Bukhari as a Narrator
By: Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Milani
It has to be mentioned right in the beginning that Abu Zar’ah Razi and Abu Hatam Razi have abandoned citing traditions from Bukhari, prohibiting others as well to quote traditions from Bukhari.
Abu Zar’ah and Abu Hatam on Bukhari
In his Al-Tabaqat Al-Shafi’ayya Al-Kubra, Subki quotes Taqi Al-Din Bin Daqiq Al-‘Aeed as saying: The honor of Muslims is one of the pitfalls of Hell. Two groups of people stand around it: narrators and rulers. Subki goes on saying: In my point of view, the opinion mentioned by some that Abu Zar’ah and Abu Hatam shunned citing Bukhari’s traditions because of Bukhari’s belief in Qur’an as being created is an instance of the above-mentioned word. May Allah help Muslims! Is it permissible for some to abandon Bukhari who is considered as a forerunner in hadith science and an Imam of Sunnis?!1
Shams Al-Din Al-Dahabi has mentioned the name of Bukhari among the weak and rejected. Regretting this, Manawi says: Bukhari is the ornament of Islamic community, honor of the Imams, author of the most authentic book after the Holy Quran and owner of perpetual excellence. Commenting on him, Ibn Khazima says: Bukhari is a divine sign that walks on land.
In his Al-Kashif, Dahabi says: Bukhari was a religious minded, pious person with utmost dignity.
In his Al-Du’afa Wa Al-Matrukin, he, nevertheless, ignoring his being a Sunni, says:
ãÇÓáã ãä ÇáßáÇã áÇÌá ãÓÃáå ÇááÝÙ ÊÑßå áÇÌáåÇ ÇáÑÇÒíÇä
Because of his belief in the Holy Qur’an as being created, people spoke ill of him and that was why Abu Zar’ah Razi and Abu Hatam Razi refrained from narrating his traditions.
Dahabi goes on saying: I have only quoted his words. I ask Allah to forgive him and to grant us good health. I feel lonely and take refuge to Him.2
In his Mizan Al-Itidal, Dahabi, commenting on Ali Madini, says
: Ali Bin Abdullah Bin Ja’afar Bin Hassan is a memorizer of tradition and an outstanding figure of his time. One of the objections concerning Aqili is that he has mentioned the name of Ali Bin Abdullah in his Al-Du’afa, saying: He was a supporter of Ibn Abi Dawood and was a member of Jahmiyya, but, Allah willing, his traditions are (good) unaffected by these objections.
Abdullah, son of Ahmad Bin Hanbal told me
: My father used to narrate us traditions from Ali Bin Abdullah, but he would never mention his name, saying: “Somebody told me”. He eventually gave up narrating from him.
It needs however to be said that the traditions of Ali Bin Madini are mentioned in Ahmad’s Musnad.
Ibrahim Harbi has also left aside the traditions transmitted by Ali Madini, for he was inclined towards Ahmad Bin Abi Dawood, doing favor to him.
It was similarly on account of this that he avoided mentioning his traditions in his Sahih, just as Abu Zar’ah and Abu Hatam avoided mentioning the traditions reported by his disciple, Muhammad (Bukhari), due to his belief that Qur’an was created.
Abd Al-Rahman Bin Abu Hatam says that Abu Zar’ah did not narrate Bukhari’s traditions because of what happened to Bukhari during the time of ‘tribulation 3’.4
A glance at the biography of Abu Zar’ah Radi
Abu Zar’ah Razi (d. 264 AH) is a great Sunni Imam. Comparing him to Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nisaee and Ibn Maja, Dahabi says: Ubaidullah Bin Abd Al-Karim (known as) Abu Zar’ah Radi, a memorizer of tradition is a great scholar. He has narrated from Abu Naeem Isfahani, Qa’anabi, Qabisa and other scholars of their category here and there. On the other hand, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nisaee, Ibn Maja, Abu ‘Awana, Muhammad Bin Hussain, Qatan etc. have narrated traditions from him.
Ibn Rahwaih says: Any tradition that is not recognized by Abu Zar’ah is worth nothing.
Commenting on him Dahabi says that his merits are too many.5
Ibn Hajar has also placed the above-mentioned four names beside his name, saying: Ubadullah Bin Abd Al-Karim Bin Yazid Bin Farrukh, Abu Zar’ah Razi was an Imam, memorizer (Hafiz), reliable, well-known and one of the eleven Imamss.6
Commenting on him, Yafiee says: Abu Zar’ah is a memorizer of tradition and a great scholar …
Speaking about him, Abu Hatam says: No doubt, there is no one that can replace him scientifically, jurisprudentially and in matters of preservation and honesty. I know no one in the world, who can reach him (in terms of knowledge and excellence). Ishaq Bin Rahwaih says: Any tradition Abu Zar’ah does not know by heart is not credible.7
Khatib Baghdadi says: Ubaidullah Bin Abd Al-Karim Bin Yazid Bin Farrukh, Abu Zar’ah Razi was a divine Imam, an outstanding memorizer of tradition, truthful and a narrator of numerous traditions. Several times he visited Baghdad, held dialogues with Ahmad Bin Hanbal and narrated traditions. Among the people of Baghdad, Ibrahim Bin Ishaq Harbi, Abdullah Bin Ahmad Bin Hanbal and Qasim Bin Zakariya Mutarraz have narrated traditions from him …8
A glance at biography of Abu Hatam Radi
Let’s now have a look at the biography of Abu Hatam Razi who died in the year 227 AH. Commenting on him Dahabi says: Muhammad Bin Idris Abu Hatam Razi was a memorizer of tradition. He heard traditions from Ansari and Ubaidullah Bin Musa. His son, Abd Al-Rahman Bin Abu Hatam, Abu Dawood, Nisaee and Muhamili have narrated his traditions.
Regarding him, Musa Bin Ishaq Ansari says: I saw no one who was as good as Abu Hatam in terms of memorizing tradition. He died in Sha’aban 277 AH.9
Speaking about him Sam’ani says: Abu Hatam was an Imam of his time. The scholars used to refer to him to find a solution to the problems related to tradition. He was full of virtues. He was a memorizer of tradition and a great well-known scholar. He used to travel and visit scholars.10
Placing the names of Abu Dawood, Nisaee and Maja beside his name, Ibn Hajar says: Muhammad Bin Idris Bin Munzir, Bin Dawood Bin Mehran Hanzali, Abu Hatam Razi was a great memorizer (of tradition) and an Imam… In their commentaries on the Holy Qur’an, Abu Dawood, Nisaee and Ibn Maja have narrated his traditions… In his Al-Kuna, Hakim Abu Ahmad says: Abu Hatam Bin Idris [is such a great scholar] that Muhammad Bin Ismael Ja’afi, his son Abd Al-Rahman, his friend Abu Zar’ah etc. have narrated traditions from him.
Abu Bakr Khallal says: Abu Hatam was a leading figure in tradition. He narrated many things from Ahmad, which are available to us in a scattered form and are unusual.
Ibn Kharsh, commenting on him, says: he was trustable and a person of high understanding.
Nisaee, regarding him says: He was a credible person.
Lalkaee, talking about him, says: Abu Hatam was an Imams, memorizer of tradition, outstanding and a professional researcher.
Commenting on him, Khatib Baghdadi says: Abu Hatam was a leading figure and a memorizer who was credible. He was known for his knowledge and virtues. He died in 277 in Ray.11
Duhli and his criticism of Bukhari
One of the great Sunni Imamss who have criticized Bukhari is Muhammad Bin Yahya Zuhli. He questioned the reputation and credibility of Bukhari, accusing him of introducing innovation in religion.
Elaborating on his life, Subki quotes Abu Hamid Bin Sharqi as saying: I saw Bukhari in the funeral ceremony of Sa’aid Bin Marwan. This is while Bukhari used to avoid answering any question by Duhli about his name, surname and weakness.
After one month had hardly passed ever since the occurrence of this event, Duhli said: Those who attend Bukhari’s lectures are not allowed to attend my lectures. This is because it is written to me from Baghdad that Bukhari has talked about the crestedness of the Holy Qur’an. Though I told him not to accept this view, he continued to believe in it. So do not approach him!
After relating the words of Abu Hamid Sharqi, Subki says: Based on what he is reported to have said (with which we will deal later), Bukhari is a person who believes that Qur’an is created. This is while Muhammad Bin Yahya Duhli says: Anyone who thinks that Qur’an is created is an innovator and thus it is not allowed to associate with or talk to him. Anyone who thinks that Qur’an is created is a disbeliever.
Mentioning the same thing, Ibn Hajar Asqalani quotes Abu Hamid Sharqi as saying: I heard Muhammad Yahya Duhli say: Qur’an is Allah’s words and is not created. Anyone who considers it as created, is an innovator and it is not allowed to associate with or talk to him. From now onward, anyone who visits Muhammad Bin Ismael Bukhari, must be accused of having such a belief. This is because those who attend Bukhari’s lectures, advocate his school of thought.12
A glance at Duhli’s life
Duhli was one of the professors of Bukhari, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nisaee and other great scholars of tradition. Ibn Abi Dawood called him ‘commander of the faithful in hadith sciences’.
Commenting on him, Dahabi says: Bukhari, four of the authors of Sihah Sitta, Ibn Khazima, Abu ‘Awana and Abu Ali Maydani narrated traditions from him. This is while Bukhari, due to a dispute he had with him, does not mention his name. Ibn Dawood says: Muhammad Bin Yahya narrated us traditions and was an Imams in hadith sciences.
Concerning him, Abu Hatam, says: He was an Imams of his time. He died at the age of 86 in the year 258 AH.13
Speaking about him, Sam’ani says: In his era, Duhli was the Imams of the people of Naishabur, and a leading scholar.14
Safdi says: Imam Duhli Naishaburi was the master of narrators and the memorizer of traditions. He listened to the traditions of various narrators and all narrators, except Muslim have narrated his traditions. Duhli himself says: To obtain knowledge and acquire traditions, I travelled three times, for which I spent as much as one hundred fifty thousand (Dinars).
Regarding him, Nisaee says: Duhli is a credible and reliable person.
Talking about him, Abu Amr Ahmad Bin Nasr Khaffaf says: I saw Muhammad Bin Yahya in a dream. I asked him as to what Allah had done to him. He said that Allah had forgiven him. “What did He do with your traditions?, I asked. “They wrote my traditions with gold and put them on a lofty place.” He answered.15
Bukhari and his deviation from the path of Ahl Al-Bayt
Ibn Dihya’s opinion
The great Sunni scholars such as Abu Zar’ah, Abu Hatam, Duhli and other professors of Bukhari have treated him with contempt, considering him as misled.
Their mistreatment of Bukhari was the worldly consequence of his deviation from the path of Ali, the commander of the faithful and the Holy Prophet’s progeny (a.s), his treatment of them with contempt and his concealment of their virtues and merits. In his Sharh Asma Al-Nabi, Allama Zu Al-Nasabain, Ibn Dihya says: In his Sahih, in a chapter on Al-Maghazi, Bukhari relates the following story: Before Farewell Hajj, Ali Bin Abi Talib (a.s) and Khalid Bin Walid were dispatched to Yemen. Ahmad Bin Uthman narrates from Shuraih Bin Muslima, from Ibrahim Bin Yusuf Bin Ishaq Bin Ibu Ishaq, from his father, from Abu Ishaq who quotes Barra as saying: The Holy Prophet (S) 16 sent me along with Khalid Bin Walid to Yemen. Thereupon he sent Ali (a.s) as Khalid’s successor to Yemen!
The Holy Prophet (S) addressing Ali (a.s) said: Tell Khalid’s companions that they can stay with you or come back to Medina. I was among those who stayed with Ali (a.s). I received several Awqiya17 (a quantity of gold) from war booties.
Muhammad Bin Bashar narrated from Rowh Bin Ibada, from Ali Bin Suaid Bin Manjuq, from Abdullah Bin Barida who quoted his father as saying: The Holy Prophet (S) dispatched Ali (a.s) (to Yemen) to take Khums from Khalid. I deemed Ali an enemy. As he (Ali) (chose himself a female slave from the war booties and) took bath I told Khalid: Do you not see this?
When we came back, I related the story to the Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) said:
یÇ ÈÑیÏå ÃÊÈÛÖ ÚáیÇ¿
O’ Barida! Do you hate Ali? I said: Yes.
áÇ äÈÛÖå ÝÅä áå Ýì ÇáÎãÓ ÃßËÑ ãä Ðáß
Do not hate him for his share of khums is more than this.
After quoting these two traditions, Zu Al-Nasabain says: As you see Bukhari has narrated this tradition incompletely. To narrate such traditions incompletely is the habit of Bukhari. His deviation from the right course is the outcome of his mismanagement and lack of prudence.
Imam Ahmad Hanbal has related the above-mentioned story fully and correctly. Qazi Adil, the remainder of great scholars of Iraq, Taj Al-Din Abu A-Fath Muhammad Bin Ahmad Bin Mandaee who heard this tradition in Wasit, a city in Iraq has narrated this story from Raees Abu Al-Qasim Bin Hasin, a reliable person, from Waez Abu Ali Hussain Bin Mazhab, a credible person, from Abu Bakr Ahmad Bin Ja’afar Bin Hamdan Qati’aee, another reliable person, from Imam Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah, from his father Abdullah Ahmad Bin Hanbal a Sunni Imams who said: Yahya Bin Saeed quoted Abd Al-Jalil as saying: I attended a meeting that was attended by Abu Majliz and Barida’s two sons.
Abdullah Bin Barida said: I did not hate anyone as much as I hated Ali. I befriended that person –though I did not like him before – just because he was an enemy of Ali. That person was dispatched along a group of horsemen to Yemen. I accompanied him as well. I accompanied him just because he considered Ali as his enemy.
In this military expedition, we took some people as captives. The person in question, reporting this to the Holy Prophet (S), said: Send someone to determine the Khums of the booties.
The Holy Prophet (S) sent us Ali (a.s). Among the captives, there was a slave woman who was the best. Ali specified Khums and divided the war booties. Thereupon Ali got out of his tent, with the drops of water dripping from his head.
We said: O Aba Al-Hassan, why did you do like this?
He said: Did you not see the slave woman among the captives? While dividing war booties and specifying Khums, I allocated her as Khums. Thus she was possessed by the Prophet’s progeny and me as a member of the Prophet’s progeny. That is why I made intercourse with her.
Ibn Barida says: The person in question (Khalid) wrote another report to the Holy Prophet (S) and I asked him to send me as confirmer of the courier!
He sent me as a witness. When the letter was read to the Holy Prophet (S) I confirmed it. It was at this moment that the Holy Prophet (S) took my hand saying:
Do you make enmity towards Ali?
I said: Yes.
ÝáÇ ÊÈÛÖå æÇä ßäÊ ÊÍÈå ÝÇÒÏÏ áå ÍÈÇ Ýæ ÇáÐì äÝÓ ãÍãÏ ÈíÏå áäÕíÈ Âá Úáì Ýì ÇáÎãÓ ÇÝÖá ãä æÕíÝå
Do not make enmity towards him. If you befriend him improve your friendship. By Allah in whose hand is Muhammad’s life the share of Ali’s descendants is more than a female slave.
Ibn Barida continues
: After I heard this from the Holy Prophet (S) I liked no one as much as I like Ali (a.s).
He further said
: By Allah who has no associate there was intermediary between me and the Holy Prophet (S) except my father.18
Elsewhere in his Sharh Asma Al-Nabi, after narrating a tradition from Muslim, he says
: I commenced my discussion with a tradition from Muslim, because he has related this story completely. This is while Bukhari has related it incompletely and as you see he has, based on his own methodology, omitted certain parts of it. He has been criticized on account of his relating stories incompletely especially stories related to Ali (a.s).
A glance at Ibn Dihya’s life
It is worth noting that Abu Al-Khattab Bin Dihya was one of the greatest and most well-known Sunni scholars and memorizers. Elaborating on his life, Ibn Khallakan says: Abu Al-Khattab Umar Bin Hassan Bin Ali Bin Muhammad Bin Jameel Bin Farrukh Bin Khalaf Bin Qums Bin Mazlan Bin Malal Bin Badr Bin Dihya Bin Fruh Kalbi, known as Zu Al-Nasabain was from Blanes, Spain. He was a memorizer of tradition. That was how he describes himself through his own notes.
Ibn Dihya said: His mother is Amat Al-Rahman, daughter of Abdullah Bin Abu Al-Bassam Musa Bin Abdullah Bin Hussain Bin Ja’afar Bin Ali Bin Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Musa Bin Ja’afar Bin Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Hussain Bin Ali Bin Abi Talib (a.s). That is why he said he had two lineages with one ending to Dihya and the other to Hussain (a.s).
Ibn Dihya introduces himself as the grandchild of Abu Al-Bassam. He was a great celebrated scholar. He knew very well prophetic traditions and the sciences related to them. He knew about Arabic syntax, etymology and poems. He also knew about Arab wars. In order to acquire traditions, he several times travelled across Spain, meeting scholars and masters. He went to Barr Al-‘AdWa in Morocco and met the scholars over there.
He went to Egypt in Africa and then to Syria and Iraq. In Baghdad he listened to the traditions of some of the companions of Ibn Hasin whereas in Wasit, he gave his ear to the traditions of Abu Al-Fath Muhammad Bin Ahmad Bin Mandaee.
He also travelled to Iraq ‘Ajam (present Iran), Khurasan and Mazindaran. He made all these trips in order to meet tradition scholars and to learn traditions from them. Meanwhile, other narrators would also benefit from him.
In Isfahan, he listened to the traditions of Abu Ja’afar Saidalani whereas in Naishabur he gave his ear to the traditions of Mansur Bin Abd Al-Mun’aeem Farawi.19
Commenting on Ibn Dihya, Jala Al-Din Suyuti, in his Bughya Al-W’at says: Abu Al-Khattab, Umar Bin Hassan Bin Ali Bin Muhammad Bin Jameel Bin Farrukh Bin Dihya Kalbi Andulusi was a memorizer of tradition and a reputed man of knowledge and virtue.
He knew the science of tradition and the issues related to it. He knew Arabic syntax, etymology and poems. He was aware of the history of Arab wars. He travelled and listened to traditions. Malik Kamil, the king of his time, founded Kamiliyya Dar Al-Hadith in Cairo. He appointed him as the Sheikh of this establishment.
Ibn Salah and others narrated traditions from him. He died on Rabi’a Al-Awal the fourteenth in the year 633 AH.20
In his Husn Al-Muhazira as well, Suyuti deals with his life, saying: Abu Al-Khattab Ibn Dihya, Umar Bin Hassan Andulusi was an Imam, scholar, great memorizer. He was in possession of profound knowledge of tradition. He also knew about Arabic etymology and language. He wrote many books and chose Egypt as his settlement.
He took upon himself to train Malik Kamil, the king of his time. He taught in Kamilia Dar Al-Hadith. He died in on Rabi’a Al-Awal the fourteenth in the year 633 AH.21
Bukhari and Ghadir tradition
It is on account of his extreme prejudice (towards Shiism) that he criticizes the successively narrated Ghadir tradition. Ghadir tradition is narrated by more than one hundred companions of the Holy Prophet (S). The standard of Ghadir tradition is far above the standards of a successively reported tradition. Great Sunni scholars who know traditions admit that Ghadir tradition is a successively reported tradition. This is what the books compiled by Sunni scholars tell us.
For example, in order to find it, one can refer to Jala Al-Din Suyuti’s Al-Azhar Al-Mutanathira Fi Al-Akhbar Al-Mutawatira Wa Al-Fawaeed Al-Mutakathira Fi Al-Akhbar Al-Mutawatira, Noor Al- Din Azizi’s Sharh Al-Jamee’a Al-Saghir, Manawi’s Sharh Al- Jamee’a Al-Saghir, Ali Qari’s Al-Mirqat, Jamal Al-Din Muhaddith Shirazi’s Al-Arbaeenfi Manaqib Amir Al-Mu’amineen, Al-Sayf Al- Maslul by Shah Waliullah’s student, father of the author of Tuhfa Ithna’ashariyya, Ibn Jawzi’s Asna Al-Matalib etc.
Commenting on Ghadir tradition, Ibn Taymiyya says: It is said that the Holy Prophet (S) said: Of whomsoever I am a master, Ali is his master.
This tradition is not in Sihah, but scholars have narrated it and people have differed on it. It is said that Bukhari, Ibrahim Harbi and a group of scholars have criticized it.22
It has to be noted that Bukhari criticized some of the chains of this tradition but Ibn Taymiyya attributed the criticism to the tradition itself.
Major Sunni scholars and Ghadir tradition
If Bukhari criticizes Ghadir tradition itself then in response it can be said that a number of major Sunni scholars have explicitly rejected the views of those who are skeptic about Ghadir tradition no matter who they are. Badakhshi, for example, says:
åÐÇ ÍÏíË ãÔåæÑ æ áã Êßáã Ýì ÕÍÊå ÇáÇ ãÊÚÕÈ ÌÇÍÏ áÇ ÇÚÊÈÇÑ ÈÞæáå Ýáä ÇáÍÏíË ßËíÑ ÇáØÑÞ ÌÏÇ æ ÞÏ ÇÓÊæÚÈåÇ ÇÈä ÚÞÏå Ýì ßÊÇÈ ãÝÑÏ æ ÞÏ äÕ ÇáÐåÈì Úáì ßËíÑ ãä ØÑÞå ÈÇáÕÍå æÑæÇå ãä ÇáÕÍÇÈå ÚÏÏ ßËíÑ
This is an authentic and famous tradition23. Those who cast doubt about its authenticity, are prejudiced and deny the truth. Their words are not reliable, because this tradition is narrated via numerous ways. In his Al-Mufrad, Ibn Uqda has assessed it utterly. Dahabi has also mentioned that many of its chains are authentic. A Great number of the Holy Prophet’s companions have reported it.
Ibn Jazer and Ghadir tradition
Hafiz Bin Jazeri has also accused those who deny Ghadir tradition of being ignorant and prejudiced. 24
Let’s now have a cursory look at Ibn Jazeri’s life. Ibn Jazeri Shaf’aee is a famous memorizer of tradition. He has written many books. Scholars have praised him and his works.
Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani has dealt with Ibn Jazeri’s life, calling him as ‘memorizer’ and ‘Imams’. He says: He was a master of the science of recitation all over the Islamic world. He was the first one who wrote a comprehensive book on supplication titled Al-Hisn Al-Hasin min Kalam Sayyid Al-Mursalin. He was well-known in Yemen and was praised a lot …
He gave importance to recitation. That is why he wrote an invaluable appendix to Dahabi’s Al-Tabaqat Al-Qurra and composed an ode on three recitations. He also wrote Al-Nashr bi Al-Qira’at Al-‘Ashr… He was called a great Imam and … On the whole, he was a unique and well-known person.
People benefited from his writings. He was like a sun shining in the sky.25
Another scholar who has treated his life in detail is Sakhawi. Enumerating his professors in different sciences, he said that he had many licenses for giving fatwa, teaching, and recitation. He presided over the board of reciters at ‘Adiliyya Madrasa in Damascus.
Sakhawi has also dealt with his trips to different countries and his interesting accounts. He has shed light on his works and described all of them as useful. Among his works is Asna Al-Matalib Fi Manaqib Ali Bin Abi Talib.
He says: Commenting on Jazeri, Tawoosi says: He was unique in narrating and memorizing traditions, Jarh and Ta’adeel (the science of praising and criticizing) and knowing early and later narrators.
Thereupon Sakhawi the words of Ibn Hajar concerning him…26 Ibn Jazeri died in the year 833 AH.
Bukhari and his skepticism about Imam Sadiq’s traditions
It is one of the signs of Bukhari’s animosity towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny and his deviation from their conduct, that he did not mention Imam Sadiq’s traditions in his book and above all he cast doubts on some of his traditions!!
With all insolence, commenting on Imam Sadiq, Bukhari says: No one from among the four Imams has taken juristic rules from Ja’afar [Sadiq (a.s)], but they have narrated his tradition along with the traditions of others, with the difference that the traditions of others are much more in number than those of his. The traditions by Zahri cannot be thus compared to those of Ja’afar [Sadiq (a.s)] in terms of strength and number.
When some of his traditions were narrated to him by Yahya Bin Sa’ee Qattan, he objected to them and cast doubt about them. It was because of this that he refrained from narrating his traditions. The ability of Ja’afar [Sadiq (a.s)] in memorizing traditions is far less than the memorization abilities of those referred to by Bukhari!!27
Sunni scholars and issue of loving Prophet’s progeny
Look! How this arch enemy of the Prophet’s progeny has cast doubt on this Holy Imam on the basis of Qattan’s words.
This is while great Sunni scholars – whether in the past or in the present – have said that it is necessary to love, respect and follow the Holy Prophet’s progeny (a.s) to the extent that they distance Sunnis from making enmity towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny and acquit those who objected the Prophet’s progeny, put their credibility to question or turned away from them.
They consider the attribution of such matters to Sunnis as something that originates from Shiite prejudices. Kabuli consider the following as the nineteenth prejudices of Shiites (against Sunnis), saying: Sunnis have gone to extremes in making enmity towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny. Ibn Shar Ashub and most Shiite scholars, mentioning such topic, have regarded Sunnis as the enemies of the Holy Prophet’s progeny. But this is a big lie!
This is because it is one of the undisputed conditions of faith that one should love the Holy Prophet’s progeny more than one loves oneself. One of the traditions that one can mention here is the tradition narrated by Bayhaqi, Abu Al-Sheikh and Daylami. The Holy Prophet (S) says:
áÇíæãä ÇÍÏ ÍÊì Çßæä ÇÍÈ Çáå ãä äÝÓå æ یßæä ÚÊì ÇÍÈ Çáíå ãä äÝÓå
No one is a believer unless he loves me and my progeny more than himself.
Tirmidhi and Hakim have also narrated from Ibn Abas that he has quoted the Holy Prophet (S) as saying:
ÇÍÈæÇ Çåá ÈíÊì ÈÍÈì
Love my progeny on account of loving me.
Sunni scholars are of the view that anyone who does not love the Holy Prophet’s progeny betrays him, whereas the Holy Qur’an says:
áóÇ ÊóÎõæäõæÇ ÇááøóÜåó æóÇáÑøóÓõæáó
Do not betray Allah and the Apostle. 28
Likewise, anyone who makes enmity towards the Hoy Prophet’s progeny, makes enmity, in fact, towards the Apostle of Allah. A poet has beautifully described this, composing:
ÝáÇ ÊÚÏá ÈÇåá ÇáÈíÊ ÎáÞÇ ---- ÝÃåá ÇáííÊ åã Âåá ÇáÓÚÇÏå
ÝÈÛÖåã ãä ÇáÅäÓÇä ÎÓÑ ---- ÍÞíÞì æ ÍÈåã ÚÈÇÏå
Do not consider anyone as equal to Prophet’s progeny
This is because it is only the Prophet’s progeny who attain happiness
Making enmity towards them is a real loss and loving them is worship
Sunni scholars deem it necessary to say Salawat (peace be upon the Holy Prophet’s progeny) in prayers. Sheik Farid Al-Din Ahmad Bin Muhammad Naishaburi says
: Anyone who believes in Muhammad (S) and does not believe in his progeny is not a believer. All scholars and mystics are of the same opinion on this issue with no one denying it.29
Are they truthful in making this claim?
As a matter of fact, Sunni scholars claim that “anyone who believes in Muhammad (S) and does not believe in his progeny is not a believer”. On the other hand, all scholars and mystics are unanimous on this issue with no one denying it.
Let’s now ask them this question: if you are truthful in making this claim, what do you say Qattan, Bukhari, Ibn Taymiyya and their likes?
Commenting on Safina tradition (my progeny is Noah’s ship. Anyone who gets on it will be saved and anyone who leaves it will be drowned) he says: This tradition shows that salvation and guidance is the result of loving and following the Holy Prophet’s progeny. Any deviation from this path will bring about one’s perdition.
As the discussion proceeds, Shah Abd Al-Aziz Dehlavi considers affection towards and obedience to the Prophet’s progeny as a peculiarity of Sunnis!!30
If Shah Abd Al-Aziz is truthful in his claim he must comment on those who put to question the reputation of Imam Sadiq (a.s).
One must not think that Qattan, Bukhari and their advocates criticized Imam Sadiq (a.s) not because of their animosity towards him but because of scientific studies and religious precautions. Such a view is wrong. This is because if Ibn Taymiyya’s words (concerning Imam Sadiq) are not deviation and animosity, then what are they?
Can we find any other example for deviation and animosity? If Ibn Taymiyya is not an enemy of the Prophet’s progeny then who is their enemy who is deviated and prejudiced? Was it the intensity of religious precaution and piety that caused Bukhari to leave aside the traditions of Imam Sadiq (a.s) and other Imams and to give space in his Sahih to traditions by misled and corrupt individuals like Akrama who had deep hatred towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny? How can thus one excuse Bukhari and justify his deed?
Buhkari and Duhli have questioned the credibility of one another in a manner that tells us they were lewd. Bukhari avoids mentioning Duhli’s name explicitly. Despite all this animosity, he relates Duhli’s tradition but refrains from mentioning Imam Sadiq’s traditions!!
Qattan and his criticism of Imam Sadiq (a.s)
Qattan has also put to question the reputation and credibility of Imam Sadiq (a.s). This has appeared in Sunnis’ Rijal books. In two sentences he criticizes Imam Sadiq (a.s). He says: “I do not accept him” and “I like Mujalid more than him”.
Elaborating on Imam Sadiq’s life, Dahabi says: Abu Abdullah Ja’afar Bin Muhammad Sadiq’s mother is Umm-e-Farwa, daughter of Qasim Bin Muhammad. His maternal grandmother is Asma, daughter of Abd Al-Rahman Bin Abu Bakr. Ja’afar Sadiq said: Abu Bakr has brought me to this world twice.
He listened to the traditions of Qasim, ‘Ata and his father (Muhammad Baqir (a.s)), Shu’aba and Qattan have narrated his traditions. Qattan says: I do not accept him….31
Elsewhere Dahabi mentions: Ja’afar Bin Muhammad Bin Ali is a reliable person, though Bukhari has not mentioned his traditions. Yahya Bin Mu’aeen and Ibn Udai consider his traditions as credible, though Qattan says that he likes Mujalid more than him.32
Who is Mujalid Bin Sa’eed?
Given the preceding discussion, most Sunni scholars have questioned the credibility and reputation of Mujalid Bin Sa’eed. Commenting on him, Dahabi says: Mujalid Bin Sa’eed Bin Umair Hamadani is a popular figure with traditions though weak. He narrated traditions from Qabas Bin Abu Hazim and Sha’abi. Yahaya Qattan, Abu Usama and others have narrated traditions from him.
Speaking about him Ibn Mu’aeen and others says: One cannot rely on Mujalid’s traditions.
Talking about him, Ahmad says: No one has reported as many Marfu’a (chainless) traditions as Mujalid has done. One must not pay attention to his traditions.
Nisaee says that Mujalid is not strong in terms of transmitting traditions. Ashaj says that Mujalid is a Shiite. Dar Qutni says that Mujalid is weak in terms of narrating traditions. Bukhari says: Yahya Bin Sa’eed has always criticized Mujalid whereas Ibn Mahdi has refrained from narrating his traditions.
Falas says: I heard Yaya Bin Sa’eed say: If I asked Mujalid to begin all his traditions with the phrase “from Sha’bi, from Masruq, from Abdullah” he would do it.
When Takhan, Mujalid’s maternal uncle was asked as to why he did not record Mujalid’s traditions when he was in Kufa he said: because Mujalid keeps long beard.
In my point of view, some scholars have rejected Mujalid’s tradition that “If I willed, Allah would give me mountains of gold and silver” as false. Mujalid has narrated this tradition in Marfu’a format from Sha’abi, from Masruq, from ‘Aisha.33
This is a part of the views of biographers concerning Mujalid Bin Sa’eed whom Qattan preferred to Imam Sadiq (a.s). You can now judge yourself about the characters of Qattan, Bukhari and their co-thinkers on the basis of justice and religious standards.
Dahabi and Imam Sadiq (a.s)
Albeit Dahabi has considered Imam Sadiq (a.s) as reliable, he has made no objection to Qattan and Bukhari’s prejudice against Imam Sadiq (a.s). On the contrary, in his Al-Mizan, he has mentioned the criticism made by Qattan and Bukhari against Imam Sadiq (a.s), saying: Ja’afar Bin Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Hussain Hashimi, Abu Abdullah is among great, benevolent and truthful Imams. Bukhari has refrained from narrating from him. Yahya Bin Sa’aeed says that he likes Mujalid more than him.
Mus’ab Bin Abdullah quotes Darawardi as saying: Malik refrained from narrating from Ja’afar (Imam Sadiq (a.s)) before the dominance of Bani Abbas. If he narrated anything from him he would add the name of another narrator to his name.
Ahmad Bin Sa’eed Bin Abu Maryam quotes Yahya as saying: I did not ask Yahya Bin Sa’aeed anything about the traditions of Ja’afar (Imam Sadiq (a.s). It was because of this that he asked: Why do you not ask him about the traditions’ of Ja’afar. 34
I said: I do not like his traditions.
Yahya Bin Sa’eed said: If Ja’afar is a memorizer he can narrate authentic traditions from his father.35
In his preface to this book, Dahabi, on the other hand, points out that he does not intend to mention the names of those great scholars of jurisprudence whom Bukhari and Ibn Udai have criticized.
Is the position of Imam Sadiq (a.s) lower than that of some of the lewd companions (of the Holy Prophet (S)) such as 'Amr Bin ‘As, Busr Bin Arta’a and their likes? Were Shafi’aee and others better off than Imam Sadiq (a.s)?
No doubt, they were not. Thus it is prejudice against and animosity towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny that make one to commits such a grieve sin. One must take refuge to Allah from such sins.
Who is Qattan?
Let’s now see how Sunni scholars have exaggerated in praising Qattan while elaborating on his life. Sam’ani says: Qattan is a person who sells cotton. Qattan was called Qattan for he was as seller of cotton. His full name is Abu Sa’eed, Yahya Bin Sa’eed Bin Farrukh Ahwal Qattan. He was among the slaves of Bani Tamim and the Imams of Basra.
He narrated traditions from Yahya Bin Sa’eed Ansari and Hisham Bin Urwa and the people of narrated his traditions.
Qattan died on Sunday in the year 198 AH. When a person asked Allah to cure his illness when he was ill, he would say: I like that which Allah likes.
He was among the top figures of his time in memorizing traditions, piety, reason, understanding, virtue, religion and knowledge. It was he who taught Iraqis how to record traditions.
He spent most of his time in learning about reliable narrators and leaving weak narrators. Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Yahya Bin Mu’aeen and Ali Bin Madini have learnt the science of hadith from him.
Talking about him, Amr Bin Ali Falas says: Yahya Bin Sa’eed Qattan used to recite the entire Qur’an in every twenty four hours. He used to pray for as many as one thousand people. In the final hours of afternoon, he would go out of his house in order to relate traditions for people.
He narrated traditions from Yahya Bin Sa’eed Ansari, his homonym, Hisham Bin Urwa, ‘Amash Bin Jarih, Thawri, Shu’aba, Malik etc. He said that he had accompanied Shu’aba for twenty years during which time he had learnt as many as three to ten traditions from him.
Yahya Bin Mu’aeen says: He used to recite the entire Quran every night for twenty consecutive years. He used to offer his noon prayers in mosque for forty year in succession, though he was never seen in congregational prayer.36
Speaking about Qattan, he says: His full name is Yahya Bin Saeed Qattan, Abu Saeed Bin Farrukh Tamimi. He was the Imam of Basra narrators and was among the followers of the followers. He listened to the traditions of Yahya Bin Saeed Ansari, Hanzala Bin Abu Sufyan, Bin ‘Ajlan, Sayf Bin Sulaiman, Hisham Bin Hassan, Bin Jarih, Saeed Bin ‘Aruba, Bin Abu Zaeb, Noori, Bin ‘Aenae, Malik, Mush’aeer, Shu’aba and others.
Noori, Ibn ‘Aeena, Shu’ab, Ibn Mahdi, ‘Affan, Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Yahya Bin Mu’een, Ali Bin Madini, Ishaq Bin Rahwiyya, Abu Abdi Qasim Bin Salam, Abu Khtima, Abu Bakr Bin Abu Shayba, Musaddid, Ubaydullah Bin Umar Qawariri, Amr, Bin Ali, Ibn Muthana, Ibn Bashar etc. have narrated traditions from him.
All scholars have admitted his Imamate, greatness, memorization and his immense knowledge.
Commenting on him, Dahabi says: Yahya Bin Sa’eed Bin Farrukh, Abu Sa’eed Tamimi, Qattan, a great memorizer was the Imam of Basra narrators. He narrated traditions from Urwa, Hamid and Amash. Ahmad, Ali and Yahya narrated traditions from him.
Ahmad says: Qattan is a unique personality. Bandar says: Yahya Qattan was the Imam of his time. I was in touch with him for twenty years. I think he did not commit even a single sin!
Qattan was top in terms of knowledge and good deeds. He was born in 120 AH and died in Safar 198 AH.37
Speaking about Qattan, Yafi’aee said: Imam Abu Sa’eed Yahya Bin Sa’eed Qattan was from Basra. He was memorizer of tradition and a great scholar. Bandar says: I was in touch with him for twenty years. I think he did not commit even a single sin!
Ahmad Bin Hanbal said: Qattan was a unique personality. Ibn Mu’aeen said: He used to recite the entire Quran every night for twenty consecutive years and pray in mosque for forty years without any cessation.38
The above-mentioned scholars were aware of Qattan’s words concerning Imam Sadiq (a.s), but despite that they praised him. Theses praises determine Sunnis’ attitude towards the Holy Prophet’s progeny (a.s).
Thus we cannot agree with some Sunni scholars who say that Sunnis respect the Holy Prophet’s progeny and appealed to them. It cannot be accepted that someone loves the Holy Prophet’s progeny and praises their enemies!
The story of Ibn Madini’s Al-Ilal
One of the objections that target Bukhari’s piety and credibility is his way of approaching Al-Ilal written by Ibn Madini, his teacher.
In his Al-T’arikh, Muslima Bin Qasim (based on what is narrated)39 says: Bukhari wrote his Sahih in order to compete Ali Bin Madini who had written Al-Ilal and were not willing to publish it.
Considering his book as very great and useful, he did not narrate its traditions to anyone. One day Ali Bin Madini went somewhere to do something. [Utilizing the opportunity], Bukhari visited one his children. He proposed to him to lend him Al-Ilal to study for three days in return for one hundred Dinars.
Being attracted by the charms of Dinars, Ibn Madini’s family lent it to him and asked him to return it after three days.
Bukhari got the book that was consisting of one hundred volumes and distributed it among one hundred writers asking each one to transcribe and edit his portion within twenty four hours.
As expected, the writers in question completed its transcription and editing within twenty four hours.
After accomplishing the task, Bukhari returned Al-Ilal back to Ali Bin Madini’s son, saying that he could study only parts of it.
Not knowing about what had happened, Ali Bin Madini arrived home. Bukhari now studied the book and memorized its content. He had good relations with Ibn Madini. Ibn Madini used to devote one day to the people of tradition, elaborating on the weakness and chains of traditions.
After some times, Bukhari visited Ibn Madini. “Where are you? I have not seen you for a long time?”, Ibn Madini said. “I was busy doing something”, replied Bukhari.
Thereupon Ali Bin Madini narrated some traditions and asked the people of traditions to comment on their weaknesses.
Bukhari replied, while mentioning the exact words of Ibn Madini in his Al-Ilal. Ibn Madini was surprised by Bukhari’s comment and thus he, addressing him, said: How did you know the answer to this question? I have written it in my book. Presently no one except me knows about such issues.
Saddened and made sorrowful, Ibn Madini came back home. At his home, he learnt that Bukhari had taken the book from his family after giving them some money. His sorrow continued to increase until he died a short while later.
Now that Bukhari had Al-Ilal at his disposal he did not need to attend Madini’s lectures anymore. That is why he left for Khurasan where he became a jurist making use of Al-Ilal.
He wrote his Sahih and history books and became popular. He was the first scholar who wrote Sahih in the world of Islam and other scholars followed in his footsteps and wrote their Sahih books.
The afore-mentioned story shows that Bukhari was the main factor behind the death of his teacher, Ali Bin Madini, for it was Bukhari who borrowed Ibn Madini’s Al-Ilal from his family through trick and deceit and introduced changes in it.
1. Al-Tabaqat Al-Shafi’ayya Al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 230, Siyar ‘Alam Al-Nubala, vol. 12, p. 462.
2. Fayz Al-Qadir, vol. 1, p. 24.
3. Mawsu’a Al- Mustaf Wa Al-Itra, p. 594.
4. Mizan Al-Itidal, vol. 5, pp. 167, tradition no, 5880.
5. Al-Kashif, vol. 2, p. 223, tradition no. 3607
6. Taqrib Al-Tahzib, vol. 1, p. 497, tradition no. 4850.
7. Mir’at Al-Junan, vol. 2, p. 131.
8. Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 10, pp. 326 and 337.
9. Al-Kashif, vols. 3 and 6, p. 4761.
10. Al-Ansab, vol. 2, p. 279.
11. Tahzib Al-Tahzib, vol. 9, pp. 27-30.
12. Hady Al-Sari, p. 492.
13. Al-Kashif, vol. 2, p. 88, Narrator no. 5274.
14. Al-Asbab, vol. 3, p. 181.
15. Al-Wafi bi Al-Wafiyat, vol. 5, p. 186, Narrator, no. 2235.
16. Though the name of the Holy Prophet in Sunni sources is followed by (peace be upon him), an imperfect form of salutation, we use the letter (S) after the name of the Holy Prophet in order to refer to (peace be upon him and his progeny), a perfect form of salutation, suggested by the Holy Prophet himself.
17. Awqiya is a unit of measurement. Here it stands for a quantity of gold etc. from war booties.
18. Al-Mustawfi fi Asma Al-Mustafa, manuscript.
19. Wafiyat Al-‘Ayan, vol. 3, pp. 448 – 450 and 497.
20. Bughyat Al-Wu’at fi Tabaqat Al-Nufus Wa Al-Nijat, vol. 2, p. 218 and Narrator no. 1832.
21. Hassan Al-Muhadara bi Mahasin Misr Wa Al-Qahira, vol. 1, p. 201.
22. Minhaj Al-Sunna, vol. 4, p. 136.
23. Nazal Al-Abrar be Ma Sahha min Manaqib Ahl Al-Bayt Al-Athar, vol. 21.
24. Asna Al-Matalib fi Manaqib Ali Bin Abi Talib, p. 48.
25. Anba Al-Ghumr be Anba Al-Umr, vol. 3, p. 467.
26. Al-Daw Al-Lami’a li Ahl Al-Qarn Al-Tasi’a, vol. 9, p. 255- 260.
27. Minhaj Al-Sunna, vol. 7, p. 533.
28. Qur’an, Anfal, 27.
29. Al-Sawaeq Al-Mubiqa, Manuscript.
30. Tuhfa Athna Asharia, p. 219.
31. Al-Kashif, vol. 1, pp. 149and 807.
32. Al-Mughni fi Al-Duafa, vo. 1, p. 211 narrator, no. 1156.
33. Mizan Al-Itidal, vol. 6, p. 23, narrator no. 7076.
34. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 143, narrator no. 1521.
35. Ibdi, vol. 1, p. 113.
36. Al-Ansab, vol. 4, p. 519.
37. Al-Kashif, 3, p. 243, Narrator, no. 6258.
38. Mir’at Al-Junan, vol.1, p. 352.
39. See Lisan Al-Mizan, vol. 6, p. 43 for his life.