THE EXEGETES AND THEIR SOURCES
IBN SA'D, KITĀB AL-TABAQĀT AL-KABĪR1
Abū Abdallāh Muḥammad b. Sa'd b. Manī'al-Baṣrī, al-Hāshimī (d. 230/845) was born in Basra around 168/784 and died in Baghdad. He was an orthodox traditionist who traveled in search of traditions and studied under many scholars, but eventually settled in Baghdad, where he attached himself to the famous scholar and historian of the Islamic conquests, al-Wāqidī (d. 207/822). He became his secretary and transmitted his works. Ibn Sa'd studied genealogy under Hishām b. al-Kalbī. His famous work of early history is organized around biographies of individuals in each age, and was probably intended as an aid to the study of Ḥadīth, giving information about some 4,250 individuals. 2 He generally includes records of authentication and collected a significant amount of legendary material about the pre-Islamic period.
Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Hanbal (d. 241/855-6), was known simply as "the Imām" of Baghdad. Born in Baghdad, he spent time in Basra, Kufa, and Mecca, and travelled widely in pursuit of traditions. Like Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Hanbal was persecuted by the Mu'tazilite-led inquisition, the mihna, but refused to accept Mu'tazilite dogma required by the Abbasid authorities at the time. He studied law and Ḥadīth under a great many teachers and was immensely popular and extremely well respected as a traditionist. 4 Strongly orthodox or traditional in outlook, he is the founder of the Hanbalite school of religious law, known as the most rigid approach to the use of tradition. His Musnad is a collection of about 30,000 ḥadīths, organized according to the Companions of the Prophet, who are the last link in the chains of tradition he cites. 5 Most traditions he cites are brief.