Biographies, Islam

What is Kutub Al-Sittah (The six major hadith collections)?

Kutub al-Sittah

Al-Kutub al-Sittah The six major hadith collections (Arabic: ;ﺍﻟﻜﺘﺐ ﺍﻟﺴﺘﻪ Al-Kutub Al-Sittah) are collections of hadith by Islamic scholars who, approximately 200 years after Prophet Muhammad Salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam, death and by their own initiative, collected “hadith” attributed to Muhammad Salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam. They are sometimes referred to as Al-Sihah al-Sittah, which translates to “The Authentic Six“. Significance Sunni Muslims view the six major hadith collections as their most important. They are, in order of authenticity:

  1. Sahih Bukhari, collected by Imam Bukhari (d. 870), includes 7275 ahadith
  2. Sahih Muslim, collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875), includes 9200 ahadith
  3. Sunan al-Nasai, collected by al-Nasai (d. 915)
  4. Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by Abu Dawood (d. 888)
  5. Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi (d. 892)
  6. Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah (d. 887)

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.

The Authors

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 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 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 Ash’ath al-Sijistani, a Persian but of Arab descent, who died in 275/888-9.
  4. Muhammad ‘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.”

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