What are our criteria for assessing narrations?
There are some among us who cast doubt in our narrations. Some go as far as casting doubt on the miraculous birth of the Commander of the Believers (peace be upon him) inside the Holy Ka’ba.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The Sheikh said in a previous reply: ‘‘As for attaining certainty, consideration and credibility for narrations, the criteria should expand beyond the chain of narrators. An authentic narration does not equate to an authentic chain of narrators. Authenticity in the chain of narrators is only one means of attaining credibility and recognition for the narration. Other qualities make a narration authoritative in terms of doctrine and religious deeds; even if it appears to have a weak chain of narrators.
For example, if the narration itself was corresponding in content and substance to the Holy Qur’an, or is renowned, widely spread, popular and established, or its morale practised by the faithful companions of the Imams (peace be upon them) or is supported by contextual evidence, or other narrations equivalent to it exist, or it is governed by correction rules and procedures in opposition with what the ‘Sunnis’ have on the matter, then such narration in itself becomes authoritative and recognised.
There are many authentic narrations; however, in terms of doctrine and practice, they are unrecognised and non-commanding. Those ‘authentic’ narrations may contradict the Qur’an, or they are odd, or the companions of our Imams (peace be upon them) sidelined them, or those narrations had no equivalence elsewhere, or they matched what the ‘Sunnis’ have, then they become unrecognised.
Therefore, deluded people who believe that if a narration was not authentic in terms of the chain of narrators, then it should not be recognised, or that if a narration is authentic due to its authentic chain of narrators, then it should be authoritative – those people should learn that such bland and the rudimentary rule is artificial.
There are Shi’a among us who are suffering from a syndrome of self-defeatism when confronting ‘Sunnis’. They want to cast doubt on anything to dilute the major differences we have with the ‘Sunnis’. Their doubts are not confined to narrations with weak chains of narrators; rather, their doubts extend to the highest degree of narration accreditation, as in the Sacred Ziarat ‘Ashura.
Those cowardly Shi’as, the ‘Batris’, want people to believe that any narration with a weak chain of narrators can be sidelined. On the contrary, plenty of our religious rulings are deduced from weak narrations. The narrations that state virtues, miracles, wonders, and high merits of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) cannot be cast aside as such narrations do not include dutiful and practical rulings bound upon us. Therefore, those kinds of narrations can only be cast away if they included elements that oppose the Holy Qur’an, the noble Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his purified family), intellect or consensus; hence their authoritativeness!
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib