Imaam al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in his book, “The History of Baghdad”, reported by the way of Yahya ibn al ‘Ala’, who said, “We were told by Layth, on the authority of ‘Ata’, on the authority of Abu Rabah, on the authority of Jabir, who said, ‘The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhee wa sallam) returned from one of his battles, and thereupon told us, ‘You have arrived with an excellent arrival, you have come from the Lesser Jihaad to the Greater Jihaad – the striving of a servant against his desires.’
al-Hafidh al-‘Iraqi said in “Takhrij al-Ihya” (2/6) “al-Bayhaqi narrated it in his book “az-Zuhd” from the hadeeth of Jabir and said: “There is weakness in it’s isnad”.
al-Hafidh ibn Hajar said in “Takhrij al-Kashshaf” (4/114, number: 33) after citing the words of al-Bayhaqi: “And it’s a narration of ‘Isa bin Ibrahim form Yahya bin Ya’la from Layth bin Abi Sulaim and these three are weak. and an-Nasai narrated it as a saying from Ibrahim bin Abi ‘Ablah, one of the tabi’in of Sham.
as-Suyuti said in “ad-Durar” (pg: 170): “al-Hafidh ibn Hajar said in “Tasdid al-Qaws”: “it’s famous amongst people and it’s the words of Ibrahim bin Abi ‘Abla as mentioned in “al-Kunya” of an-Nasai.” And as-Suyuti mentions the hadeeth of Jabir which is a narration of al-Khatib after the words of Ibn Hajar. It would be better if he had narrated the above mentioned narration of al-Bayhaqi, because it’s free of a narrator who was accused of forging hadeeth on contrary to the narration of al-Khatib, because in it’s isnad there is a liar. And it will be mentioned later: “‘You have arrived with an excellent arrival…”
Shaikh Zakariyya al-Ansari quoted in his ta’liq upon “Tafsir al-Baydhawi” (1/110) the words of Ibn Taymiya: “It has no source” and he approved it! he said in another place (1/202): “al-Bayhaqi narrated it and weakened it’s isnad and others said: “it has no source”. ”
As for the words of al-Khafaji in his hashiya on “Tafsir al-Baydhawi” (6/316): “There is weakness in it’s isnad but such weakness can be forgiven.” It’s not true, because from his words one would understand that this hadeeth is hasan!!! And how is it possible when we have three weak narrators in it’s isnad and scholars have unanimously agreed upon it’s weakness?! Later after two years I found a hadeeth in “az-zuhd ” (1/42) of al-Bayhaqi and it’s wording is: “‘You have arrived with an excellent arrival, you have come from the Lesser Jihaad to the Greater Jihaad – the striving of a servant (of Allah) against his desires.” With this exact wording narrated it Abu Bakr ash-Shafi’i in “Fawaid al-Muntaqa” (1/83/13) from ‘Isa bin Ibrahim al-Baraki’s way and said: “Yahya bin Ya’la narrated to us and said: “Layth bin ‘Ata narrated it to us from Jabir and said: “A group of people without clothes came to the prophet – sallallahu aleihi wa sallam – and the prophet – sallallahu aleihi wa sallam – said: ” he mentions the hadeeth.
I say: “Its isnad is weak. Layth is Ibn Abi Sulaim and he is weak due weakness in memory and Yahya bin Ya’la, the apparent is that he is al-Aslami and he is weak as well. The rest of the narrators are reliable. This narration was also narrated by al-Khatib in his “Tarikh” (13/523-524) from the way of al-Hasan bin Hisham from Yahya bin Abi al-‘Ala, said: Layth narrated it. And al-Hasan bin Hisham, I couldn’t find a biography of him. As for Yahya bin Abi al-‘Ala, probably he is Yahya bin al-‘Ala The Liar. But most probably he is Yahya bin Ya’la who is mentioned in the isnad of Abu Bakr ash-Shafi’i and al-bayhaqi and the mistake in the name was done by the one who copied the book “al-Tarikh” and he is the one mentioned amongst the narrators from al-Layth. Another fact that supports it is that as-Suyuti narrated this hadeeth in “ad-Durar” (pg: 170) from the narration of al-Khatib and he mentioned it after the words of Ibn Hajar that he believed that these words belonged to Ibrahim bin Abi ‘Ablah, even if in the isnad of al-Khatib was this Fabricator.
And Ibn Taymiya said about this hadit in “Majmu’ al-Fatawa” (11/197): “it has no source, nobody whomsoever is familiar with the words of the prophet – sallallahu aleihi wa sallam and his deeds, has narrated it. Jihaad against the disbelievers is the most noble of actions, and moreover it is the most important action that a human being can perform…” then he mentioned some verses of Quraan and the ahadeeth prooving that it’s the most virtuous a’mal, and it seems that Ibn Taymiya pointed out with his words that naming “the lesser Jihaad” is rejected…”