Answered by Sidi Salman Younas
Question: I have a question about a narration in Ibn Kathir’s commentary of verse 8:61, on the authority of Imam Ahmad, that the Prophet said, “There will be differences after me, so if you have a way to achieve peace, then do so.” Is this hadith authentic?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
This was narrated by `Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal with his chain to `Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be well pleased with him) in the Musnad of Ahmad. al-Haytami in his Majma` al-Zawa’id states that all the narrators are trustworthy, though Shaykh Shu`ayb Arnaut in his grading of the Musnad states that the narration is weak.
I could not find it with this specific wording in any other book, though there are similar, variant narrations. It is narrated by Khalid ibn `Urfutah (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “After me there will be unprecedented things, corruption, and differences, and so if you can be the slayed slave of Allah, not the slayer, then do so.” [Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad; Hakim, al-Mustadrak; Tabarani, al-Kabir] The chain of this narration goes through `Ali ibn Zayd, who is weak, but there are other supporting narratives that raise the grading of the narration to “authentic” (hasan), as mentioned by Shaykh Shu`ayb Arnaut and discussed by Ibn Hajar `Asqalani in his Talkhis al-Habir.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani