Biography of Al-Hafiz Al-Mundhiri (581-656)
Compiler of Summarized Sahih Muslim
He is the great Hafiz Zakiyyuddin Abdul-Azim bin Abdul-Qawi bin Abdullah bin Salamah Abu Muhammad Al-Mundhiri, originally Ad-Dimashqi (his family was from Damascus, Syria) and then AI-Misri (Egyptian), which was the place of his birth, his home and his death. He was born in the year 581 Hijri.
He memorized the Qur’an and was well-educated in Islamic etiquette and jurisprudence. Then he began to study the Science of Hadith and excelled in it. He heard Hadith from a group of the scholars of Hadith. From them was Al-Hafiz AbulHasan Ali bin Al-Mufaddal AI-Maqdisi. He remained with him for a period of time and he completed his studies with him. In the Prophetic city of AI-Madinah, he heard Hadith from Al-Hafiz Ja’far bin Amusan. In Damascus he heard Hadith from Umar bin Tabarzad. He also studied with Hadith scholars in Najran, Alexandria, Ar-Raha and in Bait Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). He first began hearing from Hadith scholars in the year 591 Hijri when he was a ten-year-old boy.
His Most Famous Writings
1. At-Targhib wat-Tarhib
2. Mukhtasar Sahih Muslim
3. Mukhtasar Sunan Abi Dawud
4. Sharh At-Tanbih li Abi Ishaq Ash-Shirazi fil-Fiqh Ash-Shafi`i
5. Arba `un Hadithan fi Fadl Istina ` A1-Ma `ruf
6. Al A lam bi Akhbar Shaikh Al-Bukhari Muhammad bin Salim
7. Mu jam Ash-Shuyukh
8. Amal Al-Yaum wal-Lailah His Students
A group of scholars learned and narrated Hadith from him. From them was AlHafiz Ad-Dimyati, who completed his studies with AI-Mundhiri. Also `Allamah Taqiuddin Ibn Daqiq Al-`Eid, Al-Yunaini Abul-Husain, Isma’il bin `Asakir and AshSharif `Izzuddin were all his students. He used to teach in the congregational mosque of Az-Zafiri in Cairo, Egypt. Then he became the head scholar of Ad-Dar AI-Kamiliyah, where he concluded his teaching after disseminating the knowledge for twenty years.
Ash-Sharif `Izzuddin Al-Hafiz said: “Our Shaikh, Zakiuddin had no equal in the Science of Hadith with all of its various branches. He was an `Ilim (extremely knowledgeable) concerning the authentic Ahadith, the unauthentic Ahadith, the defective Ahadith and their routes of transmission. He was extremely well-versed in his knowledge of the Hadith reporters, their disparagement and their integrity (Jarh wa Ta’dil), their deaths, their births and their life events. He was a leader, steadfast and extremely pious. He was firm in whatever he said, and certain concerning whatever he reported.”
Adh-Dhahabi said: “There was no one in his time who had memorized more (Ahadith) than him.”
From the Events of His Life
He used to give Fatawa (religious verdicts) in the lands of Egypt. Then he ceased giving such verdicts. His refusal to give religious verdicts was due to a strange reason which informs us of his fairness, the gentleness of his soul and his recognition of virtue in one who possesses it. This was alluded to by At-Taj As-Subki, who said: “I heard my father (At-Taqi As-Subki) saying that Ash-Shaikh `Izzuddin bin Abdus-Salam used to teach Ahadith for a short period in Damascus. Then, when he entered Cairo, he gave up teaching and began attending the gathering of Ash-Shaikh Zakiuddin Al-Mundhiri. He would sit in Al-Mundhins lessons and listen to him amongst the ordinary group of listeners and he would not teach anything. Ash-Shaikh Zakiuddin Al-Mundhiri also gave up giving religious verdicts during this time. He said: “Wherever Ash-Shaikh `Izzuddin enters (i.e., a town, city or land), then the people there have no need of me!”
He died on the 4th of Dhul-Qa’dah in the year 656 Hijri.