Category Archives: Hadith

Imam Bukhari and the Compilation of Hadith

[By Shaykhul Hadith ‘Allamah Shabir Ahmad Uthmani (rahmatullah alayh)]

WHILE the revered muhaddithin have tried to record and preserve the sayings, the acts and the message of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as well as his demeanour at the same time they have placed before themselves high standards for the determination of their veracity, and ensuring scrutiny, examination and investigation with due care.

This process of sifting, examination and bringing the Ahadith in conformity with the Qur’an and finding if anything remiss was suspected in the source or the putative Hadith itself (ta’dil), had commenced during the time of the Companions themselves.

And, by the grace of God, this was the measure which ensured that the Companions and the preceding generations (al-Salaf) had bequeathed the treasure of the Qur’an and Ahadith to the coming generations (al-Khalaf). The truthfulness, personality and the veracity of the authority leading to the transmissional chain that ends with the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) were the measures for testing the genuineness of a Hadith. This was the norm adopted by the Companions. When the Science of the tradition was put on a proper plane during the pious Caliphate, the evaluatory measures also began to be practised on a sound footing. As the time-gap between the age of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and posterity began to grow wider, the evaluation became more strict and exacting.

The approach adopted by the latter-day muhaddithin was based on that laid down by the first two Pious Caliphs. While the muhaddithin of the first three generations after the time of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) regarded every saying attributed to him with utmost respect, they were unsparing in their examination of the narrations (ruwat-i-hadith). Bukhari was the leader par excellence of this approach. Many felt displeased with him, because he did not accept the authorities without being questioned. But, on the other hand, by the same token, a Hadith that has passed through Bukhari’s hands, enjoys the stamp of genuineness in the eyes of the muhaddithin.

It is an extreme delicate operation to decide upon the reliability of the source of a Hadith or to call that source a dubious one. A group of mystics has adhered to the view that critical assessment is prohibited according to, “Let not some of you slander others and this amounts to calumny.” But the fact is that such an attitude is based upon unrealistic approach. It is true that Islam has forbidden Muslims from suspecting others or prying into their affairs, but at the same time the need of it cannot be denied   in certain cases. This need, too, is felt because of urgent religious considerations. Hence the need of such investigation and inquiry is felt in the case of the Ahadith also. It is said that even among upright persons in early times there was a class of persons who considered the making of the Ahadith a matter of virtue and devotion and to frame them in respect of the excellence of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). As the number of transmissional links began to record a sharp increase in course of time, their critical assessment also began to correspondingly increase in intensity.

It goes to the credit of Bukhari that, despite the rigid principles he has adopted in assessing the transmissional chain, he has not used the words kadhdhab (liar) and wadda’ (fabricator) as the other muhaddithin are won’t to. On the other hand this is very circumspect in this regard. Whenever he considers refutation absolutely essential, he uses the expression munkir al-hadith (negator of the Hadith). With regard to calumny also Bukhari has exercised the utmost circumspection and his abstinence in this regard is proverbial. He used to say that on the Doomsday, he would not be brought before the Bar of Judgement on this count. His remark in this behalf is worth reproducing.

Ever since I learned that calumny is forbidden; I have not resorted to it.

With the same loftiness of spirit he remarks:

Whenever I call anyone the negator of a Hadith I mean that the ascription of the transmissional chain to him is not justified.

Bukhari’s role regarding Asma’ al-Ruwat & ‘Ilal

This is why the knowledge of disqualifying factors in the Science of the Tradition is an important branch of study. In the terminology of the muhaddithin, ‘Illat is a discrepancy  which impairs the soundness of a hadith. It carries special importance with regard to the study of the Ahadith besides other Sciences of the Tradition because it requires a discerning intellect and prodigious memory to trace out the mutual intercourse of the narrators, their dates of birth and death, their familial names and titles, their credibility and reputation, and ensure that the words employed in a particular Hadith through different channels, are fully preserved. Bukhari’s skill in this particular field has a distinct character of its own.

Hafiz Ahmad bin Hamadan has mentioned that he met Bukhari during the funeral prayers of ‘Uthman Abu Sa’id bin Marwan. There Imam Muhammad bin Yahya Dahli put questions in respect of the asma’ al-rijal (Names of the members of the transmissional chains) and the ‘Ilal [1] of the Ahadith. Bukhari replied instantly all the questions as if he was uttering Qul hu Allah [2]. No better acknowledgement of Bukhari’s achievement is forthcoming than Tirmidhi’s admission that a large part of what he has written about the transmissional chain, narrators, history  and all the ‘ilal he has indicated, have been derived from Bukhari’s work.


Bukhari was very careful in respect of his works and loaned them only to the people he could trust. Once a person happened to mention a Hadith which gave rise to the suspicion of tadlis upon Bukhari, that is he had concealed one weak link in the transmissional chain. Bukhari replied that in order to obviate such a suspicion, he had relinquished more than ten thousand Ahadith reported by a particular muhaddith. Therefore, such a suspicion about him was neither justified nor warranted. The author of the Fath al-Bari has narrated a remarkable incident reflecting Bukhari’s circumspection. During his studentship Bukhari has to sail in a boat on a river. He had a thousand ashrafis (gold coins) in his possession. He was joined by someone who also boarded the boat and met him very reverentially, and gradually developed cordial relations so that Bukhari happened to mention to him about the money he had with him. One morning [3] the man began to raise hue and cry, saying that his bag containing one thousand ashrafis was missing. The passengers began to be searched, and Bukhari, appraising the situation, threw the bag into the river. The Imam’s belongings were also searched but the money could not be found. Thereupon everyone began to reprimand the accuser who was made to contrite. When the journey was over the man asked Bukhari about the bag of money. Bukhari replied that he had thrown it away into the river. When the man asked him why he thought it necessary to jettison it into the river and sustain such a big loss, Bukhari said, “All my life I have spent collecting and compiling the Ahadith of the Holy Peophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and my intregrity has assumed proverbial proportions. How could I afford to lose the far greater wealth which I have acquired against my life’s blood by acquiring the taint of a theft?.”


[1] The Hadith in respect of the narrator of which there exists some misgivings are called ma’lul. It is extremely difficult to detect such a Hadith and only a very accomplished connoisseur who possesses a very penetrating intellect, sharp memory and complete mastery over the authorities and text of the Traditions and knows the ranks of the narrators can spot it out. ‘Ali bin Madini, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Bukhari, Ya’qub bin Abi Shaybah, Abu Hatim, Abu Dhar’ah, Darqutni and many other muhaddithin have discussed the matter at length.

[2] Hafiz Ibn Hajr has also described several such incidents. Qul hu Allah are the proverbially cryptic initial words of the Qur’anic Surah al-Ikhlas (112) meaning: “Say: He is Allah, the One.”

[3] This would imply that the journey was lengthwise and not across the river.

Difference between Hadith Narrations & the Gospels

Some Christian apologists when trying to describe the Gospels to the Muslims, claim that the Gospels are much like the Hadiths, and the Hadith-Rejectors too hold the same opinion as the Christians in this matter and deem Ahadith barrations to be unreliable, in that the Gospels were written-collected by men, and are based on the sayings-teachings of Jesus (‘Eesa Maseeh alayhissalaam) just as the Hadiths are with the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Now indeed there are some similarities between the two, but the similarities all come to an end after what we have already posted above, because there are also many differences between the two, and these differences are very important.

The main difference between the Hadiths and the Gospels is that in regards to the Hadiths, we know who actually collected the Hadiths, and we know who passed them on, and we know who actually made the original statement that was passed on. So for example person A said something, then person B heard it and he decided to pass it on and tell other persons C-D-E, and then they passed it on to others and so forth. Basically throughout the chain of transmission of the hadith, we know who is who, we know who is passing the story, and we know from where the original story came from, there is a complete line of transmission.

This is very crucial, because it means the reports are not anonymous, the reports are coming from people we know, names and persons we can identify, we know where they lived, when they were born, when they died and so forth. Again this is very important because if you know the person, you also know if they’re reliable or unreliable, for example someone who is reporting the Hadith, a person in the chain, could have been known as a liar, as someone unreliable, someone who would make things up, and therefore we know if he is passing or narrating a Hadith that we can question the authenticity. Vice versa the person narrating the Hadith can also be known as a truthful person, someone reliable etc, and therefore we know the Hadith he passing is reliant, or it’s highly likely that it is reliant.

In the case of the Gospels, we have none of this, we literally don’t know who was passing the stories, they’re all anonymous. Even the supposed collectors Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, were not Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John! The Gospel accounts are all anonymous accounts written-collected by persons-authors we don’t actually know, and they are narrating stories-incidents from people we don’t know either, the entire chain of transmission in the Gospels is unknown and anonymous.

Basically in the Gospel account we have the source as Jesus, and then we have person A-B-C-D-E passing on the stories-teachings of Jesus, but we have no idea who these sources A-B-C-D-E are, whether they’re reliable people and so forth, we literally know nothing about them. The only person who we can say with some confidence who we know about was Paul, and yet he barely wrote anything about the life-sayings-teachings of Jesus, and oddly enough in his own writings we can see that he was at odds with the actual disciples of Jesus and their beliefs, in fact he abolished the Law and taught exactly the opposite of Jesus’ teachings.

So when it comes to the Gospel of Mark, and we read all these stories and sayings of Jesus (‘Eesa alayhissalaam), we are reading accounts that have been passed by people we don’t know, and they were collected in a book called Mark by an author we don’t know either, though there is much speculation about who the exact author is. On the other hand when it comes to the Hadiths, when we read a story about the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), we know exactly who passed on the story and who narrated it, we have a complete line of transmission of the people who heard the saying, and who passed the saying, and who it got passed to, and we know whether these people are sound people or not.

