Thoughts on Accepting Hadiths

Posted: April 8, 2015 by Admin in Ulum ul Hadeeth
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بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Allah says:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

So do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would have found much contradiction in it. (4:82)

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا

And for their saying, “Indeed, we killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, Allah’s Apostle.” And they did not kill him, nor crucify him; though it had seemed that way them. And indeed, those who differed over it, are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge in it, just following assumption. For, surely they did not kill him. (4:157)

When any hadith explicitly opposes the Qur’an, then either that hadith is a forgery or a practice which was eventually abolished.

وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُوا كَافَّةً ۚ فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

And it is not for the believers to set out collectively. So, then from every division among them, let a ta’ifah set out to gain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return. So that perhaps they might beware. (9:122)

A ta’ifah can be a small portion or even a single person. But does this necessarily mean that those who were warned are always obliged to believe everything this ta’ifah is relaying to them?

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

O you who have believed, when a fasiq (rebellious sinner) comes to you with information, verify, lest you harm a people due to ignorance and become regretful over what you have done. (49:6)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O you who have believed, avoid much assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy nor backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting, Merciful. (49:12)

We need to verify the narratives of those who are liars before accepting and passing on that information. But does that necessarily mean we do not need to verify the narratives of those who are not liars?

وَقَالَ لِلَّذِي ظَنَّ أَنَّهُ نَاجٍ مِّنْهُمَا اذْكُرْنِي عِندَ رَبِّكَ فَأَنسَاهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ذِكْرَ رَبِّهِ فَلَبِثَ فِي السِّجْنِ بِضْعَ سِنِينَ

And he said to the one whom he thought would be saved among the two, “Mention me to your lord.” But Satan had made him forget to mention him to his lord. So he was left in prison, several years. (12:42)

وَلَقَدْ عَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ آدَمَ مِن قَبْلُ فَنَسِيَ وَلَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْمًا

And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We did not find him to be resolute. (20:115)

All humans have a natural tendency to err so even those who do not intentionally lie may forget, misconstrue or make mistakes when narrating.

وَاسْتَشْهِدُوا شَهِيدَيْنِ مِن رِّجَالِكُمْ ۖ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُونَا رَجُلَيْنِ فَرَجُلٌ وَامْرَأَتَانِ مِمَّن تَرْضَوْنَ مِنَ الشُّهَدَاءِ أَن تَضِلَّ إِحْدَاهُمَا فَتُذَكِّرَ إِحْدَاهُمَا الْأُخْرَىٰ ۚ وَلَا يَأْبَ الشُّهَدَاءُ إِذَا مَا دُعُوا ۚ وَلَا تَسْأَمُوا أَن تَكْتُبُوهُ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَأَقْوَمُ لِلشَّهَادَةِ وَأَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَرْتَابُوا

And call two witnesses from among your men to testify. And if not two men, then a man and two women from those whose testimony you accept – so if she errs, the other will remind her. And let the witnesses not refuse when they have been called [to testify]. And do not grow weary, that you write it, whether it is small or large, regarding its term. That is more just with Allah and stronger testimony and more likely that you not have doubt (2:282)

So this means any statement that has been witnessed by two individuals and also recorded by a third, brings us closer to certainty.

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Comments
  1. Abu Ubayd says:

    Can you post clear guidelines about the criteria of accepting hadith according to your knowledge?

    so far what i understood from this is :

    1 – it should not contradict Quran.
    2 – must have 2 witnesses because 1 witness can be doubted.
    3- Must be verified as truthful
    4- Must not be forgetful.

    is that all?

    • Admin says:

      There are no set rules when it comes to accepting hadith. Scholars have always differed over these issues.

      For example, some critics may consider a narrator reliable while others may not. Some might even say two witnesses are not enough to establish absolute certainty.

      Anyone can come with his own rules so long as they comply with what Allah says and so long as he doesn’t impose his criteria upon others.

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