Surely the Arabs possessed some virtues before the advent of Prophethood, but we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that these virtues outstripped their many sins and vices. As Ja'far ibn Abu Talib capably summarized in his address to the King of Abyssinia,
“We were a people of Jahiliyyah, worshipping idols, eating the flesh of dead animals, committing abominations, neglecting our relatives, doing evil to our neighbours and the strong among us would oppress the weak…”
Their actions are repudiated time and time again by the Qur'an.
"And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it."
“And when the news of a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision”
Now I don't mean to be racist towards the Arab race, and nor are the practices of the people of jahiliyyah reflective of most Arabs today. But it seems to me that it took the best of the 124,000 prophets to bring the Arabs of that time into line for a handful of years- before they rebelled against his teachings once more as soon as he passed away, all for the greed of power and authority.
As a historical source I think it is fair to use. We may not have rijal information on all of the chains; that's partly because our rijal books are mostly focused on hadith narrators of the second hijri century - companions of the mid to late Imams. Abu Mikhnaf himself was not close to the Imams, he was a descendant of a companion of Amir al-Mu'mineen (as), but he is relied upon by Waqidi, Tabari, Shaykh al-Mufid, and other Sunni and Shia historians. It's one of the earliest accounts of the event. He died (d. 157 AH) in the early part of Musa al-Kadhim's Imamate, and his chains to the event are very short. Since his text is about a public event, and Najashi called him a scholar of Kufa in his time, and since he was not criticized until much later Sunni scholars like Dhahabi, I feel that it is a good source. There are some discrepancies, and so it's not holy scripture, but I found it to be very useful when I first converted.
Here is a good post on the topic: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235023655-why-is-abu-mikhnaf-reliable/?do=findComment&comment=2716964
I don't quite understand this.
Hypothetically, let's say one's father is against you getting married, so if you attempt to change your wali to a grandfather or an uncle who says yes to the marriage, will it still be illegitimate?
And there are some fathers who won't let them get married no matter what the reason. What then?
How algorithms are determining just about everything. Zuckerberg's "Frankenstein Monster".
The best part is the 5th and 6th paragraphs.