an-Nasaaee authored a collection which he titled: “as-Sunan al-Kubraa” in which he gathered authentic Hadeeth as well as those with defects in their chains. He then summarized his collection which is known as “as-Sunan as-Sughraa” although he actually called it “al-Mujtabaa”.
In this summarized collection, he gathered only those Hadeeth which he considered to be authentic; it is this collection that is referred to when a Hadeeth is generally attributed to anNasaaee. “al-Mujtabaa” has the least number of weak Hadeeth out of the other four collections (excluding “Saheeh al-Bukhaaree” and “Saheeh Muslim”). It also contains the least amount of chains including narrators that have been criticized (regarding their Hadeeth narrating). It occupies a status right after “Saheeh al-Bukhaaree” and “Saheeh Muslim”. From the point of only relying upon narrators that are completely void of any criticism, this collection exceeds “Sunan Abu Daawood” and “Sunan at-Tirmithee” due to an-Nasaaee’s severe scrutiny of narrators within his writings. al-Haafith Ibn Hajar said, “How numerous are the narrators that Abu Daawood and atTirmithee relied on, yet an-Nasaaee shunned recording their Hadeeth. He even avoided recording Hadeeth from some of the narrators relied upon in the two authentic collections (“Saheeh al-Bukhaaree” and “Saheeh Muslim”).”
In summary, the conditions of an-Nasaaee in “al-Mujtabaa” are the strongest after the two authentic collections.
He is ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ahmad Ibn Shu’ayb Ibn ‘Alee an-Nasaaee, and it is said his name is anNaswee, referring to Nasa, a famous place in Khuraasaan. He was born in 215 Hijrah in Nasa. He then traveled in search of Hadeeth, eventually hearing from and studying from the people of the Hijaaz (lands such as Syria, Palestine, etc.), Khuraasaan, ash-Shaam, the Arabian Peninsula and other lands. He resided for a long time in Egypt and his writings spread throughout there. Later he journeyed to Damascus where he met with trials and tribulations. He died in 303 Hijrah in Ramlah, Palestine when he was eighty-three years old.
He left behind him many great works of Hadeeth and the study of their defects. May Allaah have mercy on him and reward him on behalf of his contribution to the Muslims.
Source: Biographies of the Famous Hadeeth Scholars and an Introduction to Their Collections – Shaykh Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) | Translated by: Abu az-Zubayr Harrison (rahimahullaah)