An Unbro­ken Link to The Prophet

Pause for a moment, and ask your­self: what are the great­est accom­plish­ments of the Mus­lim civ­i­liza­tion? At first thought, a num­ber of things will prob­a­bly come to mind, rang­ing from math­e­mat­ics to med­i­cine to architecture—perhaps even cof­fee.[1] But unfor­tu­nate­ly we tend to over­look one of the great­est accom­plish­ments, if not the great­est: the isnād sys­tem. That a per­son, till this day, can attribute a hadīth to the Prophet and then fol­low it with a list of author­i­ties reach­ing back suc­ces­sive­ly to the source is what schol­ars as ear­ly as Abū Bakr al-Thaqafī (d. 309 AH)[2] described as an exclu­sive accom­plish­ment of the Mus­lim civ­i­liza­tion.[3]DSCN9800

The word sanad (lit. base)[4] refers to the chain of trans­mit­ters lead­ing to the text of a hadīth while isnād refers to the men­tion­ing of the chain.[5] Major­i­ty of schol­ars, how­ev­er, use both terms inter­change­ably.[6] Al-Bukhārī (d. 256 AH), for instance, men­tions, “Makkī ibn Ibrahīm—Yazīd ibn Abī ‘Ubayd Allāh—Salamah: I heard the Prophet (peace and bless­ings be upon him) say, ‘Who­ev­er lies about me should pre­pare his abode in the fire.’”[7] In this exam­ple, the names lead­ing to the text form the sanad of the hadith.[8]

The usage of isnād began simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with the trans­mis­sion of the Prophet’s hadiths. Com­pan­ions like Abū Salamah al-Makhzūmī (d. 3 AH),[9] and Ja‘far ibn Abī Tālib (d. 8 AH),[10] who passed away dur­ing the Prophet’s life­time,[11] trans­mit­ted hadiths cit­ing the Prophet as their source.[12] Fur­ther­more, Com­pan­ions who were pre­oc­cu­pied with their dai­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties would take turns to attend the gath­er­ing of the Prophet. When the present part­ner would relate the day’s teach­ings to the absent part­ner, he would obvi­ous­ly pref­ace his words with “The Prophet said so and so.”[13] The short­ness of the chain­, i.e. direct trans­mis­sion from the Prophet, makes this first rudi­men­ta­ry usage of isnād unno­tice­able. Dur­ing this time, trans­mit­ters were not required to dis­close their sources. That is why we find Com­pan­ions like Anas ibn Mālik, who lived dur­ing the Med­i­nan peri­od, relate inci­dents from the Mec­can peri­od with­out cit­ing their sources.[14] This was not an issue because even the thought of lying about the Prophet was incon­ceiv­able to the Com­pan­ions.[15]

Short­ly after the Prophet’s demise, the Com­pan­ions exer­cised cau­tion vis-à-vis hadiths,[16] with Abū Bakr spear­head­ing the ini­tia­tive.[17] When al-Mughīrah ibn Shu‘bah nar­rat­ed a hadith about a grandmother’s share of inher­i­tance, Abū Bakr asked for cor­rob­o­ra­tion, which Muham­mad ibn Maslamah duly pro­vid­ed.[18] ‘Umar ibn al-Khat­tāb also asked Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī for cor­rob­o­ra­tion when he nar­rat­ed the hadith about seek­ing per­mis­sion thrice for enter­ing a person’s house; in this case, Abū Sa‘īd al-Khu­drī stood in his sup­port.[19]

The assas­si­na­tion of ‘Uth­mān ibn ‘Affān (Allāh be pleased with him) in 35 AH, lat­er described as the strife (Fit­nah), marks a major shift in the course of Islam­ic his­to­ry.[20] Until the events that led to the trag­ic inci­dent, there was con­sid­er­able sta­bil­i­ty through­out the Mus­lim world.[21] Dri­ven by a thirst to bol­ster their polit­i­cal and the­o­log­i­cal views,[22] peo­ple there­after began to fab­ri­cate hadiths, which prompt­ed schol­ars to exer­cise even fur­ther cau­tion. Recount­ing this del­i­cate phase, Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110 AH) explains, “In the ear­ly peri­od, no one would ask about isnād. But when the strife[23] occurred peo­ple would say, “Name for us your sources.”[24] It is under­stood from Ibn Sīrīn’s words that the prac­tice of cit­ing one’s source, or isnād, for a hadīth exist­ed before the Fit­nah, but was not a requirement—it was with­in the dis­cre­tion of a trans­mit­ter.[25]

