Chain of Ḥadīth with Bābā Yūsuf al-Hirawī
Originally published on mathabah.org
Answered by Imam Mazhar Mahmood
I am a postgraduate student in the faculty of ḥadīth and am eagerly waiting to request my professors to give me permission in obtaining the famous sanad (chain of hadīth to Allāh’s Messenger peace and blessings upon him) consisting Bābā Yūsuf al-Hirawī who is said to have lived 300 years. Could you give me some information regarding this chain and it’s importance?
Thank you for your query. May Allāh facilitate success in your endeavors and increase your love for His dīn and it’s sciences. Āmīn!
As far as the chain consisting Bābā Yūsuf al-Hirawī is concerned, in today’s day and age, it consists of about 17-18 links from its carriers to Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him). It is said to be the shortest chain of ḥadīth leading to Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him).
Regarding the authenticity of this chain, the verdicts of the scholars of ḥadīth differ pertaining to Bābā Yūsuf al Hirawī. Some of which are found to be supportive of the idea that he never was 300 years old.
Presented below is a brief synopsis regarding the chain in discussion:
- The chain consisting Bābā Yūsuf al-hirawī is exclusive only to the ḥadīth collection of Abul-Fatḥ Al-tā’ūsī and not any other master of ḥadīth.
- A portion of the chain is as follows: ‘Muḥammad Murtadhā al-Zubaydī al-ḥusainī said, “Muḥammad bin Sinnah Al-Fulānī has rightfully given me permission (to be a part of this chain and also narrate it to others)”. The latter Shaykh said: “Aḥmed bin al-’Ajl has rightfully given me permission (to be a part of this chain and also narrate it to others)”. He narrates from al-Qutub al-Yamanī al-naharwālī, who narrates from al-Qutub al-Yamanī (i.e Muḥammad al-Naharwālī), who narrates from Abul-Fatḥ al-Tā’ūsī….’. When analyzing the aforementioned chain, we find that there’s a missing link (inqitā’) between “al-Qutub al-Yamanī (i.e Muḥammad al-Naharwālī) and Abul-Fatḥ al-Tā’ūsī”. To begin with, the latter had never even met the former to receive permission in narrating this chain. (Refer to: Mu’jam al-Mukhtas by al-Zubaydī: 793)
- A large portion of narrators in this chain are either individuals who are ambiguous, or are known, but have been scrutinized negatively and have been deemed as “weak narrators”.
- Al-Katānī (master in the field of ḥadīth sciences) says: “After extensive research regarding Bābā Yūsuf al-Hirawī, it is extremely difficult to conclude that he lived for 300 years (See Fahris al-Fahāris 2:955 for details)
Many contemporary scholars of ḥadīth have also refuted this chain and have deemed it as unauthentic.
Obtaining permission in narrating and conveying blessed tokens such as asānīd (chains of ḥadīth) should be limited to progressing in the love one has for Allāh and His Messenger (peace and blessings upon him), valuing the sentiments preserved by our religion; but should not become the prime objective of acquiring the knowledge of ḥadīth.
The purpose of these chains originally was to preserve the authentic words of Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him). This noble task of preservation has been fulfilled centuries ago by the rigorous efforts and sacrifices of early scholars of ḥadīth (may Allāh have mercy upon them).
Shaykh Muḥammad al-Awwāmah (leading scholar in the field of ḥadīth and close disciple of the great Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah) advised our graduating class regarding the topic of chains saying, “The essence of studying the sciences of ḥadīth is to acquire the merits which are contained in the blessed sentiments of Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him), coupled with practicing upon his life and example, and not to compile and gather various chains”.
Allāh Almighty Knows Best