The Ḥadīth is honour. Whoever wants the world for it will get the world, and whoever wants the Hereafter by it will get the Hereafter.
The Virtues of Ḥadīth
 From ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿUmar Ibn al-‘Ās who said that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said:
“Relate from me even if it is one āyah and report from the Children of Isrāʿīl and there is no problem. And whoever lies upon me, then let him take his seat in the Fire.”2
 ʿAbdullāh Ibn al Mubārak said: “The isnād (chain of narrators for ḥadīth) is from the Religion.”
Through another chain of narrators he reported to have said: “According to me, the isnād is from the Religion. If it were not for the isnād, whoever wished could have said whatever he said.”
He also said: “The example of the one who studies his Religion without an isnād is like the one who attempts to ascend a roof without a ladder.”3
 Sufyān al-Thawrī said: “The isnād is the weapon of the Believer. So if he does not have a weapon with him, what will he fight with?”4
 Sahl Ibn ʿAbdullāh al-Zāḥid said: “Whoever wants the worldly life and the Hereafter, then let him write the Ḥadīth.”5
 ʿAbdullāh Ibn Dāwūd said: “The Ḥadīth is honour. Whoever wants the world for it will get the world and whoever wants the Hereafter by it will get the Hereafter.”6
 Ḥasan Ibn Mansūr al-Jassās said: “I said to Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal: To what point should a man write Ḥadīth? He said: Until he dies.”
Abū ʿAbdullāh Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal said: “I shall study Ḥadīth until I enter the grave.”7
 Abū Zayd al-Faqīḥ recited the following verses of poetry:
“Every speech after the Qurʾān is heresy,
Except for the Ḥadīth and except for understanding (fiqh) in the Religion.
And knowledge emanates from “It was narrated to us.” (haddathanā)
And everything other than this is a whispering from the devils.”8
 Sufyān al-Thawrī said: “I do not know of any action upon the face of the earth more noble than the study of Ḥadīth for whoever wishes to seek the Face of Allāh by it.”9
 Wakīʿ Ibn al-Jarrāḥ said: “If the Ḥadīth were not more noble to me than tasbeeh (glorifying Allāh), I would not have narrated.”10
 Wakīʿ Ibn al-Jarrāḥ said: “Allāh has not been worshipped by something more noble than the Ḥadīth.”11
 Baqiyah said: “Al-Awzā‘ī said to me: O Abā Yuhmad! What do you say about a people who hate the Ḥadīth? I said: They are an evil people. He said: There is not a person of innovation upon whom a ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh is narrated which opposes his innovation, except that he hates the Ḥadīth.”12
 Abū Mansoor Ibn Sallām al-Faqīḥ said: “There is nothing heavier upon the people of heresy and more hated by them than listening to the Ḥadīth and its narration with its isnād.13
 Sufyān al-Thawrī said: “The Religion is only based upon narrations, not upon opinion. The Religion is only based upon narrations, not upon opinion. The Religion is only based upon narrations, not upon opinion.”14
The Virtues of the People of Ḥadīth:
 From Mu‘aawiyah Ibn Qurah, from his father, from the Prophet ﷺ who said: “A group from my Ummah will always remain victorious. Those who abandon them will not be able to harm them, until the Hour is established.”15
 From Mu’ādth Ibn Jabal, from the Prophet ﷺ who said: “This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation. They will remove from it the distortions of the transgressors and the attributions of the fabricators and the explanations of the ignorant.”16
 Abū Bakr Ibn Abī Dāwūd said: “Aḥmad Ibn Sinān informed us from a man who mentioned that he saw the Prophet ﷺ in a dream and the Prophet was standing in the mosque between to circles. In the first of them was Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal and in the other was Ibn Abī Duʿāʾd.17 The Prophet ﷺ was reciting:
“So when these people disbelieved in it…”
And he pointed to Ibn Abī Duʿāʾd and his companions. [Then he recited:]
“So indeed we entrusted it to a people who are not disbelievers in it.”
[Sūrah al-An‘aam 6:89]
And the Prophet ﷺ pointed to Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal and his companions.”18
 From Anas that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “The Children of Isrāʿīl divided into seventy-one sects and the Christians divided into seventy-two sects. And my Ummah shall divide into seventy-three sects, all of them being in the Fire except one sect.”19
 Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal mentioned the ḥadīth of the Prophet ﷺ: “The Ummah will divide into more than seventy sects…” So he said: “If they are not the people of Ḥadīth, then I do not know who they are!”20
 Abū al-Ḥasan Muḥammad Ibn ʿAbdullāh Ibn Bishr said: “I saw the Prophet ﷺ in a dream so I said: Who is the Saved Sect from the seventy-three sects? He said: You, O people of Ḥadīth.”21
 From Sa‘eed Ibn Yaʿqūb at-Taaliqaanee or other than him said: “Ibn al Mubārak mentioned the ḥadīth of the Prophet ﷺ : “There shall remain a group from my Ummah…” Then he said: “According to me, they are the people of Ḥadīth.”22
 From Fudhayl Ibn Ziyād who said: “I asked Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal – and he was mentioning the ḥadīth: “There shall remain a group from my Ummah…” – so he said: “If they are not the people of Ḥadīth, then I do not who they are!”23
 Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad Ibn Mahbūb said: “Abū ʿĪsá at-Tirmidthī informed us while he was mentioning the ḥadīth of Mu‘āwiyah Ibn Qurah from his father who said that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “A group from my Ummah shall remain victorious. Those who forsake them will not be able to harm them…” Abū ʿĪsá said: Muḥammad Ibn Ismā‘īl [al-Bukhārī] said: ʿAlī Ibn al Madīnee said: They are the people of Ḥadīth.”24
 Ishāq Ibn Aḥmad said: “Muḥammad Ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī informed us – and he was mentioning the ḥadīth of Mūsá Ibn ‘ʿUqbah from Abī al-Zubayr from Jubayr from the Prophet ﷺ : “There shall remain a group from my Ummah…” So al-Bukhārī said: It means the people of Ḥadīth.”25
 From Abī Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu) who said that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “Verily Islām began as something strange and it will return to being something strange. So Tūbā is for the strangers.”26
 ‘Abdān 27said: “They are the early people of Ḥadīth.”28
 Abī Ḥātim al-Rāzī said: “There has not been in any nation from amongst the nations since Allāh created Ādam (ʿalayhi al-Salām), trustworthy ones memorizing the narrations of the Messengers except in this Ummah.”
So a man said: ‘O Abā Ḥātim, perhaps they may relate a ḥadīth which has no basis, nor is it authentic.’ So he said: “Their scholars know the authentic from the weak, so they relate that with knowledge in order to explain to those who come after them that they distinguished the narrations and memorized them.”
Then the man said: ‘May Allāh have mercy upon Abū Zur‘ah. He – by Allāh – used to exert himself in the memorization of narrations from the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ29′.
[14 ]Sufyān al-Thawrī said: “The Angels are the guardians of the sky and the people of Ḥadīth are the guardians of the earth.”30
 Imām ash-Shāfiʿī said: “If I were to see a man from the people of Ḥadīth, it would be as if I had seen the Prophet ﷺ living.”31
 From Sa‘eed Ibn al-ʿAbbās who said: “Ibrāhīm Ibn Mūsá was asked: ‘Who are the people who enjoin the good and forbid the evil?’ He said: ‘We are they. We say: ‘The Messenger of Allāh said: Do such and such…’ and ‘The Messenger of Allāh said do not do such and such..’32
 From Abī Bakr al-Marūzī that Abā ʿAbdullāh – meaning Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal – said: “According to me, there are not a people better than the people of Ḥadīth. They do not know anything except the Ḥadīth.”33
 Khalīl Ibn Aḥmad said: “If the people of the Qurʾān and the Ḥadīth are not the awliyā (close allies) of Allāh, then Allāh does not have a walī (close ally) upon the earth.”34
 Hārūn ar-Rasheed said: “I searched for four, so I found them in four. I searched for disbelief (kufr), so I found it in the Jahmiyyah. I searched for kalām (rhetoric) and controversy (shaghab), so I found it in the Mu‘tazilah. I searched for the lie, so I found it with the Rāfidhah. I searched for the truth, so I found it with the people of Ḥadīth.”35
 Abū Ja‘far an-Nufaylee said: “If there is anyone upon the face of the earth who is saved, then it is these who study the Ḥadīth.”36
 Ja‘far Ibn Muḥammad said: al-Ḥasan al-Qādī said: I heard Qutaybah Ibn Sa‘eed saying: “If you see a man loving the people of Ḥadīth like Yahyá Ibn Sa‘eed al-Qattaan and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Mahdī and Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal and Ishāq Ibn Rāhawayh – and he mentioned some people – then he is upon the Sunnah, and whoever opposes this, then know that he is an innovator.”37
 The following article is a series of excerpts from the book, ‘Sharaf Ashaabul Ḥadīth’ by al-Ḥāfiẓ Khateeb al-Baghdādī.
 Related by al-Bukhārī (6/496/3461). See Ṣaḥīḥ al-Tirmidthī (no. 1250) and Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ (no. 2834).
 Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (1/15)
 Ibid (1/15)
 Ibid (2/26)
 Ibid (2/26)
 Ibid (2/32)
 Ibid (2/37)
 Ibid (2/39)
 Ibid (2/40)
 Ibid (2/39)
 Ibid (2/36)
 Ibid (2/36)
 Ibid (p. 38)
 Related by Muslim (no. 1920-1925), by Ibn Hibbān in al-Majrooheen (1/88-89) and by Shaykh al-Albānī in al-Ṣaḥihah (no. 1108, 1955-1962).
 Related by Ibn al Wazeer al-Yamānee in ar-Rawdhun Naas (1/21-23). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albānī in Takhreejul Mishkaat (1/28-38/248).
 He is Abū ʿAbdullāh Ibn Aḥmad Ibn Farj Ibn Hareez al-’Iyāḍee al-Baṣrī, then al-Baghdādī – the Jahmee. He was the enemy of Imām al-Sunnah Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal. He called to the creation of the Qurʾān. He died in the year 240H. See Siyar Aʿlām al-Nubalāʾ (11/169-171).
 Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (p. 44)
 Related by al-Ḥākim in al-Mustadrak with the Talkhees of al-Dhahabī (1/128), it is related in Majmoo‘ul Fatāwá (3/340) and (16/491) of Ibn Taymīyyah and al-Shāṭibī in al-I‘tisaam (2/189-191) and by al-ʿIrāqī in Takhreejul Iḥyā (3/230) and Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Aḥādīthul Kashaaf (p. 63). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albānī in al-Ṣaḥihah (no. 203-204, 1492) and in Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan Ibn Mājah (no. 3225-3227) and in Dhilālul Jannah (no. 63-67).
 Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (1/7)
 Ibid (1/7)
 Ibid (1/8)
 Ibid (1/8)
 Related by Muslim (no. 45). It has been mentioned by Shaykh al-Albānī in al-Ṣaḥihah (no. 1273), Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ (no. 1576) and in Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan Ibn Mājah (no. 3221-3223).
 He is ‘Abdaan al-Qaadee, a narrator of Ḥadīth Abī Bakr Ibn Abī Shaybah as is found in the chain of narrators of the author. Refer to the checking of Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Maḥmūd of Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (p. 53).
 Sharaf Aṣḥāb al-Ḥadīth (1/6).
 Ibid (1/16)
 Ibid (1/17)
 Ibid (1/18)
 Ibid (1/19)
 Ibid (1/20)
 Ibid (1/21)
 Ibid (2/23)
 Ibid (2/24)
 Ibid (2/35)
Translated by Maaz Qureshi