Could you kindly translate and explain the meaning of the following text from Allamah Sakhawi’s Fathul Mugith:
وقد يعرض المفرق ما يجعله فاءقاً،كأن يتفق يجيء ما انفرد به مسلم من طريق يبلغ بها التواتر أو الشهرة القوية أو يوافقه على تخريجه مشترطو الصحة، فهذا أقوى مما انفرد به البخاري، مع اتحاد مخرجه، وكذا نقول فيما انفرد به البخاري بالنسبة لما اتفقا عليه، بل وفي غيره من الأقسام المفضولة بالنسبة لما هو أعلى منه إذا انضمّ اليه ذلك.
‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) has mentioned the following while discussing the levels of Sahih Hadiths:
’Sometimes, what is lower can have [strenghtening] factors that raise it above others [that are higher].
Like is the case with a Hadith that is found only in Sahih Muslim [i.e, and not in Sahih Bukhari] having one of the following factors:
a) It is reported through so many chains that it reaches the level of a mutawatir Hadith, or
b) It reaches the level of being rigorously mash-hur [i.e, very mash-hur- close to Mutawatir]
c) Or other authors who have pre-conditioned their Hadiths to all be sahih, concur with Imam Muslim in recording that Hadith.
Such a Hadith will be stronger than that which is recorded in Sahih Bukhari with just one chain.
The same principle will apply to a Hadith that appears only in Sahih Bukhari in comparison to what was found in both; Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (muttafaq ‘alayh) the same principle will apply to it when such factors [mentioned above] are found for it or for any Hadith of the lower level, in comparison to the Hadith of a higher level.
Hafiz Ibnus Salah and others (rahimahumullah) have famously categorised Sahih Hadiths into several levels of strength.
In the above passage, ‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) explains that these levels are theoretical, in the sense that there could be examples of some Sahih Hadiths that are technically from a lower level, being classified higher than their theoretical level, due to strengthening factors from outside.
Some of these strengthening factors are mentioned above (a to c).
Therefore, the categorisation of Ibnus Salah (rahimahullah) -and others- will not be applied across the board.
Also refer to Shaykh ‘Awwamah’s (hafizahullah) footnotes on Tadribur Rawi, vol.2 pg.456-460
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar