Friday, August 27, 2010

An introduction to the scienc of hadith

Suhaib Hasan

Al-Quran Society


Author: Dr. Suhaib Hasan

Editorial, Foreword & Appendix: Usama Hasan

Cover design: Zaynah Na'eem

c 1994.

ISSN: 0952-7834


Al-Quran Society,

101 Belmont Road,


London N17 6AT.



A. "The Study of Al-Quran" Correspondence

Course (Lessons 1-20).

B. Understanding Islam Series.

1. The Muslim Creed

2. Faith in Predestination

3. The Many Shades of Shirk

4. An Introduction to the Qur'an

5. An Introduction to the Sunnah

6. The Role of the Mosque in Islam

7. Why do we Pray?

8. The Rights and Duties of Women in Islam

C. General.

Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble


The Truth about Ahmadiyyat (a refutation of


Criticism of Hadith among Muslims with

reference to Sunan Ibn Maja.

The Crumbling Minarets of Spain.

An Introduction to the Science of Hadith.

Printed by: Best Printing Services, tel:

071 249 5175

An Introduction to the Science of Hadith



Some commonly-quoted ahadith




A brief history of Mustalah al-Hadith


Mustalah al-Hadith (the Classification of

Hadith) 6

Rijal al-Hadith (the study of the reporters

of Hadith) 8



According to the reference to a particular

authority 10

According to the links in the isnad


According to the number of reporters in

each stage of the isnad 19

According to the manner in which the hadith

is reported 22

According to the nature of the text and

isnad 24

According to a hidden defect found in the

isnad or text of a hadith 27

According to the reliability and memory of

the reporters 31



APPENDIX: Verdicts on the ahadith mentioned in

the Foreword 42



All Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet

Muhammad, and on his family and companions.

We have undoubtedly sent down the Reminder, and

We will truly preserve it.

(Al-Qur'an, Surah al-Hijr, 15:9)

The above promise made by Allah is obviously

fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the

Qur'anic text throughout the fourteen centuries

since its revelation. However, what is often

forgotten by many Muslims is that the above

divine promise also includes, by necessity, the

Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace), for it is the

practical example of the implementation of the

Qur'anic guidance, the Wisdom taught to the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) along with the Scripture, and neither the

Qur'an nor the Sunnah can be understood

correctly without recourse to the other.

Hence, Allah preserved the Qur'an from being

initially lost by the martyrdom of its

memorisers, by guiding the Rightly-Guided

Caliphs, endorsed by the consensus of the

Messenger's Companions (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace and may He be pleased with

them), to compile the ayat (signs, miracles,

"verses") of the Qur'an into one volume, after

these had been scattered in writing on various

materials and in memory amongst many faithful

hearts. He safeguarded it from corruption by

its enemies: disbelievers, heretics, and false

prophets, by enabling millions of believers to

commit it to memory with ease. He protected its

teachings by causing thousands of people of

knowledge to learn from its deep treasures and

convey them to the masses, and by sending

renewers of His Deen at the beginning of every


Similarly, Allah preserved the Sunnah by

enabling the Companions and those after them

(may Allah be pleased with them) to memorise,

write down and pass on the statements of the

Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) and the descriptions of his Way, as well

as to continue the blessings of practising the

Sunnah. Later, as the purity of the knowledge

of the Sunnah became threatened, Allah caused

the Muslim nation to produce outstanding

individuals of incredible memory-skills and

analytical expertise, who journeyed tirelessly

to collect hundreds of thousands of narrations

and distinguish the true words of precious

wisdom of their Messenger (may Allah bless him

and grant him peace) from those corrupted by

weak memories, from forgeries by unscrupulous

liars, and from the statements of the enormous

number of 'ulama', the Companions and those who

followed their way, who had taught in various

centres of learning and helped to transmit the

legacy of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) - all of this achieved through

precise attention to the words narrated and

detailed familiarity with the biographies of the

thousands of reporters of Hadith. Action being

the best way to preserve teachings, the renewers

of Islam also revived the practice of the

blessed authentic Sunnah.

Unfortunately however, statements will continue

to be attributed to the Prophet (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace) although the person

quoting them may have no idea what the people of

knowledge of Hadith have ruled regarding those

ahadith, thus ironically being in danger of

contravening the Prophet's widely-narrated stern

warnings about attributing incorrect/unsound

statements to him. For example, here are some

very commonly-quoted ahadith, which actually

vary tremendously in their degree of

authenticity from the Prophet (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace):

1) "Surah al-Ikhlas is worth a third of the


2) The hadith about the Ninety-Name Names of


3) Allah says, "I was a hidden treasure, and I

wished to be known, so I created a creation

(mankind), then made Myself known to them, and

they recognised Me."

4) Allah says, "Were it not for you (O

Muhammad), I would not have created the


5) When Allah completed creation, He wrote in a

Book (which is) with Him, above His Throne,

"Verily, My Mercy will prevail over My Wrath."

6) Allah says, "Neither My heaven nor My earth

can contain Me, but the heart of My believing

slave can contain Me."

7) "He who knows himself, knows his Lord."

8) "Where is Allah?"

9) "Love of one's homeland is part of Faith."

10) "I have left amongst you two things which,

if you hold fast to them, you will never stray:

the Book of Allah, and my Sunnah."

11) "I have left among you that which if you

abide by, you will never go astray: the Book of

Allah, and my Family, the Members of my House."

12) The hadith giving ten Companions, by name,

the good tidings of Paradise.

13) "If the iman (faith) of Abu Bakr was weighed

against the iman of all the people of the earth,

the former would outweigh the latter."

14) "I am the City of Knowledge, and 'Ali is its


15) "My companions are like the stars:

whichever of them you follow, you will be


16) "The differing amongst my Ummah is a mercy."

17) "My Ummah will split up into seventy-three

sects: seventy-two will be in the Fire, and one

in the Garden."

18) Prophecies about the coming of the Mahdi

(the guided one), Dajjal (the False Christ, the

Anti-Christ) and the return of Jesus Christ son

of Mary.

19) Description of punishment and bliss in the

grave, for the wicked and pious people


20) Intercession by the Prophet (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace), and the believers

seeing Allah, on the Day of Judgment.

21) "Paradise is under the feet of mothers."

22) "Paradise is under the shade of swords."

23) "Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every


24) "Seek knowledge, even if you have to go to


25) "The ink of the scholar is holier than the

blood of the martyr."

26) "We have returned from the lesser Jihad to

the greater Jihad (i.e. the struggle against the

evil of one's soul)."

The methodology of the expert scholars of Hadith

in assessing such narrations and sorting out the

genuine from the mistaken/fabricated etc., forms

the subject-matter of a wealth of material left

to us by the muhaddithun (scholars of Hadith,

"traditionists"). This short treatise is a

humble effort to introduce this extremely wide

subject to English readers. The author has

derived great benefit from the outstanding

scholarly work in this field, Muqaddimah Ibn al-


A brief explanation of the verdicts from the

experts in this field on the above ahadith is

given in the Appendix.

We ask Allah to accept this work, and make it

beneficial to its readers.





The Muslims are agreed that the Sunnah of the

Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace) is the second of the two revealed

fundamental sources of Islam, after the Glorious

Qur'an. The authentic Sunnah is contained

within the vast body of Hadith literature.1

A hadith (pl. ahadith) is composed of two parts:

the matn (text) and the isnad (chain of

reporters). A text may seem to be logical and

reasonable but it needs an authentic isnad with

reliable reporters to be acceptable; 'Abdullah

b. al-Mubarak (d. 181 AH), one of the

illustrious teachers of Imam al-Bukhari, said,

"The isnad is part of the religion: had it not

been for the isnad, whoever wished to would have

said whatever he liked."2

During the lifetime of the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) and after his

death, his Companions (Sahabah) used to refer to

him directly, when quoting his sayings. The

Successors (Tabi'un) followed suit; some of them

used to quote the Prophet (may Allah bless him

and grant him peace) through the Companions

while others would omit the intermediate

authority - such a hadith was later known as

mursal. It was found that the missing link

between the Successor and the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) might be one

person, i.e. a Companion, or two people, the

extra person being an older Successor who heard

the hadith from the Companion. This is an

example of how the need for the verification of

each isnad arose; Imam Malik (d. 179) said, "The

first one to utilise the isnad was Ibn Shihab al-

Zuhri" (d. 124).3 The other more important

reason was the deliberate fabrication of ahadith

by various sects which appeared amongst the

Muslims, in order to support their views (see

later, under discussion of maudu' ahadith). Ibn

Sirin (d. 110), a Successor, said, "They would

not ask about the isnad. But when the fitnah

(trouble, turmoil, esp. civil war) happened,

they said: Name to us your men. So the

narrations of the Ahl al-Sunnah (Adherents to

the Sunnah) would be accepted, while those of

the Ahl al-Bid'ah (Adherents to Innovation)

would not be accepted."4

A brief history of Mustalah al-Hadith

As time passed, more reporters were involved in

each isnad, and so the situation demanded strict

discipline in the acceptance of ahadith; the

rules regulating this discipline are known as

Mustalah al-Hadith (the Classification of


Amongst the early traditionists (muhaddithin,

scholars of Hadith), the rules and criteria

governing their study of Hadith were meticulous

but some of their terminology varied from person

to person, and their principles began to be

systematically written down, but scattered

amongst various books, e.g. in Al-Risalah of al-

Shafi'i (d. 204), the Introduction to the Sahih

of Muslim (d. 261) and the Jami' of al-Tirmidhi

(d. 279); many of the criteria of early

traditionists, e.g. al-Bukhari, were deduced by

later scholars from a careful study of which

reporters or isnads were accepted and rejected

by them.

One of the earliest writings to attempt to cover

Mustalah comprehensively, using standard (i.e.

generally-accepted) terminology, was the work by

al-Ramahurmuzi (d. 360). The next major

contribution was Ma'rifah 'Ulum al-Hadith by al-

Hakim (d. 405), which covered fifty

classifications of Hadith, but still left some

points untouched; Abu Nu'aim al-Isbahani (d.

430) completed some of the missing parts to this

work. After that came Al-Kifayah fi 'Ilm al-

Riwayah of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463) and

another work on the manner of teaching and

studying Hadith; later scholars were considered

to be greatly indebted to al-Khatib's work.

After further contributions by Qadi 'Iyad al-

Yahsubi (d. 544) and Abu Hafs al-Mayanji (d.

580) among others, came the work which, although

modest in size, was so comprehensive in its

excellent treatment of the subject that it came

to be the standard reference for thousands of

scholars and students of Hadith to come, over

many centuries until the present day: 'Ulum al-

Hadith of Abu 'Amr 'Uthman Ibn al-Salah (d.

643), commonly known as Muqaddimah Ibn al-Salah,

compiled while he taught in the Dar al-Hadith of

several cities in Syria. Some of the numerous

later works based on that of Ibn al-Salah are:

An abridgement of Muqaddimah, Al-Irshad by al-

Nawawi (d. 676), which he later summarised in

his Taqrib; al-Suyuti (d. 911) compiled a

valuable commentary on the latter entitled

Tadrib al-Rawi.

Ikhtisar 'Ulum al-Hadith of Ibn Kathir (d.

774), Al-Khulasah of al-Tibi (d. 743), Al-

Minhal of Badr al-Din b. Jama'ah (d. 733), Al-

Muqni' of Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d. 802) and Mahasin

al-Istilah of al-Balqini (d. 805), all of

which are abridgements of Muqaddimah Ibn al-


Al-Nukat of al-Zarkashi (d. 794), Al-Taqyid wa

'l-Idah of al-'Iraqi (d. 806) and Al-Nukat of

Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (d. 852), all of which

are further notes on the points made by Ibn al-


Alfiyyah al-Hadith of al-'Iraqi, a rewriting

of Muqaddimah in the form of a lengthy poem,

which became the subject of several

commentaries, including two (one long, one

short) by the author himself, Fath al-Mughith

of al-Sakhawi (d. 903), Qatar al-Durar of al-

Suyuti and Fath al-Baqi of Shaykh Zakariyyah

al-Ansari (d. 928).

Other notable treatises on Mustalah include:

Al-Iqtirah of Ibn Daqiq al-'Id (d. 702).

Tanqih al-Anzar of Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-

Wazir (d. 840), the subject of a commentary by

al-Amir al-San'ani (d. 1182).

