The Tabi’in are those who lived after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and who did not personally encounter him. Instead, they interacted with and learned from the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
(Tabi’ al-Tabi’in) Individuals who followed the Tabi’in are individuals who encountered the Tabi’in and gained knowledge from them rather than the Companions of the Prophet of Allah ﷺ.
The one who first encountered the Companion is known as the Tabi’i in hadith terminology, although the accurate interpretation does not require that he should have spent a lot of time with him. Everyone who interacted with the Companions and passed away as a Muslim is a Tabi’in, albeit some are more deserving than others.
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said: The Tabi‘in is the one who met the Companion. From the words of al-Hakim, it may be understood that the name Tabi‘in may be applied to the one who met the Companion and narrated from him, even if he did not spend time with him.
Example of Tabi’in is: Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Urwah ibn az-Zubayr, al-Hasan al-Basri, Muhajid ibn Jabr, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbas, and Nafi‘ the freed slave of Ibn ‘Umar.
Al-Bukhari (3651) and Muslim (2533) narrated from Ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The best of people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come people whose testimony will come before their oath, and their oath before their testimony.”