Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi

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Abū ‘Īsá Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá as-Sulamī aḍ-Ḍarīr al-Būghī at-Tirmidhī (Arabic: أبو عيسى محمد بن عيسى السلمي الضرير البوغي الترمذي‎‎; Persian: ترمذی‎‎, Termezī; 824 – 8 October 892), often referred to as Imām at-Termezī/Tirmidhī, was a Persian[1][2] Islamic scholar and collector of hadith who wrote al-Jami` as-Sahih (known as Jami` at-Tirmidhi), one of the six canonical hadith compilations in Sunni Islam. He also wrote Shama'il Muhammadiyah (popularly known as Shama'il at-Tirmidhi), a compilation of hadiths concerning the person and character of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. At-Tirmidhi was also well versed in Arabic grammar, favoring the school of Kufa over Basra due to the former's preservation of Arabic poetry as a primary source.[3]


Name and lineage

At-Tirmidhi's given name (ism) was "Muhammad" while his kunya was "Abu `Isa" ("father of `Isa"). His genealogy is uncertain; his nasab (patronymic) has variously been given as:

  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة)‎[4]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsá ibn aḍ-Ḍaḥḥāk (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن موسى بن الضحاك)‎[5][6][7][8]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد)‎[9]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād ibn aḍ-Ḍaḥḥāk (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد بن الضحاك)‎[10]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sawrah ibn Shaddād ibn ‛Īsá (محمد بن عيسى بن سورة بن شداد بن عيسى)‎[8]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Yazīd ibn Sawrah ibn as-Sakan (محمد بن عيسى بن يزيد بن سورة بن السكن)‎[5][6][8]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sahl (محمد بن عيسى بن سهل)‎[11][12]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsá ibn Sahl ibn Sawrah (محمد بن عيسى بن سهل بن سورة)‎[13]

He was also known by the laqab "ad-Darir" ("the Blind"). It has been said that he was born blind, but the majority of scholars agree that he became blind later in his life.[5][14]

At-Tirmidhi's family belonged to the Arab tribe of Banu Sulaym (hence the nisbat "as-Sulami").[15] His grandfather was originally from Marw (Persian: Merv), but moved to Tirmidh.[5]


Muhammad ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi was born during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun. His year of birth has been reported as 209 AH (824/825).[15][16][17] Adh-Dhahabi only states that at-Tirmidhi was born near the year 210 AH (825/826),[5] thus some sources give his year of birth as 210 AH.[4][18] Some sources indicate that he was born in Mecca (Siddiqi says he was born in Mecca in 206 AH (821/822))[19] while others say he was born in Tirmidh (Persian: Termez), in what is now southern Uzbekistan.[15] The stronger opinion is that he was born in Tirmidh.[5] Specifically, he was born in one of its suburbs, the village of Bugh (hence the nisbats "at-Tirmidhi" and "al-Bughi").[16][18][20][21]

Hadith studies

At-Tirmidhi began the study of hadith at the age of 20. From the year 235 AH (849/850) he traveled widely in Khurasan, Iraq, and the Hijaz in order to collect hadith.[4][9][10] His teachers and those he narrated from included:

  • al-Bukhari[4][6][7][9][10][14][15][19]
  • Abū Rajā’ Qutaybah ibn Sa‘īd al-Balkhī al-Baghlāni[6][7][10][15]
  • ‘Alī ibn Ḥujr ibn Iyās as-Sa‘dī al-Marwazī[6][7][10][15]
  • Muḥammad ibn Bashshār al-Baṣrī[7][10][15]
  • ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mu‘āwiyah al-Jumaḥī al-Baṣrī[6]
  • Abū Muṣ‘ab az-Zuhrī al-Madanī[6]
  • Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Mālik ibn Abī ash-Shawārib al-Umawī al-Baṣrī[6]
  • Ismā‘īl ibn Mūsá al-Fazārī al-Kūfi[6]
  • Muḥammad ibn Abī Ma‘shar as-Sindī al-Madanī[6]
  • Abū Kurayb Muḥammad ibn al-‘Alā’ al-Kūfī[6][10]
  • Hanād ibn al-Sarī al-Kūfī[6][10]
  • Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Harawī[6]
  • Suwayd ibn Naṣr ibn Suwayd al-Marwazī[6]
  • Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Baṣrī[10]
  • Zayd ibn Akhzam al-Baṣrī[14]
  • al-‘Abbās al-‘Anbarī al-Baṣrī[14]
  • Muḥammad ibn al-Muthanná al-Baṣrī[14]
  • Muḥammad ibn Ma‘mar al-Baṣrī[14]
  • ad-Darimi[10][15]
  • Muslim[14][15][19]
  • Abu Dawud[9][14][19]

At the time, Khurasan, at-Tirmidhi's native land, was a major center of learning, being home to a large number of muhaddiths. Other major centers of learning visited by at-Tirmidhi were the Iraqi cities of Kufa and Basra. At-Tirmidhi reported hadith from 42 Kufan teachers. In his Jami`, he used more reports from Kufan teachers than from teachers of any other town.[14]

At-Tirmidhi was a pupil of al-Bukhari, who was based in Khurasan. Adh-Dhahabi wrote, "His knowledge of hadith came from al-Bukhari."[15] At-Tirmidhi mentioned al-Bukhari's name 114 times in his Jami`. He used al-Bukhari's Kitab at-Tarikh as a source when mentioning discrepancies in the text of a hadith or its transmitters, and praised al-Bukhari as being the most knowledgeable person in Iraq or Khurasan in the science of discrepancies of hadith. When mentioning the rulings of jurists, he followed al-Bukhari's practice of not mentioning the name of Abu Hanifah. Because he never received a reliabe chain of narrators to mention Abu Hanifa's decrees, he would instead attribute them to "some people of Kufa."[14] Al-Bukhari held at-Tirmidhi in high regard as well. He is reported to have told at-Tirmidhi, "I have profited more from you than you have from me," and in his Sahih he narrated two hadith from at-Tirmidhi.[14][15]

At-Tirmidhi also narrated some hadiths from Abu Dawud, and one from Muslim.[14] Muslim also narrated one hadith from at-Tirmidhi in his own Sahih.[15]

A.J. Wensinck mentions Ahmad ibn Hanbal as among at-Tirmidhi's teachers.[9][14] However, Hoosen states that according to the most reliable sources, at-Tirmidhi never went to Baghdad, nor did he attend any lectures of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Furthermore, at-Tirmidhi never directly narrates from Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Jami`.[14]

Several of at-Tirmidhi's teachers also taught al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and an-Nasa'i.

His Books

  • Al-Jami` Al-Mukhtasar min As-Sunan `an Rasulillah, known as “Jami` At-Tirmidhi)
  • Al-`Ilal As-Sughra
  • Az-Zuhd
  • Al-`Ilal Al-Kubra
  • Ash-Shama’il An-Nabawiyyah wa Al-Fada’il Al-Mustafawiyyah
  • Al-Asmaa’ wa Al-Kuna
  • Kitab At-Tarikh

School of thought

Imam Tirmidhi was very close to Imam Bukhari, Imam Tirmidhi was a Shaf'i or Hanbal. Conclusion was whether he was mujthaid or muqallid as he was close to Imam Bukhari some claim he followed his madhab.


At-Tirmidhi was blind in the last two years of his life, according to adh-Dhahabi.[10] His blindness is said to have been the consequence of excessive weeping, either due to fear of God or over the death of al-Bukhari.[4][5][10][14][15]

He died on Monday night, 13 Rajab 279 AH (Sunday night, 8 October 892)[note 1] in Bugh.[7][10][14]

At-Tirmidhi is buried on the outskirts of Sherobod, a 60 kilometers north of Termez in Uzbekistan. In Termez he is locally known as Abu Isa at-Termezi or "Termez Ota" ("Father of Termez").[21]

Early Islam scholars


  1. In the Islamic calendar, the weekday begins at sunset.


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  3. "Sibawayh, His Kitab, and the Schools of Basra and Kufa." Taken from Changing Traditions: Al-Mubarrad's Refutation of Sībawayh and the Subsequent Reception of the Kitāb, pg. 12. Volume 23 of Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics. Ed. Monique Bernards. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 1997. ISBN 9789004105959
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  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
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  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 14.13 14.14 14.15 Hoosen, Abdool Kader (1990). Imam Tirmidhi's contribution towards Hadith (1st ed.). Newcastle, South Africa: A.K. Hoosen. ISBN 9780620153140.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 Ali, Syed Bashir (2003). Scholars of Hadith. Skokie, IL: IQRAʼ International Educational Foundation. ISBN 1563162040.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  21. 21.0 21.1 "Termez".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links