A FEW PRINCIPLES OF HADITH
1. In regard to the chains of narration (lsnaad) of the Hadith, there are many categories. Here we discuss only three,
2. Sahih (sound) – This is a Hadith which has the following 4 qualities,
1. Its chain of narrators is mutasil (i.e. all narrators are mentioned in their respective places from the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم to the compiler of the Hadith book.
2. All its narrators possess the highest category of taqwa and piety.
None of them is a sinner (faasiq) or someone whose life is obscured.
3. The memory of the narrators is very strong and not hindered by old-age or weakness. .
4. The Hadith is not shaaz (i.e. contrary to the Mash’hoor Ahadith, a higher category of Hadith).
Hasan – This type of Hadith has a narrator who does not completely possess the rare qualities mentioned above. In other words, his piety or memory doesn’t have this type of superiority.
Zaeef (weak) – This Hadith has a narrator who either doesn’t have a strong memory or isn’t virtuous.
2. The first two types of Hadith (Sahih and Hasan) are credible in rulings (ahkaam) and excellence (fadhaail). A weak. (Zaeef) Hadith is only reliable in excellence, not in rulings (permissibility or prohibition will not be proven for it. Yes, good deeds or the prominence of an individual can be).
The result of this is that a weak Hadith is not a lie, false or fabricated (contrary to the propaganda of Ghair-Muqauids). The Muhadditheen have kept its rank less than the first two merely for caution.
3. If a weak Hadith becomes a Hasan Hadith for some reason, it also becomes completely credible, with both excellence and rulings able to be proven from it.
4. A weak narration sometimes becomes Hasan in the following situations,
1. If it is reported by two or more chains of narration, even if all are weak. In other words, if a Hadith is reported through a few weak narrations, it becomes Hasan. – Mirqaat, Mauzuaate-Kabeer, Shaami, Introduction to Mishkaat by Shaikh Abdul-Haqq رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ Risaala Usool-e-Hadith by Imam Jurjaani رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ.
2. The practice of true Ulama also causes a weak Hadith to become Hasan. Thus, if the Learned Ulama-e-Deen begin to bring practice on a weak Hadith, it doesn’t remain so, but becomes Hasan. It was for is reason that Imam Tirrnidhi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ once said, A1t this Hadith is Ghareeb or weak (Zaeef), the learned practice It.”32.1
This saying of Imam Tirmidhi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ doesn’t mean that this Hadith is weak and unworthy of practice and that the Ulama of Islam have practiced on it out of stupidity or have become astray. No. It means that the Hadith is weak in regards to its narrators, but through the practice of Ulama, it has been strengthened.
3. Through the experience of the Ulama and inspiration (Kashf) of the Friends of Allahعزوجل (Auliya), a weak. Hadith can become strong. Shaikh Muhayuddin Ibn Arabi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ knew of a Hadith, ‘The person who recites the Kalima Tayyiba 70,000 times attains forgiveness.” Once, a young map said to him, “I see my deceased mother in J ahannam.” At that point, Shaikh Ibn Arabi had already recited the Kaliina Tayyiba 70,000 times, so (in his heart) he passed on the recital of the Kalima Sharif to that young man’s mother. The man smiled and said, “I now see my mother in Jannat.” Shaikh Ibn Arabi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ later said, “I understood this Hadith’s correctness (Sihat) through the inspiration (Kashf) of this Wali.” – SahihulBihaari
Maulwi Qaasim Nanautwi has recorded this incident regarding Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ in his book, Tahzeerun-Naas.
5. The weakness of the chains of narration (Isnad) doesn’t necessitate the text of the Hadith to also be weak. Thus, it is possible for a single Hadith to be weak in’ one chain, Hasan in a second and Sahih in a third. This is why Imam Tirmidhi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ once said regarding a single Hadith, “This Hadith is Hasan, Sahih and Ghareeb as we.,,32.2
This saying of the Imam can only mean that this Hadith is reported through a few chains: Hasan in the first, Sahih in the second and Ghareeb in the third.
6. Also, the weakness doesn’t negatively affect the Muhaddith or Mujtahid of former times. Therefore, if Imam Bukhari رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ or Imam Tirmidhi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ attained a Hadith as weak (Zaeef) due to a weak narrator being included in it, it is possible for Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ to have attained that same Hadith while it had a Sahih chain of narrators (i.e. in his time, that weak narrator was not a part of the chain of Hadith). Thus, it wouldn’t be easy for a Wahabi to prove that a Hadith was attained by Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ as weak.
As a result, our Sunni Ulama should bear this in mind. When any Wahabi calls a Hadith “weak”, stop him, request its reason of weakness and then clarify whether this was before or after Imam Abu Hanifa’s رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, time. Insha-Allah, this will silence them. Imam Abu Hanifa’s رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ time is extremely close to the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم‘s. At that time, very few Ahadith were weak. Imam Sahib was even a Taba’ee (one who has met at least one Companion of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم).
7. Jarah-e-Mubharn (ambiguous impugnment) is not worthy of acceptance. In other words, the mere statement of one who contests a Hadith, especially Ibn 1auzi, etc. (saying “This Hadith is weak” or “That narrator is weak”) is not credible unless they explain the reason of the Hadith’s weakness or narrator’s defect, because Imams differ in the reasons of weakness. Some deem something to be a defect while others do not. Tadlees, lrsaal, immaturity, being busy in Fiqh, etc. have been accepted as defects for a narrator. However, according to the Hanafi muzhab, none of these reasons qualify. – Noorul-Anwaar. Discussion on Ta ‘an alal-Hadith
8. When there is a clash between impingement (larh) and placing in order (Tadeel), Tadeel will be accepted, not 1arh. Meaning, if a Muhaddith (Commentator on Hadith) has called a certain narrator weak while another has called him strong (in a case where his transgression is seen in some events yet he is still labeled by some as pious and virtuous), he will be accepted as pious and his narration will not be considered weak, because piety is the original state ofa Mu’min.
9. It should be remembered that if a Hadith is not sound (Sahib), it doesn’t mean it’s weak. Thus, if a Muhaddith says about a certain Hadith, “It’s not Sahib”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Hadith is considered weak (there is a possibility of it being classified as Hasan). There are several categories of Hadith between sound and weak (Sahih & Zaeef).
10. The basis of Sahih Ahadith is not Muslim, Bukhari or the rest of the Sihah Siua (Six Famous Books of Hadith). The latter’s namesake doesn’t mean that all the Ahadith in these books are Sahih whilst every narration in other books aren’t.
Rather, it means that there are many Sahih Ahadith in them. Our Imaan is on the Prophet, not on Bukhari, Muslim, etc. Wherever the Hadith of the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم is found, it is a treasure for us irrespective of whether it is in Bukhari Sharif or not. It’s really surprising that Ghair-Muqallids label the Taqleed of Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ and other Imams as polytheism (shirk) yet blindly bring Imaan on Bukhari and Muslim as if they were making Taqleed of these books.
11. The accepting of a Hadith without any query by a Faqih Aalim is proof of it being strong. Thus, if any Mujtahid, Faqih Aalim accepts a weak Hadith, it becomes strong. Imam Waliuddin Tabrezi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ the compiler of Mishkaat, states, “When I ascribe the Hadith to these Commentators of Hadith (Muhadditheen), it is as if I have attributed it to the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم himself.” 32.3-Introduction to Mishkaat
From these principles, you have understood that none of the Ahadith which Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ has used as proof can be weak because the Ummah acts upon them and the Ulama and Fuqahaa have also accepted them. Every Hadith has been reported by several chains of narration.
12. If a conflict between the Hadith and Quran is seen the Hadith should be interpreted and given a meaning that causes conformity between the two and the clash to be lifted. Similarly, if the Ahadith are seemingly conflicting, it is necessary to give a meaning to them so that the conflict is erased and practice can be made on all. Examples of this follow,
Allahعزوجل states, “Read the amount of the Quran which is easy in namaaz,” 32.4 However, a Hadith states, “The Salaah of he who doesn’t read Surah Fatiha in it is not done.” 32.5
Visibly, the Hadith contradicts the ayat. For this reason, the Hadith’s meaning is taken that without reciting Surah Fatiha, Salaah is not perfected. Qirat (recitation) is absolutely Fardh in namaaz and reciting Surah Fatiha is Waajib. The conflict is lifted and both the Quran and Hadith have now been acted upon.
The above Hadith also seems to go against the following ayat, “When the Quran is recited, listen to it attentively and remain silent.” 32.6 – Surah Aaraal, Verse 204
WHEREVER THE HADITH OF THE HOLY PROPHET صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم IS FOUND, IT IS A TREASURE FOR US IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER IT IS IN BUKHARI SHARIF OR NOT.
Here, the Quran orders complete silence, while the muqtadi (person following the Imam in namaaz) is told to recite Surah Fatiha. Thus, we shall have to conclude that the Quran’s command is absolute while the order of the Hadith concerns someone reading namaaz alone or is addressing the Imam who is leading the Salaah. The recitation of the Imam is sufficient for the muqtadi. This principle is very important.
Also, if any Hadith clashes with a Quranic verse or a stronger Hadith than itself and there is no way of conformity occurring, the Quranic ayat or superior Hadith will be given preference and the Hadith will be regarded as unacceptable for practice (being termed as either inapplicable (mansookh) or only for the uniqueness of the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). There are examples of this.
13. A Hadith being proven to have weak narration is Qiyaamat for GhairMuqallids because the basis of their muzhab is these narrations alone. If a narration becomes weak, their ruling is revoked. However, this does not affect Hanafis, etc. because our proofs are not these narrations but only the verdict of the Imam (the Hadith corroborates his verdict). Yes, the proof of the Imam is Quran and Hadith, but when Imam Abu Hanifa رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ attained the Ahadith he issued verdicts from. They were all sound (i.e. their chains of narration were not those which are found in Bukhari and Muslim today).
Likewise, if the police throw a criminal in jail, their proof is the judgement of the judge, not the articles of the government’s law. The articles are the proof of the judge or ruler. This is important to remember. Taqleed (i.e. following the Four Imams) is Allah’sعزوجل mercy and GhairMuqallids (i.e. those who reject it) are His punishment.