Archive for the ‘Hadith’ Category

Sahih BukhariWhenever discussion on the veracity of hadith as such and especially that of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim comes up, the antagonists quickly refer to al-Daraqutni’s criticism of these works widely understood to the two most authentic hadith compilations. In doing so they tend to suggest that rejection of hadith for spooky reasons that they have is not a new idea and even classical orthodox authorities did the same. Without a doubt their claim is sheer falsehood.

A learned contemporary scholar of hadith, Dr. Jonathan A.C. Brown has produced a paper on al-Daraqutni’s criticism of Bukhari and Muslim’s collections.


It should be read in full for due appreciation and understanding. However, here are some excerpts with emphasis added for the purpose of this post;

Unlike that in later critical works, al-Daraqutni’s tone in the Kitab al-tatabbu’ is overwhelmingly constructive, and he does not aim at challenging the overall authenticity (sihha) of the traditions collected in the sahihayn. As will be demonstrated, the Kitab al-tatabbu’ comprises a formal adjustment of narrations rather than a polemical criticism of any traditions that its author deemed problematic in the sahihayn. This explains the favourable light in which the Sunni tradition came to view al-Daraqutni’s work. Although al-Nawawi devotes a huge amount of energy to rebutting the scholar’s criticisms of Muslim’s narrations, he nonetheless places the Kitab al-tatabbu’ in the acceptable genre of mustadrak works. (p.17)

Mustadrak: it is a genre in which addition is made as per the standard/quality of some other work e.g. al-Hakim’s “Mustadrak ‘ala as-Sahihayn” in which he gathers reports that he thought were according to the conditions of Sahih Bukhari and/or Sahih Muslim.

The nature of al-Daraqutni’s work does not stem from any inherent reverence for the Shaykhayn. Rather, it results primarily from the salient characteristic of his approach to Hadith: he addresses narrations and not traditions. He therefore does not criticize al-Bukhari and Muslim’s individual ahadith, but rather specific narrations of some traditions included in their two books. It would thus be wrong to state that al-Daraqutni criticized Muslim’s hadith in which the Prophet states ‘If I were to take someone from my community as a bosom companion (khalil), I would choose Abu Bakr’; he criticizes just one narration of that hadith, making no statement about the overall authenticity of that Prophetic tradition. In fact Muslim includes five other narrations of this tradition with a completely different isnad.This is the case for the vast majority of the traditions that al-Daraqutni mentions in his  Kitab al-tatabbu’ . Both al-Bukhari and Muslim habitually included multiple narrations for a Prophetic tradition, and al-Daraqutni rarely has occasion to critique a lone narration.(pp.17-18)

Here we must note that at no point in the Kitab al-tatabbu’ does al-Daraqutni object to the theological, legal, or ritual content of any hadith. His criticisms do sometimes involve the texts of the reports, but only to the extent that they contain elements differing from other narrations. (p.26)

His focus on comparing and evaluating individual narrations without addressing their content meant that al-Daraqutni never overtly rejected any of the Prophetic traditions included in al-Bukhari’s and Muslim’s collections. As his æuvre demonstrates, al-Daraqutni was undeniably fascinated with the sahihayn. He clearly deemed them seminal embodiments of the Prophet’s Sunna, and his adjustment of them constituted an act of productive criticism.
Al-Daraqutni certainly never intended to alter the theological, ritual, or legal material of the Shaykhayn with his own opinions. Rather, we must understand al-Daraqutni’s objections to certain aspects of al-Bukhari’s and Muslim’s compilations through specific methodological developments within ilm al-hadith between the third/ninth and ninth/fifteenth centuries. (pp.36-37)

I hope this sheds some light on the actual nature of al-Daraqutni’s work and what the hadith rejecters of our day try to make of it.

And Allah knows best!

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Companions are Stars

It is often related that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said;

أصحابي كالنجوم، بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

“My Companions are like the stars; whoever among them you follow, you will be guided.”

It is well know that all the various chains of narration for this hadith are weak. Shaykh al-Albani commented on these chains in Silsala al-Ahadith ad-Da’ifa, No.58-61

He went as far as grading the report as “Mawdu” (fabricated) though some scholars have opined that considering the multiple chains the hadith may be accepted as reliable. (For details, see Shaykh Abdul Hayy al-Lakunawi’s book “Iqamah al-Hujjah ‘ala anna a-Iksar fi  at-Ta’abbud Laisa bi Bid’ah” with annotations of Sh. Abdul Fattah Abu Ghoddah pp.48-52)

I am definitely not able to get into the details of this discussion however there is another hadith which suggests something similar to it.

In Sahih Muslim it is stated that Abu Musa al-‘Ashari related, Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

النجوم أمنة للسماء، فإذا ذهبت النجوم أتى السماء ما توعد، وأنا أمنة لأصحابي، فإذا ذهبت أتى أصحابي ما يوعدون، وأصحابي أمنة لأمتي، فإذا ذهب أصحابي أتى أمتي ما يوعدون

The stars are a source of security for the sky, and when the stars disappear, there will come to the sky what is promised. I am a source of security for my Companions, and when I am gone there will come to my Companions what they are promised. And my Companions are a source of security for my Ummah, and when my Companions are gone, there will come to my Ummah that they are promised.”
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith [6466]  207-(2531), Darussalam ed.)

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 AH) also narrated this hadith in al-‘Itiqad (1/318). Thereafter he referred to the the same famous ‘dubious’ report and then said:

والذي رويناه هاهنا من الحديث الصحيح يؤدي بعض معناه

“And the Sahih Hadith we narrated here supports some of its meanings.” (al-‘Itiqad, 1/318)

Ibn Amir Haj (d. 879 AH) in at-Taqrir wal Tahbir (3/99) and Mulla Ali al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) in his Mirqat al-Mafatih (9/3876, 3882) also mentioned this proximity of meanings.

Hafiz Ibn Hajr (d. 853 AH) commenting on al-Bayhaqi’s words said:

صدق البيهقي، هو يؤدي صحة التشبيه للصحابة بالنجوم خاصة، أما في الاقتداء فلا يظهر في حديث أبي موسى، نعم يمكن أن يتلمح ذلك من معنى الاهتداء بالنجوم

“al-Bayhaqi said the truth. It shows the reliability of the particular likeness of the companions with the stars. As to (proof of their) following it is not evident in the hadith of Abu Musa. But yes, it is possible that he found a hint for that in guidance with the stars (i.e. in the purpose the stars serve at night)”
(Talkhis al-Habir, 4/464)

Indeed, the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ are like the (guiding) Stars!

And Allah knows the best!

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Read and reflect on the following narration;

عن جبير بن نفير قال: جلسنا إلى المقداد بن الأسود يوما، فمر به رجل، فقال: طوبى لهاتين العينين اللتين رأتا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، والله! لوددنا أنا رأينا ما رأيت، وشهدنا ما شهدت، فاستغضب، فجعلت أعجب، ما قال إلا خيرا! ثم أقبل عليه فقال: “ما يحمل الرجل على أن يتمنى محضرا غيبه الله عنه؟ لا يدري لو شهده كيف يكون فيه؟ والله! لقد حضر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أقوام كبهم الله على مناخرهم في جهنم؛ لم يجيبوه ولم يصدقوه! أولا تحمدون الله عز وجل إذ أخرجكم لا تعرفون إلا ربكم، فتصدقون بما جاء به نبيكم صلى الله عليه وسلم، قد كفيتم البلاء بغيركم. والله لقد بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على أشد حال بعث عليها نبي قط، في فترة وجاهلية، ما يرون أن دينا أفضل من عبادة الأوثان! فجاء بفرقان فرق به بين الحق والباطل، وفرق به بين الوالد وولده، حتى إن كان الرجل ليرى والده أو ولده أو أخاه كافرا، وقد فتح الله قفل قلبه بالإيمان ويعلم أنه إن هلك دخل النار، فلا تقر عينه، وهو يعلم أن حبيبه في النار، وأنها للتي قال: الله عز وجل: {والذين يقولون ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذرياتنا قرة أعين} – الفرقان: 74

Jubayr ibn Nufayr said, “One day we were sitting when al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad when a man passed us. The man said, ‘Blessing be to those two eyes which saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. By Allah, I wish that I had seen what you have seen and witnessed what you have witnessed!’ This angered al-Miqdad and that surprised me as the man had said nothing but good things. Then he turned to them and said, ‘What made the man desire to summon back what Allah has taken away? Does he not realise what his situation would be if he had seen him? By Allah, if certain people had been with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Allah would have thrown them on their faces into Hellfire since they would neither have answered nor confirmed him? Do you not praise Allah Almighty since He brought you forth and you only know your Lord and confirm what your Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, brought? You see enough affliction in other people. By Allah, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was sent in the harshest state in which any Prophet was ever sent – in a gap (in the line of prophethood) and the time of Ignorance. They did not believe that the deen was better than worshiping idols. He brought the Discrimination by which it is possible to discriminate between the true and false, and which can part a father from his child. Then a man will think of his father, child or brother as an unbeliever. Allah has loosened the locks of his heart by faith and he knows that the other person will be destroyed in the Fire. Therefore his eye is not cool since he knows that the one he loves will be in the Fire. It is what Allah says, “Those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children.” (25:74)'”

See, Imam al-Bukhari’s al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 87 – Translated by Ustadha Aisha Bewley. Classified as Sahih by Shaykh Albani

It is also reported  by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith 23810, Al-Resalah ed.), Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut also classified it as Sahih.

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The Hadith goes as;

عن عبد الرحمن بن مسعود عن أبي سعيد و أبي هريرة قالا : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : ( ليأتين عليكم أمراء يقربون شرار الناس ويؤخرون الصلاة عن مواقيتها فمن أدرك ذلك منكم فلا يكونن عريفا ولا شرطيا و لا جابيا ولا خازنا )

It is narrated from Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud from Abu Saeed and Abu Hurairah: The Prophet Muhammad , may Allah bless him, said: “Mentally deficient rulers will come to you, and make the most evil, worst people near to them, and delay the prayer (not pray it at the fixed time). Every one of you, who realizes that, must not be a policeman, not a corporal, not a collector and not a treasurer with them.” (Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadith 4586)

It is also found in Tabarani’s Mu’jam al-Saghir and Musnad Abu Ya’la.

And from these sources it is quoted in Majma’ al-Zawaid, Mawarid al-Zamaan and Matalib al-‘Aliya.

What Shaykh Albani said?

1. Shaykh Albani’s classification of this narration:

In his classification of Sahih Ibn Hibban (4567), Shaykh Albani classified it as Hasan.

In Silsala Sahiha (360) he said, “Its chain is Sahih, its narrators are trustworthy …”

In Sahih al-Targhib wal Tarhib (790) he graded it as, “Hasan li-ghayrihi.”

2. Shaykh Albani’s mistake:

Actually the mistake on Shaykh Albani’s part sprouts from the mistake in Mawarid al-Zamaan where the name of the narrator Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud is mistakenly written as Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah bin Mas’ud. In all other works with this narration (i.e. Mu’jam al-Saghir, Musnad Abu Ya’la, Ibn Hibban, Majma’ al-Zawaid and Matalib al-‘Aliya) it is Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud. As Mawarid al-Zamaan is supposed to be a reproduction of the narrations of Ibn Hibban not found in the Two Sahihs, Bukhari and Muslim, so Shaykh Albani quoted the chain and narrations from there and thus graded it as “Sahih in Chain.”

Later Shaykh Albani himself accepted this lapse on his part but certainly he is not to be blamed for this. He accepted that there was a mistake in the name of the narrator. See under Sahiha 2895.

Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut graded the Hadith as Da’if:

As against Shaykh Albani, Shaykh Shau’aib graded the Hadith as Da’if. He wrote:


“Its chain is Da’if. Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud, and he is Al-Yashkiri, none termed him trustworthy except the compiler (i.e. Ibn Hibban). And none narrates from him except Ja’far bin Iyas. His profile is given by Ibn Abi Hatim 5/285 and in “al-Ta’jil” p. 258.  al-Haithmi in al-Majma 5/240 termed Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud trustworthy. None did it before him except the compiler. And in Mawarid al-Zamaan his name is given as Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah bin Mas’ud and it is tampering. And Shaykh Nasir [Albani] did not know this and ranked him trustworthy in Sahiha (360) because of this.”
(al-Ihsan fi Taqrib Sahih Ibn Hibban Hadith 4586, Mo’sas al-Risala, Beirut 1991 vol. 10 pp.446-447)

Others who “authenticated” the narration:

Actually it is a mistake to say that anyone besides Shaykh Albani explicitly authenticated the narration. Two scholars that are said to have authenticated the narration are:

Hafiz Nuruddin al-Haithmi and Shaykh Hussain Salim Asad.

Hafiz Haithmi after quoting the narration in Majma’ al-Zawaid said:

رِجَالُهُ رِجَالُ الصَّحِيحِ خَلَا عَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ مَسْعُودٍ وَهُوَ ثِقَةٌ

“Its narrators are those of al-Sahih except Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud and he is trustworthy.”

And as Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut said none graded him trustworthy before al-Haithmi except Ibn Hibban so most certainly al-Haithmi accepted solely Ibn Hibban’s authentication which shall be discussed shortly.

Similarly Shaykh Hussain Salim Asad in his research on Musnad Abu Ya’la says:

عبد الرحمن بن مسعود وثقه ابن حبان والهيثمي وباقي رجاله ثقات

“Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud. Ibn Hibban and al-Haithmi authenticated him and the rest of the narrators are trustworthy.”

Clearly he also used the same grading by Ibn Hibban alone which was accepted by al-Haithmi.

Besides Imam Ibn HIbban no one graded the narrator Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud al-Yashkiri as trustworthy.

Imam Ibn Hibban the sole person to grade Abdul Rahman as trustworthy:

Imam Ibn Hibban is the sole person to authenticate Abdul Rahman bin Mas’ud al-Yashkiri and has put his name in his work, “al-Thiqaat” (5/106)

As to al-Haithmi, he simply accepted Ibn Hibban’s authentication for he himself could not grade anyone trustworthy or otherwise because he was an 8th century A.H. scholar and had to rely on earlier opinions only. We shall show as to how al-Haithmi went against the Jamhoor in accepting it.

Problem with solely Ibn Hibban grading someone as “Thiqa”

Hafiz Ibn Hajr said:

قلت وهذا الذي ذهب إليه ابن حبان من أن الرجل إذا انتفت جهالة عينه كان على العدالة إلى أن يتبن جرحه مذهب عجيب والجمهور على خلافه وهذا هو مساك ابن حبان في كتاب الثقات الذي ألفه فإنه يذكر خلقاً من نص عليهم أبو حاتم وغيره على أنهم مجهولون وكان عند ابن حبان جهالة العين ترتفع برواية واحد مشهور وهو مذهب شيخه بن خزيمة ولكن جهالة حاله باقية عند غيره

“I say : and towards this went Ibn Hibban, that when the Jahalah al-Ayn of a person is finished, then he is trustworthy until negative criticism is proven against him, and this is a strange opinion, and the majority (Jamhoor) are opposing this, and this is the methodology of Ibn Hibban in his book “al-Thiqat” that he composed, and he mentions in it people that Abu Hatim and others have certified to be Majhool, as if for Ibn Hibban the Jahalah al-Ayn is removed with narration of one Mashoor [narrator], and this is the view of his teacher Ibn Khuzaymah, but the Jahalah al-Hal remains according to others than him.” (Lisan al-Mizan 1/6)

Jahalah al-Ayn means only a single narrator narrates from a person and he is not graded as trustworthy by anyone. And jahalah al-Hal means two or more people narrate from a person and he is not graded as trustworthy by anyone. A report through a narrator with Jahalah al-Ayn is not acceptable except that someone authenticates him and one through a narrator characterized with Jahalah al-Hal is also rejected according to Jamhoor. (See Tayseer Mustalah al-Hadith by Mahmud al-Tahan pp.92-93)

Discussing another narrator Shaykh Albani wrote:

وأما ابن حبان فقد ذكره في ” الثقات ” ، وهذا منه على عادته في وثيق المجهولين كما سبق التنبيه عليه مرارا، توثيق ابن حبان هذا هو عمدة الهيثمي حين قال في ” المجمع … التوثيقات التي لا يعتمد عليها لضعف مستندها

“As to Ibn Hibban for he mentioned him in “al-Thiqaat” this is from his habit of authentication of Majhool narrators as we have warned earlier over and over. And authentication (“tauthiq“) of Ibn Hibban was accepted by al-Haithmi as he says in al-Majma’ … authentications that are not valid for their [own] weakness.” (Silsala Da’ifa 1/381 under Narration 213)

Here Shaykh Albani rejected al-Haithmi’s authentication because he merely accepts the controversial authentication of Ibn Hibban. The same rule ought to be applied elsewhere too.

Similarly Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani discussing the well known compilations of Hadith and issues around them writes;

“To Ibn Hibban if a Majhool narrator’s teacher and student (means person from whom he is narrating and who is narrating from him) are well known and trustworthy then his Jahalah is not a problem, rather his narration is Sahih according to him. However, other scholars of Hadith reject the narration due to Jahalah of a narrator. This principle of Ibn Hibban even runs through his book “al-Thiqaat” as his definition of “Thiqa” is about the absence of negative criticism. Because of this he has counted many Majhool narrators among “thiqaat”. For this very reason generally scholars of Hadith do not authenticate a narrator merely because Ibn Hibban counted him among “thiqaat” except that his being other than Majhool is proved otherwise.” (Dars Tirmidhi 1/67)

With all this known and the fact that we only one person i.e. Ja’far bin Iyas narrating from Abdul Rahman bin Masud al-Yashkiri and with none but Ibn Hibban authenticating him and the trouble of Ibn Hibban in authenticating Majhool narrators, it’s evident that as per the opinion of the Jamhoor the narration stands rejected.

If one alludes to what Shaykh Albani surprisingly referred to under Sahiha 2895 that Ibn Hajr in his book Ta’jil said about Abdul Rahman bin Masud;

وعنه جعفر بن اياس وغيره.

“And from his (narrate) Ja’far bin Iyas and others.” (Ta’jil al-Munfi’a 1/258)

Here is the emphasis being on “others.” But firstly it is not known if others have actually narrated from him for there is no report on this. Even Shaykh Albani did not show any narration with someone other than Ja’far narrating from him. And Shaykh Arnaut claims none narrates from him except Ja’far. Moreover even if there is someone it does not help for Jahalah al-Hal is not removed even then because none other than Ibn HIbban authenticated him and as shown above his authentication is not valid in the cases like the one under consideration.


In Ta’jil al-Munfi’a or elsewhere Hafiz Ibn Hajr did not accept Abdul Rahman as trustworthy. Infact we do not find any mention of him in other works of Ibn Hajr. However we have another example where a narrator solely authenticated by Ibn HIbban was considered like “Majhool” by Ibn Hajr.

Ibn Tahzib al-Tahzib (No. 8921) Hafiz Ibn Hajr mentions Hukayma bint Umaymah and says Ibn Hibban mentioned her in al-Thiqaat but in Lisan al-Mizan (3/289) he says, “Not known!”

Status of al-Haithmi and Hussain Salim Asad’s acceptance:

Now we get the things clear;

1. Ibn Hibban is alone to authenticate Abdul Rahman bin Masud al-Yashkiri.

2. Jamhoor do not accept Ibn Hibban’s authentication if not supported by that of others (cf. quotes from Ibn Hajr, Albani and Taqi Usmani)

3. al-Haithmi used to accept Ibn Hibban’s authentication and that stands rejected (cf. Albani)

4. Shaykh Hussain Salim Asad merely mentioned the authentication by Ibn Hibban and (its acceptance by) al-Haithmi so in its own right it does not even count.

Reality of the supporting narrations (shawahid):

Apparently even Shaykh Albani recognized the problem and graded the narration as Hasan li-ghayrihi in his Sahih al-Targhib wal Tarhib (790).

Do the supporting narrations actually help this narration rise to the level of being authentic?

Shaykh Albani brought a supporting narration for this report from Mu’jam al-Saghir in discussion under Sahiha 360. He mentioned half of its chain there and recognized the problem with one narrator in it, namely, Dawud bin Suleman al-Khurasani but diluted it with a comment of al-Tabarani. However Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut has commented on it in detail in his research note to Ibn Hibban’s narration. He wrote;


“And it has another chain which does not help it. Al-Tabarani quoted it (Mu’jam) al-Saghir (564) and on his authority al-Khatib brought it in Tarikh al-Baghdad 12/63: Ali bin Muhammad al-Thaqafi narrated it (and he is Majhool), from Muawiya bin al-Hathim bin al-Rayyan al-Khurasani (and he is Majhool likewise), from Dawud bin Suleman al-Khurasani (al-Azdi said, “[He is] Extremely Da’if), from Abdullah bin Mubarak …. And signs of fabrication are evident on this report.”

Two narrators are Majhool and one is extremely Da’if. With this in consideration, what Shaykh Shu’aib Arnaut says makes absolute sense;

“[It] does not help.”

Moreover, mark that he even goes on to say, “And signs of fabrication are evident on this report.”

Can this make the actual narration under consideration rise to the rank of Hasan li-ghairhi? Far from it! I do not know if it is a general principle but under Da’ifa 176 (perhaps the earliest edition) Shaykh Albani made an interesting comment.

He graded a narration as Da’if from a narrator not authenticated by anyone and then quoted Ibn Hajr that the particular narrator is acceptable with some support. Shaykh Albani found a supporting narration but with an even weaker chain and then commented, “this ‘supportive’ account is actually increasing the weakness.” (See Silsala Da’ifa No. 176 Urdu edition vol.2 p.105 Translated by Maulana Sadiq Khalil pub. Zia al-Sunnah)

Note: Later Shaykh Albani reverted from the lapse he had in his research on that narration thus you do not find the discussion in latest edition of Silsala Da’ifa as the narration was removed from it. This however does not undermine the point made above.

To summarize, the above mentioned “shahid” cannot make the report Hasan li-Ghairihi for it requires a narration of equal or higher status to raise another to that level which certainly is not the case here.

 The Mauquf narration from Ibn Masud (RA):

It has another “Shahid” in the Mauquf narration from Abdullah bin Masud, may Allah be pleased with him. It is reported in Mu’jam al-Kabir (No. 9385) and Musannaf Abdul Razzaq (No. 3789) and from there it is quoted in Majma’ al-Zawaid (5/240) and Kanzul Ummal (No. 22504)

But it has problems of its own. In its chain (both with al-Tabarani and Abdul Razzaq) a certain narrator Mahdi is narrating from Ibn Masud (RA).

Al-Haithmi after quoting the narration says,

مهدى لم أعرفه

“Mahdi, I do not know him.”

Similarly Habibul Rahman ‘Azmi in his research on Musannaf Abdul Razzaq says;

كذا في الكنز أيضا ولم أهتد إليه

“It is so in al-Kanz (i.e. Kanzul Ummal) and I cannot find him.”

So it has problems of its own.

Now the question, if this being of equal status in chain can help the narration of Ibn Hibban? Not really because it is Mauquf and a Mauquf can help a Marfu’ narration if its meaning is unfathomable to come from a source other than the Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him. While such is certainly not the case here, the report of Ibn Hibban is not helped with this even.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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Ignaz Goldziher is indeed the most malignant and critical orientalist on Hadith and its sciences but even he had to accept the amount of efforts put in by Hadith scholars in collection of the treasured traditions.

He writes;

From one end of the Islamic world to the other, from al-Andalus to Central Asia, wandered diligent men gathering traditions in order to be able to pass them on to their audiences. This was the only possible way of obtaining in their authentic form traditions which were scattered in the most diverse provinces. The honorific al-rahhala or al-jawwal is hardly ever absent from the names of traditionalists of recognized importance. The title tawwaf al-aqalim, wanderer in all zones, is no mere hyperbole for these travellers, who included people who could say of themselves that they had traversed the East and West four times. These men do not travel in all these countries in order to see the world or to gain experience but only to see the preserves of traditions in all these places and to hear and profit by them, ‘like the bird who alights on no tree without picking at the leaves.’ It is said of these men that they are famed for the talab, i.e. for active search and investigation of hadiths (min al-mashhurin bi’l-talab fi’l-rihla).

See:  Ignaz Glodziher, Muslim Studies (Muhammedanische Studien) Translated by C.R. Barber and S.M. Stern vol.2, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London 1973 pp. 165-166

And Allah knows the best!

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Ever since I started studying the Ahadith, I came around some of the narrations that I could not fully comprehend but somehow intuitively felt that they have something great and deeper in them.

One such narration goes as;

حبب إلي من دنياكم : النساء و الطيب و جعلت قرة عيني في الصلاة

“Three things from your world have been made beloved to me; women, perfume and the coolness of my eyes is in the prayers.” (Jami’ al-Saghir, Hadith 5435. Classified as Sahih by Albani)

Just recently I feel like its true meanings and significance has opened up unto me. I am neither a Muhaddith, nor a jurist so my thoughts ought to be taken only as a student’s attempt to unveil, what he feels like, the symbolic significance of these great words.

1.       “Your world”:  The phrase infact provides a key to understand the true significance of the saying. By saying, ‘your world’ the prophet, may Allah bless him, reminds of the fact that he is not the one to have drowned in this world and speaks from the ‘other world’s’ perspective. That is to say, the words are most definitely speaking to us of the spiritual realm. As Iqbal, may Allah have mercy on him, beautifully put it as;

گفت با امت  ز دنیای شما
دوست دارم طاعت و طیب و نسا

گر ترا ذوق معانی رھنماست
نکتہ ئی پوشیدہ در حرف ’’شما‘‘ست
یعنی آن شمع شبستان وجود
بود در دنیا و از دنیا نبود

And so he spoke to his community,

“Of all this world of yours, I love alone

Obedient hearts, sweet perfumes, women chaste.”

If the perception of realities

Guideth thy steps, the subtlety confined

In that word ‘yours’ will not be hid from thee.

Indeed, that lantern of all beings’ night

Dwelt in the world, but was not of the world;

(Ramuz Be Khudi, Mysteries of the Selflessness, 13)

2.       “Women”: Coming to things made beloved, he first speaks of “women.” I think even the order in which he put the things is important. The fact that “women” come first relates to the fact that for every human, the subject of all the Islamic teachings and ideas, the way to this world is a woman. As a mother she is everything for us in this new strange world that we enter into. The Qur’an says;

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا

“We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth.” (Qur’an 46: 15)

It is the mother who, brings us up, shapes our mind and gives a direction even to our predilections. She shapes the destiny of men and therefore of the nations. Her role is a shadow of that of the Creator and of the prophets.  Iqbal, at another place, aptly makes the following observations;

آنکہ نازد بر وجودش کائنات
ذکر او فرمود با طیب و صلوة
مسلمی کو را پرستاری شمرد
بہرہ ئی از حکمت قرآن نبرد
نیک اگر بینی امومت رحمت است
زانکہ او را با نبوت نسبت است
شفقت او شفقت پیغمبر است
سیرت اقوام را صورتگر است
از امومت پختہ تر تعمیر ما
در خط سیمای او تقدیر ما

And he in whom all beings make their boast

Declared he loved three things – sweet

perfume, prayer,

And womankind. What Muslim reckons her

A servant, nothing more, no part has won

Of the Book’s wisdom. If thou lookest well,

Motherhood is a mercy, being linked

By close affinity to prophethood,

And her compassion is the prophet’s own.

For mothers shape the way that men shall go

Maturer, by the grace of Motherhood,

The character of nations is, the lines

That score that brow determine our estate.


And he continues;

ملت ار گیرد ز آغوشش بدست
یک مسلمان غیور و حق پرست
ہستی ما محکم از آلام اوست
صبح ما عالم فروز از شام اوست

If from her bosom the community

Receive one Muslim zealous for the Faith,

God’s faithful servant, all the pains she bore

Have fortified our being, and our dawn

Glows radiant in the lustre of her dusk.

(Ramuz Be Khudi, Mysteries of the Selflessness, 24)

Especially from man’s perspective even in other roles of her, woman is ones greatest companion seeking the best of the ‘other, more real, world.’

The relationship of marriage, as Islamic takes it, is the beautiful relation making one fortified against the evils prevalent around and helps him concentrate on what truly is required without even putting himself under extra burden of killing his instincts. A consideration of Islamic marriage will make this further clear. Relate it to the fact that in the Khutbah of Nikah, sermon at the time of marital contract, the verses recited are neither about the man and woman being companions, not those directly related to marriage but all of them read, “Fear Allah.”

It also asks from men, the respect and purest love the tender gender deserves. Please note, Imam Nasai who narrated it in his Sunan put it in the book, “Kindness to women” and the chapter, “Love for women.”

As a daughter, she is a not just a responsibility but a ‘ticket to paradise.’

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: “Whoever had three daughters and showed patience in their keeping, their pleasure and displeasure, Allah admits him to Paradise for his mercy over them. A man asked, `And what about two daughters, O Messenger of Allah? He said, `And two daughters as well.” Another asked, `O Messenger of Allah, what about one daughter?” He said, `And one daughter as well”. (Mustadrak al-Hakim, Hadith 7346 Hakim graded it Sahih, al-Dhahbi agreed with him)

As a matter of fact, similar term cannot be used for a son for there is no direct Hadith about it though every child can be a cause of deliverance for his parents.

Perfume”: It seems to me the most difficult thing to explain in this context. But did you ever consider the importance it finds in Qur’an and Sunnah? It is mentioned among the blessings of Jannah. It was a continuous Sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him, to apply it even though his sweat was a scent for itself. One Hadith says, The Prophet used not to reject the gifts of perfume.’ (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 2394)

Perhaps the Prophet, may Allah bless him, never returned any gift but still we find a special mention of perfumes. This evidently relates to one’s sense of purification and may be, even the taste among perfumes. The more sober and nice a person is, the better is his choice among perfumes. If we reflect in this context we get to know why the perfume is mention here. Another interesting fact one might observe; every exclusively Islamic bookstore will have some great perfumes. Perfumes and taste for them shows ones desire to look purer and cleaner, hence their importance in Islam.

Prayers”: The prayers is said to be the coolness of Prophet’s eyes, may Allah bless him. Therefore it ought to be the cause of extreme bliss for every true follower of him too. Instead of dwelling on the importance of prayers here which is established in Islam, I would like it to take it as an anchor and a footing to look at other things mentioned along with it. It attaches to them the extreme sense of purity more than just a way to seek pleasure or just fun. Just as the words ‘your world’ in beginning attaches the necessary spiritual connotation to the whole saying, in the end the mention of prayers emphasizes the innocence and beauty of the words.

Even an orientalist, John Bagot Glubb noted this pure link. He writes; “The connection of his love of women with prayer seems to prove that it never occurred to him that his fondness for female company could be anything but innocent.” (The Life and Times of Muhammad, Stein And Day, New York, 1971 p.238)

With all this I beg for Allah’s mercy if I made some mistake herein and will like to emphasize once more that it was not an attempt at making a commentary to hadith but just some thoughts of what seemed to me the significance of the profound words of the Greatest of all Mankind, may Allah bless him.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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We find this narration on some forums;

On the authority of Zaid bin Aslam Al-Adawi (RA) from his father (RA), the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Jihad will always feel sweet and beautiful as long as rain still falls from the sky. Yet there will come upon mankind an era, when at that time, the people who understand the Qur’an (scholars) from amongst them say, ‘This era is not the time of jihad.’ Whoever encounters those days, then let him know that those are the best times for Jihad.” The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah (SAWS), will anyone really say that?” He (SAWS) replied: “Yes, he upon whom is the curse of Allah, His Angels and all of mankind.” [Ibn Asakir transmitted it. (Mashari- ul-Ashwaq by Ibn Nuhaas, Vol. 1, P. 110)]

Its status:

With the particular wording quoted and with complete chain it is found in Sunan Al-Waridah fil Fitan by Al-Dani Hadith 373 (Makteb Al-Shamela ed.)

Wording as found in Al-Dani’s book;

لا يزال الجهاد حلوا أخضر ما قطر القطر من السماء ، وسيأتي على الناس زمان يقول فيه قراء منهم : ليس هذا زمان جهاد ، فمن أدرك ذلك الزمان فنعم زمان الجهاد » قالوا : يا رسول الله ، واحد يقول ذلك ؟ فقال : « نعم ، من عليه لعنة الله والملائكة والناس أجمعين

In its edition with research published by Darul Aasimah p. 751 Hadith 371 the researcher Dr. Razaullah b. Muhammad b. Idris Mubarakpuri  writes, “This is Mursal and in it (means its chain) is Abdul Rahman bin Zaid bin Aslam and he is Da’if.”

In Ibn Asaakir’s Tarikh Damishq (43/347) it is different except the initial words and is narrated with a different chain from Anas (RA).

As found in Ibn Asaakir’s Tarikh Damishq;

لا يزال الجهاد حلوا خضرا ما امطرت السماء وأنبتت الأرض وسينشو نشو  من قبل المشرق يقولون لا جهاد ولا رباط أولئك هم وقود النار بل رباط يوم في سبيل الله خير من عتق ألف رقبة ومن صدقة أهل الأرض جميعا

Hafiz Suyuti quotes the same in Jami’ Al-Kabir Hadith 1818 and says;

ابن عساكر وضعفه عن أنس

‘Ibn Asaakir [narrated it] and its weak from Anas.’

Same is written in Kanzul Ummal Hadith 10742.

Perhaps the above detail is the reason narration is not found in Tahdhib of the Imam Ibn Nuhas’ book Mashari- ul-Ashwaq ilaa Masaari’-ul-Ushaaq by Dr. Salaah Abdul Fattah Al-Khalidi

Note: Its only about status of a narration. There are countless narrations about the greatness of Jihad and in condemnation of those who refrain from it.

And Indeed Allah knows the best!

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