Review Subject: Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (شرف أصحاب الحديث)
Author: al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī رحمه الله (d. 463 AH/1071 CE)
Genre: Ḥadīth, Athar, Ṭalab al-ʿĪlm
Publisher: Dār al-Furqān
Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth is a collection of Aḥādīth & Athar compiled by the great Muḥaddith, Faqīh, & Historian, al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī رحمه الله. Totalling up to 307 narrations, 293 without repetitions, it encompasses the nobility of the scholars of Ḥadīth & those who adhere to the Sunnah of The Prophet ﷺ, whilst stressing the importance of Ḥadīth & the significance in seeking it. Within the book, you will find narrations of The Prophet ﷺ, his companions, & the early scholars such as Imām Mālik, Imām al-Awzāʾī, ʿAlī ibn al-Madīnī, ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Mubārak, Imām ash-Shāfiʿī, Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, & other notable figures of their time.
Something I really benefitted from & I believe added more lucidity to the book is the subtle accounts of narrations regarding the Akhlāq of the student of Ḥadīth & brief Ḥadīth commentary. Another great aspect that could be found are incisive refutations towards Ahl ar-Ra’ī, Ahl al-Bidʾah, & those who are in opposition towards Ḥadīth & it’s adherents.
For students of Ḥadīth or those who find pleasure in reading books of Ḥadīth, this book is a must have within their library, & even every library in general. Ḥadīth, being the second revelation & primary source of guidance after the Qurʾān, no doubt is a pivotal factor within the religion that every Muslim must not only testify to but also firmly adhere to, & this book precisely demonstrates that.
Out of the 307 narrations within the book, some of my personal favorites are as follows:
The Prophet ﷺ said:
May Allāh illuminate a person who hears a Ḥadīth from us and memorizes it until he can convey it to others.Narration #19 – Also can be found in: Sunan Abū Dāwūd #3660, Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhī #2656, Sunan ibn Mājah #4105, Ṣaḥīḥ ibn Ḥibbān #72, Sunan al-Kubrā #5847, Musnad Aḥmad #21590, Musnad aṭ-Ṭayālisī #618, Sunan ad-Dārimī #229, Kitāb as-Sunnah #94, al-Jarḥ wa at-Taʿdīl 2/11, Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿĪlm wa al-Faḍlihi #184, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr #4890 | Ṣaḥīḥ to Imām ibn Ḥibbān, Shaykh al-Albānī, Shaykh Zubayr ʿAlī Zay, and others — Ḥasan to Imām at-Tirmidhī
Aḥmad ibn Sinān رحمه الله mentioned the Ḥadīth of The Prophet ﷺ:
A group in my Ummah will continue to remain aided upon the truth; whoever forsakes them will not harm them until Allāh’s order comes.Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī #7311, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim #1923, Jāmiʿ at-Tirmidhī #2229, Sunan ibn Mājah #10, Musnad Aḥmad #15596, Musnad aṭ-Ṭayālisī #1172, Muṣannaf ibn Abī Shaybah 6/409, Ṣaḥīḥ ibn Ḥibbān #61, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 19/27, Sharḥ Uṣūl al-I’tiqād #172, Manāqib ash-Shāfiʿī 1/5, Tārīkh Baghdād 8/417, Dham al-Kalām 3/273, Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth #40 | Muttafaqun Alayh, Ṣaḥīḥ to both Imām al-Bukhārī and Imām Muslim
He (Aḥmad ibn Sinān) then said:
They are Ahl al-ʿĪlm (the People of Knowledge) and Ahl al-Athār (the People of Narrations).Narration #44 – Also can be found in: Ḥilyah al-Awliyā’ 1/246 | Ṣaḥīḥ Isnād to Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Aḥmad Ḥamzah
ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Mubārak رحمه الله said:
al-Isnād (chain of narration) is from the religion. If not for the Isnād, any person would say whatever he wants.Narration #75 – Also can be found in: Muqaddimah Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1/120, al-ʿIlal aṣ-Ṣaghīr P. 887, al-Jarḥ wa at-Taʿdīl 2/16, al-Majrūḥīn 1/30, Maʿrifah ʿUlūm al-Ḥadīth P. 6, Tārīkh Baghdād 6/166, al-Kifayah fī Maʿrifah Uṣūl al-ʿĪlm ar-Riwayah #1229, Jāmiʿ Akhlāq ar-Rāwī #1702, Dham al-Kalām #1016, Tadhkirah al-Ḥuffāẓ 3/171, Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth #75, Siyar A’lām an-Nubalā’a 17/224 | Ṣaḥīḥ Isnād to Imām Muslim
Yazīd ibn Zurayʾ رحمه الله said:
For every religion there are Knights, and the Knights of this religion are Aṣḥāb al-Isnād (the Carriers of Chains of Narration).Narration #83 | Ḥasan Isnād to Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Aḥmad Ḥamzah
Imām ash-Shāfiʿī رحمه الله said:
Whenever I see a man from the people of Ḥadīth, it is as if I’m looking at The Prophet ﷺ alive.Narration #87 – Also can be found in: Ḥilyah al-Awliyā’ 9/104, Talbīs Iblīs P. 18 | Ṣaḥīḥ Isnād to Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Aḥmad Ḥamzah
ibn ʿAbbās رضي الله عنه said:
Study Ḥadīth and do not let it escape from you, for it is not of the rank of the Qurʾān, as the Qurʾān is preserved in it’s entirety. Verily, if you do not study Ḥadīth it will escape from you.Narration #195 – Also can be found in: Sunan ad-Dārimī #600 | Ḥasan Isnād to Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Aḥmad Ḥamzah
No doubt, this is one of my favorite works of al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī after ar-Riḥla fī Ṭalab al-Ḥadīth & one of my favorite works in general; it’s one of the books I can say I genuinely enjoyed & kept me cheerful during reading. I highly encourge everyone to read this book as not only will you taste the fruits of Ḥadīth but it will also shape you into being from the People of Ḥadīth & the Narrations, ʾIn shāʾ Allāh.
- Short read, consisting of only 206 pages
- Small size, won’t take up much shelf space
- Highlights the importance of Ḥadīth & the propriety of seeking knowledge
- Contains narrations of not only The Prophet ﷺ but also his companions & the early scholars
- Translated & published into English by Dār al-Arqam, entitled: The Eminence of the Ḥadīth Adherents
May Allāh have mercy upon al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī, accept this from him, & reward him tremendously for this great work.
All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.
Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
29th of Ṣafar 1444