The full name of Imam Muslim is Abul-Hussain `Asakiruddin Muslim bin Hajjaj AlQushairi An-Naisaburi. He belonged to the Qushair tribe of the Arab clan Rabi’ah. He was born in 202 or 206 H (819 or 821 CE) in Nishapur, a town of Iran. His parents were religious people and so he was brought up in a pious environment. Because of this he spent all of his life as a pious and righteous person. A distinguishing attribute of his excellent character is that he never indulged in backbiting, which is a common human shortcoming.
Imam Muslim travelled far and wide to collect the Ahadith (traditions) in the countries of Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Syria, and benefited from the prominent Hadith scholars of that time by attending the lectures and classes of those learned persons. His teachers included Ishaq bin Rawaih, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ubaidullah Al-Qawariri, Qutaibah bin Said, Abdullah bin Maslamah, Harmalah bin Yahya and others.
Afterwards he settled down at Nishapur, where he came into contact with Imam Bukhari. Seeing the vast knowledge and deep insight of him in the Ahadith of the Prophet , Imam Muslim remained attached with him until the end of his life. He also attended the lectures of another scholar of Hadith, Muhammad bin Yahya AdhDhuhli, but when the difference of opinion arose between Imam Bukhari and Muhammad bin Yahya on the issue of the creation of the Noble Qur’an, Imam Muslim favored Imam Bukhari and left the company of Muhammad bin Yahya.
Imam Muslim compiled many books and treatises on Hadith, the most important of his works is the compilation of the Hadith collection Al-Jami `As-Sahih, which is famous by the name of Sahih Muslim. Some scholars of Hadith opine that in some respects it is the best and most authentic collection of Ahadith. Imam Muslim laboriously collected 3,00,000 Ahadith, but after a critical study, he selected only 4,000 Ahadith for this collection. Other contributions of Imam Muslim on the subject of Hadith are: Al-Kitab Al-Musnad Al-Kabir Alar-Rijkl, Al-Jami’Al-Kabir, Kitab-ul-Asma’ wal-Kuna, Kitab-ul’Ilal, Kitab-ul-Wahdan, etc.
Many students learned the Science of Hadith from Imam Muslim. Those who became famous and occupied a prominent position are: Abu Hatim Razi, Musa bin Harun, Ahmad bin Salamah, Abu `Isa Tirmidhi, Abu Bakr bin Khuzaimah, Abu `Awanah and Hafiz Dhahbi.
Imam Muslim died at the age of fifty-seven years in 261 H (875 CE) and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur.