Notes On The Science Of Hadeeth (2) – Shaykh Mahmoud At-Tahhan


Notes On The Science Of Hadeeth (2)

Shaykh Mahmoud At-Tahhaan
Translated by: Abu Talhah Daawood Ibn Ronald Burbank, November 1991
Source: Tayseer Mustalahul-Hadeeth, (taken from fatwa-online)

Classification Of The Hadeeth As Regards The State In Which It Reaches Us:

So if it has many chains of narration – without a particular limit – then it is

mutawaatir – مُتوَاتِر

And if its chains of narration are limited to a particular number – then it is

al-aahaad – الآحَاد

al-mutawaatir – اَلْمُتوَاتِر

Linguistically – Succession, consecutive
Technically – That which is narrated by such a large number of people that it is impossible that they have invented a lie

Its Conditions :
1) That it be narrated by a large number of people. Scholars differ about the actual number required
2) That this number is found in every level of the isnaad
3) That it is impossible that they could have gathered together upon a lie

Classes of al-mutawaatir:

1) al-mutawaatirul-lafzee – اَلْمُتوَاتِر اللفظِي (mutawaatir in wording)

– That whose wording and meaning are mutawaatir. e.g. The hadeeth “He who deliberately lies upon me – then let him take his place in the Fire.”

2) al-mutawaatirul ma’nawee – اَلْمُتوَاتِر المَْنوي (mutawaatir in meaning)

i.e. the hadeeth of raising the hands in du’aa – which is reported in about a hundred ahaadeeth, all of them stating that He (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) raised his hands in du’aa – but referring to different occasions – so the mention of each case is not mutawaatir, but the common factor – that He (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) raised his hands, is.

The most famous books of mutawaatir hadeeth:

1) “al-Azhaar al-Mutanaathirah fil Akhbaaril Mutawaatirah” – as- Suyootee.
2) “Qutuful Azhaar” – as-Suyootee.
3) “Nazmul Mutanaathir minal Hadeethil Mutawaatir” – Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-Kattaanee.

khabarul aahaad – خَبَرُ الآحَاد

Linguistically – Plural of “one”
Technically – That which does not fulfill the conditions of the mutawaatir
– Its divisions according to its number of chains:

1) mash-hoor – مَشْهُوْر
2) ‘azeez – عَزيْز
3) ghareeb – غريْب

al-mash-hoor – اَلمَشْهُوْر

Linguistically – “Well-known”
Technically – That which is narrated by three people or more at every level, but does not reach the condition of the mutawaatir

al-mustafeed – اَلمُسْتَفِيْض

Linguistically – That which has been spread or poured forth
Technically – There are three sayings :
1) That it is the same as “al-mash-hoor”,
2) It is more particular – both ends of its isnaad must be equal,
3) It is more general than “al-mash-hoor”.

“al-mash-hoor” – other than its technical meaning:
It is sometimes used to mean that a hadeeth which is merely wellknown amongst the people, without having the conditions for the technical “mash-hoor”. This includes:
1) That which has a single isnaad,
2) That which has more than one isnaad, and
3) That which has no isnaad at all.
The types of “al-mash-hoor” other than the technical mash-hoor:
1) “mash-hoor” to the people of hadeeth particularly, e.g. the hadeeth of Anas: “that Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made qunoot for a month after rukoo’ invoking against Ri’l and Dhakwaan.” [al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
2) “mash-hoor” to the people of hadeeth, the scholars and the common people, e.g. “The Muslim is he whom the Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.” [al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
3) “mash-hoor” to the fuqahaa (scholars), e.g. The most hated of the permissible to Allaah is divorce.” [Da’eef Aboo Daawood, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim]
4) “mash-hoor” to the scholars of “usool” (principles of fiqh), e.g. “Mistakes and forgetfulness have been set down (forgiven) for my Ummah and that which they are forced to do.” [Saheeh at- Tabaraanee from Thawbaan]
5) “mash-hoor” to the people of arabic grammar.
6) “mash-hoor” to the common people.
The most famous books of those ahaadeeth common upon the tongues of the people:
1) “al-Maqaasidul Hasanah fee Mashtahara ‘alal Alsinah” – as- Sakhaawee.
2) “Kashful Khafaa wa mazeelul ilbaas fee Mashtahara minal hadeeth ‘alaa Alsinatin-Naas” – al-’Ajloonee.
3) “Tamyeezut-Tayyib minal Khabeethi feemaa yadurroo ‘alaa Alsinatin Naasi minal hadeeth” – Ibn ad-Dayba’ ash-Shaybaanee.

al-azeez – اَلْعَزيْز

Linguistically – Either “rare” or “strong”
Technically – That which is narrated by no less than two narrators at every level, e.g. The hadeeth: “None of you believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his son and all the people.” [al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]. It is narrated from the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) by Anas from Qataadah and ‘Abdul-’Azeez ibn Suhayb, and from Qataadah by Shu’bah and Sa’eed:


al-ghareeb – اَلْغريْب

Linguistically – The singular
Technically – The hadeeth which at some stage is narrated only by a single narrator – either in every stage of the isnaad, or at a single point.

Also called “al-fard” :
In the view of al-Haafiz ibn Hajar “al-fard” and “al-ghareeb” are the same, except that “al-fard” is usually used to refer to “al-fardul mutlaq” (that which is reported by a single Companion), and “alghareeb” to refer to “al-fardun-nisbee” (which occurs later in the isnaad).
Its types according to where it occurs in the isnaad:

1) al-ghareebul mutlaq (absolute) اَلْغريْب المُطْلق , (or “al-fardul mutlaq”)

– That which occurs at the root of the isnaad – being narrated by a single Companion, e.g. the hadeeth “Verily actions are but by intentions.” [Reported only by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab]

2) al-ghareebun-nisbee (relative) اَلْغريْب النَسْبي , (or “al-fardun-nisbee”)

– That which is narrated by more than one narrator to begin with, then somewhere in the isnaad one of its narrators has only one person narrating from him.

Types of ghareeb-nisbee:

1) Its being reported only by a certain thiqah (reliable) narrator. Such as their saying: No reliable person narrates it except so and so.
2) Only a certain person narrates it from another particular person. Such as their saying: Only so and so narrates it from so and so – even though it might have other chains through other narrators.
3) It being only narrated by people of a certain town or land. Such as their saying: It is only narrated by the people of Makkah, or the people of Shaam.
4) It is reported from the people of one land by the people of another particular land. Such as their saying: It is reported only by the people of Basrah from the people of al-Madeenah, etc.
Another classification – As regards whether the singularity is in the text or the isnaad:
1) ghareeb in its matan (text) and isnaad, i.e. That whose text is reported only by a single narrator.
2) ghareeb in its isnaad but not in its matan, i.e. a hadeeth reported by a group of Companions, but one of them has only a single person who narrates it from him, so it is ghareeb through that chain and at-Tirmidhee describes that as “ghareeb min haadhal wajh.”
Famous works concerning “al-ghareeb” :
1) “Gharaa.ib Maalik” – ad-Daaraqutnee.
2) “al-Afraad” – ad-Daaraqutnee.
3) “The Sunnahs which are particular to people of a particular land”,
[“as-sunanil-latee tafarrada bikulli sunnah minhaa ahlul baldatin”] – Aboo Daawood.

The division of al-khabarul aahaad as regards the strengths and weaknesses:

1) Acceptable – مَقبُوْل (maqbool) – That found to be reported by truthful and acceptable narrators. Its ruling is that it is obligatory to accept and act upon it.
2) Rejected – مَرْدُوْد (mardood) – That not found to be reported by truthful and acceptable narrators. Its ruling is that it is not accepted as evidence nor acted upon.
al-khabarul maqbool (acceptable reports) – Its two major types are saheeh (authentic) and hasan (good) which then further break down into:
1) saheeh – صَحِيْح – saheeh on its own,
2) saheeh li-ghayrihi – صَحِيْح لِغيْره – saheeh due to support of others,
3) hasan li-dhaatihi – حَسَن لِداتِه – hasan on its own, and
4) hasan li-ghayrihi – حَسَن لِغيْره – hasan due to support of others.

as-saheeh – الصَحِيْح

Linguistically – Sound/healthy
Technically – That whose isnaad is connected through “just” (‘adl) and precise (daabit) narrators from beginning to end, not being shaadhdh or having a hidden defect (‘illah).

The Five Conditions:
1) ittisaalus- sanad – اِتصَالُ السَّند – That its isnaad is connected. That every one of its narrators heard it directly from the person he is narrating from, from the start of the isnaad to the end.
2) al-’adaalah – اَلْعَدَالة – That all of its narrators are ‘adl (just); i.e. Muslim, Of age (baaligh), Sane (‘aaqil), Not an open sinner
(faasiq), and not having bad manners and habits (makhroomul maroo’ah).
3) That all of its narrators are daabit (precise), which is of two kinds:
dabtus-sadr – ضَبْط الصّدَر (precision of the heart) – that he memorises it correctly and transmits it as he heard it and that he understands it if he is reporting its meaning.
dabtul kitaab – ضَبْط الكِتَاب (precision of writing) – that he correctly writes it down, preserves it an makes sure that it is passed on correctly.
4) ‘adamush shuthooth – عَدَمُ الشُّدُوْذ – That it is not shaadhdh. And the shaadhdh is when the reliable narrators contradicting those who are more reliable than him.
5) ‘adamul ‘illah – عَدَمُ العِلّة – That it does not contain (‘illah) hidden weakness. The ‘illah is a non-apparent factor which affects the authenticity of the hadeeth, whilst the isnaad appears to be free from it, e.g. a hidden gap in the isnaad.
If any of these five conditions are not fulfilled then the isnaad will not be saheeh.
The ruling regarding the saheeh hadeeth:
It is obligatory to act upon it according to the consensus of the scholars of hadeeth and all those whose word is counted from the scholars of usool and fiqh. It is a proof in the sharee’ah and it is not permissible for anyone to leave off acting upon it.

The Most Authentic Isnaads:

In the view of al-Bukhaaree the most authentic isnaad is: Maalik from Naafi’ from Ibn ‘Umar. [This isnaad is known as “silsilatudhdhahab” (the chain of gold)].
In the view of Ishaaq ibn Raahawaih and Ahmad the most authentic is: az-Zuhree from Saalim from Ibn ‘Umar.
In the view of Ibn al-Madeenee and al-Fallaas it is: Ibn Seereen from ‘Abeedah from ‘Alee.
In the view of Ibn Ma’een it is: Al A’amash from Ibraaheem An- Nakha’ee from ‘Alqamah from ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood.
In the view of Ibn Abee Shaybah it is: az-Zuhree from ‘Alee Ibn al- Husayn from al-Husayn from ‘Alee.
The first book written to include only the saheeh:
“Saheehul Bukhaaree” which was followed by “Saheeh Muslim”. The more authentic of the two being “Saheehul Bukhaaree”.
Neither al-Bukhaaree nor Muslim tried to gather all of the authentic ahaadeeth in their books:
Saheehul Bukhaaree contains 7,275 ahaadeeth including repetitions and about 4,000 without repetitions. Saheeh Muslim contains about 12,000 with repetitions and about 4,000 without.
Which of the hadeeth of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim have the ruling of being definitely saheeh?:
Only the hadeeth which they report with a connected isnaad are so counted. As for those which are reported with a narrator or narrators missing from the start of the isnaad, then they are termed al-mu’allaq – اَلْمُعَلْق al-Bukhaaree often does this in the chapter headings, but not within the text of his book. And these narrations are of two types:
1) That which is reported with certainty, e.g. he said, he ordered, he mentioned – then that is judged to be saheeh from the person it is narrated from.
2) That reported without certainty, e.g. it is said that, it is reported that (using the passive tense), then that does not carry the automatic ruling of it being saheeh.
Levels Of Authenticity:
1) That reported by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim,
2) That reported by al-Bukhaaree alone,
3) That reported by Muslim alone,
4) That fulfilling the conditions of both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, but not reported by them,
5) That fulfilling the conditions of al-Bukhaaree, but not reported by him,
6) That fulfilling the conditions of Muslim, but not reported by him,
7) That authenticated by others, not fulfilling the conditions of both al-Bukhaaree or Muslim.

al-hasan – اَلْحَسَن

Linguistically – Good/handsome.
Technically – Ibn Hajar explains it to be that which fulfills the conditions of the “saheeh” except that the precision of one or more of its narrators is of lesser standard, i.e. it fulfills all of the conditions (1) to (5) except that condition (3) is met to a lesser degree, therefore the isnaad falls from the standard of saheeh to that of being hasan. This is the definition of the hasan li-dhaatihi
– حَسَن لِدُاتِهِ .

It’s ruling: It is the same as for saheeh even though it is below it in strength
Regarding the saying: “hadeeth saheehul isnaad” – “A hadeeth whose isnaad is saheeh.” This is of a lesser standard than the saying “hadeeth saheeh” – “a saheeh hadeeth”, since (1) may only mean that the isnaad in itself is “saheeh” but may contradict something more authentic or still have a hidden defect. However, the term “hadeeth saheeh” (2) means that all five conditions have been met. If however (1) is used by a dependable Haafiz of hadeeth, then it should mean that the text is also saheeh since it is not usual for hidden defects to be present or for it to contradict something more sound.
The saying of at-Tirmidhee and others:

hasan-saheeh – حَسَن صَحِيْح

This has been explained by Ibn Hajar and agreed to by as-Suyootee as follows:
1) If the hadeeth has two isnaads or more, then it means that one isnaad is saheeh and the other is hasan.
2) If the hadeeth has only one isnaad – then it means that it is saheeh in the view of some scholars, hasan in the view of others.

as-saheeh li-ghayrihi – الصَحِيْح لِغيْره (saheeh due to support):

This is the hadeeth which is hasan in itself but is narrated with another chain like it or stronger than it, which supports it and raises it to the level of saheeh. So it is higher in level than the hasan lidhaatihi, but lower than the saheeh li-dhaatihi.

al-hasan li-ghayrihi – اَلْحَسَن لِغيْره  (hasan due to support):

It is the hadeeth which is originally da’eef, but has other chains of narration, and the reason for its original weakness is not sinfulness of any narrator of his being a liar. So such a hadeeth may be raised to the level of hasan if two conditions are met:
1) That it is narrated through one or more chains of narration besides the original chain, and that the other chain is similar to it or stronger than it, and:
2) That the reason for the original weakness was either someone’s having a poor memory, or a missing link in its chain, or one of its narrators being unknown
So it is of lesser level than the hasan li-dhaatihi, therefore if any contradiction occurs the hasan li-dhaatihi is given precedence.
The ruling for it: It is acceptable and used as proof.
Those ahaadeeth which are given precedence due to outside factors:
They are of different types, the most famous being:
1) Those ahaadeeth reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in their “Saheehs”,
2) Those ahaadeeth which are reported by various isnaads, all of them free from weakness or hidden defects,
3) Those whose isnaads are made up of prominent scholars, e.g. that reported by Imaam Ahmad, from Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee, from Imaam Maalik.
So if there is any contradiction, ahaadeeth such as these are given preference.