In this info-graphic, names of a few notable scholars of Islam have been listed chronologically.
It should be noted that many scholars have not been mentioned here in. These include the four righteous caliphs Abu Bakr as Siddiq (R.A), Umar bin Khattab (R.A), Usman bin Affan (R.A), Ali bin Abi Talib (R.A). This is because their roles were not just confined to scholarly services.
The people mentioned in the list are those who are renowned for their scholarly work alone. This list also highlights the fact that the collection of hadeeth began right from the time of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH). However, to avoid a clash with the scribing of Holy Quran, earliest collections of hadeeth were shelved. Even after the passing away of the prophet (PBUH), there remained in place, a generation of people, who had learned their religion directly from the prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In the early years of Islam, religious knowledge was passed on through oral tradition.
As that early generation of people began to fade with the passage of time and as Islam expanded from Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, it was inevitable to preserve the oral traditions in the form of written text.
Later the need for re-scrutinizing and canonizing these texts arose. A scientific method was developed and it ushered in the era of muhaditheen (scholar of hadeeth).
Therefore the concept that the books of hadeeth sprung up spontaneously without any background some two hundred years after the prophet of Islam is flawed.
Some scholars wrote many books, while others taught orally. Notable books of some of the scholars have also been mentioned in the timeline.
This timeline only covers an era till 300 years after hijrah. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 CE-1328 CE) and Ibn Kathir (1300 CE- 1373 CE) had a profound impact in reviving knowledge. They however came much later and therefore have not been mentioned.
The year of hijrah (Prophet Mohammad’s migration to Madina, PBUH) in the Christian calender is 622 AD. The infographic lists the ages and the hijrah years. The corresponding years in the Christian era can be found in the list below:
Ibn Masud (594 CE-653 CE)
Abu Hurrayra (603 CE-681 CE)
Muadh bin Jabal (607 CE- 639 CE)
Ibn Umar (610 CE-693 CE)
Aishah bint Abu Bakr (613 CE -678 CE)
Ibn Abbass (619 CE-687 CE)
Urwah bin Zubayr (646 CE -712 CE)
Abu Hanifa (699 CE-767 CE)
Ibn Ishaq (704 CE – 761 CE)
Malik bin Anas (711 CE-795 CE)
Imam Shafi (767 CE-820 CE)
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (781 CE -855 CE)
Imam Al Bukhari (810 CE-870 CE)
Imam Al Muslim (815 CE- 875 CE)
Imam Abu Dawud (817 CE -889 CE)
Imam at Tirmidihi (824 CE-892 CE)
Imam ibn Majah (824 CE -887 CE)
Imam al Nasai (829 CE-915 CE)