Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weak Hadiths - by Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller - part 3

Ibn al_qayyim, in his I’lam al-muwaqqi’in, when discussing the hadith of Mu’adh about judgements (A: in which the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked Mu’adh ibn Jabal when dispatching him to Yemen how he would judge, to which Mu’adh replied that he would judge first by the Quran, then by the sunna, and then by his own reasoning (ijtihad)), says, “Legal scholars accept it and employ it as evidence, from which we learn that they hold it to be rigorously authenticated (sahih), just as we learn of the authenticity of Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace):

(1) “ ‘There is no bequest to an estate division heir.”

(2) “ ‘[The hadith about the sea,] Its water is purifying.’

(3) “ ‘When buyer and seller differ about the price they have agreed before upon and the merchandise still exists, each swears [N: that his sde of the story is correct] and [N: if they cannot agree] they cancel the sale.’

(4) “ ‘The killer’s extended family is responsible for the indemnity.’

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

And Ibn ‘Ad al-Barr says in al-Istidhkar, concerning Tirmidhi’s having related that Bukhari said of the hadith of the sea “Its water is purifying: that is was rigorously authenticated (sahih)- “Hadith scholars do not consider hadiths with the like of its chain of transmission to be rigorously authenticated (sahih), though I hold it to be so, because scholars have received it with acceptance” (al-Isaba fi nusra al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidin wa al-Sahaba (y10), 11.8-9)

(A:) Among the primary textual evidence for the admissibility of such hadiths is the word of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):

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

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


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