Kutub at-Takhrīj & their importance

We begin with two weighty narrations, Sufyān ath-Thawrī رحمه الله (d. 161 AH /778 CE):

The angels are the guardians of the heavens & the scholars of Ḥadīth are the guardians of the earth.

Siyar A’lām an-Nubalā’a 7/274

Yazīd ibn Hārūn asked Ḥammād ibn Zayd:

O Abū Ismā’īl! Is there any mention of the scholars of Ḥadīth in al-Qur’ān? He replied, “Yes. Did you not hear the ʾĀyah: ‘And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once; for they should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them.’ (Sūrah at-Tawbah, ʾĀyah 122)

It (this ʾĀyah) is applicable to every person who travelled upon the path of seeking knowledge & jurisprudence & then returned to their communities to teach them what they learned.”

ar-Riḥla fī Ṭalab al-Ḥadīth #10

Within the field of Ḥadīth, it is known that there are many collections of Ḥadīth besides the Ṣaḥīḥayn that may contain Ḍaʻīf & sometimes even Mawḍū’ Aḥādīth. Due to this, many Muḥaddithūn throughout time have compiled books criticizing & applying gradings to these narrations so the general masses could easily differentiate between the authentic & inauthentic. These types of books are called “Kutub at-Takhrīj“, or “Books of Ḥadīth Analysis” in English.

Takhrīj linguistically means “derivation” or “extraction“, & juristically means analysis of Ḥadīth.

For example, the book displayed on this article’s cover is Shaykh Muḥammad Nāṣir ad-Dīn al-Albānī’s رحمه الله (d. 1420 AH/1999 CE) Takhrīj of Imām al-Bukhārī’s رحمه الله (d. 256 AH/870 CE) al-Adab al-Mufrad. Divided into two volumes, Shaykh al-Albānī carefully goes through the work of Imām al-Bukhārī & grades what he finds to be authentic Ṣaḥīḥ, & grades what he finds to be weak Ḍaʻīf.

al-Adab al-Mufrad is a book of Ḥadīth & Athar collected by Imām al-Bukhārī dealing with the topic of Adab & Akhlāq. Within the book are 1,322 narrations, out of which 218 are Ḍaʻīf & 1,104 are Ṣaḥīḥ or Ḥasan according to Shaykh al-Albānī. This is just a practical example of Takhrīj.

One may question, “Why did Imām al-Bukhārī include weak narrations?“, two things must be noted:

  1. Imām al-Bukhārī did not compile this work strictly upon Ṣaḥīḥ Aḥādīth as he’s done with his Ṣaḥīḥ.
  2. It was a common practice of the Muḥaddithūn to include weak & sometimes fabricated narrations in their collections to make others aware of their deficiency.

Shaykh Zubayr ʿAlī Za’ī رحمه الله (d. 1434 AH/2013 CE) explains: “From this research, it is known that books other than the Ṣaḥīḥayn, for example al-Adab al-Mufrad by al-Bukhārī, Musnad Aḥmad, & others have weak narrations also. These A’Immah have become free of obligation after mentioning their chain (of narration). They haven’t brought these (weak) narrations as evidence for a belief or practice, (but) rather just to let people know about it.” — Maqalāt 3/214

With everything cleared; ʾIn shāʾ Allāh, it should now be evident on why these works are so important to possess, & I encourage everyone to collect these types of books & to go through them whenever reading a collection of Ḥadīth. Books like these are undoubtedly beneficial & essential as not only will one be able to tell apart between the authentic & the weak generally, but they will also aid one in sharing these narrations as it’s unfortunately become common for some people to share narrations that are weak or even fabricated, & Allāh’s aid is sought.

In conclusion, I quote the Duʿā of Shaykh Zubayr ʿAlī Za’ī, & I ask Allāh to have mercy upon the Shaykh & make him from those he’s made the Duʿā for:

I pray to Allāh that He fills up the graves of Imām al-Bukhārī and the Muḥaddithīn with the light of His Favor & Mercy, and that we get the companionship of the Prophets, Ṣaḥābah, Tābʿīn, Tābiʿū at-Tābʿīn, and the Thiqah Muḥaddithīn having correct ʿAqīdah. Amīn.

al-Ḥadīth Haḍro Magazine #88 P. 8-14

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
5th of Muḥarram 1444