Yahya ibn Ma'in (Arabic: يحيى بن معين) was a classical Islamic scholar of Persian origin.
He was a close friend of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and is often quoted regarding Ilm ar-Rijal. Alongside Ibn Hanbal, Ali ibn al-Madini and Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ibn Ma'in has been considered by many Muslim specialists in hadith to be one of the four most significant authors in the field.His teachers included; Ibn al-Mubārak, Ismāʿīl ibn ʿIyāsh, ‘Abād ibn ‘Abād, Sufyān ibn ʿUyainah, Gundur, Abū Muʿāwiyyah, Ḥātim ibn Ismāʿīl, Ḥafṣ ibn Giyāth, Jarīr ibn ʿAbdul-Ḥamīd, ‘Abd ur-Ruzzāq, Wakī’ and many others from Irāq, Ḥijāz, Jazīrah, Shām and Miṣr.From amongst his students were; Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal, Muḥammad bin Sʿad, Abū Khaithamah, al-Bukhārī, Muslim, Abū Dāwūd, ʿAbbās al-Dawrī, Abū Ḥātim, and many others.His zeal for knowledge was recognised through his endeavours. A notable example is that after the passing of his father he inherited 1,050,000 dirhams. He spent it all towards seeking ḥadīth to the extent that nothing remained to even purchase a pair of shoes.We also see the Imām’s zeal for seeking knowledge by the various journeys he made, such as: Basrah, Bagdād, Harān, Dimasq, al-Rasāfah, al-Ray, Sanʿā’, Kufā, Miṣr and Makkah al-Mukaramah.His works were not limited to mere approbations and disapprobation of narrators albeit a science he was a master in, or narrating of aḥādīth, rather, he progressed forward as an author writing many books, many of which are not found today, despite him formally writing as an author at the age of twenty. Of the books available today are; Ma’rifatul al-Rijāl, Tārīkh ʿUthmān bin Saʿīd al-Dārimī, Yaḥyā bin Maʿīn wa Kitābuhu ‘l-Tārīkh and a small treatise titled ‘Min Kalām Abī Zakariyyā Yaḥyā bin Maʿīn fi ‘l-Rijāl’.
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