Taqi Usmani: Hanafi Position on Mursal Hadiths

Answering a question about the position of Hanafiyya on mursal reports, Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani said:

It is to mention that the opinion of Hanafi scholars about mursal reports is generally not understood. Hanafi scholars do not recognize mursal report as defined by muhaddithin evidence as such. In fact Hanafi scholars recognize a mursal report as evidence if following three conditions are true for it;

1- That the narrator giving the mursal report is from the first three generations whose virtues are testified for.

2- The narrator himself is a trustworthy scholar with knowledge of the reliability and weakness of narrators.

3- The narrator reports the words or some deeds of the Prophet ﷺ with certainty (jazam) e.g. “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said so and so.”

Thus, if he reports in an allusive way (with ‘an’anah) the report will cease to be evidence due to non-compliance with this (third) condition. Therefore, Imam Ibn Humam in his work “Tahrir” defines mursal as, “Mursal is the report of a trustworthy scholar (saying): ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said …’ omitting the chain of narrators.”

As this definition is different from the definition of muhaddithin, it is therefore assumed that Hanafis take every hadith that is mursal according to jargon of muhaddithin even though this is not true. Sh. Shabbir Ahmad Usmani has discussed the issue in detail in his introduction of Fath al-Mulhim. Consult it and, in shaa’ Allah, the real opinion of Hanafi scholars will become clear.

mursal report fulfilling these conditions is at times more authentic than a narration with connected chain of narrators, or at least equal to it. Therefore, if a report with connected chain (musnad mausul hadith) appears to contradict a mursal report, it will be handled like the case of (apparent) contradiction between two reports with connected chains. And if any of the three conditions for a mursal report is not fulfilled, the report is not an evidence according to Hanafis, therefore evidently an authentic reported of connected chain will take precedence. This is how I have understood the opinion of the Hanafis.

And Allah knows best!

6/1/1404 AH

Fatwa No. 49/35 A

Usmani, Muhammad Taqi, Fatawa Usmani, Quranic Studies Publishers, Karachi, 2010 vol.1 pp.223-224

— Yahya Ja’far

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