An Analysis of the Hadīth “Whoever assists a Mu’min in distress, Allāh will grant him seventy-three rewards, one of which will suffice him in this world and the remaining will be saved for the Hereafter…”
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Abstract: The Hadīth in reference has been reported on the authority of two Sahābah with slight variations in the wording: Thawbān and Anas (Allāh be pleased with them). The narrators from Anas are Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān, Abān, ‘Abbād ibn ‘Abd al-Samad and Dīnār, the freed slave of Anas.
Although some of these transmissions are weak (da‘īf) and some inadmissible (munkar), the Hadīth gains strength from the multiplicity of the slightly weak transmission and is thus suitable to mention.
In Hilyat al-Awliyā’, Hāfiż Abū Nu‘aym al-Asfahānī [d. 430 AH] reports on the authority of Thawbān (Allāh be pleased with him):
The Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever relieves a distressed believer [Man Farraja ‘an Mu’min Lahfān], Allāh will grant him seventy-three counts of forgiveness [Maghfira], by one of which He will amend his worldly life and Afterlife, and the seventy-two He will return to him in full on the Day of Judgment.
Thereafter, Abu Nu‘aym writes, “It is rare from the Hadīth of Farqad, and we have only written it from this route.” 
The Hadīth has also been reported on the authority of Anas (Allāh be pleased with him) with variations in the wording through several chains:
Imām al-Bazzār [d. 292 AH] narrates via Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān from Anas (Allāh be pleased with him) as follows:
The Messenger of Allāh said, “Whoever assists a distressed person [Man Aghātha Malhūfan], Allāh will decree seventy-three counts of forgiveness for him, one of which is sufficient for the betterment of all his affairs and seventy-two will be [postponed] to the Day of Judgment or [he said] Allāh will keep it for the Day of Judgment.”
This chain is inadmissible as the narrator Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān has been heavily criticized.
In Shu‘ab al-Īmān, Imām al-Bayhaqī [d. 458 AH] after narrating a similar report from Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān, comments, “Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān is alone [in transmitting] it.”
However, ‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Arrāq al-Kinānī [d. 963 AH] responds:
Al-Bayhaqī says that Ziyād is alone in [transmitting] it, but that is not the case because [‘Abd Allāh ibn] ‘Abd al-Rahmān ibn Abī Husayn al-Makkī has followed up Ziyād, as related by Ibn ‘Asākir. It was also transmitted from Thawbān (Allāh be pleased with him), which Abū Nu‘aym related via Farqad from Shumayt, the freed slave of Thawbān, and he said, “It is rare from the Hadīth of Farqad.” I [Ibn ‘Arrāq] say: I have not come across the biography of Shumayt.
Hence, even if Ziyād ibn Abī Hassān is an extremely weak transmitter, Hāfiż Ibn ‘Asākir has given a chain of transmission that corroborates his report.
In Tārīkh Dimashq, Hāfiż Ibn ‘Asākir [d. 571 AH] narrates via ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Makkī, from Anas ibn Mālik (Allāh be pleased with him):
The Messenger of Allāh said, “Whoever assists a distressed person, Allāh will grant him seventy-three counts of forgiveness: one for the worldly life and seventy-two for [elevation] in the high ranks of Paradise…”
There is also another corroborating report, which Hāfiż Abū Nu‘aym narrates via Abān from Anas (Allāh be pleased with him) in Akhbār Asfahān as follows:
The Messenger of Allāh said, “Whoever assists a distressed person, Allāh will grant him ninety-three counts of forgiveness, [by one of which] He will gather the good of the worldly life and the Afterlife, and ninety-two [will be utilized] in elevating his status in Paradise.”
In Tārīkh Baghdād, al-Khātīb al-Baghdādī [d. 463 AH] narrates via Dīnār, the freed slave of Anas, from Anas (Allāh be pleased with him):
The Messenger of Allāh said, “Whoever fulfills a worldly need of his brother, Allāh will fulfill seventy-two needs of his, the lightest of which is forgiveness.”
This chain is extremely weak and cannot be used for corroboration.
Ibn ‘Adī [d. 365 AH] also narrates a similar narration via ‘Abbād ibn ‘Abd al-Samad from Anas. However, this chain is also extremely weak.
As we mentioned above, although some of these narrations are weak and some are more severe in their weakness, because of the multiplicity of the slightly weak transmissions, the Hadīth gains strength and is suitable to mention.
And Allāh knows best.
 Abū Nu‘aym, Hilyat al-Awliyā’, 49:3 [Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya]
 Al-Bazzār, al-Bahr al-Zakhkhār, 40:14 [Maktaba al-‘Ulūm wa ‘l-Hukm]
 Ibn Hajar, Lisān al-Mīzān, 532:3 [Dār al-Bashā’ir al-Islāmiyya]; Ibn al-Jawzī, Kitāb al-Mawdū‘āt, 171:2 [al-Maktaba al-Salafiyya]; Al-Shawkānī, Fawā’id al-Majmu‘a, 74 [Mu’assisa Abī ‘Ubayda]
 Al-Bayhaqī, Shu‘ab al-Imān, 122:10 [Maktaba al-Rushd]
 Ibn ‘Arrāq, Tanzīh al-Sharī‘a, 136:2 [Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya]
 Ibn ‘Asākir, Tārīkh Dimashq, 118:53 [Dār al-Fikr]
 Abū Nu‘aym, Akhbār Asfahān, 350:1 [Dār al-Kitāb al-Islāmī] the number ninety-three is also mentioned in the Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya edition.
 Al-Baghdādī, Tārīkh Baghdād, 507:12 [Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī]
 Al-Shawkānī, Fawā’id al-Majmu‘a, 74 [Mu’assisa Abī ‘Ubayda]; Al-Ghumārī, al-Mudāwī, 198:6 [Dār al-Kutubi] in this reference, Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumārī also answers the objections posed by al-Munāwī in Fayd al-Qadīr, 99:6 [Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya].
 Ibn ‘Adī, al-Kāmil fī al-Du‘afā’, 195:8 [Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya]
Note: A point worth consideration is that in part of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumāri’s critique [al-Mudāwī, 198:6 Dār al-Kutubi] on ‘Allāmah al-Munāwī’s assessment of this Hadīth [Fayd al-Qadīr 99:6 Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya] he takes him to task for mentioning criticism of a certain ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Samad who is not a narrator of this hadith, nor is he mentioned in al-Tārīkh al-Kabīr as he claimed. However, it seems ‘Allāmah al-Munāwī intended the narrator ‘Abbād ibn ‘Abd al-Samad who did narrate the hadīth also (directly from Anas); but, this is with a separate and different chain to that which was under discussion. Hence, in his assessment of the hadīth, al-Munāwī appears to have mistakenly mentioned the criticism of a different isnād of the same hadīth and this is where the confusion arose. ‘Allāmah al-Munāwī says: “Al-Bukhārī says, “He is Munkar al-Hadīth” In al-Mizān it is mentioned, “Ibn Hibbān Wahhāhu and he narrates from Anas a collection most of which is filled with fabrications.” This entire description fits the narrator ‘Abbād ibn ‘Abd al-Samad, a narrator of the hadīth (not ‘Abbās ibn ‘Abd al-Samad). See, al-Tārīkh al-Kabīr 41:6 [Dā’ira al-Ma‘ārif al-‘Uthmāniyya]; Mizān al- I‘tidāl 369:2 [Dār al-Ma‘rifa].
 Al-Dhahabī, Mizān al- I‘tidāl, 369:2 [Dār al-Ma‘rifa]