Some of the Ahmadiyya leaders try to stereotype contemporary Islamic scholarship as a whole using some narrations recorded in Hadith works.
Before talking of the status of scholars (‘ulama) in the House of Islam and especially their role with regards to the Ahamdiyya cult, let us first see the narrations that some Ahmadiyya leaders use and scrutinize them to check their authenticity.
The following is the translation of one such narration as it appears on the AlIslam.org website:
The Prophet once said, “There will come a time upon the people when nothing will remain of Islam except its name and nothing will remain of the Quran except its words. Their mosques will be splendidly furnished but destitute of guidance. Their divines will be the worst people under the Heaven; strife will issue from them and avert to them.”
In the following lines I will mention the wording of the narration as found in different works and dwell on the authenticity check for each narration in the light of scholarly works.
As a statement of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) narrated by ‘Ali (ra):
عَنْ عَلِيٍّ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ لَا يَبْقَى مِنَ الْإِسْلَامِ إِلَّا اسْمُهُ وَلَا يَبْقَى مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ إِلَّا رَسْمُهُ مَسَاجِدُهُمْ عَامِرَةٌ وَهِيَ خَرَابٌ مِنَ الْهُدَى عُلَمَاؤُهُمْ شَرُّ مَنْ تَحْتَ أَدِيمِ السَّمَاءِ مِنْ عِنْدِهِمْ تَخْرُجُ الْفِتْنَةُ وَفِيهِمْ تَعُودُ» .
Narrated ‘Ali, the Messenger of Allah –may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him- said: “There will come a time upon the people when nothing will remain of Islam except its name and nothing will remain of the Quran except its words. Their mosques will be splendidly furnished but destitute of guidance. Their divines will be the worst people under the Heaven; strife (fitna) will issue from them and avert to them.” (Mishkat al-Masabih 1/91 Hadith 276)
As it is known to the students of Hadith, Mishkat al-Masabih is not the original Hadith source book. It has narrations with reference to other works giving full chain of narrators.
For this narration, the author of Mishkat al-Masabih, Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah al-Khatib al-‘Umri (d. 741 A.H.) has quoted it from Shu’b al-Imam of al-Baihaqi.
Its chain of narrators is;
Al-Baihaqi – Abu al-Hasan Ali bin Ahmad bin ‘Abdan –Ahmad bin ‘Ubayd as-Safar – Muhammad bin ‘Eisa bin Abi Iyas – Sa’id bin Suleman – ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn – Ja’far bin Muhammad – Muhammad bin ‘Ali – ‘Ali bin Hussain – ‘Ali bin Abi Talib – Messenger of Allah, on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah
Dr. Abdul al-‘Aliy Abdul Hamid has classified it as Da’if due to the weakness of ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn and due to the fact of the chain being interrupted as ‘Ali bin Hussain did not meet ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. See Shu’b al-Iman 3/317 Hadith 1763, Makteba al-Rushd, Riyadh, 2003
For those who are rather naive about the categorization of hadiths can have a introduction to this science HERE.
Muhammad bin Sa’d states that ‘Ali bin Hussain i.e. Zain al-‘Abidin was twenty-three of age at the tragic eve of pogrom at Karbala (See Tabaqat al-Kubra 5/212, Dar al-Sadir, Beirut 1968). We know the tragedy of Karbala took place in the year 63 A.H. and ‘Ali bin Abi Talib –may Allah be pleased with him- was martyred in the year 40 A.H. ‘Ali bin Hussain was therefore by any stretch of imagination no more than an year old when ‘Ali bin Abi Talib –may Allah be pleased with him- was martyred. This is enough to prove that ‘Ali bin Hussain –may Allah have mercy on him- could not report directly from the Pious Caliph.
The inqita’ (interruption) is mentioned by al-Baihaqi himself in his comment to a subsequent narration as we shall see below.
About ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn, Yahya bin Ma’in said: “He is nothing.” (See Lisan al-Mizan 7/260 No. 3503, Mo’assas al-‘Ilmi, Beirut 1971)
al-Dhahbi quotes the statement of Yahya bin Ma’in and then gives this narration pointing to its weakness. See al-Mizan al-A’itadal 2/417 No. 4296 Dar al-Ma’rifa, Beirut 1963.
Ibn ‘Adi mentions this report in the profile of ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn in his work al-Kamil fil Du’afa al-Rijal 5/377-378. This work was compiled to warn against the weak narrators. The chain also has the interruption (inqita’) problem as above.
Abu Tahir Muhammad bin Fazl al-Maqdisi Ibn al-Qaysarani (d. 507 A.H.) has quoted the narration from Ibn A’Adi. About ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn he says, “He is nothing.” See Zakhirah al-Huffaz 5/2808 Narration 6583, Dar al-Salaf, Riyadh 1996
Shaykh Albani has referred to its weakness in his first research on Mishkat al-Masabih by stating that it is given by Ibn ‘Adi in his above mentioned work. See Mishkat al-Masabih 1/91 Hadith 276 pub. Al-Makteb al-Islami, Beirut 1979
In 1985 the Shaykh Albani’s second research on Mishkat al-Masabih was published in which he categorically graded it as Da’if i.e. dubious.
With the same chain the report is mentioned in Abu ‘Amr al-Dani’s (d. 444 A.H. ) Sunan al-Waridah fil Fitan No. 236
Same narration with the same chain from ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn onwards is given by Ibn Abi Dunya in his work ‘al-‘Uqubat 1/23 Hadith 8, Dar Ibn Hazm, Beirut, 1996.
The report is also found in Abu Bakr Ahmad al-Daynawari’s (d. 333 A.H.) al-Mujalisa wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm 2/359 Narration 519. Its chain is same from ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn onwards so it adds nothing to the equation. However in this work between al-Daynwari and ‘Abdullah bin Dukayn is a narrator named Muhammad bin Masalama who is much criticized. al-Dhahbi quotes al-Khallal who said, “He is extremely da’if (weak).”(Mizan al-A’itidal 4/42 No. 8179) Shaykh Mashhur bin Hasan has graded the narration as “Extremely Da’if”. See al-Mujalisa wa Jawahir al-‘Ilm 2/359 Narration 519, Dar Ibn Hazm, Beirut, 1998
The report is also quoted in al-Suyuti’s Jami’ al-Kabir (No. 11451) with reference to Ibn ‘Adi and al-Baihaqi.
Moreover, the narration is found in a Shiite scholar Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi’s (d. 1111 A.H.) work Bihar al-Anwar (18/146 Chapter 12) as well. Its chain involves a narrator al-Sakouni who is Isma’il bin Abi Ziyad and he is a well known liar. Ibn Hibban said, “A great liar! It is not permissible to make a mention of him in hadith except by the way of condemnation.” (al-Majruhin 1/129 No. 50, Dar al-Wa’iy, Aleppo 1396 A.H)
In all the works the narration appears it has the same issues with its chain, so it remains Da’if and dubious. The point is mentioning all the works is to set the record straight lest someone may try to play clever by saying it is found in ‘other works’ as well.
As a statement of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (ra):
In his Musnad (1/107) al-Daylami reports through al-Hakim the following, narrated by Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said:
سيأتي على الناس زمان لا يبقي من القرآن إلا رسمه، ولا من الإسلام إلا اسمه، يقسمون به وهم أبعد الناس منه، مساجدهم عامرة، خراب من الهدى، فقهاء ذلك الزمان شر فقهاء تحت ظل السماء، منهم خرجت الفتنة، وإليهم تعود
“Soon a time would come upon people when nothing will remain of Quran except its script, and nothing of Islam will remain except its name, they will divide and will be farthest from it. Their mosques will be furnished but devoid of guidance. The scholars of that age will be the worst people under the heavens. Strife will emerge from them and return to them.”
As Shaykh Albani mentions the chain of narrators of this report includes;
Khalid bin Yazid al-Ansari – Ibn Abi Zi’b – Nafi’ – Ibn ‘Umar — Messenger of Allah, on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah
Shaykh Albani has commented to it in detail in Silsala Da’ifa. He writes:
“Khalid- it is evident that he is al-‘Umri al-Makki. He narrates from Ibn Abi Zi’b. Abu Hatim and Yahya described him as a liar. And Ibn Hibban said, “He narrates fabricated narrations from trustworthy people.” (Silsala Da’ifa wa Mawdu’a 4/410 No. 1936. Dar al-Ma’arif, Riyadh, 1992)
For the original reference to Ibn Hibban’s statement about Khalid bin Yazid, See al-Majruhin 1/284-285 No. 308.
As a statement of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) narrated by Ma’az (ra):
Shaykh Albani further mentions:
“Then al-Daylami narrated it through, Isma’il bin Abi Ziyad – Thawr – Khalid bin Ma’dan from M’az, likewise. I say: ‘It is –like the earlier one- a fabrication. The trouble with it is (the narrator) Isma’il and he is al-Sakouni al-Qadi. Ibn Hibban said, “A great liar! It is not permissible to make a mention of him in hadith except by the way of condemnation.” (Silsala Da’ifa wa Mawdu’a 4/411 No. 1936)
For the origin reference to Ibn Hibban’s statement about Isma’il bin Abi Ziyad al-Sakouni, See al-Majruhin 1/129 No. 50
As a statement of ‘Ali (ra):
According to Shu’b al-Iman of al-Baihaqi ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, mentioned almost the same while addressing the people in Kufa. Abu Wa’il reports that he heard him saying:
يُوشِكُ أَنْ لَا يَبْقَى مِنَ الْإِِسْلَامِ إِِلَّا اسْمُهُ، وَمِنَ الْقُرْآنِ إِِلَّا رَسْمُهُ …. مَسَاجِدُكُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَامِرَةٌ، وَقُلُوبُكُمْ وَأَبْدَانُكُمْ مُخَرَّبَةٌ مِنَ الْهوى، شَرُّ مَنْ تَحْتَ ظِلِّ السَّمَاءِ فُقَهَاؤُكُمْ، مِنْهُمْ تَبْدَأُ الْفِتْنَةُ، وَفِيهِمْ تَعُودُ “، فَقَامَ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ: فَفِيمَ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ؟ قَالَ: ” إِِذَا كَانَ الْفِقْهُ فِي رُذَّالِكُمْ وَالْفَاحِشَةُ فِي خِيَارِهِمْ، وَالْمُلْكُ فِي صِغَارِكُمْ فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ
“Soon nothing will remain of Islam except its name and of Quran except its script … In that day your mosques will be well furnished but your hearts and bodies will have no guidance. At that time the worst people under the sky will be your scholars, strife will originate with them and return to them.” A man stoop up and asked: “Why would this happen O Commander of the Faithful?” He said: “When the knowledge is the worst among you and when immorality spreads even amongst your best people and rule with the lowest amongst you, then the Doomsday will set in.” (Shu’b al-Iman, Hadith 1765)
Its chain of narrator is;
Al-Baihaqi – ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin ‘Abdan – Ahmad bin Abi Hassan Yahya bin Ahmad al-Dhibbi – Hafs bin Muhammad bin Najih al-Basri – Bishr bin Mihran – Sharik bin ‘Abdullah al-Nakhai’ – al-‘Amash – Abi Wa’il – ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him.
Just after giving the report through this chain, al-Baihaqi writes:
هَذَا مَوْقُوفٌ، إِسْنَادُهُ إِلَى شَرِيكٍ مَجْهُولٌ، وَالْأَوَّلُ مُنْقَطِعٌ وَاللهُ أَعْلَمُ
“This is mawquf. Its chain up to Sharik is ‘majhool’ (i.e. contains unknown narrators) and the first one (i.e. earlier narration) is ‘munqati’’ (i.e. interrupted) And Allah knows the best!”
Practically expounding the above, Dr. Abdul al-‘Aliy Abdul Hamid mentions that Ahmad bin Abi Hassan Yahya bin Ahmad al-Dhibbi and Hafs bin Muhammad bin Najih al-Basri are both unknown. About Bishr bin Mahran, al-Dhahbi quotes Ibn Abi Hatim as saying, “My father (i.e. Abu Hatim) rejected his narrations.” (Mizan al-A’itadal 1/325 No. 1224)
The same report is quoted in Kanzul ‘Ummal (Hadith 44217)
As to the words of al-Baihaqi,
“And the first one (i.e. earlier narration) is ‘munqati’’ (i.e. interrupted).”
It refers to the above discussed narration through ‘Ali –may Allah be pleased with him- attributing the words to the Messenger of Allah –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Another narration that Murabbis use comes from Nawadir al-Usool of Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. 320 A.H.).
It is narrated through Abu Umamah –may Allah be pleased with him. He said:
قَالَ رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم تكون فِي أمتِي فزعة فَيصير النَّاس إِلَى عُلَمَائهمْ فَإِذا هم قردة وَخَنَازِير
“The Messenger of Allah –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: Terror and dismay will appear in my Ummah. The people will turn to their scholars while they will be (like) monkeys and pigs.” (Nawadir al-Usool 2/609 Narration 860, Makteba al-Imam al-Bukhari, Cairo 2008)
With reference to Nawadir al-Usool it is quoted in Kanzul ‘Ummal (Hadith 38727), al-‘Ayni’s ‘Umdatul Qari (21/177) and al-Tadhkirah (1/1256) of al-Qurtubi.
The chain of narrators for this narration is;
Hakim al-Tirmidhi – ‘Umar bin Abi ‘Umar – Hisham bin Khalid al-Damishqi – Isma’il bin ‘Ayyash – Laith [bin Abi Salim] – Ibn Sabit – Abu Umamah – the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah.
This chain is full of problems.
