Rafed English

The doubted traditions

Adopted from the book: "Mahdaviyat in Hadith"

Ibne Khaldun brings twenty one traditions regarding Imam Mahdi (as) after the above explanation, and casts doubt on the narrators and chains of each one of them with these words, 'Because the scholars of traditions have doubted these traditions (concerning Imam Mahdi (as)). Suhaili Abu Bakr Khaithamah has collected all the traditions about Mahdi (as). We present them here.' (Of the twenty one traditions we consider only two of them).

Tradition One

Jabir (ar) says: "The Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him (and his progeny) said, The denier of Mahdi is an infidel; and the rejector of Dajjal, a liar; and about the denier of the sun rising from the West, I think he said something similar." The narrators of this tradition are Malik ibne Anas from Mohammed ibne Munkadar from Jabir. This series is mentioned by Abu Bakr Asqaaf in his Tavaaedul Akhbaar'.

Doubt: There is a lot of disorder in the chain of narrators reaching Malik ibne Anas. And even Abu Bakr Asqaaf himself is accused by the Ahle Hadith of fabricating traditions.

Tradition Two

Ibne Masud narrates from Holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him (and his progeny), that even if one day remains for the end of this world, the Almighty will prolong that day such that He will send a person from me or my family, whose name will be my name and his father's name will be my father's name (Tirmizi, Abu Dawood - these are the words of the narrator of Abu Dawood). The chain of narrators is Aasim ibne Abi Najoor from the famous reciter Zareen Habeesh from Abdullah ibne Masood.

Note: Tirmizi and Abu Dawood bring this tradition with their own chain of narrators. Abu Dawood has maintained silence over this tradition. In his famous treatise Abu Dawood writes for whichever tradition I maintain silence, is self-explanatory. (Capable of acceptance as a proof).

Doubt : Imam Ahmad says that he (Aasim) is a pious man, reciter of the Holy Quran, a good and honest person. However, A'amash has a better memory. (Here he is suggesting Aasim has a poor memory). In Ajali's words, opinions about Aasim differ, that is he was considered weak (narrator).

Mohammed ibne Saeed says Aasim was honest, yet he often made mistakes. Abdur Rehman ibne Abi Khatim says, "I told my father, Aasim is called to be reliable. My father commented, 'He (Asim) is not of that calibre (of being reliable).'" Ibne Haaliyah has discredited him and has stated, Aasim is of weak memory. Abu Hatim remarks, "According to me he is on the level of truthfulness (i.e. he is truthful), and is a good traditionalist (i.e. his traditions are acceptable), but is not a memoriser of traditions. Nesai has another opinion about him. Abu Jafar Aquili avers: Only he had poor memory. Darqutni opines, "His (Asim's) memory was weak". Yahya Al Qataan declares, "I have observed the person (the narrators) called Aasim who has poor memory. I have heard Sheba say, that Asim b. Abi Bakhud narrated a tradition for us, although people did not have a good opinion about him." (Muqaddamah, 2/159-160)

Note: After these doubts, Ibne Khaldun makes an attempt to answer an objection, "If someone contends that Bukhari and Muslim too have quoted from Asim, and hence Asim is reliable. The reply is, Bukhari and Muslim have not only brought his traditions, but they have brought them along with other narrators. Thus the actual narrator is someone else and this (quoting by Bukhari and Muslim) is only for further substantiation."

(Muqaddamah 2/160)

Fearing, doubts will be casted on other narrators of Bukhari and Muslim, Ibne Khaldun writes (in their defence). The scholars without exception adjudge the traditions of Bukhari and Muslim to be correct. This unanimity of the scholars is ie most potent proof and the best evidence for the defence and support of the traditions.

(Muqaddamah, 2/158)

We make the following conclusions om the writings of Ibne Khaldun and the doubts he raises.

1) Those traditions from doubted narrators are not authentic.

2) Doubts have been casted on the traditions of Mahdaviyat and consequently they are unacceptable.

3) If the narrator on whom doubt is casted is a narrator of Bukhari and Muslim, the validity of the tradition will not be affected, since the scholars are uanimous about the correctness of Bukhari and Muslim.

It should be noted that after bringing twenty one traditions about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and after discarding them, Ibne haldun writes: "These are all the traditions which the scholars bring about Mahdi and his re-appearance at the end of time. You have noticed that all these are doubted, and it is improbable that any has been spared." (Muqaddamah 2/173)

By calling these traditions rare Ibne haldun has not only misled the Muslims, it has actually deviated some.

Now let us make it clear that neither the traditions about Mahdi are rare nor by doubting the narrators the authenticity of the traditions can be shrivelled. Because the truth is:

(1) The chains of reliable traditions are not in need of scrutiny. Thus by terming the traditions of Mahdaviyat unauthentic by doubting the narrators is against the principles of 'science of traditions'.

(2) Ibne Khaldun contradicts himself as on the one hand he brings the traditions from twenty one different narrators and on the other hand declares them rare.

(3) Ibne Khaldun has cited the traditions of Mahdaviyat from a section of prominent scholars like Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, al Baraaz, Ibne Majah, Tabarani and so on. Does this not establish that the doctrine of Mahdaviyat is a fundamental belief and Muslims are unanimous about it. Is it not for this reason that the recent scholars have quoted them?

(4) The rule, 'doubt precedes justification' is framed by the scholars of traditions, and is not based on Quran and traditions. Besides many of the traditionalists have rejected it. So why has the respected scholar Ibne Khaldun employed only this rule to declare the traditions of Mahdaviyat weak?

(5) It is incorrect to label the tradition as weak on account of a narrator with weak memory or negligence, as the traditions of Mahdaviyat are authentic on the basis of narrative language, concept and all other aspects.

(6) Ibne Khaldun has himself confessed, "It is pronounced and famous amongst the Muslims that during the end of time, a person will appear from the Ahle Bait who will consolidate the religion and spread justice..." This determines the unity of the Muslims on the doctrine of Mahdaviyat, and this itself is the best proof for the support of this belief.

The article can continue with the flow of such arguments. However, we have demonstrated the validity of this doctrine from varied aspects in the previous issues. Therefore, the claim of Ibne Khaldun of calling the traditions of Mahdaviyat weak is baseless.

Furthermore, it should be noted that Ibne Khaldun was not a traditionalist but was a historian. Thus seeking his opinion to determine the authenticity of traditions is unfitting. And a traditionalist is always preferred instead.

The famous scholar of the Ahle Sunnah, Ahmad ibne Sadeeq Shafeei, rejecting this opinion of Ibne Khaldun, wrote a book, 'Abraaz al Wahm al Maknoon min Kalaam-e-Ibne Khaldoon' . This educative book comprising of 150 pages was written in Arabic and printed in Damascus in 1437 A.H. The author very proficiently proves the traditions concerning Mahdi authentic and exposes Ibne Khaldun.

O Almighty ! Protect all Muslims from deviation.

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