Islamic Classes‎ > ‎2012 Winter‎ > ‎

Uloom al Hadith

Uloom al Hadith VIII - Beginning Sciences of Hadith
Taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo (www.jamaalzarabozo.com)


Recommended Text: Usool al-Hadeeth: The Methodology of Hadith Evaluation by Bilal Philips
Winter 2012: January 8 - March 11 2012
Time: Sundays 2:30-3:30 PM PDT
Course Outline: In this quarter, hasan lighairi will be dealt with, Allah willing.

2012- 01-08 Class Notes


This will be the last of the technical topics on Uloom al Hadith. We can stop after the discussion on Hasan lighairi and then restart later without requiring any of these technical topics as prerequisites (topics like fabricated hadith and the hadith literature, i.e. takhreej etc). We can discuss hadith literature in the future without any obstacles.

Similarities between Hasan lighairihi and Hasan lithaatihi
This quarter will be all about hassan lighairhi. When we spoke about hassan lithaatihi we said that it was the most difficult to grade, because it is the border between what is accepted and what is rejected. Hassan lighairihi has the same character. Albaani, for example, has pointed out that this is what makes it difficult.

There are two additional issues when we discuss hasan lighairhi.

Issue #1:  Is the approach of the modern day scholar of hadith different from the early scholar of hadith?
Issue #2: Should Hasan lighairihi be considered an authority in Islamic Law?

In today’s lecture, we discuss the first issue. We start off with the question of translating Hasan lighairihi

Some acronyms that we will use in order to make it faster to type
HT = Hasan li-Thatihi
HG = Hasan li-Ghairihi

Defintion of Hassan lighairihi (حسن لغيره)  

Hasan lighairhi is different from hasan lidhaathihi. HT is hasan on its own merit. HG is hasan due to supporting or corroborating evidence. Which means we are starting out with a weak hadith.

What are some of the causes that would reject hadith?
- A broken chain
- A narrator is not dhaabit
- A narrator is not adl
- Hidden damaging defect (illah)
- It contradicts stronger authority (shadh)

Would you not accept the hadith if it violates one of the above conditions?
We discussed last time, that in some cases the defect is so bad that even if it has supporting evidence that you would not accept that. Or we could have a case where the defect is not so bad that we would accept it if there is supporting evidence.

If somebody makes lots of mistakes, he is righteous (adl) but his proficiency is called into question, would we raise such a hadith to be hasan?

Example to help us focus:
Let us say we have a chain about a narration from the Prophet (Saws) and the narrator five links down is weak and makes lot of mistakes but we do not doubt its adalah. And let us say we have another independent chain for the same report, there is a narrator at the 5 links down the chain and he makes enough mistakes that we would not accept his narration on its own

Can we use these two chains to bolster each other? May be.

What if first narrator makes lots of mistake and the second narrator in the example above makes lots and lots and lots of mistakes. This may be a border line case.

Note: If we had another chain for the same hadith that was strong, then there would be no question about that hadith.

Shaikh is emphasizing that this topic is very difficult because of these types of questions that arise when discussing this topic. It is a case sensitive analysis, even though there are rules, but you cannot generalize the rules to apply to every hadith. Every hadith needs to be studied on its own merit. This is where the modern day scholars differ from the early generation, as for former it is more like a formula weak + weak = Hasan lighairih

Would it make a difference that two narrators in the above chain are wide apart physically, one is from Andalus and the other from Khurasan (meaning it would have been difficult for them to have met), would it make a difference? generally yes

Suppose these two individuals in the above two chains were two students of the same teacher? The teacher is dhaabit and adl.

You have to analyze the chains on individual basis. You cannot have a template to apply for all cases (my words and not Shaikhs).

What if someone is missing from the chain? Suppose you have two independent chains just like in the example above.  A broken chain is vague and we have no idea who is missing, it could be someone who is adl or dhaabit or it could be a liar, it could be the same person, typically this is how a fabricator creates hadith with different chains. What are the odds that both the chains left out the same narrator?

There are different cases for the broken chain, e.g.
1. Suppose we have two chains and name of tabiee is missing?  Would it make a difference?

Would it make any effect, because tabiee are from virtuous generation and would it make a difference on how you rate this hadith?

2. What if one chain is mursal and the other is missing a link few tabaqaat down?
Muhadeethin consider mursal hadith to be weak, because the name of the sahabi is missing from the report.

Each one of the above examples is a different category.  Each case is different and handled differently. That is the reason why the books that discuss H.G. are 500 pages long. These books are by modern scholars but they are presenting the principles from earlier scholars.

They present the following verse as the evidence for the H.G. methodology
Surah Al Hujarat verse 6 49:6



Sahih International
O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.

If a fasiq comes to you, affirm his report, so that you do not do out of ignorance something you would regret later.

Can you use this verse as evidence for the H.G. methodology? A student argued that it is referring to a news and not hadith. General news may not be as important as hadith. Sh. Jamaal answered why not, even a general new can have serious consequences, for example, if someone comes to Prophet (saw) and says that there is army ready to attack, then Prophet (saw) will go for defence. However, this verse cannot be used as an evidence as the verse is saying “fatabayyanu”, which can imply to go and get report from a non-fasiq (which can be H.T. or sahih on its own accord) and does not imply to get another weak report to verify the first weak report. The second point is that the report from fasiq is not accepted to begin with even if there is a corroborating weak narration. Therefore it is not a strong evidence for H.G.

Discussion of ibn Taymiyyah’s statements about reports from fasiqun
Ibn Taymiyyah talks about when a report can be acceptable. He says some reports are clear that they are truthful and other reports are clear that are not truthful. Then he says that if you have lots of chains for reports and they strengthen one another, to the point that you can say it is sound, even if the narrators were fussaq and fujjar. So what then of the case if they were trustworthy ulema, and they make lot of mistakes, if that kind of Aalim is supported by a supporting evidence he is accepted.

Classroom discussion: Is this statement acceptable? We do accepts news of this nature, say three stations ABC, NBC, CBS are saying that such and such politician won the elections, will we accept this report? Here we assume them trustworthy. One student says that bar regarding hadith is different from news.

What about the crucifiction of Jesus Christ?  Was he crucified? Even if million fussaq narrated, can we accept it?

Conclusion: This statement of ibn Taymiyyah is problematic for the scholars of hadith.

It’s possible that he started out by giving an outlandish statement but what he meant was the last part of his statement that even when a scholar of hadith commits mistake we accept him based on other similar weak narration supporting his narration. He gives the example of Abdullah ibn Bahiy’ah, who was a great scholar and Qadhi in Egypt, but his books were burned in a fire and no-one accepts his narrations on its own esp after the fire. But if he was supported and we know that he didn’t deliberately we would not deliberately reject his narration.

2012-01-15 Class Notes


If you have doubt about the quality of somebody as a narrator (i.e. professionally), by himself you would not accept the narration, the point IT was making is that, can you take someone similar to him and accept the narration by removing the doubt.

Three types of recorded hadith according to Sufyan Ath-Thawri
This explains why you can find weak narrations in the books of hadith, because like as Sufyan Ath-Thawri said “I record hadith in three types, some of the hadith I take them as my religion, and some of them I take to look into them, and some of them I record just to know them. In another narration from Ath-Thawri, some time he hears the hadith from an individual who he trust to take it as deen, sometime he hears hadith from an individual he has suspended his judgment and he suspend the judgement about such a hadith and sometime he hears hadith from someone he does not care just to know about the Hadith.

Hadith as Istidlaal according to Imam Ahmad
Imam Ahmad said about an individual “I do not record his hadith except for consideration and istidlaal -- استدلال”
Istidlaal means seeking  to use it as an indicator to confirm something else or to use it in conjunction with another hadith to strengthen it.
Another statement from Imam Ahmad, “I record the hadith of an individual as an indicator to strength other hadith which I would not take on its own”.

Why were weak hadith recorded?
What they are saying is that even hadith that come from weak narrator, we need to know them for more than one reason. If the narrator is completely rejected, then we know its source. We can then trace the source and then say it’s not reliable. This kind of hadith has to be recorded by someone.

The worst of them are stored in their own collections of fabricated reports. But there is a category in between so that we can accept it if there are other reports that can be used to support it. There are another categories which is in between where if we have supporting evidence then we accept it. Therefore if someone like Abu Dawud or Tirmidhi includes these hadith it doesn’t mean that he accepts the narration but he records it so that if we have supporting evidence then we can accept it. This is especially true for Musnad of Imam Ahmad.

Later we will get into debates among the scholars like, is there something called Hassan Li Ghairihi ? Is HG hujjah in the Islamic law? Is the methodologies of later scholars different from what it is been used in the earlier scholars ?

Differences among Fuqaha and Muhadetheen on the issue of supporting evidence for HG
Fuqaha differ from the muhadetheen on the issue of supporting evidence for HG. So far what we have been eluding to, for the most part how the scholars of Hadith approach the hadith, they strengthen the hadith by mutabiaat and shawaahid, based on different kind of supporting evidence they use. When you go to the Fuqaha, we see what they use as supporting hadith is different from what scholars of hadith use.

Q: What is the goal of the scholars of hadith?
A: Their goal is to identify what were the words of Prophet (Saw). Is it possible something to be a completely true, important statement and yet Prophet (Saws) did not say this? As scholar of hadith you look at it and say this is not been traced back to the Prophet (saws) and thus we will not accept it.

Q: What is the goal of Fuqaha?
A: To give actions their proper values and determine what is halaal, mubah, etc. Since their goals are different, is it possible that they might look at hadith differently than the scholars of hadith?

(class debate on whether the goals of the fuqhas should be different than that of the scholars of hadith. Theoretically the goals should be the same to identify the authentic narration from Prophet (saw), but the process to achieve the goal may differ among them, e.g. fuqhas may be more lax in accepting a supporting evidence)
The ultimate authority is the Quran and Sunnah, and we should not err, even a minor err. Once we start giving a report more value than it deserves that might bias our conclusion. Ideally the goals and objectives should be compatible, where one relies on others, e.g. fuqhas should take scholars of hadith’s judgement on specific hadith as starting point and then drive their ruling, some time this reliance is blurred by fuqaha. In some cases they have reached to their own conclusion and are now looking for supporting evidence to back their opinion.

Fuqaha use statement of Sahabi as corroborating evidence for weak hadith
The fuqaha are willing to accept, at least in the book of fiqh, things as corroborating evidence which scholars of hadith won’t accept, like statement of sahabi. If you have the weak hadith and there is similar authentic narration from sahabi, then they accept the statement of the sahabi as evidence and then accept the weak hadith.

Sometimes in heated discussions or debates, you might use all types of evidence, and they might use the above practice to bolster their evidence. So how this corroborating evidence is used is also important to know. However sometimes they use it just to accept the weak hadith. In most cases, alhamdulillah, this approach is not followed for the primary evidence, the most common case is that they have 3 or 4 pieces of evidences, the primary evidence may be a verse in quran or one of the established principles of shariah and this weak hadith is introduced as an additional supporting evidence.

The idea behind this discussion is that can weak hadith be consistent with Quran, ijmaa’ or some basic shariah principle?

Fuqaha use a famous hadith, even though that hadith is weak according to Scholars of Hadith
Another example, if the hadith is been accepted by ulema used over the years, where they took it and applied, even though it was not accepted as the hadith of the Prophet (saws). (this approach is also used by usooliyeen)

Fuqaha use scientific facts and history.
In contemporary times, they would use a hadith if it is consistent with the scientific facts or historical reality.

Fuqaha and sometimes even muhadditheen use ilhaam wal kashf as evidence
(Ilhaam wa kashf means direct feeling of inspiration and veiling) Sometimes they even accepted the idea to accept hadith based on il7aam wal kashf. They use dreams seen by them of the prophet(saw) confirming the authenticity of a hadith as evidence for bolstering their point of view and accepting the hadith.

Q: from a student: What about rational argument as evidence for accepting weak hadith?
A: As we mentioned earlier that there are completely true and important statements, but that does not mean that the Prophet saws said it. You are now attributing a statement to the Prophet when he did not make that statement, This is a grave sin.  Suppose that the common sense turns out to be wrong. And if you have no proof that the prophet saws said it, and just because it is confirmed by rational argument, then you should not accept it as evidence.

Can we use the scientific fact where the hadith is not very weak?
What is the latest buzz these days? “multiverse”. Suppose we had a hadith that says there are 7 universes or 14 universes and say there is 500 years distance between them, and the scholars say that this is weak hadith as we cannot trace it back, now if there is a non-muslim scientist who make the discovery about multiple universes, and then we say that at that time prophet (saw) could not have come up with statement without revelation from Allah swt, so it must be authentic hadith. Just because a statement is out there and that turns out to be true, that doesn’t meant that Prophet (saws) said it. As per scholars of hadith, As long as we cannot put it back to Prophet (saws) we should refrain from declaring it as hadith of Prophet (saws).

Can we use this (scientific proof) for the Dawah purpose where you can prove this as Prophet (saws) prophecy?
If you open this door, then there are weak hadith, suppose you presented as your dawah one of these hadith confirming the scientific evidence and the person took shahadah after this evidence and then later he starts digging into other weak hadiths which are against the scientific facts, where will his imaan be? We should not compromise on this, even if it for dawah. This is one of thing that separated Islam from other religion. Muslim scholars throughout the years have worked hard to keep the religion pure. That is one of the reason that a portion of Ummah has always followed the correct deen without any compromises eventhough a vast majority may have gone astray.

First category: Weak or Da’if hadith that has been accepted by the Ummah
Hadith which is Da’if, but the Ummah has accepted it and acted upon it. Should we accept this as an authority or not? Which means we are raising it to HG or Saheeh Li Ghairihi.

Opinion of Az-Zarkashi: If weak hadith is accepted to the point of it being mutawatir then it must be acted upon
Az-Zarkashi said “The weak hadith if it is accepted by the ummah, and ummah acts upon it, then the correct view is that it is to be acted upon, and this can reach the point of mutawatir and abrogating what is well established.” What he is implying is that there is virtually an ijmaa on this kind of weak hadith and hence it can be accepted as an authority.

Then he says that, “this is Ash-Shafi’i approach.”

Zarkashi shows how this apporoach was used by Imam Shafiee. Ash-Shafi’i applied this hadith: لا وصيّة لوارث -- “There is no bequest to be given to one who inherits.” According to this heir’s share cannot be changed, an individual can bequest up to one third of his wealth but none of that can go to one of the heirs. This principle is agreed upon by all the schools of fiqh. Zarkashi says that hadith is not confirmed by Ahl Ul Hadeeth (it is not clear if he is quoting shafaii on this or this is his own judgement). But ‘ulema have accepted and acted upon it to the extent of thinking of it as abrogating the verse of the Qur’an for the wasiyya where Allah swt says to make wasiyya to close relatives.

A person inherits from the person who died. The inheritance has been defined by the Quran and it cannot be tempered with it. However the individual can make a bequest for 1/3rd of his wealth, thus this does not go to inheritance. Thus, this request cannot be for the person who will inherit. This principle is been accepted by Ulema.

Az-Zarkashi says “That hadith is not confirmed among the Ahl al Hadith, however the Ulema as a whole they have accepted it and they have acted upon it and taken this hadith (which is weak) as abrogation the verse of Quran.”

In essence this weak hadith has been raised to the level of Qatai’ and Mutawaatir.

This is a logical error. We cannot use the acceptance of weak hadith as evidence for it being raised to the level of evidence for accepting the hadith. you cannot prove that this ijmaa’ is based on this hadith.

It might have been which is established due to practise at that time and thus this became Ijmah. But this does not mean the Prophet (saws) actually stated this hadith. There is principle regarding Ijamah that there must be some evidence behind the ijmah, irrespective of the fact if we know it or not.

From the point of Fuqaha, if there is Ijmah, it is not a big deal for fuqaha to accept this hadith. But nobody has the right to attribute something to prophet (saws) which is not proved.

Maybe at time of Imam Shafi’i it was not clear that this hadith is acceptable. However by Az-Zarakshi time it was clear that this hadith is not weak. So Zarkashi should have made a note of this that Imam Shafi did not know that this hadith is acceptable.

This hadith is accepted by some of the scholars who came after Shafaii,  like At-Tirmidhi said this is Hasan sahih, Ibn Hajar accepts this hadith, same with Al-Busairi. Al-Albani says that there are a number of the chains of this hadith and the one of the chain from Abu Umamah is hasan.

The main point is that even the ijmaa’ of sahaba does not make it a hadith of the prophet even though it may have a strong weight in fiqh rulings.

What if the meaning of the hadith is consistent with the Dhahir meaning of Qur’anic verses?
For example, There is hadith, “if you see a man constantly attending masajid, then bear witness to his Imaan.” There are fewer fuqaha who accept this principle (the previous point is accepted by a larger number). This hadith is weak hadith, can we strengthen this hadith with the Quranic verse  9:18”

Sahih International

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah , for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided.


Can we use this as supporting evidence? Doesnt this give kind of same meaning?
A weak hadith is which we have some doubt about narrator. Now we have some evidence that will possibly remove the doubt about the hadith. As Al-Manawi said None of the Imams have accepted this hadith based on this verse.

The basic problem is the logical error as we discussed before, you can authenticate a statement based on the verse of the quran but you cannot ascribe it to the prophet (saw) without any clear evidence.  Just because the statement is true or can be shown to be true, that is not sufficient to raise it to the level of Hasan.

There are a few scholars who consider this hadith to be Sahih: Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim. But their tahseen is not considered strong hence their conclusion is not been agreed by majority of scholars.

It seems that the hadith is weak, even those who accepted it, none of them used the Qur’an as a supporting evidence. Doing so leads to a logical error: you can prove a statement to be true, but not attribute it to the Prophet (SAWS).

There is a question which gets raised is that this hadith is being used by fuqaha and now some Muhaddith comes and say that this is not sahih, which creates some confusion among the common people. All this is because of difference in methodology between fuqaha and muhadditheen.

Conclusion
We can always prove a statement is true, but proving that a statement is true does not mean that this statement can be attributed to the Prophet (saws). You have to present evidence to attribute the statement to the Prophet (saws).


2012-01-22 Class Notes


Today we start with the question of accepting a Weak-Hadith as Sahih when the Ummah has accepted it and acted upon it.

We want to make few more points about it today. We are talking about a hadith which is weak based upon all the known chains, but Ummah has acted upon it and it is custom of the Ummah now. Should we accept this hadith?

The class conclusion is that NO, we should not accept such a weak hadith.

In this regard we should mention that there are a number of scholars who accept this position, some of these are specialists in the field of hadith, Usoolyeen as a whole would acept this kind of week hadith.

General Discussion on the question of Maqbool/Mashoor hadith:
Suyuti’s comments in Tadreeb al Raawi, (which is a commentary on Nawawi’s book “Taqreeb al Raawi”, Tadreed al Raawi is one of the important books in the field of uloom al hadith): “Some say that you declare a hadith Sahih if the people as a whole have accepted it even if it does not have Sahih Isnaad to it.” He gave both views on this debate. He is also commenting a collection of fabricated hadith by ibn al Jauzi. Ibn al Jauzi was very critical and even for a slight bit of doubt, for him it would be enough for him to put it in that collection.

There is a hadith, that says, whoever has combined two prayers without a reason has come close to a door of a great sin .....   Ibn Jauzi has included it as a fabricated hadith. Suyuti says Tirmidhi has recorded this hadith. Tirmidhi says after the matan that people of knowledge act according to this hadith. Suyuti says that “he (Tirmidhi) is pointing to the fact that if the hadith is supported by the statement of the people of knowledge, this is a sign that hadith is authentic, even if it does not have any authentic chains”. So Suyuti is using the comment of Tirmidhi to conclude that Tirmidhi endorses this principle, even though as later analysis will show that his statement did not imply that he accepts this principle.

Ibn Hajar goes even further. He is talking about hadith that are maqbool or acceptable hadith. He says that in the general category of acceptable hadith, he says that from general characteristics of acceptability, ulema agree upon acting according to the indication of this hadith, therefore it must be accepted and it is obligatory to act upon it. And he says it is explicitly stated by a number of Usoolyeen. He is now introducing a new category of hadith, which includes hadith that ummah have acted upon it, so we must accept it and act upon it, even if there is no authentic chain. And he calls that categoy, hadith al maqbool.

In another one of his books, al Nuqat al ibn Salah, he argues, we must accept these hadith even if they are week, we are obligated to act upon them. As-Sakhawi, one of the students of ibn Hajr, also says the same thing. They also attribute the same to Ibn Taymiah

Vast majority of Usuleen, in all of the madahab also accept this principle. Among the later Hanafi scholars of hadith, like Tanwi, they insist that this is the correct view.  Most of the students of the class last week, rejected this view.

It highlights the fact that you have to know the madhab of the scholar of hadith. In particular, Ibn Hajar and Sahawi and Suyuti have graded hadith as sahih because they have been acted upon by the ummah. So we have to be aware of this fact.

Therefore if ibn Hajar and Sahawi say that it is sahih, we have to be aware of it. Suyuti was more linient in grading hadith, so we take his grading of hadith with not as much weight as that of ibn Hajar, since Ibn Hajar is a heavy weight in uloom al hadith. As in some of the later works in the footnote you may see the hadith is graded hasan/sahih by ibn Hajr or Suyuti, so you have to research it further to see why ibn Hajr has accepted it. You don’t have to worry about Sakhawi that much as he is not quoted a lot.

What is troubling is that this position is more like Usoolyeen position and does not befit the scholars of hadith. In Tafseer, the stories of satanic verses and the fabrication of the story of the Prophet and Zainab, that prophet saw Zainab and fell in love and asked Zaid to divorce her. if you read what ibn Hajar and Suyuti say about the reports related to the above fabrications, there is a danger in accepting the narrations reported by them. They give the impression that this has been accepted by Shafii and Tirmidhi (which is a false impression). This shows that on issue of hadith it is essential to know how a certain scholar takes and understands ahadeeth, else we can accept lots of weak and fabricated hadith.

On the question of the Unity of the Ummah regarding such ahadeeth:
We distinguish between two things, accepting the meaning of the hadith as a sound principle vs. saying that this is the statement of the Prophet. We should be clear about it. We have a limit to our unity, we have to stick to the Hablu-Allah. We are not united for the sake of unity, but for the sake of Allah swt. We cannot say that for the sake of unity of Ummah lets say that prophet (saw) made this statement, same as no one would dare to say that for the sake of unity of Ummah lets put this Aayah in Quran so that everyone can be happy.

What we can say is that the meaning of this hadith is accepted by ulemah as a sound principle and nice thing to act, but not as a statement of the prophet.

Examples: Example from Tirmidhi:

A recent author on this subject Khaldun al-Ahdam says a point that is sound but his conclusion does not agree with this statement. He says that “if one follows the statements of Tirmidhi, many times he says that a hadith is weak and then he points that people act upon it. For example he quotes the hadith that says about Qisaas, you do not take the life of the father due to killing of the son and you do not take life of the son due to the killing of the father. And Tirmidhi says that we do not know this hadith except from the chain of Suraka and he says that the chain is weak. And he says that this is also narrated from some other chains. And he says that it is mudhtarab which means a form of weak hadith. And then he says that people of knowledge act upon this hadith. He says that the if the father kills the son, he will not be killed due to it, for example illegal sexual sins. Did Tirmidhi says that this hadith should be accepted?

Tirmidhi does not say that the hadith is sahih. He simply states the fact that the principle stated in this weak hadith is followed by the scholars, nothing more.

In the case of Shafiee, he is talking about the hadith that there is no bequest for a rightful heir, the wassiah hadith that we discussed last time. He says that the scholars of hadith do not accept this hadith, it has some narrators from Shaam who are weak say and missing narrator (broken chain). However we accept it, because authors al Maghazi (ahl al Maghazi) have accepted it and there is ijmaa on it. So we are relying on the Ijma of ahl al Maghazi (collectors of Seerah, like ibn Ishaq, ibn Hisham, al Zuhri, Urwa ibn Zubair, etc....).

Shafiee accepts the ruling of the hadith. He compares two things, the narration of the people of Sham and narration by the ahl al Maghazi. These scholars are not all weak narrators. If they agree upon something, then it could mean that hadith is hasan lighairihi vs. people of Shaam who are weak narrators. Here it is not clear if Shafee is accepting the opinion or is accepting the hadith as hasan lighairihi. Also, when Suyuti says that “Ulemaa accept it” does it mean that every individual scholar accepts it. The answer is No!  

What about ijma of the scholars when accepting the weak hadith? What does ijma mean here?
It is a consensus of the scholars. If all of the scholars agree, then we have to follow it.

So if you have a hadith and you see that all of the chains are problematic, so you will not raise it to the level of hasan. And then you find out that there is ijmaa in applying the meaning of the hadith. Can this be used as an evidence to declare the hadith as authentic?

You have to distinguish between acting on the hadith and accepting the hadith as sahih.

Based on the previous point, that there are some scholars that would accept the hadith as sahih, if there is ijmaa on the point of acting upon the hadith?

Some scholars will say that hadith is sahih based on the principle that there is ijmaa upon acting upon the hadith.

Suyuti gives a strong arguement:
Suyuti destroyed this point in one statement: “ From among the things that do not indicate the authenticity of the hadith, even when some of the scholars of Usool say that there is ijmah and agreement with respect to that hadith. the reason why? (this is not acceptable proof to accept the hadith) is that the Ijma may be based upon other evidences”. e.g. they may be following the meaning of the hadith based on the statement of sahaba or Tabayeen or based on rational argument, so what they are relying on for their opinion may not be this hadith. Claiming something sound is different than saying that prophet (saw) said this.

So to Suyuti we should not accept the hadith but look for the other evidences that scholars used to accept the opinion to be true of the hadith under discussion.

Most of the ulema of the hadith do not agree with usooliyeen on the above point.

In response to a question about ijmaa, whether it is binding for all times?
Let us say that there is ijmaa that witr pray is waajib. And the later generation comes and says that it is not waajib, so they are implying that the previous generations were wrong. If the ijmaa is general without any condition or circumstances then it becomes wajib for the following generations.

A good set of arguments:
One good argument is that for not accepting such ahadeeth is, that this principle can be abused, that many deviants can use such ahadeeth and then introduce innovations into the Deen. Shaykh also points out that Ijmaa of the Ummah is a very difficult thing to prove in the first place.

Q: How about if a scholar uses a hadith as an evidence, then do we accept that hadith?
A: No! Since some scholars accept weak ahadeeth to give rulings in absence of other evidence.

Among scholars there are 4 opinions on this issue. In general, those who are scholars of hadith will not accept it. In general, those who are muqalids will accept it.

1. Opinion of the scholars of hadith:
Tanwi says that if a mujtahid uses a hadith as evidence, it is an evidence that he grades that hadith as sahih. However, majority of scholars of hadith do not accept this principle, that is (a) if a scholar uses a hadith as an evidence it is not not a sign that it is sahih. Conversely, (b) if a scholar goes against a hadith it is not a sign that the hadith is weak.

The first part (a) points to the fact that scholar may be acting on it out of ihtiyaat but still do not consider the hadith acceptable, or he may have other evidence or he may follow the madhab where it is preferrable to act on the weak hadith than to follow his own opinion, so there can be lot of reasons to explain that position by the scholar.

For the counter point (b) Khateeb al Baghdadi gives an example, from Muwatta of Imam Malik where he records a hadith that when you are doing a business transaction, the two parties have the option to cancel if they have not left the Majlis (Khiyaar al-majlis). Imam Malik records it but he does not act upon it, since he thought that the people of Madinah do not act upon it. However, Imam Maalik was known to give preference to the practice of people of Madinah over a hadith. Khateeb al Baghdadi says that it is not an evidence that the hadith is weak. There may be some other reason, e.g. he may think that this hadith is abrogated or he would consider the action of people of Madinah as hujjah. This particular hadith Maalik records through Nafai’ through ibn Umar (golden chain). Shafai has an interesting statement about this hadith that it is not sure that who Maalik is doubting here (for this chain).

2. Opinion of the muqalladeen:
They would consider this as a sign of Tashih (acceptance) by the scholar. Tanwi quoting ibn Hajar, in which he says, Imam Ahmad and ibn Mundhir used their hadith as evidence. Ibn Hajar says that they are so definite on this point, that they are sure about the authenticity of the hadith.

To ibn Hazm, if he uses a hadith as an argument, then it is a clear sign that ibn Hazm considers that hadith to be authentic. Sh. Albani can be put into this category.

3. Opinion of the Usoolyeen:
A third opinion is in between the two. If a scholar uses a hadith in his fatwa and you cannot identify any other reason (e.g. Ihtiyaat) that why he have used it. Then you can say that the scholar is claiming the hadith to be authentic. Since we cannot provide any other explanation for his ruling to accept the hadith.This is opinion of Juwayni, Imam al-Haramain, al-Ghazali (mostly Usoolyeen). Khatib al Baghdadi says that some scholars of hadith also have this view.

4. Opinion of Ibn Taymiyaah:
Fourth opinion comes from ibn Taymiyaah as mentioned by Suyuti. He says that the topic of hadith has to be looked or considered. If the topic is for targheeb wa tarheeb then they might use a hadith that is not authentic and you cannot say that this hadith is authentic according to that scholar. But if it is for fiqh issue or aqeedah, then you can use this fact to point that this scholar consider this hadith to be sahih.

A good point that Shaykh is making is that each hadith stands on it’s own merit. So one cannot say that such scholars accept this so it is an acceptable hadith. Scholars have to show the proof that this hadith is authentic by showing its merit to the others. It is upon this analysis that hadith is accepted and not just opinions.


2012- 01-29 Class Notes

If a mujtahid  (scholar of hadith) uses hadith as evidence, we have to know why he used that hadith as evidence. Did he use it because in his opinion it is an authentic hadith, can we draw the conclusion that the hadith is authentic? There are two important questions we need to answer.

Why did the scholar use the hadith and who is the scholar?

As for why did the scholar use the hadith the following points needs to be considered:

1) The scholar might be someone who uses a weak hadith if there is no other evidence present. This is attributed to Imam Abu Dawood and Ahmad this needs to be researched further. He might avoid relying on his personal opinion and hence uses the weak hadith. It does not mean that he considers the hadith to be authentic. If he was a good scholar of hadith, he will use some way to indicate that whether he considers that hadith to be authentic or not. A common way is to use passive voice to indicate that the hadith is weak. But most of the scholars these days are not consistent or lax with this use of passive voice.

2) The scholar might be of opinion that you could use weak hadith in the matters of targheeb wa tarheeb. Sometimes they have a loose definition for this topic. He might quote a hadith that he knows is weak in order to exhort the audience to follow it and get rewards for the action.

3) The worst scenario possible is this and it is more contemporary issue: Here the scholar is a big Daee and he wants to make things easy for people. Even though the Daee knows the hadith is weak, he may quote the hadith and give it to people.

Conclusion: So one cannot say that this scholar used the hadith so it must be authentic. You have to be aware of why he used the weak hadith as evidence, as outlined above.

As for the who is the scholar in question, the following needs to be considered:

First of all you have to know the scholar, if the scholar is not familiar with uloom al hadith then this discussion is a moot point. Masses don’t distinguish between a faqih, a daee, a qaree, a nasheed artist or some one who is a scholar of hadith. Masses might not be able to distinguish, but students of knowledge might be able to do so.
The person quoting the hadith might not be qualified to do so, for example, those in the field of Dawah, they are so busy in Dawah, that they do not even study the Islamic literature too much and with proper criticism in terms of authenticity of hadith.

It could be the case that a certain scholar uses a hadith, and you are sure that the hadith has to be authentic. e.g. Al-Albani or ibn Hazm can be in that category. Ibn Hazm sometimes has some conclusions about hadith that we might not agree upon but one thing is for sure that whenever he quotes a hadith as evidence it is authentic. Ibn Uthaymeen you could not conclude that since he used the hadith, then it is authentic. Sh. Bin Baaz probably you can say that hadith is authentic.

Q: What about when there is a difference of opinion about the authenticity of the hadith? You find competing conclusions for the takhreej of the hadith, some say it is sahih and some say it is weak, what should you do?

Are you going to allow the differences to influence/affect your opinion? What would you do?

For example on Salat ul Tasbeeh, some scholars says it is based on sahih, some say weak and some say fabricated. So what do we do?

The best thing is to avoid dissension and do not discuss it, if it is a complete topic. If it is a point or two (i.e. pieces of evidence among other pieces of evidence) then one can discuss it. If you try to give all of the position about a given hadith, e.g. Salat ul tasbeeh is authentic according to sheikh x, and is weak according to sheikh y, then the common tendency among the audience is that they will hear what they want to hear. The person who believes it to be authentic will hear that it is authentic and will tell others that I heard fulan sheikh saying that it is ok to do salat al-tasbeeh.

Other example is should you put your hands on the chest or way down in salah? There are different pieces of evidence supporting these view, some are more authentic than others. Ultimately you have to look at why they differed on grading a hadith?

You either cannot say anything about it (Waqafites) or you have to have the capability to research the topic and should have reached to your own conclusion before speaking about it.

To restrict ourselves only to the hadith in the Sahih collections is a dangerous approach as well, since it excludes many hadith that are authentic and are worthy of mentioning with some investigation. Even more importantly some of the hadith from saheehain can only be understood in the light of other hadith found in lesser authentic sunan collections.

Comment from a student: the bottom line is that either you have to be scholar of that capability to judge the grading of the hadith by other scholars or you do the taqleed of your favorite scholar.

Shaekh responded that taqleed is not all bad, as everyone at some point is doing taqleed of someone. He quoted an incidence of similar nature. Shaikh researched a hadith, he concluded that it is a weak hadith. Some people did not like this opinion and wrote about it. Shaikh was able to refute this opinion. (Footnote: This incidence is from the Shaikh Jamaal’s journal, Al Jumuah magazine of which he was an editor, about his article on another Shaikh who had considered a hadith as authentic in his first edition and considered it weak in the second, and when asked he responded that he was following the opinion of Ibn khuzaima in the first edition and now that he had researched/studied it he considered it as weak - this incidence was used to explain Taqlid)

Conclusion: Unless the scholar explicitly says that a hadith is authentic, you cannot conclude that the quoted hadith is sahih. Somebody might be quoting it using the reasons of ihtiyaatan (caution).  


What about the practice of tasheeh (declaring a hadith authentic) based on kashf?

What is Kashf?
Al Kashf literally means unveiling and Al-Ru’yah (seeing Prophet (saw) in a dream). So basically one sees Prophet (peace be upon him) in a dream and you ask him if this hadith is true or not and then he (saw) says yes or no.

Note that the shaytan cannot take the form of the Prophet (peace be upon him) even in dreams. So if a sahabi saw Prophet (peace be upon him) in his dream he would be sure that he saw prophet (peace be upon him). However, today if Shaytan comes in any form and says that he is prophet (peace be upon him), then you have no way to know if you really saw prophet (peace be upon him)

We had a Sufi guy in Boulder who showed up one day clean shaven and when asked, he said he saw the Prophet (saws) in his dream. Based on just that evidence, shaikh does not feel that he saw the prophet in his dream.

Who uses this practice of Kashf?
It is the Sufis who believe in Kashf. It is called inspiration in heart, seeing Allah swt through some indication or His signs. The also use this practice for declaring hadith saheeh.

Al Albaani says that grading hadith as saheeh based on kashf is a despicable bid’a of the Sufis and has no basis in Islam. Tasheeh through kash is baatila and has led to wrong conclusions.

You find a number of scholars discussing this issue of kashf and doing tasheeh based on kashf. Mubarakpuri he wrote an important sharh on the sunah of al Tirmidhi, known as ....  There he quotes Ismael al Ajalooni, who has written kashf al kafaa, which is a collection of popular hadith among masses.

Many scholars wrote collection of popular (“famous”) hadith amongst the masses and discussed where they are found. Sakhawi compiled one. Ajalooni compiled another.

Al Ajalooni speaks about ibn Arabi in the introduction of his book who wrote Fatohaat al Mecca (visions in Mecca). Here ibn Arabi is asking the prophet (peace be upon him) whether the hadith is authentic or not in his dreams. Al Ajalooni introduces these hadith and does not show any dislike for it.

Different scholars from different backgrounds all rejecting this principle of kashf. Abdul Fattah abul Wudda....., Khaldoun al Ahdaad.... all sorts of people agree that this principle is unacceptable.

However in English, we have probably the best presentation for why this principle is acceptable. You will find Jibrael Fouad Haddad who wrote “Sunna Notes” which has four volumes. Haddad is a Sufi from Lebanon. He is student of Shaikh Nazim Qubrusi. Shaikh Qubrusi is not a mild Sufi, rather he is very staunch Sufi. On his cover of his first book he says ......  

Footnote: Ibn Hajr has a very small book on the basic principle of uloom al hadith (nuktatah al fikar) and you can find it’s translation in Haddad’s first volume and that is the reason why many people bought this book. Shaikh is not recommending this book since it is very deceptive. And he is asking us to refute his opinions.

“Sunna Notes” - very deceptive book but has a very academic writing style.

He has one chapter in his book regarding hadith authentication via kashf.  (note: he has all sorts of stuff on the internet).  

It is about 30 pages, divided into nine parts:
- The definitions of Kashf (the concept is very important to him given that he is Sufi)
- Status of one who denies kashf
- Status of kashf
- Proofs for kashf and kashf authentication
- Seeing Prophet (SAW) in a dream
- Three visions of ibn Abbas
- *** Seeing the Prophet saas in authenticating hadith (this is what we are concerned with the most)
- Canonization of Sahih Bukhari by kashf
- Kashf authentication of ijma’a


Haddad’s argument for kashf (which we have to refute shortly)
On pg 144 in volume 1 of Sunna Notes (Under proofs for kashf and kash authentication) the author presents one of the stories of Khidr and then presents ayah “....we have taught him knowledge...”.

#1 Evidence of Haddad - Khidr received guidance and he was not a prophet
Haddad quotes that ibn Taymiyyah says that majority holds that Khidr was not a Prophet. Haddad asks how did Khidr receive kashf (knowledge)? Haddad agrees with ibn Taymiyyah that Khidr is not a Prophet and he says how come he received knowledge or kashf.

#2 Evidence of Haddad - Hadith about firasa which states that a believer sees with the light of Allah
Ibn Hajar and As Suiyooti squarely contradict him.  Then Haddad quotes a hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “beware of the firasa (a kind of insight) of the believer for he sees with the Light of Allah”

Footnote: Actually firasa, if you really think about it, is a science amongst the Arabs.  Firasa is like forensics.  As Shafi studied this subject for ten years in Yemen. When Imam Shafa’i was leaving..... he meets this Bedouin and he says that this Bedouin is an evil man, however this Bedouin gave Imam shafa’i a big dinner and Imam thinks why did I study firasa for 10 years to meet the first person and have a wrong opinion, however at the end the Bedouin gives bill for the dinner.... la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah.

At Tirmidhi mentions that he considers this a gharib (weak hadith about firasa).  Al Albani also considers it weak.  Al Haythomi considers the chain authentic.  Overall, there are differences of opinion regarding the authenticity of this hadith.

It’s difficult for someone to read this book and not be impressed due to its style of writing and the author’s charisma.

#3 Evidence of Haddad - Ali ibn Mushar (taba tabieen) asked Prophet about thousand hadith in his dream, which is reported by Imam Muslim and many similar narrations from taba tabieen
He starts by saying Muslim narrated from Ali ibn Mushar (he did not mention that it is in the introduction of Sahih Muslim, and it should have been mentioned). Imam Muslim narrates in his sahih from Ali ibn Mushar (he is at least Taba Tabieen and for sure not a Sahabi) that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a dream and he asked him about the hadith of a certain narrator called Abaan.  he asked him about a thousand hadith.  The prophet (peace be upon him) only knew 5 or 6 of them.

Then he???? Haddad???? says that At Tirmidhi narrates in his Sunan from Ma’mar from Husaif that he saw the prophet (peace be upon him) in his sleep and said that O prophet, the people are differing in the wording of the tashahud.  The Prophet (peace be upon him) said stick to the tashahud of Ibn Mas’oud.  Husaif is not a sahabi.  

Then he??? Haddad???  says al Baihaqi narrates in al Sh’oab that Mohammed ibn Haroon saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a dream and he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) if he said “whoever consoles someone inflicted with difficulty he also receives the same reward” and he said yes.  

Is he building a strong case for kashf? What do you think about it so far?
Classroom discussion: Note that these are not sahabah that are reporting these hadith. However the similar evidences are used by the one who refute the use of kashf. e.g. al-Khaldoon in his refutation of kashf, the first thing he quotes is the hadith in Sahih Muslim.

Al Albani’s or Nawawi’s refutation about using dreams for establishing authentication specifically about Ali Ibn Mushar

To be academic he is also quoting the refutation of the position:
Al Albani says that the narration of story of Ali ibn Mushar is sahih, it is not hadith. It is just a story narrated by Ali ibn Mushar. All he is saying is that the story is sahih, i.e. all of the narrators back to Ali meet the requirements for it to be sahih, he is not making a claim that he agrees with the use of kashf to authenticate hadith.

Shariah does not allow state of sleep for establishing a legal principle
He??? Haddad??? quotes what Nawawi says in his commentary on Sahih Muslim about this hadith of Ali. Nawawi quotes Qadi al Iyadh (a Maliki Scholar). Qadi al Iyadh says ....... such reports of Ali ibn Mushar are used to show the weakness of Abaan, we know that he is weak, we have this additional evidence, so we’ll put this here with other evidences.” Not that the dreams are definitive, nor that the established sunnah can be abrogated based on dreams, there is ijmaa on that. He (?haddad?) quotes the ijmaa: “Nothing that has been decided by the law can be abrogated by what a sleeper saw”
It is not permissible to base a legal principle based on dream. The scholars all agree that among the conditions to accept someone’s testimony is that he be awake.  A sleeper does not meet this criteria. State of sleep is not that of certainty.

Haddad refutes Nawawi’s refutation
After giving all these refutation, he ??Haddad?? then turns around and say that these refutation are for specific reasons where someone is trying to use kashf to establish new laws. As for seeing the prophet to confirm an established law or a recommended act or for encouraging someone to do good acts there is nothing wrong with using kashf in these situations.....

#4 Evidence of Haddad - Suyooti supports authentication through dreams
He?? Haddad??? goes on to quote As Suyooti in support of this authentication through dreams.  Suyooti wrote a book about the hadith that are used by story tellers, as a warning to the people about what the story tellers spread.  He gives the indication in this book that the hadith can be rejected if it can be used as a final support?? Haddad says that such dreams were used as evidence against suspicion that already existed.

Then he??? Haddad?? quotes Mullah Ali Qaari (originally from Herat) also rejecting the concept of this authentication via dreams.

#5 Evidence of Haddad - ibn Arabi declares two hadith to be authentic based on kashf
Then Haddad goes on to speak about Sheikh Muhideen ibn Arabi in his book Futahat al-makkiya sp?).  There are two hadith in particular that Arabi declares authentic through kashf.

1. Whoever knows himself knows his Lord
2. I was unknown treasure, I wished to make myself known so I created the creation.  

Ibn Arabi says that these hadith are confirmed based on kashf and not based on transmission from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

#6 Evidence of Haddad - Al Lakhnawi’s argument using hadith of the Prophet if your heart recognizes the truth, then it is the truth
Then he goes on to quote a number of scholars that continue to reject the idea that you can accept reports based on kashf.  Then he says that it has been supported by Imam al Laknawi, Imam Sharari, Ajlooni, ibn al-Arabi and  Imam Muslim and At Tirmidhi saw it fit to mention in their works. He quotes al Lakhnawi saying that it is like the hadith of the prophet saas when he said that if your heart recognizes it truth, then it is truth??

#7 Evidence of Haddad - Modernism separates reason from the heart????
Haddad defines modernism as separating the reason from the heart.

Homework: Think about the arguments presented by Haddad and determine how you will respond to them.


2012- 02-05 Class Notes

The gist of Haddad’s argument  is as follows:
1. He has some scholars on his side, ibn al-Arabi, al Lakhnawi, Ajlooni
2. He has a quote from Muslim and from Tirmidhi.

Shaikh Jamaal again repeated Haddad’s statement about modernism, which we failed to capture even last time.

Albani and Abu Ghuddah are in agreement on this topic of refuting authentication using kashf and these two don’t agree on many topics, Albaani and Abu Ghuddah disagreed vehemently on many other issues. So Shaikh Jamaal says that we could use this to refute Haddad, since it is unusual to have them agree about anything. (footnote: Al Albaani wrote Sharh Aqeedah at-Tahawiah and the first sixty pages he devoted to refuting Abu Wudda)

Haddad is very influential because of the way he argues. He quotes the story from Imaam Muslim (note that the typical translation doesn’t include the introduction). In the new translation done by Sahih Muslim done by Dar Es Salaam it includes the introduction.

The introduction of Sahih Muslim includes a story of Abaan narrating 1000 hadith and the Prophet (SAWS) accepted 5 or 6 of them. Also relies on the report from S Tirmidhi regarding the tashahhud in the Prophet (SAWS). And Khusaif saw him in a dream and the Prophet (SAWS) said “Stick to the tashahhud of Ibn Mas’ud”.

The chain of that story back to Khusaif is good.

Haddad also states some of the statements of scholars of hadith such as Abdurrehman ibn Mahdi that some hadith you can tell that Prophet (saw) must have said, kind of like a light associated with those hadith. He argues that this feeling in the heart is equivalent to the authentication through kashf.

The refutation of his point is that the analogy between the statement of scholars of hadith about the feeling in their heart and kashf is not correct. The former is rooted in a body of knowledge, given the study of thousands of authentic hadith these scholars are at a point where they can pass judgement on certain hadith about which there is doubt. The latter on the other hand is not based on any body of knowledge, you have to accept whatever the dream says. Secondly when you receive something from a dream, you don’t know its basis, whether it is from Allah or shaytan or something else, so you cannot authenticate a hadith just based on conjectures.

Hence you can not make an analogy between “feeling” that hadith is incorrect and kashf.

Analysis of story from Tirmidhi
When you take a look at the quote of Tirmidhi, he reports the tashahuud from ibn Mashud and he says that it is the most authentic report about tashhahuud from the Prophet (saw)  and he quotes a number of scholars who have the same opinion. And then he brings the story. Is he relying on this story as an evidence of his position? No, as he brings the evidence from other scholars who rank that narration to be the most authentic on this subject and then his presenting this story just as anecdotal evidence to show that by the way this position is also supported by this dream.

Not one of the scholars who quoted the hadith of tashahuud, used this story of the dream as evidence. They had much other evidence and then after discussing all the evidence they said that this anecdote also exists. So the strength of the argument is not based upon this anecdote. This anecdote is just their to add a comment.

Dreams in themselves cannot be the basis of any law. But you can use it to add further support to what you have concluded. As done by Qadi Iyaadh, when he comments on the introduction of Muslim. he says Imam Muslim is quoting it just to show the weakness of Abaan as a narrator. You cannot confirm or affirm any sunnah based on dreams. This is the conclusion of Qadi Iyaadh.

Albaani described declaring hadith as saheeh based on kashf as an innovation of the Sufis. None of the collectors of hadith ever (Bukhari, Muslim, Daraqutni, etc) never mentioned that they accepted a hadith based on seeing it in a dream.

Response to Question: Since you cannot be definitive about whether you saw the Prophet (SAWS), then you cannot be definitive about the status of the hadith. Nawawi quotes Qadi Iyad that if you see the Prophet (SAWS) in a dream and he tells you to do something good, then it would be good to do it out of ihtiyaat, but if he told you to do something that contradicts the Sunnah, then that means it is not the Prophet (SAWS) that you saw in your dream.

Ibn al-arabi talks about two hadith that he verified through kashf. There are no sources of these ahadith to prophet (saw)
Example 1: “If you know your nafs, then you know Allah.” This is a hadith that Ibn Arabi uses in his book futoohaat makkiyyah, and he says it was confirmed to be saheeh to him in a dream. This hadith has been declared by many scholars as fabricated but Sufis authenticate it based on Kashf, it is an important hadith them to argue about a basis for their Monism belief (Wahdat-ul-wujud). Albani says about this hadith that “la asla lahu” (there is no basis for it)

Example 2: It is claimed by Sufis that Allah says: “ أنا كنت كنز مخفي، لذا أردت أن أعرف” “I was a hidden treasure, then I intended that I to be known (so I created)”. This has also been authenticated by Kashf, since ibn Arabi is claiming he saw (i missed some explanation here but some how it is based on ibn Arabi’s dream) in a dream. Otherwise, the scholars grade it fabricated.

Acting upon a hadith requires it be authentic
Scholars of hadith are always concerned that hadith be traced back to Prophet (saaw). Once that is achieved then the Ummah can act upon it. A hadith graded Weak means that we have doubt about it. So we need enough corroborating evidence to build confidence in the hadith which is otherwise weak. If we have weak that have deficiencies, scholars of hadith are very particular about what can be used to support it.

al-I’tabaar الاعتبار

Description of the process that the ulema of hadith use to look for corroborating hadith. And when they find corroborating hadith, they categorize the corroborating hadith into the following two categories:

* Mutaabe’ also known as tabe’ (المتابع / التابع)
* As Shaahid (الشاهد)

Process of al i’tabaar
The I’tabaar is done even for authentic hadith to make sure that no mistakes were made in the recording of hadith, so it is not specific to weak hadith only.

For example, we have a hadith from Abu Hurairah and the chain comes down to Jaabir who is a tabayi and then it comes to Abu Udaidah and then to Rabee and then to Abdulllah

Prophet -> Abu Hurairah -> Jaabir (F) -> Abu Ubaidah -> Rabe’aah -> Abdullah

The first thing in i’tabaar is to see who else is narrating from Rabe’ah, even if there are no issues. Then if you don’t find any other narrators, then you seek the predecessors in the chain (e.g. Abu Ubaidah or Jaabir) and if you don’t find any other chains, then you look at who else narrated it from Abu Hurairah or other sahabis who might have narrated this hadith. You are looking for corroborating evidence at all levels of the chain.

Complete Corroboration - Another complete chain from the immediate predecessor of the last narrator
If we can find some other narrator who narrates from Rabee all the way back to the Prophet (through the same chain), this supporting evidence is known as Mutabe’. If you can find a complete chain all the way back to the prophet, then it is known as complete Mutabe’ or المتابعة التامة

The reason why it is called complete Mutabe’, because you find someone else who completely corroborates what Abdullah has reported.

Partial Corroboration - Another complete chain from any previous predecessor of the last narrator
Suppose you don’t find this above corroborating evidence from Rabee’s chain, but from Y and to Jaabir to Abu hurairah to the Prophet, then this corroborating evidence is known as al-mutabe’a al-qaasirah المتابعة القاصرة as it is not corroborating the complete chain.

Footnote: This is the main way that weak hadith will be raised, but here we are discussing the general terms and practices of corroborating evidences.

When does evidence become partial?
If you can find some other chain from the immediate previous narrator then it is a complete corroboration, but if you find it from some previous narrator in the chain but not the immediate previous narrator, then the evidence becomes partial. (got it now) The text has to be the same.

Al Shaahid al-lafdhi/al Ma’ni - Another chain with the same text of the hadith
Suppose you cannot find any other supporting evidence for the partial chain of the hadith,  but it is from another sahaabi or from another tabaiyee. Then it is called Shaahid. If it the same wording of the hadith then it is called al shahid al-lafdhi. If it supports the meaning, it’s called Al-Shaahid al-Ma’ni.

Note: these are technical terms, however, in practice different scholars use it differently and depending on the situation they are used quite interchangibly or loosely. e.g. Albaani may say we have shawahid for this chain and he may imply it to be Mutaabe’. In general Shahid is a special case for Mutaabe’.

Absolute unique chain (al-Fard)
If you trace a hadith and you find absolutely one chain then it is called al fard al mutlaq (absolute unique chain).
If from any point upwards you find only one chain, e.g. from Abu Ubaidah from Jaabir from Abu Hurairah from Prophet is the only chain then it is called relative unique chain (al fard al-nasbi).

Just finding some corroborating evidence does not automatically raise the week hadith to the level of hasan. The required corroborating evidence depends upon the quality of the narrations and the quality of the chains, it does not mean you can raise the hadith to the level of hasan, even if you have a large number of chains. Suppose you have five or ten different chains, and all of them have liars in the chain, would you accept them as corroborating evidence?

Suppose you create a hadith, and you give a chain back to Abu Hurairah and to the prophet, but the person who narrates this hadith is a liar. And another person who is a liar, likes this hadith, so he creates another hadith with a completely different made up chain to make it look strong. So you have ten chains that look strong, except for the liars who made up this hadith.

You will find some hadith narrated by fabricators and has many chains, does that make it mutawatir?

Values of all of these chains is zero. So you have zero chains. Keep that in mind when we discuss it later in another class.

What about people who are implicated of lying or people who have known to commit gross errors in their narrations?

There is a difference between collusion or they might have heard the hadith. They might have heard from their teachers that the hadith is fabricated, and then they decide that that’s the one that they are going to copy.

What would be the default case for people who commit errors?

If they are known to make really bad errors, they might have heard the hadith from some bad chain, but when they narrated it they might give some different chain that makes it look strong.

If someone is a very unreliable narrator, then they are excluded from the process of i’tibaar.

Q: What about a narration considered to be shaadh, or ma’lool; can they be moved up to hassan lighairihi?

Historically, Kashf was accepted by Sufis since they could not find their beliefs in the Quran and Sunnah. So they
had to come up with a new “source” to back up their claims. So the “pious looking” among them came up with Kashf as a source of hadith to make their beliefs and acts widespread. Unfortunately, it works with the masses very effectively, since mostly their thinking is not rooted in Quran and Sunnah and they are taking their religion from what is widespread in the society.


2012- 02-12 Class Notes


We are discussing which reports can be used in the process of i’tibaar

If we find reports from liars or those who make major mistakes in narrating hadith, those kind of reports are not used for i’tibaar.

What about shaadh reports? What if there are number of reports supporting shaadh reports.
The important issue with shaadh is that it depends on your perspective. It might look like a shaadh to you, but there might be some reports that might constitute some basis for it. We have to find out why there are contradictory reports about it.

For some shaadh reports, it does not matter how many other reports you find, if you find that it is contradicting stronger sources e.g. a definitive text of Quran, then you will not be able to raise it by the process of i’tibaar.

What about illa? A hadith cannot be accepted as Hasan li Ghairihi if it has illa unless shown otherwise:
Based on our understanding of a narrator we conclude that it is a mistake, this is what we understand by illa. Let us say that you have analysed many different chains and you see that one narrator is mistaken in the way that he narrated from its source. This is how you find out illa. In order to raise a narration from malool to higher degree. But now let us say that we find out another source that narrates the same way as reported by the illa narrator. Then we can conclude that the illa is a false positive. It is not an illa but a correct narration, since we have found supporting evidence for it through the process of I’tibaar.

For a hadith to be hasan lighairihi it should not have illa. However by the process of using i’tibaar we found supporting evidence for the narration, and now it is no longer illa. So a hadith might have originated as ma’lool but because of the supporting evidence it no longer has illa in it. So the conclusion is that hasan lighairihi should not have illa in it and because of the process of i’tibaar, we have found supporting evidence for it and it is no longer a illa hadith.

The same process applies to Shadh reports. Recall that Shadh is different from Munkar. The Shadh is coming from trustworthy narrators but contradicting stronger sources. The Munkar is the hadith which is coming from rejected narrators and it is contradicting stronger sources as well. If the Shadh is with respect to a definitive text of Quran then the number of supporting narrations will not help. However, if the shadh is with respect to a narration from higher category narrators then we can raise it to the level of Hasan Lighairihi through supporting evidence. However, the hasan lighairihi itself may not be shadh, the defect has to be removed before it can be raised.

Allah swt tells us in the Quran, no one will share the burden of another person’s deed. Now suppose you find a hadith that say that child of zina and the child of the child of zina will be in hell fire. Is this hadith problematic?  Yes because it is contradicting the principles mentioned in the Quran.  So this is a sign that this hadith is fabricated, because of its shaadh-ness. There are number of chains of this hadith but is considered rejected by the majority of the scholars. However based on the number of chains some scholars will try to justify this report through some taweel, e.g. in this case they will say this is not talking about the punishment but rather it is a statement of fact, that Allah (swt) out of His knowledge informing us that these kind of children will eventually end up in hellfire. However, there is no need to resort to these kind of taweel, given clear contradiction.

(6:164) and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.
ۚوَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ

Some well known scholars have raised a shaadh report to hasan, because of many supporting hadith. For example some of the fabricated reports of satanic verses and the fabricated reports about the incident of Zaynab. Some of the later scholars who look at the chains, say that this is an acceptable hadith.

Shaadh is different from munkar. It is supposed to be due to mistakes.

Another example of hadith that is weak but has been falsely raised to hasan lighairihi:
Whoeever memorizes from my ummah 40 hadith, Allah swt would reseruct him as a faqeeh and scholar.  Nawawi in his introduction to his collection of 40 hadith, says that this is a weak hadith and this is not the reason why I have made a collection of 40 hadith. Shaikh says that might be another reason why his collection has 42 hadith in the collection rather than 40.

After having said that, some scholars might say that the above hadith is hasan lighairihi. Shaikh Jamaal is showing us that you cannot take a fabricated hadith and raise its level.

There are 25 chains for the above hadith, 16 of those chains contain known fabricators or people who have been implicated of lying, and 3 chains have narrators that are matrook. 5 of the chains are filled with people who are majhool -- or unknown. (Footnote: Unknown narrators in this context will not used to strengthen other chains) And this is really saying something -- how is it possible for these narrators not to be known for the people who are specialist in the field of hadith.

One of the issues is that unknown narrators is that they might be made up. But the orientalists sometimes take this as an issue simply because they don’t know about them.

Ibn Asaakir says that the strongest chain has two unknown narrators and at least one broken link. So even though it has many chains, the scholars of hadith have rejected it unanimously.

Ibn Hajr rejects this hadith and even he has a tendency to raise weak hadith to hasan lighairihi based on number of chains. Shaikh is going to double check this hadith’s chains in order to make sure.

Q: to which era these scholars, who raise weak to hasan lighairihi  based on numbers of report, belong to?
A: After the 5th century Hijrah, the golden period of hadith studies ended, and a trend came to record hadith without proper recording of Isnaad as major original sources were already compiled so there was no need to be thorough while quoting a hadith. After this period you have lots of scholars who were not good.

This is after all of the book of sunan, after AL-Daraqutni, after AL-Haakim, after  ... and things dropped a little, and you have Al-Nawawi etc then there is another drop to the generation of  Ad-dahabi, ibn Katheer, Al-Iraaqi, Ibn Hajr, after Al-Suyooti things dropped a lot, then not much good work for a long time until early 20th century with Ahmad Shaakir , Al-Sa’aati (father of Hasan alBanna) and then opened the door for people like Al-Albaani.

Another example of a weak hadith that is raised to the level of hasan because of the large number of chains that report it, is the hadith Aisha (ra) reports that she warmed the water for Prophet (saws) to make Wudu, she puts the water in sun for a while and Prophet (saws) addressed here Ya Humaira, do not do it for it leads to leprosy. Majority of ahadeeth (except one or two) in which Prophet (saws) addresses Aisha (ra) as Ya Humaira are fabricated or weak. All of the chains are problematic. (Footnote: Humairah means light skinned, it does not mean red skinned.)

Any time we get later specialized books, they felt the necessity to include waek hadith to raise the level of their work, such as the books of medicine or geography, include many hadith that are not authentic.

Sometimes there is a case where one scholar will accept a narration whereas all of the other scholars reject the narration.

For the hadith of Ayeesha above, all of the scholars have rejected it except for one scholar who is al Haakim who compiled mustadrak al-sahihain. al Haakim, Abdurrazaq Assanani and Nisai have been accused of Tashaiyaa or shia tendencies.

It should be clarified here that this Tashiyaa tendencies have nothing to do with the shia that we know nowadays, which is actually raafidah, and then Shiaa went on an extensive PR campaign to change their name from Raafidah to Shiaa.  What is meant by Tashiyaa is that there was a debate among the scholars concerning who is more virtuous, was it Ali or Uthman? It had nothing to do with the order of the khilafa as they all accepted it to be the correct order, it was merely who had more qualities or virtues. Scholars who were more supportive that Ali was more virtuous were known as tashaiyaa or having shia tendencies.

Even though some may claim that the reason Haakim accepts the following hadith is due to his tashiyaa, but this tendency has nothing to do with him accepting this hadith. This hadith comes from Anas, who brought food (cooked pigeon) for the Prophet saws. When prophet sat down to eat he said “O Allah, bring the person who is the most beloved to you of all your creation to eat with me this bird.”  Anas when he heard that he made the dua that let it be the men of Ansar. And so Ali comes, and Anas meets him outside and says the Prophet (SAWS) is busy, he goes away and comes back after sometime, Anas again said that Prophet (saw) is busy, and then he comes a third time Prophet heard the knock and said to Anas to let the person in. And the Prophet (SAWS) said “What delayed you?” Ali said: “Anas turned me back twice.” The Prophet (SAWS) said to Anas: “Why did you do this?” Anas said “I heard your du’a and wanted the person to be amongst my people (the people of Ansar).” And the Propeht (SAWS) said: Verily a person loves his people.

Al Haakim say that this hadith is sahih according to criterion of Bukhari and Muslim, but they did not record it. Scholars who came later and critiqued it, Ad-Dahabi studied it and said that this hadith has weakness and it has unknown narrator, especially the source of Hakim is unknown. When al Haakim say that this hadith is sahih according to criteria of Bukhari and Muslim, he is ignoring his own sources, who came much later than Bukhari and Muslim. So the statement that it is sahih according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim does take into those narrators into account from whom Bukhari and Muslim recorded their hadith, but it fails to consider Haakim’s own sources which in some cases are weak or unknown.

Conclusion: So the number of chains do not necessarily make a hadith that is weak into hasan lighairihi.

Next step is to see examples of hadith that can be raised to the level of hasan. Before that we have to study some of the terms that will be used.

Terms used by scholars which are equivalent to hasan lighairihii
When they say hasan lighairihi, they don’t always use that term, they sometimes use the word hasan or some of the following terms:

1. Al Hasan bi Majmoo3a turqihi الحسن بمجموع طرقه  (This is hasan due to all of its chains) الحسن لشاهده)
(Note: Shaikh mentioned two more terms, which we studied last time, “al-hasan li-shawahidihi”, and “al-hasan li-muta3abitihi”, which mean Hasan due to supporting evidence)

2. Al Hasan al Majaazi الحسن المجازي  (This is the figurative Hasan): Only Sakhawi uses it.

3. Al Daeef al mau3tadid  الضعيف المعتضد (weak which has been supported, I’tidaad means support)

4. Al Daeef al munjabir الضعيف المنجبر  (weak that has been strengthened)

5. Lahu Asl (له !صل) -- it has some basis. Some scholars have understood this to mean “hassan lighairihi”. All it means is that we cannot just reject it (it is not off the wall report) and should do some more research. But many scholars have taken it to mean that it is Hasan li Ghairihi.

6. “It has chains that strengthen one another”. Or that “if you put together the chains it becomes stronger”.

All of these point to the fact that the hadith is hasan lighairihii.

When did these terms originate?
From the time of Ali ibn al-madini (Bukhari’s teacher) you start to see the terms “it strengthens that (report)”. Similarly some of the above terms with similar names have been used by the earlier scholars. As a technical term the Hasan Lighairihi was established ~200 years after the time of Tirmidhi. Tirmidhi was the first to define the term “hasan” but what he meant was hasan lighairihii. He defined the concept but did not name it hasan lighairihi. These terms are used even today such as by al Albaani. He uses a number of these terms above to mean hasan lighairihi, one should be careful in reading his one word recommendations, where he may say it is hasan but it is actually hasan lighairihi. You need to study his detailed analysis to figure this one out.

When reading it is important to understand these terms. With the exception of Al-Hassan Al-Majaazi. A dissertaion could/should be written on the topic of Lahu Asl. Does this mean the same thing as “Hassan Lighairihi”? If sometimes it means hasan lighairihi then it should be ok, however, if it is said that it means hasan lighairihi always then it is a problem.

Note that 3 and 4 are specifically NOT da’eef -- they are da’eef that have been elevated to hassan lighairihi.

Question for next time: The strongest of the weak hadith is the mursal hadith. Everything is there except for the name of the sahabi. This is the strongest form of weak hadith. What would it take you to accept a mursal hadith?

One of the few scholars who doesn’t accept the idea of hassan lighairihi was Ibn Hazm.

What the scholars of hadith do is to analyze a hadith to see what doubt they need to remove to elevate it’s state. Mursal is strongest of the weak hadith, so it should be easiest to “convert” to hassan lighairihi.


2012- 02-19 Class Notes

We are discussing the question posed at the end of the class last time.

Question for next time: The strongest of the weak hadith is the mursal hadith. Everything is there except for the name of the sahabi. This is the strongest form of weak hadith. What would it take you to accept a mursal hadith?

A corroborating hadith with a complete chain, but with a weak narrator is one of the answers to the homework question. Would it make a difference if the weak narrator is .....


Chain 1 (reminder: Mursal Hadith - a hadith with the name of the sahabah missing in the chain)
Prophet -> Missing Sahabi -> Al Zuhri -> .......

Chain 2
Prophet -> Name of a Sahabi -> Al Zuhri -> ...... Weak Narrator #1 -> ....... (Here we have a weak narrator in the chain but there is the name of sahabi between the Prophet and the tabieen Al Zuhri, which was missing in chain 1)

Chain 3
Prophet -> Name of Sahabi -> Al-Zuhri ...... Weak Narrator #2-> ....... (Here we have a weak narrator in the chain, there is the name of sahabi mentioned in the chain, but the chain after Zuhri is different compared to 2 )

We have one strong chain which is chain 1 but it is mursal and we have two weak chains, chain 2 which is same chain as chain 1, except there is a weak narrator and a sahabi, and chain 3 which is still mursal and it has a weak narrator and some other chain of narrators.

The reasons for mursal hadith is for another class, we have lots of mursal hadith, and here we are focused on what are the criteria for accepting corroborating evidence that would allow you to accept a mursal hadith.

We found this chain 2 using the principle of al I’tibaar and the weakness of the narrator in chain 2 is related to memory and not accused of falsifying or lying. To a novice it may seem that they have found a stronger chain 2 which is not mursal. However, the issue is that narrators often by mistake change a mursal report into a musnad report. This is a typical behavior with weak narrators. If such a weak narrator sees a chain with the name of sahabi missing they have a tendency to supply the name of the sahabi commonly associated with that tabiyee. So in reality chain 2 may be worse than chain 1 which is mursal but with strong narrators after tabiyee.

Shaikh is cautioning us against jumping to the conclusion that chain 2 is stronger than chain 1. We still have to say that the hadith is mursal if the evidence of chain 1 is stronger than chain 2. We cannot supply a sahabi in the case when the chain 1 is stronger than chain 2.

Now suppose we find another chain 3 for the same hadith, suppose there is a weak narrator in this chain and he gives the same name of the sahabi, as given by the chain 2, through al-Zuhri. This third chain is enough to remove the doubt that the weak narrator in chain 2 may have inserted the name of sahabi by mistake. Hence this three chain scenario would be enough to raise the mursal hadith to the level of hasan.

Footnote: Grading of the hadith will remain the same, but some might say that the threshold for accepting it for the purpose of seerah might be lower than for deriving fiqh rulings.

Two strong mursal chains
Another example, let us say we have another mursal report, one from Al Zuhri and another from Said ibn Musayb, both are mursal, but we have two independent chains without any weaknesses. Both are good chains. Would they corroborate each other?

We will have to study the quality of the tabieen reporters, some scholars rank Said ibn Musayb at one extreme, they say that even his mursal reports are considered hasan because of his quality, there is a statement from Shafai that if you try to find the supporting evidence for the mursal reports of Said ibn Musayab you will be able to find it. Then you have Hasan al Basri and At-Taa’ at another extreme, Hasan al Basari is known to narrate from all types of narrators, even questionable resources.

We have to analyze who is involved. There were major tabiyee and minor tabiyee, major tabiyee had met a number of sahabi for a longer period of time and the minor may have met one or two sahabi towards the end of their life. If two strong mursal chains are coming from tabieen narrators that are of high quality, then we might be able to accept the mursal hadith as hasan.

What if the Mursal report is supported by the Fatwa of a Sahabi? can we accept the mursal report as a consequence of fatwa of a sahabi? will the topic of the hadith (seerah vs. fiqh) matter in this judgement?

Sahabah in most cases when they made ijtihad it was the case that they were not aware of any hadith of prophet on that subject. They were the last to make an ijtihad in case of an established sunnah.

If statement or fatwa is something which itself cannot be the result of an Ijtihad, which is matters related to Aqeedah issues (Day of judgment etc....) then that statement can be used to accept the Mursal Report, the only exception is that the Sahabi was not known to have taken from Israeliyaat. Sahaba would not speak on their own reasoning about whether Allah swt descends in the lower heavens etc and other aqeedah matters that they would not have the knowledge of except from the Prophet.

Sahabi were very strict they either took from the Israeliyaat or stayed away from it completely. One exception was ibn Abbas who changed, earlier he took from Israeliyaat and later stayed away from it, so we have to study his opinion carefully.

It is interesting to note that Imam Shaafi was the strictest in not accepting the Mursal, but even he will accept a mursal report if had backing with statement of a Sahabi. The Maliki and Hanafi accept the Mursal reports usually on their own.


We will study examples of hasan hadith and their supporting evidence to see how they have been made acceptable.

Albani said: The most difficult type of hadith to reason about is hasan hadith and hasan li ghairihi is even more difficult, because it requires a lot of effort to determine whether they are hasan or not. We will study examples of hasan li ghairihi hadith and we will start with some simple examples, the example will become more complicated as we progress.

Example #1 of a Mursal hadith and its supporting evidence

In the following mursal hadith: There is no Salat after the call to prayers except Sajdataeen (i.e. two Sajadah of Fajr). What it means it is the two rakat of Fajr. This is recorded in Baihaqi from Saeed ibn Jubayr from prophet (saw): there is not salat after rise of Fajr except Sajadateen.

Bayhaqi also reported the same hadith from Abdullah ibn amar ibn alaas. But in that chain there is someone with the name Abdurrahman ibn Ziad al afriki. This individual there is a difference of opinion about how trustworthy he is. Those who consider him weak have some pretty strong words about him, that he is matrook that he narrated fabricated reports. However Majority of the scholars of jarh wa tadeel say these statements are exaggerations and consider him as borderline. He has some weakness but not like what some scholars describe.

You can also find supporting evidence from Abu Huraira,, Ibn Omar and Amr ibn Abasata. These are marfoo’ reports with decent chains, some are even hasan. In the presence of these independent hasan chain the discussion about the authenticity of this mursal report is moot point. Hence it is considered hasan due to supporting evidence.


Al Mubham (المبهم)
This is the case where somebody is referred to in the chain but is not named. We have a chain with an anonymous narrator or narrator without a name. For example “Muhammad reported from his son and so on” or that he reported from someone from the the tribe of Azkhad from Abdullah. This is worst than Majhool, since we cannot even identify who the person is. No one accepts the narration of this nature. It is weak but by itself it is not considered Daeef Jiddan, since for Daeef Jiddan there has to be positive information that this narrator is from one of the rejected categories.

Another example of a mubham report is the following: There are cases where a scholar says, that a trustworthy narrator narrated to me “Akbarani theeqa”. Everything else in the chain is fine, except for the narrator who says akbarani theeqa, he does not mention the name of the narrator but just says that it is narrated by a theeqa narrator.

Should we accept this type of narrations which say akbarani theeqa? Why did he not say his name is the first question to be asked.  

There are three opinions about accepting Mubham narrations:
1) Majority Opinion and the strongest opinion, this by itself does not lead us to accept the narration. We need to know who that person is, regardless of what is said, even if he uses akhbarani theqa, we need to know the name, as he may be theqa in the eyes of that narrator but may not be theqa according to the criteria of scholars of hadith.

2) Minority opinion: Here we do accept that narration, since it is consistent with the dhahir (normal) case as people are trustworthy in general unless there is information otherwise. So this opinion is based “husan-e-dhan” about the class of narrators of hadith.

3) If you are making taqleed for that scholar you accept that narration. Ibn Hajr says about this third opinion that this has nothing to do with the uloom al hadith. Ibn Hajr is saying that if you are making taqleed then it is your own business.

Scholars like ibn Katheer and ibn Hajr say that this type of weakness can be removed by supporting evidence. Ibn Kathir says that if the ibhaam is with respect to the the first three generations and you can find supporting evidence, then we will accept it. Ibn Katheer is implying that the first three generations are good generations, as most of the narrators were of high quality, e.g. if a Taba tabyiee says that he heard from some Tabiyee from Abu Hurairah that prophet (saw) said, then this kind of weakness can be removed through a supporting evidence.

Ibn Katheer says that we can find many such examples in Musnad Ahmad and others (however, Shaykh Jamaal disagrees with ibn Katheer on this word “many”. Shaykh says there are a few examples, but it is not “many”).

An example from Musnad Ahmad: “Whoever stands up and makes Wudu well and prays well two Rakats after sun has risen then his sins will be removed and he will be like the day his mother gave birth to him”. The chain is Hadathna Abduallah ibn Yazid, Hadhathna …....3n Ammi, 3n Uqbah ibn Umar…......... So his cousin is not named and is not identified in the chain. Ibn Hajr made strange remark, that “this chain is hasan by itself, and if were not for Mubham, then it would be according to the standards of al-Bukhari” Shaykh says that it is strange to call a hadith hasan based on a chain in which there is an unknown narrator which even ibn Hajr could not find out. Overall the hadith has supporting evidence (one is mentioned in Sahih Muslim). Most likely, ibn hajr knew about the well known supporting evidence and he may have made this statement based on this supporting evidence, otherwise it does not make any sense. The other chains are narrated in a similar way from the same Sahabi (Uqbah ibn Umar), these are completely independent chains without having “my cousin” mentioned. Even though they do not tell us who this unknown person is, but the supporting evidence is of enough quality to raise it to hasan.

The general process which scholars of hadith use for various kind of weaknesses is:
1. Study the hadith and see if there is weakness
2. Identify the weakness
3. Identify how the weakness can be removed (process of I’tibaar)
4. Identify what kind of supporting evidence is required to remove the weakness.

2012- 02-26 Class Notes

Edit: Did you know that our notes are already 28 pages long and this might be a cause for the latencies that we seem to suffer on Google Docs. We need to revisit our notes and try to highlight the important points. Please revisit the notes and correct errors. Jazakallahu khairan.

Alleviating the weak chain due to supporting evidence such as when the chain was narrated prior to senility post senility
Let us say that you find one issue with a narrator in the chain, for example he suffers from Ikhtilaat, he became senile and in his old age the quality of his narration started to suffer. ANd you are not sure whether the chain from him was narrated before or after he was senile. And if you can find more information about when this chain was narrated and then you can elevate the chain. You have to find supporting evidence. However in most cases, the discussion is not that simple.

Most weak chains have more than one problems and supporting evidence also has more than one problem
It is not unusual to have more than one problems in the chain and it is not unusual for the supporting evidences to have more than one problems. So you have to reconcile it and then conclude whether it is acceptable or not. We will take an example of this type of analysis. And to make it more interesting, shaikh will not mention the hadith that we are discussing in order to shield us from our knowledge about the hadith.

Case Study of supporting evidences for a weak hadith

Chain 1:
Prophet →  Aisha → (Unn)  Khaalid ibn Duraik → (Unn) Qatadah → (Unn) Saeed ibn Basheer → (Unn) Al Waleed ibn Muslim and then the chain bifurcates.

The first chain from Al Waleed ibn Muslim says that it was hadathana, so this type of transmission is considered to be sound. However all of the chains above Al Waleed use the term “Aan” for the transmission of the chain. Aisha did not use the term Aan, she describes the incident and then says that the Prophet said such and such, which tells us that she was present when the incident occurred.

Aan is a vague term and it does not tell us exactly how the narrator received the hadith. And this is particularly dangerous in the case of tadlees, since the fabricator might be hiding some things.

As the chain stands right now, it is not sahih, otherwise we would not have used it for analysis.

The problems with the chain 1:
1. Khalid ibn Duraik never met Aisha. He died somewhere between 111 and 120 Hijri. Most of the scholars are of the opinion that when he narrated from the sahaba, these are mursal, he was missing a link. However he was described as theeqa, such as Nisai and Yahya ibn Maen described him as theeqa. His students who narrated from him include Qatadah, Ayub as Sakhtiani, al Awzahi. This is why the chain has Aan between him and Aisha. He might have met one or two sahabah, but may not have heard hadith from them directly. There is consistent agreement that his narrations from Aisha and ibn Umar are considered to be mursal or broken with one person between him and the narrator. He narrated from Qubas ibn Asham and Abdullah ibn Mahireez.  Khalid ibn Duraik’s hadith can be found in Abu Dawood, Nisai, Tirmidhi and ibn Majah. Ibn Hajar describes him as theeqa but with mursal reports theeqatun yursalu. SO does ad DHahabi describe him the same way.

2. Qataadah ibn Duama Sudaisi. he was born around the year 60 and died around 110 Hijri. His hadith can be found in Abu Dawood, Bukhari, Muslim, Nisai, ibn Majah. Ibn Hajar calls him theeqatun thibt which is a strong confirmation of his theeqaness. Dhahabi calls him “al-hafiz”. Except he is well known for committing tadlees. Dhahabi when he refers to him calls him hujja by consensus if he makes it clear how he heard it otherwise he is well known for committing tadlees and he is also known to have views of qadriyah, and he says that even if he had those views he was still considered theeqa. He was from Iraq and people of Iraq had those types of views. Most people put him in the third category of tadlees. (First category is that they would rarely commit tadlees, second were sometimes but they were theeqa, and third category is the one that we do not accept their reports unless they make it clear how they received the hadith, if it is aan we will not accept their hadith.)

3. Saeedd ibn Basheer, ibn Hajar calls him Daeef in his work about the narrators, Taqreeb al-tahzeeb. But if you go to tahzeeb al kamal by Mizzi, Saeed is discussed on nine pages and the best comment you can find about him is that he is honest in his speech. Yahya ibn Maen, Ali ibn Madeeni and Ahmed ibn Hanbal considered him weak or refused to narrate his reports. In particular he is known to narrate from Qataadah reports that no one has narrated. Ibn Hibban says about Saeed, he had bad memory and made gross mistakes, he was known to have narrated from Qatadah reports that no one else have narrated from him, and he narrated from Amr ibn Dinar which are not known to be his reports.

4. Al Waleed ibn Muslim is well known for his tadlees and he is known to commit worst kind of tadlees “tadlees al taswiyah” where he would drop someone further up in the chain. They put him in the fourth category of tadlees, where in if he uses Aan either in the most preceding chain or anywhere else earlier in the chain then we do not accept his hadeeth. (However shaikh has received a phd thesis that refutes the opinion that he committed tadlees al taswiyah)

5. There is another issue, according to Al Jurjani who says that I do not know anybody else who narrated this hadith from Qatadah except Saeed ibn Basheer and sometimes he would report it using umm salamah from Khalid ibn Duraik in the chain instead of report from Aisha. This is known as mudtarab.  We cannot say that he is trying to create a new chain, he was not accused of lying. He narrates the same hadith with the same chain but sometimes he is narrating it from Aisha or sometimes from Umm Salamah.

The question is whether the problems with preservation occur with Qatadah or with Saeed ibn Basheer.

The weakest narrator in the chain is Saeed ibn Basheer who is daeef all other narrators are thiqa. putting aside the problem of tadlees, since without Aan, both Qatadah and Al Waleed are considered to be theeqa.

Supporting evidences for this hadeeth are the following chains:

Chain 2
Prophet →  (Unn) Qatadah → (Unn) Hishaam → (Unn) Abu Dauood → (Unn) Muhammad ibn Bashshaar → .......
Every link in this chain uses Unn.

So we have another chain that narrates the same event from the prophet. Would you call this Shahid or Mutabiah. This is shahid because even the sahabi is not the same.

The problems with the chain 2:
The first issue is that Qatadah is not a sahabi. As we mentioned earlier, he used to commit tadlees also. According to Imam Ahmed, “I do not know Qataadah having heard  from any sahabi except Anas ibn Malik”. Anas (ra) is the last sahabi to die in Basarah. So Qatadah at the very best heard from one sahabi. Here there is not mention of Aisha (ra) and from Qatadah it links to Prophet (saws). So what do we call such a hadith which is missing two consecutive links? It is called Muaddal. This is mursal as well.

How would you strengthen two mursal chains?
Let us say that the other chain that we had the only problem with that chain was that it was Mursal. For the time being lets say that the only problem with this chain is only Mursal. Can these two Mursal reports support one another (ignoring all other defects)?  As we know that mursal reports are the strongest of the weak reports. So how could one bolster or strengthen the other report.

The answer is: We want to make sure that the two chains should have been independent.
We need to be extremely confident, that there is new information being added by the supporting evidence.  In this narration the incidence quoted by Ayeesha in the chain 1 is not mentioned, however, the statement of Prophet (saw) is quoted almost exactly through Qatadah as it is quoted through Ayeesha in chain 1. Now here we have exactly the same report as the other one, so we cannot logically put them together and put trust into the chains. However as we know that the weakness is not just due to mursal but other issues with the chain 1 as pointed above.

However, there is no question, that this second chain is better than the first one. The narrators in this chain are more trustworthy than the previous chain.

Hishaam al Basrawi is Thiqa and Abu Dauood al Tayalissi is also well known Thiqa who compiled Musnad al Tayalasi.. Muhammad ibn Bashshaar and the one who comes after it are trustworthy narrators. So this chain is Muaddal-Mursal.

This is mursal report from Qatadah and the chain 1 cannot be used to support this. However, none of the narrators in this chain except for Qataadah are accused of tadless, so use of Ann is not a big issue.

Chain 3
The next chain is little bit longer compared to the earlier two chains.
Prophet (saws) → (narrator says “I think it was Unn”) Asma bint Umais (ra) → Ubaid ibn Rifaaah al-Ansari → Ibraheem ibn Ubaid → Iyaadh ibn Abdullah → Abdulah ibn Lahee’ah →  Muhammad ibn Rumh → Abu Imraan al-Jauni → Ahmad ibn Ubaid → Ali ibn Ahmad → ….........

Ubaid ibn Rifaaah al Ansari is either a Sahabi or son of a Sahabi.

The problems with the chain 3:
1. The first issue is that the wording of the hadith or the statement of the prophet is different than what chain 1 and 2 narrate.

2. Most of the narrators of this chain are trustworthy. However theres is an issue with Iyaadh ibn Abdullahi.
Ibn Hajar says in Taqreeb al Tahdheeb  that there is some weakness (“feehi leen”) and we need some supporting evidence for his narrations. (Note: Shaikh says you cannot just rely on the succinct words used by Ibn Hajar, you have to study the narrator in more detail, he mentions this point everytime he quotes from taqreeb al tahdbheeb.) If you go to Tahdeeb al Tahdeeb also by ibn Hajar has stronger evidence there he says that Yahya ibn Maen calls him weak. Bukhari calls him munkar al-hadith, which is a very strong term from him. ibn hajar did not record any scholar that considered him to be trustworthy. So the correct opinion is that he is definitely weak instead of using the mild terminology of ibn Hajar

3. Abdullah bin Lahee’ah was a qadhi in Egypt,  who is famous for having lost his books to fire. He was a well known pious person. However after he lost his books in a fire, his quality of narrations weakened. Later scholars considered him hasan and some other say sahih. However on closer inspection we realize that he was weak both before and after his books were burned. Ibn Hibban says that the mistakes in unfounded narrations exist in both before and after the fire period. He says even though quality got worst in after the fire period. And then he says that the worst issue with him is that he used to commit tadlees even on the authority of weak and rejected narrators (in these cases he used the word Unn for his chain). For our chain 3, he used the word unn and ibn Hajar puts him in the fifth category of tadlees. The severity of tadlees is ranked worst as the level number of category increases, fifth category of tadlees is worst compared to first category of tadlees.

Would you accept this chain in conjunction with the second chain? Given the fact that the hadith in question is related to a fiqhi issue and these are the only three chains available for this hadith.


2012-03-04 Class Notes

Next we will meet from 2:50 PDT to 3:45 PDT

How should we write “On the authority of” when transliterating Arabic into English, should we write it as Ann or Unn?
The old school was ‘an, now they write it as 3an.

We are discussing the case study of weak chains. We studied three chains and they were all weak. Qatadah was accused of making tadlees and broken chain between Ayesha and the immediately next narrator. All the narrators were using 3an in the chain.

The text of chain 3 was different than text of hadith as reported by chain 1 and 2.

We have a weak report from Ibn Abbas which supports the text for chain 1 and 2. And we have a strong report from ibn Abbas that support these chains but with a slightly different meaning. Can a statement of sahabi bolster a weak hadith?

Would you be surprised if some scholars of hadith had a difference of opinion about this hadith? Would it surprise you if some accepted it and some rejected it? Would it surprise you, if some scholars called the hadith sahih?

Now is the time to reveal the text of the hadith, which we had not seen so far.

The text of the hadeeth:
From Abu Dawood from Ayesha: Asma the daughter of Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (saws) wearing a thin dress, he turned his face away from her and said that once a woman turns into the age of puberty it is not proper for her to show anything other than her face and her hand (he did it by showing the face and hand).

This is the one of the main arguments used to show that it is okay for women to uncover her face and her hand.

Al-Albaani’s view of this hadith
Among the scholars who accept this hadith, al-Albaani calls it sahih, some of his students also say that it is sahih. He says that it is recorded by Al Bayhaqi and abu Daud. It’s chain is broken and I add Saeed ibn Basheer is weak. However, it comes to us through different chains. Then he quotes our chain number 2 from last week. Did not Albani see that this second chain is coming through Qatadah and he knows that the first chain is narrated by Qatadah. So it is strange to see him commenting that this supports the first chain, as both of them are mursal and have other defects in the chain. Then he quotes chain #3 saying that Baihiqi records it and says its chain is weak.

On the third chain, there is some difference of wording. There Asma was only wearing wide sleeves and when she moved one could see some parts of her body. Prophet (saws) got up and left. When Aisha (ra) realized that Prophet (saws) did not like something and inquired then Prophet (saws) said the above words and then narration goes on to say that after that day Asma covered them always that no one saw except her fingers and face. However this chain is weak.  

It’s defect is ibn Lahiyaah. However, regarding him the scholars say that he was aabid. al-Haithmi records his hadith and says his hadith are hasan. He does not mention that there is another weakness in the chain Iyaadh ibn Abdullah.  
Also his statement of ibn Lahiyah contradicts his earlier statement by albaani. Shaikh then went on to read albaani’s earlier statements about ibn Lahiyah.

Vast majority of the scholars say that this hadith  is weak and not even hasan.

In the tafseer of Surah Nur (illa man zahara) there are narrations from ibn Abbas quoted. The weak narration from Ibn Abbas says it means “face and hands” and the strong narration says “the things that she can show is the face, kohl, the dye on the hand and her rings and this is only for visitors in the house”.

Shaikh says that this is definitely not a sahih hadith and it also does not have enough supporting evidence to raise it to the level of hasan. (Basically shaikh is calling it weak hadith). This is one of the main evidence that Albani quotes to support his view that it is allowed for women to expose her face and hands (in his book “hijab al-maraa’). He quotes other evidences, but this is his strongest evidence as this is hadith of prophet (saw). He quotes that many tabayeen had the same view including Saeed ibn Jubair, At-Taa’, Qataadah, Mujahid, ibn Zaid and many taba tabayeen they all had the view that women can expose their face and hands. However, as with ibn Abbas’s view on this you cannot use all of this evidence to claim that it is sahih hadith of prophet (saw).

If there is not enough convincing evidence to raise it to the level of hasan, the hadith will remain graded as weak.

There are some scholars who critique Albani and their main criticism is that al Albaani raises hadith that are weak. There was a time when his students would be upset if you criticized his grading of the hadith.

Al Albaani is basing his opinion on three chains, and what he concludes is that based on these three chains, the hadith is Saheeh. He doesn’t mention the weaknesses in the first hadith. In the second hadith, he accepts that it is mursal, even though it mentions Qataadah as he did in the first one. In the third hadith, he doesn’t mention the weakness.

Q: As a muqallid, am I obliged to follow a person in their opinion on their hadith?
A: If you go to someone you trust, without going into detail about the hadith, he would feel comfortable with his decision. But if you were to come across other scholars and see that their point of view is differing from this person’s opinion, then I would not blindly follow it, I would try to learn more about it. It is between you and Allah swt.


Another example  is  very relevant for English speaking audience. We have six books translated in English. The work on the 4 books of Sunan, the English speakers will rely upon them. In Arabic one can look at what all the scholars will say about that. In English, we can rely only on these. There is translation and then there is Takhreej for hadith. Many times these translators come to conclusion but disagrees with other Ulema. The person is Hafiz Abu Taahir Zubair Ali Zai.

3562 in Abu Daud: It was narrated from Umaayah b Safwan b Umaayah that the Prophet (SAWS) borrowed some armour from him on the day of Hunain. He asked “Are you taking this by force?” The Prophet (SAWS) replied: this is a loan for which I am liable. In English you just get one word. But the Arabic sometimes has more detail. In English it says daeef and that is all.

Takhreej in Arabic said: it’s sanad is weak (isnaaduhu daeef), and it has weak supporting evidence. Shareek has narrated it in mu‘anan form (hence likely to have done tadlees). And Qais is daeef. There is a big difference between saying that the isnaad are daeef and hadith is daeed. Even if the sanad is weak, the hadith may be hassan lighairihi due to supporting evidence that is also week. It is not in the Arabic that it says it is weak. The chain may be weak, but perhaps the hadith is hassan lighairihi.

According to Shu’aib Al-Arna-oot and his team, this hadith is hassan. Al-Ablaani says this hadith is Saheeh. So Albani says sahih, Al-Arna’oot says hassan, and the translation says da’eef.  Al-Arna’oot says this hadith is also in Musnad Ahmad which is hasan hadith but this chain is weak. He says there are three weaknesses:
- Shareek is a weak narrator
- Umayyah b Safwaan is majhool.
- There also seems to be some idtiraab (Shaky/differences in wording).
He brings all the supporting evidence from Tahawi, another report recorded by Haakim and Baihiqi through Jaabir that report has hasan chain.
Az-Zailai a hanafi scholar in his book “nasab al-raiyaa” gives his takhreej of this hadith and says that this hadith has supporting evidence which is Sahih.

Al Albani also in his book considers it Sahih. He points to two defects (lahu illataan): umayyah b safwaan being unknown and shareek being weak. He discusses the idtiraab, and says other chains are hasan and concludes that it is saheeh due to three decent chains.

The point is that the conclusions of Za’ee are very different to other scholars.

The translations themselves sometimes are also problematic. Yassir Qadhi was commenting on something from S. Ibn Maajah, and he would say “I don’t know where this is coming from, this is wrong.” There are a number of places where the translations have some issues as well.

To illustrate problems with translations,  one hadith (ibn Majah 3943)  that says that describes someone who is fleeing from khataaya (In arabic Khataa means mistakes and khataaya is sins) and thunoob (sins). But they translated khataaya as mistakes. But in Arabic it means “sins”, not “mistakes”. Mistakes have completely different connotation than sins.

If you want to do a real takhreej of hadith, each hadith will take a long time if you want to do it properly. One of our problems is that we expect it all to be done quickly.

2012- 03-11 Class Notes


This is the final class for the quarter, today’s class is from 2:50 to 3:45 PM PST.

We will start with a philosophical question, what does it mean to you, for something to be hasan li ghairihi?

When it is elevated to the status of hasan, does it meet the criteria of hasan. When you raise it to the level of hasan, what are you saying? That you have removed the doubts that were initially present.

Would a hasan li ghairihi become hujjah for you if all of the scholars agree that it is indeed hasan li ghairihi?

Most of the books on uloom al hadith say that hasan li ghairihi is hujjah and they will say that there is ijmaa among scholars about it. The point that they are making is that if there are problematic aspects such as shaadh or ma’lool then its level would not have been raised, and they say that the narrators have some problems other than honesty and that we have found other sources to remove the doubt of the weak narrators.

Shaikh Mustafa al-Azami said once, that if you have a narrator whose narration is good, why don’t we just call it sahih. The original scholars did not have term called hasan, it was sahih or weak. So they did not distinguish between Sahih and Hasan.

Scholars who say hasan li ghairihi hadith becomes hujjah
ibn Salah, Al-Munthiri and An-Nawawi and in general Ibn Taymiyah says the hadith becomes hujjah. They are more black and white in perspective about it.

Scholars who say hasan li ghairihi hadith does not become hujjah
There are other scholars who disagree Khalid al-Durais in his PhD thesis says that whether scholars like Imam Ahmed or Bukhari would even accept the idea of hasan li ghairihi. He says that there is some doubt it and not every hadith that has been elevated can become hujjah, specially not in every field.

In field of fiqh or saying something is halal or haram, would you use a good hasan li ghairihi hadith?

Ibn Hazm rejects the concept of hasan li ghairihi completely. He says that even if chains of weak report reach 1000 does not strengthen it, he says that it only weakens it. However he was not consistent in applying his theory.

Ibn al Qattan al Fasi, was a great scholar of hadith and very particular in his discussion of hadith. He says that hasan li ghairihi cannot be used for halal or haram but can be used ihitiyaatan or caution for matters of tadheeb al targheeb

Ibn Hajr: Al-Nukat alaa muqaddimat Ibn Salaah, he quotes Ibn Al Qattaan and it seems like he likes his opinion. But in the Shaikh’s opinion, in practice he seems to accept hassan lighairihi for example in Fath al bari.

History of hasan lighairihi
The problem is that this category has largely accepted. There are some hadith that Imaam Shafi’i would accept, e.g. if it was mursal and it was supported by others he would accept it. Tirmidhi widened it further. Then Al Baihaqi also contributed to the widening of the door.

But they were much stricter about raising things to the level of hassan lighairhi. So over time, you have two phenomena:

- Theoretically speaking, more things are considered acceptable within hassan lighairihi.
- Practically, people became more willing to raise things to the level of hassan lighairihi.

If you compare the attitude of the earlier and later scholars, you can see that the door has been widened in their acceptance of hasan lighairihi.

Q: Are fiqh issues not more important then the Aqeedah?
A: The first scholars who divided deen into these categories were the mutazilah scholars, and their intent was to reject some hadith that they considered not to their taste (i.e. basically Mutazillah Aql (intellect) did not like it). This approach is now adapted by almost everybody, we have scholars who discuss the various fields and how hadith are applied to it. During the time of sahaba, a hadith is basically true or false, regardless of the field.

That is why in the field of aqeedah you can get the impression is that hasan lighairihi is not acceptable and this attitude goes very back. Khalid ibn Durais in his PhD thesis says the mafhoom …. For example, Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about some attributes of Allah swt and he said that we believe in them and affirm without discussing their modality and we do not reject any of them, if it comes from the sahih chains and we do not reject any of the prophet’s statements.

Durais also says quoting Abu Hatim and Abu Zar’a that there there is no hujjah accept through authentic connected chains.

Four types of aqeedah hadith according to ibn Qayyim
Durais also quotes ibn Qayyim, who says that acceptable reports on topics of aqeedah are of four types:

1. Hadith that are mutawaatir in both their meaning and wording.
2. Hadith that are mutawaatir in their meaning but not in their wording.
3. Hadith that are agreed upon by the ummah from many sources.
4. Ahad reports that are narrated by trustworthy and acceptable narrators on the authority of trustworthy and acceptable narrators all the way back to the messenger.

And the understanding we can get back from these sources is that a hadith that is weak can not be considered hujjah in matters of opinion.

Durais also quotes .. as making a similar statement.

Do you agree with Durais’s understanding (mafhoom) of the various scholars that he quotes?

Al Ghulayman in Sharh of Aqeedah al Wasitiyyah, says that we accept Sahih and Hassan from the Prophet (saws) and we do not differentiate between Fiqh and Aqeedah, since Ahl us Sunnah do not differ between Furu and Aqeedah. So basically he is saying that this division came from Mutazillah.

Another contemporary scholar Al-Rajhi, he said that you cannot act upon weak hadith unless there is supporting evidence for it and then they ...

Al Albaani also says that such hadith are hujjah in matters of aqeedah.

Practically speaking, if you go to the books of aqeedah and books that trace their source back to sahaba and the prophet, they do not distinguish between hasan lidhatihi and hasan lighairihi, since they claim that the doubt has been removed.

Similarly other works ..... mentioned by shaikh but we failed to capture them

One contemporary writer says that we should distinguish between different topics of aqeedah, for example he says that we should state the difference when it comes to hadith that discuss events that occurred during miraaj and events related to them.

Classroom discussion about hasan lighairihi
Does more steps of verification or authentication, mean more doubt?
What is the probability of many independent narrators making the same mistake?
Differences between practice and reality of raising the level of weak hadith?

The distinction between hasan and hasan lighairihi maybe caused more harm than good. These hadith have passed the litmus test and we accept it. Practically speaking, shaikh has not seen anyone avoiding hasan lighairhi. We have the opposite problem, that authors are accepting weak hadith that seem to bolster their madhab.

.....

Among many later scholars what they would raise to the level of hasan that is not ......

If hadith is truly hasan lighairihi, then to the best of our knowledge, it is a true statement of the Prophet and we have to apply it where ever we can apply a true statement of the prophet.

If we have removed the doubt then we should apply it.

Practically speaking this is the most difficult field of uloom al hadith. You might see some evidence for raising the level of the hadith and if you feel uncomfortable with the evidence, then you may not apply it since you consider the hadith to be still at a weak level.
The next class will be on the topic of fabricated hadith, what are the signs of fabricated hadith, what attempts were made to clarify them, what are the various collections of fabricated hadith. And then in the class after that we will discuss the examples of fabricated hadith.
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