Sources to Discover the Reports on the Sahabah

The Meaning of al Sahabi according to the Ahlus Sunnah and Rafidah in brief
February 28, 2024
The Rank of the Sahabah in the Sight of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah
February 29, 2024

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Sources to Discover the Reports on the Sahabah

Certainly, ascertaining the reports on the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum is not like ascertaining the reports on others besides them. The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum enjoy a position and status unequalled. Allah selected them for the companionship of His Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and spreading his Sunnah throughout the populated world with aspiration and ascertainment in transmitting and mutually discussing the ahadith of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Those present conveyed to those absent. When they doubted a narration, they desisted from transmitting it just as some cautioned others from addition and subtraction. All of this out of fear of falling into falsely attributing something to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[1]

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:

 

إنه ليمنعني أن أحدثكم حديثا كثيرا أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من تعمد علي كذبا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار

What certainly prevents me from narrating many ahadith to you is the warning of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Whoever falsely attributes to me intentionally should prepare his abode in Hell.”[2]

 

‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to his father, “I do not hear you narrating from the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as others narrate.” Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu explained:

 

أما إني لم أفارقه ولكن سمعته يقول من كذب علي فليتبوأ مقعده من النار

Harken! I did not separate from him. However, I heard him salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warning, “Whoever falsely attributes to me should prepare his abode in Hell.”[3]

 

The Imams among the pious predecessors rahimahumu Llah adopted the same methodology: necessary caution in accepting narrations, to distinguish the pure from the impure, the genuine from the counterfeit, and the sound from the unsound in his Sunnah.

Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah writes:

 

اعلم وفقك الله تعالى أن الواجب على كل أحد عرف التمييز بين صحيح الروايات وسقيمها وثقات الناقلين لها من المتهمين ألا يروي منها إلا ما عرف صحة مخارجه والستارة في ناقليه وأن يتقي منها ما كان منها عن أهل التهم والمعاندين من أهل البدع

Realise—may Allah grant you success—that it is mandatory upon each one who knows how to distinguish sound narrations from unsound ones and reliable transmitters from the accused not to narrate except that which he is knowledgeable of the sources’ soundness and the transmitters’ reliability, and to adopt caution when dealing with those from the accused and the obstinate among the innovators.[4]

 

Unfortunately, historical narrations were not blessed with the scrutiny, examination, and caution observed by the Muhaddithin and transmitters of Hadith from the Sahabah, Tabi’in, and the ‘Ulama’ who learnt from them. It is cumbersome to apply the methodology of examination practiced by the Muhaddithin with all its steps to historical reports.[5]

Dr. Muhammad al A’zami explains:

 

فإن المنهج الذي اختاره المحدثون قد نفذوه وطبقوه على بحوثهم ودراساتهم ونقدهم بينما يكاد يكون كلام المؤرخين كلاما نظريا خياليا ولم يطبق إلا في أضيق الحدود في حوادث نادرة جدا وهذا فرق جوهري آخر بين عمل المحدثين والمؤرخين

Indeed, the methodology adopted by the Muhaddithin, they practiced it and applied it to their discussions, lessons, and examination; while the speech of the Historians was about to become speculative, imaginary, and they did not apply it except in the most constrained limit in very strange incidents. This is another essential difference between the practice of the Muhaddithin and the Historians.[6]

 

That is why the one who peruses historical reports concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum will find plenty distortions, in which the reporters and Historians got entangled. They documented false reports which removed them from excellence to its opposite. A group of adherents of deviated sects—weak and accused in their integrity—joined in transmitting these reports. The Rafidah played the biggest role in disseminating these false reports. They have plenty mediums to attain this; some of the most significant of these are:

  1. Fabricating and lying.
  2. Addition and subtraction in the reports they transmit to disfigure the correct image.
  3. Highlighting and overemphasising flaws and mistakes while concealing realities and achievements.
  4. Incorrect commentary and interpretation and documenting events with a disfigured form.
  5. Composing poetry to support unsound historical events, since Arabic poetry is considered a historical certificate in authenticating reports.
  6. Falsely attributing forged books to prominent individuals, as is the practice of the Rafidah in many of their books like Nahj al Balaghah, al Kafi, etc.

 

On the strength of these mediums, the enemies of Islam—the Orientalists[7] and those brainwashed by these [corrupt] views and ideologies from those who affiliate to Islam—were able to criticise the best generation and attack their honour, relying on false reports they found in dubious historical sources or unreliable books. Owing to this, the need arose as an obligation to practically purify our history from these reports which do not have any sound basis. The reporters publicised them and mixed them with sound reports. They do not have that concern, scrutiny, and intensification found in the books of the Sunnah and Hadith.[8]

‘Allamah Ibn al Salah[9] rahimahu Llah states:

 

وغالب الأخباريين الإكثار والتخليط فيما يروونه

Majority of reporters are guilty of increasing and mixing up what they narrate.[10]

 

This has many reasons, some of which are:

  1. Bigotry to views and schools. This fanaticism forces them to accept and transmit falsehood.
  2. Trusting the transmitters of reports and not examining them on the barometer of al jarh wa al ta’dil.
  3. Seeking proximity to men of high ranks with praise and mention, thus they elaborate on a report beyond its reality.
  4. The reporters transmit reports according to their perception and assumption, thus falling into dishonesty.
  5. Assuming truthfulness when transmitting reports. This is the result of trusting the transmitters of reports [without scrutiny].[11]

 

Based on the above, it is erroneous to rely solely on historical sources when studying reports on the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the disagreements between them. This is because studying their history is not like studying the history of others besides them. Disparaging them [the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum] is disparaging the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Imam Abu Zur’ah rahimahu Llah explains:

 

إذا رأيت الرجل ينتقص أحدا من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاعلم أنه زنديق وذلك أن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم عندنا حق والقرآن حق وإنما أدى إلينا هذا القرآن والسنن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وإنما يريدون أن يجرحوا شهودنا ليبطلوا الكتاب والسنة والجرح بهم أولى

When you see a man disparaging any of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then realise he is a heretic. This is because the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is true according to us and the Qur’an is true. Only and only the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam transmitted the Qur’an and Sunnah practices to us. They (those who disparage the Sahabah) only seek to declare our witnesses unreliable so that they may abolish the Book and Sunnah. Declaring them (those who disparage the Sahabah) unreliable is more befitting.[12]

 

When the matter is so critical, alertness is mandatory when studying historical sources and caution is essential with the narrations they bring concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum due to the existence of scores of weak narrators and reporters, not trusted in transmission.

 

From these sources are:

  1. Al Isti’ab fi Ma’rifat al Ashab of Imam Ibn ‘Abdul Barr. He is critiqued for the profuse citing of unreliable reports, especially regarding the disputes between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

‘Allamah ibn al Salah rahimahu Llah speaks about him:

 

هذا علم كبير قد ألف الناس فيه كتبا من أحلاها وأكثرها فوائد كتاب الاستيعاب لابن عبد البر لولا ما شانه به من إيراده كثيرا مما شجر بين الصحابة وحكاياته عن الأخباريين لا المحدثين

This is a grand knowledge. People have written many books on this subject. One of the sweetest and most beneficial of them is the book al Isti’ab of Ibn ‘Abdul Barr, if not for what spoiled it, i.e., his citing many reports of the disputes between the Sahabah and his reporting from the Historians, not the Muhaddithin.[13]

 

  1. Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk of Imam al Tabari[14]. It is one of the most significant books on history. However, he cites sound, weak, unsound, and false reports. Owing to this, many men of innovation and passion have clung to it in spreading their falsehood as is the condition with the Rafidah. Imam al Tabari rahimahu Llah did not stipulate authenticity a condition in his book. He says:

 

فما يكون في كتابي من خبر ذكرناه عن بعض الماضين مما يستنكر قارئه أو يستشنعه سامعه من أجل أنه لم يعرف له وجها من الصحة ولا معنى في الحقيقة فيعلم أنه لم يؤت في ذلك من قبلنا وإنما أتي من قبل بعض ناقليه إلينا وإنا إنما أدينا ذلك على نحو ما أدي إلينا

Whichever report appears in my book which we have mentioned of some past incidents which is questionable and which the listener considers abhorrent, due to the fact that he does not recognise any angle of soundness for it nor any [sound] meaning in reality, he should know that this is not from our side. It is actually from the side of the reporters to us. We only transmitted it verbatim as it was transmitted to us.[15]

 

This condition of al Tabari was one of the reasons which made him fall into false narrations against the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. The book consists of a large number of weak, unreliable narrators and reporters in transmitting many of the reports.[16]

  1. The books of al Mas’udi[17] like Muruj al Dhahab, al Tanbih wa al Ishraf, etc., contain plenty false and concocted reports. He is a man of odd and strange reports. He was a Shia and Mu’tazili. We thus find his Shia tendencies directly or indirectly affecting his authoring Islamic history. Despite his precaution at some occasions, he advances and prefers what conforms to his Shia inclinations and tendencies. This book is considered one of the most significant sources of the Rafidah.[18]

 

  1. The books of al Jahiz[19], author of al Hayawan. He is one of the leaders of the innovators. He is among the weak, matruk (suspected of forgery) narrators; his narrations and reports should not be transmitted. His books are not safe and are unreliable.[20]

 

  1. The books of al Asbahani[21]—author of al Aghani. He is suspected of Shi’ism and transgression. His reports are unreliable. He would report strange things. It is reported about him that he attached no importance to abstaining from drinking alcohol. His books are filled with every type of obnoxious and repulsive report. He transmitted in his book many reports which disparage the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and pious predecessors because he relied upon liars and criticised narrators. Moreover, it is a book of literature which contains tales and fables.[22]
  2. Sharh Nahj al Balaghah of Ibn Abi al Hadid[23]. Nahj al Balaghah is falsely and erroneously attributed to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It contains reports which disparage the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Imam al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah comments on it:

 

ولا أسانيد لذلك وبعضها باطل وفيه حق ولكن فيه موضوعات حاشا الإمام من النطق بها

There are no chains for this. Some of them are false. And there is [some] truth in it. However, it contains fabrications, the Imam is far from having uttered them.[24]

 

He states at another place:

 

ومن طالع كتاب نهج البلاغة جزم بأنه مكذوب على أمير المؤمنين علي رضي الله عنه ففيه من السب الصراح والحط من أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما وفيه من التناقض والأشياء الركيكة والعبارات التي من له معرفة بنفس القرشيين من الصحابة وبنفس غيرهم ممن بعدهم من المتأخرين جزم بأن الكتاب أكثره باطل

Whoever studies the book Nahj al Balaghah will determine that it is falsely attributed to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It contains unequivocal abuse and disparagement of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. It contains contradictions, feeble aspects, and [faulty] texts—one who has knowledge of the nature of the men of Quraysh and the nature of the latter ones after them will determine that majority of the book is untrue.[25]

 

Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah writes:

 

فأكثر الخطب التي ينقلها صاحب نهج البلاغة كذب على علي وعلي رضي الله عنه أجل وأعلى قدرا من أن يتكلم بهذا الكلام ولكن هؤلاء وضعوا أكاذيب وظنوا أنها مدح فلا هي صدق ولا هي مدح

Majority of the discourses which the author of Nahj al Balaghah reports is falsely attributed to ‘Ali. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is far more sublime and loftier in rank than uttering such [detestable] words. They, however, fabricated lies and thought it was praise. It is neither true, nor praise.[26]

 

As a result, the reports in this book are not reliable, especially those concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

  1. Tarikh al Yaqubi[27]. He is a Shia Imami Historian. He was unable to conceal his ‘Alawi inclinations. His attachment dominated him; thus, he did not acknowledge the Caliphate of the Rightly Guided Khalifas besides the Caliphate of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He has reported in his Tarikh a profuse number of weak reports which misrepresent realities.[28]

 

  1. Al Imamah wa al Siyasah. It is falsely and erroneously attributed to Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah[29]. He is from the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah. This books contains historical distortions and disparagements of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, which strongly suggests that the book’s author is a Rafidi who wished to exploit the name Ibn Qutaybah to promote his creed and fables upon the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah.[30]

 

Consequently, we condense the correct academic approach regarding reports concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in the upcoming points:

  1. Subjugating the narrators to the barometer of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil (disapproval and approval) observed by the ‘Ulama’ of Hadith. This aspect is necessary for accepting narrators and narrations, and assessment of their historical era. This is possible and easy when one who undertakes it considers the areas of strength and weakness in these reports. Non-observance of this often leads to confusion in the face of many conflicting reports.[31]

Al Khatib al Baghdadi[32] rahimahu Llah writes:

 

لما كان أكثر الأحكام لا سبيل إلى معرفته إلا من جهة النقل لزم النظر في حال الناقل والبحث عن عدالة الراوين فمن ثبتت عدالته جازت روايته وإلا عدل عنه والتمس معرفة الحكم من جهة غيره لأن الأخبار حكمها حكم الشهادات في أنها لا تقبل إلا عن الثقات

When majority of verdicts cannot be ascertained except through transmission, it is necessary to examine the condition of the transmitter and explore the integrity of the reporters. Whoever’s integrity is established, his report is allowed; otherwise, it is discarded and the verdict is ascertained from a different angle. This is because reports have the same ruling as testimonies, in the sense that they are not accepted except from the reliable.[33]

 

Ibn Khaldun[34] rahimahu Llah says:

 

وكثيرا ما وقع للمؤرخين والمفسرين وأئمة النقل من المغاليط في الحكايات والوقائع لاعتمادهم فيها على مجرد النقل غثا أو سمينا ولم يعرضوها على أصولها ولا قاسوها بأشباهها ولا سبروها بمعيار الحكمة والوقوف على طبائع الكائنات وتحكيم النظرة والبصيرة في الأخبار فضلوا عن الحق وتاهوا في بيداء الوهم والغلط

The plenty blunders committed by Historians, Exegetists, and reporters in incidents and happenings are due to them relying on mere transmission, sound or unsound. They did not present them to their principles, nor measured them against their like, nor examined them on the scale of wisdom and awareness of the natures of the creations coupled with appointing examination and discernment in reports. They thus deviated from the truth and were destroyed in the wilderness of assumption and error.[35]

 

Sheikh Muhibb al Din al Khatib[36] rahimahu Llah states:

 

وهذه الكتب المصنوعة والأخبار المبالغة فيها أو المكذوبة شحنت أسفار الأخبار وكتب الأدب ولتمييز الحق فيها من الباطل طريقان أحدهما طريق أهل الحديث في ألا يقبلوا إلا الأخبار المسندة إلى أشخاص بأسمائهم ثم يستعرضوا أحوال هؤلاء الأشخاص فيقبلوا من صادقهم ويضربوا وجه الكذاب بكذبه والطريق الثاني طريق علماء التاريخ وهو أن يعرضوا كل خبر على سجايا من يخبر عنه ويقارنوه بسيرته وهل هو ممن ينتظر وقوعه ممن نسب إليه ويلائم المعروف من سابقته وأخلاقه أم لا وتمحيص تاريخنا يحتاج إلى هاتين الطريقتين معا يقوم بهما علماء راسخون فيهما

These fabricated books and reports containing hyperbole or lies disfigured the manuscripts on reports and the books on literature. There are two methods of differentiating truth from falsehood. One is the method of the masters of Hadith. They do not accept save those reports which are attributed to individuals with their names. They then examine the condition of these individuals, accepting from the truthful and flinging the lie at the face of the liar. The second method is the method of the ‘Ulama’ of History. They present each report against the characteristics of the one about whom it is reported and compare it to his behaviour. Is it something plausible to be articulated by the one it is attributed to and relates with what is known of his earlier reports and his character or not? Analysis of our history needs both these methods to be undertaken by well-grounded ‘Ulama’ in both.[37]

 

Indeed, applying this methodology to the reporters leads to authentication of historical reports and examination of the men who transmitted them.

  1. It is necessary to refer to the books of the Ahlus Sunnah to recognise the reports on the Sahabah due to the existence of plenty historical reports on a high level of authenticity; and since the books of Hadith have been serviced more than the books on History from the side of the expert reviewers. Likewise, it is possible to refer to historical texts in books other than the books of History, like the books on Tafsir, Tabaqat, Tarajim, Ma’ajim of the Sahabah, the books on virtues, etc. It is possible for a voluminous historical material to be authored from them altogether. We are thus not in need of reports and happenings we do not trust, as they will soon lead to destroying the desired reality which we are discussing, except when they concur with what appears in the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus of the Ummah. When they contradict these sources, they cannot be considered, as the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus of the Ummah are higher than all views.[38]

Muhibb al Din al Khatib rahimahu Llah says:

 

وإن الرجوع إلى كتب السنة وملاحظة الأئمة مما يسهل هذه المهمة

Referring to the books of the Sunnah and consideration of the Imams facilitates this important task.[39]

 

  1. Exercising precaution from the books of the innovators and deviated sects and non-acceptance of their reports and description of the happenings between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, especially those whose innovation excommunicates them from the fold of Islam like the Rawafid and factions of the Qaramitah[40], Ismailiyyah[41], Nusayriyyah[42], and others, or those from whom indications of factionalism or prejudice for a sect or school is apparent, as this is a preventative veil from seeing the reality.[43]

 

In short: When the report deals with the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, a doctrinal decree, or a Shar’i matter, then close examination of the reporters and painstakingly critiquing them in accordance to the rules of the Muhaddithin is essential. Yes, when the report does not deal with any of the above, then leniency may be adopted through analogy to what the ‘Ulama’ of Hadith determined: Strictness in ahadith on ahkam (verdicts/laws) and leniency in virtues of actions.

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahu Llah declares:

 

ثلاثة كتب ليس لها أصول المغازي والملاحم والتفسير

Three books do not have principles, viz. Maghazi (Battles), Malahim (Prophesised events at the end of times), and Tafsir.[44]

 

Meaning, they do not have [sound] chains, since majority are marasil (incomplete chains).[45] This does not mean that they accept the report of every individual. The condition of integrity in transmitting a hadith and a report is the same. That in which leniency is sometimes shown is the dabt (accuracy) and itqan (proficiency) of the narrator in what he reports. They do not stipulate it as a condition in the reporter of history in the same way they would with a narrator of hadith. This methodology is reliable according to the researchers among the ‘Ulama’.[46]

For example, Hafiz Ibn Hajar describes Saif ibn ‘Umar al Tamimi as da’if (weak) in Hadith, yet says he is an Imam in History. He also establishes the rejection of the reports of Muhammad ibn Ishaq while at the same time describes him as an Imam in Maghazi (Battles).[47]

Imam Ibn Kathir is popular for his critique and examination. Yet, in his book al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, he was not bound by the barometer of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil with which the Muhaddithin are bound. He sometimes documents some reports and then clarifies his examination and view regarding their status.[48]

 

NEXT⇒ The Rank of the Sahabah in the Sight of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah


[1] Dirasat fi al Hadith al Nabawi, pg. 332; Dr. Muhammad al A’zami: Manhaj al Naqd ‘ind al Muhaddithin, pg. 124.

[2] Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 243, chapter on the sin of one who attributes falsely to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hadith: 108.

[3] Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 242, chapter on the sin of one who attributes falsely to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hadith: 107.

[4] Muqaddamat Sahih Muslim, vol. 1 pg. 94.

[5] Dr. Muhammad Amahzun: Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 24; Dr. Akram Diya’ al ‘Umari: Al Sirah al Nabawiyyah al Sahihah, vol. 1 pg. 45; Muhammad al Salimi: Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 226.

[6] Manhaj al Naqd ‘ind al Muhaddithin, pg. 98.

[7] The Orientalists: They are Western writers who embarked on launching treatises dissimilar to the Islamic East and those which include their civilisation, languages, and culture to ensure colonisation and Christianisation of the Muslims, coupled with achieving their targets in the lands of the Muslims. (Al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 2 pg. 696.)

[8] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 19-21.

[9] He is ‘Uthman ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Uthman ibn Musa, Abu ‘Amr, famous as Ibn al Salah. He was born in 557 AH and passed away in 643 AH. He authored Ma’rifat Anwa’ al Hadith and Adab al Mufti wa al Mustafti. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 243; al A’lam, vol. 4 pg. 207-208.)

[10] Muqaddamah Ibn al Salah, pg. 292.

[11] Muqaddamah Ibn Khaldun, pg. 125.

[12] Al Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah, pg. 49.

[13] ‘Ulum al Hadith, pg. 292; al Sakhawi: Tadreeb al Rawi, pg. 207.

[14] He is Muhammad ibn Jarir al Tabari, Abu Jafar, the Historian and Mufassir. He was born in Amil, Tabaristan, in 224 AH and passed away in Baghdad in 310 AH. He authored Tarikh al Tabari, Tafsir al Qur’an—commonly known as Tafsir al Tabari, etc. (Al Shadharat, vol. 4 pg. 53-54; Al A’lam, vol. 6 pg. 69.)

[15] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 1 pg. 9.

