An assessment of the chains of this tradition of Thaqalain
By: Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Milani
A Glance at the Chain of this Tradition
In part one, we mentioned the most important chains of the forged Thaqalain tradition available in Sunnite sources. Before assessing the chains of this tradition, it is necessary to mention a few points.
1. This tradition is one of those traditions that are disregarded by Bukhari and Muslim. They have not mentioned it in their “Sahihain”. This is while Sunnites leave aside many correctly transmitted traditions just because these two Sheikhs have unanimously avoided mentioning them in their books.
2. This tradition is mentioned in none of the other Sunnite sources called “Sihah” and thus the authors of al-Sihah al-Sit, have agreed to avoid mentioning it.
3. This tradition has not appeared in anyone of the reliable Musnads like the Musnad of Ahmad Bin Hanbal. Ahmad bin Hanbal is on the other hand, quoted as having said that the traditions that have not appeared in his Musnad are not correct.
4. Most of the narrators of this tradition have said that it is a strange tradition. Commenting on this tradition, Hakim Nayshaburi says that the phrase “holding fast to tradition in this sermon” is very strange.
Let us now assess the chains of this tradition in the above-mentioned books.
The Chain of this Tradition in al-Muwatta
The position of this tradition is the same is that of the tradition of Malik Bin Anas in al-Muwatta. We will assess it from three angles.
1. An evaluation of al-Muwatta
Commenting on this book, the author of Kash al-Dunoon, says: “As pointed out by al-Nukat al-Wafiyya, al-Muwatta is an old and blessed book. His author wanted to include in it only the sahih (authentic) traditions but the traditions his book contains are sahih only from his point of view not from the viewpoint of people of tradition. This is because Malik considers marasil and balaghat 1 (formats of tradition that are generally below the standards of an authentic tradition) as sahih. 2
Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, commenting on al-Muwatta, says: “Khatib Baghdadi and other scholars have mentioned that Al-Muwatta is [historically] prior to all Jawami’a and Masanid”.
He then points out: “Al-Muwatta is thus historically after Hakim Nayshabruri‟s Sahih”. 3
In his Tanwir al-Hawalik, Suyuti, commenting on al-Muwatta, says: “Ibn Hazm in his Maratib Diyanat, says that he has counted the traditions in [al-Muwatta], of which more than 500 were musnad, more than 300 mursal and more than 70 traditions ignored by himself. It definitely includes traditions weakened by the majority of scholars”. 4
2. A glance at Malik’s biography
The second part of our discussion is devoted to the biography of Malik bin Anas. He is criticized and weakened due to many things. Let us now go through his biography.
A. Malik was a member of Khawarij (a notorious group in early Islam)
In a discussion pertaining to Khawarij, Abu al-Abbas al-Mubarrad, says: “Some scholars including Akrama, Ibn Abbas‟s freed slave, are related to Khawarij. Malik Bin Anas is also said to have had ties with Khawarij. Zubayriyun believe that Malik bin Anas used to speak ill of Uthman, Ali (a.s), Talha and Zubair, saying: “By Allah, they did not fight with each other except for a dusty broth” 5
B. Malik was a Mudallis
Describing some Mudallisin6 [the plural form of Mudallis], Khatib Baghdadi points out that Malik bin Anas was a Mudallis. 7
C. Malik joins the ruling class ignoring their crimes
Abdullah Bin Ahmad quotes his father as saying: “Ibn Abi Daeb and Malik were regularly visiting the rulers. The former used to give them directions whereas the later was silent. Ibn Daeb was far better than Malik”.8
D. Playing musical instruments
In his al-Aghani, Abu al-Faraj Isfahani mentions that Malik used to play musical instruments.9
E. Scholars on Malik
Commenting on him, Khatib Baghdadi said: “During the time of Malik, some scholars were critical of him”.
Among those criticized by scholars are according to him Ibn Abi Daeb, Abd al-Aziz Majeshun, Ibn Abi Hazim and Muhammad Bin Ishaq.10
Concerning Malik, Ibn Abd al-Aziz says: “Ibn Abi Daeb has made about Malik some unkind remarks, which I do not like to mention”11.
Other people have also commented about Malik. Ibrahim Bin Sa’d has cursed Malik. Abd al-Rahman Bin Zaid bin Aslam and Bin Abi Yahya have also made some remarks about Malik.12
3. An evaluation of the chain of tradition of Malik
The third part of our discussion goes to assessing the tradition of Malik from the viewpoint of its chain of transmitters. There is no chain of transmitters for this tradition in al-Muwatta. In his commentary on al- Muwatta, Suyuti says: “Bin Abd al-Barr has connected this book [to the Holy Prophet (s)] through the tradition of Kathir bin Abdullah Bin Amr Bin ‘Awf from his father, from his grandfather. 13
We will speak about the chain of this tradition in accordance with the tradition of Bin Abd al-Azia in al-Tamheed.
