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The classical Scholars amassing many chains for each narration

Question

I have a question about this statement:

“لا أفهم الحديث حتى أجمعه من أربعين وجها”

I wanted to know who it was said by and whether or not scholars have made similar remarks about this topic.

 

Answer

This was a common practice of the Hadith experts in the earlier times. By gathering as much chains as possible, they were able to:

a) Study the chain’s authenticity more thoroughly.

b) Understand the full purport of the Hadith.

c) Identify mistakes or fabrications.

 

1) Imam Khatib Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has recorded this as the statement of Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in (rahimahullah):

لو لم نكتب الحديث من ثلاثين وجها ما عقلناه

If we do not acquire a Hadith from thirty different chains, we would not fully understand it.

(Al-Jami’u li Akhlaqir Rawi, pg.370)

Other Similar Statements
2) Imam Abu Hatim Razi (rahimahullah) said:

لو لم نكتب الحديث منستين وجها ما عقلناه

If we do not acquire a Hadith from sixty different chains, we would not fully understand it.

(Fathul Mughith, vol.3 pg.312 & vol.2 pg.64)

 

3) Imam Ibrahim ibn Sa’id Al-Jawhary (rahimahullah) said:

كل حديث لا يكون عندي من مئة وجه فأنا فيه يتيم

I consider myself an orphan of a Hadith which I do not have from a hundred chains.

(Tarikh Baghdad, vol.6 pg.94. Also see Siyar A’lamin Nubala, vol.12 pg.150)

 

4) Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah) said:

الحديث إذا لم تجمع طرقه لم تفهمه

(Al-Jami’u li Akhlaqir Rawi, pg.370)

 

5) Imam Awza’i (rahimahullah) has said:

الباب إذا لم تجمع طرقه لم يتبين خطؤه

‘When all the chains of a chapter are not gathered, it’s defect [if there be one] will not be evident.’

(Al-Jami’u li Akhlaqir Rawi, pg.370)

 

6) ‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) has cited some Muhaddithun to have said:

الباب إذا لم تجمع طرقه لا يوقف على صحة الحديث ولا على سقمه 

‘When all the chains of a chapter are not gathered, neither its authenticity nor its weakness will be known.’

(Fathul Mughith, vol.3 pg.312)

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar