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The Firmness of the Salaf in Relying upon the Criticisms of the People of Ḥadīth

Al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī

The story of how Imām Aḥmad would not entertain Dāwūd al-ʾAsbahānī due to the jarḥ (criticism) of Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyá al-Naysābūrī.

Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyá is more truthful than him, do not give him permission (to enter)

Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241 AH)

It was reported that Dāwūd al-ʾAsbahānī (d. 297 AH) arrived in Baghdād from Naysābūr (Nishapur). Dāwūd had a cordial relationship with Ṣāliḥ (d. 265 AH), the son of Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241 AH). So he spoke to Ṣāliḥ, requesting from him if he could be so kind as to facilitate a meeting with his father.

Ṣāliḥ then entered upon his father and said: A man asked me to meet you.
Imām Aḥmad replied: Who?
Sālih said: Dāwūd.
Imām Aḥmad replied: From where?
Ṣāliḥ said: from ʾAsbahān.
Imām Aḥmad replied: What does he do?

It was said Ṣāliḥ was being evasive in describing who he was, but Imām Aḥmad continued to investigate until he figured it out and said:

Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyá (al-Naysābūrī) wrote to me regarding this individual’s affair, that he claims the Qurʾān is muḥdath (of recent occurrence)[1]. Do not let him near me.

Ṣāliḥ replied: ‘O father, rather he denies this (accusation) and condemns it.

Imām Aḥmad replied: Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyá is more truthful than him, do not give him permission (to enter).[2]


[1] The Jahmite Ashʾarīs: The Qurʾān Present With Us is ‘Muḥdath’ Meaning (To Them) Created – Ibn Baṭṭah’s (d. 387H) Refutation of the Jahmites of Old With A Clarification of the Doubts of Contemporary Jahmite Ashʾarīs Regarding What is ‘Muḥdath’ by Shaykh Abū ʿIyāḍ Amjad Rafīq
[2] Tarīkh Baghdād, Publisher: Maṭbaʿ al-Saʿādah, first edition 1349AH – 1931AD, Vol. 8, page: 374.

Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī

Published: May 29, 2023
Edited: May 31, 2023


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