The T?bi'?n (Arabic: , also accusative or genitive T?bi'?n , singular t?bi' ?), "followers" or "successors", are the generation of Muslims who followed the ?abah ("companions" of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), and thus received Muhammad's teachings second hand. A t?bi' knew at least one ?abi. As such, they played an important part in the development of Islamic thought and philosophy, and in the political development of the early caliphate. The next generation of Muslims after the Tabi'?n are called the T?bi'? al-Tabi'?n ?. The first three generations of Muhammad's followers make up the salaf ? of Islam.
Muslims from the Sunni branch of Islam define a Tâbi`î as a Muslim who:
Sunni Muslims also regard the Tabi'un as the best generation after the Sahabah. According to Sunni Muslims, Muhammad said: "The best people are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation)" .
The Tabi'un are divided by most Muslim scholars into three classes:
The earliest of the Tabi'un to die was Zayd ibn Ma'mar ibn Zayd, 30 years after the hijra, and the last to die was Khalaf ibn Khalifa, who died in 180 A.H. Alternatively, since the status of Khalaf ibn Khalifa as a Tabee is strongly challenged by reputed scholars, the last to die from amongst them may have been Jarir bin Haazim (died 170 A.H.). Therefore, many of the Tabi'un were tasked with the preservation of Islamic traditions from the era of the Sahaba to later Muslims.