Imam Abu Dawud (full name Abu-Dawud Sulaiman bin Al-Aash’ath Al-Azdi as-Sijistani) was born in 202 A.H in Sajistan, a place near Qandhar in Afghanistan. He was one of the most widely travelled of the scholars of ahadith, going to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Tarsus, Damascus, Khurasahn, Egypt, Basra, Syria, Nishapur, Marv, and other places for the sole purpose of collecting ahadith. His primary interest was in law (fiqh), hence his collection focuses purely on legal ahadith. From about 50,000 ahadith, he chose 4,800 for inclusion in his work based on their superior authenticity.


Imam Abu Dawud began the learning of hadith while he was less than 20 years old. He gained a wide reputation in his lifetime. At that time, Basra was deserted due to disturbance of Zanj (in 257 A.H.). The Governor Abu Ahmad visited Imam Abu Dawud in his house in Baghdad and requested that he move to Basra so that the deserted city may be rehabilitated by his presence and gathering of the scholars and students. The scholars are unanimous about his great ability, trustworthiness and accuracy. He was not only a good narrator of hadith but also a good lawyer. Sometimes he checked written material, papers, and ink to discover their age.

Imam Abu Dawud was married and had children.

Imam Abu Dawud’s literary works includes the following:

  • Al Marasil.
  • Masail al Iman Ahmad.
  • An Nasikh wal Mansukh.
  • Risalah fi wasf kitab as sunan.
  • Az Zuhd.
  • Ijabatan Sawalat Al Ajurri.
  • Asilahan Ahmad b Hanbal.
  • Tasmiyat al Akhwan.
  • Kitab al Qadr.
  • Al Bath wan Nushur.
  • Al Masail allati halafa alaiha al Imam Ahmad.
  • Dalail an Nubuwat.
  • Fadail al Ansar.
  • Musnad Malik.
  • Ad Dua.
  • Ibtida al wahy.
  • At Tafarrud fus sunan.
  • Akhbar al Khawarij.
  • Alam an Nubuwat.
  • Sunan.
His most famous text, Sunan Abu Dawud was compiled when he stayed in Tarsus for twenty years. As mentioned before, he selected some 4,800 ahadith from 500,000 for his sunan, and he was contended with only one to two hadith for each chapter, Imam Abu Dawuf himself writes the following:

“I do not record more than one or two hadith in every chapter though there were other authentic hadith concerning the same chapter, as it would be too much as I meant one (book) which could be used easily.”

Many commentaries have been written on the book, the best is Shamsul Haq Azimabadis Awn al Mabud Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud.