hadith ID   by Sh. G. F. Haddad

(1) "Keeper of my Sunna a Shaheed" hadith

Could you provide some information regarding the authenticity of the following hadith: "The keeper of my Sunna at the time my Community has lapsed into corruption will receive the reward of a hundred martyrs." narrated by al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib and al-Hakim. Can ist be used, or is it too weak? A "salafi"-brother told me that it cant be used since it's very very weak and therefore unacceptable.

As a rule, all that is in Hafiz al-Mundhiri's _al-Targhib wal-Tarhib_ can be used except what is demonstrably established to be a forgery. This is because the Ulema generally agree on the reliability of that book and its huge blessings. It was very beloved to the late Hafiz and Shaykh al-Islam of Syria Sayyid ʿAbd Allah Siraj al-Din as shown by his books and as often stated by his son-in-law in his classes, Dr. Nur al-Din ʿItr.

More than that, the rule stated by Imam al-Nawawi in _al-Irshad_ and elsewhere is that any hadith can be used in morals as long as it is not forged. He did not say "as long as it is not very weak." This rule, in practice, is followed by the totality of the Ulema including Ibn Hajar and al-Sakhawi, even those who, like Ibn Hajar, did stipulate "as long as it is not very weak". So, in morals, there are practically only two gradings: "inapplicable" (when it is forged) and "applicable" (in all other cases). For more on this see my article on the use of weak hadiths in Islam, in vol. I of _Sunna Notes_.
[or see here: Validity Of Weak Hadith; G. F. Haddad]

Now, regarding this particular hadith (which is narrated by Ibn ʿAdi in al-Kamil, Abu al-Qasim Ibn Bishran in his _Amali_, al-Bayhaqi in _al-Zuhd_ and cited by Abu Nuʿaym in the _Hilya_, al-Suyuti in _Miftah al-Janna_, and al-Qasimi in _Qawaʿid al-Tahdith_) the ruling that it is "very weak" needs verification.

This ruling was given by Nasir al-Albani in his _Silsila Daʿifa_ and he stated there that the reason for this is that "its chain contains al-Hasan ibn Qutayba al-Mada'ini, al-Dhahabi said 'he is ruined', al-Daraqutni said, 'his hadith is discarded,' Abu Hatim said, 'weak,' al-Azdi said, 'his hadith is flimsy,' and al-ʿUqayli said, 'he errs a lot.'"

However, al-Albani failed to mention that Ibn Hibban included al-Hasan ibn Qutayba among the trustworthy narrators while Ibn ʿAdi said: "I hope there is no harm in him." Also, al-Daraqutni's _Sunan_ and _ʿIlal_ only mention that he said "weak" of al-Hasan ibn Qutayba, not "discarded."

This is why it would probably be more correct to grade him merely "weak" as did Dr. Khaldun al-Ahdab in his _Zawa'id Tarikh Baghdad_ (5:332), as this is the rank the scholars agreed upon, while al-Dhahabi alone went further, and he is known for his severity although the others also (including Ibn Hibban) are counted among the mutashaddidin.

The more received version (in al-Tabarani with a stronger chain) mentions only "one shaheed". However, what matters, once again, is that neither version was ever deemed a forgery.

What makes the discussion even more moot is the sound hadith of the _Sunan_ that those of the Community, at the end of time, who would hold fastidiously to the Sunna of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, would each be given the reward of fifty of his Companions.

May Allah Most High multiply our good deeds rather than our talk.

GF Haddad
[SP 2007-07-24]

(2) Hadith on Surat al-Waqiʿa against poverty

Wa alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah:

Is the hadith that says that whoever reads sura al-waqia every night will never become poor a sound hadith? I found a web site that says the hadith is weak... . Is the hadith sound? and if it is, then why am I homeless? I've been reading it every night for a while now

There are two issues here. One is the status of the hadith, the other is good manners with Allah Most High in duʿa.

Regarding the hadith that whoever reads Surat al-Waqiʿa every night will never be poor, it is a weak hadith, however, weak hadiths are applicable in issues of morals and excellence such as this.

This hadith is narrated:

[1] from Ibn Masʿud by Ibn al-Sunni in ʿAmal al-Yawm wal-Layla (§685) with a weak broken chain as per Ibn ʿAllan in the Futuhat al-Rabbaniyya (3:280); ditto Abu ʿUbayd in Fada'il al-Qur'an (p. 138) and Ibn Wahb in his Jamiʿ; ʿAbd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Fada'il al-Sahaba (2:726 §1247); al-Baghawi in his Tafsir (Mahdi ed. 5:25); al-Harith ibn Abi Usama in his Musnad as per al-Haythami in Zawa'id Bughyat al-Bahith (p. 226 §720); al-Daraqutni in al-Mu'talif wal-Mukhtalif (§1476), al-Bayhaqi in Shuʿab al-Iman (2:491 §2498-2499), and Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr in al-Tamhid (5:269) among others.

[2] From Ibn ʿAbbas by al-Daylami with a chain containing a liar, Ahmad ibn ʿUmar al-Yamami;

[3] and from Anas by Abu al-Shaykh with a chain containing ʿAbd al-Quddus ibn Habib who is discarded, both of them cf. Ahmad al-Ghumari.

Ibn al-Jawzi in the ʿIlal (1:112 §151) and Ibn Hajar in the Kashshaf (4:471) said Imam Ahmad considers it munkar while al-Ghumari includes it among the forgeries of the Jamiʿ al-Saghir in his Mughir (p. 97), an improbative conclusion in light of Ibn Hajar's lengthy elucidation of its chain in Lisan al-Mizan (7:60-61 §583) and al-Nawawi's inclusion of the report in his Adhkar and other books such as the Tibyan and Tahdhib, and al-Mundhiri's inclusion of it in the Targhib. Allah knows best.

As for the second question, "Is the hadith sound? and if it is, then why am I homeless? I've been reading it every night for a while now," this question presumes that, because Allah Most High is prompt to help His servants, then he must be at everyone's beck and call. Rather, one must continue supplicating Him and at the same time amend one's life in every way possible and not lose patience. The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, said: "Do not show enmity in your supplications." They asked: "What is enmity in supplication?" He replied: "When one of you says: 'I supplicated, so why isn't Allah responding to me?" and he said in another hadith: "Insist; Allah loves those who insist (al-mulihheen)."

GF Haddad
[SP 2007-07-24]

(3) Mistranslation of a hadith in Sahih Muslim

"If a man's actions slow him down, his good name will not speed him up." http://drjash.wordpress.com/

This is a mistranslation, where "lineage, bloodline" (nasab) has been bowdlerized to "good name" i.e. fame, reputation, character.

What is more, several hadiths expressly state that a person's good name does help him [1] to avert harsh punishment in case of a crime (aqeelu ʿatharaati dhawi al-hay'aat) [2] in the grave (antum shuhada' Allahi fil-ard). This is because, essentially, repute stems from deeds.

The correct rendering is: "If a person's actions slow them down, their lineage will not speed them up."



(4) Thief Death Sentence and Other Hadiths

Confusion regarding some ahaadith

... c/f the status and context of following quoted ahaadith which many websites have been using to slender Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam).

Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitaab Al-Hudud: Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: A thief was brought to the Prophet (peace be upon_him). He said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his hand. So his (right) hand was cut off. He was brought a second time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! Then he said: Cut off his foot. So his (left) foot was cut off. He was brought a third time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! So he said: Cut off his hand. (So his (left) hand was cut off.) He was brought a fourth time and he said: Kill him. The people said: He has committed theft, Apostle of Allah! So he said: Cut off his foot. So his (right) foot was cut off. He was brought a fifth time and he said: Kill him. So we took him away and killed him. We then dragged him and cast him into a well and threw stones over him.

From this hadith, may Allah forgive me, it seems that Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) was passing judgment before actually hearing the case.

It is required to refer to the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, by one of his titles, not by naming him by name as if he were just one of us.

Both the translation and the above assessment are faulty. The assessment that he had not heard the case is untrue, since the text says "A *thief* was brought." But the above translation left out the restrictive (adat hasr) "innama" and should read: "He has *only* committed theft."

Before discussing the meaning it should be mentioned that al-Nasa'i also narrated this hadith in his Sunan (8:90) but stated it was "disclaimed" (munkar) while Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr considers it "baseless" (la asla lahu), as stated by Ibn Hajar in Talkhis al-Habir (4:68). Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan (8:273) narrates a version wherein the first four times the thief was convicted, he was pardoned, and his hand was cut off on the fifth time, followed by the rest of his limbs and then his life after each subsequent conviction but certainly without peremptory death sentence.

Assuming the veracity of the peremptory death sentence pronounced by the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, there are at least two possible explanations:

1. The Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, foresaw that the man was an incorrigible career criminal who was going to be put to death eventually. This is a case of "ruling on the basis of the unseen" (al-hukmu bil-batin) which was impermissible to all the previous Prophets except al-Khidr as mentioned in the Blessed Qur'an (Surat al-Kahf), whereas the Holy Prophet Muhammad, upon him and them blessings and peace, was given Divine permission to rule both on the basis of the evidence and the unseen, in the vast majority of the cases ruling on the basis of the first, sometimes both, and very rarely the latter. This was mentioned by al-Suyuti who discusses this and other germane hadiths in his books al-Bahir and al-Khasa'is al-Kubra. This explanation is confirmed, among others, by al-Bayhaqi's narration in which Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Allah be well-pleased with him, says when the recidivist is finally put to death: "The Messenger of Allah knew better than us."

2. The Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, may have applied the Mosaic ruling of death for kidnapping and selling a person into slavery cited in many places in the Torah. The man was an Ansari so it is possible that the context of his offences was connected to Israelite society.

Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitaab Al-Hudud: Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace be upon him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace be upon him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed about it. He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up. He sat before the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.

I know the punishment of slandering Apostle of Allah is death but could anybody do this on his own or is it State's/Caliph's responsibility? Like you can't implement Hudood Allah on your own but it's State's/Caliph's responsibility. Furthermore, how the killing of unborn child is justified in this case?

It is definitely the State's responsibility, but the status of the sacrosanctity of the life of the insulter has been cancelled regardless whether the State enforces its responsibility or individuals take matters into their hands, so that in the latter case there is no provision for legal punishment.

As for the killing of the unborn fetus the hadith is far from clear that it was justified since it only mentions the blood of the woman as incurring no compensation. Hence, we must assume that the man had to pay the blood-money for the fetus, which apparently was over 4 months old.

I know Jews of Banu Qurayzah were guilty of treason, treachery and they even broke the covenant but I can't quite understand the examination of pubes and killing on this basis. Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitaab Al-Hudud: Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi: I was among the captives of Banu Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair.

Men were to be killed and boys were to be spared, pubes being the marker between boyhood and manhood.

How can we resolve the conflict in following two reports? Sahih Bukhari, Kitaab al-Jihaad: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle sent us in a mission (i.e. an army-unit) and said, "If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire." When we intended to depart, Allah's Apostle said, "I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them." Sahih Bukhari, Kitaab al-Jihaad:

Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'"

There is no conflict between the two reports, rather, a confirmation in the second report that the ruling of execution by fire had become abrogated, news of which did not necessarily reach all of the Companions, and Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

(5) Hadith "Our Lord was in a heavy cloud"

... reading your translation of the excerpts of the book "Allah's Names and Attributes" by Imam Bayhaqi(RA) and i came across this part:

"If the original text has 'ama' it means a kind of mist or thin cloud. By the words "in a mist" he means "over the cloud, disposing of it at will and self-exalted over it, just as He said :(Have you taken security from Him Who is in the Heaven)(67:16) meaning Him Who is above the heaven and (I shall crucify you "in" (fi) the trunks of palm-trees)(20:71) meaning on their trunks. His saying "above which there was air" means "there was air above the cloud"; likewise "below which there was air" means "there was air under the cloud"."

I find this "over" or "above" to imply literally in this quote and i'm rather perplexed and was told by one student of knowledge that this quote was quoted by Imam Bayhaqi from a mujassim(i.e. a friend of Imam Ibn Khuzayma) and Imam Zahid al-Kawthari denied this quote as being correct.

Can you please shed light on that quote from the book as if its allowed to say above, isn't it the same as what the wahabis say also?

You're referring to the the hadith of Abu Razeen al-ʿUqayli. The latter narrated that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, disliked to be asked [too many] questions, but "when he, Abu Razeen, asked him a question it pleased him." He said:

I said: "Messenger of Allah, where was our Lord before He created the heavens and the earth?" He replied: "He was in a heavy cloud (kana fi ʿamaa') above which there was air (maa fawqahu hawaa') and below which there was air (wa-maa tahtahu hawaa'). Then He created the Throne upon the water." (This is in the Sunan and Musnad as well).

First of all, as a rule, prepositions cannot be used literally to imply place or direction for Allah Most High:

1. Ibn al-ʿArabi in ʿAridat al-Ahwadhi states that the word "where" in Abu Razeen's question refers to rank, not place (al-makaana dun al-makaan), as cited by al-Kawthari in al-Asma' wal-Sifat (p. 376 n. 2).

