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Who is ‘Ahlul Hadith’ referring to?

Question

Some Salafis say that their name Ahlul Hadith is found in Hadith. They quote a Hadith of Shu’abul Iman which states that Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) referred to the people of Hadith as ‘Ahlul Hadith’.

Please provide this narration and its authenticity.

 

Answer

Authenticity

Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) has indeed recorded this narration in Shu’abul Iman. The narration is as follows:

“When Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) would see a youngster [seeking knowledge] he would say, ‘Welcome, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised us to make space for you in a gathering and make you understand Hadith for you are our successors and the ‘Ahul Hadith’ after us…”

(Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 1610)

 

However, this narration has been transmitted through an extremely weak chain. The Muhaddithun have declared one of the narrators very weak, with some even labeling him a liar.

(Mizanul I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 182/183, number: 5705)

 

The first part of this narration has been authentically reported. This version, which does not go on to mention ‘Ahlul Hadith’ is as follows:

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) [when seeing youngsters seeking knowledge] would say, ‘Welcome, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would advise us [to honour and teach you]’

(Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 1 pg. 88. Declared authentic by Imam Hakim and ‘Allamah Dhahabi concurs. Also see: Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2651)

 

It is surprising, yet ironical that these individuals used a weak narration as weak as the one in question to suite themselves.

 

 

Who is ‘Ahlul Hadith’ referring to?

The Muhaddithun have cited this narration under the chapter of the virtue of seeking knowledge. These narrations explain the virtue of those seeking the blessed Hadiths of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the respect one should afford to these students.

It does not refer to these misguided individuals.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar, with the following note:

This is another example of the importance of following the practice of the Hadith masters in their naming of the chapters under which they quote the Hadiths.

Selective quoting by the unqualified is detrimental.

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar