Chapter on the Differences in al-Hadith
H 188, Ch. 21, h 1
Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hishim has narrated from his father from Hammad ibn ‘Isa from Ibrahim ibn ‘Umar al-Yamani from Aban ibn abu ‘Ayyash from Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali who has said the following.
“I said to Imam Ali (a.s.), ‘I have heard from Salman, al-Miqdad and abu Dhar certain matters about the interpretations of t he holy Quran and certain Ahadith of the holy Prophet (s.a.) which is different from other have and then have heard from what confirms what I have heard from Salman and others (his friends). I have heard a great deal of Hadith and about the interpretations of the holy Quran. Do you disagree with what have heard from other people and consider such materials as false? Do you think people ascribe lies to the holy Prophet (s.a.) purposely and interpret by their own personal opinions?” The Imam then said, “You have posed a question now listen carefully.
“What people have consists of the truth, falsehood, lies, what is abrogating, already abrogated, facts of general nature, of particular natures, clear texts, unclear texts, facts properly memorized and matters that are conjecturally preserved. People had forged certain narration calling them as Hadith of the holy Prophet. The condition was such that once the holy Prophet addressed the people from the pulpit saying, “O people a many lies have spread around and they are considered to be my Hadith. Whoever forges lies and calls them my Hadith has filled up his seat with fire. After the holy Prophet (s.a.) there were more of such lies. There are four kinds of Hadith only and there is no fifth kind.
“One narrator of Hadith is a hypocrite who only pretends to be a Muslim. He does consider it a son and offense to lie and calls a narration purposely a Hadith of the holy Prophet while it is not a Hadith of the holy Prophet in reality. If people know that he is hypocrite and a liar they will not believe him. The people say, ‘He lived at the time of the holy Prophet, saw him, has heard Hadith from him and has preserved those Ahadith but they do not know his condition. It is certain that Allah has spoken about the hypocrites the way He has spoken about them and has describe them the way He has describe them. “Their physical appearance attracts you when you see them and when they speak, you carefully listen to them . . .” 63:4 They hypocrites then sought closeness to the misguiding leaders and those calling other to hell fire with falsehood, lies and false accusations. The misguiding rulers assigned them for certain offices made them to dominate people. They with their help devoured the world. People follow only the kings and the worldly gains except for those that Allah has protected. This is one of the four kinds.
“The other kind is one who has heard Hadith from the holy Prophet by the has preserved it the way it should have been preserved but he is uncertain about it. He has not fabricated anything purposely and has it with him. He speaks about it, practices accordingly and narrates it saying; ” I heard it from the holy Prophet (s.a.). If the Muslims would learn that he is uncertain about it they would accept it from him and if he also would know that there exists uncertainty in it even he also would reject it.
“The third kind is one who has heard something form the holy Prophet (s.a.) that contained a command but latter the holy Prophet prohibited it but the man did not have any knowledge of such prohibition. Or that he heard a prohibition form the holy Prophet and then the holy Prophet made it a command but the man did not know of such commandment. In this way preserved the abrogated but not the abrogating but if he knew the abrogating thereof he would have rejected it. If the Muslims knew what they had heard from was abrogated they would also have rejected it.
“The last and forth kind is one who has not ascribed a lie to the holy Prophet who hates lies has fear of Allah for respect of the holy Prophet (s.a.). He has not forgotten anything but that he has preserved it the way it should have been preserved. He speaks it just the way has heard with out any addition or omission. He knows which is abrogating and which is abrogated. He thus has practiced according to the abrogating and has rejected the abrogated. There is no doubt that the command so of the holy Prophet (s.a) like the holy Quran is abrogating and abrogated, of general nature and of particular nature, clear text and unclear text. Oftentimes the statements of the holy Prophet may have two aspects: Like a general statement and a statement of a particular nature just like the holy Quran as All, Most Majestic, the Most Glorious, has said, ” . . .Take only what the Messenger gives to you and desist from what he forbids you . . .. (59:7)” It may become confusing for one who does not know what exactly Allah and His messenger want people to do. All the companions of the holy Prophet were not as such that would clearly understand the answer to their questions. There were those who would ask a question but would not ask for explanations and would rather love the coming of a Bedouin or a stranger and ask the holy Prophet questions so that he would also listen.
“I would go in the presence of the holy Prophet once every day and once every night when he would admit me and we would deal with me the way he wanted. The Sahabah, companions of the Prophet knew that the holy Prophet would not deal with others the he dealt with me. Also the Prophet would come to my house most of the time but when I would go to any one of his houses he would admit me and would ask his wife to leave us alone and then we would have been the only ones therein. When he would come to my house he would ask Fatimah or any of my children to leave the house then whatever would ask he would answer me and when I would have exhausted all of my questions he would begin from his side. Thus, nothing of the holy Quran has ever been revealed the holy prophet had made me to read it and dictated me to and I wrote it down with my own hand writing. He taught me the interpretations of that verse and its explanations, its abrogating or that which was abrogated, the clear texts and the unclear statements, the ones of particular general nature. He would pray to Allah to give me understanding and strong memory. I never forgot any of the verses of the book of Allah or any of the knowledge that he had dictated to me which I wrote them down from the time he prayed to Allah for me. He did not leave any thing of the lawful and unlawful, commands or prohibitions that were there or that would come into being in future or any book that were revealed to anyone before him about the matters of obedience or disobedience that he had not completely taught me and I had not memorized them all. I have not forgotten of them even a single letter. The holy Prophet once placed his hand on my chest and prayed to Allah to fill my heart, with knowledge, proper understanding, wisdom and light. I then said, “O messenger of Allah, may Allah take the soul of my mother and father in service for your cause, from the time you prayed for me I have not forgotten a single matter or missed to write down anything. Do you fear that I might forget them in future? “I do not fear for you any forgetfulness of ignorance.” The holy Prophet (s.a.) replied.’”
H 189, Ch. 21, h 2
A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from ‘Uthman ibn ’Isa from abu Ayyub al-Khazzaz from Muhammad ibn Muslim who has said the following.
“I explained to Imam abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) saying ‘What is the matter with people who narrate from so and so from the holy Prophet (s.a.) whom they do not accuse of telling lies and thing and from you facts against it comes to light? The Imam (a.s.) said, “Hadith becomes abrogated just as it happens with the holy Quran.’”
H 190, Ch. 21, h 3
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ibn abu Najran from ‘Asim ibn Humayd from Mansur ibn Hazim who has said the following.
“I said to (Imam) abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.), ‘It is confuses me that when I ask you a question and you give an answer and then other person comes and you give a different answer for the same question.’” The Imam replied, “We answer people in a larger and reduced forms.” I then asked, “Did the Sahabah, companions of the holy Prophet speak the truth or lies when narrating his Hadith?” The Imam replied, “They spoke the truth.” I then said, “Why then they have differences?” Have you not considered the fact that a man would come to the holy Prophet (s.a.) and ask a question and would give him an answer and then he would answer that would abrogate the previous answer. Thus, Ahadith abrogated other Ahadith.”
H 191, Ch. 21, h 4
Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad from ibn Mahbub from Ali ibn Ri’ab from abu ‘Ubayda who has said the following.
“Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) has said, ‘O Ziyad, What would you say if we give a Fatwa to one of our followers under pressure (and concealed the truth)?” I said, “You know better, may Allah take my soul in your service.’” The Imam said, “If would follow such Fatwa it would be better for him and of a greater rewarding.” In another Hadith it says, “If follows it, he will be rewarded and if he disregarded it he has sinned.”
H 192, Ch. 21, h 5
Ahmad ibn Idris has narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Jabbar from al-Hassan ibn Ali from Al-Thaqafi‘laba ibn Maymun from Zurara ibn ‘A‘yan who has said the following.
“I asked Imam abu Ja‘far (a.s.) a question and he answered me. Then an other man came and asked the same question but the Imam gave a different answer. Then a third man came and asked the same question but the Imam gave him an answer that was different from both of the previous answers. When the other two men left I asked the Imam (a.s.), “Two of your followers from Iraq asked you the same question, how is it that you gave each one a different answer? The Imam replied, “O Zurarah, it is better for us and it gives all of us more time. If you all would say the same thing, people will know that you speak the truth from us and this will leave all of us with less time. Zurarah has said, “I then asked Imam abu ‘Abdallah, ‘Your follows would walk on spears and fire if you would ask them but they come out of your presence with different answers for the same question and the same answer as his father had given.”
H 193, Ch. 21, h 6
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from Muhammad ibn Sinan from Nasr al-Kath‘ami who has said the following.
“Abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) has said, ‘Those who know that we say nothing but the truth what they know from us should consider it sufficient. If they would hear from us what is different from what they already know from us they should note that it is our way of defending them.’”
H 194, Ch. 21, h 7
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa and al-Hassan ibn Mahbub both from Sama’ from ‘Abdallah who has said the following.
“I asked (Imam) abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) about a man who was opposed by two people of his own faith in an issue that they both narrated. One of them said it to be obligatory and the other said it was prohibited. How it can be solved?” The Imam replied, “He must wait until he finds one who would inform him and until then he is not under any pressure.” In another Hadith it says, “Whichever answer he follows in obedience for his ease.”
H 195, Ch. 21, h 8
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Isa from al-Husayn ibn al-Mukhtar from certain persons of our people from abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) who has said the following.
“If you would come to me for an answer to a question and I give you an answer of a general nature and then you come again and I give you an opposite answer which one would you follow?” I replied, “I would follow the later.” The Imam (a.s.) said, “May Allah grant you blessings.”
H 196, Ch. 21, h 9
It is narrated from him from his father from Isma’il ibn Marrar from Yunus from Dawud ibn Farqad from Mu‘alla ibn Khunays who has said the following.
“I asked Imam abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.), ‘If we receive a Hadith from first of you and from the members of your later generation which one should we follow?” The Imam replied, “Follow it until you receive it from the living Imam. When it comes from a living Imam follow his words.” The Imam than said, “We by Allah, like you to follow what is easy for you.” In another Hadith it is says, “Follow whichever the newest.”’
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Husayn from Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from Safwan ibn Yahya from Dawud ibn al-Husayn from ‘Umar ibn Hanzala who has said the following.
“I asked Imam abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) about the two people with a dispute between them on the issue of debts or inheritance and they go to the king or the judges for a decision is it permissible to seek such decisions?” The Imam replied, “Whoever would go to them for a judgement in a right or wrongful matter it is like seeking the judgment of the devil. Anything received through such judgment would like consuming filth even if it would one’s established right. It is because of receiving through the judgment of the devil and Allah has commanded to reject the devil, “yet choose to take their affairs to Satan for judgment even though they are commanded to deny him. Satan wants to lead them far away from the right path. (4:60)”
I said, “What should then they do?” The Imam replied, “They must look for one among you who have narrated our Hadith and have studied what is lawful and unlawful in our teachings and have learned our laws they must agree to settle their dispute according to his judgment because I have made him over you a ruler. When he may judge according to our commands and then it is not accepted from him the dissenting this judgment has ignored the commands of Allah and it is rejection of us. Rejecting us is rejecting Allah and that is up to the level of paganism and considering things equal to Allah.”
I said, “What if each one of such disputing parties would chose a man from among our people and agree to accept their judgment but these two man would come up with different judgments and they would have differences in your Hadith?”
The Imam replied, “The judgment will be the judgment of the one who has a more just, having more better understanding of the law, Fiqh, the more truthful in Hadith and the more pious of the two. The judgment of the other one will be disregarded.”
I said, “What if both (of such judges) would be just and accepted among our people and none of them would have been any preference over the other?”
The Imam replied, “One must consider and study the hadith that each one of them would narrate from us as to which has received the acceptance of all of your people. Such Hadith must be followed and the one, which rarely accepted and is not popular in your people, must be disregarded because the one popularly accepted is free of doubts. The nature of cases are of three kinds: (a) A case that is a well-known and true to follow. (b) A case that is well known to be false to stay away from. (c) And a confusing case the knowledge of which must be left to Allah and His Prophet for an answer. The holy Prophet has said, ‘There is the clearly lawful and the clearly unlawful and the confusing cases. One who stays away from the confusing ones he has protected himself against the unlawful ones. Those who follow the confusing matters they indulge in unlawful matters and will be destroyed unexpectedly.”
I said, “What if both Hadith from you would be popular and narrated by the trustworthy people from you?”
The Imam replied, “One must study to find out which one agrees with the laws of the Quran and the Sunnah and it does not agree with the laws of the those who oppose us. Such Hadith must be accepted and the one that disagree with the laws of the Quran and the Sunnah and coincides the masses must be disregarded.”
I said, “May Allah take my soul in the service of your cause, What if both Faqih, scholars of the law would have deduced and learned their judgment from the book and the Sunnah and found that one of the Hadith agrees with the masses and the other disagrees with the masses which one must be followed?”
The Imam replied, “The one which disagrees with the masses must be followed because in it there is guidance.”
I said, “May Allah take my soul in the service of your cause, what if both Hadith would agree with the masses?”
The Imam replied, “One must study to find out of the two the one that is more agreeable to their rulers and judges must be disregarded and the other must be followed.”
I said, “What if both Hadith would agree with their rulers?”
The Imam replied, “If such would be the case it must be suspended until you meet your Imam. Restraint in confusing cases is better than indulging in destruction.”