All praise for Allah, may peace and blessings be upon our noble master Mohammed sallalaho alayhi wasallam, upon his pure family his noble companions and all those who follow them until the day of judgement.
Respected readers, what I would like to discuss here inshallah is an issue which causes a lot of controversy, that is the issue of usage of weak ahaadith. We have some people who go the extreme of saying that weak ahaadith should be rejected entirely. I will state the obvious here, and mention that other that the sahihayn (Bukhari and Muslim) every other book of hadith, be it the sunan of Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi, the mustadrak of Imam Haakim, musannaf of Imam ibn Abi shaybah and others all contain some weak as well as sahih ahaadith.
What we must understand is that there is a difference between a weak and a fabricated hadith but unfortunately and sadly we have certain ignorant people who don’t differentiate between the two. They treat a weak hadith like a fabricated hadith and totally disregard it. I am not saying for a second that fabricated ahaadith should be entertained, we all know the severity of attributing a lie to the messenger of Allah sallalaho alayhi wasallam who himself said ‘whoever attributes a lie to me has reserved his space in the fire of hell’ (Bukhari).
Some people who are even regarded as scholars have this attitude that weak ahaadith should not be used at all, and if this approach was adopted then the majority of the books of hadith would be rendered useless and only Bukhari and Muslim could be applied thus making life extremely difficult.
The majority view of the ulema is that a WEAK hadith is permissible for usage in non-fiqh issues. The following are some great scholars who hold this view : Imam Nawawi, Ibn Salah, Sufyan Thawri, Ahmed bin Hanbal, Ibn uyaynah, Ibn Mubarak, Ibn mahdi, ibn ma’een, khateeb Baghdadi, Bukhari, mullah Ali Qari, ibn Hajr al Asqalani, ibn Taymiyah, ibn Qayim, imam Sakhawi, abu Dawud.
Even Imam Bukhari RA himself has compiled weak narrations in his book ‘Al Adab Al Mufrad’ which shows that he accepted weak narrations in regards to virtues of good deeds, so we can see here that the majority of muhaditheen accepted the usage of weak ahaadith and did not have this attitude that the salafis of today have.
I will now present work from none other than imam Ibn Taymiyah RA from his famous book ‘al qaedah jaleelah fit tawassul wal waseelah.’ The reason I chose to use Ibn Taymiyah RA on this occasion is because those people today who like to reject weak ahaadith and condemn others for using them are those who use Ibn Taymiyah RA as a reference and would always accept any ruling of his without hesitation.
The imam states:
“But Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other scholars permitted the narration [of hadith] regarding the virtues of good what is not sure as long as it is not known that it is a lie.” [laakinna Ahmad ibn Hanbal wa ghayruh min al-‘ulama jawwazu an yurwa fee fada’il al-‘aamal maa lam yu’lam annahu thaabit idha lam yu’lam annahu kadhib.]
Ibn Taymiyya goes into a full chapter of discussion of this subject from here, Chapter 8 of “al-qaida al-jaleela fit-tawwasuli wal-waseela“, where he presents the views of the majority of the ‘ulama of Islam and he presents his own views of the subject. And here we will examine this in detail.
To continue, Ibn Taymiyya says, in para 478:
“and that is the action which is known to be lawful with a shari’ah evidence, and there has been narrated in its virtue hadith that is not known to be a lie, it is possible that the reward will be true and none of the Imams have said that it is permissible to consider something required [waajib] or recommended [mustahabb] by way of a weak hadith, and whoever said so differed from the consensus [ijma’a].”
So here we see that Ibn Taymiyah RA is explaining that if there is a hadith, even though it has not been judged to be authentic, if it encourages what is known as a good deed in Islamic shari’ah, something of virtue, a praiseworthy action, or idea, then it is fully acceptable to refer to such a hadith as an encouragement for that deed.
And here also, Ibn Taymiyah RA refers to the ijma’a, the consensus, which is a clear reference to the concept of ijma’a of scholars of Islam as being a fully accepted concept and one which *he* accepts. And this is a clear proof that Ibn Taymiyah RA, though he considered himself a mujtahid mutlaq, capable of independent reasoning, nevertheless depended on the consensus [ijma’a] of scholars as a proof for the opinions he considered acceptable. And this is the position of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’at.
Then he continues in para 479:
“And just like it is not permissible to forbid something without a shari’ah evidence, [daleel shar’ee] but if it something is known to be forbidden and a hadith has been narrated in warning the one who commits such an action, and it is not known that it is a lie, it is permissible to narrate it. And it is permissible to narrate it in the manner of encouraging and discouraging [at-tarheeb wat-targheeb] what is not known that it is a lie. but in what is known that Allah has encouraged or discouraged with another evidence besides this [weak] hadith whose authenticity is unknown [majhoul haaluh].”
So from this we see that Ibn Taymiyah RA is using the weak hadith [ahadith da’eef], to discourage people from doing an evil deed, as long as this deed is known to be forbidden in the shari’ah. If the deed is forbidden in the shari’ah, it is acceptable to use a hadith whose authenticity is unknown, as long as the hadith is known not to have been an actual lie. This principle is acceptable, in anything that it is known that Allah expressed its forbiddance. Ibn Taymiyah RA continues to explain this concept in para 480:
“This is like the [situation] of the Isra’iliyyaat [stories related by the Jews]. It is permissible to be narrated as long as we know that it is not a lie, for encouraging or discouraging in what we know that Allah has ordered in our law [shar‘] or forbade in our law [shar‘].”
Here we see that Ibn Taymiyah RA is not only accepting that the weak are acceptable in the case of encouraging good deeds and discouraging evil ones, but he is showing clearly that he accepted the use of Isra’iliyyaat, stories related from the Jews, which many Salafis reject today as unacceptable. And this is verified in the hadith of the Prophet (saws), “narrate from the hadith of Bani Isra’il and there is no harm in doing it.”
So respected brothers and sisters, we see from the above evidences that Imam Ibn Taymiyah RA himself accepted the usage of weak ahaadith, I ask those salafi brothers who love to insult the likes of hazrat Moulana Zakariyyah RA because of his usage of weak ahaadith, will you now refute and condemn your own imam on the same grounds?
May Allah give us all the ability to understand the deen in its entirety, ameen