What is the number of ahaadeeth as compared to the number of narrators? Is it true that there are no weak (da’eef) reports although there are many weak narrators?.
It is difficult to compare the number of reports and the number of narrators, because one hadeeth may have been transmitted by a number of narrators, just as one narrator may have transmitted a number of ahaadeeth.
The view that there are no da’eef (weak) reports is not correct, because the position of the narrator and his status with regard to his character, precision and memory, has a great impact on the ruling on his reports.
We will give you some examples of that.
1 – The hadeeth “Recite Ya-Seen over your dead.” This was narrated by Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah, via Sulaymaan al-Taymi from Abu ‘Uthmaan from his father from Ma’qil ibn Yassaar.
This hadeeth is da’eef because the identity of Abu ‘Uthmaan and his father are not known. See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/150, no. 688.
2 – The hadeeth “No child should be separated from his mother.” This was narrated by al-Bayhaqi, from the hadeeth of Husayn ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Damrah from his father from his grandfather. Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This is a da’eef hadeeth, and there is consensus that Husayn ibn ‘Abd-Allaah is da’eef.” (al-Majmoo’, 9/445).
These ahaadeeth are da’eef because their narrators are da’eef.
It may also be the case that the isnaad is da’eef but the hadeeth itself is saheeh because it is narrated through another chain which is saheeh.
Or the isnaad may be saheeh, but the text is da’eef, because of some fault in it.
This is a vast field of knowledge which requires study and experience.
And Allaah knows best.