by Dr. G.F. Haddad
Al-Hâkim, Muhammad ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Muhammad ibn Hamdûyah, Abû `Abd Allâh al-Dabbî al-Tamhânî al-Naysabûrî al-Shâfi`î, also known as Ibn al-Bayyi` (321-405). The Imâm, hadîth Master, expert in hadîth criticism, and Shaykh of hadîth Masters. He took hadîth from about two thousand authorities in Khurâsân, Iraq, Transoxiana and elsewhere. Among the most prominent of the Masters who narrated hadîth from him are his own teacher al-Dâraqutnî - who declared him stronger in hadîth than Ibn Mandah, - al-Bayhaqî, al-Qushayrî, and others.
Abû Hazim said that al-Hâkim was peerless in his time in Khurâsân, the Hijâz, al-Shâm, Iraq, Rayy, Tabaristân, and Transoxiana. His fame became widespread with lightning speed in his own lifetime. Al-Dhahabî said: "I saw an incredible thing, which is that the muhaddith of al-Andalus Abû `Umar al-Talamankî copied al-Hâkim's book `Ulûm al-Hadîth ("The Sciences of Hadîth") in the year 389 from a shaykh which he named, from another narrator, from al-Hâkim."
Al-Hâkim belongs to the second generation of the Ash`arî school, having taken al-Ash`arî's doctrine at the hands of his students, among them Abû Sahl al-Su`lûkî. He took tasawwuf from al-Sulamî's grandfather and teacher Abû `Amr ibn Nujayd, Abû al-Hasan al-Bûshanjî, Abû Sa`îd Ahmad ibn Ya`qûb al-Thaqafî, Abû Nasr al-Saffâr, Abû Qâsim al-Râzî, Ja`far ibn Nusayr, Abû `Amr al-Zujâjî, Ja`far ibn Ibrâhîm al-Hadhdhâ', and Abû `Uthmân al-Maghribî.
Al-Hâkim said: "I drank water from Zamzam and asked Allâh for excellence in writing books". He authored the following works among others:
· Al-Abwâb ("The Chapters")
· Al-Amâlî ("The Dictations")
· Amâlî al-`Ashiyyât ("Night Dictations")
· Fadâ'il al-Shâfi`î ("The Immense Merits of al-Shâfi`î")
· Fawâ'id al-Nusakh ("Benefits of the Copies")
· Fawâ'id al-Khurâsâniyyîn ("Benefits of the People of Khurâsân")
· Al-Iklîl fî Dalâ'il al-Nubuwwa ("The Diadem: The Marks of Prophethood")
· Al-`Ilal ("The Defects of Hadîth")
· Mâ Tafarrada bi Ikhrâjihi Kullu Wâhidin min al-Imâmayn ("Reports Found Only in al-Bukhârî or Only in Muslim")
· Al-Madkhal ilâ `Ilm al-Sahîh ("Introduction to the Science of Sound Reports")
Ma`rifat Anwâ` `Ulûm al-Hadîth ("Knowledge of the Different Types of the Hadîth Sciences")
Al-Mustadrak `alâ al-Sahîhayn ("Supplement for What is Missing From al-Bukhârî and Muslim")
Muzakkâ al-Akhbâr ("Verified Reports")
Al-Sahîhân ("The Two Books of sahîh Hadîths")
· Al-Talkhîs ("The Summary")
· Tarâjim al-Musnad `alâ Shart al-Sahîhayn ("The Reports of Ahmad's Musnad That Match the Criteria of the Two Books of Sahîh")
· Tarâjim al-Shuyûkh ("Biographies of the Shaykhs")
· Târîkh `Ulamâ' Ahl Naysabûr ("History of the Scholars of Naysabûr"), etc.
