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Hadith being Weak according to some and Authentic according to others


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Assalamu alaikum Respected Mufti,

Why is it that a Hadith is graded weak by some Ulamah whilst the same Hadith is graded sahih by other Ulama? Could example be given to illustrate the point please?



Wa'alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,


The grading of Ahadith is a thing which is mujtahad fihi. This means that since the status of each narrator is not divinely revealed by Allah Ta'ala, scholars had to research and derive their conclusions. Based on what they found, they are bound to differ. What some scholars regarded as a defect, others would overlook. Some were more strict, whereas others were rather lenient. This is understood from the following statement of Imam Tirmidhi (may Allah be pleased with him):


قد اختلف الأئمة من أهل العلم في تضعيف الرجال كما اختلفوا في سوى ذلك من العلم (العلل الصغير للترمذي (ص: 756)


"Scholars differed in weakening narrators just as they differed in other aspects of knowledge." (Al 'Ilal as-Saghir, 756)


An example is that if nothing is known about a narrator, some scholars will accept him on the basis of 'Innocent until proven guilty'. However, others would say that we have to prove that he is reliable and has a good memory (then only we can accept narrations from him), and since we dont know anything about him, we cannot accept his narrations.


Similarly, a narration might be weak. However, some scholars might find a corroborating narration which could strengthen this narration and bring it to the status of being hasan (fair).


A famous difference of opinion is whether a narration will be accepted if there is no proof that a contemporary met the person from whom he is narrating. According to Imam Bukhari (may Allah be pleased with him), the narration will not be accepted. There should be proof that the student and teacher met atleast once. However, according to Imam Muslim (may Allah be pleased with him), although it is not proven that they met, since they are contemporaries and there was all the possibility for them to meet, we do not have to look for actual proof to show that they really did meet. Rather, we can accept their narrations without proving that they met. Thus, if a person from Iraq narrates a Hadith from his contemporary who lived in Yemen, but there is no proof that they met, Imam Bukhari (may Allah be pleased with him) will not accept that narration, whereas Imam Muslim (may Allah be pleased with him) will accept it.


Another aspect which caused them to differ, is whether a mursal narration will be regarded as authentic or not. Imam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him) has placed conditions for accepting those narrations where a tabi'i narrates directly from Nabi (sallallahu alayi wa sallam), whereas the other Imams accept it without any conditions. So, if the conditions are not found, Shafies will regard the narration as weak, whereas other scholars will regard it as authentic.


For many more examples and quotations, you may go through Athr al-Hadith ash-Shariff of Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah (may Allah preserve him)


In short, since scholars differed on the conditions of authenticity, it caused difference to come about on the ruling of the narration.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best


Ismail Moosa (Mufti)

Iftaa Department,

Euro-Sunni & Islamic Research and Welfare Academy
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  • 10 months later...

How to quote a ‘weak but suitable’ Hadith?


What do you mean when you say“This hadith is [weak but] suitable to quote.”?


Does this mean that I may quote the narration by saying that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said it without having to mention that there is a slight problem in the sanad or must i mention that there is a slight weakness in the sanad but it is suitable to quote?




When quoting a weak Hadith, one is not required to highlight its weakness.


However, in academic discussions, it is good to indicate towards its weakness with the words: ‘it has been reported’ (ruwiya) etc.

(Muqaddimah Ibnus Salah, pg.103-104 & Al-Ajwibatul Fadilah, pg.40)


If an academic does point out its weakness, he should also ensure to state that it is still suitable (provided that is the case).


The issue regarding weak Hadiths and their application is extremely pertinent. I hope to expound on it further in the near future insha Allah.



And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,


Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar


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Assalam alaikum,

 With respect to the above topic on so called 'Weak Ahadith' some people beleive, as did Sayyadi Ibn Arabi, may Allah be Merciful to him, that such 'weak' Hadith shuold be allowed and/or be acceptable... especially those that encourage the practice of pious works or those that convey an indisputable spiritual teaching. It is harmless, such folks hold, to regularly put into practice authentic or weak Hadith, taking into account all the nuances brought out by the different versions of such Ahadith, without attaching oneself to the exterior criteria of the validity of the Hadith, except obviously when it is a matter of licit or illicit.


 The imitation of the Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam, as carried by a Hadith [ presumably weak ], in conformity to the Sunnah leads in effect, according to the Holy Qur'an, to Divine Love: 'Say: If truly you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you.' (3:31)


 And in any case, if we accept the so called 'Weak' Hadith related from the Holy Prohpet, Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam, we accept it out of respect for the Prophet, peace be upon him. When it is incorrect hadith, there would be no responsibility on us for accepting it. This is good manners/adaab.


 Wallahu Ta'ala A'aalam.

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  • 1 year later...

The mystery of Dhaeef Hadeeth

Mystery of Dhaeef Hadeeth !!


A beautiful explanation by our Hazrat, shaykhul Hadith mawlana Yusuf Motala Saheb damat barakatuhum.


“Many people get very charged up and excited at the mention of many ahadeeth and just cannot resist labelling anything they do not know or agree with as “DHAEEF”, meaning “WEAK”, without even knowing and understanding what the term means and implies especially if it is a narration from “Fazaile Aamal” written by Shaikhul-Hadeeth Molana Zakariyyah Kandhalvi rahimahullah.


Firstly: The literal meaning of hadeeth is a “statement”. Any statement is literally a “hadeeth”. In Islamic literacy , hadeeth is implied to be a statement by or regarding Rasoolullah sallallaho alaihe wasallam.


But in the Quran it also says

هل اتك حديث موسى ..


“Did the hadeeth of Musa (alaihissalaam) reach you?”


It also says

هل اتك حديث ضيف ابراهيم المكرمين


“Did the hadeeth of the honourable guests of Ibraheem (alaihissalaam) reach you?”


This is why in books of haddeth , there are statements or sayings of Rasoolullah sallallaho alaihe wasallam , of sahaabah , of tabi’eens and even people after them.


Secondly. The term saheeh or dhaeef is used to describe the status of the chain of narration and not just the text. Hence in many cases although the chain by which a hadeeth has been narrated is weak but the subject contained therein is sound and supported by other narrations or even Quran.


The hadeeth

انما بعثت معلما


“I have been sent as a teacher”, has been classified as dhaeef but the message contained therein is supported by the Quran where Allah says about the prophet sallallaho alaihe wasallam ,


ويعلمكم ما لم تكونوا تعلمون .


“He teaches you what you did not know”.


So the prophet sallallaho alaihe wasallam was obviously a teacher as well.


Thirdly-Whether a hadeeth and a narration is saheeh(authentic) or dhaeef (weak) is not an absolute and divine classification but rather the opinion of a muhaddith regarding a particular narration as there is not and cannot be a single narration about which Allah or his beloved prophet have stated that this is saheeh or dhaeef.Hence there are many narrations which are classified as saheeh by one scholars but dhaeef or weak by another.


Fourthly- if a hadeeth is unacceptable and ought to be rejected because it is weak and in Fazaaile Aamal and the author Shaikhul-Hadeeth Molana Zakariyya is criticised for including it in his book , then virtually every other book of hadeeth apart of Bukhari and Muslim will need to be done away with as well, because Sheikh Zakariyyah did NOT make up those narrations but rather just quoted them from other original books of hadeeth compiled over a thousand years ago by great Muhadditheen, like Imam Tirmidhi , Abu Dawood , Ibn Majah etc. They were all considered to be amongst the greatest Muhadditheen ever in the ummah.


So if they thought it permissible and necessary to present dhaeef narrations in their compilations then why have people a thousand years down the line got problems.

So rejecting dhaeef hadeeth merely because they are dhaeef is NOT the way of the pious ancestors -salaf saliheen but against the practice of the salaf-saliheen , as long as they do not contradict the Quran and other saheeh narrations ,and even then sometimes there is a reasonable explanation or interpretation to justify their inclusion in a book to support or prove a point and doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be rejected and ignored altogether.


Athough, preference is given to Quran and then saheeh hadeeth in all matters but many scholars have also stated that,

“A dhaeef hadeeth is still better than no hadeeth” and better than the opinion of someone.


This was also the stand of Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahumullah.


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