I have a question about hadith books such as Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Many people believe that all hadiths in these two book are 100% authentic. However, many people including some scholars like Maulana Ishaq, who was a notable scholar also believed that there are many weak hadith in these two collection. Moreover, I have red that there are many hadith that are contradictory with each other and even with the Holy Quran. We Muslims believe that Quran is 100% authentic and even many non-Muslim scientists also say that. But are all hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim also 100% authentic. If they are 100% authentic, then what about contradictions? If hadiths in these two collections contain weak hadith, then how can one distinguish between weak and Sahih? I need answer to these questions desperately.
In terms of chain of narrators, all the Aahdith found within Sahid Al Bukhari and Sahih Al Muslim are authentic by the near unanimous concensus of the Muslim scholars.
However, there could be some Ahadith in these books that are beyond our understanding or may even seem strange by meaning but that does not affect the authentcity of the Hadith. Authenticity has to do with the chain of narrators.
Most of the time, an apprarent contradiction is just a matter of preponderance and after such in-depth research, most Ahadith become reconciled. The differences found with the Ahadith could be due to many possible reasons.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Ikram ul Haq
Fatwa Center of America