Linguistically, daeef means "weak", while technically it refers to a narration below the standard of hasan. This is a hadeeth in which anyone or more of the five conditions of Sihhab have not been met. AI-Bayqooni defined the hadeeth hasan in his poetry on Uloom al-Hadeeth in a similar way: Whatever is short of the level of hasan, it is daeef and it has numerous branches.
A sample of a daeef narration can be found in the following narration collected by Tirmidhi: Bundar informed us (saying) Yahya ibn Saeed and AbdurRahman ibn Mahdi and Bahz ibn Asad said that Hamad ibn Salamah informed them from Hakeem al-Athram from Tameemah al-Hujaymi from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever cohabits with a menstruating woman, or enters a woman from her anus, or goes to a fortuneteller has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad." Abu Eesa said: We do not know this hadeeth except from the narration of Hakeem al-Athram from Abu Tameemah al- Hujaymi from Abu Hurayrah." Hakeem al-Athram was graded weak by the scholars and Ibn Hajar labelled him layyin in Taqreeb at-Tahdheeb.
However, there are other narrations of this hadeeth which are authentic. For example, Abu Hurayrah (RA) stated that the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever cohabits with a menstruating woman, enters a woman from her anus, or goes to a fortuneteller and believed what he said, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad." (Saheeh Ibn Majah) Note that "disbelief mentioned in this hadeeth refers to an "act of disbelief and not "disbelief of the heart" which expels the doer from Islaam.
Grades of Daeef
The weakness of a hadeeth will vary according to the severity of the weakness due to breaks in the chain or defects in the narrators.
As to the weakest chain, it would be the fabricated narrations. AI-Hakim commented in his work, Marifah Uloom al-Hadeeth, about the weakest narrations attributed to certain Companions, regions and countries.
For example, he stated that the weakest narration linked to Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq was that of Ibn Moosa ad-Daqeeqi from Farqad as-Subkhi from Murrah atTayyib from Abu Bakr. He further stated that the weakest chain linked to the people of Syria was that of Muhammad ibn Qays al-Masloob from UbaydulUih ibn Zahrah from Ali ibn Yazeed from Qasim from Abu Umamah.
To be continued...
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited