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Uloom al Hadith 2011 Fall

Beginning Uloom al-Hadith - 2011 Fall Session

Required Textbook: Usool al-Hadith by Bilal Philips (available at MCA Bookstore and al-Huda Bookstore)
Grading: Final Exam 100%
When: Sundays 3:15 PST - 4:15 PST October 2, 2011 to December 4, 2011
Basic Outline of the Class:
1. Malool, Muallil Hadith
2. The Status of Weak Hadith
3. Raising Hadith to the Level of Hasan Lighairih
Recommended reading:
Weak Hadith (Philips, pp. 66-92, 106-110)

Summary of previous term’s notes

Here is a brief synopsis of the previous session

Conditions for acceptability of hadith
Brief overview of five basic conditions for acceptability:
1.  No breaks in the chain of narrators
2.  All of the narrators in the chain are adl (people of integrity)
3.  All of the narrators in the chain are proficient (dhaabit)
4.  The text or chain of the narration does not contradict stronger reports or evidence
5.  Contains no hidden damaging defects; hidden damaging defects in the sense that during a detailed study there are issues found that can affect the validity of the hadith

A hadith has to violate only one of the above conditions for it to be considered weak. Weak hadith are those hadith that do not meet the conditions of acceptability.  We have accepted hadith and rejected hadith.

Some problems associated with weak hadith can be divided into one of the following three categories:


I Problems with broken chains

Problems with respect to the chain being broken can be divided into two categories, break is obvious and break is obscure. These categories can be further divided (for example, Ibn Hibban had more than 100 different types). But here are some broader categories:


1.  Break in chain is obvious (Arabic term for this category was not specified -- or perhaps munqati?) This category is further subdivided into the following sub-categories.


1a. Mursal (مرسل) hadith: The name of the sahabi in the chain is missing and therefore the chain is broken, violating the first condition.  However, hadith in this category is the strongest of the weak hadith.  The only narrator missing from the chain is one of the Sahabah and we know that the Sahabah are acceptable narrators.  If more than just the Sahabi is missing, it might be more of a problem but is still considered a mursal hadith.


1b. Munqati’ ( منقطع) hadith - there is a break somewhere in the chain of narrators; this is the most generic term.


1c. Mu’dal (معضل) hadith: At least two consecutive narrators are missing in the chain.  If you are not reading a book written by a muhadith (scholar of hadith), you will not see this term used.


1d. Mu’allaq (معلّق) hadith (Hanging or suspended): Missing narrators from the compiler’s side, ie the one who compiled the hadith has left his source (or source’s source, etc) out of the narrations; we are missing some of the compiler’s sources. (See the notes in the previous quarter of this class about the Mu’allaq hadith of Sahih Bukhari)


2.  Break in chain is obscure. (Arabic term for this category was not specified, it could be ???) Obscurity could be for intentional or unintentional.


2a. Obscurity due to intentional act: A narrator is doing something that makes the break hard to identify (intentional). (There is a possibility of committing tadlees ???)


2a.i. Mudallas (مدلّس) - this is a hadith where a student narrates a hadith from his sheikh that he did not learn from the sheikh.

Suppose we have a chain from A to B.  We know B is A’s student.  It is possible that B heard a hadith from C that heard it from A.  He could possibly narrate from A through C without lying by using a generic term, ‘an, but by doing that B is hiding the fact that the chain is broken.  So in this case, the break is obscure because B is A’s student but B has essentially hidden C from the chain of narration.  This is obviously not a good practice.  If someone is known to do this, we will reject his reports that use the generic term ‘an in the chain of narration.  there are other kinds of hadith that fall under this category but we will be following this.



2b. Reporting a narration from somebody who did not meet each other or did not have student - teacher relationship for narrating hadith. It is not clear whether two narrators actually met from the understanding of the scholar; our lack of knowledge, our weakness).


2b.i Al mursal alkhafi (المرسل الخفيّ) - Hidden or obscure.  If one is narrating from a contemporary narrator, someone who is living at the same time the narrator is.  In reality, the two, D and E, never met but just happened to live during the same time.  If D narrates from E using the term ‘an, he would not be lying.  People reading this narration may know that D and E were not related.  however, someone may come later and think that the narrator narrated from the source and not E.  This one takes a more trained eye (experience) to identify.

II Problems with respect to the integrity (adala) of the narrators

Here the categorization is based on the quality of the narrators. You get narrators of different quality.


1. Liars, people who fabricate hadith.  We would call these hadith fabricated.  

2. Narrators who do not have the academic??? capability to narrate hadith quality.  They may or may not contradict what better narrators narrate.

3. Matrook (متروك) hadith or discarded hadith.  There must be someone in the chain who is really a “bottom of the barrel” narrator.

4. Munkar (منكر) - The word munkar has many different meanings.  This category is one of the weakest hadith.  These are narrated by weak narrators and contradict stronger authorities.

5. Da’if jiddan (ضعيف جدّا) - very weak hadith.  

6. Majhool (مجهول) - As a hadith narrator, the narrator narrated very few hadith (we don’t know his quality) or we don’t know much about the narrator.  Scholars describe hadith narrated by someone in this category as weak.



III Problems with respect to the accuracy of the report

The reliability of the report is in question or has been lost.


1. Mudraj (مدرج) - Where something has been inserted either into the text or isnad.  For example, there are some words present in the hadith that don’t belong there. These could be words inserted by the narrator to explain a term.


2. Mudtarab (مضطرب)- A “shaky” hadith for which a problem in the text or isnad cannot be reconciled.  What is meant by this term is there is some conflict and confusion regarding how this hadith has been narrated in such a way that the conflict cannot just be ignored or explained away; it is a true conflict or contradiction.  At the same time, we cannot determine what is the correct narration.  There are two problems here; in the case of contradiction, we follow the one that is correct and ignore the one that is wrong.  However, here we also cannot identify the correct narration and we must therefore discard all of them and not use any of them as a proof or evidence.


3. Maqloob (مقلوب) - it means inverted, upside-down.  A substitution.  Something has been turned or twisted, either in the isnad or the text.  This would include inverting some one’s name in the chain.  Many narrators may have similar names.  It is very easy especially when dealing with descendants of a narrator.  People would some times get the genealogy wrong e.g. instead of Murra ibn Ka’b vs Ka’b ibn Murra. What if there is someone else called Ka’b ibn Murra? This was especially likely in Arabic as there are not that many unique names.

If someone is known to do this repeatedly, we will reject him as a narrator.  This is a serious kind of mistake.

This also includes putting the wrong narrator in the chain of narration.  For example, the hadith of athan for fajr.  The Prophet saas said that you should continue to eat and drink until you hear the athan of Ibn Umm Maktoom.

There is a hadith in Sahih muslim that talks about the seven that will be shaded by Allah swt on the Day of Judgment.  In Sahih Muslim, one of those seven is the one who gives in charity so much that his right hand does not what his left hand gives.  (the substitution is the right and left are interchanged).

Would you reject this hadith as maqloob?  Sometimes you have to be careful as there many be times where there are multiple authentic narrations and sometimes the Prophet saas said something differently.  We need to look at the source to see whether it is in fact a different hadith.  Abu Karim,a contemporary scholar, concluded that this is not a maqloob hadith.  There is a hadith that talks about a man that gives a great deal of money in charity and it is described by the narrators that the prophet saas said that he would give right, left, right (giving so much) and thus it is possible that the right and left hands don’t know what the other is giving.  Therefore, the hadith according to the scholar is not maqloob.


2011-10-02 Class Notes


In this quarter we will discuss:
1. The status of weak hadith, how much weight should be given to week hadith
2. Raising the level of weak hadith, from weak to hasan ligahirhi

Q: How would you define a weak hadith? An all inclusive and comprehensive definition of weak hadith.
A: We have five criteria for hadith to be sahih, chain should not be broken, every narrator should be adl and dhaabit, no shudhoodh (contradicting sound sources nor is it coming uniquely from someone whom we do not accept unique narrations) no hidden or damaging defects.

Weak hadith is one that fails to meet one of the conditions of a hasan hadith or it fails to meet one of the conditions of maqbool (مقبول)  hadith. (So this definition does not rule out the acceptance of hasan hadith)


When we talk about the defects in the hadith, then we put it into weak hadith.


Categorization of various problems with hadith
1) Problems with the chain of the hadith can be broken into obvious problems and obscure problems.

1a) Obvious Problems with the chain of the hadith
1a.i) Munqati (المقطع) - At minimum, missing unknown link in the chain
1a.ii) Mudhal - At least two consecutive narrators missing from the chain
1a.iii) Mursal - Its the chain where only the sahabi is missing between the prophet and the tabieen (second generation after the sahaba).
1a.iv) Mu’allaq - Hanging hadeeth, here the break with the one who is reporting, example: Bukhari’s Mu’allaq hadeeth from the tile of his chapters, where the mu’allaq hadith is listed in entirety in his collection.

1b) Obscure Problems with the chain of the hadith
1b.i) Unintentional with respect to Obscurity - Al-Mursal Al-Khafiyy, for example it is difficult to determine that two narrators have never met since they lived at the same time and place and there is possibility that they might have learned from the mentioned sheikh, you have to study the narrators life to find out that they did not indeed meet.
1b.ii) Intentional with respect to Obscurity- Mudallas Hadith, the one intentionally obscures a hadith is known as mudallis and the concept of intentionally obscuring a hadith is called tadlees.

2) Problems with integrity (adala) of the narrators
2a) Fabricated hadith (Mawdoo’) - here we have liars, and  hadith from these narrators are categorized as matrook, munkar, daeef jidan,

3) Problems with the proficiency or accuracy (dhabit) of the narrators
The person may be honest and we don’t doubt his honesty but he might not be proficient. This one is the most difficult as scholar of hadeeth to identify and analyse. This is  harder and more difficult even compared to tadlees for scholars to study about it. In tadlees, one can identify people who did tadless
3a) Distorted (al-tahreef) - We discussed different types of distortions that can occur, see notes from the 2011 Summer session.
3b) Al-Tas7eef
3c) al-Mudtarab - (Shaky) where we cannot show that one hadeeth is stronger in comparison with the others when there is contradictory hadeeth, now there is no choice but to reject it, as contradiction in and itself means that this hadeeth has not been preserved properly.
3d) As-Shaadh - if we have narration which contradicts the stronger narration or any narration which looks unique in its nature (specifically from narrators that we do not accept unique narrations from) then we reject it.
3e) Al-Mudraj: something has been added either in chain or text of hadith
3f) Al-Maqloob - literally means ‘upside down’. In science of hadith it means  part of the isnaad or in the text is turned upside down.
The next item in the list in the last category of weak hadith that we have not yet discussed.
3g) Al-Ma3lool - This is the topic of discussion for this session of the class.


Al-mu3allal (المعلّل), Al-Ma3lool (المعلول) or al-mu’allu (المعلّ)  

How the above term was utilized by the early scholars
Variations in how various scholars categorized this type of problem with hadith
There is lot of debate about this word, what the word should be and which one should it be. The debate is based upon the linguistic aspects of the word like Ibn salaah’s long discussion about this topic.
Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo says that all of what they are saying is irrelevant, the reason being that different ulema used different terms. So today, we have to know them all and when you are going to speak it depends on which one do you choose and depends upon who you listen to as well.

Many earlier scholars would say Al-Ma3lool, this was a very common usage. However Ibn Salaah and An-Nawawi explicitly says do not say Ma3lool and goes on and explain why one should not say it.

Al-Iraaqi used the last one although this is been used the least by the earlier scholars.

Important thing is to recognize all of them and to realize that all of them mean the same thing and all of them mean a hadith which has an ilah -- العلّة (defect, disease). [ Note in the field of Islamic jurisprudence illah means a determinant legal cause, which is different from it’s use in sciences of hadith]

Different usages of the term illah
What is the meaning of the word illah in uloom al hadith and outside this field?
The word illah within uloom-ul-hadeeth is used in many different ways and outside ulum al hadeeth it has other meanings as well like in usool al fiqh. From the point of Hadeeth we mean some kind of defect or disease.

But Usuliyeen and fuqaha when they use this term they mean determinant legal factor which is close to sabab (legal cause). They (scholars of Usul)  don’t mean, most likely that the hadith has defect or disease.

If you study Qiraat, illah is a very good concept to come across, we find in number of books like by ibn Khalawai (Irab al Qiraat as Sabaa wa illalha). al-faarisi fii ‘illal al-qira’aat  in Grammatical parsing here the illah means reasoning behind this qiraa3ath, which means why certain  reading is correct reading. The word Illah is quite an important term when it comes to the sciences of Qiraat.

Islamic philosophers, use it with respect to Allah swt illa-thul-oola, He is the first cause or the primary cause for all that is there in this creation. So one should keep the context of the word illah very clear in one’s mind.


Five different usages of the term illah in uloom al hadith
Even in the field of hadeeth, illah is used in five different ways and you have to be careful about how it is used.

1. Generic term for a defect:
Albani uses it to describe any kind of defect, whether it is obvious or not. For example in his collection of weak hadith (سلسله الأحاديث الضعيفة), he will say, “lahu al illahtaan”, it has two illah’s or defects.
This is a common usage and it goes back to other scholars, such as abu zar3aa, who described one hadith as defective and the reason for it is the narrator is liar, and he used the term illa for defective.
Important point is that these generic defects will make the hadith weak.

2. Any kind of defect:
It is even more generic usage of the term, it is any kind of defect even if it does not make the hadeeth weak. For example we have an authentic hadeeth, but one of the narrators narrates it in the mursal form, but this defect does not affect the authenticity of the hadeeth. However this narrations is still defective. And this category is known as saheeh ma’lool (صحيح معلول). Many scholars reject this terminology. Why does it not make sense? Since you are negating one of the conditions for saheeh hadith. Here it does not mean hadith is incorrect. Here it means, that it (a saheeh hadith otherwise based on other narrations) has not been narrated in a proper manner by certain people.

For example: Al-Daraqutni’s work that critiqued Bukhari, often his criticisms are along these lines that Daraqutni is critiquing the isnaad but not the authenticity of the hadeeth of Bukhari.

(Edit: So what was the reasoning behind mentionining it over here? Is this a footnote?
[Response to the above question: I think, this point is mentioned here to show that in Bukhari certain hadith (otherwise saheeh) may not have it’s strongest and best possible chain in Bukhari. So hadith is Saheeh in Bukhari, but better isnaad could have been picked. Allah knows the best!]
(Jazakallah khair for your explanation, it sounds correct.)

3. Unique usage of the term by Tirmidhi to mean authentic hadeeth that has been abrogated:
Tirmidhi has a unique usage, he uses it to mean a authentic hadeeth that has been abrogated (it’s practice has been abrogated). Tirmidhi used Al-mu3allal or ma3lool, Shaikh forget the exact term that was used by Tirmidhi. You have to be aware of this usage with respect to the usage of the term illa.

4. Hadeeth that are rejected by fuqaha based on rational reasoning and not on the five criteria listed above:
Hadeeth is defective from the point of view of fuqaha and not from the point of the scholars of hadeeth. Because the fuqaha have different criteria  to reject hadeeth and call it defective, they ignore some of the finer ramifications that some of the scholars mention, for example if something is shaath, so they accept narrations that scholars of hadeeth reject. At the same time, fuqaha reject hadith that scholars of hadeeth do accept. We will discuss this in detail later on in the class. With respect to fuqaha there are 2 problem, they reject what Scholars of Hadeeth consider as Authentic and they accept what scholars of hadeeth reject. Till the time of khateeb al baghadi people did not realize that fuqaha have different methods to grade the hadeeth.  Thus it is important to understand their methodology of grading hadeeth.

Most of the hadith that fuqaha reject is based on the rational arguments regarding the text of the hadith, which is not a correct approach (more on this in later lectures).

5. Specific usage of the term by the muhadditheen (scholars of hadeeth):
It is one of the five categories that we have discussed above.

Note:  When it comes to grading of the hadeeth from the fuqaha Hanbalis and Shafiees are more closer to the Ahl-Hadeeth approach in comparision with malikis and Hanafis where they are more rational. But saying this, even among the shafiees and hanbalis there are scholars who are specialized in usool-al-fiqh, we do find the approach where they have different method to grade the hadeeth.


2011-10-09 Class Notes


We should have knowledge of people’s terminology in the field of hadith, it is extremely important than any other field. The terminology is widest and some use it in positive way, some it in negative way or some in neutral fashion. We studied this in the context of Jarh wa ta’deel and now in the context of Maalool hadith we see the same phenomenon, where the scholars differ in the use of these terms.

If Tirmidhi uses ma3lool, does it mean in a negative way?
He uses it in a slightly different manner, he means abrogated hadeeth. And so is the usage of the word illa, in the field of hadith which is used for defect or decease as opposed to usool-al-fiqh where it means the determinant legal factor.

In the field of fiqh also you have to be careful of the various usages of terminology, especially the ranking terminology.

Technical definition of maalool hadith
A maalool hadith is the one that outwardly looks authentic, but it contains a hidden (damaging) defect.

It looks like everything is fine and is meeting the conditions that we laid done for hadeeth to be sahih, but there are problems with the hadeeth.

Conditions for hadith to be categorized as malool
It has to meet two conditions:
1. Its defect has to be obscure or hidden.
2. Its defect negates its outward appearance of being saheeh.

Comparison with category of tadlees and shudood hadeeth
If it has tadlees, or something similar such as broken chain, that’s obvious; also if it’s shaadh then it is obvious. But we are talking about the rare and few mistakes that trustworthy narrators make. This is going to be spotted mostly by someone who has a great deal of experience and insight into hadith.

Inevitably, mistakes are going to be made even if they are trustworthy and honest, we do not expect of them that they will never make mistakes. If they make a lot of mistakes, that reduces their quality as a narrator.

Earlier scholars were aware of this type of rare mistakes even by trustworthy narrators
But if they are few in number, it becomes difficult to spot. From early on however (by Grace and Mercy of Allah (swt) on this umma), scholars of hadith recognized the fact that this kind of thing can definitely happen.

For example, a story from Umar b. Khattab: when Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari came to Umar b. Khattab and asked permission to enter three times, but Umar did not respond. After the third time, Abu Musa starts to leave and Umar b Khattab asks why he is leaving. Then Abu Musa says that Prophet (SAW) said: “If you ask permission to enter three times and if you are not granted permission, then you should go back.” Umar then replied: come with a “bayyinah” (an evidence) for what you say, or I will have you punished. Abu Musa went to some people who knew the hadith, then they sent with him, Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (who was one of the youngest of the people to show that every one knows it), they told him (فاذهب  به).

Q: Why did ‘Umar behave in this way? Did he not trust Abu Musa? If he did trust him, what is your evidence?
A: He did not doubt Abu Musa. Instead, he was setting an example to show the seriousness of narrating from the Prophet (SAWS). The evidence is that he stated in the same incidence quoted above after Abu Musa brought Abu Saeed that “I did not doubt you, but I want to show that you have to be careful when narrating from Prophet saw”.

Obviously the number of mistakes made by the Sahabah are much lower than any generation after him. Why can we make this strong assertion?

1. The other Sahabah were there to correct your mistakes, so the likelihood of error was lessened
2. Skill in the usage of language
3. Same culture
4. Experts in memorization
5. They were experiencing the events.
6. They heard directly from the prophet.
7. The place of prophet in the heart of the sahabah is much different than in the heart of tabieen for any of the sahabi.

Footnote: Story from the Sheikh to highlight point about status of teacher among his students: He went to visit a sheikh, and he saw two students waiting on his every word. Example they said “Do you remember this conversation we had three years ago about X, Y, Z” and the other student said “Yes, you talked about X, Y and Z, and plus”, and the other student added a very small amount.

8. Database the generation of sahaba was dealing with was much smaller than the later generations. Chains were smaller, terms used in isnaad were not formalized.

9. As the hadeeth became institutionalized or when the field of hadith became specialized, the quality of the student changes, you had excellent and devoted students and less devoted students than sahaba, the amount of errors as you go away from the time of the sahabi will increase. But the safeguards and the steps to protect the hadith started in the time of the prophet and the time of the sahaba. They took precautions to safeguard the quality of the hadith. It did not start as an after thought when quality started getting real bad, which is the case for the preservation of some of the earlier scriptures today.

The important thing to note is that still, with all of this, mistakes are made. That is why you start to find more and more specialists in this field as you go further away from the Prophet (SAWS). In the time of the Sahabah, not many specialists -- it’s like being specialized in a very rare disease. But over time, more and more got devoted to this subject. In the time of the tabi’een, you might have had Ibn Sireen, one of the first ones to really scrutinize isnaad, chains etc to make sure people were narrating properly. Then later

Hadith Scholars who were specialized in finding hidden defects
Shaikh is writing a list of scholars who were pioneers in this field (in chronological order and grouped by their proximity or closeness in timeline)

Ibn Sireen ابن سيرين
Ayyoob Al-Sakhtiani أيّوب السختياني
Shu’bah شعبة

Yahya ibn Qattan يحيي ابن القطّان
Abdurahman ibn Mahdi عبد الرحمن ابن مهدي

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal أحمد ابن حنبل
Ali ibn al-Madeeni علي المديني

Al Bukhari البخاري
Abu Hatim أبو حاتم
Abu Zara أبو زرعه
Imam Muslim مسلم
Al-Nasaee النساءي
Tirmidhi (he had a book on ilal as well, his name was later suggested, not in the original list)
Al-Daraqutni الداراقطني

Spotting of hidden defects is a great specialty within hadith. It is easy to master jarh wa tadeel, etc.. but to spot hidden defects was in the realm of the great scholars listed above. By 5th generation this field was not very well understood. Even if you are scholar of hadeeth, it does not mean that you are qualified to find illal (hidden defects) among hadith, this is a specialized field.

Abdurahman ibn Mahdi said that  “for me to know a defect in a hadith is more beloved to me than 20 hadith that I did not know before”. (the statement signifies the difficulty of this field)

It is the most difficult field, some people call this field, ilhaam or kaahin (kahana) (إلهام أو كاهن), inspiration and fortune telling, they are exaggerating, what they are implying is that it requires a massive experience of knowing the hadith, knowing chains, knowing people’s hadith.

This field requires long years of study and experience, and it is sometimes it is difficult for a scholar to explain why he feels the hadith is defective. Just memorization is not enough, analytical abilities is a must for this field. This field takes long years of study and experience, these scholars can spot the defect but sometimes it is difficult for them to explain the defect even to other scholars who are not trained in this field.

One of the famous stories has to do with Abu Hatim. Someone asked Abu Hatim about some hadith, he replied some of them are authentic and some of them have illah, and the person was surprised and asked him, did the narrator tell him that he lied or made a mistake. Abu Hatim replied no. Then he asked him, do you have knowledge of the unseen. Abu Hatim replied no. He asked what is your evidence then? Abu Hatim responded that what I can tell you now is that if you ask the other people specialized in the field, they will tell you the same thing, and you will find that I am not speaking haphazardly.

He went to Abu Zara’ and heard the same thing and then he came back and told Abu Haatim. He said it’s like if you bring counterfeit money to someone who is trained in recognizing the counterfeit money. He can tell you right away that the money is counterfeit, but if ask him why, he may have difficulty in explaining why, but he may be right nonetheless.

Similarly with expert in the field of gems and rubies, who can detect fakes. Similarly about the specialist in the field of medicine and psychology, they can detect diseases which others who are not an expert in the field are not able to diagnose.

The specialists all see the same kind of thing and that is why you can trust them. It’s not that they don’t have the principles to work this out, it is like starting to recognize certain patterns. When hadith becomes your second nature you start to recognize and see that this particular hadith cannot come from a specific person in the chain. Sometimes, they would look at a hadith, and they would say something like “I have something in my heart about this.” (fi nafsee shai) Sometimes they will come back four years later and say they found the error.

This deeper judgment is coming on the basis of deep professionalism. These scholars are so deeply immersed that they sometimes start feeling there is a mistake and it may take years before they pin-point the mistake.

This field is considered to be the most difficult, and the final judgement concerning a hadith has to go to these specialists. In order to make sure that there is no ‘illah, you have to go to someone who specializes in ‘illah. This falls in the scope of ijtihaad, so it doesn’t mean that we are bound to follow it. Usually when they say it’s defective, they’ll keep studying it, eventually they’ll begin to explain the nature of the problem.

Some of the hidden defects, you can identify them today, some of them would be difficult for us to identify today, because we do not have living isnaad anymore. There are some aspects of this field that will be difficult for us to identify today.

Most of the expertise is from the experience in their field. For example, an expert doctor versus a novice doctor, an experienced doctor has seen many cases and can diagnose it more correctly than a novice doctor. Shaikh is narrating a rare tumor in his mouth which was diagnosed by his personal physician.

Scholar in hidden defects not only knows the isnaad, but he knows fiqh, and terminology and various usages of the terms. So these scholars are well rounded in all fields of knowledge, so they are able to see deeper into the hadith. First they will say i have a feeling about something, and then later after spending sometime they will realize the mistake, for example, this hadith has been narrated by such and such person but not the one mentioned in the chain with this hadith.


Q: Are all the illahs have been identified and we can no longer find any more illahs? (This was a question from a student and not a question posed by the shaikh as he frequently does when he tries to explain something to us)
A: After pausing for a brief time, shaikh mentioned there are two aspects to this question. He mentioned that Allah has sent the “thikr” and He will protect it. There are signs pointing to what is authentic and signs pointing to what is un-authentic.
Theoretical: You cannot say that the whole ummah has strayed based on the evidence from the Quran, we cannot make this statement all of a sudden that I have found a defect that the whole umma (scholars) had an ijma on it to be authentic. Similarly you cannot say that I have found that a hadith is not defective, which all of the scholars agreed on to be defective, because it implies that the community as a whole has made a mistake.
Practical point of view: Unlikely that someone now would be in a position to decide that there is an illah. We will present an example of a modern case if it is a hadith that has not been discussed.

Use of tools/software etc: Clearly can’t just be used as is -- like diagnosing yourself on the internet. But they can be used e.g. to isolate a particular narrator. An important thing that we lost today is the information about the roll calls of the hadith sessions. The early scholars had information about these two scholars heard this hadith in the same majlis, so they can check one’s narration against the other. This kind of data is lost, we have lot of other information about the narrators in the books of tareekh, but we have also lost some of the documentation about people being in the same time and place.  

Q: Dhikr translated as Quran only in the translation and not as Quran and Sunnah?
There is difference of opinion on what does Dhikr means in these verses. Even if we say that it means Quran only, then by implication we are saying that Allah swt has protected not only the Quran but also the sunnah and Arabic language as well, as without these words of the Quran are preserved but not the meaning and the understanding of the Quran.

Q: In early part of these studies we emphasized on the strict sources of evidence for the ilm. But now while discussing this category we seem to be relying on “ilhaam” and “instinct” as a source. Why should we believe in illah?
A: We are not obliged to take it until they explain why there is a ‘illah. It normally starts as a feeling in the heart and an ijtihaad by a scholar but we cannot accept it until they explain their position. Secondly, this field is based on rules that do not apply to all of the cases. These are very individual corner cases, e.g. someone narrates a hadith in mursal form but other narrate with complete chain.There is no rule that says that complete chain takes precedence over the mursal chain (i.e. it is more authentic). What do you do in this case? So because the cases are so detailed, there are no hard and fast rules to deciding the cases. Each case is virtually independent.e.g. last quarter we discussed ziyada-tul-thiqa, we cannot reject all of the ziyada and at the same time cannot accept all of the ziyada.

Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad:

" إِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ الْحَدِيثَ عَنِّي تَعْرِفُهُ قُلُوبُكُمْ ، وَتَلِينُ لَهُ أَشْعَارُكُمْ ، وَأَبْشَارُكُمْ ، وَتَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُ مِنْكُمْ قَرِيبٌ فَأَنَا أَوْلاكُمْ بِهِ ، وَإِذَا سَمِعْتُمُ الْحَدِيثَ عَنِّي تُنْكِرُهُ قُلُوبُكُمْ ، وَتَنْفِرُ مِنْهُ أَشْعَارُكُمْ وَأَبْشَارُكُمْ ، وَتَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُ مِنْكُمْ بَعِيدٌ فَأَنَا أَبْعَدُكُمْ مِنْهُ "


“If you hear a statement from me, and your heart recognizes it, and your hair and skin are affected by it, then I am more becoming of it. But if you hear statement from me, and if you heart rejects it and if you hair and skin are not affected by it, then I am far away from this statement.” This hadith is graded as sahih by Shu’aib al Arnaout and hasan by Albaani.

Hadith either has a light to it which we recognize or it has darkness to it and we reject. The way the scholars understand this hadith is that it clues them into whether a statement is from the prophet or not, however the final judgement is from the tools. And this feeling is for the scholars in this field. This is a subjective feeling.

For example, if you come across a manuscript which claims to be from Shakespeare, they can get a visceral feeling whether it resembles the work of Shakespeare or not. They do this without any isnaad or proof.

But these scholars also have the isnaad. So they can also get objective proofs. But also the subjective aspect of having closeness to the hadith comes from years and years of study of the hadith. None of these scholars can say that I feel good in my heart after hearing this hadith as an evidence for its authenticity. They have to bring evidence (the authentic isnaad) to grade a hadith as authentic.

Shaikh is further explaining that scholars in hadith can quickly determine whether a statement is from the prophet or not, because they are familiar with his statements and this was true of the sahaba.

Q: the plural sigha used in the hadith (e.g. sami’tum), does it appies to a specific group or to ummah as a whole?
A: It does not applies to ummah as a whole. The understanding of the scholars about this hadith is that it was addressing the sahaba in particular, then it can be generalized to the ulema of the ummah but not for ummah as a whole.


2011-10-16 Class Notes


Many times you will find scholars make statements about malool hadith, because of the difficulty in finding out the illah or defects in the hadith, it looks fine but there is something hidden that is wrong with the hadeeth.  

Dhahabi says, “although its chain is very clean, it is very much a munkar hadith”. Other times he says, “its narrators are theeqa but it is rejected ....(something was missed in this comment)

Ibn Hajr says “Its isnaad is saheeh, but it’s rejected on the text”. Al-Albaani would sometimes say “It is munkar (rejected), even with the quality of the isnaad.

Sometimes when a scholar hears a hadith, it sounds strange to him, either through that isnaad he hasn’t heard before, or he is familiar with the hadith but knows that the way it is being narrated there is a issue. He hears it and he feels there is something wrong, something strange. It requires many years of scholarship in this field, sometimes their lifetime, in order to be able to recognize malool or mualaal hadeeth.

Some people like Ali Al-Madeeni, Abu Zar’a, abu Hatim etc these people are the final specialists. Their books are so specialized that many people haven’t heard them, they are not known outside the uloom-al-hadith realm. Everyone’s heard of Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, etc but Al-Madeeni et.al are not as well known. However, there were some scholars such as Ahmad, al-Bukhari who were specialists in the field of illa and are also well know compilers of hadith.

Finding defects in malool hadeeth requires years of scholarship in the field of hadeeth
Bukhari, Imam Ahmed both are scholars in the field of hadeeth, Al-Daraqutni for example -- is he known for anything outside of uloom al hadith? Many of them are best known for their study of illal. Sometimes they will make a statement (e.g. “something in my heart about it, or doesn’t sound right”) -- that is not a final judgement. But it does show us that there might be something going on that warrants further investigation.
Many times it is these scholars themselves who do these investigations and come up with the actual problems many years later.

Illa can be found years later after a scholar has accepted a hadith
Sometimes they will accept the hadith, and then as they study it further, they will recognize that there was a mistake.

Scholars wrote additional books to identify muallal hadeeth in their previous collections
A book by Muqbil Ibn Haadi. He has two important works:
- A collection of authentic hadith that are not in the saheehain -- this is a very well known text (Sahih al Musnad).
- Another work, it occurred to him that there were some hadith that he thought people might *think* are authentic, but are not, so he wrote: “Mu`allal hadith that appear authentic” (Ahadeeth al-muallahu dhahruha al-sahih). He did not do the analysis himself, rather relied on the work of earlier scholars.

In that book, he includes a hadith, prophet was reported to have asked sahaba “Do you know what is the greatest form of zina in the sight of Allah?” They said “We do not know.” He said “For someone to attack the honour of another Muslim”

This hadith can be found in both of his collection. He says in there, that he had put it in a authentic collection, but somebody pointed out to him that he misidentified a narrator “Imran ibn Anas” -- there is a Quraishi one and a Makki one, he saw the partial name and he thought it was a strong narrator, but he later found out another narration of the same hadith which had the complete name of this narrator, Imran ibn Anas al Makki, who is a weak narrator.

Al Albaani changed his opinion on a number of hadeeth. And he has two authentic collections, sahih al jami’ah sagheer and sahih jamiah al-kabeer, when he wrote al-kabeer he changed his opinion on some of the hadith he had declared sahih in al-saghir, so he pointed them out in al-kabeer.  

Opinion: When it comes to hadith, if you are going to do too much quantity, quality will be hurt.

Each hadeeth requires some time and if you plan to do takhreej for 30,000 hadeeth, then the quality is going to be hurt. So if you are going to do 30,000 hadith and do takhreej for it, it’s not going to be in-depth.

One of the easy ways to get a PhD is to do a takhreej of one book, in this case the student focuses on specific set of hadeeth. This is detailed, which is good, but on the other hand, the person is likely to be inexperienced and his quality will depend upon how good is his advisor. But sometimes you will be surprised to see much better quality work done by these students than the experienced shuyookh, it is all in the depth.

What skills are needed to identify defects in muallal hadeeth?
This means every hadith has to be judged on its own merit and analyzed. It takes a great deal of time, experience, etc. Those who lived at that time had a great advantage over us. When you know people, and the environment, etc. This has a huge amount of influence.

Analogy of using notes when delivering a lecture
You can imagine that there was a time when the Sheikh refused to use notes while giving khutbahs, but he noticed others make mistakes while they are not using notes and give khutbah from memory; so he realized that he was doing it as well. So he tried to memorize. But then he followed the Madhab of Imaam Ahmad, and only lecture when he has his notes.

Continuation of the analogy: Attributing errors due to not using notes for lectures
If shaikh is forced to give lecture without notes and after some years if you hear some strange things from Sh. and the students try to trace and found that it was from that lecture that which was given when Sh. did not have any notes and was forced to give lecture without the notes. So the chain between the statement of Sh and the people who were there in the lecture, chain is unbroken. On the outwards it seems sahih as narrators are trustworthy and sheikh is thiqa as well. If that narration is analyzed much later in time when people do not know the details of what is going on, they are bound to make mistake in analyzing that. This is biggest problem of making one “blanket” judgement about one narrator.

Pitfalls of blanket judgements about narrators - Lesson from the above analogy

Ibn Hajar (773-852 A.H) is not from the time of Imam Bukhari, that is he is not from the era of the living Isnaad, he is much later than Bukhari. He wrote very important book called “Taqreeb At-Tahdheeb” (تقريب التهذيب) Taqreeb means to bring something closer i.e. user friendly. Tahdheeb which comes from Hadhaba which means abridgment. This is abridgment of book called “Tahdheeb At-Tahdheeb” (تهذيب التهذيب) this is also from Ibn Hajr. This one is usually refered as At-Tahdheeb. This is abridgement of “taththeeb al kamaal” (تهذيب الكمال).
by al-Mizzi (student of ibn-Taymiyyah) which is (abridgement and extension) from the work of Al-Kamaal fee Asmaa Al-Rijaal ( الكمال في أسماء الرجال) by al-Maqdissi.

Sh. JZ comments that unfortunately some people (he has seen it in PhD dissertations) that they take these conclusions of Ibn Hajar as the final word. A couple of works come out critiquing his work, e.g. Shuaib al-arnaout etc etc.

The main problem with using an abridgement of the abridgement of the abridgement is that lots of details are lost, there is less raw data and more conclusion, in nut shell the Taqreeb has one or two descriptions of a narrator, which are the conclusions of ibn hajr. This information leads to common mistakes in practice and methodology.

The  mistake w.r.t methodology is to conclude that if a narrator is trustworthy then he is trustworthy in all other circumstances. Similarly there is other side that if the narrator is weak and then he is weak in all circumstances, which is not true. All though you cannot have this rule in general with all. Yes, there are some people who are trustworthy all the time and weak. But you cannot make this as the general rule. This is the mistake made by al-Hakim and Ibn Hazm.

Nuances of ranking narrators
The mistake that Al-Haakim made is that he assumed that anyone included in Al-Bukhari and Muslim was thiqah under all circumstances. One should not assume that just because they are included in sahehain they are thiqah under all circumstances. Some times Bukhari would include a weak chain just to make a point that the particular chain is acceptable even though there is some weak narrator present in the chain.

The location of a narrator whether in city A or city B could make a difference in their quality of narration
Ibn Hazm made the opposite mistake if someone made a mistake once, then every time he was treated with weakness all the time. The reason to discuss all this is, because in the context with Illa you will find some who is trustworthy but weakness in the narration. through circumstantial evidences you can see what is the source of the problem. For example, some narrators are known to be trustworthy in certain cities. Sometime this effects the individual if the conditions in one city are suitable for enhancing his quality of narrations. When you analyse this later that there is issue with quality when they are in different cities.

Different health conditions could be motivating factor in the quality of the narrator during their lifetime
One example, if some became blind and after which there is issue in referring the book. Even senility (mental capability), there are separate books for those narrators who became senile. If you look at the taqreeb at-thadheeb you will find the person is thiqah but it does not mention that he became senile later. Also there are some people who lost books in fire.

Fire could destroy a narrator’s notes and his quality might be affected after the event
One of the example is Abdullah ibn La7iya, his books were lost in the fire and every one concludes that after he lost his work in fire, he was considered weak. Definitely he was trustworthy narrator. After loosing his work in fire, either he narrates form his memory or used notes of his students. Thus many things can happen to individual. (Note: Abdullah ibn Lahiya’s case is special as there is discussion about his capability even before loosing his books)

Types of majlis could affect the quality of the narration
One of the important things they used to track is that which hadeeth he heard in a particular majlis. There was also used to be distinction whether he heard through Qira’ or by dictation or through a repeater (Mustamli) Mustamli is a person who repeats what the narrator narrates, if you know that person who was attending the majlis (meeting) was listening to the person who was repeating but not from the sheikh. These things also matter. if the person lived at that time he would know about all these details. So all of these details matter to identify these kind of mistakes.

List of skills needed to identify muallal hadeeth
Spotting of these mistakes is a result of
1) having the practise of bringing different isnaad together and analyzing them together
2) knowing the relative strength of the different narrators,
3) Analysing the manner in which the individual received the hadeeth
4) Analysing student how long certain students stayed with certain teachers.
5) Looking at the quality of narrators and analyse how often he makes mistake.
6) Looking at his age when he received this hadeeth; was he old or young
7) Well acquainted with the names and kuniyah of narrators so that you can identify every one correctly.
8) Being familiar with ways a particular hadeeth have come down. For example, you know the scholars of Medina very well and you know that all of them narrate a particular hadith from Ibn Umar and all of sudden you heard a chain from same scholars from Abu Hurayrah and not Ibn Umar. (All of the hadeeth by same set of scholars going back to Abu Hurayrah not Ibn Umar). This should raise the red flag in the mind of the scholar of hadith.  

Some one living now who is looking at that additional chain might consider that they are all thiqah and he might consider that chain from Abu Hurairah as a supporting evidence for the chain from ibn Umar which is not true.

Q: This level of details raise a concern for me. It also brings a lot more room for disagreement and differences...? How can we reduce differences?
A: The main thing is that eventually a proof is required for hadith to be declared muallal. Referring to the scholars who are specialized in this field should inshaAllah, reduce the differences. As we saw in the example quoted about Abu Haatim, that he asked the person to go out and check with other specialists, such as Abu Zarah, etc and they all had the same conclusion. It is only at the level of less experienced students where the danger of the differences lies. So going to more experienced scholars will resolve the issue of differences. The biggest issue is that people many times don’t even worry about this. There are various books which points out this......we will discuss these books later.

Example #1 of Muallal hadith
There is hadeeth in Musnad Ahmed records Haddathana Abul Mugheera Hadathana Al-Awzai who said that Qataadah wrote to him saying that Anas Ibn Maalik narrated:  I prayed behind the Prophet, Abu Bakr, and Umar and Uthmaan, and they would begin reciting Al-Hamdulillah rab … and they would not say bismillah at the beginning or end of Qiraah.

Looking at the narrators everything looks fine. What would be the first red flag here?
The fact that there are other narrations of this hadeeth where there is lot of difference about this whether to say basmala or not.  You know the fact the form of receiving the hadeeth through kitaba is one of them but it is definetely not the best one. If you look up this narrators then all of them are Thiqah. There is something interesting going on, “Al-Awzai said Qatadah wrote to me...” is doubly problematic. Qatadah was blind, so Al-Awzai said Qatadah wrote to me. This means the chain has missing link. It is obvious that Qatadah did not write it then who wrote it (so there is break in chain). Thus, Kitaba from blind man is double problematic.

There are couple of examples of that nature, when you look at the text that there was someone in between like messenger and you don’t know about this missing link (messenger). If you have many hadeeth on this and the text does not conflict with those many ahadeeth then it is not an issue, but if there is lot of conflict then you need to look at these kind of differences.

Example #2 of Muallal hadith
The hadeeth invalidating wudu by touching one’s private part, in that chain Marwan (who was the governor of hijaz who then becaome khalifah) he sent his guard to Samura to ask about this hadith. He received the answer from the guard. So who is this guard and what is the quality of this man is not known. This hadeeth is already contradicting other hadeeth of Talaq. So it is not from Marwan from Samura, but rather there was a man between Marwan and Samura and thus Ibn Hajr says in Fath al Baari we cannot take this hadeeth as there is person missing in between.

Example #3 of Muallal hadith
Abu Dawood and Al-Haakim they have narration from Ibn Abbas that when was the verse about who hoard gold and silver and they don’t spend. When this verse was revealed it was kind of difficult on Muslims, Umar said he will solve this and thus he went to Prophet and said that we are facing difficulty in this verse which was revealed and Prophet said: “The purpose of Zakat is to purify your wealth and if you are the one who pays Zakat then you are not the one who is holding back Gold and Silver”.

This declared as saheeh by Al-Hakim and Ad-Dhahabi agrees with him. Ibn Katheer in his tafseer also comes to same conclusion. However, if you look at the chain every thing looks good, but there is portion in the chain Ghailaan An Jafar ibn iyaz. The same hadeeth is been narrated in number of chains and in all those chains between these two there is narrator named Uthman Ibn Ukhthaan which is been dropped here by Al-Hakim which looks like unbroken but it is broken and the person missing Uthman ibn Ukhthaan (or Uthman abu al-yaqdan)  who is a weak narrator. This chain coming from Al-Hakim is broken. Thus who knows about the narrators and narration they can identify this issue. This requires lot of time and effort to be spent.

There are some scholars like Abu Ishaaq Al-Huwayni who go on and on :) bringing all the chain. That’s excellent. Shu’aib Al-Arna’oot takhreej of Saheeh Ibn Hibban, he has a team that helps him to analyze the ahadeeth, because it is a massive amount of hadith and requires massive effort which cannot be handled by one person.


2011-10-23 Class Notes


When we think of muallal hadith, some of scholars (al-Hakim in Marifat ul ulum ul hadith) categorize illa into many categories.Illa are any kind of defects that can be hidden. When you look at the chain, it looks like the chain is sound. Al Haakim gives ten categories and he wrote the first textbook on uloom al hadith.

Illa are some kind of hard to detect defects. If you have a liar in the chain, then it would not fall into this type of illa. But if you have taba tabieen narrating from the sahaaba, would that be an illa? No, why not? Because it is something clear to detect and not a hidden defect. Anything that is difficult to identify would fall into this category.

Everybody narrates in mursal form (no sahaba) and one tabiee is narrating directly from the prophet without mentioning a sahaba, then it is mursal form. Now if somebody mentions a name of the sahaba for this same hadeeth, then it would look like a sound chain, but there is a problem, because the tabiee is not mentioning this sahabi when narrating this particular hadith, hence in marfoo form this narration will be munkir.



Understanding illa from an example
One type of tadlees (see notes from previous sessions of this class) is when you narrate on the authority of your shaikh  a hadith that you have not heard from him directly, e.g. you have heard it from a another student of the same sheikh, narrator is dropping a narrator to make it look like he heard it from his shaikh.

[waleed will insert diagram here]

[For this example C is between A and B and C is weak narrator]: Suppose A is a well known student of B, if you were to look at the chain everything looks sound, suppose A has narrated from C who is weak narrator instead of B and this mistake is not done by the narrator, somebody later did that mistake down the chain in isnad, this is not tadlees, as somebody later in the isnad does this mistake, e.g. it is so well know that A is student of B, that someone coming down later may automatically assume that A is narrating from B and unitentionally may drop C. That narrator could have done the same mistake for all of the narrations that A heard from C instead of B. this is big mistake because it will make it look like that either A or B have made these mistakes, but indeed the mistakes were originated by C who was a weak narrator. This is a big problem which is not easy to spot unless you are specialist in the field of illah. These are kinds of things that you have to be very careful about.

Identifying illal in Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari
In Sahih Muslim, as we have spoken about in other classes, Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim they achieved their status and rank because they were able to withstand heavy critique of their work and they reached this status over a period of time.

For Example, Daraqutini who critiqued Bukhari, also at the same time scholar Abul Fadl As-shaheed (died 317) he collected the book in defective hadeeth named “defects of the hadeeths in saheeh muslim”. Most of what he critiqued about Muslim has nothing to do with the authenticity of  hadeeth, it is about the chains that Muslim had chosen.

Ibn Taymiyyah is of the view that there are some hadeeth which are defective in Saheeh Muslim, For example if you go to Saheeh Muslim and read the hadeeth about salat-ul kusoof (or khusoof) (Salat to be performed at the time of solar and lunar eclipse), is there any thing special about this salaah? (this comment of ibn Taymiyyah is in majmoo al fatawa vol 18, pg 72 from edition of daral miftah)

How do you perform this salah? (Two rukoo in one raka’ah)
You recite Surah Fatiha and make ruku and come back in qiyam and then again read Surah Fatiha and another surah, make another rukoo and then come back up and then you make the two sujood, and then you stand for the second raka to repeat this, (this is from hadith in Muslim).

There are seven narrations in Sahih Muslim about Salat al Kushoof. The argument that ibn Taymiah is making deals with three of these narrations. The first narration that ibn Taymiah quotes is the seventh (last) in the chapter of salah al-kusoof.

#1 Six rakaat (rukoo) in two rak’ahs
In one of the narration in Sahih Muslim from Ubaid ibn Umair An Ayeesha An Rasulallahu aws “Prophet prayed six rakaat (rukoo) and four sujood”

Ibn Taymiah says the above narration in Sahih Muslim is Ma’lool, i.e. defective. If you look at the chain everything looks fine. Why do you think he says that it is malool?
I
n Sahih Muslim you will find several narrations on this topic and he says that the correct narration in sahih Muslim is the following:

#2 Four rukoo in two rak’ahs
An Ayeesha “there was an eclipse of Sun and prophet sent out a crier to call people for the prayer.... He prayed four rukoo and 4 sajdaa in 2 rak’ahs”

Ibn Taymiah had logical reason to argue that the narration #1 is malool. He brings this argument in connection with the third narration in Sahih Muslim, which is:

#3 Narration from Aaishah about Salat ul Kusoof with reference to death of prophet’s son
There is also narration from Ayeesah in Sahih Muslim, after describing the salat, in the end it says “The sun and moon do not eclipse due to death of someone....”  this eclipse happened when his son Ibrahim died and he clarified that the eclipse and death of his son were independent events and there was no correlation between them. Ibn Taymiyyah used this fact to say narration #1 is defective. His argument is that during the life of prophet, his son Ibraheem died only once and all of the three narrations above are describing the same event so one of them have to wrong, it cannot be 6 rukoo or 4 rukoo at the same time. Within his argument, he is also using the evidence that majority of scholars agree that prophet prayed salat al-khusoof only once during his lifetime.

There was only one eclipse during the lifetime of the prophet and it occurred when his son died. So one of the above hadeeth has to be wrong.

The only thing we know for sure from narration #3 is that salat al Kushoof was performed at the death of Ibrahim. The other two narrations do not mention this fact, that whether this prayer was performed at the time of his son’s death.

it is possible that there was eclispe of sun and moon more than one time. Many of the ulema are of the impression that there was only one incident of eclispse, but this was not the definitive part. If you look at the chains of the three narrations above, the one mentioning the six rukoo do not mention the eclipse of sun or moon as part of matan. Thus should this not be a weak hadeeth if Ibn Taymiyyah’s view is correct that there was only one eclipse which occurred in Prophet’s lifetime. Shouldn't this be rejected due to hadeeth being muallal.

So we have one event and two different narrations about this event, which described the prayer, so shouldn’t we reject the other hadeeth? (narration #3)

We have this narration and if we have supporting evidence and if the supporting hadeeth supports the four ruku, shouldn't we say it is defective hadeeth ?

You can find supporting evidence for #2 and #3.  (Edit: This is confusing, I guess that is the point that Shaikh is trying to make)

#1 is actually the last narration about the salaat al kushoof in Sahih Muslim. It is the seventh narration in this chapter.

Some of the book of Fiqh it says you can make 4 or 6 ruku’s in 2 rakah, based upon these narrations found in Sahih Muslim. The correct stance is, it seems clear that in some chapters of sahih Muslim it is clear, that he puts the sound the narration first followed by the weakest. (And #1 is listed last in Sahih Muslim). Muslim did not include chapter headings in his book, these were later on added by An-Nawawi or ibn Salah, while writing the commentary on Sahih Muslim. An-Nawawi may have contributed to the confusion because of the chapter headings that he puts in Muslim. What An-Nawawi would do is that he would create separate headings for the topic -- e.g. one for “Arguments supporting those who say you should have 4 rukoo in 2 rakah” vs “Arguments supporting those who say you should have 6 rukoo in 2 rakah” when it is really the same chapter. In fact Muslim may have been pointing to the weakness of the narration #1 by putting at the last to counter the established practice of some who would pray 6 rukoo in 2 rakah.

Also we don’’t know for certain that this is only event that occurred in Prophet’s lifetime. It is possible that Muslim is pointing out this different narration and pointing out the weakness, or there can be multiple event of eclipse so all narrations are correct or like Ibn taymiyyah says we have to reject narration #3. In the book there are 7 narration out of which 6 says 4 ruku and one says 6. So it is possible that it is malool but not for the reason which Ibn Taymiyyah says.

The one that talks about sun and moon do not mention the name of Ayeesha  the Muslim has Ata said, (Quoted below) When explaining Ayesha might have told that Prophet (saw) prayed both 4 and 6, or may be Imam Muslim himself was not certain about this.

Complete Narration from Sahih Muslim with Name of Ayeesha not explicitly mentioned
'Ata' reported:
I heard 'Ubaid b. 'Umair say: It has been narrated to me by one whom I regard as truthful, (the narrator says: I can well guess that he meant 'A'isha) that the sun eclipsed during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he stood up (in prayer) for a rigorously long time. He then bowed and then stood up and then bowed and then stood up and then bowed, thus observing three ruku's in two rak'ahs and four prostrations. He then departed and the sun brightened. He pronounced" Allah is the Greatest" while bowing. He would then bow and say:" Allah listened to him who praised Him" while lifting up his head. He then stood up, and praised Allah and lauded Him, and then said: The sun and the moon do not eclipse on the death of anyone or on his birth. But both of them are among the signs of Allah with which Allah terrifies His servants. So when you see them under eclipse, remember Allah till they are brightened. This hadith is narrated thus on the authority of 'A'isha through another chain of transmitters:" The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed six ruku's and four prostration in (two rak'ahs)."




There are number of books on Ilal-al-Hadeeth, one of the first one that was published was from Ali ibn Al-Madeeni which was named “Al-ilal wa Marafat al-Rijaal”. Sheikh Mustafa al-Azami performed the tahqeeq of this book and published this work and he insisted Sh Jamaal to read this book. The reason why he insisted him to read this is because it is not easy reading, this collection is about questions put to Ali ibn Al-Madeeni and he discusses those narrations. If you are reading without memorizing isnaad this becomes very cumbersome.

One of the key things that you have to keep in mind while reading the books on ilal is that they are speaking about that particular narration and the way it has been narrated. For example, you might want to investigate whether there is a ‘illah and find that hadith you are looking for and they will say “This is a munkar hadith” -- but the answers that they give there are with respect to the ones that have been presented to them with that exact wording and exact isnaad and specific to the way the hadeeth is presented.  e.g. take the famous hadith of jibril, it is very possible for you to find this hadith in one of the books on ilal and sheikh may have concluded “hadha hadithun munkar”, this does not mean that hadith of jibril itself is weak and rejected, rather that comment is wrt a particular narration asked about.

Sheikh has seen some contemporary “writers” where people have gone to some of these books of ‘illal and then based on that they conclude that the narration is not correct. What has been said is very specific to what has been narrated to them and they are not commenting of the Hadith in all its forms of narration.

So this book of ilal from Al-Madeeni that Sh al-Azami published was one of very first one on this topic and had no footnotes, later on many books have been published on ‘illal and so they are filled with much more information and are easier to use. Most of these later books are result of Ph.D. dissertations and have lots of footnotes to make the reader understand what is going on. Sh. Jamaal says there are around 56 books on this topic.

There are 2 sets of books, one set of books is basically on ‘illal (العلل) and another set of books is based on (سؤالات)  
‘illal is going to be talking about defects of hadeeth in general and the later is based on the questions put to sheikh. Those will contain questions on defects of hadith, grading of hadith and quality of narrators.


Examples of important books:

Imam Ahmad
One 3 volume book, another one 4 volume book both starting with ‘ilal

Ibn Abi Haatim
العلل -- ابن آبي حاتم  seven volumes including index: The good thing about this is that the Muhaqqaqoon (number of scholars) include comments through footnotes. Ibn Abi Haatim is the collector of this work.There are two important early scholars of Ilal, Abu Haatim and Abu Zar’a. And many times he will say I asked from my father (saaltu an abee)

Example of a hadith:

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال : كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر ، فمِنّـا الصائم ، ومِنّـا المفطر . قال : فنـزلنا منـزلا في يوم حار ، وأكثرنا ظِلاًّ صاحب الكساء ، فمنا من يتقي الشمس بيده . قال : فسقط الصوّام ، وقام المفطرون ، فضربوا الأبنية ، وسقوا الرِّكاب . فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ذهب المفطرون اليوم بالأجر .


we were travelling with Prophet (saw) and some of us were fasting and others broke their fast. An they did some labor work and those who broke the fast did more work and it is reported that Prophet (saw) said that those who broke the fast earned the reward today

Abu Hatim says that this hadith is Munkar. There is footnotet to it which says “Min hadha Tareek” (through this chain), so the question was very specific about specific chain. Reason it was said it was munkar, one of the narrators Abdur Rahman Ibn Maghra and has narration from Amash, essentially it was seen that Abdur  Rahman used to narrate some unique narrations from Amash (which no one else had narrated from al-Aamash). At the end Ibn Hatim says (wal-hadithu rawahu al-Bukhari and al-Muslim) “as of the hadeeth itself it is recorded by Bukhari and Muslim with chain from Anas” Thus the hadeeth is saheeh, but if you don’t realize what is going on you will end up with the wrong conclusion, where this is talking about specific isnad. We have to be very careful to understand what are they really saying.

Al-`llal by Ad-Daraqutni - 15 volumes.

Al-Jaami’ fee al-‘illal walfawaaid by Maher Al-Fahl  - 5 volumes (This work is the best for contemporary students as it is written for common audience and not for scholars).


2011-10-30 Class Notes



Today, inshaAllah, we will broaden the scope of ulum al hadith. Today we see whether Fuqaha add to the discussion of hadith and we see if we agree with Fuqaha. Scholars of hadith have their views on when the hadith becomes defective and fuqhas have their slightly different view on when the hadith becomes defective. In general fuqhas and usooleen accept many hadith that the scholars of hadith do not accept. For example, until today, Fuqaha accept the hadith which is shadh or have illah or even if the chain is broken provided the chain has trustworthy narrators in it. On the other hand they may reject a hadith which is accepted by the scholars of hadith. In a sense they introduce both type alpha and type beta errors. There are some particular types of illah that the fuqhas will not be put up with, these are mostly Maliki and Hanafi Fuqaha, e.g. the group of fuqhas known as ashab uRaee -- أضحاب الرأي (people of opinion) these are Hanafis from Iraq and the Maliki have such people too.

How fuqaha (scholars of fiqh) look at ‘illah?
So today we look at the critique methods of these Fuqaha. They have further criteria for accepting the hadith, this additional criteria may make sense and may be added to what ulamah of hadith came up with or may be not? we will see in details.

In essence, we are talking about non-Mutawattir ahadeeth (also called Khabar ul Wahid الخبر الواحد or Khabar ul Ahad). Khabar means report and wahid or ahad means one, but here ahad means non-Mutawattir (for details see earlier lectures of this class). For scholars of hadeeth, if it meets the five conditions of hadith (see earlier lectures), then it is obligatory to believe and act upon that particular hadeeth.

How do the Malikis approach ‘Illah?
Even if it meets the five conditions, the Maaliki’s may have other criteria for ‘Illah and they may reject the hadith, even if the scholars of hadith consider it saheeh. So Malikis will come along and say there are extra defects that we need to look at, which these scholars of hadith are not looking at. Lets see if there is validity to the arguments of these Fuqaha

Maliki approach to Illah:

1) The hadith has Illah if it contradicts the action of the people of Madinah (عمل أهل المدينة).
Imam Malik lived during  90 to about 170s A.H (most probably 177A.H). It was an early time of Islam, so argument may have some validity (of course today we cannot accept this). In the Muwatta of Imam Malik, he uses some phrases for the hadeeth that contradicts the action of the people of Madinah. In the time of Imam Mailik, the actions of the people of Madinah compared to hadeeth that is ahad, he says that as a community, they know better, and they should be practicing from the sunnah of the prophet (SAWS), and even if you have a chain that is good, he says if the people of Madinah do not follow it, then it casts some doubt on that hadeeth. Action of the people of Madinah as a community form the living sunnah as they knew the sunnah very well and has a higher weight than an ahad hadeeth.

Is this a sound argument for stating illah of a hadeeth? Let us say that there is an action that commoners and scholars of Madinah agree upon, isnt that a good sign that it is a correct action?

This claim has some substance, but there is also a counter-argument: Three generations after the Prophet is enough time for errors to creep in. Anas said that towards the end of his life there was not enough of Islam that he recognized other than Athan and other basic matters, but he was not in Madinah.

Ibn Taymiyyah has a book (treatise) called “sihhat amal ahlul madeenah”. He says there are some things that there will be consensus on e.g. how to make Athaan. Shouldn’t the people of Madinah know how to make Athaan?

There is famous letter between layth ibn sa3d الليث ابن سعد and Imam Malik. Layth ibn sa3d, according to Imam Shafiee, “...he was greater scholar than Imam Malik but his students failed him”. One time he gave fatwa which went against the people of madina. Thus, Imam Malik wrote him a letter which is been preserved. In it he wrote some reasons why the actions of people of Median have to be given preference and he asserts that all of the people should follow the actions of the people of Madinah. A similar argument was made by the people of Kufah, but that one is harder to make it stick.

Imam Shafi was the student of Imam Malik, and he criticized Imam Malik very heavily on this point. One of the reason is that sometimes they were inconsistent in applying this principle, sometimes they would give preference to actions of people of Medina and sometime they don’t and sometime they give preference to fuqaha of Medina only, they are too subjective.

On some types of action there is room to say that the Amal of Ahl Medina i.e. actions of people of Medina, is something we could look at. There are lots of examples on this which we will deal later.

Note: There could be something where Aml of medina would take some weight on some issues, such as making athaan.


2) Narrator is known to follow opinion that contradicts the narration from the same narrator
[Also accepted by Hanafis]

Another defect that Maliks point out, if the narrator is known to follow an opinion that contradicts the narration, then this is considered an illah in by the Maliki school.

e.g. we have the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah and we know that his fiqh opinion is opposite to what he states, can this point to the fact that something else is going on.

Let us says that his opinion is well known and then we get hadeeth that is khabar wahid that states something that contradicts his well known opinion. Should we try to reconcile it? Yes, we should try to reconcile it. The other reason may be that the hadith may have been abrogated and the sahabi found about other narration that made him change his opinion.

Which is more likely? Is the hadeeth abrogated or his opinion is abrogated, which one came first?
After the time of Prophet (saw) he is known to have this opinion, may be his statement might be related to something else which hadith is pointing out. There is a book which discusses what to do when sahabi went against the hadeeth that the same sahabi narrated. There are times that Sahaba had a opinion before the hadeeth is been reached to him. But once he heard a new hadith, then he changed his opinion. But his earlier opinion is more known than the fact that he has changed his opinion later, after the hadeeth has reached him and from that point on he narrated that hadeeth.

If anything comes down from sahabi that contradicts a hadith he has narrated, and we know that there are many reason why this contradiction occurred and we should try to remove all these contradictions through reconciliation, now what should be given preference his hadeeth or his fiqh opinion? Hadeeth should be given preference, as the ultimate authority is to sunnah of Prophet and not with his action as we don’t know his reasoning and we don’t why he is going against the hadeeth of Prophet (saw). Sometime a person, even a sahabi can make an ijtihaad which is not correct. Thus, we should not leave the sunnah of Prophet for any reason. You may have narrated many hadeeth and you might have forgotten that particular hadeeth and followed different opinion later on Thus the ultimate authority is with Prophet (saw).  So, if you don’t know the reason why did he had that opinion, then authority is to be given to what Prophet (saw) said. (this is to be done after we have researched and could not reconcile the difference between his actions and that particular hadith)

Ultimate authority lies with the hadeeth and not with the opinion of one single individual, even if it is a sahaba. You cannot assume that every thing coming from a sahaba is marfoo’. We have to prove it. The only time we take the statement on sahaba and considered it is marfoo; while he is passing on something which is not open to Ijtihaad for example if he is speaking any thing about unseen or day of judgement. In the matters where he is allowed to make ijtihaad such as Ibadaat and muamalaat, we cannot take a statement of sahabi and call it marfoo’.

Ibn Abbas is well know to have certain opinion on Muta` and one kind of riba, which was opposite to what is well established. Even though he changed his view later on but still people will quote him till today under the topic of Riba. Thus as conclusion if we analyze and cant explain why does he have this view, then the authority is given to the text. The reason his act could be different than the hadith are many, some are (i) his act is specific and hadith is general (takhsees) (ii) naskh, etc.

Maliki would say that the statement of the sahaba would be given preference and thus claiming that there is defect is the hadeeth. They say if this is been narrated by a sahabi and this is his practise, then there should be some problem with the text. Sh. Jamaal is of the opinion that unless you know the reason why he has this view, then text is given preference not the opinion

There is narration from Ayesha (ra)  “Any women who marries without the permission of her guardian then her marriage is void, her marriage is void, her marriage is void”

Malikis allow the marriage of a woman without the permission of Wali, and their strongest argument is: They have a story that Ayesha (ra) married hafsa, daughter of her brother Abdur Rahmaan to Al-Mundhir ibn al-Zubair, When Abdur Rahman was in Shaam. Ayesha married his daughter to Mundhir Ibn Zubair. When Abdurrahmaan came back he was upset and said my authority has been overruled, Ayeesha said “Do you not like Al-Mundhir?” and said that she would leave the matter to Abdur Rahmaan. Abdur Rahmaan then said “I don’t want to reverse an order that Ayesha has decided”.

This hadith is coming from Ayesha and the same person is doing the action which is against the hadith which she is narrating. What do you do in this case. Maliki’s say that “something must be wrong in the hadeeth as Aysha won’t do that”.
In this case the solution is very simple, if you take all of the reports from Ayesha about this incident, it seems that what she did is that she prepared everything for marriage, she even said to al-Mundhir that don’t worry and go ahead with the marriage preparations, but she did not do the final steps of marraige, and there is one naration which says that Ayeesha mentioned that women does not have authority to get married without her wali. Abdur Rahman was upset about the fact that preparation was already done without his knowledge. Thus there is no reports which explicitly states that she went through the marriage as a whole, secondly there are reports that say explicitly that she did give the final permission. Thirdly there is some problem with the original narration from Ayesha, Fourthly there are other narrations like from Ibn Abbas and Abu Musa on this. So even if there is an issue with the narration from Ayeesha, we have other authentic reports from other sahaba.

In this case, many time you see that the hadeeth through that sahabi is weak, sometimes attribution of the opinion to the sahabi is weak. sometimes it could be case of variety in action. Like Ibn Umar is one hadith narrated that Prophet (saw) who would raise his hands while going into ruku and while coming up  from ruku (reported in Saheehain). There is also some narration from students of Ibn Umar that he would raise his hands while opening takbeer and would not do later on. We will discuss these kinds of defects later on.

Since this approach to illa is followed by both Maliki and Hanafi schools, we will state their opinion when they find a hadeeth from a sahaba (in particular) which contradicts their own well known opinion.

If a sahabi narrates hadeeth and goes against it, in the hanafi school this narration would not be considered as Hujjah. In the maliki school there are two narrations from Malik one says it is not and other narration say it is Hujjah. and the strongest opinion is that the hadeeth is Hujjah. There are two narration from Imam Ahmed, strongest view in Hanbali madhab is that Hadeeth is still a hujjah.

3)  Narration contradicts qiyaas

Here by Qiyas we mean analogy:(a completely hypothetical case?)  say we have clear and definite text which says khamr is prohibited, then there is something which is closely related to the Khamr in its nature, thus through qiyas this falls into category of Khamr and takes the same ruling. Now say that there is narration which says that this thing is not prohibited, what should we do in this case?

Shaikh Jamaal is using a hypothetical example of khamr to make a point. He just picked this example to make a point, we are not necessarily discussing khamr per se.

What is Khamr?
It is grape wine (in some book from As-suyooti it says “it is a frothy fermented grape juice). And we know that khamr is haram, would you extend the prohibition of khamr to beer. Beer is made from wheat and barley and some other process than what is used for fermenting grapes to make wine.

Can we extend prohibition of khamr to whisky?
For whisky you can apply mafhoom al muwafaqa saying that whisky is more stronger than wine, since it has more alcohol content than wine. And we can rule that whisky is also prohibited by the ruling on khamr, since it has more alcohol than khamr.

But in the case of beer it’s alcohol content can be sometimes much less than that of grape wine. By analogy people will say Khamr is Haram and thus whisky is haram. Suppose hypothetically say we have narration which say beer is halal, what would we do now? Think about this point for our class next time.

Note: Next Sunday is Eid and we will not have any classes next Sunday. Eid Mubarak to all.


2011-11-13 Class Notes

What is a sign that a narration is defective from the point of view of fuqaha? This was our goal last time, but it was interrupted last time.

We want to continue our discussion about what is the sign that there is defective according to Fuqaha and in particular with Maliki and Hanafis. We are starting from a narration which looks authentic from the perspective of the Uloom al hadith scholars, but Fuqaha have raised a red flag regarding this same hadith.

It is kind of important to note this fact in the beginning, when some fuqaha like hanafis and mailiki’s reject narration, they are not rejecting the sunnah of Prophet (saw), some of the younger brothers any time they see someone going against the narration they claim that they oppose the sunnah, someone like Imam Malik and Imam Abu Haneefah they will not reject the sunnah but according to them the hadith what we are basing our action as sunnah they are not accepting that narration. Same way when Ulema of Hadith reject the hadith due to some illah in the hadeeth, they are not rejecting the sunnah. This should be clear in all our minds. We might not be convinced at all with the analysis they present for their position, this is completely different from accusing that they are not following or not interested in following the sunnah.

There are number of reasons that Ulema of Fiqh bring to show that narration is defective.

1) If the narration contradicts Qiyaas, this is the case if you have report from Prophet (saw) and there is no way to reconcile that narration with other text from Quran or Sunnah. They have some evidence and reason to what they base their views on. We are not talking about mutawathir but Ahad reports (al-khabar al-wahid). How could someone justify taking Qiyaas over the hadith which looks authentic ?
Their conclusion at the end will be that it is rejected, but they start with the premise as well where this hadith looks authentic.

When/how would they do this?

 - They are going to argue that their qiyaas based on Mutawattir hadith or Quran is stronger than the hadith in question itself.
 
- They also say this is the way of Sahabah, they would give preference to Qiyaas over Khabar al Wahid.  To support their view they have narrations in Hanafi school’s book, such as As-Sarakhsi. For example in Bazdawi’s book there is narration that Ibn Abbas heard from Abu Hurairah, if you eat anything touched by fire you have to make wudu from eating that meat. In the Hanbali school (to this day)  if you eat camel’s meat you have to make Wudu. They claim that when Ibn Abbas heard this narration, he questioned Abu Hurairah’s narration by saying if I make wudu with heated water do I have to make wudu from that water?
There is also narration that Abu Hurairah said, the one who is carrying the coffin has to make wudu, Ibn Abbas was noted, do we need to make wudu for carrying a dry wood. Here Ibn Abbas is making Qiyas and objecting to the hadith which is narrated by Abu Hurairah. So on the basis of qiyaas, they are rejecting narrations -- hence it is the way of the Sahabah.

- They also said that if you contradict qiyaas, you are also contradicting the Qur’an and/or Sunnah or ijmaa’.

- Qiyas is a rational argument so there is no way to make mistake in that, however there is a chance of mistake in al-khabar al-wahid as any one of the narrator could have made mistake.

Regardless of the evidences they present, the point is that they are using qiyaas and giving precedence to qiyaas in these cases.

Regarding the second point “you are also contradicting the Qur’an and/or Sunnah or ijmaa’”, One of the responses from ibn al-Qayyam and Ibn Taymiyyah is that Qiyaas can be sound or invalid Qiyaas. If you mkae a Qiyaas which is contradicting other authentic hadeeth then obviously this is not a sound Qiyaas. Because in order to make analogy there is something called the Qiyaas ma al Faariq -- this is when you make qiyaas for things which are not similar or it is based on a wrong property or characteristics.

For example, You look at Khamr and it is purple and now you look at another drink, e.g. whisky and it is light colored, and you conclude since this doesn’t looks similar then it should be halal. Or You looked at grape juice or orange which looks similar wine thus this is Haram. Here you are making Qiyaas which is incorrect analogy. Whether not you, with respect to the first point what they made, doesn’t matter if you accept that analogy or not, doesn’t matter if the analogy is weak, their point is, this sahabi did this and gave it precedence over report.

- They also say, if there is any doubt w.r.t Qiyaas that doubt is with respect to mujtahid himself, if there is doubt w.r.t to report  then the doubt is with respect to a narrator. It is a case where an individual trust himself more than another person.

- There are some who say that if the narrator was not a faqeeh, then if his narration contradicts qiyaas, then we give precedence to qiyaas. For example, sometime it is difficult to capture what exactly the Prophet (saw) said, so if you are passing on a narration what Prophet (saw) said and you are just expressing the meaning and you are not making sure to get the exact wording from Prophet (saw), if your are not a faqeeh then when you give the meaning of it, then you might unintentionally distort / alter the meaning of it to the extent that it is enough to be able to say that, the distortion you made might be the reason to contradict the Qiyaas.

Why would you give precedence to reports over Qiyaas when there seems to be contradiction?
(Class discussion to give the reason for give precedence)

(NB: Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Malik are not preferring Qiyas over statement of Prophet (pbuh) at all. They are not rejecting the statement of Prophet (saw) And giving the precendence to Qiyaas. Here the situation is one where the Imams are trying to find which has more doubt to it, i.e. Qiyas or Hadith that is in question, like Abu Hatim or Abu Zar3a saying that there is come illa in this hadith.)
- (Answer from One student)  if the narrators are all trustworthy and these outward signs are there, the doubt concering the qiyaas would be greater than the doubt concerning the report.

Here are some of the counter points to the fuqha’s position:

- Doubt is higher in general with respect to the qiyas than a naqal (report). Qiyas can be subjective and you can many more qiyas from a given report. On the other hand the report being compared is fixed

- The examples given for it to be way of sahabah have to be understood in proper context. First example they gave, regarding making wudu due to cooked meat, it was a very well known report that initially the hukm was to make wudu due to it, this was very well established and later it was abrogated. Ibn Abbas was young at that time, and may be he was not aware of this hadeeth and this was the mistake from Ibn Abbas. He wasn’t aware of this hadeeth, and the fact is that even in the time of Ibn Abbas there were still some who said if you cooked meat you have to make wudu for it. Ibn Abbas may have heard this narration attributed to Abu Hurairah and he or the person narrating the hadith may not be aware of its abrogation, and this was mistake from his side, even though this report from Ibn Abbas statement is in Tirmidhi and ibn Majah, and it is quoted in couple of hanafi fiqh book t’s authentication need to be verified.

- In Al-risaalah by Al-Shafi’i he gave many examples where the sahabah would give up their personal opinion if they came to know about any report relating to it. E.g. wrt to blood money where you accidentally injured someone’s fingers, Abu Bakr thought the value of each finger should be different based on the use of that fingure (e.g. pinky is not used that much vs. index finger), but as soon as the report came to him that for every finger you get 10 camels as the blood money, Abu Bakr gave up his qiyaas and adopted that opinion.

The way of the Sahabah was that they would leave their ijtihaad/qiyas whenever there was a report of the Prophet (SAWS).

- If the ‘illah is definitive in qiyas, would you still accept a hadith? Would you take the hadith or the qiyaas?
for example a hadith of prophet saw “Verily khamr is intoxicating and every intoxicating drink is haram” here the illah is intoxication and stated definitively. and now suppose you find a report that medical marijuana is cool, would you take this report or would take the illah that is definitive. The aspect they are ignoring is that the report being rejected may be a takhsees or may be abrogating or abrogated. so taking this opinion without further analysis can be problematic.

Opinion of Abul Hussain al Basri (mutazilah): One cannot make takhsees for the illa.
(Abu Hasan?)Abul-Hussain Al-Basri (not to be confused with Hassan al Basri) wrote an early book in usool al fiqh called al-mu’tamad (المعتمد) -- if the illah of the analogy is stated in the definitive text, one must act in accordance with the analogy without any difference of opinion. (Sheikh has problem with the last part w/o difference of opinion)

Their Premise: One cannot make takhsees for illa. If you start with this premise then your approach will be different, then there is no question, if the illa is there then you cannot apply takhsees, this principle may not have any basis at all. First you have to prove your principle then use that principle in your arguments (common mistake)

Case: What about abrogation?

Opinion of Abul Hussain al Basri: If the stated illa is in the dhanni text, then one should act on that report by agreement.

Al-Aamidi from the Shafi’is hold the same view.

Shafi’i and Hanbali view is that you take the report over qiyaas, as long as the report is authentic. Abu Hassan Al-Karkhi of the Hanafi school also held this view.

What is the view of Abu Hanifa and Imam Maalik? Later hanafis were of the opinion that if the narrator was not known to be a faqeeh, then qiyas will take precedence over the report. E.g. according to them Khulafa rashideen, Zaid bin Thabit, Ayeesha, ibn Umar were known to be faqeeh, where as Abu Hurairah, Bilaal, Salman Farsi, Anas ibn Malik were not faqih. So if a narration from Abu Hurairah contradicts with their qiyaas they will not hesitate to reject the report. Al-Bazdawi said as for narration for someone not known for his fiqh, even though he may be known for is adaalah and thabt, if their narration is consistent with qiyaas, we accept it, but if it goes against the qiyaas and there is no way to reconcile it, we reject it.

But there is another branch amongst the early Hanafis -- who would give preference to the report. E.g. someone who eats out of forgetfulness during Ramadan. For this case Prophet (pbuh) has said that Allah (swt) fed him and hence the person should continue the fast and does not have to make up for the fast. But compare this with someone who prays without wudu out of forgetfulness. Abu Hanifa said “If there was no report, I would have given preference to my analogy.” Ibn al Qayyam said “Abu Hanifa would give preference to weak report over his qiyaas” (this may be stretching it). So what we have is that the early Hanafis would not give preference to Qiyaas over hadith. Later Hanafis do this. Sh believes that they were forced into that position to defend some of the Hanafi views.

Imaam Malik’s opinion: Many people attribute to him the view that qiyaas takes precedence over the khabar al-waahid. But some contemporary authors write to defend him by saying that he would not oppose sunnah. If he knew that this is sunnah he would not give preference to his qiyas. We discussed earlier that this is not the point of this argument; the whole argument is not preference of qiyas over authentic sunnah rather preference of qiyas over a text they have doubt. However the approach to raise that doubt is what we are concerned about here. Keep in mind here we are looking at a situation where Imam Malik is trying to establish which has less doubt to it, i.e. the Qiyas or the khabar ul wahid.  
If you study Imaam Malik’s madhab, it is clear that that he does give preference to clear (al-jali) qiyaas over khabar al waahid. This is not because Malik is rejecting hadith generally; it is him saying that the inconsistency is a sign that the hadith is defective in some way. In addition to Imam Malik himself, in Maliki school many later scholars would reject hadith if there was a clear qiyas.
Example المصرّاة

When you keep a camel or goat un-milked with tied udders for some time, so that it looks like the animal has a lot more milk than it actually does. So the buyer thinks that it is a real good milk giving animal. What should we do in this case?

There is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari from Abu Hurairah that Prophet (SAWS) says, do not do this (La tusurru bil ibili wa al-ghanami). After he has milked it, he may choose to keep the animal or return the animal with a saa’ of dates (saa’ of dates is for the used milk, it is 4 handful). Hanafis don’t accept this hadith because it breaks analogy with every other principle. First of all they would consider this as a baatil contract which means he can return it without any additional compensation. Secondly, milk is fungible so if he has to return something with it, it should be milk and not dates. In this case their qiyas is that if you buy something defective then you should be able to return it period or return it with milk.

The one who narrated this hadith from the Prophet (SAWS) was Abu Huraira, and thus not from amongst the fuqaha. They also argue that it contradicts the Qur’an in all possible ways, fa-tadu alayhim bi mithli ma A’tadoo alaykum (Surah al Baqarah: ayah 194).  

Sahih International

[Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.




What they do by the way, if they look at the fact that if the hadith has sound narration (in this case from Sahih Bukhari), they will not reject directly, they will try to do some ta`weel to this. In this case, it is narrated by Abu Hurairah, and they say that abu Hurairah (ra) made it more general may it was for a specific case.

Ibn Taymiyyah argues that the analogy they made is not a sound analogy. Example: this could be a special case when you’re allowed to return an animal without any defect -- you can argue there was some deception, but perhaps not defect. And if there is deception here, then it is perhaps because the buyer may not be aware or in-experienced. So IT says that there are two types of item that you can return: one if fungible and preservable (dates), the other is (un?)fungible and un-preservable (milk). You can’t return the milk since it is perishable. If you do not consume it, it is like wasting wealth which is not allowed. So you consume the milk and you return with a saa’ of dates. It is therefore like its own case, and the qiyas done by the Hanafis is not sound.

Imaam Maalik did not abide by this hadith, but he did not consider it to be authentic. (may be the way the hadith reached him had some defects) Later scholars try to explain it away, but Maalik probably applied qiyas taking precedent over hadith waahid.

This is the case of illah where the hadith goes against the qiyas and we have shown that Imam Malik and later hanafi scholars applied this principle.


2011-11-20 Class Notes


We are discussing khabar al waheed hadeeth even whose chain is sound are considered to be defective by the fuqaha because of the following reasons.

Chain is sound but it is considered defective by fuqaha due to the following reasons:
HanafiMalikisShafieesHanbalis
Hadith contradicts qiyaasAbu Hanifa would accept the hadeeth.

Later Hanafis would consider it defective
Imam Malik would consider it to be defective

Later malikis are muttakalimoon would accept
Accept hadithAccept hadith
Umoom al-Balwaa -- something that “afflicts” everyoneHanafis => defective“defective”Accept HadithAccept Hadith



Commenting on hadith that contradicts qiyaa, there is another example of this nature, if a women gets married and husband dies before the marriage is consumated and before they agree upon mahr. What is the ruling on the mahr ?

Ibn Masud was asked about this question and he said that I don’t know anything about it and what I am going to say is based on my opinion. She should receive mahr according to women who are similar to her. And one man stood up and said that I swear that Prophet made the same judgement and then he mentioned a name of Urwah. Does this hadeeth go against the principle of qiyaas?  

Here is the analogy:
Imam Malik said that there is no mahar, according to him mahar is a payment or an exchange. And since the man did not receive anything in exchange and out of analogy of bayaa (buying and selling), he does not have to pay the mahar.

Does it make sense that Imam Malik might have said something like that?
Imam Malik is not acting on the basis of the hadith but on the basis of qiyaas with a mutually onerous contract. This is consistent with his madhab.

What about Imam Shafiee?
On this point Imam shafaii agreed with Imam Malik. Imam Shafiee wrote in Kitab al ‘Umm (كتاب الأم) , if this hadith is confirmed, then it has to be followed. nobody can make qiyaas after what the Prophet (SAWS) said. And if we cannot affirm something from the prophet then we cannot act what we cannot confirm from prophet. He didn’t act on the basis of the hadeeth because he is doubting the authenticity of this hadeeth.  

Taqleed is blind
Later shafaiis divide into two camps, as this hadith was authenticated by analysis of scholars, a group of Shafiee scholars stick to what the Imam said rather than his principles, they should follow the hadith and not the opinion of the Imam. In this taqleed they are going against the statement of their leader. For example: When the Prophet (SAWS) kissed one of the wives and then going to the masjid. Because Imaam Shafi’ee thought the hadith was not authentic. But later Shafi’ees said the hadith was authentic (e.g. Al-Nawawi), then he followed the hadith -- because in a way this was truly following the madhhab of shafaii.

This is especially ironic, because they are not even doing taqleed properly. That is really the distinguishing factor between scholars within a school and those simply passing on a madhhab.

Maaliki school, if you break your fast out of forgetfulness, there is hadeeth that “Whovever forgets while fasting and he eats and drinks he should continue to fast” there is another hadeeth “there is no Qadaah for him” this is recorded by both Bukhari and Muslim. Shafaii and hanbali both accept this hadith. The Maaliki make qiyaas with all other acts of ibadah that if you do not perform an arkan or sharat of an ibadah out of forgetfulness it is baatil and you have to repeat the act. So their opinion was that forgetfulness for fasting was not an excuse, e.g. in Salaah if you do not do takbeer tahreema out of forgetfulness, it invalidates the Salaah -- they reject the hadith and accept the Qiyaas.

Another example is the hadeeth of the prophet that says “Washing a bowl that a dog licks.” Malikis dont apply this hadeeth because they say that this hadith contradicts an ayaah of Quran (surah al-Maida) where Allah swt says that we can eat animal that a dog catches with its saliva. Is this truly a defect of the hadeeth?  Is this a sign that there is something defective in the hadith. They don’t realize that their qiyaas is wrong to begin with. In case of dog catch with saliva, you don’t eat the animal without first washing it and then cooking it, whereas a bowl where that a dog licks, if you drink from it you will be ingesting saliva directly.

Classroom discussion about qiyaas and rejecting hadeeth
Which one would you doubt more?  An authentic hadith (khabar al-wahid) or qiyaas?
If qiyaas is based on definitive illah then we may try to look deeper into the authenticity of the khabar al-wahid and see if the contradiction can be explained away first, e.g. it may be abrogation or takhsees. In this case the qiyaas can be injected as a factor and weigh all other evidences, if we cannot find anyway around then we may stick to the qiyaas based on definitve illah.

Can there be exceptions to qiyaas?  And hence qiyaas wont apply to those situations?
We don’t reject the concept of qiyaa completely? Do you agree?  

Is qiyaas a sign that the hadeeth is not preserved properly.
It probably won’t work in most of the cases. Would you reject the hadeeth because of qiyaas? IN the case of the bowl licked by a dog, you will reject the qiyaas, because you would go ahead and clean the animal brought back by the dog.

It is theoretically possible, that the qiyaas could invalidate a khabar al-wahid, but the examples that are shown by the fuqaha are not convincing.  So this is a theoretical possibility but the examples of the application are not good.

Let us say you have two texts. First text indicate something by analogy. e.g. it is showing something is waajib and by analogy a whole set of things are waajib. And now you have a hadeeth that shows a subset of cases shown earlier as waajib by the first text is indicated as haraam by a hadith. This kind of contradiction is possible but it is going to be an exceptional circumstance and not a normal case.


Diagram showing the problematic hadith that contradicts qiyas based on a stronger text.




For example, eating out of forgetfulness while fasting. Who is to say that Allah swt has not given a special rule for fasting which is different than all other acts of ibadah. May be it is out of mercy of Allah swt that he gave this exemption as making up a fast is definitely more difficult than repeating a prayer. Al-hakim (a shafaii scholar) quoting from his sheikh Abu Abdullah (who was also shafaii) that “if I were in the shafaii’s presence I would have asked him to accept this hadith” (about eating out of forgetfulness)

Theorerically or hypothetically you might use qiyaas to find out defect in a hadeeth, but shaikh has not yet found any example that is satisfying.

If you forget the arkaan of the salaat you have to repeat the salaat and not use qiyaas to say that forgetfulness of eating while fasting you do not have to repeat the fast.

Touching of private parts invalidates wudu is based on khabar al waahid hadeeth
Suppose you have a hadith of “Umoom al-Balwa” something that “afflicts” everyone. Classic example: Hadith of Busra “whoever touches his private parts should not pray unless he makes wudu”. So some scholars say “any touching of the private parts invalidates the wudu.” But this would be something that everyone needs to know. So it is strange that it only comes through one source. Is this a sign that there must be something wrong with the hadith.

Another example: raising the hands while coming up from rukoo. In the Hanafi school you only raise the hands once. Their argument is that the hadith about raising the hands (from ibn umar) is khabar al-wahid and since praying is something that afflicts everyone we cannot accept this khabar al-wahid. (this is their argument about this report being khabar al-wahid, even though this report is narrated through many sources in almost mutwatir fashion). Their second issue is that according to them the report of ibn umar contradicts the report from ibn masud (which they accept, even though it is not widely accepted hadith)

Ibn Masud said that I would pray for you the way that prophet prayed, and he said that prophet raised his hand only once and then did not raise it.

If you analyze both of these hadith, it is not abvious that ibn masud’s narration contradicts ibn umar’s narration, as prophet may have not raised hands under all of the cases. Q: how did sahaba taught their kids to pray? Q: why not there are much more narrations about raising the hands? Lots of sahaba must have seen how prophet prayed, but not all of them were narrators of hadith, hence we only have these hadith through selected sahaba who were narrators of hadith.

Sajdaah of thankfulness: Imam Maalik said that there were many times that sahaba should have made the sajda of shukr, yet we only find one or two narrations. So he rejects this hadith and the concept of sajdah of shukr.

Counter arguments from scholars of hadith (against the umoom al balwa issue raised by fuqhas)
Ibn Hazm says that the whole religion is concern of everybody and everybody should know it. Taharah, hajj,  all of it came through one person (Muhammad saw) and he presented this material.

Probably the strongest argument for accepting these hadith, if you study the example of the Sahabah, you can present many cases, when they were presented hadith that they themselves did not know, and then changing their action. E.g. Ibn Umar didn’t know the hadith about sharecropping or that the ghusl becomes wajib upon touching of the private parts (ibn hazm gave a number of these example). When they would hear it they would apply it.

Allah (SWT) tells us in the Qur’an

Sahih International
And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.

Imam Shafiee says that the word firqaa’ could mean one or two people and he says that knowledge they gain and collect we are obligated to follow the knowledge as it comes to us, regardless if the information is coming from one or many sources.  

Not all of the sahaba knew all of the sunnah. We have certain sunnah only through certain sources. Abu bakr died very early and did not pass as many reports. Similarly Umar was busy with other things. If one individual came to know the information and he passed it on, we have to take this knowledge. And we can bring supporting evidence to weigh on it.

The practical examples of weakness of hadeeth due to khabar waahid are problematic, sometime the hadith under consideration was itself questionable or their arguments are not sound.

For example, raising of the hand in prayer only once by ibn Masud, does it contradict the narration of ibn umar? After takbeer al-tahreem everyone agrees that all of the other raising are not obligatory.

Is it possible prophet prayed sometimes without raising his hand? Yes it is possible.

Raising the hand after takbeer al-tahreem is not arkaan of the prayers. Narration of ibn Masud does not contradict the hadeeth of Ibn Umar  So how can you say that you can use one hadeeth to rank the other hadeeth as weak.

Maliki school has four points when stating a hadeeth is weak
1. Narration goes against qiyaas
2. Narration goes against a general principle or text of the Shari’ah
3. One of the narrators (sahaba) is known to act in contradiction to what he narrates.
4. The narration goes against the actions of the people of Madinah.

Hanafi school uses the following points to say that hadeeth is weak
1. Narrator goes against what he has narrated.
2. The narration affects everyone.
3. The narration is related to hudood or kaffaaraat. The hanafis will impose very stringent conditions. They do not accept khabar waahid for hudood or kaffaraat. It does not meet their requirements.
4. Narration adds ruling to the text of the Qur’an (they consider Quran to be definitive and hadith to be not definitive)
5. Narration contradicts Qiyaas.


These are some of the reasons why fuqaha reject even an authentic hadeeth. You can find hadith from sahih bukhari or sahih muslim and you find in fiqh books fuqhas rejecting some of these hadith. They use the above principles. In summary, while theoretically there is some potential applications to the principles above, in general the applications have not been convincing to the Sh.

Examples of hadeeth rejected by fuqaha
Fasting on behalf of a dead person. In Sahih Muslim, a woman came to the Prophet (SAWS) and said my mother died and she still has to make up some days for fasting. She asked if she can fast on her behalf. Then the Prophet (SAWS) said: if she had debt would you pay that debt, isn’t it better that the debts to Allah should be paid, since worldly debts are paid?

Imaam Maalik said this contradicts the general principle of each person only being accountable for one’s actions. (wa la taziru waziratun wizra ukhra)

Fasting 6 days of shawwal. Both Maalik and Abu Hanifa don’t follow the hadith, based on the principle it might become fard.

2011-11-27 Class Notes


Next week’s topic: Can we raise a weak hadith to the status of hassan (so-called hassan lighairihi).

This week: What do you do with weak hadith? when a hadith is analyzed to be weak, should we throw it away?

Classroom discussion about what should be done with weak hadith. Some points made by students: don’t apply it to matters of aqeedah, some say it should not be applied in ibaadah ......

There are three basic schools among the ulema and even among the scholars of hadith.
First opinion: Weak hadith can be used with little restriction
Second opinion: Can be used given strict conditions. This is the majority opinion.
Third opinion: Weak hadith are never to be acted upon, you leave them and give them no value or zero value.

Opinion #1: Weak hadith can be used with little restriction

This opinion is attributed to Imam Ahmad, and Abu Dawood, but has also been attributed by Abdul Aziz al-khudair to Abu Hanifa, Imaam Malik and Imaam Shafi’i. Another statement from a recent scholar Ahmad Siddiq is that all leading scholars have used weak hadith as evidence. If that is true, what is the point of the work we’ve been doing? The statements from Abdul Aziz and Ahmad Siddiq are not established, what is established is that this opinion can be attributed to Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawood.

Imam Ahmad recognizes you can use a weak hadith and he has a number of statements on this topic -- and he says that “A weak hadith is more beloved to me than a person’s personal opinion.”  He was asked by someone “when I am looking for a fatwa should I go to someone who knows hadith but doesn’t know how to interpret it, or should I go to someone who gives personal opinion.” He answered “Go to the person with hadith.”  He would act upon weak hadith provided there was nothing else to base it up and it was not contradictory to the established text of Quran and Sunnah. If he could not find any report about it, then he would resort to analogy or refrain from making a statement about the issue.

It is said about Abu Dawud that if he could not find a sahih or hassan Hadith, he would record a weak hadith as he considered it stronger than people’s opinion.

How does these statements sound? Shaikh asks us if I tell you this hadith is ma’alool (the category of weak hadith that we discussed earlier in this class), would you  follow this hadith over your personal opinion?

You have weak hadith and very weak hadith. The opinion of Imam Ahmad listed above, he did not mean very weak hadith, or hadith from somebody who is not trustworthy. If somebody is not adl his hadith is going to fall into very weak hadith category. We are talking about honest people who are lacking in proficiency. But this does not cover the category we are discussing, e.g. weak hadith also include Munqati, Mursal, Mu’dhal, etc. Most of the broken chain hadith are also put into weak category and not very weak and this is a problem because by definition a broken chain means we don’t know what is missing. This mapping is based on good expectation (husn-e-dhan) that most of the hadith narrator are acceptable from adalah point of view.

Abu Dawud never reached down to very weak hadith or discussed hadith narrated by untrustworthy narrators. For them hadeeth munqata would be weak and not very weak hadith.

One of thing we do is to categorize the weak hadith, they would put muallal hadith under weak hadith and they would put munkar hadith under very weak hadith.


But the other issue is how does Imam Ahmad view weak hadith as compared with hadith today? In the time of Imam Ahmad there were two types of hadith: sahih and weak. The weak at his time includes what we would consider “acceptable” as well as rejected hadith. One theory is that after the time of Ahmad, e.g. Tirmidhi, divided hadith into three categories, sahih, hasan and weak. Tirmidhi is well know to have first introduced the category of hasan as a subset of weak hadith. The hasan category is breaking down the weak category of Imam Ahmad’s time and calling the acceptable weak hadith as hasan, with this the meaning of the word weak is now more calcified.

There are still some problems with this theory. Hasan hadith are they a hujja in the shariah? Most scholars say that it is hujja, whether or not you know other narrations related to it.  Hasan is joined with Sahih as two categories of hadith that are considered acceptable. Now hasan can be used in all realms of shariaa as hujja. You may interpret a sahih hadith in the ligth of the hasan hadith. However, hasan was to be resorted when you cannont find any sahih report.
Thus this view is little bit problematic. There is a dissertation which is 5 volume regarding this. This view which is attributed to Imam Ahmed, there are other scholars who agree with this as well.

Ibn Al-Qayyim also argues that every scholar would prefer a weak hadith like this (“acceptable”) over personal opinion. Ibn Hazm points outs that it was also the view for all of the Hanafis that a “weak” hadith takes precedence over personal opinion and analogy

With respect to Abu Dawood, he made it clear in the introduction to his work that if there was any defect in a hadith, he would point it out. He stated that if he made no comment, the hadith was “Saalih”. Al-Nawawi states that what Abu Dawood meant by that is that the hadith was hasan. If what Al-Nawawi said is correct, then that goes against the idea that Abu Dawood would act upon weak hadith. if he considered it acceptable to act on weak hadith there would be no reason from him to point out defects in hadith and to use only saalih hadith. However, Ibn Hajr has shown, through examples that Al-Nawawi’s interpretation is not the correct interpretation of Abu Dawood’s approach. What Abu Dawood meant by saalih was that the hadith was acceptable to be used as supporting evidence or to be supported by other narration. Hence it was not actually very weak.

Another issue is that even though Abu Dawood recorded weak hadith in his collection but that does not mean that he acted upon them, this is strange that attribution of this opinion to him is based on the introduction of his collection rather than an explicit statement from him.

Some say that if there are two opinions:
1. 1st opinion is supported by weak hadith
2. 2nd opinion is not supported by weak hadith
According to them the first opinion is stronger than the second. there are some fundamental flaws in this interpretation and shaikh Jamaal will discuss it later.

The flaws with this opinion are:
1. What does it mean?
2. How is it interpretted?
3. there is no strong evidence that Imam Ahmad or Abu Dawood relied on weak hadith.
Shaikh Jamaal mentioned somebody whose interprettation is that Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud never relied on weak hadith.  In general Imam Ahmad tried to find a report about any thing he would have to say. We need to work out some issues before attributing this opinion to Imam Ahmad.


Opinion #2: Weak hadith can be used given strict conditions.

This is the view of conditional application of weak hadith. This is the view of the majority of scholars from 3rd or 4th century up untill now. Nawawi even claims ijma of scholars on this point (word ijma should be taken carefully when it comes to Imam Nawawi, as he is critiqued on the use of this term very loosely).

Strict conditions for usage of weak hadith (the following are pre-conditions before the actual conditions layed down by Ibn Hajr and Subhi Saleh)
- Weak hadith should not be related to matters of aqeedah and should not be considered hujja
- Nor should they make things halaal or haraam.
- They could be related to fadael i amaal or targheeb or tarqeeb.

Ibn Hajr has some restrictions on usage of weak hadith
1. Hadith cannot be very weak
2. Such hadith must be subserviant to the established sources. It cannot be used to establish something new (i.e. which is not already discussed in other texts of Quran and Sunnah)
3. Rewards stated as benefits should not be expected, rather one acts on it as a matter of safety [This is strange condition according to Sh. Jamaal]
4. Doer of the act should not make the act public so that people should not consider it sanctioned and the ignorant people should not think about this hadith as authentic.

One of the obvious problem with this opinion that one should be able to distinguish between weak and very weak hadith.
An example from Nuradin Ittar, who is proponent of this second opinion. He gives an example of weak hadith that can be used with strict conditions. This author takes the weak hadith that describes the fadail of performing the Qiyaam ul Layl or night prayers on the night before the two Eids (al Fitr and al Adha). The authors says since night prayers is encouraged, and remembering Allah in duaa is true even on the two nights before the eids, so this weak hadith is not sanctioning something new so one can act upon this weak hadith. However, this opinion does not appear valid since time and place of worship must be established based upon authentic texts, which is not the case here.


Evidences for second opinion
The proofs behind this view or evidences for this view is the argument to authority. They say that so many people have this opinion, hence it must be correct. Nawawi even says there is ijmaa about this opinion.

One scholar, Al-Haithami gave logical argument to this opinion. If the hadith is sahih then you have acted upon something that is sahih, but if the hadith is not sahih then you haven’t done anything Haram or destructive. So why not?

Salatul tasbih should not fall into this category because it is something new, there is no prayer like it, it is definitely adding something new.  But praying taraweeh on the night of Eid, if the hadith is sahih you have fufilled it, but if it is not then you have not done something haraam. So this is the answer to their question of ‘why not’ above.

They claim it is opinion of many leading scholars such as Abdullah ibn Mubarik, Al-Thauri, Imam Ahmad,........ and they quote ibn al-mubarik as saying “When it comes to halal and haraam we are very tough but when it comes to virtuous acts, we ease up on it.”

Ibn Taymiyyah says that “when it came to matters of halal or haraam they would use hadith of highest level of authenticity but when it came to virtuous acts, they would drop their standard”. We have discussed this statement earlier.

They also quote another weak hadith to support their view. The weak hadith says if anything reaches someone from Allah regarding some virtuous act and if he believes in it and acts upon it, then he will be rewarded for it even if it is not true. This is a circular argument, they are presenting a weak hadith to argue that the weak hadith can be acted upon.

The shariah is not just about halaal or haraam, it is also about virtuousness of your acts, e.g. things that are mustahab are these ruled by different principles? Acts that you perform on certain nights are also shariah rulings, because you are making these statement on behalf of Allah swt.  Deen should be based on certainty and we have enough strong evidence to build our deen upon, we do not need to add uncertain things to it. This also distorts the Shariah. For example, the weak hadith of Ittar above can have a undesired effect on an individual who never prays qiyam al layl otherwise but will pray Qiyam ul layl before Eid nights and then cannot wake up for Eid salat the next day or is tired all day. This will tilt the shariah. Such weak hadith is like “bad data” and the Shariah should come based upon authentic sources of Quran and Sunnah i.e. “good data”.

Shaikh says that I would rather follow a personal opinion (based on Qiyas, or derived from principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) that is based on good data then follow a weak hadith.

There is no doubt that you can have type alpha and beta errors. If you are testing hypothesis, there has to be criteria for rejecting or accepting hypothesis. However, the scholars try their best on making sure that they do not reject what has been authentically preserved and do not accept what has not been preserved. Allah’s (swt) promise of preserving the Dhikr, should be a sign that what has not been preserved was not part of the dhikr. This should be the standard that we should follow and what others should also follow. These scholars are also saying the same thing, but how they are applying it is leaving the doors open for lot of distortion to enter. Special merit of some act (e.g. Qiyam on Eid night) is a shariah judgement and must have acceptable evidence.

Important Point: Scholars of hadith insist that for weak hadith one has to use passive voice (“it is reported from Prophet (saw) that...”) and for authentic hadith one has to use active voice (“Prophet (saw) said...”). Even though scholars insist on this distinction but it is lost on even khateeb these days.

A good example on how lack of care regarding unacceptable hadith can have serious consequences: Shaykh is mentioning that once a speaker mentioned a fabricated hadith [scholars of my ummah are like prophets of children of Israel] and did not realize the magnitude of it’s seriousness. This hadith is not related to fadail-al-amaal only it is related to Aqeedah as well. If one starts to accept this than people will start to consider Scholars of Islam above questioning, which is causing much problems in the Muslim world already. Many times Muslims stop doing deeds which are based on authentic ahadeeth but they become regular on the deeds based on weak ahadeeth.

This is the view of majority of scholars, there is no doubt about it,  but you cannot claim that there is ijma. Shaikh Jamaal cautions us about this opinion, because of the arguments mentioned above. The main drawback is that even ulemah cannot apply this principle let alone common people, as it needs at least three ijtihaad:
1. Hadith is not strongly weak
2. It is not contradicting stronger sources
3. it is related to Fadail-al-Amaal
Anytime you add something uncertain to a certain thing (deen) it only distorts it.

Opinion #3: Weak hadith are never to be acted upon no matter the subject of the topic is

This is the opinion of Yahya Ibn Maeen, Abu Zakaraiya al-Naisaboori, Abu Zarah, Abu Haatim, Ibn Abi Haatim, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Hibban, al-Khattabi, Abu Shams al-Maqdisi, Abu bakr Al-Arabi, al-shaukani and Sideeq Hasan Khaan. Ibn Hazm is adamant against acting in accordance with weak hadith, he calls acting on weak hadith like acting on the narrations of bani Israel. This view is extremely popular among modern scholars who have researched this question in detail, from the time of Jamaal al-Deen al-Qaasimi, Ahmed Shaakir, Muhammed Ijjaj al-Khateeb, Subhi al-Saalih, ibn Uthaimeen, Abdul Kareem al-Khudair, Fawwaaz Zamarli and al-Albaani, Abdulkareem Al-khudair.

Basic arguments for this view will be discussed later.


2011-12-04 Class Notes


We are discussing how to handle weak hadith and we have covered two opinions.

Opinion #3: Weak hadith are never to be acted upon no matter the subject of the topic is

This is the opinion of Yahya Ibn Maeen, Abu Zakaraiya al-Naisaboori, Abu Zarah, Abu Haatim, Ibn Abi Haatim, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Hibban, al-Khattabi, Abu Shams al-Maqdisi, Abu bakr Al-Arabi, al-shaukani and Sideeq Hasan Khaan. Ibn Hazm is adamant against acting in accordance with weak hadith, he calls acting on weak hadith like acting on the narrations of bani Israel. This view is extremely popular among modern scholars who have researched this question in detail, from the time of Jamaal al-Deen al-Qaasimi, Ahmed Shaakir, Muhammed Ijjaj al-Khateeb, Subhi al-Saalih, ibn Uthaimeen, Abdul Kareem al-Khudair, Fawwaaz Zamarli and al-Albaani.

Ibn Hajrs opinion was that If you act upon it then you should not expect any reward from following the hadith.

Evidences for this opinion

Authentic reports are sufficient and there is no need to rely upon doubtful opinions. We should not base our deen based on doubtful opinions and therefore they cannot add anything to our deen. And you might expose yourself to punishment from Allah, if you narrate something on their authority for which you have no evidence.

b) Hadith that warn us to make statements attributed to the Prophet.

Prophet said, one of the greatest lies is when someone attributes something to the prophet that he did not say.

حدثنا شريك بن عبد الله عن سماكعن عبد الرحمن بن عبد الله عن أبيه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار .


Prophet said that whoever falsely attributes something to me should take his seat in hellfire. Kadhaba (in the dialect of Quraysh) does not mean lying, but it means something that is untrue, which could be intentional or unintentional.

Some of th narration including the narration in the Bukhari uses the word Kadaba. This is not the kind of thing which you attribute to Prophet (saw). Some of the narration says “Muta3ammidan” which means intentionally attributes something falsely.

Here we are not talking about very weak, like hadith from Lier, or reports we cannot trace it back, we are talking about those hdaith whcih are traceful in some form but we cannot have any confidence to confirm that this is the statement of Prophet (saw), thus it holds true to sahaba as well, what tehy say is that proponderance of evidence does not show that this is the statement of Prophet (Sa). No rational person will act on things where the probability of evidence is doubtful.

When Allah SWT promised to preserve the deen, it also implies the preservation of the Sunnah, since it is the correct application of the understanding of the thikr of the Qur’an.

This third group gives weak hadith no weight whatsoever. Furthermore, they say the proper approach is to give it no weight.

What would the this third group say about the weak hadith about the salaatul tahajjud on the two nights of Eid. They would say there is no evidence for it and they would say following this hadith would be bidaa’. The first two groups would most probably follow this hadith.

There is no such thing as bidaa hasana when it comes to the matters of the deen. We should be careful about saying bidaa’ hasana. The strongest evidence for it is the statement of the prophet which says, every bidaa leads to hellfire.

The third group say you should not give any weight to weak hadith. The majority opinion is the second group. And the first group accepts weak hadith.

For the above weak hadith, what is the safest thing to do? We have limited time and there are enough authentic hadith about observances of Eid, that we could leave this weak hadith.

In general most of the scholars are not going to apply weak hadith for ahkam.

Shaikh would prefer personal opinion derived from good data than relying on bad data.

Classroom discussion about hypothetical hadith that are weak and whether we should follow them. Some are questioning whether we should follow it as a matter of ihtiyaat. Shaikh cautions us to use ihtiyaat in these cases.

Scholars agree that anything less than hassan li ghairihi cannot be hujja in the matters of our deen. Our worship of Allah swt includes all of our actions of this dunya.


Discussion about weak hadith

In order hadeeth to be accepted it must be either saheeh or hasan to be considered as Hujjah. Both of these can be further divided into:
1. Hasan li Dhathihi - Hasan on its own.
2. Hasan li Ghairihi - Hasan based on supporting evidence. This is the hadeeth where you look at hadith by itself is a weak hadith. The discussion what we had so far is related to the hadith which does not reach the level of hasan li ghairihi.

Again weak hadith can be divided into two categories.
1. Weak which can be upgraded.
2. Weak which cannot be upgraded.

Obviously all the hasan li ghairhi should come from #1. The hadith from #2 will not be used under any circumstances (a typical example will be that there is a known liar in the chain)..

Consider a case where a narrator is Aadil but not Dhabit. So as the hadith stands we will reject it, but then we look for another hadith which can support what this narrator has to say. This narrator is honest but makes mistakes, and we find after some research that no one else is narrating what this person is narrating. Let say we find another independent narration where some one is talking about this unique topic. So now we have corroborating evidence (we are assuming that two hadith have independent source). The second one is also Aadil but at same level of Dhabit as the other narrator. Ulema may accept it if there is no Shadh or Illa in the hadith, provided the two sources are really independent.

Couple of points here:
1) Just because you have a lots of chains for a hadith, does not make it automatically Hasan. We need to find out that there is no common source of error. Another thing Ulema found that liars like to spread lies of other people as well. So the hadith should be not coming from liars for it to be Hasan.  

If all the links are in mursal form, then even if we have multiple chains, it has not removed the problem. So having multiple links or chains that share the same problem is futile. If the corroborating evidence removes the doubt, then we can accept it and upgrade the hadith to hasan li ghairihi. If we cannot find corroborating evidence that removes the source of error, then the hadith will remain a weak hadith.

Fuqaha will accept hadith as hasan that the scholars of hadith will not accept. If the statement .....

2) Sometimes scholars do the following, suppose you have hadith that says A and we have another hadith that says A’ + B + C.  B and C are additional statements in the hadith. Can we use A’+B+C to support A and leave out B and C because there is no corroboration for them?

For example, let us say we have two weak hadith that are used to corroborate each other. One hadith makes statement A and the other makes a statement A’ + B + C

A: Alcoholics will not enter Jannah.
A’ + B + C: Three people whom Allah not speak on the day of judgement, alcoholics, one who does not speak to their parents??? and a runaway slave.

What should we do about the other two categories in the second hadith?

Shaikh does not have time to discuss this point in detail. If the class continues next quarter, we will discuss it Insha-allah.

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