By Christopher Melchert
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Extra resources for Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Makers of the Muslim World)
Musnad 3:102 19:56–8) <‘Abd Allah < his father < ‘Abd al-Samad ibn ‘Abd al-Warith < Za’idah < al-Mukhtar ibn Fulful < Anas ibn Malik < the Messenger of God: “By him in whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, if you had seen what I have seen, you would laugh little and weep much”. ” He said, “I have seen Paradise and Hell”. (Musnad 3:126 19:294–5) The point is clear: the discouragement of laughing and the encouragement of weeping, a favorite devotional practice of eighth-century Muslim renunciants. Weeping is still commonly seen at Shi‘i pilgrimage sites and at, to a lesser extent, the recitation of the Qur’an.
He did make one more important trip from Baghdad, travelling to Syria when his son Salih was about six years old (Siyar 11:306). Ahmad seems to have experimented early on with arranging hadith by topic. Abu Hatim al-Razi (d. 277/890–1) recalled: I first met Ahmad in the year 213 [828–9]. He had brought out with him to the prayer the book of drinks and the book of faith. He then prayed. Nobody asked him anything, so he returned his books to his house. I came to him another day. Lo and behold, he had brought out the same two books.
Indd 40 05/06/2006 11:32:48 HADITH 41 Eventually, Ahmad chose arrangement by transmitter. The Musnad is Ahmad’s principal collection of hadith (or any other teaching). The name, meaning “supported,” refers first to the way every hadith report in it has an isnad, a chain of authority going back to the original speaker. Some important collections of hadith from Ahmad’s lifetime include much material from later Muslims. There is also an extant, smaller collection of hadith from Ibn Abi Shaybah, also called the Musnad, which is entirely prophetic; Ahmad’s Musnad is overwhelmingly prophetic.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Makers of the Muslim World) by Christopher Melchert