|Preface||Chapter 1||Definition of Hadith|
|Chapter 2||Classification of Hadith|
|Chapter 3||Significance of Hadith|
|Chapter 4||Divine Protection of Hadith|
|Chapter 5||Difference Between History Books and Hadith|
|Chapter 6||Dedication of Sahaabah Kiram Towards Qur’an Hadith|
|Chapter 7||Continuity of Hadith from Generation to Generation|
|Chapter 8||Memorisation and Compilation of Hadith|
|Chapter 9||Precaution and Protection of Hadith|
|Chapter 11||Sanad (Chain of Transmission) Made Essential Constituent of Deen|
|Chapter 12||Terminology used to label the status of narrator of Hadith|
|Chapter 13||Great Muhadditheen|
All thanks to Almighty Allah who created the universe and decorated it with skies and stars and made the sun as the chief source of energy for the planet earth. He created man as the best creature and sent Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as the chief source of guidance for the mankind. May Allah send everlasting and ever increasing blessings on the blessed soul of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Philosophers and critical students of nature wandered in the jungles of darkness in search of truth, what they could not unfold in centuries, was decoded by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) by simple looking but comprehensive statements. It is these decoding keys of treasure of truth which are called Ahaadith. Certainly one cannot know the truth without knowing these keys of treasures of truth in the form of Hadith.
By the Grace of Allah, in this small work I have tried to make the students of Hadith familiar with the fundamentals of Hadith which is very important to know before studying the Ilm-e-Hadith properly. I hope readers will find it useful and will make Dua for me so that Allah Ta’ala accepts this small work and make it as a means of salvation for me in the Hereafter.
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad.
9th April. 2000
Definition of Hadith
Literal Meaning : The Arabic word Hadith literally means ‘statement’ or ‘talk’.
الحديث الكلام قليله و كثيره
“Hadith is a talk which may be brief or detailed.’
Ahaadith (أحاديث): Ahaadith is plural of Hadith.
Haadith and Qadeem (حادث اور قديم)
Haadith in Arabic is used as opposite to Qadeem. Qadeem means something without a beginning which obviously is none but Allah Ta’ala. The opposite of Qadeem is Haadith which means something with beginning. In other words it means ‘Created (Makhlooq). As per this meaning, the Qur’an is the word of Allah hence is Qadeem, whereas Hadith means that word which is created and since Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself is among Makhlooq, so his statements are called Hadith.
Technical meaning of Hadith used in Shari’ah
In technical terms Hadith stands for the report of words and deeds, approval or disapproval of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Whatever Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said or did constitute the Hadith. If someone said or did something in presence of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and he approved or disapproved those words or deeds is also included in the definition of Hadith. The word Sunnah is used synonymously with Hadith but usually Sunnah word is used while reporting the deeds of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whereas the word Hadith is used while reporting the Statements of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
As companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to say: “Such and such thing was made guide to us by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) (Here word Sunnah was used) and they used to say:
سنن رسول الله لنا كذا و كذا
“Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stated such and such things for us (Here word Hadith is used)”.
Word Hadith as used in Qur’an
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ
“But the Bounty of thy Lord rehearse and proclaim.”(93:11)
In this Surah Allah Ta’ala reminds Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of His bounties which He bestowed upon him. Allah Ta’ala tells him that He found him in search of guidance and He guided him, and He found him in need and made him independent. After reminding him of these bounties Allah Ta’ala directs Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to proclaim and share these bounties with people.
Allamah Shabir Uthmani says: “Probably it is because of this verse (in which Allah Ta’ala uses word Hadith while directing Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to proclaim His Divine bounties) that the statements of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) are called Hadith.”
Another thing which can be inferred from this verse is that whatever Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did or said, was all under the Divine Guidance and Control. In other words we can say that Hadith is a Divine Word but indirectly as compared to the Qur’an which is directly a Divine word.
The Qur’an also uses word Hadith in the meaning of story or incident:
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ
“Has the story reached thee of the honoured guests of Ibrahim.”(51:24)
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَى
“Has the story of Moses reached thee.” ( 79:15)
Word Hadith used by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
Tirmidhi has reported a Hadith on the authority of Zayd bin Thabit (RA):
نضر الله أمرا سمع منا حديثا حفظه حتى يبلغه غيره
“May Allah bestow freshness upon one who listens Hadith from me and conveys it to others.”
In this tradition Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself uses the word Hadith for his statement. The message conveyed in this Hadith by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was very well taken by the distinguished men of this Ummah, who, in every generation dedicated their lives for this purpose. The sole aim in their life was to collect Hadith, preserve it in pristine purity and convey it to the future generations.
Word Hadith used by Sahaabah (RA)
Sahih Bukhari reports that once Abu Hurairah (RA) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):
إني أسمع منك حديثا كثيرا النساه
“I listen many Hadith from you (but) I forget”
Some common terminology used in Ilm-Hadith
Literal meaning: Left over part of something, sign.
Technical meaning: It is used in three ways viz.,
Literal meaning: Practice, habit.
Literal meaning: Support.
Technical meaning: Chain of transmission (The sequential list of names of a group of narrators who narrate a particular Hadith).
Literal meaning: The elevated hard part of earth.
Technical meaning: It is the text of the Hadith (that part of Hadith which is actually meant to be stated). It comes after Sanad i.e., chain of transmission.
Literal meaning: Narrator, one who narrates.
Technical meaning: Narrator of Hadith, everyone whose name comes in Sanad.
Literal meaning: That thing which has been narrated.
Technical meaning : Same as matan which comes after Sanad.
That scholar who has enough knowledge of both wordings as well as the meanings of Hadith and is also well versed with the knowledge of narrations and narrators of Hadith.
Plural of Muhaddith.
Haafiz-e-Hadith (حافظِ حديث)
It is defined in three ways:
Hujjat-e-Hadith (حجتِ حديث)
The Muhaddith who has complete knowledge of about three lakh Hadith. (Uloom-ul-Hadith)
That Muhaddith who has such a strong hold on the knowledge of Hadith that hardly any part of it is left out of his knowledge. (Sharah-ul-Qari)
Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen fil Hadith (أمير المؤمنين في الحديث)
That Muhaddith who is superior to all the above mentioned Muhadditheen in all respects and whose opinion and research is seen with honour by all other contemporary Muhadditheen.
Some of the famous Muhadditheen who have been given this title are Sufiyan Thouri, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Ahmad bin Hambal, Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim. (Uloom-ul-Hadith)
Riwayat fil Hadith (رواية في الحديث)
It means to memorize or to write a Hadith first (Sanad and Matan), and then quote and pass on the same wordings to others.
Dirayat fil Hadith (دراية في الحديث)
It includes analysis of Hadith with its all related aspects. Only after such in depth analysis decision is taken whether one has to act as per this Hadith or not.
Classification of Hadith
Hadith-e-Qudsi (حديث قدسي)
It is that Hadith which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) quotes from Allah Ta’ala. In other words it is a statement of Allah Ta’ala quoted by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and which is not in the Qur’an.
Difference between Hadith-e-Qudsi & the Qur’an
In Qur’an both the words as well as meaning is revealed by Allah Ta’ala.
In Hadith-e-Qudsi only meaning is revealed by Allah Ta’ala which is put into words by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). So Hadith-e-Qudsi is not of the same status as Qur’an. We cannot touch Qur’an without Wadhu, such is not the case with Hadith-e-Qudsi. The whole Qur’an was revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) through Angel Jibraeel (AS) whereas Ahaadith-e-Qudsiyah were revealed through other agencies like dream and Ilham (intuition) in addition to Angel Jibraeel (AS).
Example: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) quotes Allah Ta’ala as saying:
الصوم لي و أنا أجزا به
“Fasting is Mine and it is I Who gives reward for it”
Literal meaning: Elevated.
Technical meaning: Traced directly.
A Hadith which is traced back directly to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is called Marfu’. In this type the Sanad (chain of transmission) reaches right upto Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It has two types: viz:
It is that Hadith which is attributed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in clear terms. It is of four types viz;
It is that Hadith which contains some statement of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
It is that Hadith which describes some act or deed of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) e.g., Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) performed such and such act in such and such way.
It is that Hadith which includes some statements or acts of some of the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which were said or done in his presence and he did not object to them.
It is that Hadith which describes something about physical, spiritual or moral attributes or states of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
It is that Hadith which is not attributed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) directly but due to some other reason. For example,
* Sahaabah used to do such and such thing. It indirectly means that they were doing it under the instructions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
* When a Sahaabi says that they had been ordered in such and such way. This also becomes a Murfu’ Hukmi Hadith.
Literal meaning: Stopped.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which chain of transmission stops at Sahaabah and does not reach Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It has three types viz.,
That Hadith in which a particular statement of some Sahaabi is stated.
That Hadith in which a particular act of some Sahaabi is described.
That Hadith in which some Taabaee said or did something in presence of a Sahaabi and the latter did not object to that.
Literal meaning: Cut.
Technical meaning: That statement or deed which is attributed to some Tabaee. In this Hadith chain of transmission stops at two steps-down i.e., at the level of Taabaee.
Literal meaning: Joined.
Technical meaning: That Hadith which has got successive narrators continuously without any gap or omission in between. Its chain or Sanad is uninterrupted from beginning to the end. For example:
Imam Maalik (RA) says that he heard from Nafea, who heard from Ibne Umar, who in turn heard from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) such and such thing.
Literal Meaning: Having been related or attributed to.
Technical Meaning: That Marfu Hadith whose Sanad or chain is Muttasil (joined) is called Musnad Hadith.
Classification of Hadith as per type of chain of transmission
Tabaqat (generations) of narrators of Hadith as per Ibn Hajar Asqalani (RA)
Before understanding this classification of Hadith, one must understand what is meant by Tabaqat or generations of narrators.
Tabaqat from Sahaabah
Sahaabah-al-Kiram constitute the first three generation of narrators, who directly learned Islam from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This group is divided into three groups. Viz;
iii) Tabaqah Al-Sugra Sahaabah (Low level).
Tabaqat from Taabaeen
This constitutes the second group of generations of narrators in chain of transmission. Those Muslims who saw/witnessed the era of Sahaabah and learned Islam from them are called Tabaeeh.
This group has been divided into three sub-groups. viz:
iii) Tabaqah al-Sugra like Imam Zuhri, Qatada.
Tabaqat from Taba-Taabaeen
Taba-Taabeen constitute the third group. Those Muslims who saw/witnessed the era of Taabaeen and learned Islam from them are called Taba-Tabaeeh. This group has further been sub-divided into three sub-groups:
iii) Tabaqah al-Sugra Taba-Taabaeen like Imam Shaafaee, Abdul Razaq
Classification Based upon Number of Narrators
Literal meaning: Continuousز
Technical meaning: It is a Hadith that is narrated in each era, from the days of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is upto this day by such a large number of narrators that it is impossible to reasonably accept that all of them have colluded to tell a lie. In other words it means that since so many people are narrating this Hadith in each generation so there is not even least doubt about its truthfulness, so Hadith-e-Mutawatir is taken as an absolute truth and one who rejects it is considered Kaafir. Mutawatir has following types:
It is a Hadith whose words are narrated by such a large number as is required for a Mutawatir, in a manner that all the narrators are unanimous in reporting it with the same words without any substantial discrepancy. Example:
من كذّب علي متعمد فليتبوأ مقعده في النار
One who attributes a lie to me deliberately should find his abode in Hell. (Bukhari)
This Hadith has been narrated by more than seventy Sahaabah with the same wording.
It is a Mutawatir Hadith which is not reported by the narrators in the same words. The words of the narrators are different. Sometimes even the reported events are not the same. But all the narrators are unanimous in reporting a basic concept which is common in all the reports . This common concept is also ranked as a Mutawatir concept. For example: Raising of hands while making dua.
Khabre-Wahid (خبر واحد)
Literal meaning: Khabre means statement and Wahid means one .
Technical meaning: That Hadith which does not reach to the status of Mutawatir.
Classification of Khabre Wahib
It has been divided into three kinds as per number of narrators. Viz;
iii) Gareeb (غريب)
iii) Hasan Lizatihi (حسن لذاته)
iii) Munqata (منقطع)
Also, Mardood or Dhaeef based upon the type of defect in Rawi or narration is divided into eight parts, viz.,
iii) Munkar (منكر)
vii) Maqloob (مقلوب)
viii) Muztarib (مضطرب)
Mash hoor (مشهور)
Literal meaning: Famous Hadith.
Technical meaning: That Hadith which is handed down by at least three or more than three narrators and it does not reach to the status of Mutwatir. Example:
من جآء منكم الجمعة فليغسل
“One who finds Friday should take Ghusl (bath)”
Literal meaning: Rare.
Technical meaning: That Hadith which is transmitted or handed down by at least two narrators at each step in the chain of transmission. If there are two narrators only in one step, still it is Aziz; and even if there are more narrators in other steps in Tabqaat. Example:
لا يؤمن حتى أكون أحب إليه من والده و ولده و الناس أجمعين
“No one amongst you can be a Mu’min until and unless I am dearer to him than his father, children and everybody.”
Literal Meaning: Stranger, alone.
Technical Meaning: That Hadith in which link of transmission is joined to another at certain point by one transmitter only. Example:
إنما الأعمال بالنيات
“Indeed deeds are as per intention.”
From the generation of Sahaabah only Hadhrat Umar (RA) has narrated this Hadith.
Another meaning of Gareeb: Gareeb means stranger, so if there is any difficult word in the text (Matan) of the Hadith whose meaning is not clear, then that type of Hadith is also called Gareeb. Example:
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Offer Salaah while standing if you cannot do that, offer while sitting and if you cannot do that offer while lying down.
In this Hadith it was not clear how to offer Salaah in lay down position. Hadhrat Ali (RA) made its meaning clear by saying it is lateral position facing Qiblah.
Sahid Lizatihi (صحيح لذاته)
Literal Meaning: Sound, Faultless.
Technical Meaning: That Hadith which is transmitted by successive narrators upto the end without any missing link between them in the chain of transmission. In this all the narrators are highly pious, authentic and reliable and there is no weakness in this Hadith either as regards to chain of transmission or as regards to the text (Matan) of the Hadith. Example:
“Bukhari has narrated that Abdullah bin Yousuf said that he heard Malik who quoted from Muhammad bin Jubair bin Matam, who quoted his father as saying that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) reciting Surah ‘Tur” in Magrib Salaah”.
This Hadith is Sahih as its Sanad is Muttasil (joined), all of its narrators are authentic and it is also free from all other defects.
Sahih Ligairihi (صحيح لغيره)
Literal meaning: Sahih—Sound, Ligairihi—Due to others.
Technical meaning: It is a Hasan Lizatihi Hadith, which gets strengthened and becomes Sahih Hadith because of the support from other narrations. Since this Hadith in itself was Hasan and got elevated to the status of Sahih due to support from other hadith, it is called Sahihi-Ligairihi.
Status: Like Sahih it is also Hujjat in Shari’ah and is dependable to be acted upon.
Conditions for being Sahih
Well known compilations of Ahaadith-e-Sahihah are as under:
iii) Sahih Muslim.
The best book of hadith
The whole Muslim Ummah is in agreement that the best book on earth after Qur’an Shareef is Sahih Bukhari. After Sahih Bukhari, it is Sahih Muslim.
The total number of Ahaadith in Sahih Bukhari is 7397. These include repeated Ahaadith as well. If repetitions are deleted, then total number of non repeated Ahaadith remains 2602.
The total number of Ahaadith in Sahih Muslim is 7151 and the number of repeated Ahaadith is 4000.
It is well accepted fact that Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim contain all Sahih Ahaadith but it does not mean that any Hadith which is not included in these two books is not Sahih. Imam Bukhari says that he selected Sahih Bukhari out of one Lakh Sahih Ahaadith which he knew and left more Sahih Hadith than he included in his book, fearing that the book would become too lengthy.
Similarly Imam Muslim says that it is not like this that he has mentioned every Sahih Hadith in his book, but he included those Ahaadith only which were considered sound as per the agreement of Muhadditheen.