It is narrated that a man of letters named Abû al-Fadl al-Hamadhânî came to Naysabûr where he acquired a following and was named Badî` al-Zamân ("Wonder of the Age"), whereupon he became self-infatuated. If he heard someone recite a hundred verses of poetry but once, he was able to recite them back from memory, starting from the end and back to the beginning. One day he criticized someone for saying: "So-and-so the memorizer of hadîth," exclaiming: "Memorizing hadîth! Is it worthy of mention?" When he heard of this, al-Hâkim sent him a book of hadîth and challenged him to memorize it in a week. Al-Hamadhânî returned the book to him and said: "Who can memorize this? 'Muhammad son of So-and-So and Ja`far son of So-and-So reported from So-and-So' - It is filled with all sorts of different names and terms!" Al-Hâkim said: "Therefore know yourself, and understand that to memorize such as this is beyond your sphere."
Al-Hâkim's Mustadrak was criticized by the hadîth scholars due to the number of mistakes and inaccuracies found in it. Al-Sakhâwî in al-I`lân wal-Tawbîkh and others mention that he declares many forged reports to be rigorously authentic - up to 100 according to some authorities - not to mention weak ones, instead of clinging to his own expressed precondition that only reports with chains of the rank of al-Bukhârî's and Muslim's would be retained. For example, he narrates in the Mustadrak from Ibn `Abbâs that Allâh revealed to the Prophet
- I have killed seventy thousand [in punishment] for [the murder of] Yahyâ ibn Zakariyya and I will kill seventy thousand times seventy thousand [in punishment] for [the murder of] your daughter's son al-Husayn.
Al-Hâkim said this report has a sound chain while al-Dhahabî added: "By the criterion of Muslim" but Ibn Hibbân said this hadîth is untraceable (lâ asla lahu), al-Dhahabî himself rejected its matn as munkar in the Siyar while Ibn Kathir similarly declared it "highly anomalous" (gharîb jiddan) in al-Bidâya. 
Al-Dhahabî went to excess in regretting that al-Hâkim had compiled the Mustadrak in the first place.  His classing al-Hâkim "among those who are lenient, like al-Tirmidhî"  does not apply to al-Hâkim in absolute terms but only to his grading of narrations in the Mustadrak, which the Scholars pointed out he compiled in his old age, intending to revise it, a task left unfinished beyond the first volume.  This is proven by the fact that al-Hâkim's mistakes are fewer in the first volume of the Mustadrak, as shown by al-Dhahabî's own minimal corrections there. "Outside of the Mustadrak," Shaykh Mahmûd Mamdûh said, "his positions are as strict as those of any of the meticulous Imâms of hadîth"  In fact, al-Hâkim often criticizes al-Bukhârî and Muslim for narrating hadîths from narrators who have been questioned.  More accurately, the criterion of soundness (sihha) for both al-Hâkim and al-Dhahabî includes the narrations others classified as merely fair (hasan). 
Al-Kattânî in al-Risâla al-Mustatrafa described the Mustadrak as consisting half of sound narrations per the criteria of al-Bukhârî and Muslim or of either one, a quarter of sound narrations that do not meet their criteria, and a quarter of unsound narrations including forgeries. Among the takhrîj commentaries on the Mustadrak are al-Dhahabî's Talkhîs al-Mustadrak, al-Suyûtî's Tawdîh al-Madrak fî Tashîh al-Mustadrak, a work by Burhân al-Dîn al-Halabî, and others such as the recent Tanbîh al-Wâhim by Ramadân `Alî Muhammad.
Another criticism is al-Hâkim's alleged Shî`îsm. Al-Dhahabî once names him "one of the oceans of knowledge although a little bit Shî`î" (`alâ tashayyu`in qalîlin fîh), another time "al-Hâkim the Shî`î," and another time "a famous Shî`î" (shî`iyyun mashhûr),  an echo of Ibn al-Jawzî's barb: "Al-Hâkim was Shî`î-leaning (mutashayyi`) and this is a flagrant trait of his."  Ibn al-Subkî rejects the label of Shî`î as baseless because Ibn `Asâkir includes al-Hâkim among the Ash`arîs, who consider the Shî`îs innovators. Yet this label is still branded as a blemish today at the hands of those who oppose his positions if they weaken theirs, and those who oppose him for being a follower of al-Ash`arî, or for being a Sûfî.
