When I arranged chapters and sections according to letters, I decided to write the names of every Hadith narrators on the margin of the book or beside the first Hadith for two benefits:
First, mentioning the first name of a narrator facilitates searching for the Hadith by beholders and to know the beginning of the Hadith.
Second, to stress the initials with which I referred to the Compilers of Hadiths, and the Compilers are arranged in alphabetical order.
I put initials for every narrator of the Six Compilers of Hadith books according to the following:
- I gave Al Bukhari the letter "Kha" because his country which starts with "Kha" is more famous than his name and nickname.
- I gave Imam Muslim the letter "M" because his name is more famous than his lineage and nickname.
- I gave Malik "Ta'" because the most famous book he wrote was Al Muwatta'.
- I gave At-Tirmidhy the letter "T" because his lineage is more famous than his name and nickname.
- I gave Abu Dawud the letter "D" because his nickname is more famous than his name and lineage.
- I gave An-Nasa'y the letter "S" because his lineage is more famous than his nickname and name.
If the Hadith was reported by all of them, I wrote their initials before the Hadith, but if some of them narrated the Hadith, I only wrote the initials of those who reported it.
As for the Hadiths which I found in the book of Razin (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) without finding them in the original books, I mentioned them without writing any initials before them and did not mention who reported them perhaps others may find them and write down their narrators and their initials.
The arrangement of the initials are as follows:
First I began with the initials of Al Bukhari, then the initials of Muslim, then the initials of Al Muwatta' which should be wrote first because Malik was the eldest of all and more honorable, but the fame of Al Bukhari and Muslim's books, their strict conditions in accepting Hadiths, and the volume of their books made me mention them first.
Then I mentioned the initials of At-Tirmidhy, Abu Dawud, and An-Nasa'y; however if one of those last three would advance to others, there is no harm.
By the pass of time, the differences of Hadith copiers and their ignorance, some initials may be missed from their correct positions causing the narrators of the Hadith to be unknown, therefore at the end of each Hadith, I wrote the initials of the narrators who narrated it to avoid this confusion. So, if some or all initials are missed from the beginning of the Hadith, Hadith copiers will easily find their initials in the text of the book.
As for the Hadiths which were reported by the Group (the Six Compilers of Hadith books), their initials were mentioned because of their difference in the wordings of a single Hadith, but the Hadiths —which were reported by a single compiler— needed to mention their Compilers in the text of the book for the previously mentioned reason.