By Sh. Mann’a al-Qatan | Translated by Ustadh Jamal Diwan
As Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Bismillah was-salaatu was-salamu ‘ala rasoolillah
I wanted to share with you all a rough translation of a section that I read recently from Sh. Manna’ al-Qattan’s book on ‘Uloom al-Hadith. The section is very short, but gives a good idea of the differences between the scholars surrounding the issue of acting upon weak hadiths.
The Sheikh* says in the section entitled “Acting Upon Weak Hadiths.”
The basic premise regarding weak hadiths is that they are rejected and not acted upon. Which is the opposite of what is done with authentic and good hadiths. But the scholars have researched and discussed the topic of the possibility of acting upon weak hadiths and their views in the matter have differed. In this issue there are three main views.
1. A group of the researchers of the ‘ulema are of the opinion that weak hadiths are not acted upon without exception, regardless of whether they are in beliefs, or legal rulings, or encouraging and warning, or righteous deeds. This is what has come to us regarding Yahya ibn Ma’in, al-Bukhari, Muslim, ibn al-‘Arabi the scholar of the Malikis, Abu Shama al-Muqaddasi from the scholars of the Shafi’s, and Ibn Hazm.
2. It is also related from many of the scholars the allowance of acting upon weak hadiths without exception IF there is nothing else related in that area of discussion. This is what has come to us from Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’i, Malik, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. But it must be noted that the da’eef hadith according to Ahmad is that which is opposite to the sahih in the terminology of the early scholars.
3. Some of the scholars separated the stated opinions in regards to acting upon weak hadiths. They thereby allowed it in encouraging/motivating and warning as well as in righteous deeds, while at the same time disallowing it in regards to beliefs and legal rulings.
These two groups allowed acting upon weak hadiths with three conditions:
1. The weakness of the hadith cannot be severe (there are many subcategories regarding weak hadiths)
2. The hadith must be encompassed by a principle which is accepted and acted upon.
3. The person should not believe when they are acting by the hadith that it is a clear-cut, founded matter, but rather be cautious regarding it.
I am sharing this first and foremost so that I memorize it. Secondly as a reminder to my brothers and sisters that the din has areas in which there is no disagreement and areas in which there is allowed and respected disagreement. If on this matter of acting by weak hadiths in certain cases is something you have accepted or rejected then know that there are various views on the matter and don’t let it cause a barrier between you and your brothers/sisters, rather keep your eyes on the big picture and keep moving.
This is by no means the end say on this matter and as stated before is only something very brief on the topic. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, and don’t forget a brother (and his wife) in your dua.
*Sh. Mann’a al-Qatan is, perhaps, one of the most important figures in contemporary Islamic studies. He has written a large number of texts that, if mastered, provide a solid foundation, and introduction, to many Islamic sciences. Some of his more popular books are the one mentioned in this article and:
1. ‘Ulom al-Quran
2. al-Madkhal ila al-Shari’ah al-Islamiyyah
His books are known for their simplistic and accessible style, modern tone and removal of many unwarranted discussions and polemics that waste the student’s time and busy him with unneeded discussions and disputes. After completing Sh. Qattan’s texts one does not feel an allegiance to a certain school, thought or trend. On the contrary, one feels a great desire to benefit others and a renewed strength towards articulating faith in a balanced fashion that serves to unite the Muslims and benefit others. His approach is representative of the majority of scholars, institutions and centers of learning today:
1. absence of fanaticism (towards a current group or thought
2. respect for classical Islamic scholarship while recognizing the need for a contemporary approach and presentation by making the writing easy and style simple to follow
3. taking time to teach with proofs and points that benefit the student’s language, comprehension and respect for the science. This is contrary to the Mutun
system which, as Ibn Khaldun and others noted, fails to develop appreciated language, nor depth of thought, but relegates the student to simple lines that are memorized and regurgitated upon request. [Footnote added by Ust. Suhaib Webb]
May Allah reward him, bless him and grant us tawfiq to benefit from his work and efforts.
MashAllah very good Ustadh Jamaal. JazakumAllahu khairan
As salamu alaikum,
I find it conflicting that Imam Bukhari Rahimullah was from the 1st group who completely disregarded Daeef Ahadith regardless of its usage, since this great Imam of the Imams of Hadith wrote his own book Adab -al-Mufrad which is well known for having several Daeef Ahadith. So clearly according to this great master of Muhaditheen Rahimullah Daeef Hadith can be used for Targeeb wa Tarheeb.
as salamu alaikum Ahmed,
I was just looking back at this post and your comment and something came to mind. Imam al-Bukhari’s mentioning of some daeef hadith in his book Adab al-Mufrad does not necessarily mean that those ahadith should be acted upon because he could have had other reasons for mentioning those narrations. The opinions in the article are specific to whether or not weak hadith should be acted upon.
Allah knows best.
Assalaamu Alaykum Shaykh Jamaal,
Inshaa'Allaah ta'Ala this finds you well and in high eaman. This is Ibrahim from Sacramento. I was given the pleasure of meeting you while driving you back and forth to the hotel and masjid last Ramadan. I hope you and your wive made it back to Egypt okay. Im glad I came across this article, JAK. If you come across this comment throw me an email, I would love to talk to you again. Unfortunately I lost your email address.
Can you specify how a weak hadeeth (in group two's perspective) affect the hukm the act is given in shariah? Does this mean that for group 2 a weak hadeeth is only “allowed” to be acted upon (mubah) or that it is actually mustahab? Is it possible to have something wajib (hanafi usage) that is based off of weak hadeeth?
Jazaki Allaah Khair
Assalaamu Alaykum Shaykh Jamaal,
Inshaa'Allaah ta'A'la this finds you well and in high eaman. This is Ibrahim from Sacramento. I had the pleasure of meeting you while driving you back and forth to the masjid this last Ramadan. I hope that you and your wive made it back to Egypt okay. If you see this throw me a line, I lost your email.
How does the status of the hadith affect its hukm? Does group two merely believe that a weak hadith CAN be acted upon (mubah) or is the weak hadith evidence enough to make the action mustahab? Is it possible in the Hanafi school to have a Wajib act that is derived from weak ahadith? Jazak Allaah Khair
Alhamdulillah wa sal Allahu `alayka ya rasulAllah
as-salamun ala man ittiba al-huda
Jamal Diwan states:
as salamu alaikum Ahmed,
” I was just looking back at this post and your comment and something came to mind. Imam al-Bukhari’s mentioning of some daeef hadith in his book Adab al-Mufrad does not necessarily mean that those ahadith should be acted upon because he could have had other reasons for mentioning those narrations. The opinions in the article are specific to whether or not weak hadith should be acted upon.
Allah knows best.
This can be easily refuted using your own logic. Firstly, you state your premise
1) Imam al-Bukhari mentioned weak aHadith in Al-Adab al-Mufrad
2) Just because he mentioned them that doesn’t mean he acts upon them
3) The aHadith of kissing of the hands and feet are weak
Firstly, Imam al-Bukhari acted upon the aHadith of kissing the hands in feet (mentioned in Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Bab taqbil al-rajl and bab taqbil al-yad) when he met Imam Muslim, rahimahumallah taala and Imam Muslim kissed his feet and Imam al-Bukhari rahimahullah did not stop him [al-Khatib in his Tarikh (13:102), al-Hakim in al-Tarikh and Ma`rifat `ulum al-hadith, Bayhaqi in al-Madkhal, Ibn Hajar in Hadi al-Sari (p. 488) and his Nukat (2:717-719), as well as al-Subki in the chapter of Bukhari in Tabaqat al-shafi`iyya, and Ibn al-Muqri’ (d. 381) in the introduction to his al-Rukhsa fi taqbil al-yad (Riyad ed. 1987). ]
Secondly, you will most probably claim that the aHadith on this topic are weak and you claim that Imam al-Bukhari doesn’t act upon it? Then why didn’t Imam al-Bukhari stop Imam Muslim?
Wa ma `alayna ilal balagh al-mubin