Published in  
March 3, 2023

Ibn Mulaqqin's al-Tadhkirah | 1-9

This is an introductory explanation and short notes on Imam Ibn al-Mulaqqin's al-Tadhkirah fi Ulum al-Hadith. It is one of the first books taught to students interested in the sciences of hadith. Imam Ibn Mulaqqin is a famous hadith master and a Shafi'i jurist. This is a list of terms used in hadith sciences, which he summarised from his two-volume work on hadith principles named: Al-Muqni' fi Ulum al-Hadith.

Author's Biography

The author's name is Umar ibn Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Abd Allah al-Misri al-Shafi'i . His title was Sirajul Din and his kunya was Abu Hafs. He is famously known has Ibn al-Mulaqqin. He was born in Cairo on 22nd of Rabi al-Awwal, 723 AH. His father was originally from Andalus who had moved to Egypt to seek knowledge under Imam al-Isnawi. He was raised in a noble family known for knowledge. He passed away while the Imam was a young boy. He was raised by Sheikh Isa al-Maghribi who was asked by his father to take care of his family after his demise. Sheikh al-Maghribi married Ibn al-Mulaqqin's mother and raised him to which he became known as Ibn al-Mulaqqin while he was popular in the lands of Yemen by the name of Ibn al-Nahwiyy. 

At a young age he memorised the Quran and studied books like Umdatul Ahkam in hadith and al-Minhaj in fiqh. The Imam started his studies at a young age and heard over 1000 small books or compilations on hadith. He travelled to Damascus, Makkah, Madinah, Jerusalem among others to seek knowledge. 

Some of his prominent teachers include Hafidh 'Alaee, Imam al-Isnawi, Imam al-Subki, Imam Ibn Jama'ah, and Imam al-Kamal al-Nasha'i  among many others. He was pushed to study the Shafi'i madhab by Imam  Ibn Jama'ah. He was permitted to teach by leading scholars like Imam al-Mizzi and Imam al-Shams al-Asqalani and he authored over 70 books.

Some of his famous students include Imam Waliuddin al-Iraqi, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Imam Ibn al-'Ajmi, Imam al-Sakhawi, and Imam Ibn Nasir al-Dimishqi among many others. He passed away on a Friday evening the 19th of Rabi al-Awwal, 804 AH.

al-Tadhkirah is a commentary of a larger work of Ibn al-Mulaqqin called al-Muqni'. The Sheikh explained it in a commentary titled Al-Tabsirah.  

Sunnah VS Hadith?

A lot of the times we hear these terms used interchangeably, but are they really the same? Sunnah linguistically means a travelled path, a way of life, or a method which can be praiseworthy or otherwise. For the Prophet ﷺ, it is without a doubt referring to his praiseworthy path as he was the best of creation. As per the Sharia, it can be defined in different manners based on the lens of the science we look at it from:

  • Scholars of Hadith define Sunnah as that which is attributed or reported to the Prophet ﷺ from statements, actions, his acceptance of a matter, or that which the Prophet ﷺ was described with in terms of his physical appearance or his characteristics. Sunnah is all that the Prophet did in the capacity of a Prophet and Messenger of Allah. These are also known as Hadith from the Prophet ﷺ.
  • Scholars of Usul al-Fiqh define Sunnah as anything that is established from the Prophet ﷺ from his statements, actions, his acceptance of a matter, and are suitable to be used as evidence in the Shariah other than the Quran, Ijma, or Qiyas. 
  • Scholars of Fiqh use the term Sunnah as a synonym for Mustahab or that which is recommended and define it as those actions which if a person does, they are rewarded for it and not held accountable for or punished if they don't do it.
  • Scholars of Aqeedah define Sunnah as the source through which true belief is derived and understood. Scholars from the salaf  like Imam Ahmad authored a book on Aqeedah and titled it, ‘As-Sunnah’.

As for Hadith, linguistically it may mean 'new' or 'speech' and based on the context the latter is what is being referred to here. Scholars of Hadith use the term to mean whatever is attributed to the Prophet ﷺ from his statements, actions, his tacit approvals, or that which the Prophet ﷺ was described with in terms of his physical appearance or his characteristics.

To summarize, Sunnah is the umbrella term which is encompassing in nature whereas Hadith is a part of the Sunnah and is very specific in nature to that which is reported from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Since they are used interchangeably, the meaning intended will be based upon the context in which it is being used. 

التذكرة في علوم الحديث

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
اللَّهَ أَحْمَدُ عَلَى نَعْمَائِهِ، وَأَشْكُرُهُ عَلَى آلَائِهِ، وَأُصَلِّي عَلَى أَشْرَفِ الْخَلْقِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِهِ، وَأُسَلِّمُ

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent and the Merciful, in whose name I begin. Allah I praise, for His bounties. Allah I thank, for His favours. And I pray for blessings upon the best of creation, Sayyiduna Muhammad. And upon his progeny, I send greetings of peace and salutations (upon them all).

وَبَعْدُ:  فَهَذِهِ تَذْكِرَةٌ فِي عُلُومِ الْحَدِيثِ، يَتَنَبَّهُ بِهَا الْمُبْتَدِي، وَيَتَبَصَّرُ بِهَا الْمُنْتَهِي، اقْتَضَبْتُهَا مِنَ "الْمُقْنِعِ" تَأْلِيفِي
وَإِلَى اللَّهِ أَرْغَبُ فِي النَّفْعِ بِهَا، إِنَّهُ بِيَدِهِ، وَالْقَادِرُ عَلَيْهِ

Thereafter, these are notes on the (terms used in) sciences of hadith, which will impart knowledge to the beginner and serve as a reminder of reference for the accomplished, which I have summarised from my book Al-Muqni'. I hope from Allah and beseech Him, to give benefit from this work; indeed, it is in His Power and He has absolute Power to do anything.

أَقْسَامُ الْحَدِيثِ
: أَقْسَامُ الْحَدِيثِ ثَلَاثَةٌ
صَحِيحٌ، وَحَسَنٌ، وَضَعِيفٌ

Hadith are classed in three (main) categories:

- Sahih: Sound or Rigorously Authenticated.

- Hasan: Good or Fair.

- Daeef: Weak.

Different authors classify ahadith based on different classifications. In reality, there is sahih and daeef and each of them has different levels to showcase acceptability or weakness of a narration. Hasan would fall under one of the categories of an accepted narration.

فَالصَّحِيحُ : مَا سَلِمَ مِنَ الطَّعْنِ فِي إِسْنَادِهِ وَمَتْنِهِ، وَمِنْهُ الْمُتَّفَقُ عَلَيْهِ، وَهُوَ مَا أَوْدَعَهُ الشَّيْخَانِ فِي صَحِيحَيْهِمَا

1. Sahih is that which is safe from criticism; whether in its chain of transmission (isnad) or in the text (matn).

Muttafaq Álayh is from this category. Those ahadith which both the Sheikhs (Bukhari and Muslim) have included in their (respective) collections are termed “agreed upon”.

- Sahih linguistically means the opposite of sick, ill, or weak. Sahih is free from ta'n (aspersion) in its chain and text of narration. Ta'n linguistically means to cut, to injure, to hurt, or to slander based on the context. Its occurrence impacts the ʿadālah and ḍabṭ of a narrator.

- Sahih li Dhatihi or Sahih in general are those narrations that don't need any extra support of anything else to be called Sahih and are free from all forms of criticism. The narration needs to meet 5 conditions to attain the grading of Sahih:

1. All the narrators of the chain are Hafidh or Dhabit (Precise in Memory).

2. All the narrators are Adil (Just). For a person to have Adl they should:

- Have the correct Aqeedah.

- Safeguad the Taqwa, which can further be gauged by 3:

i. Doesn't fall into the kabair sins.

ii. Doesn't fall into the smaller sins often.

iii. He safeguards his actions and deeds and holds himself to a higher decorum that is befitting a person of knowledge.  

3. The Chain of narration is connected and proven from student to teacher till the Prophet. Sanad is Muttasil

4. The narration is not shaadh. The narrator might be trustworthy but if he is clashing with greater narrators (awthaq) who are more trustworthy than him. Thiqah is a person who has:

i. Dhabt

ii. Adalat

5. The narration is not Muallal. Muallal means that there is not apparent illal (hidden defects) present but there is some hidden illal present which cannot be identified easily.

- This is a very important point that it was not just the chain, but also the text of the narration that was analayzed and assessed by the scholars of hadith. An example where the narration has an authentic chain but the text is rejected is:

الْوَائِدَةُ وَالْمَوْءُودَةُ فِي النَّارِ

"The woman who buries alive her new-born girl, and the girl who is buried alive will both go to Hell." [Abu Dawud, 4717].

This narration has several routes, some chains are considered authentic, but the apparent general wordings in the content is problematic, so the general apparent meaning of this narration is false and rejected. Sheikh al-Arnout considers the chain authentic, but reject its content. He said regarding this narration, "I say: What I incline towards is renouncing its content and I consider it false, because it contradicts other authentic narrations. And because Allah says: "When the girl buried alive will be asked, for what sin she was killed?" [Surah at-Takwir, 8-9]."

- 'Sahih' as a term is also used for a collection with the highest grade of authenticity. This means that all the aḥadith mentioned in the book are authentic according to the conditions laid down by the author. This status is enjoyed by Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

- Muttafaq Álayh (متفق عليه) is a term that is often misunderstood. A Hadith is only termed as such if Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim both narrate similar words with the same chain from the same Sahabi. If the text is the same, but Imam al-Bukhari narrates it from one Sahabi, and Imam Muslim narrates from another, then it will not be referred to as Muttafaq Álayh. If one of these conditions are not met, you will find the hadith expressed as such: Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim instead of Muttafaq Álayh. Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani quotes Imam Jawzaqi as saying that the total amount of Muttafaq Álayh  narrations are 2326.

- There are 7 levels of (authentic) ahadith, and they are:

1. A hadith that was collected by both al-Bukhari and Muslim.

2. A hadith that was collected by al-Bukhari (but not by Muslim).

3. A hadith that was collected by Muslim (but not by al-Bukhari).

4. A hadith that is authentic according to the conditions of both al-Bukhari and Muslim but was not collected by either of them. It is sometimes described as “Upon the conditions of the Ṣahihayn.”

5. A hadith that is authentic according to the conditions of al-Bukhari (but was not collected by him).

6. A hadith that is authentic according to the conditions of Muslim (but was not collected by him).

7. A hadith that is authentic according to the conditions of other scholars of ḥadith (who collected only authentic ahadith such as Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs).

وَالْحَسَنُ: مَا كَانَ إِسْنَادُهُ دُونَ الْأَوَّلِ فِي الْحِفْظِ وَالْإِتْقَانِ ، وَيَعُمُّهُ وَالَّذِي قَبْلَهُ اسْمُ الْخَبَرِ الْقَوِيِّ

2. Hasan is that, in whose isnad are weaker than the previous (category) in terms of accuracy and exactness. Reports in the first two categories are termed as ‘reliable reports’ (al-khabar al-qawiyy)  in general.

- Before the time of Imam at-Tirmidhi, ahadith were either graded sahih or daeef, and the weak included acceptable and matrook (rejected) ahadith. The category of hasan, as we know it, was introduced by Imam at-Tirmidhi and later adopted by the scholars of Hadith.

- Linguistically, ḥasan refers to something beautiful or good.

- One or more narrators in the chain of the narration being examined do not meet the requirements for accuracy or for exactness, precision found in trustworthy narrators. A Hasan hadith has all the same conditions as sahih except that the memory of one of the narrators in the chain is questionable. Just one man like such can make the chain Hasan. If he gets more wrong, than he does right then it becomes Daeef.

- al-khabar al-qawiyy refers to a strong report that is strong enough to be used as an evidence. Some scholars refer to it as jayyid and it encompasses sahih and hasan depending on the narration.

وَالضَّعِيفُ: مَا لَيْسَ وَاحِدًا مِنْهُمَا

3. Daeef which belongs to neither of the previous two categories.

- Anything that goes lower than the station of Hasan and falls short of its requirements, then it is Daeef and it is of many types. This is a narration that is not free from criticism in its chain of narration and/or its text.

أَنْوَاعُ عِلْمِ الْحَدِيثِ
وَأَنْوَاعُهُ زَائِدَةٌ عَلَى الثَّمَانِينَ

Topics or sub-fields of study in hadith sciences are more than eighty.

- Imam al-Sakhawi says that the topics exceed one hundred. [Tawdih al-Ab’har].

الْمُسْنَدُ: وَهُوَ مَا اتَّصَلَ إِسْنَادُهُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ (. وَيُسَمَّى مَوْصُولاً أَيْضًا

1. Musnad (grounded report): The report whose chain of transmission is continuous and reaches until the Prophet . This is also known as connected (mawsul).

- Mawsul means connected; the opposite of this is mafsul or disconnected. At face value, a musnad has to be connected. Anything that has a disconnection or does not reach the Prophet ﷺ cannot fall under a Musnad category.  A marfu' and a muttasil together are called a musnad.

- Example: Malik from Nafi' from Ibn Umar from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. This is continuous (muttasil) chain that reaches the Prophet ﷺ.

- 'Musnad' as a term is also used for a collection where the aḥadith are placed under the names of the Companions who narrate them in an alphabetical order without giving consideration to the topic that is related to the ḥadith. More emphasis was laid on the chain of narrators and the aim was compiling all existing and relevant aḥadith in one place. E.g. Musnad al-Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal.

وَالْمُتَّصِلُ: وَهُوَ مَا اتَّصَلَ إِسْنَادُهُ مَرْفُوعًا كَانَ أَوْ مَوْقُوفًا، وَيُسَمَّى مَوْصُولاً أَيْضًا

2. Muttasil (continuous report): That report whose chain of transmission is continuous and established, whether marfu' or mawquf; this too is termed as mawsul.

- Example: Malik from Nafi' from Abdullah Ibn Umar from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. This is continuous (muttasil), and reaches the Prophet ﷺ.

وَالْمَرْفُوعُ: وَهُوَ مَا أُضِيفَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ ( خَاصَّةً، مُتَّصِلاً كَانَ أَوْ غَيْرُهُ

3. Marfu' (raised chain report): That report which is specifically ascribed to the Prophet , whether reported with a continuous and uninterrupted chain (muttasil) or otherwise.

- Linguistically, marfu' means to lift, raise, or elevate.

- A narration, whose isnad reaches all the way to the Prophet ﷺ is known as a marfu' ḥadith. This is irrespective of the chain being strong, weak, or rejected. Only the attribution matters. Many times, it is obvious that a ḥadith is marfu'. Other times, even though a ḥadith is not actually marfu', it is considered marfu' due to its content. These are the statements of the sahabah and tabi'un that they certainly could not narrate using qiyas, intellect, or ijtihad, but only through the Prophet ﷺ like the matters of the unseen, Day of Judgment, etc.

- For a hadith to be classified as Marfu, we have 5 types:

1. Marfu' Qawli (مرفوع قولي) – It is Marfu by wording – Ascribing the wordings to the Prophet.

2. Marfu 'Fi’li ( مرفوع فعلي ) – It is Marfu by action – Ascribing the action to the Prophet. Ex: He used to sleep on the right side.

3. Marfu' Taqriri ( مرفوع تقريري ) – Iqraran – Something that was done in the presence of the Prophet and he was silent about it. It takes the same ruling as though he commanded to do it. Ex: Hadith of Jabir on Coitus Interruptus.

4.  Marfu' Wasfi ( مرفوع وصفي ) – Characteristics of the Prophet in terms of his appearance. Ex: Hadith of Anas, Shamail – Sifatul Khalqiyyah. Sifatul Khuluqiyyah – His morals and characteristics.

5. Marfu' Hukmi (مرفوع حكمي) – If a sahaba informs us of the unseen and doesn’t ascribe it to the Prophet. then we say that the wording is mawquf but the ruling is marfu' with the exception of Abdullah Ibn Amr and Abdullah Ibn Salam. Why? As they used to read from the scriptures of the People of the Book, hence there is a chance of them narrating from there. On the day of Khaybar, Abdullah Ibn Amr was seen with 2 huge bags of their manuscripts and he was reading from it.

- Hadith Example: Imam Bukhari reported - Al-Ḥumaydiʿ Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr told us: Sufyan told us: Yahya ibn Saeed al-Ansari told us: Muḥammad ibn Ibrahim al-Taymi informed me that he heard ʿAlqamah ibn Waqqaṣ al-Laythi saying: I heard Umar ibn al-Khattab on the minbar say: I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for." [Bukhari] This is a continuous and elevated report (muttasil-marfu').

وَالْمَوْقُوفُ: وَهُوَ الْمَرْوِيُّ عَنْ الصَّحَابَةِ قَوْلاً أَوْ فِعْلاً أَوْ نَحْوَهُ، مُتَّصِلاً كَانَ أَوْ مُنْقَطِعًا. وَيُسْتَعْمَلُ فِي غَيْرِهِمْ مُقَيَّدًا، فَيُقَالُ: "وَقَفَهُ فُلَانٌ عَلَى عَطَاءٍ مَثَلاً، وَنَحْوِهِ

4. Mawquf (halted chain report): This is a report about the companion (sahabi) whether a saying or an action etc (ascribed to them), regardless of the chain of transmission of the report being continuous (muttasil) or otherwise. Sometimes, (a maqţu' report) is also termed mawquf when specified, as in: “This (report) was terminated by so-and-so at Ata'a.

- Linguistically, mawquf means to stop, halt, or suspend.

- Imam Ata'a ibn Abi Rabah (d. 114 AH) mentioned in the example by the author is a prominent tabi'i (successor) and a student of Abdullah Ibn Abbas.

- This includes statements, judgements and rulings passed by the sahaba on various different matters. Ex: Legislations made by Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.

- It is of 2 types:

1. Mawquf Qawli (موقوف قولي) – That Hadith in which a particular statement of a Sahabi is stated.

2. Mawquf Fi’li ( موقوف فعلي) – That Hadith in which a particular action of a Sahabi is described. Ex: Umar used to do the qunut, both before at times after the rukuh.

- Example: Malik from Nafi' from Ibn Umar from Umar and he said...” This is a continuous report but stops (becomes mawquf) at Umar and does not go further; nor is it attributed to the Prophet ﷺ. This is a continuous report that stops at a companion (muttasil-mawquf).

وَالْمَقْطُوعُ: وَهُوَ الْمَوْقُوفُ عَلَى التَّابِعِيِّ قَوْلاً أَوْ فِعْلاً

5. Maqtu' (severed chain report): The report which stops at the tabi'i (successor) in word or in deed.

- Linguistically, maqtu' means to cut-off or sever.

- When the author mentions qawl or fi'l it means that it is a report that stops at the successor saying he said or did something and does not reach a sahabi (in which case it would be mawquf) or further up to the Prophet ﷺ (in which case it would be marfu').

- If we have a mursal hadith where a tabi'i attributes directly to the Prophet by skipping a sahaba in the middle and we find what is being narrated is found in the action of a sahabi then as per Imam Shafi’i this strengthens that narration further.

- Example: Mujahid said: “One who is embarrassed (to seek knowledge) or an arrogant person will not attain knowledge.

وَالْمُنْقَطِعُ: وَهُوَ مَا لَمْ يَتَّصِلْ إِسْنَادُهُ مِنْ أَيِّ وَجْهٍ كَانَ

6. Munqati' (broken chain report): That whose isnad cannot be continuous in any way

- Linguistically, munqati' refers to cut, sever, or interrupt.

- If one or more narrators are missing in different or any levels of the chain, then such a narration is known as munqati'. This could also be when there is overwhelming evidence that two of the narrators never met. Imam Sakhawi says that it includes mursal, mu'dal and others. This is the opposite of muttasil.

- Example: Abd al-Razzaq from Thawri from Abu Ishaq from Zayd ibn Yuthai' from Hudhayfah - Imam Ibn Salah said that this chain is munqati' in two places: Firstly, because Abd al-Razzaq did not hear from Thawri – he actually reports from Nu'man ibn Abu Shaibah al-Janadi who reports from Thawri. Secondly, Thawri did not hear from Abu Ishaq; he actually reports from Shurayk who reports from Abu Ishaq.

وَالْمُرْسَلُ: وَهُوَ قَوْلُ التَّابِعِيِّ - وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ كَبِيرًا -: (( قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمِنْهُ مَا خَفِيَ إِرْسَالُهُ

7. Mursal (expedient report): This is the speech of the tabi'i – even if he is not a senior tabi'i – who says: "The Messenger of Allah has said..".
8. Another type of this category is that whose being mursal is latent.

- Linguistically, mursal refers to set free, loosen, release, or to send.

- The narration in which the name of the sahabi has been dropped, i.e. a tabi'i narrates, “The Prophet ﷺ said…” is known as mursal. We are uncertain of the narrators between the Prophet ﷺ and a tabi'i. The tabi'i could be narrating from a sahabi or maybe even from another senior tabi'i. A tabi'i may or may not be thiqah and they do not enjoy the same privilege as that held by the sahaba. That is why mursal narrations need further investigation. According to some scholars, narrations of thiqah tabi'in like Imam Malik are accepted without a doubt.

- This point mentioned by the author refers to a tabi'i like Zuhri, Abu Hazim, Yahyā ibn Saeed al-Ansari and others who met only a few companions; and they mostly report from senior tabi'in.

- Mursal can be of 2 types:
a. Mursal Jali (المرسل الجلي): It refers to being explicit. This is a type of narration where it is explicitly clear that there are narrators missing in the chain and the narrator is narrating from a person whom he has clearly never met.
Ex: Imam Malik saying, "the Prophet ﷺ said..."
b. Mursal Khafi (المرسل الخفيّ): It refers to being hidden. This is a type of a narration where the narrators are contemporaries (lived in the same era) but never met; or those whom he met, but it is not established that he has heard from him (sama' is not proven).
Ex: Imam Ibrahim al-Nakhai (teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa) and the sahabi Anas Ibn Malik lived in the same era, but never met. Imam Ibrahim also met Aisha bint Abi Bakr but never reported anything on her authority. This is a form of hidden defect (illah) that takes a lot of research and expertise to detect.

- Example: Wahb ibn Baqiyyah told us, from Khalid, from Yunus, from al-Ḥasan al-Basri, that the Prophet ﷺ said, "If one of you is to lead a people in prayer, lengthen the prayer according to their weakest, for behind you are the elderly, the feeble, those with a need, the sick, and those from afar." Hassan al-Basri did not meet the Prophet ﷺ directly and hence a narrator or two are missing here in this example.

وَالْمُعْضَلُ: وَهُوَ مَا سَقَطَ مِنْ إِسْنَادِهِ اثْنَانِ فَأَكْثَرُ . وَيُسَمَّى مُنْقَطِعًا أَيْضًا. فَكُلُّ مُعْضَلٍ مُنْقَطِعٌ، وَلَا عَكْسَ

9. Mu'đal (problematic report): Such a narration in which two or more narrators are omitted; this is also an interrupted (munqati') narration. Every mu'dal is munqati' narration, but the converse is not true.

- Linguistically, mu'dal refers to become confusing, puzzling, or problematic.

- Imam Ibn Hajar in Nuzhatu’n Nazar specifies that it is considered mu'dal only when two consecutive narrators are omitted.

- Mu'dal and mursal can occur at the same time as well. Individually, a mu'dal narration is deaf and worse than mursal in comparison due to the elimination of many narrators after the sahaba in its chain. But if it is narrated through other routes like it or better than it, its status can be raised to ḥasan li-ghayrihi, and thus be accepted.

- The difference between a mursal and munqati' narration is that the former is said only in the case of a tabi'i omitting a narrator whereas the latter is generic and applies for all other kinds of interruption further down the chain as well such as mu'dal etc. Hence, every mursal narration is munqaţi', but every munqati' narration is not necessarily mursal.

- Example: Imam Malik reported; That it reached him that Abu Hurairah said, that the Prophet ﷺ said, "A slave is entitled to his food and clothing, and he should not be burdened except with that which he can bear." [Muwatta] It is seen in other narrations that Imam Malik narrates from Muhammad ibn Ajlan from his father (Ajlan) who in turn reports from Abu Hurairah. So, in reality, there should have been two narrators between Imam Malik and Abu Hurairah. Since this hadith is missing two consecutive narrators, it is graded as a mu'dal narration.

All that has been discussed till now has been related to the chain of narration of the hadith.

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Based on the hadith primer, al-Tadhkirah fi Ulum al-Hadith authored by Imam Ibn al-Mulaqqin, and explained by Sheikh Owais Nagrami Nadwi, Mufti Muhammad Ibn Muneer and Ustadh Muzammil bin Shahul Hameed

Manuscript of al-Tadhkirah
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