Dur­ing the first cen­tu­ry AH, the isnād sys­tem had ful­ly devel­oped and formed part and par­cel of the trans­mis­sion of hadiths.[26] Until a hadith was sup­port­ed by an isnād, it held no weight in the sight of Hadīth schol­ars.[27] In this respect, ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mubārak (d. 181 AH) made the prover­bial remark, “Isnād is part of reli­gion. Were it not for isnād, a per­son could say what­ev­er he want­ed. If you ask him, ‘Who told you this?’ He can­not reply.”[28] Sufyān al-Thawrī (d. 161 AH) said, “Isnād is the weapon of a believ­er. When he is not equipped with his weapon, how will he com­bat?”[29]  The empha­sis schol­ars placed on isnād in the field of Hadīth had rip­pling effects on oth­er dis­ci­plines, like Qur’ānic exe­ge­sis, jurispru­dence, his­to­ry, and poet­ry. The lead­ing exegete, Ibn Jarīr al-Tabarī (d. 310 AH), for instance, when quot­ing an opin­ion on the com­men­tary of a verse, cou­ples it with a chain of trans­mis­sion that traces back to the source.[30] The extent this empha­sis per­me­at­ed even the most mun­dane sub­jects is at times unbe­liev­able. A col­lec­tion of sto­ries about love enti­tled “Masāri‘ al-‘Ushshāq” where the author, Abū Muham­mad al-Sar­rāj (d. 500 AH), painstak­ing­ly cites lengthy chains of trans­mis­sion is a case in point.[31]

An argu­ment has been put for­ward for the usage of isnād before the advent of Islām, in an attempt to negate the notion that it is an exclu­sive­ly Islāmic accom­plish­ment. To this end, exam­ples are adduced from pre-Islāmic poet­ry,[32] Jew­ish scrip­ture[33] and Hin­du lit­er­a­ture.[34] These exam­ples, how­ev­er, are not sub­stan­tive; there is a stark con­trast between the isnāds employed in these exam­ples and how Mus­lims used isnāds. The fifth cen­tu­ry Andalu­sian poly­math, Ibn Hazm (d. 458 AH), explains what is meant by the exclu­siv­i­ty of isnād among Mus­lims.[35] From six forms of trans­mis­sion, he writes, three are exclu­sive to Mus­lims. The third form deserves par­tic­u­lar atten­tion, “Trans­mis­sion from the Prophet via reli­able nar­ra­tors, each dis­clos­ing the name and lin­eage of the infor­mant, and each of known sta­tus, per­son, time, and place.”[36]

More sim­ply put, Mus­lims may not have been the first to use isnād per se—for argument’s sake—but they were def­i­nite­ly the first to give it val­ue by pro­vid­ing unbro­ken chains and doc­u­ment­ing detailed accounts of the nar­ra­tors, bet­ter known as the field of al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dīl (accred­i­ta­tion and crit­i­cism). After all, what use is a list of nar­ra­tors when noth­ing is known about them save their names? The Mus­lim civ­i­liza­tion is tru­ly unri­valled in its doc­u­men­ta­tion of the bio­graph­i­cal infor­ma­tion of Hadīth trans­mit­ters. Aloys Sprenger (d. 1893 CE), the cel­e­brat­ed West­ern aca­d­e­m­ic and crit­ic of Islam, could not help but acknowl­edge this unpar­al­leled accom­plish­ment. He writes:

The glo­ry of the lit­er­a­ture of the Mohammedans is its lit­er­ary biog­ra­phy. There is no nation, nor has there been any which like them has dur­ing twelve cen­turies record­ed the life of every man of let­ters. If the bio­graph­i­cal records of the Musalmans were col­lect­ed, we should prob­a­bly have accounts of the lives of half a mil­lion of dis­tin­guished per­sons, and it would be found that there is not a decen­ni­um of their his­to­ry, nor a place of impor­tance which has not its rep­re­sen­ta­tives.[37]

