Narration of our liege-lord `Ali from al-Hasan al-Basri
Allah be well-pleased with them.
by GFH


In this post I am addressing passages from two previous contributions:

--- In SP AY wrote:
Some of the Indian scholars said upon reading Mawlana Fakhr ad-Din Muhibb an-Nabi's analysis of Imam Hasan al-Basri's connection to Sayyidina Ali (ra), 'you have confirmed and clarified for us (explicitly) what we already believed (implicitly).'

--- In SP FO wrote:
I wanted to ask Sidi Asim if the Fakhr-ul-Hasan of Mawlana Fakhruddin Chishti (R.A.) has been published in recent times?

I believe the great Saint of Dehli wrote it in refutation of a claim by a Naqshbandi Shaykh (Shah Wali-Allah?) that the Chishti line is not connected to the Prophet (S.A.W.) because it reaches Imam Ali (R.A.) through Hasan al-Basri and “the two didn’t meet.”

One of the great muhaddithin of Hyderabad, Allamah Hasan-uz-Zaman even wrote a great two volume sharh of it called al-Qawl al-Mustahsan which was printed more than 100 years ago.

Nevertheless, this link is not firmly established because our liege- lord `Ali left Madina for Kufa at a time al-Hasan was only fifteen years old, and the two did not meet again but Allah knows best.

This is from my study on the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, Allah be well-pleased with them:

The consensus of the early Imams is that al-Hasan did not hear anything directly from `Ali, or from Ibn `Abbas, or from Abu Hurayra (Allah be well-pleased with them) as stated by Yahya ibn Ma`in, Ibn al-Madini, Abu Zur`a, `Ali ibn Ziyad, Abu Hatim, Ibn Abi Hatim, and others, and that such chains are mursal.(1) Yet, according to one narration from Imam Ahmad, the latter reportedly said that al-Hasan did narrate from `Ali(2) and it is indeed related that he said: "`Ali told me…" and "`Ali led us in prayer" but either such reports are inauthentic or they refer to his son al-Hasan ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib. `Abd al-Razzaq's narration that `Ali once followed al-Hasan's recommendation in a judicial case(3) is an anachronism in view of al-Hasan's adolescent age when he last saw our liege-lord `Ali, at the time the latter left Madina for al-Kufa.(4) What is established, again, is that he praised the acumen and eloquence of his son al- Hasan.

Among later Huffaz, al-Suyuti in Ta'yid al-Haqiqat al-`Aliyya wa- Tashyid al-Tariqat al-Shadhiliyya ("The Support of the Higher Truth and the Strengthening of the Shadhili Path") printed as a monograph, and Ithaf al-Firqa bi-Rafwi al-Khirqa ("The Gift to the Group in the Mending of the Cloak") printed in al-Hawi lil-Fatawi, as well as Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Burhan al-Jali fi Tahqiq Intisab al-Sufiyyati ila `Ali ("The Glaring Proof in Verifying the Connection of the Sufis to `Ali") adduced narrative chains of transmission to prove such a narration of al-Hasan al-Basri from `Ali, none of them conclusive. The Ihya' and al-Turtushi in al-Hawadith wal-Bida` mention the account that "`Ali brought out the story-tellers from the mosque of al-Basra but he did not bring out al-Hasan because the latter spoke of the knowledge of the hereafter." Regardless of the authenticity of this report, it provides no indication of any narration of al-Hasan from `Ali. Al-Mizzi cites a report in which al-Hasan affirms that he narrates from `Ali, but the wording does not suggest directness, so he could be referring to his ultimate source, not his direct source.(5) Ibn Hajar said: "The Imams of hadith did not deem authentic that al- Hasan ever even heard anything from `Ali." Al-Sakhawi mentions this in his entry on "the Sufi khirqa" in the Maqasid and adds:

"Our Shaykh was not the only one to say this but was preceded by a number of Scholars who said the same... such as al-Dimyati, al- Dhahabi, al-Hakkari, Abu Hayyan, al-`Ala'i, Mughultay, al-`Iraqi, Ibn al-Mulaqqin, al-Anbasi, al-Burhan al-Halabi, Ibn Nasir al-Din, and others of those who passed away among our colleagues I clarified all this together with my own chains of transmission to it in a monograph [al-Jawahir al-Mukallala]."(6)

NOTES

(1) Cf. al-Dhahabi, Siyar (Risala ed. 4:566) and Ibn Hajar, Ta`rif Ahl al-Taqdis (p. 56 §40), also al-`Ala'i, Wali al-Din al-`Iraqi, and al- Sakhawi as cited below. Al-Bazzar in his Musnad – at the end of the section devoted to the narrations of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab from Abu Hurayra – listed the Companions from whom al-Hasan narrated and those from whom he did not narrate. This list was reproduced by al-Zayla`i in Nasb al-Raya, first section (Tahara).

(2) Ibn Abi Ya`la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila (1:192): "My father (Abu Ya`la) narrated to me in writing: `Īsa ibn Muhammad ibn `Ali narrated to us: I heard `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad (Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Baghawi) say: I heard Abu `Abd Allah Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal say: `al- Hasan did narrate (qad rawa) from `Ali ibn Abi Talib'" cf. Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (2:231).

(3) As narrated by `Abd al-Razzaq (7:412). Cf. al-Qal`aji, Mawsu`at Fiqh al-Hasan al-Basri (1:21).

(4) Cf. al-`Ala'i, Jami` al-Tahsil (p. 162) and al-`Iraqi in Tuhfat al-Tahsil (p. 67).

(5) Al-Mizzi, Tahdib (6:124).

(6) See a study of this work in Arberry's book Sakhawiana.

To go back to this conjecture:

I believe the great Saint of Dehli wrote it in refutation of a claim by a Naqshbandi Shaykh (Shah Wali-Allah?) that the Chishti line is not connected to the Prophet (S.A.W.) because it reaches Imam Ali (R.A.) through Hasan al-Basri and "the two didn't meet."

If he said this, he said it not as a Naqshbandi shaykh but as a Muhaddith. Isnad-wise it is equally correct that the Bakri Naqshbandi silsila itself has even greater gaps.

From the Sufi perspective such gaps are overridden by what they call Uwaysi transmission, i.e. through spiritual link.

Furthermore, there also exists an `Alawi Naqshbandi silsila through Imam al-Hasan al-Basri which would raise the very same two issues.

Imam al-Sakhawi was a Shadhili and he said he narrates the chain that goes through al-Hasan, from sayyidina `Ali, "not that its isnad is unbroken but because of its baraka."

WAllahu a`lam.

FOLLOWUP:

--- In SP OAM wrote:
c/f:
Nevertheless, this link is not firmly established because our liege- lord `Ali left Madina for Kufa at a time al-Hasan was only fifteen years old, and the two did not meet again but Allah knows best.
I'm not sure why this fact would call into question the link between Sayyiduna Ali and Hazrat Hasan that is present in various silsilas.

Because such a link is not based on his receiving transmission before, but rather after he matured into the "Sayyid al-Tabi`in" (according to the people of Basra; in absolute terms that title belongs to Uways al- Qarani, Allah be well-pelased with them).

If Imam Shafi'i was a mufti by the age of fifteen, then isn't it possible that Hazrat Hasan al-Basri had received spiritual training from Sayyiduna Ali by the age of fifteen? I see no reason to appeal to Uwaysi transmission in this case.

Yes, he could have received a spiritual khilafa at age fifteen, or age five, or ven in the womb of his mother. However, the argument is more external on the part of those who assert this transmission.

Perhaps we can't rigorously prove the link by the standards of the hadith scholars, but it doesn't follow that we should deny it either.

Actually it does follow, because the standards of the non-hadith scholars meet with theirs when, among those standards, there is general agreement. Simply because a handful of scholars matured early doesn't follow that every Imam did, either.

Similarly, the general agreement is that Imam Abu Hanifa saw our liege-lord Anas, but did not hear anything from him directly, or from any other Companion, and Allah Most High knows best.

Was-Salam,
gibril
[SP 2006-03-06/08]








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