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Uloom al Hadith Winter 2011

Beginning Uloom al-Hadith V

Required Textbook: Bilal Philips. Usool al-Hadith (available at MCA Bookstore and al-Huda Bookstore)
Grading: Final Exam 100% (One final, March 6, one week before last week of class)
When: Due to prolonged illness of Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo this quarter was suspended in February and then resumed in late March. So this quarter started in January and the last class was on May 1. Due to this reason, we did not have a Spring session in 2011.


Basic Outline of the Class
Weak Hadith (Philips, pp. 66-92, 106-110)

2011-01-09 Class Notes


We will be discussing weak hadith, what makes up weak hadith.  We will also categorize weak hadith.

Prevalence of weak hadith
One of the question we want to discuss to which extent can the weak hadith be used. We find weak hadith almost everywhere. We find weak hadith in the books of fiqh, in khutbahs, books of hadith etc. People see the weak hadith and it is very possible that the scholars who are using the weak hadith did not know that the hadith is weak or not. And a related question: why did the scholars include weak hadith in their collection anyway?

Types of weak hadith
Before getting to that we need to identify all the different kinds of weak hadith.
The scholars classify the weak hadith into many different categories. Ibn Hibban had 49 different types. Someone divided them into 511 types. They take all the different permutations and combine them and then categorize them. For a large part much of that division in not necessary. We will concentrate on the main ones.  This is the goal of the course for this quarter.

Question: What should be the attitude of casual students of knowledge when they come across hadith from contemporary scholar such Albani?
If you are a casual student of knowledge and you get information from scholars, then you follow that information unless shown otherwise. You don’t start with doubt. Everybody has strange peculiarities and weaknesses. There should be no reason to doubt as long as you respect the individual. This is the answer for a casual student of knowledge, the answer will differ for other categories of students.

Definition of Weak Hadith:
A weak hadith is a hadith that fails to meet all of the conditions for an acceptable hadith. (the five conditions for a hadith to be acceptable). If it does not meet all of the conditions then it is a rejected hadith. If it fails to meet even one of the conditions of the acceptable hadith then it is a weak hadith.

Conditions for authenticity of hadith
1. Chain is unbroken
2. Every narrator is adl (person of integrity)
3. Every narrator is dhabit (academic soundness, proficient/accurate) ***
4. No shudhoodh (cannot contradict stronger sources for both the chain and the text)
5. No 3illah (Cannot contain any hidden damaging defects; refers to both the chain and the text)

Why do we say hidden? If its obvious then either the chain is unbroken or the narrator is not trustworthy. Not all defects are necessarily make you reject hadith.

When we talk about weak hadith there is a sixth one. Some scholars broke the weak hadith in 49 types because there are different kind of ways they can be violated. For example if the chain is unbroken. There can be a number of ways the chain can be unbroken. Just the name of the sahabi is missing. Which is known as a mursal hadith. Its considered the strongest kind of weak hadith. We covered this last quarter.

Otherwise the chain could be broken in a clear manifest way or in a inconspicuous way. It could be hidden or obvious. It can have many narrator missing. With respect to the narrator not being adl, is that a black and white thing? it has different shades. Fabricated ahadith would have liars in the chain.

Who else can be from rejected narrators? It could be a fasiq, one who drinks alcohol (or it can be more general than this). So the way the ulaama discuss ahl ul bidah (such as …). They looked at their individual merits. If it is an inexcusable kufr then that its not acceptable. But if someone grew up in an area where the bidah was prevalent then this is something that can be overlooked.

Whatt about proficiency? Who can be in this category: someone who is senile which can occur when narrators become old. It could be due to bad memory. It could also be due to bad writing or someone who doesn’t keep his books in order. So all of these things split into different branches of weak hadith.

There is a last one that we should include that could cause the hadith to be weak. This is related to the concept of hasan ligharihi. What is hasan lighariahi, it is the hadith that is weak in itself but can be classified hasan due to supporting evidence.

So if it violates any of these five or has no supporting evidence then it is a weak hadith.

That is kind of the broad scope of what we mean by weak hadith. This will be discussed in detail in this class.

Scholars of hadith have treated balancing weak hadith and personal opinion in different ways.  For example, Imam Ahmed and Abu Daw’ud were more likely to use weak hadith over personal opinion.  Other scholars have preferred personal opinion over the use of weak hadith.

The first kind of weak hadith is the mursal hadith.
That is the hadith where everything except the name of the sahabi is present in the chain. A tabiee narrating from the Prophet (sallAllah u alayhi wasallam). The majority of the scholars reject this because it is a weak hadith. If a report is mauqoof and the tabiee is missing would that be mursal? No probably not. If you are talking about the main point what mursal is all about.

The idea of isnaad had such an influence that all of the fields started using this, such as poetry, grammar, etc.  However the concept of mursal is only applicable to the field of hadith.

Hadith that contradict or violate the first condition :
We will start with those kind of hadith that contradict or violate the first condition,  the chain is broken.
This includes:
1. Mursal hadith (المرسل)
2. Al munqati3 (المنقطع) (Qat3ah implies something cut off. Munqata3 is a very general category. Anything that has a break in the chain anywhere and in anyway would be al Munqatie. Some scholars try to make it more specific. This is a chain which is broken after the sahaba. The majority will accept the fact that munqatie is anything that has a broken chain. Mursal is a subset of munqatie).

If it’s written material, it should be approved or certified in some manner rather than a scholar simply obtaining the books.  The material must be authenticated with the author in some reliable manner.  The source of the material should also know that the material is being given to another person for a particular reason, for example to learn and transmit the material, as compared to the draft notes of a scholar which might have editorial content and it might not be complete.

Question about the ghareeb hadith?
Ghareeb or aziz hadith refers to just one chain of narration. Since most of the hadith have more than one chain of narration. The discussion of weak hadith is about the authenticity of the hadith, whereas the ghareeb or aziz is about the number of chains.

Lets say we have a narrator. for example if one of the taba tabieen is narrating from one of sahaba then this would be very obvious that it is broken. This why its good to know the tabaqat. Tabaqat(الطبقات) is the study of the different generations and knowing who is from which generation. you can just look at the chain and make a judgment. Books for this who just give the birth date and death date of the first three generations of Muslims. Sometimes the break in the chain is a kind of obscure kind of break. It take a real scholar to find this.

This narrator narrates from this person but for example a narrates from B. but they know that a did not receive this particular hadith was not received by B. That would be a hidden break. That could be a hidden defect. Its pretty clear what it means by munqata3. (المنقطع)

An important question that has not been dealt with by scholars of hadith is the following, if you find a chain that is munqatie; how damaging is a munqatie defect to a hadith?

Eventually scholars divide into weak, very weak and fabricated. if we have a chain that is munqata then how damaging is the defect. So when we say the chain is broken what are we really saying? We have a missing narrator.  All we knew is that the chain is broken. When we categorize the hadith then munqatiee is usually the stronger weak hadith. How do they do that? Shaykh Jamaal’s position is that it must be done on a case by case basis.

On the board, sheikh has drawn a link from narrator A to narrator C. (And he is using that chain from A to C with a missing narrator for the classroom discussion.)

So we have narrator and we know the chain is broken somewhere just to assume that the broken chain is a minor defect then. We have to analyze the individual. If he was known to narrate from trustworthy sources at all times then maybe we could say that the person missing is fairly decent. The hadith is still weak but it is not strongly weak. But if we look at an individual and he narrates from anyone then we cannot make any understanding of his hadith. We could also look at the tabaqat.

What generation is A from? Why would that make a difference?
If you look at the taba tabeen and sahaba, the break if the break is much earlier in the chain then the presumption that the one missing is of fair quality. Even after the time of Al Bukhari. It’s strange to the shaykh that the hadith scholars have not elaborated on this point.

The most important observation of munqati is the following:
If the chain is broken then we don’t know who is the one causing the break.

Sheikh would prefer complementary ahadith that have unbroken chains that include some narrators who may have weaknesses (that are known), because you know the complete chain and can analyse it. However if you have a set of hadith with broken chains, then you cannot say anything about it, since you don’t know who is missing and it’s exact impact on the hadith.

After we have identified who is filling each space, we then look at the quality of those narrators.  Each spot in the chain must be identifiable; then each spot will be analyzed.  

Which scholars have a more conservative approach to the issue of munqata3 hadith?
The sheikh is not familiar with any scholar that really discusses this area.  The majority of scholars tend to err on the side of caution but they do not seem to discuss this specific issue and its impact on ahadith.  This is unusual for the scholarship regarding this field.

Al Mu’dhal (المُعْضَل)
Another category of weak hadith based on broken chains is called Al Mu’dhal:
3.  Al Mu’dhal - the root of this word means to make something difficult.  

Definition of Al Mu’dhal
A hadith chain that is broken in such a way that two or more consecutive narrators are missing.  It is a special case of munqata’ (which is the broadest category).  In any case where a tabi-tabi’ien said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did something, you know that the name of the sahabah and the tabi’ien are missing.  The scholars did not treat this by itself as a serious defect in of itself.  

Classroom question about the weak hadith.
All of the categories that we are discussing are for weak hadith. And the real problem occurs when people try to use two weak munqata hadith  and then raise their level, how can we do it? Since we don’t have any information about who is missing in the broken chain, it is impossible to analyze the hadith. Sheikh mentioned that there are people who do this and I guess he will discuss it later.


2011-01-23 Class Notes


We discussed Mu3dhal which is a type of weak hadith in the last class. It is a break in the chain of two or more consecutive narrators. The next one is al mua3allaq.

Al Mu3allaq Hadith
Again different ulaama give different definition of this term. The general meaning of it is clear. This is basically, if you have an isnaad with some narrators from the prophet to a chain and then have it broken narrators from his shaykh who transmitted the hadith to him.

Lets say the shaykh passing on the hadith, he will have his chain from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم but have missing narrators to his shaykh.

Muallaq means something suspended or hanging. The compiler takes from the chain and he leaves out some of the part of the chain over here. Maybe just one person, maybe two or three upwards. That is why it is kind of hanging. So you have some narrators from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. or he could skip everyone then that is also muallaq.

If somebody from the time of Abu Dawood said Aan Abu Huraira when giving the isnaad of the hadith, then it implies that he is leaving out all the narrators in the chain from him to Abu Huraira. Here the chain is obviously broken.

This is where the compilers left out someone. Does this sound kind of strange. The compiler would say that The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, then this is mua3allaq. He would use the word 3an abu hurayrah. u3an is a very generic term. During Abu Dawuds time he is dropping everyone. would you reject or classify this as a weak hadith? Very weak because many people are missing because the chain is obviously broken.

Is there something more to be said?
The reason why scholars discuss this type of hadith is because it is important in the context of Sahih Al Bukhari. The reason why this is important topic is because of the mua3allaqat of Al Bukhari. That is why the scholars talk about this type of hadith.

How many of you have read Sahih al Bukhari?
We look at the chain. If the chain does not exist then what? But the shaykh said that you can find any page and find examples of this nature. If you look at Sahih al Bukhari you can find examples where Bukhari dropped the entire chain and just gave the source of the quote like the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Sometimes he would drop the whole isnaad and not even attribute to any narrator. You can find it in al Bukhari, the hadith says that umm addarda used to sit in the prayer just like the sitting in the prayer like the men and she was a faqeeha. Al Bukhari does not ascribe this to any narrator.

Q: Are munqata and mudahl special cases of muallaq?
A: The muallaq is a special case of munqata. but if this person drops two or three from himself then it could be muadhl

Sometimes Bukhari would simply mention the name of the sahabi. He would say, Anas said such and such. Sometimes he would drop all the chain except the name of the tabiee and sahabi. In one chapter he said, humair said that  on the authority of Anas that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسل said do not spit in the direction of the qibla …...

Examples of the mualaq can be found like this. There are 1341 reports that are muallaq in Sahih al Bukhari. Out of a total of 9000 reports, 10% of al bukhari reports are of this nature.

How do we reconcile the Mua3allaq hadith of Bukhari?
For some of them the answer is quite simple. This is obviously a weak hadith. why are there weak hadith in al Bukhari?

We need to understand the methodology of Imam Bukhari.  Sahih al Bukhari is not just a collection of hadith. He is also conveying a lot of information. He is conveying information about the topics. One of the methods he uses, he has chapter headings, then we have the body of the chapter.

The bulk of the hadith of sahih al bukhari are in the body of the chapter, those are all sahih with complete isnaad. They meet all the requirements for it to be sahih.

What he does in the chapter headings he may quote verses of the Quran or he may quote other sahaba. He quotes them in very abridged format, without giving their isnaads.

Every page has a chapter heading and then underneath the chapter heading there is the body of the chapter. Many chapters only have one hadith. Some chapters have two or three hadith. When he introduces the topic, in the chapter heading, he will introduce it by many different means.

Shaykh Zarabozo is holding the book and he has turned to Volume 1 page 40 to illustrate the example of mua3llaq which is discussing the Dar ul ihya as sunnah. In the English translation, the translator drops the whole isnaad even for hadith in the body of chapter.

In kitab ul eeman. chapter what is said regarding ibrahim at tayyami(tabieen or taba tabieen). It just says qala Ibrahim, there are two or three people missing between the two. The quote of Ibrahim is that My deeds are deficient.

And then he said ibn abi mulayka (one of the tabieen). No chain is given. The quote is that I met thirty companions and..........and then he says hasan al basri said, should there be any narrators between him and anyone else. It is just mentioned that al hasan said without any isnaad. Then he quotes al hasan al basri and a verse from the Quran and then he brings the hadith in the body of the chapter.

Then you look at the next chapter heading. In the next chapter he is describing about Islam is about belief then the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسل said and again no isnaad is given. Here is a hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسل and no chain is given. Muallaq and no chain is given.

At least Muhammad Asad on this point in his translation in his commentary, (Shambala bookstore only had volume five) He printed the isnaad in just a small font so if you want you can ignore it.

Why did Bukhari use abridgements in chapter headings?
When Al Bukhair did this the majority of those hadith is to save space. Because the majority of the muallaq hadith in sahih bukhari, you can find that in another chapter in the body of the chapter. He is trying to teach you something. He will just use parts of ahadith. The vast majority of muallaq hadith can be found some place else in Sahih Bukhari itself, and with the complete chain and these are all sahih.

However there are still 160 mu3allaq reports in Sahih Bukhari that are not found elsewhere in Sahih Bukhari, in other words we don’t have a complete chain for those reports.

Ibn Hajar has a book, tagheelq at ta3leeq where he collected all the muallaq reports and also the ones in Bukhari and says where they are found. That book by ibn hajar was written before he wrote Fath al Baari which has more information then the taghleeq. This is just with respect to the mu3allaq reports of Bukhari also.

How do we deal with those reports inside bukhari which we do not have a complete chain for?
How will we reconcile or deal with mu3allaq hadith of al bukhari?
Al Bukhari claims his book is sahih. You can find muallaq hadith in abu dawud or tirmdhi. Scholars don’t hesitate to say they are weak. With Sahih Bukhari the claim is that his book is authentic. So we have to know how to reconcile these mu3allaq reports,

Active Voice (Seeghatul jizm) and Passive Voice (Seeghatul tamriidh) for Mu3allaq reports of Bukhari
The conclusion is that is basically drawn out is that we have to look how al Bukhari quoted the work (or the mu3allaq reports). The scholars came up with a clever term for this, what is known as seeghatul jizm or seeghatul tamriidh which is active voice and passive voice when reporting the narrator.

This is based on a general principle agreed on by the muhaditheen (scholars of hadith). If you are not sure about a hadith you don’t say the the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said. Since this is a strong statement. Tamriidh means something sick or weak. If you have a doubt about a hadith then you say for example it has been narrated from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or it has been mentioned from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or He has been reported to have said.

The conclusion is that if he uses the active voice he is claiming he has an authentic chain from him to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم . Suppose Al bukhari quotes one of the tabieen and it is a mu3allaq report. As saying that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said such and such. Do we accept that report.

Al Bukhari said at at-tabi said: it is active voice. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did or said such and such. This is just in the chapter headings. Muslim rarely does this kind of stuff. Is this an acceptable report because he said it with an active voice? The only thing he is saying he has it authentic back to this source. He is giving us this information. It does not mean that report as a whole is confirmed.

What about if he uses passive voice. If he uses passive voice, he is not making a declaration about the authenticity of the report. Those who use passive voice some of them sahih some of them hasan, some of them have slight weakness to them. these are mostly just statement of tabieen and sahaba. And IN Bukhari you will not find a weak report except that he will point out that it is weak.

For example, voluntarily prayer in his place. The imam should not pray a voluntary prayer at his place of prayer and he said this is not authentic. And that is true for any weak report in Sahih Bukhari. Otherwise those are quoted in passive voice are sahih but don’t meet the very strict conditions of Bukhari. He went up a level and he was taking the cream of the crop. Its not good enough to be in sahih bukhari. He will not quote it with its chain, it will be in the muallaq form. Those things that you find all of them meet the criteria of his book.

3an can be active you have to look to see what is before that. 3an is not passive or active. You have to look what is before that.

What if Al Bukhari, quotes one of his shuyookh and instead of using the technical terms like haddathani he uses the term qala. For example if he said that Qala Abdullah bin Yusuf (one of Bukhari’s teachers) , then should this be considered mu3allaq?

So basically if you say this is mu3allaq then you are accusing of Bukhari something that is not good. You are accusing him of tadlees. Tadlees is where someone narrates from his shaykh but he did not hear it from him or he is falsely reporting that he has heard this hadith from his shaykh but in fact he has not heard it from him, or there is no way for us to determine exactly how he has heard the hadith from his shaykh. Now Al Bukhari has never been accused of tadlees.

Secondly has another book tareekh al kabeer, in that book the way he narrates in the form of haddathani and qala as if it is the same. as such it cannot be considered a muallaq hadith. It is considered a hadith with a complete chain. Related to one particular topic. Bukhari narrated from by saying Qala Hisham Ibn Ammar (who was a teacher of Bukhari) and ibn Hazm came along later and said this chain is broken. He used the term munqata. It led ibn Hazm to a specific fiqh conclusion.

Many people quote him on this point and reject a specific hadith. It is from the body of the chapter. Hadith in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم siad in my ummah people try to make silk and alcohol and musical instruments halal. This hadith was rejected by ibn Hazm because Bukhari used the term Qala. His view has been revived by those who want to make music halal. They are talking about qala hisham ibn ammar. They are following ibn hazam. As they do not agree with him on this.

Hisham ibn Ammar was Al Bukhari’s teacher. The chapter heading is what has been reported making khmar permissible and giving it a different name. So scholars have come along after Ibn Hazm and refuted him. This is an example of how revisionists can come later and try to interpret things differently.

One of the things we see in al Bukhari’s work together some people have put the number at 9000-12000 and it has a lot of repititions. So the actual number comes to 3000. One of the unique aspects of al Bukhari is that he rarely repeats the hadith in exactly the same way. He will present the chain in muallaq form to show something about the narrator. So there is always some benefit in the way he repeated it. He is giving us additional information which we don’t find elsewhere.

An example of a hadith that does not meet his criteria is hasan. Volume one page 59 and the chapter heading book of knowledge it is essential to know ….......
So here he is quoting not as a hadith and he says religious scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. Allah will make easy for him the path to Paradise. These are lines directly out of the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. This is probably hasan. Here he just highlights the meaning but does not attribute it as a statement or quote it as a hadith of the prophet.

Q: Why do people have problem with the hadith in the body of the chapter?
A: Scholars of hadith do not have any problems at all. It is some such as ibn Hazm who was a maverick and he had a problem with it.

There is one in the introduction. So there are no muallaq in the body of the chapter. In his book tareekh al kabeer he considered equal. You have to know the terminology of the ulama.

We can assume that all active voice mu3allaq chapter heading reports can be found elsewhere in Sahih Bukhari itself. For passive voice mu3allaq chapter heading reports we have to suspend judgement???? Is this correct????

Sunan Abi Dawood and Sunan ar Tirmidhi have mu3allaq reports. How do we treat them?
They are weak, they have nothing special about them.
Can muallaq be raised to hasan. We will talk about this later.

Muwatta of Imam Malik
There are at least four or five translation of muwatta of Imam Malik in English. With respect to other books of hadith it is not simply a collection of hadith. It has a lot of non hadith reports in it as well. So what is the big deal because isn’t Al Bukhari doing the same?

Bukhari is using them in the chapter headings but in the muwatta they are in the body and they form a bulk of the text. And there is another difference, the muwatta of imam malik is not as detailed. He is very loose in requiring all the chains of it.

There are a large number of reports in the muwatta of imam malik known as Al Balaghat al muwatta. Which means ballaghani that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, these are mu3allaqat. He doesn’t give this part of the chain. They are in reality mu3allaqat.

Should we not treat the mu3allaqat of Sahih Bukhari like the mu3allaqat of Muwatta of Imam Malik? So what about that? If Malik is basing it on the body of his work then does he think it is authentic? His book his hujjah in maliki fiqh.

So why the ulama of hadith don’t treat the two the same is because of hadith and the writings of Maliki scholars like ibn abdul barr. He has two large commentaries on the muwatta of Imam Malik one is At Tamheed published in 12 volumes He discusses the hadith found in the muwatta of imam malik. The other one is Al Istidkar is published in 32 volumes with footnotes. Al-Istidhkâr li Madhhab `Ulamâ' al-Amsâr fîmâ Tadammanahu al-Muwatta' min Ma`ânî al-Ra'î wal-Athâr

He traced back all of the reports and he researched all of the reports and he found that many of them have weak or very weak isnaads. They are not of the same quality as Imam Bukhari.

Malikis are not happy with this conclusion since his muwatta is considered hujjah. But that is the conclusion of the scholars of hadith.

2011-01-30 Class Notes


We have covered the following types of weak hadith:
1. Mursal
2. Munqata3
3. Muallaq
4. Mu3adhil

What is the common link between all of them?
The above categories of  weak hadith have an obvious break in chain.

Next we will discuss weak hadith that have a non obvious break in chain. Someone who is not that much of an expert he should be able to recognize when you have a chain of this nature.

When the break in the chain is non obvious, you have to be an expert in hadith to recognize it


These are the passive participles. You then have the active participles. Sometimes you may see that in a sentence. The mursil is the one who narrated in mursal form. Mu3dhal is the one who presented in mu3dhal form. Munqata3 comes from form 7. The verb that this comes from, is almost passive. you dont have that kind of thing here. First of this non obvious form is mudallas

It is a report that is like mursal. mudallas comes from the word tadlees. Dallassa, yudallisu tadleesan. Word meaning deception. And it is considered a non obvious break because it looks the chain is connected. To the point that some people may thing there is no  break in the chain. Tadlees has many different types. We will talk about them.

Tadlees at taswiyya and tadlees al isnad. The best definition of tadlees is: When a narrator narrates a hadith on the authority of one of his teachers.......

Let us say we have two narrators A and B. B narrates 100 hadith. Lets say 101st hadith he has a hadith but he did not hear from A and then he narrates it on his authority then this is tadlees.

Most commonly when you hear the hadith from your teacher directly you will say something like sam3tu. These expressions imply a direct link between you and your source. So for example if you say Shaykh Muhammad narrated to me and i did not hear it directly from him then this person is a liar.

The way he can circumvent this is by using an ambiguous term like 3an. When you say 3an you are not claiming you heard it directly from the teacher. That term does not guarantee it. When people quote Tabari’s tafseer they say 3an Tabari. There are centuries between them and Tabari.

3an is a very generic term. Even if the person heard it directly from the teacher they can use 3an. And that is why this is a problem here. The word is so ambiguous that it can be used for both direct transmission and indirect as well. This is a broken chain but the break is not so obvious. It is only obvious if you know some additional thing about a narrator that the person is a mudallis then you can say something is going on here. On the face value the hadith looks ok.

It is important to keep in mind that tadlees is not the same thing as lying. Because he received it on the authority of B. He is not lying technically speaking so we cannot put him in the category of lying. Do we like what he did? No. because a if he commits tadlees he drops someone in the chain and he is making the chain look unbroken.

Suppose we know narrator A and we know he commits tadlees and now he says 3an B.  

Another question is that if someone is missing or not ? The problem here is that if he uses 3an we don’t know if the make tadlees or not. this is creating a problem?

Is the person who is committing tadlees, trustworthy or not?
If he is committing tadlees, can you still claim that is trustworthy?
Answers: There could be case of innocent tadlees, or he performed it unknowingly

How can we logically say that he is thiqa or sundooq?
Ibn Hajr says of something that he is thiqa but commits tadlees.

If you caught someone lying in school, can you say that he is lying in school but everywhere else we trust him?

The standard among scholars of hadith is that committing tadlees does not afect the adala of the narrator. He still could be considered thiqah, even though he commits tadlees. We will discuss later how we handle narrator who commits tadlees.

Some of the earlier scholars disliked tadleees, for example shu3ba ibn al hajjaj, he said that tadlees is the brother of lying, he further states that I would prefer to commit the sinful act of zinah then commit tadlees.

Most of the scholars of hadith had lenient view of tadlees. Some forms of tadlees are less reprehensible then others.

Tadlees al Taswiyya
We will begin with the most reprehensible type of tadlees. The worst kind is tadlees at taswiyya. It has another name which is tajweed.
Taswiyya means to beautify something. So tadlees al taswiyya is to take an ugly chain and make it beautiful.
This is the worst kind of tadlees where you have a chain. You have M here who is the mudallis. He has a chain back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

Depiction of the chain from M to the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
M - A - B haddathana - C haddathana - D - E - Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم

In between you might find haddathni, akhbarani, does not matter. So what he does in order to improve the aulity of the isnaad, he narrates it like this

Altered chain of narrators
M - A - 3an - D - E - Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم
(he drops the weak narrators B and C). This is not lying but its not good.


If A B and C and D are from the generation then this looks even more problematic. If A were a student of D then you can make this chain look authentic by dropping the people in between. An example of a hadith of this nature:

Examples of Tadlees al Taswiyya
There is a hadith narrated from Baqaiya ibn al walid, from Ishaq ibn abi Farwa, from Nafe3, from ibn Umar that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Do not praise a man’s islam.... (full hadeeth please I missed this part went to prayer)..

The only real problem with this chain is Ishaq ibn abi Farwa. And baqiya ibn al waleed was someone who committed tadlees at taswiya and so we did was when he used to narrate this hadith he used to narrate this by saying haddathana abu Wahab al Asadi.

Then he changed the chain to say abu Wahab al Asadi 3an Nafe3 an ibn Umar.
What he did was to use another name for a narrator. Abu Wahab al Asadi is just another name for abu Umar.

The scholars of hadith know that this chain came from Ubaydullah. So he had to change Ubaydullah’s name so that they would not find out that the dropped the name of Ishaq. Al waleed ibn muslims is another one.

In another example, the narrator is weeding out weak narrators between him and al Auzawi. And thus this person ruined the hadith of Auzawi. When asked why he did it, and he said that al-Auzawi was too exulted to be narrating from these people. So he dropped the people. The scholar told him that when you delete these people from al-Auzawi’s chain then you make him look very weak. This kind of tadlees does affect a narrators 3adalah.

Another individual who was known to do this was Sulayman ibn Mahran ibn a3mash. The hadith states that “whoever is affllicted with any kind of disease or losing his wealth and remains patient and does not complain to the people then Allah has a right upon that He will forgive him.” This hadith goes through Baqiyah ibn Waleed. This is considered a fabricated hadith. the people he dropped from the chain are very much rejected.

Another hadith is that anyone who dies on the day of the night??? Friday will be protected from the fitnah of the grave. This hadith is from Musnad Ahmed. This chain is again from Baqiya. This is a very weak hadith because of Baqiya.

Why would anyone commit this kind of tadlees?
Baqiya and Waleed and A3mash are known to be pious Muslims. Even among pious muslims good intention is not enough. Lets say you are stupid as an example. You might do something harmful. So they say that about these people that their intentions might have been good but this was done as ijtihad on their part. So for example if they felt these narrators up in the chain are good and the hadith is good then they may go ahead and do something of this nature. The scholars of hadith considered this practice to be dangerous.

If you read the story of the bible and the early copiers of the bible they made a lot of ijtihad. They had a lot of sects. So they would sometimes tamper with the evidence to prevent the sects from using the evidence to prove their point. The scholars of hadith were not interested in that practice.

Even if the hadith is good, or it has a nice influence etc, if you cannot trace it back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then it does not matter.

If you go to people today and ask about Baqiya etc. People will not know them as scholars but as narrators as hadith. The fact that these peole were highlighted and blamed and this is one of the worse acts you could do.

Principle: Hadith is not the fact what you think is good but rather what is narrated authentically from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Dealing with someone of this nature, what you will see is he might have got that narration. ???


How to handle tadlees al taswiya hadith?
In case of tadlees at taswiya you have to look at the whole chain. Because remember they are not liars. They are not adding haddathani. Anywhere in the chain he commits tadlees at tasiwiya you cannot trust that link. Anywhere there is 3an that is the weakest link.

We will discuss later how to handle the person who commits tadlees al taswiyya.

Q: Is the 3adala of the person committing tadlees as-taswiyaah is questionable ? Yes, as the magnitude of tadlees is much greater than tadlees As-shuyookh.

Tadlees al taswiyya is different from what Bukhari used to do.

Suppose you have a chain Al Bukhari --> Teacher Abdulla --> Either B and C ---> D ---> E ----> Prophet.  
In the above chain, C is the weak narrator and B is thiqah.

And when Bukhari narrates the hadith, he simply drops C from the chain. Remember there are two chains between A and D. Bukhari does not give you all of the chains. Why should he have to mention C?

Because there is a chain from his teacher via B to D. And this is not  the case of tadlees and it is a perfectly acceptable practice as he has complete the chain through D and he does not have to mention C.


Tadlees al Qata3i
Another type of tadlees is tadlees al qata3i, it is mentioned in the book of uloom ul hadeeth but Shaykh thinks it is very rare. Some of the category of tadlees they talk about alhought they dont have much meaning to it.

Tadless al Qata3i you mention a scholar’s name or narrator’s name without any term before it, you don’t say Qaala or Haddathini or 3an, but you just say Zuhri and quote the hadeeth. In this kind you are not stating how you got from Zuhri as you dont say haddathani or 3an like Zuhri hadathani naafi3 3n ibn umar so in this you don;t mention how you got this from Zuhri. You just have his name there.

Tadlees al Isnaad
The most important or common type of tadleel which is known as tadlees al-isnad. You are narrating from the teacher which you did not hear directly from the teacher.

Why would someone commit tadlees al isnaad? Would it be for positive or negative reasons?
1) Maybe he did not want to admit that he didn’t hear this from his teacher especially if he heard from someone who is younger than him or less status as he may not feel good that he did not hear it directly from the teacher, so he drops the narrator from the person who is of less status than him and then attributes the narration directly to his teacher.  
2) He may feel that if he narrates directly from the narrator, people might not accept it, so the drops the narrator and narrates it from his teacher.
3) He might want to shorten the chain


2011-03-27 Class Notes


Reminder of tadlees al isnaad, where in you report a hadith from one of your shaykh, even though you did not hear it directly from your shaykh (teacher).

Tadlees al tasweeyah where you drop someone further in the chain and replace it with aan.

Tadlees al shuyookh ( تدليس الشيوخ ):  
You are giving the name to one of the narrators and that name is not what the narrators are usually known as. So you are not droping somebody from the chain, however you are replacing the name with a less well known name. [Ed: My interpretation is You are trying to create confusion about who exactly narrated the hadith, or make it appear as if there is somebody else who is reporting the hadith.]

Someone might be known by more than one name. If you narrate hadith from Abu Mus’ab or Abdulaziz and the person is known by those two names that is not tadlees.

Example: Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hanbal is not actually the father of Hanbal, it is his grandfather. His father’s name was Hilaal. Why would you narrate it as Ahmad b Hilaal? To avoid political problems (e.g. Mu’tazili leader).

Story tellers are those who stand up after prayers and try to encourage people to pray or bring them to tears. Usually they are not reliable. We will discuss them later. One story teller reported a story in masjid in Baghdad and he was caught red handed by two narrators who are mentioned by the story teller. The story teller said how do you know there are no other xyz with the same name. And sheikh mentioned that this story itself about the story teller cannot be authenticated. So most likely it is a fabrication.

The most common reason is to hide a weak narrator, this is a negative reason for doing this tadlees. For example, to use the kunya to hide the real name of a weak narrator.

This tadlees is not considered as bad as tadlees al isnad because you are not dropping anybody from the chain. However if you use a kunya that is same as somebody else who is well known, then you might fool some.

Another concern is that if you are not careful, the narrator might not be known, so the hadith becomes majhool al-haal.

Here the kunya has to be real names, if you use fabricated names, then you are lying, Then it is no longer tadlees al shuyookh. There could be some fancy ways of referring to somebody. Sheikh mentioned aliases of a geographical region.

Atiyya ibn Sa’d al-Awfi -- amongst the people he narrated from is abu saeed al-khudri and also from Muhammed ibn al-sa’ib al-kalbi. Kalbi is not considered an authentic narrator. Both have the same kuniya as  Abu-Saeed. So if Atiyya narrated a hadith from Abu-Saeed did he mean al Kalbi or al-Khudri, although Kalbi was not kown as Abu saeed although he has the kuniya as Abu saeed. This is tadlees as shuyookh as Kalbi was not to be Abu saeed among the people. Attiya did this in innocence not intentional.

Thus Al-Awfi narrates anything from Abu Saeed in tafseer it is rejected -- because we don’t know which person he is referring to. And Al-Kalbi narrated nothing but tafseer; even though possibly Al-Khudri may have narrated something.

Al-Waleed ibn-Muslim used to make tadlees al-taswiya, tadlees al-isnaad and tadlees al-shuyookh. He would narrate from two narrators who would narrate from Al-Zuhri. One of them is trustworthy, and one of them was rejected. And both of them would be called Abu-Amr although one was not known among the people as Abu Amr. You can also play games with surname/geographical names (e.g. Al-Timimi or Al-Zubaidi).

It is usually cleared up by narrations from other narrators, then you’ll see where someone is there, you’ll see who is doing Tadlees Al-Shuyookh.

There can still be some cases where it is very difficult if not impossible for the scholar to recognize. But they are conservative, they err on the side of caution and they will reject it out of caution.

Tadlees started to take off during the time of the tabi-tabi’een, and some places were better known for it, e.g. Kufa but people from Hijaaz were known rarely if ever to commit tadlees.

Note that for most scholars, tadlees is not sufficient for marking a narrator as universally rejected.

So how do we deal with mudalliseen? Many early ‘ulema had harsh terms. Shu’ba b. Al-Hajjaj was one of the early scholars (tabiee or tabi-tabiee)of uloom of hadith. And he would say things like “I would preferred to be dropped from th sky than to commit tadlees”. Others considered tadlees a form of lying. But note that the people who were more moderate became more popular.

How to deal with them?
There are five or six basic positions.

Opinion #1 The opinion of Zaidis and Ibn Hazm: Treat them like Mursal Hadith
You accept the narrations of those narrators that commit tadlees. They are treating it like Mursal hadith: we’re trusting him, he’s narrating from someone we trust. This opinion is also common amongst the fuqaha.

But the scholars of hadith would respond that it’s not that simple: we may trust that person, but perhaps that person made a mistake. So we can not simply accept that he trusted him; we need to be able to analyze the other hadith.

It is also surprising that ibn Hazm also has this opinion, according to the Sheikh. In their eyes, the authenticity of the hadith is not affected by this tadlees. Ibn Hazm is not mentioned as ulema of hadith.

Opinion #2 We reject all the opinions of mudalliseen without any exceptions
We are going to reject all his narrations irrespective of whether the report says hadathana or akbarahana. This is the extreme counter-opinion of the opinion #1 which is also an extreme opinion and there are not many who belong to this camp.

Opinion #3 If we know someone committed tadlees even once, we will not accept his hadith unless he explicitly states the narrator and we will not accept narrations if he uses ‘an. If he uses haddathani or sami’tu we will accept it.
This is the opinion of Imam Shafiee and also ibn Hibban.

Ibn Hibban said that a mudallis, a situation where tadlees is committed, we are not allowed to accept that report as an authority, unless he explicitly states haddathana or samitu.

The way these narrators were caught, they were interrogated at the end of the hadith session whether he heard it directly from his sheikh. Since he is not a liar, he will have to use vague terms such as me and my sheikh heard it, And this is how this types of tadlees perpetrators were caught.

Opinion #4: If a narrator is well known for committing tadlees, then we reject his reports completely even if he makes it clear how he received the hadith.

Narrator makes a lot of tadlees and we have lost trust in his narrations. His character is blemished.
In this opinion resorting to tadlees damages your reputation. Some people claim this was the view of Bukhari and Muslim, but Sheikh does not necessarily agree with that. It is the view of Ali ibn Al-Madeenee who holds this opinion. Ali b. Madeenee was asked about a mudallis who uses the phrase haddathanaa, he replied that if the majority of his narrations contain tadlees, then even if he uses haddathana, it is not accepted. This is likely to also be the opinion of Imam Ahmad. He was asked about someone who does tadlees, and uses haddathana, and Imam Ahmad said “la adri” which means he would not accept the narrations.

This is very similar to opinion #2, but not as strong.  It does not matter what type of report it is, whether it hadathana, sami’tu etc.

Q: What is the distinction between haddathani and sami’tu.
A: Sami’tu and haddathani mean largely the same thing.

Q: Definition of the term mursal linguistically.  
A: It can be used for example for someone who passes on a message. It is used as mursaleen or messengers.

Opinion #5: Accept mudalliseen if they only “drop” thiqah narrators
This is a difficult position, but clearly given that the Sahabah used to narrate mursal hadith -- which is a form of tadlees. So that is the reason for this opinion.

Opinion #6: Accepting tadlees amongst the first three generations, but not from other than them
Thaafir Ahmad Al-Thanvi: A classical Hanafi -- if the mudallis is from the first three generations, then we accept the tadlees. After the first three generations we do not accept it.  
This is because of the virtues of the first three generations. Some say tadlees of the first three generations is accepted.
Even if people are trustworthy, they might make mistakes. And the only way to determine authenticity, we need complete narrations to ascertain authenticity.

Opinion #7: A subset of Imam Shafiee’s opinion is that we accept that tadlees of narrators whose reports are mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

Even it the narrator who commited tadlees use Aan, and if the same report is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, then we will accept that narration.. We will discuss this opinion later. By the way, this is not necessarily a minority view.


Catalog of narrators who committed tadlees
Afterwards, books were released enumerating the different people who committed tadlees. When this was done, the scholars put the people who did tadlees into different categories.

Ibn Hajr’s categorization (ta’reef ahl-al taqdees bimaraatib al-mawsoofoona bil-tadlees --
تعريف أهل التقديس بمراتب الموصوفين بالتدليس)
Example, Ibn Hajr has a collection of narrators who just committed tadlees. In that book he then categorized them into 5 different categories:

1. Those well-known trustworthy scholars who rarely committed tadlees and if they did more a mistake like it was a slip of the tongue and therefore they do not fall under the category of the mudalliseen. We accept their hadeeth -- There are 33 people in this category.
2. They were great scholars who committed tadlees, but were fully aware of the importance of maintaining the hadith, and only did tadlees with thiqah. We accept their hadeeth as well. Examples: Sufyan b. Uyaynah, Sufyan Al-Thawri -- In this category there are 33 narrators.
3. Narrators who committed tadlees so only accepted if they mention how they heard the hadith -- In this category there are 50 narrators. Some scholars accept those narrators iin general, others do not. Some scholars accepted the narrators even if they use Aan. (example: Hassan Al-Basri, but Ibn Hajr puts him in 2nd category, qatadah)
4. Narrators who scholars agree should not be accepted unless they say the means -- There are 12 narrators in this category. The difference of this with category 3 is that, in 3 there are people who accept the hadeeth in general but where as in this category they don’t accept
5. Narrators who are weak anyway so we would not accept that hadith in any case -- 14 narrators.


2011-04-03 Class Notes


Criticism of narrators
Is tadlees a kind of critique (al jarh -- الجرح) of a narrator? Yes, even if we don’t reject his narration altogether. The strongest opinion amongst jarh is that a negative claim about a narrator will not be accepted unless there is some proof. The burden of proof for tadlees is upon the individual that is claiming someone else is doing tadlees.

False accusation of tadlees
If accusation of tadlees is made against well known scholars, then the burden of proof is against the one making the accusation.

Abu Zubair many later scholars made claims that he was doing tadlees, but they had to bring forward proof. A careful analysis of his sources indicates that he did not do tadlees.

Committing tadlees on authority of some narrators
Other narrators were known to make tadlees only in very specific cases. If you can go through and identify that he only made tadlees from narrators, then we accept those narrators for whom he made tadlees. For example Al-A’mash (الأعمش) -- but he said specifically that certain narrators, if I narrate on their authorities I am not making tadlees. Another important one is Ibn Jurayj. He would commit tadlees on the authority of weak narrators, but one of the most important teachers was Ataa b. Abi Rabaah (عطاء ابن أبي رباح), but he said “even if I say sami’tu with respect to Ataa, I heard it from him directly.

There were other narrators who were very strict about tadlees and would ask people who would narrate from someone if they knew that there Shu’bah b Al Hajjaj (شعبه ابن الحجاج) Yahya b Saeed Al-Qattan (يحيي ابن سعيد القطان)

If we see that Muhammad is someone who makes tadlees and the chain says Muhammad on authority of Z (Shu’bah an Muhammad an Abdullah). We see that Muhammad committed tadlees and it belongs to this category, then we accept it, because of the authority granted by the most immediate narrator. It is relagated to just one shaikh and not to anybody else.

Mudalliseen (those who committed tadlees) in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Another important issue has to do with mudalliseen from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Are there mudalliseen in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim? How about in the body of the text in Sahih Bukhari? How about mudalliseen using the word Aan? Somebody from category 3 of tadlees?

Note: Mudalliseen from category 1 and 2 are not a problem, we accept them. We will focus on categories 3 and 4.

Statistics of Category 3 narrators in Sahih Bukhari (from 12,000)
In Sahih Bukhari, 23 narrators from Category 3. Of those, some hadith in which they say sami’tu and others where they say ‘an.  Those 23 narrators have 547 hadith where they say sami’tu, and 796 hadith where they say ‘an (59% mu’an’an).

Statistics of Category 4 narrators in Sahih Bukhari
From Category 4, there are 6 narrators, 37 hadith are explicitly stated, with 26 mu’an’an.

Statistics of Category 3 narrators in Sahih Muslim
In Sahih Muslim there are 26 narrators, 534 explicitly stated, 893 hadith are mu’an’an

Statistics of Category 4 and 6 narrators in Sahih Muslim
category 4, 6 narrators, 66 explicitly stated, 36 mu’an’an.

Statistics of Category 5 narrators in Sahih Muslim
Category 5, 2 narrators, 2 hadith both mu’an’an.

How did we deal with muallaq hadith in Sahih Bukhari?
Ibn Hajr wrote 4 volume book about muallaq hadith and where else can you find their narrations else where in the book.

Ibn Hajr did not produce any work for mudalliseen. In fact we see the application of Principle of Charity when dealing with the mudalliseen.

In Western scholarly work, it they come across some dogma that is in contradiction to other dogma, they say that since the contradicted dogma is accepted by many, they give it the benefit of doubt.

Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim were canonized, but amongst many scholars, they still prefer to take every hadith on its own merits. But amongst other ulema, anything that is in these two works is Sahih and no one can come and critique it.

How do we deal with those hadith?

What we should wish for is that someone of the calibre of Ibn Hajr would go through the collection and determine which ones were subject to harmful tadlees, but there is no such work from earlier scholars. But this did not happen. If you look at Ibn Salaah or An-Nawawi, or Ibn Hajr, you see this principle of charity to interpret these ahadeeth with tadlees. It is assumed that Bu and Mu knew the chain through which the person verified the hadith.

Ibn Salaah said in his muqaddimah: They are in the saheehain (the two sahihs) narrations from mudalliseen using the word ‘an, it is to be interpreted or understood as direct transmission via another chain that did not have this problem. In other words, there must have been some other chain that is now lost.

Similarly Imam Nawawi and Al-Ala’i who has collection of mudalliseen. There are number of hadith that say Abu Zubair (Muhammad Ibn Muslim al-Makki) ‘an Jaabir which are rejected by Al-Albaani (partially because of this question of tadlees). We discussed it and say that the proof that Abu Zubair completed tadlees is very weak.

What al Alai basically stated concerning these narrations is that Imam Muslim was aware that there were some other narrations of this hadith from Abu Zubair.

Ibn Hajr also takes this stance. In almost all of the standard works of hadith, they mention the same principle of charity to accept that there must have been some other narration.

Discussion about tadlees in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Ali al Madini one of the teacher of Bukhari was very strict about tadlees. And he said ....

Someone claims that there is ijmaa that everything in sahih bukhari and muslim are sahih, would you accept it? What do you think about the ijmaa? Can we say that there is ijmaa about the 98% except the remaining 2%. We know that there is no ijmaa for the 2% of the hadith because of the criticism of dar al kutni and some other scholars.

Al Mustakhrajat (المستخرجات)
Al Mustakhraj is something that came after Bukhari and Muslim. We find 1000s of chains for hadith in Bukhari and Muslim. And this removes the fear of the tadlees in those hadith.

You find scholars like Nawawi and others who apply this principle of charity, even though they do not call it as such.

We don’t want narrations from Bukhari and Muslim to be with doubt, there might be some authentic chains for these hadith somewhere.

Why didn’t scholars do detailed study for mudalliseen just like the detailed study for the muallaq hadith?

What was needed was someone to sit down and say who were the mudalliseen, and this is how Bukhari and Muslim used them. In contemporary time, there is a masters dissertation on this topic by Dr Awad al Khalf wrote about the tadlees in Saheeh Muslim and Bukhari -- 2005 and 2008 (ruwayaat al mudalliseen fi saheeh al bukhari -- jam’uha wa takhreejuha wal kalaamu alayha)! The statistics above are from that source.

He broke it down into all the narrators and the different categories and analyzed each narrator one by one. When he did this, then you can become satisfied that the mudalliseen in S Bu and S Mu were not a problem. People just assumed -- tahseen al-thann bil bukhari.

Analysis of Mudalliseen
If you start analyzing them, the way they used these narrations is different. E.g. Baqiya Ibn Al-Waleed. He committed tadlees al isnaad, tadlees al-taswiya and tadlees al-shuyookh. Usually considered a category 4 narrator. You don’t find any hadith from Baqiya in which he states the source.

You will find one hadith in Sahih Bukhari in which there is a narration from him and ‘an is used after his name. This is the hadith about standing to pray and intends for it to be long, but I hear the crying of a child, so I shorten the prayer. Al-Baqiya is not mentioned in this hadith, but at the end of the hadith, Imam Bukhari says “corroborating this narration are … and Al-baqiya”. This part at the end, what is the ruling about it?

Sheikh gave us the complete chain for the hadith again, but we failed to capture it, we will have to add it from Sahih Bukhari. What is the ruling concerning those narrators?
These are muallaq reports. And it is just for supporting evidence. And remember muallaq is not considered to be the foundation of the book, basicallly muallaq hadith are used as title or introduction for a body of text.

Hadith about standing Since we have corroborating hadith, then we don't have any issues with the tadlees of this hadith.

Another example is of Mohamed ibn Ishaq. Ibn Hajr says that he is well known for committing tadlees from unknown narrators and even worse ... narrators. However ibn Hajr also says that by himself, he is honest but he committed tadlees about ibn Ishaq.  

We have five hadith from ibn Ishaq which state how he got the hadith and twelve which are muannan. If we analyze his hadith, we see that Imam Bukhari did not use him in the foundation of the book. All hadith from ibn Ishaq which are in muannan format are used in muallaq and for supporting evidence only.

Reports from Waleed ibn Muslim. He committed tadlees and tadlees al taswiyyah. He is used for supporting evidence in Bukhari and where there is possibility that he might have committed tadlees al taswiyah, Imam Bukhari brings other chains for the narration.

We are accepting the tadlees even in some cases where they are not proven.

If some one complains that there are mudalliseen, they have to show that there are no other narrations.

In case of Abu Zubair, the strongest opinion is that he did not commit tadlees.

Works of seerah are not done by scholars of hadith. They are much less stringent.

You can do the same type of analysis for Sahih Muslim.

For example, reports from Abdullah ibn Lahiyah, besides the fact that he committed tadlees, there are some question about his acceptability even when he didn’t commit tadlees.

In Muslim there is one narration from Abdullah ibn Lahiyah, but Muslim quotes him only in corroborating what someone else is saying.

So finally this author concludes:

“We have affirmed that the hadith of the mudalliseen in Sahih Bukhari do not damage the authenticity because throughout this study we have determined this, because we found narration that included a chain where he specified his means, or because it was corroborated by other sources.”

The author makes a similar conclusion for Sahih Muslim.

Conclusion is that we do not have to apply the principle of charity. Because when you analyze the hadith, you find corroborating evidence for the hadith if used as foundation of the book.

We also have to be aware of how the earlier scholars used the word tadlees. Is their understanding of the word the same as that of the later scholars. This could also remove the label of mudalliseen for some of the narrators.


2011-04-10 Class Notes



The term tadlees linguistically means deception, for our discussion it means that you narrate hadith on the authority of your shaikh even though you did not hear it from him.

Mursal al Khafii

Ibn As-Salah ابن صلاح was the first one to introduce this term. It means something hidden or obscured.

Contemporaneous narrator quoting on the authority of another, whom he had never met or he had met but did not hear the hadith from him, did not have any formal session of hadith transmission between them. They did not have sama’ah (سماعة) between them.

The early ulema never used this term. What did they use instead? Because there must have been situations where the narrator is narrating from a contemporaneous narrator but never met him. The earlier scholars called this act, tadlees. Is this deserving of using the term tadlees?

Does the narrator know that he did not hear from the other narrator or not?
Yes, the narrator knows that he did not hear it from the other narrator in a formal hadith session.
Narrator might have met him but there was no sama’ah.


The usage of tadlees evolved over time. You have to know the terminology of the scholars and the history of the terminology.

Ed: You cannot use a later definition of tadlees and apply it to the earlier usage or vice versa.

Ulema will sometimes give historical context but in general they don’t do so.

When you research the books of tadlees and the narrrators who did tadlees, ibn Hajr and others, they dont give you all of their sources, they just mention that this person committed tadlees.

So you have to research what the early scholars meant by the word tadlees when they reported some narrators practicing it.

Is it a big problem that the terminology and usage has evolved or changed?

What are the implications of categorizing some narrators as committing tadlees by the earlier scholars and then using the later definition of the term tadlees?

Narrator A is known to commit tadlees according to the later scholars.

Narrator A  has a set of narrators with whom he had a hadith transmission session or sama’ah. And Narrator A used the term Aan when reporting hadith from these narrators. Are we going to allow the usage of the term Aan in this case? So since we know A committed tadlees, the later scholars say that we reject them because of the fact that A is known to commit tadlees. Here the chain is mudallees.

Narrator A has a set of narrators with whom he never met or never had sama’ah with them. Here the chain from A to these narrators is broken.   According to the later ulema, this act of Narrator A with this set of narrators is not tadlees, but the first set is tadlees. Here is the chain is broken and it is known as muqatta. According to the later scholars, this is definitely a broken chain but the above set is not definite, and it becomes wrapped in the suspicion of tadlees.


Narrator B is know to commit tadlees according to the earlier scholars.

And we have the same two sets of narrators, one set with whom he has sama’ah and one set with whom  he might have met but did not have sama’ah with them.  According to the earlier ulema, the tadlees of Narrator B is the one with whom he did not have sama’ah and did not commit tadlees with the set of narrators with whom he had sama’ah.


So the case of tadlees is flipped if we take the definition of ealier or later scholars.

If you take later definition of tadlees, then you will reject all hadith narrated by B which used term Aan for narrating hadith with whom he had hadith session and if you use the earlier definition of tadlees, you will reject narrations from B to set of narrators with whom he did not have a hadith transmission session.


So we have to know who called a narrator mudallees, was it an earlier scholar or a later scholars and what could he have possibly meant by the usage of the term mudallees.


Hasan al Basri
One of the very disputed individuals is Hasan Al Basri. He is included in most of the books of tadlees. Sometimes he is put in the 3rd category and sometimes in 4th category.

ibn Hajr describes Hasan al Basri as trustworthy, faqih, well known virtuous person, and he used to narrate many reports from people he had not met and he used to commit tadlees.

So narrating reports from narrators he had not met, would be tadlees according to earlier scholars and mursal al khafii by later scholars.

Most of the statements that describe Hasan al Basri, the critique of Hasan al Basri is that he is narrating from people whom he had not met.

Al Albaani commenting on a statement by Dhahabi, he said that what is meant by tadlees of Hasan al Basri is refers to hadith of the sahaba whom he had not met. And he says I never seen any hadith that are rejected when Hasan al Basri is narrating from the tabayeen. So his conclusion is that Hasan al Basri is committing tadlees only with respect to narrators whom he has not met. So he is challenging the statement of ibn Hajr and anybody else who say that he committed tadlees according to the later scholars. He says that he onlyu committed tadlees according to the definition of the earlier scholars.

Al Bukhari’s treatment of Hasan al Basri
A contemporary scholar, Sharaf al Auni, wrote a PhD dissertation about Mursal al Khafii and he took Hasan al Basri for his study and he demonstrated that he did not committ tadlees according to the later scholars. He gives examples of how Bukhari dealt with the narrations of Hasan al Basri to prove his thesis.

Maturation of science is that the terms become more precise. It would be a grave mistake to take a precise definition and use it to understand the usage of the term by the earlier scholars.

Al Alaai would included only those narrators who committed tadlees according to the earlier scholars. So a later compilation of mudalleesin cannot blindly take this set of narrators and include them in his list.

PhD students who do work of takhreej, depending upon the quality of their advisors, if he is 25 or 26 years old and he does not have experience of this evolution of terminology, then their takhreej is not going to be of good quality. If they blindly take the list from ibn Al Hajr and if their advisor has not guided them, then you know that the takhreej will have some serious defects.

List of types of weak hadith that we have discussed so far

Mursal
One of the tabieen is reporting from the prophet but the name of the sahaaba is missing in the chain

Munqata
Generic term for a break in the chain

Muallaq
Break at the beginning of the chain, could be one or more than one narrator. So the chain is broken between the last narrator and its precedent narrator. It could be one or more narrators.

Mu’dhal
Chain in which two consecutive narrators are missing

Mudallas
Deceptive act of hiding a narrator in the chain

Mursal al Khafii
Reporting on behalf of contemporaneous narrator with whom he had not met or did not have a hadith transmission session

These are the different kinds of weak hadith which elude to that fact the there is some kind of break in the hadeeth.

How weak should this category of the hadith should be because not all hadith are weak as there are some hadith they are weaker than others. Some weak hadith we can corroborate with other and raise in the Hassan. In this set someone missing in the chain how weak is this hadith ?

How would you compare a munqata hadith with a chain that has a known fasiq in its chain?
It is perplexing to the shaikh that the break in the chain is not considered as weak as the chain that has known fasiq narrators.  The scholars of hadith do not have trouble with raising the level of hadith with a broken chain.

2011-04-17 Class Notes


Two potential problems with narrators:
  • Lack of Adaalah (integrity/righteousness)
  • Lack of Thabt (proficiency)


The worst of all hadith are Mawdu’ موضوع (fabricated) hadith. That is a separate category.

Just above that category is matrook (متروك)  and matrooh (متروح).

Definition of Matrook
Something matrook is left behind because there is no benefit to it. It is a hadith that has no benefit in it. Matrook is when there is a narrator who has been implicated in lying. In the case of mawdoo, it is clearly proven. In general they gave people the benefit of the doubt. So if you can not absolutely prove that someone has lied then you call it matrook. E.g. what he narrates does not mesh with what everybody else narrates. Claims to have narrations that nobody else has.

We will talk mostly about matrook. Matrooh is rarely mentioned.

Origins of the category Matrook
This categorization of hadith as matrook or matrooh as a separate entity is the invention of ibn Hajr . If he established

Al-Suyooti has a small book -- tadreeb al rawi sharh taqreeb al-Nawawi which is an abridgement of Ibn Salah’s work, there are many editions of this book. Taqreeb means to bring the book closer to the people, it aims to resonate with the people. The problem is that it needs commentary. Which makes the book larger. This is the history of the Islamic literature that books that aim to become abridgements needed commentaries which then made the volumes larger in size.

Suyooti’s definition of Matrook
Narrated by someone who is accused of lying and in its text that has some concept that contradicts a basic principle of Islam, or some basic hadith; or someone who is known to make very egregious errors. His definition is bit different.

The modern day scholars go by Ibn Hajr’s definition. Why?
What ibn Hajr has defined is going to have more significance than Suyooti. Suyooti encompasses many fields, he is a jack of all trades and his significance is not the same as ibn Hajr.

Al Albaani uses all of these terms, he even uses hasan sahih. And he explains his usage of the terms.

If somebody just uses the term Matrook, then it is understood that it is ibn Hajr’s definition.

Conclusion of Matrook Hadith
The important conclusion is that this is the bottom or most lowly of the categories of weak hadith. There is no value given to them whatsoever. It is short of fabricated hadith. It is weakest of the weak hadith.

There is not enough evidence to conclude definitely that a narrator is lying, but all signs are implicating that he is lying.

Matrook and Matrooh are easy to deal with. Just stay away from it.

At the bottom is the fabricated hadith.

Example of Matrook Hadith
One important hadith that is classified as matrook is found in Tirmidhi -- he said something about it being a hadith ghareeb, but he did not call it matrook, since the terminology did not exist then:

Be moderate in the love of your beloved, because some day your beloved might become hated to you, and be moderate in your hate of your hated one, because some day that person whom you hated might become beloved to you.

One of the narrators of the chain is implicated of lying.

Note: We are moving from the bottom to the top of weak hadith discussion. Fabricated, Matrook, Matrooh and then Munkar.

Hadith with no weight in Shariah

There are some hadith that we do not give any weight to whatsoever. There are others that under some conditions that we might give some weight to, for example if there are corroborating hadith that might elevate another hadith to Hassan.

Munkar Hadith (منكر)

Literary meaning
Means to reject something or deny something. Or something that is not recognized.

Shariah meaning
Shariah finds everything about it abhorred and it is disliked by the shariah.

Uloom al hadith meaning
It is one of the terms that you have to know who is using it and what context. You could come to some wrong conclusions, if you do not know the context.

After a while there might be a dominant meaning, but when you refer to old literature, then you have to know its usage and who used it.

Three dissertations that discuss the various meanings of Munkar Hadith

Sheikh Al-A’thami said: if you want to grade hadith, fine, but please do it as the last thing of your life -- because there is so much subtlety in the nuances of meanings of words etc.

You can find 5-7 definitions for the uses of the word Munkar. And some of them are different from others. Don’t always reject it :-)

Earliest definition of Munkar which was used by earlier scholars:
Anything that is solitarily or uniquely narrated by a trustworthy narrator (what might be called fard). Imam Ahmad and Yahya Al-Qattan define it as something that is narrated from this trustworthy individual and only that trustworthy individual, even if the way he narrates it doesn’t contradict other sources.

(Students asked does it mean gharib, shaykh is asking us to stick to the terms he is using and not to stray from it.)

A trustworthy narrator that is narrating that nobody else has. It is opposite of maroof. Does that mean it has to be rejected.

Yahya Al Qattan used to reject it by this definition. He was very tough in grading hadith.

Early scholars like Imam Ahmad used it to signify a solitary narration from a trustworthy narrator.

For example hadith about a Muslim does not inherit from a non-Muslim and vice versa narrated by Malik An Zouhri, Ali ibn  Hussein, Umar ibn Uthman, Imam Malik

This hadith is known as Munkar because the only narrator from Umar bin othmaan is Imam Malik. Others have it but from different narrators.

PhD dissertation brings out different examples of this usage of Munkar from evidences.

Lots of scholars who use this term: qattan, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Dawood, An-nisaa’ee.

Important aspect of this definition is that a trustworthy narrator is bringing some additional information or aspect that nobody else has expounded before. This is known as ziyaadah althiqah -- زيادة الثقة . Should we reject it just because of its solitary nature?

This topic of ziyaadat al thiqah is one of the major differences between old and new scholars. One recent book is by Mustafa Abdurrazaaq Al-mohammadi.

Q: What did Imam Bukhari do regarding ziyaadah al thiqah
A: This is one of the areas where research and compilation of what the earlier scholars did is yet to be done. And we will discuss what Imam Bukhari did later.

Later scholars do not use munkar in this aspect of the solitary nature and something that brings ziyaadah al thiqaah.

Another definition of the word munkar
A generic term for rejected hadith. E.g. at that time, if the scholar is not being specific. Perhaps they mean “munkar” in terms of this classification, but at other times, it is just a general term.

Another definition
A hadith which is solitarily narrated by weak narrators. But there is no implication of contradicting reports from other narrators.

Example: Hadith about Al hamdullillah after someone sneezes -- there is a variant that says “yaghfir allahu lakkum). An-Nisaa’eee said it is munkar simply because of having a narrator.

Or another hadith about eating balah vs thamar. Al-Thahabi points out this is munkar.

