When you answered the question about the soundness of the hadeeth of Abu Moosa – “Allah, may He be exalted, looks down on the night of the fifteenth of Sha‘baan and forgives all His creation except a mushrik or one who harbours hatred against the Muslims” – you gave an answer, may Allah reward you, but you did not mention the fact that this hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani, as I have read on some other websites. I trust you much more than I trust other websites, because of your methodology and your academic precision and honesty. But my question is: did Shaykh al-Albaani really class this hadeeth as saheeh? Because you mentioned the opinion of Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) in your fatwa, so why did you not mention it here? Is it the case that he did not say this at all, and that what is mentioned in those other websites is not correct, or what? Please note that the verdict of it being saheeh, as I have read, is to be found in Saheeh al-Jaami‘, hadeeth no. 1819.
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It is clear to everyone that we usually rely on the verdict of Shaykh al-Albaani with regard to whether a hadeeth is saheeh (sound) or da‘eef (weak). But sometimes we research a hadeeth and find a verdict by a scholar other than Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him), and perhaps we may think that the vedict of the other scholars concerning a specific hadeeth to be more likely to be correct, or sometimes based on our methodology of research we that it is more appropriate not to follow the shaykh’s verdict (may Allah have mercy on him) in the case of a particular hadeeth. We may see that the view of Shaykh al-Albaani concerning a hadeeth is well known and that there are few who disagree with him, so we mention his verdict and comment on it; but sometimes we see that there are many who disagree with the verdict of Shaykh al-‘Albaani, so we decide not to mention his verdict and comment on it, and are content with what we have mentioned of the view of other scholars.
This latter scenario is what happened when we did not mention the verdict of Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) with regard to this hadeeth, and we quoted the words of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (may Allah have mercy on him), who said that most of the scholars classed as da‘eef the hadeeths that speak of the virtues of the middle of Sha‘baan.
However, we should point out an important matter here, which is that Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) thought that the isnaad of the hadeeth of Abu Moosa al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him) was da‘eef! This is in harmony with what we have mentioned above about its isnaad being da‘eef, but we did not quote it from him because he – may Allah have mercy on him – thought that the hadeeth could be classed as saheeh when all its isnaads were taken into consideration.
He – may Allah have mercy on him – said:
With regard to the hadeeth of Abu Moosa, it was also narrated by Ibn Luhay‘ah from az-Zubayr ibn Sulaym from ad-Dahhaak ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan from his father who said: I heard Abu Moosa (narrate) something similar from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
It was narrated by Ibn Maajah (1390) and Ibn Abi ‘Aasim al-Laalkaa’i.
I say: This is a da‘eef isnaad, because of Ibn Luhay‘ah and ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, who is Ibn ‘Arzab and the father of ad-Dahhaak, is unknown. Ibn Maajah regarded him as weak when he narrated from Ibn Luhay‘ah.
As-Silsilah as-Saheehah (3/218)
The Shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned the isnaads of the hadeeth and its corroborating evidence in his book as-Silsilah as-Saheehah (1144), and he concluded that the text of the hadeeth of Abu Moosa (may Allah be pleased with him) is saheeh.
But in our view, we do not think that what the shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) said is more likely to be correct, and we do not think that those isnaads are fit to strengthen one another. At the end of our answer, we referred to the essay by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him), Hukm al-Ihtifaal bi Laylat an-Nusf min Sha‘baan (Ruling on celebrating the night of the middle of Sha‘baan), in which he said:
What the majority of scholars are agreed upon is that celebrating it is an innovation, and that the hadeeths that speak of its virtues are all da‘eef, and some of them are fabricated. Among those who pointed this out is al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab in his book Lataa’if al-Ma‘aarif.
This is what is more likely to be correct in our view. The issue of whether a hadeeth is to be classed as saheeh or da‘eef is one of the areas of ijtihaad, in which the scholar acts upon that which is more likely to be correct in his view, and in which the seeker of knowledge follows that scholarly view which is more likely to be correct in his opinion. This is not a matter in which one may denounce someone who holds a different view.
Please see also the answer to question no. 113687 for some important information about Shaykh al-Albaani.
And Allah knows best.