Imam Muslim (RA)
NAME AND BIRTH:
His name was Abul-Hussain Muslim-bin-Hajjaj al Nishapuri. He was born in a distinguished family of Arab Muslims in Khorasan which was a famous town of Russia. Imaam Muslim was born in 817 A.D. corresponding to the Islamic year 204 A.H. His forefathers occupied prominent positions during the time of the four Caliphs. He travelled to many places with the object of learning Hadith, and after completing his studies in the various centres of learning, he settled at Nishapur. He spend the rest of his life teaching Hadith.
Imaam Muslim started his studies at the very early age of fourteen years. In the year 218 A.H. the atmosphere in Nishapur, his birthplace, was of a religious and knowledge type. Nishapur had great personalities in this period such as lmaam Rahawey and lmaam Zuhri. After travelling widely in search of Hadith, he settled in Nishapur as mentioned above. Imaam Muslim was much impressed by the vast knowledge of Imaam Bukhari (R.A.), in the field of Hadith and the deep insight he possessed on this subject. He therefore attached himself to Imaam Bukhari (R.A.) up to the end of his life. Imaam Muslim was also an admirer of another great teacher of Hadith, Muhammed bin Yahya al Dhuli. He attended his lectures regularly. He visited Baghdad several times and had the opportunity of delivering lessons there. His last visit to Baghdad was two years before his death.
IMAAM MUSLIM'S TEACHERS:
Imaam Muslim (R.A.) apart from attending the lessons of Imaam Bukhari regularly, also attended the lectures of lmaam Ahmad bin Hambal, Abdullah al Qarri, Qutaiba bin Said, Abdullah bin Maslama and other great Muhaditheen.
IMAAM MUSLIM'S STUDENTS:
Imaam Muslim (R.A.'s) most noted students are Hatim Razi, Ahmad bin Salmah, Abu Isa Tirmidhi, Abubaker bin Khuzaima and other great scholars.
CHARACTER AND KNOWLEDGE:
Imaam Muslim R.A. adhered strictly to the path of righteousness. He was in fact a great saint of a very high calibre. His excellent character can be well judged from the simple fact that he never ever indulged in backbiting, a very common human failing. He had a remarkable memory. Ishaq bin Rahawey said of Imaam Muslim; " I wonder what this person is going to be?" This was said in his youth. Ishaq Kausar once addressed lmaam Muslim (R.A.) and said; "Your presence in the Muslim community will always keep it in good." Abu Saimah who was a colleague of lmaam Muslim was so attached to him that while lmaam Sahib was busy compiling the Sahih Muslim, he remained in lmaam Sahib's company for fifteen years. He never told a lie nor did he ever use vulgar words.
Sheikh Abdul Latief says Imaam Tirmidhi and Imaam Muslim were followers of the Shafee school of thought, although they were both Mujtahids. Moulana Abdur-Rashid says that Imaam Muslim was a Maliki. The fact is what was said by Sheikh Tahir Jazari that Imaam Muslim is not a Maliki nor a Hanifi nor a Shafi, but his compilation of the Sahih Muslim shows that he was more inclined towards the Shafee school of thought.
Allamah Nawawi (R.A.) says that the Ummat have accepted the Bukhari Shareef and Muslim Shareef as the Kitabs, which follow the Quraan in authenicity. Although the Bukhari is regarded as holding a higher position than the Sahih Muslim for specific reasons, the sequence applied in Muslim is much better than that of Bukhari. It is known as Al-Jam As Sahih because it contains the eight different subjects on Hadith.
AL-JAM AS SAHIH MUSLIM:
Imaam Bukhari (R.A.) concentrated his efforts on compilation of authentic hadith as well as deduction of Laws from Hadith. This is the most difficult part to understand in the Bukhari. i.e how he deduced Laws from the Hadith. Imam Muslim concentrated his efforts only on the compilation of authentic Hadith.
Article taken (with Thanks) from Darul-uloom Bury