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Hadith or Fiqh?

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Sufyân ibn `Uyayna said: “Hadîth is a pitfall except for the fuqahâ’,” and `Abd Allâh ibn Wahb said: “Hadîth is a pitfall except for the Ulema. Every memorizer of hadîth that does not have an Imâm in fiqh is misguided (dâll), and if Allâh had not rescued us with Mâlik and al-Layth [ibn Sa`d], we would have been misguided.” (Ibn Abi Hatim, Dhahabi, Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr)


Ibn Wahb stated, “Were it not for Mâlik ibn Anas and al-Layth ibn Sa`d I would have perished; I used to think everything that is [authentically] related from the Prophet – Allâh bless and greet him – must be put into practice.” (Ibn Rajab, Bayhaqi, Ibn Asakir)
He also stated, “I gathered a lot of hadîths and they drove me to confusion. I would consult Mâlik and al-Layth and they would say to me, ‘take this and leave this.’” (Qadi ‘Iyad)

Ibn `Uqda replied to a man who had asked him about a certain narration: “Keep such hadîths to a minimum for, truly, they are unsuitable except for those who know their interpretation. Yahyâ ibn Sulayman narrated from Ibn Wahb that he heard Mâlik say: ‘Many of these hadîths are [a cause for] misguidance; some hadîths were narrated by me and I wish that for each of them I had been flogged with a stick twice. I certainly no longer narrate them!’” (Al-Khatíb)

Ibn al-Mubârak said: “If Allâh had not rescued me with Abû Hanîfa and Sufyân [al-Thawrî] I would have been like the rest of the common people.” Al-Dhahabî relates it as: “I would have been an innovator.” (Ibn Hajar, Dhahabi)

Sufyân said: “The explanation (tafsîr) of the hadîth is better than the hadîth.” (Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr)

Ibn Abî Laylâ said: “A man does not understand hadîth until he knows what to take from it and what to leave.” (Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr)

Ishâq ibn Râhûyah said: “I would sit in Iraq with Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahyâ ibn Ma`în, and our companions, rehearsing the narrations from one, two, three routes of transmission… But when I said: What is its intent? What is its explanation? What is its fiqh? They would all remain mute except Ahmad ibn Hanbal.” (Ibnul-Jawzi, Dhahabi, Ibn Abi Hatim)

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