ABŪ ʿABDALLĀH B. AL-BAYYEʿ (EBN AL-BAYYEʿ), a noted traditionist and local historian, b. 321/933, d. 405/1014; full name: ABŪ ʿABDALLĀH MOḤAMMAD B. ʿABDALLĀH B. MOḤAMMAD B. MOḤAMMAD B. ḤAMDŪYA B. NOʿAYM B. AL-ḤAKAM AL-ŻABBĪ AL-ṬAHMĀNĪ; he was commonly known as AL-ḤĀKEM AL-NĪSĀBŪRĪ because of his once having held a post as judge (qāżī). Ebn al-Bayyeʿ was an immensely learned Hadith scholar and one of the first to write systematic treatments of the science of Hadith study. Although he traveled on pilgrimage and for purposes of study both to Iraq and Transoxania, his life was spent mostly in Nīšāpūr, where he was one of the central figures in the development of that city into a major intellectual center. Hist history of Nīšāpūr, which consisted of over 2,500 biographies of ʿolamāʾ who lived in or passed through the city, along with an account of its topography and pre-Islamic and early Islamic history, is preserved only in a severely truncated version and in excerpts in other works; but in its original form it was a monument of biographical compilation.
Later Hadith scholars occasionally criticized Ebn al-Bayyeʿ’s accuracy and scrupulousness in transmitting and validating traditions, but their criticisms were rebutted by his supporters and are far outweighed by his contributions to the systematization of the science as a whole. He was also criticized for harboring Shiʿite sympathies. His defenders point out that the evidence for this is tenuous, while his credentials as an Asḥʿarite are sound. The charge of Shiʿism may have its root in accusations made by the Karrāmīs (q.v.), who at one point destroyed his menbar and barred him from leaving his house. The Karrāmīs are known to have used false accusations of Shiʿism as a political weapon against their opponents, among whom were numbered the Asḥʿarites. Of Ebn al-Bayyeʿ’s numerous works, four have been printed: al-Mostadrak ʿala’l-ṣaḥīḥayn fi’l-ḥadīṯ, Hyderabad, 1334-42/1917-24; Maʿrefat ʿolūm al-ḥadīṯ, ed. Moʿaẓẓam Ḥosayn, Cairo, 1937; al-Madḵal elā maʿrefat al-eklīl, ed. and tr. J. Robson, London, 1953; Taʾrīḵ ʿolamāʾ ahl Nayšābūr, much abridged version reproduced as Ketāb aḥwāl Nayšābūr in The Histories of Nishapur, ed. R. N. Frye, The Hague, 1965.
Taʾrīḵ Baḡdād V, pp. 473ff.
Ebn ʿAsāker, Tabyīn kaḏeb al-moftarī ʿalā Abi’l-Ḥasan al-Ašʿarī, ed. al-Kawṯarī, Damascus, 1347/1928-29, pp. 227ff.
Ebn Ḵallekān (Būlāq), I, p. 691.
Ḏahabī, Ḥoffāẓ, Hyderabad, 1914-15, III, pp. 227ff.
Sobkī, Ṭabaqāt1 III, pp. 64ff.
Ebn Ḥaǰar, Lesān al-mīzān V, pp. 232ff.
ʿAbd-al-Ḡāfer al-Fāresī, “al-Montaḵab men ketāb al-sīāq le-taʾrīḵ Nayšābūr” in The Histories of Nishapur, fol. 2a-b.
Ebn al-Jawzī, al-Montaẓam VII, Hyderabad, 1938-40, pp. 274ff.
EI2 III, p. 82.
J. Robson, An Introduction to the Science of Tradition, London, 1953, pp. 1-5.
(R. W. Bulliet)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 250-251
R. W. Bulliet, “Abu Abdallah B. Al-Bayye,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, pp. 250-251; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-abdallah-b (accessed on 26 January 2014).