Towards Understanding Hadith

How exactly should Muslims approach Hadith literature? Do we act upon all Sahih Hadith? Are all ‘Sahih’ Hadith ‘true’? Is Bukahari Sharif ‘perfect’? Who is qualified to use Hadith? Is a Hadith ‘Proof’ in an argument? Is ‘Hadith spamming allowed’? Who or what are ‘Ahlal Hadith’?

All this and more in YET ANOTHER brilliant talk, tackling this oft misunderstood subject. Detailed and indispensable as always.

Understanding Principles of Hadith: What Does It Mean That Bukhari Is ‘The Most Authentic Book After the Quran’ and What Does Imam Bukhari Say About This?

How exactly should Muslims approach Hadith literature? Do we act upon all Sahih Hadith? Are all ‘Sahih’ Hadith ‘true’? Is Bukhari Sharif ‘perfect’? Who is qualified to use Hadith? Is a Hadith ‘Proof’ in an argument? Is ‘Hadith spamming’ allowed? Who or what are ‘Ahlal Hadith’?

This part deals with the issue of Bukhari being the ‘most authentic book after the Quran’. Is it? What does this statement mean? And are you in trouble if you deny a Hadith from Bukhari? Does a Sahih chain mean you must act on a given Hadith? What do the pious predecessors say?

The biography and ideas of Imam Bukhari are explained as well as the relative position of Fiqh and Hadith, Imam Bukhari visiting graves, and the rank of Imam Malik relative to Imam Bukhari as a Muhaddith.

All this and more in YET ANOTHER brilliant talk, tackling this oft misunderstood subject. Detailed and indispensable as always.

Sheikh Atabek is really becoming the premier scholar as far as Dawah and apologetics responses go in the U.K by addressing all of these misconceptions about Islam that both non-Muslims, and sadly Muslims bring to the fore.

Towards Understanding Hadith 3 – Are All Authentic Hadiths Accepted?

Well, ARE they?

Does being in Bukhari mean that a Hadith is superior to those in other collections? Are you still Muslim if you don’t believe in a Hadith from Bukhari? Are you sinful?

What about the Hadith in Bukhari where Abdullah Ibn Masud is allegedly questioning the number of Suras in the Quran?

It also addresses some of the immensely troubling and controversial attitudes to Hadith exemplified by the Salafi/Wahhabi movement, including the common practice of anathematising and harassing people who question Bukhari as Hadith rejecters – however, they seem to openly reject Hadith from Bukhari and then there is the issue of Ibn Taymiyyah rejecting the famous Hadith of Bukhari ‘There was Allah and nothing else besides him’ (Bukhari 3091)…the stance of Alabani is also addressed.

This clarifies many of the almost universal misconceptions amongst Muslims who have perhaps become confused by all the different voices in the community claiming to use the ‘Sunnah’.

A brilliant introduction to the Usool of Hadith.

Are All Weak Hadith Rejected?

People nowadays often try to settle an argument by bringing forth Hadith and if one of them is found to be ‘weaker’ than the other, then it’s case closed.


Towards Understanding Hadith 5: Who are the Ahlul Hadith?

There are many today who claim to be ‘the people of Hadith’. But how do they measure up?


Towards Understanding Hadith 6: Who Rejects Sahih Hadith & Overview

If you have not seen the other parts, then try this one: both a summary and an expansion of the whole course!



Sheikh Atabek Shukrov Nasafi is a noted scholar and specialist in Islamic aqeeda and theological sciences. Undertaking his religious studies at first in secret in Uzbekistan while it was part of the USSR, he has gone on to have an eclectic and comprehensive Islamic education all over the Muslim world.

Already a scholar when he arrived in the Middle East, he studied in Damascus under such luminaries as Mhmd Adnan Darwish, graduating finally from Al Azhar but only after having studied both in Medina and the wider region, for example under Sh. Uthaymeen (and numerous others).

He is currently based in the Northwest of England where he is the founder of the Avicenna Institute.



