11) Hadith Al-Ada, the Report of Zayd B. Yathi’

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) classifies Hadith al-Ada as “a lie”. Of course, it is actually hasan, as explicitly declared by both Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H) and ‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H). Moreover, concerning reports of how the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, implemented Hadith al-Ada in the case of Abu Bakr, the Shaykh further states:

وقال الخطابي في كتاب شعار الدين وقوله لا يؤدي عني إلا رجل من أهل بيتي هو شيء جاء به أهل الكوفة عن زيد بن يثيع وهو متهم في الرواية منسوب إلى الرفض

Al-Khattabi said in Kitab Shi’ar al-Din: “And his statement ‘None can discharge on my behalf except except a man from my Ahl al-Bayt’, it is something brought by the people of Kufa from Zayd b. Yathi’, and he is accused in narrations. He is attributed to al-rafdh (hardline anti-Abu Bakr Shi’ism).”1

Ibn Taymiyyah has approvingly quoted, and has relied upon and adopted, al-Khattabi’s opinion. Therefore, he is bound by its consequences.

Our Shaykh suggests that the reports of the Messenger’s implementation of Hadith al-Ada – in which the above-quoted phrase is mentioned – are narrated only by Kufans from a single man: Zayd b. Yathi’. This Zayd is accused in narrations – according to Ibn Taymiyyah – and has been attributed to al-rafdh. If what Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah says were true, then the hadith would be mawdu’ (fabricated). However, is it so?

In the last chapter, we have presented different reliable chains of the reports (of the implementation), and none of them includes Zayd b. Yathi’. That alone exposes our dear Shaykh’s submission as a blatant distortion of reality. Zayd b. Yathi’ is not the only source of the reports!

But then, has Zayd b. Yathi’ really being accused in narrations? We will mention first the scholars of rijal who had commented about Zayd before Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H). Imam Muhammad b. Sa’d (d. 230 H) submits:

زيد بن يثيع :روى عن علي وحذيفة بن اليمان وكان قليل الحديث

Zayd b. Yathi’: He narrated from ‘Ali and Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman, and he narrated few ahadith.2

Imam al-‘Ijli (d. 261 H) also states:

زيد بن يثيع كوفي ثقة تابعي

Zayd b. Yathi’: A Kufan, thiqah (trustworthy), a Tabi’i.3

Ibn Abi Hatim (d. 327 H) makes a mistake in the surname:

زيد بن نفيع الهمداني الكوفي روى عن علي وأبي ذر وحذيفة روى عنه أبو إسحاق الهمداني سمعت أبي يقول ذلك.

Zayd b. Nafi’ al-Hamadani al-Kufi: He narrated from ‘Ali, Abu Dharr and Hudhayfah, and Abu Ishaq al-Hamadani narrated from him. I heard this from my father.4

Imam Ibn Hibban (d. 354 H) has also included him in his book of thiqah (trustworthy) narrators:

زيد بن يثيع الهمداني كوفي يروى عن علي روى عنه أبو إسحاق السبيعي

Zayd b. Yathi’ al-Hamadani: A Kufan, he narrated from ‘Ali, and Abu Ishaq al-Sabi’i narrated from him.5

In addition to al-‘Ijli and Ibn Hibban, Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) too considers Zayd b. Yathi’ to be thiqah (trustworthy). He mentions this chain in his book:

حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ثنا الحسن بن علي بن عفان وأخبرني محمد بن عبد الله الجوهري ثنا محمد بن إسحاق بن خزيمة ثنا الحسن بن علي بن عفان العامري ثنا فضيل بن مرزوق الرواسي ثنا أبو إسحاق عن زيد بن يثيع عن علي رضي الله عنه

Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ya’qub – al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. ‘Affan – Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Jawhari – Muhammad b. Ishaq b. Khuzaymah – al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. ‘Affan al-‘Amiri – Fudhayl b. Marzuq al-Ruwasi – Abu Ishaq – Zayd b. Yathi’ – ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.6

Commenting on the sanad, al-Hakim says:

هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد

This hadith has a sahih chain.7

It is noteworthy that NONE of the classical Sunni muhadithun ever accused Zayd b. Yathi’ of anything – whether lying, fabrication or al-rafdh. Rather, three of them called him thiqah (trustworthy). This reveals yet another disturbing foul play by our dear Shaykh, Ibn Taymiyyah.

What about the rijal scholars after Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H)? Al-Hakim further records this chain in his al-Mustadrak:

أخبرنا أبو عبد الله الصفار ثنا محمد بن إبراهيم الأصفهاني ثنا الحسين بن حفص عن سفيان عن أبي إسحاق عن زيد بن يثيع عن حذيفة رضي الله عنه

Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Saffar – Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Isfahani – al-Husayn b. Hafs – Sufyan – Abu Ishaq – Zayd b. Yathi’ – Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him.8

Al-Hakim says:

هذا حديث صحيح على شرط الشيخين

This hadith is sahih upon the standard of the two Shaykhs.9

Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) confirms:

على شرط البخاري ومسلم

(Sahih) upon the standard of al-Bukhari and Muslim.10

We do not know on what ground both al-Hakim and al-Dhahabi have placed Zayd on the standard of the two Shaykhs, since neither of them has relied upon him in his Sahih. However, their main message – that he is thiqah (trustworthy) is unmistakable from their respective verdicts. Elsewhere, the same al-Dhahabi also says:

زيد بن يثيع عن أبي بكر وأبي ذر وعنه أبو إسحاق فقط وثق

Zayd b. Yathi’: He narrated from Abu Bakr and Abu Dharr, and only Abu Ishaq narrated from him. He has been graded thiqah (trustworthy).11

Al-Hafiz (d. 852 H) also states:

زيد بن يثيع … الهمداني الكوفي ثقة مخضرم

Zayd b. Yathi’.... al-Hamadani al-Kufi: Thiqah (trustworthy). He witnessed both the Jahiliyyah and the Islamic era.12

In simple summary, these are the conclusions so far from our investigations in this chapter:

1. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah’s suggestion that reports of the Prophet’s implementation of Hadith al-Ada has been narrated by only Zayd b. Yathi’ is nothing but a complete fallacy.

2. His claims that Zayd b. Yathi’ was accused in narrations and that he was attributed to al-rafdh are both patent untruths, with absolutely no basis. Rather, Zayd b. Yathi’ in reality narrated ahadith from Abu Bakr, and is thiqah (trustworthy) according to several top-ranking Sunni muhadithun!

The most interesting part, however, is that Zayd b. Yathi’ actually also narrated about the Messenger’s implementation of Hadith al-Ada from two grand Sahabis - Abu Bakr and ‘Ali – with reliable chains! It is noteworthy that even without any report from Zayd b. Yathi’, the incident is reliably transmitted nonetheless, through other routes. Therefore, its authenticity is not dependent in any way upon Zayd b. Yathi’ or his reports. But, the ahadith of Zayd b. Yathi’ provide additional grounds of authenticity for that crucial episode in Islamic history.

Zayd b. Yathi’s hadith from Abu Bakr is documented by Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (d. 241 H):

حدثنا عبد الله قال حدثني أبي قال ثنا وكيع قال قال إسرائيل قال أبو إسحاق عن زيد بن يثيع عن أبي بكر: أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم بعثه ببراءة لأهل مكة .... فسار بها ثلاثا ثم قال لعلي رضي الله تعالى عنه ألحقه فرد علي أبا بكر وبلغها أنت قال ففعل قال فلما قدم على النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أبو بكر بكى قال يا رسول الله حدث في شيء قال ما حدث فيك إلا خير ولكن أمرت أن لا يبلغه إلا أنا أو رجل مني

‘Abd Allah – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Waki’ – Israil – Abu Ishaq – Zayd b. Yathi’ – Abu Bakr:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, sent me with Barat to the people of Makkah.... I journeyed with it for three days. Then, he (the Prophet) said to ‘Ali, may Allah the Almighty be pleased with him, “Meet him, and ask Abu Bakr to return to me, and convey it yourself”. So, he did so. When I got to the Prophet, peace be upon him, I wept and said, “O Messenger of Allah, has something happened about me”? He replied, “Nothing happened about you except a good thing. However, I HAVE BEEN COMMANDED that none can convey it (i.e. Barat) except myself or a man from me.”13

Shaykh al-Arnaut comments:

إسناده ضعيف رجاله ثقات رجال الشيخين غير زيد بن يثيع

Its chain is dha’if. Its narrators are thiqah (trustworthy), narrators of the two Shaykhs, except Zayd b. Yathi’.14

Of course, Zayd b. Yathi’ is thiqah (trustworthy) too, as we have proved. Al-Arnaut’s submission is surprising – considering his calibre - since it has absolutely no basis! It is obvious that he only seeks – in line with his custom – to salvage the face of his beloved spiritual father, Ibn Taymiyyah, by boosting the latter’s ranks in his distortions. That, however, does both of them no good.

The above sahih report of Zayd b. Yathi’ confirms that the order to replace Abu Bakr came directly from Allah. Moreover, it was a command that must be obeyed by the Messenger and his entire Ummah, and not merely a piece of advice or a recommendation.

The same report is also recorded by Imam Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili (d. 307 H) his Musnad:

حدثنا إسحاق بن إسماعيل حدثنا وكيع حدثنا إسرائيل عن أبي إسحاق عن زيد بن يثيع عن أبي بكر الصديق أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم بعثه ببراءة إلى أهل مكة ....فسار بها ثلاثا ثم قال لعلي الحقه فرد علي أبا بكر وبلغها قال ففعل قال : فلما قدم على النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أبو بكر بكى وقال : يا رسول الله أحدث في شيء ؟ قال ثم قال : ما حدث فيك إلا خير إلا أني أمرت بذلك : أن لا يبلغ إلا أنا أو رجل مني

Ishaq b. Isma’il – Waki’ – Israil – Abu Ishaq – Zayd b. Yathi’ – Abu Bakr al-Siddiq:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, sent me with Barat to the people of Makkah.... I journeyed with it for three days. Then, he (the Prophet) said to ‘Ali, “Meet him, and ask Abu Bakr to return to me, and convey it”. So, he did. When I got to the Prophet, peace be upon him, I wept and said, “O Messenger of Allah, has something happened about me”? He replied, “Nothing happened about you except a good thing. However, I HAVE BEEN COMMANDED with it, that none can convey it (i.e. Barat) except myself or a man from me.”15

Shaykh Dr. Husayn Asad Salim, the annotator, says:

رجاله ثقات

Its narrators are thiqah (trustworthy).16

Zayd b. Yathi’s report from Amir al-Muminin, ‘alaihi al-salam, is documented by Imam al-Nasai (d. 303 H). He records:

أخبرنا العباس بن محمد قال حدثنا أبو نوح واسمه عبد الرحمن بن غزوان قراد عن يونس بن أبي إسحاق عن أبي إسحاق عن زيد بن يثيع عن علي: أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بعث ببراءة إلى أهل مكة مع أبي بكر ثم اتبعه بعلي فقال له خذ الكتاب فامض به إلى أهل مكة قال فلحقته فأخذت الكتاب منه فانصرف أبو بكر وهو كئيب فقال يا رسول الله أنزل في شيء قال لا إني أمرت أن أبلغه أنا أو رجل من أهل بيتي

Al-‘Abbas b. Muhammad – Abu Nuh, his name is ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ghazwan Qurad – Yunus b. Abi Ishaq – Abu Ishaq – Zayd b. Yathi’ – ‘Ali:

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, sent Barat to the people of Makkah with Abu Bakr. Then he sent me after him, and said to me, “Take the document and go with it to the people of Makkah.” I met him and took the document from him. So, Abu Bakr headed back, weeping. Then he said, “O Messenger of Allah, has something (bad) been revealed (from heaven) about me?” He replied, “No. (But) I have been COMMANDED to either convey it myself or a man from my Ahl al-Bayt should convey it.”17

Al-Hafiz says about the first narrator:

عباس بن محمد بن حاتم الدوري أبو الفضل البغدادي خوارزمي الأصل ثقة حافظ

‘Abbas b. Muhammad b. Hatim al-Dawri Abu al-Fadhl al-Baghdadi, originally from Khawarazm: Thiqah (trustworthy), hafiz (the hadith scientist).18

The second narrator is like that too, according to al-Hafiz:

عبد الرحمن بن غزوان …. أبو نوح المعروف بقراد …. ثقة

‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ghazwan .... Abu Nuh, better known as Qurad ....: Thiqah (trustworthy).19

What of the third narrator? Al-Hafiz states:

يونس بن أبي إسحاق السبيعي أبو إسرائيل الكوفي صدوق يهم قليلا

Yunus b. Abi Ishaq al-Sabi’i, Abu Israil al-Kufi: Saduq (very truthful), hallucinates a little.20

The status of Abu Ishaq and Zayd b. Yathi’ is already known. Both are thiqah (trustworthy). Abu Ishaq in particular is a narrator of both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, as further confirmed by Shaykh al-Arnaut. As such, the above hadith is hasan due to Yunus b. Abu Ishaq.

With the undeniable authenticity of Zayd b. Yathi’s reports, Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah loses completely, and is shamed on all fronts concerning Hadith al-Ada.

  • 1. 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. 5, p. 63
  • 2. Muhammad b. Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra (Beirut: Dar al-Sadir), vol. 6, p. 222
  • 3. Abu al-Hasan Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Salih al-‘Ijli al-Kufi, Ma’rifat al-Thiqat (Madinah: Maktabah al-Dar; 1st edition, 1405 H), vol. 1, p. 380, # 535
  • 4. Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Hatim Muhamamd b. Idris b. al-Munzir al-Tamimi al-Hanzali al-Razi, al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1371 H), vol. 3, p. 573, # 2598
  • 5. Abu Hatim Muhammad b. Hibban b. Ahmad al-Tamimi al-Busti, Kitab al-Thiqat (Hyderabad: Majlis Dairat al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyyah; 1st edition, 1398 H), vol. 4, p. 251
  • 6. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Ata], vol. 3, p. 73, # 4434
  • 7. Ibid
  • 8. Ibid, vol. 4, p. 521, # 8462
  • 9. Ibid
  • 10. Ibid
  • 11. Shams al-Din Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad b. al-Dhahabi al-Dimashqi, al-Kashif fi Ma’rifat Man Lahu Riwayat fi al-Kutub al-Sittah (Jeddah: Dar al-Qiblah li al-Thaqafat al-Islamiyyah; 1st edition, 1413 H), vol. 1, p. 419, # 1759
  • 12. 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. 332, # 2166
  • 13. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 1, p. 3, # 4
  • 14. Ibid
  • 15. Abu Ya’la Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Muthanna al-Mawsili al-Tamimi, Musnad (Damascus: Dar al-Mamun li al-Turath; 1st edition, 1404 H) [annotator: Dr. Husayn Salim Asad], vol. 1, p. 100, # 104
  • 16. Ibid
  • 17. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Ahmad b. Shu’ayb al-Nasai, Sunan al-Kubra (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Dr. ‘Abd al-Ghaffar Sulayman al-Bandari and Sayyid Kasrawi Hasan], vol. 5, p. 128, # 8461
  • 18. 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. 475, # 3200
  • 19. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 586, # 3991
  • 20. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 348, # 7928