@ReasonOnFaith not selective, its based on chains of transmissions. This is hadith 101.
— UMA1R_ MAL1K (@UMA1R_)
My follow up thoughts:
I believe we’re mis-communicating somewhere. I’ve included thoughts below to clarify.
When I asked in an earlier tweet, “How do you pick and choose?”, I’m referring to the biography of Muhammad, written by Ibn Hisham and cited by Mirza Tahir Ahmad.
Let me know which of my premises/statements you disagree with. I don’t claim to be a hadith scholar, so I honestly welcome your input and perspective as I explore this fascinating area further:
- Ibn Ishaq wrote the earliest biography of Muhammad that we know of.
- Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah biography isn’t reliable, because his work is ~ 120 years after the Prophet and his material doesn’t have proper chains of transmission (isnad).
- Ibn Hisham’s biography is based on parts of Ibn Ishaq’s written works, with parts discarded that Ibn Hisham didn’t like (for whatever reason).
- What Ibn Hisham kept in, is material that is solely based on the parts of Ibn Ishaq’s biography that were retained.
- Mirza Tahir Ahmad, in his book Murder in the Name of Allah, uses Ibn Hisham as a source in some footnotes (though not Ibn Ishaq).
My question was essentially this:
If Ibn Ishaq isn’t a reliable source (per point #2 above), and Ibn Hisham is completely based on Ibn Ishaq — and Ibn Hisham came even later — then Ibn Hisham is just as unreliable, since Ibn Hisham similarly has no chain of narration.
So why would an Ahmadi Muslim author source from Ibn Hisham, but hold the position that Ibn Ishaq is unreliable? (I’m speaking of academic and historical justification; not one based on personal beliefs and desired conclusions.)
If Ibn Hisham had something nice to say that an Ahmadi Muslim author wanted to use, that also happened to be supported by hadith with a proper chain of transmission, would it not make sense then, to just quote the actual hadith, instead of a derivative work that seems to speak to the same issue, but for which there is no proper chain of transmission?
Yes, chains of transmission are part of Hadith 101. My question wasn’t that.
What I’m deducing from the statements and evidence above, is that the use of Ibn Hisham — and therefor parts of Ibn Ishaq by definition — are selective. If it’s not reliable because of chain of transmission, then throw it out and make the points that need to be made from the hadith that do have the proper chain of transmission.
Not doing that amounts to drawing from a resource for excerpts one likes; but then dismissing that same source for anything one does not like. If you believe it is good history, then on what basis are you dismissing a subset of it?
Frankly, I have the same issue with Ibn Hisham for editing out parts of Ibn Ishaq’s original work (that was fortunately, saved in part, by al-Tabari).
Incidentally, I’d be happy to peruse the Ahmadi source you use for learning about chains of transmission and for looking them up for any given hadith.
What source do you use and trust to proactively look up the isnad of any given hadith you’re curious about?