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The chain of Tasawwuf

Question

I have a question regarding the chains (salasil) of tasawwuf. I have heard that they are cut off between Hasan Basri and Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) and not completely intact all the way back to Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam).

Is this true?

 

Answer

Undoubtedly, certain Hadith Masters were of the opinion that Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) did not hear Hadith from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu).

According to this writer, that is a separate issue altogether, from the one under discussion.

Being in the company of someone, and formally studying Hadith under that individual are two different issues.

The Hadith masters who negated Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) having heard any Hadith from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu), base their judgement on the fact that Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) is not known to have commenced his formal study of Hadith until he went to Basrah. Furthermore, Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) thereafter did not meet Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu).

This is a logical and acceptable explanation for the issue of Hasan Basri not having heard Hadith from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu).

In my opinion, this should not be mixed with the issue at hand; Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) benefiting spiritually from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu).

There can be no denying the fact that Hasan Basri definitely enjoyed the company of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) for the initial fourteen years of his life. If in this time, he didn’t hear Hadith from him formally, that doesn’t negate Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) benefitting in other ways from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu), like acquiring his tasawwuf from him.

Imams ‘Ali Ibnul Madini and Abu Zur’ah (rahimahumallah) have attested to the fact that Hasan Basri did see Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) in Madinah Munawwarah.

(Tahdhibut Tahdhib, vol.2 pg.265)

‘Allamah Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (rahimahullah) has mentioned the following points [among others] in support of the above:

  • Hasan Basri was born two years before the passing of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu).
  • His mother was the slave girl of Ummul Muminin, Sayyidatuna Ummu Salamah (radiyallahu’anha).
  • Ummul Muminin, Sayyidatuna Ummu Salamah (radiyallahu’anha) would take him to the Sahabah as an infant for their du’as.
  • When she took him to Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) he made the famous du’a for him…

‘Allamah Mizzi and others have cited all the above.

  • ‘Allamah Mizzi (rahimahullah) also wrote that Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) was present in Masjid Nabawi on the day Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radiyallahu’anhu) was martyred. At this time he was fourteen years old.’

(Thabat Shaykhul Islam, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, pg.146)

‘Allamah Jazari (rahimahullah) -the famous Quran and Hadith master- in addition to some of the above points also states:

  • ‘The Hadith scholars do not attest to Hasan Basri hearing [Hadith] from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) although they were in the same era without a doubt!

It is also established that he saw him…’

(See: Thabat Shaykhul Islam, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, pg.153)

This is further emphasised by the fact that many latter day Hadith Masters took the opportunity of joining this particular ‘silsilah’ (chain) of tasawwuf. (That goes via Hasan Basri to Sayyiduna ‘Ali radiyallahu’anhu).

 

The following ten Muhaddithun are among those Scholars who joined this chain of tasawwuf:

Ibnus Salah (rahimahullah)

Ibnul Jazari (rahimahullah)

Dhahabi (rahimahullah)

Mughlatay (rahimahullah)

‘Iraqi (rahimahullah)

Ibnul Mulaqqin (rahimahullah)

Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani (rahimahullah)

Hafiz Sakhawi (rahimahullah)

‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah)

Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (rahimahullah)

Some these Muhaddithun did so in despite them rejecting the continuity of the chain.

(Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 852)

A point to note is that the rules for authenticity of a Hadith are Hadith specific. Many contemporaries confuse this and apply those stringent rules to every other field. This is not ideal.

Perhaps Ibnus Salah (rahimahullah) – the prolific writer in Hadith sciences- was alluding to this with the following point while discussing this issue:

‘The fact the chain is not considered continuous according to the criterion of the Hadith Masters does not affect this…’

(See: Thabat Shaykhul Islam, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, pg.152)

For more on this issue, see the article written by ‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah) entitled: Ithaful Firqah bi Rafwil Khirqah. Refer to volume two of Al-Hawi, pg.268.

Also see Fatawa Hadithiyyah of Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, pg.176 and Thabat Shaykhul Islam, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, pg.152 as well as Al-Burhanul Jaliy of Shaykh Ahmad Siddiq Al-Ghumary, especially pg.181 onwards.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar