The Approach to Resolve Contradictory Prophetic Traditions

 Hafiz Firdaus Abdullah.


Summary on the Approach to Resolve Contradictory Prophetic Traditions.


[1] Check whether or not the ahadith in question are of the same level of authenticity. If any contradiction arises between a strong hadith (sound, good) and a weak one (daif, fabricated), it can be easily resolved by putting away the weaker one. (Example no: 1 & 2).

[2] See whether or not one of the ahadith has been nullified or abrogated by the other. (Example no: 3).

[3] When the first two steps have been taken, contradictions need to be treated with compiling and matching the ahadtih (al-Jam‘u) while focusing on its text:

[3-A] If hadith with Lafaz am (general) and Lafaz khas (specific) are involved, the latter has the role to making exceptions from the general rule propagated by the former. (Example no: 4)

[3-B] If hadith with Lafaz mutlaq and Lafaz muqayyad are involved, the latter imposes specifications on the former. (Example no: 5)

[3-C] If hadith with Sunnah Qauliyah and Sunnah Fi‘iliyyah are involved, the former will be our basis of any ruling to be derived from, while the latter acts to interpret and give a picture of the real meaning of the former. (Example no: 6)

[3-D] Give takwil to one of the ahadith, i.e. to give another meaning to what is apparent from the text, as long as the new given meaning is within the boundaries of al-Qur’an and al-Sunnah. (Example no: 7).

[3-E] Investigate the real meaning and purpose of the ahadith by observing the sentence structure and meanings carried by each word. (Example no: 8, 9 and 10).

[4] Contradictions can also be resolved with compiling and matching the ahadtih (al-Jam‘u) while observing:

[4-A] Its subject; to whom the hadith is directed. (Example no: 11).

[4-B] Time and situation when the account took place. (Example no: 12).

[4-C] Combination of 4-A and 4-B (Example no: 13 & 14).

[5] Understand and appreciate the comprehensive and collective meaning of the ahadith in question, when they are interconnected and complementary to each other. (Example no: 15, 16, 17 & 18).

[6] If steps 3, 4 and 5 fail to offer a solution, al-Tarjih can be used:

[6-A] Prefering the prohibitory hadith to the one that gives permissibility. (Example no: 19)

[6-B] Prefering the hadith that is in line with other arguments and supporting proofs to the hadith that is only scarcely so. The acceptable supporting proofs and forms of arguments are al-Qur’an, al-Sunnah, consensus, the companions’ practices, etc. (Example no: 19).

[6-C] Prefering the hadith with more chain of narrators. (Example no: 19).

[6-D] Prefering the preservatory hadith to the one that nullifies. (Example no: 20).