The “standard” definition of Munkar????
A hadith that only comes through weak narrators that also contradicts stronger narrations. Distinction between this and shaath (hadith with hidden defect): solitarily narrated by trustworthy narrators is shaath versus hadith narrrated by weak narrators that contradicts stronger narrations is munkar.

The opposite of munkar is maroof.

Example of hadith that is munkar of this nature
Whoever established the salah, give zakat, does hajj and is hospitable to his guests will enter Jannah.

Abu Hatim says that this is munkar. Anybody know why?

In this particular case it is narrated by ibn Abbas from the prophet (pbuh). It is maroof if it is a statement of ibn Abbas. The only ones who narrate as marfooh (statement of the prophet) are from rejected narrators.

Munkar hadith cannot be used as supporting evidence.

Q: Is being solitary a problem?
A: Being solitary is a problem. If scholars reject trusted narrators that are solitary, but the modern definition of weak narrators that is solitary and is contradicting stronger narrations, then you will have problems with it.

By the time of Imam Ahmad, the books were compiled and the information was widely known.

Q: What about books that were destroyed or burnt?
A: There were many copies in other libraries and it is not really lost.

Q: By Solitary, do we mean only one chain
A: Only one chain that is bringing something new

Hadith al Wah الحديث الواه means that hadith that is of a weak category. This is a term used by some scholars to indicate weak hadith.


Categories of rejected narrators

Would you accept a narration of a fasiq narrator?
Who is a fasiq?
Some one who goes beyond the bounds. Some kind of evil doer, some one who is committing major sins, some one who is continuosly committing minor sins according to some scholars.

Some one who is drinking whiskey in the streets of a city, would you accept his hadith?

We would all reject narrations by a fasiq.

Similarly narrators from Ahl al Biddah, because of his biddah.

What about majhool or unknown narrators?

As a category of rejected hadith, what would you call those rejected hadith?

For all of the above (fasiq, ahl al biddah, majhool), we do not have a specific category that by default they belong to.


2011-04-24 Class Notes


This is the penultimate class for this quarter. Next Sunday is the last class for the quarter.

We are discussing categories of weak hadith due to adaalah. We find in some cases such as fasiq, there are no specific categories which the hadith are assigned, they might assign it to daif jiddan.

Weak hadith due to Majhool
One who is majhool an unknown person, which is further subdivided into majhool al haal and majhool al ain

Majhool al-haal
The person is known but no information about his adaalah or thabt. Can probably tell you when and where, but can’t answer the questions. Most likely that person does not narrate that many hadith. Perhaps an outsider. Most of the question will be about his proficiency. Are we assuming his adaalah? That is the opinion of Ibn Habban. Is majhool better than missing person in the chain? Perhaps, but you don’t know.

There is no specific category for hadith in this category, it belongs to daif and not daif jiddan category. Why? and Is it fair?
We don't know that he makes lots of mistakes, we are giving him the benefit of doubt.  
If we have only few hadith narrated from him and he makes many mistakes, then you would move him to another category.

Majhool al-ain
Here we know very little about the person. Should we assume there is not so bad? These would usually be classified as weak hadith, it would be daif category. It takes a lot more evidence to move to the daif jiddan category.

Next we will discuss the Proficiency (Thaabit) of narrators and discuss various hadith narrated by them

المدرج -- Al-Mudraj

Means that something has been inserted. Can occur with either the text or the isnaad. Idraaj means something is inserted into the text of the hadith that does not belong in the text of the hadith. If this insertion comes from weak narrators, then we’ll reject it. But what if idraaj comes from strong or proficient narrators?

How do we find it out? If we have multiple chains that split at a particular narrator, then you suspect at that particular link there was idraaj.

What about idraaj for the statement of the prophet?
Consider when you are quoting a hadith that contains a difficult word -- so at that point you give the meaning of a complex word by saying yaani, you are not paraphrasing the hadith, rather you are explaing a word by inserting another word.


It can happen very innocently but without you meaning for it to become part of the hadith. But the one who hears it may not recognize whether or not it is part of the hadith. People don’t usually “footnote” spoken words. But that’s not how everyone deals with quoting. Or alternatively at the end of the hadith you give some additional information and the listener may not realize that that statement is not part of the hadith.

Idraaj in the middle of the text
For example in the hadith of A’isha, the prophet was describing how he went to the cave of Hira and he would yatahannath (يتحنّث). What is the meaning of this word? It is an unusual word. In the narration of the hadith, it says (و يتحنّث فيه  و هو التعبّد) that he would go to the cave of Hira and he would yatahannath there and it means to worship. So the words “it means to worship” is in the hadith. It is a statement from Zuhri as an explanation for the word, since it is a very uncommon word.

Another hadith, in which prophet is describing the one who gives up arguing even though he is right and the rewards for him are in the highest part of jannah. And the one who is narrating the hadith is saying that I am the guarantor of this reward and the way the prophet described it is vague. And then Ibn Wahab who is explaining the hadith about the word used for being the guarantor. Unlike many cases, it is in the middle of the hadith.

This idraaj occurs and it does for explaining a word. It is simple to explain the word. And some one who is listening might not realize that this explanation is not a part of the hadith and they might narrate the hadith with the inserted word. You need to realize that this insertion has occurred in the hadith.

Ideally, this should be left for the end of the hadith. That is the most typical way that people would deal with it.

Idraaj at the beginning or end of the text
Much more common for insertion or idraaj to occur at the beginning or the end of the text. The narrator might be supplying some kind of comment but the one who is hearing it is not realizing it is some kind of comment. It is most dangerous if it comes from the Sahabah.

Another example is the hadith of the rewards of wudu as narrated by Abu Huraira.
My ummah will be called on the Day of Judgement with the white streaks from the remains of wudu. So if anyone can increase the proportion of whiteness, let them do so. But this last part is idraaj. A casual listener will think that this last part is the statement of the prophet and not of Abu Hurairah. But this is hard to spot -- you’d have to spot how other Sahaabah narrated that hadith. If that is not the case, then you have some difficulty. You could also look at how Abu Huraira narrated it.

Then Ibn Hajr looked at this hadith and found 10 other narrators. No other narrators mention this section, so it is pretty clear that this is a case of idraaj.

If this was the only hadith that describes the reward of wudu, then it would be very hard to detect this idraaj.

If you have a very unique chain, then it would be very difficult to cross check them, that is the reason why some scholar.... says that he would not accept hadith with very unique chains or he is very careful about them.

Another hadith that describes the completing the wudu from the woe to the heels... this statement is also an idraaj and it comes at the beginning of the hadith. And this is also from Abu Huraira.

More common is for the idraaj to occur at the end of the hadith.

There are many narrators who would pass on the hadith even with grammatical errors, because their correction might be wrong. Arabic grammar is very complex. You pass on the hadith as you heard it and you don’t change what you heard.

Is addition of peace be upon him in the text an idraaj?
Sometimes it might be idraaj but the idraaj of this nature is not a problem. But for real purists it could be a problem. It is not a big issue.

The idraaj is detected by cross checking it against other narrations or statements of the narrator who states that he inserted it and in some cases where it might be impossible for the inserted statement to be the statement of the prophet.

For example, the reward of dieing as a slave and the statement that if it were not for the reward of jihad and the love of my mother, I would like to die as a slave. This is the added by Abu Huraira and it is obvious because the prophet’s mother was not alive during his prophet-hood.

Hadith that are mudraj are classified as weak hadith, but in reality it is not with the whole hadith, if you remove the added part, then many times the remainder of the hadith is authentic.

There is a strong link between the topics of mudraaj, shaath, munkar, ziyadatun naas and ziyadatun theqah. But they are dealt with separately.

Mudraaj was not done a lot and hence we dont have a compilation of these kinds of hadith.

Zuhri was known for idraaj because he would explain the words. Khatib al Baghdadi has a book about words that are known to cause idraaj ????

Concept is important to know. And the ulema know about it and have weeded it out. The disputed hadith with idraaj are not that significant.

Al Mudtarrab (المضطرب)
The next category of hadith is al mudtarrab. Hadith that has come down in shaky or contradicting manner and it is difficult to sort it out. And thus you reach the conclusion that you do not know which of the narrations are correct.

If the meanings of the hadith can be reconciled, then it is not a mudtarrab hadith.  In a mudtarrab hadith the two narrations cannot be resolved.

If you can show one of the chains is stronger than the other, then it is not a case of idtarrab, because you ignore the weak chain and take the stronger chain.

So there is no way to break a tie due to unresolved meanings or no clear precedence for the isnaad, then all of the hadith in question are considered to be mudtarrab. You have to reject them all. They are categorized as weak hadith.

This question of mudtarrab hadith is discussed a lot in various textbooks. There are evidences for different chains, and the conclusion is that it is a weak hadith.

The source of weakness can be in isnaad or in the text.

There are six basic contradictions with respect to the chains of hadith:

Contradiction #1: Transmitted as an unbroken chain and another way you find it narrated as a mursal hadith. Assuming that there is nothing else wrong. So what should you do with this type of chain?

If we had a number of chains, then we can use them to support one another and say the hadith is sahih li ghairihih. But that is not the situation which we are discussing.

So here we have one common source and you have to chains from that common source, one of them says it is unbroken and another says it is mursal. So what is the Dhaabiticy of the common source? What should you do in this case, do you treat it as a mursal hadith or unbroken chain?

If you cannot determine it, then the hadith is categorized as mudtarrab hadith. This is one of the common cases of mudtarrab hadith.

Contradiction #2: Some times it reported as a statement of the companion and sometimes the same statement is reported as a statement of the prophet.

You have to analyze the chains and the reports. If you can break the tie then it is no longer mudtarrab.

Ibn Hajr says that there is no such a thing as mudtarrab hadith, if you study it properly, you can determine it properly. Shaykh does not completely agree with it, it is more unlikely not to find this case.


2011-05-01 Class Notes


This is the last class for the quarter. Due to illness of Shaykh Jamaal, this session ended when the Spring quarter was supposed to end.

Note: Can be pronounced Al-Mudtarib or Al-Mudtarab.

It is a hadith that has been passed on in such a way that there is a contradiction in how it has been passed on.

In later years, many times people would describe someone as being thiqah but he has “shaky” hadith. Over time, you find much fewer of the later narrators of hadith over the earlier narrators. This is because the later narrators of hadith relied more extensively on written form, and the processes improved.

One of the reasons why it is important to discuss the topic of mudtarrib hadith is that it can lead to two type of errors:
- Rejecting hadith that are authentic (Alpha type of error)
- Accepting hadith that are rejected (Beta type of error)

The ulema of hadith have to fall right in between with respect to the types of errors. They do not want to exclude from the sunnah anything that belongs in the sunnah, or to accept anything that doesn’t belong. This is very tough. This is why the specialists in hadith spent all their time in their field of hadith. As a result, some (e.g. Imaam Ahmad), they developed a large body of knowledge about hadith and tafseer.

Q: Can you example Alpha and Beta errors?
A: When testing a hypothesis, you have to balance between rejecting a true hypothesis, or accepting a false hypothesis.

Ibn Rajab pointed out that there are two ways to indicate soundness of the hadith and the weakness of the hadith.

The first way is very easy or simple and any one can do it. Take a look at the narrators and if they are trustworthy you accept it and if they dont then you reject it.

The other way is to recognize the different levels of narrators and their particular narrations and it would take a lot of effort. You have many chains and you have to identify the weakness in the narrators and it takes a lot of time and effort to go through the weakness as described in the text.

The majority of shakiness in hadith is to do with the isnaad. Some have to do with the matn, and some have to do with both.

There are six basic contradictions with respect to the chains of hadith and we covered the following two contradictions in the previous class

Contradiction #1: Transmitted as an unbroken chain and another way you find it narrated as a mursal hadith. Assuming that there is nothing else wrong. So what should you do with this type of chain?

Contradiction #2: Some times it reported as a statement of the companion and sometimes the same statement is reported as a statement of the prophet.

And now we will continue with the discussion of the contradictions.

Contradiction #3: A narration with an unbroken chain vs a broken chain
For example, we have the following chain for the same hadith

Same Hadith ← Ahmad Ibn and then many different narrators from Ahmad Ibn such as A, B, C, D.  The chain above Ahmad Ibn is broken.

Same Hadith ← Ahmad Ibn and then many different narrators from Ahmad Ibn such as 1, 2, 3.  The chain above Ahmad Ibn is not repeated as broken.

How do we handle this situation?

Contradiction #4: A narration from one of the taba tabieen (small t) reporting on the authority of tabieen (capital T) and sahaba, compared to the narration from the same taba tabieen reporting on the authority of another tabieen and sahaba


Chain #1: S ← T ←  t
Chain #2 for the same report:  Different S ← Different T ← Same t

One of two things have happened, either t has a report from different source or t has not been deligent in keeping track of his sources.

Zouhri was well known for getting multiple sources for the same report. He would actively seek out multiple chains. So this is possible for Zouhri.

But if it is some other narrator who is not known for this practice, then it is a sign that the narrator t has not preserved the chain properly. We are worried about it, since there might be completely different chain for it.

Contradiction #5: Narration has more narrators then some other

Chain #1:  T ← t’ ← t’’ ← t’’’ And every one in this chain is trustworthy and they are all reporting via hadathani
Chain #2: .... t ←  t’’ ← t’’ ← t’’’  Here we have one more t’’ narrator between t and t’’’ And this additional t’’ narrator is weak.

So consider that we have narrations from t^3. One has a direct t^2 -> t link and the other goes t^2 -> weak t^2 to t. What do you do in this case?

Contradiction #6: Narrators differ in the family name in one of the chain. Narrator is identified differently in a chain, by a different family name. Something has changed in the name.

We have to identify the correct narration?

The key to these hadith for them to be defined as mudtarab hadith is dealing with the chain.

Easy to deal with errors in the text
It is easy to detect when the problem is with the text than with the sanad. Why?

There are other independent sources, other hadith and verses in the Quran to rely upon. First of all you try to reconcile differences in the narrations. The principle that the scholars have agreed upon, you have to look at all possible pieces of evidence and you cannot simply ignore it. You have to reconcile the different wordings. If you cannot reconcile, then you have to show that one of the reports is stronger than the others. This is known as tarjeeh (الترجيح).   

According to one scholar, the steps of tarjeeh are numerous, which Shaykh finds hard to believe.

Ibn Al Salah and Al-Iraqi both included analyses of mudtarrab hadith. Ibn Hajar went through all of the hadith listed by the two, that they are not mudtarrab hadith, and he concluded that they are only few mudtarrab hadith. Al-Iraqi was Ibn Hajar’s teacher. He had a book on the topic of mudtarrab hadith, but it doesn’t seem to exist in the current day.

Example of hadith that Ibn Hajar said was not mudtarrab hadith
Discussion of israa al miraj, some of which said it was before revelation, others after revelation, and others after hijrah, which led ibn Qayyim to say that in his time some people say there were three israa and miraj events. Similarly, there were many narrations about the type of Hajj made by the Prophet (SAWS). Ibn Hajar concluded that there were issues with the hadith and people did not understand what the Prophet (SAWS) did. People were not understanding what was being described by the different narrations.

Conditions for mudtarrab hadith
There are some important conditions to be met for hadith to be considered mudtarrab

1. Ikhtilaf should exist. These differences or ikhtilaf should be real and not nominal.

You can find many narrations in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim that have differences in the way the hadith has been transmitted. They are not mudtarrab.

What Bukhari would do would be that he includes the strongest version of the hadith, but then bring up subsequent versions in muallaq form. This is why Ibn Hajr said there are some hadith in Bukhari that he considers mudtarrab.

2. The reports must come through one source or makhraj (مخرج).

Not everything that is mudtarrab is problematic. Not all conflicts result in problems. But if you have the same hadith that is narrated with different chains and through a different makhraj that shows us which of the narrations is correct, then it is not a mudtarrab hadith.  But one of the links has problems. However the soundness of the sound chains should not be or cannot be??? impacted by the shakiness of the problematic links.

The shakiness should be rooted in the one source. It could be a sahaba. The problem lies in the source.

3. You cannot reconcile the different narrations.

4. You cannot make tarjeeh.

Then the narration is mudtarrab.


Examples of Mudtarrab Hadith

Hadith from Prophet (SAWS) in Sunan Abi Dawood: Game (hunted animals) is halaal so long as you are not the one who hunted it or it was not hunted for you.

This hadith goes through the narrator Amr ibn Abi Amr Al-Madani. It is only known through him and him alone. Sometimes he would narrate it from al-mutallib from jaabir from the Prophet (SAWS). Other times a man from Abi salama -> jaabir -> prophet (SAWS). Other times (SAWS) Al-Mutallib -> Abu Musa -> Prophet (SAWS).

Here we have one source who is from taba tabieen and he reports via two different chains, hence the reasons for it being mudtarrab.

Hadith from Prophet (SAWS) about the sutrah, look for a stick, if there is no stick, draw your sutrah.

It comes from different narrators. All of the different narrations are confused. There are four different ways -- they identify some narrators that are acceptable and others that are not acceptable.

Again this is from one source. Different chains used a different name for the narrator. And we cannot determine who are the different narrators.

Example of mudtarrab hadith wrt the text (matn)
In the text from Jaabir “we made hajj with the Prophet (SAWS) and we would make talbiyah on behalf of the women and we would throw on behalf of the children.” Some said both were done only on behalf of the children.

Famous hadith in which Abu Bakr asked the prophet why he had gray hair. And he replied that Surah Hud and her sister verses were the reason. Ibn Ishaaq said that there were more than 10 narrators of this hadith so rejected it.

How to deal with mudtarrab hadith?

Three different madhabs on how to deal with mudtarrab hadith.

Madhab #1: If you find any discrepancy in the narration you reject the hadith since it has not been preserved properly.

Regardless of whether discrepancy is real or nominal -- the issues with discrepancy indicate a problem. Ibn Hjar mentions that some scholars hold this view, but Shaykh does not know of anyone who holds this view. This is an extreme view.

Madhab #2: Discrepancies between thiqah narrators have no impact on the authenticity of the hadith unless there is a difference in the matn, not in the isnaad.

This is the view of the fuqaha and some of the usooliyyeen. For example, Abu Ya’la said if a trustworthy narrator narrates a hadith in mursal form, and another narrates it with a complete chain, then it is not harmed by the mursal version. And it is still a hujjah. They do not consider the possibility that even trustworthy narrators sometimes make mistakes.

One usooli said that the muhadditheen their goal is to be very careful in the narration of hadith. It is not necessary for the fuqaha to follow them in that great caution. The faqeeh will know the hadith is authentic through its agreement with other sources -- Abul hasan ibn husaar al-andaloosi [It is Googleable! Here is the statement in Arabic from  http://www.kl28.com/knol2/index.php?p=view&post=180728&page=8:
وأما ما زعمه أبو الحسن الأندلسي ( رحمه الله تعالى ) ' أن للمحدثين أغراضاً في طريقهم احتاطوا فيها وبالغوا في الاحتياط ، ولا يلزم الفقهاء اتباعهم على ذلك ، ،وأن الفقيه قد يعلم صحة الحديث بموافقة الأصول ، أو آية من كتاب الله تعالى ، فيحمله ذلك على قبول الحديث ،والعمل به ، واعتقاد صحته ، وإذا لم يكن في سنده كذاب فلا بأس بإطلاق القول بصحته إذا وافق كتاب الله تعالى وسائر أصول الشريعة ' (1) فيرده ما سبق سرده من نصوص الأئمة . هذا من حيث الجملة
]

Thisis the reason why you have to follow the scholars of hadith wrt the grading of hadith. The fuqaha+usooli do not have the experience of the muhaditheen.

{Ed: So this is the one where the differences between fuqaha plus usooliyeen and the scholars of hadith are bared open wrt the study of hadith}

Madhab #3: Opinion of the scholars of hadith. The discrepancy can be real or nominal and as such we have to reject the narration even if the narration is trustworthy because no one is free of committing mistakes. Preponderance of the evidence should lead us and to reject the hadith.

The view of the muhaditheen is the balanced or middle approach. One of their principles is that you do not reject the narration of a trustworthy narrator, unless you have clear proof to do so. When you have clear proof, then you have to reject it.

They are trying to avoid alpha and beta errors. The other two madhabs are committing alpha and beta errors.

You cannot reject something that is come down via authentic means based on some beliefs. The fuqaha will reject some hadith if it contradicts their belief.

Yahya ibn Qattan is one of the best and reliable scholars of hadith in Basrah. Sufyaan al Thawri would tell him when he made a mistake.  So even though he is a reliable scholar, he still could make a mistake.

Sometimes discrepancies are real and problematic. And we have to reject them.

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