Refuting the notion that muhadditheen abandoned govt employees
The Khawarij use this narration/Jarh by Abu dawood al-Masahifi (d. 238 A.H) on the narrator Shahr ibn Hawshab by saying that look al-masahifi said :
wa-innama ta`nau fihi li-annahu waliya amr as-sultaan
they discredited him because he held a government post (i.e worked for the sultan)
[Ref: Tirmdihi brings this under 2697]
1) First of all shahr ibn Hawshab was never discredited for being in the govt post. And someone holding or working in the government was not a reason to discredit anyone’s hadeeth. Not by the mutaqaddimeen and not after them. Many of the great scholars worked in the government posts for ummayads and abbasids. the very fact that a takfeeri kharjee is quoting this as proof shows how illiterate he is of the above mentioned fact. Even giants like Imam waki` ibn Jarrah, `Abdullah ibn Idrees and Hafs ibn Gayath all came to the [criticised] caliph – Haroon rashid (r.h) in order that he granted them the judgeship[of eastern `Iraq]. [Ref: Akhbaar ul-Quda by Waki` Muhammad ibn Khalaf ibn Hayyan D. 306 A.H, 1/#27]
In fact the following report will even amaze some of these khawarij :
Waki` said : “I went to al-Aʿmash then I said [to him]: ‘Transmit [ḥadīth] to me.’ Then [al-ʿAmash] said to me: ‘What is your name?’ I said: ‘Wakīʿ,’ and he said: ‘A noble name, it means nothing except that there will be with you intelligence. Where from Kūfa have you come?’ I said: ‘From the banū Wu’ās.’ He said: ‘Are you from the house of al-Jarrāh b. Malīḥ?’ I said: ‘Yes, and he was overseeing the bayt al-māl.’ Then [al-ʿAmash] said to me: ‘Go and then come to me with my present and I will give you 5 ḥadīth.’ I arrived to my father and I told him [about this], then he said: ‘Take half of the gift then go to him, and then he will tell you five [ḥadīth] and [then you can] take the other half [of the money]. Then go to him until you have 10 [ḥadīth].’” Then Wakīʿ came to [al-ʿAmash] with half of the gift, then he took it then he placed it on a scale. [al-ʿAmash] said: “Ok,” then he fell silent. Then he said to [Wakīʿ]: “Write,” then [Wakīʿ] took by dictation two ḥadīth, then [Wakīʿ] said: “You promised me 5 [ḥadīth].” Then [al-ʿAmash] said: “And where are all of the dirāhim? I reckon that your father commanded you to do this and you did not know that al-Aʿmash is experienced and he had seen what happened! Go, then come with all of it and return so that I transmit to you five ḥadīth.” Then [Wakīʿ] came to him and [al-ʿAmash] told him “Give [me the ḥadīth],” then [Wakīʿ] said: “It was every month that I came to him with his gift and he gave me five ḥadīth.” [Copied from alikhbar; Tareekh Baghdad of Khatib ]
2) Secondly, the scholars criticised shahr for not being strong in hadeeth and not because he held a government position
Musa ibn Haroon (D. 224) said : dha`eef
Ibn sa`d (D. 230 A.H) and Ibn Qutaybah (d. 276 A.H) said kaana dha`efan fil-Hadeeth
An Nasa’ee said; Shahr ibn hawshab laysa bil-qawi
Ibn Abi Hatim (D. 365 A.H) said : Laa yuhtajju bi-hadeethihi
Ibn `Adi said : Laysa bil-qawi fil-Hadeeth wa huwa mimman laa yuhtajj bi-hadithihi
See in their famous works like Jarh or abi hatim, tabaqat, al-Kamal, Ma`rif etc.
3) When Mu`adh ibn Mu`adh al-Anbari asked Ibn `Awn about Sharh’s hadeeth he replied ” Shu`ba (ibn Hajjaj) left shahr’s hadeeth (Inna Shu`bah qad taraka shahran)
[Ref: Ibn `Adi 4/37; Tahdheeb 4/370 and see `Uqayli also]
This also shows why some left his hadeeth as they followed the testimony of shu`bah when he said :
Laqad Laqitu shahran falam `atadda bihi – I met Shahr but I did not consider him to be an authoritative source
[Ref: Tahdheeb 4/370]
4) Finally the very quote they give shows that Muhammad ibn isma`eel (who they didn’t know is Bukhaari himself) praised shahr saying “fawathaqqahu”
Also Imam Ahmad took from him in his own Musnad many times and many other scholars took from him, so will these khawarij now accuse these aimmah for taking from govt scholars ?!
In our time the situation is not like `Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez where the rulers are pious like the khulafah rashideen to be responsible and god-fearing in implementing Islamic laws and more importantly are not islamically qualified to do what `Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez did. It is thus all the more required that scholars play an active role in the govt. lest the people of desires turn it into complete evil.