Archive for narrator

Criticising Narrators In Hadeeth, By Ibn Rajab

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2015 by TheAuthenticBase

Ibn Rajab said:

“As for the people of knowledge and understanding and those who adhere to the sunnah and the Jamaa’ah, then indeed they only mention the defects of the hadeeth out of sincerity to the religion and in order to preserve and safeguard the Prophet’s sunnah and to identify what befell the narrators of hadeeth from error, forgetfulness, and weakness.

This type of criticism was not required for other than weak and defective hadeeths. Rather, in their view, this strengthened the authentic hadeeths, since they were free from these defects and errors. So these individuals are the ones who are truly aware of the sunnah of the messenger of Allaah. And they are the great intellectual critics who criticeze the hadeeth after having skillfully and efficiently examined them in order to discredit the fake from the authentic…

[Sharh ‘Ilal At-Tirmidhee, 2/808]

Elsewhere he said:

“The righteous Imaams went to great lengths in forsaking the weak sayings (opinions) of some of the scholars. And they refuted them with the highest degree of refutation, as Imaam Ahmad used to censure Aboo Thawr and others in their opinions that they were alone in saying. And he went to great extremes in refuting them in these opinions…

[Al-Farq Bayna An-Naseeha Wat-Ta’yeer, p.30]

Criticising Narrators Without Any Fear

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by TheAuthenticBase

From among the righteous Salaf, there were men, who knew no fear when it came to criticising narrators, regardless whether that man was a ruler or the lowest man in society.

Likewise, they did not fear the blame of anyone, nor did they hesitate to proclaim openly any defect found in narrators.

It was said to Yahyaa Ibn Sa’eed Al-Qattaan:

“Do you not fear that these whose narrations you have abandoned will be your opponents before Allaah on the Day of Judgement?”

He said:

For these to be my opponents is more beloved to me than for the Messenger of Allaah (saw) to be my opponent, saying to me, ‘Why did you not expel lies from my hadeeth?‘ “

[Quoted in “The Sunnah And Its Role In Islamic Legislation” p.130]

An Orientalist’s View On The Isnaad System

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by TheAuthenticBase

A contemporary Christian author, Asad Rustum, a former history professor at the American University in Beirut, wrote a book about historical narrations. In his book, he depended on the principles of hadeeth criticism, admitting that they consist of the best methods to authenticate historical reports and narrations. He wrote in chapter 6:

“The achievements of the scholars of hadeeth in this regard, over hundreds of years, are indeed worthy of wonder and respect. Here are some of the exact phrases we relate to you from their books to show you their scholarly precision and to acknowledge their contribution and favor to history.”

He then begins to relate from Imaam Maalik, Imaam Muslim, Al-Ghazaalee, Al-Qaadee ‘Iyaad, and Ibn As-Salaah.

Some Conditions For Accepting Narrations

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by TheAuthenticBase

Scholars lay down rules that explained in detail the criteria for accepting the narrations of a narrator and for rejecting them. The following four groups constitute the most important categories of narrators whose narrations are not accepted:

1) The liars who lied upon the Messenger of Allaah (saw). The scholars agree that narrations of hadeeth are not accepted from one who lied even once about the Prophet (saw). They also agree that it is one of the greatest sins to lie about the Prophet (saw). See this post for more info on whether a liar in hadeeth is a disbeliever or not.

2) The liars. Those who lie in their general talk, even if they never lied about the messenger of Allaah (saw). Scholars agree that if someone is known to have lied even once, then his narrations are not accepted. IMaam Maalike said, “But if one repents for his lies and then becomes known for truthfulness and uprightness, then the majority of scholars hold that both his repentance and narrations are accepted.”

3) The people of innovation and desires. The scholars agree that a narration is not accepted from an innovator who sinks into disbelief because of his innovation. The same ruling applies to the one who deems lying as being lawful, though he does not go into disbelief because of his innovation.

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An Example Of A Narrator Who The Scholars Have Differed Over

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by TheAuthenticBase

From the previous three posts, we came to realise why and how the Imaams of Hadeeth (in specific; the Imaams of Al-Jarh Wat-ta’deel) differed over a narrator of hadeeth. Below is an example of such a narrator:

A name among the early third century transmitters is Hajjaaj Bin Nusayrat Al-Fasaatitee of Basra (d. 214H).

Yahyaa Ibn Ma’een said he was “saadiq (truthful).”

Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him among the thiqaat (reliable).

‘Alee Ibn Al-Madeenee said “his hadeeth is dismissed.”

Aboo Haatim, Ar-Raazee, Aboo Daawood and An-Nisaa’ee have considered him weak and have said his hadeeth was abandoned.

And finally, Imaam Bukhaaree said that many remained silent about him.

[Mizaan Al-I’tidaal Fee Naqd Ar-Rijaal of Adh-Dhahabee, 1/116, 210 & As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah of ‘Umar Haashim, Pp. 100-102. See “Hadeeth Studies” by Mohammad Hasim Kamali Pp. 80-95 for more info]

When Scholars Differ Over The Reliability Of A Narrator, Part 3

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2012 by TheAuthenticBase

Conflict In Grading Men

Should there be conflicting information concerning a narrator of hadeeth, some of whch qualifies him to be reliable and the rest does not, the evidence of al-jarh (discrediting) takes priority over the evidence on al-ta’deel (validating/uprightness). (1)

But if the negative evidence only related to an earlier part of the narrator’s life and he is subsequently known to have become upright and reliable, then his narration may be accepted.

It is important to note that in situations of uncertainty such as this, greater attention will be paid to the grounds/reasons that are given for al-jarh rather than validation (ta’deel).

Although the evidence in support of al-jarh (discrediting) takes priority over that of al-ta’deel (validation/uprightness), but if the number of validators exceed those of jarh (discreditors), then validation may take priority over the jarh.

The safer position, as Ibn As-Salaah points out, is still the first one, which is supported by the majority, namely that jarh takes priority over ta’deel.

Does Reference Have To Be Made When Discrediting A Narrator?

The scholars have differed over whether they accept the jarh (discrediting) and ta’deel (validation/uprightness) without any reference made to the reason thereof (2). There are three opinions n this matter:

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When Scholars Differ Over The Reliability Of A Narrator, Part 2

Posted in Hadith Studies with tags , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by TheAuthenticBase

In the case of jarh (discrediting), it is necessary, as already noted in the previous post, that a reference is made to the grounds or causes of jarh. People tend to vary in their assessment of what they may regard to be a valid ground of jarh, but even here it has been a tendency towards avoidance of detail in specifying the grounds of jarh.

Who Is/Isn’t Discredited

The scholars have often made brief statements that “so-and-so is weak (da’eef) or abandoned (matrook)” and the like without giving much detail. Brief comments of this type often fell short of explaining or specifying the grounds of jarh, but they succeeded nevertheless in casting doubt on the reliability of their subjects.

Scrutinising Those Lower In The Chain

The higher links in the chain of transmission, who were closer to the source, were given greater credibility and recognition than lower links. The scholars of hadeeth thus tended to scrutinise reports by their contemporaries or narrators of later generations more stringently compared to, for example, narrators who belonged to the taabi’oon or even the taabi’ taabi’oon (1).

What Is A Valid Ground For Discrediting A Narrator?

Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadee has a chapter in Al-Kifaaya in which he elaborates on what is not suitable nor valid to be considered as a ground for jarh (2). Below are some of the reasons why scholars may/may not discredit a narrator:

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