Friday, January 18, 2013

The Importance of Isnaad

Author :al-Muhaddith Muqbil ibnul-Haady al-Wadiee

Source : introduction to Asbaabun-anNuzool
Translated By : Abul Hasan Maalik

Certainly from the books of which Allah have made easy for me to write as-saaheeh al musnad min asbaab an nuzuul and certainly I praise Allah subhanau, for He has brought from it benefit and it has become a reference in this field. How many times have I returned to it in research, writing and teaching. During the writing I related some hadeeths in following the [main] hadeeth of the chapter without the chain of narration. I wanted in this print of the book to bring the chains of narration [for these hadeeths] in what has been made easy for me. For there may have been a hadeeth perhaps I related the [main] point of the hadeeth only, so I decided to mention the hadeeth in its entirety. As for mentioning the hadeeth in it’s entirety, because of what is in it from the many benefits. As for mentioning the sanad, certainly our Ulema, May Allah has mercy upon them, would not accept a hadeeth except with its isnaad. Al Haafidh al ‘Alaae said, may Allah have mercy upon him, in Jamiat- Tahseel pg. 58, and in Saheeh Muslim on Ibn Seereen “They didn’t use to ask about the isnaad but when the fitnah [1] came they would say, “name for us your men”. So look at ahlus- sunnah and accept their hadeeth and look at ahlul bidah and do not accept their hadeeth”. Sufyaan Ibn Uyanah said, Az-Zuhri narrated a hadeeth one day; so I said to him, “ Bring it without the isnaad ”. So he said, “ ascend the roof without a ladder?!” Baqiyah said,’ Utbah Ibn Abi Haakeem narrated to us that he was with Ishaaq Ibn Abi Farwah and with him Az- Zuhri. So Ibn Abi Farwahsaid, the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam said.........., so Zuhri said “Qaatalakaallah”[2] what prevented you from bringing the isnaad of your hadeeth? Will you narrate to us hadeeth without any reigns or muzzle?!”

Abdus Samad Ibnul Hasaan said I heard Sufyaan AtThawree say, “ The isnaad is the weapon of the believer. So if he does not have a weapon then what will he fight with?”

An Shu’ba said, “Every hadeeth that does not have haddathanaa or akhbaranaa [3] then it is herbs and vinegar”. In Saheeh Muslim also, on ‘Abdaan he said, “ I heard Ibnul Mubaaraak say, “The isnaad with me is from the deen. If not for isnaad whoever pleased could say whatever he pleased.”

On ‘Abaas Ibn Abi Ruzma he said, “I heard Abdullah, meaning Ibnul Mubaaraak, say, “Between us and the people is the isnaad.”

On Ibaraaheem Ibnul ‘Esa At-Talaqaani say, “ I said to ‘Abdullah Ibnul Mubaarak, “Oh Aba Abdur-Rahmaan, the hadeeth if which comes, “Certainly from al birr after al birr is to pray for your parents with your salat and to fast for them with your fast”. Abdullah said “ Oh Aba Ishaaq, from who is this hadeeth ”? I said, “ It is from the hadeeth of Shihab Ibn Kharaash ”. He said, “ He is trustworthy on who ”? I said “on Al Hajaaj Ibnud- Dinaar”. He said, “ He is trustworthy on who ”? I said, “ He said the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, said..........” He said (Ibnul Mubaaraak) “ Oh Aba Ishaaq! Between Al Hajaaj and the Prophet is a desert that would break the necks of the riding beasts! But there is no difference of opinion with regards to sadaqah”.

Shu’bah ibn al-Hajjaaj, may Allah have mercy upon him, heard from his Sheikh Abee Ishaaq As-Sabee’i, ‘Amr ibn Abdillah, the hadeeth of Abdullah ibn ‘Ataa from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir in the virtue of Isbaaghul-wudhu. [4] So he asked Abu Ishaaq, “did Abdullah ibn Ataa hear it from Uqbah ibn Aamir?” So Abu Ishaaq became angry at this. Then Mas’ar ibn Kidaam said to Shu’bah “ Abdullah ibn’ataa is in Mecca ”. So he [Shu’bah] traveled to meet him. Shu’bah said, “ I traveled to Mecca not intending Al-hajj but seeking the Hadeeth. I met ‘Abbullah ibn ‘Ataa and I asked him [about the hadeeth] and he said “ S’ad ibn Ibraheem narrated it to me ”. Then Maalik ibn Anas said to me “ S’ad ibn Ibraheem did not make Hajj and is in Al- Madeenah ”. So I traveled to Al-Madeenah and I met S’ad ibn Ibraheem, and I asked him [about the Hadeeth] He said “ The Hadeeth with you was narrated to me by Ziyaad ibn Mikhraaq ”. Shu’ba said, “ So when he mentioned Ziyaad I said, what is this! The Hadeeth began Kufi then became Makki and then Basri! So I traveled to Basrah and met Ziyaad ibn Mikhraaq and I asked him [about the Hadeeth] He said, “ Shahr ibn Hawshab narrated to me on Abee Reehaanah from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir on the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam. Shu’bah said, “ When he mentioned Shahr ibn Hawshab [5] I said, Shahr has ruined it! If the likes of this Hadeeth had been authentic on the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam it would have been more beloved to me then my wealth and family and all of mankind!

Abu Abdir-Rahmaan [Sheikh Muqbil] said, So with this those who leave off the chains of narration from their books and collect the the hadeeths without them are considered doing an injustice to the science [of hadeeth] and to our Salif as-saalih those of whom went to great effort in the pursuit of the chains of narration and traveling for their purpose. So because of this our brothers strive to bring the chains of narration and praise be to Allah have found acceptance amongst the researchers, and all praise is due to Allah Lord of all the worlds.


[1] This is a reference to when bid’ah fell into the deen and the people begun to narrate that which supported their innovation. Al ‘Allamah Almua’llami states in his book ‘Ilmur-rijaal wa Ahammiyyatuhu pg. 19-20. As for the tabi’een their speech in regards to at-t’adeel is abundant and there is little narrated on them from al-jarh and that is because of that generation’s nearness to the “Guiding Lamp” -upon him and his family peace and blessings- and there was not one from the Muslims who would dare invent a lie upon Allah and His Messenger. So the majority of the weak narrators of the tabieen were made weak because of their being from the Khawarij or due to poor memory or being unknown. Then came the period of the Atbaa’ At-Tabieen, and there increased [ the number of ] weak narrators, the heedless, the liars and az-zanaadiqah. So the Imaams (of hadeeth) took on the task of clarification of the condition of the narrators, and forfeiting that which was not authentic. There was not a land from the lands of the Muslims, except in it were a group from the Imaams (of hadeeth) examining the narrators and their condition and the condition of their narrations; following up their every movement and informing the people of their ruling upon them”.
[2] Literally “May Allah fight you!” though it is used here as a means of upbraiding to show the severity of narrating on the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam without isnaad
[3] Literally “he reported to us” or “he informed us”.
[4] To make a complete and proper wudhu
[5] Muhaddith Al-A’sr Sheikh Muhammad Nasirud-Deen Al-Albaani mentions in Tamaamul-Minnah pg. 166-167: “ He is weak due to his poor memory and confusion in his narrations as it becomes apparent to anyone who follows them up and researched the statments of the Imaams [of Hadeeth] about him”.
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