9) Hadith Al-Wirathah, Examining Some Shawahid

Imam al-Haythami (d. 807 H) records:

وعن ابن عباس أن عليا كان يقول في حياة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : إن الله عز و جل يقول : {أفإن مات أو قتل انقلبتم على أعقابكم} والله لا ننقلب على أعقابنا بعد إذ هدانا الله تعالى والله لئن مات أو قتل لأقاتلن على ما قاتل عليه حتى أموت والله إني لأخوه ووليه وابن عمه ووارثه فمن أحق به مني

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

‘Ali used to say during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him: “Verily, Allah the Almighty said {If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels} [3:144]. By Allah, we will never turn back on our heels after Allah the Most High has guided us. I swear by Allah, if he dies or he is killed, I will fight upon what he fights upon until I die. I SWEAR BY ALLAH, verily I am his brother, AND HIS WALI, and his cousin, AND HIS INHERITOR. So, who is it that is more entitled to him than me?1

Al-Haythami comments:

رواه الطبراني ورجاله رجال الصحيح

Al-Tabarani records it, and its narrators are narrators of the Sahih.2

‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) senses the fatal danger the above sahih hadith poses to the Sunni creed as a whole. So, he decides to “take care of” it. After including it in his Silsilah Dha’ifah (his collection of unreliable ahadith), he grades it as:

منكر

Munkar (repugnant)3

What is his reason? He explains:

قلت: وسكت عليه الحاكم والذهبي؛ ولعل ذلك لظهور علته، وهي تنحصر في سماك، أو في الراوي عنه: أسباط.

أما الأول؛ فلأنه وإن كان ثقة؛ فقد تكلموا في روايته عن عكرمة خاصة، فقال الحافظ في "التقريب": "صدوق، وروايته عن عكرمة خاصة مضطربة، وقد تغير بآخره…".

وأما الآخر؛ فقال الحافظ: "صدوق، كثير الخطأ…".

I say: al-Hakim and al-Dhahabi kept silent about it. Maybe this is due to the obviousness of its defect, and it is limited to Simak, or from the narrator from him, Asbat.

As for the first (Simak), it is because even though he is thiqah (trustworthy), his report from ‘Ikrimah has been specifically criticized. So, al-Hafiz says in al-Taqrib: “Saduq (very truthful), his report from ‘Ikrimah alone is confused. He changed during the last part of his life…”.

As for the other (Asbat), al-Hafiz says: “Saduq (very truthful), makes a lot of mistakes4…”.5

Since no-one in the chain is munkar al-hadith, the ‘Allamah’s grading of the hadith as “munkar” is a clear error. This is especially the case, since he has himself limited the “fault” of the riwayah to its chain.

Besides, both al-Hakim (d. 403 H) and al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) have no problem with that chain. For instance, al-Hakim records a similar chain:

أخبرنا أبو محمد بن إسحاق الصفار العدل ثنا أحمد بن نصر أنبأ عمرو بن طلحة القناد ثنا أسباط بن نصر عن سماك بن حرب عن مكرمة عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما....

Abu Muhammad b. Ishaq al-Saffar al-‘Adl – Ahmad b. Nasr – ‘Amr b. Talhah al-Qanad – Asbat b. NasrSimak b. Harb‘Ikrimah – Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both....6

Al-Hakim says:

هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد

This hadith has a sahih chain7

Al-Dhahabi agrees:

صحيح

Sahih8

In fact, ‘Allamah al-Albani himself has no problem with the same chain! He writes:

قلت: حديث ابن عباس هذا أخرجه البخاري في (الأدب المفرد) وأبو داود والحاكم من طريق عمرو بن طلحة قال: ثنا أسباط عن سماك بن حرب عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس به.... وهذا سند جيد وقال الحاكم: (صحيح الإسناد) ووافقه الذهبي

I say: This hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas is recorded by al-Bukhari (in al-Adab al-Mufrad), and Abu Dawud and al-Hakim through the route of ‘Amr b. Talhah – AsbatSimak b. Harb‘Ikrimah - Ibn ‘Abbas with it.... This chain is good. Al-Hakim says (The chain is sahih) and al-Dhahabi agrees with him.9

In another book, he also says:

قلت: هذا الحديث أخرجه البخاري في " الأدب المفرد " (ص 178) ، وأبو داود (2/349) من طريق عمرو بن طلحة قال: ثنا أسباط عن سماك بن حرب عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس ....وهذا سند جيد. ثم رأيت الحاكم قد أخرجه في " المستدرك " (4/284 - 285) من هذا الوجه، وقال:" صحيح الإسناد ". ووافقه الذهبي.

I say: This hadith has been narrated by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (p. 178) and Abu Dawud (2/349) from the route of ‘Amr b. Talhah – AsbatSimak b. Harb‘Ikrimah – Ibn ‘Abbas.... This chain is good. Then I saw that al-Hakim has recorded it in al-Mustadrak (4/284-285) with this chain, and said, “It has a sahih chain”. Al-Dhahabi concurred with him.10

So, the chain is good. But, when it comes to the fadhail of Amir al-Muminin, ‘alaihi al-salam, it becomes munkar and all sorts of unfounded allegations and excuses are raised! What disturbing double standards! Besides, since ‘Allamah al-Albani is aware that both al-Hakim and al-Dhahabi authenticated the chain of Asbat – Simak – Ikrimah, why has he then pretended as though both doubted it? Wonders, indeed, never end!

In any case, Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) has relied upon this chain as a hujjah in the usul of his Sahih:

حدثنا عمرو بن حماد بن طلحة القناد حدثنا أسباط ( وهو ابن نصر الهمداني ) عن سماك عن جابر بن سمرة

‘Amr b. Hamad b. Talhah al-Qanad – Asbat (and he is Ibn Nasr al-Hamdani) – Simak – Jabir b. Samurah11

As for Simak having actually narrated authentically from ‘Ikrimah, Imam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H) has confirmed this repeatedly in his Sunan. For example, this is a chain in the book:

حدثنا هناد و أبوعمار قالا حدثنا وكيع عن إسرائيل عن سماك عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس

Hanad and Abu ‘Ammar – Waki’ – Israil – Simak‘Ikrimah – Ibn ‘Abbas12

He comments:

هذا حديث حسن صحيح

This hadith is hasan sahih13

Interestingly, ‘Allamah al-Albani agrees:

صحيح

Sahih14

The ‘Allamah further caps everything here:

" ليقرأن القرآن ناس من أمتي يمرقون من الإسلام كما يمرق السهم من الرمية ".

أخرجه ابن ماجة (1 / 73) وأحمد (1 / 256) وابنه أيضا وأبو يعلى (2 /623) عن أبي الأحوص عن سماك عن عكرمة عن ابن عباس مرفوعا. قلت: وهذا إسناد جيد وهو على شرط مسلم.

“Some people from my Ummah will recite the Qur’an. But they will apostatize from Islam as the arrow pierces the game.”

Ibn Majah (1/73) records it, and Ahmad (1/256), and his son too, and Abu Ya’la (2/623) from Abu al-Ahwas - Simak - ‘Ikrimah - Ibn ‘Abbas, in a marfu’ manner. I say: This chain is good, and it is upon the standard of (Imam) Muslim.15

Elsewhere, he again reiterates:

وشاهد آخر من حديث ابن عباس. أخرجه الطحاوي (2 / 277 - 278) وأحمد (1 /269، 328) من طريق سماك عن عكرمة عنه. وإسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم.

Another witness is in the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas. It is narrated by al-Tahawi (2/277-278), and Ahmad (1/269, 328) from the route of Simak‘Ikrimah from him (Ibn ‘Abbas). And its chain is sahih upon the standard of Muslim.16

But, who on earth says that meeting the standard of Sahih Muslim is not good enough?!

A further corroboration of Hadith al-Wirathah is provided by Imam al-Hakim:

أخبرنا أبو النضر محمد بن يوسف الفقيه ثنا عثمان بن سعيد الدارمي ثنا النفيلي ثنا زهير ثنا أبو إسحاق قال عثمان : وحدثنا علي بن حكيم الأودي وعمرو بن عون الواسطي قالا ثنا شريك بن عبد الله عن أبي إسحاق قال سألت قثم بن العباس كيف ورث علي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم دونكم قال : لأنه كان أولنا به لحوقا وأشدنا به لزوقا

Abu al-Nadhar Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Faqih – ‘Uthman b. Sa’id al-Darimi – al-Nufayli – Zuhayr – Abu Ishaq – ‘Uthman – ‘Ali b. Hakim al-Awdi and ‘Amr b. ‘Awn al-Wasiti – Sharik b. ‘Abd Allah – Abu Ishaq:

I asked Qatham b. al-‘Abbas, “How come ‘Ali INHERITED the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and not yourselves?” He replied, “Because he was the first of us to meet him (in Islam) and the he was the strictest of us to adhere to him.17

Al-Hakim says:

هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد

This hadith has a sahih chain.18

Al-Dhahabi concurs:

صحيح

Sahih.19

  • 1. Nur al-Din ‘Ali b. Abi Bakr al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawaid (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr; 1412 H), vol. 9, p. 183, # 14765
  • 2. Ibid
  • 3. Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Dha’ifah wa al-Mawdhu’ah wa Atharihah al-Sayyiah fi al-Ummah (Riyadh: Dar al-Ma’arif; 1st edition, 1412 H), vol. 10, p. 653, # 4948
  • 4. The jarh against both Simak and Asbat are clear and substantiated. For instance, Asbat used to make a lot of mistakes. These facts should ordinarily have made each of them dha’if in his reports. However, the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah – including Imam Muslim - have made them exceptional cases, and have accepted their ahadith as sahih.
  • 5. Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Dha’ifah wa al-Mawdhu’ah wa Atharihah al-Sayyiah fi al-Ummah (Riyadh: Dar al-Ma’arif; 1st edition, 1412 H), vol. 10, p. 653, # 4948
  • 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. 4, p. 317, # 7766
  • 7. Ibid
  • 8. Ibid
  • 9. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh al-Albani, Al-Thamar al-Mustatab fi Fiqh al-Sunnah wa al-Kitab (Gharas li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1422 H), p. 441
  • 10. Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Asl Sifat al-Salat al-Nabi (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1427 H), vol. 2, p. 790-791
  • 11. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 4, p. 1814, # 2329
  • 12. Abu ‘Isa Muhammad b. ‘Isa al-Sulami al-Tirmidhi, al-Jami’ al-Sahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 5, p. 208, # 2964
  • 13. Ibid
  • 14. Ibid
  • 15. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Adam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah wa Shayhun min Fiqhihah wa Fawaidihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1415 H), vol. 5, p. 235, # 2201
  • 16. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 413, # 782
  • 17. 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. 136, # 4633
  • 18. Ibid
  • 19. Ibid