Muslim al-Naysābūrī (d. 261/875)

The Sceptical Traditionalist


In Muslim al-Naysābūrī (d. 261/875). The skeptical traditionalist, Pavel Pavlovitch studies the life and works of Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj al-Naysābūrī, the author of the famous collection of traditions (ḥadīth) al-Musnad al-ṣaḥīḥ (The Sound Collection), which Sunni Muslims rank as the third most authoritative source of legal and theological norms after the Qurʾān and Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Bukhārī’s Ṣaḥīḥ.

Based on multiple biographical sources and Muslim’s extant works, Pavel Pavlovitch studies hitherto unexplored aspects of Muslim’s biography, elaborates on his founding contribution to the science of ḥadīth criticism, and examines the transmission history of Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ in unprecedented detail. The monograph includes the first systematic study of Muslim’s traditionalist theology, which played a defining role in the formation of Sunni identity.

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Motives and Acknowledgments
List of Graphs, Diagrams, and Tables


1 The State of the Field and Method
 1 Sources and Studies
 2 Method
 3 Technical Terminology
 4 Determining the ḥadīth Transmitters’ Dates of Birth and Death
 5 Determining the Distance between Centers of Learning

2 Iraq and Northeastern Iran in Muslim’s Lifetime: Politics and Intellectual Currents
 1 The City of Naysābūr
 2 The Miḥna
 3 Political Factions
 4 Theological Issues and Intellectual Trends

3 Life and Worldview
 1 Shaykhs and Centers of Learning
 2 Doctrinal Affiliation
 3 Piety
 4 Political Views

4 Muslim’s Theology
 1 Muslim, al-Bukhārī, and the Perception of the Quran
 2 Muslim and the Definition of Faith
 3 Muslim and the Issue of qadar: Synergy between Divine Predestination and Human Agency
 4 Conclusion

5 Muslim’s ḥadīth Criticism
 1 The Delicate Art of Transmitter Evaluation
 2 Muslim’s Criteria of ḥadīth Criticism
 3 Muslim’s Vocabulary of ḥadīth Transmission and Evaluation
 4 Conclusion

6 Muslim’s Works
 1 Extant Works
 2 Works That Are Preserved as Secondary Citations
 3 Lost Works

7 The Ṣaḥīḥ
 1 The Collection’s Title and Purpose of Composition: Muṣannaf, Musnad, and Ṣaḥīḥ
 2 When Did Muslim Compose the Ṣaḥīḥ, and Was It Finished?
 3 Is Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ an Appendix to al-Bukhārī’s Ṣaḥīḥ?
 4 Contents and Structure of the Ṣaḥīḥ
 5 Reception and Canonization

8 The Transmission of the Ṣaḥīḥ
 1 The Transmission through Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. Sufyān al-Naysābūrī
 2 The Transmission through Abū Muḥammad Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan al-Qalānisī
 3 The Transmission through Makkī b. ʿAbdān
 4 The Transmission through Aḥmad b. al-Sharqī
 5 Other Transmissions of the Ṣaḥīḥ
 6 Manuscripts and Editions


Appendix 1: Isnād Diagrams
Appendix 2: Muslim’s Informants according to al-Mizzī
Appendix 3: Muslim’s Major Shaykhs according to Kitāb al-Zahra, Compared with an Electronic Count in al-Maktaba al-Shāmila and an Alternative Count by Dār al-Taʾṣīl
Appendix 4: Transmitters on Muslim’s Authority
Appendix 5: First/Seventh and Second/Eighth-Century Traditionists Who Made Transmitter-Critical Pronouncements according to Muslim’s Introduction
Appendix 6: Reasons for Transmitter-Critical Pronouncements according to the Introduction to Muslim’s Ṣaḥīḥ
Appendix 7: Muslim’s Kitāb al-Qadar Compared with al-Bukhārī’s Kitāb al-Qadar
Appendix 8: The Number of Books in the Ṣaḥīḥ according to Ibn Manjuwayh, ʿAbd al-Bāqī (= Wensinck, al-Nawawī), and Dār al-Taʾṣīl (= al-Mizzī)
Appendix 9: The Known Sections in Ibn ʿAsākir’s Division of the Ṣaḥīḥ
Appendix 10: The Shaykhs of Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Zakariyyāʾ al-Nasawī
Index of Personal Names
Index of Dynasties and Parties
Index of Geographical Names
Index of Titles of Pre-Modern books
Index of Topics and Terms
Quranic References
All interested in the social and intellectual history of Iraq and Iran in the third century H/ninth century CE, ḥadīth criticism, traditionalist theology, and the transmission of Sunni foundational texts.
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