ahya.org > English Resources

      Hadith Studies

The Classification of Hadeeth

Page 9  of 16 | << Previous | NEXT >>

Classification according to the nature of the matn and isnad
eg. additional words added by a reliable narrator, known as ziyadatu thiqah; or opposition by a lesser authority to a more reliable one, known as Shadhdh (irregular), In some cases a text containing an unreasonable remark or obviously-erroneous statement is rejected by the Muhaddithoon outsight without consideration of its Sanad: such a Hadeeth is known as Munkar (denounced). If an expression is proved to be an addition by a reporter to the text, it is declared as Mudraj (interpolated).

Shadhdh  irregular & Munkar denounced.
According to al-Shafi'i, a shadhdh ("irregular") Hadeeth is one which is reported by a trustworthy person but goes against the narration of a person more reliable than him. It does not include a Hadeeth which is unique in its contents and is not narrated by someone else (al-Haakim, p.119). In the light of this definition, the well-known hadith,
"Actions are (judged) according to their intentions” ... is not considered shadhdh since it has been narrated by Yahya b. Sa'id al-Ansari from Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Taimi from 'Alqamah from 'Umar, all of whom are trustworthy authorities, although each one of them is the only reporter at that stage.

Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar 'Ulum al-Hadith (ed. Ahmad Shakir, 2nd imp., cairo, 1951), p.57

An example of a shadhdh Hadeeth according to some scholars is one which Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi transmit, through the following isnad:
'Abdul Wahid b. Ziyad --- al-A'mash --- Abu Salih --- Abu Hurairah  --- the Prophet
"When one of you offers the two rak’ahs before the Dawn Prayer, he should lie down on his right side.”

Regarding it, al-Baihaqi said, “'Abdul Wahid has gone against a large number of people with this narration, for they have reported the above as an act of the Prophet , and not as his saying; 'Abdul Wahid is alone amongst the trustworthy students of al-A'mash in narrating these words.” al-Suyuti, 1:235; M. A. Salih. p. 260

According to Ibn Hajar, if a narration which goes against another authentic Hadeeth is reported by a weak narrator, it is known as munkar (denounced) al-San’ani, 2:3.

Traditionists as late as Imaam Ahmad used to simply label any Hadeeth of a weak reporter as munkar

al-San’ani., 2:6.
 Sometimes, a Hadeeth is labelled as munkar because of its contents being contrary to general sayings of the Prophet .

Al-Khatib (d. 463) quotes al-Rabi' b. Khaitham (d. 63) as saying, "Some Hadeeth have a light like that of day, which we recognise; others have a darkness like that of night which makes us reject them."

He also quotes al-Auza'i (d. 157) as saying, "We used to listen to Hadeeth and present them to fellow traditionists, just as we present forged coins to money-changers: whatever they recognise of them, we accept, and whatever they reject of them, we also reject." al-Khatib, p. 431

Ibn Kathir quotes the following two Hadeeth in his Tafsir, the first of which is acceptable, whereas the second contradicts it and is unreliable:

(i) Ahmad --- Abu Mu’awiyah --- Hisham b. 'Urwah --- Fatimah bint al-Mundhir --- Asma' bint Abi Bakr, who said, "My mother came (to Madinah) during the treaty Quraish had made, while she was still a polytheist. So I came to the Prophet  and said to him, 'O Messenger of Allah, my mother has come willingly: should I treat her with kindness?” He  replied, 'Yes! Treat her with kindness'."

(ii) Al-Bazzar --- 'Abdullah b. Shabib --- Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaibah --- Abu Qatadah al-'Adawi --- the nephew of al-Zuhri --- al-Zuhri --- 'Urwah --- 'A'ishah and Asma', both of whom said, "Our mother came to us in Madinah while she was a polytheist, during the peace treaty between the Quraish and the Messenger of Allah . So we said, 'O Messenger of Allah, our mother has come to Madinah willingly: do we treat her kindly?' He said, 'Yes! Treat her kindly'."

Ibn Kathir then remarks: "This (latter) hadith, to our knowledge is reported only through this route of al-Zuhri --- 'Urwah --- 'A'ishah. It is a munkar Hadeeth with this text because the mother of 'A'ishah is Umm Ruman, who was already a Muslim emigrant, while the mother of Asma' was another woman, as mentioned by name in other Hadeeth " Ibn Kathir, Tafsir. 4:349

In contrast to a munkar Hadeeth, if a reliable reporter is found to add something which is not narrated by other authentic sources, the addition is accepted as long as it does not contradict them; and is known as ziyadatu thiqah (an addition by one trustworthy)

Ibn Kathir, Ikhtisar, p. 62

An example is the Hadeeth of al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud : "I asked the Messenger of Allah , “Which action is the most virtuous?' He said, 'The Prayer at its due time'." Two reporters, Al-Hasan b. Makdam and Bindar, reported it with the addition, "... at the beginning of its time"; both Al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban declared this addition to be sahih.

al-Suyuti, 1:248

An addition by a reporter to the text of the saying being narrated is termed mudraj (interpolated)

al-Haakim, p.39

. For example, al-Khatib relates via Abu Qattan and Shababah --- Shu'bah ---  Muhammad b. Ziyad --- Abu Hurairah  --- The Prophet , who said,

"Perform the ablution fully; woe to the heels from the Fire!"

Al-Khatib - rahimahullaah -  then remarks, "The statement, 'Perform the ablution fully' is made by Abu Hurairah , while the statement afterwards, 'Woe to the heels from the Fire!', is that of the Prophet . The distinction between the two is understood from the narration of al-Bukhari, who transmits the same hadith and quotes Abu Hurairah  as saying, "Complete the ablution, for Abu’l-Qasim  said: “Woe to the heels from the Fire!” al-Iraqi, p.129f

Such an addition may be found in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end, often in explanation of a term used. Idraj (interpolation) is mostly found in the text, although a few examples show that such additions are found in the isnad as well, where the reporter grafts a part of one isnad into another.

A reporter found to be in the habit of intentional idraj is generally unacceptable and considered a liar

al-Suyuti, 1:274
However, the traditionalists are more lenient towards those reporters who may do so forgetfully or in order to explain a difficult word.

» It hurts us to see people die on Shirk «