Muhammad Ibn Isa At-Tirmidhi
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Muhammad Ibn Isa At-Tirmidhi
Born824/ 209 AH
Died9 October 892/ 13 Rajab 279 AH (aged 70)
EraIslamic golden age
RegionAbbasid Caliphate
Main interest(s)Hadith
Notable work(s)Jami at-Tirmidhi
Shama'il Muhammadiyah
Muslim leader
Influenced by

Ab? s? Mu?ammad ibn s? as-Sulam? a?-?ar?r al-B?gh? at-Tirmidh? (Arabic: ? ? ? ?‎; Persian: ‎, Termez?; 824 - 9 October 892 CE / 209 - 279 AH), often referred to as Im?m al-Termez?/Tirmidh?, was a Persian[1][2][3] Islamic scholar, and collector of hadith from Termez (early Khorasan and in present-day Uzbekistan). He 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.[4]


Name and lineage

Al-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:

  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sawrah (? ? ?)‎[5]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sawrah ibn M?sá ibn a?-?ak (? ? ? ? )‎[6][7][8][9]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sawrah ibn Shadd?d (? ? ? ?)‎[10]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sawrah ibn Shadd?d ibn a?-?ak (? ? ? ? )‎[11]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sawrah ibn Shadd?d ibn '?sá (? ? ? ? ?)‎[9]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Yaz?d ibn Sawrah ibn as-Sakan (? ? ? ? )‎[6][7][9]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sahl (? ? )‎[12][13]
  • Mu?ammad ibn '?sá ibn Sahl ibn Sawrah (? ? ?)‎[14]

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.[6][15]

At-Tirmidhi's family belonged to the Arab tribe of Banu Sulaym (hence the nisbat "as-Sulami").[16] His grandfather was originally from Marw (Persian: Merv), but moved to Tirmidh.[6]


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).[16][17][18] Adh-Dhahabi only states that at-Tirmidhi was born near the year 210 AH (825/826),[6] thus some sources give his year of birth as 210 AH.[5][19] Some sources indicate that he was born in Mecca (Siddiqi says he was born in Mecca in 206 AH (821/822))[20] while others say he was born in Tirmidh (Persian: Termez), in what is now southern Uzbekistan.[16] The stronger opinion is that he was born in Tirmidh.[6] Specifically, he was born in one of its suburbs, the village of Bugh (hence the nisbats "at-Tirmidhi" and "al-Bughi").[17][19][21][22]

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.[5][10][11] His teachers and those he narrated from included:

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.[15]

At-Tirmidhi was a pupil of al-Bukhari, who was based in Khurasan. Adh-Dhahabi wrote, "His knowledge of hadith came from al-Bukhari."[16] 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 reliable chain of narrators to mention Abu Hanifa's decrees, he would instead attribute them to "some people of Kufa."[15] 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.[15][16]

At-Tirmidhi also narrated some hadiths from Abu Dawud, and one from Muslim.[15] Muslim also narrated one hadith from at-Tirmidhi in his own Sahih.[16]

A.J. Wensinck mentions Ahmad ibn Hanbal as among at-Tirmidhi's teachers.[10][15] 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`.[15]

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


  • Al-Jami' al-Mukhtasar Min al-Sunan 'an Rasulillah, known as Jami' al-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 Shafi'i. Conclusion was whether he was mujtahid or muqallid as he was close to Imam Bukhari some claim he followed his madhab.

Accusation of heresy by some Hanbalites

Al-Tirmidhi was accused of being a Jahmite heretic, and was harshly criticized by some fanatic Hanbali followers, including Abu Bakr al-Khallal (d. 311/923) in his Kitab al-Sunna (Book of the Prophetic Tradition), because he rejected a narration attributed to Mujahid concerning the explanation of the verse 79 from Surat al-Isra' in the Qur'an about the praiseworthy station of Muhammad, known as "al-Maqam al-Mahmud".[23][24][25]

The verse is: "And from [part of] the night, pray[a] with it [i.e., recitation of the Qur'?n] as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that[b] your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.[c]"[Quran 17:79 (Translated by Saheeh International)]

The Hanbalites interpreted the Praiseworthy Station as the seating of Muhammad on the Throne next to God, despite the overall weakness of the narrations supporting it.[26]


At-Tirmidhi was blind in the last two years of his life, according to adh-Dhahabi.[11] 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.[5][6][11][15][16]

He died on Monday night, 13 Rajab 279 AH (Sunday night, 8 October 892)[d] in Bugh.[8][11][15]

At-Tirmidhi is buried on the outskirts of Sherobod, 60 kilometers north of Termez in Uzbekistan. In Termez he is locally known as Abu Isa at-Termezi or "Termez Ota" ("Father of Termez").[22]

See also

Early Islam scholars

Muhammad (570-632 the Constitution of Medina, taught the Quran, and advised his companions
`Abd Allah bin Masud (died 650) taughtAli (607-661) fourth caliph taughtAisha, Muhammad's wife and Abu Bakr's daughter taughtAbd Allah ibn Abbas (618-687) taughtZayd ibn Thabit (610-660) taughtUmar (579-644) second caliph taughtAbu Hurairah (603-681) taught
Alqama ibn Qays (died 681) taughtHusayn ibn Ali (626-680) taughtQasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (657-725) taught and raised by AishaUrwah ibn Zubayr (died 713) taught by Aisha, he then taughtSaid ibn al-Musayyib (637-715) taughtAbdullah ibn Umar (614-693) taughtAbd Allah ibn al-Zubayr (624-692) taught by Aisha, he then taught
Ibrahim al-Nakha'i taughtAli ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (659-712) taughtHisham ibn Urwah (667-772) taughtIbn Shihab al-Zuhri (died 741) taughtSalim ibn Abd-Allah ibn Umar taughtUmar ibn Abdul Aziz (682-720) raised and taught by Abdullah ibn Umar
Hammad bin ibi Sulman taughtMuhammad al-Baqir (676-733) taughtFarwah bint al-Qasim Jafar's mother
Abu Hanifa (699-767) wrote Al Fiqh Al Akbar and Kitab Al-Athar, jurisprudence followed by Sunni, Sunni Sufi, Barelvi, Deobandi, Zaidiyyah and originally by the Fatimid and taughtZayd ibn Ali (695-740)Ja'far bin Muhammad Al-Baqir (702-765) Muhammad and Ali's great great grand son, jurisprudence followed by Shia, he taughtMalik ibn Anas (711-795) wrote Muwatta, jurisprudence from early Medina period now mostly followed by Sunni in Africa and taughtAl-Waqidi (748-822) wrote history books like Kitab al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi, student of Malik ibn AnasAbu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Abdul Hakam (died 829) wrote biographies and history books, student of Malik ibn Anas
Abu Yusuf (729-798) wrote Usul al-fiqhMuhammad al-Shaybani (749-805)Al-Shafi'i (767-820) wrote Al-Risala, jurisprudence followed by Sunni and taughtIsmail ibn IbrahimAli ibn al-Madini (778-849) wrote The Book of Knowledge of the CompanionsIbn Hisham (died 833) wrote early history and As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, Muhammad's biography
Isma'il ibn Ja'far (719-775)Musa al-Kadhim (745-799)Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855) wrote Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal jurisprudence followed by Sunni and hadith booksMuhammad al-Bukhari (810-870) wrote Sahih al-Bukhari hadith booksMuslim ibn al-Hajjaj (815-875) wrote Sahih Muslim hadith booksMuhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi (824-892) wrote Jami` at-Tirmidhi hadith booksAl-Baladhuri (died 892) wrote early history Futuh al-Buldan, Genealogies of the Nobles
Ibn Majah (824-887) wrote Sunan ibn Majah hadith bookAbu Dawood (817-889) wrote Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith Book
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni (864- 941) wrote Kitab al-Kafi hadith book followed by Twelver ShiaMuhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923) wrote History of the Prophets and Kings, Tafsir al-TabariAbu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (874-936) wrote Maq?l?t al-isl?m?y?n, Kit?b al-luma, Kit?b al-ib?na 'an us?l al-diy?na
Ibn Babawayh (923-991) wrote Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih jurisprudence followed by Twelver ShiaSharif Razi (930-977) wrote Nahj al-Balagha followed by Twelver ShiaNasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1274) wrote jurisprudence books followed by Ismaili and Twelver ShiaAl-Ghazali (1058-1111) wrote The Niche for Lights, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, The Alchemy of Happiness on SufismRumi (1207-1273) wrote Masnavi, Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi on Sufism
Key: Some of Muhammad's CompanionsKey: Taught in MedinaKey: Taught in IraqKey: Worked in SyriaKey: Travelled extensively collecting the sayings of Muhammad and compiled books of hadithKey: Worked in Iran


  1. ^ Literally, "arise from sleep for prayer."
  2. ^ This is a promise from All?h to Muhammad.
  3. ^ The position of intercession by permission of All?h and the highest degree in Paradise.
  4. ^ In the Islamic calendar, the weekday begins at sunset.


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