The Science of Hadeeth By Shaykh Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (Part 4)

Al-Hadeeth Al- Ahad (The Singular Narration)

Definition: This is any narration that is not Mutawaatir.

Categories: Ahad ahadeeth can be categorized into two divisions

  1. According to the number of narrators in the chain of transmitters

This category is further sub-divided into three divisions:

  • Al-Hadeeth Al-Mashhur (The Well-Known Narration):- This is a narration which has been narrated by three or more people at any stage of the Isnad (chain of narrators), but did not reach the rank of the mutawatir narration e.g. Narrated Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallaahu anhu): the Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “ We (Muslims) are the last (people to come in this world) but will be the foremost on the Day of Resurrection).”[1]
  • Al-Hadeeth Al-Azeez (The Strong Narration):- This is a narration which has been narrated by two people at any stage of it’s isnad e.g. Narrated Anas bin Maalik (Radiyalllaahu anhu): the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “None of you truly believes, until I become more beloved to him than his father, his son and all the people.”[2]

Al-Hadeeth Al-Ghareeb (The Rare Narration): This is a narration which has been narrated by only one person at any stage of it’s chain[3] e.g. Narrated Aboo Hurayrah (Radiyallaahu anhu): The Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ): “Travel is a piece of punishment.”[4][5]

2.  According to the level of authenticity

This category can be further sub-divided into five classes:

  •  Al-Hadeeth As-Saheeh Lidhaatihi (The Authentic Narration by Itself): This is a narration which is reported by persons who are trustworthy, complete and precise in their memory/recollection, having a continuous and connected chain or narrators, free from any irregularities and free from any clear or obvious defects[6]. The authenticity of a hadeeth can be determined in three ways;
  1. The hadeeth is collected in a musannaf  where there is no doubt about the authenticity of the musannaf e.g. Saheeh al-Bukhari.
  2. The hadeeth is made authentic by a muhadeeth who is known to be trustworthy and strict in the authentication of hadeeth e.g. Shaykh Al-Albani (Rahimahullaah).
  • The isnad (chain of narrators) and the matn (text/words of the narration) of the hadeeth are thoroughly examined and analysis. Thus, if both the chain and text fulfil the conditions of authenticity, then the hadeeth is authentic. This method is known as ‘Takhreej’.
  • Al-Hadeeth As-Saheeh Lighayrihi (The Authentic Narration due to Others):- This is a narration which is hasan lidhaatihi (i.e. good by itself) but has more than one way of transmission e.g. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr al-As (Radiyallaahu anhu): “The Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ) ordered him to prepare an army for battle, but when the camels were insufficient, he commanded him to keep back the young camels of sadaqah (charity). He said: ‘I was taking a camel to be replaced by two when the camels of charity’”[7]

This hadeeth has been transmitted via two different routes. One from Muhammad ibn Ishaaq and the other from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb and each narration is good it itself, but when these two narrations are brought together, it raises the hadeeth to saheeh lighayrihi.

  • Al-Hadeeth Al-Hasan Lidhaatihi (The Good Narration by Itself):- This type of narration has the same definition as saheeh lidhatihi except that in the case of the narrator been complete and precise in his memory, he is not fully precise in his memory (i.e. he occasionally makes mistakes)[8] E.g. Narrated Ali ibn Abi Taalib (Radiyallaahu anhu): The Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ): “The key to the Prayer is Taharah (purification), it is entered by the Takbeer (magnification) and exited by the Tasleem (salutation).”[9] This hadeeth was declared hasan lidhaatihi by ibn Salah (Rahimahullaah).
  • Al-Hadeeth Al-Hasan Lighayrihi (The Good Narration due to Others): –

This is a narration which is graded da’eef (weak) but has more than one way of transmission, each way supporting one another, thus, raising the narration to Hasan lighayrihi. However, there are certain conditions, which must be met before the various ways of transmission can be used to support each other.

  1. None of the various ways of transmission should be saheeh or hasan.
  2. None of the narrators in the various ways of transmission should have been criticized of being a liar or is known to be an outright liar. For once it is established that there is a liar in any of the chains, then such an chain cannot be supported by other chains nor can it be used to support other chains.
  • Al-Hadeeth Ad-Da’eef (The Weak Narration):- This is a narration, which does not fulfill the conditions of any of the categories of the saheeh or hasan narrations.
  1.  Preponderant Knowledge: This means that the hadeeth ahad or khabar wahid (i.e. singular narrations) gives us ‘adh-dhann’(preponderant knowledge) which to a large extent can be used in determining the truthfulness of a narration and it’s relation to the one who narrated it. Preponderant knowledge varies according to the different levels of authenticity, although, many of them (i.e. narrations) bring knowledge, if they are supported by other narrations and also if they are in support of the established principles of the Deen (religion).
  2. Action:This is acting upon the knowledge established by these ahadeeth that reaches us through these levels of authenticity, either by; believing in them with the heart, speaking and relating them with the tongue or by carrying them out with the limbs.

As for the weak narrations, there are no benefits whatsoever to be obtain from them, neither can they be used as a source of proof for any Shari’ah ruling. Furthermore, the weak narrations should not be mentioned except by stating that the hadeeth is weak and these ahadeeth should only be mentioned in the case of ‘at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb’ [Encouragement and Discouragement (i.e. the mentioning of a good deed in order to encourage the people to perform it and the mentioning of a bad deed in order to discourage the people from acting upon it)]. Finally, the mentioning of the da’eef ahadeeth in the above case must fulfil three conditions;

  1. The hadeeth been mentioned should not be ‘da’eef jiddan (very weak).
  2. It should be made clear that the hadeeth been mentioned weak i.e. it is not connected to the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) in any way. This is done to remove any belief whatsoever in the hearts’ of the people that the da’eef hadeeth is authentically related to the Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ).
  3. The principle or action in the issue of ‘at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb’ for which the da’eef hadeeth is been mentioned as a proof for, must be firmly established in the Shari’ah.


[1] Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim

[2] Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim

[3] There is a hadeeth similar to the ghareeb narration known as ‘fard’ (solitary). It is known in 3 ways;

  1. A single person is found narrating a hadeeth from a well-known Imaam.
  2. Only the people of one locality are known to narrate the hadeeth.
  3. Narrators of one locality transmit a hadeeth from the narrators of another locality i.e. the people of Makkah narrating from the people of Madina. Ma’rifah ’Uloomul-Hadeeth by Al-Hakim (d.405H)

[4] Recorded in Muwatta Malik. Hadeeth Sahih

[5] Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) said: “Do not write the ghareeb narrations because they are unacceptable and most of them weak. Tawdih al-Afkar by Muhammad ibn Isma’eel al-’Ameer as-San’ani (d.1182H) Vol. 2 pg. 409

[6] ‘Uthman Ibn As-Salah (d. 643H) said: “An authentic narration is the one which has a continuous chain of narrators, made up of narrators having trustworthy memory from similar authorities and which is found to be free from any irregularities (i.e. in the text) or defects (i.e. in the chain of narrators).”

[7] Recorded in Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Al-Bayhaqi. Graded Sahih ligrayrihi

[8] Ibn As-Salah (d.. 643H) Rahimahullaah divided the hasan narrations into 2 classes:

  1. A narration with an chain containing a narrator who is mastur (i.e. no prominent person reported from him), although, he is not totally careless in his reporting, provided that a similar text is reported through another chain as well.
  2. A narration with an chain containing a narrator who is known to be truthful and reliable but is a degree less in his memory/preservation of hadeeth in comparison to the narrators of the saheeh narrations.

In both cases, Ibn As-Salah requires that the hadeeth be free from any shudhudh (irregularities). Al-Irshaad by An-Nawawee (d. 676H) Rahimahullaah pg. 43

[9] Recorded in Sunan Abu Daawood


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