In the beginning stage of putting hadith to writing, the Sahabah wrote it down in the form they received it. Every one of them embarked on collecting as many as he could of the traditions according to what the narrators reported with their chains of transmitters (asanid). Thereafter they kept on investing the conditions and position of these narrators so as to recognize that whose narration was to be accepted and the one whose reporting to be rejected.
It is to be known that though they have exerted much effort in this regard, but they could not attain to the sought end, nor reached the certainty of which the self feels confident and the heart rests assured that what they had written was the same as uttered by the Prophet, without any doubt or suspicion. How is it feasible for them to find way into intentions so as to recognize the ins and outs as they be in truth?
Because of this, all their (Sunnis) books were devoid of any hadith considered mutawatir among the traditions reported from the Messenger of Allah, but they contained those regarded Sahih by the narrators and some which were fabricated totally with no origin. This fact can be applied to all of their books even those which they (Ahl al-Sunnah) used to call al-Sihah, like Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, as they were not immune against campaign of criticism launched by Imams of hadith, men of usul and theologians against hadith books.
From the previous chapter, we understand that the Companions, during the reign of Abu Bakr, collected and compiled the Qur'an in one book, out of whatever was written during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) and from the breasts of men, exerting in this task much accurate effort. Whereas this practice was not followed in the case of hadith, as the Messenger’s traditions were neither written nor collected during the days of the Prophet as was the case with the Qur'an, because the Prophet forbade from putting them to writing, and they were preserved only in the breasts of men.
For this reason, the way they followed for propagating them was the riwayah, either with the very words they heard from the Prophet — if they remained in their memories, which was so rare in some short traditions — or through expressions indicating their meanings in case of their being forgotten. This practice was common and prevalent among them, finding no harm in it since what is intended of the hadith as held by them being mainly the meaning, with no rule entailed — most often — out of syntax.
This was contrary to the case of the Qur'an as its words having miraculous entry, in a way that no room being there for substituting any word with another, though being identical in meaning, for fear of being forgotten with passage of time. Hence it was extremely necessary to record and preserve it through the means of writing, not to be satisfied with committing it to memory, and its inimatability is undoubtedly established upon the composition of its words and terms.
Al-Imam al-Khitabi in his book I'jaz al-Qur’an writes: The speech rests upon three factors: a purporting word, and a standing meaning, and a connector organizing them both.
Al-Shaykh Abu Bakr ibn `Iqal al-Siqilli in his Fawa’id reported that Ibn Bushkuwal said:
"The Companions should collect and compile the traditions (sunan) of the Messenger of Allah (may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) in one mushaf as they did with the Qur'an, since the sunan were spread abroad and the preserved ones became indiscernible from those foisted ones. Hence those charged with preserving them were but to commit them to memory, the practice was not followed in the case of the Qur'an.
Besides, the words used in the traditions were not guarded against addition and omission as the Book of Allah was safeguarded by Him through rhetorical syntax the like of which no man could be able to produce. Thus they were unanimous regarding what they collected of the Qur'an, while differing in regard of the words of the traditions and the reporting of the texts of the metrical composition, the reason for which it was impermissible for them to write down that which was a subject of difference among them.2
Narrating the hadith remained to be under the mercy of memory, without being written down or recorded throughout the reign of the Sahabah and the main part of the era of the Tabi`un up to the time of tadwin which they believed to be at the end of the era of the Tabi'un.3 Al-Hurawi says:4 Neither the Sahabah nor the Tabi'un used to write down the traditions, but they would convey them orally and take them through learning by heart, except the chapter on charities and a little of that which could not be comprehended by any researcher but only after hard investigation.
Therefore there was much fear of its being obliterated with the death snatching the lives of the ulama' when Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz ordered Abu Bakr al-Hazmi,5 among what he wrote to him: Search for every sunnah and hadith and write them down.
In al-Muwatta’ Malik, on the authority of Muhammad ibn al-hasan, said: Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz wrote to Abu Bakr ibn Hazm: Look for every hadith uttered by the Messenger of Allah or his sunan and write them for me, as I fear obliteration of knowledge and passing away of the ulama’. He recommended him to write down whatever was collected and kept with Umrah bint Abd al-Rahman al-Ansariyyah — who was the disciple of A'ishah — and al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.
In regard of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, he was approaching the end of the first century.6 When he passed away, Ibn Hazm abandoned writing of hadith, particularly when he was deposed by Yazid ibn Abd al-Malik who took power after Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz in the year 101 H. And so did all those who were charged with writing during the reign of Abu Bakr, the fact leading to the sluggishness in process of tadwin, till the time when Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik assumed power in 105 H.
Thereat this work was followed up seriously with Ibn Shahab al-Zuhri,7 or rather it is said that the emirs compelled him to write down the hadith, as they loathed the writing of knowledge, as will be manifested later on. But in a short time this loathing changed to satisfaction, and Ibn Shahab turned to be a favourite of Hisham, performing pilgrimage (hajj) with him, becoming the tutor of his sons, till he died one year before Hisham, who died in 125 H. With his death the sovereignty of the Umayyads became unsteady and disturbed. Then tadwin became publicly known and circulated among the first class (of narrators) that succeeded al-Zuhri, the act that was encouraged by the Abbasids.
Ibn Shahab al-Zuhri was regarded the first one writing down the hadith, the reason for which the Umayyads have taken from him.
In Tadhkirat al-huffaz it is reported that: Khalid ibn Mi'dan al-Hamsi lived contemporaneously with seventy Companions, and he used to write hadith, having several compilations to which no reference is made in hadith books. He died in `104H.
After stating that whatever the Prophet left of traditions and sayings were neither written nor classified in the reference books during the era of his Companions and eminent followers, since they forbade from this practice, as recorded in Sahih Muslim, Ibn Hajar says in his introduction to Fath al-Bari: "The writing of traditions and classification of reports (akhbar) took place in the last days of the era of Tabi'un, when the ulama’ spread abroad through the metropolises and innovation multiplied by the Kharijites and Rafidites... etc."
Al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidhi reported from Abu Hurayrah that he said: "None among the Prophet's Companions was more prolific in narrating the hadith than me except Abd Allah ibn 'Amr, as he used to write (the hadith) while I didn't."8The muhaddithun were never counting whatever recorded in a sahifah of any narrator or scholar to be a correct narration but only when he relating to have heard it from its original utterer, calling it al-wajadah.
Al-Allamah al-Shaykh Mustafa Abd al-Raziq is reported to have said: "Tadwin of sunan was seriously necessitated because of circulation of narrating of hadith and mistrust on account of some narrators, and emergence of falsification in respect of the hadith reported from the Messenger of Allah (may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) for political or creedal reasons. The first tadwin of the sunan, in true meaning, appeared in the period between the years 120 H. and 150 H.9
When the Companions were commanded to commit the hadith to writing, they did not respond to that order but only when being under coercion, as they were finding problem in writing it, after the sunnah (conduct) of the earlier Companions was based upon not writing the hadith. Mu'ammar reported on the authority of al-Zuhri as saying: "We loathed the writing of knowledge, until the emirs compelled us to write it.10 Later on we realized that no one from among the Muslims should be prevented from it11.
Al-Zuhri further says: The kings asked me to write down knowledge (ilm, i.e. hadith) for them. After writing for them for some time, I felt ashamed before God; (I asked myself): Why was it that I was prepared to write for kings but not for others.12
That was due to the fact that concern of Muslims, in the first days of Islam, was mainly concentrated on writing down of the Quran, while in regard of hadith they used to propagate it through riwayah (narration) relying upon their memory as a source for this.
The Umayyad era was never regarded by the ulama’ as an age of well-arranged compilation, as they couldn't come across comprehensive classified books, But what they found that whatever produced by them was made in non-sorted corpuses bearing no knowledge, but containing hadith, fiqh (jurisprudence), nahw (grammer), linguistics and khabar, beside other fields.
The professor Ahmad al-Iskandari, in his book Ta`rikh adab al-Lughah al-Arabiyyah,13 writes:
The era of Umayyads came to an end with no knowledge being written down except rules of grammar, beside some traditions and speeches of the fuqaha’ among the Sahabah on tafsir (exegesis). It is reported that Khalid ibn Yazid14 compiled books on astronomy and chemistry, and that Mu'awiyah summoned Ubayd ibn Sariyah15 from San'a', who wrote for him the book al-Muluk wa al-akhbar al-madiyah, beside other books written on the same subjects by Wahb ibn Munabbih, al-Zuhri, and Musa ibn Uqbah.
However all these books could not convince the researchers in history and classification of sciences to regard the era of the Umayyads to be an era of compilation (tasnif), as no comprehensive, classified, or detailed books were compiled during it, but there were only collections written according to the way of reporting and concurrence in narrating them16.
In al-Ihya’ al-Ghazzali says: Verily the books and compilations are altogether produced recently as none of them was produced throughout the era of the Sahabah and early stage of the Tabi'un, but that was after the year 120 H. That was after the death of all the Companions and most of the followers, Sa'd ibn al-Musayyab (d.105 H.), al-Hasan (d.110 H.) and the best of Tabi'un, rather the predecessors were averse to books of hadith, and compilation of books, so as not to let attention of people be diverted from the Qur'an, memorizing it, contemplation and remembrance, saying: Memorize as we used to memorize...17
Out of all this we conclude that the first tadwin of hadith was done during the last days of the reign of Umayyads. This task was executed at random from scattered suhuf (papers) that were folded up and circulated without being divided into sections and chapters. This might have been done in accordance with what was taught in the majalis al-’ilm (knowledge circles) at that time, as they were not specified for a certain science, but every majlis would include several sciences. 'Ata'18 says: I have never seen a majlis nobler or more in fiqh or greater in prestige than that of Ibn Abbas, where Qur`an-bearers, grammarians, and poets inquiring him, all proceeding from a spacious valley.
Umar ibn Dinar said: I have never seen a majlis more inclusive of every good than his (Ibn Abbas), containing the halal (lawful), haram (unlawful), Qur’an exegesis, Arabic grammar and poetry. And that was the first stage of tadwin of which no book reached us.
Al-Iskandari says: During the Abbasid reign the ulama’ started to revising and rectifying whatever was written in the suhuf, and writing what was kept in the breasts, arranging, classifying and compiling it in books. The strongest reason prompting the ulama’ to undertake the task of compilation during this epoch was the urging on the part of Abu Ja'far al-Mansur19 and his impelling the leaders of fiqh to collect the hadith and fiqh. Further it is reported that he — despite his parsimony — spent abundant fortunes to fulfil this task. It is also said that the attention he paid for knowledge was not confined only in supporting the Islamic sciences, but he impelled the ulama’ and Syriac and Iranian translators to translate into Arabic the Persian and Greek books on sciences of medicine, politics, wisdom, astronomy, astrology, arts and logic and other fields20.
Thus he was the first ruler for whom the books were translated from other languages into Arabic. But the attention he gave for the hadith, collecting and committing it to writing was so extreme, to the extent that it was said to him: Is there any of the worldly pleasures you haven't got? He replied: Only one trait is left, that is to sit on a bench and be surrounded by men of hadith. And it was him who asked Malik ibn Anas to compile the book al-Muwatta’, according to some narrations.
Al-Sawli says: Al-Mansur was the most knowledgeable of his time in hadith and genealogy.
No wonder then to see the number of men of hadith increasing during the reign of al-Mansur, or to see the ulama’ having stronger desire to seeking the Messenger's traditions and sayings or collecting and writing them. Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz is reported to have said: The sultan (ruler) is like the market to which brought what should be spent in it... if he be righteous righteousness would be brought to him, and if he be debauchee their immorality would be brought to him.21 Ibn Tughri Barada, in chronicles of the year 143, said the following: Al-Dhahabi said: In this age (year 143 H.) the Muslim ulama’ embarked on writing down the hadith, fiqh and tafsir (exegesis). Ibn22 Jarih prepared several compilations in Makkah (he died in 150 H), while Sa'id ibn Abi Urubah (d. 156 H.) and Hammad ibn Salamah (d.167H.) compiled books in al-Basrah. Abu Hanifah (d. 150 H). compiled books on fiqh and qiyas (analogy) in Kufah, al-Awza'i (d. 156 or 157) in the Sham, Malik (d.179) compiled al-Muwatta’ in al-Madinah, Ibn Ishaq compiled al-Maghazi (d.151) and Mu'ammar (d.153) compiled in Yemen and Sufyan al-Thawri (d.161) compiled Kitab al-Jami’ in al-Kufah.
After a short time Hisham23 (d.188) compiled his books beside al-Layth ibn Sa'd (d.175), Abd Allah ibn Luhay'ah (d.174), then Ibn al-Mubarak (d.181), al-Qadi Abu Yusuf Ya'qub (d.182) and Ibn Wahb (d.197). In that age, knowledge was increasingly classified and written, with many books on Arabic grammar and language, history and public episodes. Before this age, all the ulama’ — in another narration the imams — used to speak of what they learnt by heart narrating knowledge from disarranged suhuf (books)." Here ends al-Dhahabi's speech24.
Due to the fact that they were altogether lived contemporaneously in one age, it is unknown certainly which one of them superseded the others in tadwin. Some said: The first to compile was Sa'id ibn Abi Urubah, while some others said it was Ibn Jarih, and some mentioned the name of al-Rabi' ibn Subayh, and some Hammad ibn Salamah. Ibn Hajar says: The first to compile hadith were al-Rabi' ibn Subayh and Sa'id ibn Abi Urubah... until the elderly among the scholars of the third tabaqah compiled the ahkam.25 Then Malik compiled al-Muwatta’, bringing in it the strong traditions of the people of Hijaz, mixing them with sayings of the Sahabah and fatawa (verdicts) of the Tabi'un and their followers.
Ibn Hajar and al-Iraqi said: All these (compilers) lived in one era so it was not so easy to distinguish which one was prior to others. Then many of their contemporaries followed their example on the same fashion, until some of the leaders (imams) among them found it necessary to dedicate a special book for the Prophet's traditions, in the end of 200 Hijrah year. Of these collections nothing reached us except Muwatta’ Malik, and description of the other collections. So was the tadwin in this age, based on mingling the hadith with sayings of the Sahabah and verdicts of the Tabi'un and their followers as stated by Ibn Hajar. They kept on this practice till the end of the year 200 H.
Following is the second stage of tadwin.
After the year 200 the method of writing the hadith took another mode, which lied in dedicating special place for writing the Prophet's traditions, after being blemished with other sayings that could never be uttered by him. Thus Abd Allah ibn Musa al-Absi al-Kufi (d.213), Musaddad ibn Musarhad al-Basri (d.228) and al-Humaydi (d.219) and others, each compiled a Musnad.
Then their traces were followed by the leaders (of hadith) like al-Imam Ahmad (d. 241) and Ishaq ibn Rahawayh (d.237) and others. Though these Masanid could set apart the hadith in respect of tadwin, without mingling with it the utterances of the Companions or others, but they contained the sahih and non-sahih traditions, of the flux of narration at that time, as it was unknown yet how to classify the hadith into sahih, hasan and da’if (weak). Hence those Masanid were lower in degree than the Sunan books, so it was unjustifiable at all to argue with them. Letter on more details shall be given about these Masanid and their position among the well-known hadith books.
Tadwin remained in this way until the emergence of the tabaqah (class) of al-Bukhari, the time when it took another shape, entering a new stage which was the stage of revision and selection.
In Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari Ibn Hajar says: "When al-Bukhari came across, related, sniffed for and discovered the truth about these compilations, he found them, according to their composition, including what can be counted sahih and hasan (good), and many that to be regarded weak,26 to which it can't be said eloquent language. Therefore he put his best leg foremost to collect the correct traditions in which no honest man can suspect.
What encouraged him to do this task was the statement he heard from his teacher, the chief of fiqh and hadith Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanzali known with the name Ibn Rahawayh... Abu Abd Allah ibn Isma'il al-Bukhari reports: We were with Ishaq ibn Rahawayh who said: I recommend you to compile an abridged book on the sahih traditions of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be God's peace and benediction? He (al-Bukhari) says: I was impressed by these words, so I embarked on collecting and compiling the comprehensive Sahih27.
From what has been said above, it can be concluded that the traditions of the Messenger of Allah were not written down neither during his lifetime nor in the era of Sahabah and their followers. And it is concluded also that tadwin only commenced in the 2nd Hijrah century in the last days of the reign of the Umayyads, adopting no one method but diversifying in various stages.
In the first stage tadwin was done by collecting from riwayah of narrators, according to what the memory kept of the traditions of the Messenger of Allah. These were inscribed in suhuf not contained in one comprehensive classified book, including beside the hadith something of fiqh, grammar (nahw), lughah (linguistics) and poetry, and alike things that were required for initial stage of tadwin. That was the first phase of tadwin of which nothing reached us through a special all-inclusive book. Then the second phase of tadwin started during the rule of the Abbasids.
The ulama’ rectified — by what they obtained from the city of Fars — and arranged what these suhuf contained, adding to them the narrations of that age, compiling out of them books dedicated for the traditions and relevant sayings of the Sahabah and fatawa of the Tabi'un, with no literature or poetry. Many among the elderly used to consider the utterances of the Companions and followers among the hadith. tadwin followed this course as a consequence of the elevation of the level of compilation during the Abbasid era, with the sciences being distinguished of each other, and the correlated issues- of every ilm being collected separately. Thus compilation continued in this manner up to the end of the 2nd century, but none of the classified books of that stage reached us except Muwatta’ of Malik.
After the 2nd century tadwin followed another course leading it to the third phase, in which the ulama’ embarked on committing to writing all the traditions narrated orally during their time in independent books, after being blemished with the sayings of the Sahabah and others, as stated before. Many Masanid were compiled in this field, the most famous of which being Musnad Ahmad which is still extant today, to which a reference will be made when discussing the hadith books, with showing its degree of veracity and position among those books.
To compile a musnad is to write whatever narrated orally from every Companion, i.e. whatever is ascribed to him, in a bab (chapter) privately, whatever be the subject of the hadith, or its degree of veracity. That was due to the fact that up to that time it was unrealized yet how to discern the sahih from other than the sahih in time of compilation. And as said before, these masanid contained the sahih and fabricated traditions together, the method that was followed till the coming of al-Bukhari and his tabaqah (class), when tadwin shifted to the fourth phase.
It was — as mentioned before — the phase of revision and selection. In this phase they compiled abridged books on hadith selecting for them those traditions they believed to be sahih according to their way of research, as done by al-Bukhari and Muslim and those who followed them. About these books more elaboration will be given when talking in respect of hadith books.
That was the last phase of compilation, as these books became reliable and dependable among Ahl al-Sunnah, while the Shi'ah have their own books of hadith upon which they depend and in which they trust alone, since every people have their own sunnah and leader.
That which can be gleamed from the above-mentioned is that the tadwin trusted by Ahl al-Sunnah was only made during about the middle of the 3rd century up to the 4th century.
