Imam Tirmidhi (209-279 A.H)

Imam Abu `Isa Muhammed ibn `Isa Tirmidhi was born in the year 209 A.H. during the reign of the Abbasid Khalifa Ma'mun al-Rashid. The Abbasid Caliphate, despite its brilliant contributions to Islam, brought along with it many thorny problems. In a town called Tirmiz in Uzbekistan near the northern border of Afghanistan. He was a student of Al-Bukhari, and compiled 4,000 Hadeeth in his book called Al-Jami which later came to be known as Sunan At-Tirmizi. In the first century `Umar bin Abdul `Aziz (r) initiated a movement for the compilation of the holy hadith of the the Prophet (s) as there was a fear of it being lost. Eventually this gigantic task was undertaken by six towering scholars of Islam. One of them was Imam Abu `Isa Muhammed ibn `Isa Tirmidhi.

Having grown up in an environment of learning, together with possessing many great qualities naturally drove Imam Tirmidhi to dedicate his life totally towards the field of Hadith. He obtained his basic knowledge at home and later travelled to far off lands in search of this great science. He studied Hadith under great personalities such as Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and Imam Abu Dawud. In some narrations Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim are his students as well.

Imam Tirmidhi had an exceptionally remarkable memory. If he heard something once he never forgot it.Imam Tirmidhi had a large number of students from all over the world. The most famous amongst them were Haysam ibn Kulaib, Abul Abbaas and Muhammed ibn Ahmed Shah Abdul `Aziz.

Many books of hadith were compiled before Imam Tirmidhi decided to compile his Al-Jami`. Dawud Tayalisi and Ahmed ibn Hanbal had compiled books consisting of both authentic and weak hadith. Later Imam Bukhari compiled his Sahih and omitted all weak narrations from it. Imam Tirmidhi had combined the styles of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Nasa'i by mentioning the discrepancies regarding the narrators and also making his compilation a basis for the jurists.

His book al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi, has been set out in an excellent sequence, hence to look for a hadith is very easy.He explains the different madhahib together with their proofs.He gives an explanation to all difficult ahadith.There is no fabricated hadith in the entire book.The status of al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi among the six authentic books of hadith. al-Jami` ut-Tirmidhi has been categorized as fifth amongst the six most authentic books of hadith. According to the most preferred opinion, Bukhari enjoys the highest status, followed by Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasai, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah respectively.

He was famous for his piousness. He became blind and finally died on 13 Rajab 279 A.H. At the age of 70.