Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi said in Siyar al-Alam al-Nubala about the scholar of Hadith, Yahya ibn Ma’in: “He is the great Imam and scholar, the master of the Huffaz [memorisers of hadith], the king of the Huffaz, the shaykh of the scholars of hadith, Abu Zakariyya, Yahya ibn Ma’in ibn Awn ibn Ziyad ibn Bistam. He was not from the Arabs but became allied with some of the Bani Murr, and came to be known as al-Murri, and al-Baghdadi by birth, one of the most of the prominent scholars of hadith. He was born in Baghdad in 158 AH and grew up there. He started writing hadith at the age of ten. His father Ma’in was one of the noble scribes under Abdullah ibn Malik in charge of the water tax, and left 1,000,000 Dirhams, all of which he spent on acquiring knowledge of hadith until he did not even have sandals to wear!
He heard hadith from Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, Hushaim ibn Bashir, Ism’il ibn Ayyash, Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, Abdur-Razzaq al Sana’ani from Yemen, Waki ibn al-Jarh, Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Qattan, Abdur-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and many others, in Iraq, Sham, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and al-Hijaz. On his authority, Imams Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Abbad al-Duri, al-Baghdadi – then narrator of his teachings – Abu Zar’ah al-Razi, Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Darimi, Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili and many others.