Nukhbah al-Fikr of Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani,

again the subject of several commentaries,

including one by the author himself, one by

his son Muhammad, and those of 'Ali al-Qari

(d. 1014), 'Abd al-Ra'uf al-Munawi (d. 1031)

and Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Hadi al-Sindi (d.

1138). Among those who rephrased the Nukhbah

in poetic form are al-Tufi (d. 893) and al-

Amir al-San'ani.

Alfiyyah al-Hadith of al-Suyuti, the most

comprehensive poetic work in the field.

Al-Manzumah of al-Baiquni, which was expanded

upon by, amongst others, al-Zurqani (d. 1122)

and Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan (d. 1307).

Qawa'id al-Tahdith of Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi

(d. 1332).

Taujih al-Nazar of Tahir al-Jaza'iri (d.

1338), a summary of al-Hakim's Ma'rifah.

Mustalah al-Hadith

Mustalah books speak of a number of classes of

hadith in accordance with their status. The

following broad classifications can be made,

each of which is explained in the later


According to the reference to a particular

authority, e.g. the Prophet (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace), a Companion, or a

Successor; such ahadith are called marfu'

(elevated), mauquf (stopped) and maqtu'

(severed) respectively .

According to the links in the isnad, i.e.

whether the chain of reporters is interrupted

or uninterrupted, e.g. musnad (supported),

muttasil (continuous), munqati' (broken),

mu'allaq (hanging), mu'dal (perplexing) and

mursal (hurried).

According to the number of reporters involved

in each stage of the isnad, e.g. mutawatir

(consecutive) and ahad (isolated), the latter

being divided into gharib (scarce, strange),

'aziz (rare, strong), and mashhur (famous).

According to the manner in which the hadith

has been reported, such as using the words 'an

("on the authority of"), haddathana ("he

narrated to us"), akhbarana (- "he informed

us") or sami'tu ("I heard"). In this category

falls the discussion about mudallas

(concealed) and musalsal (uniformly-linked)


[Note: In the quotation of isnads in the

remainder of this book, the first mode of

narration mentioned above will be represented

with a single broken line thus: ---. The

three remaining modes of narration mentioned

above, which all strongly indicate a clear,

direct transmission of the hadith, are

represented by a double line thus: ===.]

According to the nature of the matn and isnad,

e.g. an addition by a reliable reporter, known

as ziyadatu thiqah, or opposition by a lesser

authority to a more reliable one, known as

shadhdh (irregular). In some cases, a text

containing a vulgar expression, unreasonable

remark or obviously-erroneous statement is

rejected by the traditionists outright without

consideration of the isnad: such a hadith is

known as munkar (denounced). If an expression

or statement is proved to be an addition by a

reporter to the text, it is declared as mudraj


According to a hidden defect found in the

isnad or text of a hadith. Although this

could be included in some of the previous

categories, a hadith mu'allal (defective

hadith) is worthy to be explained separately.

The defect can be caused in many ways; e.g.

two types of hadith mu'allal are known as

maqlub (overturned) and mudtarib (shaky).

According to the reliability and memory of the

reporters; the final judgment on a hadith

depends crucially on this factor: verdicts

such as sahih (sound), hasan (good), da'if

(weak) and maudu' (fabricated, forged) rest

mainly upon the nature of the reporters in the


Rijal al-Hadith

Mustalah al-Hadith is strongly associated with

Rijal al-Hadith (the study of the reporters of

hadith). In scrutinising the reporters of a

hadith, authenticating or disparaging remarks

made by recognised experts, from amongst the

Successors and those after them, were found to

be of great help. Examples of such remarks, in

descending order of authentication, are:

"Imam (leader), Hafiz (preserver)."

"Reliable, trustworthy."

"Makes mistakes."


"Abandoned (by the traditionists)."

"Liar, used to fabricate ahadith."5

Reporters who have been unanimously described by

statements such as the first two may contribute

to a sahih ("sound", see later) isnad. An isnad

containing a reporter who is described by the

last two statements is likely to be da'if jiddan

(very weak) or maudu' (fabricated). Reporters

who are the subject of statements such as the

middle two above will cause the isnad to be

da'if (weak), although several of them relating

the same hadith independently will often

increase the rank of the hadith to the level of

hasan (good). If the remarks about a particular

reporter conflict, a careful verdict has to be

arrived at after in-depth analysis of e.g. the

reason given for any disparagement, the weight

of each type of criticism, the relative

strictness or leniency of each critic, etc.

The earliest remarks cited in the books of Rijal

go back to a host of Successors, followed by

those after them until the period of the six

canonical traditionists, a period covering the

first three centuries of Islam. A list of such

names is provided by the author in his thesis,

Criticism of Hadith among Muslims with reference

to Sunan Ibn Majah, at the end of chapters IV, V

and VI.

Among the earliest available works in this field

are Tarikh of Ibn Ma'in (d. 233), Tabaqat of

Khalifa b. Khayyat (d. 240), Tarikh of al-

Bukhari (d. 256), Kitab al-Jarh wa 'l-Ta'dil of

Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) and Tabaqat of Muhammad

b. Sa'd (d. 320).

A number of traditionists made efforts

specifically for the gathering of information

about the reporters of the five famous

collections of hadith, those of al-Bukhari (d.

256), Muslim (d. 261), Abu Dawud (d. 275), al-

Tirmidhi (d. 279) and al-Nasa'i (d. 303), giving

authenticating and disparaging remarks in

detail. The first major such work to include

also the reporters of Ibn Majah (d. 273) is the

ten-volume collection of al-Hafiz 'Abd al-Ghani

al-Maqdisi (d. 600), known as Al-Kamal fi Asma'

al-Rijal. Later, Jamal al-Din Abu 'l-Hajjaj

Yusuf b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi (d. 742)

prepared an edited and abridged version of this

work, punctuated by places and countries of

origin of the reporters; he named it Tahdhib al-

Kamal fi Asma' al-Rijal and produced it in

twelve volumes. Further, one of al-Mizzi's

gifted pupils, Shams al-Din Abu 'Abdullah

Muhammad b. Ahmad b. 'Uthman b. Qa'imaz al-

Dhahabi (d. 748), summarised his shaikh's work

and produced two abridgements: a longer one

called Tadhhib al-Tahdhib and a shorter one

called Al-Kashif fi Asma' Rijal al-Kutub al-


A similar effort with the work of al-Mizzi was

made by Ibn Hajar (d. 852), who prepared a

lengthy but abridged version, with about one-

third of the original omitted, entitled Tahdhib

al-Tahdhib in twelve shorter volumes. Later, he

abridged this further to a relatively-humble two-

volume work called Taqrib al-Tahdhib.

The work of al-Dhahabi was not left unedited; al-

Khazraji (Safi al-Din Ahmad b. 'Abdullah, d.

after 923) summarised it and also made valuable

additions, producing his Khulasah.

A number of similar works deal with either

trustworthy reporters only, e.g. Kitab al-Thiqat

by al-'Ijli (d. 261) and Tadhkirah al-Huffaz by

al-Dhahabi, or with disparaged authorities only,

e.g. Kitab al-Du'afa' wa al-Matrukin by al-

Nasa'i and Kitab al-Majruhin by Muhammad b.

Hibban al-Busti (d. 354).

Two more works in this field which include a

large number of reporters, both authenticated

and disparaged, are Mizan al-I'tidal of al-

Dhahabi and Lisan al-Mizan of Ibn Hajar.





The following principal types of hadith are


Marfu' - "elevated": A narration from the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), e.g. a reporter (whether a Companion,

Successor or other) says, "The Messenger of

Allah said ..." For example, the very first

hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari is as follows: Al-

Bukhari === Al-Humaidi 'Abdullah b. al-Zubair

=== Sufyan === Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari ===

Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taymi === 'Alqamah b.

Waqqas al-Laithi, who said: I heard 'Umar b. al-

Khattab saying, while on the pulpit, "I heard

Allah's Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace) saying: The reward of deeds depends

on the intentions, and every person will get the

reward according to what he has intended; so

whoever emigrated for wordly benefits or for a

woman to marry, his emigration was for what he


Mauquf - "stopped": A narration from a Companion

only, i.e. his own statement; e.g. al-Bukhari

reports in his Sahih, in Kitab al-Fara'id (Book

of the Laws of Inheritance), that Abu Bakr, Ibn

'Abbas and Ibn al-Zubair said, "The grandfather

is (treated like) a father."

It should be noted that certain expressions used

by a Companion generally render a hadith to be

considered as being effectively marfu' although

it is mauquf on the face of it, e.g. the


"We were commanded to ..."

"We were forbidden from ..."

"We used to do ..."

"We used to say/do ... while the Messenger of

Allah was amongst us."

"We did not use to mind such-and-such..."

"It used to be said ..."

"It is from the Sunnah to ..."

"It was revealed in the following

circumstances: ...", speaking about a verse of

the Qur'an.

Maqtu'- "severed": A narration from a Successor,

e.g. Muslim reports in the Introduction to his

Sahih that Ibn Sirin (d. 110) said, "This

knowledge (i.e. Hadith) is the Religion, so be

careful from whom you take your religion."

The authenticity of each of the above three

types of hadith depends on other factors such as

the reliability of its reporters, the nature of

the linkage amongst them, etc. However, the

above classification is extremely useful, since

through it the sayings of the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) can be

distinguished at once from those of Companions

or Successors; this is especially helpful in

debate about matters of Fiqh.

Imam Malik's Al-Muwatta', one of the early

collections of hadith, contains a relatively

even ratio of these types of hadith, as well as

mursal ahadith (which are discussed later).

According to Abu Bakr al-Abhari (d. 375), Al-

Muwatta' contains the following:

600 marfu' ahadith,

613 mauquf ahadith,

285 maqtu' ahadith, and

228 mursal ahadith; a total of 1726


Among other collections, relatively more mauquf

and maqtu' ahadith are found in Al-Musannaf of

Ibn Abi Shaibah (d. 235), Al-Musannaf of 'Abd al-

Razzaq (d. 211) and the Tafsirs of Ibn Jarir (d.

310), Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) and Ibn al-Mundhir

(d. 319).7



Al-Hakim defines a musnad ("supported") hadith

as follows:

"A hadith which a traditionist reports from

his shaikh from whom he is known to have

heard (ahadith) at a time of life suitable

for learning, and similarly in turn for

each shaikh, until the isnad reaches a well-

known Companion, who in turn reports from

the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace)."8

By this definition, an ordinary muttasil hadith

(i.e. one with an uninterrupted isnad) is

excluded if it goes back only to a Companion or

Successor, as is a marfu' hadith which has an

interrupted isnad.

Al-Hakim gives the following example of a musnad


We reported from Abu 'Amr 'Uthman b. Ahmad

al-Sammak al-Baghdadi === Al-Hasan b.

Mukarram === 'Uthman b. 'Amr === Yunus ---

al-Zuhri --- 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. Malik ---

his father, who asked Ibn Abi Hadrad for

payment of a debt he owed to him, in the

mosque. During the ensuing argument, their

voices were raised until heard by the

Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace), who eventually lifted the

curtain of his apartment and said, "O Ka'b!

Write off a part of your debt" - he meant

remission of half of it. So he agreed, and

the man paid him.

He then remarks,

"Now, my hearing from Ibn al-Simak is well-

known, as is his from Ibn Mukarram; al-

Hasan's link with 'Uthman b. 'Amr and the

latter's with Yunus b. Zaid are known as

well; Yunus is always remembered with al-

Zuhri, and the latter with the sons of Ka'b

b. Malik, whose link to their father and

his companionship of the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) are well-


The term musnad is also applied to those

collections of ahadith which give the ahadith of

each Companion separately. Among the early

compilers of such a Musnad were Yahya b. 'Abd al-

Hamid al-Himmani (d. 228) at Kufah and Musaddad

b. Musarhad (d. 228) at Basrah. The largest

existing collection of ahadith of Companions

arranged in this manner is that of Imam Ahmad b.

Hanbal (d. 241), which contains around thirty

thousand ahadith. Another larger work is

attributed to the famous Andalusian traditionist

Baqi b. Makhlad al-Qurtubi (d. 276), but

unfortunately it is now untraceable.

Mursal, Munqati', Mu'dal, & Mu'allaq

If the link between the Successor and the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) is missing, the hadith is mursal

("hurried"), e.g. when a Successor says, "The

Prophet said ...".

However, if a link anywhere before the Successor

(i.e. closer to the traditionist recording the

hadith) is missing, the hadith is munqati'

("broken"). This applies even if there is an

apparent link, e.g. an isnad seems to be

muttasil ("continuous") but one of the reporters

is known to have never heard ahadith from his

immediate authority, even though he may be his

contemporary. The term munqati' is also applied

by some scholars to a narration such as where a

reporter says, "a man narrated to me ...",

without naming this authority.10

If the number of consecutive missing reporters

in the isnad exceeds one, the isnad is mu'dal

("perplexing"). If the reporter omits the whole

isnad and quotes the Prophet, may Allah bless

him and grant him peace, directly (i.e. the link

is missing at the beginning, unlike the case

with a mursal isnad), the hadith is called

mu'allaq ("hanging") - sometimes it is known as

balaghah ("to reach"); for example, Imam Malik

sometimes says in Al-Muwatta', "It reached me

that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him

and grant him peace) said ..."

Example of a munqati' hadith

Al-Hakim reported from Muhammad b. Mus'ab === al-

Auza'i --- Shaddad Abu 'Ammar --- Umm al-Fadl

bint al-Harith, who said: I came to the

Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) and said, "I have seen in a

vision last night as if a part of your body was

cut out and placed in my lap." He said, "You

have seen something good. Allah Willing,

Fatimah will give birth to a lad who will be in

your lap." After that, Fatimah gave birth to al-

Husain, who used to be in my lap, in accordance

with the statement of the Messenger of Allah

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace). One

day, I came to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) and placed al-

Husain in his lap. I noticed that both his eyes

were shedding tears. He said, "Jibril came to

me and told me that my Ummah will kill this son

of mine, and he brought me some of the reddish

dust of that place (where he will be killed)."

Al-Hakim said, "This is a sahih hadith according

to the conditions of the Two Shaykhs (i.e.

Bukhari & Muslim), but they did not collect it."

Al-Dhahabi says, "No, the hadith is munqati' and

da'if, because Shaddad never met Umm al-Fadl and

Muhammad b. Mus'ab is weak."11

Example of a mu'dal hadith

Ibn Abi Hatim === Ja'far b. Ahmad b. al-Hakam Al-

Qurashi in the year 254 === Sulaiman b. Mansur

b. 'Ammar === 'Ali b. 'Asim --- Sa'id ---

Qatadah --- Ubayy b. Ka'b, who reported that the

Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) said, "After Adam had tasted

from the tree, he ran away, but the tree caught

his hair. It was proclaimed: O Adam! Are you

running away from Me? He said: No, but I feel

ashamed before You. He said: O Adam! Go away

from My neighbourhood, for By My Honour, no-one

who disobeys Me can live here near Me; even if

I were to create people like you numbering

enough to fill the earth and they were to

disobey Me, I would make them live in a home of


Ibn Kathir remarks, "This is a gharib hadith.

There is inqita', in fact i'dal, between Qatadah

and Ubayy b. Ka'b, may Allah be pleased with

them both."12

Authenticity of the Mursal Hadith

There has been a great deal of discussion

amongst the scholars regarding the authenticity

of the Mursal Hadith (pl. Marasil), since it is

quite probable that a Successor might have

omitted two names, those of an elder Successor

and a Companion, rather than just one name, that

of a Companion.

If the Successor is known to have omitted the

name of a Companion only, then the hadith is

held to be authentic, for a Successor can only

report from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) through a Companion; the

omission of the name of the Companion does not

affect the authenticity of the isnad since all

Companions are held to be trustworthy and

reliable, by both Qur'anic injunctions and

sayings of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace).

However, opinions vary in the case where the

Successor might have omitted the names of two

authorities (since not all the Successors were

reliable in matters of Hadith). For example,

two widely-differing positions on this issue


(i) the Marasil of elder Successors such as

Sa'id b. al-Musayyab (d. 94) and 'Ata' b. Abi

Rabah (d. 114) are acceptable because all their

Marasil, after investigation, are found to come

through the Companions only. However, the

Marasil of younger Successors are only

acceptable if the names of their immedeiate

authorities are known through other sources; if

not, they are rejected outright.

(ii) the Marasil of Successors and those who

report from them are acceptable without any

investigation at all. This opinion is supported

by the Kufi school of traditionists, but is

severely attacked by the majority.

To be precise in this issue, let us investigate

in detail the various opinions regarding the

Mursal Hadith:

1) The opinion held by Imam Malik and all Maliki

jurists is that the Mursal of a trustworthy

person is valid as proof and as justification

for a practice, just like a musnad hadith.13

This view has been developed to such an extreme

that to some of them, the mursal is even better

than the musnad, based on the following


"the one who reports a musnad hadith leaves

you with the names of the reporters for

further investigation and scrutiny, whereas

the one who narrates by way of Irsal, being

a knowledgeable and trustworthy person

himself, has already done so and found the

hadith to be sound. In fact, he saves you

from further research."14

2) Imam Abu Hanifah (d. 150) holds the same

opinion as Malik; he accepts the Mursal Hadith

whether or not it is supported by another


3) Imam al-Shafi'i (d. 204) has discussed this

issue in detail in his al-Risalah; he requires

the following conditions to be met before

accepting a mursal hadith:

(i) In the narrative, he requires that one of

the following conditions be met:

that it be reported also as musnad through

another isnad;

that its contents be reported as mursal

through another reliable source with a

different isnad;

that the meaning be supported by the sayings

of some Companions; or

that most scholars hold the same opinion as

conveyed by the mursal hadith.

(ii) Regarding the narrator, he requires that

one of the following conditions be met:

that he be an elder Successor;

that if he names the person missing in the

isnad elsewhere, he does not usually name an

unknown person or someone not suitable for

reporting from acceptably; or

that he does not contradict a reliable person

when he happens to share with him in a


On the basis of these arguments, al-Shafi'i

accepts the Irsal of Sa'id b. al-Musayyab, one

of the elder Successors. For example, al-

Shafi'i considers the issue of selling meat in

exchange for a living animal: he says that Malik

told him, reporting from Zaid b. Aslam, who

reported from Ibn al-Musayyab that the Messenger

of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) forbade the selling of meat in exchange

for an animal. He then says, "This is our

opinion, for the Irsal of Ibn al-Musayyib is


4) Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241) accepts mursal

and (other) da'if (weak) ahadith if nothing

opposing them is found regarding a particular

issue, preferring them to qiyas (analogical

deduction). By da'if here is meant ahadith

which are not severely weak, e.g. batil, munkar,

or maudu', since Imam Ahmad classified ahadith

into sahih and da'if rather than into sahih,

hasan and da'if, the preference of most later

traditionists. Hence, the category da'if in his

view applied to ahadith which were relatively

close to being sahih, and included many ahadith

which were classed as hasan by other scholars.18

Overlooking this fact has caused

misunderstanding about Imam Ahmad's view on the

place of da'if ahadith in rulings of Fiqh and in

matters of Fada'il al-A'mal (virtues of various

acts of worship).

5) Ibn Hazm (d. 456) rejects the Mursal Hadith

outright; he says that the Mursal is

unacceptable, whether it comes through Sa'id b.

al-Musayyib or al-Hasan al-Basri. To him, even

the Mursal which comes through someone who was

not well-known to be amongst the Companions

would be unacceptable.19

6) Abu Dawud (d . 275) accepts the Mursal under

two conditions:

that no musnad hadith is found regarding that

issue; or

that if a musnad hadith is found, it is not

contradicted by the mursal hadith.20

7) Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327) does not give a

specific opinion about the Mursal Hadith.

However, he did collect an anthology of 469

reporters of hadith, including four female

reporters, whose narratives were subjected to

criticism due to Irsal. This collection is

known as Kitab al-Marasil.

8) Al-Hakim (d. 405) is extremely reluctant to

accept the Mursal Hadith except in the case of

elder Successors. He holds, on the basis of the

Qur'an, that knowledge is based on what is heard

(directly), not on what is reported

(indirectly). In this regard, he quotes Yazid

b. Harun who asked Hammad b. Laith:

"O Abu Isma'il! Did Allah mention the Ahl

al-Hadith (scholars of Hadith) in the

Qur'an?" He replied, "Yes! Did you not

hear the saying of Allah,

If a party from every expedition remained

behind, they21 could devote themselves to

studies in religion and admonish the people

when they return to them, that thus they

may guard themselves (against evil)'

(Qur'an, 9:l22).

This concerns those who set off to seek

knowledge, and then return to those who

remained behind in order to teach them."22

Al-Hakim then remarks, "This verse shows that

the acceptable knowledge is the one which is

being heard, not just received by way of Irsal."23

9) Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 462) strongly

supports the view of those who reject the Mursal

except if it comes through an elder Successor.

He concludes, after giving a perusal of

different opinions about this issue,

"What we select out of these sayings is

that the Mursal is not to be practised, nor

is it acceptable as proof. We say that

Irsal leads to one reporter being

ambiguous; if he is ambiguous, to ascertain

his reliability is impossible. We have

already explained that a narration is only

acceptable if it comes through a reporter

known for reliability. Hence, the Mursal

should not be accepted at all."24

Al-Khatib gives the following example, showing

that a narrative which has been reported through

both musnad and mursal isnads is acceptable, not

because of the reliability of those who narrated

it by way of Irsal but because of an

uninterrupted isnad, even though it contains

less reliable reporters:

The text of the hadith is: "No marriage is valid

except by the consent of the guardian"; al-

Khatib gives two isnads going back to Shu'bah

and Sufyan al-Thauri; the remainder of each

isnad is:

Sufyan al-Thauri and Shu'bah --- Abu Ishaq ---

Abu Burdah --- the Prophet.

This isnad is mursal because Abu Burdah, a

Successor, narrates directly from the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

However, al-Khatib further gives three isnads

going back to Yunus b. Abi Ishaq, Isra'il b.

Yunus and Qais b. al-Rabi'; the remainder of the

first isnad is:

Yunus b. Abi Ishaq --- Abu Ishaq --- Abu Burdah

--- Abu Musa --- the Prophet.

The other two reporters narrate similarly, both

of them including the name of Abu Musa, the

Companion from whom Abu Burdah has reported. Al-

Khatib goes on to prove that both al-Thauri and

Shu'bah heard this hadith from Abu Ishaq in one

sitting while the other three reporters heard it

in different sittings. Hence, this addition of

Abu Musa in the isnad is quite acceptable.25

10) Ibn al-Salah (d. 643) agrees with al-Shafi'i

in rejecting the Mursal Hadith unless it is

proved to have come through a musnad route.26

11) Ibn Taimiyyah (d. 728) classifies Mursal

into three categories. He says, "There are some

acceptable, others unacceptable, and some which

require further investigation:

if it is known that the reporter does so (i.e.

narrates by Irsal) from reliable authorities,

then his report will be accepted;

if he does so from both classes of

authorities, i.e. reliable and unreliable, we

shall not accept his narration (on its own,

without further investigation), for he is

narrating from someone whose reliability is


all such mursal ahadith which go against the

reports made by reliable authorities will be

rejected completely."27

12) Al-Dhahabi (d. 748) regards the Mursal of

younger Successors such as al-Hasan al-Basri, al-

Zuhri, Qatadah and Humaid al-Tawil as the

weakest type of Mursal.28

Later scholars such as Ibn Kathir (d. 744), al-

'Iraqi (d. 806), Ibn Hajar (d. 852), al-Suyuti

(d. 911), Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Wazir (d. 840),

Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi (d. 1332) and Tahir al-

Jaza'iri (d. 1338) have given exhaustive

discussions about this issue, but none of them

holds an opinion different to those mentioned




Mutawatir & Ahad

Depending on the number of the reporters of the

hadith in each stage of the isnad, i.e. in each

generation of reporters, it can be classified

into the general categories of mutawatir

("consecutive") or ahad ("single") hadith.

A mutawatir hadith is one which is reported by

such a large number of people that they cannot

be expected to agree upon a lie, all of them


Al-Ghazali (d. 505) stipulates that a mutawatir

narration be known by the sizeable number of its

reporters equally in the beginning, in the

middle and at the end.30 He is correct in this

stipulation because some narrations or ideas,

although known as mutawatir among some people,

whether Muslims or non-Muslims, originally have

no tawatur. There is no precise definition for

a "large number of reporters"; although the

numbers four, five, seven, ten, twelve, forty

and seventy, among others, have all been

variously suggested as a minimum, the exact

number is irrelevant (some reporters, e.g. Imams

of Hadith, carry more weight anyway than others

who are their contemporaries): the important

condition is that the possibility of coincidence

or "organised falsehood" be obviously


Examples of mutawatir practices are the five

daily prayers, fasting, zakat, the Hajj and

recitation of the Qur'an. Among the verbal

mutawatir ahadith, the following has been

reported by at least sixty-two Companions from

the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), and has been widely-known amongst the

Muslims throughout the ages:

"Whoever invents a lie and attributes it to me

intentionally, let him prepare his seat in the

Fire." Ahadith related to the description of

the Haud Kauthar (the Basin of Abundant

Goodness) in the Hereafter, raising the hands at

certain postures during prayer, rubbing wet

hands on the leather socks during ablution,

revelation of the Qur'an in seven modes, and the

prohibition of every intoxicant are further

examples of verbal mutawatir ahadith.32

A hadith ahad or khabar wahid is one which is

narrated by people whose number does not reach

that of the mutawatir case. Ahad is further

classified into:

Gharib, 'Aziz & Mashhur

A hadith is termed gharib ("scarce, strange")

when a only a single reporter is found relating

it at some stage of the isnad. For example, the

saying of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace),

"Travel is a piece of punishment" is gharib;

the isnad of this hadith contains only one

reporter in each stage: Malik --- Yahya b. Abi

Salih --- Abu Hurairah --- the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace). With

regard to its isnad, this hadith is sahih,

although most gharib ahadith are weak; Ahmad b.

Hanbal said, "Do not write these gharib ahadith

because they are unacceptable, and most of them

are weak."33

A type of hadith similar to gharib is fard

("solitary"); it is known in three ways:

(i) similar to gharib, i.e. a single person is

found reporting it from a well-known Imam;

(ii) the people of one locality only are known

to narrate the hadith;

(iii) narrators from one locality report the

hadith from narrators of another locality, such

as the people of Makkah reporting from the

people of Madinah.34

If at any stage in the isnad, only two reporters

are found to narrate the hadith, it is termed

'aziz ("rare, strong"). For example, Anas

reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) said,

"None of you (truly) believes until I become

more beloved to him than his father, his son,

and all the people."

Two reporters, Qatadah and 'Abdul 'Aziz b.

Shu'aib, report this hadith from Anas, and two

more reporters narrate from each of them:

Shu'bah and Sa'id report from Qatada, and

Isma'il b. Ulayyah and 'Abd al-Warith from 'Abd

al-'Aziz; then a group of people report from

each of them.35

A hadith which is reported by more than two

reporters is known as mashhur ("famous").

According to some scholars, every narrative

which comes to be known widely, whether or not

it has an authentic origin, is called mashhur.

A mashhur hadith might be reported by only one

or two reporters in the beginnning but become

widely-known later, unlike gharib or 'aziz,

which are reported by one or two reporters in

the beginning and continue to have the same

number even in the times of the Successors and

those after them. For example, if only one or

two reporters are found narrating hadith from a

reliable authority in Hadith such as al-Zuhri

and Qatadah, the hadith will remain either

gharib or 'aziz. On the other hand, if a group

of people narrate from them, it will be known as


According to al-'Ala'i (Abu Sa'id Khalil Salah

al-Din, d. 761), a hadith may be known as 'aziz

and mashhur at the same time. By this he means

a hadith which is left with only two reporters

in its isnad at any stage while it enjoys a host

of reporters in other stages, such as the saying

of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace),

"We are the last but (will be) the foremost on

the Day of Resurrection."

This hadith is 'aziz in its first stage, as it

is reported by Hudhaifah b. al-Yaman and Abu

Hurairah only. It later becomes mashhur as

seven people report it from Abu Hurairah.37



Mudallas hadith & Tadlis

Different ways of reporting, e.g. (he narrated

to us), (he informed us), (I heard), and (on the

authority of) are used by the reporters of

hadith. The first three indicate that the

reporter personally heard from his shaikh,

whereas the mode U can denote either hearing in

person or through another reporter.

A mudallas ("concealed") hadith is one which is

weak due to the uncertainty caused by tadlis.

Tadlis (concealing) refers to an isnad where a

reporter has concealed the identity of his

shaikh. Ibn al-Salah describes two types of


a) tadlis al-isnad. A person reports from his

shaikh whom he met, what he did not hear from

him, or from a contemporary of his whom he did

not meet, in such a way as to create the

impression that he heard the hadith in person.

A mudallis (one who practises tadlis) here

usually uses the mode ("on the authority of") or

("he said") to conceal the truth about the


b) tadlis al-shuyukh. The reporter does mention

his shaikh by name, but uses a less well-known

name, by-name, nickname etc., in order not to

disclose his shaikh's identity.38

Al-'Iraqi (d. 806), in his notes on Muqaddimah

Ibn al-Salah, adds a third type of tadlis:

c) tadlis al-taswiyyah. To explain it, let us

assume an isnad which contains a trustworthy

shaikh reporting from a weak authority, who in

turn reports from another trustworthy shaikh.

Now, the reporter of this isnad omits the

intermediate weak authority, leaving it

apparently consisting of reliable authorities.

He plainly shows that he heard it from his

shaikh but he uses the mode "on the authority

of" to link his immediate shaikh with the next

trustworthy one. To an average student, this

isnad seems free of any doubt or discrepancy.

This is known to have been practised by Baqiyyah

b. al-Walid, Walid b. Muslim, al-A'mash and al-

Thauri. It is said to be the worst among the

three kinds of tadlis.39

Ibn Hajar classifies those who practised tadlis

into five categories in his essay Tabaqat al-


Those who are known to do it occasionally,

such as Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari.

Those who are accepted by the traditionists,

either because of their good reputation and

relatively few cases of tadlis, e.g. Sufyan

al-Thauri (d. 161), or because they reported

from authentic authorities only, e.g. Sufyan

Ibn 'Uyainah (d. 198).

Those who practised it a great deal, and the

traditionists have accepted such ahadith from

them which were reported with a clear mention

of hearing directly. Among these are Abu 'l-

Zubair al-Makki, whose ahadith narrated from

the Companion Jabir b. 'Abdullah have been

collected in Sahih Muslim. Opinions differ

regarding whether they are acceptable or not.

Similar to the previous category, but the

traditionists agree that their ahadith are to

be rejected unless they clearly admit of

their hearing, such as by saying "I heard";

an example of this category is Baqiyyah b. al-


Those who are disparaged due to another

reason apart from tadlis; their ahadith are

rejected, even though they admit of hearing

them directly. Exempted from them are

reporters such as Ibn Lahi'ah, the famous

Egyptian judge, whose weakness is found to be

of a lesser degree. Ibn Hajar gives the

names of 152 such reporters.40

Tadlis, especially of those in the last three

categories, is so disliked that Shu'bah (d. 170)

said, "Tadlis is the brother of lying" and "To

commit adultery is more favourable to me than to

report by way of Tadlis."41


A musalsal (uniformly-linked) isnad is one in

which all the reporters, as well as the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace), use

the same mode of transmission such as 'an,

haddathana, etc., repeat any other additional

statement or remark, or act in a particular

manner while narrating the hadith.

Al-Hakim gives eight examples of such isnads,

each having a different characteristic repeated


use of the phrase sami'tu (I heard);

the expression "stand and pour water for me so

that I may illustrate the way my shaikh

performed ablution";

haddathana (he narrated to us);

amarani (he commanded me);

holding one's beard;

illustrating by counting on five fingers;

the expression "I testify that ..."; and

interlocking the fingers.42

Knowledge of musalsal helps in discounting the

possibility of tadlis.



Shadhdh & Munkar

According to al-Shafi'i, a shadhdh ("irregular")

hadith is one which is reported by a trustworthy

person but goes against the narration of a

person more reliable than him. It does not

include a hadith which is unique in its contents

and is not narrated by someone else.43 In the

light of this definition, the well-known hadith,

"Actions are (judged) according to their

intentions", is not considered shadhdh since it

has been narrated by Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari

from Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taimi from 'Alqamah

from 'Umar, all of whom are trustworthy

authorities, although each one of them is the

only reporter at that stage.44

An example of a shadhdh hadith according to some

scholars is one which Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi

transmit, through the following isnad:

'Abdul Wahid b. Ziyad --- al-A'mash --- Abu

Salih --- Abu Hurairah === the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace):

"When one of you offers the two rak'ahs

before the Dawn Prayer, he should lie down

on his right side."

Regarding it, al-Baihaqi said,

"'Abdul Wahid has gone against a large

number of people with this narration, for

they have reported the above as an act of

the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace), and not as his saying; 'Abdul

Wahid is alone amongst the trustworthy

students of al-A'mash in narrating these


According to Ibn Hajar, if a narration which

goes against another authentic hadith is

reported by a weak narrator, it is known as

munkar (denounced).46 Traditionists as late as

Ahmad used to simply label any hadith of a weak

reporter as munkar.47 Sometimes, a hadith is

labelled as munkar because of its contents being

contrary to general sayings of the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace). Al-Khatib

(d. 463) quotes al-Rabi' b. Khaitham (d. 63) as


"Some ahadith have a light like that of

day, which we recognise; others have a

darkness like that of night which makes us

reject them."

He also quotes al-Auza'i (d. 157) as saying,

"We used to listen to ahadith and present

them to fellow traditionists, just as we

present forged coins to money-changers:

whatever they recognise of them, we accept,

and whatever they reject of them, we also


Ibn Kathir quotes the following two ahadith in

his Tafsir, the first of which is acceptable,

whereas the second contradicts it and is


(i) Ahmad === Abu Mu'awiyah === Hisham b.

'Urwah --- Fatimah bint al-Mundhir ---

Asma' bint Abi Bakr, who said, "My mother

came (to Madinah) during the treaty Quraish

had made, while she was still a polytheist.

So I came to the Prophet (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace) and said to him,

'O Messenger of Allah, my mother has come

willingly: should I treat her with

kindness?' He replied, 'Yes! Treat her

with kindness'."

(ii) Al-Bazzar === 'Abdullah b. Shabib ===

Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaibah === Abu Qatadah al-

'Adawi --- the nephew of al-Zuhri --- al-

Zuhri --- 'Urwah --- 'A'ishah and Asma',

both of whom said, "Our mother came to us

in Madinah while she was a polytheist,

during the peace treaty between the Quraish

and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless

him and grant him peace). So we said, 'O

Messenger of Allah, our mother has come to

Madinah willingly: do we treat her kindly?'

He said, 'Yes! Treat her kindly'."

Ibn Kathir then remarks:

"This (latter) hadith, to our knowledge is

reported only through this route of al-

Zuhri --- 'Urwah --- 'A'ishah. It is a

munkar hadith with this text because the

mother of 'A'ishah is Umm Ruman, who was

already a Muslim emigrant, while the mother

of Asma' was another woman, as mentioned by

name in other ahadith."49

In contrast to a munkar hadith, if a reliable

reporter is found to add something which is not

narrated by other authentic sources, the

addition is accepted as long as it does not

contradict them; and is known as ziyadatu thiqah

(an addition by one trustworthy).50 An example

is the hadith of al-Bukhari and Muslim on the

authority of Ibn Mas'ud: "I asked the Messenger

of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), 'Which action is the most virtuous?' He

said, 'The Prayer at its due time'." Two

reporters, Al-Hasan b. Makdam and Bindar,

reported it with the addition, "... at the

beginning of its time"; both Al-Hakim and Ibn

Hibban declared this addition to be sahih.51


An addition by a reporter to the text of the

saying being narrated is termed mudraj

(interpolated).52 For example, al-Khatib relates

via Abu Qattan and Shababah --- Shu'bah ---

Muhammad b. Ziyad --- Abu Hurairah --- The

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), who said,

"Perform the ablution fully; woe to the heels

from the Fire!"

Al-Khatib then remarks,

"The statement, 'Perform the ablution

fully' is made by Abu Hurairah, while the

statement afterwards, 'Woe to the heels

from the Fire!', is that of the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The distinction between the two is

understood from the narration of al-

Bukhari, who transmits the same hadith and

quotes Abu Hurairah as saying, "Complete

the ablution, for Abu 'l-Qasim (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) said: Woe to

the heels from the Fire!"."53

Such an addition may be found in the beginning,

in the middle, or at the end, often in

explanation of a term used. Idraj

(interpolation) is mostly found in the text,

although a few examples show that such additions

are found in the isnad as well, where the

reporter grafts a part of one isnad into


A reporter found to be in the habit of

intentional idraj is generally unacceptable and

considered a liar.54 However, the traditionists

are more lenient towards those reporters who may

do so forgetfully or in order to explain a

difficult word.



Before discussing ma'lul (defective) ahadith, a

brief note on mudtarib (shaky) and maqlub

(reversed) ahadith would help in understanding



According to Ibn Kathir, if reporters disagree

about a particular shaikh, or about some other

points in the isnad or the text, in such a way

that none of the opinions can be preferred over

the others, and thus there is uncertainty about

the isnad or text, such a hadith is called

mudtarib (shaky).55

For example with regard to idtirab in the isnad,

it is reported on the authority of Abu Bakr that

he said, "O Messenger of Allah! I see you

getting older?" He (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) replied, "What made me old are

Surah Hud and its sister surahs." Al-Daraqutni


"This is an example of a mudtarib hadith.

It is reported through Abu Ishaq, but as

many as ten different opinions are held

about this isnad: some report it as mursal,

others as muttasil; some take it as musnad

of Abu Bakr, others as musnad of Sa'd or

'A'ishah. Since all these reports are

comparable in weight, it is difficult to

prefer one above another. Hence, the

hadith is termed as mudtarib."56

As an example of idtirab in the text, Rafi' b.

Khadij said that the Messenger of Allah (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace) forbade the

renting of land. The reporters narrating from

Rafi' give different statements, as follows:

(i) Hanzalah asked Rafi', "What about renting

for gold and silver?" He replied, "It does not

matter if it is rent for gold and silver."

(ii) Rifa'ah --- Rafi' --- the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace), who said,

"Whoever owns a piece of land should cultivate

it, give it to his brother to cultivate, or

abandon it."

(iii) Salim --- Rafi' --- his two uncles ---

the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), who forbade the renting of farming land.

(iv) The son of Rafi' --- Rafi' --- the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who

forbade the renting of land.

(v) A different narration by Rafi' from the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), who said, "Whoever owns a piece of land

should either cultivate it or give it to his

brother to cultivate. He must not rent it for a

third or a quarter of the produce, nor for a

given quantity of the produce."

(vi) Zaid b. Thabit said, "May Allah forgive

Rafi'! I am more aware of the hadith than he;

what happened was that two of the Ansar

(Helpers) had a dispute, so they came to the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), who said after listening to their cases,

'If this is your position, then do not rent the

farms.' Rafi' has only heard the last phrase,

i.e., 'Do not rent the farms'."

Because of these various versions, Ahmad b.

Hanbal said,

"The ahadith reported by Rafi' about the

renting of land are mudtarib. They are not

to be accepted, especially when they go

against the well-established hadith of Ibn

'Umar that the Messenger of Allah (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave

the land of Khaibar to the Jews on

condition that they work on it and take

half of the produce."57


A hadith is known as maqlub (changed, reversed)

when its isnad is grafted to a different text or

vice versa, or if a reporter happens to reverse

the order of a sentence in the text.

As an example relating to the text, in his

transmission of the famous hadith describing the

seven who will be under the shelter of Allah on

the Day of Judgment, Muslim reports one of the

categories as, "a man who conceals his act of

charity to such an extent that his right hand

does not know what his left hand gives in

charity." This sentence has clearly been

reversed by a reporter, because the correct

wording is recorded in other narrations of both

al-Bukhari and Muslim as follows: "... that his

left hand does not know what his right hand

gives ..."58

The famous trial of al-Bukhari by the scholars

of Baghdad provides a good example of a maqlub

isnad. The traditionists, in order to test

their visitor, al-Bukhari, appointed ten men,

each with ten ahadith. Now, each hadith (text)

of these ten people was prefixed with the isnad

of another. Imam al-Bukhari listened to each of

the ten men as they narrated their ahadith and

denied the correctness of every hadith. When

they had finished narrating these ahadith, he

addressed each person in turn and recounted to

him each of his ahadith with its correct isnad.

This trial earned him great honour among the

scholars of Baghdad.59

Other ways in which ahadith have been rendered

maqlub are by replacement of the name of a

reporter with another, e.g. quoting Abu Hurairah

as the reporter from the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace) although the

actual reporter was someone else, or by reversal

of the name of the reporter, e.g. mentioning

Walid b. Muslim instead of Muslim b. Walid, or

Ka'b b. Murrah instead of Murrah b. Ka'b.60

Ma'lul or Mu'allal

Ibn al-Salah says, "A ma'lul (defective) hadith

is one which appears to be sound, but thorough

research reveals a disparaging factor." Such

factors can be:

(i) declaring a hadith musnad when it is in fact

mursal, or marfu' when it is in fact mauquf;

(ii) showing a reporter to narrate from his

shaikh when in fact he did not meet the latter;

or attributing a hadith to one Companion when it

in fact comes through another.61

Ibn al-Madini (d. 324) says that such a defect

can only be revealed if all the isnads of a

particular hadith are collated. In his book al-

'Ilal, he gives thirty-four Successors and the

names of those Companions from whom each of them

heard ahadith directly. For example, he says

that al-Hasan al-Basri (d. 110, aged 88) did not

see 'Ali (d. 40), although he adds that there is

a slight possibility that he may have seen him

during his childhood in Madinah.62 Such

information is very important, since for

example, many Sufi traditions go back to al-

Hasan al-Basri, who is claimed to report

directly from 'Ali.

Being a very delicate branch of Mustalah al-

Hadith, only a few well-known traditionists such

as Ibn al-Madini (d. 234), Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi

(d. 327), al-Khallal (d. 311) and al-Daraqutni

(d. 385), have compiled books about it. Ibn Abi

Hatim, in his Kitab al-'Ilal, has given 2840

examples of ma'lul ahadith about a range of


An example of a ma'lul hadith is one transmitted

by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah, who

reports the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) as saying,

"Allah created the land on Saturday; He

created the mountains on Sunday; He created

the trees on Monday; He created the things

entailing labour on Tuesday; He created the

light (or fish) on Wednesday; He scattered

the beasts in it (the earth) on Thursday;

and He created Adam after the afternoon of

Friday, the last creation at the last hour

of the hours of Friday, between the

afternoon and night."63

Regarding it, Ibn Taimiyyah says,

"Men more knowledgeable than Muslim, such

as al-Bukhari and Yahya b. Ma'in, have

criticised it. Al-Bukhari said, 'This

saying is not that of the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace), but

one of Ka'b al-Ahbar'."64



The final verdict on a hadith, i.e. sahih

(sound), hasan (good), da'if (weak) or maudu'

(fabricated, forged), depends critically on this


Among the early traditionists, mostly of the

first two centuries, ahadith were classified

into two categories only: sahih and da'if; al-

Tirmidhi was to be the first to distinguish

hasan from da'if. This is why traditionists and

jurists such as Ahmad, who seemed to argue on

the basis of da'if ahadith sometimes, were in

fact basing their argument on the ahadith which

were later to be known as hasan.65

We now examine in more detail these four

important classes of ahadith.


Al-Shafi'i states the following requirement in

order for a hadith which is not mutawatir to be


"Each reporter should be trustworthy in his

religion; he should be known to be truthful

in his narrating, to understand what he

narrates, to know how a different

expression can alter the meaning, and

report the wording of the hadith verbatim,

not only its meaning. This is because if

he does not know how a different expression

can change the whole meaning, he will not

know if he has changed what is lawful into

what is prohibited. Hence, if he reports

the hadith according to its wording, no

change of meaning will be found at all.

Moreover, he should be a good memoriser if

he happens to report from his memory, or a

good preserver of his writings if he

happens to report from them. He should

agree with the narrations of the huffaz

(leading authorities in Hadith), if he

reports something which they do also. He

should not be a mudallis, who narrates from

someone he met something he did not hear,

nor should he report from the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace)

contrary to what reliable sources have

reported from him. In addition, the one

who is above him (in the isnad) should be

of the same quality, [and so on,] until the

hadith goes back uninterrupted to the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) or any authority below him."66

Ibn al-Salah, however, defines a sahih hadith

more precisely by saying:

"A sahih hadith is the one which has a

continuous isnad, made up of reporters of

trustworthy memory from similar

authorities, and which is found to be free

from any irregularities (i.e. in the text)

or defects (i.e. in the isnad)."

By the above definition, no room is left for any

weak hadith, whether, for example, it is

munqati', mu'dal, mudtarib, maqlub, shadhdh,

munkar, ma'lul, or contains a mudallis. The

definition also excludes hasan ahadith, as will

be discussed under that heading.

Of all the collectors of hadith, al-Bukhari and

Muslim were greatly admired because of their

tireless attempts to collect sahih ahadith only.

It is generally understood that the more

trustworthy and of good memory the reporters,

the more authentic the hadith. The isnad: al-

Shafi'i --- Malik --- Nafi' --- 'Abdullah b.

'Umar --- The Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace), is called a "golden isnad"

because of its renowned reporters.67

Some traditionists prefer Sahih al-Bukhari to

Sahih Muslim because al-Bukhari always looked

for those reporters who had either accompanied

or met each other, even if only once in their

lifetime. On the other hand, Muslim would

accept a reporter who is simply found to be

contemporary to his immediate authority in


The following grading is given for sahih ahadith


(i) those which are transmitted by both al-

Bukhari and Muslim;

(ii) those which are transmitted by al-Bukhari


(iii) those which are transmitted by Muslim


those which are not found in the above two

collections, but

(iv) which agree with the requirements of both

al-Bukhari and Muslim;

(v) which agree with the requirements of al-

Bukhari only;

(vi) which agree with the requirements of Muslim

only; and

(vii) those declared sahih by other



Al-Tirmidhi means by hadith hasan: a hadith

which is not shadhdh, nor contains a disparaged

reporter in its isnad, and which is reported

through more than one route of narration.70

Al-Khattabi (d. 388) states a very concise

definition, "It is the one where its source is

known and its reporters are unambiguous."

By this he means that the reporters of the

hadith should not be of a doubtful nature, such

as with the mursal or munqati' hadith, or one

containing a mudallis.

Ibn al-Salah classifies hasan into two


(i) one with an isnad containing a reporter who

is mastur ("screened", i.e. no prominent person

reported from him) but is not totally careless

in his reporting, provided that a similar text

is reported through another isnad as well;

(ii) one with an isnad containing a reporter who

is known to be truthful and reliable, but is a

degree less in his preservation/memory of hadith

in comparison to the reporters of sahih ahadith.

In both categories, Ibn al-Salah requires that

the hadith be free of any shudhudh


Al-Dhahabi, after giving the various

definitions, says, "A hasan hadith is one which

excels the da'if but nevertheless does not reach

the standard of a sahih hadith."72 In the light

of this definition, the following isnads are

hasan according to al-Dhahabi:

(i) Bahz b. Hakam --- his father --- his


(ii) 'Amr b. Shu'aib --- his father --- his


(iii) Muhammad b. 'Amr --- Abu Salamah --- Abu


Reporters such as al-Harith b. 'Abdullah, 'Asim

b. Damurah, Hajjaj b. Artat, Khusaif b. 'Abd al-

Rahman and Darraj Abu al-Samh attract different

verdicts: some traditionists declare their

ahadith hasan, others declare them da'if.73

Example of a hasan hadith

Malik, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim

reported through their isnads from 'Amr b.

Shu'aib --- his father --- his grandfather, that

the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) said,

"A single rider is a devil (i.e. disobedient),

two riders are two devils, but three makes a

travelling party."

Al-Tirmidhi declares this hadith to be hasan

because of the above isnad, which falls short of

the requirements for a sahih hadith.74

Several weak ahadith may mutually support each

other to the level of hasan

According to the definitions of al-Tirmidhi and

Ibn al-Salah, a number of similar weak ahadith

on a particular issue can be raised to the

degree of hasan if the weakness found in their

reporters is of a mild nature. Such a hadith is

known as hasan li ghairihi (hasan due to

others), to distinguish it from the type

previously-discussed, which is hasan li dhatihi

(hasan in itself). Similarly, several hasan

ahadith on the same subject may make the hadith

sahih li ghairihi, to be distinguished from the

previously-discussed sahih li dhatihi.

However, in case the weakness is severe (e.g.,

the reporter is accused of lying or the hadith

is itself shadhdh), such very weak ahadith will

not support each other and will remain weak.

For example, the well-known hadith,

"He who preserves forty ahadith for my Ummah

will be raised by Allah on the Day of

Resurrection among the men of understanding",

has been declared to be da'if by most of the

traditionists, although it is reported through

several routes.75

Da'if (U!Y)

A hadith which fails to reach the status of

hasan is da'if. Usually, the weakness is one of

discontinuity in the isnad, in which case the

hadith could be mursal, mu'allaq, mudallas,

munqati' or mu'dal, according to the precise

nature of the discontinuity, or one of a

reporter having a disparaged character, such as

due to his telling lies, excessive mistakes,

opposition to the narration of more reliable

sources, involvement in innovation, or ambiguity

surrounding his person.

The smaller the number and importance of

defects, the less severe the weakness. The more

the defects in number and severity, the closer

the hadith will be to being maudu' (fabricated).76

Some ahadith, according to the variation in the

nature of the weakness associated with its

reporters, rank at the bottom of the hasan grade

or at the top of the da'if grade. Reporters

such as 'Abdullah b. Lahi'ah (a famous judge

from Egypt), 'Abd al-Rahman b. Zaid b. Aslam,

Abu Bakr b. Abi Maryam al-Himsi, Faraj b.

Fadalah, and Rishdin b. Sa'd attract such types

of varying ranks as they are neither extremely

good preservers nor totally abandoned by the



Al-Dhahabi defines maudu' (fabricated, forged)

as the term applied to a hadith, the text of

which goes against the established norms of the

Prophet's sayings (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace), or its reporters include a liar,

e.g. the forty ahadith known as Wad'aniyyah or

the small collection of ahadith which was

fabricated and claimed to have been reported by

'Ali al-Rida, the eighth Imam of the Ithna

'Ashari Shi'ah.78

A number of traditionists have collected

fabricated ahadith separately in order to

distinguish them from other ahadith; among them

are Ibn al-Jauzi in al-Maudu'at, al-Jauzaqani in

Kitab al-Abatil, al-Suyuti in al-La'ali al-

Masnu'ah fi 'l-Ahadith al-Maudu'ah, and 'Ali al-

Qari in al-Maudu'at.

Some of these ahadith were known to be spurious

by the confession of their inventors. For

example, Muhammad b. Sa'id al-Maslub used to

say, "It is not wrong to fabricate an isnad for

a sound statement."79 Another notorious

inventor, 'Abd al-Karim Abu 'l-Auja, who was

killed and crucified by Muhammad b. Sulaiman b.

'Ali, governor of Basrah, admitted that he had

fabricated four thousand ahadith declaring

lawful the prohibited and vice-versa.80

Maudu' ahadith are also recognised by external

evidence related to a discrepancy found in the

dates or times of a particular incident.81 For

example, when the second caliph, 'Umar b. al-

Khattab decided to expel the Jews from Khaibar,

some Jewish dignitaries brought a document to

'Umar apparently proving that the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace) had

intended that they stay there by exempting them

from the jizyah (tax on non-Muslims under the

rule of Muslims); the document carried the

witness of two Companions, Sa'd b. Mu'adh and

Mu'awiyah b. Abi Sufyan. 'Umar rejected the

document outright, knowing that it was

fabricated because the conquest of Khaibar took

place in 6 AH, whereas Sa'd b. Mu'adh died in 3

AH just after the Battle of the Trench, and

Mu'awiyah embraced Islam in 8 AH, after the

conquest of Makkah!82

The author, in his Criticism of Hadith among

Muslims with reference to Sunan Ibn Majah, has

given more examples of fabricated ahadith under

the following eight categories of causes of


(i) political differences;

(ii) factions based on issues of creed;

(iii) fabrications by zanadiqah (enemies-within

spreading heretical beliefs);

(iv) fabrications by story-tellers;

(v) fabrications by ignorant ascetics;

(vi) prejudice in favour of town, race or a

particular imam;

(vii) inventions for personal motives;

(viii) proverbs turned into ahadith.

Similar to the last category above is the case

of Isra'iliyat ("Israelite traditions"),

narrations from the Jews and the Christians84

which were wrongly attributed to the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace).



The above-mentioned classification of ahadith

plays a vital role in ascertaining the

authenticity of a particular narration. Ibn al-

Salah mentions sixty-five terms in his book, of

which twenty-three have been discussed above.

Two further types not included by Ibn al-Salah,

mu'allaq and mutawatir, have been dealt with

from other sources. The remaining forty-two

types follow in brief, which help further

distinguish between different types of


1) Knowledge of i'tibar ("consideration"),

mutaba'ah ("follow-up") and shawahid


Traditionists are always in search of

strengthening support for a hadith which is

reported by one source only; such research is

termed i'tibar. If a supporting narration is

not found for a particular hadith, it is

declared as fard mutlaq (absolutely singular) or

gharib. For example, if a hadith is reported

through the following isnad: Hammad b. Salamah -

-- Ayyub --- Ibn Sirin --- Abu Hurairah --- the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), research would be done to ascertain

whether another trustworthy reporter has

narrated it from Ayyub; if so, it will be called

mutaba'ah tammah (full follow-up); if not, a

reporter other than Ayyub narrating from Ibn

Sirin would be sought: if so, it will be called

mutaba'ah qasirah (incomplete follow-up).

Whereas mutaba'ah applies to the isnad, i.e.

other narrations from the same reporters, a

narration which supports the text (meaning) of

the original hadith, although it may be through

a completely different isnad, is called a shahid


2) Afrad (singular narrations).

3) The type of character required in an

acceptable reporter.

4) The way a hadith is heard, and the different

ways of acquiring ahadith.

5) How a hadith is written, and punctuation

marks used.

6) The way a hadith is reported.

7) The manners required in traditionists.

8) The manners required in students of Hadith.

9) Knowledge of a higher or lower isnad (i.e.

one with less or more reporters respectively).

10) Knowledge of difficult words.

11) Knowledge of abrogated ahadith.

12) Knowledge of altered words in a text or


13) Knowledge of contradictory ahadith.

14) Knowledge of additions made to an isnad

(i.e. by an inserting the name of an additional


15) Knowledge of a well-concealed type of

mursal hadith.

16) Knowledge of the Companions.

17) Knowledge of the Successors.

18) Knowledge of elders reporting from younger


19) Knowledge of reporters similar in age

reporting from each other.

20) Knowledge of brothers and sisters among


21) Knowledge of fathers reporting from their


22) Knowledge of sons reporting from their


23) Knowledge of cases where e.g. two reporters

report from the same authority, one in his early

life and the other in his old age; in such cases

the dates of death of the two reporters will be

of significance.

24) Knowledge of such authorities from whom

only one person reported.

25) Knowledge of such reporters who are known

by a number of names and titles.

26) Knowledge of unique names amongst the

Companions in particular and the reporters in


27) Knowledge of names and by-names (kunyah).

28) Knowledge of by-names for reporters known

by their names only.

29) Knowledge of nicknames (alqab) of the


30) Knowledge of mu'talif and mukhtalif (names

written similarly but pronounced differently),

e.g. Kuraiz and Kariz.

31) Knowledge of muttafiq and muftariq (similar

names but different identities), e.g. "Hanafi":

there are two reporters who are called by this

name; one because of his tribe Banu Hanifah; the

other because of his attribution to a particular

Madhhab (school of thought in jurisprudence).

32) Names covering both the previous types.

33) Names looking similar but they differ

because of the difference in their father's

names, e.g. Yazid b. al-Aswad and al-Aswad b.


34) Names attributed to other than their

fathers, e.g. Isma'il b. Umayyah; in this case

Umayyah is the mother's name.

35) Knowledge of such titles which have a

meaning different from what they seem to be,

e.g. Abu Mas'ud al-Badri, not because he

witnessed the battle of Badr but because he came

to live there; Mu'awiyah b. 'Abdul Karim al-

Dall ("the one going astray"), not because of

his beliefs but because he lost his way while

travelling to Makkah; and 'Abdullah b. Muhammad

al-Da'if ("the weak"), not because of his

reliability in Hadith, but due to a weak


36) Knowledge of ambiguous reporters by finding

out their names.

37) Knowledge of the dates of birth and death

of reporters.

38) Knowledge of trustworthy and weak


39) Knowledge of trustworthy reporters who

became confused in their old age.

40) Knowledge of contemporaries in a certain


41) Knowledge of free slaves (mawali) amongst the


42) Knowledge of the homelands and home towns of



Verdicts on the ahadith mentioned in the


1) Mutawatir, as declared by many scholars,

including Ibn Taimiyyah, al-Suyuti, Najm al-Din

al-Iskandari (d. 981) and al-'Ijlouni (d. 1162).

About this hadith, al-Daraqutni said, "It is the

most authentic one regarding the virtues of any

surah." It is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and


2) The following is the sahih hadith of al-

Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn

'Asakir: "Verily, Allah has Ninety-Nine Names

which if a person safeguards them, he will enter

the Garden." In some narrations of this hadith

found in al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and

others, the names are listed at the end;

however, at least three different listings are

given, e.g. one list being, "He is Allah,

besides whom there is no other deity, the

Merciful, the Compassionate, ..., the

Forbearing" while another is "Allah, the Unique,

the Absolute, ..., the One who has nothing like

unto Him." It is agreed that these latter

narrations are da'if, and this is why al-Bukhari

and Muslim did not include them in their Sahihs.

Al-Tirmidhi says in his Sunan, "This (version of

the) hadith is gharib; it has been narrated

from various routes on the authority of Abu

Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of

the Names in the numerous narrations, except

this one." Ibn Taimiyyah says, "Al-Walid (one

of the narrators of the hadith) related the

Names from (the saying of) one of his Syrian

teachers ... specific mention of the Names is

not from the words of the Prophet (may Allah

bless him and grant him peace), by the agreement

of those familiar with Hadith."87 Ibn Kathir

says in his Tafsir, under verse 180 of Surah al-

A'raf, that these narrations are mudraj. Ibn

Hajar takes a similar view in his commentary on

Sahih al-Bukhari. Various scholars have given

different lists of 99 Names from their study of

the Qur'an and Sunnah, including Ja'far al-

Sadiq, Sufyan b. 'Uyainah, Ibn Hazm, al-Qurtubi,

Ibn Hajar and Salih b. 'Uthaimin.

3) Ibn Taimiyyah says, "It is not from the

words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace), and there is no known isnad

for it, neither sahih nor da'if"; al-Zarkashi

(d. 794), Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti and others agreed

with him. Al-Qari says, "But its meaning is

correct, deduced from the statement of Allah, I

have not created the Jinn and Mankind, except to

worship Me, i.e. to recognise/know me, as Ibn

'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) has

explained." These statements are mentioned by

al-'Ijlouni, who adds, "This saying occurs often

in the words of the Sufis, who have relied on it

and built upon it some of their principles."88

4) Al-'Ijlouni says, "Al-Saghani (d. 650) said:

Maudu'. I say: But its meaning is correct,

even if it is not a hadith." no. 2123. 'Ali al-

Qari says, "But its meaning is correct, for al-

Dailami has related from Ibn 'Abbas as marfu':

'that Jibril came to me and said: O Muhammad!

Were it not for you, the Garden would not have

been created, and were it not for you, the Fire

would not have been created', and in the

narration of Ibn 'Asakir: 'Were it not for you,

the world would not have been created'." Al-

Albani also quotes al-Saghani's verdict, and

comments on al-Qari's words thus, "It is not

appropriate to certify the correctness of its

meaning without establishing the authenticity of

the narration from al-Dailami, which is

something I have not found any of the scholars

to have addressed. Personally, although I have

not come across its isnad, I have no doubt about

its weakness; enough of an indication for us is

that al-Dailami is alone in reporting it. As

for the narration of Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn al-Jauzi

also related it in a long marfu' hadith from

Salman and said, 'It is maudu', and al-Suyuti

endorsed this in al-La'ali."89

5) Sahih - related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

6) Al-'Ijlouni says, "Al-Ghazali mentioned it in

Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din with the wording, Allah says,

"Neither My heaven nor My earth could contain

Me, but the soft, humble heart of my believing

slave can contain Me." Al-'Iraqi said in his

notes on Al-Ihya', "I do not find a basis (i.e.

isnad) for it", and al-Suyuti agreed with him,

following al-Zarkashi. Al-'Iraqi then said,

"But in the hadith of Abu 'Utbah in al-Tabarani

there occurs: ... the vessels of your Lord are

the hearts of His righteous slaves, and the most

beloved to Him are the softest and most tender

ones." Ibn Taimiyyah said, "It is mentioned in

the Israelite traditions, but there is no known

isnad from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and

grant him peace) for it." Al-Sakhawi said in Al-

Maqasid, following his shaykh al-Suyuti in Al-

La'ali, "There is no known isnad from the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) for it, and its meaning is that his heart

can contain belief in Me, love of Me and gnosis

of Me. But as for the one who says that Allah

incarnates in the hearts of the people, then he

is more of an infidel than the Christians, who

specified that to Christ alone. It seems that

Ibn Taimiyyah's mention of Israelite tradition

refers to what Ahmad has related in Al-Zuhd from

Wahb b. Munabbih who said that Allah opened the

heavens for Ezekiel until he saw the Throne, so

Ezekiel said, 'How Perfect are You! How Mighty

are You, O Lord!' So Allah said, 'Truly, the

heavens and the earth were too weak to contain

Me, but the soft, humble heart of my believing

slave contains Me'." He also quoted from al-

Zarkashi's writing that one of the scholars said

that it is a false hadith, fabricated by a

renegade (from the religion), and that it is

most-often quoted by a preacher to the masses,

'Ali b. Wafa, for his own purposes, who says at

the time of spiritual rapture and dance, "Go

round the House of your Lord." He further said

that al-Tabarani has related from Abu 'Utbah al-

Khawlani as marfu', "Truly, Allah has vessels

from amongst the people of the earth, and the

vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his

righteous slaves, and the most beloved of them

to Him are the softest and most tender ones"; in

its isnad is Baqiyyah b. al-Walid, a mudallis,

but he has clearly stated hearing the hadith."90

Al-Albani rates this last hadith mentioned as


7) Al-Nawawi said, "It is not established." Ibn

Taimiyyah said, "Maudu'." Al-Sam'ani said, "It

is not known as marfu', but it is quoted as a

statement of Yahya b. Mu'adh al-Razi." Al-

Suyuti endorsed al-Nawawi's words, and also

said, "This hadith is not authentic." Al-

Fairozabadi said, "It is not a Prophetic

statement, although most of the people think it

is a hadith, but it is not authentic at all. In

fact, it is only related in the Israelite

traditions: O Man! Know yourself: you will

know your Lord." Ibn al-Gharas said, after

quoting al-Nawawi's verdict, "... but the books

of the Sufis, such as Shaykh Muhi al-Din Ibn

'Arabi and others, are filled with it, being

quoted like a hadith." Ibn 'Arabi also said,

"This hadith, although it is not proved by way

of narration, is proved to us by way of Kashf

('unveiling', while in a trance)."92 Regarding

this methodology, al-Albani says,

"Authenticating ahadith by way of Kashf is a

wicked innovation of the Sufis, and depending

upon it leads to the authentication of false,

baseless ahadith ... This is because, even at

the best of times, Kashf is like opinion, which

may be right or wrong - and that is if no

personal desires enter into it! We ask Allah to

save us from it, and from everything with which

He is not pleased."93

8) Sahih. Related by Malik in Al-Muwatta', al-

Shafi'i in Al-Risalah (p. 110, Eng. trans.) and

Muslim (1:382; Eng. trans. 1:272). This was

the first of two questions which the Prophet

(may Allah bless him and grant him peace) put to

a slave-girl to test her faith, the second one

being, "Who am I?" She answered, "Above the

heaven" and "You are the Messenger of Allah"

respectively, to which he said, "Free her, for

she is a believer." Her first answer, which is

found in the Qur'an (67:16-17, the word fi can

mean 'above/on', as in 6:11, 20:71 & 27:8),

means that Allah is above and separate from His

creation, not mixed in with it, the erroneous

belief which leads to worship of creation.

9) Maudu', as stated by al-Saghani and others.

Scholars differ as to whether its meaning is

correct or not, in what way, and to what extent.94

It is sometimes used to justify divisive, anti-

Islamic nationalism and patriotism!

10) Sahih. Related by Malik as

mursal/mu'allaq/balaghat (depending on choice of

terminology), and related twice as musnad by al-

Hakim. The meaning of the hadith is contained

in the Qur'an, in the mention of the Book and

Wisdom (2:129, 2:151, 2:231, 3:164, 4:113, 33:34

& 62:2); al-Shafi'i says, "I have heard the

most knowledgeable people about the Qur'an say

that the Wisdom is the Sunnah" (Al-Risalah, Eng.

trans., p. 111).

11) Sahih. Related by al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn

Abi 'Asim, al-Hakim, al-Tabarani, al-Dailami and

al-Tahawi.95 The phrase Ahl al-Bayt (members of

the house) refers: (i) primarily to the

Prophet's wives (may Allah bless him and grant

him peace), from the clear context of the

relevant verse of the Qur'an (33:33); (ii) to

'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan & Husain, from the "hadith

of the garment" (cf. Sahih Muslim, Book of the

Virtues of the Companions). It is imbalanced

and unjust to exclude either of these categories

from the hadith.

12) A sahih hadith related by Abu Dawud, al-

Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah & Ahmad, and well-known

amongst the people. The fullest narration is,

"Abu Bakr will be in the Garden; 'Umar will be

in the Garden; 'Uthman will be in the Garden;

'Ali will be in the Garden; Talhah will be in

the Garden; al-Zubair will be in the Garden;

'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf will be in the Garden;

Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas will be in the Garden; Sa'id

b. Zaid will be in the Garden; Abu 'Ubaidah b.

al-Jarrah will be in the Garden."

13) Related by Ishaq b. Rahawaih and al-Baihaqi

with a sahih isnad as a statement of 'Umar. It

is also collected by Ibn 'Adi and al-Dailami

from Ibn 'Umar as marfu', but in its isnad is

'Isa b. Abdullah, who is weak. However, it is

strengthened by another narration of Ibn 'Adi,

and also supported by the hadith in the Sunan

that a man saw in a dream that Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace) was weighed

against Abu Bakr, and was found to be heavier;

then Abu Bakr was weighed against everyone else


14) Related by al-Hakim, al-Tabarani and others.

It is also related by al-Tirmidhi with the

wording, "I am the House of Wisdom, and 'Ali is

its Door". Al-Daraqutni labelled the hadith as

mudtarib, both in isnad and text; al-Tirmidhi

said it is gharib and munkar; al-Bukhari said

that it has no sahih narration; Ibn Ma'in said

that it is a baseless lie. Similar dismissals

of the hadith are reported from Abu Zur'ah, Abu

Hatim and Yahya b. Sa'd. Al-Hakim declared the

original hadith as sahih in isnad, but Ibn al-

Jauzi regarded both versions as maudu', and al-

Dhahabi agreed with him. Several of the later

scholars, including Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ibn

Hajar al-Makki and al-Suyuti declared it hasan

due to its various routes of narration. Al-

'Ijlouni says, "... none of this devalues the

consensus of the Adherents to the Sunnah from

the Companions, the Successors and those after

them, that the best of the Companions overall is

Abu Bakr, followed by 'Umar ...", and quotes

this view from Ibn 'Umar and 'Ali himself, as

recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari.97 Al-Albani

declares the hadith to be maudu'.98

15) A da'if or maudu' hadith, as stated by Ahmad

b. Hanbal, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Bazzar and many

others. Ibn Hazm states that not only is the

isnad unsound, but the hadith cannot be true for

two further reasons: (i) the Companions were

not infallible, and hence made mistakes, so it

would be wrong to say that following any of them

leads to guidance; (ii) the comparison with the

stars is wrong, for not every star guides one

through every journey! There is a different,

authentic comparison with the stars given in

Sahih Muslim: the Prophet (may Allah bless him

and grant him peace) said, "The stars are the

custodians of the sky, so when the stars depart,

there will come to the sky what is promised for

it (i.e. on the Day of Judgment). I am the

custodian of my Companions, so when I depart,

there will come to my Companions what is

promised for them (i.e. great trials and

tribulations). My Companions are the custodians

for my Ummah, so when my Companions depart,

there will come to my Ummah what is promised for

it (i.e. schisms, spread of innovations, etc.)."

(4:1961, Eng. trans. IV:1344)

16) No isnad exists for this hadith: al-Subki

(d. 756) said, "It is not known to the scholars

of Hadith, and I cannot find an isnad for it,

whether sahih, da'if, or maudu'." It, along

with the previous one, is often used to justify

the following two extremes: (i) blind following

of the views of men, with no reference to the

Qur'an and Sunnah; (ii) conveniently following

whichever scholar holds the easiest view, or

that most agreeable to one's desires, again

without reference to the fundamental sources.

17) Numerous narrations of this hadith are found

in the collections of Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi,

Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, Ahmad and others: they

vary in being sahih, hasan, or da'if, but the

hadith is established. Among those who have

authenticated this hadith are al-Tirmidhi, al-

Hakim, al-Shatibi, Ibn Taimiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim,

al-Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Hajar and al-'Iraqi.

Most narrations mention the splitting-up of the

Jews and the Christians into seventy-one or

seventy-two sects, all being in the Fire except

one, prior to mention of the Muslims dividing

even more. In some of the narrations, the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) describes the Saved Sect variously as

"the Jama'ah (community, congregation, main

body)", "the largest body (al-sawad al-a'zam)"

and "that which follows what I and my Companions

are upon." The hadith does not mean that the

majority of Muslims will be in the Hellfire, for

most of them ("the masses") are not involved in

intentional, divisive innovation; further,

mention of the Fire does not necessarily imply

that the seventy-two sects will remain there

forever, or that those sects are disbelievers.

18) Although the Mahdi is not mentioned

explicitly in the collections of al-Bukhari and

Muslim, numerous sahih ahadith, which are

mutawatir in meaning, speak of the coming of the

Mahdi, a man named Muhammad b. 'Abdullah and a

descendant of the Prophet (may Allah bless him

and grant him peace) through Fatimah, who will

be the Leader (Imam, Khalifah) of the Muslims,

rule for seven years and fill the world with

justice and equity after it had been filled with

tyranny and oppression. He will also fight the

Dajjal along with Jesus son of Mary. The

author, in his The Concept of the Mahdi among

the Ahl al-Sunnah, has named 37 scholars who

collected ahadith about the Mahdi with their own

isnads and 69 later scholars who wrote in

support of the concept, compared to 8 scholars

who rejected the idea.

The ahadith prophesying the Dajjal (False

Christ), a one-eyed man who will have miraculous

powers and will be followed by the Jews, and the

return of Jesus Christ son of Mary (peace be

upon them), who will descend in Damascus and

pray behind the Mahdi, kill the Dajjal at the

gate of Lod in Palestine, break the Cross, kill

the Pig, marry and have children and live for

forty years before dying a natural death, are

mutawatir in meaning. They have been collected

by al-Bukhari and Muslim, as well as other


19) Mutawatir in meaning, and collected by al-

Bukhari, Muslim and others.

20) Mutawatir in meaning, and collected by al-

Bukhari, Muslim and others. Mention of the

inadmissibility of intercession on the Day of

Judgment in the Qur'an, e.g. 2:48 2:123, must be

understood in the light of other verses, e.g.

20:109 and sahih ahadith. The reward of seeing

Allah for the believers is referred to in the

Qur'an, e.g. 75:22-23 and 83:15. These ahadith

and those of the previous two categories were

generally rejected by the classical Mu'tazilah

(Rationalists), as well by those influenced by

them today, on one or more of the following

bases: (i) they contradict the Qur'an (in their

view); (ii) they contradict Reason (in their

view), and (iii) they are ahad, not mutawatir,

and hence not acceptable in matters of belief (a

flawed argument). Hence, the scholars who wrote

the 'aqidah (creed) of the Ahl al-Sunnah

included these concepts in it, to confirm their

denial of the wrong ideas of the Mu'tazilah.

Other authentic ahadith rejected by the

Mu'tazilah are many, and include those

describing the Prophet's Mi'raj (ascension to

the heavens), which are again mutawatir in


21) The hadith with this wording is da'if, but

its meaning is contained in the hadith of Ibn

Majah and al-Nasa'i that a man came to the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) and said, "O Messenger of Allah! I

intend to go on a (military) expedition, but I

have come to ask your advice." He said, "Is

your mother alive?" He said, "Yes." He said,

"Then stay with her, for the Garden is under her

feet." This latter hadith is declared to be

sahih by al-Hakim, al-Dhahabi and al-Mundhiri.99

22) A sahih hadith, collected by al-Bukhari,

Muslim and others.

23) This hadith has many chains of narration on

the authority of more than a dozen Companions,

including twenty Successors apparently reporting

from Anas alone. They are collected by Ibn

Majah, al-Baihaqi, al-Tabarani and others, but

all of them are da'if, according to Ahmad b.

