875 C.E.), includes 9200 ahadith
  3. Sunan al-Sughra, collected by al-Nasa'i (d. 303 A.H., 915 C.E.)
  4. Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by Abu Dawood (d. 275 A.H., 888 C.E.)
  5. Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 A.H, 892 C.E)
  6. Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah (d. 273 A.H., 887 C.E.)

The first two, commonly referred to as the Two Sahihs as an indication of their authenticity, contain approximately seven thousand ahadith altogether if repetitions are not counted, according to Ibn Hajar.[5]

The authors[edit]

According to the Cambridge History of Iran:[6] "After this period commences the age of the authors of the six canonical collections of Sunni hadith, all of whom were Persian. The authors of the six collections are as follows:

  1. Muhammad b. Isma'il al-Bukhari, the author of the Sahih Bukhari, which he composed over a period of sixteen years. Traditional sources quote Bukhari as saying that he did not record any hadith before performing ablution and praying. Bukhari died near Samarqand in 256/869-70.
  2. Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Naishapuri, who died in Nishapur in 261/ 874-5 and whose Sahih Muslim is second in authenticity only to that of Bukhari.
  3. Abu Dawood Sulaiman b. Ash'ath al-Sijistani, a Persian but of Arab descent, who died in 275/888-9.
  4. Muhammad b. 'Isa al-Tirmidhi, the author of the well-known as Sunan al-Tirmidhi, who was a student of Bukhari and died in 279/892-3.
  5. Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Nasa'i, who was from Khurasan and died in 303/915-16.
  6. Ibn Majah al-Qazwini, who died in 273/886-7."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ignác Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, pg. 240. Halle, 1889-1890. ISBN 0-202-30778-6
  2. ^ Scott C. Lucas, Constructive Critics, Ḥadīth Literature, and the Articulation of Sunnī Islam, pg. 106. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2004.
  3. ^ Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, translated by William McGuckin de Slane. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. Sold by Institut de France and Royal Library of Belgium. Vol. 3, pg. 5.
  4. ^ "Various Issues About Hadiths". Abc.se. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  5. ^ al-Nukat 'Ala Kitab ibn al-Salah, by Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, vol. 1, pg. 153, Maktabah al-Furqan, Ajman, U.A.E., second edition, 2003.
  6. ^ S. H. Nasr(1975), “The religious sciences”, in R.N. Frye, the Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press