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How Did Ali Ibn Abi Talha Narrate from Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه‎ ?
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How Did Ali Ibn Abi Talha Narrate from Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه‎ ?

How Did Ali Ibn Abi Talha Narrate from Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه‎ ?

The anti Ahmadis raise allegations against the narration which is often used by us, to prove the death of Hadhrat Isaas. It is narrated by Hadhrat Imam Bukharirh, under Kitab ul-Tafseer in Sahih Bukhari:

 

وقال ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ مُتَوَفِّيكَ : مُمِيتُكَ

 

Meaning, Mutawaffika (used for Hadhrat Isaas) means death

 

Since this narration proves that Hadhrat Isaas has died, the anti Ahmadis raise some allegations. Firstly, they ask where is the sanad of this narration, if it is authentic?

 

This trick of theirs will only work against those people who are completely ignorant in regards to the ahadith. This allegation is used as a dishonest way of betraying those Muslims who are less knowledgeable. The scholars read these books and read tafseer and are well aware of how baseless this allegation is. Hadhrat Imam Bukharira gave countless of narrations from the sahaba and Taba’een and has not given the sanad next to the statements. Does this mean that they are all fabricated? Of course not. When we read the sharha of Sahih Bukhari, it states that when Imam Bukharirh gives the statements of the sahaba or Tab’aeen, and does not give the sanad, then they are all sahih. It also states that if it is sad “kala” or “rava” before a narration, it means Imam Bukharirh is saying that it is sahih.

The name of the Sharh, which is widely accepted by Muslims is Umdatul Qari by Imam Al Ayni.

 

The anti Ahmadis then claim it is fabricated because it has no chain of narration. This is not true at all.  The chain of this narration is found in many books.

 

Firstly, the chain is found in Tafsir al Tabari:

 

ذِكْرُ مَنْ قَالَ ذَلِكَ: حَدَّثَنِي الْمُثَنَّى، قَالَ: ثنا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، قَالَ: ثني مُعَاوِيَةُ، عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَوْلُهُ: {إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ} [آل عمران: 55] يَقُولُ: «إِنِّي مُمِيتُكَ»

(تفسير جامع البيان في تفسير القرآن، الطبري ت 310 هـ) 

 

We also see in Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim Volume 2, Page 661:

 

حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي ثنا أَبُو صَالِحٍ، حَدَّثَنِي مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ، عن ابن عَبَّاسٍ قَوْلُهُ: إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ يَقُولُ: إِنِّي مُمِيتُكَ

 

Hadhrat Ibn Hajrrh also gave the chain. He stated:

“وقال ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ ”  مُتَوَفِّيكَ : مُمِيتُكَ “. قَالَ ابْنُ أَبِي حَاتِمٍ : ثنا أَبِي ، ثنا أَبُو صَالِحٍ ، ثنا مُعَاوِيَةُ ، عَنْ عَلِيٍّ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ، بِهَذَا.“(تغليق التعليق لابن حجر» كتاب التفسير» من تفسير سورة المائدة 1410/206)

 

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mundhir al-Naysaburi , a Shafi scholar who lived from 241 AH to 318 AH also gave the chain in his well known Tafseer, called Tafseer Ibn Al-Mundhir (Volume 1, Page 221)

 

حَدَّثَنَا عَلانُ بْنُ الْمُغِيرَةِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو صَالِحٍ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قوله: ” {إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ} يَقُولُ: مُمِيتُكَ

 

The anti Ahmadis only use such allegations to deceive the public. Once they are proven wrong in regards to the chain, they bring another allegation. They say how did Ali Ibn Abi Talha narrate from Hadhrat Ibn Abbasra, if they had never met? They also suggest that Ali Ibn Abi Talha was a weak narrator. What they forget, is that the scholars who have mastered the field of ahadith have already declared the chain, which includes Ali ibn Abi Talha, to be the most authentic and solid out of all other chains.

 

Hadhrat Imam Suyutirh has stated:

 

وقد روي عن ابن عباس في التفسير ما لا يحصى كثرة، وفيه روايات وطرق مختلفة، فمن جيدها طريق علي بن أبي طلحة الهاشمي

 

Meaning that, there are a large number of commentaries attributed to Hadhrat Ibn Abbas, and these include different narrations and manners. The best certified among these is the one narrated by Ali bin Abi Talhah (al-Itqaan fi uloomil-Qur’an by Jalal-ud-Din al-Suyuti, Page 880, by Imam Suyuti)

 

Hadhrat Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbalrh gained knowledge of a copy of a commentary narrated by Ali bin Abi Talha. Then he desired and wished that someone would travel to Egypt to study this volume.

 

Hadhrat Ibn Hajrrh stated:

 

وهذه النسخة كانت عند أبي صالح كاتب الليث، رواها معاوية بن صالح، عن علي بن أبي طلحة، عن ابن عباس. وهي عند البخاري عن أبي صالح، وقد اعتمد عليها في صحيحه كثيرا فيما يعلّقه عن ابن عباس

 

Meaning, “Abu Salih, a writer in al-Lais, had this copy which was narrated by Ali bin Abi Talhah, folloed by Ibn Abbas. This narration reached Imam Bukhari through Abu Salih and Imam Bukhari had so much confidence in this narration, that he included it, without any further certificate, in his book Sahih Bukhari” (al-Itqaan fi uloomil-Qur’an by Jalal-ud-Din al-Suyuti, Page 880, by Imam Suyuti)

These words are taken from Ibn Hajr (rh)’s Fath al-Bari, and Imam Suyuti (rh) quotes his words to strengthen the fact that this chain of narration is the most authentic. It is narrated:

أَسْنَدَ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ قَالَ بِمِصْرَ صَحِيفَةٌ فِي التَّفْسِيرِ رَوَاهَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ لَوْ رَحَلَ رَجُلٌ فِيهَا إِلَى مِصْرَ قَاصِدًا مَا كَانَ كَثِيرًا انْتَهَى وَهَذِهِ النُّسْخَةُ كَانَتْ عِنْدَ أَبِي صَالِحٍ كَاتِبُ اللَّيْثِ رَوَاهَا عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ صَالِحٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَة عَن بن عَبَّاسٍ وَهِيَ عِنْدَ الْبُخَارِيِّ عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ وَقَدِ اعْتَمَدَ عَلَيْهَا فِي صَحِيحِهِ هَذَا كَثِيرًا عَلَى مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ فِي أَمَاكِنِهِ

(Fathul Bari, Volume 8, Page 438-439)

This allegation that Ali bin Abi Talhah did not hear the commentary from Hadhrat Ibn Abbas is a old allegation which had already been researched by the scholars of the past. Their decision was to accept the narration of Ali bin Abi Talhah as the most authentic chain relating back to Hadhrat Ibn Abbbas. Imam Suyutirh stated:

“قال قوم: لم يسمع ابن أبي طلحة من ابن عباس التفسير، وإنما أخذه عن مجاهد أو سعيد بن جبير، قال ابن حجر: بعد أن عرفت الواسطة وهو ثقة فلا ضير في ذلك

Meaning, “There is a group that says Ali bin Abi Talhah did not hear the commentary from Ibn Abbas; rather he extracted it from his pupils, Mujahid and Sa’id bin Jubayr. For this reason, Allama Ibn Hajar says that, after knowing the time between Ali bin Abi Talhah and Ibn Abbas, and after knowing the fact that Mujahid and Sa’id bin Jubayr were solid narrators, there is nothing wrong in accepting the narration of Ali bin Abi Talhah (al-Itqaan fi uloomil-Qur’an by Jalal-ud-Din al-Suyuti, Page 880, by Imam Suyuti)

Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Dehlvi had also supported this. He wrote in his volume 1, of al-Fauzul-Kabeer under the heading, Sharh Ghareeb al-Qur’an:

Meaning, that “among the wonderful commentaries of the Holy Qur’an, the best commentary is that of Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas that has reached us through the narration of Ali bin Abi Talhah. And, Imam Bukhari probaby gave his full confidence to this way in Sahih Bukhari” (al-Fauzul-Kabeer ma’a Fathil-Khabir fi Usulit-Tafseer, by Shah Waliullah Dehlvi, Page 15, Faslu Awwal Dar Sharh, Ghareeb al-Qur’an)

The main Sunni website for ahadith also supports this chain. It is written:

There is in fact a missing link in the reports narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas as some scholars said; however, this does not affect the authenticity of the reports. Imaam Ahmad said: “There is a document of Tafseer in Egypt narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah; if one traveled to Egypt for it, it would be worth the effort.”

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar said about it: “Abu Saalih, the scribe of Al-Layth, had a copy of this; he narrated it on the authority of Mu‘aawiyah ibn Saalih who reported it on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah who reported it on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas. It has been cited by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Saalih. He had recourse to it in his Saheeh, citing it with an omitted chain on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas.”

Ibn Jareer At-Tabari, Ibn Abi Haatim and Ibn Al-Munthir often accepted and cited it with the chain of transmission leading back to Abu Saalih. Imaams Muslim, Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah all accepted the transmission of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah, as Muhammad Husayn Ath-Thahabi said in his book At-Tafseer wa-l-Mufassiroon. He also cited the statement of Ibn Al-Wazeer in his book Eethaar Al-Haqq: “Ath-Thahabi said in his book Al-Meezaan: ‘He (‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah) reported Ibn ‘Abbaas’s commentary on many verses of the Quran. The correct view in this regard according to Hadeeth scholars is that he reports from Mujaahid from Ibn ‘Abbaas. Even if it is reported as a Mursal report on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas (i.e. without the links in the chain of narration between him and Ibn ‘Abbaas), there is no harm in that given that Mujaahid is Thiqah (trustworthy) and his narration is accepted.”

Muhammad Husayn Ath-Thahabi, added: “In brief, this is the most authentic chain of narration with regards to the Tafseer of Ibn ‘Abbaas. Suffice it as testimony of its authenticity that Al-Bukhari considered it authentic and accepted it.” Therefore, there is nothing problematic about this route of transmission.

After all of this proof, there should remain no doubt in any Muslim. The narration is completely authentic and was the view of Hadhrat Ibn Abbasra and Imam Bukharirh. Lastly, this chain of narration is used throughout the tafsir of the non Ahmadi Muslim scholars, including one of their main commentator, named Ibn Kathir.