Before con­clud­ing, it will be ben­e­fi­cial to address two issues. First, as the sci­ence of Hadīth devel­oped, a hadīth was iden­ti­fied with its isnād and not its text (matn). [38] The growth of isnāds was a nat­ur­al out­come of trans­mis­sion: assum­ing one Com­pan­ion impart­ed a hadith to five stu­dents who in turn did the same, etcetera, the num­ber of routes would have increased expo­nen­tial­ly. Through the process of trans­mis­sion, there­fore, the num­ber of isnāds mul­ti­plied with­out an increase in the num­ber of texts.[39] Con­se­quent­ly, when ‘Abd al-Rah­mān ibn Mahdī said, “I know thir­teen hadīths via al-Mughīrah ibn Shu‘bah from the Prophet regard­ing wip­ing on the socks,”[40] he was refer­ring to a sin­gle text trans­mit­ted through thir­teen dif­fer­ent chan­nels.[41] Keep­ing this tech­ni­cal­i­ty in mind will allow us to under­stand what schol­ars meant when they described the stag­ger­ing num­ber of hadīths they knew, such as al-Bukhārī’s mem­o­riza­tion of one-hun­dred thou­sand authen­tic hadiths[42] or Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s com­pi­la­tion of his Mus­nad from a pool of sev­en-hun­dred thou­sand hadīths.[43] Fur­ther­more, apart from Prophet­ic hadiths, includ­ed in these large num­bers are the state­ments of the Com­pan­ions and Suc­ces­sors.[44]

Sec­ond, sim­ply cit­ing a chain of trans­mis­sion for a report, be it a hadith or oth­er­wise, does not neces­si­tate its authen­tic­i­ty. This is more so in the case of books like Ibn Jarīr al-Tabarī’s Tārīkh al-Umam wa al-Mulūk—a pri­ma­ry source for sub­se­quent historians—where the author gath­ers all avail­able reports as trans­mit­ted to him and then con­signs the respon­si­bil­i­ty of ana­lyz­ing the chains of trans­mis­sion to the read­er.[45] But at the same time, it should be remem­bered that the isnād sys­tem, as Anwar Shāh al-Kash­mīrī (d. 1933 CE) would often remind his stu­dents, was for­mal­ly insti­tut­ed to pre­vent the inclu­sion of extra-Islam­ic mate­r­i­al, not to remove estab­lished Islam­ic teach­ings.[46]

[1] See: 1001 Inven­tions: Mus­lim Her­itage in Our World, pp.12, 64, 198.

[2] Al-Baghdādī, Sharaf Ashāb al-Hadīth, p.40. On the iden­ti­ty of Abū Bakr al-Thaqafī, see: Abū Ghud­dah, al-Isnād min al-Dīn, p.23. Al-Thaqafī relates the idea of exclu­siv­i­ty from an ear­li­er uniden­ti­fied source. Muham­mad ibn Hātim ibn al-Mufażaf­far and Abū Tālib al-Makkī (d. 386 AH) have made sim­i­lar remarks [al-Baghdādī, Sharaf Ashāb al-Hadīth, p.40; al-Makkī, Qūt al-Qulūb, vol.1, p.385]. I have yet to locate Muham­mad ibn Hātim’s exact date of demise. Thus far, the fol­low­ing is some avail­able data: (1) he report­ed­ly nar­rates from Yahyā ibn Ma‘īn (d. 233 AH) [al-Bay­haqī, Shu‘ab al-mān, vol.4, p.362]; (2) Abū al-‘Abbās al-Daghūlī (d. 325 AH) [Al-Baghdādī, Sharaf Ashāb al-Hadīth, p.40] and Halīm ibn Dāwūd al-Kashshī (d. 357 AH) [Ibn Mākūlā, al-Ikmāl, vol.2, p.492] nar­rate from him.

[3] Ibn Hib­bān, al-Majrūhīn, vol.1 p.30; al-Hākim, al-Mus­tadrak ‘alā al-Sahīhayn, vol.1, p.41; al-Kat­tānī, Fahras al-Fahāris, vol.1, p.80.

[4] Ibn Jamā‘ah, al-Man­hal al-Rawī, p.30. There are three pos­si­ble lin­guis­tic ori­gins for the term sanad: elevation/raise, base/authority, and harshness/strength. See: al-Jawn­fūrī, Nawādir al-Hadīth, p.37.

[5] Al-Thanawī, Kashf­shāf Istil­i­hāt al-Funūn wa al-‘Ulūm, p.984; Abū Ghud­dah, al-Isnād min al-Dīn, p.14.

[6] Ibn al-‘Ajamī, Hashiyah ‘alā Tadrīb al-Rāwī, vol.3, p.89. For more on both terms, see: al-Suyūtī, Tadrīb al-Rāwī [with editor’s foot­notes], vol.2, pp.31–33; al-Qārī, Sharh Sharh al-Nukhbah, pp.159–160; al-Jawn­fūrī, Nawādir al-Hadīth, pp.37–38; Tāriq ibn ‘Awad Allāh, Sharh Lughat al-Muhad­dith, pp.62–63. Be it as it may, as Shams al-Dīn al-Sakhāwi (d. 902 AH) explains, this is a flex­i­ble mat­ter. See: al-Sakhāwī, Fath al-Mughīth, vol.1, p.23.

[7] Al-Bukhārī, al-Jāmi‘ al-Mus­nad al-Sahīh, vol.1 p.33.

[8] Abū Ghud­dah, al-Isnād min al-Dīn, p.14.

[9] Al-Tir­mid­hī, al-Sunan, vol.5, p.414; cf. al-Miz­zī, Tuh­fat al-Ashrāf, no.6577.

[10] Ahmad, al-Mus­nad, vol.3, p.262; cf. Ibn Hajar, Ithāf al-Maharah, vol.4, p.75/Itrāf al-Mus­nid al-Mu‘talī, vol.2, p.208.

[11] In Tadrīb al-Rāwī, Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūtī ded­i­cat­ed chap­ter 92 to the hadiths of those Com­pan­ions who passed away dur­ing the Prophet’s life­time. See: al-Suyūtī, Tadrīb al-Rāwī, vol.5, pp.635–636. He is said to have also authored a book on the sub­ject. See: Hājī Khalī­fah, Kashf al-Zunūn, vol.2, p.1683.

[12] Fal­lā­tah, al-Wad‘ fī al-Hadīth, vol.2, pp.15–19.

[13] See, for instance, al-Bukhārī, al-Jāmi‘ al-Mus­nad al-Sahīh, vol.1, p.29; al‑A‘żamī, On Schacht’s Ori­gins of Muham­madan Jurispru­dence, p.155.

[14] Fal­lā­tah, al-Wad‘ fī al-Hadīth, vol.2, p.19.

[15] Al-Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib said, “We did not hear from the Prophet every­thing we nar­rate from him direct­ly. We heard from him, and our com­pan­ions would also nar­rate to us [from him]. But we would not lie.” See: Ahmad, al-‘Ilal wa Ma‘rifat al-Rijāl, vol.2, p.410. Anas ibn Mālik said, “By Allah, we would not lie. We did not know what lying was.” See: al-Fasawī, al-Ma‘rifah wa al-Tārīkh, vol.2, pp.633–634. For a study of the alleged reports of fab­ri­ca­tion dur­ing the Prophet’s life­time, see: Abū Ghud­dah, Lama­hat, pp.56–65.

[16] On the report of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib tak­ing an oath from a nar­ra­tor before accept­ing his hadiths, see: al-Bukhārī, al-Tārīkh al-Kabīr, vol.2, p.54.

[17] Al-Dha­habī, Tadhki­rat al-Huf­fāż, vol.1, p.9.

[18] Al-Tir­mid­hī, al-Sunan, vol.3, p.491.

[19] Mālik, al-Muwat­ta’, vol.5, p.1403. For an impor­tant clar­i­fi­ca­tion on these and oth­er sim­i­lar reports, see: al-Suyūtī, Tadrīb al-Rāwī, vo.2, p.188; al-Sibā‘ī, al-Sun­nāh wa Makā­natuhā fī al-Tashrī‘ al-Islāmī, pp.85–89.

[20] Abū Ghud­dah, Lamahāt, p.73.

[21] See: Mul­lā Khātir, Bid‘at Da‘wā al‑I‘timād ‘alā al-Kitāb Dūn al-Sun­nāh, p.18.

[22] Mustafā al-Sibā‘ī enu­mer­ates sev­en fac­tors that prompt­ed the fab­ri­ca­tion of hadīths. See: al-Sibā‘ī, al-Sun­nah wa Makā­natuhā fī al-Tashrī‘ al-Islāmī, pp.96–105.

[23] There is con­sid­er­able debate on the inter­pre­ta­tion of ‘Fit­nah’ in the words of Ibn Sīrīn. Some schol­ars opine that it refers to the assas­si­na­tion of ‘Uth­mān ibn ‘Affān. See: Abū Ghud­dah, Lamahāt, p.73. Based on a state­ment of Ibrāhim al-Nakha‘ī that peo­ple only began ask­ing for isnād dur­ing the era al-Mukhtār ibn Abī ‘Ubayd al-Thaqafī (d. 67 AH), some argue for a lat­er date. See: Ahmad, al-‘Ilal wa Ma‘rifat al-Rijāl, vol.3, p.380. With vari­a­tions on the spe­cif­ic date, many con­tem­po­rary schol­ars agree that fab­ri­ca­tion began around the year 40 AH. Mujīr al-Khatīb explains that sparks of fab­ri­ca­tion began dur­ing the peri­od of the Suc­ces­sors when the first wave of tri­als and inno­va­tions sur­faced; thus, leav­ing the date abstract so as to include the var­i­ous opin­ions is more prefer­able. See: al-Hasanī, Ma‘rifat Madār al-Isnād, vol.1, p.385. For a study of Ori­en­tal­ist views on the date of the ori­gins of isnād, see: al‑A‘żamī, Stud­ies In Ear­ly Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, pp.216–217/On Schacht’s Ori­gins of Muham­madan Jurispru­dence, pp.166–168; Sid­diqi, Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture: Its Ori­gins Devel­op­ment and Spe­cial Fea­tures, pp.79–80.

[24] Mus­lim, Intro­duc­tion to his Sahīh, p.11.

[25] Al‑A‘żamī, Stud­ies In Ear­ly Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.217.

[26] Ibid., p.213.

[27] See: Abū Ghud­dah, Lamahāt, p.145. Despite the weak­ness of a hadith’s chain of trans­mis­sion, schol­ars at times would authen­ti­cate its con­tents due to exter­nal fac­tors, like inher­it­ed prac­tice. For more on this, see: al-Kawtharī, al-Maqālāt, pp.75–78; Abū Ghud­dah, al-Ajwibah al-Fādi­lah, p.228 f.; Brown, Did the Prophet Say It or Not? The Lit­er­al, His­tor­i­cal, and Effec­tive Truth of Hadīths in Ear­ly Sun­nism, p.277; also see Hay­dar Hasan’s trea­tise in: al-Nu‘mānī, al-Imām Ibn Mājah wa Kitābuhū al-Sunan, pp.86–90. This brings to mind the price­less obser­va­tion of Anwar Shāh al-Kash­mīrī, “It [Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī’s judg­ment] is premised only on rules while al-Tirmidhī’s assess­ment is based on sense and sound intu­ition, and, tru­ly, this is knowl­edge. And [rigid] rules are a blind man’s walk­ing stick.” See: al-Kash­mīrī, Fayd al-Bārī, vol.6, p.216/vol.4, p.130. But in the same breath, anoth­er piece of advice should not escape our atten­tion, “Do not be like the one to whom it is said: you remem­bered one thing, but you for­got many things.” See: Ibid. [al-Mīrathī, al-Badr al-Sārī], vol.4, p.130.

[28] Mus­lim, Intro­duc­tion to his Sahīh, p.11.

[29] Al-Baghdādī, Sharaf Ashāb al-Hadīth, p.42

[30] Abū Ghud­dah, Lamahāt, pp.143–145.

[31] See: al-Sar­rāj, Masāri‘ al-‘Ushshāq; Sid­dique, Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.84. Schol­ars like al-Jāhiz (235 AH), Abū al-Faraj al-Asfahānī (d. 356 AH), and Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597 AH) even cite isnāds for light heart­ed anec­dotes. See: al‑A‘żamī, On Schacht’s Ori­gins of Muham­madan Jurispru­dence, p.154.

[32] Al-Asad, Masādir al-Shi‘r al-Jāhilī, pp.255 f.; al‑A‘żamī, Stud­ies In Ear­ly Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.212. Schoel­er negates the pos­si­bil­i­ty of isnāds being used by pre-Islāmic poets. See: Cook, The Oppo­nents of the Writ­ing of Tra­di­tion in Ear­ly Islam, pp.511–512.

