Authenticity of the Hadith: “Follow Abu Bakr and Umar after me”
All praises due to Allah. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.
This is recorded by Imam Tirmidhi in his “Sunan” [Al-Manaaqib, manaaqib Abu Bakr and 'Umar]
حدثنا الحسن بن الصباح البزار أخبرنا سفيان بن عيينة عن زائدة عن عبد الملك بن عمير عن ربعي هو ابن حراش عن حذيفة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم “اقتدوا بالذين من بعدي أبي بكر وعمر”
Narrated by Hudhaifa (ra), he said: Prophet (saw) said, “follow those after me: Abu Bakr and Umar.”
Imam Tirmidhi said, narrated to us Hasan b. Sabbaah, reported to us Sufiyan bin Uyaina, from Zaa’ida, from Abdul Malik bin ‘Umair, from Raba’ee b. Haraash, from Hudhaifa (ra) …hadith…
Dr. Bashshaar Awwad said in his Tahqeeq of in the tahqeeq of above hadith: Humaidy (449), Musnad Ahmed (5/382), Sharh Mushkil al-Aathaar (1226, 1227, 1228, 1229), Baghwi (3895).
This hadith has also been recorded by Ibn Sa’d (2/334), Tahawi in “Sharh Mashkil al-Aathaar” (1229), Baghwi (3893) without having the name of Zaa’idah in the Sanad. [Tahqeeq Sunan Tirmidhi (6/43), h-3662]
Tirmidhi said : and this hadith has also come through Sufiyan Thawri, from Abdul Malik b. ‘Umair, from servant of Raba’ee, from Raba’ee, from Hudhaifa.
Regarding this, Dr. Bashshar Awwad said: This has been recorded by Ibn Sa’d (2/334), Ibn Abi Shaiba (12/11), Ahmed (5/385, 402), Ibn Majah (97), Faswi in “Al-Ma’riah wa At-Tareekh”(1/480), Ibn Abi Aasim in “As-Sunnah” (1048), Tahawi in “Sharh Mushkil” (1224), Al-Hakim (3/75), Khateeb in “Tareekh” (4/347). [See Tahqeeq Tirmidhi by Bashhar Awwaad, vol.6, page-43,44]
In another narration the name of servant of Raba’ee is mention.
Tirmidhi said: “this has also narrated by Ibraheem b. Sa’d, from Sufiyan Thawri, from Abdul Malik bin ‘Umair, from Hilaal slave of Raba’ee, from Raba’ee, from Hudhaifa.”
This is recorded by Bukhari in his “At-Tarikh Al-Kabeer” (8/no. 2741), Al-Faswi in “Al-Ma’rifah” (1/480), Ibn Abi Aasim (1149), Tahawi in “Sharh Mushkil Al-Aathar” (1230, 1231, 1232) [See "Tahqeeq Tirmidhi" by Bashhar Awwaad, vol.6, page-43,44]
As it is clear that all the above mentioned chain goes back to a common narrator Abdul Malik bin ‘Umair, and he is Thiqah (trustworthy) ["Taqreeb" (2/364. no.4200), "Al-Meezan" (2/660, no.5235)]. But he is also a well known ‘mudallis’, i.e. one who used to hide the narrator in the sanad with ambiguous words (but not necessarily everytime).
And in the above routes sometimes Abdul Malik narrates from Hilal servant of Raba’ee, and sometime he narrates directly from Raba’ee. This cause very few scholars to declare this hadith to be unauthentic (e.g. Ibn Hazm). However they were wrong and major scholars said otherwise, as we’ll see insha Allah.
As for the Tadlees of Abdul Malik, then one should keep in mind that its not necessary that all the narrations of a Mudallis is Tadlees. Abdul Malik might have heard this narration from both Hilaal and Raba’ee, as he had seen even great companions like Ali b. Abi Talib and his hearing from Raba’ee is proven. On the other hand its also possible that this narration is really a Tadlees, and Abdul Malik hide the narrator Hilal from the Sanad. If he has heard this from Raba’ee then the narration would be Sahih. And if Abdul Malik heard this from Hilaal then also the Sanad would be atleast Hasan. This is because Hilaal is “Maqbool” according to Ibn Hajar, [Taqreeb 2/576] meaning his narration should be acted upon in case if there are other chain to support it. And there are many chain to support this as shown below.
[Note that Abdul Malik is not the only narrator who has narrated this from Hilaal servant of Raba’ee, but also Mansur narrate this from Hilaal, as in "Sharh Al-Mushkil" ]
This hadith has many support from other chains and other narrations, narrated from different companions. Also the matan (content) of this hadith is sound.
This same hadith of Hudhaifa (ra) also come through another route, other than those which contain Abdul Malik b. ‘Umair.
حدثنا سعيد بن يحيى بن سعيد الأموي أخبرنا وكيعٌ عن سالم أبي العلاء المرادي عن عمرو بن هرم عن ربعي بن حراش عن حذيفة قال: – “كنا جلوسا عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال إني لا أدري ما بقائي فيكم، فاقتدوا بالذين من بعدي وأشار إلى أبي بكر وعمر
Tirmidhi said: narrated to us Sa’eed b. Yahya b. Sa’eed Al-Amwi, (he said) reported to us Wakee’ b. Jarraah, from Saalim Abil ‘Alaa Al-Muraadi, from ‘Amr bin Haram, from Raba’ee b. Haraash, from Hudhaifa, he said:
“We were sitting near Prophet (saw), so he said: “I don’t know how much I will remain among you. So follow among those.” And he indicated towards Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.
Recorded by Ibn Sa’d (2/334), Ahmed in his “Musnad” (5/399), and in “Fadha’il As-Sahaba” (479), Tahawi in “Sharh Al-Mushkil” (1233), Ibn Hibbaan (6902) [See Tahqeeq Tirmidhi by Bashhar Awwaad, vol.6, page-45]
In the chain above, Salim Al-Muradi Abul ‘Ala is weak according to Ibn Mu’een and Nasa’i. Abu Hatim said: his hadith should be written. And Tahawi, Ibn Hibban and Al-‘Ijli declared him thiqah. [See “Tahdheeb” by Ibn Hajar (3/440,441)]
Ibn Hajar said: He is Maqbool. [“Taqreeb”(2180)]meaning his hadith should be accepted when supported by other routes.
So this route also support the early narration and vice versa, as it is well known fact in ‘Ilmul Hadith that a weak chain, when its weakness is not much severe, support other weak sanad of the same hadith. This is known as Mutabi’ah.
However besides Saalim Abul ‘Alaa Al-Muraadi, another narrator narrates this hadith from ‘Amr bin Haram.
Ibn Adi narrates through the chain of Hammaad b. Daleel from ‘Amr b. Haram from Raba’ee from Hudhaifa similarly. [Ibn Adi in “Al-Kamil” 2/250]
Hammad bin Daleel is Sadooq according to Ibn Hajar. [“Taqreeb” (1/178, no.1497)] According to Dhahabi, he is Thiqah. [“Al-Kashif” (1/349, no.1218)] Ibn Mu’een said: Thiqah, nothing bad with him. Ibn Junaid said about him: Thiqah. Ibn ‘Ammar also consider him Thiqah. Abu Dawud said: There is no problem with him. Ibn Hibban counted him amongst Thiqaat in his book “Ath-Thiqaat”. Ibn Abi Hatim narrates from his father, that he (Hammaad) is Thiqah. [See “Tahdheeb At-Tahdheeb” (3/8)]. Also see “Tahreer Taqreeb” [1/1497]
Although Al-Azdi consider him among weak narrators, but his saying is not hujjah because, its against majority of scholars and Jarh of Azdi is not mufassar, it doesn’t say why Hammad is weak. And in these cases these type of Jarh are not accepted as it opposes majority of views without any reason.
So we see Hammaad b. Daleel also support Saalim Abul ‘Alaa Al-Muradi. Therefore, the narration of Saalim from ‘Amr and Hammaad from ‘Amr, from Raba’ee make us certain about the authenticity of the narration by Abdul Malik b. ‘Umair (from Hilaal) from Raba’ee from Hudhaifa. In conclusion, there are sufficient support for the hadith of Hudhaifa.
However there are lots of other:
 Ibn Mas’ud
اقتدوا باللذين من بعدي من أصحابي؛ أبي بكر وعمر واهتدوا بهدي عمار وتمسكو بعهد ابن مسعود
“Follow those after me, among my companions, Abu Bakr and Umar. And be guided through the guidance of Ammar, and stick to the advice of Ibn Mas’ud”
[Tirmidhi (3805) Bashshar Awwaad, Tabrani in “Al-Kabeer” (8426), and in “Al-Awsat” (7173), Ibn ‘Adi in “Al-Kamil” (7/2654), Al-Hakim (3/75-76), Baghwi (3496)]
Allamah Al-Albani said:
— Al-Hakim said, “its sanad (chain of narrator) is Sahih”. Dhahabi refuted him by saying, “rather its sanad is ‘wah’ (weak)”. And it is clear from the saying of Tirmidhi, “we are not aware of this accept through Yahya b. Salama b. Kuhail and he has been declared weak in hadith”
I (Al-Albani) say: “In fact he is “Matrook” (abandoned) as said by Ibn Hajar and similarly his son Isma’eel and his son Ibraheem all are weak. And there is another route (‘turq) for this narration of Ibn Mas’ud related by Ibn ‘Asakir (1/323/9) from Ahmed bin Rushd bin Khaitham from Humaid bin Abdur-Rahman from Hasan bin Saleh from Firas bin Yahya from Shu’bi from ‘Alqama bin Qais from Abdullah bin Mas’ud, without mentioning of second part of the hadith (about Ammaar and ibn Mas’ud).
I (Albani) say: The narrator are all “Thiqah” except Ahmed (bin Rushd) and I am not aware of him.—
[“Silsilah As-Saheeha” (3/233) hadith-1233. Daarul Ma’arif, Riyadh]
 Anas bin Maalik
—hadith of Anas bin Malik is narrated by Hammad bin Daleel from Umar bin Nafe’ from ‘Amr bin Haram, he said: I and Jabir bin Zaid entered Anas bin Malik, so he said Prophet [saw] said…alhadith…
It is recorded by Ibn ‘Adi (1/72) through Muslim bin Saleh Abu Rajaa’ from him (Hammaad bin Daleel).—
 Ibn ‘Umar
Allamah Albani said:
—And the Hadith of Ibn ‘Umar is narrated through Ahmed bin Saleeh ibn Waddaah, reported to us Muhammad bin Qatn, reported to us Dhu Nun, reported to us Maalik bin Anas, from Nafe’ from him (Ibn Umar) without the second part. Recorded by Ibn ‘Asakir (2/323/9) in this way. And Ahmed bin Saleeh, Dhahabi said in “Al-Meezan”: Ahmed bin Saleeh from Dhu Nun Al-Misry from Maalik (..same hadith..). (Dhahabi said) This is incorrect. And Ahmed is not to be depended upon.
…..(Albani said) and this is also narrated through Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-‘Umri Al-Madani from Malik similarly. This is recorded by Ibn ‘Asakir. As for Al-‘Umr then Ibn Hibban said about him: “it is not correct to take him as Hujjah”. —-
Meaning of the Hadith is proven
There are many other narrations which support this meaning. One of them is that which is qouted by Shaykh Shu’aib Al-Arna’ut in the tahqeeq of Musnad to support this hadith. This is a part of a long hadith…
“So if you had obeyed Abu Bakr and Umar, you would have gone on the right path”
[Sahih Muslim (Book #004, Hadith #1450) english]
Scholars who declared this hadith to be authentic
Great scholars have declared the narration of Hudhiafa to be authentic. Some of them are as follows:
. Muhammad bin ‘Eesa Al-Tirmidhi
He declared this narration “Hasan” in his “Sunan”. [Sunan Tirmidhi, Al-Manaaqib, vol.6, page-43,44. Hadith- 3662. Tahqeeq Bashshaar Awwaad, Daar ul-Gharb Al-Islami, Beirut]
 Abu Hatim Ar-Razi
وَسَأَلْتُ أَبِي عَنْ حَدِيثٍ ؛ رَوَاهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ ، عَنِ الثَّوْرِيِّ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ بْنِ عُمَيْرٍ ، عَنْ هِلالٍ مَوْلَى رِبْعِيٍّ ، عَنْ رِبْعِيٍّ ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قَالَ : اقْتَدُوا بِاللَّذَيْنِ مِنْ بَعْدِي.
وَرَوَاهُ زَائِدَةُ وَغَيْرُهُ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ ، عَنْ رِبْعِيٍّ ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم.
قُلْتُ : فَأَيُّهُمَا أَصَحُّ ؟ قَالَ أَبِي : حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ كَثِيرٍ ، عَنِ الثَّوْرِيِّ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ بْنِ عُمَيْرٍ ، عَنْ مَوْلًى لِرِبْعِيٍّ ، عَنْ رِبْعِيٍّ ، عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ.
