Shattering the Mirage: A Response to ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din’s al Muraja’at: Letter 67 and 68

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Letter 67

Safar 6, 1330

 

I. Where is the Prophet’s Will?

 

Where is the Prophet’s Will?

Sunnis are not familiar with any will left for ‘Ali, nor are they acquainted with any of its contents; so, please oblige and tell us its story,

 

Wassalam.

Sincerely,

S

 

Letter 68

Safar 9, 1330

 

I. The Will’s Text

 

The texts regarding the will are consecutively reported through the Imams of the purified progeny ‘alayh al Salam; so, refer to what has been stated in this regard by others as mentioned in Letter No. 20 that quotes the statements of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, who took ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam by the neck and said: “This is my brother and successor; he shall succeed me in faring with you; therefore, listen to him and obey him.”

Muhammad ibn Hamid al­Razi quotes Salamah al­Abrash, Ibn Ishaq, Abu Rabi’ah al­Ayadi, Ibn Buraydah, ending with the latter’s father Buraydah citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: “For every Prophet there is a successor and an heir; my successor and heir is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib.”1

In his Kabir, and through isnad to Salman al Farisi, al­Tabrani quotes the latter citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: “My successor, my confidant, the best man I leave behind me to fulfill my promise and implement my religion, is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib ‘alayh al Salam.”2

This is a clear text proving that he is the successor, and an obvious testimony that he is the best of people after the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It contains an obligatory instruction that he should succeed him, and that people should obey him, as is clear to the wise.

Abu Na’im al­Hafiz, in his Hilyat al­Awliya’,3 quotes Anas saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, said to him: “O Anas! The first to enter this door is the Imam of the pious, the leader of Muslims, the chief of religion, the seal of successors of prophets, and the leader of the most pious among renowned men.” Anas says that ‘Ali came in, and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, stood up with excitement, hugged ‘Ali and said to him: “You will discharge my responsibility, convey my instructions, and explain all that in which they will dispute after me.”

Al ­Tabrani, in his Al ­Kabir, quotes Abu Ayub al­Ansari citing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed Fatima once thus: “O Fatima! Have you not come to know that Allah, the Dear One, cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and chose your father from among them and sent him as His Messenger, then He cast a second look and selected your husband and inspired me to marry him to you and appoint him as my successor?”4

Notice how Allah selected ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam from among all other inhabitants of the earth, immediately after selecting from among them the Seal of His Prophets salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and see how the selection of the successor is conducted in the same sequence to the selection of the Prophet.

Also see how Allah inspired His Prophet to solemnize his marriage and appoint him as his successor. See if successors of prophets were any other than the latter’s own wasis. Is it fitting to push aside [when it comes to selecting a caliph] one who is the best among Allah’s servants, the wasi of the master of His Prophets, and prefer someone else over him?

Is it fitting if someone else, other than he, should rule the Muslims and make him simply one of his own commoners and subjects? Is it possible, by virtue of reason, that one elected by people should be obeyed by that who was selected by Allah, just as He selected His Prophet? How is it possible that both Allah Himself and His Messenger choose him while we elect someone else?

“No believing man nor woman, after Allah and His Messenger have decreed an edict, should practice free will regarding their affairs; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger surely strays manifestly (33:36).”

Narratives abound that state that as soon as those who were hypocritical, envious, and interest­seeking came to know that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, was going to marry his daughter Fatima al­Zahra’, mistress of the women of paradise and equal only to Mary ‘alayh al Salam, to ‘Ali, they envied ‘Ali and were extremely concerned, especially after many of them had unsuccessfully sought her hand.5

They said that that was indicative of ‘Ali’s status; so, nobody had any hope of being his peer, and they even plotted and schemed. They sent their women to the Mistress of the Women of the World trying to turn her against ‘Ali. Among what they said to her was that ‘Ali was poor and did not have much of this world’s possessions, but she, peace be upon her, was quite aware of their scheming and ill intentions as well as those of their men. In spite of all this, she did not offend them in any way, till the Will of Allah Almighty and omni­Scient and of His Messenger was carried out.

It was then that she desired to show those women the status enjoyed by the Commander of the Faithful ‘alayh al Salam whereby Allah will shame his enemies, and she said: “O Messenger of Allah! Why did you marry me to a poor man who has no money?” He, peace be upon him and his progeny, answered her in the way stated above.

When Allah wishes to publicize

A virtue hidden from the eyes,

He facilitates to it one very well­known

To covet and envy everyone.

Al­Khatib quotes one author whose isnad is unanimously agreed upon, and who is very highly respected, namely Ibn ‘Abbas, saying: “When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam solemnized the marriage of Fatima and ‘Ali, Fatima said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! You have married me to a poor man who does not have anything.’ The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to her: ‘Are you not pleased that Allah has chosen from among the inhabitants of the earth two men one of whom is your father and the other is your husband?’“6

Recounting the attributes of ‘Ali, al­Hakim, on page 129, Vol. 3, of his Al Mustadrak, quotes Sarij ibn Yunus citing Abu Hafs al­Abar, al­A’mash, Abu Salih, and ending with Abu Hurairah who quotes Fatima ‘alayh al Salam saying: “O Messenger of Allah! Why have you married me to a poor man with no money?” He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam answered: “O Fatima! Are you not pleased that Allah, the Exalted and Sublime, cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and chose two men one of whom is your father and the other is your husband?”

Ibn ‘Abbas is also quoted saying that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has said the following to Fatima: “Are you not pleased that I have married you to the one who is the foremost among Muslims in accepting Islam and the one endowed with more knowledge? You are the Mistress of the women of my nation, just as Mary was the mistress of the women of her nation; are you not pleased, O Fatima, that Allah cast a look at the people of the earth and chose two men from among them: one of them is your father and the other is your husband?”7

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whenever the Mistress of the women of the world suffered any hardship, would remind her of Allah’s favour and that of His Messenger unto her, since he married her to the best of his nation, thus solacing her and removing from her chest whatever pain time had brought her.

Suffices you for a testimonial on this subject what Imam Ahmed has stated on page 26, Vol. 5, of his Musnad where he quotes one particular hadith narrated by Ma’qil ibn Yasar in which the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have visited Fatima ‘alayh al Salam when she fell sick and said to her: “How do you feel?” She answered: “By Allah, my grief has intensified, my want has worsened, and my sickness has lasted for too long.” He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to her: “Yet are you not satisfied that I have married you to the one who is the foremost among my nation in accepting Islam, the one endowed with more knowledge, and the greatest in clemency?” Narratives relating this issue are numarous, and there is no room to state all of them in this letter,

 

Wassalam.

Sincerely,

Sh

Footnotes

  1. Al Thahbi has quoted this hadith while discussing the biography of Sharik in his book Mizan al I’tidal, falsifying it and alleging that Sharik could not have tolerated narrating such a hadith. He said: “Muhammad ibn Hamid al Razi is not trustworthy.” Our answer to his allegation is that Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, Imam Abul Qasim al Baghwi, Imam Ibn Jarir al Tabari, the Imam of critics and verifiers Ibn Ma’in, and others of their caliber, have all trusted Muhammad ibn Hamid and narrated his hadith, for he is their mentor. A reliable authority such as al Thahbi admits the same in his biography of Muhammad ibn Hamid in his Al Mizan. The man cannot be charged with Rafidism or Shi’ism, but the critic is a predecessor of al Thahbi; so, there is no reason for initiating such an accusation regarding this hadith.
  2. This hadith verbatim is numbered 2570 at the end of page 155, Vol. 6, of Kanz al ’Ummal, and the author quotes it again in his Muntakhab al Kanz; so, refer to Al Muntakhab, footnote on page 32, Vol. 5, of Ahmed’s Musnad.
  3. It exists on page 450, Vol. 2, of Sharh Nahjul Balaghah, and we have quoted it in Letter No. 48.
  4. This hadith, verbatim, as well as its source are also in hadith number 2541 on page 143, Vol. 6, of Kanz al ’Ummal, and it is quoted in Muntakhab al Kanz as well; so, refer to the latter and read the footnote on page 31, Vol. 5, of Ahmed’s Musnad.
  5. Ibn Abu Hatim has quoted Anas saying: “Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sought Fatima’s hand from the Prophet, but he remained silent and did not tell them anything; so, they went to ‘Ali to inform him.”

It is also transmitted from Ibn Abu Hatim by many reliable authorities such as Ibn Hajar at the beginning of Chapter 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa. Many other authorities have quoted something similar to it from Ahmed through isnad to Anas. Abu Dawood al Sajistani, as stated by Ibn Hajar in Chapter 11 of his Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqa, while discussing the twelfth verse, says that Abu Bakr sought Fatima’s hand, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam turned him down; then ‘Umar did the same, and he turned away from him, too; so, they both informed ‘Ali of it. ‘Ali himself is quoted saying: “Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sought Fatima’s hand from the Messenger of Allah, but he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam rejected them. ‘Umar then said: ‘You, ‘Ali, are worthy of her.’“ This hadith is quoted by Ibn Jarir. Al Dulabi has quoted it, admitting its authenticity while discussing the Prophet’s purified progeny, and it is hadith number 6007 on page 392, Vol. 6, of Kanz al ’Ummal.

  1. This hadith, verbatim, with reference to its narrator, is hadith number 5992 on page 391, Vol. 6, of Kanz al ’Ummal, where the author admits the reliability of its narrator.
  2. This hadith, verbatim, with reference to its narrator, is hadith number 2543 on page 153, Vol. 6, of Kanz al ’Ummal, where the author quotes it from Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Hurairah. Al Tabrani, in his Al Muttafaq, has transmitted it from al Khatib who quotes Ibn ‘Abbas; so, refer to Al Muntakhab and read the first line of footnote on page 39, Vol. 5, of Ahmed’s Musnad.

 

Discussions

‘Abdul Hussain, the prodigy, is about to educate his inevitable initiate about the narrations of Wasiyyah.[1] He claims that these narrations are Mutawatir from the Imams. Based on experience with his past claims we have learnt not to take them seriously. They are as reliable as the correspondence that was exchanged between ‘Abdul Hussain and Sheikh Salim al Bishri.

The problem with ‘Abdul Hussain’s line of argument is compounded when we cannot find any reliable narration tracing back to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the matter of Wasiyyah. It has already been demonstrated that the statements of the Imams are inadmissible as binding proof. Even if one were to accept that the Imams are the only candidates for leadership, and that their Imamah was originally established by Wasiyyah; does it not appear strange as they are the only ones to narrate such a matter? There is no explicit verse from the Qur’an, nor any sound Hadith from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which is unambiguous. Is this merely nothing more than a repetition of his circular reasoning?

Suppose – if only for a moment – that we were to accept that such Wasiyyah did exist; would it not exclude all the later Imams as candidates? The indications of the majority of narrations that ‘Abdul Hussain has cited infer that everyone besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would be ineligible. The only rational conclusion – which is consistent with accepting such narrations – would be to apply this to the other Imams in the time of ‘Ali as well. Therefore, if only ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Wasi, it excludes both Hassan and Hussain from the Prophetic nomination. If the texts are meant to be interpreted in a way that would include Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma; then the very same latitude for interpretation exists for the three Khalifas’ who preceded ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, all the texts which he has cited on the Wasiyyah are problematic as we shall demonstrate in the coming paragraphs.

 

The narrations on Wasiyyah

Narration One

The first narration that ‘Abdul Hussain alludes to appears in Letter 20. It is the same narration which he has referred to as the Hadith of the Day of Warning, which he quoted repeatedly in the previous round of correspondence! Is it imaginable that an accomplished scholar would fall for the repeated usage of the same narration three times without suspecting foul play?

This narration appears by way of two common chains. Appearing in one of the chains is ‘Abdul Ghaffar ibn al Qasim,[2] and appearing in the other is ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Quddus.[3] They are both known Rafidi’s who were unreliable and neither of whom could be trusted with faithful representation of the Prophetic legacy.

Not only is this narration severely flawed in terms of it’s chain of transmission, but the text is riddled with numerous inconsistencies as well. All of this has been dealt with in detail under the discussions on Letter 20.

 

Narration Two

‘Abdul Hussain reveals how ill-informed he is about the science of Hadith when he cites the narration ascribed to Buraydah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He begins by omiting Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah al Nakha’i from the chain. Sharik appears between Ibn Ishaq and Abu Rabi’ah al Iyadi. A more accurate representation of the chain is as follows:

Muhammad ibn Humaid al RaziSalamah ibn Fadl al AbrashMuhammad ibn IshaqSharikAbu Rabi’ah al Iyadi – Ibn Buraydah – Buraydah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said…[4]

 

Abu Rabi’ah al Iyadi

Al Dhahabi quotes Abu Hatim al Razi on Abu Rabi’ah al Iyadi – whose full name is ‘Umar ibn Rabi’ah – that he is a narrator whose narrations are disclaimed, Munkar al Hadith.[5] Ibn Hajar grades him Maqbul [lit. acceptable][6], which is a term he used to describe those narrators who, in addition to having very few narrations, are slightly weak, and have the potential for being elevated if a supporting narration is found.

 

Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah

Sharik ibn ‘Abdullah al Nakha’i al Qadi is weak, especially in that which he narrated from memory after being assigned a post in the judiciary. He has been discussed numerous times.[7]

 

Muhammad ibn Ishaq

Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar, despite being an acceptable narrator in general, was known for Tadlis. Oftentimes he would omit the narrator from whom he actually received the Hadith and ascribe it to someone higher in the chain. The scholars of Hadith would not accept any of his narrations wherein he narrates using the phrase “‘an” [from]. Instead, they insisted on him being explicit about whom he received the Hadith from before accepting it; thus only those narrations wherein he says, “I heard from so-and-so,” or similar phrases, not where he simply states, “from so-and-so”. The Hadith we are studying is one where he narrated using the term “‘an” hence the potential for Tadlis.

 

Salamah ibn Fadl

Salamah ibn Fadl al Abrash is the narrator from Ibn Ishaq. He has been deemed weak by Ishaq ibn Rahuya, al Nasa’i, Abu Hatim al Razi among others. Some have pointed out that many of his narrations could not be corroborated, in addition to his abundance of errors.  Ibn ‘Adi states that while he is weak overall, whatever he narrates from Ibn Ishaq in field of Maghazi, is of a slightly better standard than the rest of his narrations since those were found to be uncorroborated and contradictory in most instances.[8] This narration is not in the field of Maghazi.

 

Muhammad ibn Humaid

While all the above are sufficient to declare this narration unreliable; the most obvious problem is the presence of Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi in the chain. In the footnotes of this letter in al Muraja’at there is an attempt to deflect the criticisms on this narrator based on statements by two of the great experts of their generation, Yahya ibn Ma’in and Ahmed ibn Hanbal. In the following passages we shall demonstrate why that is of no consequence in this instance.

Before we proceed it is important to note that the first consideration when evaluation of any Hadith is to examine the narrators in the chain. The two primary considerations in a narrator is that he can be trusted to convey what he heard from his teachers faithfully and accurately. A reliable narrator thus combines the character traits of ‘Adalah and Dabt. ‘Adalah being moral integrity and uprighteousness to the extent that there is no fear of deliberate misrepresentation; whereas Dabt refers to a narrators competence and precision in narration such that no discrepencies affect the narration of such a person from the time he receives a Hadith until he then conveys it. The pre-requisite of Dabt is effectively a saftey measure against inadvertant error. While these are the primary considerations that are not the only considerations in any narrator.

Let us now apply these principles to the narrators whom we have already discussed. Abu Rabi’ah al Iyadi is found wanting in terms of his Dabt, in addition to the fact that he is not a well-known narrator of Hadith. Similarly, Sharik was considered weak on account of his Dabt, moreover his preoccupation with juducial duties can be identified as the cause for his lack of Dabt. Muhammad ibn Ishaq is a narrator around whom there is a great deal of debate, but if one were to consider all that was said and apply it to his narrations it was evident to the experts that his Dabt, though not optimum, was within an acceptable range. The problem with him though is incidental; there is a specific problem to look out for and that is Tadlis. Salamah ibn Fadl al Abrash lacks also in terms of Dabt.

Independently, none of these narrators could be relied upon due to lack of competence, with th exception of Ibn Ishaq; his issue is that he is a Mudallis and the fact that he does not state explicitly whom he had heard this narration from. However, In the case of Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi, it is not his Dabt that is problematic but his ‘Adalah. He was accused of deliberate misrepresentation and thus cannot be trusted.

Another matter which is pertinent to this discussion is how to deal with contrasting opinions about a narrator; when some experts ratify the narrator and others discredit him. There are narrators who are unanimously accepted as reliable and others unanimously consistered unreliable. However, there are instances when the scholars are divided on the status of a narrator.

There are a number of considerations given to resolve those cases where a divided opinion exists on the status of a narrator. Scholars either find a way to reconcile the conflincting views [Jam], or they assign preference [Tarjih] to one over the other after considering all the facts.

Narrator critics appear on a spectrum. Some are extremely cautious, others are described with some degree of leniency, and between these two margins are those who are neither excessively cautious nor lenient. Therefore, one consideration is on who pronounced a particular opinion on a narrator.

Another consideration is whether the opinion has been further supported with details or if it remains vague. Many scholars state that the default position in a case where there is no details about the underlying cause for a critics opinion, that the view of discredition supercedes the view of validation as this implies that the critic who discredited the narrator was aware of something that the the one who validated him was unaware of. Although, when the details are present they might reveal something else entirely.

Further consideration is given to the phrases used to either validate or discredit the narrator. Some phrases are generic, whereas some of the scholars used unique phrases indicating a level of strength or weakness. This phrase would not have the same technical meaning when used by other scholars.

Lastly, there are times when the opinion of the majority of scholars will be weightier than a minority.

So, while it is correct that Yahya ibn Ma’in and Ahmed ibn Hanbal both praised Muhammad ibn Humaid, many others have criticised him. Their criticism is not directed at his competence, rather it exists on account of his lack of ‘Adalah as we shall point out.

His full name is: Muhammad ibn Humaid ibn Hayyan al Tamimi al Razi, Abu ‘Abdullah. He was born around 160 A.H and lived in the city of Rayy.

Among his senior teachers are:  Ya’qub ibn ‘Abdullah al Qummi, ‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak, Jarir ibn ‘Abdul Hamid, Fadl ibn Musa, Hakkam ibn Salm, Zafir ibn Sulaiman, Nuaim ibn Maisarah, Abu Dawood al Tayalisi, Salamah ibn Fadl al Abrash.[9]

Those who heard Hadith from him include: Abu Dawood al Sijistani, Abu ‘Isa al Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibrahim ibn Malik al Qattan, Ahmed ibn Jafar ibn Nasr al Jammal, Ahmed ibn Hanbal,[10] Ahmed ibn Khalid al Razi famoulsy known as al Haruri, Ahmed ibn ‘Ali al Abar, Ishaq ibn Abi ‘Imran al Isfarayini, Jafar ibn Ahmed ibn Nasr al Hafiz, Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Shabib al Ma’mari, Salih ibn Muhammad al Asadi famously known as Salih Jazarah, ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmed ibn Hanbal, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Samad ibn Abi Khidash al Mawsili,[11] ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Abi al Dunya, Abu Zur’ah al Razi, Muhammad ibn Jarir al Tabari, Abu al Qasim al Baghawi, Abu Bakr al Baghandi, Muhammad ibn Harun al Ruyani, Muhammad ibn Yahya al Dhuhli and Yahya ibn Ma’in,[12]  among many others.[13]

Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi said, “I arrived in Baghdad and met Ahmed ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma’in. They asked me [to narrate to them] the Ahadith of Ya’qub al Qummi so they distributed the pages [of my notes with his narrations] among themselves and wrote it down, thereafter I narrated it to them.”[14]

‘Abdullah ibn Ahmed ibn Hanbal quotes his father, Ahmed ibn Hanbal having said, “As long as Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi is in Rayy, it can be said knowledge is still thriving there.”[15]

He also relates,  “Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi visited Baghdad while my father was under arrest. When he was released Muhammad ibn Humaid had already departed. His companions [Imam Ahmed] began asking about the narrations of Ibn Humaid so he asked me the reason. I said that Ibn Humaid was here recently and he narrated many Ahadith which they were unfamiliar with. He asked me if I had written anything down from Ibn Humaid and I responded that I had written a volume, so he asked to have a look at it. After examining it he said, ‘the narrations from the likes of Ibn al Mubarak and Jarir are fine; as for his narrations from the people of Rayy all I can say is that he is more knowledgeable about them.’”[16]

If we take this incident into careful consideration we realize that Imam Ahmed – despite having praised Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi – was not aware of all his narrations. The narrations of the likes of Ibn al Mubarak and Jarir ibn ‘Abdul Hamid – which were well-known – were correct and matched what others narrated from them. It is important to keep these two facts in mind: Imam Ahmed was not aware of all his Ahadith and he confirmed the Ahadith of those whose narrations were well-known and properly documented like ‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak.

Ibn Hibban has recorded a visit from Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Warah and Abu Zur’ah al Razi to Ahmed ibn Hanbal wherein they managed to draw his attention to the deception of Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi. Salih, the son of Imam Ahmed, recalls that his father would shake his hand [indicating uncertainty] whenever Ibn Humaid was mentioned.[17] Without ignoring this incident, we shall continue to investigate this narrator under the assumption that there was no retraction from Imam Ahmed.

Abu Hatim al Razi relates that Yahya ibn Ma’in asked him – before the real situation with Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi revealed itself – “What are your objections about him?” In response Abu Hatim stated that in the books of Muhammad ibn Humaid things were not recorded correctly, and when they would point out the errors he would adjust his book.[18] Yahya exclaimed, “This is a bad practise! He came to Baghdad [a while back] so we took the book of Ya’qub al Qummi from him and distributed the pages among ourselves – Ahmed ibn Hanbal was with us at the time –  we heard those from him and everything appeared fine.”[19]

This incident indicates that Yahya ibn Ma’in was only privy to some of Muhammad ibn Humaid’s narrations. Both Ahmed ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma’in predeceased Ibn Humaid al Razi. The validation of Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi by these two experts is based on what they observed. When we study the reasons provided by those who discredit him we realize that they were aware of details which Yahya ibn Ma’in and Ahmed ibn Hanbal were unaware of. In addition, it confirms the progression in Ibn Humaid’s deception.

Abu ‘Ali al Naysaburi says, “I said to Ibn Khuzaimah, ‘If our teacher could narrate to us from Muhammad ibn Humaid since Ahmed ibn Hanbal had a good opinion of him.’ He responded saying, ‘He did not know him [all that well]. If he knew him as we do he would not have even praised him to begin with.’”[20]

Ishaq ibn Mansur al Kawsaj relates, “He [Ibn Humaid] read to us Kitab al Maghazi by way of Salamah. Fate had it that I ended up with ‘Ali ibn Mihran and found out that he read Kitab al Maghazi to Salamah. I said to him that Ibn Humaid had also read Kitab al Maghazi to us, from Salamah. ‘Ali ibn Mihran was astonished and said, “He heard the book from me!”[21]

Muhammad ibn ‘Isa al Damaghani recalls that after Harun ibn al Mughirah passed away he asked ibn Humaid al Razi to show him whatever he narrated from Harun. He took out his scrolls and I counted no more than three-hundred and sixty odd narrations. Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Hammad al ‘Attar says that when Ibn Humaid presented his scrolls of the Ahadith from Harun ibn al Mughirah at a later stage, they were in excess of ten-thousand narrations.[22] How did he narrate these from Harun after his demise?

Fadlak al Razi said that he entered upon Muhammad ibn Humaid whilst he was grafting chains onto different texts.[23] Al Dhahabi commented on this saying that this was the point of suspicion with Ibn Humaid al Razi. He did not believe that Ibn Humaid would forge the wording of a Hadith; rather he would attach an acceptable chain to a narration which has been transmitted with an unreliable chain. This is a classical case of Sariqat al Hadith.[24]

Salih Jazarah states, “I have not seen anyone so skillful at deception as Sulaiman al Shadhakuni and Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi, his [Ibn Humaid’s] narrations [from his teachers] grew over time!”[25] It is for this very reason that he used to say, “We were suspicious of Ibn Humaid.”[26]

Al Bukhari said about him, “Fihi Nazar.”[27] It is well-known that he used this term to indicate severity of weakness in a narrator. Al Tirmidhi states that al Bukhari held a favourable opinion about Muhammad ibn Humaid initially, then he declared him weak.[28]The reason for al Bukhari re-evaluating his position on Muhammad ibn Humaid is obvious; and confirms his progression as a deceitful narrator of Hadith.

Abu Zur’ah al Razi maintained that Muhammad ibn Humaid deliberately falsified narrations [meaning he replaced the weak chains with plausible chains].[29] Similarly, it was the unanimous opinion of all the Hadith experts of Rayy that Muhammad ibn Humaid was extremely unreliable in Hadith because he would replace the weak chains with acceptable chains.[30]

The following are known to have discredited Ibn Humaid citing similar reasons: Ya’qub ibn Shaybah al Sadusi, al Bukhari, Abu Zur’ah, Abu Hatim, Fadlak al Razi, Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al Kawsaj, Salih Jazarah, Ibn Khirash, al Tirmidhi, al Nasa’i, Ibn Khuzaimah, al Bayhaqi, Ibn Hibban, Ibn ‘Adi, Ibn al Jawzi, and of course al Dhahabi since it is his biographical entry on Muhammad ibn Humaid – wherein he points out the falseness of this narration specifically – that ‘Abdul Hussain recorded this report.

To say it again, the endorsement of both Yahya ibn Ma’in and Ahmed ibn Hanbal holds no weight in this instance.  The list of those who discredit him is too large to ignore, especially when have provided details and reasons for discrediting Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi. This proves that they were aware of issues that Ibn Ma’in and Imam Ahmed were not privy to. Moreover, we find that the experts of Hadith from his own city, who knew him better than anyone else, stating that he could not be trusted and exposing his deceit.

There is much more evidence that supports these facts about Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi. However, whatever has been mentioned is sufficient to make the case.The narration attributed to Buraydah radiya Llahu ‘anhu is thus extremely weak, if not entirely fabricated.

 

Narration Three

The narration ascribed to Salman radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been recorded by al Tabarani by way of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al Hadrami – Ibrahim ibn Hassan al Tha’labi – Yahya ibn Ya’laNasih ibn ‘Abdullah – Simak ibn Harb – Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu[31]

Besides the obvious interruption between Simak and Abu Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu, there are two unreliable narrators who appear in this chain.

 

Yahya ibn Ya’la

Al Dhahabi included Yahya ibn Yala al Aslami in his encyclopaedia of weak narrators, Mizan al Itidal, citing al Bukhari, who declared him Mudtarib (confused) as well as Abu Hatim al Razi, who considered Yahya ibn Ya’la weak. Al Dhahabi pointed out that Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami was known to have transmitted many disreputable narrations.[32]

Ibn Hajar says, “Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami al Kufi; a Shia, Daif.”[33]

 

Nasih ibn ‘Abdullah

Nasih ibn ‘Abdullah al Tamimi is extremely weak. The abundance of errors and contradictions found in his narrations – when compared to his peers – resulted in his narrations being abandoned entirely. He was considered weak by a number of experts in the field of narrator criticism: al Bukhari, Abu Zur’ah al Razi, Ya’qub ibn Sufyan, Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi, al Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban, al ‘Uqayli, Ibn ‘Adi, al Bazzar, al Daraqutni and al Hakim al Naysapuri among many others.[34]

Yahya ibn Ma’in repeatedly discredited him, sometimes saying that he is worth nothing.[35] ‘Amr ibn ‘Ali al Fallas has graded him Matruk [suspected of forgery] due to the abundant anomalous narrations he narrates by way of Simak. Abu Hatim al Razi appears to share this opinion on Nasih.[36]

After declaring that Nasih is weak and providing quotations from the early scholars, al Dhahabi has cited this narration specifically as one of the problematic narrations that were known from Nasih.[37]

Al Haythami has also declared this narration extremely weak due to the presence of Nasih in the chain.[38]

 

Narration Four

The narration ascribed to Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been recorded by Abu Nuaim – and from him ibn ‘Asakir – by way of Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman ibn Abi Shaybah – Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn MaymunAli ibn AbisHarith ibn HasirahQasim ibn Jundub – Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu[39]

‘Abdul Hussain has already cited this narration in Letter 48 and we have mentioned the details on why this narration is extremely unreliable, if not fabricated.[40]

Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Maymun is documented among the weak narrators both by al Dhahabi and Ibn Hajar. Ibn Hajar quotes al Azdi describing him as extremely weak. [41]

There is concensus among the scholars of Hadith thatAli ibn Abis is weak and unreliable. Some going as far as describng him as deserving to be abandoned.[42]

Qasim ibn Jundub is considered Majhul, without biographical data.

 

Narration Five

The Hadith ascribed to Abu Ayub al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu appears by way of a common chain from Qais ibn al Rabi – Al A’mash – Abayah ibn Ribi – Abu Ayub al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[43]

It has been discussed at length in Letter 48. ‘Abdul Hussain has run out of narrations and is constantly citing repeated narrations. We shall provide a summary of some of the issues below as the details have already been covered.[44]

The obvious cause for weakness, besides the issues with the narrators, is the interruption between al A’mash and ‘Abayah ibn Rib’i.

Qais ibn al Rabi was considered weak in terms of his memory. The scholars only differed on how serious this weakness was. The fact that he was a Shia could have further influenced the way he narrates the Fada’il of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. [45]

‘Abayah ibn Rib’i was a fanatic Shia, known for narrating baseless reports.[46]

 

Narration Six

The narration ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma is an adaption of Narration Five. It appeared under the discussiosn on Letter 48. All the narrators from ‘Abdul Razzaq, the common narrator in all chains, are either suspected of forging Hadith or unknown entities.

It was common for unscrupulous narrators to invent a name and ascribe false narrations to reliable Muhaddithin by way of this invented narrator . This appears to be the case for this narration.[47]

 

Narration Seven

This narration, ascribed to Abu Hurarah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, is also an adaptation of the previous two narrations. And has been dealt with under the discussions on Letter 48.[48] Al Dhahabi identified the problematic narrator in this chain: Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ahmed al Tirmidhi. This is what he said about him, “He narrated a fabricated report from Suraij ibn Yunus  which he is suspected of forging.”[49]

 

Narration Eight

One wonders if ‘Abdul Hussain has any respect for the intellegence of his readers! He repeats the Hadith attributed to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in Narration Six. The only difference is a slight variation of the wording. Essentially it is the same narration.

These are the narrators who ascribe the narration to ‘Abdul Razzaq:

  1. Ibrahim ibn al Hajjaj[50]Al Dhahabi claims that he is Majhul, and that he narrated a baseless report citing this very narration.[51] Ibn al Jawzi has also declared this arration significantly flawed.[52] Al Haythami also alludes to the fact that he is Majhul.[53]
  2. Abu al Salt al Harawi[54]Significantly weak, suspected of lying. He is known specifically for transmitting baseless narrations by way of ‘Abdul Razzaq. [55]
  3. Ahmed ibn Abdullah ibn Yazid al Hushaymi[56]is suspected of forgery of Hadith. Al Daraqutni states that he would narrate many false narrations by way of ‘Abdul Razzaq. [57]
  4. Hassan ibn Ali al Mamari[58]the scholars are divided about his status as a narrator of Hadith and he is known for having narrated uncorroborated narrations. There were many discrepencies in what he narrated when compared against what his peers narrated. His version of this narration is further marred by the fact that he did not receive it from ‘Abdul Razzaq; rather he narrates it via Abu al Salt, ‘Abdul Salam ibn Salih al Harawi.[59]
  5. Muhammad ibn Jaban al Jindaysapuri[60] is considered Majhul and no biographical data on him can be found.

 

Narration Nine

It is no surprise that this narration, ascribed to Ma’qil ibn Yasar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, is also a repeat. Not only is it a repeat, but it is a version of the previously cited narrations five through eight. It has also been discussed under Letter 48.[61]

 

Conclusion

So much for ‘Abdul Hussain’s claim that Mutawatir narrations prove Wasiyyah! He could barely bring a narration that he had not previously cited; then too extremely weak, like all the other narrations he has quoted thus far. The problem with forged correspondences is that the forgeries lack finesse and the craftsman becomes careless. No respectful scholar would have fallen for these repetitions, let alone accept the fabricated narrations that ‘Abdul Hussain filled his book with.

 


[1] This term is used by those who subscribe to the view that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bequeathed ‘Ali the leadership of the Muslim Ummah.

[2] Mizan al I’tidal by al Dhahabi, vol. 2, p. 640.

[3] Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 2, p. 458

[4] Al Kamil, vol. 5 pg. 21; Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 2 pg. 273

[5] Al Mizan, vol. 3 pg. 196

[6] Al Taqrib, bio no. 8093

[7] See discussions on Letter 8

[8] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 192, al Kashif bio.2043, Taqrib al Tahdhib bio. 2505

[9] Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 25 pg. 98, Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 11 pg. 503

[10] He passed away before Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi.

[11] They were colleagues and shared the same teachers in any instances.

[12] He also passed away before Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi.

[13] Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 25 pg. 99, Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 11 pg. 503

[14] Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3 pg. 60

[15] Ibid

[16] Ibid

[17] Al Majruhin, vol. 2 pg. 303-304

[18] The objection is that it is necessary to relate the Hadith as he received it. If he received it with an error he ought to convey it likewise and then point out the error separately. Muhammad ibn Humaid began adjusting his book and narrating it with the adjustments. This was early on in his career.

[19] Al Jarh wal Ta’dil, vol. 7 bio. 1275

[20] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol 11 pg. 503

[21] Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3 pg. 64

[22] Al Jarh wal Ta’dil, vol. 7 pg. 233

[23] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 11 pg. 503

[24] Ibid

[25] Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3 pg. 64

[26] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 11 pg. 504

[27] Al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 1 pgs. 69-70; al Tarikh al Saghir, vol. 2 pg. 386; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 25 pg. 102

[28] Al Tirmidhi, Abwab al Jihad, Hadith no: 1677

[29] Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 25 pg. 104

[30] Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3 pg. 62

[31] Al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 6 pg. 221, Hadith no: 6063

[32] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 4, pg. 415

[33]Al Taqrib, bio: 7677

[34] Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 29 pg. 261, Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 4 pg. 240

[35] Tarikh ibn Ma’in, vol. 2 pg. 601

[36] Al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, vol. 8 pg. 503

[37] Al Mizan vol. 4 pg. 240

[38] Majma’ al Zawa’id, vol. 9 pg. 114

[39] Hilyat al Awliya’ vol. 1 pg. 63; Tarikh Dimashq vol. 42 pg. 386

[40] See discussions on Letter 48, Hadith no: 5

[41] Mizan al I’tidal vol.1 pg. 64; Lisan al Mizan vol. 1 pg. 356

[42] Mizan al I’tidal, vol.3 pg. 134-135

[43] Al Mujam al Kabir vol. 4 pg. 171-172

[44] See discussions on Letter 48, Hadith no: 28

[45] Al Kashif biio. 4600, Mizan al I’tidal vol. 3 pg. 393, al Taqrib bio. 5573

[46] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 388, Lisan al Mizan vol. 4 pg. 417

[47] See discussions on Letter 48, Hadith no: 28

[48] Ibid

[49] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 3. Pg. 457

[50] Tarikh Baghdad vol. 5 pg. 319; Tarikh Dimashq vol. 42 pg. 135

[51] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 1 pg. 26

[52] Al ‘Ilal al Mutanahiyah vol. 1 pg. 220

[53] Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 112

[54] Al Mujam al Kabir vol. 11 pg. 94 Hadith no: 11154; Tarikh Baghdad vol. 5 pg. 319, Tarikh Dimashq vol 42. Pg 136

[55] Al Majruhin vol. 2 pg. 151; Tarikh Baghdad vol. 11 pg. 46-51; Tahdhib al Kamal vol. 18 pg 73-82; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ vol. 11 pg. 446; Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 616

[56] Tarikh Baghdad vol. 5 pg. 319, Tarikh Dimashq vol 42. Pg 136; Al Ilal al Mutanahiyah vol. 1 pg. 353

[57] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 1 pg; 109 Lisan al Mizan vol. 1 pg. 501

[58] Al Mujam al Kabir vol. 11 pg. 93 Hadith no: 11153

[59] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 1 pg 505; Lisan al Mizan vol. 3 pg. 71

[60] Ibid

[61] Hadith no: 28