Is this narration reliable?
خير شبابكم من تشبه بكهولكم، وشر كهولكم من تشبه بشبابكم
Imams Abu Ya’la and Tabarani (rahimahumallah) have recorded this Hadith on the authority of Sayyiduna Wathilah ibnul Asqa’ and Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhum)
(Musnad Abi Ya’la, Hadith: 7483, Al Mu’jamul Kabir, Hadith: 202, volume: 22, Al Mu’jamul Awsat, Hadith: 5900)
‘Allamah ‘Iraqi (rahimahullah) has declared the chain of Tabarani weak. ‘Allamah Haythami (rahimahullah) states that he is unaware regarding the credibility of some narrators of one chain and has declared one narrator weak in the other chain.
(Al Mughni ‘An Hamlil Asfar, Hadith: 348, Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 10 pg. 270)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The best of your youngsters are those who emulate the middle aged/mature men [in their calm demeanour and good character] and the worst of your middle aged are those who emulate the youngsters [in their haphazard and unwise ways].
(Refer: Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 4071)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar,
Thes two mentioned chains do corroborate each other to an extent, making the Hadith suitable to quote for encouragement of good qualities.