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One of my friends asked me about a hadith collected in Abu Dawud. The hadith is located here:

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say: What is evil in a man are alarming niggardliness and unrestrained cowardice.

Abu Dawud, unlike Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim, contain a mix of saheeh/hassan (authentic/good) and da'eef (weak) ahadith. How on earth can I distinguish if any given hadith in Abu Dawud is weak or not?

I recall one of my teachers saying that there are collections (in Arabic) like "The Da'eef in Abu Dawud" or "The Saheeh in Abu Dawud." Obviously, you can cross-reference if any given hadith you want is in the da'eef, and if it's not, it's authentic.

I can navigate Arabic with great difficulty, understanding is not so good. If there's an easy way to do this, great; if not, I would like an English resource (ideally).

  • sunnah.com - when you browse through the abi Dawud collection there, each hadith has the authenticity as judged by Sheikh al-Albani – Daud Dec 20 '13 at 15:25
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If there is an English translation of the muhadditheen's gradings of Sunan Abi Dawud, perhaps someone else can post the answer. Here is what I have done in the past for such questions:

  1. Go to waqfeya.com and search for "سنن أبي داود"
  2. Find the book by the muhaddith who made the distinction. In this case, I know Shaykh al-Albani has such a book. Perhaps Shaykh Ahmad Shakir has one too, or another muhaddith. The name of the book is "Sahih wa Da'if Sunan Abi Dawud" (in Arabic).
  3. Download the book and search for the hadith you're looking for. If you're lucky, you can just search by hadith number (if the source of your hadith follows the standard numbering scheme). If not, you will have to dig up the Arabic text for the hadith in question, and locate it in the PDF (usually within 5-10 hadith of the hadith number you have).
  4. Read the grade assigned to it by the shaykh, and possibly any comments before or after concerning the reason for the grade

If you know a little more Arabic, you can also find grading and chain information on islamweb after locating the right book and hadith.

For your particular hadith, the hadith number is 2511 in Sunan Abi Dawud, and Shaykh al-Albani grades it Sahih:

قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏:‏ ‏"‏ شَرُّ مَا فِي رَجُلٍ شُحٌّ هَالِعٌ وَجُبْنٌ خَالِعٌ ‏"‏ ‏‏

  • This is actually a very sophisticated and complicated process that DEMANDS some understanding of Arabic. But I may accept it if it's still the best answer. – ashes999 Jun 27 '12 at 14:40
  • It's not that sophisticated in the grand scheme of things - in the end, it just amounts to looking up the result of a truly sophisticated process :) – Ansari Jun 27 '12 at 14:41

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