1. Mutawatir, as declared by many scholars, including Ibn Taimiyyah, al-Suyuti, Najm al-Din al-Iskandari (d. 981) and al-'Ijlouni (d. 1162). About this hadith, al-Daraqutni said, "It is the most authentic one regarding the virtues of any surah." It is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.
2. The following is the sahih hadith of al- Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ibn 'Asakir: "Verily, Allah has Ninety-Nine Names which if a person safeguards them, he will enter the Garden." In some narrations of this hadith found in al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others, the names are listed at the end; however, at least three different listings are given, e.g. one list being, "He is Allah, besides whom there is no other deity, the Merciful, the Compassionate, ..., the Forbearing" while another is "Allah, the Unique, the Absolute, ..., the One who has nothing like unto Him." It is agreed that these latter narrations are da'if, and this is why al-Bukhari and Muslim did not include them in their Sahihs. Al-Tirmidhi says in his Sunan, "This (version of the) hadith is gharib; it has been narrated from various routes on the authority of Abu Hurairah, but we do not know of the mention of the Names in the numerous narrations, except this one." Ibn Taimiyyah says, "Al-Walid (one of the narrators of the hadith) related the Names from (the saying of) one of his Syrian teachers ... specific mention of the Names is not from the words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), by the agreement of those familiar with Hadith."87 Ibn Kathir says in his Tafsir, under verse 180 of Surah al- A'raf, that these narrations are mudraj. Ibn Hajar takes a similar view in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari. Various scholars have given different lists of 99 Names from their study of the Qur'an and Sunnah, including Ja'far al- Sadiq, Sufyan b. 'Uyainah, Ibn Hazm, al-Qurtubi, Ibn Hajar and Salih b. 'Uthaimin.
3. Ibn Taimiyyah says, "It is not from the words of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and there is no known isnad for it, neither sahih nor da'if"; al-Zarkashi (d. 794), Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti and others agreed with him. Al-Qari says, "But its meaning is correct, deduced from the statement of Allah, I have not created the Jinn and Mankind, except to worship Me, i.e. to recognise/know me, as Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) has explained." These statements are mentioned by al-'Ijlouni, who adds, "This saying occurs often in the words of the Sufis, who have relied on it and built upon it some of their principles."88
4. Al-'Ijlouni says, "Al-Saghani (d. 650) said: Maudu'. I say: But its meaning is correct, even if it is not a hadith." no. 2123. 'Ali al- Qari says, "But its meaning is correct, for al- Dailami has related from Ibn 'Abbas as marfu': 'that Jibril came to me and said: O Muhammad! Were it not for you, the Garden would not have been created, and were it not for you, the Fire would not have been created', and in the narration of Ibn 'Asakir: 'Were it not for you, the world would not have been created'." Al- Albani also quotes al-Saghani's verdict, and comments on al-Qari's words thus, "It is not appropriate to certify the correctness of its meaning without establishing the authenticity of the narration from al-Dailami, which is something I have not found any of the scholars to have addressed. Personally, although I have not come across its isnad, I have no doubt about its weakness; enough of an indication for us is that al-Dailami is alone in reporting it. As for the narration of Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn al-Jauzi also related it in a long marfu' hadith from Salman and said, 'It is maudu', and al-Suyuti endorsed this in al-La'ali."89
5. Sahih - related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
6. Al-'Ijlouni says, "Al-Ghazali mentioned it in Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din with the wording, Allah says, "Neither My heaven nor My earth could contain Me, but the soft, humble heart of my believing slave can contain Me." Al-'Iraqi said in his notes on Al-Ihya', "I do not find a basis (i.e. isnad) for it", and al-Suyuti agreed with him, following al-Zarkashi. Al-'Iraqi then said, "But in the hadith of Abu 'Utbah in al-Tabarani there occurs: ... the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of His righteous slaves, and the most beloved to Him are the softest and most tender ones." Ibn Taimiyyah said, "It is mentioned in the Israelite traditions, but there is no known isnad from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) for it." Al-Sakhawi said in Al- Maqasid, following his shaykh al-Suyuti in Al- La'ali, "There is no known isnad from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) for it, and its meaning is that his heart can contain belief in Me, love of Me and gnosis of Me. But as for the one who says that Allah incarnates in the hearts of the people, then he is more of an infidel than the Christians, who specified that to Christ alone. It seems that Ibn Taimiyyah's mention of Israelite tradition refers to what Ahmad has related in Al-Zuhd from Wahb b. Munabbih who said that Allah opened the heavens for Ezekiel until he saw the Throne, so Ezekiel said, 'How Perfect are You! How Mighty are You, O Lord!' So Allah said, 'Truly, the heavens and the earth were too weak to contain Me, but the soft, humble heart of my believing slave contains Me'." He also quoted from al- Zarkashi's writing that one of the scholars said that it is a false hadith, fabricated by a renegade (from the religion), and that it is most-often quoted by a preacher to the masses, 'Ali b. Wafa, for his own purposes, who says at the time of spiritual rapture and dance, "Go round the House of your Lord." He further said that al-Tabarani has related from Abu 'Utbah al- Khawlani as marfu', "Truly, Allah has vessels from amongst the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his righteous slaves, and the most beloved of them to Him are the softest and most tender ones"; in its isnad is Baqiyyah b. al-Walid, a mudallis, but he has clearly stated hearing the hadith."90 Al-Albani rates this last hadith mentioned as hasan.91
7. Al-Nawawi said, "It is not established." Ibn Taimiyyah said, "Maudu'." Al-Sam'ani said, "It is not known as marfu', but it is quoted as a statement of Yahya b. Mu'adh al-Razi." Al- Suyuti endorsed al-Nawawi's words, and also said, "This hadith is not authentic." Al- Fairozabadi said, "It is not a Prophetic statement, although most of the people think it is a hadith, but it is not authentic at all. In fact, it is only related in the Israelite traditions: O Man! Know yourself: you will know your Lord." Ibn al-Gharas said, after quoting al-Nawawi's verdict, "... but the books of the Sufis, such as Shaykh Muhi al-Din Ibn 'Arabi and others, are filled with it, being quoted like a hadith." Ibn 'Arabi also said, "This hadith, although it is not proved by way of narration, is proved to us by way of Kashf ('unveiling', while in a trance)."92 Regarding this methodology, al-Albani says, "Authenticating ahadith by way of Kashf is a wicked innovation of the Sufis, and depending upon it leads to the authentication of false, baseless ahadith ... This is because, even at the best of times, Kashf is like opinion, which may be right or wrong - and that is if no personal desires enter into it! We ask Allah to save us from it, and from everything with which He is not pleased."93
8. Sahih. Related by Malik in Al-Muwatta', al- Shafi'i in Al-Risalah (p. 110, Eng. trans.) and Muslim (1:382; Eng. trans. 1:272). This was the first of two questions which the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) put to a slave-girl to test her faith, the second one being, "Who am I?" She answered, "Above the heaven" and "You are the Messenger of Allah" respectively, to which he said, "Free her, for she is a believer." Her first answer, which is found in the Qur'an (67:16-17, the word fi can mean 'above/on', as in 6:11, 20:71 & 27:8), means that Allah is above and separate from His creation, not mixed in with it, the erroneous belief which leads to worship of creation.
9. Maudu', as stated by al-Saghani and others. Scholars differ as to whether its meaning is correct or not, in what way, and to what extent.94 It is sometimes used to justify divisive, anti- Islamic nationalism and patriotism!
10. Sahih. Related by Malik as mursal/mu'allaq/balaghat (depending on choice of terminology), and related twice as musnad by al- Hakim. The meaning of the hadith is contained in the Qur'an, in the mention of the Book and Wisdom (2:129, 2:151, 2:231, 3:164, 4:113, 33:34 & 62:2); al-Shafi'i says, "I have heard the most knowledgeable people about the Qur'an say that the Wisdom is the Sunnah" (Al-Risalah, Eng. trans., p. 111).
11. Sahih. Related by al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Abi 'Asim, al-Hakim, al-Tabarani, al-Dailami and al-Tahawi.95 The phrase Ahl al-Bayt (members of the house) refers: (i) primarily to the Prophet's wives (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), from the clear context of the relevant verse of the Qur'an (33:33); (ii) to 'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan & Husain, from the "hadith of the garment" (cf. Sahih Muslim, Book of the Virtues of the Companions). It is imbalanced and unjust to exclude either of these categories from the hadith.
12. A sahih hadith related by Abu Dawud, al- Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah & Ahmad, and well-known amongst the people. The fullest narration is, "Abu Bakr will be in the Garden; 'Umar will be in the Garden; 'Uthman will be in the Garden; 'Ali will be in the Garden; Talhah will be in the Garden; al-Zubair will be in the Garden; 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf will be in the Garden; Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas will be in the Garden; Sa'id b. Zaid will be in the Garden; Abu 'Ubaidah b. al-Jarrah will be in the Garden."
13. Related by Ishaq b. Rahawaih and al-Baihaqi with a sahih isnad as a statement of 'Umar. It is also collected by Ibn 'Adi and al-Dailami from Ibn 'Umar as marfu', but in its isnad is 'Isa b. Abdullah, who is weak. However, it is strengthened by another narration of Ibn 'Adi, and also supported by the hadith in the Sunan that a man saw in a dream that Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was weighed against Abu Bakr, and was found to be heavier; then Abu Bakr was weighed against everyone else ...96
14. Related by al-Hakim, al-Tabarani and others. It is also related by al-Tirmidhi with the wording, "I am the House of Wisdom, and 'Ali is its Door". Al-Daraqutni labelled the hadith as mudtarib, both in isnad and text; al-Tirmidhi said it is gharib and munkar; al-Bukhari said that it has no sahih narration; Ibn Ma'in said that it is a baseless lie. Similar dismissals of the hadith are reported from Abu Zur'ah, Abu Hatim and Yahya b. Sa'd. Al-Hakim declared the original hadith as sahih in isnad, but Ibn al- Jauzi regarded both versions as maudu', and al- Dhahabi agreed with him. Several of the later scholars, including Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar al-Makki and al-Suyuti declared it hasan due to its various routes of narration. Al- 'Ijlouni says, "... none of this devalues the consensus of the Adherents to the Sunnah from the Companions, the Successors and those after them, that the best of the Companions overall is Abu Bakr, followed by 'Umar ...", and quotes this view from Ibn 'Umar and 'Ali himself, as recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari.97 Al-Albani declares the hadith to be maudu'.98
15. A da'if or maudu' hadith, as stated by Ahmad b. Hanbal, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Bazzar and many others. Ibn Hazm states that not only is the isnad unsound, but the hadith cannot be true for two further reasons: (i) the Companions were not infallible, and hence made mistakes, so it would be wrong to say that following any of them leads to guidance; (ii) the comparison with the stars is wrong, for not every star guides one through every journey! There is a different, authentic comparison with the stars given in Sahih Muslim: the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "The stars are the custodians of the sky, so when the stars depart, there will come to the sky what is promised for it (i.e. on the Day of Judgment). I am the custodian of my Companions, so when I depart, there will come to my Companions what is promised for them (i.e. great trials and tribulations). My Companions are the custodians for my Ummah, so when my Companions depart, there will come to my Ummah what is promised for it (i.e. schisms, spread of innovations, etc.)." (4:1961, Eng. trans. IV:1344)
16. No isnad exists for this hadith: al-Subki (d. 756) said, "It is not known to the scholars of Hadith, and I cannot find an isnad for it, whether sahih, da'if, or maudu'." It, along with the previous one, is often used to justify the following two extremes: (i) blind following of the views of men, with no reference to the Qur'an and Sunnah; (ii) conveniently following whichever scholar holds the easiest view, or that most agreeable to one's desires, again without reference to the fundamental sources.
17. Numerous narrations of this hadith are found in the collections of Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, Ahmad and others: they vary in being sahih, hasan, or da'if, but the hadith is established. Among those who have authenticated this hadith are al-Tirmidhi, al- Hakim, al-Shatibi, Ibn Taimiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Hajar and al-'Iraqi. Most narrations mention the splitting-up of the Jews and the Christians into seventy-one or seventy-two sects, all being in the Fire except one, prior to mention of the Muslims dividing even more. In some of the narrations, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) describes the Saved Sect variously as "the Jama'ah (community, congregation, main body)", "the largest body (al-sawad al-a'zam)" and "that which follows what I and my Companions are upon." The hadith does not mean that the majority of Muslims will be in the Hellfire, for most of them ("the masses") are not involved in intentional, divisive innovation; further, mention of the Fire does not necessarily imply that the seventy-two sects will remain there forever, or that those sects are disbelievers.
18. Although the Mahdi is not mentioned explicitly in the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim, numerous sahih ahadith, which are mutawatir in meaning, speak of the coming of the Mahdi, a man named Muhammad b. 'Abdullah and a descendant of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) through Fatimah, who will be the Leader (Imam, Khalifah) of the Muslims, rule for seven years and fill the world with justice and equity after it had been filled with tyranny and oppression. He will also fight the Dajjal along with Jesus son of Mary. The author, in his The Concept of the Mahdi among the Ahl al-Sunnah, has named 37 scholars who collected ahadith about the Mahdi with their own isnads and 69 later scholars who wrote in support of the concept, compared to 8 scholars who rejected the idea. The ahadith prophesying the Dajjal (False Christ), a one-eyed man who will have miraculous powers and will be followed by the Jews, and the return of Jesus Christ son of Mary (peace be upon them), who will descend in Damascus and pray behind the Mahdi, kill the Dajjal at the gate of Lod in Palestine, break the Cross, kill the Pig, marry and have children and live for forty years before dying a natural death, are mutawatir in meaning. They have been collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim, as well as other traditionists.
19. Mutawatir in meaning, and collected by al- Bukhari, Muslim and others.
20. Mutawatir in meaning, and collected by al- Bukhari, Muslim and others. Mention of the inadmissibility of intercession on the Day of Judgment in the Qur'an, e.g. 2:48 2:123, must be understood in the light of other verses, e.g. 20:109 and sahih ahadith. The reward of seeing Allah for the believers is referred to in the Qur'an, e.g. 75:22-23 and 83:15. These ahadith and those of the previous two categories were generally rejected by the classical Mu'tazilah (Rationalists), as well by those influenced by them today, on one or more of the following bases: (i) they contradict the Qur'an (in their view); (ii) they contradict Reason (in their view), and (iii) they are ahad, not mutawatir, and hence not acceptable in matters of belief (a flawed argument). Hence, the scholars who wrote the 'aqidah (creed) of the Ahl al-Sunnah included these concepts in it, to confirm their denial of the wrong ideas of the Mu'tazilah. Other authentic ahadith rejected by the Mu'tazilah are many, and include those describing the Prophet's Mi'raj (ascension to the heavens), which are again mutawatir in meaning.
21. The hadith with this wording is da'if, but its meaning is contained in the hadith of Ibn Majah and al-Nasa'i that a man came to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, "O Messenger of Allah! I intend to go on a (military) expedition, but I have come to ask your advice." He said, "Is your mother alive?" He said, "Yes." He said, "Then stay with her, for the Garden is under her feet." This latter hadith is declared to be sahih by al-Hakim, al-Dhahabi and al-Mundhiri.99
22. A sahih hadith, collected by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.
23. This hadith has many chains of narration on the authority of more than a dozen Companions, including twenty Successors apparently reporting from Anas alone. They are collected by Ibn Majah, al-Baihaqi, al-Tabarani and others, but all of them are da'if, according to Ahmad b. Hanbal, Ishaq b. Rahuwaih, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al- Bazzar and others, although some scholars authenticated a few of the chains. Al-Baihaqi said that its text is mashhur while its isnad is da'if, while al-Hakim and Ibn al-Salah regarded it as a prime example of a mashhur hadith which is not sahih. However, it is regarded by later scholars of Hadith as having enough chains of narration to be strengthened to the level of hasan or sahih, a view which is stated by al- Mizzi, al-'Iraqi, Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti and al- Albani.100
24. This additional statement is found in a few of the (weak) narrations of the previous hadith, and is declared as maudu' by Ibn Hibban, Ibn al- Jauzi, al-Sakhawi and al-Albani.101
25. Mentioned by al-Manjaniqi in his collection of ahadith of older narrators reporting from younger ones, on the authority of al-Hasan al- Basri. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said that it is maudu' as a narration from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), but that it is a statement of al-Hasan al-Basri.102
26. Related as marfu' by al-Baihaqi with a da'if isnad, according to al-'Iraqi. Ibn Hajar said that it is actually a saying of Ibrahim b. Abi 'Ablah, a Successor.103
*NB: The scholars of Hadith agree that a da'if or maudu' hadith must not be attributed to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), e.g. by saying, "The Prophet said: ...", even if the meaning is considered to be correct or if it is actually the saying of a Muslim scholar, for that would be a way of lying about the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).