When the Messenger's traditions were abandoned unwritten, and the Sahabah had not undertaken the task of committing them to writing as they did in case of the Qur'an, the horizons of narration from the Messenger expanded and doors were open wide for evil-minded and ill-hearted people for narrating what they willed with no fear of qualm of conscience nor restraint of religion.28
Had the elderly Muslims or those who embraced Islam later on, been one class in regard of truthfulness and equal level of reliability and good conduct, or had the riwayah been made dependent on those who were called the true Suhbah (Companions), and the writing covered whatever narrated during the era of the Rightly-guided Caliphs (al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun), the reporting (naql) would have been limited only to whatever uttered by the Prophet (S) without any addition or omission, and all the traditions would have come correct with no little doubt.
Also the Ummah would have received these traditions with pleasure and admission as they did in case of the Qur'anic verses, with the successors taking them from the predecessors with their words and meanings, with none of the Muslims or non-Muslims daring to oppose them, and the Ummah being guided through their light and led aright, without bigotry to any madhhab (creed) or sectarianism, as it is a principle to which religion calls as stated in the Qur'an:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
and the verse:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ
But people are the same every age, and human beings have unchangeable dispositions, non-alterable instincts and unconverted desires. Further the Companions and the Followers who succeeded them were never exceptional among people nor infallibale.29 "It is the law of Allah in His creation. Thou wilt not find for the law of Allah aught of power to change."
It is sufficient to know that as the Messenger was at the threshold of death, disagreement and conflict erupted among his Companions even before performing rituals of his burial. Moreover many of those who enjoyed the Prophet's company apostatized, and had not the resolution of Abu Bakr and acuteness of Umar and those who supported them from among the best of the Sahabah been there, the edifice of Islam would have been subverted while being still in the bud.
Because of this, the chiefs of Companions, like Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali were never approving of any of the Sahabah — even their magnates — even one hadith but only when introducing a witness confirming his hearing it from the Prophet, or swearing that he learnt it from him. Had they all been immune against error and falsity — as said about them — the narration of every one of them would have been approved by these great caliphs, when religion be in prime of life and signposts be evident — with no need for any witness or oath, especially it was them who learnt religion orally from their Prophet — with the light of Prophethood still shining inside their hearts.
That who intends to study history of Islam as it is in truth, has to be acquainted with the conditions of the Arabs in general in the pre-Islamic era, particularly the disagreement that occurred between the Hashimites and Umayyads in the Jahiliyyah period,30 that extended till the time of Islam. Further he has to have knowledge of the quarrels that took place between the Companions since the time of Uthman, and the battles occurred between Ali and Mu'awiyah, whose warriors both being mostly of the Sahabah. Also of what happened between the Umayyads and Abbasids, and between the Prophet (S) and the Jews, and the grudge and hatred harboured in the hearts of the followers of other religions and other communities against Islam.
It is truly a must for everyone intending to be aware of the right history of Islam, to have full knowledge of all these matters, so that to see new prospects before him from which emanates strong light showing the right way to analyze the events honestly, and account for the mishaps properly. All these facts had undoubtedly effective role in forming the Islamic history and the superstitions foisted into tafsir of the Qur'an, and the traditions ascribed
falsely to the Prophet.
We are informed by history that as the Messenger of Allah (S) was about to depart this world, the rancour harboured inside the hearts of the Umayyads against the Hashimites, that was disguised under the cover of Islam at times, showed itself. That was when they endeavoured to tempt the Hashimites to claim caliphate so as to create sedition and riot, but caution and awareness of al-Imam Ali (A) thwarted their intrigue, when they retreated lying in wait for the opportune time.
That was during the caliphate of Uthman, who as soon as assuming the power, the Umayyads showed up what their breasts harboured, And as Uthman was an Umayyad, they embarked on executing their plan so accurately and skillfully till dominating and controlling all the affairs in his time. In the last years of his rule the government system turned over from just caliphate to a rule being the sport of desires and a plaything passed from design to another.
When after the death of Uthman, dissension stirred up and insurrection blazed hard, with people dividing into belligerent sects and parties, every group of people started to support and back their party with every available means of material, abstract and verbal backing, some taking the side of the Hashimites and the others following the Umayyads, and so on.
It was found that the strongest weapons for defeating others and achieving victory, was that every community should have recourse to evidences reported from the Prophet for backing up their sect and reinforcing what it calls to. For all this, they all embarked on narrating some traditions they ascribed to the Messenger (upon whom be God's benedictions), particularly on virtues, as was previously indicated when discussing the reasons of fabrication of hadith. That was not to be done by them but only due to the fact that they realized the Messenger's solemn and imposing character, and his status being above every other status. But triumph was for the Umayyads over the Hashimites, because of the power and artifice they had, and what they possessed of wealth, influence and subduing force.
There is another aspect having an effective role in sporting with riwayah, which was represented by those who were disguising under the religious garment, with the aim of corrupting the pristine religious beliefs, through foisting into them estranged things, and inserting falsified teachings that distorted their picture. These were the people of the Ahl al-Kitab (Scripture) including the Jews and Christians, who deceptively showed Islam, while slipping into the new religion of Arabs (Islam) what their treachery and lust ordered them to insert of Israiliyyat, Masihiyyat and lies, as stated before. Hence, and due to many reasons to which I referred before, fabrication and falsification circulated inside the society, with narration from the Messenger of Allah becoming so profound that people — as said by Ibn Abbas — went too far and exaggerated in this practice.
While the Qur'an, for which the Messenger appointed scribes to write it down in the era of revelation, and which was inscribed again during the reign of Abu Bakr, with being memorized by a large number of Companions, and God's decree to preserving it in the verse:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
faced that much difference in reading to the extent that each group was charging the other with impiety. This difference and disagreement took place within less than ten years after the demise of the Messenger (S), till Uthman found it obligatory in the year 25H to commit to writing masahif with its correct form, and sending them to the Islamic towns, ordering to burn other copies containing the different reading of the Qur'an. If this be the case with the Qur'an, so how would it be with the hadith that was not written during the lifetime of the Prophet, or the era of Abu Bakr or Uthman, letting it free from the restriction of tadwin beset with various desires, and as a plaything in the hands of the incongruous caprices current throughout centuries.
Therefore, it was hard to recognize the sahih traditions, with investigation to realize the real minds of the narrators being harder. Knowing all this it would — undoubtedly — seem that delay in writing had extremely hazardous consequences, as it led to expansion in horizons of riwayah and confusion between the sahih traditions and the fabricated ones, in a way distinguishing between them became infeasible with process of time.
After discussing writing of hadith by Ahl al-Sunnah, I found it better to complete our discussion about history of tadwin of hadith by the Shi’ah so as to make commentary about this subject full-fledged on all respects, thus:
The Shi'ah hold that: The first one who collected the traditions and arranged them into chapters was Abu Rafi', mawla of the Messenger of Allah,31 who compiled the book al-Sunan wa al-ahkam wa al-qadaya. It is said that no one preceded him in arranging the hadith and compiling it into chapters.32
The eminent scholar Muhammad Husayn Al Kashif al-Ghita' al-Najafi, in his book al-Mutala’at wa al muraja’at wa al rudud33, writes: The first one to write hadith was Ibn Abi Rafi', a scribe of Amir al-Mu'minin Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him), and his treasurer or rather in fact the first who wrote down the hadith was Amir al-Mu'minin himself, as indicated by the report (khabar) of al-Sahifah in the two Sahihs34.
I have stated before that had the Messenger's traditions been committed to writing immediately when being uttered by him and those written throughout time been memorized, people would have received them as in the case of the Qur'an — without questioning about their veracity, or going in search of their truth. But not writing them in the era of the Message -bearer and his Companions, and taking them from oral tradition (riwayah) compelled the ulama’ to investigate about them to recognize the sahih ones and the fabricated, beside other things in this regard.
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar35 is reported to have said: The first one who compiled (a book) on idioms was al-Qadi Abu Muhammad al-Ramhurmuzi,36 who authored the book al-Muhaddith al-fasil bayn al-rawi wa al-wa’i, but he could not take up (everything). Beside him, was al-Hakim Abu Abd Allah al-Nisaburi (d.405) but he neither rectified nor classified. He was followed by Abu Nu'aym al-Isbahani (d.430 AD), who compiled a book drawing out in which some terms with leaving things to be recognized by the researcher. After him came al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d.463) who compiled his famous book rectifying its arts, the reason why people indulged in it, heeding to it, abridged by some like al-Nawawi in his Taqrib, and versified by others like al-Iraqi (d.806 H.).
Ibn Khaldun, in his Muqaddimah, under chapter `ulum al-hadith" p.417 writes:
One of the sciences of hadith being to examine the asanid and recognizing which traditions having required conditions to be followed and adopted. Because we should act according to the akhbar of the Messenger of Allah that are thought to be true, exerting our effort on the way through which we reached to that surmise, which lies in knowing the narrators with reliability and exactitude... etc.
In his exposition of Muslim's sermon, al-Nawawi says:
The purpose of ‘ilm al-hadith37 is to establish the meanings of the texts and science of isnad and accountability. Cause (‘illah) is a meaning in the hadith that is concealed and resulting in weakening the hadith though it on the surface is free from it. And ‘illah may be some time in the text, and another time in the isnad (ascription). The purpose of this science is neither merely hearing nor making to hear nor writing,38 but rather it is paying attention to it, frequenting to men of knowledge and reading the books of investigators and researchers on it.39
Lexical meaning of sanad is that on which you rest or recline, like a wall or alike, but among the men of hadith it means tariq (the way) of the hadith text. It has been called sanad due to dependence of the memorizers upon it for recognizing whether the hadith being correct or fabricated. For tariq the word wajh may be used, when saying. This hadith cannot be recognized but only through this wajh. And matn lexically means the back and whatever is hardened and high of the land, that then was commonly used to refer to the end of ascription (sanad). The example for this is the statement of Yahya: Malik reported from Nafi', from Abd Allah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: None of you should sell or make a deal so as to make others lose it. The sanad of the hadith being the narrators and matn (text) of the hadith being "None of you should sell... etc."
Ulama’ of hadith unanimously concur that hadith is not to be considered authentic but only when its narrators having two traits; adalah (reliability) and exactitude, with adalah being the greatest cornerstone for narration.
But adalah alone is not enough, and regarding the description of which there was much disagreement till saying: "It is difficult to be acquainted with depicting of adalah not to say determining its limits." There was extensive debate regarding this matter, which is out of scope here. They defined the dabit (corrector)40 in riwayah as that who commits less mistakes in narration, and other than him as that who commits more mistakes41 and fancy, whether this being due to weakness in his ability, or failure in his strival and diligence. For the corrector they gave numerous traits to which we cannot refer now42, as adalah and exactitude each having high, middle and low ranks, the combination of which constitutes degrees for hadith differing in respect of strength and weakness43.
Thiqah (trustworthy) is that who possesses both adalah and exactitude, and it is not necessarily that whatever reported by the precise memorizer should be correct, due to possibility of his erring in some places. Further, not whatever reported by other than the precise memorizer is necessarily wrong as he be right in many places. The intelligent wise man has to endeavour and do his best to realize the correct aspects of every group so as to adopt them.
Since hadith being the Prophet's utterances and acts, as defined by them, and that who couldn't realize these utterances through senses no way would be left for him to realize them but through khabar, the ulama’ cared for manifesting the parts of khabar in general, dedicating a special research for hadith which is only a part of khabar.
Ulama’ of kalam and usul (principles) divided khabar into two parts: Khabar mutawatir (successive) and khabar ahad. Khabar mutawatir is a khabar reported from some authentic narrator who related it to a large number of people to an extent that it is impossible to charge them with collaboration on falsifying and foisting into it. This kind of khabar is useful for knowledge itself,44 as it is definitely correct and should be adopted without any hesitation in respect of aqa’id (beliefs), for which it is a guide.
And khabar al-ahad, which is also called khabar al-wahid, is the khabar whose reporters didn't reach that number as in the case of al-khabar al-mutawatir, whether the reporter being one or two or... five, up to a number with which it can never be sensed to be of al-khabar al-mutawatir.45 This khabar indicates surmise, according to which it is acted in respect of ibadat (rituals) and mu‘amalat (transactions), not in aqa'id.
In his Sharh of Muslim, al-Nawawi says: Khabar is of two sorts: mutawatir and ahad. The mutawatir is that khabar which being transmitted by a number of narrators that usually cannot be charged with falsity, and its two sides equal the central part, who altogether tell of an unsuspected source, and knowledge is established through their utterance46.
The fact upon which concur most of the researchers is that this khabar cannot be determined by a certain number, and neither Islam nor reliability being a condition for the reporters. Whereas khabar al-wahid is devoid of the provision required in the mutawatir, whether the narrator being one or more,47 and it includes the sahih and non- sahih. All the books of hadith come under the bab of ahad.
When the khabar is mutawatir it would definitely denote ilm (knowledge), while if it be khabar ahad it would not denote that. The akhbar al-ahad may sometimes contain things in which the self has confidence.
The Jumhur (Ahl al-Sunnah) hold that: The akhbar al-ahad never indicate cognizancer at all, even if they were recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari or Sahih Muslim. Approving of them by the Ummah verily signify to act according to whatever stated in them, on the basis that the Ummah is commanded to adopt every khabar which is most likely nearer to truth,48 and does not denote that what they contain is in itself static absolutely.
The express example for this is the judge, who is obligated to issue his rule according to the testimony of that who is apparently reliable. And his being duty-bound to do so never indicates that the testimony of a just person should be necessarily agreeable with reality and static in itself, due to the possibility that he might have given witness contrary to truth either due to having a wrong conception if his being just in respect of the same matter, or a falsity not produced by him if he being apparently equitable, according to what the Ahl al-Sunnah hold. A large number of ulama’ of akhbar al-ahad hold that he should act according to them without giving witness that they were uttered by the Prophet.
Ibn Abd al-Barr and his contemporaries hold that: This idea is held by the Jumhur of men of knowledge and prudence.. with some of them adding...reven if accompanied with a qarinah (context), i.e. it doesn't indicate knowledge even if accompanied with a context. Al-Razi, in his Tafsir, says: narration of wahid (single) only indicates conjecture.
And in his Ma’alam usul al-Din,49 after enumerating the spontaneous elements contained in the traditional proofs based on oral narration, he writes: "If this is proved, we would come to know that the traditional evidences being only conjectural, and the rational ones being definite, and conjecture can never contradict (or negate) decisiveness."
Ibn al-Salah is reported to have said: About the mutawatir it should never be researched in ‘ilm al-athar.
In Tawjih al-nazar al-Jaza'iri writes: What Ibn al-Salah disclosed that it should never be researched about the mutawatir in ‘ilm al-athar, is an indisputable fact.
Some of the ulama hold: The mutawatir does not belong to the school of ‘ilm al-isnad,50 as it is a science in which the research is made about the veracity and weakness of hadith, in respect of the characteristics of its narrators, and forms of their statements, so as to act according to it or abandon it.
It is said too: It (mutawatir) signifies ‘ilm al-yaqin (certain knowledge), even if produced by unrighteous persons and rather by the infidels. In al-khabar al-mutawatir there should be equivalence between the two parties — i.e. the first class and last class — and the medium, which comes in between them. What is intended by equivalence is the mentioned multiplicity not equivalence in the number that it be equivalent in every class, which can never be harmed by disagreement, if multiplicity is present in every and each number, as when the number of the first class be a thousand and of the second one be nine hundred and of the third one be one thousand and nine hundred.
Al-Nawawi, in al-Taqrib, says: Whey they say, it is sahih and upon it or its veracity there is agreement, they mean the agreement of the Shaykhan (al-Bukhari and Muslim). Al-Shaykh51 is reported to have said: What is narrated by both or one of them is definitely veracious and regarding which definite knowledge is attained. He was contradicted by the investigators and most of `ulama of hadith, who said: It would denote surmise unless it be mutawatir (reported through chain of authentic narrators).
In his exposition of Sahih Muslim: He said: The words uttered by al-Shaykh in these places never agree with those uttered by the researchers and majority of ulama, who told:
The traditions cited in the two Sahihs that are not mutawatir, only signify conjecture, hence they are ahad, which — as concurred by all — denote only conjecture, with no difference between al-Bukhari and Muslim and others in this regard. The Ummah's approval of these traditions makes us obliged to act according to them... and unanimity of the Ummah52 to adopt them in life never necessarily indicates their concurrence that they being definitely uttered by the Prophet (S). Ibn Burhan disapproved of that who agreed with al-Shaykh, exaggerating in reproaching him.
Large was the number of both the opposers and supporters of Ibn al-Salah. Those opposing him say that he contradicted the Jumhur, the leaders of kalam and usul who were of the opinion that akhbar al-ahad never signifying certain knowledge but indicating only conjecture, while he believed that akhbar al-ahad cited in al-Sahihayn — with some exceptions — indicated knowledge. If he sufficed with these words, it would be able to say that with knowledge he intended to mean strong conjecture, whereat disagreement between him and them could be so intense, but he went farther by describing the ilm to be yaqini (certain), leaving thus no room for compromise with them. It is quite known that to contradict `ulama of kalam and usul was not an easy job.
The point worth mentioning here is that some of the researchers were of the opinion that akhbar al-ahad may indicate knowledge — with the contexts — differing in regard of whether the contexts signifying the khabar (report) being true or not. Al-Nazzam and Imam al-Haramayn and al-Ghazzali believed in their denoting knowledge while others denied this.53
Al-Hazimi, in Shurut al-A‘immah al-Khamsah,54 writes: "Every hadith should be either mutawatir or ahad, and to prove the tawatur in hadith is so hard, especially for the school of those not considering the number of narrators as a condition for defining it (hadith). In regard of akhbar al-ahad, most of the fuqaha’ have made it obligatory to act according to them without necessity of knowledge.
Al-Imam al-Shatibi, in the first part of al-I’tisam,55 while discussing khabar al-wahid, says:
Charging with duties as a whole is based on it, as the command and decree being sent to the mukallaf (duty-bound), from the Book of Allah or Sunnah of His Messenger, or from their ramifications, should revert to them. If it is revealed in the Sunnah (Prophet's traditions), it is known that most of the traditions were reported through ahad, or rather there was rarely one hadith reported as mutawatir from the Messenger of Allah.
Ibn Hayyan al-Basti is reported to have said: The akhbar (reports) are as a whole akhbar al-ahad, as no khabar is available to be reported through two reliable men, each of whom reported it from two reliable men, each of whom reported it from two reliable men, and so on till reaching the Messenger of Allah (S). The impossibility and voidness of this thing proved to us that all the reports being akhbar al-ahad.56
In al-Taqrib al-Nawawi writes: Al-Mutawatir is known in the fiqh and its usul, but to it no reference is made by the traditionists, and it is very rarely mentioned in their narrations57.Besides, some of them negated the presence of verbal mutawatir in the Prophet's traditions except in the case of the hadith "whoever tells a lie against me..." and the Hawd (Pond)58 hadith, and some other few traditions.
I have stated previously that the khabar is of two kinds: mutawatir and ahad, and presented to the reader the definition and ruling of each kind. Herewith I conclude the discussion by referring to what the men of hadith termed as a hadith al-ahad, and whatever is relevant to ilm al-hadith, and all the issues related to the subject we are concerned with.
Hadith, in fact and reality, can either be correct or incorrect. The sahih (correct) one is that whose ascription to the Prophet is confirmed and proved, and the incorrect is that whose veracity is unconfirmed. But the traditionists classify the hadith into sahih, hasan and da'if59 (weak), by which they mean the hadith narrated through the way of ahad, whereas the mutawatir being out of the scope of this classification, as stated before.
The correct hadith, as was defined, is that which having a consecutive chain of narrators from the beginning to the end, and transmitted through an accurate reliable narrator from his like being devoid of any oddity and defect.
In al-Taqrib al-Nawawi says: It (correct hadith) is the hadith whose isnad (chain of transmitters) is incessant through exact reliable narrators, without any oddity or defect. By saying it is sahih, it is meant: It is not definitely decisive, and when saying it is incorrect we mean that its isnad in not authentic, while the optional being that in regard of whose isnad it cannot be determined to be the most veracious of chains whatsoever. When saying: It is correct upon which or its veracity there is concurrence, they mean the concurrence of the two Shaykhs.
The most inclusive definition for it may be the following one: "It is the hadith that is reported in a self-assuring way, with immunity against oddity and defect."
Al-Jurjani, in his Ta’rifat, writes: The sahih tradition is that whose wording being safe from poor ones, and meaning from any contradiction to a verse or a successive khabar or unanimity, with its narrator being reliable. Its opposite is the saqim (defective).
The degrees of a sahih tradition differ in respect of strength due to the dissimilarity of the characteristics requiring rectification. When they be meaningful out of the most likely supposition on which the veracity depends, this would necessitate their having degrees differing according to the strong points. If such be the case, whenever the hadith narrators be of high level of reliability and accuracy and other preference — obligating traits, this hadith would be more veracious than that whose narrators be on lower degree of reliability. At the time they made asanid differing from each other, they also classified the narrators into high and low ranks, giving priority to the Madinah narrators over the Basran ones, and making the Sham narrators lower than the Basran ones, and so on. There are several parts for the sahih traditions that can be recognized through their books.
There was much disagreement among men of hadith in respect of defining the hasan tradition. The following are some of their words in defining it:
Al-Khitabi says: It is that hadith whose source was recognized, rijal were famous, and upon which revolve most of the traditions, and approved by most of the ulama’, and referred to by the fuqaha’ in general. Ibn al-Salah says: It is of two kinds: One of them is that whose isnad cannot be devoid of some unknown narrator whose credibility could never be ascertained, not ignoring numerous mistakes, nor known to be a deviant, with the hadith being known through an another identical narration or any other way.
The second kind is that whose narrator being widely-known of truthfulness and honesty, but could not reach the level of sahih due to failure in memorization and exactitude. It is higher in level than that whose singleness is unacceptable. The hasan tradition, can be used, like the sahih one, in disputation and debate, though it being lower than it in strength.
The weak (da’if) hadith is that which does not possess the characteristics of the sahih or hasan ones, and its weakness differs in the same way as the veracity of the sahih.
In Sharh Muslim al-Nawawi writes: Its kinds are: al-mawdu’ (composed), al-maqlub (inverted), al-shadhdh (odd), al-munkar (disapproved), al-mudtarib (confused) and other kinds referred to in ilm al-hadith.
Some of the ulama’ hold that it can be acted according to it in respect of virtuous deeds, but this was prohibited by great imams (religious authorities).
In al-Adab al-Shar’iyyah60 Ibn Muflih says:
It is reported from al-Imam Ahmad that it is impermissible to act according to the weak hadith in regard of virtues and mustahabbat (recommendable acts).
Al-Shaykh Taqi al-Din (Ibn Taymiyyah) commented on the notion held by the ulama’ to act according to the weak hadith in virtuous deeds, by saying: To act according to it means that the self wishes for that thawab (reward) or fears from that chastisement. The example for this can be found in the temptation and intimidation through the Israeliyyat, dreams, words of the predecessors and ulama’ and events of the world beside other things that can never be used to establish a legal judgement, either a recommendable one or other than this. However, it can be mentioned in cases of temptation and intimidation, regarding what it considered good or abominable through legal evidences, the act that can be of benefit not detriment, whether this be in itself true or false.
One of the eminent ulama’ commented on al-Imam Ahmad's statement "It is impermissible to act according to the weak hadith in respect of the virtues and mustahabbat" by saying: "May God be pleased with Ahmad, what an expansive knowledge and accurate understanding has he ... as his call to act according to the weak hadith and be lenient toward narrating it paved the way for ghuluww (excess) in religion and increasing the constraining ibadat (rituals) that contradict and are incompatible with the easiness of Islam, till making some of them to be among the rites of this Din, though most of people were negligent in establishing the fara’id (ordinances) and abiding by the obligatory duties. As a consequence to this, the succeeding compiler reported from Taqi al-Din his view of approving the Israeliyyat, dreams and superstitions. The rituals and virtues decisively determined in the Book and Sunnah are quite sufficient for the Ummah, and would that many are there who be committed and heedful to them."
Al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki said: “It is impermissible to act according to the weak traditions at all,” which is verily a right notion61.
Al-Allamah al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’ is reported to have said: "The traditionists claim in some ahadith, even those for which no correct sanad was established: The multiplicity of the turuq (ways) of transmitting the traditions strengthens them. It is a rule made by the traditionists that neither a reference is made to it by God in His Book, nor recorded in any sunnah from the Messenger of Allah, but it is merely a non-successive theoretical issue. As multiplicity of the means regarding an issue the voidness of which is legally determined, like the issue of crowned-cranes, or rationally, is verily of no value whatsoever due to the permissibility of unanimity of those turuq on falsehood.
Al-Hafiz Ibn Salah says:62
"When they say: "This is a correct hadith' this means that its sanad (chain of transmitters) being attached to the other afore-mentioned attributes, and for its veracity it is no condition to be decisive in itself... as some of the traditions were reported singly by one reliable narrator, and could not be among the akhbar which were approved unanimously by the Ummah.
Also when they say about a hadith to be not sahih, this never means its being false decisively in itself, as it may be true in fact, but the fact intended is that its isnad could not be proved correct according to the stated condition. In his Fatawa he (Ibn al-Salah) says: The Imams say: Among the traditions there are some whose isnad being sahih but text is not sahih, and some whose isnad is not sahih but text is sahih, or those whose isnad is sahih and matn (text) is sahih, or those whose isnad is unknown and text is unknown, or those whose isnad is weak and text is weak.63
Al-Zayn al-Iraqi (d.806H) in his Alfiyyah,64 writes:
When the traditionists say: "This hadith is sahih', they want to say — as it seems through the appearance of isnad — that its veracity is not decisive by itself, due to possibility of inadvertence and forgetfulness on the part of the thiqah.65 This being the sahih upon which concurred men of knowledge contrarily to those holding that khabar al-wahid necessitating knowledge through the visible exterior.
And so also when they say: "This hadith is weak,' they mean: The conditions of veracity were not seen in it, not due to its being false in itself as the liar may tell truth and be free from many errors. He also said: Anything whose origin is correct should not necessarily be sahih. In al-Qawati’ al-Sam'ani writes: The correct hadith cannot be recognized through the narration of trustworthy narrators alone, but this can be done through perception, knowledge, perseverance on hearing and study.
They also said: Veracity of the hadith never obligates its being decisive in itself, because of possibility of inadvertence and forgetfulness on the part of the thiqah. Al-Nawawi, in al-Taqrib, attributed it to the majority and investigators that they said: It signifies conjecture if not being mutawatir. In his exposition of Muslim he said: This is the case with the ahad, and no difference is there between the Two Shaykhs and others.
The traditionists do not care much for the mistakes in texts and say: Whenever the sanad be correct the matn (text) should be correct.
Al-Dhahabi, in his book Siyar a’lam al-nubala’, when giving the biography of Yahya ibn Sa'id al-Qattan, reported that Yahya said: "Never look at the hadith but look at the isnad, when it be correct the hadith is correct; otherwise never be beguiled by the hadith if the isnad be incorrect."
He also said: The predecessors were averse to going deeply into matters and call disputants as heretics.
It is proper here to make a short halt to meditate over what I stated before, of the sayings of Ibn al-Salah and al-Iraqi and al-Hakim, beside other leaders of hadith who considered it (hadith) to be sahih. However, when going through whatever we manifested before in regard of hadith in general, and that which we are going to state, we will verily come to realize many things that permit or rather urge us to make such a meditating pause.
The first thing we get out of this being that: the Prophet (S) did not commit his traditions to writing during his lifetime as he did in the case of the Qur'an, so as to come out as authentic as the Qur'an. Not only this, but he also forbade from writing them, the order that was obeyed by his Companions and their followers who abstained from writing the hadith and were sufficed with transmitting it through oral riwayah (tradition). But this was not done according to the original words uttered by the Prophet, but they used to narrate the hadith on the basis of meaning.
Such practice remained to be followed till they started to write it (hadith) down, the act that was fulfilled about the middle of the 2nd Hijrah Century. Religion and (Arabic) language were inflicted a severe detriment due this delay in writing down of hadith, beside the falsities foisted by the fabricators, and liars from among enemies of religion, with the pleasure-seekers and even the righteous among Muslims.
When ulama’ of jarh and ta’dil began making investigations into conditions of the narrators, so as to recognize the reliable one and the unreliable, they couldn't — despite the toilful efforts they exerted in this search — attain to the goal they were after, achieving not their intention. That was due to the fact that their search was made in accordance with their capacity and human ability, exceeding not the apparent conditions of the narrators. And they are not to blame in this respect, as endeavouring to realize the hidden realities and whereabouts of men is verily an infeasible or rather impossible task.
