A simple, straightforward and detailed list, in two sections:
Section 1 is quotes of scholars who rejected Thann (holds the possibility of uncertainty) in matters of Aqeeda (unanimously agreed upon on by all scholars and schools of thought); and
Section 2 is quotes of scholars who identified Ahad Hadith as Thann (containing the possibility of doubt) and therefore did not take it into matters Aqeeda.
The word Thann is technical term that is difficult to translate into English. Therefore I will use the word "Thann" throughout the translations and be aware that it means: "Most likely correct without reaching 100% certainty, containing the possibility of error." On the other hand, "'Ilm," "Yaqeen," and "Qat'iee" all mean 100% unquestionable certainty, containing absolutely no possibility of error.
Section #1- Rejecting Thann in Matters of Aqeeda
- Abu Mansur Al-Maaturidi (853-944 CE):
"Therefore it (Ahad Hadith) is not an evidence in matters of Aqeeda, because it (Aqeeda) is only built upon knowledge that is absolutely certain ('Ilm Qat'iee); Ahad narrations only reach likely knowledge and most-likely Thann, not absolute certainty in knowledge ('Ilm Qat'iee)."
- Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (950-1013 CE):
"Ahad narrations are not accepted in rational ('Aqli) matters, or in the Usul of the Aqeeda, or in anything that is requires certainty in knowledge ('Ilm)."
- Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (1214-1273 CE):
"This is not a matter of man's actions, where Thanni evidences are sufficient, rather this is a matter of Aqeeda and only absolutely certain (Qat'iee) evidences are sufficient here."
- Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani (1372-1449 CE):
"What is apparent from the behavior of Al-Bukhari in The Book of Tawhid is that he directed the Ahadith that spoke of Divine Attributes in categories supported by Aya, to indicate that the descriptions are not from Ahad narrations (alone), in order to avoid them being rejected as evidence in matters of Aqeeda."
- Badr Al-Deen Al-Ayni (1360-1453 CE):
"Al-Bukhari mentioned these things in order to make it clear that Ahad narrations are only used in actions, not in Aqeeda."
Section #2: Ahad Hadith are Thanni
- Imam Abu Hanifa (699-767 CE): It was known that he rejected Ahad Hadith if it conflicted with Qiyas
- Imam Malik (711-795 CE): It was known that he would reject Ahad Hadith if it conflicted with Amal Ahl Al-Madinah (the actions of the people of Madinah)
- Imam Al-Shafi'iee (767-820 CE): Ibn Abdul-Barr (978-1071 CE)
"Our companions (in our school of thought) disagreed with others regarding the narration of an Ahad just narrator (meaning a Sahih Hadith): Does it reach certainty in knowledge ('Ilm) and require implementation in actions at the same time? Or does it only require implementation in actions, but does not reach certainty in knowledge ('Ilm)? The majority of scholars agreed that it only requires actions and does not reach certainty in knowledge ('Ilm) and this is the opinion of Imam Al-Shafi'iee and the majority of the people of Fiqh and opinion."
- Imam Ahmad (780-855 CE): Ibn Qudama (1146-1223 CE) said
"There are differing narrations whether our Imam (referring to Imam Ahmad?, rahimahullah, accepted that certainty in knowledge ('Ilm) is achieved through Ahad narrations. It was narrated of him that it ('Ilm) is not achieved through it (an Ahad narration) and this is the opinion of the majority and latter scholars from our (school of thought), because we know, by necessity, that we do not believe everything we hear and if it (Ahad) reached certainty, then it would not have been acceptable for there to be two conflicting reports, because it is impossible to reconcile between two opposites."
- Imam Al-Bukhari (810-870 CE):
"An Ahad narration is most likely (accurate) and requires implementation in actions (only), because it does not establish certainty (Yaqeen) with certainty (Yaqeen)"
- Abu Mansur Al-Maaturidi (853-944 CE):
"And the ruling on it - meaning an Ahad narration - is that it must be implemented in actions, but does not reach certainty in knowledge ('Ilm)."
- Abu Al-Faraj Al-Isfahani (897-967 CE):
"A narration that is narrated of the Messenger is either Mutawatir or Ahaad. It is impossible for a Mutawatir narration to contain a lie, whereas there is no doubt that some of the Ahad narrations are lies."
- Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (950-1013 CE):
"Know, may Allah give you success, that Ahad narrations cannot be accepted in any topic that requires certainty in knowledge ('Ilm)."
- Imam Al-Haramain Al-Juwaini (1028-1085 CE):
"An Ahad narration obligates implementation in actions, but does not obligate certainty in knowledge ('Ilm), due to the possibility of error in it."
- Muhammed Al-Sarkhasi (-1096 CE):
"The scholars of the various lands, may Allah have mercy on them, said: The narration of a single (Ahad) trustworthy narrator is proof for actions in the Din, but do not establish certainty in knowledge ('Ilm Al-Yaqeen)."
- Abu Hameed Al-Ghazaali (1058-1111 CE):
"Ahad narrations do not establish certainty ('Ilm) and this is known by necessity, for we do not believe everything we hear. If we accepted, yet questioned, two narrations that have differences, how can we accept wholly contradictory narrations? As for what some people have narrated of the scholars of Hadith who said that it (Ahad) reaches certainty in knowledge ('Ilm), it is likely they meant that it reaches certainty in knowledge that a particular action is Wajib."
- Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Arabi (1076-1148 CE
"Some said: Ahad narrations - similar to Mutawatir narrations - establish certainty in knowledge ('Ilm) as well as necessitate implementation in actions. They fell into this confusion for one of two reasons: Either they are ignorant of what 'Ilm is, or they are ignorant of what an Ahad narration is. We know, by necessity, that certainty ('Ilm) cannot be reached through Ahad Hadith and it is accepted that these narrations can include lies and errors from the narrators."
- Al-Qadi 'Iyadh (1083-1149 CE), the Maliki scholar, rejected the Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari due to it conflicting with Amal Ahl Al-Madinah (the actions of the people of Madinah)
- Muhammed Fakhr Al-Deen al-Razi (1148-1210 CE):
"As for Naql (unseen knowledge known through Islamic texts), these are either known through Mutawatir or Ahad narrations. The former establishes certainty in knowledge ('Ilm) and the latter establishes Thann."
- AliIbn Al-Atheer (1160-1233 CE):
"Ahad narrations do not establish certainty in knowledge ('Ilm), but we worship (in actions) based on it."
- Al-Izz Ibn Abdul-Salam (1181-1262 CE
"It is narrated of the Mu'tazila that if the Umma agrees to act upon a Hadith, this must mean it is absolutely certain (Qat'iee) in authenticity and this is a poor/inferior opinion."
- Abu Abdullah Al-Qurtubi (1214-1273 CE:
"Most of the Ahkam of the Shari'a are established based on what is most likely (Ghalabat Al-Thann), such as Qiyas, Ahad narrations and others."
- Abu Zakariyya Nawawi (1233-1277 CE):
"As for Ahad narrations, they are the narrations that do not fulfil the conditions of Mutawatir, regardless of whether the narrator is singular or more and there is difference of opinion on this matter. The majority of Muslims, including the Sahaba, the Tabi'een and those that followed them from among the scholars of Hadith, Fiqh and Usul, agreed that the singular (Ahad) narration of a trustworthy narrator is an evidence in the Shari'a and requires actions, but only establishes Thann, not certainty in knowledge ('Ilm)."
- Shihab Al-Deen Al-Qaraafi (1228-1285 CE
"Ahad narrations only establish Thann."
- ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328 CE:
"Even though it (an Ahad narration) only establishes Thann, if it is accepted unanimously by the scholars of Hadith to be truthful, it reaches the status of Ijma of the scholars."
[Note: he clearly says that Ahad narrations only reach the level of Thann on their own and there must be Ijma of all the scholars of Hadith on that particular narration for it to reach certainty, which is also the opinion of Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Salah, Ibn Hajar and others]
- Muhammed Abu Zahra (1898-1974 CE):
"Ahad narrations only establish Thanni, most-likely knowledge and do not establish absolute certainty in knowledge ('Ilm Qat'iee), since the connection of the narration to the Prophet has some doubt in it."
- Imam Taqiuddin Al-Nabahani (1909-1977 CE:
"(An Ahad narration) is that which was narrated by a number of narrators whose numbers do not reach the level of Mutawatir in all three generations (Sahaba, Tabi'een, Tabi' Tabi'een) - and nothing past those three generations are taken into account. It (Ahad) only establishes Thann and does not reach Yaqeen."
It is important to understand is that the opinion of not taking Ahad into Aqeeda is a well-known and very common opinion among the classical scholars. The opinion of taking Ahad into Aqeeda is a minority opinion and is clearly weaker according to all the above scholars.
Attached below are few screenshots of the original Arabic quotes directly from the books of these scholars, as well as translation of those quotes below. I have also included links to online copies books themselves (they are waqfeya.com links, so they are safe) for people who wish to read the full chapters on the topics.1- Ibn Hazm: "The Hanafis, the Shafi'iees, the majority of the Malikis and all of the Mu'tazila and Khawaarij all said that Khabar Ahaad (Ahaad Hadith) is not taken as 'Ilm."
Great answers start with great insights. Content becomes intriguing when it is voted up or down - ensuring the best answers are always at the top.
Questions are answered by people with a deep interest in the subject. People from around the world review questions, post answers and add comments.
Be part of and influence the most important global discussion that is defining our generation and generations to come