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1031 History and Methodology of the Science of Hadith

A translation of Risalah Imm Ab Dawud al-Sijistn ila ahl Makkah

f wasfi sunanihi1
In the Name of God the Most Beneficient the Most Merciful
There is no power apart from God the al-Mighty the al-Majesty
It is narrated to us from al-Shaykh Ab al-Fath Muammad ibn Abd
al-Bq ibn Amad ibn Salmn, known as ibn Ba ijazah surely I had
listened to it from him, he said: It is narrated (anbaan) to us from
al-Shaykh Ab al-Fal Amad ibn al-asan ibn Khayrn al-muaddal
recited upon him and I was present and I heard it is said to him: Did
you read upon Ab Abd Allh Muammad ibn Al ibn Abd Allh alr the preserver, He said: I heard from Ab al-usayn Muammad
ibn Amad ibn Muammad ibn Amad ibn Jam al-Ghassn Basaid
thus I decide with it, He said: I heard Ab Bakr Muammad ibn Abd
al-Azz ibn Muammad ibn al-Fal ibn Yahy ibn al-Qsim ibn Awn
ibn Abd Allh ibn al-rith ibn Nawfal ibn al-rith ibn Abd alMualib al-Hshim in Makkah saying:
I heard Ab Dawd Sulaymn ibn al-Ashath ibn Isq ibn Bashr ibn
Shaddd al-Sijistn in Basrah, he was asked regarding his epistle
which he wrote to the people of Makkah and others, he answered
them thus I noted upon us:
Blessings be upon you, Surely I praise God for which there is no God
except Him, I asked Him to send felicitations upon Muammad His
servant and His Messenger. Blessings of Allah be upon him and
peace be upon all who remembers him.
Amm Badu May Allah efface for us and May Allah give you health
no undesirable with it, and no punishment after it, surely you have
asked that I mention for you (regarding) the traditions (adith)
which is in Kitb al-Sunan is it correct and what do I know in the
chapters? I stopped upon all of what you had mentioned.
Know! Surely it is like that for all of it. Except surely it is narrated
from the two angles of authenticity i.e. one of it comes forward with
isnd and the other its owner is the best of people in memorisation,
therefore maybe I had written it as that and I dont think in my book
from (the like of) this except for 10 traditions (adth).
You have asked in regards to the traditions (ahadith), I did not write
in the chapters, one report or two and if it was in the chapters it is
authentic adith they are surely numerous. For surely I wanted to
be close to its usefulness.
From Thaltha Rasil f ilm al-Mualah al-adth, Abd al-Fatth Ab Ghuddah
(ed.), Maktab al-Mabt al-Islmyyah b Halab, Lebanon, pp. 29-45.

Surely I counted the adth in the chapters from two or three angles,
either it is from the increasing of speech in it, or in it are the words
added upon the adth, or I summarised the long hadth, because if
I had written it, it would have been too long. and it is not teaching
some from its listeners clear from it and it its not understood from it
the subject of fiqh, thus due to that I had summarised it.
As for the al-marsl2surely it is needed by the scholars of the past,
for example, Sufyn al-Thawr and Mlik ibn Anas and al-Awz until
came al-Shfi thus he said regarding it and he was followed in that
by Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others.
Thus, if it has no isnd, the al-marsl is rejected, and the musnd is
not found because the mursal needs it. The mursal is not like the
connected (al-muttail3) in strength.
And not in Kitb al-Sunan which has been compiled, any man
whose hadith had been rejected. If it was in it rejected adith
(munkar) I would had indicated that it is rejected, and nothing of the
like in the chapters.
These (marsl) adth are not from the book of Ibn al-Mubrak and
not from the book of Wakexcept the following things, Generally in
those books are hadith marsl and in the book al-Sunan from
Muwaa Mlik ibn Anas good thing and similarly from the
musannaft of ammd ibn Salamah and Abd al-Razzq.
And they (the marsl) hadth are not more than three in this book
as what I have measured it from the totality of their books, I mean
the musannaft of Mlik ibn Anas, ammd ibn Salmah and Abd
Surely I turned it and put it in order upon what I have, and thus if it
is mentioned to you as sunnah from the Holy Prophet peace and
blessings be upon him, nothing from what has been left out, and
therefore know that surely it is adth, except it becomes in my book
from the latter path, Surely I have not taken its path (al-uruq),
because it is a lot (numerous/superfluous) upon the students.
I do not know anyone who collected in detail apart from me. Alasan ibn Al al-Khalll surely he had collected from it (adith
sunan) in the measure of 900 adth, Ibn al-Mubrak had mentioned
he said: the Sunan/practices from the Holy Prophet may peace and
blessings be upon him corresponds to 900 adth and thus it is said
to him: Surely Ab Yusuf said: It is 1100, Ibn Mubrak said: Ab

Plural of mursal hadth : Transmission of a successor from the Prophet directly dropping the
companion from the isnd. See Azami, M.M., Studies in Hadth Methodology and Literature, pg. 44.
That is isnd of the hadth is unbroken., Ibid.

Yusuf takes with those defects from here and there meaning the
weak aadth.
And if there is in my book from weak adth, I have indicated it.
Those are the ones which the chain of narration are not correct. And
if I have not mentioned anything in it then the hadith is correct
(lih). Some of them are more correct than the others.
If it is put (by) other than me, I (would say) in it many.
It is a book which is in it the sunnah from the Holy Prophet may
blessings and peace be upon him, with correct chain of narration
(lih isnd). The speech is taken from the adth and nothing is lost
from this. None is almost as good as this (book).
I do not know of anything after the Qurn which (should) compel
man to learn other than this book, and no harm for man to not write
in regards to knowledge4 after what has been written (in) this
book- If he thinks about it and contemplates and comprehends it
then by that time he (would) learn (it) according to its measure.
And as for these problems5 it is the problem of al-thawr, Mlik and
al-Shfi these are the adth and its principles.
It amazes me, the men are writing with these genre of books from
the opinion of the companions of the Holy Prophet peace and
blessings be upon him for example the Jmi of Sufyn al-Thawr is
written in this way. Surely it (my book) is the best in what has been
made by men from all the compilations.
The adth which has been put in Kitb al-Sunan many of them
are famous, and they are in accordance to those who had written
anything of al-adth.
Except that it is distinguished (from all other books) and no man can
overcome it. The pride is by the hadith. Surely they are famous.
Surely the book does not need strange (gharb) adth even-though
the (strange) adth is from the reports of Mlik, Yahy ibn Sad and
the trustworthy from the Imms of knowledge.
Even-though man advances as an argument by using strange
adth, you would find refutation in it and the argument is not
advanced (by the usage) of the adth.
And that was for the strange and ambiguous(shadz) adth.
As for the famous adth it is connected and authentic thus you will
have no power to refute it with anything.

Meaning hadth.
The problem of incorrect hadith.

And Ibrhm al-Nakha said: They disliked the strange from adth.
And Yazd ibn Ab abb said: If you hear the (strange) adth, look
into it like you would see the incorrect, surely the custom (urf) and
except fadahu6.
Surely none of the adith in Kitb al-Sunan is muttail and it is
mursal and mudallas, and it is (what) if you do not find it authentic
according to the general of the people of traditions (ahl al-adth) in
regards to its meaning thus surely it is muttasil.
The example of not being muttasil hadith (are the ones narrated by):
al-assan from Jbir, al-assan from Ab Hurayrah, and al-akam
from Miqsam from Ibn Abbs.
The Sam7 of Al-akam from Miqsam (are) 4 traditions (adth), or
either Ab Isq from al-rith from Al, for Ab Isq did not listen
from al-rith except for 4 traditions (ahdth) none of it are of one
As for what is in Kitb al-Sunan from this example (cited above) are
very little. Perhaps from one-eyed al-rith in Kitb al-Sunan but
one adth and surely I had written it at the end.
And maybe he was in the adth that I have fixed the correctness of
the adth from it. If he was hidden that upon me , thus perhaps I
refrain the adth when I did not understood it, or maybe I wrote it
and I clarified it, and maybe I did not stop upon it, and maybe I stop
from its example because it is harmful upon the masses it is hidden
from them all of what is from this chapter, in what has passed from
the defects of adth because the knowledge of the masses is
limited from/upon such an example.
The number of these al-sunan are 18 chapters with the marsl.
From them marsl is (in) one chapter, and what is narrated from the
Holy Prophet peace and blessings be upon him from the marsl.
From it are what is not correct, and from it are what is connected
according to other than myself, and they are authentic muttasil.
The number of the adth which is in my book is around 4,800
adth and accordingly 600 are from the marsl8.
Therefore those who love to distinguish these adth with its
wordings, perhaps adth came from the path. And the path is
according to the general from the path of the Imms who are

Means it is a weak report (khabar) or ailing (mall) report.

Reading by the Teacher to the students, see Azami, pg. 17-8.
According to Shaykh Shuayb al-Arnat in his verification (tahqq) of this book, the number of marsl
traditions are 544.

famous, without it surely perhaps he seek the wording which for it

(adth) has many meanings9.
Of whom I knew who transmitted from collection of these books10,
maybe the isnd came thus became knowledgeable by it from
adth. Other than it surely it is not connected muttail, and the
listener has not proved it except with what the adth teaches, and
it becomes for it knowledge thus it stops upon him, like what is
narrated from Ibn Jurayj who said: It is reported to me from al-Zuhr,
al-Bursn narrated it from ibn Jurayj from al-Zuhr.
Thus those who listen and guess surely the tradition is muttail and
not correct to act upon it. Surely we refrain from it because the
origin of the tradition is not connected (muttasil), and not correct
and it is an ailing tradition (adth mall).
The example of this are many and and those who is not learned and
say: Surely the ahh adth is refrained from this, and he (Ab
Dawud) came with ailing tradition (adth mall)11.
And I do not compile in this Kitb al-sunan except for rulings
(akm), and I do not compile (regarding) zuhd, epistles of worship
activities and others of the same. Thus these are the 48,000, all of it
in regards to rulings. As for the many correct adth in zuhd and
virtues and others from other . Thus I have not taken it.
Peace upon you and blessings of God and his mercy be upon you,
and peace and blessings be upon our master Muammad the Holy
Prophet and upon his upright and pure family, and upon his
illumined companions and their wives, and upon the mothers of
believers peace and security, and Allah is the best of representative.

And by his saying those who loves to distinguish these adth with its wordings
meaning those who want to weigh and compare the traditions in his book, by
noticing the numerous wordings which came from the numerous path, perhaps
the tradition came from path.. meaning that it agrees with the tradition found in
the book of al-Sunan from a not famous path with its formation knowledge in
accordance to the general of the companions of traditions from the path of the
famous Imams, but that angle is not of benefit as he says without it surely
perhaps he seek the wording which for it (adth) has many meanings
Meaning the books and compilations in the gathering of the traditions.
The meaning from this saying is that the writer is directing the view that the ailing element(illah) of
the hadith is taken out if it is not found in the chapter refinement from it, but it agrees