Why Scholars narrated weak ahadeeth in the books?
The question arises in the minds of Muslims:
Why scholars narrated weak ahadeeth?,
Weren’t authentic ahadeeth sufficient?
Following is the reply of this doubt INSHA’ALLAH (Part of it is taken from the magnificent work of Shaykh Zubair Ali Zai from his tahqiq of the book Fadal as-Salat an-Nabi of Imam Ismaieel bin Ishaq Qadhi page 151 and Ilmi Maqalaat]
a) Imam Ahmad and Ibn Maeen
One of the reasons why Muhadditheen narrated fabricated narrations.
وحكى الخليلي في الإرشاد بسند صحيح أن أحمد قال ليحيى بن معين وهو يكتب عن عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن أبان نسخة: “تكتب هذه وأنت تعلم أن أبان كذاب فقال يرحمك الله يا أبا عبد الله, أكتبها وأحفظها حتى إذا جاء كذاب يرويها عن معمر عن ثابت عن أنس أقول له كذبت, إنما هو أبان
Khaleeli has narrated in “Al Irshad” with a Sahih chain that Imam Ahmed said to Imam Ibn Ma’een while he was writing a Nuskhah(which had chain) An Abdur Razaq-An Mo’mar- An Abaan, Your writing this when you know Abaan is a liar? So he(Ibn Ma’een) said May Allah have mercy on you Oh! Abu Abdullah I am writing this and memorizing it so that when a liar comes and narrates this chain as An Mom’ar-An Sabit-An Anas then i can say to him you are lying. It is Abaan(and not sabit)[Tahdheeb ut Tahdheeb 1/101 quote translated by abdul Raheem salafi]
b) Al Hafidh Ibn e Hajar asqalani RA said
بل أكثر المحدثين في الأعصار الماضية من سنة مائتين وهلم جراً إذا ساقوا الحديث بإسناده اعتقدوا أنهم برئوا من عهدته
In fact most of the muhadditheen after the era of 200 h mentioned hadith with chains, according to them they were acquitted of the charge [Lisan al Meezan under the Tarjumah of Suleman bin Ahmad bin Ayyub Tabrani 3/75]
c) Sakhawi said
Most of the muhadditheen Specially Tabrani,Abu Nueeam and Ibn e Mundah narrated ahadith with chains, their stance was that (after quoting the chains) they are acquitted of the charge(of the hadith). [Fath Ul Mughees Sharah Al Fiyyatul Hadeeth vol 1 page 254]
d) Shaykh ul Islam Ibne Tamiyah said
(Abu Nuyeem) and muhadditheen like him narrated ahadeeth on some specific topic (no mattaer sahih or daeef) so that people may know (about the ahadeeth), we can not take evidence from some of them. [Minhaj us Sunnah vol 4 page 15]
e) Shaykh Zubair Ali Zai said
Except Sahihheen(Bukhari,Muslim) all the books of hadeeth like Al Adab wal Mufrad of Imam Bukhari and Musnad Ahmad etc have weak ahadeeth, Muhaditheen are free (from the accusation) when they narrated hadieeh with the chain of narrators, They never narrated to make them(ahadeeth) evidence but they narrated them due to muarifat [Al Hadith no:68 page 50](end quote from the work of Shaykh Zubair)
f) Imam an-Nawawi said:
فقد يقال: لم حدث هؤلاء الأئمة عن هؤلاء مع علمهم بأنهم لا يحتج بهم؟ ويجاب عنه بأجوبة:
أحدها: أنهم رووها ليعرفوها وليبينوا ضعفها لئلا يلتبس في وقت عليهم أو على غيرهم أو يتشككوا في صحتها.
الثانى: أن الضعيف يكتب حديثه ليعتبر به أو يستشهد كما قدمناه في فصل المتابعات، ولا يحتج به على انفراده.
الثالث: أن روايات الراوي الضعيف يكون فيها الصحيح والضعيف والباطل فيكتبونها ثم يميز أهل الحديث والإتقان بعض ذلك من بعض، وذلك سهل عليهم معروف عندهم، وبهذا احتج سفيان الثوري رحمه الله حين نهى عن الرواية عن الكلبي، فقيل له: أنت تروي عنه، فقال: أنا أعلم صدقه من كذبه.
الرابع: أنهم قد يروون عنهم أحاديث الترغيب والترهيب وفضائل الأعمال والقصص وأحاديث الزهد ومكارم الاخلاق ونحو ذلك مما لا يتعلق بالحلال والحرام وسائر الاحكام، وهذا الضرب من الحديث يجوز عند أهل الحديث وغيرهم التساهل فيه ورواية ما سوى الموضوع منه والعمل به؛ لأن أصول ذلك صحيحة مقررة في الشرع معروفة عند أهله. وعلى كل حال فإن الأئمة لا يروون عن الضعفاء شيئا يحتجون به على انفراده في الأحكام فإن هذا شيء لا يفعله إمام من أئمة المحدثين ولا محقق من غيرهم من العلماء
“It may be asked, Why do Hadeeth scholars cite weak reports that cannot be used as evidence in their books? There are a number of responses to this:
First, they believed that it is important to cite such weak reports in order to highlight their weakness so as to avoid future confusion on their part or on part of others who may later question the authenticity of those reports.
Second, Hadeeth scholars cited weak reports to be used as corroborating evidence, as previously highlighted in the section on corroborating reports (Mutaaba‘aat), and they are not to be used as evidence by themselves.
Third, the reports narrated by weak transmitters include authentic, weak and false reports. Hadeeth compilers documented them all and then competent Hadeeth scholars and critics classified the degree of each. This is easy for them as they can identify weak reporters. This was the justification offered by Sufyaan Ath-Thawri may Allaah have mercy upon him when he forbade transmitting the reports of Al-Kalbi. It was said to him, But you cite the reports transmitted by Al-Kalbi. He answered: “I can identify what is authentic and what is false of what he reports.”
Fourth, they may cite weak reports in relation to heart-softening, admonitions, spiritual advice, stories, asceticism and denouncement of worldly pleasures, noble manners and similar topics that do not comprise what is lawful and unlawful and matters of the law. For Hadeeth scholars and others, it is permissible to be more tolerant concerning this type of Hadeeth, and to transmit those of them that are not fabricated, and to act in accordance with them, because the basis of them is sound and established in the religion and known to adept people.
In any case, Hadeeth scholars never cited reports transmitted by weak narrators and used them as evidence by themselves in matters related to the law; none of the Hadeeth scholars or researching scholars in other fields did so.” Sharh Muslim (1/125) Translation taken from Islamweb Fatwa No : 282856
g) Shaykh Haitham Hamdan said in Multaqa Forum
Learn brother that there were many reason why the Salaf quoted weak Hadith in their books:
1. If there was no Da’eef Hadith, there would not have been any Hasan li Ghayrihi’s around.
2. If there were no weak Hadith, students would not have been able to understand how Hadith is categorised as weak and what factors render Hadith as weak.
3. They narrated them to explain their weakness
4. They narrated them because they can be used as support, not as establishing
5. They narrated them because they knew which ones were authentic and which ones were weak, just like al-Thawri narrating from the weak al-Kalbi and said: “I know where he speaks the truth” (and obviously we cannot do this)
6. Because the narrator was not weak according to him
7. Because he made a mistake
8. Because the narrator was weak overall but an authentic source in one aspect, like narrating from one’s father
9. The weak narration may also be narrated from an authentic chain, but the authentic chain is longer (Naazil), so the author sufficed with the shorter (Aali) weak chain
10. Because he compiled the book with weak narrations, then he intended to sieve out the weak narrations, like Malik, but died before that, like Hakim and Bayhaqi (last halves of their concerned book is weaker than the first half)
11. The author was not aware of the weakness when narrating
12. Because someone else caem and added narrations which were not in the original book of the author, like the Musnad of Imam Ahme4) They just intended to gather all of one particular person’s narrations in one place
13. Some scholars allowed weak Hadith to be narrated (I stress: narrated, not practised) in non-law and non-theology.
14. And finally, because like Mizzi said: “Ibn Ma’een said: We wrote Hadith from liars, lit the fire with the papers containing them, and we baked fresh bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (31/557, Tatheeb al-Kamaal)
After seeing the clear statements of scholars, Insha’Allah no one will have doubt. The criteria to judge the authenticity of the hadeeth is to see the authenticity of the chain. Muhadditheen quoted the chain of the ahadeeth in their great works so that hadeeth Masters. can judge the authenticity of the hadeeth.
Artilce compiled by: Asim ul Haq
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahamatullahi Wa Barkatahu (May Peace, Mercy & Blessings of Allah Be Upon You).