By Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa al-A’zami

Translated by Hani al-Tarabulsi al-Shafi’i

Edited and presented by‘Abd Allah bin Muhammad al-Afriqui


We present to you the first part of the translation of a chapter from the two volume book,Dirasat fi ‘l-Hadith al-Nabawi wa Tarikh Tadwinihiby the great hadith scholar and researcher, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Mustafa al-A’zami (Allah lengthen his life). The chapter being translated is entitled: Companions who wrote Hadith and those who wrote from them. We have divided the translation into different parts and we hope that this series of articles will create the zeal within us to study the blessed hadith and to follow upon the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). – The Editor

Translator’s foreword

In the days of the Companions (Sahabah) of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), writing wasn’t as famous as it is today, because they still relied mainly on their memory in transmitting narrations and religious knowledge. However, many of them wrote or started writing during the days of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and even after him. I have translated a short summary of a chapter from the bookDirasat fi ‘l-Hadith al-Nabawi wa Tarikh Tadwinihiby Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Mustafa al-A’zami.

This summarised translation contains the names of the Companions who wrote the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) according to the research of the author. I recommend that readers acquire and read the entire book in two volumes to gain great benefit and learn many matters related to the Sunnah.


*.Wherever the word sahifa appears, this means the book or message or couple of papers or animal skin or palm leaves or tablets that were used to write on at that time, and the plural of sahifa is suhuf.
*.The date of birth and date of death of each companion will be mentioned after his name, if the date of birth is unknown then the date of death will only be mentioned. “BH” means before the Hijrah and “AH” means after the Hijrah.

Companions who wrote and those who wrote from them:

1.Abu Umamah al-Bahili(10BH – 81AH): Used to go and write knowledge (religion), was asked about writing it by al-Hassan bin Jabir and replied: “No harm in that”. al-Qasim al-Shami most probably wrote from him the Prophetic narrations.

2.Abu Ayyub al-Ansari(52 AH):Wrote to his brother’s son some Prophetic narrations. Ayyub bin Khalid bin Ayyub al-Ansari narrated from his father, from his grandfather 112 narrations and they were most probably from a Sahifa.

3.Abu Bakr al-Siddiq(50BH – 13AH):It was reported in a weak narration from his daughter that he wrote Prophetic narrations but burned them before he died, because he feared that he may transmit knowledge from a trustworthy source but it has mistakes in it. The narration was dropped because it has two unknown narrators and one heavily criticised narrator.
Abu Bakr was the closest man to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and he wouldn’t take Prophetic narrations from “trustworthy men” as that narration stated simply because he accompanied the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at all times and knew his narrations and opinions in all matters. Also, the narration above, even if by chance we consider it authentic for the sake of argument, then it proves that writing narrations was permissible because if the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had forbade this then Abu Bakr wouldn’t have written them in the first place.
Abu Bakr wrote to Anas ibn Malik whom he had appointed in Bahrain, he wrote him the narrations about theSadaqat.
Abu Bakr sent a written sermon to ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and it contained Prophetic narrations.

4.Abu Bakr al-Thaqafi(51AH):Wrote a sermon to his son who was a judge in Sajistan and included in it Prophetic narrations related to passing judgements.
5.Abu Rafi’(died before 40 AH):Abu Bakr bin ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Hashim said that Abu Rafi’ wrote him a book about how to begin the prayer.
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas was seen writing on tablets what Abu Rafi’ told him from the Sunnah and conduct of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

6.Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (74 AH):He was famous for telling his students not to write his sayings and he narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in this regard. al-Khatib al-Baghdadi reported that Abu Sa’id appears to have written some narrations for himself. Abu ‘l-Nadir also reported from him that he wrote narrations in his letters to Ibn ‘Abbas.

7.Abu Shah, the man from Yemen:After the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) finished his sermon Abu Shah asked him to have it written for him and he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered his Companions to write it for him.

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Abu Musa al-Ash’ari(42 AH): It is said that he opposed the writing of Prophetic narrations, and that he even erased what his student wrote. It was reported from him that after Ibn ‘Abbas came to Basrah, Abu Musa wrote him a book and included in it some Prophetic narrations.

Abu Hurayra (19 BH – 59 AH):It appears he had no books at first because he narrated: “No one knew more about the sayings of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) than me except for Ibn ‘Umar because he wrote with his hand and his heart understood it. I used to understand it with my heart but I didn’t write it.” In his last days however, it was reported by al-Fadl bin al-Hassan bin ‘Amr bin Umayyah from his father that Abu Hurayra showed him many books of hadith in his house.

Bashir bin Nuhayk also reported that he used to take these books from Abu Hurayra to copy them and then he would recite them to him.

Abu Salih al-Samman wrote a Sahifa from Abu Hurayra with Prophetic narrations, al-A’mash then wrote from Abu Salih 1,000 narrations from Abu Hurayra.

Sa’id al-Maqbari wrote a Sahifa from Abu Hurayra.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Marwan wrote to Kathir bin Murrah that: “Write to us the narrations of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), except the narrations of Abu Hurayra because we already have them.”

‘Abdullah bin Hurmuz wrote to Tamim al-Jayyashi some of the narrations of Abu Hurayra.

Yahya ibn ‘Ubaydullah bin Mawhib al-Qurayshi narrated from his father from what he had written from Abu Hurayra.

‘Uqbah bin Abi Hasna narrated what he had received from the copy of the written narrations of Abu Hurayra.

Muhammad ibn Sirin wrote a book of thin pages from Abu Hurayra, and his followers narrated from it.

Marwan ibn al-Hakam, ordered his writer to write the narrations from Abu Hurayra.

Hammam bin Munabbah wrote a Sahifa from Abu Hurayra which was printed several times and researched by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah.

Abu Hind al-Dari :Makhoul wrote his hadith.

Ubay ibn Ka’b bin Qays al-Ansari(22 AH):Abu ‘l-‘Aliyah Rufay’ bin Mahran wrote hadith from him.

Asma’ bint ‘Umays(died after 40 AH):Married several of the senior Companions, she had a Sahifa with hadith written in it.

Usayd bin Hudayr al-Ansari (died during the Caliphate of Marwan): Wrote some Prophetic narrations and the rulings of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and ‘Uthman and sent them to Marwan.

Anas bin Malik, the servant of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)(10 BH – 93 AH):Served the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) for ten years, he encouraged his children to write the knowledge, and he ordered them to write the hadith of ‘Itban ibn Malik.

It was reported that he had many books, he would repeat the narrations and his students would write them.
The narrations written by him were with some of his students in Wasit, and Anas ibn Sirin. Thamamah bin ‘Ubayd Allah had his narrations aboutSadaqat, Hamid al-Tawil wrote his narrations as well, Sulayman al-Taymi wrote 14 narrations from him, ‘Abd al-Malik bin ‘Umayr also wrote his hadith.

Kathir bin Sulaym used to narrate from him from a copy he had.

Aban ibn Abi-‘Ayyash also wrote.
Ibrahim bin Hadabah had a copy from him.

Khalid bin ‘Ubayd al-Basri had something written from his hadith but it was dismissed because it was unreliable.

Other unreliable texts were in the possession of his servant Kharash bin ‘Abdullah, Dinar bin ‘Abd al-Malik al-Ahwazi, Bishr bin Husayn narrated from al-Zubayr bin ‘Aday a fabricated copy from Anas still preserved in Damascus, also ‘Abdullah bin Dinar had a large unreliable copy, al-‘Ala’ bin Zaid and Musa bin ‘Abdullah al-Tawil as well.

Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib(72 AH):His students used to write in his lectures.

Jabir bin Samurah(74 AH):Wrote some Prophetic narrations and sent them to ‘Amir bin Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas.

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Haram(16 BH – 78 AH):Last Companion to die in Madinah, from the first authors in Islam, wrote about Hajj according to Imam Muslim.

Abu Sufyan had a Sahifa from him.
Ja’d Abu ‘Uthman also from the book of Sulayman bin Qays.
Hasan al-Basri had a book from him.
Sulayman bin Qays wrote a Sahifa from him when he met him.
‘Amir al-Shu`ubi, Qatadah and others narrated from a Sahifa containing his Hadith.
‘Abdullah bin ‘Aqil said: “Me and Muhammad bin ‘Ali Abu Ja’far and Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyyah used to go to Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and ask him about the Sunnah of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his prayer, we would learn from him and write down.”
‘Ata’ bin Abi Rabah also narrated from what was written from him.
Mujahid used to narrate from the Sahifa of Jabir.
Mutraf as well.
Muhammad bin Muslim Abu al-Zubayr gave Layth two books containing hadith he heard directly from Jabir.
Wahb bin Munabbih had a Sahifa attributed to Jabir.

Jarir bin ‘Abdullah al-Bajali(0 – 54.AH):Wrote narrations and sent them to Mu’awiyah during the famine in Armenia.

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Hasan bin ‘Ali (3 AH – 50 AH): Used to recommend writing Prophetic narrations for those who could not memorise.
He had the fatwas (verdicts) of ‘Ali in a yellow Sahifa but it is not proven that it contained Prophetic narrations.

Rafi’ bin Khadij al-Ansari(12 BH – 74 AH):Had Prophetic narrations written with him.

Zayd bin Arqam(66 AH):Wrote some hadith and sent them to Anas bin Malik.

Zayd bin Thabit(45 AH):Writer of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), he was appointed by Abu Bakr al-Siddiq to gather the Qur’an, later ‘Uthman appointed him as the writer of the Qur’an.

It was reported in a disconnected weak narration that he opposed the writing of Prophetic narrations. It was reported through al-Zuhri that Zayd wrote the obligatory acts in a book, and the introduction of this book is still preserved inal-Mu’jam al-Kabirof al-Tabarani.

Abu Qalabah wrote his narrations about ruqya in a book.
Qatadah narrated from Kathir bin al-Salt that they used to write when attending Zayd’s lectures.
Kathir bin Aflah said: “We used to write when we were with Zayd.”

Subay’ah bint al-Harith al-Aslamiyah: Wife of Sa`ad bin Khawlah, narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and wrote to some of the followers.
‘Amir said that she wrote to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Utbah narrations from the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
‘Umar bin ‘Abdullah bin al-Arqam went to her to write the narrations of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and then sent them to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Utbah.
‘Amr bin ‘Utbah also wrote her hadith.
She also wrote to Masruq.

Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah al-Ansari(15 AH):Used to write in Jahiliyyah, some of his family members narrated Prophetic narrations from his books.

.Salman al-Farsi(32 AH):He wrote some narrations to Abu ‘l-Darda’.

.Sa’ib ibn Yazid(2 AH – 92 AH):His student Yahya bin Sa’id wrote some of his narrations and sent them to ibn Luhay’ah.

.Sumrah bin Jundab(59 AH):Collected the Prophetic narrations in the form of a book, and he sent the letter containing Prophetic narrations to his son, Ibn Sirin praised this letter by saying: “In the letter of Sumrah to his son is a lot of knowledge.”
From those who narrated his books are Hasan al-Basri who narrated a large copy and a part of it is still preserved inal-Mu’jam al-Kabirof al-Tabarani.
His son Salman ibn Sumrah who received letters from his father as mentioned inSunan Abu Dawud, a part of the letter is also preserved inal-Mu’jam al-Kabir.

Ibn Sirin used to praise this letter so it is assumed that he had a copy of it or he got his hands on it or a part of it.

.Sahl bin Sa’d al-Sa’idi al-Ansari(9 BH – 91 AH):al-Zuhri, Abu Hazim bin Dinar and his son ‘Abbas all narrated from him. Abu Hazim collected his narrations and his son narrated them.

.Shaddad bin Aws bin Thabit al-Ansari(17 BH – 58 AH):It was reported that he narrated hadith to young men and they wrote them.

.Abu Rayhanah al-Azdi al-Ansari:From the important people in Damascus, ‘Urwah al-A’ma Mawla Bani Sa’d narrated that he sailed the seas and wrote the Suhuf.

.Al-Dahhak bin Sufyan al-Kullabi:The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) wrote him hadth and he wrote them in his letter to ‘Umar bin al-Khattab.

.Al-Dahhak bin Qays al-Kullabi(killed in 64 or 65 AH):Wrote a letter to Qays bin al-Haytham when Yazid bin Mu’awiyah died and mentioned some ahadith in it.