How to study Sahih Muslim

Use Sharh Nawawi and Fath al-Mulhim as your base but supplement with relevant book dependent on the area of focus. Nawawi is better for sanad and aqa’id whilst Fath al-Mulhim for Hanafi fiqh and language.

By Muhaddith al-Asr Shaykh Yunus Jawnpuri
Yawaqit al-Ghaliya v.1 p. 275
Translated by Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami  – 28 Ramadan 1438 | 23 June 2017

In Muslim, there are both the disciplines of ilm riwayat al-hadith1 and ilm dirayat al-hadith2.

In the Muqaddimah, Imam Muslim discusses ilm dirayat al-hadith (usul hadith). Hence, you should get aid from the books usul hadith such as al-Kifayah of Khatib, ‘Ulum al-Hadith of Hakim, Fath al-Mughith of Sakhawi, Tadrib al-Rawi of Suyuti, Sharh Nukhbah of Ibn Hajar amongst others. Nawawi in Sharh Muslim has covered sufficient amount of usul. In Fath al-Mulhim there is also a significant amount, but in some instances, it is less than the Sharh of Nawawi.

After the Muqaddimah, the discipline of riwayat al-hadith starts. In riwayat, the sanad and matn are both worthy of attention.

In the present times, the practice of commenting on the sanads has ceased. However, if you want to review its, Sharh Nawawi has adequate records of the names and reports on the rijal (narrators). Before this check the books of rijal.3 Those hadith which are in Fath al-Bari etcetera, their status can be discovered there.

As for the matn of hadith, nowadays, there is a practice of commentary. On the matn, the usul is discussed as well as fiqh, lughat, and sarf. The points of usul are related to the muhaddithin as well as the mutakallimin.

The muhaddithin address the ilal (علل) and other matters of the matn. Hence, it is necessary to review the books of ilal. At present, Ilal Ibn Abi Hatim has passed my attention. If you can access other books of ilal review them such Ilal Darqutni, Ilal Kubra of Tirmidhi, Ilal Khallal among others.

The mutakallimin only comment on ahadith which relate to the names and qualities [of Allah Almighty]. Nawawi has elaborated on the issue significantly. Beyond this, you will find it a good amount in Mushkil al-Hadith of Ibn Furak and Mushkil al-Athar of Tahawi. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Allamah Ayni and others in the commentaries of Bukhari have discussed it in detail. In Fatawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, he addresses the issue of Istiwa ala al-Arsh and Nuzul Bari in fine detail, but due to it, the Asha’irah are on his throat.

In terms of Hanafi fiqh, Fath al-Mulhim is better. However, one should not suffice on it alone rather you should review the Sharh of ‘Ayni on Bukhari, Awjaz, Bazl, and Fath al-Bari. The lectures of A’lam al-Muta’khkhirin4 Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri are essential and particularly important. These books also contain discussion on lughat and sarf. For further research [on fiqh] study the books of mutun5.

Muhaddith al-Asr Shaykh Muhammad Yunus Jawnpuri
Circa 1387 AH (1968 CE)6


Supplementary reading

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2014). Introduction to Hadith. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Number 3. Available at

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2014). Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Qushayri – d. 261. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Number 3. Available at

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2016). How to Prepare for Lesson. The Students’ Notebook. Available at:


[1] علم رواية الحديث هو علم بنقل اقوال النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم و افعاله و احواله بالسماع المتصل و ضبطها و تحريرها

[2] علم دراية الحديث هو علم يتعرف به انواع الرواية و احكامها و شروط الرواة و اصناف المرويات واستخراج معانيها

[3] Rijal relates to the critical study of narrators. In one lecture, in reference to Muslim, I heard Shaykh Yunus recommend Tahzib al-Kamal as a good choice for checking rijal.

[4] Lit. The most knowledgeable of the later scholars. The work is scattered but see Fayd al-Bari.

[5] Such as Quduri, Kanz, Wiqayah, Bidayah, Tuhfat, Majma’ al-Bahrayn, and Multaqa al-Abhur. See ‘How to study Hidayah’ available online at:

[6] The letter is not dated but the question was asked in 12 Zul Qa’dah 1387 AH.

Cite Key: #170624501 – 28 Ramadan 1438 | 23 June 2017