Abu Dawud Al-Sijistani (817-889 A.D.)

A noted Afghan collector of hadith (sayings/traditions of Muhammad), and wrote the third of the six canonical hadith collections. He was born in Sijistan (Sistan or Sagestan, Afghanistan) in 817, and died in 889. Widely travelled among scholars of ahadith, he went to Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Khurasan, Nishapur, and Marv among other places in order to collect ahadith. He was primarily interested in law, and as a result the collection by him focuses largely on legal ahadith. From about 50,000 ahadith, he chose 4,800 for inclusion in his work based on their superior authenticity. Sunan Abi Da’ud, containing some 4800 hadith, is his principal work, but he wrote some 21 books in total. Some of his hadith are not sahih (authentic), but he claimed that all hadith listed were sahih unless specifically indicated otherwise; this has been controversial among Islamic scholars, since some (e.g. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani) believe some of the unmarked ones to be weak as well. In another work, Kitab al-Marasil, he lists 600 mursal hadith (that is, hadith lacking a complete chain of narrators, or isnad) which, after extensive background investigation, he concludes are nonetheless sahih.

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