Did Imaam Nasaa’ie insult the Sahaaba [ra]??


Q: Muhtaram; Kindly advise. Abdur-Razzaaq as-San’aani was a Muhaddith and he insulted the Sahaaba. Also Imaam Nasaa’ie was a Shi’a and insulted the Mu’awiyah [radhiallaahu anhu].

A: ‘Abd ar-Razzaq as-San’ani was admittedly a most trustworthy and expert muhaddith. However, it is also a fact that he had certain Shi’i proclivities founded upon an excessive partiality for Sayyiduna ‘Ali radiyallahu ‘anhu that manifested itself in a certain degree of opposition to his political opponents. This opposition was expressed in certain disparaging remarks made by ‘Abd ar-Razzaq about persons like Mu’awiyah. These remarks, instead of being a blemish upon Mu’awiyah, came to taint ‘Abd ar-Razzaq himself.

As for Imam an-Nasa’i, towards the end of his life he traveled to Damascus where he found a lot of partiality against Sayyiduna ‘Ali. He therefore compiled a booklet comprising of ahadith on the merits of Sayyiduna ‘Ali and read this book in his hadith sessions, intending thereby to bring the people back to the way of the Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. Anti-‘Ali sentiments in the city incited some of its denizens to request from him a similar book on the merits of Mu’awiyah, which he refused, citing the the paucity of such hadith material in comparison with the merits of Sayyiduna ‘Ali. This led to him being physically manhandled with such a degree of violence that it led to his death.

It is from here that some opportunists would infer that Imam an-Nasa’i held anti-Mu’awiyah sentiments. The ridiculousness of such an inference will be evident to anyone who considers the following:

1. Mu’awiyah is credited with having narrated about 50 ahadith (roughly 10 repetitions included) in the Sihah Sittah. At least 29 of these ahadith are included by Imam an-Nasa’i into his works. At least 13 of these are narrated only by Imam an-Nasa’i, to the exclusion of the rest of the authors of the Sihah Sittah. (See al-Mizzi: Tuhfat al-Ashraf, vol. 8 p. 434-455) Had Imam an-Nasa’i been possessed of anti-Mu’awiyah sentiments he would have avoided the inclusion of any ahadith narrated by Mu’awiyah at all costs.

2. Hafiz Abul Qasim ibn ‘Asakir has documented in Tarikh Dimashq that Imam an-Nasa’i was asked about Mu’awiyah. His reply was: “Islam is like a house with a door. The door of Islam is the Sahabah. Whoever speaks ill of the Sahabah seeks but to harm Islam, just like one who knocks a door to enter a house. As for Mu’awiyah, whoever speaks ill of him seeks to find a way to speak ill of the Sahabah.” (Cited in Tahdhib al-Kamal, vol. 1 p. 339)

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Moulana Taha Karaan
Darul Uloom al-Arabiyya al-Islaamiyyah, Western Cape (SA)