Who is ‘Athiyyah bin S’ad al-‘Awfi and what are the status of the narrations of hadith from him?
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.
His name is ‘Athiyyah bin Sa’ad bin Junadah al-‘Awfi al-Kufi. He is known as Abu al-Hasan and he is included as one of the famous tabi’in. Furthermore, he has narrated from Ibn Abbas, Abi Sa’id, Abi Hurairah, Zaid bin Arqam, ‘Ikrimah, Abdulrahman bin Jundub and Ibn Umar R.Anhum. As for those who narrated from him are his son al-Hasan, Hajjaj bin Arthoh, Quraah bin Khalid, Zakariyya bin Abi Zaidah, Mis’ar, Mutharrif, Ismail bin Abi Khalid and many more.
Moreover, Imam Ahmad said ‘Athiyyah is a weak narrator and I once heard he met with al-Kalbi to ask about matters related to tafsir (commentary). Furthermore, he called al-Kalbi with the nickname Abu Sa’id. When he narrated from al-Kalbi he would refer to this nickname by saying “Abu Sa’id said” and does not refer to his real name. (See Tahzib al-Tahzib, 7/225)
Imam Ibn Hibban stated in his book al-Dhu’afat, ‘Athiyyah narrated from Abu Sa’id (companion of the Prophet PBUH) several hadiths. After the passing of Abu Sa’id (companion of the Prophet PBUH), he was always with (learns from) al-Kalbi. When narrating hadiths from al-Kalbi, he would memorize it then narrate it using the nickname of al-Kalbi by saying, “Abu Sa’id said to me.” Thus, many misunderstood and assumed that it is a hadith from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri the companion of the Prophet PBUH while in truth Abu Sa’id that he meant was al-Kalbi and not Abu Sa’id al-Khudri.
He is also a Shiite as stated by Imam al-Zahabi in al-Siyar. Furthermore, Ibn ‘Adiy once said ‘Athiyyah has several hadiths from Abu Sa’d al-Khudri and from other than Abu Sa’id al-Khudri. Even though he is a weak narrator, his hadiths are written and he is included as a Shiite from al-Kufah.
Furthermore, Ibn Sa’ad said one day ‘Athiyyah went out with Ibn al-Ash’ath. Then, al-Hajjaj wrote a message to Muhammad bin Qasim asking them to insult Ali RA. If they refuse, they will punish with 400 times of whip and their beards are to be shaved. They are called and they refuse to do what was asked and the punishments are carried out. (See Tahzib al-Tahzib, 7/226). This is also stated by Abu Bakar al-Bazzar and he also said that ‘Athiyyah is a tasyayyu’ (inclined towards syiah)
He died in the year 111 Hijrah as stated by Imam al-Zahabi.
Narrations of ‘Athiyyah bin Sa’ad al-‘Awfi
Imam al-Zahabi said that ‘Athiyyah is a weak narrator. (See Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, 5/325-326). The same is stated by Imam al-Nasa’i who said ‘Athiyyah is a weak narrator. While Abu Hatim evaluate ‘Athiyyah as a weak narrator, his hadiths are written and ibn ‘Adiy said that ‘Athiyyah narrated various hadiths from thiqah narrators. Furthermore, Imam Ibn Hajar said ‘Athiyyah is insyaAllah a thiqah narrator and his hadiths are accepted. Some scholars did not use ‘Athiyyah as their argument as stated by Abu Daud, ‘Athiyyah is not someone of whom a person could hold on to him and al-Saji also said that ‘Athiyyah is not someone a person can base their arguments on. Imam al-Tirmizi, Abu Daud and Ibn Majah narrated from him and al-Bukhari also narrated from him in al-Adab al-Mufrad.
Considering the above opinions of hadith scholars, we are inclined to state that ‘Athiyyah bin Sa’ad al-‘Awfi is a weak narrator and his narrations should be analyzed, especially when he narrates from Abu Sa’id.
To conclude, ‘Athiyyah bin Sa’ad al-‘Awfi is a scholar with his own contributions. Furthermore, ‘Athiyyah bin Sa’ad is also a narrator whose hadiths are weak as explained above. Lastly, may Allah SWT give us understanding and strength in following the exemplary attributes of previous Muslim scholars. Amin.