Hadeeth Thaqalain: A systematic takhreej of its different wording.
This hadith has been narrated from several Sahabah, viz. Ali, Abdur-Rahman bin Awf, Abu Dharr, Zaid bin Thabit, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Jabir, Hudhaifa bin Usaid, Khuzaimah bin Thabit, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, Zaid bin Arqam, Sahl bin Sa’d, Dhumairah, ‘Aamir bin Lailah, ‘Adi bin Hatim, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Aamir, Abu Rafe’, Abu Shuraih al-Khuza’i, Abu Qudamah al-Ansari, Abu Hurairah, Abul Haitham bin at-Tayyahan, Umm Salamah, Umm Hani and a person from Qureish. However, most of these traditions are not established. [See the detail of these traditions in “Istijlab Irtaqa’ al-Ghuraf” (1/336-364) by Hafiz As-Sakhawi]
My intention is to analyze the authenticity of different wordings of this tradition.
 “I am leaving behind things [or two weighty things], the first of which is the book of Allah. In it is guidance and light. So stick to it.” So he urged us to [stick with] the book of Allah and aspired people of it. Then he said, “And my Ahlul Bayt. I remind you of Allah with regards to m Ahlul Bayt [He repeated this three times]”
In this version, Prophet (S) commanded to stick with the Qur’an particularly.
This wording is established from the hadith of Yazeed bin Hayyan from Zaid bin Arqam related by Muslim, Ahmad and others.
This wording is also established in the narration of Atiyyah from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri. Ya’qoob al-Fasawi relates in “al-Ma’rifah wa at-Tareekh” (1/537) through Fudhail bin Marzooq from Atiyyah al-‘Awfi from Abu Sa’eed with the wording similar to that of Sahih Muslim. At the end Fudhail asked Atiyyah, “Who were the Itrah of Prophet (S.A.W.)?” He replied, “His Ahlul Bayt”.
حدثنا عبيد الله قال: أنبأ فضيل بن مرزوق عن عطية عن أبي سعيد الخدري قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إني تارك فيكم الثقلين أحدهما أكبر من الآخر: كتاب الله عز وجل حبل ممدود من السماء إلى الأرض طرف في يد الله عز وجل وطرف في أيديكم فاستمسكوا به، ألا وعترتي. قال فضيل: سألت عطية عن عترته؟ قال: أهل بيته
There are other wordings also narrated from ‘Atiyyah, and that may be due to weakness in ‘Atiyyah or it may be that some narrators while trying to narrate it through meaning, have changed the sequence of the words unintentionally. WAllahu A’alam
Similarly, this has come under the hadith of Zaid bin Hasan al-Anmati from Ma’roof bin Kharraboodh from Abu Tufayl from Hudhaifa bin Usaid. It was reported by Tabarani in “Al-Kabeer” (3/67 & 3/180) and Abu Nu’aim in “al-Hilyah” (1/355), and its Isnad is weak due to Zaid al-Anmaati, as we’ll see later.
This wording has also related by Tabarani in “Al-Kabeer” (3/66 & 5/166) through the way of Abdullah bin Bukair Al-Ghanawi from Hakeem bin Jubair from Abu Tufayl from Zaid bin Arqam. Hakeem bin Jubair was extremely weak. [Meezan (1/583)]
 “I am leaving behind things, which if you adhere to you shall never go astray. And that is the Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt [or my Itrah].”
This is disputed upon. This relation is famous from the hadith of Jabir, related by Tirmidhi in “Sunan” (3786), Tabarani in “Al-Kabeer” (2680) and “Al-Awsat” (4757) through the way of Zaid bin Al-Hasan Al-Anmati from Ja’far bin Muhammad from his father (Al-Baqir) from Jabir bin Abdullah. This tradition also mentions that the Prophet (SAW) said it during his farewell pilgrimage. This tradition is obviously Munkar for the following reasons:
1. Zaid bin al-Hasan al-Anmaati was weak as stated by Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Taqreeb (1/337). Abu Hatim said that he was Munkar al-Hadeeth.
2. The hadeeth of Thaqalain was said by the Prophet (SAW) at the place of Khumm. However, according to this tradition the Prophet said it during his pilgrimage, at ‘Arafah.
3. Zaid al-Anmaati relates it from Ja’far as-Sadiq, while the other trustworthy narrators related it through same Ja’far as-Sadiq and they did not mentioned Ahlul Bayt. Rather,during the farewell pilgrimage the Prophet (SAW) only urged people to stick with Qur’an. This tradition could be read in Sahih Muslim and other book.
If it is said that Shaykh al-Albani authenticated this, then answer would be: No, Shaykh al-Albani did not authenticate this particular incident; rather he specifically authenticated the wording which was common in both this narration and other narrations. He notified the weakness in Zaid al-Anmaati there. See, As-Saheehah (1761).
The other relation is that which was related by Tabrani [al-Kabeer (3/65)] through Abdul Malik bin Abi Suleiman and Harun bin Sa’d from ‘Atiyyah from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri. This relation is not established due to Atiyyah. And the tradition through Atiyyah has come with the other wording also which doesn’t support this wording. Hence, this has been related through Katheer an-Nawa, A’amash, Fudhail bin Marzooq, Zakariyya and others from Atiyyah with the wording different than the wording related by Abdul Malik bin Abi Suleiman and Harun bin Sa’d.
Ya’qoob al-Fasawi relates in “al-Ma’rifah wa at-Tareekh” (1/537) through Fudhail bin Marzooq from Atiyyah al-‘Awfi from Abu Sa’eed with the wording similar to that of Sahih Muslim [this has preceded earlier].
Fudhail was well famous for his companionship with Atiyyah and he was much well aware of the narrations of Atiyyah than any other. Besides that, he was also supported by the tradition of al-A’amash from Atiyyah. So, it is established from this that what is established from the hadith of Atiyyah is that which come through Fudhail, and other people related it by meaning and hence came up with different wordings. Wallahu A’alam
Another tradition which contain this wording has been related through Katheer bin Zaid from Muhammad bin Umar bin Ali from his father from Ali (ra). This also has weakness in it due to Katheer bin Zaid, even though some scholar did Tawtheeq of him.
It has been recorded by Ishaq bin Rahuyah in his Musnad, as in “Al-Mutalib Al-‘Aaliyah” (16/142) by Ibn Hajar, likewise by Tahawi in Mushkil al-Aathar (5/13), through Abu ‘Aamir Al-‘Uqdi from Kathir bin Zaid from Muhammad bin ‘Umar bin Ali bin Abi Talib, from his father, from Ali bin Abi Talib….alhadith, which has the wording, “I have left behind among that which if you stick to you shall never go astray….”.
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حضر الشجرة بخم، فخرج آخذا بيد علي، فقال: من كنت مولاه فإن عليا مولاه – أو قال: فإن هذا مولاه – إني قد تركت فيكم ما إن أخذتم به لن تضلوا: كتاب الله وأهل بيتي. ألستم تشهدون أن الله ورسوله أولى بكم من أنفسكم؟ وأن الله ورسوله أولياؤكم؟ قالوا: بلى قال: فمن كنت مولاه
Ibn Hajar said, “Its Isnad is Sahih.”
I say: Katheer bin Zaid is disagreed upon. Ibn Hajar himself said in Taqreeb that he was Sadooq who used to commit mistakes. Mostly his hadith could be classified as Hasan, when not opposed by other reliable narrators. Dhahabi, after quoting this tradition in disconnected form, said that there was weakness in Katheer. [Risalah Turq hadith “man kuntu maulahu fa ‘Aliyyu maulahu” (32)]
Ibn Jareer records this tradition, as mentioned in the treatise of Dhahabi and al-Bidayah of Ibn Katheer, and Ibn Abi Aasim in As-Sunnah [Zilal Al-Jannah (no.1558)] without relating the part mentioning the tradition of Thaqalain, while ad-Dawlabi related it in “Adh-Dhurriya at-Tahirah” (237) in disconnected form through Muhammad bin Umar bin Ali from Ali.
This version was also related by al-Bazzar in his Musnad (864) through Su’ad bin Suleiman from Abu Ishaq from Harith fro Ali. This is weak due to Su’ad bin Suleiman and Harith al-A’awar.
Regarding Su’ad bin Suleiman, Abu Hatim said that he was not strong. Ibn Hibban listed him in ath-Thiqaat. [Tahdheeb (3/401)] It is not known whether he heard this from Abu Ishaq before Ikhtilat or after it. And Harith was weak according to most of the scholars. [Al-Kashif (1/303), Taqreeb (1/175), Tahdheeb (2/126)]
Also, there is disconnection between Abu Ishaq and Harith. Shu’bah said that Abu Ishaq did not hear from Harith except for four narrations. Yahya bin Sa’eed used to narrate from Abu Ishaq only those traditions of Harith which he actually heard from him. [Tahdheeb (2/126), Jami’ at-Tahseel (pg.245)] In our case, neither Abu Ishaq mentioned his hearing nor does Yahya al-Qattan narrate this from him.
Another narration, which urges Muslims to stick with Ahlul Bayt, is related by al-Fasawi in “al-Ma’rifah wa at-Tareekh” (1/536) from the hadith of Zaid bin Arqam through the route of Jareer from Hasan bin Ubaidullah from Abu adh-Dhuha from Zaid bin Arqam (ra). This narration, with this wording, exists only in the version of al-Fasawi. Al-Hakim (4711) related it through the same Yahya bin Mugheerah without having the wording under consideration. Similarly, Tabarani relates it through Ali bin al-Madeeni and Khalid bin Abdullah al-Wasiti, (both of them) through Jareer. Also, the authentic tradition of Zaid bin Arqam has already been mentioned, which gives detail account of this statement of Prophet (SAW). WAllahu A’alam
Another tradition from Zaid bin Arqam is related in “al-Mustadrak” (4577) through Muhammad bin Salamah bin Kuhail from his father from Abu Tufail from Zaid. The authentic version of the hadeeth of Abu Tufail is coming under the study of the addition “they shall never separate”. In this Isnad, Muhammad bin Salamah bin Kuhail was weak. [Lisan al-Meezan (5/183)]
This wording also exists in some version of the hadith of Shareek from Rukain from Qaasim bin Hassaan from Zaid bin Thaabit. [Musnad ‘Abd bin Humaid] This is not present in other version of the hadith of Shareek, narrated in Musnad Ahmad and other books of hadeeth, and Shareek was weak especially when narrate from other than Abu Ishaq.
Now, the following points would make the issue clear:
1. It is known that all these traditions are describing the same statement, and the occasion was one. The Prophet couldn’t have said all of those wordings because that would be useless.
2. The difference in the wording is due to reason that many people narrated it through meaning. So they narrated the summarized wording instead of exact wording. Prophet [SAW] could have uttered only one of those different wordings. That is the reason there is not a hadith with this wording except there is also other version of same narration exist which aids the version of Sahih Muslim.
3. The exact wording has been narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh and Ahmad in his Musnad through Zaid bin Arqam, and this is the most authentic Isnad of Hadith Thaqalain. Similarly, the tradition of Atiyyah al-‘Awfi supports this, which was narrated by Fudhail, Atiyyah’s closest student.
4. Besides that, the version of Muslim is also explicit. It has been narrated in a way which makes us to believe that it has been narrated precisely.
5. This wording of Sahih Muslim is also supported by the narration of farewell ceremony related by Muslim and other through Ja’far as-Sadiq from al-Baqir from Jabir (ra). If it was necessity for the Ummah to follow Ahlul Bayt then Prophet (SAW) would have made this clear during his farewell speech at Makkah. But rather he commanded to stick with the Qur’an and later on at Khumm he repeated the same thing except that he added the prescription for the Ummah to be careful with Ahlul Bayt.
. Addition of “they shall never separate until they meet me at the fountain”.
This addition is proven in the hadeeth of Zaid bin Arqam. Hence, it was related by al-Fasawi in “al-Ma’rifah” (1/536), at-Tabarani in “al-Kabeer” (5/169)(5/170) and al-Hakim in “al-Mustadrak” (4711) all of them through Hasan bin Ubaidullah from Abu adh-Dhuha Muslim bin Sabeeh from Zaid bin Arqam.
Imam Tirmidhi relates it in his Sunan (3788) through A’mash from Habeeb bin Abi Thabit from Zaid bin Arqam. Its narrators are all reliable but there is some doubt whether Habeeb heard from Zaid or not. Ali bin Madeeni said, “He found Ibn Abbas, and heard from A’isha. He did not hear anyone besides them.” [Jami’ at-Tahseel (pg.158)] Therefore, this is disconnected. However, Nasai narrates it in al-Kubra (8092, 8410) and likewise Hakim (4576) and there they mention Abu Tufayl between Habeeb and Zaid bin Arqam. The statement of Ali bin Madeeni apply here as well, since Abu Tufayl was a Sahabi, but it is least applicable in case of Abu Tufayl because he was among those Sahabah who died after 100AH. Abu Tufail died in 110Ah while Habeeb bin Abi Thaabit died in 119AH. Both of them lived in Kufah. Imam Dhahabi declared this Isnad to be Qawi (strong), in his treatise on the hadith “man kuntu maulahu” (1/66, no.65).
This was reported in the narration of Atiyyah al-‘Awfi from Abu Sa’eed. Imam Ahmad records it in Musnad (11104, 11131, 11211 and 11561) through Atiyyah from Abu Sa’eed. Atiyyah bin Sa’d al-‘Awfi was weak in hadeeth.
This was also recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (21578, 21654) through Shuraik from ar-Rukain from Qasim bin Hassan from Zaid bin Thaabit. Shuraik was weak. Qasim bin Hassaan al-‘Aamiri was mastoor.
It was also related by At-Tabarani in “al-Kabeer” (3/67) through Zaid bin al-Hasan al-Anmati, he said narrated to us Ma’roof bin Kharraboodh from Abu Tufayl from Hudhaifa bin Usaid al-Ghifari. Zaid bin Hasan al-Anmati was weak as preceded already.
. Wording of “Khaleefatayn” instead of “Thaqalain”.
This word comes in the tradition of Shareek from Rukain from Qasim bin Hassaan from Zaid bin Thaabit. It was related by Ibn Abi Shaibah in “al-Musannaf” (31679), Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (21578, 21654) and others.
Shareek was weak, especially when opposes others and narrate from other than Abu Ishaq. [Taqreeb (1/417) etc] And there is dispute regarding Qaasim bin Hassaan. Dhahabi quotes from Bukhari that his hadith is Munkar and he was not known. Ibn Hibban listed him among Thiqaat. Ahmad bin Saleh said he was Thiqah, while Ibn al-Qattan said he was not known. WAllahu A’alam [Meezan (3/369), Tahdheeb (8/279)]
The word “Khaleefah” here doesn’t indicate the successor of Prophet (SAW) in any way. Qur’an cannot be a successor of the Prophet (SAW) for it was in authority even during the lifetime of the Prophet (SAW). In fact, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) himself followed the Qur’an. Khaleefa is simply something which has been left behind. WAllahu A’alam
. Addition of “So be careful how you deal with these two”
This addition comes under the hadith of A’mash from Habeeb bin Abi Thabit [from Abu Tufail] from Zaid bin Arqam. This Isnad has been discussed under the addition of “they shall never separate…” so look there.
This is the only Isnad, according to my knowledge, which contain this wording and it is authentic, Insha Allah. Wallahu A’alam