ٍSunnah Compilation | Al-Mustadrak Of Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Hakim Al-Naysaburi | Omar Abdl-Haleem

THE COMPILER OF the Hadith work, Al-Mustadrak, is Abû ¢Abdullâh Muammad ibn ¢Abdullâh Al-Ḥâkim. He committed to memory a great number of narrations and is an acknowledged critic of narrations, in addition to authoring a number of compilations. He was born in the year 321 h and passed away in the year 405 h.

The name of his book is Al-Mustadrak ¢ala Al-ßa^î^ayn. Mustadrak means “inclusion” or “perception” of a^âdîth that were missed by the ßa^î^ayn, that is, the ßa^î^ (authenticated) compilations of Bukhâri and Muslim.

Al-Mustadrak itself means something that was followed-up.

The Condition of the Composer and Methodology of His Book

Al-âkim, may Allah have mercy on him, said, in his introduction:

A contingent of the people of knowledge in this city and other cities have requested that I compose a book that contains or includes all the a^âdîth that are narrated with narrations that Muhammad ibn Ismâ¢îl [Bukhâri] and Muslim ibn Al-Ḥajjâj [Muslim] consider as strong narrations.

Ibn Al-ßalâ^, the well-known Hadith scholar said:

Al-±âkim took care to gather authentic a^âdîth in his book, and these a^âdîth are either a^âdîth at the level established by Bukhâr and Muslim, or a^âdîth that he deems authentic even though they may not attain to the level of Bukhâr.

Al-Mustadrak and Scholarly Opinion

Scholarly opinion regarding Al-±âkim’s methodological approach in his book varies.

  • Ibn Al-ßalâ^ said: “He (Al-±âkim) is too easy in his criteria of authenticity for a^âdîth. His conditions are too lenient. It is, therefore, best for us to be moderate about accepting his rulings. We should be prepared to adjudge a^âdîth he has rated |a^î^ as ^asan a^âdîth (a second grade of reliable a^âdîth).”
  • Al-¢Irâqi said of Al-±âkim’s Al-Mustadrak that the latter’s claim to have only included in his book |a^î^ a^âdîth not found in either Bukhâri and Muslim is undermined by the inclusion of many a^âdîth that are, in fact, present in either Bukhâri or Muslim, such as the ^adîth on the authority of Abû Sa¢îd Al-Khûdri, that the Prophet œ said: Write nothing from me save the Quran.This ^adîth is also narrated by Muslim. Muslim has narrated this ^adîth in the chapter of “Al-Zuhd” (Asceticism).He notes that Al-Dhahabi gathered in his book The Summary of Al-Mustadrak many of the a^âdîth that are in Al-Mustadrak and also in Bukhâri and Muslim.
  • In addition, Al-¢Irâqi also said that Al-±âkim, when he states, ‘I have gathered the a^âdîth of the narrators of Bukhâri and Muslim,’ he means by this the caliber of narrators that Bukhâri and Muslim chose, not the exact people they chose.
  • Ibn ±ajar comments on this statement of Al-¢Irâqi. He states:

The works of Al-±âkim show that when Al-±âkim narrated a ^adîth that had the same narrators as those used by Bukhâri and Muslim, he would say: ‘ßa^î^, and up to the standard of Bukhâri, Muslim, or both of them.’

When the ^adîth had one or more narrators that were not specifically used in Bukhâri or Muslim, then he would simply state: ‘An authentic chain of narrations,’ without declaring it to be up to the standard of the former two compilers.

An example of this occurs when Al-±âkim narrates a ^adîth in the chapter of “Al-Tawba” (Repentance). He states that the Prophet œ said: Mercy is not stripped away from anyone but those of Hellfire [meaning that such is a characteristic of people in life destined for this condemned end]. Al-±âkim says of this ^adîth that it has an authentic chain of narrators. Abû ¢Uthmân (one of the narrators of this ^adîth) is not Abû ¢Uthmân Al-Nahdi. Rather, he is another Abû ¢Uthmân. Had he been Al-Na^di, then this ^adîth would have attained the criteria of Bukhâri and Muslim [and been duly noted as such by Al-±âkim]. This shows that Al-±âkim only judged that a ^adîth reached the criteria of Bukhâri and Muslim if all the narrators themselves were used by Bukhâri and Muslim.

Al-±âkim sometimes mistakenly adjudged some a^âdîth as attaining the criteria of Bukhâri and Muslim, though some of their narrators were not used by Bukhâri or Muslim. This, however, occurred by way of mistake on the part of Al-±âkim, as an unintentional error rather than as a part of his method of classification. And Allah knows best.”

Scholarly Opinion on the Ahadith of Al-Mustadrak

Abû ¢Abdullah Al-Dhahabi, a well-known scholar of Hadith, the author of many well-known books, the most famous of which are his Târîkh Al-Islâm, The History of Islam, and Siyar A¢lâm Al-Nubalâ’, Biographical Sketches of the Noble Scholars, both of which assess Hadith narrators, states:

I heard the scholar Al-Mâlîni say: ‘I read the book Al-Mustadrak through and through, and I did not find a single ^adîth in it that reached the criteria of Bukhâri or Muslim.

Al-Dhahabi commented on this statement of Al-Mâlîni, saying:

This is an extreme opinion that is belied by the reality of Al-±âkim’s book. Nor is Al-Mâlîni qualified enough to make this judgment. Rather, Al-Mustadrak has a large number of ^adîth that reach the criteria of both Bukhâri and Muslim, and he also has a large number of ^adîth that reach the criteria of one or the other of them.

Indeed, a little less than a third of the a^âdîth in Al-Mustadrak attain the criteria of both or one of them. An additional fourth of the book contain a^âdîth that do not reach the criteria of Bukhâri or Muslim, but which are nevertheless authentic. The remainder of the book contains strange and doubtful a^âdîth. Al-Dhahabi gathered these doubtful a^âdîth into a separate compilation of its own.

Furthermore, he asserts that Al-±âkim’s book is beneficial—enough to compose a summarized version of Al-±âkim’s book Al-Mustadrak, which he himself states is in need of revision and editing.

Ibn ±ajar states, commenting on this statement of Al-Dhahabi:

This is a general statement that needs to be further specified and clarified. It is more accurate to say that Al-Mustadrak can be divided into parts and every part can be further subdivided.

The first part are the a^adîth that have the exact same narrators that Bukhâri and Muslim use. It has no defects in the chain or transmitters or in its Texts. Nor is there any ^adîth in Al-Mustadrak that fulfills this criteria save that Bukhâri and Muslim have the same ^adîth, or one that is close to it in meaning, or at least a ^adîth that fulfills the same purpose.

[Basically, Bukhâri and Muslim gathered all the a^âdîth that reach their criteria, leaving out only a^âdîth that had a repetitive meaning or a few exceptions.]

The second division, and this comprises the majority of the book, is made up of a^âdîth that have narrators that are used by Bukhâri and Muslim, although they did not use them for establishing the authenticity of a ^adîth. They used them only to affirm other narrators, but not to stand on their own. Most of these a^âdîth are authentic; however, it is not proper to say they reach the criteria of Bukhâri and Muslim, since, in fact, they did not use them as their principal narrators. Al-±âkim usually claims that these a^âdîth are at the criteria level of Bukhâri and Muslim, but they are not. Hence, the critique of Al-±âkim’s claims are valid when it comes to equating these a^âdîth to the standard of Bukhâri and Muslim, but the critique that these a^âdîth are not |a^î^ is invalid.

The third section are a^âdîth that have narrators that are not to be found anywhere in Bukhâri or Muslim, nor does Al-±âkim claim that they are at the criteria level of Bukhâri or Muslim, except on rare, mistaken occasions. He rates these a^âdîth as authentic. Yet most of these a^âdîth are weak. This is why scholars have criticized him as being too lenient in his judging of his a^âdîth.

Some scholars have excused Al-±âkim for the leniency and mistakes in his book in terms of his judgment regarding Hadith authenticity. About this Ibn ±ajar says:

These mistakes occurred in Al-±âkim’s book because he first compiled a rough draft [known in Arabic as a musawwadah]. Then he passed away before going through the book and editing it. About halfway through the second volume of his book, I have found written in this place:

Here ends the dictation of Al-±âkim.

Thus what comes after this, Al-±âkim must have acquired through ¢ijâza (authorization [in some second-hand form], not through [direct] listening [to a shaykh], for the mistakes in the dictated parts of the book are far less than the ones taken by ¢ijâzah.

Follow On Works Based on Al-Mustadrak

As stated previously, Al-Dhahabi summarized Al-Mustadrak and added his own judgment of the a^âdîth in it. He also gathered, not all, but just its very weak a^âdîth into a separate composition.

The scholar, Ibn Al-Mulaqqin compiled a concise biography of all the narrators of Al-Mustadrak, along with the biography of other narrators, in his book called Ikmâl Tahdhîb Al-Kamâl, Completion of the Digest of ‘the Completion.’

Ibn ±ajar organized Al-Mustadrak’s a^âdîth into alphabetical order based on the beginning words of each ^adîth. Ibn Al-Mulaqqin also wrote a summary of Al-Mustadrak, printed in six volumes (meaning he excerpted from Al-Mustadrak the a^âdîth that he deemed important).

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Written By

Omar Abdl-Haleem is a fourth generation Muslim in America. He has a BA from Al-Azhar University in Usul Al-Din, specializing in Hadith, and was about to finish his Master’s Degree from Al-Azhar in Hadith, when he had to leave Egypt for safety reasons in the fall of 2013. He has translated most of Ibn Al-Jawzi’s book: Sayd Al-Khatir into English, which he intends to complete (some episodes of Omar’s translation of this book have appeared in Aljumuah Website). He is also working on a Hadith book for English speakers that explains and teaches Mustalah Al-Hadith (Hadith Terminology) in common terms. His Arabic is native, having studied in Egypt since he was 14, and then full time after completion of High School in the US. He is invaluable for AlJumuah in accessing scholarly texts. He intends to complete his graduate studies in Hadith.

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