When studying Hadith, there are many instances wherein the author of a book like Riyadus Salihin, may cite a Hadith with certain words and reference it to a Hadith book like Sahih Bukhari, but when we refer to the primary source, then the wording is different.
What are rules regarding such Hadiths and would such an attribution be incorrect?
As a general rule, the ideal is to quote the version as worded in the primary source currently available and accessible.
However, the possibility always exists that the manuscript of the primary source that was accessible to the author of the secondary source was worded differently, as is cited by that particular author.
With regard to ‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) specifically, at times, he does incorporate or combine a few versions of the Hadith into one.
The ideal therefore, would be to quote the words as they appear in the primary sources accessible to us.
In the absence of a primary source, one may rely upon a renowned secondary source, whilst -ideally- stating so.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar