He is Abu `Abdur-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn `Ali ibn Sinan ibn Bahr Al-Khurasani An-Nasa’i, attributed to his homeland Nasa. He was a great memorizer and critic of Hadith and one of the key figures in Muslim scholarship. He was renowned for his utmost extensive awareness of the defects of Hadith and the conditions of the narrators. He is the author of the famous book of Hadith “Sunan An-Nasa’i” or “As-Sunan As-Sughra” as he named it.
An-Nasa’i was born in Nasa, a town in Khurasan, in 214 AH. He started learning knowledge at a very early age. He began his scientific journeys when he was 15 years old when he travelled to the great scholar of Hadith Qutaybah ibn Sa`id in Baghlan. Qutaybah narrated hadiths from Imam Malik , Al-Layth ibn Sa`ad and other narrators of this class. Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i remained with Qutaybah for 14 months studying hadith at his hands. Imam An-Nasa’i was fond of seeking knowledge especially the narration of hadiths, for which he has devoted his whole life. Thus, he became a leading scholar and superior Hadith authority of his time.
Imam An-Nasa’i remained with his Sheikh Qutaybah for more than one year, then he travelled to many places including Khurasan, Al-Hijaz, Egypt, Iraq and the Ash-Sham (the Levant). After these long journeys, he settled in Egypt where students of Hadith came to him from everywhere narrating hadiths from him and learning at his hands. He was a trustworthy, well-established scrutinizer of Hadith and its narrators and was fully aware of the juristic rulings and explanation of the hadiths. Imam Al-Hakim said, “The sayings of Imam An-Nasa’i regarding the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of hadiths are many, and one is astonished about the perfection of his words.”
Among his prominent Sheikh were Qutaybah ibn Sa`id, Is-haq ibn Ibrahim, Is-haq ibn Rahuwayih, Abu Bakr Bindar, Hisham ibn `Ammar, Muhammad ibn An-Nadr, Suwaid ibn Nasr, Ziyad ibn Ayyub, Sawwar ibn `Abdullah Al-`Anbari, `Utbah ibn `Abdullah Al-Marwazi, Muhammad ibn Muthanna, and many others.
And among notable students who took hadiths from him were Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Salamah Al-Azdi, the renowned Hanafi scholar of Fiqh; Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al-Hashimi, known as Ibn As-Sunni, the great trustworthy memorizer of hadith; Sulaiman ibn Matir Al-Lakhmi At-Tabarani, the greatest memorizer of Hadith; Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi; Abu `Uthman An-Naysaburi; Hamzah ibn Muhammad Al-Kinani; Abu Ja`far Ahmad ibn Isma`il An-Nahhas An-Nahawi and many others.
Imam An-Nasa’i has compiled many books of Hadith, the most renowned of which is his book As-Sunan Al-Sughra known as Sunan An-Nasa’i or Al-Mujtaba which is a briefing of his book of Hadith As-Sunan Al-Kubra. Also, he compiled other books including:
Imam An-Nasa’i received a great commendation from many of the prominent scholars of Hadith which testifies to his encyclopedic memorization, mastery and awareness of deficiencies and narrators of hadiths.
Abu `Abdullah Al-Hafiz said, “I heard `Ali ibn `Umar saying, ‘`Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i was the most knowledgeable among the Sheikhs of Egypt in terms of Fiqh, and authenticity and narrators of hadiths, during his time. Being the best among them, they felt envy towards him. Thus, he moved to Ar-Ramlah (a town in Palestine) where he was asked about Mu`awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. He did not reply in a good thing, and thus people beat him badly. He asked to be moved to Makkah, in spite of his illness, where he passed away. Abu `Abdullah said, “In addition to his multiple merits, he was given martyrdom at the end of his life.” However, there are other opinions that he died in Palestine. He passed away on Monday 13 Safar 303 AH.
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