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Weak H . !h . al-Bukh"r! ? by GF Haddad . ad!

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Ibr!h"m ibn Maqil said: I heard Muh . ammad ibn Ism!"l al-Bukh!r" say: I was with Ish . !q ibn R!h#yah when a man said: Why dont you compile an epitome (mukhtas the prophetic ways? .ar) of $ This stayed with me, and was the reason why I compiled this book (the S . ah . !h . ). Al-Dhahab" said: It has been narrated through two firm channels of transmission that al-Bukh!r" said: I extracted this book from about 600,000 (sound) h . ad"ths, and I compiled it over sixteen years, and I made it a plea for what lies between myself and All!h.2 Al-Firabr" said: Muh . ammad ibn Ism!"l said to me: I never included in the S . ah . !h . ah . ad"th except I made a major ablution (ghusl) and prayed two rakat beforehand. Al-Nawaw" said: The scholars have agreed that the soundest of all h . ad"th compilations are the two S . ah . !h . s of al-Bukh!r" and Muslim, and their vast majority have agreed that the soundest and most beneficial of the two was al-Bukh!r"s. He continued: The totality of its h . ad"ths are 7,275 with the repetitions and about 4,000 without. In his Kit"b al-Tatabbu, al-D!raqut .n" argues for the weakness of 78 hadiths in al-Bukh!r", $00 in Muslim, and 32 in both based on isn"d and matn criticism. Al-Nawaw" said: The two S . ah . !h . s differ from all other books only in respect to the fact that what is 3 in them is s .ah . !h . and does not require investigation. Ibn al-S . al!h . said: Whatever only al-Bukh!r" or only Musli\m narrates enters [also] into the category of what is definitely s .ah . !h . ... except a few letters which some of the expert critics objected to, such as al-D!raqut n " and others and these are known to . the specialists.4 He said this after stating that what they agree upon is definitely s . #un .ah . !h . (maqt bis . ih .h . atihi) for the Umma. Im!m al-Nawaw" objected to the terms definitely s .ah . !h . while granting all "tir (yuf!du althat is in the S . ah . !h . ayn the level of strongly presumed [s .ah . !h . ] until it becomes mutaw 5 z anna ma lam yataw " tar) as is the rule with all s ah ! h lone-narrated ( " h " d) h ad " ths. But Ibn Kath"r . . . . . 6 differed: I am with Ibn al-S . al!h . in his conclusion and directives, and All!h knows best. Al-Suy#t . " in Tadr!b al-R"w! cites Ibn Kath"rs words verbatim then states: And this is also my choice and none other.7 This is because of the standing of the two S . ah . !h . s in the Umma and because none of the past Im!ms in Isl!m ever declared explicitly and rightly that all they had gathered in their respective books was s .ah . !h . except al-Bukh!r" and Muslim, and the verifying experts have confirmed their claim. AlSuy#t . " also states: Shaykh al-Isl!m said: What al-Nawaw" mentioned in Sharh . S . ah . !h . Muslim is based on the perspective of the majority (al-akthar!n); as for that of the verifying authorities (al-muh . aqqiq#n), 8 then no. For the verifying authorities also agree with Ibn al-S . al!h . . By Shaykh al-Isl!m al-Suy#t . " means the spotless H . "fiz and immaculate Im!m Ibn H . ajar al9 Asqal!n" and his book al-Nukat al" Ibn al-S . al"h . . Al-Suy#t . " goes on to quote in detail mostly from
M.M. Azami writes: Al-Bukh!r" did not claim that what he left out were the spurious, nor that there were no authentic traditions outside his collection. On the contrary, he said: I only included in my book al-J"mi those that were authentic, and I left out many more authentic traditions than this to avoid unnecessary length. He had no intention of collecting all the authentic traditions. He only wanted to compile a manual of h . ad"th according to the wishes of his shaykh Ish . !q ibn R!h#yah, and his function is quite clear from the title of his book Al-J"mi, alMusnad, al-S . ah . !h . , al-Mukhtas . ar, min um#r Ras#l All"h wa Sunanihi, wa ayy"mih (The Compendium of Sound Narrations Linked Back With Uninterrupted Chains and Epitomized of the Matters of the Messenger of All!h, His Ways, and His Times). The word al-mukhtas . ar, epitome, itself explains that al-Bukh!r" did not make any attempt at a comprehensive collection. Studies in Early H . ad!th Literature (p. 304-305). This should be understood by those who ask: If h . ad"th x is not in al-Bukh!r" nor Muslim then how can it be authentic? 2 Narrated by al-Khat . "b, al-J"mi li Akhl"q al-R"w! (2:270-27$ #$6$3). 3 Al-Nawaw", Introduction to his Sharh . S . ah . !h . Muslim ($:20): Innam" yaftariqu al-S . !h . "ni an ghayrihim" min . ah al-kutub f! kawni m" f!him" s . t"ju il" al-naz . ari f!h. .ah . !h . an l" yuh 4 Ibn al-S . al!h . , Ul#m al-H . ad!th, chapter on the s . ad"th (D!r al-Fikr ed. p. 29): M" infarada bihi al-Bukh"r! .ah . !h . h aw Muslimun mundarijun f! q"bili m" yuqt . au bis . ih .h . atihi... siw" ah . rufin yas!ratin takallama alayh" bad . u ahli al-naqdi min al-h uff " z kal-D " raqut n ! wa ghayrih, wa hiya mar # fatun inda ahli h " dha al-shan. . . . 5 Al-Nawaw", Taqr!b wal-Tays!r (p. 70) and Sharh . S . ah . !h . Muslim ($:20). 6 Ibn Kath"r, chapter on the s . ah . ad"th of his al-B"ith al-H . ath!th (p. 45). . !h .h 7 Al-Suy#t . ", Tadr!b al-R"w! (D!r al-Kalim al-T . ayyib ed. $:$45). 8 Tadr!b al-R"w! ($:$43). 9 See also Ibn H . ajars words from his Sharh . Nukhbat al-Fikar to the effect that the foremost h . ad"th experts examination of and familiarity with any given "h"d h . ad"th may take him to the conclusion that it is qat . ! al-thub#t categorically established as s .ah . !h . , i.e. in effect of mutaw"tir-like authenticity unlike the feel of the rest of the scholars with regard to the same h . ad"th.

Had! al-S"r! the refutations of Ibn H . ajar to al-D!raqut . n"s criticism, showing that, in effect, the latter fails to invalidate the view of the S . ah . !h . ayn as $00% s .ah . !h .. The fact is that they are all s .ah . !h . but not all of them reach the same high degree of s .ah . !h . . This is in essence what al-Dhahab" concluded concerning the few narrators of the S . ah . !h . ayn whose grading was questioned: The narration of one such as those, does not go below the rank of h . asan which we might $0 call the lowest rank of the s ah ! h . Shaykh Ab # Ghudda comments in the margin: This is an explicit . . . confirmation that al-Bukh!r" and Muslim did not confine themselves, in the narrations of their respective books, only to narrate h . ad"ths that have the highest degree of s . ih .h . a. Then again in his appendix (p. $44) he states: Our Shaykh, the All!ma Ah . mad Sh!kir All!h have mercy on him stated: The truth without doubt among the verifiers of those who have knowledge of the sciences of h . ad"th... is that the h . ad"ths of the two S . ah . !h . s are all s .ah . !h . and there is not in a single one of them a cause for true [technical] disparagement or weakness. What al-D!raqut . n" and others criticized is only on the basis that it did not reach the high criterion which each of them defined in their respective books. As for the [criterion of] soundness (sih .h . a) of the h . ad"ths in themselves, then both of them lived up to it. Dr. Bad" al-Sayyid al-Lah .h . !m in his edition of Ibn Kath"rs al-B"ith al-H . ath!th (p. 44-45) also closes the discussion on the topic of the S . ah . !h . ayn with the same words but without attributing them to Sh!kir. Ab# Ghudda concludes (p. $45): All these texts show that most of what is in S . ah . !h . al-Bukh"r! and S . ah . !h . Muslim is of the highest degree of the s .ah . !h . , and that some of what is in them is not of the highest degree of the s .ah . !h . . More to the point, our teacher Dr. N#r al-D"n Itr said in his manual Manhaj al-Naqd f! Ul#m al-H . ad!th: The ruling concerning the h . ad"ths of the two S . ah . !h . s is that they $$ are all s . al!h . , al-Nawaw", al-Dhahab", Ibn Kath"r, Ibn .ah . !h . . All those mentioned above Ibn al-S H . ajar, al-Suy#t . ", Ah . mad Sh!kir, Ab# Ghudda, Itr, al-Lah .h . !m agreed on the fact that all of what is in al-Bukh!r" and Muslim is s ah ! h , and, apart from al-Nawaw "s duly recorded dissent, the muh . aqqiq#n . . . such as Ibn al-S . al!h . , Ibn Kath"r, Ibn H . ajar, and al-Suy#t . " consider all the h . ad"ths contained in them maqt . #un bis . ih .h . atihi i.e. of the same probative force as mutaw"tir h . ad"th. Further examination of the positions of the major h . ad"th Masters might add more names to this distinguished list. The questions are sometimes asked ($) whether all the Ulema of H . ad"th agree that all the h . ad"ths in al-Bukh!r" and Muslim are s .ah . !h . or (2) if there are any scholars who consider them to contain some weak narrations, and (3) whether one who believes that the S . ah . !h . ayn are not $00% s .ah . !h . is an innovator. As was just shown, some of the greatest h ad " th authorities such as Ibn al-S al ! h , Ibn Kath"r, . . . and al-Suy#t ." answered yes to the first question. Im!m al-H . aramayn (Ibn al-Juwayn") said that if a man swore on pains of divorce that all that is in al-Bukh!r" and Muslim is s .ah . !h . his marriage would be safe.$2 But Im!m al-D!raqut .n" said a small number may not reach that level so the answer to the second question has to be yes. Yet the objections were refuted one by one by Ibn H . ajar at the beginning of Fath . $3 al-B"r! and Im!m al-Nawaw" at the beginning of Sharh . S . ah . !h . Muslim. The short formula whether the S . ah . !h . ayn are or not $00% s .ah . !h . remains tenuous and misleading, for the Umma far and wide meaning the Consensus of the Fuqah" generation after generation have been satisfied that they are. This conclusion excludes the chainless, broken-chained reports, or unattibuted reports sometimes adduced by al-Bukh!r" in his chapter-titles or appended to certain narrations. An example of the latter is the so-called suicide h . ad"th one of al-Zuhr"s unattributive narrations (bal"gh"t) which is actually broken-chained and therefore weak. It does not meet the criteria of h . ad"th authenticity used by the lesser and greater h . ad"th Masters, much less that of al-Bukh!r" who mentioned it only to show its discrepancy with two other chains whose versions omit the attempted suicide story, and All!h knows best.$4 The above conclusion is proof that the position that everything that is found in the two S . ah . !h . s is rigorously sound refers only to full-chained reports positively attributed to the Prophet !, and All!h knows best.
$0 Al-Dhahab", al-M#qiz . a (p. 80). $$ Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd f! Ul#m al-H . ad!th (3rd ed. p. $2 See Sir ! j al-D " ns commentary on the Bayquniyya. $3


In our own time N!s . ir al-Alb!n", his arch-enemies the Ghum!r" Shaykhs and H . asan al-Saqq!f, and their respective camps agreed for once upon the position that there are some d . a!f h . ad"ths in them, which tends to confirm that, in real terms, the answer to the third question would tend to be yes unless the speaker is a h . ad"th Master of impeccable Sunn" belief sufficiently knowledgeable of the art to form an independent confirmation or invalidation, and All!h knows best. $4 Cf. Fath . ($2:359-360), Ab# Shuhba, al-S!ra al-Nabawiyya ($:265-266), M#s! Shah"n, Fath . al-Munim (2:337), al-Alb!n" in Dif" an al-H . ad!th wal-S!ra (p. 4$-42), and Sad al-Mirs . afi in H . ad!th Bid al-Wah . ! fil-M!z"n (p. 7585).