The "Disclaimed” (Munkar) H.adīth
by Sh. G. F. Haddad – Shawwāl 1425        [as pdf-file]

 Causes for which a H.adīth May Be Called Munkar
 Munkar in the sense of "Forged”?
 Meaning of "munkar” with earlier and later scholars
 Abū Ghudda's Examples of Munkar to Mean "Mawd.ū"
 More Precisions on the Sources of the Examples of Al-Khat.īb
 The Term Munkar al-H.adīth
 Critical Method in the Sciences of H.adīth by Sh. ʿItr
 Examples of over-generalization of . early scholars in the munkar


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

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

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

Singular, uncorroborated chain or text not strong enough to be authenticated without corroboration (fard lā yutāba‘ ).
(either->1a or 1b)
The singular narrator is more or less trustworthy (thiqa )or at least truthful (s.adūq ). His h.adīth is called shādhdh whether
(either ->2a or 2b)
The singular narrator is of unverified reliability (mastūr ) or more or less weak (d.a‘īf ). His h.adīth is munkar whether
(either->3a or 3b)
it does not contradict others (lā yukhālif ) (early usage, some calling it munkar ) or it contradicts others (yukhālif) (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 ‘alā Ibn al-S.alāh.(2:674-675).

Imām Zayn al-Dīn al-"Irāqī said in Alfiyyat al-H.adīth:

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

The h.adīth Master Badr al-Dīn al-H.asanī states in his commentary on Abū al-"Abbās al-Lakhmī's poem on h.adīth science, Gharāmī S.ah.īh. fī Anwā" al-H.adīth (verse 6): "Munkar, ay mardūd” [meaning "rejected”].

Similarly Ibn Kathīr in al-Bā"ith al-H.athīth fī Anwā" "Ulūm al-H.adīth.

Dr. Nūr al-Dīn "Itr – Allāh 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-Lacknawī also define it in the Raf" wal-Takmīl. However, if he is trustworthy then his report may be called shādhdh or gharīb rather than munkar. Fath. al-Mughīth states, in the chapter on the munkar:

    They differ insofar as the narrator of the shādhdh is trustworthy (thiqa) or truthful (s.adūq) 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-Dhahabī said: "The singularity of the trustworthy narrator (thiqa) is counted as the gharīb while the singularity of the merely truthful narrator (s.adūq) and those below him is counted as the munkar.”7

Causes for which a H.adīth May Be Called Munkar

The grade of munkar can be caused by [1] a narrator (al-rāwī ) that some declared weak rightly or wrongly, such as Suwayd ibn Sa"īd who is thiqa before his old age but whom Ibn Ma"īn lambasted as a criminal although Muslim retained him in his S.ah.īh.; or by [2] a transmission (al-riwāya) some deem highly improbable, such as "al-Wāqidī from Ma"mar from al-Zuhrī” which resulted in Ah.mad no longer upholding al-Wāqidī as reliable although such transmission proved authentic; or by [3] the text transmitted (al-marwī ) which struck some as implausible, such as al- Dhahabī rejecting the h.adīth of Ukaydar the Roman king of Dūma's gift of a jar of ginger to Madīna 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.ibbān rejecting the Prophet's ﷺ order to "Abd Allāh ibn "Abd Allāh 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-Dhahabī rejecting al-Tirmidhī's authentic narration of the two books the Prophet ﷺ 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-Fattāh. Abū Ghudda adds another meaning: "forged” (almawd.ū" al-kadhib al-muftarā ) in his introduction to al-Qārī's Mas.nū".9 Ibn H.ajar said unambiguously: "The munkar is other than the mawd.ū"”10 and he differentiates between them time and again: "Ibn al-Jawzī cited the ‘balah. and tamr' h.adīth11 among the forgeries but the correct ruling is what al-Nasā'ī said, followed by Ibn al-S.alāh., that it is munkar in view of its singularity from a weak narrator”;12 "He [Ibn al-Jawzī] has [wrongly] included in his book of forgeries the munkar and weak h.adīths....”13 This can be reconciled [1] if Abū Ghudda means the terminology of certain specific post-5th century scholars as Ah.mad al-Ghumārī 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.

Abū Ghudda himself notes14 that al-Suyūt.ī cautioned in Bulūgh al-Ma'mūl fī Khidmat al-Rasūl ﷺ that the scholars may use munkar in the sense of a single-chained (gharīb) h.adīth as when al-Dhahabī in the Mīzān calls many sound reports "munkar, ” even some in the two S.ah.īh.s,15 or Ibn "Adī16 saying of Sallām ibn Sulaymān al-Madā'inī, "His narrations are munkar but they are all h.asan h.adīths.”17

In Tadrīb al-Rāwī, chapter on the maqlūb, al-Suyūt.ī differentiates between the munkar and the forged:

    The worst type of weak h.adīth is the forgery (al-mawd.ū"), followed by the discarded (al-matrūk), then the disclaimed (munkar), then the defective (mu"allal), then the inserted (mudraj), then the topsy-turvy (al-maqlūb) then the inconsistent (mud.t.arib). Thus did Shaykh al-Islām [=Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalānī] arrange them.”18

Al-Suyūt.ī elsewhere said:

    Ibn "Asākir's ruling of munkar on the h.adīth [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 ﷺ] is a categorical proof for what I say, namely, that it is d.a"īf and not forged, since the munkar is a sub-class of the d.a"īf and there is a difference between the munkar and the mawd.ū" as is well-known in h.adīth science…. and the d.a"īf is a rank above the munkar and better in state. It is also better than another rank which stands below the munkar, namely, the matrūk. The latter is also a sub-class of the d.a"īf that is not forged.19

Al-Zarqānī in Sharh. al-Mawāhib cites it and applies the same reasoning toward Ibn Kathīr's words, "munkar jiddan.”20

Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ghumārī said:

    When the early authorities declare a h.adīth munkar it does not indicate that it is false nor a forgery unlike what Ibn al-Qayyim concluded [with reference to the h.adīth "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”(wāhin aw mawd.ū"). Hence you find them saying, "This is a h.adīthun munkarun mawd.ū",” or "This is a h.adīth munkar and the culprit for it is So-and-so,” as you can frequently read in the likes of al-Khat.īb, Ibn "Asākir, Ibn al-Najjār, Ibn al- Jawzī, and al-Dhahabī 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 Hārūn ibn Rawh.] al-Bardījī (d. 301)21 in the leaves he gathered on the subject of h.adīth terminology (al-mus.t.alah.), and the other is "that with which an unknown-status (mastūr) or weak (d.a"īf) 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-sāqit. al-wāhī "alā qilla).22

The above remarks do not address "blameworthiness of meaning” (nakārat al-ma"nā ) by which munkar is also sometimes used to mean forged as in Ibn "Adī's familiar expression, "So-and-so does not narrate any h.adīth of blameworthy content (munkar al-matn).”23 Shaykh "Abd Allāh al-Ghumārī said: "When a h.adīth is reprehensible in meaning (munkaran fīl-ma"nā ) it is forged even if its chain meets the criterion of the S.ah.īh.. 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-Jawzī, 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.adīths mentioning the mus.h.af or Abū H.anīfa; - extravagant praise or blame for a tribe, person ( "My daughter Fāt.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 Tabyīn al-"Ajab fīmā Warada fī 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"rāj Ibn "Abbās or the saying, " Sharī"a is my words, T.arīqa is my actions, H.aqīqa is my state, Ma"rifa is my capital, "Aql is the basis of my Dīn...”26 (b) long speeches bursting at the seams with figures of rhetoric or learned expressions such as Nahj al-Balāgha, a 5th-century forgery. (c) "priamels” or numbered lists cataloguing types of levels such as creation in the "h.adīth of Jābir” on the light of the Prophet ﷺ; or merits with rewards and/or defects with punishments as in the long pseudo-h.adīth of Ibn "Abbās on the merits of each Sūra systematically forged by Nūh. ibn Abī Maryam and the Munabbihāt "alā al-Isti"dād li-Yawm al- Ma"ād lil-Nus.h.i wal-Widād ("Admonitions for Preparation for the Day of the Return for Advice and Love”) compiled by Zayn al-Qud.āt Ah.mad ibn Muh.ammad al-H.ijjī or al-H.ajrī or H.ujurī's (d. ?) and falsely attributed to Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalānī 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

Abū Ghudda's Examples of Munkar to Mean Mawd.ū"

Shaykh "Abd al-Fattāh. Abū Ghudda cites thirty examples of what he says are uses of the term munkar to mean "forged” from four books: Ibn al- Jawzī's Mawd.ū"at (1 example), al-Dhahabī's Mīzān al-I"tidāl (4 examples), Ibn "Arrāq's Tanzīh al-Sharī"a (19 examples), and al-Qārī's Mas.nū" (6 examples). He introduces his list of citations with the words, "The scholars frequently use the term munkar to mean the mawd.ū", indicating thereby the blameworthiness (nakāra ) of its meaning together with the weakness of its chain and the lack of its veracity (but.lān thubūtih ).” He then cites the page numbers for the thirty passages he believes prove his claim, some of which we examine below: In Ibn "Arrāq's Tanzīh al-Sharī"a (19 examples):

- Al-Khat.īb's statement "munkar jiddan” about the forged h.adīth "The Qur'ān is the Speech of Allāh neither creator nor created.” (1:134 §5) - Ibn al-Najjār's statement "munkar” about the forged h.adīth, "O "Alī, the Qur'ān is the Speech of Allāh uncreated.” (1:135 §7). - Ibn "Asākir's statement, "al-Khat.īb wrote these two [h.adīths forged] by al- Ahwāzī28 in astonishment at their blameworthiness (nakāra) and they are false” about the narrations "I saw my Lord on the Day of Nafar [10 Dhūl-H.ijja] on a red camel” and "Every Jumuʿa Allāh descends wrapped in a cloak” (1:146 §35). - Al-Khat.īb's statement "munkar” about the forged h.adīth, "Allāh says, Lā ilāha illa Allāh is My Word… and the Qur'ān is My Speech and issued from Me” (1:148 §40). - Al-Khat.īb's statement "munkar” about the forged h.adīth, "Allāh has three angels, one in charge of the Ka"ba…” (1:170 §2). - Al-Khat.īb's statement "munkar jiddan” about the forged h.adīth, "Do not beat your children for their weeping…” (1:171 §6). - "Abd Allāh al-Ghumārī's statements equating the munkar in meaning with the forged (1:193 n.). - Al-Bayhaqī's statement "munkar, and the culprit for this may be So-and-so” about the forgery in which the Prophet ﷺ says to Ibn Mas"ūd, "Always look into the mus.h.af for I had ophthalmia and Gibrīl gave me the same advice” (1:308 §81). - Al-Dhahabī's statement "munkar” of the h.adīth that Gibrīl brought the Prophet ﷺ a bunch of grapes (qit.f) and said, "Allāh greets you and sent me to you with this bunch of grapes for you to eat”29 (1:334 §20 although Ibn "Arrāq argues that al-Dhahabī's statement means or should mean other than "forged” cf. §19).

- Al-Dhahabī's statement "munkar” in the Mīzān of the forgery in which Gibrīl brings Abū Bakr water for wud.ū' and Mīkā'īl brings him a towel (1:341 §1, Ibn "Arrāq prefers al-Dhahabī's more explicit ruling of "kadhib” in his Mughnī in keeping with his view that munkar is an inappropriate term for "forged”).

- Al-Khat.īb's statement "munkar” about the forgery, ""Alī 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.īb

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

Al-Khat.īb applies the grading munkar to a h.adīth about 30 times and the grading mawd.ū" about 20 in Tārīkh Baghdād. A review of his usage indicates the following:

- He uses munkar jiddan for h.adīths 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.adīth (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.īb's statement, "When he read the h.adīth I had strong doubts about it (istankartuhu) and expressed my wonder about it. I said that such a h.adīth was extremely odd (gharībun jiddan ) through that path and that I conclude it is a falsehood (wa-urāhu bāt.ilan )” (3:96).32

- He uses munkar for chains and/or texts of h.adīths 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 mutawātir (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 Abū Ghudda: neither "the blameworthiness (nakāra) of its meaning” nor "the lack of its veracity (but.lān thubūtih)” but only "the weakness of its chain.”

- When he wants to say a h.adīth is mawd.ū" – 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.īb also means "forged” when he says laysa bi-thābit – "it is unestablished” – about three times (4:376, 7:421, 12:331).40 Al-Dhahabī takes strong exception to what he deems an understatement that does not, in his understanding, denote outright forgeries but merely h.adīths that fall short of the rank of s.ah.īh..41 Al-Dhahabī would be right if he were discussing a fiqh-oriented ruling, such as Imām Ah.mad's statement that there is no thābit h.adīth stipulating Basmala at the time of ablutions – i.e., only h.asan. However, al-Khat.īb's ruling of "unestablished” here uses a different convention, namely a twofold, "either authentic or forged” convention used by Ibn al-Jawzī and others. Abū Ghudda has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt – after Imām al-Kawtharī's citation of the major h.adīth Master Ibn Himmāt al-Dimashqī – that such a term does indeed mean "forged” in h.adīth-oriented literature as opposed to fiqh.42


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

    - the report, "The Hour will not rise before Allāh will not have been worshipped for an hundred years on the earth” ( s.v. Abān ibn Khālid).

    - the report from Ibn "Abbās that the Prophet ﷺ supposedly said at the funeral of Abū T.ālib, "May direct relatives embrace you and may you be rewarded with goodness, my uncle!” ( s.v. Ibrāhīm ibn "Abd al-Rah.mān al- Khwārizmī). - the report that "Alī supposedly said, "People gave bay"a to Abū Bakr although I am worthier…” ( s.v. al-H.ārith ibn Muh.ammad).

    - the report, "There is no Mahdī but "īsā ibn Maryam” ( s.v. Muh.ammad ibn Khālid al-Janadī).

    - 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 "Uthmān, "an unknown”).

    - the report, "I was given superiority to people in four things: generosity, courage, frequent coitus, and fierceness in combat” ( s.v. Marwān ibn "Uthmān ibn Abī Sa"īd).

    - the report that as the Prophet ﷺ was praying he replied to someone's greeting lest the greeter take offense ( s.v. Abū Bakr al-"Umarī, "an unknown”).

    - the report that "ī'isha gave a dīnār to al-H.asan and al-H.usayn and split her tunic in half for each of them (s.v. Jābir ibn Yazīd ibn al-H.ārith).

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

Al-Dhahabī much less frequently uses munkar to question a certain chain for an otherwise authentic hadīth cf. "My Community is not taken to task for fleeting thoughts” ( s.v. Ayyūb ibn Mans.ūr ibn "Alī) and in the notice of "Abd al-Mu'min ibn Sālim ibn Maymūn.

The Term Munkar al-H.adīth

As for the term munkar al-h.adīth the early scholars use it for a narrator that singles himself out in narrating certain h.adīths or is condemned for fisq but not lying43 among the categories of the "rejected h.adīth” (almardū d ) while al-Bukhārī means it in the worst negative sense while Muslim in his Muqaddima identifies it with matrūk when one's narrations are mostly munkar.44 This is also the usage of al-Khat.īb in Tārīkh Baghdād and he equates it with d.a"īf jiddan and matrūk although Abū H.ātim equates it with the "nearly matrūk.” Shaykh Nūr al-Dīn "Itr defines munkar al-h.adīth as "The narrator who narrates munkar h.adīths and singles himself out or contravenes others thereby; his narrations are taken into consideration in the methodology of other than al-Bukhārī.”45

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

    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"rūf), which is the h.adīth of the trustworthy narrator in contravention of that of the weak narrator.

    The above convention is followed by many of the h.adīth scholars and is standard terminology among the later scholars. The h.āfiz. 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.adīth 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. Imām Ah.mad said of Aflah. ibn H.umayd al-Ans.ārī – one of the trustworthy narrators of the two S.ah.īh.s: "Aflah. narrates two munkar h.adīths: that the Prophet ﷺ bled his sacrificial animal as a pre-slaughter marking, and the h.adīth ‘The consecration-place of the people of Iraq is Dhātu "Irqin.'” ( Hadī al-Sārī 2:117.) So Imām Ah.mad named these two h.adīths munkar due to Aflah. singling himself out with their narration although he is trustworthy.

    2. The h.adīth of Ibn al-Zubayr al-Makkī who said: "I asked Jābir of the sale of the wildcat and the dog and he replied, ‘The Prophet ﷺ strongly forbade us this.'” Thus did Muslim narrate it while al-Nasā'ī said, "Ibrāhīm ibn al- H.asan narrated to me saying, H.ajjāj ibn Muh.ammad told us, from H.ammād ibn Salama, from Abū al-Zubayr, from Jābir ibn "Abd Allāh, that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ forbade the sale of dogs and wildcats except hunting dogs.'” Abū "Abd al-Rah.mān [al-Nasā'ī] said, "This is munkar.” This is a chain of trustworthy narrators but it alone narrates the phrase "except hunting dogs.” Hence al-Nasā'ī said of it that it is munkar. It is possible to put this in the category of the shādhdh because this addition actually contravenes [what is established].

    3. Al-Tirmidhī said (in the "Chapter of what is related concerning giving salām before [all other] talk”), "Al-Fad.l ibn al-S.abāh. Baghdādī narrated to us: Sa"īd ibn Zakariyyā narrated to us, from "Anbasa ibn "Abd al-Rah.mān, from Muh.ammad ibn Zādhān, from Muh.ammad ibn al-Munkadir, from Jābir ibn "Abd Allāh who said: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, ‘Salām comes before [all other] talk'...” Abū "īsā [al-Tirmidhī] said, "This is a munkar h.adīth, we do not know it except through this particular chain (min hādhā al-wajh); and I heard Muh.ammad [ibn Ismā"īl al-Bukhārī] say, ‘"Anbasa ibn "Abd al-Rah.mān is weak in h.adīth and forgetful (dhāhib) while Muh.ammad ibn Zādhān is a disclaimed-h.adīth narrator (munkar al- h.adīth ).'”

    Thus, Abū "īsā al-Tirmidhī graded the h.adīth 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.adīth of Abū Hurayra that "the Prophet ﷺ used to clip his nails and cut his moustache on the day of Jumu"a before coming out to the Prayer.” Al-Bazzār and al-T.abarānī narrated it in al-Awsat. ( Majma" al-Zawā'id 2:170- 171) and its chain contains Ibrāhīm ibn Qudāma al-Jumah.ī – "he is not known.” Hence al-Dhahabī said, "This is a munkar report” (In the Mīzān, entry for Ibrāhīm ibn Qudāma [1:53]. See also our book al-S.alawāt al-Khās.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-shādhdh ) if the same is meant by it. So its status is the same as for the singular report (al-gharīb ) 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.addithīn 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-Suyūt.ī said (in Tadrīb al-Rāwī p. 153=1:241): "Among their expressions is ‘The most munkar that So-and-so narrates is this,' even when that h.adīth is far from weak. Ibn "Adī said, ‘The most munkar that Burayd ibn "Abd Allāh narrated is, When Allāh desires good for a nation, He seizes their Prophet before seizing them.' That h.adīth is in S.ah.īh. Muslim. And al- Dhahabī said [in the Mīzān], ‘The most munkar h.adīth that al-Walīd ibn Muslim narrates is that of the memorization of the Qur'ān' but it is in al-Tirmidhī who declared it fair while al-H.ākim declared it sound by the criterion of the Two Shaykhs” (See the detailed study of this h.adīth in al-S.alaw āt al-Khās.s.a p. 246-253).46
In recapitulation, as Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ghumārī said: "In the usage of the early authorities nakāra has no precise definition (h.addun mah.dūd ) nor a firm reference-text concerning it (as.lun yurja"u ilayhi fīhā ), nor a reliable rule by which to declare it (qā"idatun yu"tamadu "alayhā fīl- h.ukmi bihā ).”47 And Allāh knows best.


1In Fath. al-Mughīth: The shādhdh 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.adīth. Theirs is "retained” (mah.fūz.) while his is "aberrant” (shādhdh).

2In Fath. al-Mughīth: Narrated [from "ī'isha by Ibn Mājah, al-H.ākim, and Ibn al-Jawzī in the Mawd.ū"āt] exclusively through the honest but not quite reliable Abū Dhukayr Yah.yā ibn Muh.ammad ibn Qays al-Bas.rī as per al-Dāraqut.nī, Ibn "Adī, and others while al- "Uqaylī said no-one corroborated him and it is unknown but for his narrating it; likewise al-H.ākim: "It is among the stand-alone reports (afrād) of the Bas.rians from the Madīnans” hence graded munkar by al-Nasā'ī followed by Ibn al-S.alāh. and Ibn H.ajar, Nukat (2:680). The full wording of the h.adīth is: "Eat balah. with tamr, eat the old with the new! For the devil is angered and says, ‘The son of īdam has lived to eat the old with the new!'”

3In the h.adīth narrated from Usāma ibn Zayd in the Nine except al-Nasā'ī: "A Muslim does not inherit from a non-Muslim nor a non-Muslim from a Muslim.” All the Masters and even Mālik's students other than Yah.yā and Muh.ammad ibn al-H.asan narrate it through "Amr ibn "Uthmān ibn "Affān and not through his brother "Umar except Mālik. The chain from Mālik, from al-Zuhrī reads ""Amr” in the Risāla edition of Abū Mus."ab al-Zuhrī's Muwat.t.a' (2:539-540 §3061) and in our Shaykh Muh.ammad "Alawī al- Mālikī's edition – Allāh have mercy on him! – of Ibn al-Qābisī's epitome (talkhīs.) of Ibn al-Qāsim's Muwat.t.a' (p. 126 §65). In Fath. al-Mughīth: Al-Nasā'ī said no-one corroborated Mālik on ""Umar” while Muslim and others even wrote it off as an error on his part while Mālik 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-Mughīth: Both "Amr ibn "Uthman and his brother "Umar are trustworthy so it makes no difference in the grading of the h.adīth; and its matn may not be called shādhdh nor munkar. Ibn al-S.alāh. cites it as an example of munkar in the chain exclusively because that quality may apply to the isnād as to the matn.

5Narrated in the four Sunan through Hammām ibn Yah.yā, from Ibn Jurayj, from al- Zuhrī, from Anas. Abū Dāwūd said, "This is munkar as it is only recognized from Ibn Jurayj as narrated from Zyād ibn Sa"d, from al-Zuhrī, from Anas. The error in this is from Hammām and no-one else narrates it his way.” In Fath. al-Mughīth: "Hammām is trustworthy and relied upon by the S.ah.īh. compilers but he contradicted everybody. Nevertheless, Abū Dāwūd was not blessed to declare it disclaimed since Mūsā ibn Hārūn said, ‘I do not rule it out that these are two different h.adīths.' To this did Ibn H.ibbān incline and he graded both of them sound…. At any rate the use of this h.adīth as an example for the munkar and the use of Mālik's statement also, are only according to the method of Ibn al-S.alāh. in not differentiating between the munkar and the shādhdh.

6In his notes on al-Nawawī's Irshād (p. 96) cf. al-Ah.mad Ghumārī infra.

7In Mīzān al-I"tidāl, chapter on "Alī ibn al-Madīnī.

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

9In al-Mas.nū" (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 "alā Ibn al-S.alāh. (2:680).

13 Nukat (2:848).

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

15Al-H.āwī lil-Fatāwī 2:210.

16Ibn "Adī is Abū Ah.mad "Abd Allāh ibn "Adī ibn "Abd Allāh ibn Muh.ammad ibn Mubārak ibn al-Qat.t.ān al-Jurjānī (277-365), the Imām, keen h.adīth Master who travelled the world, and author of al-Kāmil fīl-Jarh. wal-Ta"dīl in five large volumes, an unprecedented encyclopedia of weak narrators. He heard Bahlūl ibn Ish.āq al-Tanūkhī, Muh.ammad ibn "Uthmān ibn Abi Suwayd, Muh.ammad ibn Yah.yā al-Marwazī, Anas ibn al-Salām, al-Nasā'ī, al-Firyābī, Abū Ya"lā al-Maws.ilī, al-Baghawī, Ibn Khuzayma, etc. He lived a long time and his chain of transmission became quite short. He specialized in narrator-criticism, h.adīth authentication and criticism, until he became a foremost expert in this science despite weakness in his grammar. Al-Dāraqut.nī praised his book as sufficient for knowledge of the weak narrators. Ibn "Asākir and others declared him trustworthy and praised his mastership and memorization. Apparently he was Shāfi"i and compiled a book based on the chapter-headings of al-Muzanī's Mukhtas.ar. His method in the Kāmil is to mention every narrator that was ever criticized rightly or wrongly. Al- Dhahabī integrated it into Mīzān al-I"tidāl and expanded upon it, criticizing him at times for citing undeserving entries. Cf. al-Dhahabī, Siyar A"lām al-Nubalā' (16:154).

17Al-Sakhāwī, Fath. al-Mughīth, chapter on the munkar.

18Cf. T.āhir al-Jazā'irī, Tawjīh al-Naz.ar ilā Us.ūl al-Athar (2:597).

19In al-Fawā'id al-Kāmina fī īmān al-Sayyida īmina = al-Ta"z.īm wal-Minna bi-anna Wāliday al-Mus.t.afā fīl-Janna (Mus.t.afā "īshūr 1988 Ryadh ed. p. 44-45).

20Cf. Imām Ah.mad Rid.ā Khan, Munīr al-"Ayn (p. 16).

21He defined the munkar as "the unheard-of stand-alone were it not for its narrator” (alfard al-ladhī lā yu"raf matnuhu min ghayri rāwīh) in al-Suyūt.ī's Tadrīb al-Rāwī (1:238).

22Ah.mad al-Ghumārī, Dar' al-D.a"f "an H.adīth Man "Ashiqa fa-"Aff (p. 49-50).

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

24"Abd Allāh al-Ghumārī, notes on al-Sakhāwī's Maqās.id al-H.asana (p. 193).

25Cf. Ibn al-Jawzī, Mawd.ū"āt (1:421), Ibn H.ajar, Lisān (3:238), al-Suyūt.ī, La'āli' (1:400), Ibn "Arrāq, Tanzīh (1:413-414).

26Attributed to the Prophet ﷺ and/or to "Alī ( ) in Nahj al-Balāgha.

27Cf. the catalogue of Arabic manuscripts of the library of Sarajevo (number 334) and as referenced by H.ajji Khalīfa in Kashf al-Z.unūn (2:1848) while other manuscripts misattribute it to Ibn H.ajar al-Haytamī or leave the author unmentioned. See Shākir Mah.mūd "Abd al-Mun"im's two-volume 1997 doctoral thesis published at Mu'assasat al-Risāla in Beirut under the title Ibn H.ajar al-"Asqalānī: Mus.annafātuhu wa-Dirāsatun fi Manhajihi wa-Mawāridihi fi Kitābihi al-Is.āba (1:394-395).

28Abū "Alī al-Ah.wazī is the H.anbalī anthropomorphist that concocted the accusations against al-Ash"arī that prompted Ibn "Asākir to write his masterpiece Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī fīmā Nasabahu ilā al-Imām Abī al-H.asan al-Ash"arī.

29The unfortunate narrator of this h.adīth 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 jihād…”; "We seven of Banū al-Mut.t.alib…”; "Do not beat your children for their weeping…”; "When the orphan weeps his tears fall….

31H.adīth of the Prophet ﷺ joining prayers during the campaign of Tabūk.

32 "Whoever takes the hand of someone afflicted, Allāh 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 (dhimmī) and humbles himself before him…”; "Whoever learns the Qur'ān and memorizes it, Allāh shall enter him into Paradise and give him intercession for ten of his relatives…”; "Allāh has three angels, one in charge of the Ka"ba…”; "Cheese is a disease and walnuts a cure…”; ""Alī 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 "Alī, fear Allāh regarding worldly possessions…”; "When an innovator dies, Islām gains a new victory”; "When I was taken up to the heaven Gibrīl brought me to Sidrat al-Muntahā and bathed me in light….

35 "If you are pleased to make your prayer pure, put forward the best among you”; "The Prophet ﷺ 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"ūn "an dhikr al-fājir)….

37 "Two types of my Community have no part in Islām: the Murji'a and the Qadariyya”; "There is no marriage without guardian”; "Your Lord [in al-Bukhārī and al-Dārimī: A man] built a house and prepared a banquet…

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

39 "I asked Allāh not to answer the supplication of the lover against the beloved”; "Allāh says, ‘Son of īdam, I am your indispensable need…”; "A man will come after me named al-Nu"mān ibn Thābit, Abū H.anīfa…”; "Whoever takes the hand of someone afflicted, Allāh takes his hand”; "Allāh 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.adīth will come, inkwells in hand…”; Mukarram ibn Ah.mad's Fad.ā'il Abī H.anīfa; "The night of my wedding to the Messenger of Allāh, he embraced me…”; "Allāh 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.īh. with a forged chain]; "I am the Seal of Prophets and you, "Alī, 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 "Alī; and whoever angers "Alī has angered me…”; "Every Jumu"a night Allāh delivers 100,000 people from the Fire except the hater of Abū Bakr and "Umar…”; "There will be in my Community a man named al-Nu"mān, his nickname is Abū H.anīfa….

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

41 Mīzān ( s.v. al-H.asan ibn Muh.ammad ibn Yah.yā al-"Alawī).

42Abū Ghudda, introduction to al-Qārī's Mas.nū" (p. 29-30): "Al-Dhahabī lost sight of the rule and was overhasty to correct al-Khat.īb.” In this oversight al-Dhahabī joins a list of lesser Masters such as al-Zarkashī, al-Qārī, and Ibn "Arrāq – Allāh have mercy on all of them and continue to benefit the Umma with them.

43Cf. Ibn al-H.anbalī's Qafw al-Athar (p. 74).

44Cf. Ibn H.ajar, Nukat (2:675), al-Lacknawī, Raf"īqāz. 7, al-Tahānawī's Qawā"id fī "Ulūm al-H.adīth (p. 274) etc.

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

46"Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd fī "Ulūm al-H.adīth (p. 430-433).

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


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