Preservation of Sunnah Spring 2009
Preservation of Sunnah III
Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo
April 5, 2009
Authority of Sunnah 4/05/2009
Isnad: History and Use
names of authorities with sources, how you trace it back to the Prophet (saw)
Hadeeth and narrator criticism:
Travels seeking hadith, what role that played in preservation of sunnah
Late Appearance of Hadith Frabircation.
If there’s anything that you can critique the scholars of hadeeth about is how careful they were when they dealt with ahadeeth. If you’re overly strict, you may reject something that is actually true, and if you’re lax you may accept something that is actually false. What we found is that books were written and works were compiled but many of them were passed on in such a way that scholars of hadeeth did not consider that as the best source. What they were doing is to make sure not to put any words in the Prophet (saw)’s mouth.
Ibn Hazm has a theory, the shariah has made it clear that Allah has made a promise that Allah will preserve this dhikr, that it should not have any doubt about it. If there are some doubtful matters, then if you leave those things, it is part of following that shariah has been made clear. Issue with New Testament, not being very strict has opened the door for corruption.
if it were not for the issue of Isnaad: chain of authorities, probably all of that discussion would be irrelevant (about saheefahs).
Every hadeeth has two parts, Matn (text) and Isnaad (chain of authorities). Lingustic meaning of Isnaad, leaned, rested against, and also can mean ascend.
Even in Pre-Islamic Arabia, this concept of Isnaad did exist. Example is found in poetry. To claim that some poem came from a certain poet, you have state your sources.
Number of books written about why Allah (swt) chose the arabs to send the final prophet. This is one of the aspects.
One of the classic statement by Abdullah bin Mubarak (died 181), he said “al-isnadu minaddeen” (Isnad is part of the religion). What does this mean? without it, there is no reliable religion. “If it were not for the isnaad, then anyone would say whatever he wished.” Very famous Mujahid and also famous for his nasheed. d181.
Ibn T says, that there’s two types of knowledge. One knowledge which is rationally true, the other type that is based on narration.
Even Abdullah bin Saba, he started teaching the extreme teaching of Shia’a. He claimed that since `eesa is going to return, than it makes more sense that the prophet (saw) is going to return. However all the things you see him saying, you’d not find him saying that these are statements of the Prophet (saw). He could not claim these things to be coming from Prophet (saw) because the principles of jarh wa ta’deel already existed.
Shubah ibn al-Hajjaj. Early scholar of hadeeth, in the generation of tabieen [contemporary of AbuZubayr]. “Any hadeeth that does not contain “samitu”, then in reality it is something cheap and of no value”.
Sufyaan At-Thawri, “isnaad is the sword of the believer, and without his sword, how would he fight”
“This knowledge is the deen, therefore be careful about who you take the religion from.” (Muhammad ibn Sireen, Anas ibn Sireen and other scholars). Not only points to Isnad, but also points to the quality of narrators as well.
Bahz ibn Asad (d200), “when saheeh isnad was mentioned to him, this is testimony of just,reliable witnesses, one for the other what they said.” “The religion of Allah has much more right than that to have reliable witnesses”
Ibn T, “if someone doesn’t rely on the isnaad, then that person resembles to the jews and the xtians. Isnaad is one of the special qualities of this ummah. And on top of that, it’s a special quality of ahlus sunnah over ahlul biddah”
When did the scholars of hadeeth, begin to use the isnaad?
We talked about during the time of sahabah, it was not the case that each of the sahabah would be with the Prophet (saw) all the time. Umar would take turns with his neighbor.
Not everything that the Sahabah knew of the Prophet (saw), they did not hear and see directly from the Prophet. Especially some of the younger sahabaah. Not everything that they narrated, they heard from the sahabah. And yet, when they narrated, they said, “`an Rasulullah (saw)”.
Prophet (saw) à Companions à Companion (and he would say `an).
we find statements like Al-baraa bin Azib “not every hadith did we hear directly from the Prophet (saw), but our companions used to narrate to us.” He also said, “However the people at that time did not use to lie so the one who was present would narrate to the ones who were absent.”
Anas, “…however our companions narrated to us and we were people who did not use to lie to one another.”
Example of Abu Sufyan, even amongst the people of jahiliya, the issue of lying was a major thing in front of the people.
Bukhari, Hadeeth about “those believers who do not take part in jihad and are not equal to those who do take part in jihad.” Narrated by Sahl ibn Sa’ad as sa’adi, Marwan ibn Hakm, Zaid ibn Thabit.
“Saeed ibn Yazeed, AbdulRahman ibn Qari, Umar bin Khattab” (in Muslim about praying at night)
Jabir bin Abdullah, umm makhtum bint abu bakr, aisha
Amr ibn Haram from Zainab.
examples of “Sahabi, heard from one of the tabieen, who had heard it from one of the sahabah back to the Prophet”.
Obviously this wasn’t that common but it existed and ibn Hajr has a book about this. So we do have this possibility that exists.
when these companions for example narrated the hadeeth from another companion and they did not mention the name of the other companion, is this problematic?
they are saying “`an” or “qaala”.
April 12, 2009
Discuss the history of Isnaad
We recognize the facts, that the companions relating the hadith of the prophet, took the responsibility upon themselves when they heard it directly from the prophet.
But there was also the case of companions who indirectly heard about the hadith from other companions. Does this create any problem? Should this fact worry us? If not why not?
1. All companions of the prophet are considered trustworthy
Why do we say all companions are trustworthy? Why should we consider their narrations? All of the sahaba?
Status of the sahaba is very important is Islam. Place of sahaba is very important. Our attitude towards sahaba is very critical, we do not consider them sinless. But we consider them acceptable as narrators. Why do we consider them as acceptable narrators?
Surat Tauba Verse 100 where Allah swt talks about Ansar and the Muhajareen and Allah is very pleased with them and those who follow them.
Pleased with them to give testimony, witness.
If Allah is pleased with them, then who are we to question it?
Who are those who follow them? Describe the sahaba and the people who follow the way of the Sahaba. Who follows their way?
Surah Bakara Verse 143: We have made you the (ummatun wasata) best/righteous in order to be witnesses against mankind. Note: You in this verse refers to the Sahaba.
"143. Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful."
Can we go from the whole to the individual
So the burden of proof is upon us to reject the narration of a particular sahaba. We have to prove why we will not accept their narration.
In the prophet's last pilgrimmage, he asked those who are present to pass on the knowledge to others.
We have many other hadeeth pointing to the virtues of the sahaba and their dedication to the deen.
There should be no doubt among the muslims about the sahaba. Even though the later sects rejected some of the sahaba and had doubts about them such as the shia and the murtazilab.
Why would a non-muslim accept the narration of the sahaba? What would be a reason for a non-muslim to trust the narration?
Somebody is sceptical, how would you answer their concern?
Historians rely on human narration of past events even though they are based on flimsy evidence.
Let's discuss their honesty
We can find claims of their honesty, of their devotion to the cause. At the same time we do not find any evidence or claims of their dishonesty
if you believe they are liars, then there should be someone at that time that is making that claim. One of the things that happened early in Islam is that muslims themselves fought one another, yet there is no trace from that early history that the other muslims were liars or forgers or were distorting the truth. Even the shia works, when they made distortions against Umar and Abu Bakr, they all came at later time. There's simply no evidence, you cannot just assume, even rationally speaking, that people are just not honest. The limited evidence that we have is that they were honest, any kind of secondary claim that they made about each other points to the fact they were honest. The burden of proof therefore falls on the one who is claiming that they are dishonest. Once we have established this base, then we can go to the other issue of the possibility of them making mistakes. What you find in acadamia right now that people making claims, that they are liars, it's amazing that at that time, no one made that claim but now they're making those claims. For example, if someone made a claim that Bill Clinton lied, you can find people now proving that he lied. If you take someone famous and well known now and no one has made the claim that he lied and someone comes later and says that he lied, on what basis is he saying that? So unfortunately in academia, since they have a negative view of the religion itself, they accept simply the fact they are lying and this is simply conjecture.
E.g. Fatimah Mernissi ( http://www.mernissi.net/) exactly the same book under two different names. She has a problem with the Sahabi, Abu Bakrah (note: Not Abu Bakr). He's the sahabi who narrated the hadeeth of the Prophet (saw), people will not prosper if the affairs of the people are in the hand of a woman. Fatimah is a feminist so she rejects this hadeeth and claims that abu bakrah forged this hadeeth. Apologies to all the Bangladeshis in the room :) Abu Bakrah is from the mawali, not from a strong clan or group to back him up. She says that Abu Bakrah when he went to Basrah (the land of the supporters of Ali), he's a weak individual and he wants some power and some status. So he wants to show that Ali is right in the fight against Ayesha and Muawiyah. So in order to get more influence, he basically fabricated this hadeeth. The amazing thing to me (i.e. JZ) is the narration that she's quoting actually says, Abu Bakrah says that when he went to basrah, something that he heard from the Prophet (saw) prevented him from doing something that was incorrect. When the Prophet (saw) found out about the death of the ruler of persia and they were going to replace him with his daughter, that's when the Prophet (saw) said....and when Ayesha was approaching Basrah, I remembered that statement and Allah protected me by it. So this statement he made, is this the statement you'd make to show Ali is in the right? He's clearly saying that I would have joint Ayesha against Ali if it was for not this hadeeth. Would Abu Bakrah have said something like this in front of the supporters of Ali to gain their popularity? This is just humorous, the example they give and arguments they make is simply ludicurous. This actually shows the honesty of abu bakrah!
How do you reconcile with the queen of sheeba ? The hadith says "lan yuflihah", means will not be prosperous in the future, and it has nothing to do with anything that happened in the past.
In some cases the Isnaad did not exist. But at that time, it was not a big issue.
We will show it has less ramnifications
2. If one of the tabieen narrated something directly from the prophet, this is also called mursal. The scholars of hadeeth accept mursal of a sahaba, but not of the tabieen. The fuqaha ususally accept the mursal of a tabieen.
(Tabieen means second generation, not the companion of the prophet)
Mursal means you are referring to the tabieen.
Abu saeed ul Khudri narrated once a hadeeth, and one of his students mentioned it amazed him and asked him if he heard it from the prophet SAW. He answered in response "Would I say something from the Prophet SAW what I did not hear?" meaning Abu Saeed was particular in narrating only what he heard directly.
Even Ibn Abbas, he would mention which sahabi he specifically heard from. More importantly for Ibn Abbas, we have a narration of one of the tabieen named Bushair Ibn Ka'b Al Adawi ? He was a famous narrator from the tabieen ( his narrations are found in Bukhari). He was in a masjid and he started to narrate a hadith, Ibn Abbas was present in the masjid, and he did not pay any attention to Bushair. He was not even paying attention to Bushair, so Bushair got upset and mentioned to Ibn Abbas .. Ibn Abbas replied there used to be a time when we used to play complete attention to the hadith of the prophet SAW, but when the people started to break into groups after that we only accept from people those whom we know. Even though Bushair was known to be trustworthy , since Ibn Abbas didn't know him, his narrations were not acceptable to him.
Ibn Umar narrating hadith in which he heard only part of the hadith from the Prophet SAW and other parts indirectly, so he mentioned specifically the parts of the hadeeth which he did not hear directly.
For all of the narrations where the sahabi heard directly from the Peophet SAW, then the isnad is the sahabi itself.
April 19, 2009
History of Isnaad
Somebody wrote that the quranic and islamic culture led to the development of Isnaad? What do you think about it? He gave an example. In the quran, he says how the prophet received the revelation, for example, Allah swt (53:5) says the trustworthy spirit ruh-ul-amin brought the quran. This is the Isnaad of the revelation of quran, describing who brought the revelation, describing the narrator (Jibreel) is strong. The author says, Allah swt is giving us the Isnaad of the quran. The idea of Isnaad was taught by the Quran and was known to the sahaba.
What do you think about what he said?
What is the biggest flaw to this theory? The problem is that the sahaba did not understand that from those verses. What he is saying is that the use of Isnaad has been instituted by the Quran and he is projecting it back to the time of the Prophet (saw). Did any sahaba or scholar say anything of this nature? Did they ever say anything of this nature? You're saying this 1400 years later while at the same time you have no sahabah saying this? The scholars of hadith when they developed the science of who to accept and reject they did not apply this theory. Although Allah did highlight the characteristics of jibril as said in the ayat but did any one understand that the institute of Isnaad should be used because of this ayat, no one understood the ayat and decided to institute isnaad because of it. It's interesting to note how Allah (swt) is mentioning the Isnaad. Father of Taqiuddeen Uthmani, Shabbir Uthmani says that the quality of the narratior for hadeeth should posess (in his intro to Sahih Bukhari) should be the same as the qualities mentioned in the Quran. Makes for very interesting reading but the reality is when the scholars of hadeeth decided who to accept and reject, they did not say the same criteria Shabbir Uthmani mentioned.
If you present faulty arguments into islam then this can beeven more damaging then remaining silent.
When you propose new theories without any factual evidence, it becomes fodder for the enemies of Islam. So we have to be very careful about it.
There are a lot of theories about the origins of Isnaad.
Summarize where we were:
We have the Prophet(PBUH), then the sahaba passing on the knowledge to the followers.
If a sahabi heard it directly from the Prophet(PBUH) and He passed it on to a tabi. For an example Ibn Umar(?) said i heard from the prophet(PBUH). Did he mention the isnaad? Yes
If the sahabi doesnot mention the sahabi they heard from it is called mursal sahabi. Does this effectour willingness to accept t he hadith. It does not in respect to the authenticity. but it effects the fact that the full isnaad was not mention. Then we can provide arguments where itis acceptable.
There are cases where the sahabi may have heard from a follower back to the sahabi. this is a rare case. Some scholars say that in this case some sahabi would mention the sahabi he heard it from
When did the last sahabi die? 110 Hijri. Majority of the sahaba died 75 years after Hijri.
Who is considered a companion of the prophet?
There were a lot of Arabs who became muslim during the time of the prophet but did not see the prophet. They are considered to be tabaeen. They are not considered sahaba.
There is another category of tabaeen called Al Mukhadhramun. They lived during Jaheeliya, they became Muslims during the lifetime of the prophet or after but did not see or meet the prophet.
Definition of Sahabi:
1. Saw the prophet and believed in the prophet
2. Died in Iman
3. They saw the prophet when they were old enough to comprehend (were not a child).
Blind companion were also considered to be sahaba.
Does the word sahaba mean spent some time with the Prophet(PBUH)? Does the person who spent time with the Prophet(PBUH) or just a minute the same? The verses in the Quran are general statements meaning that they are applied to ALL sahaba. Most of the scholars say that because they were chosen to see and believe in the Prophet(PBUH) by Allah is enough. In general we are talking of those who can identify Him.
Even though there were a lot of sahaba during the final pilgrimage of the Prophet, the sahaba that we refer to are very few.
A hadith reported by a sahabi even if their name is not mentioned is considered authentic.
The first question we ask of the followers: Do we consider them to be like the sahaba? Do we accept their reports.
Hadith: The best generation are my companions and then the next and the next.
Question from class: Do we accept a hadith, if Sahabi is narrating, while he at the time the incident of narration happened, was not in state of iman?
Answer from sheikh: If they accepted islam after meeting the prophet(PBUH) they are not considered sahaba but Tabeein although they can still be accepted to narrate hadith
Companion == Sahaba
Follower == Tabaeen
Second generation of Followers == Taba Tabaeen
Third generation of Followers == Taba Taba Tabaeen
Drawings on the whiteboard
Prophet -> Companion
Prophet -> Companion -> Companion
Prophet -> Companion -> Follower -> Companion
Prophet -> Companion -> Follower
Prophet -> Companion -> Follower -> Follower
Sheikh gave an example of isnaad which has five followers in the chain and then the sahaba.
Prophet -> Companion -> Follower -> Second generation of Followers -> Follower
In this Isnaad, the taba tabaeen are in between the two followers.
Question is what happens in this case if we do not mention the name of the follower or the sahaba in the Isnaad?
When did the Isnaad start being used and required to be mentioned. Did it come later than taba tabaeen?
There are conditions related to the narrator and also to the text.
Was prophet in state of Ihraam when he married Mehmuna? Abu Abbas said yes, but every body else including Mehmuna said no. So companions can make mistake. There are conditions to ensure the Isnaad and also the text.
Even if the person is trustworthy, they still can commit errors or make mistake.
Fuqaha versus Muhadatheen discussion.
April 26, 2009
Review of the previous session
Who is a sahabi?
Definition of Sahabi:
1. Saw the prophet and believed in the prophet
2. Died in Iman
3. They saw the prophet when they were old enough to comprehend (were not a child).
Next followers Tabieen
Followers of the followers Taba Tabieen
if the isnaad was not established during their time, it becomes a critical issue.
Sheikh is discussing the timeline of the companions and the isnaad
Last 1/3 of the 1st century, 1/3rd of the 2nd century Hijra is the timeline of the sahaba and the followers
When did isnaad start?
first of opinion- the use of isnad began after the fitnah, one of the basis is the statementby ibn sirin(Muhummad Ibn Sirin a tabieen ,well known scholar, died 110a.h.)made a famous statement,"they(mostly likely the sahaba) did not use to ask about the isnad however when the fitnah(death of uthman) occurred they(meaning the muslims) said name to us your sources."
Isnaad became important after the fitnah? Followers started to ask for sources of the narration after the fitnah.
What was the fitnah that occured?
It was one of the early events that was known to all Muslims.
Sheikh is now going to discuss the unreasonable definitions of fitnah. We will discuss reasonable definitions later.
There is an author, Schacht, who has many theories of the history of hadeeth. Most of the theories go back to Schacht.
This theory highlights the western thinking about Islam.
He takes the statement of Ibn Sirin, the fitnah that ibn Sirin was refering to was the death of ibn Walid ibn Yazeed(?) Sheikh is questioning if anybody has heard of ibn Walid Yazeed. He died in the year 126 Hijri.
Schacht found a book of history, that refered to the death of ibn Walid ibn Yazeed as fitnah. ibn Sirin died in 110 Hijri and Schacht says that proves that the statement of ibn Sirin is false since he died before the death of ibn Walid ibn Yazeed. This theory is repeated by a lot of Western scholars and it shows the lack of scholarship. There is no basis to refering to the death of ibn Walid as a major fitnah.
Another viewpoint is that there were many fitnahs to conclude whcih was the fitnah that ibn Sirin was refering to.
The consensus among muslims is that fitnah is refering to the death of Uthman or some of the disputes that occured after the death of Uthman 36 Hijra.
The actual number of sahaba who took part in the dispute or the fighting were less than 30? There were thousands of sahaba who were alive and only few then hundred took part in the fighting that occured after the death of Uthman.
The first fitnah was the death of Uthman and the last fitnah will be the coming of dajjal.
ibn Sirin is refering to event that occured before his time.
Another opinion Sheikh Adamy says the fitnah is the fighting that occured with Muawiyah and Ali 36 H.
ibn Sirin was born in the year 30 H.
Robson another orientalist, the fitnah referred to is the event that occured in year 72 Hijra. The year that Abdullah ibn Zubair declared himself Khalifa. He based it on the fact that ibn Sirin might be refering to an event that occured during his lifetime. Which is contradicted by ibn Sirin's use of the word "they" to refer to people before him.
What happened at the time of Uthman that would lead to people to start to ask about the Isnaad?
Sometimes you have to taste poisonous substance before you get benefit. The sheikh is refering to the events that occured during the lifetime of Uthman, that led to the Isnaad.
During the time of Uthman, people began to spread rumors about Uthman or spreading stories about the religion which were not true. They did not fabricate hadeeth but started making some claims about the deen, this was the end of innocence.
For an example, Abdullah bin Saba said, if Isa ibn Maryam was going to return than the Prophet had more right to return. He did not say it was hadith because the sahaba was around but the peoplebegan to see that the reality was all people were not like the sahba and if people were giving information about the deen it had to be ask what were your sources.If someone claims something we better ask where did he get it from.
The Isnaad started after fitnah which is after 36 H.
second opinion- Another view is that Isnaad started during the time of Az-Zuhri, died 124. Imam Malik's statement about him. According to statement attributed to Imam Malik, that he was the first one to record hadeeth, that's not authentic, this might be ok without looking at it.
Is it problematic that we take this opinion, it might be a bit late. If it was like mid-career of Az-Zuhri, probably not that big of an issue, still not the best that we'd hope for. However this is a statement from Malik, could be correct, maybe not.
Third opinion- Last view, which is turkish scholar, Sazgeen, that Amir As-sha'bi who lived from 17-103 was the first one to scrutinize isnaad.
Omar Fudlaka, Phd dissertation and in his dissertation, he says that the way to tackle the issue of isnad is to ask 3 distinct questions:
1) when was the isnad first used in general.
2) when were narrators forced by their listeners to give the isnad.
3) when did the narrators themselves began to insist mentioning the isnaad of the hadeeth.
demand for sources came first and then finally there came a time when a narrator was giving hadeeth he would insist on giving the isnad.
wrt, the first question, when was isnad first used. Obviously when the sahabah directly narrated fromt he Prophet (saw), it's not obvious but Isnad was there. Not all of the sahabah when they narrated from Rasul (saw) would necessarily narrate things directly from him, they could have heard it from other sahabahs.
And he also shows, that sometimes the sahabah would mention the other sahabah's name. So the mere existence of isnad, existed at the time of the sahabah.
wrt, the second question, he says that we have some signs of this process/understanding...and we'll discuss in next section of class..this even started during the time of Abu Bakr and Umar. In which sometimes they would ask the people who were narrating hadeeth where they got the hadeeth from. That kind of asking and so forth we will be discussing next section inshaAllah. This obviously increased after the fitna of Uthman and this is what ibn Sireen was referring to. even this statement by ibn Sireen does not mean necessarily that after the fitna, that everytime when someone would give you the hadeeth would give the isnaad of the hadeeth. So he's differentiating b/w the second and third stage.
When the person would give the hadeeth without giving the chain, this does not mean that he didn't knwo the chain. This knowledge was existant in that time and we have many examples (where did you get this from? and the narrator would give the whole isnad)
The need for really mentioning isnaad became apparent after weak narrators and fabricators entered in the narration of ahadeeth. We're talking about the last 1/3rd of the first century, where the teacher would insist on giving the most important part, the chain. This became an important practice by year 100.
Was there a period of time when practice of Isnaad started and when it became an accepted practice. This is an important issue.
That's why Schacht wants to push the beginning of the practice to a later date, to weaken the credibility of hadeeth.
It seems like some areas were slower in adapting the practice of isnad. So Shabi for kufah, Zuhri was for shaam (moved from madinah to shaam) and after his move, peopel started being careful.
May 10, 2009
It is important to keep in mind how all of the topics come together, even though we are discussing the points separately.
For example, when importance of sunnah is well entrenched in a person's mind and heart, then he will strive to follow the sunnah.
Why was sunnah of the prophet was protected? So that we can follow it.
We discussed some of the characteristics of sahaba.
Then we discussed the writing down of the sayings of the prophet. It is a helpful means of preserving something. We discussed when the hadeeth was started to be written.
Then we discussed the origins of isnaad.
For the major concepts related to Islam we do not even need isnad, why?
When we talk about Isnaad, we are talking about the details or finer aspects of the deen.
When we know Isnaad, there are three other related sciences that make Isnaad valid or complete.
We have to know about the people mentioned in the Isnaad - Ismaa ar rijal - names of the people in the chain - identifying the people - who they are, where they came from, plus many details of their lives
Even identification is not sufficient. We need to know whether the people are honest - discuss the quality of the narrators - jarr to descredit or injure somebody as a narrator,
Another field of science - critique of hadeeth
For the major concepts related to Islam we do not even need isnad, why? Since Quran and Mutawatter Ahadeeth give us much and many details of our religion in the first place. So the Isnad in now protecting further details of the religion of Islam, and adding much more information to Mutawatter information of Islam, which really does not need Isnad in the first place.
When we talk about Isnaad, we are talking about the details or finer aspects of the deen.
When we know Isnaad, there are three other related sciences that make Isnaad valid or complete.
1) Asma war Rijal (names and men): We have to know about the people mentioned in the Isnaad - Ismaa ar rijal - names of the people (literally men) in the chain - identifying the people - who they are, where they came from, plus many details of their lives.
2) Al-Jarh wa Al-Tadeel (to dis-credit and qualify): Even identification is not sufficient. We need to know whether the people are honest - discuss the quality of the narrators - jarh to descredit or injure somebody as a narrator, plus tadeel which means to find the credibility of the narrator.
3) Ulum al Naqd al Hadeeth (science of the value of hadeeth): This is to question the text, whether the text makes in any sense, or does it contradict other ahadeeth or Quran or no? Such questions are under this science of hadeeth.
Identify narrator, critiquing the narrators, and critiquing the hadeeth.
Is it necessary to go back to the time of the sahaba wrt to the above three sciences?
Christians and jews very recently developed something called, Higher biblical criticisms - to critique the text of the bible. Centuries after the bible. They tried to figure out what is correct in the bible, such as internal consistencies. For example, the two different genealogies of Prophet Isa (Jesus).
They had a lot of guess work, because they could not go back to the original sources since they no longer exist.
To go back in time to figure out what is right or wrong as a whole is very difficult.
So our goal is to find that preservation of sunnah was as early as possible.
Rank the quality of narrators
How are students ranked in the university? GPA, pass, fail, academic probation.
Similarly for the narrators of hadeeth, those that are good, excellent, liars
Is the critique of narrators is it back-bitting? It is permissible back-bitting. Not all forms of back-bitting are haraam. Is there proof of it? Don't take statements like these lying down, ask for proof.
When the religion is threatened, the rights of the religion are going to take precedence over the individual's honor. Hadeeth of the lesser of two evils??
Surah Nisa Verse 148: La Yuhib Allah al Jahra bi su`i min al qauli ila man dhulim.
Hadeeth of the prophet. Woman (Fatimah bint Qays) asked about two men who proposed to her. Prophet criicized both of them and asked her to marry somebody else. This is kind of nasiha, honest advice. It is not back-bitting.
This hadeeth is misunderstood by many. A woman is to see as many suitors as she wishes, even if there is proposal from a suitor. Once a man and woman agree to marry, then nobody else should try to propose.
First time we see Al-jarh wa tadeel is the quran.
The first source of Jarh and Tadil is in the Quran, because Allah is declaring the Prophet as not being insane. Something even clearer is when Allah speaks of Abu Lahab and criticizes him. Additionally Allah makes tadil of the Sahaba.
The first source of al-jarh is the Quran. Simply knowing the names of the narrators is not enough. Whose narration should be accepted and whose narration should be rejected.
Sheikh will give conclusions of the ulama from Imam Shafi's time and then go back.
Imam Shafi (150-205 Hijri) He is from tabi-tabiyeen. During the late time of tabi-tabiyeen.
In his Risala, Imam Shafi`i says a hadith is only hujjah (authoratative) if it fulfills the following conditions:
One who narrates it is trustworthy with respect to his religion
Well-known to be honest
He understands what he narrates
He is knowledgeable about what will distort the meaning of the hadeeth
He is of good memory
He does not contradict what they narrate
He is narrating from the one whom he actually heard from, not performing tadlis.
Ash-Shatabi said contradictory report (Shadh الشاذ) is not that his opinion is not in the minority, but it contradicts stronger sources??? It is a report by a reliable narrator that contradicts the report of stronger narrators. (or it could be contradicting the quran??)
Soundness of Isnaad is a condition for the soundness of hadeeth. But it does not necessarily imply the soundness of hadeeth. It should not contradict stronger sources.
This verifying and questioning attitude can be traced back to the earlier years.
Quranic environment teaches this kind of attitude about religious teaching.
This teaching is made for all mankind until the day of judgement. ALlah swt has provided principles for us to follow al-jarh wa tadeel.
Many of the principles of .... are provided in the quran or are found in the sunnah, and passed down from the sahaba.
For example: General principles of Quran - Quran fights against superstition, following lies, following conjectures, and Quran teaches us for asking for evidences and proofs.
Nowadays may be we don't follow these principles and that's maybe we are not like the sahaba. In the future maybe people will follow these principles.
One of the clearer principles is of affirming information.
Allah said in the Quran (Surah Hujirat 49:6): If a fasiq comes to you with information, then verify it lest you should harm people in ignorance and afterwards you become regretful of what you have done.
Allah swt makes it clear that you should not accept the report of a fasiq. Principle: A person you take information from has to be of certain quality.
Q: If a trustworthy person comes to you, then do you have to accept his narration? According to concept of Mafhoom-al-Mukhalafa, you can accept. However, still confirmation is a recomendation. This ayah gives a general understanding that one needs to be careful in what one accepts.
Story of Suleiman and Hud-Hud (hoopoe)- I will see if the informtion you said is true or not (Quran: Surah al Naml (27) , Ayah 27).
Verses in the Quran about the Quality of witnesses and judges. You need to have two just witnesses.
Principle: Go to the people of knowledge and ask them whether the information is correct or not.
Having two witnesses for obligations of debt.
Even trustworthy people can mistake, so if you have two people, and one makes mistakes then the other can correct him.
Next time: Some more principles about the hadeeth and then see how al-jarh wa tadeel were implemented by the sahaba.
Clarification: When we mention a narrator is a liar, it is wrt to the hadeeth and once a narrator is discredited as a liar then his narrations are to be rejected. If a narrator was lying in general and has repented, even then his narrations are not considered valid.
May 3, 2009
Prophet -> Sahaba/Companion -> Tabiyeen/Follower -> Tabi Tabiyeen
Zuhri died in 124 Hijri.
Sufyan died in 161 Hijri.
By this time Isnaad was well entrenched. Any time any one was quoting a hadeeth, they would use the Isnaad.
three questions about the isnaad: from the last lecture as a reminder of what it means to be well entrenched.
It is moot point to discuss the Isnaad if the hadeeth was transmitted by a companion.
The isnaad was required for the last two levels of narration.
Zuhri made sure that people used Isnaad when giving a hadeeth. When he moved to Syria and people were not using the Isnaad, he made sure that they used Isnaad.
From the end of the era of the Sahaba (which was the last third of the first century (approx 75 Hijri) to 124 Hijri, do we have any evidence that during this period, the sahaba were using Isnaad. Yes Ibn Sireen's statement about the fitnah. "People did not use to ask about the Isnaad until the fitnah". The problem with this statement according to some orientalists was what he meant by Fitnah.
Fitnah could be:
1) Death of Uthman 34 Hijri which leaves 24 years after the death of the prophet when Isnaad was not used. Because the majority of the Sahaba still existed, then we do not have any problems
2) Fighting between Ali and Muawiya which was 2 years later. Again this should not be of concern for the preservation of Sunnah.
3) Abdullah Ibn Zubair declared himself Khaleefa which occured in 72 Hijri. Does this create any problem for Isnaad? Were there any other statements that there were other people thinking about Isnaad. Ibn Abbas' statement about when people started writing wild claims, they started questioning about whom they would get knowledge.
Fitnah is something that is negative but from fitnah can come positive affects.(i.e. isnad)
There was some graduality but by the time of the tabieen it(isnad) became the norm, by the time of the tabi tabien isnad was something that became entrenched.
If someone could not authenticate it by the sahabi because they died the question now is can it be taken from them.
ans: if they are proven to be trustworthy then it is considered reliable data
After (roughly) 75 Hijri you cannot go back to the sources, because the era of the Sahaba was over.
Consider a hypothetical situation.
In 42 Hijri, a follower (teacher of hadeeth) in Damascus heard a hadeeth narrated by a Sahabi, contrast it to to the same situation in 80 Hijri.
In 42 Hijri, if the follower forgot the name of the Sahabi who quoted the hadeeth. Then there would be other Sahabi who would correct this mistake.
Many ulema highlight the fact, that the Isnaad is something unique to this Ummah.
One scholar writing in the 3rd century is unique to this ummah, early arabic sources used isnad, but it was to a very limited extent. However other nations like Jews and Christians cannot trace back the narrators of their sources like we can.
Ibn Hazm (12th C.E) was one scholar who did much research on the sources of Jews and Christians. He discusses how in the OT (Old Testament) and NT (New Testament) cannot be traced back to the Prophets. The authors of the Gospels are unknown and were not companions of Isa.
Bart Ehrman used to be an Evangelical Christians states that there is a reason why most evangelicals are not biblical scholars, because their own scripture contradicts what they believe.
Ibn Hazm studied the works of the Christians and the Jews. He discusses that the old testament cannot be traced back to Musa.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (they are not companions of Jesus (pbuh) for sure).
Isnaad is unique because it is an encyclopedic system of everyone's information that is named. This information has been preserved. Allah has protected this message how He has not protected any other message before. For an example if someone was classified as 'Majhool' we would not accept anything from him until we knew him and how he obtained this information.
Even if the people of other religions had an isnad, we do not know who the people quoted in them were. Who were they? Did they have good memories? Did they ever lie? etc. For all the knowledge we have for Isnad in other religions, everyone in the chain can be a liar.
Try to get the shortest chain is called aali? Aali is a high chain (meaning short) However being a shorter chain does not necessitate authenticity.
Also validating the person from whom we got the hadeeth.
And the followers were pretty careful about transmitting the knowledge of the Isnaad.
Compiling as many sources for the hadeeth as possible. This led to the massive amount of hadeeth. This led to duplicate hadeeth, since they counted hadeeth by the chain and not the content of the hadeeth.
Getting the same information from as many sources as possible.
One text - one statement of the prophet became two hadeeths because of the two chains of narration.
• Imam Ahmed ibn Hambal would want to have 6 or 7 chains of the same hadith.
Goal to find 30 chains for a hadeeth - Yahya ibn Ma`in
If the goal is to authenticate hadeeth then there is no need to amass a chain of 200 or higher. Goal should be to authenticate hadeeth and not collect large number of chains. This is the opinion of al-Shaitibi who is not a hadith scholar, but a fiqh scholar.
That is why early scholars who claim they knew thousands of hadeeth, they knew many chains of a hadeeth, hence the large number.
Bukhari knews 100,000 authentic hadeeth and 100,000 rejected hadeeth (here we are talking about chains). The 100,000 chains might correspond to 1,000 unique text. Each text would have 100 chains. Of these 1,000 text, there might be some chains that are not correct.
Sheikh has drawn a venn diagram showing text and two circles showing good chains and rejected chains. The intersection of two circles implies that there is authentic text but the chain is rejected.
Examine hadeeth and chain. Is there anywhere in the chain a missing link. Even though the hadeeth is correct but the chain is weak.
Next week we will start hadeeth and narrator criticism.
May 17, 2009
Q: If an evildoer comes to you with information,then you must verify. Does this mean if there is no need to verify a trustworthy person?
A: Sometimes Allah is mentioning the most common case or most special case. So it does not mean that you do not verify information from a trustworthy person. So the Mafhoom al Mukhalifa-the contrary understanding or opinion is not applied here.
Sheikh is now drawing a logic diagram of the text
Statement 1: If A then B
Statement 2: If not A then not B
There is a fundamental logic flaw if you go from statement 1 and then extend it to statement 2.
Statement 1 does not lead to statement 2. Sahabah and early scholars were well aware of this! In Ulum al Hadith, there is always some level of verification, even if the narrator is known to be trustworthy.
Q: Who is fasiq?
A: Anybody who is liar, drinks alcohol, lazy in his prayers is a fasiq. Fisq means to go out of bounds. So many other actions (going beyond the bounds set by Allah (swt)) can make a person fasiq. Fisq has many levels as well. Some levels of Fisq with supporting evidences can be acceptable.
Some more examples from the Sunnah of the prophet.
We have general commands from the prophet to be truthful. "Honesty leads to piety and piety leads to Jannah. Lying in speech leads to wickedness which leads to hell fire."
Another hadeeth, Prophet (pbuh) was asked: "can a believer be stingy, the prophet replied yes, can a believer be cowardly the prophet said yes, can a believer be a liar, the prophet said no" [this liar is the word 'kadhaab' in Arabic i.e. consistent liar].
A believer should not falsely attribute anything to the prophet, whoever falsely attributes to the prophet then he will be in hellfire.
You have to be careful in what you narrate. If there is some reason not to believe in a narration, then you must not repeat it [available in 'Introduction to Sahih Muslim']. It means you must do your best to verify the narration.
We have to be careful about what we pass on. Prophet (pbuh) said: "It is sufficient for someone to be a liar, if he simply passes on what he hears".
Not everything you hear is going to be correct, verify it or grasp it, so that you can pass on only what is true and save your self from becoming a liar.
Two aspects to the above hadeeth: 1) Verify it and 2) grasp it so that you can understand it and then be able to pass on to others the truth.
Prophet warned us from hearing things that seem doubtful or haven't been passed on earlier. "At the end of the times, there will be dajjalun wa kadhaabun, lies and deceptions which neither you or your fathers have heard about, be aware of them and stay away from them."
Q: What does dajjal mean?
A: A great liar and deceiver
If someone is a non-scholar or a lay person or not entrenched in this field, then how is going to verify? Then he has to come to the ullama.
If you have heard a hadeeth that you have not heard before. Then you cannot pass it on until you verify it. Otherwise you will be one of the liars. If you are passing on misinformation unintentionally, then you are still a liar [in accordance with the understanding of the languague of the Hijaz, which is the language of Prophet (pbuh)].
What was the criteria that the sahaba used for accepting or rejecting a hadeeth?
During their time, the quality of the narrator was not an issue, it became an issue much later. However there was an issue that existed during the lifetime of the sahaba, which was the criticism or verification of the hadeeth.
Was classifying individuals with qualites that are acceptable and making Gheeba (back-biting) acceptable during the lifetime of the prophet?
Since classiifying individuals is a form of a back-biting. Did it exist during the time of the prophet? Yes. What are the proofs that it existed during the lifetime of the prophet.
Hadith of Fatima bin Qays from last lecture: He said negative things about two individuals or criticized two individuals and said good thing about another. He also praised the virtues of a sahaba. Such as when prophet identified the ten sahabas who were promised jannah.
During the situation of the rumors (Ifk) about Ayesha what did the prophet do or say?
He consulted Ali, Ossama and Bareera. Ossama and Bareera were slaves(?) of Ayesha. He asked them about the character of Ayesha. Why is it important to know the character of an individual? If we want to analyse the situation, then we have to know how trustworthy is this person. So if there are false claims, then we can accept the self-defense of the individual.
This knowledge (i.e hadith) is to be taken from the praiseworthy people among the khalaf (later generations) [Sahih according to Albani, but weak according to many other scholars]
The practice of verifying hadeeth is a sunnah.
Shaikh M.M. Azami said in his book Early Hadith Methodology: If criticism is an effort to identify what is right and wrong, then it began during the lifetime of the prophet. Hence, he concludes that investigation of hadeeth began during the lifetime fo the prophet. Azami does not discuss the incidents but just mentions them in his book (pg 48 of the thinner book, and not his Ph.D. thesis-studies in early hadith literature).
According to the Sheikh, the following are some examples of the criticism of hadeeth:
Hadeeth in Sahih Muslim from Anas: We were prohibited from asking questions of the prophet. Therefore we liked it very much, if an intelligent bedouin would come and ask questions. Then we could listen to the prophet's answers. A bedouin asked, your messenger told us that Allah has sent you. Did Allah send you? Prophet (pbuh) affirmed that the messenger has spoken the truth. Then he asked more questions. Do we have to pray five times a day? Do we have to pay zakat? And prophet replied in the affirmative to his questions.
Does the above example sound like the bedouin is verifying a hadeeth?
Did the prophet say to him, that you should just accept the information or hadeeth narrated to the bedouin? No. The prophet answered his questions which did indeed verify the hadeeth.
Hadith in Sunan Nasai (Sahih): When prophet was performing hajj and Ali came with the niyat to perform hajj. He found that Fatima was wearing a garment that had been dyed. When Ali asked her why is she not in the state of Ihraam. She said that prophet had ordered her to do it. Ali went to the prophet and verified that indeed he had asked her to wear the garment.
Hadith in Musnad Ahmed: Prophet was reciting surah bara also known as At-tauba (surah 9) in Jumuah khutbah. Abu Darda and Abu Dharr were in the audience when the prophet was mentioning the surah. Abu Dharr asked Ubayy: When was the surah revealed. Ubayy (according to Sh. Azami, however Sh. Jamaal corrects that it should be Abu Darda??) did not answer. After the prayers, Ubayy mentioned that you have lost your prayer if you speak during the khutbah. Abu Dharr went and asked the prophet is this true? The prophet replied ....
This is an example of verifying a hadeeth, even though Ubayy did not mention it as a hadeeth when he explained to Abu Dharr.
Umar used to alternate days with his neighbor to learn about the Deen. A rumor had spread that prophet had divorced his wives. When Umar heard this rumor, he went back to the prophet to ask whether is this true.
Would this qualify as an example of verifying the hadeeth? Yes
Hadith from Abu Daud: Abdullah ibn Amr al-As is narrating a hadeeth of the prophet that the (Nafila) prayer of an individual is half if he is praying sitting. Abdullah had narrated this hadeeth and he then found the prophet praying while sitting. And then he was worried and prophet asked him why are you worried? Abdullah replied that he narrated the hadeeth and now he saw something and he wanted to verify that what he heard from the prophet was correct.
Another example from Sahih Bukhari:
The prophet (pbuh) gave khutbah encouraging sadaqah. The wife of ibn Masud had some jewelery which she wanted to give in Sadaqa. Since wife is not responsible for the children, she can give sadaqa to them (according to ibn Masud). The wife of ibn Masud went to Prophet (pbuh) to verify the saying of ibn Masud.
Discussion about ijitihaad based on what he had learned from the prophet.
Another example of dua (which I missed). The verification of dua is also a verification of hadeeth.
Conclusion: We can say that hadeeth criticism or verifying the hadeeth is the sunnah of the prophet. This is the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) as he never objected to it and he was part of such review.
Prophet never objected when somebody verified or confirm what the prophet said. THey could ask questions to verify or confirm the hadeeth.
What happened during the lifetime of the sahaba, what were some of the ways that they could keep the hadeeth of the prophet.
May 24, 2009
Quranic and Sunnic environment that laid done the groundwork about passing on the knowledge, whether or not it is permissible to verify or question the narrator?
It is sunnah to verify the hadith because people were asking and questioning him about the hadeeth and he (prophet (pbuh)) participated and did not refrain them from asking the questions.
Even the practice of Al-Jarh wa Al-Tadeel comes from the prophet (pbuh). It was very easy to verify the hadeeth in the time of the prophet because you just go and question the source. This was the training (Tarbiyyah) that the companions went through i.e. to question the authenticity of the hadith they receive.
After the death of prophet (pbuh), did the sahaba continue this practice and preserved the hadeeth.
Most of the hadeeth have they been passed on as the Quran is passed on. What is a good definition of mutawatir?
Mutawatir is passed on such a way and in such a quantity that it is impossible for all of them to collude to create a forgery, also it is impossible for the majority of them to make the same mistake.
Anything that is not mutawatir is called Ahad.
Is there a threshold for mutawatir? Yes it does exist, scholars did try to determine in each link what is required to make this requirement. However, the way scholars came to this number, is not very convincing. Some said in each link there has to be 313 since the number is the number of Muslim soldiers in battle of Badr.
For the Ulama of hadith, anything which has 4 in number is mutawatir. Most of the hadith that come to us are Ahad.
The sheikh gave an example of how you would reach a conclusion on the reports of a death of a relative even though the threshold for mutawatir has not been reached, but you reach the conclusion due to other factors.
If something is mutwatir, do we still have to worry about the quality of the narrators etc. No we do not because there have been so many reports that it is impossible for it to be forged or mistaken.
Most of the hadeeth are ahad.
Classification of mutawatir and ahad came long time after the time of the prophet pbuh. People naturally started to distinguish between the two over later times.
Q: Is Isa pbuh dying on the cross or being son of the god is it mutawatir?
This is not mutwattir because we do not have any way to show that it comes from Isa pbuh in the first place!
What would be the main issue of hadeeth criticism during the time of the prophet?
Sahaba were not concerned about the trustworthiness because they knew each other. The main concern for the sahabah was of making mistakes, forgeting some thing or misunderstanding something.
Scholars of hadith have always understood that having all trustworthy people in the chain is not sufficient for hadith to be acceptable. Sahabah did the following:
* Check for consistency of the narrations
* Cross check narrations with other narrations
* They used three litmus tests even though the narrations were made by the sahaba to verify the hadeeth
1. Quran i.e put the hadith against the Quran
2. Other Hadeeth i.e. put the hadith against other hadith
3. Reasoning or logic (Ijteehad)
Note: The critic is not always right.
For example, you could say the hadeeth contradicts the quran. Does it contradict something definitive in the quran? Then it is a big problem, if it clearly or unequivocally contradicts the quran then somebody made a mistake.
However a hadeeth may contradict your understanding or derivation of your understanding of the quran. Your understanding of the quran may be incorrect, or the understanding of hadith may be wrong or the understanding of both may be incorrect. That's why the critic can be wrong, wrt his understanding of the quran or the hadeeth.
There is a big difference between the above two.
If you have a narrator who makes a lot of mistakes, then would you continue to accept his narrations? The same can be said to apply to a sahaba.
Who is the first one to be credited with critiquing hadeeth according to two scholars Al-Hakim (around 4th A.H) and Al-Dahabi (around 8-9 A.H).
According to the above scholars: Abu Bakr is the first one who safeguarded and protect the hadeeth (not from fabrication because it was not a problem during his lifetime) from forgetfullnes and mistakes which are part of being human.
The scholars quote a very famous story about Abu Bakr that demonstrates Abu Bakr's protectiveness and carefulness about hadeeth of the prophet pbuh.
A grandmother came to Abu Bakr (during the time of his khilafa) asking for her share in the inheritance of her grandchild. Abu Bakr said I don't find any inheritance right (share) for you in the Quran. He also said, I didn't hear anything from the prophet about such an inheritance.
For you and me, it would be end of the question, however Abu Bakr said, I shall ask the sahaba about it. One of the sahabi (Al Mugheera) bore witness that Prophet (pbuh) gave a grandmother one sixth. Abu Bakr asked Al Mugheera is there anyone who could support you in that narration. Mohammed ibn Maslima gave witness to Al Mugheera (recorded in Tirmidhi, Dar Qutni, Mustadrak, Abu Daud, Muwatta plus many other sources). According to Sh. Jamaal, there is some problem in chain (it is weak according to Albani). Umar ibn al-Khattab also disagreed with this (as known from books of fiqh). Sh. Jamaal adds, that it is not very weak though. It is a borderline hadith, so we will leave it for now. One who narrated the whole story is Qabeesa ibn ..., and most of the scholars claim that he was born the year of conquest of Makkah, so it is very unlikely that someone who is 5 years old at the time of Abu-Bakr's death can relate this story.
According to Imam Shafi: Not one sahaba could claim that no one individual could claim that he knows all of the hadeeth and just like no one can claim that they know all of the Arabic language.
Muslim and Bukhari (with differences in wording): However, there is an authentic story from Umar ibn al Khattab (ra) which is much more clearer. This is a story between Umar and Abu Musa al Ashari where latter went to visit Umar and he asked for the permission to enter 3 times. There was no response from the inside, so Abu Musa was leaving and as he was leaving, Umar came out and asked him why are you leaving? Abu Musa said that I heard prophet (pbuh) say that if you ask for permission 3 times and if you do not get any response then you should go back. Then Umar told him that if you do not find a witness for what you are saying then I shall have you punished. Abu Musa went to a group of Sahaba and told them what happened, and one of the younger sahabah went with Abu-Musa to affirm what Abu Musa had said. Then Umar told Abu Musa, in reality I had no doubts about you, but I want people to be more careful when they narrate a hadith.
??? source to be given: Ali (ra) ibn Talib used to take an oath sometimes from the person that he is saying the truth in narrating the hadith. This was done due to the fitnah during the khilafa of Ali (ra).
Important point is that it is not about questioning the character of the sahabah, but it is to avoid and remove errors (since even a good charactered person can make mistakes).
The examples of Abu Bakr (even though it is weak) and Umar are of the nature of cross referencing. It is one of the important principles of hadeeth criticism - Is there supporting evidence.
If you have a narration and you look around and you find no supporting evidence for it, what do you do then? You check the quality of narrators and you make sure no one is missing in the chain. Then you cross-check and analyze it against stronger sources (i.e. Quran and other authentic narrations) and then if no problem, then you accept it.
In sequence of time checking: From Sahih Muslim: Aisha (ra) tell her nephew Urwa ibn Zubayr that Abdullah ibn Amr is coming for Hajj who has lots of knowledge so go and check such and such hadith. One of the hadith, that Urwa mentioned back to Aisha (ra) is that Allah (swt) makes the knowledge to go away through the death of Scholars...... This was new for Aisha (ra) and Urwa confirmed again the next year with Abdallah ibn Amr and narrated again in the same manner like the previoius year, so Aisha (ra) said now I am certain that what he said that he is correct, since he did not add or delete anything compared to last year.
Note: That Aisha (ra) did not say that he is a liar or anything, but just through this test she confirmed through Jarh wa Tadeel the quality of the hadith. Urwa the first time had brought many ahadeeth, but this was the only one she send him back for confirmation.
Sahih Muslim: Nafai said to ibn Umar, that abu Huraira (ra) that he said that he heard Prophet (pbuh) said whoever follows the funeral procession should have a Qirat (a vast amount) of reward. Ibn Umar's response was that abu-Huraira (ra) is narrating a lot of hadith, and so what ibn-Umar did was sent a messenger to Aisha (ra) that can you confirm this hadith that Abu Huraira (ra) mentioned and when she confirmed, then ibn Umar said that we have lost a great deal of reward.
So these people who know the Deen the best, when something new comes to them, they go about confirming it hence laying down the foundation for the science of Jarh wa Tadeel.