All praises due to Allah and May his peace and blessing be upon the Last and Final Messenger Muhammad, his family and companions.
Imam Malik records in his well-known Mu’atta, hence he sai under the Book of destiny that it has reached him the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “I am leaving among you two commandments, by adhering to them you will never be deviated; that is the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.”
This narration has been narrated through several chains, from atleast four of the companions. However, all of them have some defects in them.
Recorded in “Mu’atta Imam Malik” without any sanad [Imam Malik said: it has reached us that Prophet [SAW] said…]. However, Imam Ibn Abdul Barr narrates it with his sanad in his Sharh of Mu’atta through two companions; Abu Hurairah and ‘Amr bin Awf, and he declare it to be preserve and famous among scholars. [At-Tamheed (24/331)]
This narration has been narrated through Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Amr bin Awf, Abu Hurairah and Anas bin Malik.
Ibn ‘Abbas: – Narrated through Ibn Abbas by Imam Al-Bayhaqi in “Sunan Al-Kubra” (10/114) and in “Dalaa’il An-Nubuwwah” (5/549), Al-Hakim in “Al-Mustadrak” (318), Al-‘Uqaili in “Du’afa” (2/250) and Abu Bakr Al-Aajuri in “Ash-Sharee’ah” (5/2220). All of them narrate it through the route of Isma’eel bin Abi Uwais from his father from Thawr bin Zaid Ad-Dailee from Ikrimah from Ibn Abbas. This narration describe the speech of the Prophet (SAW) during his farewell pilgrimage.
Abdullah bin Abdullah bin Abi ‘Aamir Abu Uwais Al-Madani, the father of Isma’eel bin Abi Uwais, was close to weakness. Yahya and Ahmed said he was weak in hadith. Another time Yahya bin Mu’een said, there is no problem with him. In another narration, he said: Sadooq, but not Hujjah. Nasai and Ibn Madeeni also considered him weak. Abu Dawud said: Saleh Al-Hadith. Muslim relied on Abu Uwais in his Sahih. [Meezan Al-E’etidal (2/450)]
Isma’eel bin Abi Uwais was a disputed narrator. The correct ruling on him is that he was truthful but made mistakes while narrating from his memory. Bukhari and Muslim narrated from him in their Sahih. [Refer to al-Kashif (1/247), Taqreeb (1/96), Meezan (1/222-223) etc]
In the report of Al-Aajurri, al-‘Uqaili and al-Marwazi the father of Ibn Abi Uwais narrates from Abdullah bin Abi Abdullah Al-Basari also along with Thawr bin Zaid Ad-Dailee.
Al-Albani declared the sanad in Mustadrak Al-Hakim from Ibn ‘Abbas to be hasan [“At-Tawassul” (pg.16)], and declared the hadith to be Sahih in “Sahih Al-Jami’” (3232). Al-Hakim said, “The command to stick with Sunnah is Ghareeb (odd) in this speech (farewell speech).” The comment of Imam Hakim is true when we look at the authentic tradition of Ibn ‘Abbas recorded by al-Bukhari in his “Sahih” (1739) Ahmad in Musnad (2036) and others through Fudail b. Ghazwan from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbas. Basically, the version reported by al-Hakim is a manipulated version of famous narration recorded in Sahih and Musnad. And Allah knows best.
‘Amr bin ‘Awf: – Narrated by Ibn Abdul Barr in “At-Tamheed” (24/331) and in “Jami’ Bayan Al-‘Ilm” (1/755, 2/979) through the way of Katheer bin Abdullah from his father from his grand-father…
Katheer bin Abdullah was weak. Taqreeb (2/39)
Abu Hurairah: – Through Abu Hurayrah by al-Daarqutni in “Sunan” (4606), al-Bazzaar in his Musnad (8993), Al-Hakim in “Al-Mustadrak” (1/172), Imam Al-Bayhaqi in “al-Kubra” (20337), Ibn Abdul Barr in “At-Tamheed” (24/331) through the route Salih bin Musa At-Talhi from Abdul Aziz bin Rufai’ from Abu Saleh from Abu Hurairah.
Regarding Saleh bin Musa, Ibn Hajar said: He was matrook.
Anas bin Malik: – Abu Ash-Shaykh Al-Asbahani narrates as a hadith of Anas bin Malik in his “Tabaqat al-Muhadditheen” (4/67).
In this, Yazeed bin Abaan Ar-Raqqashi narrates from Anas. Yazeed was weak in hadith, as said by Ibn Ma’een, Ahmed, Ibn Sa’d, Daarqutni etc. [Tahdheeb (11/270)]
This has also been narrated through ‘Urwah and Musa bin ‘Uqbah in Mursal form.
‘Urwah bin Zubair: – This was reported by Al-Bayhaqi in “Ad-Dala’il” (5/447-448) from Urwah bin Zubair from Prophet (SAW) as a Mursal tradition. The isnad contains Ibn Lahee’ah who was weak in hadeeth.
Musa bin ‘Uqbah: – Al-Bayhaqi reports it as a Mursal report of Musa bin ‘Uqbah (d.141 AH) in the same book (5/448).
Against Hadith al-Thaqalain
Some people, especially shi’ites, always represent Hadith al-Thaqalain as an evidence against this narration. According to them, the Hadith of “Quran and Sunnah” was forged to diminish the importance of hadith al-Thaqalain. To them, since the latter is reported with so many routes therefore the former must be a fabrication. However there is no real contradiction between them.
No real Contradiction
The importance of Sunnah is evident from numerous Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions. For example, it is mentioned in the Quran:
“O you who have believed! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything then refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.” [4:59]
“He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah” [4:80]
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever obeys me will enter paradise, and whoever disobeys me has denied.” Sahih Bukhari (7280)
Hudhaifa b. Yaman narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “…so read from the Qur’an and understand the Sunnah.” [Sahih Bukhari (6497, 7276), Sahih Muslim (230), Tirmidhi (2179)]
These are only few evidence to prove the validity of Sunnah as a source of Islam. So it is beyond understanding as to why some of the Rawafid dislike when the hadith of Qur’an and Sunnah is used to show the importance of Sunnah. No Sunni scholar uses this hadith to discard the authenticity of the hadith of Thaqalain rather they consider both to be different statements of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
The common thing about both hadith Thaqalain and that of “Quran and Sunnah” is that they both speak of adhering to Qur’an. The difference in them is that the former speak of the status of Ahlul Bayt while the latter command to adhere the Sunnah. The is the basic difference which Shiites today fail to understand that hadith Thaqalain does not represent Ahlul Bayt as a source to be followed in absolute sense. To read further on this see this article.
It can be seen from above discussion that this narration has considerable defects with all of its routes. So, to many scholars the narration remains weak as a whole as these different routes do not strengthen each other because of fact that they arise from different sources, while for others it would be Hasan (which is a level just near weak) as the text has been reported through different routes and the text speaks of something which every Muslim agree on. Allah knows best.