Mukthir is a word derived from the word “kathrat” in Arabic which means “to be abundant in number” and its plural is ‘mukthirun.’ As a term in the science of hadith, Mukthirun refers to the seven companions of the Prophet (pbuh) who narrated more than one thousand hadiths.
Even though there were around 114,000 companions when the Prophet (pbuh) passed away, only 1000 or 1500 of them transmitted hadiths. The companions who transmitted hadiths were put in two categories in terms of the number of their narrations: those narrated few hadiths are called muqillun while those who narrated many hadiths are called mukthirun.
Most of hadith scholars appraised the companions who transmitted more than one thousand hadith in the mukthirun category. However, some scholars used the term mukthirun for those who narrated more than 700 or 1500.
Since different sources are used by different scholars in determining how many hadiths a companion transmitted and some scholars count each of different narrations of the same hadith as different scholars may come up with different numbers of mukthirun.
According to Ibn al-Jawzi and Ahmad b. Hanbal, the following shows the number of hadiths transmitted by companions who narrated the most hadith:
- Abu Hurayra (r.a.): 5374 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 3848 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Abdullah b. Umar (r.a.): 2630 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 2019 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Anas b. Malik (r.a.): 2286 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 2178 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Aisha (r.a.): 2210 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 2403 in Musnad by Ahmad b.Hanbal
- Abdullah b. Abbas (r.a.): 1660 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 1696 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Jabir b. Abdullah (r.a.) 1540 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 1206 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Abu Said al-Khudri (r.a.): 1170 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 958 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Abdullah b. Masud (r.a.): 848 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 892 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
- Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As (r.a.): 700 to Ibn al-Jawzi, 722 in Musnad by Ahmad b. Hanbal
There are some reasons for these companions’ transmitting more hadiths than others. All these distinguished companions were devoted to learning and got acquainted with the Prophet (pbuh) in their youth when their memories were sharp. And they lived for a long time after the Prophet’s passing. While some of the companions were busy with worldly businesses, the mukthirun were most of the time with the Prophet (pbuh) because some of them were young and single and some were from Ashab al-Suffa. Therefore, they were able to learn more hadiths from the Prophet (pbuh). Additionally, their special interest in learning hadith can be cited among the reasons of their transmission of many hadiths.
In addition, there are companions who were not among the mukthirun even though they were knowledgeable about sunnah. They did not narrate much hadith because they were busy with state affairs or wars, or they did not live much after the Prophet (pbuh) or they were concerned about referring a lie to the Prophet (pbuh) even unintentionally.
Agirman, Cemal. “Muksirun”, The Islamic Encylopedia of Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi, v. XXXI, Istanbul, 2006.
Kocyigit, Talat. The Dictionary of Hadith Terms, Rehber Yayincilik, Ankara, 1992.
Koten, Akif. “Muksirun”, Samil Islamic Encylopedia, v. IV, Samil Yayinevi, Istanbul, 1994.