ABOUT THE BOOK:
Kitab al-Iman is a small epistle also usualy found in his larger encyclopaedic work al-Musanaf. In it he transmits various Ahadiths with their chain of transmissions concerning the chapter of Belief. He also uses verses of the Qur'an in each every chapter then he goes to explain or comment on relevant points.
ABOUT IMAM IBN ABI SHAYBAH:
His name was 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Shayba Ibrahim ibn 'Uthman ibn Khuwasta, Abu Bakr al-'Abasi (d. 235), described by al-Dhahabi as the brother, father, and uncle of hadith masters and their most prestigious representative, "the master of hadith masters," "one of those who have reached the sky, an apex of trustworthiness," "one of the oceans of knowledge," the author of al-Musnad, al-Ahkam, al-Musannaf, and al-Tafsir, "one of the peers of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq ibn Rahuyah, and 'Ali ibn al-Madini in age, place of birth, and hadith memorization." Abu Zur'a al-Razi said: "I never saw anyone with more mastery of the hadith than Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shayba." His scholarly relatives are: his brothers 'Uthman ibn Abi Shayba and al-Qasim ibn Abi Shayba; his son Ibrahim ibn Abi Bakr ibn Abi Shayba; and his nephew Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Uthman ibn Abi Shayba. All are hadith masters except al-Qasim, who is weak.
'Abd Allah ibn Abi Shayba took hadith from Sharik ibn 'Abd Allah al-Qadi at age fourteen, Ibn al-Mubarak, Sufyan ibn 'Uyayna, Hushaym ibn Bashir, Waki' ibn al-Jarrah, Yahya al-Qattan, Isma'il ibn 'Iyash, Isma'il ibn 'Ulayya, and other major authorities. From him took Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Zur'a, Ibn Abi 'Asim, Buqayy ibn Makhlad, al-Baghandi, Abu Ya'la al-Musili, Salih Jazara, 'Abdan, Abu al-Qasim al-Baghawi, and others.
Ibn Abi Shayba showed enmity to Abu Hanifa - Allah be well-pleased with him -- as he named one of the longest chapters of his Musannaf "Book of the Refutation of Abu Hanifa" in which he proceeded to list about one hundred and twenty five "Prophetic hadiths which Abu Hanifa contradicted."1 This charge, together with Ibn Abi Shayba's refutation, are refuted in the books of Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari among others. It remains that the Musannaf is perhaps the most precious mine of information on the juridical positions of the Companions and Successors.
He died at the age of 76 years in 235 Hijri.