The Hadith of the Pen and Paper and the Allegations of the Shī‘ah

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Translator’s Preface

The belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamā’ah in respect to the noble companions of the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings be upon him) has been clearly outlined by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 463 AH) as follows:Pen&Paper

They are the best of generations, and the best of nations taken out for the benefit of mankind. Their uprightness is established by the praise of Allāh and His Messenger. No one can be more upright than those whom Allāh selected for the companionship and assistance of His Messenger. This is the greatest form of approval and the most complete form of accreditation.[1]

The Sahābah have undoubtedly secured a lofty rank in the court of Allāh, which is described in the following verse:

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhājirūn and the Ansār and those who followed them with good conduct, Allāh is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[2]

Accordingly, to disparage or slander any of the Sahābah, let alone the high ranking among them, is unacceptable and highly detested.

The following is a response by Mufti Taqī ‘Uthmānī to allegations leveled by the Shī’ah against our master ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb (Allāh be pleased with him) regarding the Hadith of the Pen and Paper.[3] To make the article more reader friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in many places.

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Chronological List of Prominent Hadīth Scholars-English

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Chronological List of Prominent Hadīth Scholars

The importance of knowing the dates of birth/death of the scholars cannot be stressed enough, for it holds a high status in Islāmic knowledge in general and in theimages 3 science of Hadīth in particular. Thus, Imām ‘Alī ibn al-Madīnī mentions, “Comprehension of the meaning of Hadīth is half of knowledge and knowing the transmitters is the other half.” To illustrate this point, let us look at the following incident:

A group of Jews presented a letter from the Messenger of Allāh that supposedly absolves the inhabitants of Khaybar from paying jizyah. This letter contained the testimony of the Companions and had the signature of ‘Alī (Allāh be pleased with him). When it was brought to the head of state, he gave it to al-Khatīb al-Baghdādī to examine it. After examining it, al-Khatīb concluded that the letter was forged. When asked how he came to that conclusion, he replied, “It contains the testimony of Mu‘āwiyah (Allāh be pleased with him) who only accepted Islām during the conquest of Makkah whereas Khaybar was conquered on the seventh year of Hijrah. Further, it contains the testimony of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘ādh (Allāh be pleased with him) who passed away during the battle of Banū Qurayżah, which was two years prior to the conquest of Khaybar.”

In view of this importance, we prepared the following chart, which contains the names, dates of birth/death, and works of prominent hadith scholars, starting from the second century AH until the present century. In this chart, we have sufficed on the relatively prominent hadith scholars; as otherwise, there would be no end to the list. Wherever possible, both the dates of birth and death were mentioned. Otherwise, only the date of death was mentioned, preceded by the abbreviation, “d.” When an approximate date is mentioned, it is preceded by “c.” (circa). The abbreviation “p.” means “post.”

It should be noted that the purpose of this chart is to serve as an easy reference for those searching for the names and dates of birth/death of major hadith scholars. Those who are interested in detailed biographical entries of these scholars should refer to the relevant works, such as Wafayāt al-A‘yān of Ibn Khallikān, Siyar A‘lām al-Nubalā’ of al-Dhahabī, Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā of Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī, Shadharāt al-Dhahab of Ibn al-‘Imād, and al-A‘lām of al-Ziriklī etc.. To facilitate easy referencing, relevant works for further details have been cited under each entry in the Arabic chart.

  Muntasir Zaman   -Click here for the Pdf version of Chronological List of Prominent Hadīth Scholars-EnglishClick here for the Arabic List Read the rest of this entry »

Chronological List of Prominent Hadīth Scholars-Arabic

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جَدوَل لأسماء أعلام المحدثين ومواليدهم ووفياتهم مع ذكر بعض مؤلفاتهم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

:الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام علي سيد المرسلين أما بعد

فإن لمعرفة مواليد ووفيات الأعلام مكانة عظيمة في العلوم الشرعية لا سيّما في علوم الحديث الشريف. ومن ثَمّ قال الإمام علي بن المديني: “التفقّه في معاني الحديث نصف العلم، ومعرفة الرجال نصف العلم” (المحدث الفاصل ص 320) وقال الامام سفيان الثوري: “لمّا استعمل الروّاة الكذب، استعملنا لهم التاريخ” (الكفاية ص 119) وقال حسان بن زيد: “لم يستعن على الكذابين بمثل التاريخ، يقال للشيخ: سنة كم ولدت؟ فإذا أقر بمولده عرف صدقه من كذبه” (تاريخ بغداد 7/357) أذكر مثالا واقعيا لما نحن بصدده لعل فيه كفاية لتأكيد ما قلت. قال الإمام الذهبي

أظهر بعض اليهود كتابا ادَّعَى أَنَّهُ كِتاب رimages8سول اللهِ -صلى اللّه عليه وسلم -بِإِسقاط الجزية عن أهل خَيْبَر، وفيه شهادة الصحابة، وَذكروا أَن خط عَليّ -رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ-فِيْهِ. وحُم الكِتَاب إِلى رَئِيس الرؤساء، فَعَرضَه عَلَى الخَطِيْب، فَتَأَمَّلَه وقال: هذا مُزوّر قيل: منْ أَيْن قُلْت؟ قَالَ: فِيْه شهَادة معاوية وهو أسلم عام الفتح، وفُتحت خيبرُ سنَة سبع، وفيه شهَادَةُ سَعْدِ بن معاذ ومات يوم بنِي قُريظَة قبل خيبر بِسنتين. فَاسْتحسن ذلك منه. اه (سير أعلام النبلاء 18/280

نظرا لهذه الأهمية أعددت هذا الجَدوَل لأسماء مشاهير المحدثين من القرن الثاني الهجري إلي هذا القرن، وذكرت مواليدهم ووفياتهم مع بعض مؤلفاتهم، ليتيسر لطلبة العلم حفظها والرجوع اليها عند الحاجة. اقتصرت فيه على الأعلام المشهورين تحرزا عن الإطالة وتيسيرا للطلبة، وحاولت قدر المستطاع أن أعيّن مولد ووفاة كل علم مذكور في الجدول، وفيما لم أظفر على المولد اكتفيت بذكر الوفاة فقط وحينئذ قدمت عليها رمز “ت”-أي توفي. وكذا إذا لم أظفر على تعيينهما بالضبط اكتفيت بالتاريخ التقريبي مع الإشارة اليه برمز “ح” للحدود -أي في حدود سنة كذا. وزدت رمز “ب” إذا كانت الوفاة أو المولد بعد التاريخ المذكور. وإنما ذكرت بعض مؤلفاتهم مع العلم بأنه قد يكون لهم مؤلفات اُخرى.

ولا ينسى أن هذه العجالة لمن يحتاج إلى معرفة هذه الأسماء والتواريخ على وجه الاختصار فحسب. أما من يطلب التفصيل فليراجع كتب التراجم المناسبة مثل وفيات الأعيان لابن خلّكان، سير أعلام النبلاء للذهبي، طبقات الشافعية الكبرى لتاج الدين السبكي، شذرات الذهب لابن العماد، نزهة الخواطر لعبد الحي الحسني، الأعلام للزركلي وغير ذلك من المراجع. وقد أحلنا تحت كل ترجمة إلى المصادر المناسبة لمن يريد التفصيل.

 لو شعر القارئ الكريم أن هذا الجَدوَل يحتاج الي ترميم، أو وجد فيه خطأ من أي وجهٍ، فالرجاء منه أن ينبه عليه والكمال لله

 منتصر الزمان 

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Have We Surpassed the Classical Scholars of Islām?

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Translator’s Preface

The following is an excerpt from our abridged translation of Athar al-Hadīth al-Sharīf fī Ikhtilāf al-A’immah al-Fuqahā’. In this excerpt, the author addresses a misconception, which has plagued many academic circles in recent times, i.e. the idea that we have surpassed the classicalMasjid scholars of Islām, due to the abundant availability of hadīth literature and means of acquiring knowledge.

The superficiality of such a notion is  quite apparent to those who have impartially studied the works of our early scholars. ‘Allāmah al-Dhahabi (d. 748 AH), one of the greatest historians and scholars of hadith, explains the stark contrast between the early and latter-day scholars and the inability of the latter to ever reach the ranks of the former. While discussing a particular work of Imām Abū Bakr al-Ismā‘īlī (d. 371 AH), he states, “I was amazed by the memory of this Imām and was convinced that the latter-day scholars have no hope in reaching the ranks of the early scholars in memorization and knowledge.”[1] It is important to note that he made this assessment in an era filled with great scholars of hadith, such as Ibn Daqīq al-‘Īd (d. 702 AH) and Jamāl al-Dīn al-Mizzzī (d. 742 AH), whose knowledge and expertise in hadith is undisputedly beyond the reach of modern day scholars!

The following is only an abridged translation and therefore several sections have been omitted and others were summarized. To make the article more-reader friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in many places.

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The Status of Imam Abu Hanifah in the Science of Hadith

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Translator’s Preface

The following is a brief, yet comprehensive, explanation of the rank of Imām Abū Hanīfah in the science of Hadīth. As was mentioned earlier, this is an excerpt from the previous section of our abridged translation of Athar al-Hadīth al-Sharīf fī Ikhtilāf al-A’immah al-Fuqahā’.images 2

In this excerpt, the author commences by differentiating between the amount of hadiths a scholar knew and the amount he imparted; the latter does not reflect the exact amount of the former. Just as the knowledge of Abū Bakr (Allāh be pleased with him) cannot be gauged at by the amount of hadīths he narrated, likewise, Imām Abū Hanīfah cannot be labelled as one who knew very few hadiths simply because he narrated a limited amount hadiths.

One can understand the amount of hadiths Imām Abū Hanīfah knew by the fact that he is accepted by scholars as a mujtahid, and one of the prerequisites to reach the ranks of ijtihād is to know thousands of hadiths as mentioned by Imām Ahmad and Imām Yahyā ibn Ma‘īn. Accordingly, Imām Abū Hanīfah was aware of that amount of hadiths if not more.

Thereafter, the author discusses the academic status of Kūfah by citing the influence of ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mas‘ūd and his students upon its inhabitants, such that ‘Alī mentions he has filled it with knowledge and understanding. He then follows this by proving the encompassing knowledge Imām Abū Hanīfah acquired from the scholars of Kūfah. He further explains that his knowledge was not confined to what he learnt from his townsmen; rather, he was well versed with the knowledge of Makkah, Madīnah, and other Islāmic cities, by virtue of his frequent travels to the holy cities during Hajj and his stay there for several years.

In conclusion, the author briefly mentions several scholars who in recent times have penned works regarding the status of Imām Abū Hanīfah in the science of Hadīth, among whom is the erudite scholar of Hadīth, ‘Allāmah Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmānī.

It should be remembered this is only an abridged translation. Therefore, several sections have been omitted and others were summarized. To make the article more-reader friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in many places. Those who are interested in more detail are advised to read the original work.

Muntasir Zamān

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Difference of the Jurists Due to Varying Degrees of Knowledge of the Sunnah

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Translator’s Preface

The following is an excerpt from our abridged translation of the masterpiece, Athar al-Hadīth al-Sharīf fī Ikhtilāf al-A’immah al-Fuqahā’, byimages 3 the Syrian Hadīth scholar, the teacher of our teachers, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah. There were numerous requests for an abridged translation of the work for the benefit of non-Arabic readers, as the original work is relatively lengthy. We will post sections of it in installments and finally publish the complete abridgement in a separate post. We have previously posted the following sections of the book:

  1. Introduction/When is a Hadīth suitable for practice?
  2. The correct meaning of the statement, “When a Hadīth is authentic it is my opinion.”
  3. Is the authenticity of a Hadīth sufficient to practice upon it?
  4. Difference of the jurists in their understanding of a Hadith
  5. Difference of approach in dealing with apparently conflicting aspects of the Sunnah

The excerpt before you is an explanation of the fourth and final reason of differences among the jurist Imāms: varying degrees of knowledge of the Sunnah. In this chapter, the author commences by explaining that the idea of one scholar gathering the entire Sunnah independently is erroneous. He further explains that one cannot gauge at the knowledge of hadith a scholar possessed based on the amount of hadiths that he narrated. This is because a scholar does not necessarily impart every hadith he learnt. After discussing the vast amount of hadīths these Imāms were aware of, he acknowledges that there were times when they were also unaware of certain hadiths, albeit very few, for which he provides several examples. He concludes, by explaining the reason for delaying this cause as the last cause, although generally it is the first cause of difference that comes to mind when discussing the differences of the Imams. Further, he explains that often a scholar has proofs to substantiate his view, but others are unaware of them.

Towards the beginning of this chapter, the author discusses the knowledge of Imām Abū Hanīfah in the science of Hadīth. Since this discussion is quite important and well presented, we will publish it separately in a subsequent post.

It is important to remember that this is only an abridged translation. Therefore, many sections were omitted and some were summarized.  To make the article more reader-friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in several places. Those who are interested in more detail are advised to read the original work.

Muntasir Zaman

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Difference of Approach in Dealing with Apparently Conflicting Aspects of the Sunnah

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Translator’s Preface

The following is an excerpt from our abridged translation of the masterpiece, Athar al-Hadīth al-Sharīf fī Ikhtilāf al-A’immah al-new3Fuqahā’, by the Syrian Hadīth scholar, the teacher of our teachers, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah. There were numerous requests for an abridged translation of the work for the benefit of non-Arabic readers, as the original work is relatively lengthy. We will post sections of it in installments and finally publish the complete abridgement in a separate post. We have previously posted the following sections of the book:

  1. Introduction/When is a Hadīth suitable for practice?
  2. The correct meaning of the statement, “When a Hadīth is authentic it is my opinion.”
  3. Is the authenticity of a Hadīth sufficient to practice upon it?
  4. Difference of the jurists in their understanding of a Hadith

The excerpt before you is an explanation of the third of four reasons of difference among the jurist Imām: difference of approach in dealing with apparently conflicting aspects of the Sunnah, which is regarded as one of the most important reasons of difference. In this chapter, the author explains three different approaches scholars have adopted in this regard: reconciliation (al-Jam‘), abrogation (al-Naskh), and giving preference (al-Tarjīh).

Moreover, he sheds light on the common error of immediately giving preference to narrations recorded in Sahīh al-Bukhārī and Sahīh Muslim over narrations recorded in other hadith works. He explains that this one of the last reasons of giving preference from a list of one hundred and ten reasons as mentioned by ‘Allāmah Zayn al-Dīn al-‘Irāqī (d. 806 AH). In addition, he explains the influence of the Fiqh of the hadith scholars upon their selection of hadiths in their respective compilations.

It is important to remember that this is only an abridged translation. Therefore, many sections were omitted and some were summarized.  To make the article more reader-friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in several places. Those who are interested in more detail are advised to read the original work.

Muntasir Zaman

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