All of this is obviously crucial, let us give an example, let’s say you heard a news story, and it’s a very big news story but there is no source, you’re not likely going to believe it are you? Especially in this day and age when there are all kind of sources-websites on the internet that sometimes report some very crazy stories, which you then find out are false, but most times you yourself know to doubt and not believe certain news stories coming from certain organizations-websites because you know they’re not reliable. And you’re also aware of organizations-websites-persons that are reliable, and so you can trust what they’re saying because you know who they are etc. So it’s very important to know your source, if you don’t know your source then as you can see you have some big issues.

Now take the same simple logic and apply it to the Gospels and Hadiths (for some strange reason people often don’t like to use this simple logic, acting like we’re dealing with some other realm), it’s important to know our sources, who we’re dealing with, who’s passing on the story, whether the person passing is it is a reliable person, or an unreliable person.

In conclusion, the Hadiths are a far more reliable and trustworthy collection of sayings-teachings than the Gospels, to put it simple, in news terms, nobody would ever accept the Gospel as a source of information because it has no sources, all of its sources comes from anonymous sources, basically people we don’t know, and that my friends is not a proper source of information you can get anything from, let alone the actual teachings of God.


There is no appropriate comparison between the Muslim’s authentic Hadith and the Christian Gospels when it comes to their authenticity. Let no Muslim be fooled by this. The only similarity that one can point out between the two is that they both speak about the lives of a certain individual. I would say that the major difference between the two is the reliability of their preservation. Muslims don’t believe that those who transmitted or collected the Hadith were inspired by God like how Christians believe for their Gospel authors. And hence there can be errors and mistakes in Hadith and we don’t rule out that. And also there are ways to solve this problem and this is in no way a threat to the reliability that we have in authentic Hadith as a whole (isnad and matn). But for the Christian Gospels we should expect to not find any errors since those who transmitted them are supposed to be directly ‘inspired’ by God. But sadly we have numerous errors in Gospels and in Bible as a whole.

Related Reading: Difference between Ahadith Narrations & Historical Reports

The Stupendous Memory of the Muhadditheen

[Majlisul Ulama]

ONCE, Abdul Malik, the Khalifah, wondered at the in-numerable Ahaadith which Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated. He conjectured that perhaps Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) para-phrased the Ahaadith which he had heard from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and presented it in his own words, not exactly as stated by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

In order to test Abu Hurairah’s (radhiyallahu anhu) memory, the Khalifah, invited him and many other Sahaabah. The Khalifah had concealed two persons behind a screen to record in writing every Hadith which Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) would be narrating. At that session Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated a hundred Ahaadith. The scribes wrote every word exactly as was stated by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu).

After one year, Abdul Malik, again invited Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). The two scribes who had recorded the 100 Ahaadith were again present behind the screen with their written notes. The Khalifah, addressing Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu), said: ‘Hadhrat the last time I derived immense pleasure from the 100 Ahaadith you had narrated. I shall appreciate it if you will again narrate the same 100 Ahaadith.”

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) commenced the narration of the Ahaadith. After he had completed, the two writers were amazed at the prodigious memory of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu). There was not a change of even a single word. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) had repeated the 100 Ahaadith exactly as he had narrated them a year ago. This was the wonderful bounty of memory which Allah Ta’ala had bestowed to the Muhadditheen.

The Istinaad (analysis) of the Hadeeth: “My Sahaabah are like the stars…”

[Maulana Saeed Palanpuri D.B]

“As-haabee  Kan  Nujoom.  Bi  Ayyihim  Iqtadaytum Ihtadaytum”

[My  Sahaabah  are  like  the  guiding  stars.   Whosoever of them you will follow, you will be guided]

This  Hadeeth  has  been  narrated  by  six  different  Sahaabah:  

1.  Ibn  Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
2.  Jaabir  (radhiyallahu anhu)
3.  Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)
4.  Anas  (radhiyallahu anhu)
5.  Abu  Hurairah  (radhiyallahu anhu)
6. Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu)

It  is  also  narrated  Dhahhaak  ibn  Muzaahim  Hilaali  in  a  Mursal  form.

1] The Narration of Ibn Umar: > Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 89, no 1)

In  this  Sanad,  Hamza  ibn  Abi  Hamza  AlJazri  is  a  weak  narrator. Regarding  him:

– Imaam  Yahya  Ibn  Ma’een  said:  “He  is  not  worth  a  cent”

– Imaam  Bukhaari  said:  “He  is  Munkarul  Hadeeth (rejector)”

– Dar  Qutni  said:  “He  is  Matrook  (discarder)”

– Ibn  Adi  said:  “Most  of  his  narrations  are  Matrook”

– Tirmidhi  has  included  one  of  his  narrations  in  his  Kitaab (Baabul  Istidhaan)  but  then  said:  “This  Hadeeth  is Munkar  –  Hamza  is  Dha’eef  in  Hadeeth.  [Tuhfatul Ahwazee Vol. 3 pg. 391]


This Raawi (narrator) is Dha’eef Jiddan (very weak)

2] The Riwaayah (narration) of Jaabir > Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 90, no 2)

Regarding  this  Sanad:

– Dar  Qutni  said:  This  Riwaayah  is  not  proven  from  Maalik and  its  Narrators  are  Majhool  (unknown).  [Lisaan] 

– Haafiz  has  said:  Jameel  is  not  Ma’roof  (known)  [Talkhees]

– Abu Haatim Raazi said: Laa A’rifuhu (not known) [Lisaan]

Allaamah  Ibn  Abdil  Barr  has  narrated  it  in  ‘Jaami’  Bayaanil  Ilm’ through this Sanad:

> Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 90, no 3)

But  then  he  says:  This  Sanad  is  not  strong  enough  to  be  used  as Hujjat  because  Haarith  Ibn  Ghadheen  is  Majhool.

In  Lisaanul  Meezaan,  Haafiz  has  narrated  this  statement  of Allaamah  Ibn  Abdil  Barr.  He  then  wrote:    

– Toosi  has  mentioned  him  in  his  ‘Tadhkirah  Rijaalush Shee’ah’ –  Ibn  Hibbaan  has  mentioned  him  in  his  ‘Kitaabuth Thiqaat’


The  Jarah  (critical  comment)  in  this  Riwaayah  is  not  very severe.  The  Raawi  (narrator)  is  Majhool  (unknown)  but  the  two Sanads  (chains  of  narrations)  lend  strength  to  each  other.  This Tareeq  is  Dha’eef  (weak)  but  not  Dha’eef  Jiddan.

3] The Riwaayah of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) > Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 91, no 4)

Razeen’s Tareeq has the following addition

> Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 91, no 5) – –

– The  author  of  Mishkaat  has  included  this  Riwaayah  in  his Kitaab.

– Abu  Bakr  Al  Bazzaar  has  also  narrated  it  (Talkheesul  Habeer  pg. 404  and  Jaami’  Bayaanil  Ilm)  
– Dhahabi has also mentioned it in Meezaanul I’tidaal This Tareeq is also Dha’eef.

Regarding  Abdurraheem

– Bukhaari  has  said:  Tarakoohu  (the  Muhadditheen  have  left  him out)   

– Ibn  Ma’een  said:  Kadhaab  (liar)  and  Laisa  Bi  Shai’  (he  is nothing)

– Jawzjaani  said:  Ghair  Thiqah  (not  reliable)

– Abu  Haatim  said:  Turika  Hadeethuhu  (his  narrations  are  left  out)

– Abu  Zar’ah  said:  Waahin  (weak)

– Abu Dawood said: Dha’eef (weak)

Verdict: This  Riwaayat  is  also  Dha’eef  because  of  Abdur-raheem.

4] The Riwaayah of Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) > Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 91/92, no 6)

This  Tareeq  is  also  Dha’eef  Jiddan.  

Regarding  Ja’far  ibn  Abdil  Ahad:  

– Dar  Qutni  said:  He  fabricates  Hadeeth –

– Abu  Zar’ah  said:  He  narrates  baseless  Ahaadeeth

– Ibn  Adi  said:  He  ‘steals’  Hadeeth  and  narrates  Munkar Ahaadeeth

5] The Riwaayah of Anas (radhiyallahu anhu)

Bazzaar  has  narrated  this  Hadeeth  but  in  Talkhees,  Haafiz  has  said: Its Sanad is no good.

6] The Riwaayah of Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu)

Baihaqi  has  narrated  this  Hadeeth  in  ‘Al-Madkhal’  and  Munaawi  has mentioned  it  in  Faidhul  Qadeer  Sharah  Jaami’us  Sagheer  but  he  has not mentioned its Sanad nor has he commented on it. 

> Reference to Urdu Version (Pg 92, no 7)

7] The Mursal Hadeeth from Dhahhaak

Ibn  Hajar  has  mentioned  it  in  Talkhees.  He  said:  Abu  Dhar  Harawi has narrated it in Kitaabus Sunnah but its Sanad is Dhaeef.

[End of the seven Tareeqs of this Hadeeth]

This  Hadeeth  has  been  narrated  through  several  chains.  After  putting all of them together, it reaches the level of Dha’eef at the very least. 

In  ‘At  ta’leequs  Sabeeh’  –  the  Sharah  of  Mishkaat,  the  following  has been  said:  “its  Sanad  is  weak  but  the  various  Sanads  complement each  other  as  has  been  mentioned  in  Zafarul  Amaani,  the  Sharah  of Mukhtasar Jurjaani”

Similar  to  this  is  the  Hadeeth:  “The  minimum  Haidh  is  3  days  and the  maximum  is  10”  which  has  also  been  narrated  from  6  Sahaabah and  all  six  Tareeqs  are  very  Dha’eef.  After  putting  all  the  chains together, the Hadeeth reaches the level of Dha’eef. 

According  to  the  Ahnaaf,  a  Dha’eef  Hadeeth  is  given  preference over  the  Rai  (opinion)  of  any  Mujtahid  and  therefore  they accept it.

The  Hadeeth  we  are  discussing  also  reaches  the  level  of  Dha’eef  and a Dha’eef Hadeeth concerning Fadhaail is accepted unanimously.

Ibn  Hazam  Zaahiri  has  said:  “This  Hadeeth  is  Makdhoob  Mawdhoo’ Baatil”  but  his  verdict  is  not  worth  considering.  Bazzaar  has  said:  “It is  not  Saheeh”.  This  verdict  is  correct  since  a  Hadeeth  which  is  not Saheeh is Dha’eef and not Baatil and Mawdhoo’. 

There is a worlds difference between the two!

Bazzaar  has  raised  another  objection  to  this  Hadeeth.  He  says:  “This Hadeeth  contradicts  the  Saheeh  Hadeeth  of  Rasulullaah  ρ:  ‘Hold  on to  my  Sunnah  and  that  of  the  rightly  guided  Khulafaa  after  me’  in that  there  were  differences  among  the  Sahaabah  and  these  cannot  be clearly understood.”

But  Allaamah  Ibn  Abdil  Barr  gave  the  following  answer:

“The  Kalaam  of  Bazzaar  is  not  completely  correct.  Each  Sahaabi  in his  own  right  was  on  Haqq  and  thus  worthy  of  being  followed.  As for  their  internal  dispute,  this  too  was  a  source  of  guidance  for  the Ummat.”

Generally  you  will  find  that  whenever  the  Ahnaaf  have  a  Riwaayat in  support  of  their  Madh-hab  and  the  Ashaabul  Hadeeth  don’t,  then their  common  argument  is  that  the  Riwaayat  is  Dha’eef  or  Ghair Mu’tabar (not reliable). There are many examples of this.

In  the  Mas’alah  of  laughing  aloud  breaking  Salaat  and  Wudhu;  the minimum  and  maximum  periods  of  Haidh;  Qiraa’at  Khalfal  Imaam etc.  this  is  the  argument  of  the  others.  Yet  in  most  of  these  Masaa’il, the  Ahaadeeth  in  question  are  Mu’tabar.  For  details  refer  to  I’laaus Sunan.

The  Ahnaaf  use  the  Hadeeth  “As-haabee  kan  Nujoom”  in  support  of their  Madh-hab  that  the  Aqwaal  and  Fataawa  of  the  Sahaabah  are Hujjat in Deen.
According  to  the  Ahnaaf,  the  saying  of  a  Sahaabi  is  an  accepted Hujjat in Deen even if there is no consensus among them.

The  other  Imaams  only  accept  the  Ittifaaq  of  Sahaabah  as  Hujjat.  In the  case  of  a  single  Athar  (saying)  of  a  Sahaabi,  he  may  accept  it  or reject it with his own Ijtihaad.

Shah  Waliyullaah  has  quoted  the  saying  of  Imaam  Shaafi’ee  in  this regard:  “it  is  not  necessary  to  follow  the  individual  Sahaabi  unless there is Ittifaaq among them…” (Hujjatullaah pg 147)

According  to  the  Ahnaaf,  if  an  Athar  of  a  Sahaabi  is  presented, the Mujtahid will not make his own Ijtihaad.

So  according  to  their  habit,  the  As-haabul  Hadeeth  declare  this Hadeeth  as  Ghair  Mu’tabar.  Strangest  of  the  lot  is  Haafiz  Ibn  Hajar who  after  gathering  all  the  Turuq  of  this  Hadeeth  besides  that  of  Ibn Abbaas,  then  brings  Ibn  Hazams  Qowl  (saying).  Yet  wherever  it suits  him,  he  would  gather  2  or  3  Turuqs  of  a  Hadeeth  and  then  say: ‘these  few  Turuqs  strengthen  each  other,  the  Hadeeth  is  therefore acceptable’!  Here  he  turns  the  table  completely.  Ibn  Hajar  is notorious for these types of inconsistencies. 


-If  a  Hadeeth  has  several  chains,  all  linking  up  to  one  Sahaabi,  then this  is  a  Daleel  (proof)  that  the  Riwaayat  (narration)  has  an  Asal (origin/basis)

-If  a  Hadeeth  has  several  chains,  leading  to  several  Sahaabah,  and  if they are Dha’eef, the Riwaayat will be Hasan li Ghairihi.

-If  a  Hadeeth  has  several  chains  from  several  Sahaabah,  and  they  are very Dha’eef, then all put together will become Dha’eef.

Keeping  all  these  Usools  in  mind,  the  Hadeeth  we  are  discussing  at the very least will be said to be Dha’eef.

In  fact,  Mulla  Ali  Qaari  has  declared  this  Hadeeth  Hasan  li  Ghairihi (see Maudhoo’aat Al-Kubraa)

Allaamah  Abdul  Ali  Bahrul  Uloom  has  also  called  it  Hasan  li Ghairihi.

The  content  of  this  Hadeeth  is  also  supported  by  several  others:   “All my Sahaabah are Adool (righteous and just)” etc.

The  Hadeeth  ‘As-Haabee  kan  Nujoom’  is  thus  acceptable  as  Hujjat. After putting all of this together, the Usool of the Ahnaaf stands that ‘The  Aqwaal  of  Sahaabah  are  Hujjat  in  Deen  and  will  gain preference over the Ijtihaad of any non Sahaabi’  

Wallaahu A’lam
Sa’eed  Ahmad
10  Muharram  1417

Authority and Significance of Hadith in Islam [A Point for Hadith-Rejectors to Ponder]

The Example of Allah’s Messenger is part of Islam and will be  protected  till  the  Last  Day.  Allah  says, 

Indeed,  in  the Messenger of Allah  (Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) you have a good example to follow,  for  him  who  hopes  in  (the  Meeting  with)  Allah  and  the Last Day and remembers Allah much.”  [Surah al-Ahzab 33:21]

Islam  is  a  universal  religion,  and  its  teachings  are  for  all mankind  and  for  all  ages;  and  as  long  as  people  need  to  be guided,  the  example  of  the  Prophet  will  be  preserved. 

“We  have not  sent  you  (O  Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  except  as  a  Messenger  to  all mankind,  giving  them  glad  tidings  and  warning  them  against sin.” [Surah Saba 34:28]

Rather,  the  very  purpose of  sending a  human Messenger was for  people  to  take  him  as  an  example  in  their  day  to  day  lives,

“Say,  ‘If  there  were  on  the  earth,  angels  walking  about  in  peace and security,  We should certainly  have  sent down for them from the heaven, an angel as a Messenger.” [Surah al-Isra 17: 95]

Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam received revelations besides the Qur’an. Allah says, 

“Verily,  it  is  We  who  have  sent  down  the Dhikr (revelation), and surely We will guard it.” [Surah Hijr 15:9]

Anyone who believes in Allah  as the Supreme Rabb, must agree that the guidance which Allah has sent  will be  protected  as  long  as there  is  a need for it which in case of Islam is until the last day. The question remains –  Is Qur’aan the only guidance that has been revealed by Allah  as  the  hadeeth-rejecters  contend  or  has  the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  received revelation  from Allah  that  is not part of the Qur’aan??

The  Qur’aan itself  refers  to  revelation  being  received  from Allah  that  is  not  found  in  the  Qur’aan  and  hereunder  are  few examples:

i)  Allah says in the Qur’aan,

“And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction  towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to  test  those  who  followed  the  Messenger  (Muhammad).” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:143]

This verse shows that Allah had  assigned the previous Qiblah of the Muslims but there is no verse in the Qur’aan designating Jerusalem as the previous Qibla. This means  that  there  has  to  be  an  alternative  form  of  ‘Wahy’ (revelation)  apart  from  the  Qur’aan  through which  Allah  revealed  the  previous command  of  facing  towards Jerusalem.

ii)  “And  (remember)  when  the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  disclosed  a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she  told  it  (to  another  i.e.  Aa’isha),  and  Allah  made  it known  to  him,  he  informed  part  thereof  and  left  a  part. Then  when  he  told  her  (Hafsah)  thereof,  she  said,  ‘Who told  you  this?’  He  said,  ‘The  All-Knower,  the  All-Aware (Allah) has told me.” [Surah at-Tahrim (66): 3]

The  verse  says,  “Allah  made  it  known  to  him,”  and yet,  there  is  no  verse  in  the  Qur’aan  that  makes mentions this.

iii) “It  is  for  Us to collect it (i.e. the Qur’aan) and to give you (O Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  the  ability  to  recite  it  (the  Qur’aan).”  [Surah al-Qiyamah 75:17]

The Qur’aan as it has been collected is not in the same order  in  which  it  was  revealed,  and  while  it  is  for  Allah  to collect  the  Qur’aan  there are  no  verses  in the Qur’aan that mention the  arrangement  of  the  verses. This  information is found in the Sunnah.

iv)  The Qur’aan mentions the call to the prayer (adhan), “And when you proclaim the call for Salaat, they take it (but) as a mockery  and  fun.” [Surah al-Maidah 5:58] and, 

“O  you  who believe!  When  the  call  is  proclaimed  for  the  Salaat  on  the day of Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah.” [Surah al-Jumu’ah 62:9] 

These  verses  testify  that  Adhan  is  part  of  the  religion of  Islam  but  there  is  no  verse  in  the  Qur’aan  that prescribes  the Adhan for the believers. This order is found in the other revelation – the Sunnah.

These are some proofs that show that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did indeed receive revelation apart from the Qur’aan; and since this  revelation  constitutes  beneficial  guidance,  it  will  be preserved.

The Sunnah is in itself a Revelation from Allah

Allah  repeatedly  makes  mention  of  the  revealed  ‘al-Hikmah‘ in  the  Qur’aan.  He  said,  “Allah  has  sent  down  to  you  the  Book (the  Qur’aan),  and  al-Hikmah,  and  taught  you  that  which  you knew not.” [Surah an-Nisa 4:113]

“He,  it  is  Who,  sent  among  the  unlettered  ones  a  Messenger from  among  themselves,  reciting  to  them  His  Ayaat,  purifying them,  and  teaching  them  the  Book  and  the  Hikmah.” [Surah  al-Jumu’ah 62:2]

“And  remember  (O  you  members  of  the  Prophet’s  family), that  which  is  recited  in  your  houses of  the Ayaat of  Allah  and  the Hikmah.” [Surah al-Ahzab 33:34]

These verses show;

(i)  Al-Hikmah is revealed by Allah

(ii)  It is part of the Messenger’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) duty to teach the Hikmah

(iii)  It  is  something  recited  and  remembered  in  the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) household.