قُلْتُ : فَأَيُّهُمَا أَصَحُّ ؟ قَالَ : مَا قَالَ الثَّوْرِيُّ ، زَادَ رَجُلا وَجَوَّدَ الْحَدِيثِ ، فَأَمَّا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ فَسَمَّى الرَّجُلَ ، وَأَمَّا ابْنُ كَثِيرٍ فَلَمْ يُسَمِّ الْمَوْلَى
[Ibn Abi Hatim said] I asked my father about the Hadith (narrated through), Ibrahim bin Sa’d – Thawri – Abdul Malik bin Umair – Hilal mawla Raba’i – Raba’i – Hudhaifa (ra)….Hadith…
And this is also narrated through Za’idah and other from Abdul Malik – Mawla li Raba’i – Raba’i – Hudhaifa (ra). I said, “So which of them is most authentic”. He (ABu Hatim) said, “narrated to us Ibn Kathir, from Thawri, from Abdul Malik, from slave of Raba’i, from Raba’i, from Hudhaifa”.
I said, “So which one is most authentic?”
He said, “what Thawri said, as the narraters increase and the hadith becomes good (Jayyid). Ibrahim bin Sa’d named the person, and Ibn Katheer did not give the name of servant”.”
[Ilal Al-Hadith (2655)]
 Imam Adh-Dhahabi
He said in Tareekh Al-Islam :
وقال زائدة، عن عبد الملك بن عمير، عن ربعي، عن حذيفة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” اقتدوا بالذين من بعدي أبي بكر وعمر ” . ورواه سالم أبو العلاء – وهو ضعيف – عن عمرو بن هرم، عن ربعي، وحديث زائدة حسن
“And Zaa’idah said, from Abdul Malik bin ‘Umair, from Raba’ee, from Hudhaifa, he said: Prophet [saw] said: “Follow among those after me, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.” And narrated Saalim Abul ‘Alaa –and he is weak- from ‘Amr bin Haram, from Raba’ee. And hadeeth by Zaa’idah is Hasan.” [Tareekh Al-Islam (3/257), Daar Ul-Kutub Al-Arabi Beirut]
 Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Hakim
He declared this hadith to be “Sahih” in his “Al-Mustadrak” [(3/80), Daar Ul-Kutub Al-`Arabi Beirut]
 Abu Ja’afar Al-‘Uqailee
He this hadith good proven (jayyid thabit) in his book Ad-Du’afa (1649) .
عن بن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اقتدوا بالأميرين بعدي أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما حديث منكر لا أصل له من حديث مالك وهذا يروى عن حذيفة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بإسناد جيد ثابت
“Narrated Ibn ‘Umar, Messenger of Allah, (SAW) said: Follow the two leaders after me, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Abu Ja’far said) This hadith is munkar, not proven from the hadith of Malik. And this is narrated by Hudhaifa from Prophet (SAW) with a good and proven chain.” [Adh-Dhu’afaa (4/95), Daar Ul-Kutub Al-‘Ilmi Beirut]
 Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani
He declared this hadith to be “Hasan” in his book “Muwafiqah Al-khubr Al-Khabar” [(1/143,144), tahqeeq. Hamdi Abdul Majeed and Subhi As-Samirani, Maktaba Ar-Rushd Riyadh]
 Nasirud Deen Al-Albani
He declared this “Sahih”.
[Sahih Al-Jami'As-Sagheer (1/254), no. 1142, 1143, 1144. Al-Maktaba Al-Islami]
Silsila As-Saheeha [(3/233), no. 1233, Daarul Ma'arif, Riyadh]
 Shu’aib Al-Arna’ut etc
He declared “Hasan li ghairihi” [Tahqeeq Musnad (38/281), no. 23245, Mu'assasah Ar-Risala]
 Abu Hafs Ibn Mulaqqin Ash-Shafa’i (d.804 H)
He declared this Hadith “Hasan” in his book “Al-Badrul Muneer” [(9/578), Hadith- 16, Daar Ul-Hijrah, Riyadh]. And later on he discredit the view of Ibn Hazm where he declared this hadith to be weak.
 Abdur Rahman bin ‘Umar Al-Jawrqani
He declare this hadith to be “Sahih” in his book “Al-Abateel wa Al-Manakeer” (Kitab Al-Fada’il, Khilafah Abu Bakr, Hadith-132)
 Abu Hatim Ibn Hibbaan Al-Busti
He included this hadith in his “Saheeh” as referenced above.
 Muhammad bin ‘Ali Ash-Shawkani
He declared this hadeeth to be “Saheeh”. [See "Irshad Al-Fuhul" [(1/221), Daarul Kutub Al-'Arabi]