Hadeeth Isnaad that contains innovators
Fatwa No: 328690

Question

Is it true that there is no hadith whose Isnaad does not have a narrator who is Ashari, Matureedi, or Shia? If no, then could you give an example of a hadith whose Isnaad does not contain such a narrator from among Ahlul-Bid'ah (an innovator)?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

The claim that there is no hadeeth whose Isnaad (chain of narrators) is without someone from Ahlul-Bid'ah (innovators) is an absurd and strange claim that is very easy to refute. It is a claim that no person who has the slightest knowledge about the science of hadeeth or the science of narrators would make.

With regard to the Ash'aris and Maatureedis, then many books of the Sunnah that the scholars received with acceptance were written before Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari and Al-Maatureedi were even born! May Allaah have mercy upon them both. Examples of these are the Muwatta’ of Imaam Maalik, the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad, Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, and others. So how could their narrators include Ash'aris or Matureedis?

Besides, although the narration by the innovators is an issue of difference of opinion among the scholars of hadeeth, the majority of the latter are of the view that a narration from an innovator is accepted if he is honest, trustworthy, and far from lying and deception.

This is among the good traits of the methodology of the scholars of hadeeth, and it is evidence that their methodology is objective and rational and not fanatic. The fact that the narrator’s methodology is different from that of the scholar of hadeeth is not a reason for abandoning the hadeeth narrated by him as long as he is honest and is a good memorizer of narrations. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 275245.

Despite this fact, the percentage of narrators who were accused of innovation in comparison to the narrators who are free from innovation is very small. For example: Saheeh Al-Bukhari includes nearly 1500 narrators, and those who were accused of innovation amongst them are only 70.

Therefore, the ahaadeeth that were only narrated by innovators are very few in comparison to the ahaadeeth that do not include narrators who were accused of innovation.

Hence, we are not in need of giving examples of the ahaadeeth whose chain of narrators are free from innovation as this is the principle; the minority consists of the chains that include innovators.

To conclude, an important matter should be noted, which is that the term Shiism at the time of our Salaf (righteous predecessors) is different from the one being used in recent ages. There is a great difference between the two.

Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

Shiism in the custom (understanding) of the predecessors is the belief of favoring ‘Ali over Uthmaan, and that ‘Ali was right in his wars, and that whoever was against him was wrong, while of course respecting the two Shaykhs [i.e. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar] and favoring them. Perhaps some of them went as far as to believe that ‘Ali was the best of creation after the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). If someone believed in this while he was pious, religious, trustworthy (truthful), and making Ijtihaad (personal reasoning), then his narration is not rejected because of this reason, especially if he was not calling to his way. As regards Shiism in the custom (understanding) of the latecomers, it is pure Rafdh (the sect of Raafidhah, i.e. the Shites who deserted and rejected Zayd ibn 'Ali when he refused to repudiate and condemn the first three Rightly Guided Caliphs [Abu bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthmaan], while the Raafidhah did not recognize them as the legitimate successors of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )), so the narration of a Raafidhi Shiite is not accepted, and there is no consideration for him.” [Excerpted from Tahtheeb At-Tahtheeb]

It is absolute and certain that the scholars of hadeeth do not narrate from those who take ‘Ali  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him as God, those who say that the Quran was forged or accuse the mother of believers - 'Aaishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her - of something which Allaah declared her free and innocent of, those who take lying as part of their religion, or those who consider the generality of the Companions as non-Muslims and have other devastating beliefs.

Allaah knows best.

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