The above-mentioned authentic multi-volume books of men are available in the E-book format online. They were downloaded and converted into several Arabic text files (UTF format). Special computer programs were written and run on these text files to store information into a database separating data into records for each scholar/man. This resource database is searchable to access information about certain scholar/man.
Information about most of the companions is entered manually by searching within the resource database and other English translated works like Ibn Ishaq's/Ibn Hisham Seerah. This took about one year to complete.
Information about Tabi'een, Taba' Tabi'een and 4th generation (3rd century) scholars were collected by running the set of intelligent computer programs to extract the required data from the resource database using the knowledge management techniques. Another set of programs translated/converted the extracted information into English and stored them into the scholar database. Then information is properly linked and cross-referenced among the different resources using semi-automatic methods where special computer programs were used to manually perform the job. This took about 8 months.
Total hours spend so far is estimated to be around 1500. Due to several factors (like duplication in the original resources, different names used for the same person and differences among scholars), there is about 5% error and duplication in the scholar database. This will be corrected soon using the semi automatic method for linking and correcting the information.
Following information is collected (if known or available) for each scholar:
This is one of the uniqueness of this project that the information is collected in separate fields so that it can be searched, compared, organized and presented/displayed in several interactive ways.
The generations (Tabqat) is defined by the hadith scholars as a group of people who were similar in age and generally met the same narrators of hadith before them. In Taqrib al-Tahzeeb and his other works on hadith narrators, Ibn Hajar has altogether identified twelve classes of narrators from the time of the Companions down to the time when the six major collections were written. These may be summarized as follows. It should be noted that first 9 categories actually fall under the basic three, namely, the Companions, the Followers (tabi'un) and the Successors (tabi' tabi'un).
1. 1st Generation: The Companions.
2. 2nd Generation: The older/leading Followers of the Companions (Ibn Musaib, 'Alqama) including Makhdaram.
3. 3rd Generation: The 1st middle level of the Followers (al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Sirin).
4. 4th generation: The 2nd middle level of the Followers, who narrated mostly from the Followers (not Companions), (al-Zuhri, Qatada).
5. 5th generation: The younger Followers who may not have received any hadith from the Companions (al-A'mash).
6. 6th generation: The youngest Followers that were acquainted with the previous generation but it has not been established that they met any of the Companions (ibn Jurayj, Abu Hanifa).
7. 7th generation: The leading Successors (kubbar atba' al-tabi'un) or older followers of the Tabi'een such as Malik ibn Anas and Sufyan at-Thawri.
8. 8th generation: The middle order of the Successors such as Sufyan ibn Uyainah and Ibn 'Aliya.
9. 9th generation: The youngest of the Successors such as Abu Daud at-Tayalisi, Imam as-Shaafi'ii, and Yazid bin Harun.
10. 10th generation: The eldest of those who received from the Successors but did not meet any of the Followers (Tabi'een) such as Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.
11. 11th generation: The middle order of those who received from the Successors such as Bukhari
12. 12th generation: The youngest of those who received from the Successors such as Tirmidhi
The narrators of ahadith were broken up into different grades, ranks or levels based on whether or not ahadith could be accepted from them. Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani placed the narrators into twelve ranks. The ranks as named and categorized by Ibn Hajar are widely accepted but not universal.
1. Companions: The first generation of Muslims did not need testimony to their knowledge or character as Allah the Most High has already done so in the Qur'an.
2. Awthaqun Nas (Thiqa Thiqa): These are the trustworthiest of people outside of the first generation of Muslims and this is the highest rank. They were learned scholars who were also of the most upright moral characters.
3. Thiqat: These narrators are trustworthy in all areas including good retentive memory, but not to a superlative degree like those in the second rank.
4. Saduq: truthful but less than rank three.
5. Saduq Yahim: Those who are trustworthy but who sometimes made mistakes in narrating ahadith, or have some delusion.
6. Maqbool/Layyin: Those who are accepted or acceptable. They transmitted a smaller number of ahadith, and we do not have proof against their reliability (or for them to be extraordinarily sound).
7. Majhool al-haal/Mastur (not Thiqa): Those whose situation is not precisely known. He had students who transmitted ahadith from him, but he does not have tawtheeq, or a testimony of trustworthiness, from the scholars of ahadith. There is nothing wrong with him from that which is apparent, but we don't really know anything about him.
8. Da'eef or weak: This means that there is nobody speaking positively on his behalf, and some of the scholars have spoken against him.
9. Majhool or unknown: This is not the same as majhool al-haal. The majhool al-haal had more than one student narrate from him; the majhool is narrated from by only one individual, and we know nothing of him or his honesty.
10. Matruk or abandoned: This rank covers a few categories of narrators. This includes the one who committed many mistakes, the one who has detailed criticisms against him from the scholars, or one who did not meet the requirement for moral character. Also included here are the ones upon major sins (the fasiq) and the one who is unintelligent.
11. Muttaham bi'l kadhib: The one who was accused of lying and/or making up fake ahadith. The ahadith he narrates are considered batil.
12. Kadhdhaab, waddaa': This is the one who is actually called a liar or fabricator. Being labeled with such a title is not the same as merely being accused of committing those acts in some instances. The ahadith he narrates are considered mawdu' or fabricated.