Is Muhammad ibn Ishaq (rahimahullah) a reliable narrator, and can his narrations be used as a proof?
Overall, the narrator Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar (rahimahullah), also known as إمام المغازي [i.e. the leading expert regarding military campaigns of Rasulullah – sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam-] has been graded reliable and his Hadiths will be accepted (maqbul) unless proven otherwise.
Imam Dhahabi (rahimahullah), despite acknowledging a difference of opinion regarding Imam Muhammad ibn Ishaq’s (rahimahullah) Hadiths, has referred to him as one of the reliable oceans of knowledge. After alluding to the existence of a few odd/seemingly unreliable narrations which Ibn Ishaq (rahimahullah) has reported, Imam Dhahabi (rahimahullah) has mentioned that Ibn Ishaq’s Hadiths would overall be graded as sound (hasan) [unless proven otherwise]. He has mentioned that some Aimmah have even graded his Hadiths as authentic.
(Al-Kashif, vol. 4 pg. 82, Number: 4718 along with the footnotes of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah)
As far as the criticism (Jarh) documented regarding Ibn Ishaq (rahimahullah), it has been thoroughly addressed and rebutted by many of the ‘Ulama and Muhaddithun.
(Refer: Jawabul Mundhiri, pgs. 73-79, and Ar-Raf’u Wat Takmil pgs.114-116, pgs.289-290 & pgs.409-413, Al-Masnu’ Fi Ma’rifati Ahadithil Mawdu’, pg. 226, along with the footnotes of Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah; Also see: Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah’s (hafizahullah) footnotes on Al-Kashif, number: 4718)
Note: The above is merely an answer to the question provided. One who is unqualified, should not seek to apply this and/or draw conclusions on related issues independently.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Farhan Shariff
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar