teacher and student


[Are there] rafidah narrators in the ahlal sunna texts ?

With regard to the title of this thread let it be said right away that there are no Rafidis in the Hadith compilations of the Sunni Masters.

i am tempted to this post this as a follow up to a comment about the views of certain ahlal sunna authorities on the Shi'i.

I wish you had resisted the temptation. Discussing hadith transmission is not a Shiʿa forte and fosters many misconceptions which then have to be cleaned up.

The reader will notice the term Rafidi every now and then in the following biographies. The Sunni scholars generally define a Rafidi as a Shi'ah who openly criticizes or rejects the legitimacy of the Caliphs before 'Ali (a).

I.e. one who disparages and violates the Consensus of the Companions. I find it useful at this point - unfortunately - to remind the readers of the pains taken by the pious Sunni Salaf in defining the status of the Rafidis Shiʿa with a clear conscience. For truly, as ʿUmar said, you cannot swindle a Believer.

1. Rafidi = "He who insults Abu Bakr and ʿUmar" (Imam Ahmad)

2. Rafidi = "Whoever disrespects the Two Shaykhs [Abu Bakr and ʿUmar] while accepting the validity of their imamate." (al-Dhahabi)

3. Extreme Rafidis = "those who not only insult the two Shaykhs - Abu Bakr and ʿUmar, Allah be well-pleased with them - but also reject the validity of their imamate." (al-Dhahabi)

4. Al-Tabari considers Rafidis kafir and al-Shafiʿi forbade praying behind them.

5. According to some Hanafis, to insult the two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and ʿUmar) constitutes disbelief (kufr). BUT the claim that Abu Hanifa declared Shiʿis Kafir is a lie.

6. Cursing the Companions deserves corporeal punishment according to the vast majority, while according to some of the Malikis and Hanafis the offender is (to be) executed.

7. To insult the Companions is a "major grave indecency" (al-Nawawi)

8. Rafidis have nothing to do with the moderate Shiʿis of the pious Salaf.

9. To prefer ʿAli to ʿUthman is neither Rafd (rejectionism) nor a bidʿa (heretical innovation), for several of the Companions and Successors did.


'Abbad b. Ya'qub al-Rawajini (died 250 AH)

Sahih Bukhari [kitab al-tawhid] Sahih al-Tirmidhi [kitab al-manaqib] Sunan Ibn Majah [kitab ma ja' fi al-jana'iz]

He was a trustworthy Rafidi and his hadith is in (Sahih of) al-Bukhari. [Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, under "'Abbad b. Ya'qub al-Rawajani"]

The term Ibn Hajar used is saduq. I would translate saduq not as "trustworthy," which I reserve for thiqa - a higher grade than saduq -, but "truthful" or "reliable" as you yourself quote below.

Abu Hatim said: He was a shaykh, reliable. Ibn 'Adi said: He used to denounce the Salaf. In him was extremism of Shi'ism. Salih b. Muhammad said: He used to denounce 'Uthman. I heard him saying, "Allah is more just than that he would admit Talhah and al-Zubayr into heaven after they paid allegiance to 'Ali and then fought him." Ibn Hibban said: He was a Rafidi inviting (others to his belief). He narrated this hadith �, "If you see Mu'awiyah on my pulpit, kill him!" [Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, under "'Abbad b. Ya'qub al-Rawajani"]

You should have also quoted from IH that this ʿAbbad used to say in public "ʿAli dug out the seas of the world and al-Husayn caused them to flow"! Ibn Hajar also narrates from al-Khatib that Ibn Khuzayma stopped narrating from ʿAbbad. And you may know that Ibn Khuzayma, like Sufyan al-Thawri, prefers ʿAli to ʿUthman (see e.g. Lisan al-Mizan 1:78), so the reason he stopped was not the acceptable, moderate Shiʿism of preferring ʿAli to ʿUthman but the unacceptable Rafidism of attacking Abu Bakr and ʿUmar.

Concerning the quotes of Ali Zahra and other Shiʿi contributors on the question of ʿAbbad ibn Yaʿqub from Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (5:95), of the words:

(1) "Narrated from him, al-Bukhari, al-Tirmidhi..."; (2) "Ibn 'Adi: He used to denounce the Salaf. " (3) Ibn Hibban: He was a Rafidi inviting (others to his belief). These translations - I am sorry to say - bear the now-familiar stamp of Shiʿi light-handedness. For the original actually states:

(1) "Narrated from him: al-Bukhari - a single hadith, and coupled with another chain, - al-Tirmidhi..." etc. The answer to the Shiʿis is in these additions that they usualy avoid to mention. Furthermore, what al-Bukhari took is a hadith that has nothing to do with his politics or his Rafidism, just as the rest of his narrations in the other Sunni compilations.

(2) "Ibn ʿAdi: He used to insult (yashtum) the Salaf." I suppose "denounce" sounds noble whereas "insult" is ignominious, but "yashtum" can hardly be translated other than as "insult" or "curse." And the Salaf here include Abu Bakr and ʿUmar, so this fits the above definitions of Rafidis.

(3) Ibn Hibban: "He was a Rafidi inviting others to his belief and, on top of that, narrating denounced reports from well-established authorities and so he deserves to be abandoned [as a narrator]."

'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan al-Kufi

Sahih al-Bukhari [kitab al-tawhid] Sahih Muslim [kitab al-'iman] Sahih al-Tirmidhi [kitab tafsir al-Qur'an] Sunan al-Nasa'i [kitab al-'iman wa al-nudhur] Sunan Abu Dawud [kitab al-buyu'] Sunan Ibn Majah [kitab al-zakah]

All together, the above narrate a total of THREE hadiths through him through six chains and, in Bukhari and Muslim's cases, only as *corroborative chains* not as stand-alone! Finally, none of these hadiths bear on doctrine.

He was Rafidi Shi'i, one of (the people of) opinion. [Abu Ja'far al-'Uqayli, Du'afa al-'Uqayli, under "'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan"]

He was Rafidi, reliable (saduq). [Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib al-Kamal, under "'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan"]

Al-'Ijli said: He was from Kufah, a Tabi'i (Successor), reliable. Sufyan said: 'Abd al-Malik b. 'A'yan the Shi'i narrated to us, he was a Rafidi to us, a man of opinion. Hamid said: Those three brothers, 'Abd al-Malik, Zurarah, and Hamran were Rawafid all of them. Abu Hatim said: He was one of the earliest to embrace Shi'ism, (he was) on the position of truthfulness, having good traditions, and his traditions are written. [Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, under "'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan"]

It is funny that in the first instance you quote Ibn Hajar's Taqrib but not in the second. This is because the Taqrib is Ibn Hajar's final word and, in this case, it does not suit you. The final word on ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Aʿyan is that he is "saduq shiʿi" (Taqrib 1:362 #4164), a truthful shiʿi, - most likely weak ("daʿif", cf. Tahrir Taqrib al-Tahdhib 2:379 #4164)- but *not* a Rafidi.

So the most accurate opinion of those cited by Ibn Hajar in the Tahdhib then retained by him in the Taqrib is that of Abu Hatim al-Razi, except that it is typically mistranslated in a way that cajoles Shiʿi illusions. The correct translation is not "He was one of the earliest to embrace Shi'ism, (he was) on the position of truthfulness, having good traditions, and his traditions are written" but "He was one of the early Shiʿis [=moderate], he can be considered reliable [as a narrator] (mahalluhu al-sidq = less than saduq), he is passable in his traditions (salih al-hadith), and his hadiths are written."

The expression "his hadiths are written" in the terminology of hadith scholars means: they should not be discarded but retained as corroborations of other chains, not as independent reports.

'Abd al-Razzaq al-San'ani (died 211 AH)

This Shaykh from whom al-Bukhari narrated is also an example of a moderate Shiʿi, NOT a Rafidi. BTW it is related that when AR wanted to leave Sanʿa the people were depressed at losing this great ʿAlim from their city. One of them advised in their Shura: "Put chains on him." So they married him off to a beautiful lady.

confident that this will invite comments,

You should have included Imam al-Nasa'i and Imam al-Hakim, they were both also accused of (moderate) Shiʿism. Imam al-Nasa'i actually died - Allah have mercy on him - from a savage beating at the hands of some Nasibis (haters of ʿAli).

The rule of the hadith masters was to accept the narration of innovators - even Rafidis if they are not considered disbelievers - on one condition: _that their narration has nothing to do with promoting their innovation_.

There may be other reasons for acceptance. For example: the Kharijis' narrations were accepted because according to Kharijis themselves, lying entails kufr. The hadith scholars took this into consideration to conclude that it was highly improbable or nearly impossible that a Khariji narrator lie. If he also happened to have accuracy (dabt), That made them trustworthy (thiqa) as a narrator of this or that particular narration.

There are, as a rule, *no Rafidis* among the narrators of Sunni hadith compilations, except within the narrow parameters seen in the case of al-Rawajini whom you cited. As for your example of 'Abd al-Malik b. A'yan al-Kufi, it supports the opposite of what you claim. You live and you learn.

Back in September of last year I gave up on a discussion thread entitled "Re: 100 Shi'ite Narrators of Hadeeth Relied Upon By The Sunnites" with someone who was also keen on "inviting comments," by the name of shams_tabriz@hotmail.com. Evidently you and he used the same website to toss up this salad - alas - for the purposes of confusion and misrepresentation.

Hajj Gibril

GF Haddad ©





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