The first hadîth of the Prophet upon him blessings and peace - al-Hâkim narrated in his Ma`rifat `Ulûm al-Hadîth is:
May Allâh make radiant the face of one who heard one of my sayings and then carried it to others. It may be that one carries understanding without being a person of understanding; it may be that one carries understanding to someone who possesses more understanding than he. 
On the 3rd of Safar 405 al-Hâkim went into the bath, came out after bathing, said "Ah" and died wearing but a waist-cloth before he had time to put on a shirt Al-Hasan ibn Ash`ath al-Qurashî said: "I saw al-Hâkim in my dream riding a horse in a handsome appearance and saying: 'Salvation.' I asked him: `Al-Hâkim! In what?' He replied: 'Writing hadîth.'" 
 See Ibn Hibbân, al-Majrûhîn (2:215), al-Khatîb, Târîkh Baghdâd (1:142), al-Hâkim (1990 ed 2:319, 2:648, and 3:195), Fayd al-Qadîr (1:205), Tadhkirat al-Huffâz (1:77 gharîb), Mîzân (sv. Qâsim ibn Ibrâhîm al-Hâshimî), and Siyar (Risâla ed 4:342-343).
 "It would have been better if al-Hâkim had never compiled it"! As mentioned by Dr. Bashshar `Awwad Ma`rûf in his doctoral thesis al-Dhahabî wa Manhajuhu fî Kitâbihi Târîkh al-Islâm.
 In Dhikr Man Yu`tamadu Qawluhu fîl-Jarh wal-Ta`dîl (p. 172).
 Cf. al-Sakhâwî, Fath al-Mughîth (1:36) and Mamdûh, Raf` al-Minâra (p. 153 n. 1).
 Shaykh `Abd Allâh Sirâj al-Dîn said in Sharh al-Manzûma al-Bayqûniyya (p. 47): "Al-Suyûtî said in al-Tadrîb [Egyptian ed p. 72] that Ibn al-Salâh excepted the hadîths that attracted criticism [from his statement that all that is in the two Sahîhs is definitely sahîh]. These are the hadîths which al-Dâraqutnî and others have criticized, 210 narrations as the hâfiz Ibn Hajar said, 32 shared by al-Bukhârî and Muslim, while al-Bukhârî alone has 78 and Muslim alone 100."
 For a critique of al-Dhahabî's statement about al-Tirmidhî's leniency see `Itr's masterpiece al-Imâm al-Tirmidhî.
 "Al-Dhahabî likes to fuss over whomever he suspects of tashayyu`." Al-Ghumârî, al-Mudâwî (5:424). Al-Dhahabî goes so far - in the Siyar (10:627) - as to claim that al-Hâkim leans to the Karrâmiyya!
 Ibn al-Jawzî, al-Muntazam (8:269).
 A mass-transmitted (mutawâtir) hadîth narrated from the following Companions:
• (1) Zayd ibn Thâbit by al-Tirmidhî (hasan in the printed eds), Abû Dâwûd, Ibn Mâjah, Ahmad, al-Dârimî, al-Shâfi`î in his Risâla (§1102), al-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr (§4891-4892, §4925, §4994), Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jâmi` Bayân al-`Ilm (1:175 §184), al-Râmahurmuzî in al-Muhaddith al-Fâsil (p. 64), Ibn Abî `Asim in al-Sunna (p. 45 §94), al-Khatîb in Sharaf Ashâb al-Hadîth (p. 24) and al-Faqîh wa al-Mutafaqqih (2:71), al-Tahâwî in Sharh Mushkil al-Athâr (2:232=4:282 §1600), and Ibn Hibbân (1:270 §67, 2:454 §680), all with sound chains as stated by al-Arna'ût and others;
• (2) Jubayr ibn Mut`im by Ibn Mâjah, Ahmad, al-Dârimî, al-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr (§1541-1544), Abû Ya`lâ in his Musnad (1:347 §7413), al-Hâkim (1:87= 1990 ed 1:162), al-Qudâ`î in Musnad al-Shihâb (§1421), al-Tahâwî in Sharh Mushkil al-Athâr (2:232= 4:282 §1601), al-Khatîb in Sharaf Ashâb al-Hadîth (p. 18), and Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jâmi` Bayân al-`Ilm (1:184-187 §195-197), all with weak chains because of Muhammad ibn Ishâq who is a concealer in his narrative chains (mudallis), cf. al-Haythamî (1:139);
• (3) Anas by Ibn Mâjah, Ahmad, al-Tabarânî in al-Awsat, and Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jâmi` Bayân al-`Ilm (1:187-189 §198-199) with weak chains - as stated by al-Haythamî (1:138-139) - the collected force of which raise the hadîth to the grade of fair;
• (4) Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî by al-Bazzâr with a chain of trustworthy narrators except for Sa`îd ibn Bâzigh who may be unknown as stated by al-Haythamî (1:137);
• (5) Abû al-Dardâ' by al-Dârimî and al-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr with a very weak chain because of `Abd al-Rahmân ibn Zayd ("ibn Zubayd al-Yâmî" in al-Dârimî) as stated by al-Haythamî (1:137);
• (6) `Umayr ibn Qatâda al-Laythî by al-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr with a chain containing one narrator whose state is unsure as mentioned by al-Haythamî (1:138);
• (7) al-Nu`mân ibn Bashîr by al-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr with a very weak chain because of `Isâ al-Khabbât and by al-Hâkim (1:88=1990 ed 1:164) with a sound chain as confirmed by al-Dhahabî and as indicated by al-Haythamî (1:138);
• (8) Jâbir and • (9) Sa`d ibn Abî Waqqâs by al-Tabarânî in al-Awsat with weak chains as stated by al-Haythamî (1:138-139);
• (10) Ibn Mas`ûd by al-Tirmidhî with two chains (hasan sahîh), Ibn Mâjah, Ahmad, Abû Ya`lâ in his Musnad (§5126, §5296), al-Shâfi`î in his (1:14), al-Baghawî in Sharh al-Sunna (1:233-234), al-Khatîb in al-Kifâya (p. 29, p. 173) and Sharaf Ashâb al-Hadîth (p. 18-19, p. 26), al-Bayhaqî in Ma`rifat al-Sunan (1:15-16, 1:43) and Dalâ'il al-Nubuwwa (6:540), Abû Nu`aym in Târîkh Asbahân (2:90) and al-Hilya (7:331) where he graded it sahîh, al-Hâkim in Ma`rifat `Ulûm al-Hadîth (p. 322), Ibn `Abd al-Barr in Jâmi` Bayân al-`Ilm (1:178-182 §188-191), Ibn Hibbân (1:268 §66, 1271-272 §68-69) with three fair chains according to al-Arna'ût, one of them with the wording "Allâh have mercy on someone who hears a hadîth from me then conveys it..."
Al-Kattânî in Nazm al-Mutanâthir adds the following Companion-narrators of this hadîth:
• (11) Bashîr ibn al-Nu`mân;
• (12) Mu`âdh ibn Jabal;
• (13) Abû Qirfâsa;
• (14) Rabî`a ibn `Uthmân al-Taymî;
• (15) Ibn `Umar;
• (16) Zayd ibn Khâlid al-Juhanî;
• (17) `A'isha; (18) Abû Hurayra; and
• (19) Shayba ibn `Uthmân.
Al-Tirmidhî's version does not mention the last sentence while al-Shâfi`î's adds "and guard them from delusion." This is the first narration in al- Ajurrî's book al-Sharî`a. On the variant wordings of this important hadîth also see `Abd al-Fattâh Abû Ghudda's al-Rasûl al-Mu`allim (p. 55-56).
 Tabyîn (p. 226-229); Mîzân (3:608 §7804, 3:551 §7544); Siyar (13:97-106 §3714); Tabaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ (4:155-171 §329).