Q. Did the imams of the 4 madhabs accept weak hadith for their fiqh with some conditions?
A. Generally all scholars have accepted weak ahadith, even Imam Bukhari has accepted weak hadith and recorded them in his book ‘Al Adab Al Mufrad’. However, these traditions are accepted with strict conditions which make them acceptable to all scholars.
The Imams of four Madhabs have scrutinized the ahadith which they have used and have found them to be worthy of acceptance. Scholars of hadith have formulated their own conditions for the acceptance and rejection of hadith and so, the Imams of the four Madhabs have accepted the ahadith which fulfills their conditions. As scholars of hadith, they have sound explainations and reasons for the ahadith which they have accepted, hence, the statement of others that they have accepted weak hadith is not a proof against them. Besides the Imams of the four Mazhab, almost all other books of ahadith have been proven to have weak ahadith. The scholars of hadith including Imams Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Nasai and Ibn Majah have all accepted weak ahadith with specific conditions. As such, in all fairness, if one wishes to lay a charge against the Imams of the four Madhabs for using weak hadith, then the same charge must be made against every scholar of hadith including Imam Bukhari and the other complers of ahadith.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan