What is meant by Ahad (آحاد) hadith?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Hadith or Sunnah is the second source in Islamic Shariah. For that, learning the science of hadith is a commandment as, without them, we cannot understand the saying of the Prophet PBUH correctly. The terminologies used in the science of hadith is included in one of the branches or parts of the science.
Referring back to the above question, Ahad hadith or khabar (saying) is a khabar which does not fulfil the requirements to be considered as a mutawatir khabar even though its narrators are many in numbers. In addition, Ahad hadith or khabar is much more in numbers compared to the mutawatir ones. [See: al-Madkhal ila ‘Ulum al-Hadith, 51]
Besides, the scholars divide Ahad khabar into three divisions:
- Gharib Hadith
According to Imam al-Baiquniy, Gharib hadith is a hadith narrated by only one narrator as stated in his manzhum. Gharib hadith may be sahih, hassan, dhaif and others according to the narrators in the sanad (chain of narrators).
- Aziz Hadith
Aziz hadith is a hadith narrated by only two narrators according to Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar in his book. [See: Nuzhah al-Nazhor, 49]. Aziz hadith may be sahih, hassan, dhaif and others according to the narrators in the sanad.
- Masyhur Hadith
Masyhur hadith is a hadith narrated by three narrators or more. This is the opinion of most scholars of hadith. Masyhur hadith may be sahih, hassan, dhaif and others according to the narrators or sanad of the hadith.
The Ruling of Ahad Hadith
The ruling of Ahad hadith may be seen or stated according to its types or division as we explained above which is among the three divisions. However, generally, Ahad hadith some are accepted and some are rejected even though the numbers of narrators are not many and do not reach the level of mutawatir. Still, it can be sahih, hassan, dhaif or others according to the conditions of the narrators or the sanad.
The Example of Ahad Hadith
One of the examples of Ahad Hadith:
دَعْ مَا يَرِيبُكَ إِلَى مَا لاَ يَرِيبُكَ فَإِنَّ الصِّدْقَ طُمَأْنِينَةٌ وَإِنَّ الْكَذِبَ رِيبَةٌ
“Leave what makes you in doubt for what does not make you in doubt. The truth brings tranquility while falsehood sows doubt.” [Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (2518)]
In conclusion, Ahad hadith or khabar is a hadith where the numbers of narrators do not reach the numbers in Mutawatir and it can be sahih, hassan, dhaif and others according to the condition of the narrators or the sanad of the hadith. Hopefully, through this brief explanation, it may increase our understanding on the science of hadith. Ameen.