The Science of Hadeeth By Shaykh Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (Part 5)

Explanation Of The Definition Of Saheeh Lidhatihi

  1.  Al–‘Adal (Integrity):There are two conditions that are used to establish the integrity of a narrator;
  • Istaqaamatud-Deen (Uprightness in the Religion):- The narrators in the chain must all be known to be persons who perform the obligatory actions, avoid the prohibited actions and are free from both major and minor sins[1].

  • Istaqaamatul-Muroo’a (Uprightness in Manners & Etiquette): – The narrators must all be persons whom the people consider to be praiseworthy, by way of character and etiquette and are not look upon as persons who indulge in acts the people consider to be blameworthy. Thus, the narrators are persons who engage in those actions which are known to good amongst the people and they stay away from those actions which are known to be bad amongst the people.

A narrator is known to be ‘Adal in his particular era by the endorsement of other narrators of his era, this is known as ‘istifada’. The endorsement of a narrator must be done by more than one person and these persons must also be known to be people of integrity.

  1. Taamud – Dabti (Soundness Of Memory): This description is given to a narrator who is known to report whatever he/she has seen or heard, exactly as the narration or incident came to him/her, without adding or subtracting. Minor mistakes made in the narration do not go against the narrator, for no one is free from errors. The soundness of a narrator’s memory can be determined in two ways; Firstly, by comparing his reports against the reports of narrators known to have sound memory and are trustworthy. Secondly, by endorsements made by other narrators[2] who testify to the narrator’s sound memory.


  1. Ittisal As – Sanad (Continuity Of The Chain Of Narrators): The word ‘ittisal’ means ‘continuity’ and the word ‘sanad’ means ‘chain’. Thus, every narrator in a narration must have received the text of the narration from his/her immediate authority (i.e. Shaykh) either by way of ‘mubasharah’ or ‘hukman’.
  • Mubasharah: This is the narrating of a narrator from his/her immediate authority using certain phrases that show for definite that they met each other, phrases such as; ‘he/she said to me’, ‘he/she told me’, ‘I heard him/her say’, etc.
  • Hukman: This is the narrating of a narrator from his/her immediate authority using phrases that show the possibility but not certainty that they both met e.g. ‘on the authority of’, ‘he/she said’, ‘he did’, etc.

There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars in this issue. Some Scholars say there should be evidence to support the meeting of a narrator reporting from his/her immediate authority and Imaam Bukhari holds this opinion. Although, other Scholars say that once there is a possibility that they met, there is no need to produce any evidence in support of this meeting and this is the opinion held by Imaam Muslim[3]

The narrating of ahadeeth by way of ‘hukman’ is not accepted from narrators who are known to be ‘Mudalis’ (i.e. a narrator who misses out or masks the identity of his immediate authority in order to strengthen his chain). Thus, a narration is only accepted from a Mudalis when he /she narrates by way of mubasarah.

How To Know The Discontinuity Of A Chain:

  1. The Shaykh of the narrator (i.e. the person from whom the narrator is narrating from) had died before the narrator reached an age of understanding.
  2. The narrator himself states that he had never met the person from he/she is narrating from.

4.   Shudhoodh (Free From Irregularities): A narration is considered shadhdh (irregular) when a narrator who is trustworthy transmits a narration in opposition or contradiction to the narration of a more trustworthy narrator (i.e. he/she is has more integrity or is more sound in memory or he/she sat with the Shaykh more times than the other narrator), e.g.

  1. Narrated ‘Abdullaah ibn Zaid: “I saw the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) perform wudu (ablution). He rinsed his mouth, then cleaned his nose, and then washed his face thrice, then washed his right arm thrice and then the other one also thrice. He then took fresh water and wiped his head (including his ears) and finally, he washed his feet till he cleaned them.[4]
  2. Narrated ‘Abdullaah ibn Zaid: I saw the Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ) take fresh water for his ears.[5]

Thus, the 2nd hadeeth collected by al-Bayhaqi (d.481H), who is a trustworthy reporter, is shadhdh because it contradicts the 1st hadeeth collected by Imaam Muslim (d.261H), who is a more reliable reporter.[6]

  1. Al–‘Ilaheel–Qaadiyah (Free From Obvious Defects): The term ‘Al-Ilaheel-Qaadiyah’ means that after examining and analysing a hadeeth, the Muhaddith comes across an apparent defect or fault either in the chain or the text which renders the hadeeth weak. This obvious defect could be due to a number of reasons e.g.
  • The isnad is ‘Inqita’ (i.e. a cut in the chain of narrators).
  • The isnad is ‘Mawquf’ (i.e. it stops at a companion).
  • A narrator in the isnad is ‘Say‘al-Hifz’ (i.e. has a poor memory).
  • A narrator in the isnad is a ‘Fasiq’ (sinner).

An example of a hadeeth with an apparent fault is cited below;

Narrated ‘Abdullaah ibn Umar: The Prophet of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “The menstruating woman or a person Junub (i.e. had a sexual discharge) should not read anything of the Qur’an.”[7]

After, investigation and examination of this hadeeth, Imam at-Tirmidhi (d.279H) claims that this hadeeth has only one chain with no support for it, although, every narrator in the chain reaches the level of authenticity. However, when the Muhadeetheen (Scholars of Hadeeth) checked the biography of Isma’eel ibn Ayyash (who is one of the narrators in this hadeeth), they found out that he narrated from Moosaa ibn Ukbar (who is also a narrator in this hadeeth from Hijaz). They arrived at the conclusion that any narrations reported by Isma’eel ibn Ayyash from the people of Hijaz are all Da’eef (weak).

Sometimes, a Muhaddith will come across a hadeeth that has a hidden defect, on this occasion; this defect does not affect the status of the hadeeth. This is because the defect that affects the status of a hadeeth must be clear and obvious, e.g. Narrated Aboo Ayyub al- Ansari: The Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ): “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan and follows it up with 6 days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, he is the same as someone who fasted a whole year.”[8]

The chain of this hadeeth consists of the narrator ‘Sa‘d ibn Sa’eed’ whom Imaam Muslim (d.261H) stated that Imam Ahmad (d.241H) declared him to be Da’eef. However, some Muhadeetheen hold him to be ‘Thiqah’ (trustworthy). Thus, there is difference of opinion amongst the Muhadeetheen as regards to the authenticity of the narrator ‘Sa‘d ibn Sa’eed’. Therefore, this illah (defect) cannot be considered clear or obvious.

Note: On some occasions, one may come across a hadeeth called by a Muhaddith as ‘Saheehul-Hasan’. This is done due to one of 2 reasons

  1. The hadeeth has 2 chains, one of them is Sahih (authentic) and the other is Hasan (good/fine).
  2. The Muhaddith cannot determine exactly whether the hadeeth should be classified as Sahih or Hasan.



[1] This is a general rule.

[2] The narrators who provide the endorsements are themselves known for their soundness in memory

[3] Imaam Muslim (d.261H) Rahimahullaah in his Saheeh (i.e. Saheeh Muslim) did not write down any hadeeth except that he had evidence to show that the narrators reporting from each other actually met.

[4] Recorded in Sahih Muslim

[5] Recorded in Sunan al-Bayhaqi

[6] Imam Ash-Shafi’ee (d.204H) Rahimahullaah said: “A shadhdh (irregular) hadeeth is one which is reported by a trustworthy person but goes against the narration of a person more reliable than him. It does not include a hadeeth which is unique in its contents and is not narrated by someone else. Ma’rifah ’Uloom al-Hadeeth by Muhammad ibn ’Abdullaah Al-Haakim (d. 405H) pg. 119

[7] Recorded in Sunan Tirmidhi

[8] Recorded in Sahih Muslim


One thought on “The Science of Hadeeth By Shaykh Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (Part 5)

  1. Pingback: Mustalah al-Hadeeth (Science of Hadeeth) By Shaykh Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (Part 5) | SERAAT-E-MUSTAQEEM

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