In this regard al-Wazir al-Yamani, in al-Rawd al-basim, says: Many of the chiefs of jarh and ta’dil are reluctant regarding the (reliability of) narrator, deeming him reliable once and unreliable another. As bringing his fancy within the pale of multiplicity can't be weighed by a standard criterion but it is subject to conjecture and can be recognized through investigation and ijtihad (strival), so such wahm (fancy) was viewed in the same way the fuqaha’ were viewing the conjectural events.
Hence Ibn Mu'in66 holds two views regarding the narrator: tawthiq (deeming reliable) and tad'if (deeming weak), and alike things. Further, it is impossible to evade wahm (misconception), and ismah (infallibility) can never be an attribute of reliable people, or rather it (Messenger's ismah) can never prevent against suspicion but only in tabligh (i.e. tabligh of revelation). As the Messenger of Allah doubted that he performed some obligatory prayers completely, when Dhu al-Yadayn questioned him: Have you shortened the prayers or forgotten this?67
For all this, we find all books of hadith containing the sahih and non-sahih and even the fabricated and falsified ones, with none of the books being devoid of this even those of al-Bukhari and Muslim which were called al-Sahihayn, and were a target of violent attacks of critics. Since the case was such with these books, which were devoid of mutawatir authentic traditions but full of conjectural ahad traditions, the Ummah ulama’ of fiqh, usul and kalam have not acted according to them nor been committed to whatever cited in them.
So also the case with the grammarians who never quoted hadith to prove rules of language and nahw (grammar), after being sure of their being not sahih or mutawatir as were uttered by the Prophet, but were narrated on the basis of meaning. The argument they adopted for this was the hadith: "I married her to you with what you have",68 which was cited in eight forms though being composed of two words only!
Those were the views we intended to survey before quoting the utterances of the ulama’ who prompted us to make such a meditative halt before them.
Ibn al-Salah says: When they say: 'This hadith is sahih they mean by this that its sanad goes back to all the aforementioned kinds, and it is no provision for it to be decisive in itself.
This notion was confirmed by al-Iraqi in exposition of his Alfiyyah, when saying: Whenever men of hadith say: This hadith is sahih, they intend to say — as it appeared to us out of the externals of isnad — that its veracity is decisive in itself because of possibility of error and forgetfulness on the part of the thiqah (trustworthy).
In al-Qawati; al- Sam'ani writes: The sahih tradition cannot be recognized only through the narration of trustworthy men but also through comprehension, knowledge, intensive hearing and study.
Al-Hakim says: So many a hadith are there whose isnad contains only one reliable thiqah narrator, and so they be weak and defective.
Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi69 says: Recognizing the (correct) hadith is an inspiration! And when asking that who is expert in defects of hadith: Wherefrom is this? He will have no hujjah to argue with.
These were some of the statements of the ulama’ about the hadith which they made sahih, so how would be the case with the traditions that were reported in their books and were considered sahih by them?
And after all this what is to do by that who intends to recognize the correct hadith in which the heart feels assured and the self is confident? And which way has he to adopt so as to be guided to distinguish it from among other traditions, while facing such and other sayings that cause perplexity and raise doubt and suspicion? Which one has he to adopt and which one has he to forsake? Especially after being aware of what Ibn al-Salah quoted in his Fatawa from the Imams (leaders) of hadith including their statements about forms of hadith, when saying:
The imams classified hadith into the following forms:
1- A hadith with incorrect isnad and matn (text).
2- Or a hadith with incorrect isnad and sahih text.
3- Or a hadith with unknown isnad and matn.
4- Or a hadith with correct isnad and matn.
5- Or a hadith with weak isnad and matn.
These were the five forms of hadith among whose ambiguous and bewildering ravines the researcher may go astray, knowing no outlet toward deliverance, because they (traditionists) have neither manifested their boundaries nor singled out between their sorts, nor laid down criteria for evaluating them so as people be acquainted with them.
If supposedly the knowledge-seeker be guided to the correct part of the traditions, nevertheless he never feels rest assured to act according to them after being aware of the statement of the ulama’ expressing that veracity of hadith never necessitating its being decisive in itself due to possibility of inadvertence and forgetfulness on the part of the thiqah.
That was a short statement I presented in this meditating pause with no need to go farther, and nothing more to say but to raise our hands to Allah imploring Him:
O God, shower Your mercy upon us and prepare for us a guide of our affair.
Hadith was divided into numerous kinds and many books were compiled in this regard. And since we, as said before, never discuss the technical aspect of this science but suffice with exposing history of hadith, we found it proper to refer to those kinds that can serve our subject of discussion. Because this would help us recognize the incongruity and contradiction that afflicted the riwayah, and how it was affected by alteration and changes, except what we have stated before.
Ibn al-Salah says: The confused and disorderly hadith is that in whose regard the narration differ from each other, with some reporting it in a certain form and some others reporting it in another contradictory way. Confusion may happen in the hadith text, or in the isnad, and it may be caused by one narrator or a group of narrators... and it entails weakness of the hadith since it reflects the fact that it was never put right or corrected.
As an example for confusion in the text we can refer to a hadith reported by Abu Bakr who said: O Messenger of Allah: I see that you turned old! He (S) said: Surat Hud and its sisters made me old. This hadith is confused, as it was not reported but only through Abu Ishaq al-Subay'i, and there was disagreement concerning it.
Some of the narrators reported it in a mursal way (with no reference to chain of transmitters), and some reported it in a mawsul way (with a successive chain of narrators), and some others ascribing it to Abu Bakr, and some to Sa'd, and some others to A'ishah. The disagreement appeared in ten aspects cited by al-Daraqutni, and reported by trustworthy narrators some of whom can never be considered superior to the others, and putting them together is infeasible.
Al-Jaza'iri said: The traditionists rarely judge the hadith to be confused, when disagreement regarding it occurring in the text itself, as this being not of their business as they be muhaddithun, but it is the business of the mujtahidun. But they judge the hadith to be disordered when the disagreement be related to the isnad itself, as this being their business.
Once a controversy took place regarding the salat (prayers) referred to in the story of Dhu al-Yadayn.70 The narrator doubted it to be either the zuhr (noon) or asr (afternoon) prayers. Another time he thought it to be one of ashiyy two prayers: either the zuhr or asr prayers. In another place he once determined it to be the zuhr and once again to be the asr prayer. Another time he said: It is most probably the asr prayer. Al-Nasa'i reported once what testifies that the source of doubt was Abu Hurayrah and his words, when he said: The Prophet, may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny, performed one of ashiyy prayers, but I (Abu Hurayrah) forgot71 which one it was.
Some of the narrators tried to bring them together, claiming that the episode occurred twice. Much often some of them follow this practice in bringing together in order to correct all the narrations, for protecting the narrators from being charged with error or inadvertence or forgetfulness. It seems as if these traditionists care for the narrators much more than caring for the narrations, so they brought them together, even when they (narrations) disagree with one’s hearing.72
In relation to what al-Allamah al-Jaza’iri stated concerning the ignorance of the traditionists to the texts (of hadith) I cite herewith a statement al-Allamah al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’ said in this respect when discussing the hadith of the going away of the sun after sunset, which is one of the ambiguous traditions previously referred to: “The hadith ulama’ so seldom care for errors in the texts in regard of their meanings and rules, but their all attention is concentrated upon the asanid with course and clauses of the texts, beside the differences in them and what is marfu’ and mawquf of them.
Also they cared for the words foisted into them that were composed by the narrators and out of the text ascribed to the Prophet (S). The researching ulama’ can recognize the mistakes of texts through their expositions of principles and branches of religion, and other things, even if they are not among the muhaddithun. But they refer in this regard to the principles laid by the traditionists like their saying: The veracity of the sanad never necessitates veracity of the text in fact and the same matter.
And also their saying: One of the signs of fabrication of hadith – even if its sanad be correct being its contradiction to the decisive Qur’anic text, and its meaning contradicts every legal decisive rule: Such as some of the doctrinal principles, or the acts upon which there is unanimity and which are necessarily known to be of religion in a way that it is infeasible to bring them together.
That is why the traditionists determined to disapprove Abu Hurayrah’s hadith which was reported by Muslim about the creation of the heavens and earth in seven days.
If contradicting the decisive rule being a reason for judgement, either after veracity of hadith due to not having trust in its narrators or to their errors in its wording, the conceptions would necessarily differ according to differences in cognizances and knowledge of their owners. Those who know not that the sun never disappears from the earth and never passes from view of people for one hour or even a minute, does not see any trouble in the hadith of Abu Dharr about where it (sun) be after its decline as they think that its decline is a decline from the world as a whole.73
He (al-Jaza’iri) further says: If the narrations be criticized in respect of the tenor of their text, and also in their sanad, the texts will destroy and abrogate many of the asanid.74
In his discussion of the ambiguities exposed in some of the traditions, like the hadith on sorcery of the Prophet (S), and hadith of prostration of the sun under the Throne, he stated the following: “No one can manage to attain to truth in such ambiguities except that who gave reins to his intellect to think freely respecting the sayings uttered by different sorts of ulama’. He also says: the ulama’ of doctrinal and fiqhi principles (usul) have much more knowledge than the traditionists regarding criticism of texts and what is rational and sensible and agrees with principles of aqa’id and what doesn’t agree with them.
Both the sects concur that: The text of marfu’ traditions of correct sanad should not necessarily be correct, due to possibility of presence of someone in chain of narrators who deliberately or inadvertently committed a mistake in the riwayah … and it is not necessary that text of any hadith of incorrect sanad should be untrue. Rather they said: Any hadith with fabricated narration may be veracious actually, and the hadith of correct sanad may be fabricated in actuality.
We are requested to judge according to the external dimension with observing the rules and regulations. Hence that hadith whose sanad is correct we would accept its narration and adopt rules of belief and evidences of intellect to judge its text if it be ambiguous, and the one of incorrect sanad we can never call it a prophetic hadith, though its meaning be correct.75
Added to the words of al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’ we can say that the veracity or goodness of isnad can never necessitate veracity or euphemism of the hadith. Al-Hakim76 says: Many traditions have in their isnad only one reliable trustworthy narrator, though they being defective and weak. Hence the sahih tradition cannot be known through its narrators alone but through comprehension, memorization and recurring hearing.
Al-Daraqutni and other chief critics have never criticized the text as they did in the case of isnad, as criticism related to text is so precise and obscure that can never be realized but only by those hadith leaders known of having expertise in recognizing its defects. That is contrary to criticism related to matn (text), which can be fulfilled by many of knowledgeable ulama’ engaged in Shar’i (legal) sciences, and investigating about their original and minor issues, like exegetes, fuqaha’, and men of usul al-fiqh and usul al-Din.
Many of the leaders of hadith were liable to criticism in respect of the text, but that was so rare compared to criticism they faced in respect of the isnad. As an example for this we can refer to al-Isma’ili’s words, he uttered after citing the hadith reported by al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayrah as saying: “Abraham will meet, on the Day of Resurrection, his father Azar with darkness covering his (Azar’s) face” (the hadith), he said:
There is doubt in veracity of this hadith as Abraham is aware that Allah never breaks His promise, so how does He make what befalls his father a disgrace for him after informing him that Allah promised him not to disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, assuring him that verily there is no breach to His promise.
Al-Daraqutni found defect in isnad of this hadith saying: It is reported by Ibrahim ibn Tihman, from Ibn Abi Dhi’b, from Sa’id al-Maqbari, from his father, from Abu Hurayrah, and he was answered for this with that al-Bukhari suspended hadith of Ibrahim ibn Tihman in tafsir neglecting not the controversy regarding it. Any reader of the two Sahihs should search for the criticism levelled at them in both respects (isnad and matn), so as to have full knowledge about riwayah.77
Defect-finding is the most accurate and obscure of sciences of hadith, and can never be undertaken but only by that who owns acute mind, ample memorization and comprehensive knowledge of asanid, texts, and conditions of the narrators. The defective hadith, which is called by men of hadith as al-ma’lul (diseased, ill), is that in which a defect is found that refuting its veracity though safety from it appearing on the face. This defect may befall the isnad of the hadith, which is more common, and may also appear in its text, but when afflicting the isnad it will vilify the veracity of both the isnad and text.
We suffice with citing one example for defect of text, which is a hadith ascribed to Anas and reported by Muslim alone, in which he totally denied recital of Basmalah (In the Name of Allah, the Beneficient the Merciful) in the beginning of hadith.
On seeing most of narrators holding this view, initiating every report with the phrase ‘Praise be to God, the Lord of Worlds’ with no mention of Basmalah, the practice concurringly reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs, some traditionists accounted for narration of the said words holding that whoever narrted it in that way has in fact related it on basis of its meaning. Out of his statement, that they used to initiate their reports with ‘praise’ it can be concluded that they were not using Basmalah. Thus he narrated it according to the way he understood it but made a mistake, as its meaning being that the surah with which they used to initiate their speech was al-Fatihah, with no mention of tasmiyah adding to this several things, of which it is confirmed that Anas was once questioned about initiation with Basmalah, when he replied that he never memorized from the Messenger of Allah (S) any hadith in this regard.
The word defect (illah) may be used for other causes refuting the hadith, that bringing it out of veracity into weakness states that hindering from acting according to it, in conformity with the word illah in origin. Therefore in many of books on defects of hadith we find much sarcasm through falsity, inattention and bad memorization, and other kinds of sarcasm. Defects of hadith appear more in traditions reporrted by trustworthy narrators, when they reporting a hadith with being unaware of a defect in it, rendering the hadith thus as defective, with its proof (hujjah) being memorization and comprehension and knowledge, no more.
Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi is reported to have said: To know the hadith is an inspiration, and when inquiring any expert knowledgeable in defects of hadith: Wherefrom you got this?, he will have nothing to argue with.
I previously quoted al-Allamah al-Batliyosi as saying that one of reasons of disagreement that befell the Ummah being tashif (misconstruction), which I didn’t discuss there, and herewith I give a brief account about it:
The musahhaf tradition is that in which dissimilarity occurred through changing places of dots of one word with keeping the same shape of writing. The example for this can be the hadith. Whoever fasting month of Ramadan following it consecutively with six days of (month of) Shawwal, it will be recorded for him. Tashif may befall the text as well as the isnad, such as tashif of some muhaddithun in the name of Ibn Muzahim when changing it to Ibn Murajim (with ra’ and jim). It can be refered to the words uttered by al-Batliyosi there.
Ibn al-Salah said:
Recognizing the musahhaf among asanid and texts of traditions is verily a weighty task that can only be shouldered by well-versed memorizers, among whom being al-Daraqutni, who left for us a valuable compilation about it. Also it is reported that Abu Abd Allah Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: Who is that free from error and tashif!
An example for tashif in the text a reference can be made to what is reported by Ibn Luhay’ah from book of Musa ibn Aqabah, on the authority of Zayd ibn Thabit as saying: The Messenger of Allah ihtajama (retired) in the mosque, while the correct word is ihtajara (with ra’) in the mosque in a booth or hasir (mat) – a chamber in which he used to perform prayers, but was misconstructed by Ibn Luhay’ah.78
Muharraf (perverted-corrupted) tradition is that in which dissimilarity occurred through changing the shape of the word with keeping the image of writing intact. The example for this being what happened for some bedouin Arab, who found in a hadith in some book stating that the Prophet (S), when performing prayers before him they used to erect anuzah – meaning harbah (lance),79which he thought it with silent nun narrating it on the basis of the meaning he imagined erroneously, saying: When the Prophet was performing prayers a she-goat was put before him.
The maqlub hadith (reversed) is that in which replacement by taqdim (bringing forward) and ta’khir (bringing backward) appearing, like the hadith of Abu Hurayrah reported by Muslim, about the seven men whom Allah will overshadow under shadow of His Throne on the Day of Resurrection, which says: “… and a man gave a charity secretly in a way his right hand knows not what his left hand spends…” This hadith was reversed by one of the narrators, as its correct wording was: “… in a way that his left hand knows not what his right hand spends…” as was stated in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim through certain ways of transmission. There are numerous examples for this in their compilations.
- 1. Tadwin is restricting (taqyid) what is scattered and established, and compiling it in a diwan, i.e. a book in which the suhuf are recorded so as to preserve their union and safeguard them against loss, which being broader than restriction in its limited meaning.
Tasnif (classification - compilation) is more accurate than tadwin, as it means assorting what was written down into specified chapters, and separated sections. See Taj al-'Arus, and al-Zamakhshari.
- 2. Al-Hazimi, Sharh Shurat al-A'immah al-khamsah, pp. 48, 49.
- 3. The last era of Tabi'un was in the year 150 H. And the separating boundary between the earliest and latest being the end of the year 300 H.
- 4. Irshad al-sari, exposition by al-Qastallani, vol. I, p. 7; Sharh al-Zarqani ala al-Muwatta', vol. I, p. 10.
- 5. Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad al-Ansari, whose grandfather kept company to the Prophet, was a faqih follower, officiated by Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz as a governor and judge of al-Madinah. Malik says: No one (among judges) in al-Madinah had that knowledge in adjudication as was owned by Abu Bakr ibn Hazm. He died in 120 H.
- 6. Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz assumed caliphate in 99 H. and died in 101 H. He was widely-known of justice. See Rasa'il al-Jahiz, compiled by al-Sandubi, p. 91, and Tamhid li Ta'rikh al-falsafah al-Islamiyyah, of al-Allamah Mustafa Abd al-Raziq.
- 7. He is Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Shahab al-Zuhri, one of imams of hadith. He died in 124 H.
- 8. Al-Baghdadi states that what was written down by Abd Allah ibn 'Amr in his sahifah which he named al-Sadiqah, and was so concerned, being no more than supplications and prayers. Refer to Shaykh al-mudirah to be acquainted with what this sahifah contained.
- 9. Tamhid li ta'rikh al-falsafah al-Islamiyyah, pp. 195, 198.
- 10. Abu al-Mulayh said: It was Hisham who coerced al-Zuhri to write down the hadith, after which writing of hadith became so common. Ibn Sa'd in his Tabaqat says: "So we found it proper not to prevent anyone of Muslims from writing" - (vol. II, p. 135).
- 11. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Taqyid al-'ilm, p. 107.
- 12. Ibn Abd al-Barr, Jami' bayan al-'ilm wa fadlih, vol. I, p. 77.
- 13. See p. 72.
- 14. It is reported that Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah has translated books of philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, medicine and wars and others, from the Greek into the Hebrew and from the Hebrew into the Syriac, and also from the Syriac into the Arabic. He was the first man for whom the books were collected, which he kept in a store-house. He died in 85 H.
- 15. Ubayd ibn Sariyah, and in another narration: Shryah al-Jarhumi, was summoned by Mu'awiyah from Yemen to the Sham (Syria), to inquire him about the conditions of the kings of Arabs and Non-Arabs (Ajam), commanding him to write down what he said with ascribing it to him. And that the beginning of tadwin throughout history (al-Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim, Leibziq Edition, p. 89). In al-Bukhala', al-Jahiz says: He was not knowing but the outward of the words, i.e. he was only a narrator.
- 16. Al-Iskandari, Ta'rikh Adab al-Lughah al-Arabiyyah, p. 72.
- 17. Al-Ihya', Boulaq Edition 1296, vol. I, p. 79.
- 18. It is reported from Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi al-Zinad, from his father that he said: We used to write down the halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful) and Ibn Shahab used to write whatever he heard (Jami' bayan al-'ilm, vol. I, p. 73).
- 19. Abu Ja'far al-Mansur was the first caliph for whom the Syriac, Non-Arabic books were translated into Arabic, and the first who sowed discord between the Abbasids and Alawids, after they were united. He came to power in 136 H. and died in the year 158 H.
- 20. Al-Iskandari, op. cit., p. 72.
- 21. There is another narration saying that Abu Hazim al-A'raj said to Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik: The sultan (monarch) is no more than a market, that whatever is spent in it is carried to it.
- 22. His full name is Abd al-Malik ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Jarih al-Rumi.
- 23. He is Hasheem, and he was (living) in Wasit.
- 24. Al-Nujum al-Zahirah, vol. I, p. 351; Ta'rikh al-khulafa' of al-Suyuti, p. 101.
- 25. The tabaqah (class) is a term used by the muhaddithun to mean a community sharing similar age and meeting the mashayikh (chiefs).
- 26. Or rather the fabrication as will be manifested later on.
- 27. Ibn Hajar, Muqaddimat Fath al-Bari, p. 4.
- 28. Refer to chapter "Fabrication of hadith and Its Causes" in this book.
- 29. Refer to chapter "Reliability of the Sahabah" in this book.
- 30. Refer to the book al-Niza' wa al-takhasum fima bayna Bani Ummayyah wa Bani Hashim, of al-Maqrizi, and to my book Shaykh al-mudirah, to realize how the state of Umayyads was established.
- 31. Abu Rafi' was bondman (mawla) of the Messenger of Allah, and his name was Aslam. He was owned by al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, who freed and granted him to the Messenger of Allah. It was him who made the pulpit (minbar) for the Prophet from the forest tamarisk. And Salma, the bondwoman of the Messenger of Allah, was the wife of Abu Rafi', for whom she gave birth to Ubayd Allah ibn Abi Rafi', the scribe of al-Imam Ali (peace be upon him).
- 32. Al-Shi'ah wa funun al-Islam, by al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr (one of ulama' of Iraq - Irfan Press, Seida, 1331.
- 33. See p. 56.
- 34. I have cited previously the hadith of Sahifah among the ahadith I inferred to prove the narration on basis of meaning.
- 35. Tadrib al-rawi, p. 9.
- 36. He died in 360 H. Ramhurmuz was a Persian region, and al-Ramhurmuzi's book is al-Muhaddith al-fasil bayn al-rawi wa al-wa'i, of which a manuscript is found in Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyyah.
- 37. This knowledge was described by an honourable scholar thus: It is a mere conventional knowledge that can be comprehended through strenuous exertion of memory, and deduced by power of remembrance. Thus it cannot be found by fathoming thought as delightful over realities of reasonables nor by fathoming imagination through atmospheres of versificatoins, nor the twittering spirit, in meadows of literature or hovering about in the of divinities. (see introduction to Qawa'id al-tahdith, of al-Qasimi, Damascus Edition, p. 10).
- 38. Let this reach the ear of contemporary Hashwiyyah who have not attained in ilm al-hadith that level to hear or make people hear, but all they could know being only reading some hadith books or printing them so as to gain profits out of that.
- 39. See p. 28.
- 40. The accurate narrator is in fact that who relates exactly whatever he heard to others without any change or alteration, as stated in the hadith: "…and related it exactly as he heart it in respect of wording and meaning".
- 41. Ibn Taymiyyah says: Committing a mistake is something that most of people can never escape, and rather among the Sahabah are some who would err sometimes and even among their followers. As a consequence of this, many traditions of those cited in the Sahihs were known to be wrong.
- 42. They have divided the narrators possessing reliability and exactitude according to dissimilarity of their degrees, into nine kinds, which they stated in their books.
- 43. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 407.
- 44. Even the mutawatir was not free from suspicion in regard of its relation - ilm al-yaqin - as it is possible to inform some people, who can never be accused of falsification, of situation of so and so, while telling some other people with some news contradicting their report.
- 45. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 33.
- 46. Many of the usulis declared that there should be contexts for the mutawatir, as otherwise there would be no difference between it and khabar al-ahad which if be sorrounded with contexts, they would obligate knowledge of its being true. And the reason for their difference being the obscurity and exactitude of this research.
- 47. Sharh al-Nawawi, vol. I, p. 169.
- 48. Can this rule which they determined be commanded by Allah and His Messenger? And can it keep us away of being charged with following the conjecture, to which reference is made in numerous verses of the Qur'an, like: "Most of them follow not but conjecture. Assuredly conjecture can by no means take the place of truth". And the verse: "And they have no knowledge thereof. They follow but a guess, and lo! A guess can never take the place of the truth". And also the saying of the Most High: "…they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture"?
- 49. See p. 9.
- 50. That is 'ilm al-isnad.
- 51. He is Ibn al-Salah.
- 52. If they have not agreed on unanimity in itself, it is not admitted here, as many of the Islamic madhahib, like Shi'ah, Zaydiyyah and Ibadiyyah and others do not act according to whatever is cited in Sahih al-Bukhari or other Sunni books, known among the Jumhur. Even leaders of Sunni fiqhi schools (madhahib) held fast in their madhhab to what they took from their leaders, and never deviated from the Sunnah books, but they contradicted most of the traditions stated in them as will be manifested later on.
- 53. Whoever desiring to get more information about this subject, is asked to refer to Tawjih al-nazar of al-Jaza'iri, from which I quoted this statement.
- 54. Al-Hazimi, Shurut al-A'immah al-Khamsah, p. 37.
- 55. Al-I'tisam, vol. I, p. 130.
- 56. Al-Hazimi, op. cit., p. 32.
- 57. Al-Taqrib, p. 31.
- 58. The full text of this hadith is thus: "My pond is (located) between Aden and Oman the piehald. Its water is much whiter than the milk and sweeter than the honey, and its cups numbering the same as the stars in the sky!! Whoever having a drink from it will verily never feel thirst.
And the first people to drink of it will be the poor immigrants, the dishevelled and of polluted clothes who never marry the well-off women, nor the dams will be opened for them!! This hadith was considered by them as the mutawatir; and for it there are several narrations differing in words, and in quantity of its water!
- 59. There being other sorts of hadith to which I haven't referred as they come wihtin the subjects of art of hadith. The first who divided the hadith into three parts: sahih, hasan (good) and da'if (weak), is Abu 'Isa al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 H.), in his Sunan, and no one talked about this division before him.
He stated that the hasan is that hadith whose ways of transmission were numerous, but none of them was accused of falsity or has been abnormal. And it is lower in degree than the sahih whose transmitters were known of reliability (adalah) and accuracy. While the da'if is that hadith, the transmitter of which was known to be a liar and of bad memory.
- 60. Al-Adab al-Shar'iyyah, vol. II, pp. 313, 314.
- 61. Al-Manar Journal, vol. XXXI, p. 128.
- 62. Ulum al-hadith, which was known as Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah, who was called by men of hadith with the title 'al-Shaykh'. He died in 643 H.
- 63. See p. 19.
- 64. Fath al-mughith bi-Sharh Alfiyyat al-hadith, p. 12.
- 65. Let's give an example for this: The hadith reported from the Prophet on his returning to al-Madinah from the Battle of Uhud, after commanding the Muslims to line up behind him, when he said: "Arrange your rows so as to praise my Lord". Then he concluded it by saying: O God, the killer of the infidels to whom the Scripture was sent, God of truth. This hadith was reported by Ahmad and al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad, with al-Nasa'i and others. In its regard al-Dhahabi said: Despite cleanness of its isnad, it is disregarded, and I am afraid it being fabricated. The books of hadith are replete with such narrations.
- 66. Yahya ibn Mu'in was one of eminent ulama' of jarh and ta'dil.
- 67. Refer to vol. I, p. 81.
- 68. See the story of this hadith in this book.
- 69. Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi was one of notable ulama' of jarh and ta'dil.
- 70. The story of Dhu al-Yadayn is reported in the two Sahihs, that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet led us in prayers of the noon (zuhr) or the afternoon (asr), when Dhu al-Yadayn said to him: The prayer O Messenge of Allah, it is diminished!? The Prophet then said to his Companions: Does he say the truth? They said: Yes. Then he (S) performed two other rak'ahs, and made two sajdahs.
- 71. How can he forget? While claiming that the Prophet ordered him to spread his garment, pouring out in it of his blessings so as to protect him against forgetting anything. See my book Shaykh al-mudirah.
- 72. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 257.
- 73. Tafsir al-Manar, vol. XXIX, pp. 40, 41.
- 74. Ibid., vol. III, p. 141.
- 75. Ibid., pp. 101, 102; al-Azhar.
- 76. Al-Hakim stated this when elucidating the nineteenth kind of sciences of hadith, in his book Ma'rifat ulum al-hadith. In this elucidation he said: This sort of sciences is other than the jarh and ta'dil.
- 77. Tawjih al-nazar, p. 334.
- 78. Muqaddimat Ibn al-Salah, p. 114.
- 79. One of its meanings is the stick.