Meet Ibn Majah al-Qazwini, author of the ‘Sunan’ books on Islam

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Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazeed al-Rabei al-Qazwini, known as Ibn Majah, is considered one of the pioneers and imams of the Hadith.

He was born in Qazvin in the year 209 AH (824 AD) and died in Ramadan in 273 AH (886 AD). He earned fame and recognition thanks to his hallmark book “Sunan” or “Sunan Ibn Majah”, which is among the most important six works of the Prophet’s Hadith.

He was born in Qazvin, which was conquered during the era of Caliphate Uthman ibn Affan. Al-Bara’ ibn `Azib became governor in the year (24 AH 644 CE). Ever since, Qazvin transformed into a knowledge center, and become a city of science, full of research and scientific activity.

During the time of Ibn Majah, the Abbasid state was at its most glorious period of strength and civilization during the reign of al-Ma’mun.

From a young age, Ibn Majah preferred to sit with the scholars, especially the elders of the Prophet’s Hadith. This was accompanied by a desire to travel and depart at the age of 22, which was the approach taken by the Hadith scholars at that time. It was necessary to travel between countries to collect the Hadiths and meet and learn from other scholars.

IBN MAHJ
IBN MAHJ

Ibn Majah traveled to many countries and cities such as the Levant, Kufa, Damascus, Hijaz, Egypt and others, where he was acquainted with the Hadith schools in every country he traveled to.

He studied under any scholars including Muhammad ibn al-Muthanna known as Al Zaman, Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, Muhammad ibn Abdullah bin Nimeer and other senior imams and Hadith scholars.

Ibn Majah was both an author and a teacher. His most recognized students are Ibn Sebouwayh, Mohammed bin Issa al-Saffar, Isaac bin Mohammed, Ali bin Qattan and other famous Hadith narrators.

In his 15 years of travel, he went to many countries to finally settle back in Qazvin where he devoted himself to writing, classifying, and narrating the Hadith, having won attention and becoming a reference in his field.

IBN MAHJ
IBN MAHJ

Qazwini described him as “a trustful, agreed upon, invoked and knowledgeable. He was an important scholar in this regard, including classifying the dates and Sunan.”

Imam Thahabi also praised him saying: “he was an important authority and a scholar, and an honest critic.” In addition to the praise of Ibn Khallikan, who was impressed by his immense knowledge of the Hadith and its science.

The book “Sunan Ibn Majah” is one of the six books of Prophetic Hadith and is considered to the most important and most famous. It is classified into different subjects and can count 4341 Hadiths. Some of the scholars believe that some Hadiths are weak or not true. Other Hadiths can also be found in other books. Nevertheless, Ibn Majah exclusively included 1339 Hadiths that can only be found in his book “Sunan.”

What makes “Sunan” so different from other Hadith books that Ibn Majah took care of explaining and commenting on the content. Other scholars including al-Sindi, Suyuti, Muhammad al-Muntaki al-Kashnawi, and others commented on his book.

IBN MAHJ
IBN MAHJ

Other works

In addition to his famous book “Sunan”, Ibn Majah wrote an explanation of the Holy Quran. Ibn Kathir wrote in his book “The Beginning and the End” that it was a well-respected interpretation, but unfortunately it was lost, like many other books he wrote.

He also wrote a book chronicling the era of the Companions of the Prophet until his time. Ibn Kathir asserted that it was an assertive book full of facts. But the book was also lost.

Death

Ibn Majah died in the month of Ramadan in 273 AH, his brother Abu Bakr prayed in his funeral. Abu Bakr, his other brother Abu Abdullah and his son Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Yazid buried him.

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