Famous Hadith Books

I have stated earlier that sorts of hadith (al-ahad) being: sahih, hasan (good) and da'if (weak), presenting samples of their utterances about the sahih, as it was out of scope to mention all of their sayings due to their abundance. And since they claim that the well-known books containing all these sorts being: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa`i, so we should discuss briefly every one of these books.

For sake of benefit, I found it better to talk about the book al-Muwatta' of al-Imam Malik, as it is the only book left for us from among the books written down during the 2nd century, and his author being of high status and having a famous school of thought. Also I shall discuss Musnad Ahmad due to its fame and its author's having a madhhab followed by a large number of Muslims.

I will start by discussing al-Muwatta' as it preceded all these books in time and compilation.

Malik and His Muwatta’

He is Malik ibn Anas, belonging to tribe of Dhu Asbah from Himyar. He was a venerable imam who lived contemporaneously with the best of Tabi’un. There is no agreement regarding date of his birth between the year 91 and 93 H. Date of his death was the year 179 H.

Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi says: Leaders of people in their times are four: Sufyan al-Thawri in Kufah, Malik in Hijaz, al-Awza’i in Sham and Hammad ibn Zayd in Basrah.

Of Malik’s sayings: This science is religion, so you should know from whom you take your religion. I have realized (time of) seventy among those who say: ‘The Messenger of Allah said in these pillars’1, but I never learnt anything from them. If the treasury was committed to the charge of anyone of them he would be trustworthy. He used to exert his opinion in cases of ijtihad and in respect of men of knowledge attained in his town.2

Al-Shafi’i is reported to have said: Verily the most authentic and veracious book after the Book of Allah being Muwatta’ of Malik3. Al-Dihlawi, in Hujjat Allah al-balighah, writes: The first class of hadith books can be realized through reading three books: al-Muwatta’ and Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. And the second class were books that could not reach the position of al-Muwatta’ and two Sahihs, but they come after them in order, like Sunan of Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa’i.

The third group included Musnads and compilations written before those of al-Bukhari and Muslim, and during their time and in the period following them, containing the sahih, hasan, da’if, well-known, strange, odd, disapproved, wrong and correct, and the established and reversed traditions. The traditionists were depending mainly upon the second class books.

In Tanwir al-hawalik al-Suyuti quoted al-Qadi Abu Bark ibn al-Arabi as saying: Al-Muwatta’ is the first source, and Sahih al-Bukhari is the second source … and Malik narrated a hundred thousand traditions of which he selected ten thousand in al-Muwatta’, keeping then on referring them to the Book (Qur’an) and Sunnah (practical Sunnah) till sorting out only five hundred traditions (i.e. the musnad [confirmed ] hadith)4. In another narration by Ibn al-Habbab: “… and he kept on referring them to the Book and Sunnah and testing them with old traditions and akhbar till they were sifted to only five hundred traditions.

In al-Dibaj al-mudhahhab fi ma’rifat a’yan al-madhhab (i.e. al-Maliki), Ibn Farhun writes: Atiq al-Zubaydi said: Malik compiled al-Muwatta’ with about ten thousand traditions. He every year kept on reviewing it and dropping from it till only the extant traditions remained of it, and had very few of them remained he would have dropped it as a whole.5

In Sharh al-Muwatta’ al-Zarqani writes: He (Malik) year to year kept on extracting and refining them to the extent he found more convenient for Muslims and more typical in religion.6

Ibn al-Habbab states that Malik narrated a hundred thousand traditions recording ten thousand from among them in al-Muwatta’, which he kept on subjecting them to the Book and Sunnah, and testing them with old traditions and akhbar till clearing them into five hundred traditions.

Al-Kia al-Harras says: Malik’s Muwatta’ contained first nine thousand traditions, which he kept on clearing and selecting till they became only five hundred ones, (p.11 of the introduction to Sharh al-Zarqani ala Muwatta’ Malik).

Al-Abhari Abu Bakr says: The total number of traditions recorded in Malik’s Muwatta’, reported from the Prophet (S) and the Companions and Followers were 1720 traditions, of which 600 were musnad, 222 mursal, 613 mawquf and 285 utterances of the Followers. Al-Suyuti in his al-Taqrib reporting Ibn Hazm as saying: When enumerating the traditions stated in al-Muwatta’ and in the hadith of Sufyan ibn Uyaynah, in every one of them 500 plus musnad, 300 mursal and seventy plus traditions, can be found, acting according to which was forsaken by Malik himself.

Some ulama’ said: Malik was the first to compile and record sahih traditions, but he did not confine himself to them alone, but inserted also the mursal, munqati’ and balaghat (reports). Among his reports there were uncommon traditions, as mentioned by al-Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr.

Divergence Of His Narrations

From Malik incongruous narrations were reported that differ in order of chapters, and in number till reaching twenty different copies and they amounted to thirty according to other traditionists7.

Al-Shaykh Abd al-Aziz al-Dihlawi (d. 1139 H), in his book Bustan al-muhaddithin, writes: The copies of al-Muwatta’ that are extant nowadays in the Arab countries are numerous, of which sixteen copies were referred to, each one reported from a certain narrator.

Abu al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Shafi’i says: The copies of Muwatta’ known to be compiled by Malik are eleven, with their denotation being identical and only four of which are commonly referred to, being: Muwatta’ Yahya ibn Yahya, Muwatta’ Ibn Bakr, Muwatta’ Abi Mus’ab and Muwatta’ Ibn Wahb, with diminishing of reference to other copies.

Among the narrations there is great incongruity including bringing forward and backward, addition and omission, the greatest and most ample of which being the additions of the narration of Abu Mus’ab.8 Ibn Hazm said: In Abu Mus’ab’s narration there is addition exceeding all other Muwatta’s with about one hundred traditions.

Al-Suyuti says: In the narration of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan there are several traditions exceeding other narrations of Muwatta’.

Dr. Ahmad Amin has explained the reason of this divergence saying: “Malik used to keep on compiling a copy of his book, but rather he was perpetually changing and modifying in it, and he used to review and revise the traditions, with eliminating whatever could not be confirmed. Those who heard al-Muwatta’ had in fact heard it in different times, with divergence in wording in every copy. Of these copies extant is the copy narrated by Yahya ibn al-Laythi, which was exposed by al-Zarqani, and the one narrated by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, companion of Abu Hanifah, which contained many things that were not found in the copy of Yahya, as he used to mix what he narrated from Malik with his opinions, saying “Often: Muhammad said.”9

Cause And Time Of Its Compilation

Cause And Time Of Its Compilation10

Al-Muwatta’ was compiled during the last days of the reign of al-Mansur, in the year 148H. The reason for this — as reported by al-Shafi’i — was that Abu Ja’far al-Mansur sent after Malik on his coming to al-Madinah, saying to him: Disagreement found way among people of Iraq, so you are asked to compile a book upon which you gather and unite them, hence he compiled al-Muwatta’.

In another narration, he said to him also: In it (book) you should avoid oddities of Ibn Abbas, intensities of Ibn Umar and permissions of Ibn Mas’ud. Malik said to him: O Amir al-Mu’minin it is not for us to compel people to follow and adhere to utterance of one man liable to err and be correct. And, as stated before, al-Mansur was so much concerned with hadith and studying it. Ibn Abd al-Barr reported that the first who compiled a book in al-Madinah on the basis of the meaning of al-Muwatta’ — as unanimously concurred by men of al-Madinah — was Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Salamah al-Majshun (d. 164 H.), which was reviewed by Malik before compiling his Muwatta’.

Criticism Of Ibn Mu’in To Malik

Ibn Mu’in said: Malik was not a man of hadith but a man of opinion. Al-Layth ibn Sa’d said: “I have counted seventy issues for Malik, all of which being contradictory to the Messenger' Sunnah.

Malik admitted this fact, and al-Daraqutni compiled a booklet containing the traditions recorded by Malik in al-Muwatta’ and other books, that were contradictory (to the Messenger’s Sunnah). This booklet is kept at al-Zahiriyyah Library in Damascus.

Al-Bukhari And His Book

Full name of al-Bukhari is Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari al-Farsi. He was born in Bukhara in 194H. He made trips to several countries, seeking for hadith, starting to compile chapters of his book in the Holy Sanctuary. It took him sixteen years to compile and classify it in Basrah and other places till completing it in Bukhara. He died in Khartang near Samarqand in 256 H.

In Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari,11 Ibn Hajar reported that Abu Ali al-Ghassani quoted al-Bukhari as saying: I brought out al-Sahih from among six hundred traditions.

Al-Isma’ili also quoted him as saying: I haven’t brought out in this book but only the sahih12 traditions, and the sahih ones that I haven’t cited being more.13 He also said: I know by heart a hundred thousand sahih traditions, and two hundred thousand non-sahih traditions14. It is not to be shocked at the presence of these hundreds of thousands of traditions during the time of al-Bukhari, as it is reported from al-Imam Ahmad that he said: The number of correct traditions amounted to seven hundred thousand plus ones ... referring by this to Abu Zar`ah, who learnt by heart seven hundred thousand traditions…

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Umar al-Razi says: Abu Zar'ah could learn by heart seven hundred traditions, and one hundred and forty thousand ones through their tafsir …(Tawjih al-nazar’, p. 4).

Reason behind Compilation of Al-Bukhari’s Book

Ibn Hajar in his Muqaddimah says: The motive that incited resolution of al-Bukhari to collect the sahih traditions, and made him determined to do so, was what he heard from his instructor chief of hadith and fiqh Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanzali, known with the name of Ibn Rahawayh. Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari says: We were with Ibn Rahawayh who said: Would it be better if you compile an abridged book containing the sahih traditions of the Messenger of Allah? Being impressed by this statement, I embarked on compiling the comprehensive Sahih in which including six hundred thousand traditions.15

Al-Bukhari Narrating Through Meaning

In Ta’rikh Baghdad, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi reported from al-Bukhari as saying: There might be a hadith I heard in Basrah writing it in the Sham, and there might be a hadith I heard in the Sham writing it in Egypt! Thereat it was said to him: O Abu Abd Allah, (did you write it) completely? When he kept silent.16

Uhaydar ibn Abi Ja’far, governor of Bukhara, is reported to have said: Muhammad ibn Isma’il once upon a day said to me: There might be a hadith I heard in Basrah writing it in the Sham, and there might be a hadith I heard in the Sham writing it in Egypt! Thereat I said to him: O Abu Abd Allah, (did you write it) completely? When he kept silent.17

Muhammad ibn al-Azhar al-Sijistani said: One day I attended a meeting in the house of Sulayman ibn Harb, with presence of al-Bukhari who was only hearing but not writing anything. When one of the attendants was asked: Why doesn’t he write? He said: When he (al-Bukhari) returns to Bukhara he will write down out of his memory.18

Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani says: What is unusual about al-Bukhari being that he used to report the hadith completely with one isnad and two (different) wordings.19

Death Of Al-Bukhari Before Revising His Book

It is reported that al-Bukhari died before making a clean copy of his book. Ibn Hajar, in Muqaddimat al-Fath reports that Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Ahmad al-Mustamli said: When copying al-Bukhari’s book from its original manuscript that was with his companion Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Farbari, I found in it incomplete things and other things that were not revised, among which explanations after which nothing was recorded, and traditions that were not explained. So I added some of these to some of those ones.

Abu al-Walid al-Baji says: What proving the veracity of this statement the narrations of Abu Ishaq al-Mustamli, Abu Muhammad al-Sarakhsi, Abu al-Haytham al-Kashmihi and Abu Zayd al-Maruzi, with some differences in order and placing of words though they were copied from one origin! That was due to the fact that every one of them used to copy as much as he could from patchments and scapula, wherever it be, from which he would add to what he collected before. From this it can be concluded that two or more expositions are found connected to each other with no traditions in between them.20

In Fath al-Bari (Vol. VII)21 he (Ibn Hajar) writes: Throughout the copies of al-Bukhari I have never come across any biography for Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, or Sa’d ibn Zayd who were among the ten (promised with paradise) – though dedicating a special biography for Sa’id ibn Zayd in the beginning of al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah.

I suppose this to be done freely by reporters of al-Bukhari’s book, since he – as previously referred to – has left the book in a draft-like form, so in the names cited by him here neither preferability nor priority nor old age, the aspects of priority in ranking are considered. When none of these considerations being observed by him, it indicated that he had written each biography separately, the fact resulting in the narrators annexing some of them to each other at random.

Al-Bukhari was the first to discern between the sahih tradition – in his view – and non-sahih one, so he selected for his book those traditions which he thought to be sahih (correct). Because tadwin (writing down) before his era was done – as stated earlier – through gathering the correct and incorrect traditions without any discernment, as this can be clearly seen in Musnad Ahmad and other Musnads, or by adding some things to the Messenger’s traditions and the Companions’ utterances and Followers’ verdicts, as this can be found in Malik’s Muwatta’. For all this, al-Bukhari’s book (Sahih) was thought to be the first book compiled that containing sahih traditions. The traditionsts criticized him in a hundred and ten traditions, of which the reporting of thirty-two ones was concurringly agreed by Muslim, and seventy-eight ones were reported by him alone.22

Those for whom al-Bukhari not Muslim has reported alone were four hundred thirty plus men, among whom eighty ones23 charged him with weakness. Whereas the number of traditionists for whom Muslim alone reported amounted to 620 men, among whom 160 ones were telling of presence of weakness. And the number of traditions for which they were both criticized amounted to two hundred and ten ones, of which eighty ones were independently related by al-Bukhari, with the rest being related by Muslim.24

About the traditions criticized by al-Daraqutni, Ibn Hajar is reported to have said: There is controversy regarding the veracity of these traditions, and they were not approved or accepted as in the case of the most of the book.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Containing Many Dubieties

After reviewing the traditions narrated by al-Bukhari regarding which doubts were raised, al-Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Ridha’ said: When reading what is said by al-Hafiz (Ibn Hajar) concerning them, you will come to realize them to be all on skill of art…25 but when reading the exposition itself (Fath al-Bari) we will see many ambiguities in the meanings of many traditions, or inconsistency between them, with an attempt to bring together the contrarieties and solving the ambiguities, whichever satisfying the tastes.26

Dr. Ahmad Amin — after stating number of traditions for which criticism was levelled at al-Bukhari as mentioned before – reports the following:27

“Some of the men for whom al-Bukhari reported were untrustworthy, and those among rijal of al-Bukhari labelled with weakness numbered eighty ones. In fact this being the biggest problem, as it is impossible to recognize the hidden realities about the rijal. It is true that it is easy to judge whoever committed a lapse, but what to do in respect of what is concealed?

Further the judgements of people regarding the rijal differ greatly, as someone may deem some man to be trustworthy and another one deeming him to be untrustworthy, the practice affected by innumerable psychological impulses. Also there used to be disagreement among the traditionists themselves in regard of rules of tajrih (sarcasm) and ta’dil (commutation), as some of them would reject the hadith of the innovator outright, whether being Kharijite or Mu’tazili. And some of them would accept his narration of the traditions that had no connection with his innovation. Some others would say: If he be inviting to them (traditions), his narration would be disapproved, but if he be not calling to them, it would be approved.

Some of the traditionists would be so strict that he would abstain from narrating the traditions of those having connection with the governors and being attached to the worldly lusts, whatever be the level of their earnestness and exactitude, while some others would see no harm in this as long as he (narrator) be reliable and truthful. Some others would be stiff to the extent that he would reproach the narrator for a jest he made, like that who reported as some of the Basran jokers used to spread purses (of money) on the road and hide themselves… and when the pedestrian stoops for picking them they would shout at him, when he would be ashamed and leave it, and they would laugh at him.

This led one of the traditionists to issue a legal verdict (fatwa) to fill a purse with pieces of glass, so that on their shouting at him he would pick the money purse and leave the glass purse as a retaliation and chastisement to them for their practice. For this fatwa, some of the traditionists sarcasted him, while others approved of him as finding no objection to it, beside other reasons the explanation of which is out of scope here.

Because of this fact, there appeared among them intense disagreement and dispute in respect of judging the rijal, which entailed their differing about veracity of their narration and taking hadith from them. The most vivid example for this being Ikrimah, the mawla of Ibn Abbas, who spread hadith and tafsir everywhere. He was charged by some (traditionists) with falsity, and sharing the opinion of the Khawarij, and receiving the gifts of emirs and rulers, with some of them reporting plenty of his lies and fabrications.

They reported that Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab said to his master Burd: Don’t tell me lies as Ikrimah did to Ibn Abbas.28 For him Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab reported a large number of fabricated traditions. Al-Qasim said: Ikrimah is a liar, who relates a hadith at noon, telling a contradictory one in the evening. Ibn Sa’d says: “Ikrimah was a profoundly learned man, for whom people were speaking, with no one daring to dispute with his hadith.” However, there are others who authenticate and deem him as reliable, for instance Ibn Jarir al-Tabari has full confidence in him, filling his Tafsir and Ta’rikh with his sayings and narrations. Also he was authenticated by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq ibn Rahawayh and Yahya ibn Mu’in and other notable traditionists.

For all this, compilers of al-Sahih adopted toward him (Ikrimah), different attitudes, as al-Bukhari deemed him to be honest, citing many of his narrations in his Sahih, while Muslim gave preponderance to his untrustworthiness, reporting from him only one hadith on hajj, unrelying on him alone in it but bringing his name for supporting the chain of the hadith of Sa’id ibn Jubayr on the same subject.

Hence it seems difficult to judge those whose conditions being unknown, and no compiler of any hadith book was immune against this due to disagreement among people in judging the rijal (men of hadith).

Al-Bukhari’s Traditions And Their Deniers

Al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’, in a reply to a question put forth to him about al-Bukhari’s Sahih, said: Undoubtedly, in al-Bukhari’s Sahih there are traditions that being in total the best source for producing the hadith and pursuing the sahih through all the traditions recorded in hadith books and after it in order comes Sahih Muslim. Also, there is no doubt that in other than them among Sunnah references there can be found more correct traditions, the fact confirmed by rejection of al-Bukhari and others to hundreds of thousands of traditions that used to be reported, for the sake of selecting the confirmed correct traditions.29

It is not easy for anyone to prove the claim about existence of fabricated traditions among those of al-Bukhari that were reported on the basis of meaning, through which they could recognize whatever foisted in ilm al-riwayah, but his book is not devoid of few suspected traditions on which can be applied the sign of fabrication. As an example for this we can refer to the hadith on the Prophet’s being affected by witchcraft of some men, which was disapproved by some ulama like al-Imam al-Jassas, one of the earlier exegetes, and al-Imam Muhammad Abduh among the latter ulama, as it (hadith) contradicts the Qur’anic verse:

إِذْ يَقُولُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَسْحُورًا انْظُرْ كَيْفَ ضَرَبُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ فَضَلُّوا فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا

“… when say the unjust (unto the believers): “Ye follow none but a man bewitched. Behold thou (O Our Apostle Muhammad!) what similitudes they coin for thee! for they have gone (so far) astray (that) they cannot find the way (to truth). (17: 47- 48)

Further al-Bukhari’s book contained traditions on habits and instincts that can never be among principles or branches of religion. When pondering upon all these and those claims, it would be obvious for all that it is neither of principles of faith nor of cornerstones of Islam that the Muslim should believe in every hadith reported by al-Bukhari, whatever its theme be. Rather, being aware of or accepting what Sahih al-Bukhari contained was not stipulated as a contition to admit the Islam or its detailed knowledge of anyone.

It is known also that it is not permissible for any Muslim to disapprove any of these traditions after knowing of it but only through a proof establishing its non-veracity in text or sanad. As the ulama’ who refuted the veracity of some of these traditions were never to do so unless having strong evidences, some of which might have been correct and some wrong; nevertheless none of them was considered as a slanderer of Islam.30 Further Allah has never imposed upon any Muslim to read Sahih al-Bukhari and believe in whatever reported in it, even if not considering it to be correct or believing in its being contradictory to the principles of Islam.

Praise be to Allah! Millions of Hanafi Muslims hold that raising the hands in time of ruku’ (kneeling) and rising up after it is legally makruh (reprehensible). This hadith was reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih and other places on the authority of tens of Companions through a large number of asanid, with no one blaming or objecting them for their leader’s not deeming it correct since he had not gone over al-Bukhari’s asanid on it, the veracity of which was ascertained by anyone of his school-mate ulama’ after reading them.

Then some Muslim man31 among the righteous Muslims, in knowledge, acts, defending of Islam and inviting to it, may be charged with impiety through a proof or suspicion against the veracity of a hadith reported by al-Bukhari from some unknown man whose name indicating his not having any relation to Islam, that was Abd ibn Hunayn, the theme of whose text was neither of the doctrines, nor rituals nor rules of Islam, nor being adopted by Muslims in practice.

Rather, all the followers of the madhahib (schools) of imitators were but to forsake acting according to what al-Bukhari and Muslim deemed correct of the traditions on legislation that were reported on the authority of eminent leaders of narrators, either for ijtihadi causes or mere imitation. Al-Muhaqqiq Ibn al-Qayyim, in his book A`lam al-muqi`in, has cited more than a hundred evidences testifying this fact, and about this man charged with impiety.

Despite all these facts we hold that Sahih al-Bukhari being truly the most authentic boof after Book of Allah, but it and its narrators can never be considered immune against error … and not every doubtful in any of its narrations is to be deemed disbeliever! How easy is charging with impiety on the part of imitators of utterances of the latter (traditionists), and Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best Guarantor.32

Ibn al-Jawzi’s al-Intisar contained many traditions taken from the two Sahihs, that were not adopted by the Shafi’ites when they preponderated some contradictory ones, and so is the case with the rest of schools of thought.

Al-Bukhari And People Of Sham

Al-Dhahabi, on the authority of Abu Amr Hamdan, reported: I asked Ibn Uqdah, from whom I should learn, al-Bukhari or Muslim? He replied: Muhammad (i.e. al-Bukhari) was an ‘alim (knowledgeable man), and Muslim was an ‘alim. Hamdan says: I repeated this question several times, when he said: Muhammad (al-Bukhari) may err in regard of people of Sham since he took and looked into their books, so he might refer to some man with his kunyah (nickname) in some place, while referring to him in another place with his name, thinking them to belong to two different men. Whereas Muslim would so rarely commit any mistake in regard of‘ilal (causes), because he used to write the masanid not the maqati’ or marasil.33

Al-Bukhari and Infliction of Invention of the Qur’an

Al-Hakim Abu Abd Allah, in his Ta’rikh, writes: When al-Bukhari arrived in Nisabur in 250 H., people entered on him to take and hear (traditions) from him. Once upon a day a man inquired from him about the “pronunciation in the Qur’an”, when he said: Our acts are makhluqah (invented), and our words are (derived) from our acts.

This statement caused disagreement among people, and so soon Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhahali embarked on instigating people against him saying: Whoever claiming so is a mubtadi’ (heretic), with whom no one should sit or talk to! And whoever betakes himself to al-Bukhari after that, should be accused with the same charge, as no one would attend his majlis (meeting) but only that following his school! Thereat people desisted from meeting and frequenting to al-Bukhari, with the exception of Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj and Ahmad ibn Salamah. Then al-Dhuhali said: Whoever believes in lafz, is not permitted to attend our meeting! On hearing this, Muslim took his cloak over his turban and departed the place, asking to collect whatever he has written about him. Thereat al-Bukhari became fearful and felt the danger threatening him, so he departed Nisabur to another city.34

Al-Bukhari’s Narrations Differ In Number

Number of al-Bukhari’s traditions according to narration of al-Firayri exceeded those ones according to narration of Ibrahim ibn Ma’qil al-Nasafi with two hundred while their number by al-Nasafi exceeded that of Hammad ibn Shakir al-Nasafi with a hundred ones as reported by al-Iraqi.35

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, in Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, reported that the number of the connected unrepeated texts cited in al-Bukhari (Sahih) was 2602, and one of the suspended marfu’ (successive) ones was 159 ones, making together 2761 traditions. In Sharh al-Bukhari he said that the number of the written ones reached to 2513.36

Muslim and His Book

His name is Abu al-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Nisaburi. He was born in Nisabur in the year 204 H, and dead in it in 268 H. He has reviewed the Sihah but not interferred in istinbat (deriving of rules) and alike matters. He excelled al-Bukhari in collecting the turuq (means of transmission) and good arrangement. Besides, his book is easily availed of, as he dedicated for every hadith a proper place in which he stated the means he approved of, citing its numerous asanid and various wordings.

Also he – contrary to al-Bukhari – was not narrating on the basis of meaning, nor commingling with the traditions any words of the Companions or their followers. And – as Ibn Hajar said in Muqaddimat al-Fath – was characterized with compiling his book in his hometown with existence of its sources in the lifetime of many of chiefs (mashayikh) of hadith, the reason why he was so careful in choosing the words and accurate in the context of hadith.

Further he has never followed the same method of al-Bukhari in deducing the rules, on the basis of which he was to classify the traditions, the fact entailing dividing of the hadith according to its chapters (babs), but he brought together all the turuq in one place, abstaining from reporting the mawquf traditions, not referring to them but very rarely, out of imitation not determination.37

It is reported that he compiled his Musnad out of three hundred thousand commonly heard traditions, while the number of traditions constituting his book was four thousand except the repeated ones.

In Sharh Muslim al-Nawawi writes: The Muslim’s statement: “Whatever I stated here – in his book – is not necessarily correct, but I put here whatever attained the unanimous agreement of all,” is quite dubious, as he cited in it many traditions regarding the veracity of which there was much disagreement since they were taken from unreliable narrators whose traditions were not unanimously accepted. And so also said Ibn al-Salah.

Ibn Taymiyyah, in his interpretation of Surat al-Tawhid, says: The hadith reported by Muslim about creation of turbah (earth) on Saturday38 is a defective hadith, traduced by leaders of hadith like al-Bukhari and others holding that it was taken from Ka’b al-Ahbar. Muslim has reported similar traditions that were known to be incorrect, like the saying of Abu Sufyan when embracing Islam: I want to marry you Umm Habibah (i.e. his daughter); while all people know that the Prophet got married to her before Abu Sufyan’s embracing Islam. Also like the hadith on salat al-kusuf (eclipse prayers), in which he claimed that the Prophet performed it with three ruku’ (kneelings), while the right thing was that he had performed it only once with two ruku’s.39

Muslim’s traditions that were suspected and criticized amounted to 132 ones, and number of his rijal (transmitters of his traditions) reached to 110 ones.

Abu Zar’ah al-Razi40 – whose name is cited in Sahih Muslim – says: These are people who intended to make early progress, so they made something with which they wanted to trade, inventing that which couldn’t occur to the mind so as to precede others in attaining undue high rank.

One day some man brought him Sahih Muslim, into which he looked, seeing a hadith reported from Asbat ibn Nasr. Then he found in it the name of Qutn ibn Naseer, when he said: This one is worse than the former! Qutn ibn Naseer has reported traditions with a chain going back to Anas while they were ascribed to Thabit. Then he looked and said: It is reported from Ahmad ibn ‘Isa al-Misri in the book of Sahih, saying then: Does he (Muslim) report from such people and leave Muhammad ibn Ajlan and his likes, allowing the heretics to daresay regarding any hadith with which they were argued? This is not taken from the Sahih. Abu Zar’ah used to censure the composition of this book.

Muslim has reported from Abu al-Zubayr, from Jabir many traditions that were known to be weak. In his regard the traditionists said: Abu al-Zubayr Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Tadrus al-Makki used to defraud in Jabir’s hadith, reporting from Jabir and Ibn Umar during the Hijjat al-Wada’e (Farewell Pilgrimag) a hadith with two different narrations, about which Ibn Hazm said: One of them is undoubtedly false, and he related then the hadith “Allah created the soil on Saturday.

The traditionists also said: When Muslim compiled his Sahih he laid it before Abu Zar’ah al-Razi, who disapproved it and turned enraged saying: And you have called it al-Sahih, making it a ladder for men of heresies and others, in a way that when any opponent relating a hadith (to argue with) they would say: This can never be in Sahih Muslim.

On his arrival to the Town of Ray, Muslim went to Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Warah, who treated him rudely and reproached him for his book, reiterating the same words of Abu Zar’ah about him. Thereat Muslim apologized to him saying: I have brought out this book and said it is Sahih, never claiming that all the traditions that I did not cite in this book being weak! But I brought it out from the sahih traditions so as to be kept altogether with whoever reporting them from me, doubting not their veracity … and I never claimed other traditions to be weak. He then accepted his excuse and related hadith to him briefly.41

Muslim has reported traditions of people the hadith of whom al-Bukhari abstained from reporting due to a suspicion he had regarding them,42since leaders of transmission differ in most of them because of the divergence in their schools and conditions and use of terms. There may be found a narrator who was considered trustworthy by Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi, but unreliable by Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Qattan and vice versa, who were both two imams constituting axis of criticism in naql, and from whom most of narrators used to take hadith.43

There was so much talk on criticism against al-Bukhari and Muslim, but I suffice with citing the following.

Views Held About Al-Bukhari and Muslim

Al-Hafiz Zayn al-Din al-Iraqi, in exposition of his Alfiyyah fi ulum al-hadith, when stating degrees of correct hadith, reported that Muhammad ibn Tahir said in his book of Shurut al-A’immah: al-Bukhari and Muslim stipulate to report the hadith that unanimous agreement is there regarding reliability of its narrators reaching to a well-known companion. In exposition of his Alfiyyah, al-Iraqi writes: What is uttered by Ibn Tahir is not good as al-Nasa’i has deemed weak some of those from whom the two Shaykhs, or one of them, reported. Al-Badr al-Ayni said: In the Sahih we can find the earlier reporters that were defamed by some of the earlier traditionists.

In al-Ilm al-shamikh, al-Muqbili writes: Among rijal in the two Sahihs some are deemed weak and criticized severely by many leaders of hadith, though they needed not but to act according to their ijtihad.

Ibn al-Salah says: al-Bukhari used for argument some people who were already defamed by others, like Ikrimah, the mawla of Ibn Abbas, Isma’il ibn Abi Awis, Asim ibn Ali and Amr ibn Marzuq and others. While Muslim used Suwayd ibn Sa’id and others who were known of being unreliable and suspected position, and so did Abu Dawud.44

Al-Shaykh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir (may God’s mercy be upon him), in his Sharh Alfiyyat al-Suyuti, writes: In the two Sahihs many traditions are found that were reported by some of the imposters45 . And as is known, tadlis (fraud)46 was considered one of reasons of jarh (sarcasm). The same fact is referred to in the book Sharh Shurut al-A‘ìmmah al-Khamsah of al-Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, on the authority of Ibn al-Hammam.47

Muslim reported from a large number of those who were not immune against jarh and vilification, and so also found in Sahih al-Bukhari some narrators of unreliable position. Therefore narration was done through ijtihad of the ulama’ regarding them, and also the provisions, even when what is considered a condition by someone is negated by another, that what is narrated by the latter in which that condition is not found would be regarded by him equal to what is narrated by his opponent containing that condition, and so also regarding that who deemed some narrator weak while another one deemed him reliable.

Concerning the criticism levelled at them both in respect of the texts and their inconsistency with the Book (Qur’an) and authentic sunnah and the alike, they have never undertaken this task as it is among the responsibilities of ulama’ of kalam and usul.48

Estrangement of Riwayah of Men of Opinion

Al-Qasimi is reported to have said: Authors of al-Sihah shunned narration from people of opinion, like al-Imam Abu Yusuf and al-Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, who were deemed as pliable by men of hadith as can be seen in Mizan al-i’tidal. Their works indicate clearly ampleness and profundity of their knowledge, and rather their priority over a large number of huffaz.49 Al-Bukhari has also shunned reporting from the Imams of the Prophet’s Household, and the following is a statement in this regard.

Al-Allamah Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din, in his book al-Fusul al-muhimmah fi ta’lif al-ummah,50 writes:

What is even worse than all this, being al-Bukhari’s not referring to Ahl al-Bayt Imams in his Sahih in cases of argument, as he has never reported any hadith from al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Ridha’, al-Jawad, al-Hadi and al-Zaki al-Askari, though he lived contemporaneously with them, never relating from al-Hasan ibn (al-Imam) al-Hasan, nor from Zayd ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn (al-Imam), nor Yahya ibn Zayd, nor al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah Muhammad ibn Abd Allah al-Kamil ibn al-Hasan al-Ridha’ ibn al-Hasan al-Sibt or his brother Ibrahim ibn Abd Allah, nor al-Husayn al-Fakhkhi ibn Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan (al-Imam), nor Yahya ibn Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan or his brother Idris ibn Abd Allah, nor Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq, nor Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Isma’il ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan, known with name Ibn Tabataba or his brother al-Qasim al-Sharsi, nor Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn Ali, nor Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Qasim ibn Ali ibn Umar al-Ashraf ibn Zayn al-Abidin, the author of al-Taliqan and contemporary of al-Bukhari nor from other learned among the pure Itrah (Household) and bushes of the blossomy tree, like Abd Allah ibn al-Hasan and Ali ibn Ja’far al-Aridi and others.

He has also never reported any hadith from the Prophet’s elder Sibt and his Rayhanah (aromatic plant) in the world Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Mujtaba the master of youth of paradise people, though he used to refer to chief of Khawarij and the severest in antagonism against Ahl al-Bayt, Imran ibn Hattan, who said in regard of Ibn Muljim and his smite to Amir al-Mu’minin (peace be upon him):

O strike from a pious not intending with it,

But to attain to pleasure of Lord of Throne,

I remember him one day and suppose him to be,

The most faithful of mankind in Allah’s view.

Are Sahihayn Containing Most Correct Traditions?

Al-Imam Kamal al-Din ibn al-Hammam, in Sharh al-Hidayah, said: The utterance of that who said: ‘The most correct traditions are found in the two Sahihs and what al-Bukhari unilaterally reported, and then Muslim, and then what attained their stipulation, and then what attained the stipulation of one of them’, is verily a ruling that it is impermissible to follow, since the veracity can never be attained but only when the traditions containing the conditions they stipulated. When supposing these provisions to be possessed by narrators of a hadith not found in the Sahihayn (two books), wouldn’t judging whatever recorded in the two books to be the most correct be despotism?51

Amendment on Al-Bukhari and Muslim

In Sharh Muslim, al-Nawawi says: A group of people made up for al-Bukhari and Muslim in respect of some traditions they both breached the provisions they stipulated for them and so they (traditions) becoming lower than what they abided by. In manifesting this matter, al-Imam al-Daraqutni compiled a book under the title al-Istidrakat wa al-tatabbu’, covering two hundred traditions included in the two Sahihs.

Abu Mas’ud al-Dimashqi, the author of al-Atraf, also made up for both of them, and so did Abu Ali al-Ghassani in his book Taqyid al-muhmal. In Sharh Muslim, he (al-Nawawi) says: What people hold that that for whom the two Shaykhs have narrated, has in fact attained a lofty rank, is just for seeking dignity and he is unable to claim so.

An Odd Maxim Narrated By Al-Bukhari and Muslim

Al-Bukhari reported from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (S) on the Day of Ahzab said: None of you should perform the asr (afternoon) prayer but only with Banu Qurayzah. Ibn Hajar said: It was found in this way throughout all the copies of al-Bukhari (Sahih), while it was zuhr (noon) prayer in all copies of Sahih Muslim, though they both concurred on reporting it from one Shaykh with one isnad from beginning up to the end! He then said: Out of differing of the two words it appears that when Abd Allah ibn Muhammad, the Shaykh of the two Shaykhs, related it he related it with two words, or that al-Bukhari has written it out of his memory without observing the wording, as his school was known of permitting this, contrary to Muslim who used to observe the wording.

In the two Sahihs more than two hundred old traditions, and about this al-Diya’ al-Muqaddasi has compiled a book calling it Ghara’ib al-Sahihayn, citing in it more than two hundred strange and odd traditions, from among those recorded in the Sahihayn.52

Who Considered Al-Bukhari And Muslim More Authentic?

Ibn Amir al-Hajj, in Sharh al-Tahrir, stated what could mean:53

The point to which good attention should be given is that their authenticity more than others is only in respect of those succeeding them not those who preceded them, as this fact, though being apparent may be unknown by some, or some may swindle and cheat, and Allah the Glorified knows better.

Someone explained this statement thus: That who stated these words intends to say that the two Shaykhs and authors of Sunan constitute a contemporary group of huffaz who emerged after the writing down of the Islamic fiqh, taking care of certain segment of hadith. While the mujtahid imams who preceded them were more plentiful in material and prolific in traditions, having under their hands all kinds of hadith: the marfu’, mawquf and mursal, and fatawa of the Sahabah and Tabi’un. And as is known, the mujtahid’s view can never be restricted to a part of hadith.

This can be obviously seen in the jami’ (comprehensive) books and musannafat (compilations) which refer to these kinds in every bab (chapter) that were indispensable by every mujtahid and authors of jami’ (comprehensive) books and musannafat, before the era of the authors of al-Sihah al-Sittah (six sahih books), to whom they used to refer, and who could easily look into asanid of these traditions because of their high rank, especially the inference of any mujtahid with a corrected hadith, and reference to al-Sihah al-Sittah and using them in dispute can be achieved only through considering those who succeeded them. That point drawing our attention here is that some of the latter huffaz show leniency in ascribing the traditions they report to the six origin books and other than them, with a great difference in wording and meaning.

In his Sharh al-Alfiyyah, al-Iraqi writes: Al-Bayhaqi in his al-Sunan and al-Ma’rifah, and al-Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunnah and others, used to narrate the traditions with their own words and asanid, ascribing them then to al-Bukhari and Muslim with differences in wording and meaning, as what they were after was relating the hadith in itself not ascribing its words.

As an example for this I can refer to al-Nawawi’s words in the hadith “the Imams are (all) from Quraysh,” as reported by the two Shaykhs, while its wording in the Sahih was” This affair (caliphate) would be kept in Quraysh till the day when only two of them are alive,” and the great difference between the two wordings and the meaning is quite obvious.

Al-Sayyid Rashid al-Attar has compiled a book on maqtu’ traditions reported in Sahih Muslim, under the name: (al-Fawa’id al-majmu’ah fi sha’n ma waqa’a fi Muslim min al-ahadith al-maqtu’ah), saying: Concerning what the people claim that ‘Anyone for whom the two Shaykhs have narrated, has in fact attained a lofty rank’ is untrue since Muslim has reported in his book from Layth ibn Abi Sulaym and other unreliable narrators.

Also know that the words (inna and ‘an) necessitate inqita’ (i.e. disconnection from mudallas traditions) in view of men of hadith, and these words were repeated many times in the books of Muslim al-Bukhari, so they say for seeking dignity: Any hadith of this kind reported in other books than the two Sahihs is munqati’, and that which is cited in the Sahihs should be held to be muttasil (successive)!

In his Sahih Muslim reported from Abu al-Zubayr, from Jabir so many traditions known with ‘an’anah, and the huffaz said: Abu al-Zubayr Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Tadrus al-Makki used to defraud in Jabir’s hadith and whatever was in the mode of ‘an’anah was rejected by him. Also Muslim reported in his book from Jabir and Ibn Umar in the event of Hijjat al-Wada’ that: the Prophet (S) betook himself toward Makkah on the yawm al-nahr (sacrifice day), where he performed circumambulation of ifadah (spreading) performing then the noon prayer at Makkah, returning then to Mina. In another narration, he performed the ifadah circumambulation, returning then to Mina where he performed the noon prayer. By these words, they seek tajawwuh (honour)54 and say: He performed it again to show permissibility and other such interpretations! About these two narrations, Ibn Hazm said: One of them is undoubtedly false.

Muslim has also reported the hadith on isra’, in which he said (that was before sending down of revelation [wahy] to him). The huffaz have spoken against and weakened this statement. Muslim has also reported the hadith: “Allah created the earth on Saturday.”55 Also in his book he reported from Abu Sufyan that he said to the Prophet (S), after embracing Islam: “O Messenger of Allah, would you kindly do me three favours: Get married to my daughter Umm Habibah, appoint my son Mu’awiyah as a scribe, and command me to fight the disbelievers”, and the Prophet responded to his demands … (the hadith).

It is known that much misconception is found clearly in this hadith! As Umm Habibah was taken for wife by the Messenger of Allah in the Abyssinia with the dowry given by al-Najashi, and Abu Sufyan embraced Islam in the fath (conquest) year, and several years separated between the hijrah (migration) and conquest year. In regard of commandment of Abu Sufyan (to lead the army), the haffaz said that they had no information about it, reporting from al-Zubayr through weak asanid that the Prophet (S) gave him commandment of the army in few of the battles. This was not reported or known by others, and the motive pushed them to claim so was only bigotry.

The traditionists say that when Muslim compiled his book he showed it to Abu Zar’ah al-Razi, who disapproved it and was enraged saying: And you called it al-Sahih, making it a ladder for the heretics and others … and when any opponent narrates any hadith for them, they would say: This can never be in Sahih Muslim.56 I have previously cited other statements uttered by Abu Zar’ah and others in regard of Muslim and his book.

Al-Hazimi, in Shurut al-A’immah al-khamsah, writes the following: (chapter on abolition of the saying of that who claimed that the condition of al-Bukhari (for veracity of the hadith) was reporting the hadith from two reliable men and so on and so forth, till the chain of the khabar reaching to the Prophet, S): “This being a decision of that who has never examined narrowly and got to the bottom of the correct traditions, as if the book was attentively studied, many of the traditions recorded in it would be found disproving his (al-Bukhari’s) claim.”

Concerning the saying of al-Hakim that the option made by al-Bukhari and Muslim in reporting the hadith from two reliable men from the Prophet (S),57 is incorrect forward and backward, rather had he reversed the issue and gave decision it would have been much safer for him. The same notion was held by someone who excelled him in the field of hadith, that is Abu Hatam Muhammad ibn Hibban al-Basti, who said: “The reports are verily all akhbar al-ahad since no report from the Prophet (S) is found to be narrated by two reliable men who reported it in turn from two other reliable narrators till the chain reaching the Messenger of Allah (S). Impossibility and voidance of this proved the akhbar to be akhbar al-ahad, and whoever stipulated that condition has in fact abandoned all the sunan, as they were not to exist but only through the akhbar al-ahad”. (End of Ibn Hibban’s statement).

Whoever fathoming and trying the depth of reports would realize that whatever stated by Ibn Hibban is nearer to truth. (End of al-Hazimi’s speech).58

These were the first class hadith books, and the following is a brief discussion of the second class ones which are: Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan al-Tirmidhi and Sunan al-Nasa’i.59

Abu Dawud

He is al-Imam al-Faqih Abu Dawud Sulayman ibn al-Ash’ath al-Azdi al-Sijistani. He was born in 202H. He has visited Baghdad several times, and was dead in Basrah in 275 H. Al-Khitabi is reported to have said: No book was compiled on ilm al-hadith to the level of Sunan Abi Dawud, which was of better position and more doctrinal than the two Sahihs. From him al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa’i reported a number of traditions. Ibn Kathir, in Mukhtasar ’ulum al-hadith, said: The narrations for Sunan Abi Dawud are so many, in some of which things are there that can’t be seen in the others. The most notable among narrators of the Sunan, being Abu Sa’id ibn al-A’rabi, Abu Ali al-Lu’lu’i and Abu Bakr ibn Dasah.

All the resolution of Abu Dawud focussed on collecting the traditions that were inferred by fuqaha’ of all towns and upon which they based their judgements. So he sorted out his Sunan, including in it the sahih, hasan (good), layyin (flexible) and that which is fit to adopt in practice. Among the words uttered by him: I have never stated in my book a hadith upon the abandonment of which people unanimously agreed, and if there found any hadith of very feeble nature in it, I have indicated it clearly.

Abu Bakr ibn Dasah says: I heard Abu Dawud saying: I have written down from the Messenger of Allah 500 thousand traditions, some of which I have selected and implied in this book, in which I brought together four thousand and eight hundred traditions, including the sahih and similar and near ones.

It is said: Sunan Abi Dawud is sufficient for every mujtahid, and for his religion he can be sufficed with only four traditions:

(1) The acts are verily (accepted) with only four traditions.

(2) That which indicating betterment of one’s Islam being forsaking what is not of his concern.

(3) Any believer can never be (true) mu’min (believer) till he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.

(4) The halal (lawful) is manifest and haram (unlawful) is manifest, and between the two some mushtabah (dubious) things. Some of the traditionists have preferred it (Sunan) to Sahih al-Bukhari.

Abu Dawud and al-Bukhari have both learnt fiqh under fuqaha’ of Iraq.


His name is Abu ‘Isa Muhammad ibn ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi al-Darir. He was born in Tirmidh in 209 H. and died in it in 279 H. Ibn al-Athir is reported to have said: In Sunan al-Tirmidhi, not in other books, there is a reference to madhahib (schods, of thought), manners of inference, and manifestation of kinds of hadith, namely the sahih, hasan and gharib (odd).

When compiling his book, he epitomized in it so elegantly the ways of hadith, elucidating its sorts, whether being sahih or weak or disapproved. But his book al-Jami’ al-sahih contained so many disapproved traditions.60

Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab, in Sharh ‘Ilal al-Tirmidhi, stated that al-Tirmidhi reported in his book the sahih (correct) hadith and hasan (good) one, (which is lower in degree than the sahih having some weakness, beside the gharib (odd) one. In the strange traditions he cited there are found some disapproved ones, particularly in the kitab (chapter) on al-fada’il (merits), but he often demonstrates this never letting it go unseen. I have no knowledge that he has reported from some narrator upon whose falsity there was consensus, any hadith through a single isnad, but he might report a hadith narrated through different turuq (ways) or in its isnad there being a narrator known of falsification.

Thus he reported hadith of Muhammad ibn Sa’id al-Maslub and Muhammad ibn al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi. Yes, he might report from narrators known of bad memory or whose narrations being misconceived, but he used to manifest this fact, never keeping silent about it. Abu Dawud shared him in reporting from many narrators of this class with keeping silent regarding their traditions, like Ishaq ibn Abi Farwah. Al-Tirmidhi used to report hadith from the accurate thiqah (trustworthy), and from that of little dubiety and that of much dubiety, and that commonly known of misconception, with demonstrating this.

It is also known that al-Tirmidhi was the first among traditionists in classifying the hadith into sahih, hasan (good), da’if (weak), while before his time such classification was not known.


He is Abu Abd al-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu’ayb al-Nasa’i. He was born in Nasa which belonged to Nisabur in 215 H. Al-Daraqutni said: He travelled for performing the hajj pilgrimage, and was put to the test in Damascus realizing the shahadah then, when he said: Carry me to Mecca. So he was carried to it, dying there, and was buried in a place between the Safa and Marwah. The date of his death was 303 H.

Al-Dhahabi says: In Damascus he was questioned about merits of Mu’awiyah, when he said: Never he be pleased with being neck and neck (with Ali) so as to be preferred! He (al-Dhahabi) said: Then people kept on pushing him till bringing him out of the mosque, after which he was carried to Mecca where he died, while the correct narration, it was Ramlah (not Mecca), and he said: I entered Damascus, finding those turning away from Ali large in number, when I compiled the book al-Khasa’is, imploring Allah to guide them to the right path.

The narrations of al-Nasa’i differed much from others, and his book al-Mujtana, which was counted among the five principles, and was known with Sunan al-Nasa’i al-saghir, was narrated by Ibn al-Sunni. While the narration of Ibn Hayat and Ibn al-Ahmar and Ibn Qasim, was called Sunan al-Nasa’i al-kabir. Ibn Kathir said: In Sunan al-Nasa’i, we find rijal unknown either considerably or in respect of position, among whom we find some of majruh reputation (defamed), and in it weak and defective and disapproved traditions are found.61

There are other books, the reference to which is out of scope here, since they (Sunnis) have said: These five books: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasa’i have never missed any of the Messenger’s traditions but so rarely.

In al-Taqrib (p. 3) al-Nawawi writes: “It is correct to say that only very few traditions were missed by the five books. Al-Suyuti, in his Alfiyyah, also referred to this. Ibn Khaldun, after discussing al-Muwatta’ and these five books,62 said: These are the well-known masanid in millah (faith), and major reference of books of hadith among the Sunnah, which even when numbering many, but most often should be referred to these (five) books.63

Following is a statement uttered by Monsieur Amil Darmengihim in his book “Hayat Muhammad” (Life of Muhammad):

The first sources for sirah (biography) of Muhammad being the Qur’an and Sunnah, of which the Qur’an being the most authentic in sanad, but it being not so comprehensive to the extent needed in this regard. In regard of the hadith, despite all the efforts exerted by the traditionists, particularly al-Bukhari, in collecting all the utterances of the Messenger and having knowledge of the least of his indications, with the biography of the rijal from whom the traditions – the musalsal and mu’an’an – were reported, it contained so many doubted and fabricated ones … etc.

Commenting on Darmengihim’s statement, Emir Shakib Arsalan expressed: “He did not believe in veracity of so many of the traditions even those cited in the two Sahihs. This being one of the thought tastes for which we cannot blame him, when taking into consideration the fact that many Muslims and those having Islamic ardour and strong faith and conviction share Monsieur Darmengihim in this opinion, finding it not a religious obligation to believe in all the traditions cited in the two Sahihs or others, since changing or alteration or addition or omission, might have crept into them, as it is known that they used to narrate hadith on basis of meaning. And narrating hadith on basis of meaning, usually opens the door for many additions through which the meaning may differ or be alienated from its origin, till he said:

The evidences the help from which is obtained by this elite for obligatoriness of not considering most of the traditions as definitely right, and necessity of contemplation before accepting what people hastily approve, being the following:

First: Non-possibility of narrating any hadith but only very rarely without any addition or omission, out of what one learnt before, as when one intending to reiterate any words he heard, it would be verily infeasible for him to cite the same and very words even after elapse of only one hour after hearing them.

Second: The belief held by them that innumerable traditions being narrated on basis of meaning, the fact leading to many changes in words.

Third: Liability to inadvertence and forgetfulness on the part of every man regarding which no one can dispute at all.

Fourth: The Prophet (S) himself referring to fabrication of ahadith during his lifetime, and the most authentic hadith known to be uttered by him being: “Falsifiers to me have been multiplying, whoever falsifies my hadith should dwell in his abode in Fire.”

Then he (Arsalan) said: Suspicion still hanging about so many traditions cited in the Sihah, not in respect of honesty in naql (reporting) but in respect of non-ability of human beings – except in very rare cases – to narrating whatever coming to their ears literally, or citing the events exactly with no any addition or deletion. There may be two persons witnessing one and the same event, but each one of them may narrate it slightly or much different from the other.64


Al-Istikhraj (extraction) is a practice in which a memorizer embarks on citing al-Bukhari’s traditions one by one through asanid he approved of without observing the trustworthiness of the narrators from other than the turuq of al-Bukhari, till meeting with him in his Shaykh or that of a higher rank. But it is impermissible for the extractor to deviate from the way through which he meets with the compiler of the origin to the remote way but only for an urgent purpose, like a significant addition or alike.

The extractor might abandon traditions for which he couldn’t find an authentic isnad, or rather might have reported them from some narrators, or citing them through the original source. Many of the huffaz cared much for istikhraj due to the significant advantages it had, restricting this most often to Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim as they being the main references in this science (in view of those adopting it). From al-Bukhari extraction was done by Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Isma’ili and Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Barqani, and those extracting from Sahih Muslim were Abu Ja’far Ahmad al-Nisaburi and Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Raja al-Nisaburi, who shared Muslim in most of his shaykhs, and many others.

Among those who extracted from both of them we can refer to Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani with some other narrator, who extracted also from Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi. Many benefits are there for mustakhrajat, some of which being the additions to the traditions cited by them that were not found in the original ones from which extraction was done. These additions only emerged because the narrators could not observe citing the very words of the traditions they extracted from, but only the words with which the narration reached them from their shaykhs, that most often be contradictory to them.

Contravention may occur in meaning also. Another benefit is the probability that the Sahih compiler may have reported from that accused of confusion, without manifesting whether he heard that hadith before confusion or after it, the case in which the mustakhrij would demonstrate this either through declaration or by narrating it from him through the tariq of that from whom he hadn’t heard but only before confusion. Also of them, his reporting in the Sahih from one known of tadlis with unauthentic chain, but the mustakhrij narrating it with declaration by hearing.

Of them too the hadith containing some expression contradicting an Arabic grammar rule, the case in which he exerts much effort for justifying and drawing it out, so it would be produced according to the rules through the narration of the mustakhrij, when it would be introduced as sahih, while claiming that what inflicted the sahih ones was only misconception on the part of the narrators.65

Ibn al-Salah says: The compiler of the books extracted from al-Bukhari and Muslim have never observed agreement of hadith words with those books exactly without any addition or omission, since they reported these traditions from other than al-Bukhari and Muslim, seeking higher isnad, the act resulting in some inconsistency in wording. So was the case with the traditions reported by authors of independent compilations like al-Sunan al-kubra of al-Bayhaqi, and Sharh al-Sunnah of Abu Muhammad al-Baghawi and others, in which they said: ‘It is reported by al-Bukhari or Muslim,’ the case in which it would be got that none other than al-Bukhari or Muslim has reported the origin of that hadith, with probability of presence of difference in meaning between them,66 in which I actually found some inconsistency in denotation.67

I will not discuss what these extracted traditions contained of alterations in terms or meanings or additions, but they can be sought in their books. Al-Hamidi has distinguished these additions to the terms of al-Sahih, by saying, after citing the hadith, al-Bukhari was sufficed of it with so and so words, while al-Barqani, for instance, increased so and so words in it, and so forth. And non-distinguishing only occurred in few cases, as he may quote the hadith from what al-Barqani or another one extracted, saying then: Al-Bukhari abridged it and reported only part of it, without indicating the portion he was satisfied with, rendering it obscure for the reader, the obscurity that can’t be removed but only through referring to the origin of the hadith when he would be mostly relieved of blame.68

And as stated before, they have found fault with many of the traditions reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim, beside many suspicions raised in Sharh Ibn Hajar against al-Bukhari and by al-Nawawi against Muslim, which were used by them for producing several mustakhrajat.

So when al-Bukhari and Muslim – though being al-Sahihan as called by them – containing all these defects and objections, with all that criticism levelled at them, left alone creeping of some Isra’iliyyat (Jewish traditions) into them and wrongly reporting on basis of meaning, beside ascribing them to some of hadith books that can’t be called masanid since they being unauthentic and not dependable at all, as whatever they contained was so poor. About them the leaders (imams) of hadith deemed them to be unfit for disputation, nor can be relied upon, as will be later seen.

O God, we implore You to provide this straightforward religion with that who safeguards its principles and protects its foundations, so as not to be invaded by any alien, nor be scaled by any ill-intentioned impostor.

Musnad Ahmad

A question may be raised that for what reason we made no reference to Musnad Ahmad among books of hadith that were discussed elaborately, despite its being more extensive in narration and all-inclusive than them, to the extent that it was said to contain forty thousand traditions, with its author being a great leader having one of followed school of thought adopted by numerous communities of Muslims?

My reply to this being that, I made no detailed mention of this book or other Masanid books – which number so many – only due to the fact that the ulama’ have discussed them judging them to be unfit for argumentation and debate, and not dependable. But I found it proper to shed light upon Musnad Ahmad, which being the most famous of them, so as to reveal for the Muslims its real state and lay bare its position among books of hadith, to be a criterion by which all other Musnads should be measured. With this we can be satisfied and in no need of talking about other books.

I will initiate with a foreword manifesting the status of Musnad books in general among hadith books, and level of narrations contained in them, discussing then Musnad Ahmad.

Musnad Books Other Than Al-Sihah Al-Sittah

The Musnad books are those books in which every Companion would privately report a hadith, with no regard to categorization. Their compilers used to bring together in the Musnad of every Sahabi all of his traditions whether correct or defective, hence it is absolutely improper to use whatever recorded in them for argumentation.

Ibn al-Salah, in his Muqaddimah says: The Musnad books can never reach the level of the five books: Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan al-Nasa’i and Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi. Also they are neither fit for argumentation as in the case of those books, nor can dependence be there upon all the traditions cited in them, like Musnad Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi, Musnad Ubayd Allah ibn Musa and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and their likes.

The authors of these books used to report in the sanad of every Companion all the traditions heard from him without any commitment to their being fit for argument, the fact leading them to be lower in rank than those five books – though being high due to highness of their authors – beside their like of categorized books.69

Wali Allah al-Dihlawi says: “The Musnad books brought together the sahih, hasan (good), da’if (weak), well-known, odd, eccentric, disapproved, mistaken and right, thabit and maqlub (reversed) traditions. Besides, they could never gain that fame among the ulama’, though they be no more deemed fully disapproved, nor their veracity or weakness be fully investigated by the traditionists. And among them are some that no grammarian could use because of their oddity, no faqih could comply with the madhahib of the salaf (predecessors), no traditionist could manifest their dubiety, and no historian could refer to names of their rijal.”70

Al-Nawawi, in his Taqrib, when discussing the hadith books and their ranks, said: Concerning Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Musnad Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi and other Musnads, they can never be counted to occupy the same position of the five books and their likes, in respect of argumentation and reliance on whatever cited in them.71

Comments on Musnad Ahmad

The statements mentioned before were comments on ranks of Musnad books in general among hadith books that could be considered as unanimously agreed among traditionists. In regard of Musnad Ahmad in particular, I quote herewith some comments of leaders of hadith on it, initiating with utterance of Imam of Hanbalis after Ahmad: Ibn Taymiyyah. After quoting these sayings, we are not to blame if this would enrage any of those claiming to be rijal of hadith nowadays, as truth should be followed. And I have never brought out this book but only for the purpose of pleasing the haqq (truth) alone, and if any one be enraged, his anger should be with truth not with us.

About Abu Nu’aym, Ibn Taymiyyah said: He had reported many traditions that were deemed weak or rather fabricated, according to concurrence of ulama’. And though he was a trustworthy memorizer, known of being prolific in narrating the hadith, and of extensive riwayah, but he used to — like other similar narrators – narrate whatever contained in the bab (chapter) for being acquainted with that, although he could not use all of it, except some portion, in argumentation . This while the authors of Musannafs were not reporting from those known to be falsifiers, like Malik and Shu’bah and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who were never reporting from any narrator they could never trust, nor relating any hadith from that known to be one of those who were deliberately falsifying the hadith.

But it may happen that the narrators of some traditions might have committed mistakes in them, and al-Imam Ahmad and Ishaq and others may report traditions known to be weak in their view due to charging their reporters with had memory or the like, so as to be considered and inferred by others. It may happen that some evidences indicating that this hadith being preserved (against error), and may be there other signs proving its being wrong, with its original narrator being a liar in reality but not known for all to be falsifier, rather known to be relating many correct traditions, consequently his traditions would be reported.

A large number of compilers may find difficulty in discerning this fact as it is, failing to find the truth, as a result of which he may narrate whatever reaching his ear as it is, leaving others to blame not him.72 Ibn Taymiyyah also said: It is not necessary that whatever reported by Ahmad in his Musnad is to be regarded hujjah by him, but rather he may report the traditions narrated by men of knowledge, as his condition for the musnad lies in not reporting from those known of falsification in his view, though containing some weak traditions. In regard of books of fada’il (merits), he (Ahmad) used to narrate whatever he heard from his shaykhs, whether being correct or weak, as never intended to not reporting but only those traditions proved to be true for him, increasing then some additions, with some other additions made then by Abu Bakr al-Qati’i, in which numerous fabricated traditions can be seen.73

He further said: Ahmad ibn Hanbal used to narrate every hadith related by people even if its veracity was not established. Every knowledge-seeker is aware that not every hadith on merits reported by Ahmad, should necessarily be correct, nor every hadith he reported in his Musnad should be deemed sahih, as these being the same traditions related by people from that who is known among people of naql (transmission) but his falsity was not manifest for all, with some of them probably having a defect indicating their being weak or even invalid.74

In a reply to that inferring a hadith reported by Ahmad which was false, he said: Even if we suppose the hadith be reported by Ahmad, this can never necessitate its being sahih and should be adopted in practice. Rather, al-Imam Ahmad is known to have reported many traditions so as to make people aquainted with them, disclosing for people their weakness, the fact that can be better apparent in his speech and answers, needing no more elucidation, especially in such a great source. In this book – Musnad Ahmad – many additions were increased by his son Abd Allah, from whom al-Qati’i reported with adding from his shaykhs several traditions that were known to be fabricated with concurrence of notable traditionists.75

In his book Qa’idah jalilah fi al-tawassul wa al-wasilah, he writes: There was heated dispute between Abu al-Ala’ al-Hamadani and al-Shaykh Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi, regarding presence of any fabricated hadith in Musnad Ahmad. Al-Hamadani denied its existence and Abu al-Faraj proved its being there, stating that it contained traditions known to be false. And no incompatibility is there between the two opinions, as what is deemed fabricated by Abu al-Faraj being that hadith on the falsity of which a proof was established though the narrator not intending falsity but committing an error in it. While al-Hafiz Abu al-Sa’ud and his likes meant by the falsified fabricated hadith, that one whose narrator intended falsity on purpose,76 following the rule of “That to blame for falsity being one who intended it”. Whereas the narration of unintentional liar cannot be counted as falsity! And how much detrimental was this rule for religion.

In the same rule he said too that Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other ulama’ permitted reporting of traditions on virtuous deeds, that were not known to be established.77

Among the traditions reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and agreed by Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi and Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak, we can refer to the traditions: “When we narrate (a hadith) on halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful) we be severe, whereas when narrating on virtues (fada’il) we show tolerance.”

In Ikhtisar ulum al-hadith,78 Ibn Kathir says: The comment of Abu Musa Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Midyani on Musnad Ahmad that it is sahih, is verily a weak saying as it (Musnad) contained feeble or even fabricated traditions, like those on excellences of Marv, Asqalan and the Red Berth belonging to Hams and others, as indicated by a group of huffaz. Besides, al-Imam Ahmad missed so many traditions in his book, and rather it was said that he has not reported from the Sahabah whose traditions are recorded in the two Sahihs, numbering about two hundred.

Al-Iraqi says: In refutation to those claiming that Ahmad ibn Hanbal took upon himself to reporting sahih traditions in his Musnad, we say: We never admit this, and regarding existence of weak hadith in his Musnad it is something verified, and rather it contains fabricated traditions which I collected in a booklet.

Further his son Abd Allah made many additions containing weak and fabricated traditions with hadith of Anas: Asqalan is one of the two brides, from which Allah will resurrect on the Doomsday seventy thousand persons that will never be subject to reckoning. Also it contained several disapproved traditions of which hadith of Buraydah: “Be present at Khurasan then settle down at the City of Marv, as it is built by Dhu al-Qarnayn…etc. But the hadith of Berth being: “From it Allah will resurrect seventy thousand men not subject to reckoning or chastisement, in a place between the Red Berth and so and so, also hadith of A’ishah on the story of Umm Zar’ which is found in the Sahih but not cited in Musnad Ahmad.

Al-Allamah Abd al-Rahman ibn Isma’il, known with the nickname Abu Shamah, in his book al-Ba’ith ala inkar al-bida’ wa al-hawadith, says: Abu al-Khattab said: Companions of al-Imam Ahmad infer the traditions reported by Ahmad in his Musnad in argumentation, while most of them being unfit for argumentation, as they were cited by him only for knowing the source of the hadith, and determining whether its narrator being reliable or defamed! And it is impermissible for any well-informed Muslim to cite but only what is correct so as not to be miserable in the world and hereafter, as there is a correct hadith reported from Sayyid al-Thaqalayn (S) that he said: “Whoever relates from me any hadith, knowing it to be false, he will verily be counted as a liar.”79

Some of the examiners of Musnad Ahmad said about it: Truly the Musnad contained many traditions that were so weak to the extent that they were counted among the fabricated ones.80

When al-Imam Ahmad’s saying: ‘I made this book an imam, so as to be a reference for people when differing in any sunnah of the Messenger of Allah,81 was objected, my reply would be that al-Imam Ahmad started to write the Musnad on separate papers, making it then in separate parts like a draft copy. But his last hour approached before completing his work, when he embarked on reciting it to his sons and family members, passing away before revising and rectifying it, leaving it as it is.

Then his son Abd Allah added to it traditions resembling what it contained, including in it alike and identical ones from his memory (what he heard). After that al-Qati’i selected from this copy whatever he could of traditions, causing confusion in Musnads and repetition.

Consequently numerous traditions were left intact on papers and booklets since they were out of reach, as a result of which the Musnad was lacking many sahih traditions.82

When al-Imam Ahmad said: I have compiled and selected this book out of more than 750 thousand traditions; whenever Muslims differ regarding any hadith of the Messenger of Allah they can refer to it, if it be there (it should be adopted) and otherwise it is not a hujjah (fit for argumentation), Abu Abd Allah al-Dhahabi said: This utterance by him (Ahmad) applies to general probability, since there being strong traditions in the two Sahihs and Sunan and parts that are not found in the Musnad. And Allah predestined for al-Imam (Ahmad) to stop the narration before revising the Musnad, thirteen years before his death, as a result of which we find in the book repeated things, and interlacing of a Musnad into a Musnad and of a sanad (chain) into a sanad, which being a very rare case.83

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khatir, has a commentary on the Musnad, I quote herewith its very words from the introduction to volume one of the Musnad (published by Dar al-Ma’arif):

A section (fasl): A question put forth to me by some men of hadith: Does Musnad Ahmad contain any incorrect hadith? I said: Yes. But this was regarded as exaggeration by some claiming to be among the followers of the madhhab (school of thought), whom I held to be among common people, paying no attention to them. But all of a sudden, they issued some fatawa (verdicts), in which some of people of Khurasan including Abu al-Ala’ al-Hamadani aggrandized and refuted this saying censuring anyone uttering it! This made me so amazed and astonished, speaking to myself: How wonderful! Knowledge claimants turned to be among common people too! And the only reason for this was that they heard the hadith without investigating to recognize the correct and defective ones, supposing that whoever holding what I held was subject to vilification in respect of what Ahmad reported, while the truth was never so.

Because Ahmad has reported the good and weak traditions altogether, with disapproving and not adopting many of these traditions he himself reported. Hasn’t he said about the hadith on “performing ablution with wine” that it is “unknown”, and whoever looking into the book al-Ilal, compiled by Abu Bakr al-Khallal, will verily come across a large number of traditions that were cited in the Musnad, and vilified by Ahmad.

Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Farra’, in a comment on the issue of wine, said: Ahmad reported in his Musnad whatever was widely-known of hadith without intending to bring either the sahih or the defective ones. The evidence for this can be seen in Abd Allah’s words, saying: I said to my father: What is your opinion about the hadith of Rib’i ibn Kharash which he reported from Hudhayfah? He said: You mean the one reported by Abd al-Aziz ibn Abi Dawud? I said: Yes. He said: There are traditions contradicting it. I said: But you have cited it in your Musnad? He said: You mean the widely-known Musnad…if I intended to cite only what I think to be right, I wouldn’t report in this Musnad but only very little number of traditions, but you know my way of citing the hadith…as I never oppose the weak hadith when there be nothing refuting it in the chapter.

Al-Farra’ said: He himself has explained his method of citing the hadith in the Musnad, as whoever was taken by him as a reference for correct hadith, he would contradict and leave him.

Ibn al-Jawzi said: What grieved me in this time,84 being the fact that the ulama’, because of their incompetency in knowledge, turned to be like common people…when coming across any fabricated hadith, they would say: It was reported,85 and that which should be lamented being the vile resolution. And neither might nor power but only is with Allah the Most High, the Great.86

Ibn Qutaybah, in his book al-Ikhtilaf fi al-lafz, writes: Ahmad ibn Hanbal stopped narration of hadith many years before his death, since the year 228H., as stated by Abu Talib al-Makki and others. Therefore the traditions that were reported from him were filled with expletives and words having no relation to knowledge, either out of bad accuracy or misconception or purposeful falsity.87

Ahmad Reporting From An Apostate Companion

Ibn Hajar, in Fath al-Bari, says: In Musnad Ahmad we find hadith of Rabi’ah ibn Umayyah ibn Khalaf al-Jamhi, who embraced Islam during conquest of Makkah, attending the Hijjat al-Wada’ with the Messenger of Allah, relating his traditions after his demise…then he was disgraced. During the caliphate of Umar he joined the Romans, adopting the Christian religion, because of something that enraged him. Reporting such a hadith is verily a dubious thing, and that who reported it might not get acquainted with the story of his apostasy.88

These were comments uttered by eminent leaders (imams) about Musnad Ahmad, which suffice for introducing it and manifesting its worth as it was actually not as was known about it. It was one of the sources that were unreliable and unfit for argumentation, like all other Musnads.

  • 1. Pillars of the mosque.
  • 2. His town is al-Madinah (Yathrib).
  • 3. There are other narrations for this hadith, like: 'No book is there on earth, after the Book of Allah, more authentic than the book of Malik'. And: 'I never know a book more veracious in knowledge than that of Malik'. Also: 'No book is ever there nearer to the Qur'an than the book of Malik'. And again: 'No book, other than the Qur'an, is there more beneficial than al-Muwatta'. Some traditionists used to call al-Muwatta' with the name al-Sahih (Sharh al-Zarqani 'ala al-Muwatta', vol. I, p.9).
  • 4. The musnad (marfu') is a hadith reported by a connected chain of Companions (going back to the Prophet). And the mursal is that hadith of whose sanad (chain of transmitters) the name of a Companion is dropped, and is reported by a Follower directly from the Messenger of Allah. While the mawquf is that saying or act or alike which is ascribed to the Companion, whether be connected or interrupted. And the marfu' is that hadith in which the Companion relates from the Messenger of Allah.
  • 5. See p. 25 of al-Dibaj.
  • 6. Sharh al-Zarqani, vol. I, p. 11.
  • 7. The like of this is cited by al-Zarqani in his Sharh, vol. I, p. 7.
  • 8. Abu al-Mus'ab al-Zuhri was the last among those who reported al-Muwatta' from Malik, due to his youth. He lived after Malik for 63 years, and his Muwatta' was the most perfect among its counterparts since it contained 590 traditions (Tawjih al-nazar, p. 17).
  • 9. Munji al-Islam, vol. II, p. 215.
  • 10. Ibn Abd al-Barr, in his book al-Intiqa, (p. 41) reported that Muhammad ibn Sa'd said: I heard Malik ibn Anas say: When Abu Ja'far al-Mansur made pilgrimage (to Makkah), he summoned me and asked: I am determined to order to have your book (al-Muwatta') copied into many copies and sent to all towns of Muslims, and to command all people to act according to them, and not to follow other than them! As I have seen the origin of knowledge to be in narration of people of al-Madinah. In another narration, al-Mansur asked him (Malik) to compile a book for the people in which restraints of Ibn Umar, permissions of Ibn Abbas and oddities of Ibn Mas'ud can be evaded.
  • 11. Fath al-Bari, p. 4.
  • 12. That is in his view, and as he thinks that he reported them in the way intended by them.
  • 13. Huda al-sari fi Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, p. 4.
  • 14. Ibid., vol. II, p. 201.
  • 15. Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, p. 4.
  • 16. Ta'rikh Baghdad, vol. II, p. 11.
  • 17. Huda al-sari, vol. II, p. 201.
  • 18. Ibid., p. 194
  • 19. Fath al-Bari, vol. I, p. 186.
  • 20. Ibid., vol. I, p. 5.
  • 21. Ibid., vol. VII, p. 74.
  • 22. Ibid., vol. I, pp. 7, 8.
  • 23. That was the number of rijal against whom people spoke ill, and from whom al-Bukhari, not Muslim, has reported. In regard of the rijal of al-Bukhari in whose authenticity there was doubt, Ibn Hajar has dedicated a separate chapter in his Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, in which "he cited their names, and story of that vilification, with searching for its causes and knowing its factors," as thought by him. These names reached to about four hundred ones covering 65 pages from p. 113 up to 176, to some of which I will refer under bab of their disagreement about jarh and ta'dil. (Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, p. 7 and vol. II, p. 111; Duha al-Islam, vol. II, p. 119.
  • 24. Ibid., vol. I, pp. 7, 8.
  • 25. That is the art of idiom of hadith, i.e. in view of the sanad. And in regard of the texts of al-Bukhari's traditions, he has not vilified them. But if a free-thinking faqih scholar devoted his time to these traditions he would find many of them deserving criticism.
  • 26. Al-Manar Journal, vol. XXIX, p. 41.
  • 27. Duha al-Islam, vol. II, pp. 117, 118.
  • 28. It is also reported from Ibn Umar that he said to his mawla (bondman) Nafi': Don't lie to me as Ikrimah lied to Ibn Abbas. Ibn Taymiyyah, in Muqaddimat usul al-tafsir, said: A man inquired Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab about some verses of the Qur'an, when he said to him: Never question me about the Qur'an, but ask me about that who claims to know everything! meaning by that Ikrimah (p. 39).
  • 29. That is, in their view, not they be correct and confirmed to be uttered by the Prophet (S).
  • 30. Al-Manar Journal, vol. XXIX, pp. 104, 105.
  • 31. This Muslim man is Dr. Muhammad Tawfiq Sidqi, who doubted the hadith on the flies, as a result of which he was charged with impiety by shaykhs of al-Azhar as usual.
  • 32. Al-Manar Journal, vol. XXIX, p. 51.
  • 33. Al-Maqdisi, Shurut al-A'immah al-sittah, p. 5.
  • 34. Huda al-sari, vol. II, pp. 203, 204.
  • 35. Shurut al-A'immah al-Khamsah, p. 58.
  • 36. See vol. I, p. 70.
  • 37. See p. 8.
  • 38. This hadith was reported by Abu Hurayrah, declaring that he heard it from the Prophet. Refer to my book Shaykh al-mudirah.
  • 39. See p. 16.
  • 40. Al-Imam Ahmad said that he (Abu Zar'ah) memorized 700 thousand traditions. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Umar al-Razi said: Abu Zar'ah learnt by heart 700 thousand traditions, with 140 thousand ones on tafsir (Tawjih al-nazar, p. 4).
  • 41. Al-Hazimi, Shurut al-A'immah al-Khamsah, pp. 60, 63.
  • 42. Al-Maqdisi, op. cit., pp. 10, 11.
  • 43. Al-Hazimi, op. cit., pp. 58, 59.
  • 44. Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah, p. 41.
  • 45. See p. 36.
  • 46. See my statement about tadlis (fraud) and cheaters in my book Shaykh al-Mudirah.
  • 47. Sharh Shurat al-A'immah al-Khamsah, p. 58.
  • 48. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 131.
  • 49. Al-Qasimi, al-Jarh wa al-ta'dil, p. 24.
  • 50. See 2nd edition, pp. 159, 168.
  • 51. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 120, Sharh al-Shurut, p. 25.
  • 52. Al-Hazimi, op. cit., p. 31.
  • 53. Hamish Shurut, pp. 58, 59.
  • 54. Tajawwaha means ta'azzama (get proud), i.e. feigned magnanimity, while being devoid of this.
  • 55. See discussion of this hadith in my book Shaykh al-mudirah.
  • 56. Al-Hazimi, op. cit., pp. 61, 62.
  • 57. The first hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari is: The acts are verily according to the intentions and the last one i.e. the hadith: Two light words, are two strange replies, when taking into consideration the way of reporting, as stated by al-Burhan al-Biqa'i and others (Ibid., p. 31).
  • 58. Ibid., p. 31.
  • 59. Men of hadith stated that the books that come in order after those of al-Bukhari and Muslim being: Sunan Abi Dawud (d. 275 H), Sunan al-Nasa'i (d. 303 H), and Sunan al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H). They considered these books to be the usul (reference books), with some of them adding Sunan Ibn Majah (d. 375 H).

    Some of them said that it was proper to regard Sunan al-Darimi (d. 255 H.) as the sixth source, as Ibn Majah has reported traditions from men charged with falsification and plagiarizing the traditions; while Sunan al-Darimi contains very few weak rijal, and rarely contains disapproved or odd traditions, though having some mursal and mawquf ones. Nevertheless, he is more rightful than him (Ibn Majah), and what they said is the truth.

  • 60. Ikhtisar ulum al-hadith, p. 18.
  • 61. Ibid., p. 18.
  • 62. The most famous books compiled in the 4th century were: Al-Ma'ajim al-thalathah of al-Tabarrani (d. 360), Sunan al-Daraqutni (d. 385 H.), Sahih Ibn Hibban al-Basti (d. 345 H.), Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah (d. 311 H.) and Musannaf al-Tahawi (d. 321)…etc.
  • 63. Muqaddimat Ibn Khaldun, p. 418.
  • 64. Hadir al-'alam al-Islami, vol. I, pp. 44-51.
  • 65. Tawjih al-nazar, pp. 141, 142.
  • 66. Till when is this difference in the words and meanings of the hadith?
  • 67. Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah, pp. 9, 10.
  • 68. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 144.
  • 69. Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah, p. 15.
  • 70. Hujjat Allah al-balighah, vol. Pp. 134, 135.
  • 71. Al-Taqrib, p. 5.
  • 72. Minhaj al-Sunnah, vol. IV, p. 15.
  • 73. Ibid., vol. IV, p. 27.
  • 74. Ibid., vol. IV, p. 27.
  • 75. Ibid., vol. IV. P. 106.
  • 76. See pp. 75, 76.
  • 77. Al-Qa'idah, p. 77.
  • 78. See pp. 18, 19.
  • 79. See p. 55.
  • 80. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 155.
  • 81. In Muqaddimat Ibn Khaldun it is reported that Musnad Ahmad contained 50 thousand traditions. See also the book al-Islam al-sahih of Muhammad Is'af al-Nashashibi.
  • 82. Muqaddimat Musnad Ahmad, of al-Shaykh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, vol. I, pp. 30, 31.
  • 83. Ibid., p. 31.
  • 84. Ibn al-Jawzi was born in 510 H. and died in 597 H.
  • 85. All the misfortune is in the phrase: "it is reported".
  • 86. Musnad Ahmad, Dar al-Ma'arif, introduction to vol. I, pp. 56, 57, revised by Shaykh Ahmad Shakir.
  • 87. See p. 53.
  • 88. Fath al-Bari, vol. VII, p.3.