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Archive for May, 2016

Sunni Islam is short for the arabic title, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

During the time of the Prophet sent Sahaba from Medinah to different regions Mecca, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria etc etc. These different regions pretty much developed into different madhabs, schools of thought.
After dust of fiqh issues had settled, the four madhabs of fiqh, came to represents Sunni Islam, Shafi, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali. And in Aqida, Ashari, Maturidi and Athari. And in Tasawwuf, many, such as the Shadhilis, Naqshabandi etc. This was the face of Sunni Islam for over a thousand years.

After this the Muslim world was colonized by Europe, ie they conquered the Muslim world, destroying much of Islamic scholarship. Ignorant Muslims sought to find solutions to the Muslim problem without adequate Islamic education and many reformist movement were born, one such group was the Wahabis, which is named after Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab. He literally made takfir on the Muslims including the Muslims in Mecca and Medinah during his time, and called for them to make hijrah to Nadj. Islamic scholarship at the time, ruled the Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab was a rebirth of the Khawatij, even his older brother Sulayman wrote a book against him. This group evolved into the modern day Salafis (Salafi Dawah, Salafi Minhaj), and has many splinter groups associated with it, modern day Ahlul Hadith, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Madkhalis, even some of the Ikhwan Muslimeen (called Surooris, I believe), etc etc.

The irony of this group is they sought to unite the Muslims, upon this newly found minhaj, only to find themselves divided.

Messenger of Allah, , said, “Without doubt, my Ummah will never be UNITED upon misguidance. Whenever you see disagreement, hold fast to the greater majority.” [Ibn Majah]

In traditional Sunni Islam, the four madhabs of fiqh and the three madhabs of Aqida are still united, as Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah and have been for over 1000 years.

Imam Saffarini said, “The Ahlus Sunnah consist of three groups: the textualists al-Atharis, whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash’aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi رضي الله عنهم and they are all one group, the saved sect (al-Firqatun Najiyyah), and they are Ahl al-Hadith, the Ahlus Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah.” [Imam Muhammad Saffarini al-Nabulusi al-Hanbali رحمه الله in Lawami` al-Anwar]

And Allah knows best

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The Sunni Methodology in Dealing with weak Hadith

Edited by aMuslimForLife

The edited edition of Shaykh Habib Ali Jifri exposition of weak hadith is intended to give a fuller explanation of the issue at hand. I refrained from commenting myself and only quoted scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.


Habib Ali Jifri:
“The vast majority of Sunni Hadith scholars like Imam Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, Imam Ibn Salah and Imam al Nawawi in his introduction to al Adhkar, says that hadith that are classified as weak are accepted and acted upon in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds (Fadail al Amal).[/SIZE]

[AMFL: (Shaykh al-Islam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi: ) “The scholars among the experts in hadith and the experts in law and others have said: it is permissible and (also) recommended that the religious practice (al-`amal) concerning good deeds and good character (al-fadâ’il), encouragement to good and discouragement from evil (al-targhib wa al-tarhib) be based (even) on weak hadith (bi al-hadith al- da`îf) as long as it is not forged (mawdu`).(Al Adhkar)]



Habib Ali Jifri:
In a previous lesson we’ve mentioned that people today have inverted the meaning of being scrupulous (wara). They say in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds “I’ll be cautious, this hadith might be weak, it is better I don’t act upon it.” NO. Even if it is a weak hadith and mentions righteous deeds, then do it, to be on the safe side, because there might be other sources which attest to its soundness.

The status “weak (daif)” does not mean that the Prophet did not say it. What does weak mean then?”

The meaning of weak hadith (daif) is that one of the narrators in the hadith chain of transmission started to muddled in his narration in old age, and the scholars therefore had concern that he might be forgetful or he lost possession of his books and therefore his capacity to memorize was weak. So there is doubt concerning his name. [/SIZE]


Weak Hadith Does Not Mean Fabricated

[AMFL: (Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) “Weak (Daif) is a term for any hadith with a chain of transmission containing a narrator whose memory was poor, one who was not trustworthy, not identified by name or for other reasons. But weak (daif) cannot simply be equated with false (mawdu). Were this the case, mere analysis of the transmitters would be the universal criterion for acceptance or rejection of a particular rulings based on hadiths. While scholars do use this measure in upgrading the work of preceding generations of legal authorities, they have not employed it as a simplistic expedient to eliminate every piece of legal information that is connected with a weak hadith because of various considerations.]

Multiple Means of Transmission

[AMFL: (Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) One of these is that when a piece of information is received through a means of transmission that may or may not be trustworthy, we generally have doubts about it. But when one and the same piece of information reaches us through several completely different channels, even though each one may or may not be trustworthy, the logical probability of the information’s falsity us much reduced. And if we receive the very same piece of information from ten such channels, the possibility of its falsity does not usually even come to mind.

This verificatory principle has two important implication, one being the obligatory nature of belief in hadiths that are mutwatir and the second being the weight that hadith scholars give to multiple means of transmission, which can raise a hadith from well authenticated (Hasan) to rigorously authenticated (Sahih), or from weak (daif) to well authenticated (Hasan), as described in the following account of a hadith’s reclassifcation by a major specialist in hadith forgeries.

(Imam Ali Qari: ) “The Hadith, ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate,’was mentioned by Tirimidhi in his Jami, where he said it was unacknowledgeable. Bukhari also said this, and said that it was without legitimate claim to authenticity. Ibn Ma’in said that it was a baseless lie, as did Abu Hatim and Yahya ibn Said. Ibn Jawzi recorded it in his book of hadith of forgories, and was confirmed by Dhahabi and others in this. Ibn Daqiq al Eid said, “This hadithis not confirmed by scholars said, “This hadith is not confirmed by scholars, and is held by some as spurious.” Daraqutni stated that is was uncorroborated. Ibn Hajar Asqalani was asked about it and answered that it was well authenticated (hasan), not rigorously authenticated (Sahih), as Hakim had said, but not a forgery (mawdu) as Ibn Jawzi had said. This was mentioned by Suyuti. The Hadith master (Hafiz) Abu Sa’id Ala’i said, “The Truth is that the hadith is well authenticated (hasan), in view of its being neither rigorously authenticated (hasan) nor weak (da’if) much less a forgery (Risala al mawdu’at).”

(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) Thus, when the person who has related a hadith is an Islamic schlar of the first rank, it is not enough for a student or popular writer to find one chain of transmission for the haidth that is weak. There are a great many hadiths with several chains of transmissions, and adequate scholarly treatment of how these affect a hadith’s authenticity has been traditionally held to require a master (hafiz), those like Bukhari, Muslim, Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, or Suyuti who have memorized at least 100,000 hadiths – their texts, chains of transmission, and significance — to undertake the comparative study of the hadith’s various chains of transmission that cannot be accurately assessed without such knowledge. Today, when not one hadith master (hafiz) remains in the Muslim Community, we do not accept the judgment of any would-be reclassifiers of hadith, no matter how large their popular following, unless it is corroborated by the work of previous hadith masters.]

Text and Chain of Transmission are Different Things

[(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: )
Another reason why weak (da’if) cannot simply be equated with false (mawdu) is the fact that weak is an attribute of the hadith’s chain of transmission (isnad), while false is an attribute of the hadith’s text (matn). These are two different things, and the relationship between their respective reliabilities is a probabilistic expectation )istinbat) that is neither strictly causal, nor yet a necessary logical implication (lazim), there being four logical possibilities for any hadith:

(1) a sound text and sound chain of transmission, as with well authenticated (hasan) or rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadiths;

(2) a sound text and an unsound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that a transmitter with poor memory, or unknown to the person who recorded the hadith, or one not trustworthy, is in principle capable of relating the hadith correctly;

(3) an unsound text and unsound chain of transmitters, as with hadiths that are forged (mawdu):

(4) or an unsound text and a sound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that one of those who clssify the personalities and reliability of various hadith transmitters could in principle make an error in their ijtihad regarding a particular person.

Because of the distinction between text and transmission, forms of evidence other than the authenticity rating of the chain of narrators are sometimes admissible, as when there is a consensus of legal scholars who have received the hadith with acceptance, which is an acknowledged form of corroboration for hadiths of the second type mentioned above.

(Isma’il Ansari: ) Ibn Hajar Asqalani says, “‘Among the characteristics that necessitate acceptance is for scholars of Sacred Law to have concurred on applying the implications of a hadith. Such a hadith is acceptable, even oblgatory to apply, as a number of Imams of fundamentals of Islam (usul) have explicitly stated. Shafi’i for example says, ‘What I have said about water when its taste, odor and color change, has been related from the Prophet, (SAW) through a channel of transmission that hadith scholars do not confirm the like of, but it is the position of all scholars without a single dissenting voice I know of.’ And he said of that hadith ‘There is no bequest to an estate division heir’ – ‘Scholars of Hadith do not corroborate it, but all scholars receive it with acceptance and apply it.'”


Ibn Qayyim,
in his Illam al muwaqqi’in, when discussing the hadith of Mu’adh (in which the Prophet (SAW) asked Mu’adh Ibn Jabal when dispatching him to Yemen how he owuld judge, to which Mu’adh replied that he would judge first by the Quran, then by the sunnah, and then by his own reasoning (ijihad)), says, “Legal scholars (fuqaha) accept it and employ it as evidence, from which we learn that they hold it to be rigorously authenticated (Sahih), just as we learn of the authenticity of the Prophet’s Saying (SAW):

(1) ‘There is no bequest to an estate division heir.’
(2) ‘(The hadith about the sea) Its water is purifying.’
(3) ‘When buyer and seller differ about the price they have agreed upon and the merchandise still exists, each swears (that his side of thestory is correct) and (if they cannot agree) they cancel the sale.’
(4)’The Killer’s extended family is responsible for the indemnity.’

Even if these hadiths are unauthenticated in their chains of transmission, since virtually all scholars have related them, the hadiths’ authenticity, which they accept, eliminates their need to verify the channels of transmission, and so it is too with the Hadith of Muadh: the fact that all scholars have adduced it as evidence eliminates the need for their checking its means of transmission.”

And Ibn Ab al Barr says in al Istidhkar, concerning Tirmidhi’s having related that Bukhari said of the hadith of the sea “Its water is purifying’ that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih)— “Hadith scholars do not consider hadiths with the like of its chain of transmission to be rigorously authenticated (Sahih), though I hold it to be so, because scholars have received it with acceptance.” (Al Isaba Fi nusra al Khulafa al Rahidin wa Sahaba)
(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi:) Among the primary textual evidence for the admissibility of such hadiths is the word of the Prophet

“Allah will never make my Community concur upon misguidance, and Allah’s hand is over the group.”

So it is inadequate for someone who proposes to annul a ruling of the Sacred Law to adduce that the hadith supporting it has a weak chain of transmission, unless he can also establish both that there are not a number of similar variants of alternate channels of transmission that strengthen it, confirming this by means of a text by a hadith master (hafiz); and that the meaning of the hadith has not been received with acceptance by the scholars of the Muslim Community.”]


Habib Ali Jifri:
There is a very big possibility for most of the hadith classified as weak, The Prophet did actually say them but the reason that those hadith were downgraded from being sound (Sahih) or Fair (Hasan) to be weak was out of precaution.

[AMFL: al Suyuti: If anyone says, ‘This hadith is not Sahih, (if he had said it is weak it would have been shorter) then it means its chain is not authentic according to the aforementioned conditions, not that it is actually a lie, because of the possibility of truthfulness of a liar and the correctness of someone who makes many mistakes. (Tadrib ar Rawi)]

[(Zafar Ahmad al Uthmani:
) Concerning the ruling on acting by a weak hadith and the conditions for doing it is only narrated by one route. If it is narrated through two or more routes we have already seen that it is somethings to be appended to the (degree) of Sahih and sometimes to the (degree) of hasan. (Muqaddima I’la as Sunna)]



Habib Ali Jifri:
For this reason, be cautious with regards to virtuous deeds is to act upon them and not to say, “this hadith is weak, therefore I won’t act upon it.” We say be on the safe side and act upon the deed so you don’t lose at an opportunity to attain reward. Only in issues pertaining to permissible (Halal) and forbidden (haram) matters are hadith not accepted (generally speaking).

[AMFL: Ibn Hajar said in the commentary of Al Arbain, “It (weak hadith) can be acted upon because if it is in fact sahih then it has been given its due of action, but if not no harm comes of it in terms of declaring something to be halal (which actually may not be) or haram (when it actually may not be), of voiding some other’s right.” . (Muqaddima I’la as Sunna-Zafar Ahmad al Uthmani)]


Habib Ali Jifri:
However Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbali of the Hanbali school of Law was of the opinion that weak hadith can be used to determine a matter of halal and haram in the absence of a sound hadith. So mam Ahmad preferred to choose a weak hadith over analogical reasoning (qiyas) in any issue which had no sound (Sahih) or …good (Hasan)… to support it, despite other jursit and scholars preferring to choose qiyas over a weak hadith in matters of halal and haram.

(AMFL: Some people argue the weak hadiths that Imam Ahmad used would now be considered hasan (well-authenticated) hadith. Point is that Imam Ahmad used hadith in matter of fiqh that he considered weak without knowing how future generations would grade those hadiths.)

Habib Ali Jifri: Imam Nawawi was of the view that weak hadith are accepted in matters of halal and haram only when it pertains to exercising scrupulousness (Wara). It is related to question such as ‘is this transaction allowed or not?” Is selling an item in a particular way halal or haram? There are no particular (sound or hasan) hadith which offer a clear answer, but there is a weak hadith which indicates that it is haram – here you have a weak hadith and do not perform the action, out of scrupulousness because the weak hadith indicated it.

[AMFL: (Shaykh al-Islam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi:) As for legal rulings (ahkâm) such as what is permitted and what is forbidden, or the modalities of trade, marriage, divorce and other than that: one’s practice is not based upon anything other than sound (sahih) or fair (hasan) hadith, except as a precaution in some matter related to one of the above, for example, if a weak hadith was cited about the reprehensibility (karahat) of certain kinds of sales or marriages. In such cases what is recommended (al-mustahabb) is to avoid such sales and marriages, but it is not obligatory (la yajib).” .(Al Adhkar)]

[(Al Suyuti): The weak hadith is acted upon in rulings (ahkam) also if there is in it some precaution.”]


Habib Ali Jifri:
Today many people think that a weak hadith should be thrown to the side. To think this is grave and wrong. Regarding weak hadith, the overwhelming majority of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah, do yo uknow what “overwhelming majority” means? It means almost all of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah, so much so that the matter has almost reached a consensus amongst them. They say that a weak hadith can used for virtuous deeds and anything less than it.

What is less than virtuous deeds? Prophetic biographies (Sira), biographical accounts that recount the merits of the righteous (manaqib), and history. So, every weak hadith that is used in the books of prophetic biography or in the books of history or in books that recount the merits and virtuous of the righteous or those who proceeded them. Weak hadith used is used in the genre of signs of hte end times. They (weak hadith) are accepted , unless the weakness falls to the same level of a fabricated (mawdu) hadith or the weak hadith conflicts with a sound hadith, in which case the sound hadith is accepted over the weak.

Are the principles for dealing with a weak hadith now clear? We want to make sure of this because today, if our youth come to the religion they hear people speaking wrongly about weak hadith to the point they think we need to discard these hadith. No. There is a very likely possibility that the Prophet did actually say what is contain in the weak hadith. To confirm, we accept and use weak hadith in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds, prophetic biographies (sira), biographies of the merits of the righteous (manaqaib), history and the signs of the end times.

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