Hadith Criticism Of The Report: The Study of Isnad
Hadith critics at first look at the isnad and if it is defective, they call the hadith defective, without scrutinizing the subject matter; because a hadith, according to their criteria, cannot be authnetic unless both its parts are correct. Using this criteria let us first study the isnad.
The isnad of this report is Awf bin Abi Jamila `Abbad Ibn Suhayb Abu Bakr Father of Abu Bakr. Study of reliability of narrators in this isnad shows that `Abbad Ibn Suhayb is the one who had been declared weak and his hadith is rejected.
Al-Bukhari very tersely says in his Du`afa al-Saghir:
228 - `Abbad Ibn Suhayb al-Basri: Abandoned.
Similarly al-Nasa'i says in his Du`afa wa-l-Matrukin:
(411) `Abbad Ibn Suhayb al-Basri: His hadith is rejected (matruk al-hadith).
Ibn Abi Hatim comments in his Kitab al-Jarh wa-l-Ta`dil:
417 - `Abbad Ibn Suhayb al-Basri narrated from Isma`il Ibn Abi Khalid and Hisham Ibn `Urwah and the two Hijazis. Narrated from him people who did not understand the science. `Abd al-Rahman told us that `Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hanbal wrote to us: "I asked my father about `Abbad Ibn Suhayb." He said: "I saw him in Basra several times. The qadariyyah used to claim him." It was read to al-`Abbas Ibn Muhammad al-Duri from Yahya Ibn Ma`in that he mentioned `Abbad Ibn Suhayb and said that it was narrated from Abu Bakr Ibn Nafi` - and Abu Bakr Ibn Nafi` is a senior from whom Malik Ibn Anas narrated - that `Abd al-Rahman told us: My father told me: "`Ali Ibn al-Madini said: 'The hadith of `Abbad Ibn Suhayb is gone.'" `Abd al-Rahman told us, Hab Ibn Isma`il [al-Kirmani] wrote to me: "I heard Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah say: 'We forsook the hadith of `Abbad Ibn Suhayb twenty years before he demised.'" `Abd al-Rahman told us: "I asked my father about `Abbad Ibn Suhayb. He said: 'His hadith is weak (da`if). His hadith is disavowed (munkar). His hadith is forsaken.'
Similarly Ibn Hibban says in Kitab al-Majruhin min al-Muhaddithin wa-l-Du`afa wa-l-Matrukin:
`Abbad Ibn Suhayb: From Basra. He narrated from Hisham Ibn `Urwah and al-A`mash. The Iraqis narrated from him. He belonged to the qadariyyah and called to it. On the top of that, he narrated disavowed narrations from famous people, such narrations, if heard by a beginner in this field, he would deem them forged.
It was narrated from Hisham Ibn `Urwah from his father from `A'ishah that the Prophet - peace be upon him - said: "Blue eyes are a blessing." Ibn `Ar`arah informed me of this narration in Nasibin saying: "Muhammad ibn Musa said on the authority of `Abbad Ibn Suhayb."
It was narrated from Humayd al-Tawil that Anas said: "I entered at the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him. There was a recipient full of water before him. He told me: 'Anas, come close to me so that I teach you how to perform wudu'.' I went close to him - peace be upon him. When he washed his hands, he said: 'In the name of Allah, praise to Allah, there is no power nor strength except in Allah'. Then when he performed the istinja', he said: 'O Allah, preserve my chastity and ease my affairs.' When he washed his mouth and nose, he said: 'O Allah, teach me my argument and do not deprive me from the scent of Paradise.' When he washed his face, he said: 'O Allah, make my face white on the day when the faces become white.' When he washed his arms, he said: 'O Allah, give me my book in the right hand.' When he wiped his head, he said: 'O Allah, overwhelm us with Your mercy and protect us from your punishment.' When he washed his feet, he said: 'O Allah, make my feet unshakable upon the day when the feet falter.' Then, the Prophet - peace be upon him - said: 'By the One Who sent me with the truth, Anas, whoever says the same in his wudu', from each drop that falls from his fingers, Allah creates an angel that praises him in seventy tongues, the reward of which lasts until the day of resurrection.'" This was narrated to us by Ya`qub Ibn Ishaq al-Qadi on the authority of Ahmad Ibn Hisham al-Khawarizmi, from him.
Al-Dhahabi says in his Mizan al-I`tidal fi Naqd al-Rijal:
4122 - `Abbad Ibn Suhayb, one of the abandoned. He narrated from Hisham Ibn `Urwah and al-A`mash. Ibn al-Madini said: "His hadith is gone." Al-Bukhari, al-Nasa'i and others said: "Abandoned." Ibn Hibban said: "He belonged to qadariyyah and called to it. On the top of that, he narrated disavowed narrations from famous people, such narrations, if heard by a beginner in this field, he would deem them forged."
Muhammad Ibn Musa said, `Abbad Ibn Suhayb informed us on the authority of Hisham from his father from `A'ishah that the Prophet - peace be upon him - said: "Blue eyes are a blessing."A lengthy but fabricated hadith was narrated from Humayd on the authority of Anas concerning the wudu' from which we quote: "When he washed his face, he said: 'O Allah, make my face white...'" until he said: "'Anas, whoever says the same in his wudu', from each drop that falls from his fingers, Allah creates an angel that praises him in seventy tongues, the reward of which lasts until the day of resurrection.'" Narrated by Ibn Hibban on the authority of Ya`qub Ibn Ishaq [3/30] al-Qadi, from Ahmad Ibn Hisham al-Khawarizmi, from him.Al-Bukhari said in Kitab al-Du`afa' al-Kabir: `Abbad Ibn Suhayb died after year 200. He was forsaken, his hadith is abundant.
Abu Dawud said: "He is truthful (saduq) and qadari". Ahmad said: "He was not a liar and had plenty of hadith. He heard from al-A`mash." Al-Kudaymi said: "I heard `Ali say: 'I forsook 100 thousand hadiths of mine, half of which come from `Abbad Ibn Suhayb'."
Ahmad Ibn Rawh narrated from `Abbad 100,000 hadiths. Ibn `Adiyy said: "`Abbad Ibn Suhayb has many writings, and although he is weak, his hadith is written by Ibn Abi Dawud."
Yahya Ibn `Abd al-Rahman told us: "I heard Yahya Ibn Ma`in say: '`Abbad Ibn Suhayb is more reliable than Abu `Asim al-Nabil.'" Abu Ishaq al-Sa`di said: "`Abbad Ibn Suhayb exaggerated in his innovation and disputed for his falsehoods
Similar statements are made by Ibn Hajar in his Lisan al-Mizan. The bottomline here is that `Abbad Ibn Suhayb has been abandoned and his reports are rejected. The terms used to describe `Abbad Ibn Suhayb are the most severe possible [matruk al-hadith]. It is not correct to describe his narrations as 'weak', which is an understatement. Rather, his narrations are fabricated, pure and simple. He has reached the lowest levels of Jarh in the sciences dealing with al-Jarh wa 'l-Ta`dil ("The disparaging and declaring trustworthy") of the narrators.
It is also clear that Ibn Abi Dawud wrote the hadith from `Abbad Ibn Suhayb even though the hadith scholars before and after Ibn Abi Dawud have considered the hadith from `Abbad Ibn Suhayb to be rejected. It is not that the Orientalists and the missionaries are unaware of this fact. Jeffery, whose book Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'an: The Old Codices is often used by the Christian missionaries for polemical purposes to attack the Qur'an, clearly says:
Much of the material given by Ibn Abi Dawud regarding the history of the text of the Qur'an, though extremely unorthodox, yet agrees so closely with the conclusions one had reached from quite other directions that one feels confident in making use of it, however weak orthodoxy may consider its isnads to be.
Jeffery gives no reasons for is new found confidence. Commenting on Jeffery's attainment of "confidence" from "quite other directions" Yasir Qadhi says:
This clear double standard on Jeffery's part is not suprising; whenever an Orientalist finds some information that he feels can be used to discredit Islam and cast doubts on it, no matter what the context, authenticity or actual implications of the text may be.... Therefore the reason that these narrations are authentic, according to Jeffery, is because they agree with preconceived conclusions that were arrived from 'quite other directions'; unnamed and unknown directions, it should be pointed out!
In the absence of Jeffery's unknown and unnamed directions for his confidence in the material of Ibn Abi Dawud, we go for something that is known, that is, the rejection of the hadith from `Abbad Ibn Suhayb. The case on the issue of the changes made by al-Hajjaj in `Uthman's mushaf can be considered null and void. It is worth reminding that there exists no parallel reports similar to the one discussed in order to authenticate the isnad and matn