A brother wrote:
The following are some tips that I have come across that will help save time when one tries looking up information for narrators:
- Tahtheeb Al-Kamal / Tahtheeb Al-Tahtheeb / Ikmal Tahtheeb Al-Kamal: For narrators that can be found within the six books (and sometimes in books authored by the six, i.e. Khasa'is Ali by Al-Nasa'ee, Adab Al-Mufrad by Al-Bukhari)
- Mizan Al-I'itidal / Al-Kamil by Ibn Adi: Narrators that have been weakened (and are strong) and weak narrators in general.
- Thiqaat Ibn Hibban / Al-Ijli / Ibn Shaheen: Narrators that are thiqaat or have been called thiqaat. (Note: As most are aware, Ibn Hibban and Al-Ijli to some extent, are known to make tawtheeq of unknown narrators.)
- Al-Thiqaat by Ibn Qutlubugha: Narrators that are thiqaat but cannot be found in the six books.
- Lisan Al-Mizan: Narrators that were weakened but cannot be found in the six books.
- Tareekh Baghdad / Tareekh Dimashq / Akhbar Isbahaan / Tareekh Jirjan / Tareekh Ibn Yunus (Egypt) / Tareekh Nisapur: Each of these books includes information for narrators that have entered or are from each respective city. (Note: The last two books are lost, and the current versions today were compiled by the usage of other late books that recorded information from these books.)
- Tabaqaat Al-Shafi'eeya / Tabaqaat Al-Hanabila: Information about narrators that belong to these specific sects. (Note: There are also books about the narrators of Maliki and Hanafi sects but I do not recall their names.)
- Maraseel Ibn Abi Hatim / Jami' Al-Tahseel / Tuhfat Al-Tahseel: Books for finding out about narration disconnections.
- Tabaqaat Al-Mudaliseen by Ibn Hajar: Finding out the level of tadlees by a particular narrator.
- Siyar A'alam Al-Nubala / Tareekh Al-Islam: Great for info about narrators that died after the 4th century.
- Al-Jarh wal Ta'deel by Ibn Abi Hatim: Largest quantity of early narrators.