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['Aalim Network QR] Hadith from our Imams

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
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Salamun 'Alaykum

The following  question was kindly answered by  Ma'alim Hasnain Kassamali.  

With Salaams and Du'as

Maqbul Rahim
Acting Moderator for ABDG-A

---------- Forwarded message ----------

 Subject: Hadith from our Imams


Q1. What role does the Prophet (PBUH&HF) play in regards to these
   injunctions? Certainly, he taught Imam Ali (as) the knowledge
   but why don't we (or we do) take the injunctions from the
   Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&H) directly?

Q2. Why is there more emphasis on the sayings of the Imams (as)
   than the Prophet's (PBUH&HF)? There are more sayings that we
   attribute to the Imams (as) than to the Holy Personality
   himself (PBUH&HF).


In His name, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Let me begin responding to the questions by quoting the following hadiths:

i. Umm Salamah quotes on the authority of the Holy Prophet (s): "`Ali is
always with the Truth (haqq) and the Qur'an, and the Truth and the Qur'an
are always with him until the Day of Judgement they will not be separated
from each other."
According to S.H.Nasr this hadith has been transmitted through fifteen
channels in Sunni sources and eleven in Shi`ah sources.
(Tabatab'i, SHI`AH, Tr. S.H.Nasr, Chapter I, Note 4; with slight difference
in Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadiths 980, 981 & 982).

ii. Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq (a) said: " My words (hadith) are the words of my
father, and the words of my father are the words of my grandfather, and the
words of my grandfather are the words al-Husayn, and the words of al-Husayn
are the words of al-Hasan, and the words of al-Hasan are the words of Amir
al-Mu'mineen (a), and the words of Amir al-Mu'mineen are the words of the
Prophet of Allah (s) and the words of the Prophet are the sayings (qawl) of
Allah." (AL-KAFI, The Book of Excellence of Knowledge, Hadith 154-14).

iii. Once there was a disagreement between Hakam bin `Ayyinah and Imam
Muhammad Baqir (a) on an issue. So the Imam said, " Son, get up and bring
`Ali's book." He brought a big voluminous book and opened it. He looked
closely in it for a while until he found the issue being debated. Abu Ja`far
(i.e. the 5th Imam) said, "This is the handwriting of `Ali and the dictation
of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings."
(M. Awliya'i, "Outlines of the Development of Science of Hadith", Al-Tawhid,
vol. 1, No. 1).

Only three out of many similar hadiths have been quoted here. The following
answers to your questions will be better understood, I hope, in light of
these hadiths.

Answer to Question 1: Although with the Shi`ah Muslims Haidth is what was
said by the Prophet and the twelve Imams (and some scholars include the
sayings of Bibi Fatima also), the real source all Hadith is the Holy
Prophet, sallal-lahu `alayhi wa-aalihi wa-sallam. Therefore, when we take a
hadith from any Imam we are taking them indirectly from the Prophet (s).

As for the question: why don't we take Hadith from the Prophet directly? I
have the following to comment:
1. Where it is possible we do take directly from the Prophet. However, the
scholar quoting these hadiths should be satisfied with their authenticity.
`Allma Tabatab'i, for instance, often quotes from the Prophetic Hadith from
Sunni sources in his celebrated and voluminous exegesis on the Holy Qur'an,
AL-MIZAAN FEE TAFSEER AL-QUR'AN. So does Muhammad al-Ray Sharee in his MIZAN
AL-HIKMAH, a collection of over 22,000 hadith in 10 volumes. Also, numerous
books on Shi`ah-Sunni polemics have hadiths quoted from sunni sources. See
for e.g. S A Sharafuddin, THE STRAIGHT PATH; M. Tijani Samawi, THEN I WAS
Thus the claim of some western scholars that the Shi`ah "reject the six
Sunni collections of hadith as deliberate distortions of the Prophet's
conduct and discourse; they rely instead on hadith that omit mention of the
sahaba and are traceable to Ali, his immediate family, and his more
promiment descendants, the Imams" (B. Lawrence, "Sahaba" in The Perennial
Dictionary of World Religions, New York:1989), depicts their ignorance in
this area.

2. Our scholars have taken care to separate all those Hadith where our Imams
quote the exact words of the Holy Prophet (s. In NAHJUL BALAGHA, for
instance, the scholars have enclosed the quotes of the Holy Prophet in
parentheses in about 38 places.
3. The caliphs who took over the control of leading the Muslim ummah after
the death of Holy Prophet (s) prevented Muslims from commiting the Prophet's
hadith in writing. It was almost after about 90 years that the prohibition
was lifted. Consequently, very many unauthentic and fabricated hadith found
places in some of the most renown books of Hadith. Of course, this was not
the only reason for the arising of forged hadith. The Shi`ah who follow the
school of the Ahlul Bayt are fortunate to take the Hadith from their Imams,
for the Imams were in a better position to understand and interpret the
Prophetic traditions.

Answer to Question 2: Yes, apparently the emphasis on hadith from the Imams
seems more than the Prophetic hadith. This is because:
1. As indicated earlier, hadith from Imams are in essence hadith from the
Holy Prophet (s).
2. The period between the death of the Prophet and the Ghaybat of the
Twelveth Imam, may the Almighty hasten his appearance, was two hundred and
fifty years. Obviously, more hadiths were reported during this time than the
hadith reported by the companions of the Prophet.
3. Political situation after the death of the Prophet prevented the
recording of Prophetic Hadith.
4. Some Imams(e.g. 5th,6th and 8th)  had a better opportunity to expound on
various sciences of Islamic teachings. Thus we find bulk of Hadith from them,
especially from the 6th Imam. Thus the name of our Madhhab: the Ja`fari.

My apologies for lengthening the answer with various details.

For further study one may refer to:
1. SHI`ISM: Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality, Albany:1988, Chapter 4.
2.`Askari, M. A PROBE INTO THE HISTORY OF HADITH, Teheran: 1984.
3. Rizvi, S.A.A.  QUR'AN AND HADITH, Mombasa: 1986.
4. Awliya'i, M. "Outlines of the Development of the Science of Hadith", 3
parts    in Al-Tawhid, Vol I, Nos. 1, 2 & 3.
5. Ja`fariyan, R. "Tadwin al-Hadith" 3 Parts in Al-Tawhid, vol. v. Nos. 2,
3& 4    and Vol 6. No. 1.

With salaams and du`as.

Hasnain Kassamali
Humble servant of the Ahlul Bayt (a).

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