On The Prayer for Forgiveness [Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ] · A Discussion About the Actual Textual Wording [Matn] of the Ḥadīth · Part two

by The Albaani Site

See here for part one.

Questioner: We were going over and studying the ḥadīth about the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ and then some of the students of knowledge, it was as though they were saying that there is something wrong with this ḥadīth, when we were going over its chain of narration [isnād] they were saying there is something wrong with the actual text of the ḥadīth [matn], saying that the wording has been criticised because this prayer has not come in a recognised or correct form, so my question is: has anyone [actually] criticised the wording?

Al-Albaani: … some of them have spoken about it … they said that this prayer differs in form from the well-known, established prayer, this is what they said.

Questioner: From those well-known in this field?

Al-Albaani: Our Imām, Ibn Taymiyyah said it.

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: And Ibn al-Jawzī before him.

Questioner: Yes, in [his book] al-Mowḍūʿāt.

Al-Albaani: Yes, but their statements are rebutted because this defect [that they mention] is an intellectual, logical one which has no value when it comes to looking at the criticism of the wordings of ḥadīths. Maybe you recall the form of the Eclipse prayer?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: That it is two rakʿahs, and that in each rakʿah you bow twice, this prayer stands out against the regular prayers—so how does that harm it after it has been established in a ḥadīth from the Prophet ﷺ, even though the Ḥanafīs oppose the way it is performed like this? This criticism doesn’t harm it in the slightest.

The critique of every person working on ḥadīth and who takes up critically commenting on ḥadīth must be based on the chain of narration [isnād] not the actually wording [matn] itself.

But if the ḥadīth is not authentically established in its chain of narration, it is then that the scholar, if he has something logical to say, turns to critiquing the wording too. And in such a case the ḥadīth would be weak [ḍaʿīf] in both its chain of narration and the textual wording itself.

And beware of being fooled, you or anyone else, with what is mentioned in Muqaddimah Ibn aṣ-Ṣalāḥ and other books of ḥadīth terminology, which say that a ḥadīth might have an authentic chain of narration but have wording which is not.

Beware [and I’ll say it again], beware of that—because in fact this unrestricted statement is not correct, and it must be patched up by interpreting it so that it becomes sound. And it is made sound by saying that it refers to someone who says that a [certain] chain of narration is authentic but who never took into account some of the conditions [required] of an authentic isnād, like the fact that it should not be irregular [shāḏ] or have any hidden defects [i.e., the scholar missed the fact that the isnād had some defects in it, in such a case Ibn aṣ-Ṣalāh’s statement that a ḥadīth might have an authentic chain of narration but have wording which is not would be sound], [and if a scholar did do that concerning a ḥadīth] then he is excused because maybe the hidden defect [ʿillah] was not clear to him. Hidden defects in ḥadīths are of two types: apparent and unclear, this second type is the one which evades many scholars let alone those less than them, so when one of them makes the statement that the isnād of a ḥadīth might be authentic [but its textual wording is not] it is explained in this way.

As for there being an authentic chain of narration which is free of any hidden defect [ʿillah] but then [saying] the text in the ḥadīth itself is weak and contradicts something more authentic [munkar]: such a thing does not exist in the dunyā.

When you understand this reality, then the ḥadīth criticiser should, as I just said, turn to critiquing the ḥadīth’s isnād, such that if the isnād is found to be sound then so is the wording itself. Because if not then we will have opened the door for those people who claim that Islām is only [what is in] the Qurʾān and that is it, [just] because they came across a lot of weak ḥadīths.

Especially when they open the door to critiquing the wording of ḥadīths which some of those who blindly-imitate the orientalists call, ‘Inner/internal-critique,’ they call the critiquing of the actual wording of the ḥadīths, ‘Inner/internal-critique.’

So when they went on and extended this criticism [to include more and more texts of ḥadīths] only a tiny amount of ḥadīths were safe from it, such that they even turned away from those too and just stuck with the Qurʾān—and thus left Islām in the name of the Qurʾān.

In summary, the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ does not fall below the level of being ḥasan, and in my opinion, when all of its paths of narration are taken into account, it is authentic [ṣaḥīḥ].

And it is enough for the student of knowledge to know that one of the Imāms of the Salaf, ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was the Shaikh of the Imām of the Sunnah, i.e., Imām Aḥmad, used to pray this prayer which these people who criticise its wording want to call a shāḏ or munkar ḥadīth. [A shāḏ ḥadīth is one which is reported by a reliable narrator in contradiction to someone more reliable. A munkar ḥadīth is one which is reported by a weak narrator which goes against another authentic ḥadīth.]

A ḥadīth like this which has been reported through many paths of narration, some of which are only slightly weak and [fall into that category of ḥadīth] which can be used to give strength to chains of narration in addition to the fact that that Imām acted on it—[after all of this] don’t be deceived by what is reported in some statements of some of the Imāms in Islām that its chain of narration is weak or munkar.

This is my answer.

Al-Hudā wan-Nūr, 224.

See here for part three.