The Biography of Imam Abu Dawood Edited
By Shaykh Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias
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Hayaat (life) Imaam Abu Dawood Sajistaani 202 A.H.- 275 A.H. / 817C.E.- 889C.E. Lineage
Imaam Abu Dawood’ s (R.A) name is Sulaymaan Ibn Al-Ash’ath ibn Ishaaq ibn Basheer ibn shaddaad in Amr ibn Imraan. He was born in Sajistaan and is thus known as Sajistani and Sajzee.
He is of the famous tribe of Azd of Yemen. His clan, a branch of the Azd tribe, settled at the foot of Kirmaan range at a place called Qafs.
It is not known precisely which of his ancestors had accepted Islaam. It is however established that his fore-father Imraan had fought on the side of Hadhrat Ali X in the battle of Siffeen.
The Historian Ibn Khalliqah says that he is from Sajistan. Shah Abdul Aziz says that he is from Sayastaan which is a province between Sind and Herat in present day Afghan. Yaqoot Hamawi says that Sajistan is a vast province in southern Khuraasaan on the banks of the lake Batieera Zarrah. This third view is most correct. For this reason he is known as Abu Dawood Sajistani and as Abu Dawood Sijzee.
In any case, he was born in Sajstan. His son Abdullaah was born here in 230 A.H. Some time after this he moved to Basrah. He frequently traveled to Baghdad. His last trip to Baghdad was in 271 A.H. He returned to Basrah where he lived till his end.
On his final return to Basrah, Abu Ahmad Muwaffaq, the govenor, requested him to permanently settle there so that Basrah may become a center of Ilm for students from all over the Muslim lands, and to teach Kitaab-us-Sunan to his sons. He further requested the noble Imaam to teach his sons privately since they were princes. Imaam Saheb acceded to the first two conditions but rejected the third saying: “In the matter of Ilm all are equal.” Consequently the princes would sit with the rest of the students while studying under him.
Birth and Demise
He was born in Sajistan in 202 A.H. and passed away on Friday 16 th Shawwaal 275A.H. in Basrah at the age of 73. He was buried there alongside Sufyan Thauri. According to his wish, he was bathed and shrouded by Hasn ibn Muthannah. Abbas ibn Abdul Waahid led his janaazah salaat.
Dhahabi R.A. says that he studied under many great Ulamaa. Ibn Hajar puts the number at three hundred. Among his more famed Asaatidhah are:
1 . Musaddad ibn Musarhad
2. Yahya ibn Ma’een
3. Qutaibah ibn Sa’eed
4. Uthmaan ibn Abi Shaibah
5. Ahmad ibn Hanbal
7. Abul Waleed Tayaalisi
8. Muhammad ibn Katheer Abdi
9. Muslim ibn Ibraaheem
10. Abu Ja’far Nufaily
He also benefited from Abu Amr Dhareer and Aasim ibn Ali who are counted among the senior Ulamaa of the time. He studied under many of Imaam Bukhaari’s Shuyookh. Ibn Hajar has counted him together with Bukhaari among the 1 1 generation of Muhadditheen.
He undertook a special journey to meet Amr ibn Hafs ibn Ghayyaath but was unable to meet him. He met Khaalid ibn Khaddaash but did not narrate from him. He did not meet Yusuf Saffaar, Ibn Isbahaani, Ibn Hammaad or Makhool ibn Ibraaheem despite them all passing away after 220A.H. He did not narrate any Ahaadeeth from Ibn Hamaani; Suwaid; Ibn Kaasib; and Sufyaan ibn Wakee’. He did not listaen to any Hadeeth from Khalaf ibn Moosa; Abu Humaam Dalaal or Raqqaahi.
It is not possible to put an accurate figure in the number of his students. In those days, the number of students ran into thousands. Regarding his ustaad Sulaimaan ibn Harb, Abu Dawood says: “I was present in his majlis (gathering) in Baghdaad. There were over 40 000 students at one time. Even the Khalifah Ma’ moon was present. He listened to the lesson while seated behind a curtain.”
Among his more noted students are Lu’lu’i; Ibn Arabi; Ibn Daastah; Abu Hasan Ansaary; Abu Teeb Ashnaani; Abu Amr Basri; Abu Eesa Ramli (to whom he gave his hand written copy of Kitaabsu Sunan); Abu Usamah Ruwaas (who is a narrator of 8 Sunan Kitaabs); Abu Abdullaah(the narrator of Kitaabur Radd Alaa Ahlil Qadr); Abu Bakr Najjaar (narrator of Naasikh wal Mansookh); Abu Ubaid Aajurri (narrator of Kitaabul Masa’il); Isma’eel Saffaar (narrator of Musnad Maalik); Abu Bakr Abdullaah (son of Imaam Tirmidhi); Imaam Nasa’ii; Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.