Hanbal, Ishaq b. Rahuwaih, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-

Bazzar and others, although some scholars

authenticated a few of the chains. Al-Baihaqi

said that its text is mashhur while its isnad is

da'if, while al-Hakim and Ibn al-Salah regarded

it as a prime example of a mashhur hadith which

is not sahih. However, it is regarded by later

scholars of Hadith as having enough chains of

narration to be strengthened to the level of

hasan or sahih, a view which is stated by al-

Mizzi, al-'Iraqi, Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti and al-


24) This additional statement is found in a few

of the (weak) narrations of the previous hadith,

and is declared as maudu' by Ibn Hibban, Ibn al-

Jauzi, al-Sakhawi and al-Albani.101

25) Mentioned by al-Manjaniqi in his collection

of ahadith of older narrators reporting from

younger ones, on the authority of al-Hasan al-

Basri. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said that it is

maudu' as a narration from the Prophet (may

Allah bless him and grant him peace), but that

it is a statement of al-Hasan al-Basri.102

26) Related as marfu' by al-Baihaqi with a da'if

isnad, according to al-'Iraqi. Ibn Hajar said

that it is actually a saying of Ibrahim b. Abi

'Ablah, a Successor.103

*NB: The scholars of Hadith agree that a da'if

or maudu' hadith must not be attributed to the

Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace), e.g. by saying, "The Prophet said: ...",

even if the meaning is considered to be correct

or if it is actually the saying of a Muslim

scholar, for that would be a way of lying about

the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him




1 Ar. Sunnah: Way, Path, Tradition, Example.

See An Introduction to the Sunnah by Suhaib

Hasan (Understanding Islam Series no. 5,

published by Al-Quran Society), for Qur'anic

proofs of revelation besides the Qur'an, the

importance of the Sunnah, and a brief history of

the collections of Hadith. See also Imam al-

Shafi'i's al-Risalah for the authoritative

position of the Sunnah (Eng. trans., pp. 109-


2 related by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to

his Sahih - see Sahih Muslim (ed. M.F. 'Abdul

Baqi, 5 vols., Cairo, 1374/1955), 1:15 & Sahih

Muslim bi Sharh an-Nawawi (18 vols. in 6, Cairo,

1349), 1:87. The existing English translation

of Sahih Muslim, by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, does

not contain this extremely valuable


3 Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi, Al-Jarh wa l-Ta'dil (8

vols., Hyderabad, 1360-1373), 1:20.

4 Sahih Muslim, 1:15. See Suhaib Hasan,

Criticism of Hadith among Muslims with reference

to Sunan Ibn Maja (Ta Ha publishers / Al-Quran

Society, London, 1407/1986), pp. 15-17 for

discussion of this statement of Ibn Sirin.

5 Remarks like these are exceptions from the

basic Islamic prohibition of backbiting (ghibah)

another Muslim, even if the statement is true.

Such exceptions are allowed, even obligatory in

some cases, where general benefit to the Muslim

public is at stake, such as knowing which

ahadith are authentic. See e.g. Riyad al-

Salihin of al-Nawawi, Chapter on Backbiting, for

the justification for certain types of

backbiting from the Qur'an and Sunnah.

6 Muhammad Adib Salih, Lamahat fi Usul al-Hadith

(2nd ed., al-Maktab al-Islami, Beirut, 1389), p.


7 Tahir b. Ahmad al-Jaza'iri, Taujih al-Nazar

ila Usul al-Nazar (Maktaba 'Ilmiyyah, Madinah,

N.D.), p. 68.

8 Muhammad b. 'Abdullah al-Hakim, Ma'rifah 'Ulum

al-Hadith (ed. Mu'azzam Husain, Cairo, 1937), p.


9 ibid.

10 Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Tadrib al-Rawi (ed.

A.A. Latif, 1st ed., Cairo, 1379/1959), 1:197.

11 Al-Dhahabi, Talkhis al-Mustadrak (printed with

Mustadrak al-Hakim, 4 vols., Hyderabad), 3:176.

12 Abu 'l-Fida' 'Imad al-Din Ibn Kathir, Tafsir

al-Qur'an al-Azim (4 vols., Cairo, N.D.), 1:80.

13 Yusuf b. 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abdul Barr, Tajrid al-

Tamhid lima fi l-Muwatta' min al-Asanid (Cairo,

1350), 1:2.

14 ibid.

15 al-Suyuti, 1:198.

16 For the discussion in detail, see al-Shafi'i,

al-Risalah (ed. Ahmad Shakir, Cairo, 1358/1940,

pp. 461-470; English translation: M. Khadduri,

2nd ed., Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, 1987,

pp. 279-284, where the mursal hadith has been

translated as "interrupted tradition").

17 al-Suyuti, 1:199; Muhammad b. Mustafa al-

Ghadamsi, Al-Mursal min al-Hadith (Darif Ltd.,

London, N.D.), p.71.

18 Ibn al-Qayyim, I'lam al-Muwaqqi'in (2nd ed., 4

vols. in 2, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1397/1977),


19 Ibn Hazm, Al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam (Matba'ah

al-Sa'adah, Cairo, 1345), 2:135.

20 Al-Hazimi, Shurut al-A'immah al-Khamsah (ed.

M.Z. al-Kauthari, Cairo, N.D.), p. 45.

21 According to the different interpretations of

this verse, "they" here could refer to those who

stay behind, or those who go forth.

22 al-Hakim, p. 26.

23 ibid.

24 Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Al-Kifayah fi 'Ilm al-

Riwayah (Hyderabad, 1357), p. 387.

25 ibid., pp. 411-413.

26 Zain al-Din al-'Iraqi, Al-Taqyid wa 'l-Idah

Sharh Muqaddimah Ibn al-Salah (al-Maktabah al-

Salafiyyahh, Madinah, 1389/1969), p. 72

27 Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhaj al-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah

fi Naqd Kalam al-Shi'ah wa 'l-Qadariyyah (al-

Maktabah al-Amiriyyah, Bulaq, 1322), 4:117.

28 Al-Dhahabi, Al-Muqizah (Maktab al-Matbu'at al-

Islamiyyah, Halab, 1405), p. 40.

29 al-Jaza'iri, p. 33.

30 ibid.

31 Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Sharh Nukhbah al-Fikr

(ed. M. 'Aud & M.G. Sabbagh, Damascus,

1410/1990), pp. 8-9.

32 al-Jaza'iri, p. 49; Muhammad b. Isma'il al-

Amir al-San'ani, Taudih al-Afkar (2 vols. ed.

M.M. 'Abdul Hamid, Cairo, 1366), 2:405.

33 al-San'ani, 2:409.

34 al-Hakim, pp. 96-102.

35 al-San'ani, 2:455.

36 al-'Iraqi, p. 268.

37 al-San'ani, 2:406.

38 al-'Iraqi, p. 96.

39 ibid.

40 Ibn Hajar, Tabaqat al-Mudallisin (Cairo,

1322), p. 7f.

41 al-'Iraqi, p. 98.

42 al-Hakim, pp. 30-34.

43 ibid., p. 119.

44 Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar 'Ulum al-Hadith (ed.

Ahmad Shakir, 2nd imp., Cairo, 1951), p. 57.

45 al-Suyuti, 1:235; M. A. Salih, p. 260.

46 al-San'ani, 2:3.

47 ibid., 2:6.

48 al-Khatib, p. 431.

49 Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, 4:349.

50 Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar, p. 62.

51 al-Suyuti, 1:248.

52 al-Hakim, p. 39.

53 al-'Iraqi, p. 129f.

54 al-Suyuti, 1:274.

55 Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar, p. 72.

56 ibid.

57 Ibn 'Abdul Barr, Al-Tamhid, 3:32, as quoted by

Luqman al-Salafi, Ihtimam al-Muhaddithin bi Naqd

al-Hadith, p. 381f.

58 Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar, p. 88.

59 ibid., p. 87.

60 Shams al-Din Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-

Sakhawi, Fath al-Mughith Sharh Alfiyyah al-

Hadith li 'l-'Iraqi (Lucknow, N.D.), 1:278.

61 'Uthman b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Dimashqi Ibn al-

Salah, 'Ulum al-Hadith (commonly known as

Muqaddimah, ed. al-Tabbakh, Halab, 1350), p.


62 'Ali b. 'Abdullah b. Ja'far Ibn al-Madini,

Kitab al-'Ilal, p. 58. Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani

mentions that the Imams of Hadith have agreed

that al-Hasan al-Basri did not hear a single

word from 'Ali.

63 Sahih Muslim, 4:2149 (English transl.,

IV:1462, Sharh Nawawi, 17:133).

64 Ibn Taimiyyah, Majmu' Fatawa (37 vols., ed.

'Abd al-Rahman b. Qasim & his son Muhammad,

Riyad, 1398), 18:18f. Ibn Taimiyyah mentions

that Imam Muslim's authentication of this hadith

is supported by Abu Bakr al-Anbari & Ibn al-

Jauzi, whereas al-Baihaqi supports those who

disparaged it. Al-Albani says that it was Ibn

al-Madini who criticised it, whereas Ibn Ma'in

did not (the latter was known to be very strict,

both of them were shaikhs of al-Bukhari). He

further says that the hadith is sahih, and does

not contradict the Qur'an, contrary to the

probable view of the scholars who criticised the

hadith, since what is mentioned in the Qur'an is

the creation of the heavens and the earth in six

days, each of which may be like a thousand

years, whereas the hadith refers to the creation

of the earth only, in days which are shorter

than those referred to in the Qur'an (Silsilah

al-Ahadith as-Sahihah, no. 1833).

65 al-Dhahabi, p. 27.

66 al-Shafi'i, p. 370f (Eng. trans., pp. 239-


67 al-Dhahabi, p. 24.

68 al-Nawawi, Muqaddimah, p. 14.

69 al-Tibi, al-Husain b. 'Abdullah, al-Khulasah

fi Usul al-Hadith (ed. Subhi al-Samarra'i,

Baghdad, 1391), p. 36.

70 ibid., p. 38.

71 al-Nawawi, Muqaddimah, p. 43.

72 al-Dhahabi, p. 26.

73 ibid., pp. 32-33.

74 al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah, no.


75 al-Jaza'iri, p. 149.

76 al-Sakhawi, 1:99.

77 al-Dhahabi, pp. 33-34.

78 ibid., p. 36.

79 al-Sakhawi, 1:264.

80 ibid., 1:275.

81 al-Nawawi, Taqrib, 1:275.

82 see Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Manar al-Munif fi 'l-

Sahih wa 'l-Da'if (ed. A.F. Abu Ghuddah, Lahore,

1402/1982), pp. 102-105 for a fuller discussion.

Ibn al-Qayyim mentions more than ten clear

indications of the forgery of the document,

which the Jews repeatedly attempted to use to

deceive the Muslims over the centuries, but each

time a scholar of Hadith intervened to point out

the forgery - such incidents occurred with Ibn

Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310), al-Khatib al-Baghdadi

(d. 463) and Ibn Taimiyyah (d. 728), who spat on

the document as it was unfolded from beneath its

silken covers.

83 Suhaib Hasan, Criticism of Hadith, pp. 35-44.

84 The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him

peace) allowed such narrations, but they are not

to be confirmed nor denied, except for what is

confirmed or denied by the Qur'an and Sunnah.

See e.g. An Introduction to the Principles of

Tafseer of Ibn Taimiyyah (trans. M.A.H. Ansari,

Al-Hidaayah, Birmingham, 1414/1993), pp. 56-58.

85 ibid., p. 156.

86 see Muqaddimah Ibn al-Salah.

87 Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah, 6:379-382.

88 Isma'il b. Muhammad al-'Ijlouni, Kashf al-

Khafa' (2 vols. in 1, Cairo/Aleppo, N.D.), no.


89 Al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da'ifah, no.


90 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 2256.

91 Sahih al-Jami' al-Saghir, no. 2163; Silsilah

al-Ahadith al-Sahihah, no. 1691.

92 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 2532; Al-Da'ifah, no.


93 Al-Da'ifah, no. 58.

94 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 1102; Al-Da'ifah, no.


95 Al-Sahihah, no. 1761.

96 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 2130.

97 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 618.

98 Da'if al-Jami' al-Saghir, nos. 1410, 1416.

99 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 1078; Al-Da'ifah, no.


100 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 1665; Sahih al-Jami' al-

Saghir, nos. 3913-4.

101 Al-Da'ifah, no. 416; Da'if al-Jami' al-

Saghir, nos. 1005-6.

102 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 2276.

103 Kashf al-Khafa', no. 1362.


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