Is it haram to deny sound or hasan hadiths? Does such a person exit Ahl as-Sunnah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sunnah/sahih (sound) hadith is the second source of legislation.

According to Islamic scholars, the following verses are evidences that the Sunnah is the second source of legislation:

“But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.” (an-Nisa, 4/65)

“Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him.” (an-Najm, 53/3-4)

Accordingly, it is a big religious risk to deny sound hadiths that convey the actual, verbal and tacitly approved Sunnah to us. A person who denies that that the Sunnah of the Prophet is a source of legislation or a person who believes that a sound hadith is the word of the Prophet but does not accept it is regarded to have exited the religion of Islam. This issue is unanimously agreed by scholars.  .

As a matter of fact, Imam Abu Ishaq b. Rahuya gave the following decree: “A person who believes that a hadith reaching him from the Prophet is true but rejects it becomes an unbeliever unless he is threatened and forced to say so.”

Suyuti issued the following fatwa:

“A person who denies a hadith that has the criteria regarded as the condition of being sound by hadith authorities becomes an unbeliever and is included among Jews, Christians and other groups in the hereafter.” (see Suyuti, Miftahul-Jannah  fil-Ihtijaji bis-Sunnah, p. 14)

The scholar Ibnul-Wazir states the following:

“A person who denies a hadith though he knows that it is the word of the Prophet becomes an unbeliever. (see al-Awasim wal-Kawasim, 2/274)

The following view is included in the fatwa book called "Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Daimah":

“A person who denies that it is necessary to act based on the Sunnah becomes an unbeliever. For, denying Sunnah means denying Allah and His Messenger and the consensus of the ummah. (see Lajnah, al-Majmuatuth-Thani, 3/194).

Whether a hadith is sound or not is related to the conditions of the memory and justice of the narrators in the chain of the narrators. Imam Shafii states the following:

“If those who report a hadith from the Prophet are reliable, it means that hadith is sound. ”(al-Umm, 10/107-İkhtilaful-Hadith chapter)

Ibn Taymiya states the following:

“It is necessary to believe in everything in the Book and the Sunnah even if the meaning is not understood.” (Majmuul-Fatawi, 3/41)

As it is understood from the explanations above, the views of the scholars are as follows: A person who denies the Sunnah/hadiths as a principle exits the religion of Islam. It is necessary to believe a mutawatir hadith since it expresses definite knowledge; a person who denies it becomes an unbeliever. 

After a person accepts hadiths as a principle, his attitude related to the evaluation of hadiths separately is dealt with. If he denies a hadith that has the criteria regarded as the condition of being sound by hadith authorities – without evidence – , he is regarded to have exited the religion of Islam. If he does not accept it because it does not comply with the criteria of hadith science, there is no drawback to it.  

As it is understood from the statement of Imam Shafii, if a hadith has the conditions of soundness accepted by hadith scholars, it indicates that this hadith is sound whether there is tawatur or not. 

Hasan hadith is a hadith that does not have the conditions of hadith narration. Therefore, a hasan hadith can be regarded as strong or weak based on the strength or weakness of other narrations called witness that elevate this hadith to the level of hasan by saving it from being weak.

It is necessary not to oppose a hasan hadith whose strength outweighs.

However, if a person believes sincerely that this hadith is not sound – based on evidences of hadith science - , there might not be any drawback to denying it.

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