The author is Abu al Qasim Sulaiman ibn Ahmed ibn Ayub al Tabarani (d. 360 A.H). The three books of Tabarani (al Ma’ajim) have been searched for the narration of Thaqalayn and they have been presented here.Two narrations have been quoted from Mujam Saghir, one from Mujam Awsat and two from Mujam Kabir. Allah willing, we hope to present to the honourable readers the details regarding each isnad. If these narrations are acceptable in the light of the principles of the scholars of hadith, then it will be gladly accepted. On the other hand, if they fail to meet the requirements, despite an effort to find some excuses for them, then there will remain no option but to reject them.
حدثنا حسن بن محمد بن مصعب الاشنانى الكوفى ثنا عباد بن يعقوب الاسدى ثنا ابو عبدالرحمان المسعودى عن كثير النواء عن عطيةالعوفى عن ابى سعيد الخدرى قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال انى تارك فيكم الثقلين احدهما اكبر من الاخر كتاب الله عز و جل حبل ممدود من السماء الى الارض وعترتى اهل بيتى ولن يتفرقا حتى يردا عللى الحوض-لم يروه عن كثير النواء الا المسعودى
Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Mus’ab al Ashnani al Kufi — ‘Abbad ibn Ya’qub al Asadi — Abu ‘Abdul Rahman al Mas’udi — Kathir al Nawa’ — ‘Attiyah — Abu Sa’id — that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Indeed I am leaving amongst you al Thaqalayn, one is greater than the other, the Book of Allah — the most Exalted and Glorious — which is a rope that has been extended from the sky to the earth and my ‘itrah who are my Ahlul Bayt. They will never separate until they meet me at the pond.
No one has narrated this from Kathir al Nawa’ except al Mas’udi.
We now present the conditions of the narrators of the first narration:
We suffice upon three narrators that have been criticised in the first chain. There are others in the chain who have also been criticised, but we wish to keep this treatise brief, therefore we will suffice on these three. They are, ‘Abbad ibn Ya’qub al Asadi, Kathir al Nawa’ and ‘Attiyah al ‘Aufi.
1. It is stated in Taqrib:
عباد بن يعقوب الرواجنى الاسدى رافضى
‘Abbad ibn Ya’qub al Rawajini al Asadi was a Rafidi.
2. In Mizan al I’tidal and Tahdhib al Tahdhib:
عباد بن يعقوب الرواجنى الاسدى انه يشتم السلف قال ابن عدى عباد فيه غلو التشيع وروى احاديث انكرت عليه فى الفضائل والمثالب…قال صالح بن محمد كان يشتم عثمان…قال الداؤقطنى شيعى…قال ابن حبان كان رافضيا داعية ومع ذلك يروى المناكير عن المشاهير فاستحق الترك روى عن شريك عن عاصم عن ذر عن عبدالله مرفوعا اذا رئيتم معاوية على منبرى فاقتلوه
‘Abbad ibn Ya’qub al Rawajini al Asadi: He would curse the pious predecessors. Ibn ‘Adi said that he was an extremist Shia. He narrates such narrations which are Munkar regarding the virtues and criticism (of the Sahabah). Salih ibn Muhammad said, “‘Abbad would revile ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.” Daraqutni has confirmed that he was a Shia. Ibn Hibban stated, “He was a Rafidi and he would propagate his beliefs passionately. He would also narrate Munkar narrations from famous people. He is worthy of being rejected.” ‘Abbad narrated the following from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with isnad, “If you see Muawiyah on my pulpit, then kill him.” (He would spread baseless narrations of this type.)
1. ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani states:
عباد بن يعقوب الرواجنى ابو سعيد …وبالجملة فكون عباد هذا اماميا مما لا ينبغى التامل فيه
2. He is included amongst the Shia narrators of Jami’ al Ruwat (vol. 1 pg. 431). He is an authentic source of Shia narrations. The author of Jami’ al Ruwat has reported five of his narrations.
The second narrator is Kathir al Nawa’, who was the dutiful student of ‘Attiyah al ‘Aufi. He has thought provoking accolades to his name. He is a famous narrator of al Kafi. We will first present his details from the books of the Ahlus Sunnah, and thereafter in support of those details we will add a few quotations from the books of our ‘friends’.
1. Al Dhahabi elucidates:
كثيربن اسماعيل النواء ابو اسماعيل …شيعى ضعفه ابو حاتم والنسائى قال ابن عدى مفرط فى التشيع قال السعدى زائغ
2. Ibn Hajar says:
كثير بن اسماعيل يقال ابن نافع النواء …قال ابو حاتم ضعيف الحديث ….قالالجوزجانى زائغ قال النسائى ضعيف قال ابن عدى كان غاليا فى التشيع مفرطا فىه
Kathir ibn Ismail, called Ibn Nafi’ al Nawa’: Abu Hatim said, “Da’if in hadith.” Al Juzajani said, “He was not on the right path.” Nasa’i said, “Da’if.” Ibn ‘Adi said, “He was an extremist Shia who exaggerated in it.”
1. Rijal al Tafrishi and Jami’ al Ruwat both state:
كثيير النواء بن قاروند ابواسماعيل (ق) (حج)
2. In Tanqih al Maqal:
قد عده الشيخ فى رجاله تارة من اصحاب باقر بقوله كثير النواء بترى واخرى من اصحاب صادق بقوله كثيير بن قاروند ابواسماعيل النواء وظاهره لتحاده مع كثيير بن قاروند
Al Sheikh counted him amongst the companions of al Baqir at times by referring to him as Kathir al Nawa’ Batri and at times he counted him amongst the companions of al Sadiq by saying Kathir ibn Qarwand Abu Ismail al Nawa’. What is clear is that both names refer to the same person.
The third individual is ‘Attiyah ibn Sa’d al ‘Aufi. We have mentioned his details under the discussion of the narration of Tabaqat ibn Sa’d. It will be quite beneficial to turn a few pages and refresh your memories regarding him once again.
حدثنا حسن بن مسلم بن الطبيب الصنعانى ثنا عبدالحميد بن صبيح ثنا يونس بن ارقم هارون بن سعد عن عطية عن ابى سعيد الخدرى عن النبى صلى الله عليه و سلم قال انى تارك فيكم الثقلين ما ان تمسكتم به لن تضلوا كتاب الله وعترتى ولن يتفرقا حتى يردا على الحوض-لم يروه عن هارون بن سعد الا يونس
Hassan ibn Muslim ibn al Tabib al San’ani — ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Sabih — Yunus ibn Arqam —Harun ibn Sa’d — ‘Attiyah — Abu Sa’id — that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Indeed I am leaving amongst you al Thaqalayn, if you hold onto them you will never go astray, the Book of Allah and my ‘itrah. They will never separate until they meet me at the pond.
Yunus is the only narrator from Harun ibn Sa’d.
The first two narrators of this chain, Hassan ibn Muslim ibn al Tabib al San’ani and ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Sabih are unknown. There is no information about them. The narrators above them, Yunus ibn Arqam, Harun ibn Sa’d, and ‘Attiyah, are all extremist Shia. Therefore the status of this narration has become evident. Now let us take a look at the details:
يونس بن ارقم …لينه عبدالرحمان بن خراش…قال ابن حبان كان يتشيع
Yunus ibn Arqam: ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Kharash regarded him unreliable. Ibn Hibban said, “He was a Shia.”
1. Ibn Hajar writes:
هارون بن سعد العجلى ويقال الكوفى الاعور…قال كان غاليا فى الرفض لا تحل عنه الرواية بحال…قال الدورى كان من غلاة الشيعة…قال الساجى كان يغلوا فى الرفض…
Harun ibn Sa’d al ‘Ijli also known as al Kufi al A’war: He was an extremist Shia, it is not permissible to narrate from him under any circumstances. Al Duri said, “He was from the extremist Shia.” Al Saji said, “He exceeded the limits in Shi’ism.”
2. Al Dhahabi said:
هارون بن سعد العجلى صدوق فى نفسه لكنه رافضى بغيض
Harun ibn Sa’d al ‘Ijli: He was truthful, but he was also a bigoted Shia.
1. Al Tafrishi and al Ardabili both write:
هارون بن سعد العجلى الكوفى (ق)
هارون بن سعد العجلى (ق)
2. Al Mamaqani writes:
عده الشيخ فى رجاله من اصحاب الصادق عليه السلام
The third individual is ‘Attiyah al ‘Aufi. We have mentioned his details in full. He gave his teacher, Muhammad ibn Sa’ib al Kalbi, the agnomen Abu Sa’id so that people would mistake him for the Sahabi Abu Sai’d al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In this way, he spread the fabricated narrations of al Kalbi amongst the masses.
عن ابى سعيد الخدرى قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم انى تارك فيكم الثقلين احدهما اكبر من الاخر كتاب الله وعترتى اهل بيتى رواه الطبرانى فى الاوسط و فى اسناده رجال مختلف فيهم
Abu Sa’id narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
I leave amongst you al Thaqalayn, one is greater than the other, the Book of Allah and my ‘itrah, who are my Ahlul Bayt.
Narrated by al Tabarani in al Awsat and the chain contains narrators whose reliability has been disputed.
Firstly, the scholars are well aware of the fact that both, Mujam Kabir as well as Mujam Awsat are amongst the rare books of the age. Both of these are not available to us, due to which we are deeply saddened. However, we have managed to quote the narrations of these two books via Majma’ al Zawa’id of al Haythami. Hafiz al Haythami has commented regarding this narration that the isnad contains narrators whose reliability has been disputed. The scholars have not reached a consensus on accepting their narrations. In other words, this chain is not reliable. If only we could find a text which has a reliable isnad to it (such that the narrators should be above criticism; reliable and distanced from innovation) Unfortunately, none of the narrations of al Tabarani regarding al Thaqalayn have reliable isnad.
Secondly, it should be noted that this isnad does not only contain one narrator who could be criticised, rather it has a few narrators who are worthy of criticism. The question remains, who are they? We assume that ‘Attiyah al ‘Aufi is the narrator from Abu Sa’id and there are narrators after him who are also worthy of criticism. However, to pinpoint them without having a copy of Mujam al Awsat of al Tabarani would be quite difficult.
Now we present a few indications that the narrator from Abu Sa’id is none other than ‘Attiyah. All the narrations from Abu Sa’id thus far are narrated from ‘Attiyah. None of the narrations emanate from anyone else. Hereunder is a list of the narrations in which ‘Attiyahs name appears after Abu Sa’id:
Therefore, in light of the above, we are convinced that the first amongst the narrators who are worthy of criticism in the above chain is ‘Attiyah, who was the diligent student of Abu Sa’id. This Abu Sa’id is Muhammad ibn Sa’ib al Kalbi and not the famous Sahabi, as explained on numerous occasions.
Note:- The difficulty that was being experienced regarding the narration of Awsat of al Tabarani was that Hafiz al Haythami commented that there are a few narrators whose reliability has been disputed. However, we could not identify them, except through assumptions and indications. Our assumption was that ‘Attiyah was the narrator from Abu Sa’id; he as well as the narrators after him were also questionable. Recently an amazing co-incidence took place. We decided to study that volume of ‘Abaqat al Anwar which was compiled by Mir Hamid Hassan Lucknowi Shia specifically on the narration of Thaqalayn. We found the following statement:
رواه الطبرانى في الاوسط من حديث كثير النواء عن عطية
Narrated by al Tabarani in al Awsat from the narration of Kathir al Nawa’ from ‘Attiyah.
All praise is due to Allah, that which we had written on the basis of deduction had turned out to be the exact reality. That is, the above chain has ‘Attiyah as the student of Abu Sa’id and Kathir al Nawa’ narrates from ‘Attiyah. Both ‘Attiyah and Kathir al Nawa’ have been criticised and both are devout Shia. Therefore the reason for rejecting this narration is quite apparent.
عن ابى الطفيل عن حذيفة بن اسيد الغفارى قال لما صدر رسول الله صلى الله علبه و سلم من حجة الوداع فقال ايها الناس انه قد انبانى اللطيف الخبير انه لم يعملر نبى الا مثل نصف عمر النبى الذى يليه من قبل وانى اظن انى اوشك ان ادعى فاجيب وانى فرطكم على الحوض و انى سائلكم حين تردون على عن الثقلين فانظرو كيف تخلفونى فيهما الثقل الاكبر كتاب الله عز و جل طرفه بيدالله وطرفه بايديكم فاستمسكوا به ولا تضلوا ولا تبدلوا وعترتى اهل بيتى وان اللطيف الخبير اخبرنى انهما لن يتفرقا حتى يردا عللى الحوض رواه الطبرانى فى المعجم و فيه زيد بن الحسن الانماطى منكر الحديث
Abu al Tufayl — that Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari said :
Whilst returning from Hajjat al Wada’, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “O people! The One who knows the finest details and is aware of everything has informed me that every nabi lives half the lifespan of the nabi that preceded him. I think that soon I will be called and I will respond to that call. I will be waiting to receive you at the pond, and I will ask you when you meet me regarding al Thaqalayn, so beware of how you succeed me regarding them. The greater of the two is the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Majestic. One end is in your hands and the other end is with Allah. Hold firmly onto it and do not deviate or change. And (the other is) my Ahlul Bayt. The One who knows the finest details and is aware of everything has informed me that they will not separate until they meet me at the pond.”
Narrated by al Tabarani in Mujam, and the isnad includes Zaid ibn al Hassan al Anmati who reports Munkar narrations.
We have reproduced this narration of Mujam Kabir from Majma’ al Zawa’id. Hafiz Nur al Din al Haythami did not mention the isnad of this narration. However, he comments briefly regarding it by criticising Zaid ibn al Hassan al Anmati.
We found the exact narration along with its isnad in the book Yanabi’ al Mawaddah who quotes it from Hakim al Tirmidhi. It is as follows:
و فى نوادر الاصول حدثنا ابى قال حدثنا زيد بن حسن قال حدثنا معروف بن بود مكى عن ابى الطفيل عامر بن واثلة عن حذيفة بن اسيد الغفارى قال لما صدر رسول الله صلى الله علبه و سلم من حجة الوداع
My father — Zaid ibn Hassan — Ma’ruf ibn Bud Makki — Abu al Tufayl ‘Amir ibn Wathilah — that Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari said: “Whilst returning from Hajjat al Wada’…”
This narration from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd is also found in Hilyat al Auliya’ of Isfahani (vol. 1 pg. 355). Here also Zaid ibn Hassan al Anmati appears in the chain. Soon this narration will be quoted from Hilyat al Auliya. The entire chain is as follows:
حدثنى محمد بن احمد بن حمدان ثنا حسن بن سفيان حدثنى نصر بن عبدالرحمان الوشاء ثنا زيد بن حسن الانماطى عن معروف بن خربود مكى عن ابى الطفيل عامر بن واثلة عن حذيفة بن اسيد الغفارى قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم
Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Hamdan — Hassan ibn Sufyan — Nasr ibn ‘Abdul Rahman al Washa’ — Zaid ibn Hassan al Anmati — Ma’ruf ibn Kharrabudh Makki — Abu al Tufayl ‘Amir ibn Wathilah — Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari
The narration of Hudhayfah ibn Usayd which includes Zaid ibn al Hassan in the isnad is also recorded in Tarikh Baghdad of Khatib al Baghdadi (vol. 6 pg. 442). The entire chain will be quoted at the appropriate place. Here, we will suffice upon the necessary portion.
حدثنا محمد بن حسن النقاش املاءا اخبرنا المطين حدثنا نصر عبدالرحمان ثنا زيد بن حسن عن المعروف عن ابى الطفيل عن حذيفة بن اسيد ان رسول الله صلى الله علبه و سلم قال
Muhammad ibn Hassan al Naqqash — Matin — Nasr ibn ‘Abdul Rahman — Zaid ibn Hassan — al Ma’ruf — Abu al Tufayl — Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari
Thus, after looking at the chains of Nawadir al Usul, Tarikh Baghdad, and Hilyat al Auliya’, which were quoted from Yanabi’, we can be sure that the chain of this narration of al Tabrani is as follows:
ثنا زيد بن حسن الانماطى عن معروف بن خربود مكى عن ابى الطفيل عامر بن واثلة عن حذيفة
Zaid ibn Hassan al Anmati — Ma’ruf ibn Kharrabudh Makki — Abu al Tufayl ‘Amir ibn Wathilah — Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari
This narration is totally unreliable. The details regarding Zaid ibn Hassan al Anmati and Ma’ruf ibn Kharrabudh Makki (who happen to be teacher and student) have already been discussed at length under the first narration of Nawadir al Usul of Hakim al Tirmidhi. It was explained that both these narrators are not reliable and severely criticised.
The second narration of Mujam Kabir has also been quoted from Majma’ al Zawa’id. The wording is follows:
عن زيد بن ثابت عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال انى تركت فيكم خليفتين كتاب الله و اهل بيتى و انهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا على الحوض رواه الطبرانى فى الكبير
Zaid ibn Thabit narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
We cannot reproduce the entire chain of this narration, since we do not have a copy of the book of al Tabarani. However, due to other signs, we are able to trace a portion of this chain. The narration of Zaid ibn Thabit regarding Thaqalayn has been found in other books as well. It has been mentioned in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (vol. 4 pg. 121), Musnad Ahmed (vol. 5 pg. 189-190), and Musnad ‘Abd ibn Humaid (pg. 43).
We have quoted all three narrations at their appropriate places. In all of these narrations, the narrator from Zaid ibn Thabit (who was a Sahabi) was al Qasim, from whom Rukayn narrated and thereafter Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah narrated from Rukayn. The isnad of this narration is no different. We have already discussed, at length, the chain of :
Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah — Rukayn — al Qasim ibn Hassan —Zaid ibn Thabit
The crux of the matter is that this isnad is not acceptable according to the principles of the Muhaddithin. This is because both, Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah as well as Rukayn have been criticised. As we explained earlier, our ‘friends’ will not accept this and even accuse us of ‘shooting in the dark’! They will claim that a reliable isnad is being rejected merely through logic and analogy. This matter can be solved quite easily, if our friends reproduce the complete isnad from Mujam Kabir of al Tabarani, which is narrated from Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If this isnad turns out to be an authentic one, and our analogy is proven incorrect, then we will gladly take back our argument.
‘Abaqat al Anwar quoted one more narration (vol. 1 pg. 184) from Istijla’ of al Sakhawi. We reproduce it here for our readers.
فرواه (حديث الثقلين) الطبرانى فى معجمه الكبير من طريق سلمة بن كهيل عن ابى الطفيل عن زيد بن ارقم رضى الله عنه قال لما صدر رسول الله صلى الله علبه و سلم من حجة الوداع…و انى سائلكم حين تردون على عن الثقلين فانظرو كيف تخلفونى فيهما الثقل الاكبر كتاب الله عز و جل طرفه بيدالله وطرفه بايديكم فاستمسكوا به ولا تضلوا ولا تبدلوا وعترتى اهل بيتى وان اللطيف الخبير اخبرنى انهما لن يتفرقا حتى يردا عللى الحوض
Al Tabarani narrated the hadith of Thaqalayn in his Mujam al Kabir through the isnad of Salamah ibn Kuhayl from Abu Tufayl who narrates from Zaid ibn Arqam radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was returning from Hajjat al Wada’…. I will ask you when you meet me regarding al Thaqalayn, so beware of how you succeed me regarding them. The greater of the two is the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Majestic. One end is in your hands and the other end is with Allah. Hold firmly onto it and do not deviate or change. And (the other is) my ‘itrah, who are my Ahlul Bayt. The One who knows the finest details and is aware of everything has informed me that they will not separate until they meet me at the pond.
A detailed discussion regarding this isnad would have been beneficial if we had the complete isnad from the original source. However, since this book is extremely rare in this country, we will suffice upon a few details regarding the portion of the isnad that is in front of us.
The above narration has been transmitted through Salamah ibn Kuhayl al Hadrami al Kufi, who despite some commendation is a Shia. Thus, we find that Hafiz Ibn Hajar comments regarding him in Tahdhib:
قال العجلى كوفى تابعى…وكان فيه تشيع قال يعقوب بن شيبة …ثبت على تشيعه…قال ابو داود كان سلمة يتشيع
Al ‘Ijli said, “He is a Kufi and a Tabi’i… he was a Shia.” Ya’qub ibn Shaibah said, ….He remained firm upon Shi’ism” Abu Dawood said, “Salamah was a Shia.”
The above quotation clarifies the entire matter for us. This is because the narrations of a Shia cannot be accepted in these matters which promote his sect. Thus, six narrations of al Tabarani have been presented (from al Saghir, al Awsat, as well as al Kabir). None of them meet the requirements of authenticity. Therefore, in accordance with the principles they cannot be accepted.
Finally, we wish to quote a comment of Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz regarding the Ma’ajim of al Tabrani, which he has written in Bustan al Muhaddithin. He says:
The scholars of research have stated that the Ma’ajim of al Tabarani contain many Munkar narrations.
 Mujam al Saghir of al Tabarani – Ansari print, Delhi
 Taqrib pg. 252
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib vol. 5 pg. 109 – 110, Mizan a-I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 16 – 17 Egyptian print.
 Tanqih al Maqal vol. 2 pg. 123 – 124
 Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 352
 Tahdhib vol. 8 pg. 411
 Rijal Tafrishi pg. 267, Jami’ al Ruwat vol. 2 pg. 28
 Tanqih al Maqal vol. 2 pg. 36
 Lisan al Mizan vol. 2 pg. 321
 Tahdhib vol. 11 pg. 6
 Mizan al I’tidal vol. 3 pg. 247
 Jami’ al Ruwat vol. 2 pg. 306, Rijal al Tafrishi pg. 366
 Tanqih al Maqal vol. 3 pg. 283
 Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 163
 ‘Abaqat al Anwar vol. 1 pg. 182
 Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 165 by Nur al Din Ali ibn Abi Bakr al Haythami
 Yanabi’ al Mawaddah vol. 1 pg. 29
 Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 1 pg. 170.
 Tahdhib al Tahdhib vol. 4 pg. 156
 Bustan al Muhaddithin pg. 53-The old Farsi print under the discussion of Ma’ajim of al Tabarani.