Fatwa ID: 04338
Answered by: Maulana Mohammad Afzal Hussain
What does Gharib Hadith mean?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Linguistically, Gharib is an adjective meaning peculiar or strange. Technically, it is defined as a Hadith which is narrated by only one narrator at any one link of its chain of narration.
Gharib Hadith is classified into Al-Gharib Al-Mutlaq (absolutely strange) and al-Gharib An-Nisbi (relatively strange). When only one companion has narrated a report from the Prophet, but it became widespread and had many narrators later, it is classified as Al-Gharib Al-Mutlaq. Al-Gharib An-Nisbi, which is synonymous with a Fard (single) Hadith, refers to a report narrated from only a single teacher. It is relative in the sense that it may have actually been narrated by many, but all belong to the same locality or groups, such as the people of Kufa, Basra, or Madinah.
An example of an absolute strange (Gharib) Hadith: Allah's Messenger saying, The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for. 
Ibn as-Salah commented that Umar Ibn al-Khattab was alone in transmitting this report from the Messenger. Alqamah Ibn Waqqas was alone in transmitting it from Umar. Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim was alone in transmitting it from Alqamah and Yahya was alone in transmitting it from Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim At-Taymi. 
Thus, it is a Hadith of Al-Gharib Al-Mutlaq (absolutely strange).
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mohammad Afzal Hussain
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Hadith Terminology and Classification by Muhammad S. Ar-Rahawan, page: 88, Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House (from Suyuti, Tadrib ar-Rawi)
 (Bukhari: 1)
 [See:: Hadith Terminology and Classification by Muhammad S. Ar-Rahawan, page: 89, Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House]