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29. Hadith Al-Ta’rif, Proving Its Authenticity

Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H) records:

حدثنا عبد الله قال حدثني أبي قثنا اسود بن عامر قثنا إسرائيل عن الأعمش عن أبي صالح عن أبي سعيد الخدري قال : إنما كنا نعرف منافقي الأنصار ببغضهم عليا

‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Aswad b. ‘Amir – Israil – al-A’mash – Abu Salih – Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:

We were able to recognize the hypocrites among the Ansar only through their hatred of ‘Ali.1

Al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) says about the first narrator:

عبد الله بن أحمد بن محمد بن حنبل الشيباني أبو عبد الرحمن ولد الإمام ثقة

‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman: son of the Imam, thiqah (trustworthy).2

Of course, Imam Ahmad needs no introduction. But, let’s get the verdict of al-Hafiz anyway:

أحمد بن محمد بن حنبل بن هلال بن أسد الشيباني المروزي نزيل بغداد أبو عبد الله أحد الأئمة ثقة حافظ فقيه حجة

Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal b. Hilal b. Asad al-Shaybani al-Maruzi, a Baghdad resident, Abu ‘Abd Allah: One of the Imams, thiqah (trustworthy), hafiz, jurist, hujjah (an authority).3

Concerning the third narrator, al-Hafiz says:

الأسود بن عامر الشامي نزيل بغداد يكنى أبا عبد الرحمن ويلقب شاذان ثقة

Al-Aswad b. ‘Amir al-Shami, he lived in Baghdad, and was nicknamed Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman and given the laqab Shadhan: Thiqah (trustworthy).4

The fourth narrator is like that as well, as stated by al-Hafiz:

إسرائيل بن يونس بن أبي إسحاق السبيعي الهمداني أبو يوسف الكوفي ثقة تكلم فيه بلا حجة

Israil b. Yunus b. Abi Ishaq al-Sabi’i al-Hamdani, Abu Yusuf al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy). He is criticized without evidence.5

Al-A’mash, the fifth narrator, is thiqah (trustworthy) too, according to al-Hafiz:

سليمان بن مهران الأسدي الكاهلي أبو محمد الكوفي الأعمش ثقة حافظ عارف بالقراءات ورع لكنه يدلس

Sulayman b. Mahran al-Asadi al-Kahili, Abu Muhammad al-Kufi al-A’mash: Thiqah (trustworthy), hafiz (a hadith scientist), a scholar of al-qiraat (Qur’anic recitation modes), pious. However, he used to do tadlis.6

About the last narrator, al-Hafiz has these words:

ذكوان أبو صالح السمان الزيات المدني ثقة ثبت

Dhakwan Abu Salih al-Saman al-Zayat al-Madani: Thiqah (trustworthy), thabt (accurate).7

All the narrators are therefore trustworthy, and the chain is well-connected. The only issue is that al-A’mash was a mudalis, and has narrated in an ‘an-‘an manner. So, does this affect the hadith? The answer is a negative. Al-A’mash’s ‘an-‘an reports from Abu Salih are accepted by scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah. They apparently reject any notion that al-A’mash did tadlis in his reports from Abu Salih, even in his ‘an-‘an reports. For instance, Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) records this ‘an-‘an chain in his Sahih:

وحدثني زهير بن حرب حدثنا جرير عن الأعمش عن أبي صالح عن أبي هريرة

Zuhayr b. Harb – Jarir – al-A’mashAbu Salih – Abu Hurayrah8

‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H)9, Shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ10, Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H)11, Shaykh Dr. Asad12, and Shaykh Dr. Al-A’zami13 have all also declared chains containing ‘an-‘an transmission by al-A’mash from Abu Salih to be sahih. With this, it is obvious that the hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri above, recorded by Imam Ahmad, has a perfectly sahih chain.

The hadith establishes some very crucial points. The first is that there were hypocrites among the Ansar. Of course, the Ansar were Sahabah. Therefore, there were hypocrites among the Sahabah. Interestingly, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah agrees on this point too:

ولهذا قال احمد بن حنبل وغيره من العلماء انه لم يكن من المهاجرين من نافق و إنما كان النفاق في قبائل الأنصار….

ولهذا إنما ذكر النفاق في السور المدنية و إما السور المكية فلا ذكر فيها للمنافقين

This is why Ahmad b. Hanbal and other scholars said that there was no hypocrite among the Muhajirun and that hypocrisy existed only within the tribes of the Ansar….

And this is why hypocrisy is mentioned only in the Madinan suwar (chapters of the Qur’an). As for the Makkan suwar, there is no mention in them of hypocrites.14

Well, in one of the earliest Makkan surah, Allah does mention the existence of Muslims “in whose hearts is a disease” during the Makkan era15. Apparently, our Shaykh and the classical Sunni scholars missed that crucial fact!

Whatever the case, the fact that hypocrites existed among the Ansar – at the least - fatally undermines the Sunni doctrine that all the Sahabah earned Allah’s love, and that none of them ever forfeited it. Allah does not love hypocrites. By contrast, He has cursed them:

وعد الله المنافقين والمنافقات والكفار نار جهنم خالدين فيها هي حسبهم ولعنهم الله ولهم عذاب مقيم

Allah has promised the hypocrites, men and women, and the disbelievers, the Fire of Jahannam. They shall remain therein forever. It will be sufficient for them. Allah has also cursed them, and for them is the lasting torment.16

So, there were people cursed by Allah, and who shall reside forever in Jahannam, among the Sahabah.

The second point in the hadith is that the righteous Sahabah were unable to recognize the hypocritical Sahabah except through the latter’s hatred of ‘Ali. It is noteworthy that there is no claim whatsoever that hatred of Amir al-Muminin was the only sign of hypocrisy. Rather, it was the most effective, the only failproof tool. All the other signs – such as lying, failure to fulfil promises, laziness during Salat, and so on – could be found in some people who were not hypocrites too, albeit in smaller quantities. However, as for hatred of ‘Ali, it is an absolute proof of hypocrisy. It is wholly impossible for a true believer to hate him in any circumstance, in line with the testimony of the Messenger of Allah.

Imam Muslim records:

حدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة حدثنا وكيع وأبو معاوية عن الأعمش ح وحدثنا يحيى بن يحيى (واللفظ له) أخبرنا أبو معاوية عن الأعمش عن عدي بن ثابت عن زر قال قال علي والذي فلق الحبة وبرأ النسمة إنه لعهد النبي الأمي صلى الله عليه و سلم إلى أن لا يحبني إلا مؤمن ولا يبغضني إلا منافق

Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Waki’ and Abu Mu’awiyah – al-A’mash, AND Yahya b. Yahya – Abu Mu’awiyah – al-A’mash – Adi b. Thabit – Zirr:

‘Ali said: “I swear by the One Who split up the seed and created something living, the Ummi Prophet verily informed me that none loves me except a believer and that none hates me except a hypocrite.”17

Imam Ahmad also records his mutaba’ah for Ibn Abi Shaybah:

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا وكيع ثنا الأعمش عن عدى بن ثابت عن زر بن حبيش عن على رضي الله عنه قال عهد إلى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم انه لا يحبك الا مؤمن ولا يبغضك الا منافق

‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Waki’ – al-A’mash – ‘Adi b. Thabit – Zirr b. Hubaysh – ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, informed me saying, “None loves you except a believer, and none hates you except a hypocrite.”18

Shaykh al-Arnauṭ comments:

إسناده صحيح على شرط الشيخين

Its chain is sahih upon the standard of the two Shaykhs19

Imam al-Tirmidhi has also a third mutaba’ah for Waki’:

حدثنا عيسى بن عثمان ابن أخي يحيى بن عيسى حدثنا أبو عيسى الرملي عن الأعمش عن عدي بن ثابت عن زر بن حبيش عن علي قال لقد عهد إلى النبي الأمي صلى الله عليه و سلم أنه لا يحبك إلا مؤمن ولا يبغضك إلا منافق

‘Isa b. ‘Uthman, son of the brother of Yahya b. ‘Isa – Abu ‘Isa al-Ramli – al-Am’ash – ‘Adi b. Thabit – Zirr b. Hubaysh – ‘Ali:

The Ummi Prophet, peace be upon him, had informed me saying, “None loves you except a believer and none hates you except a hypocrite.”20

Al-Tirmidhi states:

هذا حديث حسن صحيح

This hadith is hasan sahih.21

‘Allamah al-Albani confirms:

صحيح

Sahih22

  • 1. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Fadhail al-Ṣahabah (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 1st edition, 1403 H) [annotator: Dr. Wasiyullah Muhammad ‘Abbas], vol. 2, p. 579, # 979
  • 2. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib (Beirut: Dar al-Maktabah al-‘Ilmiyyah; 2nd edition, 1415 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Ata], vol. 1, p. 477, # 3216
  • 3. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 44, # 96
  • 4. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 102, # 504
  • 5. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 88, # 402
  • 6. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 392, # 2623
  • 7. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 287, # 1846
  • 8. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 4, p. 1764, # 2249 (14)
  • 9. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Ādam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Ṣahihah wa Shayhun min Fiqhihah wa Fawaidihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1415 H), vol. 2, p. 39, # 512
  • 10. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 2, p. 461, # 9943
  • 11. Abu ‘Īsa Muhammad b. ‘Īsa al-Sulami al-Tirmidhi, al-Jami’ al-Ṣahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, p. 205, # 369
  • 12. Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Darimi, Sunan (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1407 H) [annotator: Husayn Salim Asad], vol. 2, p. 40, # 1771
  • 13. Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ishaq b. Khuzaymah al-Salami al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami; 1390 H) [annotators: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani and Dr. Muhammad Mustafa al-A’zami], vol. 1, p. 358, # 725
  • 14. Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Halim b. Taymiyyah al-Harrani, Minhaj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah (Muasassat Qurtubah; 1st edition, 1406 H) [annotator: Dr. Muhammad Rashad Salim], vol. 7, p. 476
  • 15. See Qur’an 74:31
  • 16. Qur’an 9:68
  • 17. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Ṣahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 1, p. 86, # 131 (78)
  • 18. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 1, p. 128, # 1062
  • 19. Ibid
  • 20. Abu ‘Īsa Muhammad b. ‘Īsa al-Sulami al-Tirmidhi, al-Jami’ al-Ṣahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 5, p. 643, # 3736
  • 21. Ibid
  • 22. Ibid

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