Fiqah of following the Athar PT 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Praises are all due to Allah, the Most High and the Most Wise. We ask Allah to bestow his blessings on Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم).The most correct etiquette for a seeker of knowledge is to avoid taking a contrary opinion which is isolated from the understanding of the Salaf. Allah says: And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination[1]” The Most Merciful warns that choosing a path other than the Messenger and His companions lands a person in Hell. Who are the best believers after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)? Who witnessed revelations descend? Why not learn some basic guiding principles for their speech and actions. Allah clearly praised the companions and informed us and them that if we shadow their footsteps we will be guided. Allah said: So if they believe like the same way you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allah will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.[2]

Seeking Allah’s assistance I collected some details about the Tabe’eens’ narration and titled this article, “ Fiqah of Following the Athar PT 2.”  


In part one of this series the definition for the subject matter, “Fiqah of following the Athar”, was explained.  It’s necessary before continuing here that the reader is acquainted with the usage of Hadith in its types and definition related to its matn. The Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم)  speech, action, approval, character and description are known as Hadith Mar’fu. That means it’s attributed to our Prophet and no one else in regards to the Hadith’s text (Matn).

Then the next category of hadith text is anything which is attributed to the Sahabah being their speech and actions and this called Mawquf. After that is the speech and actions from the Tabe’een. This type of text is called Al-Maqtu’.[3]


The status of the Tab’een

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) mentioned the Tabe’eens’ era among the virtuous generations. He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: The best generation is my generation then those who follow them, then those who follow them.” The scholars have defined the Tabe’ee as a person who accompanied the Prophet’s companions.[4]

Al-Hakim Abu Abdullah and a large amount of scholars view it’s sufficient for a person to be considered a Tabe’ee if he heard only one hadeeth from the companions (Radi Allahu anhum).Moreover, if a Muslim met the Sahabah and didn’t narrate a single hadeeth on him then he could be judged as a Tabe’ee as well.[5]

This definition seems to be closest to the most precise and correct to explain who a Tab’ee is based on how a Sahabah is described as having met the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) even once or having heard and narrated one single hadeeth from Him. Also if a person who is trustworthy mentions that he is a Tabe’ee then this can be accepted from him, similarly to how a companion attests that he companioned the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).[6]

The Mukhadaram

The Mukhadaram is a person considered a Tabe’ee who lived during the era of Jahiliyah and the lifetime of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Nonetheless, he/she isn’t considered a companion for the mere fact they never met Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) or accompanied him. This is the definition of a Mukhadaram according to the scholars of Hadith, but the scholars of language and Usul define a Mukhadaram as a person who lived half his life as a Kafir and the other half as a Muslim.[7]

The Mukhadaram falls short in being defined as a Sahabah as he didn’t meet the Prophet although the possibility was there; for example with An-Najasi the king of the Etiopia who lived during the life time of the Prophet, believed in him, died as a Muslim, but never met Muhammad(صلى الله عليه وسلم).  He is considered a Mukhadaram.

Imam Muslim, Ibn As-Salah, and Al-Iraqi collected the names of the Muslims they deemed Mukhadarameen. Following their collection Imam ibn Al-‘Ajami (841H) collected a total 157 Muslims names believed to be in class of the Mukhadarameen. Some of those people well-known among the Muslims are:

  • Al-Ahnaf bin Qais
  • Aswad ibn Yazeed
  • Owais Al-Qarni
  • Shurhabeelibn Abdil Kullab.(The Prophet(صلى الله عليه وسلم) wrote him a letter about Sadaqah)
  • Abdullah ibn ‘Ukaym.
  • Umar ibn Malik ibn Utbah
  • Abu Al-Aaliyah Ar-Riyyahi.


The Status of Abu Haneefah Al-Nu’man ibn Thabit. Tabe’ee or Tabe’ee At-Tabe’ee

Abu Haneefah was born in the 80th  of Hijrah and died in 150H. He lived for 70 years. He met numerous Tabe’een and narrated on them, but the confusion among the Hanafis is did Abu Haneefah narrate or meet any companions?

One group of scholars holds the position that Abu Haneefah met seven companions. Among the strongest differing about the names of the companions is the narration on Anas ibn Malik. There is no difference of opinion that Abu Haneefah actually lived during the time of Anas ibn Malik and was about 10 yrs old; as Anas ibn Malik died after 90Hijrah. Hence the disagreement between the ulema is did he narrate from those companions alive during that era or not?  Imam Abu Nuaym and Ibn Al-Jawzi said: “ Abu Haneefah saw Anas ibn Malik, but didn’t hear any hadeeth from him”. If it is true that heard  ahadeeth from Anas ibn Malik then he’s a Tabe’ee otherwise he’s a Tabe’ee At-Tabe’ee. And Allah knows best. [8]

The classes of the Tabe’een

The Tabe’een are divided up in 3 categories; Senior and Junior and those between the two.

  • The senior Tabe’een are those who most of their narrations are on the companions. i.e Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayib, Urwa ibn Zubayr and ‘Alqamah bin Qais.
  • The Junior Tabe’een are those who most of their narrations were from Tabe’een and they only met a few Sahabah. i.e Ibrahim An-Nakha’ee, Abee Az-Zeenad and Yahya ibn Sa’eed.
  • The Tabe’een between the seniors and juniors are those whose narrations were both on the Sahabah and the senior Tabe’een. i.e Hasan Al-Basri, Muhammad ibn Sireen, Mujahid, Qatadah,

The best of the Tabe’een

The best of the Tabe’een is Owais al Qarni. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said the best among those who come after me is a man named : Owais.”[9]

The Importance of the Tab’eens’  Athar to understand the Shariah

The Tabe’oon met the Prophet’s companions and are considered among their students. Without question the Prophet’s companions are the best generation for the Muslims to learn from. They learned directly from the Prophet .The Sahabah understood all the fundamental principles of this deen. Whenever there was a possible misunderstanding or they required extra clarity they asked the Prophet directly or other companions.[10] This makes the Tabe’een among the most important students and scholars in our religion, therefore relying on their verdicts support the Muslims in their understanding.

The verdicts of the Sahabah have more right to be relied on than the verdicts of the Tabe’een and the Fatawa of the Tabe’een are most superior to those who came after them and so forth. The closer the time period to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) the closer it is to being correct and more sound. This is based on their overall era being more virtuous,and not directly related to any particular issues . This is similar to how the generation of the Tabe’een is more superior to the age of those Tabe’ee At-Tabe’een and not the individuals of that period. This is the correct position regarding the Tabe’een’s views being more correct than those who succeeded them.[11]

The Status of the Athar of the Tab’een

Although the Tabee’een are among those most respected in our religion their speech and actions aren’t a proof independently.

Abu Dawud said: Imam Ahmed ibn hanbal was asked: If a narration is reported from the Tabee’een and there isn’t anything reported on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) about the issue, must we adhere to narration of the Tabee’ee. Imam Ahmed said: “No”. [12]

Shu’bah ibn Al-Hujjah said : “The speech of the Tabee’een in subsidiary issues aren’t a proof, then how can they be proof for Tafsir?” in other words their speech isn’t a proof over others who might oppose their opinions. In the face of a consensus among themselves then their speech or actions are a proof, unlike a difference of opinion between themselves.[13]

Plainly put, if there is an Ijma among the Tabe’een then it’s a proof and anyone who goes against the consensus of the Tabe’een then his speech or actions has no status. And a single Tabe’ee’s speech isn’t a proof.[14]

The Tab’een’s Athar  for Issues of Fiqh when they say, “ From the Sunnah is…”

The Athar of the Tabee’een in regards their fatawa in issues of Fiqh and Aqeedah are recognized. When it comes to Fiqh there are some guidelines the scholars hold about the Tabe’eens’ Athar. For example; If and when a Tabe’ee said: “From the Sunnah is …”, then these words carry the rank of being Mursal  and not attributed to the Sunnah of  Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Reason being, is there lies the possibility that it’s the religious opinion of the Sahabah or something that was practiced during their era. [15] and a Mursal Hadith isn’t a proof in Islam.

Check your comprehension:

  1. The Athar on the companions and the Tabe’ee are equal in regards to the Shariah. ( T / F)
  2. Marfu’ is attributed to the Tabe’ee. (T / F)
  3. Imam Ahmed’s opinion was that it’s not obligatory to follow the opinion of the Tabe’ee. ( T / F)
  4. Owais Al-Qarni is the best Tabe’ee. (T / F)

 Have you read part 1 ?


Prepared by the one in need of Allah’s Mercy

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle Sr

Phd Student (Hadith & its Sciences)

Doha, Qatar 1436©




[1] Quran: An-Nisa’-115

[2] Quran : Al-Baqarah – 137

[3] Mahasanul Istalah, by Al-Bulqeenee, pg 122-129)

[4] Al-Kifiyah, by Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi, pg(22).

[5]  Refer to Ma’rifatu Ulumil Hadeeth, by Al-Hakim, pg (45)

[6] Mukhtasar At-Tahrir, by Imam Al-Uthaymeen, pg (670)

[7] Tathkiratu At-Talibi Al-Mu’alimi biman youqalu Innahu Mukhadaram, by Ibn Al-‘Ajmi(841H), pg (41)

[8] Tadqeeq Al-‘Eenaya, by Ibn abi Ad-Damm(642H) pg (129-130)

[9] Collected by Imam Muslim in the chapter the virtue is Owais Al-Qarni

[10]  Refer to Majmu 9/200

[11] Refer to ‘Ilam Al-Mowaqee’een, by  Ibn Al-Qayyim ( 4/102)

[12] Al-Moosowadah, by ibn Taymiyyah’s father, pg 339

[13] Majmu’ Fatawa, by ibn Taymiyyah , vol 13/137

[14] Mukhtasar At-Tahrir, by Imam Al-Uthaymeen pg  547,550,

[15] Irshadul Fahul , By Ash-Shawkani vol 1/300

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