There  is  nothing  in  status  and  position  that  can  be  mentioned alongside  the  Qur’aan  apart  from  the  Sunnah  of  Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  This  honor  cannot  be  given  to  conventional wisdom  inherited  from  the  past  or  even  to  the  books  given  to previous  nations.  At  the  time  of  the  Sahabah, such  ‘wisdom’  was not given any consideration as the following incidents testify…

Imran bin Hussain said, “The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Haya’ does not bring  anything  except  good.”    Thereupon,  Bashir  bin  Ka’b  said, “It is written in the wisdom paper: Haya leads to solemnity; Haya leads to tranquility (peace of mind).”

Imran said to him, “I am narrating to you the saying of Allah’s Messenger  and  you  are  speaking  about  your  paper  (wisdom book)?” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (8/138)]

When Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  came to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), he said, “We hear the narrations  from the Jews, which sound pleasing to  us, so should we not write some of them?” Whereupon he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Do you want to be baffled as the  Jews and the Christians  were baffled? I have brought to you (guidance) bright and pure and if Prophet Moosa (alayhissalaam) was  alive  now  there  would  have  been  no  alternative  left for him  but to follow me.” [at-Tirimidhi]

Therefore,  Imam  Ash-Shafiee  (rahimahullah)  says explaining the verse about Hikmah,

“So Allah  mentioned His Book, i.e.,  the  Qur’aan  and  (He also mentioned)  Hikmah. I have heard  that those who are learned in the  Qur’aan  –  whom I approve – hold that Hikmah is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.

This  is  like  what  [Allah  Himself]  said  but  Allah knows  best! For the Qur’aan is mentioned [first], followed by Wisdom; [then] Allah  mentioned  His  favor  to  mankind  by  teaching  them  the Qur’aan  and  Wisdom.  So  it  is  not  permissible  for  Hikmah  to  be called  here  [anything]  save  the  Sunnah  of  the  Messenger  of Allah.  For  [Hikmah]  is  closely  linked  to  the  Book  of  Allah,  and Allah has  imposed  the  duty  of  obedience  to His Messenger,  and imposed on men the obligation to obey his orders.

So,  it  is  not  permissible to regard  anything  as  a duty save that set  forth  in  the  Qur’aan  and  the  Sunnah  of  His  Messenger. For [Allah],  as  we  have [just] stated, prescribed  that the belief in His Messenger shall be associated with the belief in Him.” [Ar-Risala]

Furthermore, Book and Hikmah are not the same because at no  place  is  the  word  ‘Hikmah’ used  for  the  Book  or  the  word ‘Book’  used  for ‘Hikmah’.  They  are  two  separate  and  distinct entities.

The  Qur’aan  needs  to  be understood as  Allah meant it to be  understood. Allah  says, 

“It  is  for  Us  to  collect  it  and  to  give you  (O Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) the ability to  recite  it  (the  Qur’aan).  And when We have recited it to you, then follow you its recital. Then it is  for  Us (Allah) to make it clear to you.” [Surah al-Qiyamah 75:17-19]

This verse indicates that both the text of the Qur’aan as well as its explanation have been sent from Allah.

Allah  also  says,  “And  We  have  also  sent  down  unto  you  (O Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam )  the  reminder  and  the  advice,  that  you  may explain  clearly  to  men  what  is  sent  down  to  them  and  that  they may give thought.” [Surah an-Nahl 16:44]

This  verse  mentions  that  the message requires explanation,  and  the  Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  is  the  one  assigned  to provide  it.  This  explanation  is  not  only  needed  by  people  at  the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), but by all subsequent generations until the last  day. Rather, the more the distance in age from the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  the  more  the  need  to  solve  differences  in understanding by reference to the original state of affairs.

Furthermore,  this  verse  also  gives  instructions  about  the order  in  which  the  Qur’aan  should  be  understood.  First  the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) explains  Allah’s  revelation  clearly  to  mankind  and then  they  give  thought.  People  are  not  free  to  let  loose  their thoughts  and speculate  about  the  message of the  Qur’aan whilst ignoring the teachings of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

According  to  Hadeeth-rejecters,  ‘God  Himself  states  in  the Qur’aan  that it  is He  Who explains the Qur’aan. This means that the  Qur’aan  explains  itself.’  But why  then  have  the  Hadeeth-rejectors not sufficed themselves with the text of the Qur’aan and have  written  huge  volumes  discussing  and  explaining  the Qur’aan?

Because there are  verses in  the Qur’aan that explain each  other,  and  there  are  verses  that  require explanation from the Sunnah.

The  Qur’aan  can  only  be  correctly  understood  in  light  of the  Sunnah. One  of  the  most  important  duties  with  which Allah’s  Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was  sent with was  to  convey  the  Qur’aan to mankind and to teach it.  Allah  says, 

“Indeed,  Allah  conferred  a great  favor  on  the  believers  when  He  sent  among  them  a Messenger  (Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  from  among  themselves,  reciting unto  them  His  Verses,  and  purifying  them,  and  teaching  them the Book (Qur’aan) and Hikmah while before that they had been in manifest error.”  [Surah aal-Imran 3:164]

“And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) the Reminder  and  the  Advice  that  you  may  explain  clearly  to  men what is sent down to them.”  [Surah an-Nahl (16): 44]

i)  The  Sunnah  explains  the  commands  of  the Qur’aan  in  details.  For  example,  Allah  commands  His believing  slaves  in  Surah  al-Baqarah 2: 43, “…establish As-Salaat and give Zakaat…” 

Details of the command to establish the Salaat are not found in the Qur’aan such as the required number of daily prayers,  the  units  of  prayers  (rak’ah)  and  the  recitation  in each  mode of  prayer  as  well  as  the  manner  of  performing the  prayer  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  etc.  All  these guidelines are to be taken from the Sunnah. Similarly,  Allah  commands  in  Surah al-Jumuah 62: verse 9,  “When  the  call  is  proclaimed  for  the  Salaat on the day of Friday…”

The  words  of  the  call  to  prayer  (Adhaan)  is  known from  the  Hadith.  Likewise,  all  issues  of  Zakaat  e.g.,  the minimum amount on which Zakaat becomes payable, the percentage paid, the kind of wealth, goods and animals on which Zakaat is obligatory, etc. are clearly explained by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Other important acts  of  worship like fasting and Hajj are  touched  upon  briefly  in  the  Qur’aan  and  for  detailed injunctions Muslims are to refer to the Hadith and the Sunnah of the Messenger and the rightly guided Caliphs.

Another example is the Qur’aanic punishment for the thief.  “Cut  off  the  hand  of  the  thief,  male  or  female,  as  a recompense  for  that  which  they  committed…” [Surah al-Maidah 5:38]

This  verse  prescribes  the  punishment,  but  the  Sunnah designates  what  is  the  minimum  amount  when  it  is applied.  The  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam    said,  “The  hand  of  the thief  shall  be  cut  off  if  he  steals  a  quarter  of  a  Dinar  or more.”  [Saheeh al- Bukhari]

Note: The manner in which the hadeeth-rejectors explain this verse  provides  beneficial  insight  into  their  methodology and contradictions.

Rashad Khalifa (the Hadith-rejector) translates this verse as,
The thief,  male or female, you shall mark their hands as a  punishment  for  their  crime,”  and  then  comments,
“The practice of cutting off the thief’s hand as decreed by  the  false  Muslims  is  a  satanic  practice  without Qur’aanic basis.”    [Rashad Khalifa’s Translation]

Therefore,  the Qur’aan itself does not have Qur’aanic basis (!) when  the  hadeeth-rejectors  dislike  something  in  it. Rashad  Khaleefah  used  mathematical  calculations to interpret cutting as marking.

Ghulam Perwez (another Hadith-rejector says about this verse, “As to a thief, man or woman, such restrictions should be imposed  on  them  which  render  them  incapable  of committing such crime.”

He comments, “The literal  meaning  of  the  text  is ‘cutting off the  hands.’ When the Divine Order of Rabubiyyat is established, every  person  will  be  guaranteed  means of livelihood.

If  anyone  commits  a theft  under  such circumstances  he deserves  the  highest punishment.” [Perwez’s Translation]

We  can  see  that  after  all  the prolonged  argument  by  the  Hadeeth-rejecters that  the  Qur’aan  explains  itself  and  is  in  no  need  of the Hadith and Sunnah  to  clarify  it,  we  find  Perwez  adding  non-Qur’aanic  clauses  to  the  Qur’aanic  law  to  limit  the circumstance  under  which  this  punishment  is applied.

ii)  The  Sunnah  establishes  a  meaning,  when  a number  of  meanings  are  possible. The  Qur’aan prescribes, “Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female…” but  does  not  clarify  what  hand  means.  The Hadith and the Sunnah explains the hand to mean ‘from the wrist down’.

The  Qur’aan  explains  the  ruling  and  manner  of Tayammum as, “…But if you are ill  or  on  a journey or any of  you  comes  from  answering  the  call  of  nature,  or  you have  been  in  contact  with  women  and  you  find  no  water, then  perform Tayammum (dry ablution) with clean earth and rub there with your faces and hands.”

The  Sunnah  explains  that  hands  in  this  verse  mean only  the  palms.  The  word  ‘hand’  could  have  multiple meanings  but  the  Sunnah  specifies  the  appropriate meaning for each ruling.

Another  example  is  the  Saying  of  Allah,  “And  those (means hoarding up) gold and silver, and spend it not in the Way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment.”

Apparently,  this  verse  means  that  any  kind  of  hoarding  or collection  of  money  that  is  not  spent  in  the  Way  of  Allah will  doom  one  to  the  painful  torment  but  the  Sunnah clarifies  that  Kanz  refers  to  the  wealth  on  which  Zakaat has not been paid.

iii)  The  Sunnah  can  specify  exceptions  to  a  general rule. In  Surah  al-Maida 5: 3,  Allah  says,  “Forbidden  to you  (for  food)  are:  al-Maytatah  (the  un-slaughtered  dead animals), blood…” 

The  general  rule  in  this  verse  prohibits  all  Maytatah and all forms  of  blood but the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)   made exceptions to this rule. He    said, “We were allowed two dead animals and two (kinds of) blood. As for the two dead animals, they are fish and locust. As for the two bloods, they are liver and spleen.” [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

iv)  The Sunnah also gives additional injunctions in a number of issues. Allah  says,  “Those  who  follow  the  Messenger,  the Prophet  who  can  neither  read  nor  write  –  he  commands them  for al-Ma’roof  (the  prescribed);  and  forbids  them from al-Munkar (the prohibited); he allows them as lawful at-Taiyibaat (i.e. all good), and prohibits them as unlawful al-Khabaaith  (i.e.  all  evil),  he releases  them  from  their heavy  burdens  (of  Allah’s Covenant),  and  from  the  fetters (bindings)  that  were  upon  them. So  those  who  believe  in  him (Muhammad  sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  honor  him,  help  him, and follow  the  light  which has  been  sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.”  [Surah al-A’raf 7:157]

A  number  of  religious  injunction  thus  emanate  from the Sunnah like the prohibition of the flesh of the donkeys, dogs,  beasts  with  canine  teeth  and  birds  of  prey.  He  made  wearing  gold  and  silk  Halaal  for  the  women  and Haraam for the men, etc.

v)  Inadequacy  of  language  alone  to  understand Qur’aan. There  is  no  scope  for  anyone  with  all  his  Arabic scholarship  to  understand  the  glorious  Qur’aan  without Hadith and Sunnah. The Sahabah were the most knowledgeable in the language  in  which  the  Qur’aan  was  revealed  at  a  time when Arabic was not blemished by the incorrectness of the colloquial  language  or  their  grammatical  mistakes.  Yet, they  erred  in  understanding  the  verses  when  they  relied on language alone, and following are some examples…

a)  Allah  says  in  the  Qur’aan,  “It  is  those  who  believe and confuse not their belief with Dhulm (wrongdoing), for them  (only)  there  is  security  and  they  are  the  guided.” [Surah al-An’am 6:82]

When  this  verse  was  revealed,  the  Sahabah understood  ‘Dhulm‘  in  its  wider  sense  meaning  ‘all wrongdoing’  and  this  caused  much  concern  because  no one  is  free  from  wrongdoing.  The  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  explained that ‘Dhulm‘ in this verse refers to Shirk.

b) “…eat and drink  until  the white  thread  of  dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:187]

This  verse  describes  the  time  when  the  fast  begins.  A companion  understood  this  verse  literally  and  slept  with two  threads  under  his  pillow  to  determine  when  the  fast should  begin.  The  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) explained that the black and white  thread  actually  refers  to  the  white  streak  of  dawn and the darkness of night.

Detailed book?

The  hadeeth-rejecters  maintain  that  the  Qur’aan  is  a detailed  Book  that  does  not  require  any  other  source  to supplement  it  –  not  even  Sunnah.  Despite  this  we  have seen  how  Ghulam Parwez added additional clauses to the order  of  cutting  the  thief’s  hand.  Furthermore,  the Hadeeth-rejecters  seriously  contradict  themselves  when they  author  detailed  volumes  explaining  and  deliberating upon  the  Qur’aan  and  propose  additional  clauses  and conditions to the Qur’aan’s orders.

Another  example  of  this  is  Rashad  Khaleefah’s comment  on  the  verse,  “Those  who  eat  Riba  (usury)  will not  stand  (on  the  Day  of  Resurrection)  except  like  the standing  of  a  person  beaten by  Shaytan  leading  him  to insanity.”

Rashad Khaleefah says,

“It  is  an  established economic  principle  that  excessive interest  on loans can utterly destroy a whole country. During  the  last  few  years  we  have  witnessed  the devastation  of  the  economies  of  many nations  where excessive  interest  is  charged.  Normal  interest  –  less than  20%  –  where  no  one  is  victimized  and  everyone is satisfied is not usury.”

The 20% condition is not mentioned in the Qur’aan.

To  emphasize  that  the  Qur’an  does  not  need supplementary  explanations,  the  Hadeeth-rejecters quote, “We have neglected nothing  in  the Book,  then unto their Lord they (all) shall be gathered.” [Surah  al-An’am 6:38]

“And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’aan) as an exposition of everything…” [Surah an-Nahl 16:89]

For  the  correct  understanding,  we  refer  to  the complete  verse,  i.e., “There  is  not  a  moving  (living) creature  on  earth,  nor  a  bird  that  flies  with  its  two  wings, but  are  communities like  you.  We have neglected nothing in  the  Book,  then  unto  their  Lord  they  (all)  shall  be gathered.” [Surah al-An’aam 6:38]
One  interpretation  is  that  ‘the  Book’  in  this  verse refers  to  the  preserved  tablet  in  which  Allah has  recorded everything that occurs, and this is similar to another verse,

“And  no (moving)  living  creature  is  there  on  earth but  its provision  is  due  from  Allah.  And  He  knows  its  dwelling place  and  its  deposit  all  is  in  a  Clear  Book  (al-Lawh  al-Mahfoodh).” [Surah Hud 11:6]

Even  if  one  interprets  ‘the  Book’  to  be  the  Qur’aan then Allah has not neglected to mention in it the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) duty as  the  example, teacher  and explainer  of  the  Qur’aan and obedience to him is ordered in seventy verses. 

While  ‘the  Book’  does  not  contain  details  of  the prayers  and  fasting,  it  did  not  neglect  to  direct  the believers  towards  the  example  of  the  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  where  it can be found. And the same explanation holds good for the other  similar  verse,  i.e.,   

“We  have  sent  down  to  you  the Book (the Qur’aan) as an exposition of everything…”

Allah’s  Protection  for  the  Dhikr  includes  all  the  Deen

Allah  says, 

“Verily,  it  is  We  who  have  sent  down  the  Dhikr (revelation), and surely We will guard it.” [Surah Hijr 15:9]

The  word, ‘Dhikr‘  has  been used in the  Book  of  Allah to  refer  to the  Qur’aan,  the Deen  in  general, the remembrance of Allah, the  Friday prayer (62:9) and Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as in the verse, 

“Allah  has  indeed  sent  down  to  you a Dhikr (reminder). A Messenger who recites to you the verses of Allah.” [Surah  at-Talaaq 65:10-11)]

Therefore,  Allah  promised  to  protect  the  Qur’aan,  its understanding, the  example  of  His Messenger, the actions of the Khulafa e Rashidin, the examples of the Imams of the Madhabs, the Ijma’ of the scholars the Prayer and all  aspects of  the Deen which collectively are ‘the Dhikr‘. The text of the Qur’aan will not be protected if its understanding which is contained  in  the  Sunnah  is  not protected.

Furthermore,  if  anyone  wants  to restrict  the  meaning  of  ‘Dhikr‘  to  the Qur’aan  then  they  need  to  present  a proof.  A  segment  of  Munkireen  al-Hadeeth argues  that  Qur’aan  was  the  only  revelation  and hence  Dhikr  exclusively  refers  to  the  Qur’aan.  This argument has  already been  replied to  earlier with  examples  that the Qur’aan itself refers to a revelation apart from it.

Another  group  of  Munkareen  al-Hadeeth  claims  that  the additional  guidance  received  by  the  Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was  for  his period  only.  This  is  a  false  argument  because  the  latter generations  who  do  not  have  a  living  Messenger  amongst  themselves  are  more  in  need  of  the  guidance  and  explanations that was revealed apart from the Qur’aan. This group also claims that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself did not undertake any measures to preserve  the  hadeeth,  the  like  of  which  was  undertaken  to preserve  the  Qur’aan.  We  will  shed  light  on  the  issue  in  the following pages.

To  summarize,  the  insistence  of  Munkareen  al-Hadeeth  that  the Dhikr which Allah had Promised to protect, is only the Qur’aan is not based on any sound proof but upon their assumption and conjecture.

Preservation of Hadith

From what has preceded, we have seen the significance of the Hadeeth and Sunnah as  a  source  of  the  Deen  and  it  is  only  a  natural  consequence  that  the study  of  Hadeeth  has  been  a  constant  pursuit  since  the  beginning  of Islam to the present time.

The Companions of the Prophet    eagerly observed what he said  and  did,  and  memorized  it  faithfully. Some of  them  even recorded Hadeeth by writing in ‘saheefahs’.

The  Ahadeeth  were  passed  down  from  generation  to generation  among  the  most  trustworthy  of  individuals  in  a tremendous  effort  that  not  only  preserved  the  exact  words  of  the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), but also the entire chain of narration and the condition of the narrators (memory, period, beliefs, etc.).

This  manner  and  meticulousness  by  which  Ahadeeth  have been  preserved  is  unique  and  unparallel  in  literary  history,  and  one needs  to  study  the  science  of  hadeeth-verification  in  order  to  truly appreciate it.

To  get  a  good  overview  of  how  Islamic  texts  were  preserved we start  by  understanding  the  methodology of the compilation  of  the Qur’aan  so  that  it  can  be  compared to the  methodology of Hadeeth compilation.

Compiliation of the Qur’an

Allah  says,  “He,  it  is  Who,  sent  among  the  unlettered  ones  a Messenger  (Muhammad)  from  among  themselves.” [Surah  al-Munafiqun 63:2]

Being  mostly  unlettered,  the  primary  mode  by  which  the Arabs  preserved  their  knowledge  like  poetry  and  history  was  by memorization. When the Qur’aan was revealed it too, was memorized by the Sahabah and in addition some of the sahabah were assigned by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi was   to write down the Qur’aan.

At  the  time  of  the  Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) death,  all  of  the  Qur’aan  had been verified  and written  on  various  materials  like  cloth,  stone,  date-palm  leaves,  etc.,  and  remained  scattered  as  loose  fragments  in  the possession of various Sahabah. 

It  had not been compiled in the form of a book because during the  lifetime  of  the  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) the  Qur’aan  was  continually  being revealed,  and  the  order  of  the  verses  is  not  chronological.  There  was also  no  pressing  need  for  it  because  of  the  large  number  of  accurate memorizers and reciters of the Qur’aan.

During  the  Caliphate  of  Abu  Bakr  as-Siddeeq (radhiyallahu anhu),  many memorizers  of  the  Qur’aan  were  killed  in  battles  and  a  collective decision  was taken to compile the Qur’aan in a single book  in order to preserve  it.  The  enormously  significant  task  was  given  to  Zayd  ibn Thaabit (radhiyallahu anhu)  who began to collect the Qur’aan from what was written on palm  stalks,  thin  white  stones  and  also  from  the  men  who knew it  by heart.

Zayd  ibn  Thaabit (radhiyallahu anhu),  despite  being  a  memorizer  of  the  Qur’aan himself,  was  methodical  in  his  compilation  and  would  not  agree  to write  down any verse until  two of the  Sahabah testified  that  they  had heard  it  from  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  In  this  manner,  the  entire Qur’aan  was  verified  and  written  on  leather,  and  remained  with  Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) until his  death  and  then  with  Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) until  the  end  of  his  life,  and then with Hafsah (radhiyallahu anha) the daughter of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

At  the  time  of  Uthmaan  ibn  Affan (radhiyallahu anhu),  the  Islamic  empire  had spread  far  and  wide  and  people  were  being  taught  to  recite  the Qur’aan in seven different dialects (the Qur’aan was revealed in seven dialects).  This  began  to  cause  confusion  in  far  off  provinces,  and  a decision  was  taken  to  make  an  official  standardized  copy  from  the manuscript of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) and limit the people to its recitation.

More  copies  were  made  from  this  copy  known  as  ‘Mushaf Uthmaan,‘  and  sent  to  different  parts  of  the  Islamic  empire. 

This Mushaf was unpointed (i.e., it had no diacritical marks). The addition of diacritical marks to the Mushaf happened in the era of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwaan to ease recitation.

Compiliation of the Hadith

Like  the  Qur’aan,  the  sayings  and  actions  of  the  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  were preserved  primarily  at  the  time  of  the  Sahabah  by  memorization  and they  were  also  noted  down.  This  was  due  to  encouragement  and direction  by  the  Messenger  of  Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)    himself,  who  said, “May  Allah make radiant the man who has heard what I said and has preserved it in  his  memory  until  he  conveys  it  to  another.  Perhaps,  the  one  he conveyed  it  to  has  a  better  understanding  than  him.” [At-Tirmidhi] He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said, “Convey from me even a single verse. You may relate from the  Children  of  Israel  without  objection.  Anyone  who  deliberately tells a lie against me will have prepared his seat in Hellfire.” [Bukhari]

The  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  also  made  clear  the  necessity  of  accurately preserving  and  transmitting  Hadeeth  when  he  warned,  “Lying  about me is not like lying about anybody else. Whoever lies about me let him take  his  place  in  Hell.” [Agreed upon] So  serious  was  this  matter  that  at the  time  of  the  Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  lying  about  him  was  punishable  by death.

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “People say that I  have narrated many Ahadeeth. Had  it  not  been  for  two  verses  in  the  Qur’aan  I  would  not  have narrated  a  single  Hadeeth  and  the  verses  are, “Verily,  those  who conceal  the  clear  sign  and  the  guidance  which  We  have sent  down…” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:159-160]

No doubt, our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the  market  with  their  business  (bargains);  and  our  Ansari  brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I used to stick to Allah’s Messenger    content with what will fill my stomach and I used to  attend  that  which  they  used  not  to  attend  and  I  used  to  memorize that which they used not to memorize.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari (3/118)]

Famous  Memorizers  of  Hadeeth  amongst  the  Sahaba h included  Abu  Hurayrah,  Abdullah  Ibn  Abbas,  Aa’isha  Siddeeqa, Abdullah  Ibn  Umar,  Jabir  Ibn  Abdullah,  Anas  Ibn  Maalik  and  Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhum). Each of them memorized over a 1000 Ahadeeth.

Famous  Memorizers  of  Hadeeth  amongst  the  Tabieen included  Sa’eed  Ibn  al-Mussayab,  Urwah  Ibn  Zubayr,  Saalim  Ibn Abdullah  Ibn  Umar  (the  son  of  Abdullah  Ibn  Umar)  and  Naaf’i  (the servant  of  Abdullah  Ibn  Umar).

Writing Hadith

References to writing the Hadeeth can be found in various narrations some examples are mentioned below:

1.  Abdullah  ibn  Umar  ibn  al-As  stated  that  they  used  to  record everything  they heard  from  the  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) until  they  were  warned that  the  Prophet  was a  human  being  who  may be  angry at  times and  pleased  at  times.  Abdullah  stopped  writing  Ahadeeth  until he asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about it, who said, “Write (my hadeeth),  by  the  One,  in  Whose Hand is my soul, nothing leaves it  (the  Prophet’s  mouth)  save  the  truth.” [Saheeh  Sunan Abu  Dawood (2/695)]

2.  Al-Bukhari recorded  in  his  Saheeh  that  Abu  Hurayrah (rashoyallahu anhu)   said, “One  can  find  none  of  the  Companions  of  the Messenger  of  Allah  relating  more  Ahadeeth than  me,  except  Abdullah  ibn  Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) because  he  used  to  record  the  hadeeth while I did not do so.”

3.  Al-Bukhari  recorded  that a man from Yemen came to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  on the day  of  the  conquest  of  Makkah  and asked him if he could get the Prophet’s speech  recorded  and  the  Prophet  approved  and  told  someone,  “Write  it  for the father of so and so.”

Al-Azami  in  his  work  Studies  in  Early  Hadeeth Literature  (p.34-60)  has  listed  and  discussed  some  fifty Companions  of  the  Prophet  who  wrote  Ahadeeth.  He  listed eighty-seven  of  the  scholars  covering  the  late  first  and  early second centuries who recorded hadeeth.

Then  he  listed  from  the  early  second  century  scholars,  251 people  who  collected  and  recorded  hadeeth.  Thus  al-Azami  has produced  a  list  of  437  scholars  who  had  recorded  Ahadeeth  and all  of  them lived and died before the year 250 A.H. Many of them are  from  before  the  time  of  Umar  ibn  Abdul-Azeez (rahimahullah) who  is credited  with  having  been  the  first  person  to  ask  for  the compilation/collection of hadeeth.

Al-Azami said,

“I  have established in my doctoral thesis Studies in  early  Hadeeth Literature that even in the first century of  the  Hijra  many hundreds of booklets of hadeeth were in circulation.  If we  add another hundred years, it would be  difficult  to  enumerate  the  quantity  of  booklets  and books,  which  were  in  circulation.  Even  by  the  most conservative estimate they were many thousands.” [Studies  in  Hadeeth  Methodology  and  Literature  (p.64)]

He also demonstrated in his Ph.D. thesis the reason why none or very few of them are still in existence today “These  books  were  not  destroyed  nor  did  they perish,  but  (they)  were  absorbed  into  the  work  of  later authors.  When  the  encyclopedia-type  books  were produced  scholars  did  not  feel  the  necessity  to  keep  the early books or booklets and so slowly they disappeared.” [Studies  in  Hadeeth  Methodology  and  Literature,  p.64]

Saheefah Hammaam ibn Munabbih

“Of the earliest collections of hadeeth one in particular deserves closer attention.  This  is  the  Saheefah  of  Hammaam  ibn  Munabbih (rahimahullah).  It  is actually  a  written  collection  of  hadeeth  that  the  Companion  Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) dictated to his student Hammaam.

Since  Abu  Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu)  died  around  58  A.H.  (or  some  48  years after the  death of the Prophet) this collection must have been dictated to Hammaam sometime from that date…

Imam  Ahmad  Ibn  Hambal (rahimahullah) incorporated  the  entire  work except two hadeeth into his famous Musnad.

Al-Sulami  (a  muhaddith),  on  the  other  hand,  continued  the passing  on  of  this  collection  as  an  independent  work.  It  was continually  passed  on  until  the  9th  century  which  is  the  date  of  the Berlin manuscript, one of the four manuscripts of this work that is still in existence.

Since  Ahadeeth  in  Ahmad’s  Musnad  are arranged  according  to  the  Companions  who narrated  the  Hadeeth.  It  is  very  easy  to  find all  of  the  hadeeth  from  Hammam  on  the authority  of  Abu  Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) in  that collection.

Other  books where  the Ahadeeth are arranged according to Fiqh topics also incorporated a great deal of this Saheefah.

A  study  of  Saheeh  al-Bukhari  and Saheeh  Muslim will  demonstrate  the following.  Out  of  the  137  Ahadeeth  in  the Saheefah of Hammaam: 29 are recorded by both al-Bukhari and Muslim 22 others are recorded by only al-Bukhari 48 other are recorded only by Muslim. Thus  99  of  the  137  hadeeth  may  be  found  in  either  Saheeh  al-Bukharee or Saheeh Muslim

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  all  of  the  following  works  that contain  many,  if  not  all,  of  the  hadeeth  of  this  saheefah  are  now published:  al-Bukhari’s  al-Jaami  al-Saheeh,  Muslim’s  Saheeh, Ahmad’s  Musnad,  Abdul  Razzaq’s  Musannaf,  Ma’mars  Jami  and even  Hammam’s Saheefah.  All of  these collections  may be  studied  to see that even the wordings of the hadeeth have not been changed from the time of Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) to the time of al-Bukharee.”


[Translated by Mawlana Zameelur Rahman]

Hamid ibn ‘Umar narrated to us: Abu ‘Awanah narrated to us: from Tariq: from Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab: he said:

“My father was one of those who pledged [allegiance] to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at the tree[1]. [My father al-Musayyab] said: ‘Then we proceeded [to Makkah] the following year, as pilgrims, and the tree’s location was hidden from us. So if it is clear to you, then you are more knowledgeable than us!’” (Sahih Muslim)

His statement “its place was hidden from us”: it is mentioned in the following narration: “then they forgot its location the following year”, and in the narration of al-Bukhari: “its location was unclear to us”. Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) related the same incident according to al-Bukhari in Kitabal-Jihad (no. 2958). He said “We returned the following year and no two of us agreed about the location of the tree beneath which we pledged [allegiance]. This was a blessing from Allah.”

Al-Hafiz said in al-Fath (6:118) under the Hadith of Ibn ‘Umar “The explanation of the wisdom behind this is that no misdeed will ensue as a result of the good that occurred beneath it. Were it to remain, it would not be safe from some ignorant people glorifying it, until it may lead them to the belief that it has the power to benefit or harm, as we see today plainly in that which is lesser than it [in value]. Ibn ‘Umar alluded to this by his statement ‘this was a blessing from Allah’ by which he meant its obscurity to them was a blessing from Allah Most High after that. It is possible that the meaning of his statement ‘a blessing from Allah’ is that the tree was the place of Allah’s mercy and the location of His pleasure, due to the descent of pleasure over the believers near it.”

Al-Hafiz said in al-Maghazi (7:448) “Moreover, I found that according to Ibn Sa’d, with an authentic chain from Nafi’, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was informed that a group of people approached the tree and prayed near it, so he admonished them, and commanded it be cut down and so it was cut down.”

The Issue of Seeking Blessing (Tabarruk) through the Relics (Athar) of the Prophets and the Pious

Some ‘ulama adduce from this narration of Ibn Sa’d proof that tabarruk through the relics of the pious is prohibited. However, this inference is not strong, because it is possible ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) cut down the tree because he was aware that the tree at which the pledge was taken was not known to anyone; and because the tree that people claimed was the Tree of Ridhwan and prayed near, should not be identified as the tree at which the pledge was taken. This is proven by what al-Bukhari transmitted in al-Maghazi with the complete [wording] of the hadith of this chapter whose phrasing is:

From Tariq ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman: he said: “I went as a pilgrim and I passed by a group of people praying, so I asked:What mosque is this?’ They said: ‘This is the tree at which Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) pledged the allegiance of Ridhwan.’ I then went to Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab and related this to him, and Sa’id said: My father narrated to me that he was one of those who pledged [allegiance] to Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) beneath the tree. He said: ‘When we went out the following year we forgot its location and were unable to recognise it.’ Then Sa’id said: ‘Verily the Companions of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not know and you know [its location], so you are more knowledgeable than them!’”

It is, therefore, clear that the tree which the people would pray near was not the tree beneath which the pledge of Ridwan occurred, and for this reason Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab (radhiyallahu anhu) did not repudiate them for their tabarruk in praying near it; he only repudiated their tenacity in specifying the location of that tree. So it is possible ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) cut down the tree from this standpoint, not because he did not believe in tabarruk through relics. As regards to what has passed from [the narration of] Jabir (radhiyallagu anhu) in which he said: “If I could see I would show you the place of the tree”, this does not prove anything besides that he (radhiyallahu anhu) was confident in his knowledge of the location of the tree and that he could guide to it to the best of his belief. This does not entail that it corresponds to the same thing.

The permissibility of tabarruk through the relics of the Prophets and the pious has been established from a number of hadiths:

From them is what al-Bukhari transmitted in Kitab al-Libas, Bab ma Yudhkaru fi l-Shayb (no. 5896) from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Mawhab (radhiyallahu anhu) that he said: “My people sent me with a bowl of water to Umm Salamah (radhoyallahu anha).” Isra’il approximated three fingers [indicating the small size of the container] in which there were some hairs of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). ‘Uthman added: “If any person suffered from an evil eye or some other disease, he would send a vessel (containing water) to Umm Salamah. I looked into the container [that contained the hair of the Prophet] and saw a few red hairs in it.

Al-Hafiz said under it in al-Fath (10:353): “The intended meaning is that one who complained [of an illness] was sent to Umm Salamah with a vessel, in which she placed those hairs and bathed them in it and then returned it. The owner of the vessel would then drink [from it] or bathe with it in seeking a cure from it. Thus, he would acquire its blessing.”

From them is what al-Bukhari transmitted in Kitab al-Isti’dhan (no. 6271) from Anas (Allah be pleased with him): “Umm Sulaym (radhiyallahu anha) used to spread a leather sheet for the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and he used to take a midday nap on that leather sheet at her home.” Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had slept, she would take some of his sweat and hair and collect it in a bottle and then mix it with suk (a kind of perfume) while he was still sleeping.” Abu Thumamah said: “When the death of Anas bin Malik approached, he advised that some of that suk be mixed with his hanut (perfume for embalming the dead body).” He said: “and it was mixed with his hanut.” Muslim added in his narration: “The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) woke up and said ‘What are you doing?’ She said ‘We hope for its blessing for our children.’ He said: ‘You have done what is right.’” This is unequivocal in [proving] the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) approval of her act.

From them is what al-Bukhari transmitted in Kitab al-AshribahBab al-Sharb min Qadh al-Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam (no. 5637) in the hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu): “Then the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions went towards the shed of Bani Sa’ida and sat there. Then he said, ‘Give us to drink, O Sahl!’ So I took out this bowl and gave them to drink from in it.” The sub-narrator added: “Sahl took out for us that very bowl and we all drank from it.” He added: “Later on ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz requested Sahl to present it to him as a gift, and he presented it to him as a gift.

This hadith is to come from the compiler (Muslim ibn Hajjaj) in Kitab al-Ashribah (Bab Ibahatu al-Nabidh) if Allah wills, and al-Nawawi said under it: “This contains [proof] of tabarruk through the relics of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), that which he touched, wore or took as a means. This is close to something that has been agreed upon. The Predecessors (salaf) and the Successors (khalaf) practiced tabarruk through praying at the prayer-place of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) at the Noble Rawdah, and entering the cave which he entered etc. Related to this is the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) giving Abu Talha (radhiyallahu anhu) his hair to distribute amongst the people and his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) giving his loincloth to shroud his daughter…

From them is what al-Bukhari transmitted in Kitab al-Ashribah (no. 5638) from ‘Asim al-Ahwal that he said: “I saw the bowl of the Prophet with Anas bin Malik, and it had been broken, and he had mended it with silver plates. That bowl was quite wide and made of Nadar wood. Anas said, ‘I gave the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan) to drink from that bowl more than so-and-so times.’” Consider how Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) cared for the bowl to the extent that he mended it with silver plates after it had broken. This [act] is nothing besides tabarruk through it.

From them is what Ibn al-Sakan transmitted from Thabit al-Banani that he said: “Anas ibn Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) said to me: ‘This is a hair from the hairs of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Put it beneath my tongue‘” He said “So I placed it beneath his tongue and he was buried while it was beneath his tongue.” Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) mentioned this in al-Isabah (1:84) in the biography of Anas (radhiyallahu anhu).

As for tabarruk through religious places (mashahid) and visiting them, the most balanced view on this is what Ibn Taymiyyah transmitted from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) that “he was asked whether a man should go to those religious places (mashahid) in Madinah and outside Madinah? He said: ‘With regards to the hadith of Ibn Umm Maktum (radhiyallahu anhu) that he asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to come and pray in his house so he could adopt [that area] as a place of prayer, or regarding what Ibn ‘Umar used to do by tracing the places from the journey of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) until he was seen pouring water at a certain place and was asked about this and said the Prophet would pour water here.’ Ahmad (rahimahullah) said: ‘As regards to this, there is no harm’ and he said: ‘there is a dispensation in this.’ Then he said: ‘However people go too far in excess and go overboard on this purpose’. He then mentioned the grave of al-Husayn (radhiyallahu anhu) and what the people do near it. Al-Khallal narrated these in Kitab al-Adab.”

Al-Hafiz ibn Taymiyyah after relating the statement of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) said: “With regards to religious places which are places at which the relics of the Prophets and pious are present, and are not mosques, like certain places in Madinah, Abu ‘Abdullah (Ahmad ibn Hanbal) distinguished between a few which people do not take as places of celebration (‘id) and many which they take as places of celebration, as has passed. This distinction combines between the narrations and statements of the Companions, for indeed al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih from Musa ibn ‘Uqbah that he said: ‘I saw Salim ibn ‘Abdullah searching for places in the road and praying at them, and he narrated that his father (Ibn ‘Umar) would pray at them, and that (Ibn ‘Umar) saw the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) pray at those places.’ Musa said: ‘Nafi’ narrated to me that Ibn ‘Umar would pray at those places.’” See Iqtida al-Sirat al-Mustaqim by Ibn Taymiyyah (pp. 374-5).

The upshot is that if visiting these religious places is like visiting historical sites, or to envision what happened there of blessed acts, and to increase faith and contentment by remembering them, and to attain blessings from them, there is no harm in that. As for taking them as places of celebration or believing that they benefit or harm or glorifying them in ways that resemble worship (bima yushbih al-‘ibadah), that is not permissible.

By this [principle] is understood what Sa’id ibn Mansur narrated in his Sunan from Ma’rur ibn Suwayd that he said with regard to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu): “We went out with him in the Hajj he performed … When he returned from Hajj he saw people hastening to a mosque. He said: ‘What is this?’ They said: ‘The mosque at which Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prayed.’ He said: ‘This is how the Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book) before you perished. They took the relics of their Prophets as synagogues. One who finds the prayer there should pray and one who does not find the prayer there should leave.’”

And in a narration from him “he saw the people going along paths and said: ‘where are these people going?’ And it was said: ‘O Commander of the Believers! The mosque at which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prayed.’ He then said: ‘Those before were destroyed for the like of this. They would trace the relics of their Prophets and take them as churches and synagogues, so whoever from you acquires the prayer in these mosques should pray and whoever does not should leave and not [pray] there purposefully.’”

Thus ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) disliked taking the prayer-place of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as a place of celebration, fearing that this will lead to innovations and abominations. Otherwise it has been proven ‘Umar (radhiyallahu qnhu) showed eagerness in protecting the relics [of the Prophet] in what al-Bukhari transmitted from al-Zubayr that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) requested from al-Zubayr (radhiyallahu anhu) the spear with which he killed Abu Dhat al-Karish on the day of Badr. In it is mentioned: “When Allah’s Messenger died, al-Zubayr took it back. After that Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) demanded it and he gave it to him, and when Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) died, he took it back. ‘Umar then demanded it from him and he gave it to him. When ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) died, al-Zubayr took it back, and then ‘Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) demanded it from him and he gave it to him. When ‘Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) was killed, the spear remained with Ali’s (Allah be pleased with him) offspring. Then ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr (Allah be pleased with him) demanded it, and it remained with him till he was martyred.” [See KitabalMaghazi in Sahih al-BukhariBab Shuhud al-Mala’ikati Badran.]

This proves the importance the rightly guided caliphs, particularly al-Faruq (radhiyallahu anhu), attached to preserving a spear although there are many spears in the world. This was not [done for any reason] besides [the fact] that the spear remained with Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for a period of time, so they sought tabarruk through it.

(Takmilah Fath al-Mulhim vol 3 pp. 301-5)


[1] This refers to the tree situated in Hudaybiyyah, a town ten miles north of Makkah, at which 1,400 believers pledged to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) their willingness to fight against the pagans of Makkah who had captured ‘Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) when he was dispatched to them as a peaceful envoy. It is known as the Tree of Ridhwan (pleasure) due to Allah’s pleasure descending on the believers as mentioned in Qur’an 48:18. (Translator) 


Sahih Bukhari: An Introduction

This book of Imam Muhammad bin Isma’eel al-Bukhari (rahmatullah alayh) is known as ‘Sahih-ul-Bukhari’, but it original name is very long. According to Hafiz Ibn Hajar its name is: ‘Al-Jami’us Sahih Al-Musnad min Hadith Al-Rasool Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam wa Sunanihi wa Ayyamihi’. But, according to Ibn Salah the name is: ‘Al-Jami’ul Musnad Al-Sahih Al-Mukhtasar min Umoorir Rasool Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam wa Sunanihi wa Ayyamihi

Compilation Background

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah), in the preface of his book Fathul Bari, has mentioned the compilation background of Sahih Bukhari, that are as follows:

(1) The books that were compiled before Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) had both Za’eef and Sahih traditions, that might prove difficult for people to differentiate between Sahih and Za’eef. Therefore, he intended to write a book that contains only true and authentic traditions. 

(2) Also, he was inspired to compile a book by his teacher Ishaq bin Rahwaih (rahimahullah) who asked his students: “It would be better if you collect the authentic traditions.” Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) says that it stuck to his heart and he started compiling his Sahih

(3) Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) saw a dream that he is moving a fan on the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The scholars of the age told that it meant that he shall remove the falsehood and lie surrounding the traditions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) says that it inspired him to write ‘Al-Jami’us Sahih’. 

Extraordinary Caution & Carefulness in Compiling Sahih Bukhari

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) paid his utmost attention to compile his book. He says that he did not write even a single Hadith in his book without having bath and praying two Rak’ats. Some biographers also have quoted Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) saying: “I did not include any Hadith in this book but when I consulted Allah, prayed to him and insured its authenticity

Duration of Compilation

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) himself says that he has compiled this book within a period of sixteen years. He selected these traditions from among six hundred thousand ones. 

Objective of Sahih Bukhari

The objective of Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) is to collect Sahih and authentic traditions. The original name of the book indicates to it. Moreover, he described it on many places of his book as he says: “I mentioned in my book only Sahih traditions and rejected so many Sahih traditions because of their length.” There is a famous quotation of him that he has mentioned only Sahih tradition in his book and the Sahih traditions he left is more than he mentioned. 

This is a proof that he intended to collect only authentic traditions, but he did not intend to collect entire Sahih traditions. So, there are many Sahih traditions in other books of Hadith apart from Bukhari. It is worth mentioning that though Imam Bukhari (rahmatullah alayh) had determination to collect authentic traditions but the Fiqhi derivations of Imam Bukhari sayings of the Companions and their successors mentioned under the titles of chapters are not as authentic as the other traditions. But, they also include many useful things. 

Number of Traditions in Sahih Bukhari

Hafiz Ibn Salah said that the number of traditions in Bukhari is four thousand with repetations. But, the renowned commentator of Sahih Bukhari, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has mentioned the number of traditions in Bukhari with details:

(1) Number of Marfu’ Muttasil traditions with repititions = 7394

(2) Number of Marfu’ Mu’allaq traditions with repititions = 1341

(3) Mutab’aat etc. = 344
                                                         Total: 9082

(1) Number of Marfu’ Muttasil traditions without repititions = 2602

(2) Number of Marfu’ Mu’allaq traditions without repititions = 0159
                                                   Total: 2761

Repetition of Traditions in Bukhari & its Reason

Sahih Bukhari is not only a collection of traditions but also it contains Fiqhi derivations and interpretative judgments. It is known to all that most of the time one Hadith contains so many meanings and matters so the particular Hadith is mentioned under various titles. Sahih Bukhari also consists of repeated traditions. But, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has hardly repeated any Hadith with the same chain of narration and words. Most of the time, he mentioned the repeated Hadith with other chain of narration, while sometime he shortens it and mentions only the part concerning to the title. 

Conditions of Imam Bukhari for Acceptance of Hadith in His Sahih

It is not easy to describe the conditions of Imam Bukhari (rahahullah) and the authors of rest five Hadith books for accepting Hadith. Since, they have not clearly set up these conditions. They have only indicated it vaguely at some places in their books. Later, the scholars have derived their conditions after a thorough study of their books and the narrators’ biography. There are two books on the subject that are complementary of each other. One is ‘Shurootul Aaimmah Al-Khamsah‘ of Imam Abu Bakr Hazmi while the other ‘Shurootul Aaimmah Al-Sittah‘ of Abul Fazl Maqdisi. The summary of Bukhari’s condition is that he narrates from those who are reliable, trusted and narrate with continuous chain to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). He preferred the traditions of more than one narrators and accepted the traditions of single narrator also provided he is reliable. For example, analyzing the terms and conditions of Sihah Sittah, we divided that students of Imam Zuhri (rahimahullah) in five categories:

1.      Those who had high class Hifz (brainpower) and had accompanied Imam Zuhri (rahimahullah) for a long time. 

2.      Those who had high class Hifz (brainpower) but had not accompanied Imam Zuhri (rahimahullah) for a long time. 

3.      Those who did not have high class Hifz (brainpower) and had accompanied Imam Zuhri (rahimahullah) for a long time.

4.      Those who did not have high class Hifz (brainpower) and have not accompanied Imam Zuhri (rahimahullah) for a long time. 

5.      Those who are weak or those about whom there is no details available. 

From amongst the five categories, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) only relies on the first category of narrators and these narrators meet his conditions of accepting a Hadith. He sometimes mentions some selected traditions of narrators from the second category and in some cases he refers to the traditions of the narrators from second and third category for strength. Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) accepts the traditions of the narrators from first and second categories definitely and refers to the traditions of the narrators from third and forth category for strength. Imam Abu Dawood and Imam Nasai (rahimahumullah) accept the traditions of the narrators from first to third categories wholeheartedly and refer to the traditions of the narrators from the forth and fifth categories for strength. Imam Tirmizi (rahimahullah) accepts the traditions of the narrators from first to fourth category and refers to the traditions of the narrators from fifth category for strength. While, Imam Ibn Majah (rahimahullah) accepts the traditions narrators from all categories. 

It is noteworthy that the traditions narrated with the word ‘a’n’ (from) where the narrator did not mention clearly that he listened it from his sheikh, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) applies a condition that the meeting between the narrator and his sheikh should be proved. While, Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) set the condition that only a possibility of meeting should be found. 

Fiqhi Derivations in Bukhari’s Titles

First of all, Imam lays out a chapter and then mentions the Fiqhi matter that is derived from the below Hadith and sometimes mentions a part of the Hadith. This is called as ‘Tarjamatul Bab‘ (headline). All the authors of Sihah Sittah, except Imam Muslim (rahimahullah), adopt the same method. But, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has presented it as an art and has applied his mind so artfully and thoroughly that scholars are amazed to realize it. At some places, the headline matches the text below while sometimes the relation between the title and the Hadith is quite ambiguous. Therefore, the commentators have paid exclusive attention to it, even some of them have written separate books over the topic. 

Status of Sahih Bukhari & Its Significance

Sahih Bukhari holds the first position among Sihah Sitta, therefore it is called ‘most authentic book after the Quran’. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, Imam Ibn Salah, Imam Nawawi, Hafiz Ibn Kathir and other scholars of Islam (rahimahumullah) have written that the Ummah has unanimously agreed that the traditions of Sahih Bukhari and Muslim are reliable and authentic except a few of them. 

Related Article: Muwatta Imam Malik : An Introduction
Translated and prepared by: 
Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi, Maulana Afzal Qasmi, Mufti Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi