Ibn Khuzaimah Al-Shafi`i (d. 311 H.)
الأربعاء 19 / رجب / 1431 هـ - الموافق 30 / يونيو / 2010 م
Ibn Khuzaimah
(223 - 311 Hijri)

Name: Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah bin al-Mughirah bin Salih bin Bakr Al-Naysaboori; also known as Imam of the Imams.
Kunyah ( * ) : Abu Bakr
Al-Khuzaymi: This title; al-Khuzaymi, is an attribution to Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah bin al-Mughirah bin Salih bin Bakr al-Naysaboori al-Khuzaymi…some (scholars of Hadeeth) take this title in attribution to him; therefore, each one of them is called al-Khuzaymi (i.e. It is added to his name). (1)
Fiqh Madhhab: He was a Shafi’i.(2) Al-Sam’aani said: He met the companions of al-Shafi’e and learnt Fiqh from them. (3)

His Birth: He was born in Naysabur; in the month of Safar 223 H. (4)
His Travels: He travelled across many regions seeking the knowledge of Hadeeth;(5) he travelled to Iraq, Shaam, Egypt and other countries. (6) He entered the city of Gorgan (Jurjan) in the month of Rajab, in the year 300H; and he narrated Hadeeth there. He then headed to “Ribaat Dahistan” where he also narrated Hadeeth, and in the Old Masjid of the city, he narrated ahadeeths to others in order for them to be recorded. (7)

His Teachers :
- He heard (Hadeeth) from Ishaq bin Rahwaih and Muhammad bin Hameed; yet despite this, he did not narrate any Hadeeth from them as he recorded their ahadeeths when he was still a child and before he was able to comprehend this knowledge. (8)
- Ali bin Hujr in the City of Marw
- Yunus bin Abdel A`la in Egypt
- Ahmad bin Ibraheem al-Dawraqi and his brother Ya’qoob
- Muhammad bin Harb in the City of Waasit
- Muhammad bin Abban al-Mustamli
and many others. (9)

His Students:
- Abu Bakr al-Isma’eeli, recorded from him in the Cities of Gorgan and Dahistan. (10)
- His two teachers; al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from him in books other than their two Sahih books (11); al-Hakim said: ‘I saw the handwriting of Muslim bin al-Hajjaj in his book which read: ‘Muhammad bin Ishaaq; Abu Bakr our companion narrated to me’ (12)
- His Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdillah bin Abdil Hakam
- His grandson Muhammad bin al-Fadl bin Muhammad bin Khuzaymah
- Abu Hatim al-Busti (Ibn Hibban)
- Abu Ahmad bin Udai
- Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Ishaaq al-Sibghi
- Abu Ahmad al-Hakim
and many others. (13)

His life and Critics’ Assessment of him:

His student Ibn Hibban said: “He – May Allah bestow His mercy upon him – was one of the pinnacles of this life in various fields of knowledge, Fiqh, memorization, compiling [other sciences] and concluding rulings from texts. He excelled to the level that he was able to narrate Sunan ahadeeths with chains that none of the expert leaders knew before him, while also being perfect in his knowledge and exceedingly righteous until the day he passed away, may Allah bestow His mercy upon him". (14)
He also said: “I saw no one on the surface of the earth who memorized the Sunan ahadeeths, the authentic wording of these narrations, and the additions of such narrations; it was as if (all) the Sunan ahadeeths were present before his very eyes except for Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah.” (15)
Ad-Daraqutni said: “Ibn Khuzaymah was an Imam, thabt (i.e. resolute in his knowledge and memorization) and one of a kind.” (16)
Abu al-Sa’d al-Sam’aani said: “The people of his era agreed on his advanced rank in knowledge… he met the companions of ash-Shafi’i and he learnt fiqh from them.” (17)
Abu al-A’bbas bin Surayj said: “He would extract the benefits from the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah with a chisel (to signify that he was capable of noticing what others could not)." (18)
Abu al-Hasan bin Hamdawayh al-Sanjani said: “After I viewed the topic of Hajj that Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah had explained, I realized that this is a type of knowledge that we are not competent in.” (19)
Abu Abdullah al-Hakim said: “The virtues of this Imam have been compiled by me in many papers, and they are excessively numerous and more renowned to be mentioned in this place.” (20)
Muhammad bin Sahl al-Toosi said: “I heard al-Rabi` bin Sulaiman asking us: ‘Do you know Ibn Khuzaymah?’ We replied: ‘Yes we do.’ He said: ‘We benefited from him more than he benefited from us.'” (21)
Al-Hafith Abu Ali al-Naysaboori said: “Ibn Khuzaimah memorized the fiqh conclusions of ahadeeths similar to the way a reciter memorizes a Surah (of the Quran)”. He also said: “I have not seen anyone like Ibn Khuzaymah”. Al-Dhahabi commented on this statement saying: “He said such a statement even though he saw al-Nasa’i.” (22)
Abu Bishr al-Qattan reported: "A neighbor of Ibn Khuzaymah, who was from the people of knowledge, saw in a dream a board that had the image of our Prophet on it and Ibn Khuzaymah was polishing it; The one who interprets dreams said: ‘This is a man who will revive the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.' " (23)
Abu Ishaaq; Ibrahim bin al-Mudarib said: ‘I saw Ibn Khuzaymah in my dream; I said to him: ‘May Allah reward you with goodness for your service to Islam.’ He replied: ‘That is also what Gabriel said to me in the heaven ." (24)
Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Hatim was asked about Ibn Khuzaymah, wherein he replied: “What a question you ask! He is the one who should be asked about us and not us be asked about him! He is an Imam who is to be followed.” (25)

Adh-Dhahabi said about him: “He cared so much about learning Hadeeth and Fiqh from an early age until he became a standard that people recalled when mentioning someone who possesses vast knowledge and proficiency”. He also said: “Ibn Khuzaymah is glorified in the sight of others, and he is glorified in the hearts because of his knowledge, righteousness, and his following of the Sunnah”. (26)
Abu al-Fadl Salih al-Hamathani said in his book “Sunan al-Tahdeeth”: ‘Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah unlocked the texts of narrations, distinguished their chains and the narrators of these chains; and he uniquely included in his work topics such as the knowledge of hadeeth, the routes of narrations, the various methods of concluding the Fiqh of texts, the disputes of scholars, and the required conditions of the one who desires to narrate Hadeeth. He was the Imam of his era and it has been reported that the Prophet said: ‘By the permission of Allah, He will send to this Ummah every century a person to revive the religion”, then he mentioned the chain of this narration and said: ‘I heard the scholars say previously that ‘Umar bin Abdil Aziz was sent in the first century, Muhammad bin Idrees al-Shafi'e was sent in the second century and Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah was sent in the third century.” (28)
Ibn Katheer said: “He was an ocean of knowledge; he travelled across the world seeking Hadeeth and knowledge. He recorded abundant amounts of knowledge, and authored and compiled much as well. His book “Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah” is amongst the most beneficial and noble books. He is amongst the Mujtahids of the religion of Islam. The scholar Abu Ishaaq al-Shirazi, in his book "Tabaqaat Al-Shafi'iyyah, reported him (i.e. Ibn Khuzaymah) as saying: “I have not made Taqleed of anyone since I was 16 years old.” (29)
Ibn Abdel Hadi said: “He is the Hafith, Al-thabt, the Imam of the Imams, Shaykh al-Islam -- Abu Bakr, Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah.” (30)
Taajul Deen al-Subki said: “The absolute Mujtahid, the storming sea, the Habr (the very learned) whose reasoning and intelligence are unquestionable, and none could reach his level. He compiled various types of knowledge, and his rank was so elevated that even stars could not be as high as him. He resided in the city of Naysaboor as its Imam despite the fact that the city was full of lions (i.e. eminent scholars), his knowledge raised him over others, the masses only visited him and only those who were misfortunate did not meet him. His fatawaa are carried by sea and land. His knowledge leads those walking in darkness and stands as a standard that seekers follow, and how could it be otherwise when he is the Imam of the Imams.” (31)

Muhammad bin al-Fadl: ‘I heard my grandfather (Ibn Khuzaimah) saying: ‘I asked the permission of my father to travel to Qutaybah (in order to learn from him) wherein he said: ‘recite the Quran first so that I will give you permission, thus, I memorized the Quran. Then he said to me: ‘stay until you recite the entire Quran in Salah’, so I did. Then when Eid commenced he gave me permission; so I travelled to Marw where I heard from Muhammad bin Hisham, the companion of Hasheem; and while I was there the news of the death of Qutaybah reached us”. (32)
Ibn Khuzaymah said: ‘Whenever I wanted to author a book I would pray Istikhara and keep praying until Allah inspired me with something then I would begin writing.’ (33)
Abu Ahmad Husainak asked Imam Ibn Khuzaymah: “How much does the Shaykh (Ibn Khuzaymah) memorize?" He hit him on his head and said: ‘How much curiosity you have!’ Then he said: ‘O my son! There is no drop of ink that I have laid on white paper that I do not remember.' ” (34)
Ibn Khuzaymah was once asked: “Where did you manage to get all this knowledge from?" He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ”Zamzam water is for what one intends to drink for.“ And when I drank from it, I asked Allah to grant me beneficial knowledge.” (35)
Ibn Khuzaymah also said: “The words of people are weightless when the words of the Prophet are proven authentic.” (36)
He also said: “I prohibit anyone who has heard from me a matter opposite to an authentic narration of the Prophet that did not reach me or which I did not recall at the time of answering a question, to report from me that matter which is opposite to the saying of the Prophet. That said, every statement I made that is opposite to an authentic narration of the Prophet, which is not opposed by another authentic narration from him, then you all be my witness that I retract that statement and that I repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness from every statement that I may have said that is opposite to the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah.” (37)

His Death:
Imam Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Khuzaymah became ill on Wednesday and passed away on Saturday after the Salah of Isha’a on the 5th of Dhul Qai’dah, year 301 Hijri, at the age of 88 years. He was buried in his house, which was made a cemetery afterwards. (38)
Abu Sa’eed A’mr bin Muhammad said: “I witnessed the death of the Imam Abu Bakr, and he died while he was moving his index finger uttering the Shahadah.” (39)

Authored books:
Al-Hakim said: “He authored more than 140 books, besides the authored materials on specific topics which exceeds 100 parts; the Fiqh of the Hadeeth of Burairah is 3 parts and the paper of Hajj consists of 5 parts”. (40)
He also authored the renowned book “Tawheed and Affirming the Attributes of the Lord” (41) and “Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah.” (42)

Some of His Statements in Matters of Creed (aqeedah) :

Istiwa and 'uluw (aboveness) of Allah over His creations:
Ibn Khuzaymah, May Allah bestow His mercy upon him, said: "Whoever does not admit that Allah, Most High, is upon His throne, and that He performed Istiwaa over His seven heavens, has disbelieved in his Lord and must be asked to repent, either he repents or he is put to death.” (43)
He said regarding the ayah: {O Haamaan! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways, - the ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Musa though I think he is a liar} [40:36-37]. The part {though I think him a liar} indicates that Musa informed him that His Lord is High and above.” (44)
He said: "She [Aisha Radiyallahu anha] said: 'Glorified Be He Whose Hearing encompasses all sounds” so Allah – Most High – heard the talk of the pleading woman while He is above the seven heavens, mustawen (i.e. risen) above His Throne, while some of her talk could not be heard by some of those who were present at the time and near her.” (45)
He also quoted the following words of the Prophet: ”When you ask Allah, ask Him for Firdaws for it is the middle and highest part of Jannah and above it there is the Throne of ar-Rahman from which the rivers of Jannah flow“ [Sahih Bukhari], then he commented: “This narration explicitly states that the Throne of our Lord – Most High – is above His Jannah, and He – Most High- informed us that He rose above His throne, therefore our Lord is High above His throne which is above His Jannah.” (46)
He also said: “All these narrations indicate that the Creator is above His seven heavens and not as Mu’attilah (i.e. those who deny and negate Allah’s attributes) claim that their Lord whom they worship is with them in their homes.” (47)

On Seeing Allah:
Ibn Khuzaymah said in his book “al-Tawheed” in the ‘Chapter: Mentioning the fact that Allah’s loyal slaves will be privileged with seeing Him on the Day of Judgment is what is referred to in the ayah: {Some faces on that day will be bright, looking eagerly towards their Lord}.[75:22-23]’ This is a virtue that His believing loyal slaves are privileged with while all His enemies will be prevented from seeing Him; including the Mushrik, the Jew, the Christian, the Majus, the hypocrite as Allah has explicitly stated: {Nay, they (disbelievers) are blocked from their Lord on the Day of Judgment} [83:15]. They (Allah’s loyal believing slaves) see their Creator after the people of Jannah enter Jannah and after the people of hellfire enter hellfire by which Allah will add more virtue, nobility and grace to His believing slaves while He obstructs it from all His enemies.”

On The Attribute of Descent and Its Kayfiyyah (i.e. Reality, Howness) :
Ibn Khuzaymah, may Allah bestow His mercy upon him said: “The scholars of Hijaz and Iraq reported from the Prophet that the Lord descends to the sky of the dunya every night. We therefore testify and acknowledge on our tongues while our hearts are certain of the information about the descending of Allah without delving into how it happens because our Prophet did not describe to us how our Creator descends to the sky of the dunya but he only informed us that He does descend. And Allah – Most High – and His Prophet did not leave a matter that Muslims are required to know about their religion without mentioning it to them. Therefore, we narrate this information and believe in what it includes about the descending of Allah without delving into how this happens or describing this descending as the Prophet did not describe it to us.” (48)

On Tashbih (i.e. Likening Allah to creation) :
He said: "We say: Allah is Hearing and Seeing, as our Creator informed us, and we say to human beings who can hear and see: they are hearing and seeing, and we do not say that this is tashbih (i.e. likening Allah to His creation)..." (49)
He Also said: "And if it was incumbent upon Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Athar that if they affirm for their lord two hands (yadayn), as Allah affirmed for Himself; and they affirm for Him a self (Nafs), and that He is Hearing and Seeing, He Hears and Sees, that they be mushabbihah (i.e. One's who liken Allah to his creation), as those ignorants claim, then it would be incumbent that everyone who calls Allah a King, or Great, or Kind/Compassionate, or Compeller or Supreme, that he has likened Allah -Azza wa Jal- to His creation; God forbid that whoever describes Allah -Jalla wa `Ala- with what He described Himself with in His book, and upon the tongue of His chosen Prophet -sallallahu alayhi wa sallam- that he be likening Allah to His creation." (50)

( * ) Kunya: A nickname that is derived usually from the first-born child. The prefix being either Umm (mother of) or Abu (father of) and then the child's name. Commonly used amongst the Arabs and Muslims in general.
(1) Al-Ansab by As-Sam'ani (2/362)
(2) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' by Adh-Dhahabi (14/365), and his bio is mentioned in books on Shafi'i scholars.
(3) Al-Ansab (2/362)
(4) Siyar A`lam Nubala' (14/365); Al-A`lam by Az-Zarkali (6/29); Tabaqat Shafi`iyyah al-Kubra by As-Subki (3/110)
(5) Al-Muntadhem by Ibn Al-Jawzi (13/233)
(6) Al-Ansab (2/362)
(7) Tarikh Jurjan (Gorgan) by Abul Qasim Al-Jurjani (pg. 413)
(8) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/365-366)
(9) Al-Muntadhem (13/233); Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/365-366)
(10) Tarikh Jurjan (pg. 413)
(11) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/366-367)
(12) At-Taqyeed by Ibn Nuqtah (pg. 17)
(13) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/366-367)
(14) Thiqat Ibn Hibban (9/156)
(15) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/372)
(16) Su'alat As-Sulami Lid-Daraqutni (pg.101)
(17) Al-Ansab (2/362)
(18) Marifat Uloom al-Hadith by Al-Hakim (pg. 283)
(19) Marifat Uloom Al-Hadith (pg. 284)
(20) Marifat Uloom al-Hadith (pg. 284)
(21) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/371)
(22) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/372)
(23) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/372-373)
(24) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/377)
(25) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/377)
(26) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/365)
(27) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/374)
(28) Tabaqat Ulamah Al-Hadith by Ibn Abdel Hadi (2/443-444)
(29) Al-Bidayah wan-Nihaya by Ibn Kathir (11/170)
(30) Tabaqat Ulamah Al-Hadith (2/441)
(31) Tabaqat Shafi'iyyah Kubra (3/109)
(32) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/371)
(33) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/365)
(34) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/372)
(35) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/370)
(36) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/373)
(37) Tabaqat Ulamah Al-Hadith (2/444)
(38) Thiqat Ibn Hibban (9/156); Al-Ansab (2/362)
(39) At-Taqyeed (pg. 17)
(40) Ma`rifat Uloom Al-Hadith (pg. 284)
(41) Siyar A`lam An-Nubala' (14/374); Al-A`lam by Az-Zarkali (6/29)
(42) Al-Majma' Al-Mu'assis Al-Mu`jam Al-Mufahras by Ibn Hajar (4/286 & 502); Al-A`lam (6/29)
(43) Ma`rifat Uloom Al-Hadith (pg. 285) with an authentic chain. Also narrated by Ibn Qudamah in "Ithbat Sifat Al-Uluw" (pg. 185).
(44) Kitab At-Tawheed wa Ithbat Sifat Ar-Rabb by Ibn Khuzaimah (1/264)
(45) Ibid (1/107)
(46) Ibid (1/241)
(47) Ibid (1/273)
(48) Ibid (2/289-290)
(49) Ibid (1/61)
(50) Ibid (1/64)


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