The chain of this tradition in Ibn Hisham’s al-Sira al-Nabawiyya
This tradition has appeared without any chain in Ibn Hisham’s al-Sira al-Nabawiyya. Under a heading “Prophet’s sermon in Farewell Hajj” in this book, the author writes: “Ibn Ishaq says: Thereupon the Holy Prophet (s) went on Hajj pilgrimage … After performing the Hajj rituals, he gave a sermon”. 14
The narrator of this tradition is Ibn Ishaq. According to most great scholars of rijal, Ibn Ishaq is a weak person, not immune from criticisms. He was accused of being a deceitful person who was following Shiism. A great number of scholars including Sulaiman Timi, Yahya Qattan, Wahab Bin Khalid and Malik Bin Anas, commenting on Ibn Ishaq, have said that he was profusely lying. 15
The chain of this tradition in al-Mustadrak
As mentioned before, this tradition has also appeared in Hakim‟s al- Mustadrak, which has related this tradition through two ways:
1. through Ibn Abbas
The focal point in Hakim’s tradition from Ibn Abbas is ‘Ismael bin Abi Uwais’. We thus suffice to evaluating Ibn Abi Uwais. He is Malik’s nephew. Some scholars of the science of Jarh and T’adil 16 (criticizing and praising) have said something about this person, which I will relate on the basis of Ibn Hajar’s words17: “Muawiyya bin Salih, commenting on Ibn Abi Uwais, quotes Ibn Mua‟een as saying: He and his father are weak in transmitting traditions ”.
He further quotes Ibn Mu’aeen as saying: “Ibn Abi Uwais and his father used to steal traditions”.
He likewise quotes him as saying that Ibn Abi Uwais mixes up traditions, lies and is not reliable.
Commenting on Ibn Abi Uwais, Nisaee says that he is weak in terms of transmitting traditions. Elsewhere he says that Ibn Abi Uwais is not a thiqa (a reliable person).
Referring to Nisee’s views, Lalkaee says: “Nisaee did not hesitate to speak ill of Ismael bin Abi Uwais. He has seriously spoken against him to the extent that he has abandoned his traditions. Probably Nisaee knew something about Ibn Abi Uwais, which others did not know. All scholars of Ilm Rijal (a science that evaluates the transmitters of traditions) eventually agree that he was weak in transmitting traditions.
Concerning Ibn Abi Uwais, Ibn Udai says that he has narrated gharib (strange) traditions from his uncle whom no one else has followed.
In his al-Du’afa, Dulabi has also talked about him, quoting Nasr Ibn Salma Maruzi as having said: “Ibn Abi Uwais is a liar. He used to narrate Ibn Wahab’s issues from Malik.
‘Aqili has also paid attention to him in his al-Du’afa, saying that Usama Zaffaf Basri told me that he had heard Yahya Ibn Mu’aeen saying: “Ibn Abi Uwais is not worth a penny”.
Commenting about him, Dar Qutni also says that he does not include him in the chain of any authentic tradition.
In his al-Muhalla, Ibn Hazm quotes Abu al-Fath as having said: “Saif Ibn Muhammad told me that Ibn Abi Uwais fabricated traditions”.
Regarding him Salma Ibn Shabib says: “I heard Ismael Bin Abi Uwais say: “When the people of Madina were divergent on a particular issue, I fabricated many traditions for them”.
2. through Abu Huraira
There is a person in the chain of Abu Huraira’s tradition, called ‘Salih bin Musa Talhi Kufi’ about whom the scholars of Jarh and Ta’adil have said certain things which I will relate – as in the case of Ibn Abi Umair- through the words of Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani. 18
Regarding Salih Ibn Musa, Ibn Mu’aeen says that he is not reliable. Elsewhere he mentions that Salih and Ishaq, the two sons of Musa are not reliable and thus their traditions are not recorded.
Hashim bin Murtad quotes Ibn Mu’aeen as saying that Salih Ibn Musa is not reliable in terms of transmitting traditions. Commenting on him Juzjani says that he, though good, is weak in terms of transmitting traditions.
Ibn Abi Hatam is quoted as having said: My father commenting on Salih said: He is really weak in terms of transmitting tradition. He narrates unacceptable traditions from reliable persons.
I said: Can we record his tradition? He said: I do not like his traditions.
Concerning this person, Bukhari says that the traditions of Salih are unacceptable due to his reliance on Sahl Ibn Salih.
Describing Salih, Nisaee says that his traditions being weak are not recorded. Elsewhere he points out that his traditions are rejected.
Concerning on Salih, Ibn Udai says: “No one narrates the traditions narrated by Salih. In my point of view, he is a person who purposely lies, without things being mixed up for him, causing him thus to commit error. No one has narrated the traditions he has narrated in favor of his grandfather”.
Commenting on him, Tirmidhi also confirms that some scholars have spoken ill of him.
Abdullah bin Ahmad says: I asked my father about Salih bin Musa but he said: I do not know anything about him. However it seems as if he is not liked.
‘Aqili talking about him, says that no one follows his traditions in order to prove anything.
Ibn Hannan, speaking about him, says that he used to narrate traditions from reliable people in a manner that did not resemble the tradition of reliable people. When a person hears his traditions he testifies that they are fabricated or inverted. Thus one cannot appeal to them.
Abu Na‟eem, regarding him says that he is rejected from the viewpoint of transmitting traditions as he has narrated unacceptable traditions.
The chain of this tradition in Bayhaqi's al-Sunan al-Kubra
This tradition has also appeared in Bayhaqi's al-Sunan al-Kubra through two chains of transmitters, one of them being through Ibn Abbas and the other through Abu Huraira. The former includes Ibn Abi Uwais whereas the later Salih bin Musa Talhi. We evaluate the cases of both transmitters while assessing the chain of the tradition in al-Mustadrak by Hakim Nayshaburi.
The chain of this tradition in al-Tamheed
Ibn Abd al-Barr has similarly mentioned this tradition in his al- Tamheed. Although its chain of transmitters include many individuals whom we need to assess, the assessment of the biography of Kathir bin Abdullah is sufficient. Kathir bin Abdullah is the one through whom Ibn Abd al-Bir has changed a mursal (disconnected) tradition into a muttasil (connected) one.
We will now assess his biography through the words of Ibn Hajar Asqalani. 19
Abu Talib quotes Ahmad as saying that Kathir bin Abdullah was a person whose traditions were not acceptable and reliable.
Abdullah bin Ahmad says: My father did not accept the traditions by Kathir bin Abdullah in his Musnad and thus he did not narrate anything from him.
Abu Khatima quotes Ahmad as saying: Do not quote anything from Kathir bin Abdullah.
Dawri quotes Ibn Mu'aeen as saying: His grandfather was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s), but he himself is weak in terms of transmitting traditions.
Commenting on Kathir, Marra says: He is not reliable. Darmi says the same thing about him.
Ajuri says: When Abu Dawood was asked about him, he said: He is a person who lies a lot.
Ibn Abi Hatam says: I asked about him from Abu Zar'ah who said: His tradition is weak and worthless. Elsewhere Abu Hatam says: He is not a righteous person. Nisaee says that he is not a reliable person.
Commenting on him, Ibn Udai says: His entire traditions are not acceptable.
Abu Na'aeem Isfahani, commenting on him, says: Ali bin Madini has regarded him as weak.
Ibn Sa'ad in regard with him says: Kathir bin Abdullah's traditions were few and far between and he was considered as weak.
Ibn Hajar, describing him, says: Saji has regarded Kathir as weak.
Ibn Abd al-Barr has claimed that there is a consensus on his weakness saying: Kathir is weak in terms of transmitting traditions. It is rather said that his weakness in terms of transmitting tradition is a matter of consensus among scholars.
Kathir narrates from his father and grandfather! Commenting on this issue, Ibn Hayyan says: He narrates fabricated traditions from his father and grandfather, which we are not permitted to mention in our book. We must not narrate any tradition from him except to show our astonishment.
Speaking about him, Ibn Sikkin says: Kathir narrates from his father from his grandfather – a thing that demands review.
Commenting on him Hakim says: Kathir narrates from his father from his grandfather traditions that include unacceptable traditions
Mentioned above were the criticisms about Kathir bin Abdullah by scholars of rijal. From among these criticisms, the criticism of Ibn Abd al- Barr is enough. He says: His weakness in terms of transmitting traditions is a matter of consensus among scholars.
The chain of tradition in al-Ilma'a
This tradition has also appeared in al-Ima'a, the chain of which includes more than one weak and objectionable person. This is because the narrator of this tradition is Shu'aib bin Ibrahim who is the narrator of the books of Saif bin Umar. Ibn Udai has criticized him saying: He is not a famous and well-known person. 20
Another narrator of this chain is Aban bin Ishaq Asadi, about whom Azdi says: His traditions are not acceptable. 21
The third person included in this chain is Sabbah bin Muhammad Ahmasi. No one other than Tirmidhi has reported from him. However Tirmidhi has once narrated a tradition from him, from Ibn Masud, which he himself has considered as gharib (strange). He is a person who used to narrate from reliable narrators, fabricated traditions.
Concerning him 'Aqili says: His tradition is false and incorrect. He narrates mawquf traditions as marfu'a traditions. 22
It is enough for the evaluation of this chain that it includes Saif bin Umar as one of its transmitters. Concerning him, Ibn Hajar 'Asqali states: Concerning him, Ibn Mu'aeen says that he is weak in terms of transmitting traditions.
Describing him, Abu Hatam says: His traditions are not acceptable. Concerning him, Abu Dawood says: His traditions are not reliable.
Regarding him, Nisaee says: He is weak in terms of transmitting traditions.
Dar Qutni says the same thing about him.
Speaking about him, Ibn Udai says: Some of his traditions are well- known, but generally speaking, his traditions are not acceptable and reliable.
In regard with this figure, Ibn Hannan says: He used to narrate fabricated traditions from reliable and trustworthy persons.
Elsewhere he points out: It is said that he fabricates traditions.
As the discussion proceeds, Ibn Hajar says: Based on the remaining part of Ibn Hayyan's words, he was accused of being a disbeliever.
Barqani quotes Dar Qutni as saying: His traditions are unacceptable.
Hakim Nayshaburi has also commented on him saying: Saif is accused of being a disbeliever and he is worth nothing in terms of transmitting traditions. 23
The chain of this tradition in al-Ja'mi'a al-Saghir
Al-Jami'a al-Saghir has quoted this tradition from Hakim's al- Mustadrak. Since we have talked about this in detail before, we are not going to make any repetition now.
The chain of this tradition in Kanz al-Ummal
Another figure who has reported this tradition is Muttaqi Hindi. He has narrated this tradition from Hakim Nayshabur i and Abu Bakr Sha'fi'ai, from Abu Huraira.
It goes without any saying that based on what we have said thus far the fate of Abu Huraira's tradition is also obvious. Muttaqi Hindi has narrated this tradition from Hakim Nayshabur i who has narrated it from Ibn Abbas. This chain was also evaluated before. Bayhaqi has narrated this tradition from Ibn Abbas, a case that was also made clear before.
Muttaqi Hindi has narrated this tradition from al-Ibana which has narrated it from Abu Huraira. After narrating this tradition he says: The author of al-Ibana has mentioned that this tradition is gharib (strange). This is because this tradition is narrated from Abu Huraira.24
1. Marasil is the plural form of Mursal. It describes a tradition in whose chain one or more than one transmitters are omitted. Balaghat stands for those traditions that are begun with the term ‘balaghani’, meaning ‘it reached me’.
2. Kashf al-Dunoon, vol. 2, p. 1907.
3. Tadrib al-Rawi, vol. 1, p. 83.
4. Tanwir al-Hawalik, vol. 1, p. 9.
5. Al-Kamil fi al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 159.
6. Mudallis is a person who deceives his customers by veiling the defects [of his goods]. In Hadith terminology, Tadlis is used in two senses: a) Tadlis in Isnad (chain of transmitters) in which the transmitter narrates a tradition from a person whom he has not seen or omits mentioning a weak transmitter in order to make the tradition in question look ‘hasan’ or ‘sahih’. It is said that tadlish is similar to lying. B) Tadlis in a transmitter’s attributes in which a person describes a transmitter using unreal attributes in order to conceal the real identity of the transmitter.
7. Al-Kifaya fi Ilm al-Riwaya, p. 365.
8. Al-Ilal wa Ma’arifa al-Rijal, vol. 1, p. 179.
9. Al-A’ani, vol. 2, p. 224.
10. Tarikh e Baghdad, vol. 10, p. 224.
11. Jami’a Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlihi, vol. 2, p. 157.
12. Ibid, p. 158.
13. Tanwir al-Hawalik, vol. 2, p. 208.
14. Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 4, p. 603.
15. See Rijal sources for his biography. You can also refer for further information about him to what Hafiz Bin Sayyid al-Nas (d. 734 AH) has mentioned in his preface to Yun al-Athar.
16. Jarh wa Ta’adil (criticizing and praising) is a branch of Rijal Science. Jarh means criticizing and objecting whereas Ta’adil means praising and considering a narrator as just and fair.
17. Tahdib al-Tahdib, vol. 1, p. 271.
18. Ibid, vol. 4, p. 354.
19. Ibid, vol. 8, p. 377.
20. Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 3, p. 145.
21. Tahdib al-Tahdib, vol. 1, p. 84.
22. Ibid, vol. 4, p. 358.
23. Ibid, vol. 4, p. 259.
24. See related discussions in this book, about the content of this tradition.