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From the Adab of the Salaf Regarding The Status of the Scholars of Hadeeth

From the Adab of the Salaf

Regarding The

Status of the Scholars of Hadeeth

Compiled & Translated


Abbas Abu Yahya

1 – Lying Against the Messenger

Ali ibn Umar Ad-Daaraqutni (d. 385H) said:

يا أَهلَ بغدادَ! لا تظُنُّوا أَنّ أَحداً يقدر أَنْ يكذبَ على رسولِ اللهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وأَنا حيٌّ.

‘O people of Baghdad!  Don’t let one of you think that they are capable of lying against the Messenger of Allaah – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – while I am alive.’

[Mentioned by Sakhawwi in ‘Fath-ul-Mugheeth’]

2 – Separate the Authentic from the Weak

Ibraheem bin Ishaq bin Ibraheem al-Harbi (d. 285 A.H.) said:

أَخذ الرشيدُ زِنديقاً فأراد قتلَه، فقال: أين أنت مِنْ أَلفِ حديثٍ وضَعتُها؟
فقال له: أَينَ أنت يا عدُوَّ اللهِ مِنْ أَبي إسحاقَ الفَزَاريِّ وابنِ المباركِ يَنْخُلانِها حرفاً حرفاً

‘Rasheed took a hold of a Zindeeq (heretic) and wanted to give him capital punishment, so the Zindeeq said: ‘What is this in comparison to me having fabricated a thousand Hadeeth?’

So Rasheed replied: ‘What is this O enemy of Allaah. Abu Ishaaq Fazzari and Ibn Mubarak will sieve them out letter by letter.’

[Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb]

3 – Brilliant Scholars

It was said to ‘Abdullaah Ibn ul-Mubaarak (d. 171 A.H.) : there are all these fabricated Ahadeeth?  He said:

تعيشُ لها الجهابذةُ

‘There are great brilliant scholars alive to deal with them.’

[Ibn Adee in ‘al-Kamil’]

4 – The Prophet was their Leader

al-Hafidh Emaad ad-Deen Isma’eel Ibn Katheer (d. 774 A.H.) -Rahimullaah- said in his Tafseer of the statement of Allaah Ta’ala:

يَوْمَ نَدْعُوا كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمامِهِمْ

《 (And remember) the Day when We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imam [their Prophets, or their records of good and bad deeds, or their Holy Books like the Qur’aan].》[Isra:71]

Some of the Salaf said:

هذا أَكبرُ شرفٍ لأَصحابِ الحديثِ؛ لأَنَّ إِمامَهُمُ النَّبِيُّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم

‘This is the greatest honour for the companions of Hadeeth because their Imam is the Prophet – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.’

[Taken from: ‘Tafseer al-Qur’aan al-Atheem’]

5 – More Knowledgeable

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ahmad bin AbdulHaleem Ibn Taymeeyah (d.728 A.H.) -Rahimullaah- said:

وعلماءُ أَهلِ الحديثِ أعلمُ بِمَقاصدِ الرسولِ مِنْ أَتْباعِ الأَئِمَّةِ بِمَقاصدِ أَئِمَّتِهم، والنِّزاعُ بينهم في ذلك أَقلُّ مِنْ تَنازعِ أتْباعِ الأَئِمَّةِ في مذاهبِ أَئِمَّتِهم.

‘The scholars of the people of Hadeeth are more knowledgeable with the intent and meanings of the Messenger more than the followers of the Imams with the intent and meanings of their Imams. The differences between them regarding the intent and meanings are less than the differences between the followers of the Imams with the Madhabs of their Imams.’

[Minhaj as-Sunnah]

6 – The Most Just

Shamsuddeen Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Uthmaan ad-Dhahabi (d.748 A.H.) -Rahimullaah-  said:

لا ندَّعي العِصمةَ في أَئِمَّةِ الجرحِ والتعديلِ, لكنْ هم أَكثرُ الناسِ صواباً, وأَندرُهم خطأً, وأَشدُّهم إِنصافاً, وأَبعدُهم عن التحاملِ, وإِذا اتفقوا على تعديلٍ أَو جَرحٍ فتمسَّكْ به, واعُضُضْ عليه بناجِذَيْك, ولا تتجاوَزْه فتَنْدَمْ, ومَنْ شذَّ منهم فلا عبرةَ به, فَخَلِّ عنك العَناءَ, وأَعطِ القوسَ باريها, فَوَالله لولا الحُفَّاظُ الأَكابرُ لَخَطبَتِ الزنادقةُ على المنابرِ.

‘We do not claim infallibility for the Imams of Jarh wa Ta’deel  (praising and criticising narrators) however they are the most correct from among the people, the rarest in making mistakes, the most intense in being just, the furthest from being prejudice. If they agree upon a Jarh or a Ta’adeel then you should adhere to it and bite on to it with your molar teeth and do not overstep it so that you become regretful, there is no consideration for the one who deviates from them,  so do not put yourself through distress and toil give the work to those skilled for it. I swear by Allaah if it was not for the great senior scholars the Zanadiqa would have lectured from the mimber.’

[Taken from ‘Siyaar ‘Alaam an-Nubala’ by Imam ad-Dhahabi    ]