This is a translation of an article which is a Q&A with Shaykh Hobbollah, original article here
What does it mean when a hadith is mu’tabar [reliable] ? And is a mu’tabar hadith a hujjah [proof] and a basis for acting on it?
And is the hadith that calls for increasing our insults against Ahlul bid’ah [people of innovation] authentic by sanad [chain of narrators] and by its matn [text] ? And what is its interpretation? And how do we implement it?
The mu’tabar hadith is the hadith that fulfills all the scientific and legal conditions required to make it a basis for acting upon and arrangement of scientific and practical results on it, and scholars differ in the conditions that need to be met to consider a hadith reliable, some of them look at the trustworthiness of the chain of narrators that connects to the infallible, and some of them do not consider this. And what I [Shaykh Hobbollah] consider personally – through fundamentalist research in this field – is that a hadith cannot be considered a hujjah nor mu’tabar unless it reaches the point of yaqeen [certainty] in the sudur [hearts] and reassurance in it, either because of its tawatur [being mass narrated] or the multiplicity of its paths, or by removing of the possibility of its fabrication and error by making the opposite [meaning of the hadith] possibility very low and rare, so there is no hujjiyah [probative force] in the khabar ahad [solitary report], and God knows best.
As for the hadith you referred to, it is narrated on the authority of the Prophet (sawa) as it was transmitted by Dawud b. Sarhan on the authority of Abi Abdallah (as), that he [the Imam] said:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “When you will find people of bid`ah [innovation] and doubt/suspicion after me, do baraa’ [disassociation] from them and increase in your insults [sabihim] to them, and oppose (them) and bring evidences against them so they may not become greedy in bringing fasaad [corruption] to Islam. You must warn people against them and do not learn their bid`ah [innovation]. Allah will write for you hasanaat [good deeds] for this, and will raise you darajaat [levels] in the next life.”Al-Kafi, vol 2, pg 375
And this hadith is sahih by its chain according to the rules of authenticating hadith, but according to me it is not mu’tabar [reliable]; because it is not possible to obtain confidence in its issuance, but rather its purpose is assumption, because it has only 1 chain and only 1 path, and it was singularly quoted by Shaykh al-Kulayni in Al-Kafi, and no one from the classical scholars transmitted this hadith except for him, not by a new path nor from him!!
Even if you looked into it, you will not find this hadith mentioned in the books of scholars, muhaditheen, jurists, and interpreters until the 10th century AH, and there is nothing that supports it to raise the possibility of its issuance, and this is the issue I have in discussing this hadith, and what will come in support of it, that’s without stating that it faces a clear opposition to the Qur’anic culture.
As for those who believe in the hujjiyah [probative force] of the speculative solitary report, this hadith is sahih [authentic] to them, and they are those who will demand an interpretation of the hadith and its application in practice, and there are discussions on the matn [content] in the face of this hadith, in two ways:
First view: This hadith contains the command to increase the insults towards the people of innovation so that they fall in the eyes of the people, and this means that it demands public insults, and there is no need for taqiyya.
Second view: It commands slandering them, and this text bears 2 meanings:
One of the meanings is where the meaning of slander is to lie about them by things they do not say, and to slander and defame on the tongue of Ahlul bid’ah so that they fall in the eyes of the people.
And the other meaning of slander, which al-Faydh al-Kashani chose in al-Wafi (vol 1, pg 245), and Allamah al-Majlisi in Bihar al-Anwar (vol 71, pg 204), and Sayed Ja’far Murtadha in Afla tadhkurun (pg 10), and others; that is, to argue and silence them, in the sense of refuting them and repelling them with what necessitates them becoming confused, and attacking them intellectually in a way that drops them and makes their minds fall.
As for the first view [we say to them]:
The Noble Quran says:
Allah does not like the public mention of evil except by one who has been wronged. And ever is Allah Hearing and Knowing.Quran – 4:148
So Allah does not like the public mention of evil remarks unless in the position of oppression, and this is related to al-sab [insulting] which is evil public remarks, unless we commit to takhsees.
As for the second view:
He, the Almighty, says:
[…] And do not let the hatred of a people for having obstructed you from al-Masjid al-Haram lead you to transgress. And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.Quran – 5:2
and the Almighty, says:
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.Quran – 5:8
And this is the Quranic reasoning against the culture of slandering mentioned in the hadith, based on the interpretation of “bahituhum” meaning, lying, defaming, and gossiping about them.
All this is supported by the presence of many texts that talk about the morals of the believer, and the attributes of the Prophet and his household, peace be upon them, and they indicate their lack of knowledge in such a way (the path of insulting), despite the many innovations that appeared in the first Islamic centuries according to the popular understanding, you can find in the hadith on the authority of Malik bin Anas, he describes Imam al-Sadiq (as):
My eyes did not see better than Ja’far bin Muhammed, virtue wise as well as knowledge and piety, and he was not without one of three characteristics: either fasting, or standing [in worship], or remembering [Allah], and he was one of the country’s great and great ascetics who fear their Lord […]Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol 3, pg 396
And it is stated in Nahjul Balgha that Imam Ali (as) heard some of the People of Iraq insulting the People of Sham during the days of the battle of Siffin, so he told them:
I dislike you starting to abuse them, but if you describe their deeds and recount their situations that would be a better mode of speaking and a more convincing way of arguing. Instead of abusing them you should say: ‘O Allah! Save our blood and their blood, produce reconciliation between us and them, and lead them out of their misguidance so that he who is ignorant of the truth may know it, and he who inclines towards rebellion and revolt may turn away from it.’Nahj al-Balagha, vol 2, pg 186
And Sayyid AbdulZahra al-Hussaini al-Khateeb in his investigation into the sources of the ahadith of Nahj al-Balagha where he states the following hadith:
The Commander of the Faithful (as) heard Hajar ibn Uday and Amr ibn al-Hamaq al-Khaza’i insulted the people of the Levant, so he called them and forbade them from that, and they said: O Commander of the Faithful, are we not upon haq [truth]?Masadir Nahj al-Balagha wa-Asaneedha, vol 3, pg 91-92
He said: Yes
They said: Are they not from the people of falsehood?
He said: Yes
They said: So why did you prevent us from insulting them?
He said: I hate for you to be sababeen [insulters]…
This was narrated before al-Radhi [author of Nahj al-Balagha] and by other transmitters, such as by:
- Abi Haneefa al-Daynuri in (al-Akhbar al-Tuwal, pg 155)
- Nasr bin Muzahim in the book (Siffin, pg 103)
- Ibn Abi al-Hadid in (Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol 1, pg 280)
- Sabad ibn al-Jawzi in (Tadhkirat al-Khuwas, pg 154)
Those who authenticate this hadith may say that this hadith has allowed insulting in the context of a plan that aims to remove people from the people of innovation, and the insulting that lacks this effect is not covered by this hadith, so any insult to the people of innovation and doubt that is not within this context is not covered by this prophetic hadith, and this means that the insult that leads to more people adhering to this innovator, or insulting others and the sanctities of the believer, or distorting the image of the believers without a result, will not be covered by this hadith either, the Almighty said:
And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.Quran – 6:108
And in the Sahih narration from Abi Baseer on the authority of Abi Ja’far (as) who said:
Once a man from the people of Tamim came to the Holy Prophet ﷺ and said, ‘Instruct me with good advice.’Al-Kafi, vol 2, pg 360 – Link
Of the good advice given to him was: ‘Do not revile people; it only earns their animosity against you.’
And in this context there is also a report from Ibn Abi Mahmood where he said:
“[…] O son of the Prophet of God! There are traditions with us about the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful (s) and the virtues of the Ahlulbayt which I do not observe in you. Should we believe in those traditions? The Imam (as) said: O Ibn Abi Mahmood! Our opponents have fabricated three types of traditions regarding our virtues which are of the following types: the first, Exaggeration (ghuluw), the second Belittling our affair, the third the announcement of the wickedness of our enemies, When the people hear their traditions exaggerating about us, they will make takfīr of our Shī’a and say that they believe in our divinity/lordship. If they hear their traditions belittling us, they will believe them. When they hear the wickedness of our enemies by name, they will slander us – the Members of the Holy Household – while Allah عز و جل has said ‘Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God in their ignorance….’” (6:108).‘Uyun akhbar al-Ridha (as), vol 1, pg 272
And for all these reasons it seems, Sayyid al-Khu’i went on to attach the permissibility of insulting and slandering of the people of innovation to the deterrence of evil and its prohibition that results from that. For the following text was stated in a religious inquiry of his:
Is it permissible to insult the people of innovation and doubt and to slander them and expose them?
al-Khu’i: If deterrence from evil results from that, then it is fine.Sirat al-Najat, vol 1, pg 447