Uloom al-Hadith Winter 2010

Beginning Uloom al-hadith / Winter 2010

Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo / 2010-01-10


Bilal Philips - Usool al-Hadeeth

Outline of the course

Topic 1: Transmission of Hadith (Philips pp 37-50)

Topic 2: Classification (pp 51-100)

Topic 3: Criticism (pp 117-131)

Hadith is a massive body of literature, not everybody knows how to use it, the terms that are used, etc

Even if you have to understand other fields, you need to have a good understanding of uloom al-hadith

It is also one of the most controversial areas. Enemies of Islam are attacking the hadith, their goal is to separate Islam from hadith, because they can then attack Islam.

Modernists and strict followers of a madhab also play around with hadith. Not everyone has to become a scholar but everyone needs to know the basics

Uloom means science

Lexical definition of sunnah

Any pattern of life or way of life. Generally positive way of life. Prefix a negative word when you want specify a negative

Islamic defn of sunnah

Jurist of faqih define - good practice, something recommended not mandatory

muhaddith def. - Statements or actions or approvals of the prophet

Historical reality - begining with the revelation until the end of his life

How do we know that reality? Through the hadith

How would you define hadith?

Hadith are the reports about the sunnah

A body of literature that describes historical reality of the life of the prophet. Since they are reports, they are delivered via some kind of transmission or chain

Every hadith has two parts

Text of the hadith (matn)

Chain of transmission (isnaad or sanad) tracing it all the way back to the prophet

Ultimate goal of uloom al-hadith

To sift through all the reports and find out what is true and reliable

To identify the sunnah, the reality that occured from the authentic reports

How did the information pass from one individual to another individual?

Tahamul al-hadith - transmission of hadith

The exact means of the way individual B received the hadith from individual A

What were the ways the prophet imparted knowlege?

1. Verbal coomunication He would speak and they would hear and listen 

   - khutbah, talking to people, Q&A session

2. Written medium 

  - Letters, official letters, letters to kings, letters to governors

3. Practical demonstration

 - Explicity did something to demonstrate, general behavior and actions

4. Sent teachers or intermediaries to convey the message. It is verbal but it has an indirect mechanisms. Messengers of the messenger

Practice of collecting hadith and transmitting hadith and criticism of hadith existed during the lifetime of the prophet.

The eight ways of transmitting knowledge

1. Hearing (Al-Samaa'a) 

The student directly hears the hadith from the teacher. This is the most reliable way of transmitting hadith. This was the way of passing hadith during the time of the sahaba. Teacher would narate the hadith from memory or a book. During the hadith session, they would only discuss a small number of hadith (five or less). Student would may have a copy of the teacher's hadith. 

Teacher would then read the hadith from the student's copy. One of the main reasons is to make sure that the copy is correct. Students would try to test the teacher and if the teacher did not identify the purposely added mistakes, then it became a well known practice. To keep the teachers alert.

Hadith are transmitted through hadith sessions. So if you just happen to listen to Imam Bukhari's lecture and heard a hadith then this is not how the hadith were transmitted. Approach of Abu Haneefa was a discussion session. Different teachers had different approaches during a hadith session.

How would you know that the hadith was transmitted by al-samaa?

Term used to describe the transmissions would give you an idea of how that narrator received the hadith. One of the terms is samahtu (i heard) - the only time the narrator would use this term when he received it via hearing it narrated by the transmitter. This is not the only term that is used. 

The other terms are not unique to samaah. Hadathna or Hadathni (related to us or related to me). It also implies you got the hadith directly from the source. Similarly, akbarahana or akbarahani (informed us or informed me). It also means you got the hadith directly. One can also use the term 'An (on the authority of).  ibn kala is weak because it does not tell us how the hadith was transmitted.

2010-01-17 Class Notes

Means of carrying hadith or transmitting hadith. We discussed one of them last time. Al Samaa'a - hearing the hadith directly from the hadith. It did not mean there were no books involved. Even if you are reading from the book it is still called Al Samaa'a. Some of the terms used to describe it are samahtu, hadathna or hadathani (abbreviated as thana), akbarahana or akbarahani, and the most generic word is 'An (on the authority of).

'An does not give us any inkling of how the hadith was received. Because of that it can become very problematic.

Chain of the hadith is part of just like the text of the hadith. You cannot alter the chain or change the terms of the chain just like you cannot alter the text of the hadith.

'An is vague and generic. qala (he said or "qala liy" he said to me) were best to be avoided in describing how the hadith was transmitted.

You also have to distinguish between the formal hadith sessions or informal sessions. You have to identify how the hadith was transmitted.

Passive voice (siighatu almaf3ulu) and active voice (siighatu alfaa3ili)

It was narrated - passive صيغت المفعول

He said - active صيغت الفاعل

When you have doubt, you use the passive voice. You cannot say it has been narrated all of the time, specially for hadith chains which are active.

2. Al-Ardh or Al Qiraa

Another way of transmitting hadith is al-ardh (presenting a seminar or something) or al qiraa (recitation)

Al-ardh - Students or scribes presenting the sheikh's collection back to him.

Scribes can make mistakes. Even though we know who the scribes are and they are reliable, they still can make mistakes. If scribe passed on a copy of the hadith without the confirmation from the sheikh, then he is considered a thief of a hadith. Or if a student made notes and compiled the hadith, then al-ardh is student reading the transcription back to the sheikh. 

Means of "carrying" Hadith (tahammul)

1) as-sama', akhbarna, haddathna, samitu

2) al-qira'a, al-`ardh (?)


3) al-ijazah (permission)

4) al-munawalah (without ijaza is not considered strong since it does not have that guarantee).

5)  al-kitabah: written correspondance. Prophet (saw) sent many letters, to governors, foreign rulers, established in sunnah. 

6) al-`ilam: to inform. In all the books of hadeeth, they do mention this. When you inform someone that you have heard like a book of hadeeth (e.g. I have heard sahih bukhari and my hearing of sahih bukhari is sahih). 

as-sariqul hadeeth (thief of hadeeth): one who passes on a copy of a scribe without confirming from the sheikh. 

you can also test the sheikh by reading the hadeeth improperly and mixing the isnaad etc. 

Is the knowledge that is being passed, it is being preserved?

Which one is stronger samaa'a or qira'a?

Who is more likely to make a mistake? The speaker or the transcriber? 

Qira'a is stronger than samaa'a since the sheikh is focused on catching mistakes when the sheikh is verifying the work of the student or the scribe, then when he himself is speaking and is not focused on catching errors. However this is a minority opinion. Others say both of the means of transmission are equivalent. Majority opinion is that samaa'a is stronger and it is the example set by the prophet.

It is moot that all things being equal, there is no order of preference between samaa'a or qira'a . They are both acceptable and strong ways of transmitting hadith.

What terms in the case of qira'a? could we say sami'tu? no, you could not, that'd be a lie. When you read it back to the sheikh and the sheikh approves it, you still cannot say the word "sami'tu". Can you say "haddathani" or "akbarani"? yes because his silence is information from him that this is the hadith he is passing. This is the majority opinion, that you can use haddathana and akhbarna in the case of sama' and qira'. But some scholars are really strict, they say that akhbarna can only be used for qaraa' and haddathna only for as-sama'. 

Can you use 'an in the case of qira'? yes you can use it but it's very generic term. 

Some scholars, if you receive the hadith through qiraa or sama'a, they would not like the fact that you're using `an. There was a strong disapproval from scholars to use `an in this kind of cases. So it could possibly discredit the report if you say `an. We will have to get back to this issue later.

Important conclusions about these two words. Chain is definitely "unbroken" at that link. In the case of qira', it is still preferred to say that "so and so narrated to us by it being read to him". Last thing, if someone does say, samitu, haddathna or akbarana and he did not receive through any of these means then he would be considered a liar. 

If someone is recording while listening to hadeeth, should his sama'a be considered valid? Should writing be allowed while listening? What they're trying to say is, if you're writing then you're not completely listening. They'd prefer the students to be completely listening. Best thing is for the student just to listen, after the session is over then record and then take that recording back to the sheikh, that's the best approach. This way you're completely listening, infact one scholar, Abu Bakr ibn Ishaq, he siad, if someone is writing down during a hadith session then he should not say sami'tu rather that "I was present while the hadeeth session was going on". Majority of scholars did allow it even though they did not consider it the best.

IN later times, they used to assign one person to read the recording (i.e. one recorder only). Everybody else just sits and listens. 

In the past they did not use to have microphones but they used to have large hadeeth sessions. They used to have someone known as "mustamli/repeater" (?). Now suppose you heard it from someone like this, would this be approved? This was an acceptable way of passing the hadeeth. This is because people in the front would have corrected the repeated if he made any mistake. But the scholars said that you'd have to say, haddathna and not samitu.

Suppose you miss the portion of the hadeeth, and you turn to the guy next to him and ask him for the part you missed. So you can only use sami'tu from the part you heard. Rest you'd have to say where you got it from. 

Quran was also transmitted by samaa'a and qira.Everytime a hadith is read back to the sheikh there would be a circle with a dot or line throught it at the end of the book or hadith.Samaa'a and qira were during the time of the sahaba and taba tabaeen.

3. Al-Ijazah (Permission)

This person is given authority to narrate the hadith by the sheikh. In the previous two cases, there is a direct hearing between the sheikh and the student.

Al-Ijazah implies that sheikh is giving permission to the student to narrate the hadith that the sheikh has not directly transmitted to the student via samaa or qiraa.

Ibn Hazm says this is akin to giving a permission to lie on your authority.

Ibn Hazm said that this is an innovation. He said this is like giving someone permission to lie on your behalf. 

Some forms of ijazah are considered stronger and better than others. 

If the sheikh gives a copy of the hadith to student and gives him ijazaah to narrate the hadith. The chain would then say that so and so has recieved the hadith via ijazah from so and so.

Was this allowed by the prophet? 

Prophet gave a sealed letter to abdullah ibn-jash and gave him instructions to read only after three days. This is considered evidence for ijazah.

Abu Bakr was sent as the head of the muslims for hajj and surah tawbah was revealed. The Prophet (saw) sent the surah with Ali (ra) and told him to give it to Abu Bakr (ra) and told Abu Bakr to recite it to the muslims. So this was done in case of the quran as well. Who was given the ijazah? Abu Bakr was given ijazah to narrate the surah.

Scholars says ijazah is permissible. This way of transmitting hadith was developed later.

Sheikh explained that ijazah is like a certificate of a book and verify that the book is verified by the scholar and the student can use that book to narrate the hadith. The student then has to say he received the hadith via ijazaah.

Students could spot forgeries of the book of Bukhari because there were many copies of the book of Bukhari.

4. Al Munawalah (Handing this to you)

Al Munawalah with ijazah and without ijazah.

Al Munawalah with ijazah is guaranteeing the work and giving authority to narrate

when you look at books as a whole passed on, you'd see these terms such as "al-ijazah" and "al-munawalah". It's rare to see this being done in the early times, at the time of the tabieen or tabi tabieen. .

Nawawee says you are not allowed to narrate if you do not recieve ijazah.

Munawalah with ijazah, some say it is stronger than samaa'a. A person who listens can make mistakes. According to some scholars.

5. Kitaba (Written correspondence)

Is there any evidence from prophet? Yes it is established in sunnah. The prophet sent letters to leaders, kings, etc.

You have to make sure it is not distorted. It had to be sealed and you do not have to worry about the messenger. If the seal was broken then you can discard the message or letter.

Techniques 3-5 did exist during the time of taba tabeen

6. Al alam (To inform)

This technique was not used in the early time of islam. Where you inform someone that you have heard a book of hadith. (I have heard sahih bukhari, my reading of sahih bukhari is sahih, there is isnaad of his reading. Now you can go ahead and find a book with my certificate.)

Sheikh gave an example of informing us that he confirms that the book "How to Approach the Quran" is written by him and published by Al Basheer publications. Now you can say that Sheikh Jamaal has informed you that the book is written by him.


Nowadays we don't go ahead and verify the books are indeed written by the author. If someone is passing on a forgery, it would be soon known.

2010-01-24 Class Notes

Review of the previous lectures.

An is ambiguous

Discussion of student of Imam Ahmed's son. He used a copy of Imam Ahmed' book with ijazah. He was chastised for it.

When the books were already established by the year 1000 Hijra, if somebody tried to forge the books, they were immediately caught. 

In the later years isnaad of the book becomes as important as the isnaad of the hadith.

Ghazali who lived in 6th century Hijra.

You could then use the copies of the books (as is the case today from a respectable publisher) we use it without asking for ijazah.

We have gone from the original strict requirements of using books of hadith. Why? Now we have authenticity of the copies that we do not have to go to the extra steps to authenticate the book before using it or quoting it.

7. Al-Wasiyyah

bequeth, inherit

may misunderstand but writing has improved.

8. Wijadah (To find a recorded hadith)

Some of the smaller books are cases of wijadah. Books found in musuems. Have to be careful in how you use these texts. You have to find other  copies of the books and make sure it is authentic.

If you find a solitary manuscript, the certificate looks fine, the manuscript does not have any signs of tampering. How much importance will you give to this manuscript. This is an example of wijadah. But you have to make extra steps to authenticate it.

The vast majority of hadith of Imam Ahmed were passed on by his son, Abdullah bin Imam Ahmed. The hadith were passed on by samihtu. However there were additional hadith added by Abdullah bin Imam Ahmed into the hadith collection of Imam Ahmed. These hadith are marked as additions or zawaaid. He heard it from his teachers or some other sources.

However there are some hadith added by wijadah. Abdullah found these hadith in the writings of his father. So these are not the hadith that were transmitted by samihtu. Abdullah included in the collection of Musnad Ahmed. Wijadah category includes 100 hadith. If you take out the repititions, then it totals to 33 hadith marked as wijadah.

So you need to distinguish the hadith of Musnad Ahmed - Samihtu, Zawaaid, Wijadah. 

Scholar found out that out of 33 wijadat hadith of Musnad Ahmed, 5 out of them are fabrications and 3 are weak.

For wijadah hadith of Musnad Ahmed, we have to reserve our judgement, even though we trust the son of Imam Ahmed and he could identify his father's handwriting, since the chain of transmission was not samihtu or other sound transmission mechanisms, we have to be careful about these wijadah hadith.

There are no examples of wijadah in the collection of Imam Bukhari

What about zawaaid hadith? Since there is a stronger mechanism of transmission, these hadith do not have the same issues as the wijadah.

Can we accept a hadith from non-muslim?

Since they are missing the essential component of iman, we cannot accept their hadith. If he accepts islam, now he has the essential component of iman, we can now accept his hadith, even if he is reporting an event while he was not a muslim. 

This discussion is regarding Abu Sufyan and his hadith reports while he was not a muslim. 

Can we accept hadith from children? If not, why not?

Since children are not yet adults and do not have the proper concept of taqwa, you would not accept their hadith. But when they become adults, we can accept their hadith of their childhood. Some sahaba reported hadith of incidents of their childhood.

Samihtu - Quality of the hadith. It was not haphazard. It was not an overheard transmision. There were formal sessions. They took extra precautions to transmit or pass on the hadith.

It is permissible to pass on the meaning of the hadith or wording exactly correct? Under all circumstances?

(Edit: Can we paraphrase it?) The sahaba were very careful of the words of the prophet. They used to perspire when reporting the hadith. Some sahaba did not report hadith out of fear. They said that since they did not practice, they did not report hadith. Even inadvertent falsifications of the speech of the prophet, they considered it to be a sin. The sahaba took many precautions. 

Hadith were passed on according to the wording. But we can see that many narrations, there were differences in the wordings. So scholars says that is it permissible to narrate according to it's meaning. What are the conditions placed on narrating hadith according to the meaning.

1.You need to be well versed in the language. If you are not well versed in the language and if you used your own words, then you could inadvertently distorted the meaning of the hadith. You have to be proficient in the Arabic language.

2. Only if you memorized the exact wording can you pass it on according to its meaning.

Are you allowed to shorten a hadith? 

If shortening the hadith does not distort its meaning then you are allowed to shorten it. 

Can you shorten hadith to emphasize a specific point of the hadith. Again you have to be proficient in Arabic. Imam Bukhari did it. Imam Muslim would not shorten the hadith. 

What about grammatical mistakes in a hadith? Can you pass on hadith that had grammatical mistakes?

Prophet was well known for his eloquent speech. So this grammatical mistake could not be from the prophet. You have to pass on the hadith exactly as you heard, you don't distort it, You make comment afterwords. Because you might be wrong in your conclusions that it a grammatical mistake. If you correct the errors and everybody else passes it on, then others will consider you to be not accurate in passing on the hadith.

You have to pass it on as you heard it:

1. You might be wrong

2. You do not want to be the person who is changing the text of the hadith

3. W...

4. Identify where these mistakes came from since we can identify the chain.

Grammatical Hujjah

Quran and Hadith are considered hujjah. It shows us how to use the grammatical constructs of the arabic language.  Because we know that the hadith were transmitted with the correct wordings.

2010-01-31 Class Notes

We have seen the transmission from narrator A to narrator B. And the terminology used by the narrators to indicate the transmission. Samihtu is the most specific and An is the most vague. 

We need to identify all of the narrators in the chain.

There are two topics closely related to one another: 

1. Asma ur rijal 

Names of the men or identification of the narrators, who they were, when they were born, died, who were their teachers, students, etc

2. Al Jarh wal ta3deel

What is the quality of the narrators from the perspective of transmitting hadith. Acceptable or not acceptable transmitters of hadith.

Asma ur rijal أسما أل رجال 

When was the census done? 

First one was done during the time of the prophet. During one of the battles, the prophet had the names of the people of all of the tribes recorded. Umar ibn Khattab did it more formally using the diwan system of the persians. And then this tradition was followed by later generations.

Book of history in classical muslim scholars contain independent sections of biography. 

Tareekh Baghdad - It is the biography of everybody who lived in or visited Baghdad

Tareekh Damascus by ibn Asakeer - Ditto about Damascus.

Sometimes you find hadith in these books.

We are only interested in biography of people related to the transmission of the hadith. Most of the chains don't give you full names of the people. This knowledge was useful in identifying forgers by questioning them, when did you meet the teacher and where? Sometimes they claimed to meet the teacher after he had died or in a place where the teacher had not visited, hence forgeries.

Who is Sahabi?

Defintion of Sahaba from a lexical point of view: Companion

Definition of Uthman: State of Iman when he saw the prophet and he died in the state of Iman. It was a great blessing for an individual to see the prophet. 

From point of uloom-al hadith this is a very important definition. Sahaba have different virtues and status. Sahaba who participated in Badr, Muhajareen, have higher rank than other sahaba.

Uloom al hadith perspective of sahabi

1. Person's ability to narrate directly from the prophet (first chain)

2. Every sahabi is considered adl or righteous narrator

Some gave more conditions, such as one who participated in the battles, etc. Saeed ibn Al Musaib son in law of Abu Huraira said a sahabi is somebody who lived with prophet for a year or two and participated in one of the battles. However the chain going back to Saeed is weak.

How would we know who is from the sahabi?

Hadith 30,000 to 60,000

Sahaba who transmitted hadith 1,060.

Out of those sahaba half of them transmitted only one hadith.

Musnad of Ahmad, collection of 30,000 hadith, we have about 700 sahaba.

Who are the major narrators?

1. Abu Huraira 

2. Abdullah ibn Umar

3. Anas ibn Malik

4. Ayesha

ibn Abbas

The number after a narrator does not mean much. The musnad is lost. Arabs are not original in naming their children. Among the sahaba there were 300 who were named Abdullah. Who are we referring to? There are four famous Abdullah: Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Zubair, Abdullah bin Amar ibn Al Aas

There is no sahabi with the name Abdul Rahim. If you see him as the top chain, then you know there are atleast two links missing from Sahaba and Tabieen.

Among the tabieen, an important group to know named as Al Mukhadramoon: They were from the time of Jahileeyah but they did not see the prophet. Since they cannot narrate the hadith from the prophet. Their timeline is authentic but they never saw the prophet. They are not sahaba, and hence they are tabieen.

What is the definition of tabieen?

Conditions are much looser, anybody who met sahaba is considered tabieen. Now they can narrate hadith from sahaba.

Major and Minor Tabieen

Who are the major tabieen? How many sahaba did they study with and how much time did they spend with sahaba. For example Saeed ibn Al Musaib. From the point of the connectivity of the chain, is it important to distinguish between major and minor.? No, but from other aspects such as fiqh it is important.

Seven fuqaha of Madina are important from the Tabieen. They are major tabieen. Most of them are sons of sahabah. They are the first links of the chain to Imam Malik.

Last of the sahaba to die was 110 Hijri

When was the last of the tabieen to die? 180 Hijri, Khalaf ibn Khaleef is the last known tabieen to die. After 180 hijri, we need atleast two narrators in the chain. This group is called Taba Tabieen.

Is there anything special about Tabieen?

Hadith of the prophet that describes the best of the generations, he described the tabieen as a virtuous generation. They do have some virtues. They were the students of the sahaba.

Elder narrators narrating from younger narrators

This happened among sahaba, tabieen, and taba tabieen

Al Madabbeej - Peers narrating from one another

Six tabieen in one chain. People in the same class or tabqa narrating from one another.

Al Sabiq wa Lahiq:

Narrator X and narrators who narrated from him. The death of the earliest narrator and the death of the last narrator. The time span between the lifetime of the first person and the last person in the chain.

Example of Imam Malik: 

Started teaching when he was relatively young

Older people who took from him and narrated hadith from Imam Malik

Zuhri who was Imam Malik's teacher and he also took hadith from Imam Malik. He died 124 Hijri

Imam Malik lived for many years and taught hadith

Last of Imam Malik's students Sahmy died in year 259 Hijri

So now we have a chain where the delta between the first and last of the narrators in the chain was as large as 135 years. So this is possible. So there is no issue with this and the scholars recognized it.

So Sabiq in this narration is Zuhri and Sahmy is Lahiq


People with unique names. Ajmad - name of one of the narrators. Jabib. Common names are Ahmad and Habib, so are these names typos? You don't go and correct it. You cannot simply go and change the chain to Ahmad or Habib. So knowing the unique names is important so that we are aware of them.

Names of people

So and so, son of so and so. If you misidentify them, then it could lead to confusion. Some are known by their grandfather's name. Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah. Who is al Jarrah? It is his grandfather. If Abu Ubaidah said my father narrated it, and you think he is talking about al Jarrah. Then you might misidentify the person.

Bilal ibn Hamaam is the same as Bilal ibn Raba, sometimes he was referred to by his mother's name.

Abu Masood ibn Badri - did he participate in Badr, no he just lived in Badr. 

Sulaiman ad Dhaal - would you accept hadith from him? ad Dhaal refers to incident that he got lost, it has nothing to do with ad-dhaaleen, an unfortunate nickname, he was a trusted narrator of hadith.

By 180 hijri, majority of the people were taba tabieen and taba taba tabieen. 7-10 generations

2010-02-07 Class Notes

Hadith consists of matn (text) and isnaad (chain of narrators)

Asma ur rijal - Identifying narrators, their names, their parents, their teachers, their students. Any good historian will be able to do Asma ur rijal. But it is not sufficient. We need ability to judge the narrator

What else do we need to know about the narrators?

 Moral qualities

 Intellectual qualities

 Their quality as narrator

Al jarh wa tadeel

Definition of jarh - to wound or to injure

Tadeel - means to testify to a person's soundness

Narrators are human beings. Human beings are not of the same quality. Some people could lie, somebody could be honest but is mistake prone, another person is very good but he might make mistakes. Scholars of hadith recognize these facts. They recognize that we need to have the ability to categorize and label or rank different narrators.

Is it halal to say such things about narrators? Isnt back bitting haraam?

Nawawi and Shawkani have written that there are cases where back bitting is allowed. We need to prove it. 

Hadith of Fatima bint Qais after she finished her waiting period, she told prophet that Muawaiya and Abu Jahm have proposed to her, and prophet said that Muawiya is poor and Abu Jahm did not put his stick down. The prophet did back bitting but it was Nasiha, it was for the purpose of giving guidance for marriage. So if this was applicable for marriage then it is also very important for the purpose of preserving the deen. 

Any other proof? Allah swt says in the Quran, Allah swt does not like the evil speech, except in the case of person who is harmed. Shawkani says that if the ruler has oppressed you, then you have the right to speak against him. You have a right to defend your rights. So compare defending rights with preserving the deen.

"There is no ghiba in the case of a faseeq or one who openly commits sins (mujahir)". Some say this hadith is fabricated or very weak. And it is still quoted in books about uloom al hadith as proof for ghiba. (The author needs to take a course in uloom al hadith) If something is well known about the individual, like he is drunk etc. then there is no ghiba???

Scholars try their best to derive the principles from Quran and Sunnah.

Allah swt says if a wicked person comes to you with news, then confirm the truth, ... otherwise you might have to later repent for your actions

This lays down the principles laid down by the scholars, you have to identify fasiq and then ascertain their narration. You might find some confirmation through other means.

What about identifying people as adl (just), and differentiate those who are adl and those who are not?

Surah Maida verse 95: If you are in state of ihraam and then you kill game animal, then what is your punishment? Two people who are adl will determine what animal needs to be slaughtered as a punishment.

Surah Maida verse 106 Waseeyah - Witness must be adl

Adl - people who have qualities that are acceptable to others

Surah Baqarah - witnesses that are pleasing to you or acceptable to you.

Quran mentions the word adl, we see throughout the Qur'an.

So the principle that scholars used has its basis in the Qur'an

Kashmiri (author of book about Bukhari) identified the qualities of the sahaba and found its basis in the Quran

Prophet said: Whoever narrates a hadith from me, if he (the narrator) sees it a lie or is shown to him as lie, then the narrator is also a liar.

Whoever falsely attributes something to me, should take his place in hellfire. This can be taken as a sign that there are people who are falsely attributing something to prophet. The prophet is indicating that there will be people in the future who will falsely attribute to the prophet.

Some modern scholars who talk about fabricated hadith, they conclude that it is a joke to rely on knowledge from hadith. As a repose, some scholars say that the fact that we have identified fabricated hadith, we can say that the hadith has been preserved. That is we have taken precautions to reject hadith and discriminate hadith which are fabricated.

if all the manuscripts are of equal value, it is a sign that it was not preserved.

Hadith: It is enough to make a person a liar, who repeats everything that he hears.

1. If he repeats everything that he hears then you are not taking precautions to verify or ascertain

2. If you keep repeating everything, then sooner or later you will be understood to be a liar

Prophet warned us about narrations or things that have no source. Basically new things. Sahih Muslim: At the end of time (akhiri zaman - after a long time), there will be dajjaloon  (great liars and big liars) kadhaboon (liars), they will come to you with hadith, that neither you nor your father's had heard about.

What does dajjal mean? Great liar

Story of the false allegations made about Ayesha

Prophet went to Ali, Usama. and Hareera - to ask about character of Ayesha. This mirrors the practice of the scholars of the hadith, they would go and ask others about the narrator, in order to protect the deen.

Some hadith that are weak as proof for the actions of the scholars of hadith wrt al jarh wa tadeel

Prophet said, this knowledge shall be taken from every successor who is adl (just and righteous). Prophet is identifying who we should take knowledge from.

These practices of jarh wa tadeel existed during the time of the prophet and the tabieen.

So identifying characters is one part of jarh wa tadeel, but it also includes criticism of the matn or the text of the hadith. How are you going to rate the intellectual qualites of the narrator? Does he make mistakes? Hadith criticism is part of jarh wa tadeel. Chain and the text of the hadith. You will compare what they narrate both text and the chain with others who have narrated the same hadith.

What would be an example of hadith criticism during the time of the prophet?

Al Barra who learnt dua from the prophet and then he went and repeated the dua, and the prophet corrected his mistake.

Sometimes people from different tribes would come and confirm the message of his emissaries. The prophet did not disapprove of this action. Even Umar came to confirm a narration about the Prophet (pbuh) that whether he (pbuh) had divorced his wives.

It started in the time of the prophet and it was simple, you went back to the prophet and confirm the narration. This was further strengthened during the time of Abu Bakr and Umar.

Abu Musa said that he heard the prophet told him to knock on the door three times and then leave if there is no response. When Abu Musa reported to Umar, Umar threatened him to bring witnesses or he would be punished. Abu Musa went and got witnesses. Umar did not doubt him, but he wanted to set a precedent about being very careful of cross checking.

Abu Huraira narrated many hadith, he dedicated his life to narrating hadith, even among the sahaba. Umar called him in and told him that you are narrating more hadith. And he asked Abu Huraira what prophet said on such a such night. Abu Huraira reported the hadith that whoever falsely attributes to the prophet then he should take his seat in hell fire. Umar wanted to ascertain and remind Abu Huraira. Umar did not doubt Abu Huraira. Umar knew that prophet trusted him.

Special attributes of Abu Huraira

Prophet appointed Abu Huraira as a governor of Bahrain (not the same bahrain as today). He trusted Abu Huraira.

Ayesha and Abdulla ibn Amr - Time series check. Ayesha sent her nephew to hear hadith form Abdullah ibn Amr which she had not heard before. After a period of time when Abdullah came for hajj, she sent her nephew to inquire about the same hadith and when Abdullah ibn Amr reported the hadith the same way, she knew that the hadith was correct.

Sahaba were very careful in narrating the hadith. As the sahaba were passing away, the number of followers were getting large, during the last third of the first century, you find more criticism of the trustworthiness of the narrators. Four people who were critiqued during this time

Al Harith Al Awr - He was known for his extreme shia views. Some of the scholars declared him to be liar, wrt his beliefs and not wrt his narration

Al-Mukhtar al Kadhab died in 67: He was under the illusion that Angel Jibrael had come to him and revealed a message. He did not narrate hadith. He was a misguided person. There wasnt any reason to critique him

Asam Ali's companion - Ali ibn Madhani and some others say he was trustworthy. AL Jawz al Jhani criticizes him. But the critic also has to meet some qualities. Among the supporters there were some extreme groups and extreme group in followers of Uthman (Nawasid group) and this group criticized anybody who was a companion of Ali. Al Jawz belonged to the Nawasid group.

Salih ibn Nabha - He was a honest and trustworthy person. But in his old age he lost his mental facilities and he became a poor narrator of hadith.

2010-02-14 Class Notes

Continue our discussion about al jarh wa tadeel. Our goal is to identify which narrators should be accepted and which narrators cannot be accepted. This means narrators will critiqued and evaluated. 

Who can critic the narrators?

They have to be qualified and have knowledge of field of criticing narrators. We have scholars who are specialized in this field. Not everyone who critics is qualified to do so.

Example hadith and its chain of narrators A, B, C, D, E.

In present times, we have to go to a scholar who is qualified and find out about narrator B. So our job becomes to evaluate the critics.

Qualitifications for one who critics narrators

1. Individual should have taqwa and he has to be honest in his criticism of narrators. 

Do not speak negatively of somebody, if there is no need to. If someone is not a narrator of hadith then there is no need to criticize them. Similarly if one characteristic of the person is enough then there is no need to further castigate. Just what is necessary. It has to be limited to say he is liar of hadith and nothing else. 

You cannot use offensive nicknames, unless it is absolutely necessary to identify the individual. You must put the love of Allah swt more than anything else. Suppose somebody is very popular but he is not good in terms of hadith. This criticism takes courage. Because you will face the onslaught of your criticism of a popular person. 

Yahya bin Said al Qahtaan. He was on his deathbed. Some people came to him and said to him that some are upset by your criticisms. He said I would prefer to have all of the people being upset with me then to face Messenger of Allah (pbuh) one the day of judgement having not informed people who are liars of hadith. He said this since deen is to be preserved as top priority. (I am paraphrasing here very liberally).

Scholars of jarh wa tadeel are much lesser than scholars of hadith. Because they had to critique people closer to them.

Ali ibn Al-Madini did  not allow anyone to quote any hadith from his father because he was unreliable.

Abu Dawood said my son Abdullah is a liar. Abu Dawood was compiler of al sunnan. Imagine his feelings towards his son and compare it to his concern for preserving the deen of Allah swt.

Zaid ibn abu anees said do not take any hadith from my brother because he is a liar.

Priniciples of jarh wa tadeel

Not every statement of every scholar about jarh wa tadeel are acceptable. We have to realize they are human beings and we have to be aware of their shortcomings.

1. Before judging a narrator, we have to make a complete study of the narrator

Somebody is an expert in another field such as Qiraat but may not be strong in the field of hadith. So don't take his reputation of Qiraat or history but they are not qualified for hadith. Unfortunately the seerat books their standards wrt hadith were very weak. 

Classic example. Jabir al jufai had good reputation among many hadith scholars but it was because they did not know him well enough. Those who did, said that he lied. Some people maybe pious but it is not enough for being accepted as a narrator of hadith. 

2. When studying reports about narrators, we have to be aware of reports that might be result of anger, jealousy or hatred.

Even if someone has taqwa, the critic might slip. Al Hasad is a very dangerous disease. 

ibn Abbas said that you take knowledge from the ulema but do not pick and choose.....

One or two scholars who have negative statements, find out their source. If the source is very objective then we accept it. If the source is very subjective then we have to be careful about the criticism.

Zuhri did not particularly like the people of Makkah. Zuhri is a well known scholar and he is pious. But we have to be careful about his statements about the people of Makkah

Imam Malik was critical of ibn Ishaaq who compiled the seerah collection. Why did Imam Malik criticize him? ibn ishaaq did not respect Imam Malik and in turn Imam Malik did not respect him. It was wrong on part of ibn Ishaaq to not respect Imam Malik. Was Imam Malik justified in his negative stance of ibn ishaaq? Two people can have issues with one another. And we cannot automatically reject narrations of ibn Ishaaq and neither do we put down the statements of Imam Malik. So here even if we have crticisms by Imam Malik, we have to realize the source of his criticisms. Imam Malik called ibn Ishaaq a dajjaal because Ibn Ishaaq put down Imam Malik when ibn Ishaaq visited Medina.

3. We do not accept jarh that are solely the outcome of differences of doctrines of creed or madhab

For example the bad words between Sufis and Ahl al-hadith.

Al Jawz al jaani would say negative things about people who were close to Ali because of his extreme support for Uthman. We do not accept his criticism of people who were close to Ali. He had a pattern of doing this. We have to question the critic.

We will talk about ahl al bidah later on and whether we can accept their narrations.

4. Do not accept jarh from somebody who is not a specialist in the field of hadith

It is like getting a prescription from somebody who is not a doctor.

5. Recognize the fact that some scholars are more easy in their grading of the narrators and some scholars are more tough in grading the narrators.

Some scholars who are very lax and some who are very tough or harsh or critical. 

Bukhari and Ahmad fall in the middle. Then there are scholars who are outliers. We should not allow the statements of the harsh critics of the narrators to the statements by the balanced critics of the narrators. We expect the lax critics to accept the narrator. If you find the tough critics accepting a narrator then it is a sign that it is a good narrator. And if you find the lax critic, rejecting a narrator, then it is a sign that the narrator is to be rejected.

Sahib ibn Habban - Kitaab of trustworthy narrators and Kitaab of rejected narrators. ibn Habban is a lax as well as a tough critic. Why? He is lax with respect to some principles and tough about some other principles. His view of unknown narrators is that if nothing critical is known about them, then he presumes that they are trustworthy. Other scholars would say that you cannot assume unknown narrators are trustworthy. ibn Habban was tough if he finds one or two mistakes of narrators then he would reject them. If ibn Habban says a well known narrator is trustworthy then we can accept it. If ibn Habban accepts an unknwon narrator then we have to be careful about it.

Yahya ibn Saed Al Qahtaan did not accept hadith from Abdul Rahman ibn al Mahdi and Abdullahi bin Mubarak.

6. Fame is considers one of the strongest form of tadeel.

If people go and accept his hadeeth then you do not accept the jarh or criticism unless it is supported by very strong evidence. Unfortunately not everyone applies this principle and it affects their judgement about certain narrations.

Son of Abu Dawood - Abdullah. Abu Dawood said my son is a liar.

He is known as ibn Abu Dawood.

He has one of the most important books about the history of Quran. It has important narrations about the Quran. It is called Kitaab al Masahif. It has unique narrations. 

His father was his crtic.

He used to accompany his father. Scholars knew him as trustworthy.

What his father meant was, that his son used to exagerate. Abu Dawood did not like his son making these kinds of statements. 

There are no other statements except from his father.

We have to know the context of the statement made by his father.

He is considered a trustworthy fuqaha

Arthur Jeffrey misinterpreted the book by ibn Abu Dawood, Kitaab al Masahif. He picks and chooses some unauthentic narrations from the book to make his point that the Quran has been tampered.

2010-02-21 Class Notes

Sometimes you find harsh statements from a scholar about some heretical views. The statements maybe harsher than what he generally says.

Imam Ahmad had some harsh statements about Al Karabisi because of his heretical views and he wanted to put a stop to it. In general Imam Ahmad thought of him to be a honest man and after his death made dua for Al karabisi. Imam Ahmad said harsh statements because he was concerned about the influence that Al Karabisi wielded and he wanted to stop his heretical views.

Qualities of people from whom we can accept narrations (from classroom discussion)

Upright, trustworthy, honest


Strong memory

Good character

Knowledge of the Arabic




Al Ghazali in his book Mustafsa gives the following conditions

1. Islam

2. Adult

3. Mentally capable

4. Free from performing fahsha forbidden actions

5. Not prone to commit errors

6. Memorizes correctly if he narrates from memory or understands the meaning of the hadith if he summarizes the hadith

Risala written by Imam Shafiee also gives a list of conditions (this was published much earlier than Al Ghazali in 3rd century after Hijra)

1. Must merit confidence in his religion (Adl)

2. Be known as reliable in transmitting

3. Comprehend what he transmits

4. Aware of any pronounciation that might change the meaning of the hadith

5. Capable of transmitting the hadith word for word and not just the meaning

6. Does not contradict others who have narrated the same hadith

7. He must not commit tadlees (deceptive way of narrating)

Consensus among Muslim scholars in no specific order

1. Muslim

2. Adult

3. Al Adl العدل Righteous, person of integrity

4. Al Dhabt  الضبط  Accurate / Academic Qualities

5. Al Muruah المراه someone who adheres to the standards of his society and culture - what does that mean and why is it in this list? Someone eating in public was considered very bad in early Muslim societies. It is not haraam by the shareeah but by ettiquettes and standards of good society was considered very shameful. Can you trust a shameless guy with the hadith of the prophet?

Can we accept narrations from women?

Yes. I did not capture the discussion.

Can we accept narrations from slaves?

Slaves and ex-slaves became experts in the hadith of the masters. One of the most important chains was from Nafih who has ex-slave of Umar, they knew their masters very well.

How can someone be confirmed as Adl?

We have two kinds of people wrt Adl - People who are famous for their religious knowledge/taqwa/etc (it is enough to declare them adl) and people who are not famous wrt to their religious status.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about Ishaaq ibn Ruhuyiah's Adl. And his reply was that it does not make any sense. Ishaaq was his teacher.

What about people who are not famous, how do we confirm their adl?

Qurtubi says that you cannot say that if no negative reports are present then we accept their adl

You need two scholars for tazkeeyah

Two confirmations are preferred but not necessary

Some others say one is sufficient

Kufa was a garrison town - everybody is new there - so what about the narrators from Kufa?

First opinion: Majority opinion was to accept Adl without any explanation and not to accept tajreeh without any explanations. 

So if somebody says he is righteous that is sufficient. It is known what is adl. However if you criticize somebody then you have to give your reasons for criticisms. It would not take much time to list their negative qualities. What might be negative to you might not be negative to others?

If you go to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim - you will find that they did not find the criticisms of some of the narrators as valid

Usool al Fiqh opinion - You should accept adl only if it is accompanied with explanation and jarh without any explanation.  This contradicts the opinion above. One of the reasons maybe ....???

Third opinion - Explain your reasons in both cases (adl and jarh)

Fourth opinion - You don't have to explain reasons in any case (adl and jarh)

Fifth opinion - ibn Hazr - If we have positive statements about the narrator and then there is criticism from one person then it is encumbent upon the critic to explain his statements.

2010-02-28 Class Notes

Would you consider adl to be an important property of a narrator? 

The sheikh is now quoting an author about early hadith critics, if a transimitter passed on hadith from early generations, the early hadith critics were not concerned about his beliefs or practices. What do you think about this quote? All of you would have a problem with this statement? Are our standards less than or equal to the standard of Imam Bukhari?

The above author then continues, Ibn Moeen described shia transmitter, Abdul Rahman ibn Salih, as honest trustworthy and he would not make any changes to the hadith, he would rather fall from the sky but not make any changes to the hadith. Another example from his book is of Ismail Ibn Ulaya who got so shamefully intoxicated such that he had to be carried on a donkey, yet he was a reliable transmitter. (He died in 193 Hijri)

Would you still except his hadith? Is he a reliable transmitter?

This above quote is from Jonathon Brown's book on hadith. The sheikh is unhappy about the passages he has read from the book so far. This is problematic.Sheikh is going to analyze this passage from Jonathan Brown's book. The above quote is from page 83 of his book.

Ismail ibn Ulaya and the source that he gives. The source is Ad-Dahabi's book Mizan al Itadah??  Jonathan Brown is quoting Ad-Dahabi's book. 

The report in that source book describes him drinking nabi, it is a fruit nectar that can be intoxicating. Hanafi school considers it to be halaal. Scholars of Kufa considered it halaal. They debated with other scholars and considered it halaal. Another example, Qat, the practice of chewing a root in Yemen is considered halaal.

Now from Dahabi's book: If you see somebody from Basra doing it, then it is considered haraam. In Kufa it is considered halaal. The next line in the book, the people in Kufa considered it halaal. 

Would you consider Ismail ibn Ulaya as reputable?

Jonathan Brown is misrepresenting Ismail ibn Ulaya. To say that early hadith critics did not consider the adl of the transmitters is wrong. It is one thing to make a mistake, but here he is distorting it.

Now we are discussing the shia leanings of the transmitter Abdul Rahman ibn Salih.

ibn Salih said that the best of the ummah after the prophet are Abu Bakr and Umar. Abu Dawood found him collecting a book about the faults of the prophet's wives and other sahaba. This is rafidhi which means rejectionist. Abu Dawood and others say that we reject his hadith completely.

Shia is somebody who rejects the sahaba and only consider Ali as the only true successor. Shia-at-Ali means the party of Ali. Rafidhi means a rejectionist.

Being Adl is one of the conditions of being a narrator. In the next session we will discuss what are the conditions for rejecting a narrator. And also the narrations from Ahl Al Biddah.

If we wanted to record somebody's hadith, we would ask so many questions about the person, that people would ask are you going to marry him. Ibadaah was a characteristic that they would look at. However outward piety by itself is not an indicator of his adl. This by itself would not qualify him to be a good narrator. He needs other qualities to consider him to be an acceptable narrator.

Yahya ibn Saeed: We find no one falsifying more than the saliheen. What do you think he means by saliheen? He means people who are dedicated to salah, fasting, etc. Imam Muslim's commentary on that is .. they are saying something false even though they are not intending to do so. Even though they are saliheen, but they are not trained to be good narrators. So they make mistakes. They are not students of hadith. When they quote hadith they are not doing properly. We dont doubt the person's intentions but they are not qualified to narrate.

Hadith is its one field. There are people who are qualified to pass the hadith. It is not insult to their piety but they are not qualified. 

People of some town are mamoon (trustworthy) but I would not accept any hadith from them. Since they did not have the means or qualities or were not students of hadith. Their narrations would simply be ignored.

Ad Dhabt - Accuracy or proficiency

Why is this property important in a narrator? The goal is to pass on the hadith correctly. We need people who have mental tools to hear the hadith, retain the hadith and then pass on the hadith.

Some of the early hadith critics

Ali ibn Madini who died around 234 Hijri - he was peer to Ahmad ibn Hanbal and teacher to Imam Bukhari

Yahya ibn ... who died in 233 Hijri

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal 

Abu Zara (he is also Razi - from the city of Rey)

Abu Hatim al Razi

Imam Muslim

Imam Bukhari

They catalogued all the narrators and report how many mistakes they made. Find out exactly how proficient these narrators were. Scholars before that time would also judge and critic narrators.

Some of the steps they took to examine the proficiency of the narrators

1. Check what the person is narrating and see if there is any contradiction between what they are narrating and the Quran. So they are examining the text of the hadith. From the statements of the earliest scholars they were concerned about consistency between various narrators. If somebody narrates something that is contradicting the quran implies either he is mistaken or he is fabricating.

Discussion on one example of hadith: All the people who prayed alone with the prophet. It boils down to the following chain: Yazi bin Abi Zinaad -> Kuraib -> ibn Abbas. The scholar pointed out the inconsistency of Kuraib in the narration. 

When praying alone with the prophet all of the text say that ibn Abbas was standing to the left and prophet moved him to the right. 

Kuraib says that the prophet asked him to stand on the left.

When the scholar checks all of the narrations that all of the people who prayed alone with the prophet, they prayed to his right. The scholar's conclusion was that Kuraib made an error.

2. Distinguish between errors of somebody and errors of his students. Identify the mistakes of the teacher. If the students are differing then he can identify where they are differing and their proficiency.

3. Check the quality of the narrator by asking the same hadith over a long period of time. We had discussed the story of Ayesha and Abdullah ibn Amr and she asked her nephew to ask him to narrate the same hadith during his trips to Makkah. 

This also highlights the quality of the narration becoming weaker over a period of time. ie His proficiency decreases, he was proficient during some period of time and then it has dimished. So the narration during the later years we do not accept their narrations. We have to avoid narrations when they became senile.

Abdul Razak al sanani - we have to know if he is narrating from memory or from his books. If he is narrating from his books it is good.

Distinguish between oral recitations and books. 

The sheikh is not aware of anybody who is accepted by his oral recitations but not from his book.

For us layman we are worried about whether the hadith is authentic or not. THe hadith scholars are concerned about both the text and the chain.

Delaying dhuhr prayers during summer time. Abu Zarra made a mistake about the chain of the narration of the hadith. When he went back home he checked his books and found out he indeed made an error. He wrote back and said it is better to let others know that you made an mistake than facing the hellfire.