In this report Ibn Sabit is reporting from Abu Umamah, while we find al-Mizi (d. 742 A.H.) quoting ‘Abbas al-Douri who said: Yahya [bin Ma’in] was asked, if ‘Abdul Rahman bin Sabit heard anything from Abu Umamah? He replied, “No!” (Tahdhib al-Kamal 17/125 No. 3822, Mo’assas al-Risalah, Beirut 1980)
About the other narrator Laith bin Abi Salim, it is to be noted that Imam Ahmad, Yahya bin Ma’in, Muhammad ibn Sa’d , Ibn Abi Shayba etc. all have mentioned that he is weak and not reliable. (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 8/468 No. 835, Da’ira al-Ma’arif al-Nizamiya, Hyderabad Deccan, 1326 A.H.)
As to the narrator ‘Umar bin Abi ‘Umar [al-‘Abdi al-Balkhi] al-Suyuti mentions that he is majhool.i.e. unknown. (al-La’ali al-Masnu’a 1/89, Dar al-Kutab al-‘Ilmiyya, Beirut 1996)
So clearly the chain is interrupted and weak.
And in the first place the fact that report actually comes from Hakim al-Tirmidhi’s Nawadir al-Usool only is enough to maintain that it does not deserve a serious consideration.
al-Suyuti in his introduction to Jami’ al-Kabir writes that whatever comes from Nawadir al-Usool (alone) is Da’if and this knowledge suffices to speak of its weakness. See Jami’ al-Ahadith 1/6 Makteba al-Shamela ed.
Let’s not forget Ahmadiyya have themselves recognized al-Suyuti as a Mujaddid of his century.
So we see the reality of the narrations they use. But still see, how brave these people are and with what audacity they attribute these reports to the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!
Status of ‘Ulama in Islam:
Much can be said about the high status that scholars (‘ulama) have in the House of Islam. But to keep the thing brief I will just quote one Hadith.
The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
إِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ
“Verily the ‘ulama are the successors of the prophets.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 3641)
This report has been classified as Sahih by Ibn Mulaqqan (d. 804 A.H.) in Badr al-Munir 7/587. Al-‘Ayni also authenticated in ‘Umdatul Qari 2/40. Albani and Shu’aib Arna’ut too authenticated it.
Scholars, vis-à-vis Ahmadiyya-Muslim dialogue:
Now we come to the real issue. Where do, according to the Hadith, the Muslim scholars stand in the debate between Muslims and the Ahmadiyya? And if at all the two narrations discussed at length are to be accepted, who is their prime subject?
Now the situation is, while the Muslim scholars stand for the ideas established for last 1400 plus years, Ahmadiyya claim that through Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani “new truth” has dawned upon them which was somehow hidden from the Muslims of the past centuries. To the Muslims this “new truth” is the real strife (fitna) and Muslims scholars are trying to defend their faith against this fitna.
In this backdrop, the following narration says a lot;
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” يَرِثُ هَذَا الْعِلْمَ مِنْ كُلِّ خَلَفٍ عُدُولُهُ , يَنْفُونَ عَنْهُ تَأْوِيلَ الْجَاهِلِينَ , وَانْتِحَالَ الْمُبْطِلِينَ , وَتَحْرِيفَ الْغَالِينَ
The Messenger of Allah –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: “In every successive century those who are reliable authorities will preserve this knowledge, rejecting the interpretations of the ignorant, lies of the treacherous and the corruption of the extremists.” (Sunan al-Kubra, Hadith 20911)
It is also quoted in Mishkat al-Masabih (Hadith 248). It has been classified as Sahih by Imam Ahmad, See al-‘Alai’s (d. 761 A.H.) Bughyah al-Multamis 1/35, ‘Alam al-Kutb, Beirut 1985
Shaykh Albani also classified it as Sahih in his research on Mishkat al-Masabih
The two narrations, if accepted, refer to the Murabbis:
This Hadith plainly established that in “every successive century” people with sound knowledge will protect it against all kinds of attacks. So who defends the truth now? Those who stick to and speak for the established beliefs that have been defended in “every successive century” or those who stand for the “newly dawned truth”?
This brings us to the simple plain conclusion that the so-called “newly dawned truth” is only a fitna. Therefore if by any means either of the above discussed two reports is to be considered- especially with reference Muslim-Ahmadiyya dialogue- they apply to the Ahmadiyya and not the Muslims. The murabbis are the subject of these narrations and not the Muslim ‘ulama.
One has to say; even if we agree with the Ahmadiyya interpretation how do they conclude does it not fall upon the murabbis as well?
Ahmadis basking upon these false narrations and running away from the real points of discussion, remind me of a narration attributed to the Holy Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Although it’s manifestly weak but aptly fits the murabbis narrative. It says:
“Soon you will see the devils from amongst the men. One of them would listen to a hadith and apply it to other than himself. And will thus delude people away from listening about the person about whom it is actually said.” (Kanzul ‘Ummal, No. 29125)
Indeed Allah knows the best!-