He is named Muhammad bin Eesaa bin Suwarah bin Muusaa at- Tirmidhi. His was also known as Abu Eesaa at-Tlrrnidhi
His search for knowledge
Imaam Abu Eesaa was one of the leading scholars of hadith and a preserver of knowledge from the people of Tirmidh. In recent times this area formed one the territories that made up part of the former republic of U.S.S.R otherwise called the Soviet Union. He was a student as well as a contemporary of the leader of the scholars of hadith Imaam Muhammad bin Ismaa'eel AI-Bukhari. In order to obtain the true knowledge, he travelled to Khurasaan, Iraaq and the Hijaaz (the area encompassing Makkah and Madinah and its outlying borders).
What the scholars say about him
Many scholars narrated hadith from him. Among them was Imaam Bukhari, al-Haithami bin Kulaib as- Shaashee the author of Musnad, Muhammad bin Mahbub al- Mahbuubee and al-Mundhir bin Shakir. Abu Ya'la al-Khaleel said: "At-Tirmidhi is a hafiz (someone who memorized the Our'aan and hadith) that was agreed upon." He was a trustworthy leader with quality knowledge.
He wrote books concerning the defects and uprightness of the narrators of hadith.
One of his major writings is the 'Jaami as- Saheeh' which is commonly known as 'Sunnan at- Tirmidhi’. Ibn Yaqdha reported in his taqyeed from Imaam at-Tirmidhi that he said: "I compiled this authentic Musnad and showed it to the scholars of Hijaaz and they were pleased with it, and I showed it to the scholars of Iraaq and they were pleased with it and it was also shown to the scholars of Khurasaan and they were pleased with it. Whoever has this book in his house, is as if the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) is in his house speaking."
There are one hundred and fifty one (151) books in the 'Jaami' (compilation of the book.) One of them 'AI-IllaI' was written at Samarqand and completed on the day of Eid-ul-Adhaa of the year 270 A.H.
Ibn A'teeyah said; 'I heard Muhammad bin Taahir al-Maqdisee, who said; 'I heard Abu Ismaa'eel bin Muhammad al-Ansaari saying: "I prefer the book of at-Tirmidhi to those of Bukhari and Muslim. I asked why? He said; 'because no one can benefit from the books of both Bukhari and Muslim except the scholars of hadith, as for the book of Tirmidhi, he has explained its technical details and other related matters. So it is easy for the Fuqaaha (legal jurists), and the scholars of hadith and even those who are not scholars to benefit from it.
Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyyah said regarding the contribution of Imaam Tirmidhi to the development of the science of hadith that: "Before him, hadith was only classified into Saheeh (authentic) and Do'eef (weak), but Tirmidhi later classified it into Saheeh; Hasan (good) and Da'eef."
Ibn Katheer said: "What is apparent concerning the states of Tirmidhi was that blindness befell him after he had travelled, learned, wrote, admonished criticized and edited books."
Scholars agreed that he died in his hometown on Monday night 23rd day in the month of Rajab 279 A.H. May Allaah have mercy on him and make him one of the inheritors of Paradise. (Amin)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited