Kamis, 02 September 2010
Act Upon Weak (dha'if) Ahadith
Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal:
"I like weak hadith better than men's opinions (ro'yu)"
The scholars differed concerning acting upon weak ahadith which encourage righteous deeds. Some of them were of the view that it is permissible to act upon them, subject to certain conditions, and others were of the view that it is not permissible to act upon them.
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) summed up the conditions for it to be permissible to act upon a weak hadith, which are as follows:
1 – It should not be very weak, and one should not act upon a hadith which was narrated only by one of the liars or those who are accused of lying, or whose mistakes are serious.
2 – It should mention a good deed for which there is a basis in shari’ah.
3 – When acting upon it one should not believe that the action is well-founded, rather he should do it on the basis of erring on the side of caution.
Acting upon a weak hadith does not mean that we believe it is mustahabb to do an act of worship simply because a da’eef hadith has been narrated concerning it. None of the scholars has said such a thing – as we shall see from the words of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, below – rather what it means is that if it is proven that a certain act of worship is mustahabb because there is sound (sahih) shar’i evidence – as in the case of qiyaam al-layl (supererogatory prayers at night), for example – then we find a da’eef hadith which speaks of the virtue of qiyaam al-layl, then there is nothing wrong with acting upon this weak hadith in that case. What is meant by acting upon it is narrating it in order to encourage people to do this act of worship, in the hope that the one who does it will earn the reward mentioned in the da’eef hadith, because acting on the weak hadith in this case will not lead to doing something that is forbidden in shari’ah, such as saying that an act of worship is mustahabb that is not proven in shari’ah. Rather, if he earns this reward all well and good, otherwise no harm is done.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (ra) said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/250:
"It is not permissible in Islam to rely on weak ahadith that are neither sahih nor hasan, but Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other scholars regarded it is permissible to narrate reports concerning righteous deeds which are not known to be proven, so long as they are not known to be lies, on the basis that if an action is known to be prescribed in Islam from shar’i evidence, and there is a hadith which is not known to be a lie, it is possible that the reward referred to in that weak hadith may be true. None of the imams said that it is permissible to regard something as obligatory or mustahabb on the basis of a weak hadith; whoever says that is going against scholarly consensus. It is permissible to narrate reports that are not known to be lies in order to encourage and warn people, but only with regard to matters where it is known that Allah has encouraged or warned against them on the basis of other evidence the status of whose narrators is not unknown."
Shaykh al-Islam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi (rad.ia-LLahu `anhu) said in the 'Adhkar':
"The ulama among the experts in hadith and the experts in law and others have said: it is permissible and (also) recommended that the religious practice (al-`amal) concerning good deeds and good character (al-fadâ'il), encouragement to good and discouragement from evil (al-targhib wa al-tarhib) be based (even) on weak hadith (bi al-hadith al- da`îf) as long as it is not forged (mawdu`). As for legal rulings (ahkâm) such as what is permitted and what is forbidden, or the modalities of trade, marriage, divorce and other than that: one's practice is not based upon anything other than sound (sahih) or fair (hasan) hadith, except as a precaution in some matter related to one of the above, for example, if a weak hadith was cited about the reprehensibility (karahat) of certain kinds of sales or marriages. In such cases what is recommended (al-mustahabb) is to avoid such sales and marriages, but it is not obligatory (la yajib)."
Abu al-'Arabi al- Maliki:
"Absolutely no practice is based on weak hadith." [Also, Ibn Taymiyya was of the opinion that no ruling of mustahabb can ever be based on a weak hadith.] I have heard my Shaykh (Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani) insist on the following, and he put it to me in writing himself:
The conditions for religious practice based on weak hadith are three:
This is unanimously agreed upon (muttafaqun `alayh):
1 - That the weakness must not be very strong (ghayr shadid). This excludes those ahadith singly recorded by liars or those accused of lying, and those who make gross mistakes.
2 - That there be a general legal basis for it. This excludes what is invented and has no legal basis to start with.
3 - That one not think, while practicing on the basis of it, that it has been established as true (an la ya`taqida thubutahu). This is in order that no words which the Prophet did not (verifiably) say be attributed to him."
It has been reported from Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal that one may practice on the basis of the weak hadith if there is no other hadith to that effect and also if there is no hadith that contradicts it. In one narration he is reported to say: "I like weak hadith better than men's opinions.".
Abu `Abd Allah Ibn Mandah reported from Abu Dawud, the author of the 'Sunan' and a student of Imam Ahmad, that Abu Dawud used to cite the chain of transmission of a weak hadith if he did not find other than it under that particular heading (bâb), and that he considered it stronger evidence than authorized opinion (ra'y al-rijâl).
This is the list of hadith masters who accept the use of hadeeth da`îf at the very least for religious practice related to ethics (fada'il al-a`mal) and in some cases even for legal rulings (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and the entire Hanafi school):
2- Ibn al-Salah
3- Sufyan al-Thawri
4- Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
5- Ibn `Uyaynah
6- Ibn al-Mubarak
7- Ibn Mahdi
8- Ibn Ma`een (forgery specialist)
9- al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in 'al-Kifayah', chapter entitled:
"strictness with regard to ahadith pertaining to rulings
and leniency with regard to those pertaining to virtuous actions"
10- Bukhari as proven by his use of them in 'al-Adab al- mufrad'
11- Ali al-Qari (forgery specialist)
12- Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani.
13- Ibn Abd al-Barr in 'al-Isaba'.
14- Ibn al-Qayyim in 'I`lam al-muwaqqi`een'.
16- Abu Sa`eed al-`Ala'i (forgery specialist).
17- Abu Dawud.
18- Hanafi school.
Ibn Taymiyya said in his book "al-qaida al-jaleela fit- tawwasuli wal-waseela", with commentary of Dr. Rabi'a bin Hadi 'Umayr al-Mudkhali, professor in the Islamic University of Madinah al-Munawwara, Page 162, para 478:
"But Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other scholars permitted the narration [of hadith] regarding the virtues of good what is not established [as authentic] as long as it is not known that it is a lie." (laakinna Ahmad ibn Hanbal wa ghayruh min al-'ulama jawwazu an yurwa fee fada'il al-'aamal maa lam yu'lam annahu thaabit idha lam yu'lam annahu kadhib.)
Ibn Taymiyya says, in para 478:
"and that is the action which is known to be lawful with a shari'ah evidence, and there has been narrated in its virtue a hadith that is not known to be a lie, it is possible that the reward will be true, although none of the Imams have said that it is permissible to consider something required (wâjib) or recommended (mustahabb) by way of a weak hadith, and whoever said so differed from the consensus (ijmâ')."
So here we see that Ibn Taymiyya is explaining that if there is a hadith, even though it has not been judged to be authentic, if it encourages what is known as a good deed in Islamic shari'ah, something of virtue, a praiseworthy action, or idea, then it is fully acceptable to refer to such a hadith as an encouragement for that deed.
And here also, Ibn Taymiyya refers to the ijma', the consensus, which is a clear reference to the concept of ijma' of scholars of Islam as being a fully accepted concept and one which *he* accepts. And this is a clear proof that Ibn Taymiyya, though he considered himself a mujtahid mutlaq, capable of independent reasoning, nevertheless depended on the consensus (ijmâ') of scholars as a proof for the opinions he considered acceptable. And this is the position of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama'at.
Then Ibn Taymiyya continues in para 479:
"And just like it is not permissible to forbid something without a shari'ah evidence, (dalîl shar'î) but if it something is known to be forbidden and a hadith has been narrated in warning the one who commits such an action, and it is not known that it is a lie, it is permissible to narrate it. And it is permissible to narrate it in the manner of encouraging and discouraging (at- tarhîb wat-targhîb) what is not known that it is a lie. but in what is known that Allah has encouraged or discouraged with another evidence besides this [weak] hadith whose authenticity is unknown (majhûl hâluh)."
So from this we see that Ibn Taymiyya is using the weak hadith (ahadîth da'îf), to discourage people from doing an evil deed, as long as this deed is known to be forbidden in the shari'ah. If the deed is forbidden in the shari'ah, it is acceptable to use a hadith whose authenticity is unknown, as long as the hadith is known not to have been an actual lie. This principle is acceptable, in anything that it is known that Allah expressed its forbiddance. Ibn Taymiyya continues to explain this concept in para 480:
"This is like the [situation] of the Isra'iliyyât [stories related by the Jews]. It is permissible to be narrated as long as we know that it is not a lie, for encouraging or discouraging in what we know that Allah has ordered in our law (shar') or forbade in our law (shar')."
The Use of Weak Ahadeeth in Issues of Morals
It is the Consensus of the Ulema that weak hadiths can be narrated and put into practice in Islam according to according to al-Bayhaqî, Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Nawawî, Ibn Taymiyya, al-Qârî, and `Alawî ibn `Abbâs al-Mâlikî in his manual al-Manhal al-Lat.îf fî Ma`rifat al-H.adîth, provided certain conditions are met. Ibn al-Sâlah, al-Nawawî and al-`Irâqî's sole conditions were that:
(1) the hadith be related to good deeds (fadâ'il al-a`mâl)
without bearing on legal rulings and doctrine, and
(2) the hadith not be forged.
Ibn al-Mubârak said: "One may narrate from [a weak narrator] to a certain extent or those hadîths pertaining to good conduct (adab), admonition (maw`iza), and simple living (zuhd)."
This conditional rule for narrating - and practicing - weak hadîths is in conformity with the unanimous view of the Salaf who permitted their use in fadâ'il al-a`mâl as opposed to `aqîda or the rulings pertaining to halâl and harâm. This is stated or practiced by Sufyân al-Thawrî, Ibn `Uyayna, `Alî ibn al-Madînî, Yahyâ ibn Ma`în, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, `Abd al-Rah.mân ibn Mahdî, Ibn Abî Hâtim, al-Bukhârî in al-Adab al-Mufrad, al-Tirmidhî, and many others.
It is the FORGED hadith only that is "thrown in the bin," NOT the very weak one; if we were to throw the very weak one in the bin then we would be calling it forged, not very weak; and we would not need to make any difference either between da`if jiddan, munkar, mardud, matruk, and shadhdh on the one hand and, on the other, the forged such as mawdu`, batil, la asla lahu, kadhib mukhtalaq and so forth.