Muttafaq Alaihi (متفق عليه)or Agreed Upon Hadith
A Hadith which is found both in Sahih Bukhari as well as in Sahih Muslim is called Muttafaq Alaihi or Agreed Upon Hadith.
Sihah Sittah (The best six books of Sahih Hadith)
Some people consider Mota Imam Maalik instead of Ibn Majah.
Categorisation of Hadith books by Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddith Delhvi (RA) as per the status and strength of Hadith
First degree group:
Second degree group:
Third degree group:
Grades of Sahih Hadith
Grade 1: That Hadith which is present both in Bukhari and Muslim.
Grade 2: Which is present in Bukhari only.
Grade 3: Which is present in Muslim only.
Grade 4: Which fulfils the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim.
Grade 5: Which fulfills the criteria of Imam Bukhari.
Grade 6: Which fulfills the criteria of Imam Muslim.
Grade 7:That Hadith which is labelled Sahih by other Muhaditheen.
A clarification about work “Sahih Hadith”
When we talk about the grades of Sahih Hadith and weak Hadith, this difference is all because of chain of transmission and the condition of narrators. As regards to the text (Matan) of the Hadith, nobody can say that this Hadith is more Sahih than the other.
Other authentic books of Sahih Hadith
Hasan Lizatihi (حسن لذاته)
Literal Meaning: Hasan—Nice, good, Lizatih— means ‘in itself ‘
Technical Meaning: A Hadith which is like Sahih Hadith in all respects except that some of its narrators are found to have little defective memory. It is next to Sahih Hadith in Status. Example:
Qutaiba narrates on the authority of Jafar bin Suleman Az-Zabal, he on the authority of Abi Bakar bin Abi Musa his father Al-Asha’ri who says that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying:
“Jannat is under the shadow of swords”.
In this Hadith all narrators are excellent except Jafar bin Suleman Az-Zabal who is thought to have defective memory, so this Hadith slipped down to the status of Hasan, otherwise it would have been rated as Sahih.
Famous compilations of Hasan Ahaadith
Hasan Ligairihi (حسن لغيره)
That Dhaeef Hadith which when transmitted through many channels elevates to the status of Hasan and then becomes Maqbool (acceptable).
Status: Next to Sahih, and is dependable to be acted upon. It is also Hujjat in Shari’ah like Sahih.
Imam Tirmidhi in his book Jamia Tirmidhi labels a Hadith as Sahih, Hasan or Dhaeef after quoting them.
Naasikh & Mansookh
We have seen that Mutwatir Hadith provides information of Yaqeeni (sure) grade and compels man to believe and accept it without any hesitation.
Rest of the Ahaadith come under the title “Khabr-e-Wahid”. In Khabr-e-Wahid we have seen two groups viz, Maqbool (acceptable) and Mardood (rejected). Amongst these two groups Maqbool group is taken as argument or Hujjat in Shari’ah and is to be acted upon, but sometimes a problem arises when there are two Ahaadith which are apparently contradictory to each other in text, even when both are Sahih or Hasan. This problem can only be solved by knowing about Naasikh (abrogating Hadith) and Mansokh (abrogated Hadith). This is another important but difficult science about the knowledge of Hadith and is not a job of everyone. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says: “We were not able to comprehend Naasikh and Masnsokh Hadith until we sat in the company of Imam Shafaee (i.e., he made us understand this)”.
In case of these Ahaadith which differ from one another, a few situations are possible viz;
Naasikh and Mansookh (ناسخ و منسوخ)
That Hadith which abrogates any early Hadith is called Naasikh Hadith and the Hadith which has been abrogated is called Mansookh. One has to act upon Naasikh and not on Mansookh, after he learns which one is Naasikh and which one is Mansokh.
If Naasikh and Mansookh is not known
In this situation, it will be seen that out of these differing Ahaadith which one is preferable (Raajeh). To label one preferable (Raajeh) is again not an easy job and everybody cannot do it, only a great scholar of Hadith who has extraordinary hold on all different sciences of Hadith can accomplish this job. This is the reason that you will see that common people get confused after seeing two different Hadiths about the same thing and those who rely on just common translations of Hadith start fighting with others and draw erroneous conclusions. These people least understand that it is not proper to draw some conclusion after just reading translation of few Hadith only. As already stated that in drawing conclusions as to which Hadith is to be acted upon and which Hadith is preferable and which is abrogated, one needs tremendous all round knowledge of all aspects of Hadith.
Hadhrat Ali (RA) and importance of Naasikh and Mansookh
Once a man came to Masjid-e-Nabwi and started delivering lessons on Qur’an. Hadhrat Ali (RA) called him and asked him if he knew Naasikh and Mansokh, that person replied in negative, Hadhrat Ali (RA) asked him to get out of the Masjid-e-Nabwi. It means that Hadhrat Ali (RA) was of the opinion that one who did not know Naasikh and Mansokh has no business to teach the Qur’an. Similarly in Ilm-e-Hadith, the knowledge of Naasikh and Mansokh is of great significance.
Causes of referability (Tarjeeh) of a Hadith
Kinds of Mardood Hadith
Literal Meaning: Left out, forwarded.
Technical Meaning: It is that Hadith which a Taaba’ee quotes directly from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) without mentioning the name of Sahaabi. For example:
حدثنا رسول الله كذا و كذا
“Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said so and so.”
Status: This type of Hadith is usually considered Mardood (rejected) or Dha’eef (weak) as the state of left out narrator is not known who can be a non-Sahaabi as well. But some scholars like, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Maalik, Imam Ahmed and Imam Shafaee, say that Mursal Hadith can be depended upon and should be considered if the Taaba’ee is authentic and realiable.
Literal meaning: Suspended.
Techinical meaning: It is that Hadith in which one or more than one narrators are unknown at the beginning of the chain or Sanad. This quality is also called Ta’leeq. In this type only the name of Sahaabi or that of Sahaabi and Taabaee may be mentioned and rest all are missing. Bukhari and Muslim also quote such types of Ahaadith.
Status: For making a Hadith acceptable the continuity of chain is essential, since here the chain is not continuous, so such Hadith is Mardood or rejected.
Muallaq also becomes acceptable or Maqbool if there are other evidences in support of it. Muallaq Ahaadith of Bukhari and Muslim are considered Maqbool.
So, Muallaq can be both acceptable as well as rejected.
Literal meaning: Broken or cut off.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which one or more narrators are unknown at different places of the chain but not first and last.
Status: It is considered Dhaeef or Mardood.
Literal meaning: Difficult, problematic.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which two or more than two narrators are missing successively in the Sanad.
Status: It is considered Dhaeef and of lower grade than Mursal and Munqata.
Literal Meaning: Deceptive, where a defect is concealed.
Technical Meaning: It is that Hadith in which an attempt is made to conceal the defects of the Sanad or chain of transmission.
Literal Meaning: Forged Hadith.
Technical Meaning: It is that Hadith which a liar fabricates and then attributes it to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Status: This is the worst type of weak Hadith. Some scholars do not include it even in weak Hadith if one knows that it is a Maudhu Hadith.
Types of Maudhu Hadith
iii) Chain of Sahih Hadith is attached to a weak Hadith.
Literal Meaning: Disapproved.
Technical Meaning: Munkar Hadith is that Hadith wherein a weak narrator of Hadith opposes one who is quite authentic and reliable than him.
Literal Meaning: Isolated.
Technical Meaning: Shaz Hadith is that Hadith wherein a comparatively less authentic narrator of Hadith opposes a more authentic narrator. This opposition may be either in Sanad (chain of transmission) or in Matan (text).
Status: This Hadith is rejected and not accepted.
Difference between Shaz and Munkar
The narrator of Shaz is authentic who narrates against a more authentic narrator whereas the narrator of Munkar is weak or less authentic.
Literal meaning: Abandoned.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which there is such a narrator who has been blamed for lying or falsehood in matters other than narrating Hadith.
Status: Such a Hadith is considered rejected.
Literal meaning: having some cause (of defect).
Technical meaning: That Hadith which apparently is faultless but has some hidden defect which only scholars of Hadith can know.
Literal meaning: Included.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which something more than the text or chain of Hadith has been included. Example:
ِA Sahaabi narrates a Hadith and then adds some of his own words to explain it, such Hadith is called Mudarraj.
Status: This type of inclusion of some explanatory words is permissible only for Sahaabah and no one else.
Literal Meaning: Turned.
Technical meaning: That Hadith in which the order of the wording of the Hadith has been altered.
Status: If it is done to change the meaning of the Hadith, then it is considered Maudhu (fabricated) Hadith and if it is done just for examination purposes, then it is permissible.
Literal meaning: Perplexed like oceanic waves.
Technical meaning: That Hadith which is narrated through different channels of varying grades.
Status: Mardood or Dhaeef
Literal Meaning: Weak.
Technical Meaning: That Hadith which does not fulfill the criteria of Hasan. In this Hadith there is some defect either in the chain of transmission or in proper understanding of the transmitter, or its contents are not in perfect agreement with Islamic beliefs and practices.
It must be in mind that while quoting Dhaeef Hadith one must not say, “Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said “but one must take precautions and may say that it is quoted from him etc”.
Status: Whether to act upon Dhaeef Hadith or not, it is controversial. There is usually consensus that Dhaeef Hadith cannot be used in Masail but can be used in Fadhail, Mustahab or Makrooh only when it fulfills three preconditions.
As per Hanafi school of thought, Dhaeef Hadith is preferred over Qiyas (analogical deduction).
As already stated that if Dhaeef Hadith gets support from other sources, then it gets elevated to the status of Hasan Ligairihi.
When to quote Dhaeef Hadith
It is permissible to quote Dha’eef Hadith if:
Significance of Hadith
(Hujjat-e-Hadith حجت حديث)
We know that by Hadith we mean—sayings and/or deeds of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In these lines we will try to know the significance of Hadith in Islam. There are some misled people who advocate that only Qur’an is enough for guidance in Islam and there is no need of Hadith. These people are canvassing vigorously amongst the younger generations and are trying their best to make them believe that Ummah is divided into different sects because of different interpretations of Hadith, so in order to unite the Ummah only Qur’an should be considered and Hadith be left out (نعوذ بالله من ذالك). Second question which is being asked by some people is that when we say Qur’an is a complete code for all times to come, then why do we need Hadith?
Meaning of—“Qur’an is a complete code”
There is no doubt about the fact that Qur’an is a complete code for the whole universe and for all times to come. But what does that mean? Does that mean that we should get exact answers from Qur’an for all our day to day problems? No, it does not mean that. If you want to know how many Rakats you have to offer for Magrib prayers or what are different forms of interest, you cannot find direct detailed answers for all these questions in Qur’an. Qur’an describes the general principles on the basis of which any problem of the world can be solved. The same is interpreted in other words when we say that Qur’an has the solution for all problems which are faced or will be faced by mankind. It does not mean that exactly readymade solutions fitting the conditions will be there. Allah Ta’ala says:
وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
“And We have sent down to thee the book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy and glad tidings to Muslims” (16:89)
It means that this book i.e., Qur’an is explaining all things in principle not in detail. It is laying down the principles on the basis of which all things can be explained. If we have to see all things in detail, then we need Hadith. Let us get the guidelines from Qur’an only in this direction:
What Qur’an says about Hadith
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
“Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah
an excellent exemplar.” (33:21)
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا
“So take what the Messenger gives you and, and refrain from what he prohibits you.” (59:7)
مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ
“He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah.” (4:80)
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“But no by thy Lord, they can have no (real) faith untill they make thee judge in all disputes between them.” (4:65)
لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ () إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ () فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ () ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ ()
“Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and recite it: But when We have recited it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated): Nay, more, it is for us to explain it (and make it clear).” (75:16-19)
In these verses Allah Ta’ala says to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that preservation of Qur’an is His job and to explain Qur’an is also His job. The explanations of Qur’an came to us through Hadith only as Allah Ta’ala says in other verse in the Qur’an:
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ
“It is He who has sent amongst the unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His sign, to purify then, and to instruct them in the Book.”(62:2)
In this verse Allah Ta’ala says that the job of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is not only to recite Qur’an to the people but also to teach them its meaning. This teaching of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is called Hadith. So as per the Qur’anic instructions if we have to know the meaning of Qur’an, we are dependent upon Hadith.
Significance of Hadith from Hadith
تركت فيكم شيئين لن تضلوا بعدهما كتاب الله و سنتي و لن يتفرقا حتى يرد على الخوض (صحاح)
“I have left amongst you two things, you will never get astray after (sticking to) these. (These are) Book of Allah (Qur’an) and my Sunnah, they will not part untill they return you to me at Hauz-e-Kauther.”
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:
إنه سيأتي نأس يجادلونكم بشبهات القران فخذوا بالسنن فإن أصحاب السنن أعلم بكتاب الله (دارمي)
“Soon there will be people who will quarrel with you with doubts about Qur’an, so you take Qur’an with Sunnah (Hadith), as indeed, the people of Sunnah are the ones who know Qur’an better”. (Darmi)
To believe in Qur’an only and not Hadith is Kufr
Haafiz Ibne Hazm Undlusi says:
لو أنّ إمرا قال لا تأخذ إلا بما وجدنا في القران لكان كافرا بإجماع الأمة (أحكام في أصول إحكام -جلد دوم)
“If someone says that he will accept only that thing which he will find in Qur’an (refusing Hadith). He is Kaafir as per the consensus of Ummah.”
Practical interpretation of Qur’an—The Sunnah
If anyone wants to see the practical interpretation and application of Qur’an, then he has to see Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Once Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) was asked to describe the morals of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), she at once replied in a single sentence:
كان خلقه القران
“His morals were (nothing but) Qur’an”
The Qur’an says:
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ
“Establish Salaah and pay Zakat” (2:43)
This verse is all what the Qur’an says about Salaah and Zakat. Now to know how may Rakats, how may times and how and when should one offer Salaah and how much Zakat one has to pay and what things are exempted from Zakat and other details, for all these details and to fulfill these commands of Qur’an there is no other source but Hadith.
عَبَسَ وَتَولَّى () أَنْ جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَى ()
“(The prophet) frowned and turned away because there came to him a blind man” (80:1-2)
In these verses if you want to know who frowned, who was the blind man and why was he frowned at, you need Hadith otherwise you cannot understand these verses.
Similarly, the Qur’an says:
ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا
“Being the second of the two, they two were in cave and he said to his companion, ‘Have no fear, for Allah is with us”. (9:40)
Who were in cave? Who said to his companion? Where was the cave and what was the full incident? For all this one needs Hadith.
These are only few examples. Similarly, it is true for the whole Qur’an that to properly understand it, Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is needed.
Hadith itself is from Allah
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَى () وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى () إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى ()
“Your companion is neither astray nor being misled, nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire it is no less than inspiration sent down to him” (53:2-4)
In these verses Allah Ta’ala says in clear terms that whatever Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says he does not say it of his own but from the direct inspiration from Allah. So, whatever he says is from Allah—what is called ‘Unworded Revelation’ It means those revelations from Allah to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which are not in Qur’an and are not recited as Qur’an, as against Qur’an which is called ‘Worded Revelation’, in which both words and meaning is from Allah and is recited as Qur’an.
Allah Ta’ala says:
الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures), in the Taurat and the Gospel; for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure). He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them” (7:157)
We know that to make something permissible (Halal) and something forbidden (Haram) is the job of Allah Ta’ala. In this verse Allah Ta’ala attributes this duty of commanding something as permissible and forbidding something as non-permissible, to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Why is it so,? Because whatever Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says, is also from Allah, therefore, there is no confusion. You will see in Shari’ah many things as Halal and Haram which are not mentioned in Qur’an but are mentioned in Hadith only.
Divine Protection of Hadith
Divine protection of Qur’an is a well established fact. This has been discussed in detail in my book “Aijazul Qur’an”. Readers interested in this topic can refer to that book. Allah Ta’ala has categorically stated in the Qur’an:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“We have, without doubts; sent down the message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (15:9)
What does word Qur’an signify
Does the word Qur’an signify—words only, meaning only or both? In Nur-ul Anwar it is defined as:
هو (القران) اسم للنظم و المعنى جميعا
“Qur’an is the name given to both wording as well as meaning.”
It is obvious that when a speaker utters any sentence he gives equal preference to its words as well as meaning. There is a promise of divine protection of the Qur’an by Allah, this promise doesn’t apply only to the word of the Qur’an but equally applies to its meaning also. We have discussed earlier that the best meaning Qur’an can have is the Hadith. Therefore, Hadith is also included in the promise of divine protection noted above.
Qur’anic measures for the protection of hadith
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ
“ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar” (33:21)
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا
“So take what the Messenger gives you, and refrain from what he prohibits you”. (59:7)
مَنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ
“He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah”.(4:80)
إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي
“Say: If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins” (3:31)
In these and many other such verses, Qur’an exhorts its believers to know the life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and then follow it. Following of Sunnah was thus made obligatory by Qur’an. For this purpose the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) took great pains to record whatever they saw and listened from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), this was rather the goal of their life.
First school at Sufa
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنْذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ
“If a contingent from every expedition go forth to devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil). (9:122)
In early days of Islam, Muslims were busy in fighting their enemies at various fronts. It was likely that they would all engage themselves at the war-fronts and there would remain none to learn Hadith and as Allah Ta’ala wanted the Hadith and Sunnah to flourish and remain preserved, He commanded the Muslims that one group from amongst them should always remain with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and learn Hadith and Sunnah, which constitutes essential part of Deen. Allah Ta’ala commanded Muslims that all of them should not go for war, one group should always stay back for learning. This we see in the form of school at Sufa. Sufa is a small platform in the grand mosque of Madinah, where Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to teach Qur’an and Hadith. A group of devoted students always remained in Sufa. These students were not going out even for earning their livelihood lest they should miss the lessons from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). One of its famous students, Abu Hurairah (RA) describes how he was fainting with hunger but never left the company of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) at Sufa. These devoted students of Sufa are the people who took all pains to learn Hadith, they preserved it and passed it on to the next generation. These people took learning and teaching of Hadith as their whole time job. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to exhort these people for this job. He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
نضّر الله إمرا أسمع مقالتي فودعها ثم أداها إلى من لم يسمعها
“May Allah bless him who listens from me Hadith, preserves it and then conveys it to those who have not listened.” (Bukhari)
بلّغوا عنّي و لو آية
“Convey (to others) from me, even if it is a single statement”
فليغلغ الشاهد الغائب
“It is mandatory for those who are present should convey (my message) to those who are not present”. (Bukhari)
To narrate Hadith is not an easy job
On one hand Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) exhorted his companions to spread his message far and wide but at the same time he warned them to do this job very cautiously because of the delicacy of the matter. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
من كذّب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده في النار
One who attributes a lie to me deliberately should find his abode in Hell. (Bukhari)
It was this Hadith which sent shock waves down the spine of the Sahaabah. Many Sahaabah never narrated any Hadith due to this fear, others who narrated thought hundred times first before narrating a Hadith. Hadhrat Hasan Bisri says:
هذا العلم دين فلينظروا عمن تأخذوا دينكم
“This knowledge is Deen, so scrutinise first from whom you are learning Deen.”
Difference Between History Books and Ahaadith
It is very important for a reader of Hadith to appreciate the difference between Hadith and history in the common sense of the word and between a Muhaddith and a historian. People who have not understood this difference have drawn erroneous conclusions and hence got misled. For recording the historical events of a certain period, the method which is usually adopted by the historians is that all kinds of rumours circulating in the streets are collected and recorded. These historians are least bothered to try to ascertain the authenticity and origin of these rumours; and it is from these rumours such events are framed which are based on mere assumptions, and are stored in books which later generations take as authentic sources. Most of the European history books available these days, have been written this way. These historians had no contact whatsoever with either the period about which they were writing or the person about whom they were writing.
On the contrary, Hadith is a unique form of history, whose example world has failed to provide. On one hand, it includes to a marvelous level almost all aspects of life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) viz., personal, social, political, administrative, domestic affairs, foreign affairs, in peace and in war, about childhood, adolescence, adulthood, even about his dress, what he wore – when and how, how he walked, how he sat, how he laughed, how he combed his hair, how he held tooth brush (Miswaak) in hand and what not, whatever he did and whatever he said is all recorded. On the other hand, it includes unique account of socio-political and other aspects of that period. To record and then pass on that information to future generation became the only mission of the lives of companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) who was dearest to them, dearer than their own lives, sons and wives, parents and every other thing. Once a pagan leader exclaimed: “I have seen great kings of Persia and Rome, but I have not seen anybody honouring his king more than the companions of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) honour him. They (Sahaabah) do not even allow his sputum to fall on earth but jump over one another in order to catch it”. Such was the attachment of the followers of Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with him.
Histories of other nations are written by one or few historians at a particular point of time, but here in case of Hadith, there are thousands of devoted, extremely pious people who dedicated their lives for meticulous recording of every event of that period revolving around Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and then passed that on to the next generation with absolute pristine purity by the method which is unparallel in history. No nation can show such type of attachment of its historians with its people as was shown by companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with him. Whenever they used to narrate something about him, tears would come to their eyes, heart would start beating faster, blood would start becoming warmer with heat of love and the body would start shivering due to fear that was caused because of the following statement of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who said:
من كذّب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده في النار
“One who attributes a lie towards me knowingly, should find his abode in hell”. (Bukhari)
Abu Dhar (RA) one of the distinguished companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would say while narrating Hadith:
“My friend (i.e., Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) advised me such and such”
and would faint as he used to be over powered by emotions and tears.
Coming down to next generation of narrators called Taabaeen, they followed exactly the foot prints of Sahaabah in dedicating their lives for collection, preservation and onward transmission of Hadith with meticulous extraordinary care. They never learned Hadith from everybody except from most pious and reliable sources. They did not only look for piousness of narrators but also their memory power as it was quite possible that someone who is pious can err because of poor memory.
This methodology later on became routine in subsequent generations for learning Hadith. People made it a point to know first the integrity of the narrator of Hadith. It was this principle which gave rise to a marvellous science known as Fun-u-Asmae-Rijal, which is a unique thing in Islamic history in which biographies of about half a million people were written who were somehow involved in narration of Hadith.
Imam Maalik’s (RA) way of Narrating Hadith
Whenever any person wanted to ask Imam Maalik (RA) something about Islam, Imam Maalik used to tell his servant to enquire of the visitor about what he wants to ask. If the visitor wanted to ask some Mas’ala, then Imam would reply him immediately, and if that person wanted to listen Hadith, then Imam Maalik (RA) made him to wait till he put on new costly gown, sit on a dais and then narrate Hadith with full honours, saying that—“Hadith is a Royal statement and its etiquettes should also be Royal”.
Dedication of Sahaabah Kiram towards Qur’an & Hadith
Before Islam, Arab people were uneducated, away from sophisticated societies, living a primitive simple desert life and their recreations were drinking, gambling and poetry. Their economic condition was very bad and they had to struggle a lot to make ends meet. In this background, Islam is presented to them which bans all their recreations like drinking, gambling and polytheistic useless poetry. While banning these, Qur’an and Hadith was being presented to them. They knew no other literature or academics but their brains were very fertile. So, in order to quench the thirst of their mind and heart they were left with no other option but to dedicate to Qur’an and Hadith fully. Prior to Islam, they used to satisfy their ego by boasting about their poetry and ancestral supremacy etc., but in Islam the standard of higher status in society was not based on these things but on piousness and knowledge of Qur’an and Hadith. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said in a Hadith:
“Most pious and most learned should lead you in Salaah”
The Qur’an says:
إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
“The most honoured of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you” (49:13)
This was another important factor responsible for diverting Sahaabah towards attainment of piousness and learning of Qur’an and Hadith despite the fact that Sahaabah became very rich after few initial years of poverty. Wealth from Egypt, Rome and Persia started flowing through streets of Madinah like anything but neither initial poverty nor later wealth could distract Sahaabah from their dedication to Qur’an and Hadith.
Thirst of Ibne Abbas (RA) for Hadith
He himself says:
“I used to go in search of Hadith to such a person about whom I would know that he knew the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). On reaching there, if I would come to know that the person is sleeping, I would sit outside his gate using my blanket as pillow. The wind would get sand and dust on my face. When that person would come out of his house on his own, and on seeing me he would ask, “Oh! son of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) how are you here? I would say that I have heard that you know a Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), I have come for that. He would say that I should have sent him a word, he would have come himself to me. I would say no, it was my need, hence I ought to come.” (Darmi)
Quest of Women for learning Hadith.
Incident of Farokh.
Farokh was a freed slave amongst Sahaabah Al-Kiram. He was serving in army. Once he left his home for a long time to serve at some far-off place. That time his wife was pregnant. He gave his wife about 50-60 thousand Dinars and asked her to keep that as Amaanat. His wife did not waste that money in any unnecessary things but spent that whole money on the education of her son and made him a noted scholar of Hadith in Madinah, so much so that this boy started delivering lectures on Hadith in Masjid-Nabvi in Madinah. The number of students went on increasing day by day. Noted scholars like Imam Maalik, Imam Auzaee and Imam Thouri were amongst his students. When Farokh returned home after 15-20 years, he asked his wife about the money he had given her, she asked him to have a look first in Masjid-e-Nabvi. When Farokh came to know that his wife had spent that money on the education of his son who had become a great scholar of Hadith, he was very happy. From this you can observe that during the period of Sahaabah even women were not lagging behind in this field.
Women in those days didn’t ask for gold or silver in Mehr, but asked for teaching of Qur’an and Hadith as Mehr. They would agree to marry a particular person on the condition that he would teach them Qur’an and Hadith.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) and Hadith
Bukhari quotes Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrating his story himself as:
“You people think that Abu Hurairah narrates many Hadith, I was a poor man and used to stay with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) lying on ground on my belly (in prone position because of hunger) when migrant Sahaabah used to be busy in market and Madinites or Ansaar used to be busy in their fields.”
At other occassion he says about himself:
“I came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) at Khaibar when I was thirty years old, then I stayed with him till he departed from this world. I used to stay with him when he was at home, at Haj or Jihad.”
In another narration of Bukhari and Muslim, he says:
“I used to fall down due to fainting attacks between the door of Hadhrat Aayesha’s room and the Mimber of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). People thought that I had epilepsy, I was not epileptic but it was all due to hunger.”
Incident of Hadhrat Abu Ayub Ansari (RA)
Hadhrat Abu Ayub (RA) was the first host of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in Madinah after migration. He and another Sahaabi Hadhrat Uqba bin Aamir (RA) had heard a Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In later life he forgot some part of that Hadith. He knew that Uqba bin Aamir (RA) had also heard that Hadith with him but by that time Uqba bin Aamir (RA) had settled in Egypt. To clear confusion about one Hadith, Abu Ayub Ansari (RA) travels on his camel all the way from Madinah to Egypt where he meets Uqba bin Aamir (RA), asks him the Hadith and returns without getting down from his camel. He tells Uqba bin Aamir (RA) that he had come to listen Hadith only and not to see him.(Jamia-Bayan-ul-Ilm)
Incident of Jabir bin Abdullah (RA)
Qur’an had directed Sahaabah to follow Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with utmost perfection, this made it mandatory for them to know every aspect of the life of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). So, whenever they came to know that any person knew a Hadith, they immediately undertook journey towards that place, even if that journey took them months together on foot. Hadhrat Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) narrates his own story as :
“Once I came to know that there is a Hadith which has reached me through one of the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). I at once started journey on my camel and it took me one month till I reached the house of Abdullah bin Unais Ansari in Syria. I sent the message to him that Jabir was at his door. He came out and embraced me. I asked him about the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which he narrated”.
Abu Sa’eed Khudri (RA)
Like Abu Ayub Ansari (RA), Hadhrat Abu Sa’eed Khudri (RA) also went to Egypt from Madinah just to learn a single Hadith from Fudhala bin Abdullah (RA). He also returned immediately back home after listening the Hadith. (Darmi)
Continuity of Hadith from Generation to Generation
Sahaabah-al-Kiram were living books of Hadith, as already mentioned they had dedicated themselves for learning and onward transmission of Hadith. The people who raise objections on Hadith by saying that Bukhari and Muslim and other books on Ahaadith were written much later after Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) forget to see the fate of Hadith in the time of Sahaabah and Taabaeen i.e., first two generations after Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). In these two generations there were not one or two but thousands of highly pious and authentic scholars and narrators of Hadith. In books you will get only written material, Sahaabah and Taabaeen would also demonstrate practically the actions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) while narrating the Hadith. These people have not transmitted onwards to next generations only words but also practical actions as well, that is why we say that a large portion of Hadith is continuous or Mutawatir as well, which was transmitted by millions of people from one generation to another. Take the example of ablution, Salaah, Haj, Saum, permissible things, forbidden things and hundreds of such things which Muslims have learned from their senior generations and not from just a single or few books. Even an illiterate person knows many practical Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which he has learned from his elders.
Hadith in Written Form
In addition to the verbal transmission of Ahaadith from generation to generation, the process of preserving Ahaadith in written form had started right during the period of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is not true that there was no written form of Ahaadith before Bukhari and Muslim, the noted books of Hadith. Famous Sahaabi Umru bin Umaya’s son narrates: I narrated a Hadith in front of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah, he refused, I said that I have heard it from you only. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah said if I have narrated it then it would be in written form with me. He caught my hand and took me inside his room. There were many books of Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and in that treasure of Ahaadith we found this Hadith as well. Then Abu Hurairah (RA) said that didn’t I tell you that that if I have narrated the Hadith, it would be in the written form with me. (Fathul Bari, Tadween-e-Hadith)
This narration clearly proves that Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) had compiled Ahaadith in written form as well. It is well known that Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) has narrated over five thousand Ahaadith which means that he had over five thousand Ahaadith in written form also, then how can one say that Ahaadith were written much later after Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). As per Imam Bukhari Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) had over eight hundred students and many of them had prepared written copies of Ahaadith after learning them from Abu Hurairah (RA).
Darmi has reported on the authority of Bashir bin Nuhaik, who was a student of Abu Hurairah (RA). Hadhrat Bashir bin Nuhaik says:
“I used to write every Hadith which I learned from Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA). When I decided to part with him, I read all those Ahaadith in front of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) and I told him that these were the Ahaadith which I learned from him. He said, yes.” (Darmi)
This narration clearly proves that the students of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) used to write Hadith.
Abdullah bin Umru Al-Aas (RA) and Compilation of Hadith
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates:
“There is no one who narrates more Hadith than me except Abdullah bin Umru” (Bukhari)
As Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated over five thousand Ahaadith, it means that Abdullah bin Umru has narrated more than that. It is well documented that he used to write Hadith during the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Once I asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):“Should I write everything whatever I listened from you?” He said, “Yes”. I asked, both what you say happily and angrily. He said, “Yes”, as I don’t say anything except truth in all these states.”
(Haafiz bin Abdul-Bar)
This book was known as ‘Sahifa-Saadiqah’. This proves that there were books of Hadith before Bukhari Shareef and Muslim Shareef also.
Hadhrat Anas (RA) and Written Hadith
He used to tell his sons, who were many in number,
“My sons, write down this knowledge of Hadith” (Darmi)
It is reported on the authority of Sayeed bin Halaal, He says:
“When we used to ask more from Hadhrat Anas (RA), he used to bring out his bag and tell us that these were the Hadith he learned and wrote from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and then he presented them to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) (for cross checking)” (Mustadrak Haakim)
Hadhrat Anas (RA) has narrated one thousand, two hundred and eighty six Ahaadith and from above narration it is evident that these were all in written form.
Hadhrat Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) and Written Hadith
Ibne Jowzi has reported in ‘Talqeeh’ that Hadhrat Jabir (RA) has narrated one thousand five hundred and six Ahaadith.
Ibne Hajar has quoted in ‘Tahzeeb’ that Wahab bin Munabbah, a student of Hadhrat Jabir used to write Hadith from Hadhrat Jabir ”.
Hadhrat Aayeshah (RA) and Written Hadith
Hadhrat Aayeshah (RA) is amongst the leading narrators of Hadith and her narrated Ahaadith have been estimated as much as two thousand and ten. Whether she has written or not is not known but her students like Urwah bin Zubair, Umrah bint Abdul Rehman and Qasim bin Muhammad compiled Ahaadith in written form after learning from Hadhrat Aayeshah (RA). Umrah bint Abdul Rahman and Qasim bin Muhammad did so on the direction of Hadhrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz as quoted by Haafiz Ibne Hajar. Hadhrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz then circulated these copies in all Muslim countries.
Hadhrat Ibne Abbas and Written Hadith
The number of Ahaadith narrated by him has been estimated as much as two thousand six hundred and sixty. It is quoted in Tabaqat Ibne Sa’d that his distinguished student Sayeed bin Jubair wrote Hadith from Hadhrat Ibne-Abbas (RA) and whenever he went short of paper, he used to write on anything available around.
Hadhrat Ibn Umar (RA) and Written Hadith
He has narrated one thousand six hundred and thirty Ahaadith. It is not known whether he himself had written Hadith or not but it is certain that Naafia Maula Ibne Umar wrote Hadith from Hadhrat Ibne-Umar (RA) as quoted in Tabaqat Ibne Sa’d. Hadhrat Imam Maalik has extensively quoted from Naafia and this chain of transmission from Ibne Umar (RA) to Naafia to Imam Maalik is called Golden Chain amongst Muhadditheen.
Memorisation and compilation of Hadith
In above lines we have seen that Ahaadith were well documented and preserved in written form during the period of Sahaabah. There were so many compilations of written Hadith with distinguished Sahaabah like Hadhrat Abu Hurairah, Jaabir bin Abdullah, Abdullah bin Umru, Ibne al Aas (RA). With all this, the main field of interest for Sahaabah remained the learning and memorisation of Hadith by heart. In this field also, as in others, they were unparalleled. Learning and memorising of Hadith became the predominant aim of their lives. Their memory power was also exceptional.
Memory Power of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA)
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) is well known as a great narrator of Hadith. Once Marwan, the Khalifah from Banu Ummayah doubted the memory power of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA), so he wanted to test Abu Hurairah (RA). He called him one day and started asking him Hadith. Marwan had already told Abu-al-Za’za to sit behind a curtain and write all the Ahaadith which Abu Hurairah (RA) would narrate. It is said that he wrote about four hundred Ahaadith. After a year Marwan again called Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) asked him to narrate the same Ahaadith which he had narrated the previous year. He again made Abu al Za’za to sit behind the curtain for the same purpose as before. Abu al Za’za says that Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated the same Ahaadith and there was not a difference of even a single word from what he had narrated the previous year. (Imam Bukhari in Kitab al-Kuni)
Memorisation of Hadith and the Muhadditheen after Sahaabah
A great number of students of Sahaabah called Taabaeen and their students called Taba-Taabaeen dedicated their lives for the learning and memorising of Hadith. Their memory power was also miraculous. It is mentioned that Hadhrat Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal had memorised seven lakh Ahaadith by heart. About Imam Bukhari it is well known that he was remembering two lakh Ahaadith out of which one lakh were Sahih, authentic. Imam Abu Zara and Imam Rahuia were also amongst distinguished Hufaaz of Hadith.
Clarification of a Confusion
When we look at all the authentic Hadith books available, we don’t find more than ten thousand Ahaadith after adding all the Ahaadith in these books. Nowadays when people read that such and such person knew two lakh Ahaadith and such and such person knew seven lakh Ahaadith, they get confused as to where are those Ahaadith and how was that possible. Here, one should remember that Muhadditheen used to allot a number to a Hadith as per its chain of transmission and not as per the text or Matan of that Hadith. So, for example, if a Hadith reached to a Muhaddith through ten chains he would label them as ten Ahaadith and not one, though the text of all the ten Ahaadith is same. It is said that the Hadith إنما الأعمال بالنيات “Indeed deeds are as per intention” has been received by some Muhadditheen through seven hundred chains of transmission. So these Muhadditheen would count this one Hadith as seven hundred instead of one.
Memory Power of Imam Zahri (RA)
Hisham bin Abdul Malik was a ruler from Ummayah Dynasty. Once he wanted to test Imam Ibne Shahab Zahri. He called him and requested him to write some Ahaadith for his son; Imam Zahri agreed and wrote about four hundred Ahaadith. After one month Hisham called Zahri again and told him that he had accidentally lost that document and requested him to write them again. Imam Zahri gladly agreed and again wrote the same four hundredِAhaadith. It is said that there was not a difference of even a single word between the two.
Memorisation of Hadith—A Routine
Ibne Asaakar quotes Ismaiel bin Ubaidah Muhaddith as saying: “We should memorise Hadith in the same way as we memorise Qur’an”
About Ibne Khuzaimah, Zahbi used to say: “Ibne Khuzaimah used to memorise Hadith related to Fiqh the similar way as Qari memorises Qur’an” (Tadveen-ul-Hadith)
Protection of Hadith—Written and Memorised
We have proved in earlier lines beyond any doubt that Ahaadith were well documented in written form during the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) later on and with the Sahaabah. But, to protect Hadith, only written form was not relied upon. Some people are of the opinion that written form is most authentic, it may be right but if it is not combined with memorised form, there can be many problems as is evident by the following examples.
Aaloo Instead of Alif, Laam, Raa
Hadhrat Thanvi (RA) writes that one a person who had not read the Qur’an from any teacher, started reading himself and was very happy when he read the initial words of one of the Surahs of Qur’an, Aalif, Laam, Raa as Aaloo. For pronouncing a word correctly listening is also important, as in English language ‘K’ is silent in ‘Knife’, one who has not heard, will pronounce ‘k’ as well.
Saf’eenah Instead of Siqayah
An Aalim while reciting Surah Yousuf recited a word Siqayah as Safeenah and also tried to defend his recitation. Had there not been thousands of Hufaaz of Qur’an you can understand what would have been fate of the written Quran.
There are hundreds of such examples where the readers committed mistakes while reading and memorisers corrected them and ensured safety of words of Qur’an and Hadith.
Compilation of Hadith and Taabaeen
Efforts oh Umar bin Abdul Aziz (RA)
Hadhrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz (RA), well known Khalifah of Muslims after Khulfa-e-Raashideen, wrote a letter to a famous Muhaddith of his time as quoted in Sahih Bukhari:
“Umar bin Abdul Aziz wrote to Abu Bakr bin Hazam that he should keep an eye on the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and write them because I fear fading away of knowledge (of hadith) and death of Ulema and you should not accept any narration except that of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and you spread knowledge and don’t sit until all those know who do not know. Knowledge does not get wasted until it is kept hidden.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Hadhrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz wrote similar letters to other Muhadditheen and then sent their compilations to various places.
Humam bin Munabbah and Written Hadith
Humam bin Munabbah was contemporary of Hadhrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz and he wrote a voluminous book of Ahaadith from Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA). This compilation reached to Hadhrat Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal through Muamir bin Rashid and Abdul Rehman bin Humam bin Huamam bin Naafea. Imam Ahmad accommodated it in his Musnad. Two hand written copies of this compilation have been found in the libraries of Berlin and Damascus. Dr. Hamidullah of Paris has done a good research work on these compilations. (Aatharul- Hadith by Dr. Khalid Mehmood).
Imam Zahri and Written Hadith
Salih bin Keesan writes:
“I and Zahri together collected Ahaadith, then we decided to write them and we wrote all that what we heard is from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Afterwards we decided to write the narrations of Sahaabah, but I said that I would not write as that was not Sunnah, Zahri said that it is also Sunnah and he wrote, he succeeded and I wasted”. (Musannaf Abdul Razzaq)
Some of other Hadith Books of First Century Hijrah
Some Hadith Books of Second Century Hijrah
(Authority of Sunnah by Justice Taqi Uthmaani)
Precaution and Protection of Hadith
Precaution of Hadith during the period of Hadhrat Abu Bakr
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
خير القرون قرني ثمّ الّذين يلونهم ثم الّذين يلونهم
“The best era is my era, then (the descending order) which is near to it and then which is near to it.”
As per this Hadith, the period of Abu Bakr (RA) was next best period as piousness was still predominant among people. Most of Sahaabah were not narrating Hadith in view of the following Hadith:
من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده في النار
” One who attributes a lie towards me deliberately, should find his abode in Hell.” (Bukhari)
Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) was also amongst those who liked not to narrate the Hadith. When he became Khalifah, he was over-busy in solving various problems faced by the Ummah, but inspite of that he thought he should write down the Ahaadith he had heard from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as he was the closest associate of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). So he also wrote around five hundred Ahaadith.
Imam Zehbi has quoted Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) as saying
“My father (Abu Bakr) collected (wrote down) around five hundred Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). One night Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) was seen turning his sides frequently in his bed. I asked him its reason in the morning, he told me to get all those Ahaadith which he had written, then he asked for fire and burnt that document. I asked him as to why did he do that? He replied, I feared that if I die and this document covering Ahaadith which I have got from others after trusting them, it is possible that what they said would not be like that what I have quoted.”
From this you can very well understand as to how much cautious Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) was in this regard.
Burning of Sheefah Siddiqui
There are great lessons to be derived from the act of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Sidiq (RA) in which he burnt the document covering Ahaadith he had compiled. First thing which is evident from this act of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) is the extreme caution and fear shown by him in narrating Hadith. To understand the second lesson, more deep thinking is needed. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during his lifetime made it sure that there should be no intermixing of Qur’an and Hadith and that Qur’an should get its own place and Hadith its own place. For this purpose he once forbade Sahaabah-al-Kiram from writing anything what he utters except Qur’an so as to maintain the distinction of Qur’an. This factor was also there in the mind of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) when he ordered burning of the document covering Ahaadith which he had collected. Secondly Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) wanted to keep some liberty for the Ummah by keeping various options open and not making Hadith so rigid. Had Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) decided to ask the Sahaabah to write the Hadith in same way as Qur’an, then that would have left no choice or options for the Ummah. We see that Ummah can choose various versions of Hadith, of course, very much within the permissible limits of Shari’ah. You can understand authenticity of the document of Ahaadith which would have been compiled by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA), again it would not have left any option for the Ummah. There are so many other benefits also in not making Hadith so rigid.
Hadhrat Umar and precaution of Hadith
Most of the authentic books on Hadith (Siha Sita) have reported an incident of Hadhrat Umar (RA) and Abu Musa Asha’ri (RA), in which Abu Musa (RA) one day goes to the residence of Hadhrat Umar (RA) to see him. When he reaches the door of Hadhrat Umar’s (RA) house, he says Salam loudly three times. On getting no response, he returns back. Hadhrat Umar (RA) sends a man after him and calls him back and asks him why did he do like that and has Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) taught you to do so? Abu Musa Asha’ri (RA) replied in affirmative. Hadhrat Umar (RA) told him that he (Abu Musa) has to produce a witness for the same and threatened him if he proved wrong. Abu Musa (RA) knowing the temper of Hadhrat Umar (RA) got frightened and reached a group of Ansari Sahaabah who were sitting some where nearby. He requested them if anyone of them had heard the Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in which he had taught that:
“When you go to some body’s house, say Salam loudly three times, if there is no response then return back”.
Also he (Abu Musa (RA)) narrated his incident with Hadhrat Umar (RA). On hearing it, all the present there laughed. Hadhrat Ubi bin Ka’b (RA) told him from amongst us even the youngest person knows it. Since Abu Syed Khudri (RA) was the youngest in that group, Hadhrat Ka’b (RA) tasked him to go along with Abu Musa (RA) to Hadhrat Umar (RA).
After sometime Ubi bin ka’b (RA) met Hadhrat Umar (RA) and asked him why he was creating difficulties for the people as he had asked Abu Musa (RA) to produce a witness for that Hadith, otherwise he would punish him. What Hadhrat Umar (RA) said in reply to this question of Hadhrat Ka’b (RA) is what I want to convey by narrating this incident. Hadhrat Umar (RA) said to Ka’b (RA):
“Subhan Allah, Subhan Allah, I heard something (attributed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)), I wanted to get it confirmed.”
It was not that Hadhrat Umar (RA) was not believing Hadhrat Abu Musa (RA) or had doubt over his integrity, but Hadhrat Umar (RA) wanted to convey to the people that they will have to be very cautious while narrating a Hadith. This act also conveyed that when people would listen that Hadhrat Umar (RA) behaved like this with a distinguished Sahaabi, what would be the fate of others. These kind of acts laid the basis in Muslim Ummah for not accepting any Hadith unless authentic evidences are produced in support. It is for this reason that in Hadith books same Hadith is quoted through many chains of transmission. It is said that Muhaditheen have quoted the Hadith إنما الأعمال بالنيات“Deeds are as per intention” through seven hundred chains of transmission.
Dispute between Hadhrat Umar (RA) and Hadhrat Abbas (RA)
Hadhrat Umar (RA) during his Khilafat wanted to extend Masjid Nabwi and for this purpose he got all houses around it demolished. Lastly there remained the house of Hadhrat Abbas (RA), the uncle of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The latter did not let his house to get demolished. Hadhrat Umar (RA) tried to motivate him in various ways but all in vain. Finally both decided to make Hadhrat Ubi bin Ka’b (RA) as the judge. Hadhrat Ubi (RA) said, he heard from Rasulullah (RA) that when Allah Ta’ala asked Hadhrat Dawood (AS) to construct Baitul Maqdis, he started construction and one day he observed that there was a house which made the whole design look odd. He asked the owner of the house to sell it but he didn’t agree. Hadhrat Dawood (AS) decided to take that house forcefully. Allah Ta’ala did not like this intention of Hadhrat Dawood (AS) and told him that He had asked him to construct a house for His remembrance and it was not proper to use snatched property for construction of His house. so he (Hadhrat Dawood (AS)) will be given punishment that he cannot complete that construction of Bai’tual Muqadas. Hadhrat Dawood (AS) made Dua that his son may be allowed to complete that construction, that dua was accepted by Allah Ta’ala.
On hearing this, Hadhrat Umar (RA) got frightened and told Hadhrat Ubi (RA) that he had further complicated the issue for him instead of making it easy, but he has to produce a witness for this Hadith. Afterwards both of them came to Masjid Nabwi and asked the people present there, if anyone of them had heard that Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Hadhrat Abu Dhar Gifari (RA) said, yes I have heard this Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Hadhrat Ubi (RA) then complained to Hadhrat Umar (RA) that he had questioned his integrity.
Hadhrat Umar (RA) replied:
“I had no intention to question your integrity, but I do not like that Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) should become common (without proper scrutiny)”
After this incident, Hadhrat Umar (RA) left the idea of demolishing Hadhrat Abbas’s (RA) house, but Hadhrat Abbas (RA) after seeing Hadhrat Umar’s (RA) disappointment voluntarily offered his house to get demolished and included in Masjid Nabwi. (Tabqat-Ibne-Sa’d)
Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA) says:
لو كنت أحدّث في زمان عمر مثل ما أحدّثكم لضربني بخفقته
“If I would have narrated Hadith during the period of Hadhrat Umar (RA) in the same way, as I am narrating to you he would have beat me with lashes.”
From these incidents we can very well understand how much cautious Hadhrat Umar (RA) was regarding the Hadith. These kind of incidents laid the guidelines for the future generations as to how much concerned they should be while dealing with the Hadith.
Hadhrat Umar (RA) was a scholar of Torah, he was fully aware of what had happened to Torah and Muthnah. It was famous among Jews that Hadhrat Musa (RA) was given a great treasure of verbal narrations called Muthnah in addition to Torah, which was not written upto about one thousand and five hundred years after Hadhrat Musa (AS). It was Abi Yahooda Haz dosh who wrote it first time, one thousand and seven hundred years after Hadhrat Musa (AS) and this got famous amongst Jews by the name of Muthnah. Its commentary was first written in Jerusalem and then in Babul which was know as Makra. Muthnah and Makra together constitute Talmod. Commentators of Torah like Adam Clark have written that in earlier times Talmod and Muthnah had attained more importance amongst Jews than Torah. (Tabaqat Ibn Sa’ad, Tadween Hadith-Manazir Ahsan Geelani)
There was this kind of fear in the mind of Hadhrat Umar (RA) that later generations may not give due importance to Qur’an, so he tried his best to prevent intermixing of Qur’an and Hadith as was done earlier by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA).
Caution of Hadhrat Uthman (RA) and Hadhrat Ali (RA) in narrating Hadith
The role of Hadhrat Uthman (RA) in compiling Qur’an is well known but in narrating Hadith he was also extremely cautious. He says:
“It is not that I remember less number of Hadith than others that stops me from narrating what Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, but it is due to the fact that I have heard from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that one who attributes that thing to me which I have not said, should consider his abode in Hell.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Hadhrat Ali (RA) and fabricators of Hadith
The leader of the fabricators of Hadith was Abdullah bin Sabah. He was a Jew from Yemen who embraced Islam apparently but his mission was to erode the base of Islam from inside. He started his mission during the very time of Hadhrat Umar (RA) but as you know that Hadhrat Umar (RA) and his appointed governors were very vigilant, so they never allowed any miscreant to play a mischief.
Sabeeg and Hadhrat Umar (RA)
The incident of Hadhrat Umar (RA) and Sabeeg is well known. Sabeeg was a suspicious person who during the period of Hadhrat Umar (RA) used to enter the Muslim colonies and ask strange questions to create confusion amongst the Muslims about the fundamentals of Islam. When Hadhrat Umar (RA) heard it, he called Sabeeg and beat him severely on his head with a fresh soft bundles of sticks. After only few lashes, Sabeeg started crying that his mind had been cured, his mind got treated. After that Sabeeg could not succeed in his mission.
Similarly Abdullah bin Sabah was not allowed to play any mischief during Hadhrat Umar’s (RA) time. First time, he appeared in Basrah. People got suspicious about him and they informed the governor of Basrah, Abdullah bin Aamir, who called Abdullah bin Sabah and asked him to leave Basrah. Then he went to Kufa, there also he was asked to leave. Finally he went to Egypt and there he got scot-free and also got a chance to spread his ulterior motives. During the last period of Hadhrat Uthman (RA), Abdullah bin Sabah was able to influence a large number of neo-Muslims and with them formed a large party called ‘Sabayee’. These people propagated lot of fabricated Ahaadith and were silently eroding the base of Islam. The groupism which they caused among Muslims lead to martyrdom of Hadhrat Uthman (RA). When Hadhrat Ali (RA) took as Caliph, these Sabayee people secretly joined the army of Hadhrat Ali (RA) and showed loyalty to him from outside but from inside they were busy in dividing Muslims. Historians are of the opinion that the battles which were fought by Muslims against each other like battle of Jamal and Sufayn, were totally because of the misunderstandings created by these people deliberately but secretly amongst the Muslims. On one hand this group was fabricating Hadith to prove that Hadhrat Ali (RA) was God (Nauoodhu Billah) and on the other hand they were trying to belittle the Iman of other distinguished Sahaabah as quoted by Ibne Sa’d in the Tabaqat.
As said earlier that they had mixed themselves in Hadhrat Ali’s (RA) army, so they remained hidden for sometime but ultimately they got exposed and Hadhrat Ali (RA) finally came to know about this nefarious group. As per Haafiz Ibne Hajar, Hadhrat Ali (RA) burnt them during his Caliphate. Zahbi says that Ibne-Sabah was also amongst these who were burnt.
Second task for Hadhrat Ali (RA) was to eradicate those fabricated Hadith which this group had propagated. For that purpose he frequently ascended on the Mimber of the Mosque and used to narrate Sahih Hadith in large number in order to remove all doubts and confusions created by Sabayee group. He even asked the people to write down Hadith from him.
(Science of names of men of Hadith)
This is a unique science which has been developed by Muslims and was applied to examine and evaluate about five lakh people who were some way related with the transmission of Hadith.
Allah Ta’ala says in Qur’an:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption) (15:09)
There is consensus amongst the Ulema that under this divine protection Hadith is also included along with the Qur’an because Hadith is also a kind of Divine Revelation called Wahy-Gair Matloo. We have seen in earlier pages how Ahaadith were written by some distinguished Sahaabah and how Sahaabah-Al-Kiram dedicated their lives for the protection and propagation of Ahaadith in pristine purity. We have also seen that during the last period of Hadhrat Uthman (RA) and then during the period of Hadhrat Ali (RA), how enemies of Islam tried to extinguish the flame of Hadith. The earlier attempts to erode the base of Islam had failed, so the enemies of Islam thought that they could succeed in their ulterior motive by making the Ahaadith and its transmitters i.e. Sahaabah-Al-Kiram doubtful. They tried to do it very cleverly. On one hand under the leadership of Abdullah bin Sahah, they tried to show sympathies to Hadhrat Ali (RA) by fabricating such Ahaadith which proved that he was God (Naoozo-billah) and on the other hand, they tried to create misunderstanding among the Muslims. To convincing the simple minded Muslims, they fabricated Ahaadith and presented it to them. But least could they realise that there is always an Unseen Divine Hand for the protection of Qur’an and Hadith. For this purpose a unique science of Funn-i-Asmaa-i-Rijal was developed by the Muslim scholars which separated chalk from cheese completely, thus preserving the pristine purity of Hadith for all times to come.
What worked as a guiding principle
Anas bin Maalik (RA) says that what stops me from narrating Hadith is because of a Hadith in which Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,
من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده في النار
” One who attributes a lie towards me deliberately, should find his abode in Hell.” (Bukhari)
Hadhrat Hafs bin Aasim narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“It is enough for a person to be considered a liar, if he narrates to others what he listens ( that is without verifying)” (Muslim)
Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that:
“In the last part of my Ummah such people will be born who will narrate such Ahaadith which neither you nor your ancestors would have listened, you should remain away from them”.
Aamir bin Asadi (RA) narrates that Abdullah bin Masood (RA) said that:
” Shaitaan comes to people in the guise of a human and tells them false Hadith, then one of these people narrates that Hadith to others saying that he heard it from a person whom he does not know.” (Muslim)
This Hadith teaches that one should not learn Hadith from one whom he does not know.
Mujahid (RA) narrates that:
” Bashir bin Ka’b Adwi (RA) came to Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) and started narrating Hadith to him, Ibne Abbas (RA) did not pay any attention to Bashir bin Ka’b Adwi (RA). Bashir bin Ka’b Adwi (RA) asked Ibne Abbas (RA) as to what had happened to him that he was not listening? Ibne Abbas (RA) replied that there was a time when some body would narrate a Hadith, we would look towards him and give ear to him, now when people have ridden every high and low (that is they narrate true and false Hadith), we have left listening Hadith, we listen to the same Hadith which we know.” (Muslim)
This laid the basis for Funn-i-Asmaa-i-Rijal i.e., people first ascertained as to who was narrating the Hadith and then only listened to him. People used to first certify the authenticity, piousness and truthfulness of the narrator. They would also test his memory power thinking that it might be possible that the person is reliable but has a weak memory. If that was proved, they would not accept his Hadith. After getting assured of his reliability, they would see from whom he had learned that Hadith and whether that person also was also reliable or not. They would also scrutininze whether this person had met that person from whom he was narrating Hadith. If it was proved otherwise, then, again his Hadith was rejected.
Abu Is-haq (RA) says that :
“When people talked such things (false Hadith) after Hadhrat Ali (RA), one of his friends said that may God destroy them, what a wonderful knowledge (of Hadhrat Ali (RA)) they destroyed”. (Muslim)
Abu Bakr bin Ayyash narrates that:
“He heard Mugairrah (RA) saying that the people who quoted Hadhrat Ali (RA) were not believed unless certified by the colleagues of Hadhrat Abne Masood (RA)”. (Muslim)
As already mentioned that Sabayee group who fabricated false Ahaadith, had mingled with Hadhrat Ali’s (RA) army, so people would not accept Hadith from Hadhrat Ali (RA) men until they reconfirmed it from the colleagues of Hazdhat Abdullah bin Masood (RA). This is why in the above mentioned narration of Abu Ishaq (RA), one of the Hadhrat Ali’s (RA) friend cursed these people (i.e., Sabayee) who made Hadhrat Ali’s (RA) group doubtful.
Sanad (Chain of Transmission) Made Essential Constituent of Deen
Ibne Sereen said:
“This knowledge (of Hadith) is your Deen, so first verify from whom you are learning it (i.e. don’t trust everyone, learn it from reliable one only).” (Muslim)
He also said:
“In earlier times if any one would narrate a Hadith, no body asked him about ‘Sanad-’Chian of transmission’. Afterwards when ‘Fitna’ spread (i.e., when falsehood, innovations (Bid’ats) of Rwafiz, Khwarij, Marjia and Qadria groups started spreading), then people started asking for ‘Sanad’ to ascertain whether narrators were from Ahle-Sunnah, then they would accept the Hadith and if the narrators were Bida’ti, then they would reject it”. (Muslim)
Abu Zinad (Abdullah bin Zakwan, an Imam of Hadith) says that:
“He knows around hundred people in Madinah who were all good, but no body would narrate Hadith from them, saying that they were not worth for it”. (They were not fulfilling other preconditions necessary for narrating a Hadith like memory etc.) (Muslim)
Abdullah bin Mubarak used to say:
“Sanad is a part of Deen, if it was not there, then everybody would have said whatever he liked”. (Muslim)
Abu Ishaq says that he asked Abdullah bin Mubarak:
“what do you say about the particular Hadith which says that second good deed after the good deed before Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is to offer Salaah for one’s parents after offering his own Salaah and to observe fast for them fasting for his own self”.
Abdullah bin Mubarak asks Abu Ishaq as who was narrating this Hadith? Abu Ishaq said ‘Shahab bin Kheresh ‘. Abdullah says that he is authentic. Then he again asked from whom was he narrating? Abu Ishaq said: “Hajjaz bin Deenar”. Abdullah said, that he was also authentic. Then Abdullah again asked from whom was he narrating? Abu Ishaq said: “from Rasulullah” (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)”.
Abdullah said, O! Abu Ishaq, from Hajjaz to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) there remain so many jungles that the neck of camels would tire in travelling through them and yes, there is no harm in charity or Sadqa.” (Muslim)
This shows how Abdullah bin Mubarak first verifies Sanad and then rejects it after finding it defective.
Abdullah bin Mubarak used to says:
“Do not listen Hadith from Uthman bin Thabit as he uses to curse the earlier pious people.” (Muslim)
Yahya bin Sayeed says:
“I asked Sufiyan Thouri, Shooba, Maalik and Ibne Uyainiya (who were great Imam of Hadith) that if a person is not reliable in Hadith and some one asks about him then should I reveal his defect or not? They all said “You should say that he is not reliable and it will not be Geebat as your intention is good.” (Muslim)
Bashar bin Hakam narrates that:
“I heard Yahya bin Sayeed Aqtan, who was an Imam of Hadith that he declared Hakim bin Jubair, Abdul-Aala bin Aamir Thaulbi, Yahaya bin Musa bin Deenar, Musa bin Deenar and Esa bin Abu Eisa Nadwi as unauthentic or Dhaaef (weak). (Muslim)
Imam Tirmidhi writes:
Many Imams (great scholars) amongst the Taabaeen have written about Asmaa-i-Rijal. Out of these Hasan Bisri (110 Hijrah) and Ta’oos (105 Hijrah) objected to Ma’bad Juhni, Sayeed bin Jubair (95 H) to Talaq bin Habib and Ibrahim Nakhaee (95 H) and Aamir Shoobi (105 H) have objected to Haarith-al-Aur as being unreliable.
Similarly, Ayub Sakhtayabi, Abdullah bin Aun, Suleiman Timi, Shoaba bin Hajjaz, Sufiyan Thouri, Maalik bin Anas, Auzaaee, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Yahya bin Sayeed-Al-Qatan, Waki bin al-Jarah and Abdul Rehman bin al-Mehdi like great scholars have written about the reliability and the unreliability of those who narrated Hadith and have labelled the weak narrators as Dhaaef.
These people did it for Allah’s sake and in the interest of Muslims with good intention and did not mean criticism or backbiting by it. We believe that their aim was to point out defects of these narrators so that people should recongnise them. Out of those whom they labelled weak (Dhaaef) some were Bid’atis, some were blamed for fabricating Hadith, some had problems with memory and were thus committing mistakes. So, these scholars thought that their condition should be stated and in this they were well wishers of Deen and intended steadfastness in Deen. It is more important to stand as a witness in Deen than in matters of rights and wealth.(Kitab-ul-Ilal-Li-Tirmidhi).
Similarly Imam Abu Haniefah talked about the unreliability of Tala bin Hasib and said that he didn’t believe in Taqdeer. He also labelled Zayd bin Ayyash as Majhool, (whose status is not known, hence unreliable) and Jaffer Toefi he said that he has not seen anyone more liar than him.
Books written on Asmaa-i-Rijaal
Terminology used to label the status of narrator of Hadith
Pre-requisites which make a Raawi or narrator of Hadith acceptable or authentic
Sources of knowing somebody’s Adalat
Factors which make Adalat defective
Under this heading it is seen with what keenness and interest the narrator has learned the Hadith and then what methods he has adopted for preserving it. If and how has he memorised it. How good is his memory power and if he has written it, how accurate he has been.
Factors which make Zabt Defective
Imam Abu Haniefa (RA)
Hafiz Ibne Taymiya writes in Kitab-ul-Istiqsa that there have been such Imams who were Imams of both Muhadditheen as well as Fuqaha and are included in both these groups.
He says that most of the Imams of Hadith and Fiqh like Maalik, Shafaee, Ahmad Ishaq bin Rahovi, Abu Ubaid, Awdha’ee, Thouri and Laith have been of the same status. Similarly Imam Abu Haniefa, Imam Abu Yousuf have been of the same status (i.e., Imam of both Muhadditheen and Fuqaha). (Kitab-ul-Ishtiqsa)
So there should be no confusion in including these four Imams viz; Imam Abu Haniefa, Imam Maalik, Imam Shafaee and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal in the group of leading Muhadditheen.
Noaman bin Thabit commonly known as Abu Haniefa is reported to have born in 71 Hijra in Kufa. His father Thabit is reported to have met Hadhrat Ali (RA) who had made Dua for him.(Introduction to Awjaz’t-Masaalik)
According to Ibne Qayyim, there were three main centres of Ilmi-Nabuwwah after Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) namely Makkah, Madinah and Kufa, where the chief teachers were Ibne Abbas (RA), IBne Umar (RA) and Abdullah-Bin Masood (RA) respectively.(Aelam-ul-Muwaqieen)
Hafiz lbne Taymiyah further writes: “When Hadhrat Ali (RA) reached Kufa, the people of Kufa had already learned Islam from Hadhrat Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Masood, Hadhrat Hudhaifa, Hadhrat Amar, Hadhrat Abu Musa (RA) and many others whom Hadhrat Umar (RA) had sent to Kofa.” (Minhajus-Sunnah)
It is said that one thousand and fifty Sahaabah-al-Kiram including 24 those distinguished Sahaabah, who had participated in Badr had gone to Kufa and settled there. (Fathul Mugeeth—Muhadditheen Izaam)
Abdullah bin Mubarak says that after reaching Kufa, he asked the people as to who was the most pious person in Kufa, they replied Abu Haniefa.
Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Delhvi says that the number of teachers from whom Imam Sahib learned is around four thousand. His main teacher was Hammad who at that time was chief inheritor of the school of Abdullah bin Masood (RA). Hammad died in 120 Hijra.
Alama Shoarani says that the distinguished quality of Imam Abu Haniefa is that by whichever Hadith he has justified his viewpoint, he has obtained that from distinguished Taabaeen, who cannot be alleged with falsehood.
Imam Sahib performed Haj 55 times
Haj has always been a great means of learning. Those days it served that purpose to a great degree. Imam Abul Hassan Murgeenani has narrated with proper ‘Sanad’ that Imam Abu Haniefa had performed Haj 55 times. (Munaqibul-Imam)
He used to learn from a great number of Ulema during Haj particularly from Atah bin Rabah in Makkah and from Salim bin Abdullah in Madinah.
Students of Imam Sahib
Hafiz Ibne Hajar says that it is difficult to count the students of Imam Abu Haniefa. His contribution has been very great, not only in Fiqh but also in Hadith and Tasawwuf which one can easily understand by looking at the galaxy of great scholars who progressed under his guidance. In Fiqh, everybody is well aware of the status of Imam Abu Yousuf, Imam Muhammad and Imam Zufr, who have been the shining students of Abu Haniefa’s school. In Hadith Imam Abu Haniefa has equally contributed by teaching great Muhadditheen like Abdullah bin Mubarak, Laith bin Sa’ad, Imam Maalik and Musaa bin Kudam. Great Sufi saints like Fudhail Ibne Iyaz and Dawood Taayee were also from the students of Imam Abu Haniefa.
Sufiyan bin Uyianiya, a great Muhadith says, “Abdullah bin Abbas was an Aalim of his time, after him it was Imam Shoabi and then Imam Abu Haniefa. All the three were unparallel in their respective times. My eyes have not seen anyone like Abu Haniefa.” (Maufiqe an Muhadditheen Ezaam voL 2, p 51 )
Sufiyan Thouri told of a person who was returning after meeting Imam Abu Haniefa, “You are returning from one who is best Faqeeh on earth.”
lmam Shafaee says, “One who wants to know Fiqh, should necessarily get attached to Imam Abu Haniefa and his men.(Introduction to Awjaz 56)
Great prediction about Imam Abu Haniefa in Hadith as interpreted by Shah Walliullah Muhadith Delhvi
Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Nayeem on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) have narrated a Hadith from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as follows:
“If knowledge be in Pleiades (Thurya), some people from Persia will even get it from that”. (Musnad Imam Ahmad VoL 2, p 296)
This Hadith has also been narrated by Ahmad and Tabri on the authority of Abdullab bin Masood (RA).
Hadhrat Shah Walliullah Dellivi writes about this Hadith in his Maktoobat, “Faqir (Shah Walliullah) says that Imam Abu Haniefa is included in this.”
Has Imam Abu Hahiefa seen Sahaabah?
Answer is yes. Hafiz Ibne Hajar writes that there were several Sahaabah in Kufa during the time of Imam Abu Haniefa. Great Muhaditheen like Ibne Hajar Asqalani, Alama Zahbi, Alama Nawavi, Zainu-ud-Din Iraqi, Ibne Jawzi and Imam Dari Qatni, all have accepted the fact that Imam Abu Haniefa was a Taabaee and had seen several Sahaabah. (Introduction to Oujuz-ul-Masalik)
Why there are few Hadith only, quoted on the authority of Abu Haniefa?
Imam Abu Haniefa took great precautions before narrating a Hadith. Famous Muhaddith, Yahya bin Moeen says,
“Imam Abu Haniefa is highly authentic, he narrates only that Hadith which he remembers and does not narrate any Hadith which he does not remember.” (Taarikh-i-Baghdad—M. Izaam, vol 13, P-419)
Alama Ibne Khaldoon writes: “There are less narrations from Imam Abu Haniefa as his pre-conditions for narration were quite strict.”
Abdul Wahib Sheerani says: “About the Hadith which is narrated from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Imam Abu Haniefa, before acting upon the Hadith puts the precondition that quite a good number of pious people should have also narrated that Hadith .
Imam Shafaee says: “All people (to come) are dependent on Abu Haniefa in Fiqh “(as family members are dependent on the head of the family).
Imam Maalik (RA)
Abdullah Maalik bin Anas bin Maalik bin Abi Aamir Umair bin al-Asahi al-Humairi was born in Madinah. Imam Maalik (RA) is one of those few famous scholars of Hadith who need little introduction. He was the most authentic scholar of Hadith of his time. He was among Taba-Taabaeen group. His piousness and Taqwa was of highest degree. He learned and narrated Hadith from noted Muhadditheen like Nafae, Ibne Umar, Muhammad bin Al-Munkidr, Zehri and from a large number of Taabaeen and Taba-Taabaeen group of Muhadditheen. Great scholars like Yahya bin Syed Ansari, Sufiyan Thouri, Sufiyan bin Uyainiya, Awdhaee, Shoaba, Laith bin Syed, Ibne Mubarak, Imam Shafaee, Ibne Wahab and many others have been students of Imam Maalik (RA) and have learned Hadith from him.
Imam Shafaee used to say about him, “Had there not been Imam Maalik (RA) and Ibne Uyainiya, the knowledge of the people of Madinah would have got annihilated”. He also said, “Whenever, Ulema are mentioned, Imam Maalik (RA) stands out as a shining star.”
Till then Bukhari and Muslim had not been written. That way Imam Maalik (RA) was first to compile an authentic book on Hadith.
Another noted scholar of Hadith Hadhrat Zahab bin Khalid used to say about Imam Maalik (RA), “Between east and west there has been no one more trustworthy of Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) than Imam Maalik (RA).”
He himself used to say that it happened on very few occasions that he (Imam Maalik) had listened Hadith from someone and that from whom he listened had not come to him for Fatwa later on.
Imam Maalik (RA) was unique in honouring the Hadith of Rasulullah. When someone used to visit him for learning Deeni Knowledge, he used to direct his servant to enquire from the visitor whether he wants to ask for a Fatwa or to know a Hadith. If the visitor wanted to ask for a Fatwa, then Imam Sahib would come out and give him the Fatwa. If the visitor wanted to know the Hadith, then Imam Sahib would tell him to wait, would have a fresh bath for himself; dress himself with fresh washed clothes, use some fragrance (Itr) and then would sit by the side of a nice cushion with grace and then used to narrate the Hadith. He used to say that Hadith is a royal thing, its etiquettes should be also royal.
It is mentioned that once Caliph Haroon Rashid visited Madinah, Imam Maalik (RA) also went to see him. After meeting him, Imam Maalik (RA) started to leave, Haroon Rashid requested him to come to his palace to teach Hadith to his sons—Amin and Mamoon. On listening this Imam Maalik (RA) looked at him with hatred and told Caliph Haroon Rashid not to belittle the thing (i.e., Ilm) whose rank has been elevated by Allah. He further said to him that whole world goes after Ilm and lIm does not go to any one, and that this Ilm sprouts directly from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and to honour it is obligatory on you people (Haroon Rashid). This fearless statement from the mouth of this great lover of Hadith set Haroon Rashid’s mind right and he behaved sensibly. While admitting the truthfulness of Imam Maalik (RA)’s statement he told him that indeed he had made a wrong statement and apologised for the same. Haroon Rashid then used to send his sons to Imam Maalik (RA) for learning Hadith. Imam Maalik (RA) never gave them any extra attention, he used to teach them with other common students.
One day Haroon Rashid sent some money to Imam Maalik (RA). Imam Maalik asked his attendants to keep it safe. Then one day, Haroon Rashid told Imam Maalik (RA) that if he could come to his Darbar, they would make his book and his ideology very popular. Imam Maalik (RA) replied that he had compiled his book as per his knowledge. There is apprehension that there are many mistakes in that. Others could be more knowledgeable than him, so there was no purpose in inviting others towards his viewpoint. With this, he returned that money back to Haroon Rashid who again apologised for what he had done.
Imam Shafaee says that one day he saw beautiful horses and Egyptian mules outside Imam Maalik’s (RA) house which surprised him. Imam Maalik (RA) said to Imam Shafaee, “O! Abu Abdullah, they have come as gift, now you accept Imam Maalik (RA) to keep one. Imam Maalik (RA) replied that he feels ashamed if he would walk on horse in the land in which lies the grave of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)”
Imam Maalik, in his whole lifetime has left Madinah only once when he went to perform Haj. Rest he spent his whole life in Madinah, teaching Hadith in Masjid-e-Nabwi.
Motaa of Imam Maalik (RA)
Alama Abu Bakr Ibne Arabi says, “The status of Motaa is first and basic, and Bukhari is second in status in this regard as it is on the basis of these two books that books like Muslim and Tirmizi have been compiled.” (Bustan)
Haafiz lbne Hasaan says in Kitabus-Siqat, “Imam Maalik is the first scholar from Madinah who started knowing details of the narrators of Hadith and did not accept the Hadith of those narrators who were not authentic. He neither quotes any Hadith that is not Sahih nor narrates any Hadith from unauthentic narrator.” (Tahzeeb-ul-Tahzeeb)
Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddith Delhvi says about Mota, “The principal of the school of thought of Imam Maalik is based on the Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) (which may be Musnad or Mursal) and on the Ath’ar of Hadhrat Umar (RA). To give justification from the practice of Hadhrat Ibne Umar (RA) and to derive conclusion on the basis of the Fataawa of Sahaabah and Taabaeen of Madinah particularly when a group of Taabaeen has consensus on that particular Fatawa, is also the principle of Imam Maalik”
Ibne Hajar Asqalani further explains the same as, “Imam Maalik compiled Motaa and in this he opted for strong narrations from the people of Hijaz. He also included in it the saying of Sahaabah-al-Kiram and Fataawa by Taabaeen and later scholars”. (Fathul-Bari)
Imam Shafaee says, “There is no book on earth more authentic than the book of Imam Maalik after the book of Allah (i.e., Qur’an).”
Author of Mijlah-us-Sa’ada says, “There is consensus among the Ulema that as per status Mota is after Tirmizi, but in reality it is at number three i.e., after Muslim.” (Muqadam Awjazul Masaalik)
Haafiz Ibne Hajar further says, “Some Imams have stated that it is difficult to give preference to book of Bukhari over that of Maalik as both are very careful about the authenticity (of narrations) even if the narrations of Bukhari are more but that cannot be basis for preference.” (Fathul-Bari)
Imam Shafaee (RA)
Abu Abdullah bin Idrees bin al-Abbas bin Uthman bin Shafe bin Said bin al-Mutalib bin Abdul Aziz bin Hashim bin al-Mutalib bin Abd Manaf al-Qarshi al-Mutalabi.
Imam Shafaee is referred as Mutalibi because one of his ancestors. Mutalib bin Abd-Manaf was the brother of Hashim bin Abd-Manaf who was amongst the grand parents of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). As one of the grand parents was Shafaee, it is because of him that he is popularly known as Imam Shafaee. Ulema have stated that the mother of Abd Aziz bin Hashim was the daughter of Hashim bin Abd-Manaf and mother of Shafe was the sister of Hadhrat Fatima binti Asad who was the mother of Ameer-ul-Mumineen Hadhrat Ali (RA). Imam Shafaee’s mother was Umm-ul-Hassan binti Harriza bin al-Qasim bin Yazid bin Hamza bin al-Qasim bin Yazid bin al-Hassan bin Ali bin Taalib. So both way Imam Shafaee is linked to Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) family. Ulema have also stated that Shafe bin Said had met Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in his youth and his father was arrested by Muslims when he was holding the flag of Bani Hashim during the Battle of Badr. He embraced Islam after paying Fidyah.
Ulema have different opinions about the birth place of Imam Shafaee. Some say he was born in Gaza, some say in Asqalan while others say that he was born in Muns. Then he shifted to Makkah-Al-Mukarramah and there he was brought up. He memorised the Qur’an by heart at the age of seven and Mota Imam Maalik when he was ten. He learned Islamic Jurisprudence from Mufti of Makkah—Hadhrat Muslim bin Khalid. He was granted permission for giving Fatwas by the Ulema of that time when he was just 15 years old.
Then Imam Shafaee went to Madinah Munnawara and became the student of Imam Maalik. In his early days he was interested in poetry. He himself says that one day he was sitting alone under the shade of wall of Khana Ka’aba and he heard a voice from behind saying, “O! Muhammad leave poetry and learn Islamic Jurisprudence.”
Imam Shafaee says that he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream before adolescence saying to him, “O! child, I said Labaika Ya Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), from which clan are you? I said, from your. Then he told me to come nearer and open you mouth. I obeyed the order, then he put his saliva in my mouth and said go, may Allah bless you”. Imam Shafaee says that after this blessing he did not err in Hadith and Arabic.
Imam Sahafee says, “When I went to Imam Maalik, he looked keenly at me for sometime, as Imam Maalik was a man of great insight. He asked my name, I replied, Muhammad. Then he told me, “O! Muhammad, fear Allah, adopt piousness and shun away the sins, Allah Ta’ala will bestow upon you great and marvelous rank from amongst the Ummah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)”. I remained with Imam Maalik till I completed acquisition of all branches of knowledge. When I asked for permission to return back home, he told me, “O! young man, Allah has put a Nur in your heart don’t extinguish it with the darkness of sins.”
Imam Shafaee has narrated Hadith from Imam Maalik, Uyainiya, Abdul Aziz and many others and from him scholars like Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imaam Thouri Muzni and many others have narrated Hadith.
Imam Shafaee went to Baghdad after leaving Imam Maalik, and there he remained for two years. For these two years Ulema of Baghdad took complete advantage of his presence there and learned from him a lot. He wrote his earlier books in Baghdad only. Imam Abmad bin Hambal says that they had not learned how to recognise Naasikh Hadith with the help of Mansokh, Khas Hadith with the help of Aam Hadith and Mujammal Hadith with the help of Mufassal Hadith till they did not sit before Imam Shafaee.
Yahya bin Moeen, who himself was a great Muhaddith, once asked Ahmad bin Hambal as to why he used to walk on foot on the right side of the horse of Imam Shafaee when he (Imam Ahmad) himself was a great scholar of Hadith? Imam Ahmad replied, “Had you been the lover of Ilm and Fiqh, you would have walked on the left side.”
Imam Muhammad bin Hassan Sheebani while praising Imam Shafaee said, “once Imam Shafaee took on lone from him a book of Abu Haniefa namely ‘Ansat’ and he learned the whole book by heart in just twenty four hours.
In memory power, Hadith, Fiqh, explanation, masterly hold on various aspects of Ilm, physical and spiritual beauty, nicety of opinion, intimation, courage, good morals and charity, Imam Shafaee had all these qualities in highest degree of excellence.
Sayings of Imam Shafaee
* One who admonishes his brother secretly he is in fact his well wisher and adds to his beauty.
* One who admonishes his brother publicly, his act alleges him and makes him to feel ashamed.
* Taqwa is the beauty of Ulemas, good manners their ornaments and gentleness their excellence.
* Allah never makes any ignoramous person (Jaahil) His friend.
* Contentment, patience and gratitude is the beauty of Fakir.
* Poverty of Ulema is voluntary and that of ignoramous is involuntary.
Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (RA)
Imam Ahmad bin Hambal is one of the four famous Imams of Fiqh and has been a great Muhaddith of his time. He was born in Baghdad in 164 Hijra. His full name is Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Hambal bin Halal bin Asad bin Idrees bin Abdullah bin Hiban bin Asad bin Rabee’a bin Nazar bin Sa’id bin Adnan. He got his early education in Baghdad. He showed his extraordinary excellence right from his childhood and was loved by his teachers and others for his piousness. He memorised whole Qur’an by heart in childhood only. After obtaining the certificate of excellence for Hadith from scholars of Baghdad, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal travelled to many other centers of knowledge for learning more about Hadith which include Kufa, Basra, Makkah, Madinah Munawwarah, Yamen and Syria. He learned and recorded Hadith from the Muhadditheen of these places. Amongst the Muhadditheen from whom Imam Ahmad bin Hambal learned Hadith, Yazid bin Haroon, Yahya bin Syed Qatan, Sufiyan bin Uyainiya and Imam Shafaee are worth mentioning but he learned Hadith from Imam Abu Yousuf first.
Distinguished students of Imam Ahmad include Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and Abu Dawood Sajastani.
Ishaq bin Rohovia one of the main teachers of Imam Bukhari, said about Imam Ahmad, “He is a Hujjat between Allah and His bondsmen on earth.”
Imam Shafaee said, “I left Baghdad at such a time when there was no one as pious and scholarly as Imam Ahmad bin Hambal”
Ahmad bin Sayeed Darmi said, “I have seen no young man as Haafiz of Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as Imam Ahmad bin Hambal.”
Imam Ahmad compiled a book on Ahaadith called Musnad Ahmad. His Musnad was the best book on Hadith in his time. In this book he compiled thirty thousand Ahaadith which he chose from seven lakh and fifty thousand Ahaadith.
Abu Dawood Sajatani said, “To sit with Imam Ahmad bin Hambal is actually to sit with someone from Aakhirah”.
It was because one used to forget everything about the world while in the company of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal. Ulema have stated that Imam Ahmad lived a life of austerity and never accepted any thing from anyone.
Abu Dawood Sajastani further says, “I have met about two hundred scholars of Hadith, I didn’t found anyone more excellent than Imam Ahmad.”
Superb proof of greatness of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (RA)
The teacher of scholars and chief amongst Auliyaa Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Geelani (RA) of Baghdad followed the school of thought of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal as for as fiqh is concerned. It is mentioned in Behjat-ul-Asrar that Hadhrat Sheikh (RA) used to give Fatwa as per the Fiqh of Imam Shafaee and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, but it is more famous that Hadhrat Sheikh followed the Hambali school of thought only. (Ashhe-at-ul-Lama’at)
Hafiz Ibne Taymiya says, “There is no doubt that Imam Ahmad bin Hambal was a Mujtahid and Faqeeh, but the influence of Hadith was dominant over him.”
Great test o Imam Ahmad (RA)—Fitnah Khalq-i-Qur’an
During the Caliphate of Mamoon Rashid, a serious nuisance that of Khalq-e-Qur’an was faced by the Ummah which in a short span of time spread like an epidemic, particularly because of the fact that the rulers of the time adopted this opinion. Mamoon became the advocate of this opinion with his full might. He even issued the orders that those people who do not agree to this belief should be terminated from official postings. He asked his governors to test the judges of courts and if any one was not conforming with this opinion should be discharged from the court. Then he called the famous scholars and Muhadditheen and asked them questions about Khalaq-i-Qur’an and also declared his opinion in their presence. Before his death, Mamoon wrote to Ishaq bin Ibrahim third time and asked him to call all famous scholars and tell them to comply with this order. Ishaq, while complying the royal orders did the same and wrote back to Mamoon about the opinion of these scholars. On reading the opinion of these Ulema, Mamoon got outraged and issued death sentence for two of them and also ordered that the rest should be arrested and sent to him in chains. There were thirty Ulema who had not surrendered to Mamoon’s opinion. Out of these finally four remained steadfast viz., Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, Sajadah, Qawaeiri and Muhammad bin Naoh. All these were tied in chains and sent to Mamoon Rashid. When these people reached Ruqa the news of death of Mamoon was received and they were sent back to the incharge administrator of Baghdad. Muhammad bin Naoh died on the way and rest reached Baghdad.
Mamoon had advised his successor Moutesim bin Rashid to remain very strong about the policy of Khalq-i-Qur’an and the later followed the advice of his predecessor very actively.
Now, the responsibility to refute the opinion of Khalq-i-Qur’an and uphold the correct view about Qur’an and face the mighty rulers was solely lying on the shoulders of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal.
Imam Ahmad was brought from Ruqa to Baghdad with four chains tied to his each leg. For three days, the debate continued but Imam Ahmad remained steadfast on his stand. Then Imam was brought to Baghdad and he was told that the Caliph would not kill him by his sword but would beat him only and would put him in such a place where he could never see the sun.
When he was produced before Montesim bin Rashid, he was whipped 28 lashes on his persistent refusal, and after every two lashes a fresh Jallad was called. Imam Ahamd only used to say, “Bring something before me from Qur’an or from Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), I will accept”.
Imam Ahmad was kept in prison for 28 months. Muhammad bin Ismaiel says that he heard that the lashes which were given to Imam Ahmad were of such a severe nature that if one such lash would have been given to a strong elephant he would have run away crying.(Tarikh Dawat-e-Azimat)
Finally Imam Ahmad succeeded in withstanding this great torture and emerged as triumphant and in this way this cancerous problem got buried for all times to come.
May Allah bestow ever-increasing blessings upon his soul.
Imam Bukhari (RA)
Sahih-Bukhari, a book on Ahaadith (sayings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) compiled by Imam Bukhari is considered as the truest and the best book under the skies on earth after Qur’an Al-Karim. There is cent per cent consensus amongst all the Ulemas of all schools of thought on the viewpoint. This great book was compiled by Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Mugairah bin Bardiz popularly known as Imam Bukhari. He was born in the city of Bukhara now in Uzbekistan, that is why he is commonly known as Imam Bukhari and his book as Bukhari Sharief. Imam Bukhari is the leader of Muhadditheen—scholars of Hadith. He was called Ameer-ul-Mumineen fil-Hadith (Chief of Muslims in Hadith). Ulema of his time addressed him with different titles of honour. Whenever Imam Muslim visited him he used to request him for allowing him to kiss his feet and addressed him as— O! speaker of Excellence, O! teacher of teachers, O! chief of Muhadditheen, etc.
Imam Tirmidhi used to say that he has not seen any one like him and that Allah had made him as the beauty of the Ummah.
Ibne Khuzaima said, “There is no scholar of Hadith or Hafiz (learner of Hadith) on earth parallel to Imam Bukhari.”
Some scholars used to say that Imam Bukhari was one of the signs of Allah amongst His signs in His creatures on earth.
Allah Ta’ala had bestowed upon him extraordinary memory power, unique understanding of Qur’an and Sunnah, sharpness of mind, enviable piousness, very fine inner sight and above all great authority over the knowledge of Hadith and its related branches. His father was also a great scholar and narrator of Hadith. He had the opportunity of sitting in the company of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (RA). He has narrated Hadith from the students of Imam Malik and their group and he was considered to be amongst those saints whose Dua is usually accepted by Allah. His mother was also from the same group. It is said that Imam Bukhari had become blind in his early childhood and doctors had declared him untreatable. His mother did not loose hope in Allah and she continued to make Dua for his child.
One day she saw Prophet Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS) in her dream telling her, “O! old lady, by your constant humble Dua, Allah has restored the eyesight of your son”. When Imam Bukhari woke up in the morning, his eyesight was normal.
It is reported that when he was ten years of age, he got the inspiration for learning Hadith and at the age of eleven he corrected mistakes of the collection of Ahaadith of his teacher. At the age of sixteen, he memorised by heart all the Hadith books of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mubarak and Hadhrat Wakee. It was at this age that his parents took him for Hajj pilgrimage.
At the age of eighteen, he wrote books on the excellences of the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Then he compiled “Tarikh-e-Kabeer” while sitting in the Masjid Nabwi in Madinah near Rawdh-i-Aqdas. Imam Bukhari used to write books in moonlit nights as well. He says that he stayed in Hijaz for six years, travelled twice to Syria and Egypt for collection of Ahaadith and four times to Basrah, a city in Iraq. He says that he does not remember how many times he travelled to Baghdad and Kufa for the same purpose.
He is also reported to have said that he narrated Hadith from one thousand and eighty persons and among these no one else other than scholars of Hadith is included. Imam Bukhari is considered to be the most authentic and reliable narrator of Hadith. Great Muhadditheen, like Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi, and Imam Ibne Khuzaim have narrated Hadith from Imam Bukhari. Nearly one Lakh people have narrated Hadith from Imam Bukhari.
It is reported that Imam Bukhari had inherited a lot of property from his father and was thus very wealthy. He was extraordinarily very generous, courageous and of very high morals. He used to take great care of the students of Hadith and for himself he usually ate very little. It is also reported that for forty years he did not use salted dish with bread.
It is reported that once he was offering Salaah and a wasp bit him seventeen times but he did not cut short his Salaah but continued.
Other famous works of Imam Bukhari Include
Factors responsible for compiling of Sahih al-Bukhari
Here it should be kept in mind that at the time of Sahaabah-Al-Kiram and leading Taabaeen, the Ahaadith were not compiled in written form. There were many reasons for the same. Since the Sahaabah had the opportunity of being in the blessed company of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), their memory power was extraordinary and their minds were very sharp and clear. In addition to this, the factors which led to writing of books like controversies, groupism and Fatwas etc., were not present at that time. It is also reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had forbidden Sahaabah from writing Hadith so that it may not get mingled with Qur’an, and it would have been difficult later on to distinguish between the Qur’an and the Hadith. One more reason was that most of the Sahaabah were illiterate and were not knowing how to write.
Then, Imam Zahri, Rabee bin Sabeeh and Syed bin Abu Arbah started this blessed work and wrote each chapter separately. In third generation i.e., of Taba-Taabaeen, great scholars of Hadith were born, they collected Ahaadith and devised chapters on the pattern of Fiqh. Imam Malik (RA) who was the leading scholar in Madinah wrote Mota Imam Malik and collected all those Ahaadith of Ahle-Hijaz who were authentic as per his judgment. He also included the sayings of Sahaabah and Taabaeen and their Fatwas in his book. The same work was started in Makkah-al-Mukarama by Abu Muhammad Abdul Malik bin Abdul Aziz bin Juraif; in Syria by Abdul Rehman Auzaee; in Kofa by Sufiyan Thowri and in Basra by Hamad bin Salma. They all wrote books on Hadith. From leading Muhadditheen Imam Ahmad bin Hambal and Ishaaq bin Rahoya compiled their Masaaneed. None of these early workers tried to separate weak Ahaadith from Sahih Hadith.
The credit of separating weak Ahaadith from Sahih ones goes to Imam Bukhari, who compiled his great book Sahih al-Bukhari with painstaking efforts for the first time. Imam Bukhari is reported to have said that once he saw in his dream that he was trying to swing away flies from the blessed face of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with a hand fan. He asked a godly person about his dream who was knowing the interpretation of dreams. That person told Imam Bukhari that the interpretation of this dream is that he will be able to remove falsehood from the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This dream also became one of the factors responsible for the compilation of Sahih Bukhari. It is authoritatively reported that Imam Bukhari selected the Ahaadith which he has quoted in Sahih Bukhari from six lakh Ahaadith and he also said that the number of Ahaadith which he did not include in Sahih Bukhari is more than the number which he included in this book.
Imam Bukhari wrote this book while sitting in the mosque of Khana-Ka’aba. Before writing each Hadith he used to prostrate before Almighty Allah for ISTIKHARA then offer two Rak’ats of Salaah. In another narration it is quoted that he used to take bath with Zamzam water and then offer two Rakats of Salaah near Muqami Ibrahim and then he would write the Hadith. He used to write that Hadith only which was most authentic as per his extremely strict criteria which he had devised for labeling a Hadith Sahih.
Ibne Abi has quoted from his teachers that Imam Bukhari completed his book near the blessed grave of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The two reports are correlated in such a way that he started the book in Khana Ka’bah and gave it a final shape in Madinah-al-Munawwarah.
As per Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Delhvi (RA), it is also possible that Imam Bukhari was presenting each Hadith before Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and was including it in his book only after his permission—Allah knows the best.
Imam Abu Zaid Maroozi says that while he was sleeping in Khana-Ka’aba between Rukn and Muqam-e-Ibrahim he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in dream telling him why he does not teach his book? He says that he surprisingly asked as to which was his (i.e, Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) book? He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “The book of Muhammad bin Ismail Bukhari.”
There is consensus among the Ulema of the Ummah that, “The most authentic and the truest book after Qur ‘an is Sahih-Al-Bukhari.”
Sheikh Shuhabudin Ibne Hajar has narrated in the commentary of Sahih Bukhari that there are total of nine thousand eight hundred and eighty two Ahaadith in Sahih Bukhari including all repetitions. If repetitions are excluded then the number remains two thousand six hundred and twenty three. The best of Sahih Bukhari are those Ahaadith which have only three steps in chain of narrators up to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There are twenty two such Ahaadith.
Imam Bukhari’s (RA) departure from the world
It is reported that Imam Bukhari returned to his native place Bukhara after completing his studies and travelling far and wide. He met numerous scholars during that time from whom he imbibed lot of knowledge.
On reaching his home town, people gave him a warm welcome. People came out three miles from Bukhara and organized the reception of Imam Bukhari from there. The whole three mile long road was nicely decorated and dinars, dirhams and diamonds were showered upon him.
Imam Bukhari stayed in Bukhara for a long time teaching Hadith. Some people feeling jealous of Imam Bukhari’s fame incited the ruler of the town to call Imam Bukhari to the palace and ask him to read the Ahaadith there. Imam Bukhari told the king’s emissary that he cannot belittle Ilm, if the king has to learn knowledge from him, he should himself come to him. It is also reported that the ruler of the town asked Imam Bukhari to arrange a special occasion in which he would only teach his children and no one else should participate in that course. Imam Bukhari refused to differentiate people for teaching Hadith. These things created differences between Imam Bukhari and the ruler to such an extent that the ruler ordered Imam to leave Bukhara. Imam Bukhari left Bukhara and but cursed the ruler and made Dua to Allah Ta’ala in following words, “O! Allah, what they wished for me, accept that for them and their families”.
This curse of Imam Bukhari was accepted by Allah and in less than a month’s time. An order was issued by the central government dismissed the ruler of Bukhara. He was taken round the city on a donkey and a person was making the announcement that the punishment of a bad person would be like this. Afterwards he was imprisoned and died in the prison only. The courtier who had favoured the ruler, also got involved in the worst tragedies. When Imam Bukhari left Bukhara, he was invited by the people of Samarqand. When he reached town near Samarqand, he heard that people of Samarqand had developed differences over his staying in Samarqand. This gave a great shock to Imam Bukhari and he raised his hands in Dua after Tahajjud Salaah with following words: “O! Allah, the earth despite its vastness had got narrowed for me, so take me towards yourself”. After less than a month after this Dua, he fell ill and departed from this world. He was born on 13th Shabaan of 194 Hijra on Friday after Asr and died on Ist Shawaal, 256 Hijra. May Allah bless his soul more and more.
Abu Bakar Baghdadi narrated from Abdul Wahid Turawaibi that he saw Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in a dream with a group of Sahaabah as if waiting for someone. He says that after saying Salam, he asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as to why they were standing there like this. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “I am waiting for Muhammad bin Ismail.” It was the same night in which Imam Bukhari had departed from the world.
It is reported that when he was buried, an excellent fragrance emanated from his grave which remained for a long time after his death. May Allah shower more and more blessings on his soul.
Imam Muslim (RA)
When we talk about Hadith and Muhaddith then after Imam Bukhari (RA), the second name which comes to mind is Imaam Muslim (RA). His full name is Abu’l Husain Asakir-ud-Din Muslim bin Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi. Imam Muslim, as his lineage shows, belonged to the Qushayr tribe of the Arabs, an off-shoot of the great clan of Rabi’a. He was born in Naasabur (Nishapur) in 202/817 or 206/821. His parents were religious minded and as such he was brought up in a pious atmosphere. This left such an indelible impression on his mind that he spent the whole of his life as a God-fearing person and always adhered to the path of righteousness. He was in fact a godly person of high calibre. His excellent moral character can be well judged from the simple fact that he never indulged in backbiting, a very common human failing.
He has been amongst the most prominent scholars of the Ummah particularly in the field of Hadith. He was the great personality having a very high degree of Taqwa. He is considered among the Imams (chiefs) of scholars of Hadith. Imam Muslim (RA) dedicated his life for acquiring and then teaching of Hadith. He left his native place and then travelled far and wide to collect traditions in Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, where he attended the lectures of some of the prominent Traditionists of his time. He learned Hadith from Yahya bin Yahya and Ishaq bin Rahovia in Khurasan; from Muhammad bin Mehran in Ray; from Ahmad bin Hanbal and Abdullah bin Muslim Qutiaba bin Sa ‘id in Iraq; from Syed bin Mansoor and Abu Musaib in Hijaz; from Umar bin Aswad and Hammala bin Yahya in Egypt and also from numerous scholars of Hadith of those days.
Having finished his studies, he settled down at Nishapur. There he came into contact with Imam Bukhari (RA), and was so much impressed by his vast knowledge of Hadith and his deep insight into it that he kept himself attached to him to the end of his life. He was an ardent admirer of another great teacher of Hadith, Muhammad bin Yahya-al-Dhuhali and attended his lectures regularly, but when the difference of opinion rose between Muhammad bin Yahya and Imam Bukhari, on the issue of the creation of the Holy Qur’an, which sharpened into hostility, Imam Muslim with Imam Bukhari abandoned Muhammad bin Yahya altogether. He was thus a true disciple of Imam Bukhari.
He went to Baghdad several times and taught Hadith there. Many scholars of Hadith of his status or even of higher status as regards the knowledge of Hadith, have narrated Hadith from Imam Muslim (RA), some of them include Abu Hatam Razi, Musa bin Haroon, Ahmad bin Salma, Abu Isa Tirmizi and Abu Bakr bin Khuziama etc.
Imam Muslim (RA) like Imam Bukhari compiled only those Hadith in the book called Muslim Shareef, which were most authentic called Sahih. Like Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim has also been accepted by all the Ulema of the Ummah as the most reliable book on authentic Hadith.
As Imam Bukhari said about his book that he had not quoted every Sahih Hadith in his book but had quoted only those Hadith on the authenticity of which there was consensus (Ijma). Imam Muslim (RA) adopted the same method for his book Sahih Muslim.
Abu Umar bin Ahmad bin Hanidan says that he asked Abu Abass bin Uqba about Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (RA) of Nishapur and that who was having more knowledge among these two. He replied that both were scholars, he says that he asked repeatedly the same question then he said: “O! Abu Umar, occasionally Imam Bukhari adopts wrong procedure about the people of Syria (Ahle-Sham) that he calls someone by his sir name and at other place gives the reader his first name which gives the impression that probably they are the two persons. This has happened with Imam Muslim (RA) verv rarely”. (A’seeh atul-lam’aat)
Khatib Baghdadi says that Imam Muslim (RA) studied Imam Bukhari and then followed his path righteously. When Imam Bukhari came to Nishapur in his late life, Imam Muslim (RA) remained closely attached with him and imbibed a lot from him.
The excellence of Sahih Muslim lies in those Ahaadith which have only four steps in the chain of narrators from Imam Muslim (RA) to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and there are around eighty such Ahaadith in Sahih Muslim.
The other books compiled by Imam Muslim (RA) include:
Imam Nawawi says that one who will study Sahih Muslim very minutely, its Hadith, authenticity of narrators, sequence, beauty of phraseology, depth of research and very high degree of caution and piety exercised, he will definitely not find anyone of such qualities in the latter Ummah.
There is consensus amongst the Ulema of the Ummah that Sahih Muslim is the most authentic book on Hadith after Sahih Bukhari. Some scholars rate Sahih Muslim higher than Sahih Bukhari.
Imam Muslim (RA) lived for fifty-five years in this world. In this short span of lifetime, he spent most of his time in—learning Hadith, its compilation, its teaching and transmission. He always remained absorbed in this single pursuit and nothing could distract his attention from this pious task. He died on Sunday 24th Rajab, 261 Hijrah, and was buried in the suburbs of Nishapur. May Allah bless his soul.
Imam Abu Dawood (RA)
Sunan Abu Dawood finds its place among the top six books on Hadith, compiled by Imam Abu Dawood. The actual name of Imam Abu Dawood was Suleman. He was born in 202 Hijra in a place known as Seestan also called Sajastan and that is why he is also referred to as Abu Dawood Sajastani. Ulema are of different opinions about the location of Seestan. Mostly it is believed that Seestan was situated between Haraat and Sind near Bulochistan. As per Ibne Khalqan, Sajastan is a village in the Suburbs of Basra.
Some people believe that this place is also called Sajaz, so he is also referred to as Abu Dawood Sajizy
Imam Abu Dawood spent most part of his life in Baghdad and compiled his book Sunan Abu Dawood there and later on shifted to Basra and spent his last four years of life there only. He died in Basra in 275 Hijra.
Imam Abu Dawood learned Hadith mostly from Muhadditheen of Baghdad but he also travelled widely for this purpose to Iraq, Khurasan, Syria and Algiers. He learned Hadith from a number of Muhadditheen amongst whom Imam Ahmad, Quanbi Abu-al-Walid Tayalisi, Muslim bin Ibrahim and Yahya bin Mo’een are worth mentioning. Many teachers were common to Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Bukhari.
Imam Abu Dawood had countless student and amongst them Imam Tirmizi and Imam Nasaee are the distinguished ones.
Hakim is of the opinion that Imam Abu Dawood was Imam of all the Muhadditheen of his time.
Imam Ibrahim Harbi’s comment about Imam Abu Dawood is quite famous in which he stated, “Hadith had been softened for Imam Abu Dawood in the same way as iron was softened for Hadhrat Dawood (AS)”.
Mullah Ali Qari (RA) says, “Imam Abu Dawood was at very great height as regards to piousness, Taqwa and Ibaadah”.
Reasons which motivated Imam Abu Dawood for compilation of his sunan
According to Haafiz Ibne Qayyim there were two groups of scholars, one consisted of those Hufaz of Hadith who only memorised Hadith and then quoted the same to others. They did not try to extract the rules and regulations of Shari’ah from these Ahaadith. On the other hand there was a group of Fuqahaa who dedicated themselves for derivation of Ahkam from Ahaadith and profoundly pondered over the Ahaadith. As the time passed these two groups attained distinct proportions and started criticizing each other, particularly the students of first group were very critical of the latter group in the same way as Hamidi became a staunch critic of Imam Abu Haniefa and Ahmed bin Abdullah was fiercely criticizing Imam Shafaee. Abu Hatani Raazi is quoted to have said that Imam Shafaee was a Faqih but did not know Hadith.
Observing the misunderstanding between these two groups, Imam Abu Dawood felt the need to compile such a book of Hadith in which those Ahaadith would be presented which formed the basis of the Masaalik of Fuqahaa. Imam Abu Dawood himself says that his book contains the Ahaadith which form the foundations of Maslak of Imam Maalik, Shafaee and Thouri.
Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Delhvi (RA) says that the purpose of Imam Abu Dawood was to compile those Ahaadith which laid the foundation of the Masalik of Fuqahaa. Quoting Allama Ibne Tamiyah, Alama Anwar Shah Kashmiri says that Imam Abu Dawood himself belonged to Hambli Maslak.
Sunan Abu Dawood
Imam Abu Dawood compiled his book in Baghdad and then presented it to the Muhadditheen of Baghdad, they liked it very much and also quoted Hadith from this book. When this book was presented to Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, he also liked it. Imam Abu Dawood is quoted to have said that he wrote five lakh Ahaadith from Muhadditheen and then selected four thousand and six hundred Sahih and near Sahih Hadith for his Sunan.
This book became very popular in a short span of time and no one criticized it. Some Ulema said, “If someone has only Qur’an and Sunan Abu Dawood, he does not need any other book”.
Alama Ibne Qayyim says, “Imam Abu Dawood has written such a book which proved decisive in controversial issues”.
Some pious people have seen Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying them in dream that if someone wanted to act as per his Sunnah, he should read Sunan Abu Dawood.
Four Ahaadith enough for Deen
Imam Abu Dawood says that he selected four thousand and six hundred Ahaadith from five lakh Ahaadith for his book but out of these only four are enough for one’s Deen viz:
إنما أعمال بالنيات
من حسن الإسلام المرء تركه ما لا يعني
لا يحب أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه
ألحلال بين والحرام بين
Imam Abu Haniefa is also reported to have said to his son Hammaad that he had selected five Ahaadith from a total of five lakh Ahaadith. Out of these four are same as quoted above from Abu Dawood and fifth is:
ألمسلم من سلم المسلمون من لسانه و يده
“A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe.”
Since Imam Abu Dawood considered Imam Abu Haniefa as Imam and Mujtahid, may be he followed him in selecting these four Ahaadith.
If one ponders over these four Ahaadith, they are really enough for one’s guidance. First Hadith is enough for purifying the deeds and making them exclusively for the sake of Allah. In second Hadith the importance of lifetime is emphasized and one is advised to leave all those engagements which are futile and time wasting. One who realizes the importance of time, he alone succeeds in life. The third Hadith is of fundamental significance for the reformation of society. It is only by this method that you can achieve peace and harmony in society and can uproot evils like cheating, dacoity, falsehood, hoarding, eve teasing, molestation and so many such crimes because no one likes these things for himself. Fourth Hadith is enough for making one to lead a straightforward life and avoid all doubtful matters which shatter one’s peace of mind and can also ruin his Iman.
Status of Sunan Abu Dawood in Sihah Sittah
Dr. Taqi-ud-din writes, “The place of Sunan Abi Dawood in Sihah Sittah (most authentic six books of Hadith are called Sihah Sittah, Sihah means true and authentic and Sittah means six in Arabic) is to be seen from two angles, one is from the angle of teaching and the other is from the angle of authenticity of its Ahaadith. The authors of Sihah Sittah have compiled these books as per their own liking. Imam Bukhari has kept in view mainly the methods of extraction of Masail (Istimbat) as is evident from the headings of the chapters of the book called Tarajim-i-Abwaab. It is quite famous saying among the teachers of Hadith that the whole earning of Imam Bukhari is in his Tarajim.
Imam Muslim has compiled Sahih Hadith with different chains of narrators at one place. Imam Abu Dawood has made the topic of his book those Ahaadith on which the Imams of Fiqh have based their Fatawa, called Mustadlat. Imam Tirmidhi’s main aim is to describe the Mazaahib (different schools of thought of Fiqh). Imam Nasaee’s concern has been to caution about the causations of Hadith and Ibn Majah intends to mention the less popular Hadith.
From this above mentioned account we have understood the aims and objects of these books, so we can say that after Mishkat, Tirmidhi Shareef should be taught, because first of all a student should know the Maslak of four Imams, then he needs to learn the proofs that they have put forward in their Maslak, for that Sunan Abu Dawood is there. After that the student should know the methods of lstimbaat, for that purpose Sahih Bukhari is there. Then for further consolidation Sahih Muslim should be taught, and for knowing the causations, Nasaee should be taught and in the end Ibn Majah.” (Muhadditheen-Ezaam)
As regards the place of Sunna Abu Dawood in Sihah Sittah most Ulema are of the opinion that its place is after Bukhari and Muslim.
Imam Tirmidhi (RA)
Muhammad bin Eisa bin Surah bin Musa bin Zuhak Salma Tirmidhi Boghi was another famous Muhaddith whose compilation of Hadith, namely Jamia-Tirmidhi also called Sunan Tirmidhi is considered to be a standard authentic book on Hadith.
Imam Tirmidhi was born in 209 Hijra in Tirmidh, an ancient city situated on the banks of river Jeehoon. He died in 279 Hijra at the age of 70 years in this very city.
Imam Tirmidhi was born at a time when knowledge of Hadith had reached its peak. Imam Bukhari’s Dars-e-Hadith was in full bloom. Imam Tirmidhi got interested in Hadith in his childhood only. Later he travelled far and wide for the same purpose. He travelled to Khurasan, Iraq and Hijaz.
He was lucky to have great Muhadditheen like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Qutaiba bin Sayeed and Imam Abu Dawood as his teachers of Hadith.
Alama Zahbi says, “Imam Tirmidhi learned Hadith from Bukhari.” (Tehzib)
Haakim has quoted Musa bin Alak as saying:, “When Imam Bukhari died, he did not leave anyone in Khurasan who could match Imam Tirmidhi in knowledge, memory power and piousness.”
Imam Bukhari once himself said to Imam Tirmidhi, “I have learned more from you than you have learned from me.” (Tehzib)
Memory power of Imam Tirmidhi
Once Imam Tirmidhi met a Sheikh and requested him to make him know some Ahaadith. The Sheikh told him to write down. Imam Tirmidhi had no ink left in his pen, so he was just moving the pen on the paper. After sometime the Sheikh saw that he was not writing anything and that the paper was blank. The Sheikh got very angry with the Imam. Imam Tirmidhi told him that he remembered all the Ahaadith which Sheikh had narrated to him and he repeated them all. On this the Sheikh was quite impressed by his extraordinary memory power. (Muhadditheen Izam)
The name Jamia is labeled to such a book which contains the following eight chapters, viz;
Since Jamai Tirmidhi has all these chapters, so it is also called Jamia.
Shah Waliullah Muhadith Delhvi writes about the Jamia Tirmidhi, “Abu Eisa Tirmidhi combined the methods of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim which had the generality and purity and that of Imam Abu Dawood which contained the arguments of Fuqahaa and presented this all in a nice way. He further added the Maslaks of Sahaabah, Taabaeen and Fuqahaa. In fact he wrote very comprehensive book. He also summarised nicely the chains of narrators of Hadith. He just quoted one chain and made only a reference to others. He also categorized Hadith as Sahih, Hasan, Dhaeef, Munkir. He also mentioned how a Hadith is Dhaeef, so that the students could get an idea and could also understand which was reliable and which un reliable.” (Hujatullahi-Baligah)
Imam Nasaee (RA)
Imam Nasaee’s compilation of Ahaadith commonly known as Nasaee Sharief also finds its place in first six books on Ahaadith called Sihah Sittah. His full name was Ahmad bin Ali Abu Abdul Rehman Nasaee. He was from a place near Khurasaan called Nasa. Some people wrongly pronounce his name as Nisaee, whereas it is Nasaee. He was born in 215 Hijra, at a time when Khurasaan was the known as a center of knowledge and technology.
Imam Nasaee got his early education in Khurasaan and later on toured far and wide in search of Hadith. He visited Hijaz, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Algeria and many other places. He reached to a noted Muhaddith, Qutaiba bin Sayeed when he was only 15 years of age. He stayed with him for over a year. He met many such people personally on whose authority he had heard the Hadith.
Hafiz Ibne Kathir writes, “He went upto the extreme of world, listening Hadith, spent his life with the experts of Hadith and learned Hadith from so many people difficult to count”.
Later he settled in Egypt and one year before his death, he shifted to Damascus and few days before his death he went to Makkah-Al-Mukurramah.
The following noted Muhadditheen were amongst the teacher of Imam Nasaee—Ishaq bin Rahoviya, Muhammad bin Bashar, Qutaiba bin Sayeed, Imam Abu Zar’a and Imam Bukhari.
His noted students were—Imam Abu Bakar bin Ahmad bin Sunni, Muhammad bin Qasim Undlusi, Hifiz Abu Bashir Dhoalabi, Hafiz Abu Jafar Tahawi.
Haafiz Zahbi says, “Imam Nasaee was ahead of Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Abu Dawood as regards to the causation of Hadith and recognition of Imam of Hadith.”(Rijal-e-Hadith)
Imam Ibn Majah (RA)
Sixth book which finds its place in Sihah Sittah is Sunan Ibn Majah which was compiled by famous Muhaddith commonly known as Ibn Majah. His full name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Yazid Ibne al-Rabaee bin wala al-Qazneeni. He was born in 209 Hijra in a famous city of Iran called Qazneen. When he attained adolescence, there were great Muhadditheen already present in Qazneen from whom he learned Hadith right from his early age. It is thought that he started his journey in search of Hadith when he was twenty one years of age.
Historian Ibne Khalkan writes, “Ibn Majah toured Iraq, Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Makkah, Syria, Egypt and Ray for noting Hadith.” (M.Izam)
Hafiz Ibne Hajar writes, “Imam Ibn Majah heard Hadith in the cities of Khurasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Syria.” (Tehzib)
Most of the latter scholars and Muhadditheen have always paid rich tributes to Ibn Majah and have recognized him as a great Muhaddith.
Ibne Khalkan writes, “He was Imam of Hadith and was having knowledge of all its related things.” (M.Izam)
Alama Ibne Kathir writes, “The popularity of Sunan Ibn Majah is enough proof of its compiler’s deeds, knowledge, depth, information, action on Sunnah in its Usool and Faroo.”
Special features of Sunan Ibn Majah
Hafiz Ibne Hajar says, “Sunan of Ibn Majah is quite comprehensive and good book”.(Tehzib)
Ibne Kathir writes, “It is a very useful book and its chapters have been framed on the pattern of Fiqh.”
Sunan Ibn Majah contains five such Ahaadith which have only three narrators in the chain whereas Ibne Dawood and Tirmidhi contain only one such Hadith.