2. Imam al-Suyuti said in Misbah al-Zujaja: "The qadi Nasir al-Din ibn al-Munayyar said: 'The problem of this hadith resides in circumstantiality (al-zarfiyya), aboveness (al-fawqiyya), and belowness (al-tahtiyya). The answer is that 'in' (fi) means 'over' (ʿala), and 'over' means 'establishing dominion' (istila'). That is: He was in control over (mustawli ʿala) this cloud out of which He created all created things... above and under which there was air. It was also narrated with the wording: ʿima in shortened form, which means the non-existence (ʿadam) of everything other than Him, as if he were saying: 'He was and nothing existed together with Him, rather, everything was non-existent, a blind void, neither existent nor seen.' The 'air' is also the vacuum of non-existence (al-faragh al-ʿadam), as if he were saying: 'He was and there was nothing with Him, no above, and no below.'"

Secondly, al-Tirmidhi relates that Yazid ibn Harun, one of the narrators from the great early Imams, said, "The mist means there was nothing with Him." So here the Salaf and the Khalaf both agree on this interpretation, which is far from what the Wahhabis promote.

The rest of translation of al-Bayhaqi's text confirms the preceding explanation. Al-Bayhaqi went on to say:

It was also said that the actual word is ʿimaa - blind void - which means "nothing determined" (la shay'un thaabit), as it is part of what creatures are blind to, because it is other-than-something, just as he said (upon him blessings and peace) in the hadith of ʿImran ibn Husayn [in the Sahihayn]. Then he said: "Neither was there air above it, nor below it (maa fawqahu wa-la tahtahu hawaa')." [This is the wording cited by Ibn al-Jawzi in Dafʿ Shubah al-Tashbih (1998 al-Kawthari repr. p. 48).]

That is, there was not, above the blind void which is nothing existent, any air, nor was there below it any air. For if this is other-than-something, then it cannot possibly be attributed air in any way whatsoever, and Allah knows best. Abu ʿUbayd [al-Qasim ibn Sallam] al-Harawi, the author of the two _Gharibs_ said: "Some of the people of knowledge said that it means 'Where was the Throne of our Lord?' phrased elliptically by way of abridgment, as in His saying: {and ask the township} (12:82) to mean the people of the township.(*) This is indicated by his saying: 'His Throne stood upon the water.'"

(*) This is not found in the published edition of Ibn Sallam's Gharib al-Hadith (1:213) which only has: "We only interpreted this hadith according to the words of the Arabs, which are based on reason. However, we do not know how that mist was nor its extent, and Allah knows best." The latter sentence is quoted by Ibn al-Athir in al-Nihaya. The gloss of "our Lord" as "the Throne of our Lord" is the explanation favored by Ibn al-Athir in al-Nihaya and the Muʿtazili al-Zamakhshari in his book al-Fa'iq fi Gharib al-Hadith (2:186). Ibn al-Athir also quotes al-Azhari's saying: "We believe in the hadith without qualifying it with any description."

Ibn al-ʿArabi in his commentary on the hadith in ʿAridat al-Ahwadhi also states that by the Throne all of creation is meant, similar to al-Baydawi's tafsir of the Kursi.

Thirdly, the report was considered inauthentic by Ibn Qutayba and the contemporaries (Kawthari, Arna'ut, Albani, Hashidi) consider it weak. However, since al-Tirmidhi declared it hasan in his Sunan, and his opinion is preferable, and since Ibn Hibban included it in his Sahih, then it would be quite enough to say the language is figurative and not literal.

Finally, it is incorrect to question the transmission of this report through Imam al-Bayhaqi (beyond stating that some contemporaries weakened its chain) and it is also incorrect to suggest that Imam al-Kawthari rejected it wholesale.

Al-Kawthari actually read the passage to mean "above which there was no air (maa fawqahu hawaa') and below which there was no air (wa-maa tahtahu hawaa')," commenting: "This is an explicit proof-text that what is meant by the cloud (al-sahaab) is not the known cloud which has air above and below it, but a symbolic cloud (al-sahab al-maʿnawi) and the veil which screens [Him] from cognition, as Ibn al-ʿArabi [al-Maliki in his commentary on al-Tirmidhi entitled ʿAridat al-Ahwadhi] said." Al-Asma' wal-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 377 n. 1).

This divergent reading shows that some read "maa" as a pronoun and others as a negative particle. Al-Bayhaqi addresses both explanations as possible readings, depending on the meaning not of "maa" but of ʿamaa'/ʿimaa.

Allah Most High knows best.

GF Haddad

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