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Attention to authenticity:
Influence on later collections:
Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him).
Authenticity of Al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq
Imam Abd al-Razzaq lost his eyesight in the last years of his life as it has been narrated by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: ”Abd al-Razzaq was visited by us before the year 200 AH, while he had a healthy eyesight. And whoever heard from him after he lost his eyesight is weak in Hadith.”
[Al-Tarikh # 4460 by Abu Zura’ah al-Dimashqi]
So whatever Imam Abd al-Razzaq narrated from his famous book is authentic and whatever he narrated relying on his own memory that should be scrutinized properly.
Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him] said about Imam Abd al-Razzaq:
"Whatever he narrated from his book, it is the most authentic (or correct)."
These statements are sufficient to prove the authenticity of al-Musannaf Abd al-Razzaq, though all the Hadiths collected in this compendium are not equally sound and some of them have been the subject of debate among Hadith scholars.
Al-Musannaf by Imam Abd al-Razzaq is considered an authentic source of Hadiths by many scholars. It is a comprehensive collection of Hadiths and narrations from the early generations of Muslims, and it has been studied and referenced by scholars throughout Islamic history. However, like any other Hadith collection, the authenticity of individual narrations within Al-Musannaf may vary and requires examination and verification.
Was Imam Abd al-Razzaq a Deviant Scholar?
Imam Al-Ijli (May Allah have mercy on him) in his Kitab al-Thiqat (Tarjumah #847) claimed that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was inclined to Tashayu (believing in the superiority of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib A.S). Relying on al-Ijli's statement some scholars claim that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was a deviant Shia scholar. This claim is unfounded and contradicted by the historical record. His scholarship and contributions to the preservation of hadith continue to be widely recognized and respected in the Islamic scholarly tradition.
There is no evidence to suggest that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was a Shia scholar. In fact, he was known to be a Sunni scholar who was highly respected by scholars from different Islamic schools of thought. His collection of hadith, Al-Musannaf, is considered one of the most important and reliable sources of hadith in Sunni Islam. Some Shia scholars have also referred to his narrations in their works, but this does not necessarily indicate that Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was a Shia scholar himself.
It is true that the term "Shia" was used in the early centuries of Islam to refer to those who preferred and supported Imam Ali (peace be upon him) over other companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However, it is important to note that the term "Tashayu" had a broader meaning than what it has come to represent in later centuries. In the early Islamic period, the term "Tashayu" was used for the doctrine of the superiority of Imma Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him to other companions). Therefore, it is possible that someone like Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) may have been considered a Shia in the early sense of the term due to his preference for Imam Ali (peace be upon him), but this would not necessarily mean that he was a member of any particular Shia sect or group who condemns Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (May Allah be pleased with all of them).
Al-Dawoodī said about Imam Abd al-Razzaq: "He was declared trustworthy by more than one scholar, his hadith is included in the authentic compilations (Sahah Sittah), and he has unique narrations as well. He was accused of Tashau’ and he was not excessive in his love for Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) but rather he loved him and hated those who fought against him." [Tabaqat al-Mufassirin, 1/302]
It is important to note that accusations of deviancy or wrongdoing are serious and should not be made without clear evidence. It is also important to evaluate any claims made about historical figures in light of the broader historical context, taking into account the biases and agendas of those who may have made such claims.
Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was known for his extensive knowledge of hadith and his meticulous methodology in transmitting and analyzing them. Many of his contemporaries, including Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him), praised him for his piety, knowledge, and dedication to the preservation of hadith.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) said to Imam Abd al-Razzaq: "May Allah reward you on behalf of your Prophet (peace be upon him) with goodness."
While it is true that Imam Ahmad's close affiliation to Ahl al-Bayt (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on all of them) may indicate their superiority, it is important to note that his views and practices were not exclusively limited to the Ahl al-Bayt. The same was true for Imam Abd al-Razzaq (May Allah have mercy on him).
There is some overlap in their positions regarding Imam Ali (peace be upon him), as both Imam Ahmad and Imam Abd al-Razzaq held a high regard for him and recognized his unique position and evident leadership among the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Imam Ahmad's statement reflects his respect and admiration for all the four rightly guided Caliphs, namely Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all). However, when asked about his opinion on the superiority or preference among them, he did not mention Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) explicitly but rather referred to him as a member of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and said that no one can be compared to them that points to their superiority. This shows Imam Ahmad's high regard for Ahl al-Bayt and his recognition of their elevated status in Islam.
Moreover, Hadith narrated by the scholars who inclined to Tashayu’ is generally accepted by the prominent Hadith scholars including Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him). Compilers of Sahah Sittah also accepted Hadiths from the aforementioned narrators. Imam al-Zahabi (May Allah have mercy on him) discussed this issue in his works.
Imam al-Zahabi said while commenting on Aban ibn Taghlib in the beginning of Mizan al-I’tidal:
The one who says, "How can I authenticate a mubtadi’ (innovator) while al-thiqa (trustworthy) is characterized by justice and precision?" How can someone who is an innovator be just? The answer is that innovation falls into two categories: minor innovation, such as extreme Tashayu’, or Tashayu’ without extremism or distortion. This was common among the Tabi'een and their followers who were known for their religion, piety, and honesty. If we were to reject the hadiths of these people, we would be rejecting a large number of Prophetic narrations, and this would be a clear dilemma..............
This statement indicates that Tashayu (believing in the superiority of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib A.S) was common among Tabi’een and their followers. Tabi'een refers to the generation of Muslims who succeeded the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and learned directly from them. The term "Tabi'een" literally means "followers" or "successors." They are considered to be the second generation of Muslims and were known for their knowledge, piety, and adherence to the teachings of Islam. The Tabi'een were instrumental in preserving and transmitting Islamic knowledge and traditions to future generations. Many of them became prominent Islamic scholars, jurists, and hadith narrators, and their contributions have been invaluable in shaping the development of Islamic thought and practice.
The belief in the
superiority of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) over other companions of the
Prophet (peace be upon him) was not a unique belief held exclusively by the
Shia. Rather, many of the Tabi'een, who were the generation of Muslims
that came after the companions of the Prophet, held this belief as well, as
mentioned by Imam al-Zahabi in his statement. We can find in the books of Asma
al-Rijal, a large number of Tabi’een and their followers who were inclined
to Tashayu’, Imam Abd al-Rzzaq (May Allah have mercy on him) was one of
them. Nevertheless, it is true that the belief in the superiority of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was common among a significant number of Tabi'een, as well as many other early Muslim scholars and leaders.
Allah knows the best.