The scholars of the Hanafi School of thought Imam al-Sarakhsi (d 483 AH) (RH), the great Hanafi Imam and Mujtahid, refutes those who accept Khabar al-Āhād in matters of ‘Aqeedah. He explains the nature of Khabar al-Āhād and distinguishes between definite and indefinite sources as well as the difference between Tabligh and Khabar. Furthermore, on page 116 of Usūl al-Sarakhsi he says that those who deny mutawātir are kafir, but those that deny the truth of something established by āhād are not. Imam Ibn Humām said: “The majority of scholars and muhadditheen mentioned that Khabar al-Wāhid doesn’t provide certainty without other indications, and that with them it could provide ‘ilm but not necessarily indisputable certainty”.
Imam Ibn Humām (RH) also said: “Khabar al-Wāhid doesn’t provide certainty but only doubt”
Imam al Bazdawi (RH) said: “The Wahid provides necessity in actions but not with ‘ilm (certain knowledge), and we explained that mashoor doesn’t provide ‘ilm, so āhād or Wahid certainly does not. The Wahid does, however, have POSSIBILITY and he who denies this has misguided his mind and himself.”
Imam Alaa’ al-Din al- Samarqandi [d. 540 / 1145] (RH) said: “And from the āhād, if they are concerned with actions then they are a proof (Hujjah) but if they are concerned with ‘Aqeedah then they are not a proof (hujjah) for belief as they don’t give rise to certainty.”
The contemporary scholar Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam al Kawthari says: “The Āhād or solitary Hadith (also known as Khabar al-Wahid) is the Hadith which fails to fulfill the requirement of Mutawātir. Āhād Hadith may be sound (Sahih), good (Hasan) or weak (Da’eef). It is a Hadith which does not impart positive knowledge on its own unless it is supported by extraneous or circumstantial evidence.”
Other Hanafi School scholars who held similar positions according to secondary sources used in this work: Abd al Qahir al Baghdadi (d 5th Cen. AH), Ibn Atheer al Jazari (d 606 AH) (RH) in Al Nihayah fi Gahrib al Hadith, Imam Al Izz Ibn Abd al Salam (d 660 AH) (RH) who did not take Khabar al Āhād of themselves into matters of ‘Aqeedah; Ala al Din Ibn Abidin (d 1306 AH).
The scholars of the Shafi’i School of thought Imam an Nawawi (RH) said: “the majority of Muslim scholars and leading authorities (al- muhaqqiqun wal-aktharūn) held that unless the Sahih is of the mutawātir category, it shall remain probable and can never attain the level of certainty”.
Imam an Nawawi (RH), in the introduction to his famous Sharh Sahih Muslim responds to the opinion of Ibn al-Salah (RH) , who said that the ahādith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim imply certainty in and of themselves. Thus, Imam Nawawi after discussing this statement of Ibn al-Salah (RH) said: "What the shaykh said in this issue is against what the scholars said. Most of them said that the non-Mutawātir Hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim, imply conjecture (Dhann) since it is Āhād, and the āhād implies nothing but the conjecture (Dhann). This is based on what was already known and agreed upon. This rule applies without distinguishing between Bukhari, Muslim or others. However, their Hadiths are enough to be taken in the Ahkam (rule)."
Imam Al-Aamidi (RH) stated that "The Ummah's scholars say that Khabar ul-Wahid gives conjecture (dhann) with the exception of some of the Dhahiri’s and Ahmad bin Hanbal, in one of two narrations."
The position on doctrinal matters of the Shafi’i school and the Ash’ari in Aqeedah is conveyed by āhād reports is given by Imam al-Bayhaqi (RH): “The perspicuous scholars (Ahl al-nazar) among our [Ash`ari or Shafi`i] companions relinquish the use of lone-narrated reports as proofs in the divine Attributes if such reports do not have a foundation in the Qur'an or in scholarly consensus. Instead, they interpret them figuratively.”
Imam ibn Khafif (d 371 AH) (RH) said: 89. Lone-narrator reports (āhād) make practice obligatory, but not knowledge (yûjib al-`amal lâ al-`ilm), while mass-narrated (mutawâtir) reports make both knowledge and practice obligatory.
Imam Jurjaani (RH) says, in likeness to Imam Sarakhsi of the Hanafi school, that denying something imparted by āhād narrations isn’t kufr as it doesn’t engender yaqeen, whereas denying something established by tawātur (recurrence) is kufr because it is Qat’i (decisive). He also notes that because the ahad necessitates action but not ‘ilm it is therefore not an evidence in matters of belief (la yakunu hujantun fi masa’il al- I’tiqadiyyah).
Imam Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi (RH) says: “Khabar al-Āhād is where one of the conditions of mutawātir is missing even if a group narrated this report…they provide an obligation to act upon them, but are not obligatory of ‘ilm (do not provide certainty).”
Imam Al Juwayni (RH) says: “Akhbār āhād provide necessity for actions, but do not provide necessity in ‘ilm because a mistake is possible”.
Imam Al-Ghazaali in his first Usūl work al-Mankhul, written at the age of 26, said: "Some claim that Khabar ul-Ahaad imply certainty. This is impossible.” Many years later, in his other very famous work on Usūl (but not only other work on Usūl) he said in Al- Mustasfa: "Khabar Al-Ahaad does not imply certainty. This is a basic fact of its definition."
The scholars of the Maliki School of thought Imam Ibn `Abd al-Barr (RH) states in his book At-Tahmid (1:7) the position of the Ahl Us Sunnah Wal Jamaah: “What the majority of the people of knowledge believe is as follows: Some hold that the lone-narrated hadith make practice obligatory but not knowledge (yûjib al-`amal dûna al-`ilm). This is the position of al-Shafi`i and the vast majority of the jurists and the scholars of principles (Usūl ul-Fiqh). To them, the lone-narrated hadith does not make knowledge obligatory by itself and except on oath, providing definite preclusion of falsehood, and if there is no disagreement concerning it.”
Imam Ash Shatibi (RH) said that it doesn’t provide certainty, mentioning examples about the ahādith that were rejected by the companions despite being graded Sahih by some. He says that the book (Qur’an) is maqtoo’ bihi – or certain - and the Sunnah can be doubtful in the āhād narrations and certainty cannot be built upon these elements of the Sunnah.
Imam Ash-Shatibi says: "Anything related to Usul ud- Deen (Aqeedah) has to be conclusive”. He says also: "The Daleel could be either Ahaad or Mutawātir. If it is Ahaad, then it obvious that it doesn't imply certainty."
Imam Abu Al Walid ‘Al Baji (RH), in speaking of the Maliki school at large said: “The Madhab of Imam Malik is to accept Khabar al-Wahid in that it is obligatory to act upon it, but it doesn’t provide certainty by itself and this is what all scholars mentioned”.
Imam Al Qurtubi (RH) said: “The Ahkaam of the shariah can be taken by ghalabat ad-Dhann (preponderant knowledge), as is engendered by forms of Qiyas and Khabar Wahid.”
So all of the Sunnis scholars stated that Ahadi hadeeth are dhann, not yaqeen and cannot be accepted innately as 3ilm. They all however said that one HAD TO ACT upon ahadi hadeeth. I would like to submit what the Quran has to say about dhann: (forgive not being able to post the Arabic)
6:116: And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures (DHANN) ....
6:148: ." So did their ancestors argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath. Say: "Have ye any knowledge (3ILM) ? If so, produce it before us. Ye follow nothing but conjecture (DHANN) ..."
10:36 And most of them follow nothing but conjecture. Certainly, conjecture can be of no avail against the truth. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
53:28: But they have no knowledge (3ILM) therein. They follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against Truth.
17:36 And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge (3lim). Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned.
So these scholars by first admitting that ahadi hadeeth are dhann, unfortunately seem to go against the Quran by making dhann obligatory in our actions. And those scholars who make it obligatory on our beliefs not only contradict those respected Sunnis scholars opinions they go even further against what the Quran says. ALL OF THESE SCHOLARS say that ahadi hadeeth are dhann and cannot be considered 3ilm yet how can we act without 3ilm? This is why the Quran tells us NOT TO FOLLOW what we have no 3ilm of.
This is why I disagree with the use of ahadi hadeeth and why the Quran condemns the stance they took on dhann being obligatory in action, with that very word.