The “Disclaimed” (Munkar) H.adîth
by Sh. G. F. Haddad – Shawwâl 1425        [as pdf-file]

 Causes for which a H.adîth May Be Called Munkar
 Munkar in the sense of “Forged”?
 Meaning of “munkar” with earlier and later scholars
 Abû Ghudda’s Examples of Munkar to Mean "Mawd.û"
 More Precisions on the Sources of the Examples of Al-Khat.îb
 The Term Munkar al-H.adîth
 Critical Method in the Sciences of H.adîth by Sh. `Itr
 Examples of over-generalization of . early scholars in the munkar


The munkar is similar to the shâdhdh in that each of them describes a truly singular narration – one that comes only through X – hence its abnormality or aberrant quality (shudhûdh ). The more X tends to be weak, the more reason such narration will be described as disclaimed (munkar ).

In later usage, each of the shâdhdh and munkar category is itself subdivided into two categories, the first of which is defined as stated above, the second entailing mukhâlafa or irreconcilable difference with what is more authentically reported.

Munkar and shâdhdh may apply to text (matn ) as well as chain (sanad ).

Singular, uncorroborated chain or text not strong enough to be authenticated without corroboration (fard lâ yutâba‘ ).
(either->1a or 1b)
The singular narrator is more or less trustworthy (thiqa )or at least truthful (s.adûq ). His h.adîth is called shâdhdh whether
(either ->2a or 2b)
The singular narrator is of unverified reliability (mastûr ) or more or less weak (d.a‘îf ). His h.adîth is munkar whether
(either->3a or 3b)
it does not contradict others (lâ yukhâlif ) (early usage, some calling it munkar ) or it contradicts others (yukhâlif) (later usage, preferred by Ibn H.ajar). it does not contradict others (frequent usage) or it contradicts others (later, most frequent usage, preferred by Ibn H.ajar).

Source: Ibn H.ajar, al-Nukat ‘alâ Ibn al-S.alâh.(2:674-675).

Imâm Zayn al-Dîn al-"Irâqî said in Alfiyyat al-H.adîth:

And the munkar is the unheard-of stand-alone (al-fard) per al-Bardîjî, In absolute terms; but the right [classification] for such narrations Is to detail it just like the aberrant (shâdhdh) which we discussed before.1 For it shares its meaning; thus did the Shaykh [Ibn al-S.alâh.] speak. For example “Eat young dates with old dates,” etcetera;2 Or Mâlik naming Ibn "Uthmân “"Umar” [instead of “"Amr”]:3 I say, so what?4 Or, again, the h.adîth of his [MHMD] removing His ring upon entering the privy and putting it down.5

The h.adîth Master Badr al-Dîn al-H.asanî states in his commentary on Abû al-"Abbâs al-Lakhmî’s poem on h.adîth science, Gharâmî S.ah.îh. fî Anwâ" al-H.adîth (verse 6): “Munkar, ay mardûd” [meaning “rejected”].

Similarly Ibn Kathîr in al-Bâ"ith al-H.athîth fî Anwâ" "Ulûm al-H.adîth.

Dr. Nûr al-Dîn "Itr – Allâh preserve him – wrote, “Munkar is used as a stand-alone term in two senses: (1) As settled upon by the later authorities, the munkar is what the weak narrator relates in contradiction of the trustworthy narrator and is very weak…. (2) The munkar is a report with which a narrator singles himself out whether it contradicts others or not and even if he is trustworthy.”6

Thus does al-Lacknawî also define it in the Raf" wal-Takmîl. However, if he is trustworthy then his report may be called shâdhdh or gharîb rather than munkar. Fath. al-Mughîth states, in the chapter on the munkar:

    They differ insofar as the narrator of the shâdhdh is trustworthy (thiqa) or truthful (s.adûq) without thorough accuracy (d.abt.), while the narrator of the munkar is weak because of poor memorization or ignorance [of correct narration] or the like.

Al-Dhahabî said: “The singularity of the trustworthy narrator (thiqa) is counted as the gharîb while the singularity of the merely truthful narrator (s.adûq) and those below him is counted as the munkar.”7

Causes for which a H.adîth May Be Called Munkar

The grade of munkar can be caused by [1] a narrator (al-râwî ) that some declared weak rightly or wrongly, such as Suwayd ibn Sa"îd who is thiqa before his old age but whom Ibn Ma"în lambasted as a criminal although Muslim retained him in his S.ah.îh.; or by [2] a transmission (al-riwâya) some deem highly improbable, such as “al-Wâqidî from Ma"mar from al-Zuhrî” which resulted in Ah.mad no longer upholding al-Wâqidî as reliable although such transmission proved authentic; or by [3] the text transmitted (al-marwî ) which struck some as implausible, such as al- Dhahabî rejecting the h.adîth of Ukaydar the Roman king of Dûma’s gift of a jar of ginger to Madîna although this it is quite possible and probable since such preserves or dried fruit continue to be one of the specialties of the Syro-Palestine region; or Ibn H.ibbân rejecting the Prophet’s MHMD order to "Abd Allâh ibn "Abd Allâh ibn Ubay to have gold teeth made for himself although such a private dispensation does not contradict the general prohibition of the wearing of gold by men; or al-Dhahabî rejecting al-Tirmidhî’s authentic narration of the two books the Prophet MHMD showed the Companions, one containing the names, patronyms, and surnames of all the people of Paradise until the Day of Resurrection and the other those of the people of Hellfire because he surmised such books would be impossibly voluminous – a reasoning rejected by Ibn H.ajar and others.8

Munkar  in the sense of “Forged”?

Shaykh "Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda adds another meaning: “forged” (almawd.û" al-kadhib al-muftarâ ) in his introduction to al-Qârî’s Mas.nû".9 Ibn H.ajar said unambiguously: “The munkar is other than the mawd.û"”10 and he differentiates between them time and again: “Ibn al-Jawzî cited the ‘balah. and tamr’ h.adîth11 among the forgeries but the correct ruling is what al-Nasâ’î said, followed by Ibn al-S.alâh., that it is munkar in view of its singularity from a weak narrator”;12 “He [Ibn al-Jawzî] has [wrongly] included in his book of forgeries the munkar and weak h.adîths....”13 This can be reconciled [1] if Abû Ghudda means the terminology of certain specific post-5th century scholars as Ah.mad al-Ghumârî noted (see below) and [2] if he means the use of munkar in conjunction with a more explicit statement as in the expressions “ munkar and a lie,” “a munkar falsehood or forgery,” “ munkar, and the one who made it up is…” etc.

Abû Ghudda himself notes14 that al-Suyût.î cautioned in Bulûgh al-Ma’mûl fî Khidmat al-Rasûl MHMD that the scholars may use munkar in the sense of a single-chained (gharîb) h.adîth as when al-Dhahabî in the Mîzân calls many sound reports “munkar, ” even some in the two S.ah.îh.s,15 or Ibn "Adî16 saying of Sallâm ibn Sulaymân al-Madâ’inî, “His narrations are munkar but they are all h.asan h.adîths.”17

In Tadrîb al-Râwî, chapter on the maqlûb, al-Suyût.î differentiates between the munkar and the forged:

    The worst type of weak h.adîth is the forgery (al-mawd.û"), followed by the discarded (al-matrûk), then the disclaimed (munkar), then the defective (mu"allal), then the inserted (mudraj), then the topsy-turvy (al-maqlûb) then the inconsistent (mud.t.arib). Thus did Shaykh al-Islâm [=Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalânî] arrange them.”18

Al-Suyût.î elsewhere said:

    Ibn "Asâkir’s ruling of munkar on the h.adîth [of the declaration of belief on the part of the Prophet’s parents when they were temporarily brought back to life in front of him MHMD] is a categorical proof for what I say, namely, that it is d.a"îf and not forged, since the munkar is a sub-class of the d.a"îf and there is a difference between the munkar and the mawd.û" as is well-known in h.adîth science…. and the d.a"îf is a rank above the munkar and better in state. It is also better than another rank which stands below the munkar, namely, the matrûk. The latter is also a sub-class of the d.a"îf that is not forged.19

Al-Zarqânî in Sharh. al-Mawâhib cites it and applies the same reasoning toward Ibn Kathîr’s words, “munkar jiddan.”20

Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ghumârî said:

    When the early authorities declare a h.adîth munkar it does not indicate that it is false nor a forgery unlike what Ibn al-Qayyim concluded [with reference to the h.adîth “Whoever falls passionately in love but remains chaste…” (q.v.)], who relied upon their having declared it munkar. For “munkar” in their usage and conventions differs from “munkar” in the terminology of the later scholars, by whom we mean those of the fifth century and later.

    The later scholars use “munkar” in two senses: the first – and the one by which they usually define it – is “that by which a weak narrator contradicts the trustworthy one.” The second meaning – and the one they use in their discourse – is “what is thoroughly flimsy or forged”(wâhin aw mawd.û"). Hence you find them saying, “This is a h.adîthun munkarun mawd.û",” or “This is a h.adîth munkar and the culprit for it is So-and-so,” as you can frequently read in the likes of al-Khat.îb, Ibn "Asâkir, Ibn al-Najjâr, Ibn al- Jawzî, and al-Dhahabî who is the seal of those that very frequently use the term munkar to refer to a forgery.

    As for the early authorities, they also use the term munkar in two meanings. One of them is “that with which a narrators singles out himself even if he is trustworthy” as defined by [Ah.mad ibn Hârûn ibn Rawh.] al-Bardîjî (d. 301)21 in the leaves he gathered on the subject of h.adîth terminology (al-mus.t.alah.), and the other is “that with which an unknown-status (mastûr) or weak (d.a"îf) narrator singles himself out.” Some of them might also use the term munkar and mean by it the terminally unreliable narrator that has very few narrations (al-sâqit. al-wâhî "alâ qilla).22

The above remarks do not address “blameworthiness of meaning” (nakârat al-ma"nâ ) by which munkar is also sometimes used to mean forged as in Ibn "Adî’s familiar expression, “So-and-so does not narrate any h.adîth of blameworthy content (munkar al-matn).”23 Shaykh "Abd Allâh al-Ghumârî said: “When a h.adîth is reprehensible in meaning (munkaran fîl-ma"nâ ) it is forged even if its chain meets the criterion of the S.ah.îh.. In fact, there would be a hidden defect in its chain in such a scenario.”24

It goes without saying that reprehensibility is a far more subjective criterion than the criteria applied to the chain although Ibn al-Jawzî, Ibn al-Qayyim, and others did attempt to itemize the signs of forgery in relation to matn implausibility, among them:

- nonsense as in the report, “Do not eat the pumpkin before you slaughter it”; - disproportional rewards or punishments; - anachronism as in the pseudo-Prophetic h.adîths mentioning the or Abû H.anîfa; - extravagant praise or blame for a tribe, person ( “My daughter Fât.ima is pure and purified, no trace of blood can be seen from her whether of menses or in giving birth”),25 locality, time (such as the reports emphasizing the month of Rajab compiled by Ibn H.ajar in his monograph Tabyîn al-"Ajab fîmâ Warada fî Rajab ), food ( “Cheese is a disease and walnuts a cure,” “Eggplant fulfills whatever [need] it is eaten for”), celibacy (“The best of you after the year 200 are the wifeless and childless”), schoolteachers (“The worst of you are those who teach young pupils”) etc.

- literary artificiality illustrated by

(a) poor or strained language as in the account of the Prophetic ascension known as Mi"râj Ibn "Abbâs or the saying, “ Sharî"a is my words, T.arîqa is my actions, H.aqîqa is my state, Ma"rifa is my capital, "Aql is the basis of my Dîn...”26 (b) long speeches bursting at the seams with figures of rhetoric or learned expressions such as Nahj al-Balâgha, a 5th-century forgery. (c) “priamels” or numbered lists cataloguing types of levels such as creation in the “h.adîth of Jâbir” on the light of the Prophet MHMD; or merits with rewards and/or defects with punishments as in the long pseudo-h.adîth of Ibn "Abbâs on the merits of each Sûra systematically forged by Nûh. ibn Abî Maryam and the Munabbihât "alâ al-Isti"dâd li-Yawm al- Ma"âd lil-Nus.h.i wal-Widâd (“Admonitions for Preparation for the Day of the Return for Advice and Love”) compiled by Zayn al-Qud.ât Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad al-H.ijjî or al-H.ajrî or H.ujurî’s (d. ?) and falsely attributed to Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalânî although it is replete with sourceless, chainless, ungraded reports in the most patent contrast with the masterly style that shines like the sun in all his works.27

Abû Ghudda’s Examples of Munkar to Mean Mawd.û"

Shaykh "Abd al-Fattâh. Abû Ghudda cites thirty examples of what he says are uses of the term munkar to mean “forged” from four books: Ibn al- Jawzî’s Mawd.û"at (1 example), al-Dhahabî’s Mîzân al-I"tidâl (4 examples), Ibn "Arrâq’s Tanzîh al-Sharî"a (19 examples), and al-Qârî’s Mas.nû" (6 examples). He introduces his list of citations with the words, “The scholars frequently use the term munkar to mean the mawd.û", indicating thereby the blameworthiness (nakâra ) of its meaning together with the weakness of its chain and the lack of its veracity (but.lân thubûtih ).” He then cites the page numbers for the thirty passages he believes prove his claim, some of which we examine below: In Ibn "Arrâq’s Tanzîh al-Sharî"a (19 examples):

- Al-Khat.îb’s statement “munkar jiddan” about the forged h.adîth “The Qur’ân is the Speech of Allâh neither creator nor created.” (1:134 §5) - Ibn al-Najjâr’s statement “munkar” about the forged h.adîth, “O "Alî, the Qur’ân is the Speech of Allâh uncreated.” (1:135 §7). - Ibn "Asâkir’s statement, “al-Khat.îb wrote these two [h.adîths forged] by al- Ahwâzî28 in astonishment at their blameworthiness (nakâra) and they are false” about the narrations “I saw my Lord on the Day of Nafar [10 Dhûl-H.ijja] on a red camel” and “Every Jumu`a Allâh descends wrapped in a cloak” (1:146 §35). - Al-Khat.îb’s statement “munkar” about the forged h.adîth, “Allâh says, Lâ ilâha illa Allâh is My Word… and the Qur’ân is My Speech and issued from Me” (1:148 §40). - Al-Khat.îb’s statement “munkar” about the forged h.adîth, “Allâh has three angels, one in charge of the Ka"ba…” (1:170 §2). - Al-Khat.îb’s statement “munkar jiddan” about the forged h.adîth, “Do not beat your children for their weeping…” (1:171 §6). - "Abd Allâh al-Ghumârî’s statements equating the munkar in meaning with the forged (1:193 n.). - Al-Bayhaqî’s statement “munkar, and the culprit for this may be So-and-so” about the forgery in which the Prophet MHMD says to Ibn Mas"ûd, “Always look into the for I had ophthalmia and Gibrîl gave me the same advice” (1:308 §81). - Al-Dhahabî’s statement “munkar” of the h.adîth that Gibrîl brought the Prophet MHMD a bunch of grapes (qit.f) and said, “Allâh greets you and sent me to you with this bunch of grapes for you to eat”29 (1:334 §20 although Ibn "Arrâq argues that al-Dhahabî’s statement means or should mean other than “forged” cf. §19).

- Al-Dhahabî’s statement “munkar” in the Mîzân of the forgery in which Gibrîl brings Abû Bakr water for wud.û’ and Mîkâ’îl brings him a towel (1:341 §1, Ibn "Arrâq prefers al-Dhahabî’s more explicit ruling of “kadhib” in his Mughnî in keeping with his view that munkar is an inappropriate term for “forged”).

- Al-Khat.îb’s statement “munkar” about the forgery, “"Alî is the best of human beings, whoever doubts it commits disbelief” (1:353-354 §39).

More Precisions on the Sources of the Above Examples Al-Khat.îb

Al-Khat.îb may use munkar in a way that suggests he means “forged” when he says (3:307), for example, “This h.adîth is false and forged (bâ mawd.û")… and the one before it is also munkar”; on closer look, however, the second h.adîth – “Generosity is a tree in paradise” – is not as definitely forged as the former, and Allâh knows best.

Al-Khat.îb applies the grading munkar to a h.adîth about 30 times and the grading mawd.û" about 20 in Târîkh Baghdâd. A review of his usage indicates the following:

- He uses munkar jiddan for h.adîths which prove forged beyond doubt per later critical reference-works (3:168, 4:59, 4:85, 4:376, 7:128, 9:434, 11:337, 13:42)30 except once, in reference to a highly implausible chain for an otherwise authentic h.adîth (12:467).31 He does seem to mean forged in those cases.

- Where the text happens to be utterly singular, the high implausibility of its chain leads to the certitude of its forgery as in al-Khat.îb’s statement, “When he read the h.adîth I had strong doubts about it (istankartuhu) and expressed my wonder about it. I said that such a h.adîth was extremely odd (gharîbun jiddan ) through that path and that I conclude it is a falsehood (wa-urâhu bât.ilan )” (3:96).32

- He uses munkar for chains and/or texts of h.adîths that vary from being indisputably forged (1:259, 3:304, 4:81, 4:157, 7:403, 7:421, 12:423, 13:122),33 debatably forged (3:222, 4:158, 5:13),34 weak (2:51, 3:267, 5:296, 11:338),35 and even fair (7:263),36 sound (5:367, 8:370, 11:36),37 or mutawâtir (8:370)!38 In the latter three or four categories it is abundantly clear that he uses munkar in only one of the three senses claimed by Abû Ghudda: neither “the blameworthiness (nakâra) of its meaning” nor “the lack of its veracity (but.lân thubûtih)” but only “the weakness of its chain.”

- When he wants to say a h.adîth is mawd.û" – in its chain, its text, or both – he calls it just that (2:203, 2:247, 2:289, 3:98, 3:290-291, 3:307, 3:410, 4:209, 7:135, 8:44, 8:165, 9:49, 10:356, 10:373, 13:32, 13:271, 13:335).39

- Al-Khat.îb also means “forged” when he says laysa bi-thâbit – “it is unestablished” – about three times (4:376, 7:421, 12:331).40 Al-Dhahabî takes strong exception to what he deems an understatement that does not, in his understanding, denote outright forgeries but merely h.adîths that fall short of the rank of s.ah.îh..41 Al-Dhahabî would be right if he were discussing a fiqh-oriented ruling, such as Imâm Ah.mad’s statement that there is no thâbit h.adîth stipulating Basmala at the time of ablutions – i.e., only h.asan. However, al-Khat.îb’s ruling of “unestablished” here uses a different convention, namely a twofold, “either authentic or forged” convention used by Ibn al-Jawzî and others. Abû Ghudda has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt – after Imâm al-Kawtharî’s citation of the major h.adîth Master Ibn Himmât al-Dimashqî – that such a term does indeed mean “forged” in h.adîth-oriented literature as opposed to fiqh.42


Al-Dhahabî says khabar munkar for the following among others in the Mîzân – most apparently in the sense of forgery:

    - the report, “The Hour will not rise before Allâh will not have been worshipped for an hundred years on the earth” ( s.v. Abân ibn Khâlid).

    - the report from Ibn "Abbâs that the Prophet MHMD supposedly said at the funeral of Abû T.âlib, “May direct relatives embrace you and may you be rewarded with goodness, my uncle!” ( s.v. Ibrâhîm ibn "Abd al-Rah.mân al- Khwârizmî). - the report that "Alî supposedly said, “People gave bay"a to Abû Bakr although I am worthier…” ( s.v. al-H.ârith ibn Muh.ammad).

    - the report, “There is no Mahdî but "Îsâ ibn Maryam” ( s.v. Muh.ammad ibn Khâlid al-Janadî).

    - the report, “The believers and their children are in the heaven while the disbelievers and their children are in the fire” ( s.v. Muh.ammad ibn "Uthmân, “an unknown”).

    - the report, “I was given superiority to people in four things: generosity, courage, frequent coitus, and fierceness in combat” ( s.v. Marwân ibn "Uthmân ibn Abî Sa"îd).

    - the report that as the Prophet MHMD was praying he replied to someone’s greeting lest the greeter take offense ( s.v. Abû Bakr al-"Umarî, “an unknown”).

    - the report that "Î’isha gave a dînâr to al-H.asan and al-H.usayn and split her tunic in half for each of them (s.v. Jâbir ibn Yazîd ibn al-H.ârith).

    - the report that and Ilyâs – upon our Prophet and them blessings and peace – meet every year in the H.ajj season at "Arafa ( s.v. al-H.asan ibn Razîn).

Al-Dhahabî much less frequently uses munkar to question a certain chain for an otherwise authentic hadîth cf. “My Community is not taken to task for fleeting thoughts” ( s.v. Ayyûb ibn Mans.ûr ibn "Alî) and in the notice of "Abd al-Mu’min ibn Sâlim ibn Maymûn.

The Term Munkar al-H.adîth

As for the term munkar al-h.adîth the early scholars use it for a narrator that singles himself out in narrating certain h.adîths or is condemned for fisq but not lying43 among the categories of the “rejected h.adîth” (almardû d ) while al-Bukhârî means it in the worst negative sense while Muslim in his Muqaddima identifies it with matrûk when one’s narrations are mostly munkar.44 This is also the usage of al-Khat.îb in Târîkh Baghdâd and he equates it with d.a"îf jiddan and matrûk although Abû H.âtim equates it with the “nearly matrûk.” Shaykh Nûr al-Dîn "Itr defines munkar al-h.adîth as “The narrator who narrates munkar h.adîths and singles himself out or contravenes others thereby; his narrations are taken into consideration in the methodology of other than al-Bukhârî.”45

From The Critical Method in the Sciences of H.adîth by Shaykh Nur al-Dîn "Itr
    The disclaimed and the recognized narration (al-munkar wal-ma"rûf).

    The expressions of the scholars vary in defining the munkar to the point that the observer is unsure what it means exactly. Careful scrutiny yields a clear determination that this diversity is caused by the difference in purposes for each side when they use that terminology. After such scrutiny we found that there were two ways (maslakayn) among the Ulema as follows:

    The first way applies the term munkar to a particular type of divergence, namely, the weak narrator’s report in contravention of the trustworthy narrator. This division is the opposite of the “recognized narration” (al-

    14 ma"rûf), which is the h.adîth of the trustworthy narrator in contravention of that of the weak narrator.

    The above convention is followed by many of the h.adîth scholars and is standard terminology among the later scholars. The h.âfiz. Ibn H.ajar uses it in al-Nukhba and its commentary.

    Over-generalization on the part of the early scholars in the [terminology of the] munkar and the resolution of the problem inherent in its multiple usages.

    The second way overgeneralizes in the use of the term munkar and apply it to whatever a narrator is alone in narrating (tafarrada bih), whether or not he contravenes others and even if he is trustworthy. There are many different illustrations for this. In each of these cases the h.adîth scholars applied the term munkar. This is the way of many of the early authorities. Following are examples of what we find them saying:

    1. Imâm Ah.mad said of Aflah. ibn H.umayd al-Ans.ârî – one of the trustworthy narrators of the two S.ah.îh.s: “Aflah. narrates two munkar h.adîths: that the Prophet MHMD bled his sacrificial animal as a pre-slaughter marking, and the h.adîth ‘The consecration-place of the people of Iraq is Dhâtu "Irqin.’” ( Hadî al-Sârî 2:117.) So Imâm Ah.mad named these two h.adîths munkar due to Aflah. singling himself out with their narration although he is trustworthy.

    2. The h.adîth of Ibn al-Zubayr al-Makkî who said: “I asked Jâbir of the sale of the wildcat and the dog and he replied, ‘The Prophet MHMD strongly forbade us this.’” Thus did Muslim narrate it while al-Nasâ’î said, “Ibrâhîm ibn al- H.asan narrated to me saying, H.ajjâj ibn Muh.ammad told us, from H.ammâd ibn Salama, from Abû al-Zubayr, from Jâbir ibn "Abd Allâh, that the Messenger of Allâh MHMD forbade the sale of dogs and wildcats except hunting dogs.’” Abû "Abd al-Rah.mân [al-Nasâ’î] said, “This is munkar.” This is a chain of trustworthy narrators but it alone narrates the phrase “except hunting dogs.” Hence al-Nasâ’î said of it that it is munkar. It is possible to put this in the category of the shâdhdh because this addition actually contravenes [what is established].

    3. Al-Tirmidhî said (in the “Chapter of what is related concerning giving salâm before [all other] talk”), “Al-Fad.l ibn al-S.abâh. Baghdâdî narrated to us: Sa"îd ibn Zakariyyâ narrated to us, from "Anbasa ibn "Abd al-Rah.mân, from Muh.ammad ibn Zâdhân, from Muh.ammad ibn al-Munkadir, from Jâbir ibn "Abd Allâh who said: The Messenger of Allâh MHMD said, ‘Salâm comes before [all other] talk’...” Abû "Îsâ [al-Tirmidhî] said, “This is a munkar h.adîth, we do not know it except through this particular chain (min hâdhâ al-wajh); and I heard Muh.ammad [ibn Ismâ"îl al-Bukhârî] say, ‘"Anbasa ibn "Abd al-Rah.mân is weak in h.adîth and forgetful (dhâhib) while Muh.ammad ibn Zâdhân is a disclaimed-h.adîth narrator (munkar al- h.adîth ).’”

    Thus, Abû "Îsâ al-Tirmidhî graded the h.adîth munkar and it is narrated with a chain containing two weak narrators together with its not being known through any other chain.

    4. The h.adîth of Abû Hurayra that “the Prophet MHMD used to clip his nails and cut his moustache on the day of Jumu"a before coming out to the Prayer.” Al-Bazzâr and al-T.abarânî narrated it in al-Awsat. ( Majma" al-Zawâ’id 2:170- 171) and its chain contains Ibrâhîm ibn Qudâma al-Jumah.î – “he is not known.” Hence al-Dhahabî said, “This is a munkar report” (In the Mîzân, entry for Ibrâhîm ibn Qudâma [1:53]. See also our book al-S.alawât al-Khâs.s.a p. 17). This is a rare example of the use of this term by later scholars.

    The status of the munkar according to its various usages.

    As for the status or grading (h.ukm) of the munkar, in the context of the first methodology it is very weak because its narrator is weak and it is made weaker by its contravention [of other reports and/or narrators]. In the context of the second methodology which applies the term to unique reports (al-fard ) as well as the aberrant (al-shâdhdh ) if the same is meant by it. So its status is the same as for the singular report (al-gharîb ) with regard to both text and chain and the absolutely unique report (al-fard al-mut.laq ): it could be sound, it could be fair, and it could be weak.

    Hence it is required from everyone that peers into the books of the Muh.addithîn to understand well and realize how the word munkar is used and not act in haste then proceed to weaken something that does not deserve weakening or speak without knowledge as happened with one of our contemporaries.

    Their statement, “The most munkar that So-and-so narrates” does not mean its weakness!

    Al-Suyût.î said (in Tadrîb al-Râwî p. 153=1:241): “Among their expressions is ‘The most munkar that So-and-so narrates is this,’ even when that h.adîth is far from weak. Ibn "Adî said, ‘The most munkar that Burayd ibn "Abd Allâh narrated is, When Allâh desires good for a nation, He seizes their Prophet before seizing them.’ That h.adîth is in S.ah.îh. Muslim. And al- Dhahabî said [in the Mîzân], ‘The most munkar h.adîth that al-Walîd ibn Muslim narrates is that of the memorization of the Qur’ân’ but it is in al-Tirmidhî who declared it fair while al-H.âkim declared it sound by the criterion of the Two Shaykhs” (See the detailed study of this h.adîth in al-S.alaw ât al-Khâs.s.a p. 246-253).46
In recapitulation, as Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ghumârî said: “In the usage of the early authorities nakâra has no precise definition (h.addun mah.dûd ) nor a firm reference-text concerning it (as.lun yurja"u ilayhi fîhâ ), nor a reliable rule by which to declare it (qâ"idatun yu"tamadu "alayhâ fîl- h.ukmi bihâ ).”47 And Allâh knows best.


1In Fath. al-Mughîth: The shâdhdh is the trustworthy narrator’s irreconcilable, solitary, uncorroborated contradiction of the whole trustworthy lot of the narrators or those stronger than him through addition or omission in the chain or text of a h.adîth. Theirs is “retained” (mah.fûz.) while his is “aberrant” (shâdhdh).

2In Fath. al-Mughîth: Narrated [from "Î’isha by Ibn Mâjah, al-H.âkim, and Ibn al-Jawzî in the Mawd.û"ât] exclusively through the honest but not quite reliable Abû Dhukayr Yah.yâ ibn Muh.ammad ibn Qays al-Bas.rî as per al-Dâraqut.nî, Ibn "Adî, and others while al- "Uqaylî said no-one corroborated him and it is unknown but for his narrating it; likewise al-H.âkim: “It is among the stand-alone reports (afrâd) of the Bas.rians from the Madînans” hence graded munkar by al-Nasâ’î followed by Ibn al-S.alâh. and Ibn H.ajar, Nukat (2:680). The full wording of the h.adîth is: “Eat balah. with tamr, eat the old with the new! For the devil is angered and says, ‘The son of Îdam has lived to eat the old with the new!’”

3In the h.adîth narrated from Usâma ibn Zayd in the Nine except al-Nasâ’î: “A Muslim does not inherit from a non-Muslim nor a non-Muslim from a Muslim.” All the Masters and even Mâlik’s students other than Yah.yâ and Muh.ammad ibn al-H.asan narrate it through "Amr ibn "Uthmân ibn "Affân and not through his brother "Umar except Mâlik. The chain from Mâlik, from al-Zuhrî reads “"Amr” in the Risâla edition of Abû Mus."ab al-Zuhrî’s Muwat.t.a’ (2:539-540 §3061) and in our Shaykh Muh.ammad "Alawî al- Mâlikî’s edition – Allâh have mercy on him! – of Ibn al-Qâbisî’s epitome (talkhîs.) of Ibn al-Qâsim’s Muwat.t.a’ (p. 126 §65). In Fath. al-Mughîth: Al-Nasâ’î said no-one corroborated Mâlik on “"Umar” while Muslim and others even wrote it off as an error on his part while Mâlik would motion with his hand when he said “"Umar” as if acknowledging they differed with him. He said, “Thus did we preserve it and thus is it written in my book, and we make mistakes – who is exempt of making them?”

4In Fath. al-Mughîth: Both "Amr ibn "Uthman and his brother "Umar are trustworthy so it makes no difference in the grading of the h.adîth; and its matn may not be called shâdhdh nor munkar. Ibn al-S.alâh. cites it as an example of munkar in the chain exclusively because that quality may apply to the isnâd as to the matn.

5Narrated in the four Sunan through Hammâm ibn Yah.yâ, from Ibn Jurayj, from al- Zuhrî, from Anas. Abû Dâwûd said, “This is munkar as it is only recognized from Ibn Jurayj as narrated from Zyâd ibn Sa"d, from al-Zuhrî, from Anas. The error in this is from Hammâm and no-one else narrates it his way.” In Fath. al-Mughîth: “Hammâm is trustworthy and relied upon by the S.ah.îh. compilers but he contradicted everybody. Nevertheless, Abû Dâwûd was not blessed to declare it disclaimed since Mûsâ ibn Hârûn said, ‘I do not rule it out that these are two different h.adîths.’ To this did Ibn H.ibbân incline and he graded both of them sound…. At any rate the use of this h.adîth as an example for the munkar and the use of Mâlik’s statement also, are only according to the method of Ibn al-S.alâh. in not differentiating between the munkar and the shâdhdh.

6In his notes on al-Nawawî’s Irshâd (p. 96) cf. al-Ah.mad Ghumârî infra.

7In Mîzân al-I"tidâl, chapter on "Alî ibn al-Madînî.

8Cf. Dar’ al-D.a"f "an H.adîth Man "Ashiqa fa-"Aff (p. 36-48).

9In al-Mas.nû" (p. 20 n. and p. 42 n. 6) cf. his notes on the Raf" (p. 211 n. 1).

10In al-Qawl al-Musaddad (p. 79).

11See note 2 above.

12In al-Nukat "alâ Ibn al-S.alâh. (2:680).

13 Nukat (2:848).

14In the Raf" (p. 200 n. 2).

15Al-H.âwî lil-Fatâwî 2:210.

16Ibn "Adî is Abû Ah.mad "Abd Allâh ibn "Adî ibn "Abd Allâh ibn Muh.ammad ibn Mubârak ibn al-Qat.t.ân al-Jurjânî (277-365), the Imâm, keen h.adîth Master who travelled the world, and author of al-Kâmil fîl-Jarh. wal-Ta"dîl in five large volumes, an unprecedented encyclopedia of weak narrators. He heard Bahlûl ibn Ish.âq al-Tanûkhî, Muh.ammad ibn "Uthmân ibn Abi Suwayd, Muh.ammad ibn Yah.yâ al-Marwazî, Anas ibn al-Salâm, al-Nasâ’î, al-Firyâbî, Abû Ya"lâ al-Maws.ilî, al-Baghawî, Ibn Khuzayma, etc. He lived a long time and his chain of transmission became quite short. He specialized in narrator-criticism, h.adîth authentication and criticism, until he became a foremost expert in this science despite weakness in his grammar. Al-Dâraqut.nî praised his book as sufficient for knowledge of the weak narrators. Ibn "Asâkir and others declared him trustworthy and praised his mastership and memorization. Apparently he was Shâfi"i and compiled a book based on the chapter-headings of al-Muzanî’s His method in the Kâmil is to mention every narrator that was ever criticized rightly or wrongly. Al- Dhahabî integrated it into Mîzân al-I"tidâl and expanded upon it, criticizing him at times for citing undeserving entries. Cf. al-Dhahabî, Siyar A"lâm al-Nubalâ’ (16:154).

17Al-Sakhâwî, Fath. al-Mughîth, chapter on the munkar.

18Cf. T.âhir al-Jazâ’irî, Tawjîh ilâ Us.ûl al-Athar (2:597).

19In al-Fawâ’id al-Kâmina fî Îmân al-Sayyida Îmina = al-Ta"z.îm wal-Minna bi-anna Wâliday al-Mus.t.afâ fîl-Janna (Mus.t.afâ "Îshûr 1988 Ryadh ed. p. 44-45).

20Cf. Imâm Ah.mad Rid.â Khan, Munîr al-"Ayn (p. 16).

21He defined the munkar as “the unheard-of stand-alone were it not for its narrator” (alfard al-ladhî lâ yu"raf matnuhu min ghayri râwîh) in al-Suyût.î’s Tadrîb al-Râwî (1:238).

22Ah.mad al-Ghumârî, Dar’ al-D.a"f "an H.adîth Man "Ashiqa fa-"Aff (p. 49-50).

23Ibn "Adî, Kâmil (1:208, 1:310, 1:387, 2:384, 4:88).

24"Abd Allâh al-Ghumârî, notes on al-Sakhâwî’s Maqâ al-H.asana (p. 193).

25Cf. Ibn al-Jawzî, Mawd.û"ât (1:421), Ibn H.ajar, Lisân (3:238), al-Suyût.î, La’âli’ (1:400), Ibn "Arrâq, Tanzîh (1:413-414).

26Attributed to the Prophet MHMD and/or to "Alî ( ) in Nahj al-Balâgha.

27Cf. the catalogue of Arabic manuscripts of the library of Sarajevo (number 334) and as referenced by H.ajji Khalîfa in Kashf al-Z.unûn (2:1848) while other manuscripts misattribute it to Ibn H.ajar al-Haytamî or leave the author unmentioned. See Shâkir Mah.mûd "Abd al-Mun"im’s two-volume 1997 doctoral thesis published at Mu’assasat al-Risâla in Beirut under the title Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalânî: Mus.annafâtuhu wa-Dirâsatun fi Manhajihi wa-Mawâridihi fi Kitâbihi al-Is.âba (1:394-395).

28Abû "Alî al-Ah.wazî is the H.anbalî anthropomorphist that concocted the accusations against al-Ash"arî that prompted Ibn "Asâkir to write his masterpiece Tabyîn Kadhib al-Muftarî fîmâ Nasabahu ilâ al-Imâm Abî al-H.asan al-Ash"arî.

29The unfortunate narrator of this h.adîth became known as H.afs. the bunch-man.

30 “If you are a Prophet, tell me what I have in my possession. – If I tell you, will you affirm the testimony of faith?...”; “Whoever hopes that prices will rise in my Community…”; “Whoever feeds his brother a mouthful of sweet…”; “The bearers of knowledge in the world are the caliphs of Prophets…”; “Whoever wears a helmet for jihâd…”; “We seven of Banû al-Mut.t.alib…”; “Do not beat your children for their weeping…”; “When the orphan weeps his tears fall….

31H.adîth of the Prophet MHMD joining prayers during the campaign of Tabûk.

32 “Whoever takes the hand of someone afflicted, Allâh takes his hand.”

33 “The night I was taken up to the heaven I saw on the gate of Paradise…”; “Whoever associates in partnership with a covenantee (dhimmî) and humbles himself before him…”; “Whoever learns the Qur’ân and memorizes it, Allâh shall enter him into Paradise and give him intercession for ten of his relatives…”; “Allâh has three angels, one in charge of the Ka"ba…”; “Cheese is a disease and walnuts a cure…”; “"Alî is the best of human beings, whoever doubts it commits disbelief”; “Paying due rights and keeping trusts is our Religion…”; “There will be no rider besides us on the Day of Resurrection….

34 “What is this camel? O "Alî, fear Allâh regarding worldly possessions…”; “When an innovator dies, Islâm gains a new victory”; “When I was taken up to the heaven Gibrîl brought me to Sidrat al-Muntahâ and bathed me in light….

35 “If you are pleased to make your prayer pure, put forward the best among you”; “The Prophet MHMD prayed over an adultress and her daughter”; “When I was taken up to the heaven and I reached the fourth heaven, an apple fell into my lap…”; “On the Day of Resurrection the people will be made to stand….”

36 “Do you have qualms about denouncing the openly corrupt man?! (atari"ûn "an dhikr al-fâjir)….

37 “Two types of my Community have no part in Islâm: the Murji’a and the Qadariyya”; “There is no marriage without guardian”; “Your Lord [in al-Bukhârî and al-Dârimî: A man] built a house and prepared a banquet…

38 “Whoever harms a covenanted citizen (dhimmî), I will personally accuse him on the Day of Resurrection!

39 “I asked Allâh not to answer the supplication of the lover against the beloved”; “Allâh says, ‘Son of Îdam, I am your indispensable need…”; “A man will come after me named al-Nu"mân ibn Thâbit, Abû H.anîfa…”; “Whoever takes the hand of someone afflicted, Allâh takes his hand”; “Allâh curse your killer [O al-H.usayn]…”; “Allah gave preference to the Messengers over the angels brought near…”; “On the Day of Resurrection the scholars of h.adîth will come, inkwells in hand…”; Mukarram ibn Ah.mad’s Fad.â’il Abî H.anîfa; “The night of my wedding to the Messenger of Allâh, he embraced me…”; “Allâh revealed to the world, ‘Serve whoever serves Me…”; “I saw marjoram growing under the Throne”; “The Throne shook at the death of Sa"d” [s.ah.îh. with a forged chain]; “I am the Seal of Prophets and you, "Alî, are the Seal of Saints”; “Pursuing "ilm is an obligation upon every Muslim” [h.asan with a forged chain]; “Whoever loves me, let him love "Alî; and whoever angers "Alî has angered me…”; “Every Jumu"a night Allâh delivers 100,000 people from the Fire except the hater of Abû Bakr and "Umar…”; “There will be in my Community a man named al-Nu"mân, his nickname is Abû H.anîfa….

40 “The bearers of knowledge in the world are the caliphs of Prophets…”; “"Alî is the best of human beings, whoever doubts it commits disbelief”; “My daughter Fât.ima is a human houri, she never got menses….”

41 Mîzân ( s.v. al-H.asan ibn Muh.ammad ibn Yah.yâ al-"Alawî).

42Abû Ghudda, introduction to al-Qârî’s Mas.nû" (p. 29-30): “Al-Dhahabî lost sight of the rule and was overhasty to correct al-Khat.îb.” In this oversight al-Dhahabî joins a list of lesser Masters such as al-Zarkashî, al-Qârî, and Ibn "Arrâq – Allâh have mercy on all of them and continue to benefit the Umma with them.

43Cf. Ibn al-H.anbalî’s Qafw al-Athar (p. 74).

44Cf. Ibn H.ajar, Nukat (2:675), al-Lacknawî, Raf"Îqâz. 7, al-Tahânawî’s Qawâ"id fî "Ulûm al-H.adîth (p. 274) etc.

45"Itr, Mu"jam al-Must.alah.ât al-H.adîthiyya (p. 108).

46"Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd fî "Ulûm al-H.adîth (p. 430-433).

47In Dar’ al-D.a"f "an H.adîth Man "Ashiqa fa-"Aff (p. 35).


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