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Nā⋅iruddīn al-Albānī on Muslim's Sahīh: A Critical Study of His Method

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Nā⋅iruddīn al-Albānī (d. 1999) was a Muslim autodidact who devoted most of his life to the close study of prophetic hadīths. al-Albānī classified as weak hundreds of hadīths considered authentic by most Muslim scholars, including some hadīth s found in the Sahīh of Muslim. In this essay, I explain al-Albānī's method of determining that a hadīth is either authentic or spurious; d iscuss the implications of his method when applied to other hadīths; and examine the hadīths declared weak by al-Albānī from the perspective of both the traditional hadīth sciences and non-Muslim methods of dating a hadīth. Based on an analysis of 360 hadīths found in the canonical collections that were transmitted by Abū al-Zubayr from Jābir, I argue that Muslim did not regard the transmission terminology u sed by the Successors as a decisive criterion for determining whether or not a transmitter is reliable. This argument calls into question al-Albānī's method, for he used terminology as the decisive criterion for assessing the validity of transmissions. Our reexamination of one hadīth declared weak by al-Albānī, called here the Abū al-Zubayr hadīth , leads us to question the historicity of at least 125 of his hadīths in M uslim's Sahīh.


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