Questioner: Is it true that the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ is weak?
Al-Albaani: In reality the scholars of ḥadīth have differed greatly over it, with some of them saying it is fabricated [mowḍūʿ] and others that it is weak [ḍaʿīf], or ḥasan and yet others that it is authentic [ṣaḥīḥ].
I don’t want to prolong the discussion by discussing what the difference between ḥasan and ṣaḥīḥ is and that each of them can be further broken down into being ḥasan li-dhātihī and ḥasan li-ghairihī or ṣaḥīḥ li-dhātihī and ṣaḥīḥ li-ghairihī—what is important is for me to say that whoever said it is fabricated has gone too far and has digressed greatly from what is correct, and that whoever said it is weak is close to them too.
The correct stance is that the ḥadīth falls into place somewhere between the people who say it is ḥasan and those who say that it is authentic, this is what I hold to be the stronger opinion.
And its authenticity comes about in two ways:
The first is that the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ has been reported through a number of paths in Sunan Abī Dāwūd and other books of the Sunnah, [the kind of paths] which the people of knowledge who are acquainted with ḥadīth say strengthen each other, because no one who is a liar or who has been accused of lying is in them but only those whose memorisation has been criticised, so the mistakes of those narrators whose memorisation has been criticised is not a concern with the presence of another narration which supports them, so what then is the case when more than [just] one supporting narration exists for the Prayer of Tasbīḥ?
The second is that one of the major Imāms of the Salaf who reported this ḥadīth acted upon it, i.e., ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was one of the Shaikhs of the Imām of the Sunnah, Aḥmad ibn Hanbal, if he didn’t hold it to be authentic he wouldn’t have acted upon it.
So the correct opinion is what the scholars said about this ḥadīth—that it is authentic and that a Muslim should do it even if only once in their lifetime: i.e., pray four rakʿahs, each one having seventy-five tasbīḥs, each standing part fifteen, and the rest of the pillars tens, which would make the total three-hundred tasbīḥs—for it will be [a cause of] forgiveness for him as the ḥadīth states.
Al-Hudā wan-Nūr, 75.
See here for part two.