Hadith part 8: I have left amongst you two things ... the Book of Allah, and my Sunnah
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Here is a hadith that you hear on religious shows, in mosques or from ordinay people:
"I have left amongst you two things which, if you hold fast to them, you will never stray: the Book of Allah, and my Sunnah."

Many people stubbornly cling to this tradition just like the shia'a imamis stubbornly cling to hadith al-Thaqalayn. The fact is the former narration is known to be very weak and in fact a fabrication, while hadith al-thaqualayn is known to be strong and has been authenticated by many renowned scholars from Ahlul Sunnah and all of the scholars of Shia imamis.

This alleged hadith is not even reported in any of the six known Sihah of Ahlul Sunnah. There is one narration in Sirat ibn Hashim and one narration in Malik's Muwatta, both without any isnad (chain of transmitters). al-Hakim in his Mustadrak narrated it from an isnad containing ibn abi Owais, which al-Nisa'i treated as weak. Several scholars consider ibn abi Owais and his uncle unreliable narrators. If this narration bears such an importance, then why did not the six known Sihah of Ahlul Sunnah report it??? Is this not strange? However, these same sihah (excluding al-Bukhari) have reported hadith al-thaqalayn (hadith al-thaqalayn) from more than thirty companions with reliable isnads, and they all treated it as authentic. This fact cannot be overlooked. Below is a reminder of hadith al-Thaqalayn:

The messenger of Allah (pbuh&hf) said: "I am leaving for you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to BOTH of them you shall not go astray after me. They are, the Book of Allah, and my progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that These two shall not separate from each other till they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

So why would someone rely on a hadith that is considered weak by most of the scholars and reported in very few books while hadith al-thaqalayn has been proven to be authentic and reported in most of the books, including sahih Muslim.

The sad fact is that all the Muslims are now divided into several sects, each one convinced that it is adhering to the book of Allah and the true Sunnah of the prophet, and yet, they all differ from one another in their jurisprudence, creed and interpretation of the Quran!!! The truth is that the Ummah has gone astray because on one hand, they followed this weak and unreliable hadith and on the other hand, they failed to follow the authentic and reliable hadith of al-Thaqualayn which had warned them against straying off if they did not adhere to it.

Lets go one step further: Assuming that the tradition about the Quran and the Sunnah is true, who should we take the Sunnah from after the demise of the prophet? The companions or Ahlul Bayt? It is said we should take the Sunnah from the companions based on the following verse:

Quran 4:115
If anyone contends with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of Faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell,- what an evil refuge!

They argue that this verse refers to the companions (men of faith). I am quite sure that many of the companions are men of faith but not all:

  1. Many of them turned their back to religion after the demise of the prophet (more of this here):
    Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "While I was sleeping, a group (of my followers were brought close to me), and when I recognized them, a man came out from amongst (us) me and them, he said (to them), 'Come along.' I asked, 'Where?' He said, 'To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah' I asked, 'what is wrong with them' He said, 'They turned apostate as renegades after you left.' Then behold! (Another) group (of my followers) were brought close to me, and when I recognized them, a man came out from (me and them) he said (to them); Come along.' I asked, "Where?' He said, 'To the (Hell) Fire, by Allah.' I asked, What is wrong with them?' He said, 'They turned apostate as renegades after you left. So I did not see anyone of them escaping except a few who were like camels without a shepherd."
         Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 587, Book: ar-Riqaq; Page 1397, Number 6587 (Arabic version)

  2. Many of them envied and fought each others for the pleasures of this world (more of this here):
    Narrated 'Uqba bin 'Amr: The Prophet once came out and offered the funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud, and proceeded to the pulpit and said, "I shall be your predecessor and a witness on you, and I am really looking at my sacred Fount now, and no doubt, I have been given the keys of the treasures of the world. By Allah, I am not afraid that you will worship others along with Allah, but I am afraid that you will envy and fight one another for worldly fortunes."
          Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 795 - Virtues and Merits of the Prophet and his Companions - (English version)

  3. They fought each others (more of this here):
    like in the battle of the Camel and Siffin and Nahrawan: Narrated Jarir: The Prophet ordered me during Hajjatul-Wada'. "Ask the people to listen." He then said, "Do not become infidels after me by cutting the necks (throats) of one another."
         Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, #687, Book: al-Maghaazi; Page 915, #4405 (Arabic version)
         Musnad ibn Hanbal, v4,p366 [Entire book:(p1409,#19472)]; v4,p366 [Entire book:(p1409,#19473)]; v4,p358 [Entire book:(p1403,#19381)]

  4. Many of them introduced innovations to the religion (more of this here):
    Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "Some of my companions will come to me at my Lake Fount, and after I recognize them, they will then be taken away from me, whereupon I will say, 'My companions!' Then it will be said, 'You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you."
         Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 584 - To make the Heart Tender (ar-Riqaq) - (English version)
         Sahih Bukhari, Page 1396, Number 6582, Book: Ar-Riqaq - (Arabic version)
So would the prophet really tell us to take his Sunnah from the companions when they fought each others and differed with each others??? The fact is that the companions themselves did not have the answers to every issue that came up, including Abu Bakr and Umar. Abu Bakr himself admitted about his limitations:
Sa'id al-Musayyib reported: Abu Bakr said: "May Allah never put me in a situation where I can not have access to Abul Hasan (i.e., Ali) to solve a problem."
     Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition #1100
     al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39
     Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p48
     al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
     al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p194
     Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

Umar admitted the same thing:

Sa'id al-Musayyib reported: "Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to beg God to preserve him from a perplexing case which the father of al-Hasan was not present to decide." Furthermore Umar said: "If there was not Ali, Umar would have perished."
     Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition #1100
     al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39
     Manaqib, by al-Khawarizmi, p48
     al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
     al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2, p194
     Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171

The companions differed among themselves on many aspect of the Sunnah and on the interpretation of the Quran. Many of them chose to follow Ahlul Bayt because they believed Ahlul Bayt were the protectors of the Sunnah and the true interpreters of the Quran while others clung to the Caliphs. Allah did not elevate Ahlul Bayt above all mankind for no purpose. He purified Ahlul Bayt a perfect purification, He made them inherit the knowledge and wisdom of the prophet, He made loving them compulsory upon every faithful and He made them the Ark of Noah. The purpose was to make them equal to the Quran to protect the Ummah against fabrications and false interpretations.

Furthermore, Many of the companions introduced innovations to Islam. Do you call them MEN OF FAITH??? Much of the Sunnah has been taken from such companions and many of the narrations contradicted one another, which led us further astray! Do you need proof???

  1. Wudu: Some wiped their feet while others washed them. Some wiped their feet over their socks or their heads over their turban while others did not permit either one.
  2. Adhan: Some included the line "al-salat khayron minal nawm" while others did not because it was an addition. Some excluded "hayya a'ala khayroul a'amal" while others maintained because it was part of the adhan. Moreover, they even differed on its origins!!!
  3. Temporary marriage: Some deemed it a halal act even after the demise of the prophet while others deemed it haraam!!!, which led to hostilities between some companions, such as ibn abbas and ibn zubayr. Jabir ibn Abdullah, Abdullah ibn Masud, Abu Saeed, Muawiyah, Asma bine Abu Bakr, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Umro bin Harees, Salma bin Akwa deemed muta'a to be halal while Umar, ibn Zubayr and Uthman deemed it haram.
  4. Postration: Some prostrated on turbah (earth) while others prostrated on carpets and the like.
  5. Bismillah: Some omitted the bimillah from their prayers, thus invalidating them while others included it as it should be.
  6. Combining prayers: Some combined their prayers (dhur and a'asr, mughrib and i'isha) while others deemed it an invalid act!!
  7. Takbirat salat al-janazat: They even differed on how many takbirat (saying Allah Akbar) to say in salat al-janazat (prayer of the dead). Some repeated 4 times while others repeated it 5 times.
  8. Abu Bakr and Umar said that the prophets have no heir while Ali, Fatima, al-Hussein, al-Hassan and their supporters believed the contrary.
  9. Some believed that it is illegal to rebel against the ruler, but al-Hussein rebelled against Yazeed (a tyrant) and Mua'awiyah rebelled against a truthful ruler (Ali).
If the companions truly understood all the Sunnah of the prophet and the interpretation of the Quran, then why would we differ today and why would the companions contradict themselves??? For references about all these facts, please read the section about the companions and the caliphate.

So logically, this narration is unacceptable because the companions themselves differed on many aspects of the Sunnah. The muslim scholars have proven the strong authenticity of the hadith of al-thaqalayn that orders us to follow the Quran and the progeny of the prophet. Knowing the excellence and virtues of the members of Ahlul Bayt, there is no doubt that Allah has endowed them with the knowledge to explain the Quran and guide the muslims. The tradition of al-Thaqualayn has been accepted as authentic by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and many other Sunni scholars as well as the Twelvers Shiaa scholars.

As far as the second version that states "the Quran and my Sunnah", the chain of narrators have been proven to be a weak source by many reliable Sunnis scholars. Two members of the chain of narrators are Ismael bin Abi Owais from Abi Owais and are both considered unreliable narrators. Another chain of transmission is: Al-Zabee from Saleh bin Musa Al- talhe from Abdul-Aziz bin Rafia from Abi Saleh from Abu Huraira. Saleh bin Musa is also considered a weak source of hadith by many scholars. A third chain of transmission is:Abdul-Rahman bin yahya from Ahmad bin Saeed from Muhammed bin Ebrahim Al-Dbaili from Ali bin Zaid Al-fraedi from Al-hurairi from Katheer bin Abdulla bin Omar bin Auf from his father and from his grandfather. Imam Shafii and Abu Dawood (the author of Sunan of Abu Dawood, d.276 A.H.) consider Katheer bin Abdulla a liar. Moreover, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about Katheer bin Abdulla: "His traditions are rejected and he is not reliable".

This narration was reported in the following sources:

  1. In Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas: The narration is invalid because it had no isnad (no chain of transmitters).
  2. In Sirat ibn Hashim: The narration is also invalid because it had no isnad (no chain of transmitters).
  3. In Mustadrak al-Hakim al Nisaboori: He reported two isnads. The first chain of narrators contains Ismaiil bin Abi Owais, Abi Owais and leads to Abdullah ibn Abbas. Several renowned scholars have regarded Ismaiil and his father as weak narators and unreliable. Al-hakim has regarded this narration as strange and has acknowledged the version with the Ahlul Bayt as sahih. The second chain contains Saleh bin Musa Al-talhe and Ishaq bin Musa Al- talhe who are also weak and unreliable narrators in the view of renowned Sunni and Shia'a scholars.
  4. al-Bayhaqi in Sunnan al-Kubra: There are two narrations. One was transmitted by Saleh bin Musa Al-talhe and the other by Ishaq bin Musa Al- talhe. Both of them are weak and unreliable.
  5. ibn abdel-barr: Two isnads: the first one contains Saleh bin Musa Al-talhe, who we already rejected for obvious reasons. The second is Katheer ibn abdullah who is considered weak and unrelliable.
  6. The narration of al-Qaddi A'ayadd in al-Ilma'a: Narrated by Shua'ayb ibn Ibrahim: who is also considered an weak/unreliable narrator by many scholars.
  7. Sharh al-Jami'i al-sagheer by al-Suyuti: He reported it from Mustadrak al-Hakim which we have already discussed.
  8. Kanz al-U'ummal by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi: He reported the same narrations as some of the ones above, which are all unreliable.
One more thing: I wonder why the Sihah of Ahlul Sunnah (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and al-Nisa'i) did not report his narration!!!

They however reported the version of the narration with the Quran and Ahlul Bayt and treated it as authentic. For more info on the unauthenticity of this hadith, please read this research.

If many of the companions failed to correctly transmit to us their daily worship practices, then what should we say about the practices that they performed less frequently or ahadith that they refered to rarely?? What should we say about the authenticity of the Sunnah we refer to today??? How can we take the sunnah from people who had no consensus on the sunnah???

Is it not rational to say that the Sunnah can and should only be taken from those who have a thorough understanding of the Sunnah and the Quran? From those who transmit the Sunnah in the correct form without distorting it based on their own understanding?? Are not the Ahlul Bayt the true protectors of this Sunnah?? The prophet clearly told us where to take his Sunnah from: Ahlul Bayt, also known as Ahlul-Kisa' (Ali, Fatimah, al-Hassan and al-Hussein, and of course the prophet). The proven authentic tradition leaves no room for argument. It is clear and complete. For references, read the section on Ahlul Bayt and the Caliphate.

Please feel free to do a thorough research to convince yourself. Refer to the following page for a very detailed analysis of this narration.

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