A Critique of Salafī Contributions to the Science of Ḥadīth
This article attempts to highlight many of the weaknesses, inconsistencies, and contradictions found in the methods of key Salafī figures in the field of ḥadīth. First, despite his lofty status amongst many of his followers as being the standard of authenticity in the field of ḥadīth, Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī (d. 1999) based his ḥadīth grading methodology on a number of faulty approaches, such as relying on oversimplified biographical dictionaries for narrators and giving far little attention to the last two negative conditions (i.e., absence of anomalies and hidden defects) of authenticity. The relative disregard of these two conditions would actually cause al-Albānī to fall into some serious contradictions. Second, the approach of some Salafī figures in their use of Prophetic traditions for legal reasoning is just as problematic. The Saudi scholar Muḥammad b. Ṣāliḥ b. al-‘Uthaymīn (d. 2001) in theory rejected the citation or use of weak ḥadīths for deducing legal rulings. However, he occasionally violated his own principle, citing weak reports from the Sunan of al-Dāraquṭnī to justify his legal positions or to refute opposing views. The upshot of the research article is that leading Salafī approaches in the science of ḥadīth are not logically consistent and are marred with a number of contradictions that are in need of further study.
Publication of material in the journal means that the author assigns copyright to Islamic Studies including the rights to electronic publishing. This is, inter alia, to ensure the efficient handling of requests from third parties to reproduce articles as well as to enable wide dissemination of the published material. Authors may, however, use their material in other publications acknowledging Islamic Studies as the original place of publication. Requests by third parties for permission to reprint should be addressed to the Editor, Islamic Studies.