The Hadith of Usamah ibn Zayd

The hadith concerning the virtue of fasting in Sha’ban alluded to in Fasting in Sha’ban, The Neglected Month is related by Abu al-Ghusn Thabit ibn Qays: from Abu Sa’id al-Maqburi: from Usamah ibn Zayd who states:

«لم يكن يصوم من الشهر ما يصوم من شعبان»

“He (the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not used to fast any month as much as he would fast Sha’ban…”

So Usamah asked him:

لم أرك تصوم من الشهر ما تصوم من شعبان

“I have not seen you fasting any month as you fast Sha’ban.”

He responded:

«ذاك شهر يغفل الناس عنه بين رجب ورمضان، وهو شهر ترفع فيه الأعمال إلى رب العالمين عز وجل فأحب أن يرفع عملي وأنا صائم»

“This is a month that people neglect, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which the deeds are raised up to the Lord of the Worlds, so I love that my deeds should be raised up while I am fasting.”

 

This hadith is reported by Ahmad and an-Nasa’i. Shaykh al-Albani deemed it hasan and the author of al-Furu’, ibn Muflih, stated that its isnad is jayyid (good).

However, its isnad contains one Thabit ibn Qays Abu al-Ghusn whose status is disputed. He has been judged thiqah (trustworthy) by Ahmad. An-Nasa’i said, “Laysa bihi ba’s (there is no harm in him).” Ibn Ma’in said about him, “Laysa bihi ba’s (there is no harm in him),” and in another narration, “His hadiths are not that (strong), and he is salih (acceptable).” In another narration still mentioned by ibn Hibban, ibn Ma’in called him da’if (weak). Both ibn Sa’d and ibn Hibban mentioned that he only narrates a few hadiths. Ibn Hibban stated about him, “He narrates little and errs often, he is not to be used as a proof in narrations for which he is not corroborated (by another narrator).”

In his book, al-Kamil Fi ad-Du’afa’, it is ibn ‘Adi’s habit to begin the biography of every narrator by mentioning what statements have reached him concerning that narrator from the Imams of al-Jarh wa at-Ta’dil. Afterwards, he cites some of that narrator’s hadiths as examples to illustrate the reliability, or lack thereof, of the narrator in question. Finally, he states his conclusion.

Ibn ‘Adi, after citing some of the statements of Ahmad and ibn Ma’in, he related a number of the hadiths of Thabit ibn Qays, amongst them our current hadith. He concludes saying, “He is amongst those whose hadiths are to be written.” This general statement concerning Thabit ibn Qays does not necessarily mean that his hadiths are acceptable absolutely, rather, it indicates that any weakness he may have does not reach a level that his hadiths must be abandoned altogether. At the same time, ibn ‘Adi does not explicitly state that his narrations should not be used as proof as ibn Hibban did.

It is well known that ibn Hibban is very severe in criticizing narrators for their mistakes and this case would be an illustration of that.

If we look to al-Hafiz ibn Hajar, we find in his work, at-Taqrib, that he reached the following conclusion concerning him, “Saduq yahim (a truthful narrator who errs).” The term saduq is typically used concerning narrators whose narrations are considered hasan, however ibn Hajar indicated in the introduction of at-Taqrib that when he says about a narrator Saduq yahim or something similar that he means he is weak, although he is amongst the highest level of weak narrators. It seems that this is a fair and balanced judgment concerning him.

If we consider the judgment of Ahmad, it is possible that he was referring to his trustworthiness in character and not his reliability as a narrator as is sometimes the case when the Imams of al-Jarh wa at-Ta’dil call a narrator thiqah. From the statements of ibn Ma’in, an-Nasa’i, ibn Hibban, and ibn Ma’in, we can gather that clearly there is at least some reservation about the accuracy of his narrations. Furthermore, given that he does not narrate a great deal of hadiths, it is simply not possible to make a definitive conclusion concerning his precision and accuracy.

Conclusion:

Hence, it can be said, that this hadith is not definitively corroborated to be authentic. This does not mean that it is categorically false, simply that it cannot be confirmed as authentic, and Allah (تعالى) knows best.

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8 responses to “The Hadith of Usamah ibn Zayd

  1. Pingback: Fasting in Sha’ban, The Neglected Month « Got ‘Ilm?

  2. Assalamualaykkum ,

    Thanks for the clarification about Ibn Hibban’s methos of jarh and tadeel

    Is any of the hadith masters authenticate this hadith ??
    Is there any comment from Ibn Hjar or Adhahabi or others regarding the hadith itself ??

    rgds

  3. wa alaykum assalaam

    ibn Hajar cites the hadith in Fath al Bari while discussing the issue of fasting Sha’ban and he states that ibn Khuzaymah authenticated it. It is not to be found in the Sahih ibn Khuzaymah we have today, but the book is presently mostly lost.

    Other than that, Shaykh al-Albani has deemed it Hasan. I myself am hesitant to deem it authentic for the reasons I have clarified butI do not rule out the possibility altogether. And Allah (تعالى) knows best.

  4. Assalamualykkum,

    What is the status of such a hadith as there is a defenite doubt about the absolute trustworthiness of one of the narrator (as you detailed) but at the same time some of the past hadith masters authenticating it ,especailly if no other supporting reports regarding the text of the hadith ??
    Here there is a text mentioning a particular belief “and it is a month in which the deeds are raised up to the Lord of the Worlds” . Is it correct to accept anything less than a rigorously authenticated hadith for such a belief if there is no supporting text for the same ??

    Jazakhllahu Khayr
    rgds

  5. Assalamualaykkum,

    One more doubt , whether ibn Hajr is mentioning the same chain with this narrator to which he attribute authetication by Ibn Khuzyma??

    rgds

  6. wa alaykum as salam

    no. 1, ibn Khuzaymah is known for tasahul in grading hadiths sahih.

    no. 2, the chain is most likely the same as the hadith is reported in quite a few other books, some of them from after ibn khuzaymah’s time. if he had another chain, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that it would have not been mentioned in any other book. this is because the chains and narrations had multiplied to such an extent that in his era, it was impossible for someone to be alone in narrating an authentic hadith. This relates to the issue of tafarrud, a very complex topic concerning which I will post more in the future in sha Allah.

    as for believing it or not believing it, if you believe it is authentic, obviously you would believe in it. if you believe it is false, then you would not believe in it. If you have doubt as to its authenticity, then you would have doubt as to whether to believe in it. This is not a fundamental issue of Aqidah. If it was, then it would probably be mentioned in the Qur’an or in authentically narrated hadiths. As a general rule, the more fundamental a principle or an issue is, the more texts you will find relating to it in the Qur’an or the Sunnah.

    There are numerous ayat and hadith which show us in general that our deeds are raised up to Allah or at certain times besides the one mentioned here in this hadith, but as for this particular timing, this is the only text. And Allah (تعالى) knows best.

  7. Dear brother ,
    Assakamualykkym warahmathullahi wabarakathu,

    Thank you very much for the response . Jazakhllahu khayr .
    If you don’t mind , i would like to know whether you have researched about a hadith mentionong the superiority of night of 15th sha’ban which was rejected by many of the scholars but Sheikh albani authenticated it saying that there are numerous chains eventhough each chain is not sound (i think imam ibn thymia had also of the same opinion about the report) . I think strongest of its chain is that in Ibn Hibban who had had authenticted it but it also contain a weak narrator (as per a fatwa from a scholar) .And according to him all other chains are weaker than this so that the text could not be taken as authentic .Allah knows best
    Have you gone through its chains ??

    rgds

  8. wa alaykum assalaam

    i am familiar with it but have not gone through all of its chains in detail… and Allah knows best

    I will in sha Allah try to investigate it if I get time

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