Umar radiallah anhu said. Knowledge is not linked with young age or older age but rather Allaah places it wherever he wishes. And wakee said. A man cannot become a scholar until he hears takes from someone who is above him in age equel to him in age and lower than him in age.
هذه طريقة الإمام أحمد على ما ذكره البيهقي في مناقبه وغيره .
The above passage has been taken verbatim from Adab al-Shari’ah of Ibn Muflih
These reports are general and show the virtue of knowledge and the seeker. It is also more specific to the narrating of hadith, as mentioned before this all from the time of the salaf, the affair of the later times is different based on the clear text and an authentic hadith, as numerous researchers have mentioned,
Abu Umayyah narrates the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) was asked concerning the signs of the hour. To which he replied, “When knowledge is taken from the younger ones (Asaghir)” (Tabarani, Mu’ajam al-Kabir (22/362), Haithami, al-Majma’a (1:135), Ibn Mubarak, al-Zuhd (no,61), Lalika’i, Sharh Usul al-Ei’tiqad Ahl al-Sunnah (1:102), Abu Amr al-Dani, al-Fitan (2:62), Ibn Abdul Barr, Jam’e Bayan al-Ilm Wa Fadlihi (1:612 no.1051-1052), al-Harawi, Dhamm al-Kalam (2:137), Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi, al-Ilm (2:16), Ibn Mandah, al-Ma’rifah (2:220). The Hadith is Hasan.
The following was presented
روى الخلال من حديث عبد الرزاق عن معمر عن الزهري قال : قال عمر رضي الله عنه إن العلم ليس عن حداثة السن ولا قدمه ، ولكن الله تعالى يضعه حيث يشاء
This report has been cited in
Ibn Muflih in Adab al-Shari’ah (2:110-111),
Who devoted a whole chapter in seeking knowledge from those younger in age and all of the examples he gives are of the Salaf, the same salaf who have been blessed from Wahi.
This report is weak, it is via Zuhri who said Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said, however there is inqita ie disconnection in the chain as Zuhri did not meet Umar, and hence the narration is rendered to be weak, it is clearly at the very least a maqtu narration and not mawquf. It is not even authentic to Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu).
It is also general, in fact very general and totally contrary to the points we mentioned that is safer and sound to refer back to the major scholars of this era without taking anything away from the younger student of knowledge, who no doubt possess knowledge. This statement can be understood further that Allah can place knowledge any where he wishes to do so. So much so even to the shaytan, in reference to Ayah al-Kursi. The point of referring to the older scholars as Ulama and Shaikhs is the point of contention. The scholars of the past were known for their knowledge the issue is in our time when everyone is given the title of Shaikh, even to someone who is 32 years old is something to think about without being stubborn.
It also opposes what Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said, “The most truthful speech is the speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam). The worst of the affairs are the newly invented matters – innovations. “The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they take knowledge from their senior ones.” (Jam’e Bayan al-Ilm Wa Fadlihi (1:615 no.1054). Its chain authentic and its narrators are trustworthy.
يشاء وقال وكيع : لا يكون الرجل عالما حتى يسمع ممن هو أسن منه ومن هو مثله ومن هو دونه في السن . هذه طريقة الإمام أحمد على ما ذكره البيهقي في مناقبه وغيره
Ibn Muflih in Adab al-Shari’ah (2:110-111),
Al-Jame al-Akhlaq al-Rawi (2:322)
Fath al-Bari (1:479)
I looked through two editions Imam Baihaqi’s Manaqib of Imam al-Shafi’i which is printed in 2 volumes 1390H / 1970, Dar al-Turath, Cairo, ed. al-Sayyid Ahmad Saqar but was unable to find it which does not suggest it is not in there, but I was not able to find and it maybe possible that it was circulated from Ibn Muflih like this.
It also is a maqtu report, ie from a Tabi. The understanding of the report of Waki is pertaining to memorising hadith, its virtue and transmitting them, and has nothing to with the title of Shaikh or who a real Shaikh is or their characteristics not even the age. It is specific to the narration of hadith and this again was specific to the early times just before the time of codification of the hadith. see Maha bint Salim bin Salimm al-Harbi Masters Thesis at Umm al-Qurra titled, Waki bin al-Jarrah Marwiyat Fi’l Tafsir (1:88)
Hafiz Ibn Hajr also shows this understanding in his Fath al-Bari (1:479) in the ranks of the Mashaikh, writing and narrating hadith from them, He brings the maqtu report of Waki, and again it has nothing to do with the age of the scholars except but the narration of ahadith from anyone who was a narrator, whatever their age. The specifically mentioned young ones because they would sit in the circles of the muhadithin at young ages and would thus memorise and preserve the ahadith at younger ages and then narrate them through out their lives as they got older. This is the understanding of both maqtu reports and not what has been presented.
Lastly these reports, which are firstly maqtu, with one being disconnected, both oppose the marfu hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) and hence there is no comparison.
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