Ruling of ḥadīth mursal

A mursal hadith, one where any narrator was dropped, was not rejected by anyone[1] until Imām Shāfi’ī.[2] Therefore, according to the majority of the fuqaḥā, a connected chain is not a condition for ṣaḥīḥ. This is opposed to the opinion of Imām Shāfi’ī, whom the majority of muḥaddithīn followed after.

Some of the Aḥnāf differentiated between the mursal of the first three generations and others, whilst other Aḥnāf have not differentiated between the two.[3]

Imām Sarakhsī mentions that the most authentic view is that which is stated by Abū Bakr Rāzi:

A mursal narration from the first three generations can be used as evidence, as long as the mursil[4] is not known to narrate from individuals who are not thiqah and ādil. As for mursal narrations by those who came after the first three generations, then these cannot be accepted as evidence, except in the case where the mursil is known to only narrate from those who are ādil and thiqah. This is because the Prophet  testified to the truthfulness and good of the first three generations, and their adālah (uprightness) is established through this testimony as long as the difference is not clear. He also testified against those after these three generations, by saying “thereafter lying will spread”. Therefore the adālah of those after the first three generations is not established, except for narrations by an individual who is known for their adālah, and is known to only narrate from those who are ādil.[5]

[1] Even though some may have discussed it, a muḥaddith faqīh never rejected mursal aḥādīth before Imām Shāfi’ī. However, some muḥaddithīn who were not fuqaḥā did reject mursal aḥādīth before Imām Shāfi’ī. 

[2] As narrated by Imām Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī

[3] Some have said all mursal narrations are accepted, whilst others said the mursal narrations by those from the first three generations are accepted. 

[4] Narrator who does irsāl 

[5] Usūl of Sarakhsī

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