Explanation of The Aqidah of The Two Imams Abū Zur’ah ar-Râzî & Abū Ḥâtim ar-Râzî (Part 1) by The Research Center of Hadith
Imam Abū Muḥammad ‘Abdur-Raḥman bin Abî Ḥâtim said, “I asked my father and Abū Zur’ah about the opinions of the People of the Sunnah (Ahlus Sunnah) regarding the roots of the religion, what they noticed the scholars of all the metropolises are upon and what they [themselves] believed of that. They said, “We noticed the scholars in all of the cities of Hijâz, Iraq, Egypt, Levant, and Yemen—and from their opinion was that:
Abu Zur’ah ar-Razi (d.264H)
His name and lineage: He is the imam, the hâfidh, the critic, the proof, shaikh of the recitors and the traditionists in Khurasân, Abū Zur’ah ‘Ubaidullah bin ‘Abdil-Karîm bin Yazîd bin Farrūkh bin Dâwud ar-Râzî.
His birth: He was born the year 194H according to [what is] more apparent.
The better known [narrators] he narrated from: Ahmad bin Hanbal, Yahyâ bin Ma’în, Abū Nu’aim al-Fadl bin Dukain, Abul-Walîd at–Tayâlisî, Yahyâ bin ‘Abdillah bin Bukair, Ahmad bin Yūnus, ‘Abdullah bin Sâlih al-‘Ijlî, Khallâd bin Yahyâ, Abul-Hasan at-Tirmidhî, Ahmad bin Manî’, Abur-Rabî’ al-‘Atkî, ‘Abdullah bin Maslamah al-Qa’nabî, Mahmūd bin Ghailân, and many others.
The better known narrators [who narrated] from him: Abū Hâtim ar-Râzî, Muslim bin al-Hajjâj, Abū ‘Îsâ at-Tirmidhî, Abū ‘Abdir-Rahman an-Nasâ’î, Ibn Mâjah al-Qazwînî, Ishâq bin Mūsâ al-Ansârî, ar-Rabî’ bin Sulaimân, Yūnus bin ‘Abdil-A’lâ, Ibrâhîm al-Harbî, Abū Zur’ah ad-Dimashqî, ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abî Hatim, Abū ‘Awânah al-Isfarâ’înî, Abū Bakr bin Abî Dâwud, Abū Ya’lâ al-Mawsilî, ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Wahb ad-Dînawarî, ‘Alî bin al-Hasan bin al-Junaid, and others.
The scholars’ and imams’ commendation of him: Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “[There are] none across the bridge of Baghdad more preserving than Abî Zur’ah.”
He said, “This young man (i.e., Abū Zur’ah) memorized 700,000 hadîths.”
Abū Hâtim ar-Râzî said, “Abū Zur’ah narrated to me and he did not leave after him [anyone of] his like in knowledge, jurisprudence, understanding, preservation, and truthfulness. I do not know anyone, in the East and the West, who understands this situation like him.”
He said, “If you see a Râzî hating Abū Zur’ah, then know that he is a heretic.”
He said, “The most pious of [those] who I saw are four: Âdam, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Thâbit bin Muhammad az-Zâhid, and Abū Zur’ah ar-Râzî.”
Is·hâq bin Râhawaih said, “Every hadîth Abū Zur’ah does not recognize, then it does not have an origin.”
Yūnus bin ‘Abdil-A’lâ mentioned Abū Zur’ah ar-Râzî and said, “Abū Zur’ah is a prodigy; when Allah desires to make one of His slaves a prodigy, He makes him [one].”
Muhammad bin Yahyâ said, “The Muslims will not cease [being] good so long as Allah preserves the likes of Abî Zur’ah for them.”
Sâlih bin Muhammad said from Abî Zur’ah that he said, “I memorized 10,000 hadîths regarding the recitations.”
Abū Ya’lâ al-Mawsilî said, “We have not heard anyone mentioned regarding memorization except [that] his name was larger than [the things] seen [of] him, except Abū Zur’ah, for surely, [the things] observed [of] him were more tremendous than his name. He had gathered [the knowledge of] the chapters, the shaikhs, and the exegesis. We wrote 6,000 hadîths of his selection in Wâsit.”
al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî said, “He was a divine imam, a precise [and] prolific hâfidh. He sat with Ahmad bin Hanbal and committed his [hadîths] to memory.”
adh-Dhahabî said, “He was from the [unique] individuals of [his] age in memorization, acumen, religion, sincerity, knowledge, and deed.”
He said, “He was the imam of the People of Hadîth in his time, a head with respect to knowledge and deed and his outstanding traits a forelock.”
His death: He died on the Monday at the end of Dhil-Hijjah in the year 264H.
Abu Hatim ar-Razi (d.277H)
His name and lineage: He is the imam, the hâfidh, the critic, the proof, Abū Hâtim Muhammad bin Idrîs bin al-Mundhir bin Dâwud bin Mahrân ar-Râzî, al-Handhalî, al-Ghatafânî.
His birth: He was born the year 195H.
The better known [narrators] he narrated from: He narrated from many, such that al-Khalîlî said, “Abū Hâtim al-Labbân al-Hâfidh said to me, ‘I had gathered [those] who Abū Hâtim ar-Râzî narrated from; they reached close to 3,000.’”
From the better known of them are: Abū Nu’aim al-Fadl bin Dukain, Zuhair bin ‘Abbâd, Yahyâ bin Bukair, ‘Ubaidullah bin Mūsâ, Âdam bin Abî Iyâs, Thâbit bin Muhammad az-Zâhid, ‘Abdullah bin Sâlih al-‘Ijlî, ‘Abdullah bin Sâlih al-Kâtib, Muhammad bin ‘Abdillah al-Ansârî, and Qabîsah.
The better known narrators [who narrated] from him: Abū Zur’ah ar-Râzî, Yūnus bin ‘Abdil-A’lâ, Abū Bakr bin Abid-Dunyâ, Mūsâ bin Is·hâq al-Ansârî, Abū Dâwud as-Sijistânî, Abū ‘Abdir-Rahman an-Nasâ’î, Abū ‘Awânah al-Isfarâ’înî, Abul-Hasan al-Qattân, Abū Bishr ad-Dūlâbî, and many others.
The scholars’ and imams’ commendation of him: Abū Zur’ah told Abî Hâtim, “I have not seen [anyone] more intent on seeking the hadîth than you.”
Yūnus bin ‘Abdil-A’lâ said, “Abū Zur’ah and Abū Hâtim are the two imams of Khurasân.” He supplicated for them both and said, “Their continuance is an improvement for the Muslims.”
‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abî Hâtim said, “I heard Mūsâ bin Is·hâq al-Qâdî saying, ‘I have not seen [anyone] more preserving than your father,’ and he had met Abū Bakr Ibn Abî Shaibah, Ibn Numair, Ibn Ma’în, and Yahyâ al-Himmânî.”
Ahmad bin Salamah an-Naisâbūrî said, “I have not seen after Is·hâq and Muhammad bin Yahyâ [anyone] more preserving of the hadîth or more knowledgeable of its meanings than Abî Hâtim ar-Râzî.”
al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî said, “Abū Hâtim was one of the credible, hâfidh imams.”
adh-Dhahabî said, “He was from the oceans of knowledge. He travelled about the countries and excelled in the text and the chain [of transmission]. He gathered and compiled, disparaged and accredited, authenticated and deemed defective.”
He said, “He was one of the notables and from the formidable imams of the People of the Relic … he was a neighbour in the arena of his comrade and relative, Hâfidh Abū Zur’ah.”
His death: He died on the month of Sha’bân in the year 277H.
 Imâm – leader, head. It is the honorific given to the head or heads of a particular group, whether it be a top scholar of the religion or the ruler of the Muslims.
 Hâfiḍḥ – memoriser, preserver. It is the honorific given to a traditionist with exceptional skills in memorising prophetic traditions. It also refers to a memoriser of the Qur’an.
 Muhaddith – speaker, transmitter of prophetic statements and traditions. In Islamic terminology it refers to a scholar of the branches of knowledge pertaining to prophetic narrations and traditions, referred to by some Orientalist scholars as a ‘traditionalist’, hence my use of it here.
 I.e., no one memorizes more.
 I.e., to study under him.
 I.e., Imam Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal.
 Rabbani – divine; pertaining to God. Imam ash-Shawkânî explained, “The divine is [something] attributed to the Lord with the addition of the alif and the nūn, just as liḥyânî is said about a great beard … . The divine is the one who educates the people with the minor [aspects] of knowledge before its major [aspects]. So it is as if he was emulating the Lord, glorified is He, in facilitating the affairs.” (Fatḥ al-Qadîr, vol. 1, pg. 584).
 The biography’s sources: al-Jarh wat-Ta’dîl, vol. 1, pg. 328; Târîkh Baghdâd, vol. 10, pg. 362; Târîkh Dimashq, vol. 38, pg. 11; Siyar A’lâm an-Nubalâ’, vol. 13, pg. 65; al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-‘Adhîm, vol. 2, pg. 1158.
 The biography’s sources: al-Jarh wat-Ta’dîl, vol. 1, pg. 349; Târîkh Baghdâd, vol. 2, pg. 73; Târîkh Dimashq, vol. 52, pg. 3; Siyar A’lâm an-Nubalâ’, vol. 13, pg. 247; al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-‘Adhîm, vol. 2, pg. 1163.