[33] Horovits, Alter Und Ursprung des Isnad, Der Islam, VIII, pp.39–47; Cook, The Oppo­nents of the Writ­ing of Tra­di­tion in Ear­ly Islam, pp.510- 512. Horovits did not pro­vide evi­dence to show that these chains were not lat­er fab­ri­ca­tions. He does, how­ev­er, write, “In the Tal­mu­dic lit­er­a­ture, there is no idea of a chrono­log­i­cal method, and the old­est extant work attempt­ing such an arrange­ment was com­posed after 885 AD—more than a cen­tu­ry lat­er than the ear­li­est Islam­ic work on isnād-cri­tique. From this fact, and from the fact that the impor­tant Jew­ish works had been com­posed in the Islam­ic domin­ions, it may be inferred that the his­tor­i­cal inter­est was due to the Islam­ic influ­ence [empha­sis mine].” See: Horovits, Alter, p.47; Sid­diqi, Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.81, 150.

[34] See: Sid­diqi, Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, pp.78–79, 81.

[35] Ibn Hazm, al-Fisal, vol.2, pp.67–70.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Sprenger, A Bio­graph­i­cal Dic­tio­nary of Per­sons Who Knew Moham­mad, vol.1, p.1. There is a degree of exag­ger­a­tion in these fig­ures, but there is no doubt that the Mus­lim civ­i­liza­tion is peer­less in this accom­plish­ment. See: Abū Ghud­dah, Lamahāt, p.163.

[38] Abbott, Stud­ies in Ara­bic Lit­er­ary Papyri II, p.66; Brown, Hadīth, p.219.

[39] It is dif­fi­cult to deter­mine the exact num­ber of indi­vid­ual hadiths. Nev­er­the­less, Sālih Ahmad al-Shāmī gath­ered the hadiths of 14 major Hadīth com­pi­la­tions: the six canon­i­cal books, Muwat­ta’ Mālik, Mus­nad Ahmad, the Sunans of al-Dārimī and al-Bay­haqī, the Sahīhs of Ibn Khuza­ymah and Ibn Hib­bān, al-Mus­tadrak of al-Hākim, and al-Mukhtārah of al-Diyā’ al-Maqdisī. In total, he gath­ered 114,194 hadīths, and after remov­ing rep­e­ti­tions, there remained 28,430 hadīths. It should be not­ed that he did not regard the nar­ra­tion of two dif­fer­ent Com­pan­ions for an iden­ti­cal hadith as a rep­e­ti­tion. See: al-Shāmī, Ma‘ālim al-Sun­nah al-Nabawiyyah, p.9.

[40] Al-Rāzī, al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dīl, vol.1, p.261

[41] al‑A‘żamī, Stud­ies In Ear­ly Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.302.

[42] Al-Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād, vol.2, p.340.

[43] Abū Musā, Khasā’is al-Mus­nad, p.21.

[44] Shākir, Foot­notes on Khasā’is al-Mus­nad, p.21; Abū Ghud­dah, Foot­notes on Mabādī’ ‘Ilm al-Hadīth wa Usūluh, p.55; al‑A‘żamī, Stud­ies In Ear­ly Hadīth Lit­er­a­ture, p.303.

[45] See: al-Tabarī, Tārīkh al-Umam wa al-Mulūk, vol.1, pp. 7–8; al-Kawtharī, al-Maqālāt, p.404. Ibn Hajar writes, “Most Hadīth schol­ars of the past—from 200 AH onwards—believed that cit­ing a hadith with its chain of trans­mis­sion absolved them of the respon­si­bil­i­ty [of ana­lyz­ing it].” See: Ibn Hajar, Lisān al-Mīzān, vol.4 p.125; cf. ‘Awwāmah, Foot­notes on Tadrīb al-Rāwī, vol.3, pp.519–520. Zayn al-Dīn al-‘Irāqī explains that although cit­ing a hadith along­side its prob­lem­at­ic chain with­out expound­ing on its defects is rep­re­hen­si­ble, to do so with­out cit­ing its chain at all is worse. See: al-‘Irāqī, Sharh al-Tab­sir­ah wa al-Tadhki­rah, vol.1, p.313; Brown, Did the Prophet Say It or Not? The Lit­er­al, His­tor­i­cal, and Effec­tive Truth of Hadīths in Ear­ly Sun­nism, pp.281–282.

[46] Abū Ghud­dah, al-Ajwibah al-Fādi­lah, p.238.