Imam Muslim on The Importance of Hadith Verification


The Importance of Hadith Verification
From Muslim’s Introduction to his Sahih

NOTE: This text is copyright.

Know – may Allah have mercy upon you – that what is obligatory upon every individual who is familiar with discrimination between the authentic among narrations and the inferior [thereof], [as well as between] the reliable reporters thereof from the incriminated ones, is that he narrate from [the body of hadith] only that [material] for which he knows that the source is authentic and its reporters are [of] blameless [character]. He should avoid those [narrations] which are [related] from incriminated people, and [from] obstinate people of innovation.

The evidence that what we have stated is binding rather than anything different is the words of Allah – may His mention be glorified – (translated), “O you who believe! If a transgressor comes to you with information then verify [its truth], in case you smite a people out of ignorance, and then [later] become full of regret over what you have done.” And He said – glorified be his praise – (translated), “. . . from among those whom you approve as witnesses.” And He, the Mighty, the Majestic, said, (translated), “And establish in testimony two upright [men] from among you.” So, He has indicated, through these verses which we have mentioned, that the report of a transgressor is disreputable and unacceptable, and that the testimony of a non-upright individual is inadmissible. Although the import of a report differs from that of a testimony in some respects, they correspond in most of their features, for the report of a transgressor is not acceptable before the people of knowledge, just as his testimony is inadmissible according to all of them. Read more

Mutawatir and Ahad Hadiths

Authority of Ahad and Mutawatir Hadith

A mutawatir narration is one which is:

narrated by a multitude of narrators
their numbers being such that experience / common sense rules out the possibility of their all having colluded to lie, or of their all having made the same mistake or fabrication by coincidence
with such numbers being present in each generation (level) of the chain of narration
the chain ending with something which was directly sensed (e.g. seen, heard) by the initial narrator (as opposed to something s/he concluded or hypothesized).
[see: Sharh Sharh Nukhbat al-Fikr, by `Ali al-Qari, (being a commentary on Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s summary text and commentary), pp. 161 ff.]

We encounter this type of narration often in the mundane aspects of our lives. It is by such narrations that we have come to know about distant lands which we have never visited, and similarly about events and people in the past, yet because of the certainty conveyed by these narrations, we do not doubt the existence of these entities. For example, we know about the tyranny of certain world leaders of our day, the poverty of Haiti, and the fact that there is a US-led war going on in `Iraq, because the numerous, abundant reports we have heard about these things have served to corroborate one another to the extent that we have become convinced without doubt that these are incontrovertible facts. Read more

Ibn Hazm on Authority of the Sunnah

The Authority of the Sunnah

selections from

Al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam

vol I, pp. 96-108, Dar al-Afaq al-Jadidah, Beirut, 2nd ed., 1983/1402.

by Imam `Ali Ibn Hazm (d. 456 H)

“Since we have clarified [in the previous section] that the Qur’an is the source of reference for laws, we looked into it, and found therein the obligation of obedience to what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) has ordered us, and we found [Allah] the Mighty, the Majestic therein describing His messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), [translated], “He does not speak of his own desire. It is only an inspiration with which he is inspired.” Q[53:3-4] Thus, it is proved for us thereby that inspiration from Allah, the Mighty the Majestic, to His Messenger, can be divided into two categories: one of them [being] recited inspiration compiled in a miraculous form, which is the Qur’an, and the second [being] narrated inspiration, neither compiled [into a single book] nor of miraculous composition, and that is the narrations which have come from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), his being the explainer on behalf of Allah, the Mighty the Majestic. Allah, the Exalted, says, [translated], “…in order that you may explain to people what has been sent down to them.” Q[16:44] We found [Allah] the Exalted obligating obedience to this second category as He obliged obedience to the first category, without any difference, for [Allah] the Exalted, has said, [translated], “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” Q[5:92 and others] Read more

On the Methodology of Acquiring Knowledge

Praise be to Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted, and blessings and peace be upon His chosen messenger.
The Qur’anic and hadith texts on the virtues and excellences of knowledge are numerous, and need not be listed here, for they are not the subject of disagreement.  Those who so desire may peruse them in the appropriate references.  What is, however, sometimes overlooked, is that knowledge is taken first and foremost from the scholars; books alone are not sufficient to make a person a scholar.  The scholars say, “Knowledge may not be taken from a SuHufi (‘journalist – one who studied only from books) nor the Qur’an from a muSHafi (one who learned to recite the Qur’an on his own, without a teacher).”

1. Evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah

Allah sent the Qur’an – a book – with a Messenger – a teacher, to explain its contents.
(“And We have sent down to you the Reminder in order that you might explain to people what has been sent down to them.”) [Qur’an]
The story of the Sahabi who misinterpreted the verse about the black and white threads of dawn is well known.  And, according to a narration in Sunan Ibn Majah, the Prophet criticized those Companions who, based on the outward meaning of the Qur’an, gave the fatal fatwa that tayammum is not permissible for one who has water, even if he fears the water will harm him.  It is reported that he said, “Could they not have asked, since they did not know? The only remedy for incompetence is asking.” Read more

2 – Prayer

RITUAL PRAYER (SALAH)

(According to the Qur’an and Sunnah,
as extracted and inferred by scholars of the Hanafi school.)
From “Mukhtasar al-Quduri“, a matn of Hanafi fiqh

  1. Times for Salah
    • Times of Salah
    • Preferred Times
    • Disliked and Prohibited Times
  2. Adhan
    • Its form
    • Its sunnahs
  3. The Constituents and Manner of Performing the Salah
    • Its Pre-Requisistes
    • Its Rudiments
    • Its Obligations
    • Description of the Salah
    • Disliked Actions in Salah
    • Disruptors and Nullifiers of the Salah
    • Prostrations of Inattentiveness
    • Prostration of Recitation
  4. Group Prayer
    • Status
    • Regulations for the Follower
    • Imamate
    • Impermissible Imamate
    • Arrangement of Rows
    • Prayer in and around the Ka`bah Read more

1 – Purity

PURIFICATION (TAHARAH)

(According to the Qur’an and Sunnah,as extracted and inferred by scholars of the Hanafi school.)
From “Mukhtasar al-Quduri“, a matn of Hanafi fiqh

1.0 WUDU

1.1 The Rudiments of Wudu’
Allah, the Exalted, says, (translated),
“O you who believe!  When you stand for prayer, then wash your faces, and your hands upto the elbows, and wipe your heads, and [wash] your feet upto the ankles.”
So, the obligatory elements of purification [i.e. wudu’] are:
– Washing the three parts [the face, the two arms, and the two feet].  The elbows and the ankles are included in washing.
– Wiping the head – the obligatory [part] in wiping the head is the extent of the forelock [one-fourth], based on that which Mughirah ibn Shu`bah narrated, that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) made wudu’ and wiped his forelock and his khuffs. Read more

4b – Prophet Muhammad

“Whoever saw him for the first time was awed by him, and whoever mingled with him and got to know him loved him.” Thus was the Prophet Muhammad described by one of his close companions. Even today, some 1,400 years later, one who comes to know of the Prophet cannot fail to be impressed by this man who, from humble beginnings and in the face of persecution, brought about such a profound change in the world. Today, over a billion people, spanning scores of nationalities, colors and languages, consider themselves followers of his religion, and uphold the system of spiritual devotion and morals taught by him. All this is the fruit of the simple message that was the core of his preaching, “There is no god but God.” Surely, everyone ought to be acquainted with his life and teachings.

Birth and Early Youth

Allah’s final prophet and messenger, Muhammad, was born in the sixth century after Christ (ca. 570 C.E.) in the Arabian city of Makkah, among the Arab tribe of Quraysh. The Arabs as a whole trace their bloodline to Abraham’s son Ishmael. Quraysh was an especially prestigious tribe, for they were in charge of the holy sanctuary of the Ka`bah, which had been built by Abraham and Ishmael. However, the pure monotheism of Abraham had by now degenerated into idolatry. People from all over Arabia would still make pilgrimage to the Ka`bah, but for idolatrous worship.

Muhammad’s father, `Abdullah, had died before he was born, and his mother, Aaminah, died when he was just six years old. His grandfather, `Abdul-Muttalib took care of him for the next two years. When `Abdul-Muttalib, too, died, the eight-year old Muhammad passed into the custody of his paternal uncle, Abu Talib. He thus grew up as an orphan. The Makkan society was not particularly literate, and he did not receive an education. In his early youth, he worked as a shepherd, and later became an employee of a prosperous trader-woman named Khadijah. The young Muhammad came to earn a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness, and was nicknamed Al-Amin (The Trustworthy) by his people. The wealthy Khadijah was so impressed by him that she asked to marry him. He accepted, although she was 40 years old and so 15 years his senior. The marriage lasted twenty-five years, until Khadijah’s death, and he did not marry any other women during this time. Read more

4a – The Messengers

Prelude: Human Messengers

Allah, in His wisdom and mercy, sent us messengers to direct us to what is beneficial.  These messengers were men at various times and in various communities whom Allah inspired with guidance for their people.  It is a blessing that they were human beings, like us, such that people could relate to them and interact with them. If the prophets and messengers had instead been angels (see: Qur’an, 6:9, 17:95), the same benefit could not have been accomplished.

“Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.” [Qur’an, 3:164]

Messengers direct us to what is beneficial, remind us, and provide a basis for regulating public life. They convey and explain, guide and warn, and typically also cultivate and lead a society. (Q[4:165]) One who wishes to draw nearer to Allah should therefore follow the prophets and those who emulate their way.  In general, all the messengers are examples for us to follow[1]:

“They (the prophets) are those whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance.” [Qur’an, 6:91] Read more

5f – Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell have both been created and are currently in existence, as evidenced by verses of the Qur’an.

“It (Heaven) has been prepared for the pious.” [Qur’an, 3:133]

“Guard yourselves against the fire which has been prepared for the disbelievers.”  [Qur’an, 3:131]

Heaven

There are different levels in Heaven.

“And for each, there are ranks based on what they did.”  [Qur’an, 6:132]

“Those who believe, and whose offspring follow them in faith, We shall unite their offspring with them, and We shall not cause decrease the reward of their deeds at all.” [Qur’an, 52:21]  Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah will elevate the offspring of the believer, even if they were beneath him in deeds, in order that his eye might delight in them.” [Narrated by Tabari and Bazzar] Read more

5e – Judgment

JUDGEMENT

The process of judgement on the Last Day can be conveniently discussed under four subheadings, corresponding to different aspects of the judgment:

1. Presentation of the Deeds (`Ard): each person’s deeds are presented before Allah, and thus they are exposed to their records, and to their Lord. This stage may therefore also be called the Exposing.

2. Questioning (Su’al): people are questioned about their deeds

3. Accounting or Reckoning (Hisab): people are held accountable, or brought to account, for their wrongs.

4. Judgement (Qada’) : judgement is given; the person comes to know whether he is destined to Heaven or to Hell. Read more

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