al-Hakim al-Naysaburi

Al-Hâkim’s Mustadrak was criticized by the hadîth scholars due to the number of mistakes and inaccuracies found in it. Al-Sakhâwî in al-I`lân wal-Tawbîkh and others mention that he declares many forged reports to be rigorously authentic – up to 100 according to some authorities – not to mention weak ones, instead of clinging to his own expressed precondition that only reports with chains of the rank of al-Bukhârî’s and Muslim’s would be retained. For example, he narrates in the Mustadrak from Ibn `Abbâs that Allâh revealed to the Prophet I have killed seventy thousand [in punishment] for [the murder of] Yahyâ ibn Zakariyya and I will kill seventy thousand times seventy thousand [in punishment] for [the murder of] your daughter’s son al-Husayn. Al-Hâkim said this report has a sound chain while al-Dhahabî added: “By the criterion of Muslim” but Ibn Hibbân said this hadîth is untraceable ( asla lahu), al-Dhahabî himself rejected its matn as munkar in the Siyar while Ibn Kathir similarly declared it “highly anomalous” (gharîb jiddan) in al-Bidâya. [1] Al-Dhahabî went to excess in regretting that al-Hâkim had compiled the Mustadrak in the first place. [2] His classing al-Hâkim “among those who are lenient, like al-Tirmidhî” [3] does not apply to al-Hâkim in absolute terms but only to his grading of narrations in the Mustadrak, which the Scholars pointed out he compiled in his old age, intending to revise it, a task left unfinished beyond the first volume. [4] This is proven by the fact that al-Hâkim’s mistakes are fewer in the first volume of the Mustadrak, as shown by al-Dhahabî’s own minimal corrections there. “Outside of the Mustadrak,” Shaykh Mahmûd Mamdûh said, “his positions are as strict as those of any of the meticulous Imâms of hadîth” [5] In fact, al-Hâkim often criticizes al-Bukhârî and Muslim for narrating hadîths from narrators who have been questioned. [6] More accurately, the criterion of soundness (sihha) for both al-Hâkim and al-Dhahabî includes the narrations others classified as merely fair (hasan). [7] Al-Kattânî in al-Risâla al-Mustatrafa described the Mustadrak as consisting half of sound narrations per the criteria of al-Bukhârî and Muslim or of either one, a quarter of sound narrations that do not meet their criteria, and a quarter of unsound narrations including forgeries. Among the takhrîj commentaries on the Mustadrak are al-Dhahabî’s Talkhîs al-Mustadrak, al-Suyûtî’s Tawdîh al-Madrak fî Tashîh al-Mustadrak, a work by Burhân al-Dîn al-Halabî, and others such as the recent Tanbîh al-Wâhim by Ramadân `Alî Muhammad. Another criticism is al-Hâkim’s alleged Shî`îsm. Al-Dhahabî once names him “one of the oceans of knowledge although a little bit Shî`î” (`alâ tashayyu`in qalîlin fîh), another time “al-Hâkim the Shî`î,” and another time “a famous Shî`î” (shî`iyyun mashhûr), [8] an echo of Ibn al-Jawzî’s barb: “Al-Hâkim was Shî`î-leaning (mutashayyi`) and this is a flagrant trait of his.” [9] Ibn al-Subkî rejects the label of Shî`î as baseless because Ibn `Asâkir includes al-Hâkim among the Ash`arîs, who consider the Shî`îs innovators. Yet this label is still branded as a blemish today at the hands of those who oppose his positions if they weaken theirs, and those who oppose him for being a follower of al-Ash`arî, or for being a Sûfî.

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