Qadi ‘Iyyad and the science of hadith
I recently came across the following short article at the English site of Islam Today (http://en.islamtoday.net/) on the book al-Shifa by Qadi ‘Iyyad rahimahullah.
“What is your opinion about the book al-Shifâ’ by al-Qâdî `Iyâd?
Answered by Sheikh Khâlid Husayn
This book is a valuable book on the subject of the Prophet’s virtues, though had it some weak and false hadîth in it.
This is the statement of Imam Shams al-Dîn al-Dhahabî in his immense biographical encyclopedia entitled Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’. In his biographical entry on al-Qâdî `Iyâd (20/212-216), he writes: “His writings are valuable and one of his best works would have been his book al-Shifâ’ had it not been filled with fabricated hadîth.”
This Imam has no experience or knowledge in the science of hadîth. May Allah reward him for his good intention and let people benefit from his book al-Shifâ’. It has proven useful for many people.
It includes some far-fetched interpretations. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) is sufficiently praised by the Qur’ân and the authentic hadîth. We have no need for false hadîth.
It is better to read Dalâ’il al-Nubuwwah by al-Bayhaqî instead. Though it also contains weak hadîth, Imam al-Bayhaqî has done good job by providing the chains of transmission for them so that the student of knowledge may refer to hadîth books and determine the strength and weakness of the hadîth for himself. This is not the case with al-Shifâ’.
And Allah knows best.”
One of the statements in the article -by this to me unknown shaykh- struck me: “This Imam has no experience or knowledge in the science of hadith.” This is completely incorrect and one wonders where and with whom this so called ‘shaykh’ has studied and what his knowledge of this science is. He obviously has no idea about who Qadi ‘Iyyad rahimahullah is. Every serious and beginning student of (the science of) hadith can easily refute this statement based on the following grounds:
1. Although may be not one of the top scholars in the field Qadi ‘Iyyad was a great muhaddith (hadith scholar).
2. Qadi ‘Iyyad wrote a detailed book on the science of hadith “Al-Ilma’ ila Ma’rifah Usul ar-Riwayah wa Taqyidi as-Sama’a” which shows his mastery of this science. This is one of the major (and relatively early) works in this science. This book has almost 500 pages. This book has been taught online by shaykh Hassan al-Kittani of Cordoba Academy in English.
3. Qadi ‘Iyyad wrote an extensive commentary on Sahih Muslim, which served as a basis for the commentary of imam al-Nawawi on Sahih Muslim. His commentary –with the title Ikmal al-Mu’lim bi Fawa’id Muslim- shows his extensive knowledge in the field of hadith. Next to this he wrote the book Mashâriq al-Anwâr `alâ Sihâh al-Âthâr, which explains ambiguous terms in the Sahihayn and the Muwatta. This work also shows his erudition in the field of hadith. His work al-Tanbihat al-Mustanbata ‘ala al-Kutub al-Mudawwana wa al-Mukhtalitah also attests to this, which consists of notes on the Maliki mother books al-Muddawanah and al-Mukhtalitah. He also wrote a work about the lessons which can be extracted from the famous hadith of Umm Zar’ with the title: Bughyat Ar-Râ’id limâ fî Hadîth Umm Zar` Min Fawâ’id.