22 thoughts on “Hadith

  1. Pingback: They Mess You Up | Asharis: Assemble

  2. What are your thoughts on authenticity of the reports on the signs of the day of judgment, what are Gog and Magog, what about the anti Christ, the only orthodox scholar that I know of that denied the existence of the Mahdi was ibn Khaldun. I think you said in a previous post that we are not in the end times, but a lot of the signs seem to have occurred, what i can say for sure is that we are living in a period of decay our ummah is ruined in more ways than one, and I fear an age of apostasy coming near, Saudi already has the highest level of Atheism in the entire Islamic world and the actions of ISIS and other false and fanatical movements are going to encourage people to become secularists.

    Another question I have is what advice would you give if a secularization of the Islamic world were to take place? What would you advise Muslims to do when open mockery of the sacred becomes the norm in Islamic countries? Even in Israel the mockery and insulting of the prophets like Moses and Abraham are tolerated. One Hadith I remember is that the best generation are the first three but the last generations will curse the first much like how the later Jewish generations (Atheist Jews mostly) are now mocking and insulting Moses and Abraham. What should we do to preserve are religion when Islamic norms and Morals are demonized since they do not conform to modern norms (LGBTQ rights, bestiality, incest, and other fetish’s). What should we do when Whahabism and ISIS are presented as Orthodox but the four Madhabs are considered innovations by mainstream opinions?

  3. @Hazm

    Aslamu’Alaykum, I sympathise deeply with what you have said. Now obviously, with each passing day, we are getting closer to the end of the world but that’s not to say we are in the “end of times”. Now, if you look at the history of the promotion of this, you will notice that the modern manifestation of the ” end of times” was born in the Colonial Era. Many Muslims felt insecure and alienated from modernity. Many self proclaimed false Mahdis have popped up as a result and gained curry with Muslims (see “Sudan Mahdi” in 1880s or the “Arab Mahdi” who took over the Kaaba in 1979). Also, there is evidence to suggest that modern Muslims, in particular Salafis, have copied Christian evangelicals in regards to the “end of times”. Mmmcluru was correct to postulate this.

    You can recall that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born in Arabia in an era of great injustice (burying baby children for example). We don’t see this happening today as we don’t see many other injustices that occurred back then. So I don’t care how modern Muslims depict the” end of times”. Do you not think that if Muslims today were living well, had all the wealth and unity and dominated global affairs in most fields that we’d even care about the end of the world. Of course not. I feel it stems from fatalism and an inferiority complex. It’s like we’re scared of new innovations in science and technology so we proclaim it as a “sign” that the Mahdi will be coming (if he’s not here already)

    Personally, I feel that the majority of Muslims who apostasise do so because they feel that Islam is too rigid to practice; especially if they live in the liberal secular West but also in the still religiously dominant Middle East. It’s our fault as Muslims if we make people scared of Islam and see it as a radical ideology akin to Marxism. So issues like apostasy, gender segregation and all the others need to go; we are making ourselves look extremely dumb which in turns fuels the Islamaphobia industry.

    • By the way I really do appreciate you taking the time of day to answer my questions, I do apologize if I bombard you with 1001 questions right off the bat, that was very rude on my part.

      • Don’t stress.

        So about copyright law – I don’t know as I never looked into it. You should ask Shukurov or Kahled Abou el Fadl. However, I do think that the Music and film industry did and still do engage in unfair trade practices and immoral lobbying and have a lot of examples of this – for example, in the US, a senator was campaigning a few years back to have cinemas advertise the FILM start time as opposed to the commercials they basically force you to watch, and they would not allow it.

        They also do not reveal if they give you a discount from the trailers they force you to watch. Furthermore, if you buy pants and they do not fit or you don’t like them, you can return them. But if you watch ‘Batman vs. Superman’ or buy a video game and it sucks, you have no recourse to compensation. So I don’t support piracy but it may be a useful counterbalance against the unchecked and nepotistic behaviour of the entertainment industry. It comes down to if stealing from thieves is still theft. I would say yes.

        There is also some evidence that most of the people who pirate films a single men who would not go to the cinema to watch them anyway, so they are not actually losing much money from it etc.

        Comparing piracy to organised crime and terrorism as the industry does = nonsense. Its all done over the internet now and no one really makes any money from it.

        The moon splitting: the Salafis lie a lot: we don’t have any references from other nations about that at all as far as I know. The only foreigner they can bring to verify it was a Sahabah – so it is from Islamic sources and the story is in hadith, so that’s not an ‘independent source’. Hadith itself is ahad, maybe Mashoor and so cannot be taken into aqeeda according to Hanafis (although any hadith Salafis want to accept automatically becomes ‘Muttawatir‘).

        The article you sent from salafis said that a whole chapter of the Quran is dedicated to this event. But that’s complete nonsense as the chapter is called ‘The Moon’, not ‘The Splitting of the Moon By The Prophet, You Know, the One From Hadith’ etc. So these are the types of dramas Muslims make and make it easy for atheists to destroy our faith. If there was such a global event, there would be a record of it in the far more advanced civilizations and astronomers (China etc).

        It also shows you how dumb the Salafi article is: you can see the moon at day time as well, so they are just talking crap about the astronomical stuff too.

        Most commentators accept this story, but most commentators used by Sunnis interpret the Quran according to hadith, which is not valid according to my preferred scholars (such as Razi), because they assume that the hadith is correct and THEN they read the Quran. All Quran ACTUALLY says is that moon will split – future event most likely, and that is what I believe because otherwise you have three options, none of them very good:

        1) Local Illusion
        2) Eclipse
        3) No one else saw it because they were all looking the other way – not possible.

        So in general, if you start defending hadith by sacrificing Quran, prepare to let go of your faith. Same goes for many things, take Gog and Magog for example, Quran hardly mentions them (*like the splitting of the moon) but Mufassirs and hadith bring a lot of details that do not hold up to scientific scrutiny – whereas the Quran does.

        Mu’tazzila rejected this incident from the earliest times. Shia too I think, up till now. Mu’tazzila are hated today but they are the earliest group – even earlier than Hanafis. Only Murjis and Khawarij are earlier. All the Imams of Ahlus Sunnah are after these. So there were doubts about this story from the earliest times.

        Here is the ayat from Asad and his comments:

        THE LAST HOUR draws near, and the moon is split asunder! (54:2) But if they [who reject
        all thought of the Last Hour] were to see a sign [of its approach], they would turn aside and
        say, “An ever-recurring delusion!” – (54:3) for they are bent on giving it the lie, being always
        wont to follow their own desires. Yet everything reveals its truth in the end.

        Most of the commentators see in this verse a reference to a phenomenon said to have been
        witnessed by several of the Prophet’s contemporaries. As described in a number of reports going back to some
        companions, the moon appeared one night as if split into two distinct parts. While there is no reason to doubt
        the subjective veracity of these reports, it is possible that what actually happened was an unusual
        kind of partial lunar eclipse, which produced anequally unusual optical illusion. But whatever the nature
        of that phenomenon, it is practically certain that the above Qur’an-verse does not refer to it but,
        rather, to a future event: namely, to what will happen when the Last Hour approaches. (The Qur’an
        frequently employs the past tense to denote the future, and particularly so in passages which speak of the coming of
        the Last Hour and of Resurrection Day; this use of the past tense is meant to stress the certainty of
        the happening to which the verb relates.) Thus, Raghib regards it as fully justifiable to interpret the
        phrase inshaqqa ‘l-qamar (“the moon. is split asunder”) as bearing on the cosmic cataclysm – the
        end of the world as we know it – that will occur before the coming of Resurrection Day (see art. shaqq
        in the Mufradat). As mentioned by Zamakhshari, this interpretation has the support of some of the
        earlier commentators; and it is, to my mind, particularly convincing in view of the juxtaposition, in the
        above Qur’an-verse, of the moon’s “splitting asunder” and the approach of the Last Hour. (In this
        connection we must bear in mind the fact that none of the Qur’anic allusions to the “nearness” of the Last
        Hour and the Day of Resurrection is based on the human concept of “time”.)

  4. Conceptions regarding the “end of times” have also changed throughout the centuries. An Muslim living in the early Abbasid period would have a completely different outlook compared to a Muslim living during the 1200s – a time of many disasters hitting Persia, Baghdad, Spain and other places.

    If you just look at how modern Muslims paint it, technology is heavily focused on and people try and deduce this from hadiths and maybe Quran if it fits the agenda.

    Personally, I don’t understand why the Dajjal is made out to be very scary. He wouldn’t make our lives miserable because we are already making ours miserable by our own doing. That’s my personal take and I’m sure people would disagree.

    • Jazakallah brother I really appreciate it! I do have another question on them miracle of the splitting of them moon, are the reports authentic?

      This was a response from a Salafi website;

      “Splitting of the Moon

      One of the times when God performed miracles at the hand of the Prophet was when the Meccans demanded to see a miracle from Muhammad to show his truthfulness. God split the moon in two separate halves and then re-joined them. The Quran recorded the event:

      “The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder!” (Quran 54:1)

      Prophet Muhammad would recite these verses of the Quran in large congregations of the weekly Friday prayer and the bi-annual Eed prayers.[1] Had the event never occurred, Muslims themselves would have doubted their religion and many would have left it! The Meccans would have said, ‘Hey, your prophet is a liar, the moon never split, and we never saw it split!’ Instead, the believers grew stronger in their faith and the only explanation the Meccans could come up with was, ‘passing magic!’

      “The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder! And if they see a sign (miracle), they turn away and say, ‘Passing magic!’- for they are bent on giving it the lie, being always wont to follow their own desires.” (Quran 54:1-3)

      The splitting of the moon is confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through an unbroken chain of reliable scholars so many that it is impossible that it could be false (hadith mutawatir).[2]

      A skeptic might ask, do we have any independent historical evidence to suggest the moon was ever split? After all, people around the world should have seen this marvelous event and recorded it.

      The answer to this question is twofold.

      First, people around the world could not have seen it as it would have been daytime, late night, or early morning in many parts of the world. The following table will give the reader some idea of corresponding world times to 9:00 pm Mecca time:

      Country and Time:

      Mecca 9:00 pm, India 11:30 pm, Perth 2:00 am, Reykjavik 6:00 pm, Washington D.C. 2:00 pm, Rio de Janeiro 3:00 pm,
      Tokyo 3:00 am, Beijing 2:00 am

      Also, it is not likely that a large number of people in lands close by would be observing the moon at the exact same time. They had no reason to. Even if some one did, it does not necessarily mean people believed him and kept a written record of it, especially when many civilizations at that time did not preserve their own history in writing.

      Second, we actually have an independent, and quite amazing, historical corroboration of the event from an Indian king of that time.

      Kerala is a state of India. The state stretches for 360 miles (580 kilometers) along the Malabar Coast on the southwestern side of the Indian peninsula.[3] King Chakrawati Farmas of Malabar was a Chera king, Cheraman perumal of Kodungallure. He is recorded to have seen the moon split. The incident is documented in a manuscript kept at the India Office Library, London, reference number: Arabic, 2807, 152-173.[4] A group of Muslim merchant’s passing by Malabar on their way to China spoke to the king about how God had supported the Arabian prophet with the miracle of splitting of the moon. The shocked king said he had seen it with his own eyes as well, deputized his son, and left for Arabia to meet the Prophet in person. The Malabari king met the Prophet, bore the two testimonies of faith, learned the basics of faith, but passed away on his way back and was buried in the port city of Zafar, Yemen.[5]

      It is said that the contingent was led by a Muslim, Malik ibn Dinar, and continued to Kodungallure, the Chera capital, and built the first, and India’s oldest, mosque in the area in 629 CE which exists today.

      The news of his accepting Islam reached Kerala where people accepted Islam. The people of Lakshadweep and the Moplas (Mapillais) from the Calicut province of Kerala are converts from those days.

      The Indian sighting and the meeting of the Indian king with Prophet Muhammad is also reported by Muslim sources. The famous Muslim historian, Ibn Kathir, mentions the splitting of the moon was reported in parts of India.[6] Also, the books of hadith have documented the arrival of the Indian king and his meeting the Prophet. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, states:

      “The Indian king gifted the Prophet with a jar of ginger. The companions ate it piece by piece. I took a bite as well.”[7]

      The king was thus considered a ‘companion’ – a term used for a person who met the Prophet and died as a Muslim – his name registered in the mega-compendiums chronicling the Prophet’s companions.[8]

      Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven

      A few months before the migration from Mecca to Medina, God took Muhammad in one night from the Grand Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a month’s journey of 1230 Km for a caravan. From Jerusalem, he ascended to the heavens, passing the boundaries of the physical universe to be in divine presence, meet God, and witness the Great Signs (al-Ayat ul-Kubra). His truth became apparent in two ways. First, ‘the Prophet described the caravans he had overtaken on the way home and said where they were and about when they might be expected to arrive in Mecca; and each arrived as predicted, and the details were as he had described.’[9] Second, he was never known to have been to Jerusalem, yet he described al-Aqsa Mosque to skeptics like an eye-witness.

      The mystical journey is mentioned in the Quran:

      “Exalted is He who took His Servant [Prophet Muhammad] by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Quran 17:1)

      “So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent at the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary – near it is the Garden of Refuge (Paradise) – when there covered the Lote Tree that which covered (it). The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit). He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” (Quran 53:12-18)

      The event is also confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through the ages with an unbroken chain of reliable scholars (hadith mutawatir).[10]”

      The chapter in the Quran is dedicated to this event, but some have claimed this is an event that will happen in the future. What should be the correct response to skeptical inquiry on the matter? Are the hadiths discussing the splitting of the moon legitimate?

  5. Thank you bediuzzamansaidnursi123 and mmmclmru both so much, Jazakallah for your time and patience, you didn’t have to answer but you did and I really appreciate that, may god reward you in this life and the next.

  6. @mmmclmru

    That is some interesting reasoning re: piracy. Ought we not to follow the law of the land so long as it does not infringe on the practice of Islam? I remember Sh Shukurov once answering a question on obeying the law of the land, but I cannot remember exactly what he said and I can’t find the video for it. However, if my memory serves correct, the question was concerning a man who wanted to go to the UK on some sort of Visa and work at a job in violation of the Visa contract, and Sh Shukurov said that he cannot work at that job.

    • That is true, the law of the land should be followed as much as possible.

      I think ‘pirates’ might think what they do is ‘protest’ as opposed to breaking the law but to be honest, most of them are just greedy and have a thief like mentality now I think about it.

      I have much less problem downloading foreign movies/anime/comics etc because that don’t be released in the UK for a long time if ever…

      • I’m really sorry for beating a dead horse, but I have a follow up question that has been bothering me lately, it’s about scholarly consensus and the Hadiths about drawing and the splitting moon. Why were there so many scholars declaring the ahadith valid. I went to a Shafi/Hanafi website, Seekers guidance a non Salafi website, declaring drawing for non educational reasons haram. Why did so many scholars declare these positions (The moon splitting/Drawing haram, etc) orthodox? What was Maturidi position on the topics? How come so many scholars got it so wrong for all this time? Could it be like the dhul qurnayn postion, where many people believed that Alexander the great was dhul qurnayn, only to change the consensus when they discovered that that position was impossible? Has some thing like this happened before, where the scholarly consensus favored one thing until there was proof against it?

        Jazakallah for your time.

      • So the website you went on to: ‘Shafi/Hanafi’: when you study these two groups, you will find that is the same as saying you went onto a ‘Republican/Democrat’ forum. Or a ‘Sanders/Trump appreciation group’. Two groups that disagree on creed and hadith forming a website together – already tells you something.

        Will the ‘Hanafis’ be supporting the Shafis on marrying one’s daughter? Killing Gays? Killing non-Muslims with no punishment in this life (*apart from a small fine)? Don’t you think that is a weird ‘alliance’ to start with? It is because the ‘Hanafis’ today ARE Shafi – Deo-Brelwis and such are all Shafi/Hanbali in hadith. Just ask them what books of hadith they follow. All Shafi.

        Next, consensus – can it specify or restrict Quran? and secondly ask them to show the ‘consensus’. They can never show it.

        As for getting it wrong all of this time, that’s also wrong: so take Alexander – do you think the first Muslims thought it was Alexander or even heard of him? Highly unlikely. Same thing happened here: earliest groups are Murjiah and Khawarij – neither of them accept hadith into aqeeda and Khawarij think most of Sahabah are kaafir so they DEFINITELY didn’t accept hadith at all. Then come Mu’tazzila and Hanafis. They don’t accept it into aqeeda either – and Mu’tazzila don’t accept it at all (nor the second part of the Night Journey. Nor Dajjal. Nor Mahdi I think).

        So this ‘consensus’, which actually means ‘majority’ came about LATE. In the beginning, it was a minority opinion or we don’t know. So if you want to know why majority can be wrong, then we should all apostate, because how can majority of ordinary people and genius’ from thousands of years till now NOT be Muslim?

        If you say that only Muslim majority cannot be wrong then who said that? Is it that Hadith?

        Hadith says community won’t be UNITED on error (= Consensus, not majority) but using hadith as proof of hadith is circular. Also, can you show from rational principles that Muslims cannot be united on error? It will be tough.

        So good point about Alexander, but remember, only those hadith oriented and ‘Salafi style’ exegetes tended to say that, NOT majority, just majority of published (did you know that main Quranic commentaries are by Shia and then Mutazzila? Sunnis only have a few = minority of the tafseers) and yes, ideas change and knowledge increases through time, so we should look at stuff but:

        1) None of them will accept going through Bukhari and rejecting the unscientific hadith now will they?
        2) Mu’tazzila and some Hanafis rejected from the beginning, before science etc

        So you need to decide if you want to believe in ‘early stuff’ (=heretical groups mainly), ‘majority’ (changes through time, used to be Mu’tazzlia, changed, now might be Salafi) or ‘consensus’ (again came later and doesn’t exist for this issue). My advice is that you think for yourself and/or apply the Hanafi principles of hadith (which is basically the same thing).

        I don’t know what Maturidi said about it in his Tafseer but in Maturidi Creed you can’t take Ahad or Mashoor hadith into belief or Aqeeda, so rejecting it cannot be that big issue for them.

      • Jazakallah brother, I will most definitely check out sheikh Atabeck’s “Hanafi principles of hadith” book.

      • Salaam,

        What are your thoughts on the Maliki school of thought? Where do they stand? Are the more rationalistic or are the mostly like the Hanbalis and Shafiis? Also what are you thoughts on the Hanafis in turkey do they still maintain the Hanafi tradition or are the like the Hanafis of the subcontinent in that their hadith methodology is a mix of Shafii/Hanafi? Are there any Hanafi majority countries that still follow the traditional Hanafi way?

        Thank you for your time.

      • After looking at the works of Kecia Ali, and the Maliki school of thought, I think I will just focus on the Authentic Hanafism of Shiekh Atabek for the time being.

  7. @mmmclmru

    Is it so surprising that Shafi’is and Hanafis would make room for each other on a fatwa site? After all, even Avicenna Academy had a Shafi’i alim course. 😛
    Then again, perhaps there are different breeds of Shafi’is just as there are factions within the Hanafi school. One may note a marked difference between scholars like Razi and Nawawi.

  8. I have heard from a hanbali source that to look at a non muhram who is not your relative is haram, they claim this why women don the hijab and the niqab, is there any truth to this? How should one respond to this claim if you live in the west?

    • Now I know we are not supposed to look at the opposite sex in general (unless it is business or school related) but what if it s in a history/science book or a graphic novel? What then?

      • If you follow what you are saying then you are having and will have a very difficult life.

        And also probably haven’t read a lot of the stuff on this site.

  9. Yeah sorry, you probably had that covered in another article. I was mostly focused on the “errors in the Quran” and general aqeedah type articles on the site rather than the fiqh articles (Articles on Creed and general Philosophy are more interesting to me than Jurisprudence and law) , but I will check them out. Jazakallah.

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