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The Usul of the Sahabah


Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


Imām Abū Muḥammad al-Darimī (d.255H) transmits from ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (d.23H) who said:

A group of people will come and argue with you through the mutashabihat of the Qurʾān, so discuss with them using the Aḥadīth, for verily the people of the Sunnah are more knowledgeable of Allāh’s Book.[1]

Some have graded this report weak due to ʿAbdullāh b. Ṣāleḥ being Matrūk. It is not known whether he transmitted the report from his book or from memory. At the most, it can be said that he is weak which is agreed upon. The criticism of the Imams is light. This report has other supporting narrations i.e. Shawāhid. The chain is from ʿAbdullāh b. Ṣāleḥ – Layth b. Ṣa’d – Yazīd b. Abī Ḥabīb – ʿAmr b. al-Ashaj – ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb

Al-Ajurri: He cites this twice in his al-Sharīʿah with the following chain: From Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. Alawiyyah al-Qaṭṭān – ʿAṣim b. ʿAlī – al-Layth b. Ṣa’d – Yazīd b Abī Ḥabīb – Bakir b. ʿAbdullāh b. al-Ashaj – ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb.[2] All of the narrators are thiqah, however there is inqiṭāʿ between Bākir and ʿUmar. Here Bākir is the grandson of al-Ashaj, the son of ʿAbdullāh. We find ʿAṣim b. ʿAlī replaces ʿAbdullāh b. Ṣāleḥ and thus removing the potential weakness. Al-ʿAjurrī cites the report two times,[3] this narration in terms of the narrators is identical to the previous report. The second of the two,[4] has the following chain: Al-ʿAjurrī – Abū Bakr b. Abī Dāwūd – ʿIsā b. Ḥammād – Layth b. Ṣaʿd – Yazīd b. Abī Ḥabīb – Bākir b. al-Ashaj. In this chain ʿAbdullāh b. Ṣāleḥ again is replaced by ʿIsā b. Ḥammād and thus alleviating the concerns with ʿAbdullāh. Also of interest, the narrator is Bākir b. al-Ashaj and not what was mentioned in the previous report.

Al-Lalikā’ī: He transmits two reports,[5] here the report is also from ʿIsā b. Ḥammād, so ʿIsā supports ʿAbdullāh b. Ṣāleḥ. Al-Lalikā’ī cites another report with identical words from ʿAlī with al-Lalikā’ī reporting from ʿUbaydullāh b. Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-Muqrī – Muḥammad b. ʿAbdullāh b. Ibrāhīm – Muḥammad b. Khalf al-Marudhī – Mūsā b. Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad – ʿAlī (the exact same words as the report of ʿAlī)[6] However, this report is disconnected as two narrators are missing in the chain and thus Mūsā narrates Muʿadallan i.e. omits two narrators in the chain. Mūsā b. Jaʿfar is the great great grandson of ʿAlī and his lineage is Mūsā b. Jaʿfar b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. al-Ḥuṣayn b. ʿAlī. All of the narrators of this chain are trustworthy as was Mūsā b. Jaʿfar. So, he perhaps narrated through this chain but there is no clarification. Nonetheless, the wording is supported.

ʿUmar or ʿAmr al-Ashaj or al-Ashj’a: There is contention as to who the exact narrator is and the discussion is as follows. At times it is reported via al-Ashaj and at times through al-Ashj’a. Some have alleviated this issue and have put forward the view that the narrator is ʿAmr b. al-Aswad who was from the same tabaqah of ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb, and he was a Mukhdaram and from those who narrated from ʿUmar. Ibn al-Baṭṭah and Ibn ʿAbdul Barr also transmits it[7] who leaned towards its authenticity.


[1] al-Dārimī, no.121, page 240, ed. al-Darānī (KSA: Dār al-Mughnī, 1421/2000), another

[2] al-Sharīʿah, no.99 page 175, ed. al-Walīd al-Naṣr, (Doha: Mu’assah Qurṭubah, 1417/1996).

[3] al-Sharīʿah, no.107 page 180.

[4] al-Sharīʿah, no.108 page 181.

[5] Sharḥ Uṣūl al-Eiʿtiqād, 1:118 no.202, ed. Nashat b. Kamal al-Misri, (Dar al-Basirah-Alexandria / Dar al-Athar – San’a, 1422/2001).

[6] Sharḥ Uṣūl al-Eiʿtiqād, 1:118 no.203.

[7] al-Ibānah, no.83-84; Jām’e Bayān, no.1927.

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