[16] The likes of Lut ibn Yahya, infamously known as Abu Mikhnaf. He died close to 170 AH. He is a Historian, ruined, unreliable. Al Daraqutni labels him da’if (weak). Ibn Ma’in comments, “He is not reliable.” Ibn ‘Adi writes, “A Shia extremist, the transmitter of their reports.” (Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 419-420.)

[17] He is ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali al Mas’udi, Abu al Hassan, a Shia, Mu’tazili Historian. He died in 346 AH. Muruj al Dhahab and Akhbar al Khawarij are his works. (Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 15 pg. 569; al A’lam, vol. 4 pg. 277; Mujam al Mu’allifin, vol. 2 pg. 433.)

[18] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 4 pg. 84; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 15 pg. 569; Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 5 pg. 532; Sulaiman al Suwaykat: Manhaj al Mas’udi fi Kitabihi al Tarikh, pg. 74-77.

[19] He is ‘Amr ibn Bahr ibn Mahbub, Abu ‘Uthman al Jahiz, a Mu’tazili. He died in 255 AH. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 370; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 16 pg. 201.)

[20] Al Du’afa’ wa al Matrukin, vol. 2 pg. 223; al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 247.

[21] He is ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Muhammad, Abu al Farj al Asbahani al Umawi al Shia. He passed away in 356 AH. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 307; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 16 pg. 201.)

[22] Al Muntazam fi Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk, vol. 14 pg. 185; Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 123; Walid al A’zami: Al Saif al Yamani fi Nahr al Asbahani, pg. 27; Mashhur Hassan Al Salman: Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 28.

[23] He is ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Hibat Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al Hussain ibn Abi al Hadid, Abu Hamid. He is one of the distinguished Mu’tazilah. He was born in Mada’in in 586 AH then moved to Baghdad where he died in 656 AH. His books are Sharh Nahj al Balaghah and al Qasa’id al Sab’ al ‘Alawiyyat. (Al A’lam, vol. 3 pg. 286.)

[24] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 17 pg. 589.

[25] Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 124.

[26] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 8 pg. 55.

[27] He is Ahmed ibn Ishaq ibn Jafar ibn Wahb ibn Wadih al Yaqubi, Abu Jafar, the Historian, Geographer, and well-travelled. He was a resident of Baghdad. He was born in 284 AH; there are other weak views in this regard. Tarikh al Yaqubi, Kitab al Buldan, and Akhbar al Umam al Salifah are his books. (Al A’lam, vol. 1 pg. 95.)

[28] Dr. Akram Diya’ al ‘Umari: Kitab al Caliphate al Rashidah, pg. 19; Manhaj al Mas’udi fi Kitabihi al Tarikh, pg. 239; Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 56.

[29] He is ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari, or al Mirwazi, Abu Muhammad. He is one of the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah. He was born in Baghdad in 213 AH and passed away in Rajab 276 AH. He authored many books like Ta’wil Mukhtalaf al Hadith and Kitab al Ma’ani. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 42-43; al Shadharat, vol. 3 pg. 318.)

[30] ‘Aqidat al Imam Ibn Qutaybah, pg. 90-93; Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 298-300.

[31] Ibn al ‘Arabi: Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 179; Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 25; al Sirah al Nabawiyyah al Sahihah, pg. 12, 45.

[32] He is Ahmed ibn ‘Ali ibn Thabit ibn Ahmed ibn Mahdi al Baghdadi, Abu Bakr, commonly known as al Khatib. He is one of the Huffaz Historians and senior Shafi’i ‘Ulama’. He was born in Jumada al Akhirah, 392 AH and passed away in 463 AH. Some of his works are al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’ and al Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah. (Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 18 pg. 270-296; Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 3 pg. 1135; al Shadharat, vol. 5 pg. 262.)

[33] Al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’, vol. 2 pg. 200.

[34] He is ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun, Abu Zaid, al Hadrami al Ishbili, the Philosopher and Historian. He was born in Tunisia in 732 AH and assumed the post of judge of the Malikiyyah and later passed away in Egypt in 808 AH. Sharh al Burdah, Risalah fi al Mantiq, and Tarikh ibn Khaldun are some of his books. (Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani: Inba’ al Ghamr bi Abna’ al ‘Umr, vol. 2 pg. 339; al Shadharat, vol. 9 pg. 119; al A’lam, vol. 3 pg. 330.)

[35] Muqaddamat Ibn Khaldun, pg. 92.

[36] He is Muhibb al Din ibn Abi al Fath Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Qadir ibn Salih al Khatib. He is one of the senior Islamic authors. He was born in Damascus in 1303 AH and passed away in 1389 AH. (Al A’lam, vol. 5 pg. 282.)

[37] Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 145.

[38] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 26; Marwiyyat Abi Mikhnaf fi Tarikh al Tabari, pg. 8; Nur ‘Alim Jalil: Al Sahabah wa Makanatuhum fi al Islam, pg. 136.

[39] Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 179.

[40] The Qaramitah: An internal movement who trace their origin to Ahmed ibn al Ash’ath, titled al Qirmit due to his short stature and shins. He was one of the followers of ‘Abdullah ibn Maymun al Qaddah, the Ismaili, who spread the fundamentals of the Ismailiyyah in the south of Persia in 260 AH. It is a movement with the front of Shi’ism for the Ahlul Bayt, but their reality is heresy, libertinism, destruction of morals, and razing the Islamic State to the ground. (Al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 1 pg. 378; ‘Abdullah al Amin: Dirasat fi al Firaq wa al Mazahib al Qadimah wa al Mu’asirah, vol. 1 pg. 129.)

[41] The Ismailiyyah: One of the sects of the Rafidah. They continued Imamah to Jafar and appointed his son, Ismail ibn Jafar, Imam after him. They then differed regarding his demise during the lifetime of his father. Some suggested that he passed away during his father’s lifetime and thus continued Imamah to his sons specifically. Others claimed that he did not die, but manifested his death out of Taqiyyah, to avoid being assassinated. (Al Farq bayn al Firaq, pg. 62-63; al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 1 pg. 155-156.)

[42] The Nusayriyyah: An internal movement who manifested in the third century hijri. They trace their origin to Muhammad ibn Nusayr al Basri al Numairi. He is originally Persian. They claim divinity for ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Their proof is that the appearance of a soul with a physical body is a matter the intellect does not reject. (Al Shahrastani: Al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 1 pg. 152; al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 1 pg. 390; Dirasat fi al Firaq wa al Mazahib al Qadimah wa al Mu’asirah, vol. 1 pg. 162.)

[43] Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 234.

[44] Al Khatib al Baghdadi: Al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’, vol. 2 pg. 162.

[45] Ibn Taymiyyah: Muqaddamah fi Usul al Tafsir, vol. 1 pg. 22.

[46] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 25; Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 225-226.

[47] Taqrib al Tahdhib, pg. 262, 467.

[48] Muhammad Shafi’ al ‘Uthmani: Maqam al Sahabah, pg. 31, citing from Majallat al Da’i al Shahriyyah, pg. 5.

BACK⇒ Return to Table of contents

 

Sources to Discover the Reports on the Sahabah

Certainly, ascertaining the reports on the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum is not like ascertaining the reports on others besides them. The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum enjoy a position and status unequalled. Allah selected them for the companionship of His Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and spreading his Sunnah throughout the populated world with aspiration and ascertainment in transmitting and mutually discussing the ahadith of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Those present conveyed to those absent. When they doubted a narration, they desisted from transmitting it just as some cautioned others from addition and subtraction. All of this out of fear of falling into falsely attributing something to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[1]

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:

 

إنه ليمنعني أن أحدثكم حديثا كثيرا أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال من تعمد علي كذبا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار

What certainly prevents me from narrating many ahadith to you is the warning of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Whoever falsely attributes to me intentionally should prepare his abode in Hell.”[2]

 

‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to his father, “I do not hear you narrating from the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as others narrate.” Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu explained:

 

أما إني لم أفارقه ولكن سمعته يقول من كذب علي فليتبوأ مقعده من النار

Harken! I did not separate from him. However, I heard him salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam warning, “Whoever falsely attributes to me should prepare his abode in Hell.”[3]

 

The Imams among the pious predecessors rahimahumu Llah adopted the same methodology: necessary caution in accepting narrations, to distinguish the pure from the impure, the genuine from the counterfeit, and the sound from the unsound in his Sunnah.

Imam Muslim rahimahu Llah writes:

 

اعلم وفقك الله تعالى أن الواجب على كل أحد عرف التمييز بين صحيح الروايات وسقيمها وثقات الناقلين لها من المتهمين ألا يروي منها إلا ما عرف صحة مخارجه والستارة في ناقليه وأن يتقي منها ما كان منها عن أهل التهم والمعاندين من أهل البدع

Realise—may Allah grant you success—that it is mandatory upon each one who knows how to distinguish sound narrations from unsound ones and reliable transmitters from the accused not to narrate except that which he is knowledgeable of the sources’ soundness and the transmitters’ reliability, and to adopt caution when dealing with those from the accused and the obstinate among the innovators.[4]

 

Unfortunately, historical narrations were not blessed with the scrutiny, examination, and caution observed by the Muhaddithin and transmitters of Hadith from the Sahabah, Tabi’in, and the ‘Ulama’ who learnt from them. It is cumbersome to apply the methodology of examination practiced by the Muhaddithin with all its steps to historical reports.[5]

Dr. Muhammad al A’zami explains:

 

فإن المنهج الذي اختاره المحدثون قد نفذوه وطبقوه على بحوثهم ودراساتهم ونقدهم بينما يكاد يكون كلام المؤرخين كلاما نظريا خياليا ولم يطبق إلا في أضيق الحدود في حوادث نادرة جدا وهذا فرق جوهري آخر بين عمل المحدثين والمؤرخين

Indeed, the methodology adopted by the Muhaddithin, they practiced it and applied it to their discussions, lessons, and examination; while the speech of the Historians was about to become speculative, imaginary, and they did not apply it except in the most constrained limit in very strange incidents. This is another essential difference between the practice of the Muhaddithin and the Historians.[6]

 

That is why the one who peruses historical reports concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum will find plenty distortions, in which the reporters and Historians got entangled. They documented false reports which removed them from excellence to its opposite. A group of adherents of deviated sects—weak and accused in their integrity—joined in transmitting these reports. The Rafidah played the biggest role in disseminating these false reports. They have plenty mediums to attain this; some of the most significant of these are:

  1. Fabricating and lying.
  2. Addition and subtraction in the reports they transmit to disfigure the correct image.
  3. Highlighting and overemphasising flaws and mistakes while concealing realities and achievements.
  4. Incorrect commentary and interpretation and documenting events with a disfigured form.
  5. Composing poetry to support unsound historical events, since Arabic poetry is considered a historical certificate in authenticating reports.
  6. Falsely attributing forged books to prominent individuals, as is the practice of the Rafidah in many of their books like Nahj al Balaghah, al Kafi, etc.

 

On the strength of these mediums, the enemies of Islam—the Orientalists[7] and those brainwashed by these [corrupt] views and ideologies from those who affiliate to Islam—were able to criticise the best generation and attack their honour, relying on false reports they found in dubious historical sources or unreliable books. Owing to this, the need arose as an obligation to practically purify our history from these reports which do not have any sound basis. The reporters publicised them and mixed them with sound reports. They do not have that concern, scrutiny, and intensification found in the books of the Sunnah and Hadith.[8]

‘Allamah Ibn al Salah[9] rahimahu Llah states:

 

وغالب الأخباريين الإكثار والتخليط فيما يروونه

Majority of reporters are guilty of increasing and mixing up what they narrate.[10]

 

This has many reasons, some of which are:

  1. Bigotry to views and schools. This fanaticism forces them to accept and transmit falsehood.
  2. Trusting the transmitters of reports and not examining them on the barometer of al jarh wa al ta’dil.
  3. Seeking proximity to men of high ranks with praise and mention, thus they elaborate on a report beyond its reality.
  4. The reporters transmit reports according to their perception and assumption, thus falling into dishonesty.
  5. Assuming truthfulness when transmitting reports. This is the result of trusting the transmitters of reports [without scrutiny].[11]

 

Based on the above, it is erroneous to rely solely on historical sources when studying reports on the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the disagreements between them. This is because studying their history is not like studying the history of others besides them. Disparaging them [the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum] is disparaging the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Imam Abu Zur’ah rahimahu Llah explains:

 

إذا رأيت الرجل ينتقص أحدا من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاعلم أنه زنديق وذلك أن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم عندنا حق والقرآن حق وإنما أدى إلينا هذا القرآن والسنن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وإنما يريدون أن يجرحوا شهودنا ليبطلوا الكتاب والسنة والجرح بهم أولى

When you see a man disparaging any of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then realise he is a heretic. This is because the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is true according to us and the Qur’an is true. Only and only the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam transmitted the Qur’an and Sunnah practices to us. They (those who disparage the Sahabah) only seek to declare our witnesses unreliable so that they may abolish the Book and Sunnah. Declaring them (those who disparage the Sahabah) unreliable is more befitting.[12]

 

When the matter is so critical, alertness is mandatory when studying historical sources and caution is essential with the narrations they bring concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum due to the existence of scores of weak narrators and reporters, not trusted in transmission.

 

From these sources are:

  1. Al Isti’ab fi Ma’rifat al Ashab of Imam Ibn ‘Abdul Barr. He is critiqued for the profuse citing of unreliable reports, especially regarding the disputes between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

‘Allamah ibn al Salah rahimahu Llah speaks about him:

 

هذا علم كبير قد ألف الناس فيه كتبا من أحلاها وأكثرها فوائد كتاب الاستيعاب لابن عبد البر لولا ما شانه به من إيراده كثيرا مما شجر بين الصحابة وحكاياته عن الأخباريين لا المحدثين

This is a grand knowledge. People have written many books on this subject. One of the sweetest and most beneficial of them is the book al Isti’ab of Ibn ‘Abdul Barr, if not for what spoiled it, i.e., his citing many reports of the disputes between the Sahabah and his reporting from the Historians, not the Muhaddithin.[13]

 

  1. Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk of Imam al Tabari[14]. It is one of the most significant books on history. However, he cites sound, weak, unsound, and false reports. Owing to this, many men of innovation and passion have clung to it in spreading their falsehood as is the condition with the Rafidah. Imam al Tabari rahimahu Llah did not stipulate authenticity a condition in his book. He says:

 

فما يكون في كتابي من خبر ذكرناه عن بعض الماضين مما يستنكر قارئه أو يستشنعه سامعه من أجل أنه لم يعرف له وجها من الصحة ولا معنى في الحقيقة فيعلم أنه لم يؤت في ذلك من قبلنا وإنما أتي من قبل بعض ناقليه إلينا وإنا إنما أدينا ذلك على نحو ما أدي إلينا

Whichever report appears in my book which we have mentioned of some past incidents which is questionable and which the listener considers abhorrent, due to the fact that he does not recognise any angle of soundness for it nor any [sound] meaning in reality, he should know that this is not from our side. It is actually from the side of the reporters to us. We only transmitted it verbatim as it was transmitted to us.[15]

 

This condition of al Tabari was one of the reasons which made him fall into false narrations against the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. The book consists of a large number of weak, unreliable narrators and reporters in transmitting many of the reports.[16]

  1. The books of al Mas’udi[17] like Muruj al Dhahab, al Tanbih wa al Ishraf, etc., contain plenty false and concocted reports. He is a man of odd and strange reports. He was a Shia and Mu’tazili. We thus find his Shia tendencies directly or indirectly affecting his authoring Islamic history. Despite his precaution at some occasions, he advances and prefers what conforms to his Shia inclinations and tendencies. This book is considered one of the most significant sources of the Rafidah.[18]

 

  1. The books of al Jahiz[19], author of al Hayawan. He is one of the leaders of the innovators. He is among the weak, matruk (suspected of forgery) narrators; his narrations and reports should not be transmitted. His books are not safe and are unreliable.[20]

 

  1. The books of al Asbahani[21]—author of al Aghani. He is suspected of Shi’ism and transgression. His reports are unreliable. He would report strange things. It is reported about him that he attached no importance to abstaining from drinking alcohol. His books are filled with every type of obnoxious and repulsive report. He transmitted in his book many reports which disparage the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and pious predecessors because he relied upon liars and criticised narrators. Moreover, it is a book of literature which contains tales and fables.[22]
  2. Sharh Nahj al Balaghah of Ibn Abi al Hadid[23]. Nahj al Balaghah is falsely and erroneously attributed to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It contains reports which disparage the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Imam al Dhahabi rahimahu Llah comments on it:

 

ولا أسانيد لذلك وبعضها باطل وفيه حق ولكن فيه موضوعات حاشا الإمام من النطق بها

There are no chains for this. Some of them are false. And there is [some] truth in it. However, it contains fabrications, the Imam is far from having uttered them.[24]

 

He states at another place:

 

ومن طالع كتاب نهج البلاغة جزم بأنه مكذوب على أمير المؤمنين علي رضي الله عنه ففيه من السب الصراح والحط من أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما وفيه من التناقض والأشياء الركيكة والعبارات التي من له معرفة بنفس القرشيين من الصحابة وبنفس غيرهم ممن بعدهم من المتأخرين جزم بأن الكتاب أكثره باطل

Whoever studies the book Nahj al Balaghah will determine that it is falsely attributed to Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It contains unequivocal abuse and disparagement of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. It contains contradictions, feeble aspects, and [faulty] texts—one who has knowledge of the nature of the men of Quraysh and the nature of the latter ones after them will determine that majority of the book is untrue.[25]

 

Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahu Llah writes:

 

فأكثر الخطب التي ينقلها صاحب نهج البلاغة كذب على علي وعلي رضي الله عنه أجل وأعلى قدرا من أن يتكلم بهذا الكلام ولكن هؤلاء وضعوا أكاذيب وظنوا أنها مدح فلا هي صدق ولا هي مدح

Majority of the discourses which the author of Nahj al Balaghah reports is falsely attributed to ‘Ali. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is far more sublime and loftier in rank than uttering such [detestable] words. They, however, fabricated lies and thought it was praise. It is neither true, nor praise.[26]

 

As a result, the reports in this book are not reliable, especially those concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

  1. Tarikh al Yaqubi[27]. He is a Shia Imami Historian. He was unable to conceal his ‘Alawi inclinations. His attachment dominated him; thus, he did not acknowledge the Caliphate of the Rightly Guided Khalifas besides the Caliphate of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He has reported in his Tarikh a profuse number of weak reports which misrepresent realities.[28]

 

  1. Al Imamah wa al Siyasah. It is falsely and erroneously attributed to Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah[29]. He is from the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah. This books contains historical distortions and disparagements of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, which strongly suggests that the book’s author is a Rafidi who wished to exploit the name Ibn Qutaybah to promote his creed and fables upon the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah.[30]

 

Consequently, we condense the correct academic approach regarding reports concerning the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in the upcoming points:

  1. Subjugating the narrators to the barometer of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil (disapproval and approval) observed by the ‘Ulama’ of Hadith. This aspect is necessary for accepting narrators and narrations, and assessment of their historical era. This is possible and easy when one who undertakes it considers the areas of strength and weakness in these reports. Non-observance of this often leads to confusion in the face of many conflicting reports.[31]

Al Khatib al Baghdadi[32] rahimahu Llah writes:

 

لما كان أكثر الأحكام لا سبيل إلى معرفته إلا من جهة النقل لزم النظر في حال الناقل والبحث عن عدالة الراوين فمن ثبتت عدالته جازت روايته وإلا عدل عنه والتمس معرفة الحكم من جهة غيره لأن الأخبار حكمها حكم الشهادات في أنها لا تقبل إلا عن الثقات

When majority of verdicts cannot be ascertained except through transmission, it is necessary to examine the condition of the transmitter and explore the integrity of the reporters. Whoever’s integrity is established, his report is allowed; otherwise, it is discarded and the verdict is ascertained from a different angle. This is because reports have the same ruling as testimonies, in the sense that they are not accepted except from the reliable.[33]

 

Ibn Khaldun[34] rahimahu Llah says:

 

وكثيرا ما وقع للمؤرخين والمفسرين وأئمة النقل من المغاليط في الحكايات والوقائع لاعتمادهم فيها على مجرد النقل غثا أو سمينا ولم يعرضوها على أصولها ولا قاسوها بأشباهها ولا سبروها بمعيار الحكمة والوقوف على طبائع الكائنات وتحكيم النظرة والبصيرة في الأخبار فضلوا عن الحق وتاهوا في بيداء الوهم والغلط

The plenty blunders committed by Historians, Exegetists, and reporters in incidents and happenings are due to them relying on mere transmission, sound or unsound. They did not present them to their principles, nor measured them against their like, nor examined them on the scale of wisdom and awareness of the natures of the creations coupled with appointing examination and discernment in reports. They thus deviated from the truth and were destroyed in the wilderness of assumption and error.[35]

 

Sheikh Muhibb al Din al Khatib[36] rahimahu Llah states:

 

وهذه الكتب المصنوعة والأخبار المبالغة فيها أو المكذوبة شحنت أسفار الأخبار وكتب الأدب ولتمييز الحق فيها من الباطل طريقان أحدهما طريق أهل الحديث في ألا يقبلوا إلا الأخبار المسندة إلى أشخاص بأسمائهم ثم يستعرضوا أحوال هؤلاء الأشخاص فيقبلوا من صادقهم ويضربوا وجه الكذاب بكذبه والطريق الثاني طريق علماء التاريخ وهو أن يعرضوا كل خبر على سجايا من يخبر عنه ويقارنوه بسيرته وهل هو ممن ينتظر وقوعه ممن نسب إليه ويلائم المعروف من سابقته وأخلاقه أم لا وتمحيص تاريخنا يحتاج إلى هاتين الطريقتين معا يقوم بهما علماء راسخون فيهما

These fabricated books and reports containing hyperbole or lies disfigured the manuscripts on reports and the books on literature. There are two methods of differentiating truth from falsehood. One is the method of the masters of Hadith. They do not accept save those reports which are attributed to individuals with their names. They then examine the condition of these individuals, accepting from the truthful and flinging the lie at the face of the liar. The second method is the method of the ‘Ulama’ of History. They present each report against the characteristics of the one about whom it is reported and compare it to his behaviour. Is it something plausible to be articulated by the one it is attributed to and relates with what is known of his earlier reports and his character or not? Analysis of our history needs both these methods to be undertaken by well-grounded ‘Ulama’ in both.[37]

 

Indeed, applying this methodology to the reporters leads to authentication of historical reports and examination of the men who transmitted them.

  1. It is necessary to refer to the books of the Ahlus Sunnah to recognise the reports on the Sahabah due to the existence of plenty historical reports on a high level of authenticity; and since the books of Hadith have been serviced more than the books on History from the side of the expert reviewers. Likewise, it is possible to refer to historical texts in books other than the books of History, like the books on Tafsir, Tabaqat, Tarajim, Ma’ajim of the Sahabah, the books on virtues, etc. It is possible for a voluminous historical material to be authored from them altogether. We are thus not in need of reports and happenings we do not trust, as they will soon lead to destroying the desired reality which we are discussing, except when they concur with what appears in the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus of the Ummah. When they contradict these sources, they cannot be considered, as the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus of the Ummah are higher than all views.[38]

Muhibb al Din al Khatib rahimahu Llah says:

 

وإن الرجوع إلى كتب السنة وملاحظة الأئمة مما يسهل هذه المهمة

Referring to the books of the Sunnah and consideration of the Imams facilitates this important task.[39]

 

  1. Exercising precaution from the books of the innovators and deviated sects and non-acceptance of their reports and description of the happenings between the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, especially those whose innovation excommunicates them from the fold of Islam like the Rawafid and factions of the Qaramitah[40], Ismailiyyah[41], Nusayriyyah[42], and others, or those from whom indications of factionalism or prejudice for a sect or school is apparent, as this is a preventative veil from seeing the reality.[43]

 

In short: When the report deals with the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, a doctrinal decree, or a Shar’i matter, then close examination of the reporters and painstakingly critiquing them in accordance to the rules of the Muhaddithin is essential. Yes, when the report does not deal with any of the above, then leniency may be adopted through analogy to what the ‘Ulama’ of Hadith determined: Strictness in ahadith on ahkam (verdicts/laws) and leniency in virtues of actions.

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal rahimahu Llah declares:

 

ثلاثة كتب ليس لها أصول المغازي والملاحم والتفسير

Three books do not have principles, viz. Maghazi (Battles), Malahim (Prophesised events at the end of times), and Tafsir.[44]

 

Meaning, they do not have [sound] chains, since majority are marasil (incomplete chains).[45] This does not mean that they accept the report of every individual. The condition of integrity in transmitting a hadith and a report is the same. That in which leniency is sometimes shown is the dabt (accuracy) and itqan (proficiency) of the narrator in what he reports. They do not stipulate it as a condition in the reporter of history in the same way they would with a narrator of hadith. This methodology is reliable according to the researchers among the ‘Ulama’.[46]

For example, Hafiz Ibn Hajar describes Saif ibn ‘Umar al Tamimi as da’if (weak) in Hadith, yet says he is an Imam in History. He also establishes the rejection of the reports of Muhammad ibn Ishaq while at the same time describes him as an Imam in Maghazi (Battles).[47]

Imam Ibn Kathir is popular for his critique and examination. Yet, in his book al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, he was not bound by the barometer of al Jarh wa al Ta’dil with which the Muhaddithin are bound. He sometimes documents some reports and then clarifies his examination and view regarding their status.[48]

 

NEXT⇒ The Rank of the Sahabah in the Sight of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah


[1] Dirasat fi al Hadith al Nabawi, pg. 332; Dr. Muhammad al A’zami: Manhaj al Naqd ‘ind al Muhaddithin, pg. 124.

[2] Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 243, chapter on the sin of one who attributes falsely to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hadith: 108.

[3] Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 1 pg. 242, chapter on the sin of one who attributes falsely to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hadith: 107.

[4] Muqaddamat Sahih Muslim, vol. 1 pg. 94.

[5] Dr. Muhammad Amahzun: Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 24; Dr. Akram Diya’ al ‘Umari: Al Sirah al Nabawiyyah al Sahihah, vol. 1 pg. 45; Muhammad al Salimi: Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 226.

[6] Manhaj al Naqd ‘ind al Muhaddithin, pg. 98.

[7] The Orientalists: They are Western writers who embarked on launching treatises dissimilar to the Islamic East and those which include their civilisation, languages, and culture to ensure colonisation and Christianisation of the Muslims, coupled with achieving their targets in the lands of the Muslims. (Al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 2 pg. 696.)

[8] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 19-21.

[9] He is ‘Uthman ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Uthman ibn Musa, Abu ‘Amr, famous as Ibn al Salah. He was born in 557 AH and passed away in 643 AH. He authored Ma’rifat Anwa’ al Hadith and Adab al Mufti wa al Mustafti. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 243; al A’lam, vol. 4 pg. 207-208.)

[10] Muqaddamah Ibn al Salah, pg. 292.

[11] Muqaddamah Ibn Khaldun, pg. 125.

[12] Al Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah, pg. 49.

[13] ‘Ulum al Hadith, pg. 292; al Sakhawi: Tadreeb al Rawi, pg. 207.

[14] He is Muhammad ibn Jarir al Tabari, Abu Jafar, the Historian and Mufassir. He was born in Amil, Tabaristan, in 224 AH and passed away in Baghdad in 310 AH. He authored Tarikh al Tabari, Tafsir al Qur’an—commonly known as Tafsir al Tabari, etc. (Al Shadharat, vol. 4 pg. 53-54; Al A’lam, vol. 6 pg. 69.)

[15] Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 1 pg. 9.

[16] The likes of Lut ibn Yahya, infamously known as Abu Mikhnaf. He died close to 170 AH. He is a Historian, ruined, unreliable. Al Daraqutni labels him da’if (weak). Ibn Ma’in comments, “He is not reliable.” Ibn ‘Adi writes, “A Shia extremist, the transmitter of their reports.” (Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 419-420.)

[17] He is ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn ‘Ali al Mas’udi, Abu al Hassan, a Shia, Mu’tazili Historian. He died in 346 AH. Muruj al Dhahab and Akhbar al Khawarij are his works. (Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 15 pg. 569; al A’lam, vol. 4 pg. 277; Mujam al Mu’allifin, vol. 2 pg. 433.)

[18] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 4 pg. 84; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 15 pg. 569; Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 5 pg. 532; Sulaiman al Suwaykat: Manhaj al Mas’udi fi Kitabihi al Tarikh, pg. 74-77.

[19] He is ‘Amr ibn Bahr ibn Mahbub, Abu ‘Uthman al Jahiz, a Mu’tazili. He died in 255 AH. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 370; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 16 pg. 201.)

[20] Al Du’afa’ wa al Matrukin, vol. 2 pg. 223; al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 247.

[21] He is ‘Ali ibn al Hussain ibn Muhammad, Abu al Farj al Asbahani al Umawi al Shia. He passed away in 356 AH. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 307; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 16 pg. 201.)

[22] Al Muntazam fi Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk, vol. 14 pg. 185; Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 123; Walid al A’zami: Al Saif al Yamani fi Nahr al Asbahani, pg. 27; Mashhur Hassan Al Salman: Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 28.

[23] He is ‘Abdul Hamid ibn Hibat Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al Hussain ibn Abi al Hadid, Abu Hamid. He is one of the distinguished Mu’tazilah. He was born in Mada’in in 586 AH then moved to Baghdad where he died in 656 AH. His books are Sharh Nahj al Balaghah and al Qasa’id al Sab’ al ‘Alawiyyat. (Al A’lam, vol. 3 pg. 286.)

[24] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 17 pg. 589.

[25] Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 124.

[26] Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 8 pg. 55.

[27] He is Ahmed ibn Ishaq ibn Jafar ibn Wahb ibn Wadih al Yaqubi, Abu Jafar, the Historian, Geographer, and well-travelled. He was a resident of Baghdad. He was born in 284 AH; there are other weak views in this regard. Tarikh al Yaqubi, Kitab al Buldan, and Akhbar al Umam al Salifah are his books. (Al A’lam, vol. 1 pg. 95.)

[28] Dr. Akram Diya’ al ‘Umari: Kitab al Caliphate al Rashidah, pg. 19; Manhaj al Mas’udi fi Kitabihi al Tarikh, pg. 239; Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 56.

[29] He is ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah al Dinawari, or al Mirwazi, Abu Muhammad. He is one of the Imams of the Ahlus Sunnah. He was born in Baghdad in 213 AH and passed away in Rajab 276 AH. He authored many books like Ta’wil Mukhtalaf al Hadith and Kitab al Ma’ani. (Wafayat al A’yan, vol. 3 pg. 42-43; al Shadharat, vol. 3 pg. 318.)

[30] ‘Aqidat al Imam Ibn Qutaybah, pg. 90-93; Kutub Hadhara minha al ‘Ulama’, vol. 2 pg. 298-300.

[31] Ibn al ‘Arabi: Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 179; Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 25; al Sirah al Nabawiyyah al Sahihah, pg. 12, 45.

[32] He is Ahmed ibn ‘Ali ibn Thabit ibn Ahmed ibn Mahdi al Baghdadi, Abu Bakr, commonly known as al Khatib. He is one of the Huffaz Historians and senior Shafi’i ‘Ulama’. He was born in Jumada al Akhirah, 392 AH and passed away in 463 AH. Some of his works are al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’ and al Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al Riwayah. (Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 18 pg. 270-296; Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 3 pg. 1135; al Shadharat, vol. 5 pg. 262.)

[33] Al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’, vol. 2 pg. 200.

[34] He is ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun, Abu Zaid, al Hadrami al Ishbili, the Philosopher and Historian. He was born in Tunisia in 732 AH and assumed the post of judge of the Malikiyyah and later passed away in Egypt in 808 AH. Sharh al Burdah, Risalah fi al Mantiq, and Tarikh ibn Khaldun are some of his books. (Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani: Inba’ al Ghamr bi Abna’ al ‘Umr, vol. 2 pg. 339; al Shadharat, vol. 9 pg. 119; al A’lam, vol. 3 pg. 330.)

[35] Muqaddamat Ibn Khaldun, pg. 92.

[36] He is Muhibb al Din ibn Abi al Fath Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Qadir ibn Salih al Khatib. He is one of the senior Islamic authors. He was born in Damascus in 1303 AH and passed away in 1389 AH. (Al A’lam, vol. 5 pg. 282.)

[37] Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 145.

[38] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 26; Marwiyyat Abi Mikhnaf fi Tarikh al Tabari, pg. 8; Nur ‘Alim Jalil: Al Sahabah wa Makanatuhum fi al Islam, pg. 136.

[39] Ta’liq Muhibb al Din al Khatib ‘ala al ‘Awasim min al Qawasim, pg. 179.

[40] The Qaramitah: An internal movement who trace their origin to Ahmed ibn al Ash’ath, titled al Qirmit due to his short stature and shins. He was one of the followers of ‘Abdullah ibn Maymun al Qaddah, the Ismaili, who spread the fundamentals of the Ismailiyyah in the south of Persia in 260 AH. It is a movement with the front of Shi’ism for the Ahlul Bayt, but their reality is heresy, libertinism, destruction of morals, and razing the Islamic State to the ground. (Al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 1 pg. 378; ‘Abdullah al Amin: Dirasat fi al Firaq wa al Mazahib al Qadimah wa al Mu’asirah, vol. 1 pg. 129.)

[41] The Ismailiyyah: One of the sects of the Rafidah. They continued Imamah to Jafar and appointed his son, Ismail ibn Jafar, Imam after him. They then differed regarding his demise during the lifetime of his father. Some suggested that he passed away during his father’s lifetime and thus continued Imamah to his sons specifically. Others claimed that he did not die, but manifested his death out of Taqiyyah, to avoid being assassinated. (Al Farq bayn al Firaq, pg. 62-63; al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 1 pg. 155-156.)

[42] The Nusayriyyah: An internal movement who manifested in the third century hijri. They trace their origin to Muhammad ibn Nusayr al Basri al Numairi. He is originally Persian. They claim divinity for ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Their proof is that the appearance of a soul with a physical body is a matter the intellect does not reject. (Al Shahrastani: Al Milal wa al Nihal, vol. 1 pg. 152; al Mawsu’ah al Maysarah, vol. 1 pg. 390; Dirasat fi al Firaq wa al Mazahib al Qadimah wa al Mu’asirah, vol. 1 pg. 162.)

[43] Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 234.

[44] Al Khatib al Baghdadi: Al Jami’ li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami’, vol. 2 pg. 162.

[45] Ibn Taymiyyah: Muqaddamah fi Usul al Tafsir, vol. 1 pg. 22.

[46] Tahqiq Mawaqif al Sahabah fi al Fitnah, vol. 1 pg. 25; Manhaj Kitabat al Tarikh al Islami wa Tadrisihi, pg. 225-226.

[47] Taqrib al Tahdhib, pg. 262, 467.

[48] Muhammad Shafi’ al ‘Uthmani: Maqam al Sahabah, pg. 31, citing from Majallat al Da’i al Shahriyyah, pg. 5.