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Science or Hadith?: A Critical Discussion of Contradictory Hadiths

Understanding and Reconciling Conflicts Between Hadith and Science

Shaykh Farid Dingle discusses how hadiths that may contradict modern science are understood and resolved. The example used is the hadith whereby the gender of a child is determined by whoever reaches climax first.

Summary

Everything the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said was true. That said, not everything that is narrated from him is completely accurate, and not every interpretation of the language used is completely accurate.

If we find a hadith that is at odds with known and established science, we must first ascertain whether the hadith is authentic (sahih) or not; next, we must look at the various interpretive possibilities, taking a particularly hard look at the various wordings of the hadith.

If after this there is still really no way to marry the hadith with known and established science, then we can safely say that the hadith is a mistake, and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never said it. It is doubtful that such a hadith actually exists.

 

Science vs. Scientism

In an age of great and well-appreciated scientific and technological advancement, it is very easy to put science on a pedestal and give it absolute credence. This emotional and philosophic leap pulls us away from healthy scientific study to trying to solve problems that science simply cannot solve. This is scientism.

To reject everything in religious literature that cannot be proved empirically leads very decidedly to disbelief. There is, of course, no empirical evidence of Paradise, Hell, miracles, or of the scientific possibility of corporeal resurrection. Indeed, Muslim scholars will even define miracles as unscientific (khariq lil ada).

How then has the Islamic tradition dealt with the alleged conflict between science and religion?

 

Fact, Strong Evidence, and Stories

The scholars of Islam very carefully organized Islamic epistemology: the way we know how we can know things, and how we distinguish between knowledge (ilm) and mere confidence (dhann).

When dealing with science, we are told that the five senses can be used to ascertain objective knowledge of scientific facts. We can observe fire burning and state objectively that the fire just burnt something. Our inferences from that, however, may not be objective.

For example, we cannot infer that fire will necessarily burn again. This is where Islamic epistemology would differ from scientism, and thus allow room for miracles.

The inferences and judgments based on empirical fact may then be categorical or probabilistic.

The former would give us further objective knowledge of the world around us (e.g. the process of combustion, and reduced energy levels), while the latter would give us mere confidence about the world around us (e.g. carbon dating, prescribing certain medicines, and other such processes that are based on various reasonable assumptions).

Thus when Muslim scholars refer to scientific fact, they are much more conservative than some of us might be today, and a lot of what we deem scientific fact is most likely probabilistic. Now that doesn’t mean it is irrelevant, it just means it is not fact.

A similar dissection of fact and fiction is made for historical information (akhbar). This is particularly important to Muslim scholars because the final revelation was over a millennium ago so critiquing the historic recording of this revelation was and is of utmost importance.

 

Mass Narration 

Factual information based on the five senses (i.e. not opinions) can either be reported to us through mass narration (khabar mutawatir) or by a limited number of individuals (khabar ahad).

The first is the fact that Muhammad ibn Abdullah existed over 1,400 years ago in Saudi Arabia, claimed prophethood and established a faith, that he told people to pray five times a day, that he recited a book called the Qur’an, and that, for example, the book began with a chapter called al Fatiha, and ended with a chapter called al Nas.

Such information, given that its sources are so varied and independent, cannot possibly be false and gives us objective knowledge (ilm).

Whether or not he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was actually a Prophet cannot be claimed to be proven by mass narration (khabar mutawatir), because it is an inference and not sensory data per se. Its proof is a logical one.

 

Reports Through Hadith

The second is factual information (not opinions and judgments) that reaches us through limited sources, for example, most hadiths.

Such reports give us great confidence and not a certainty.

Now, this great confidence is contingent upon a number of factors, primarily the reliability of the sources, and the subsequent chain of sources (sanad) that conveys the quote or event to us. Hence the science of hadith criticism.

When a hadith passes the test of hadith criticism and is deemed “authentic” (sahih), we have great confidence that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did indeed say these words or did this deed, and we have very little reason to doubt it.

That said, it is not fair or true to say that we know as an objective fact that he said or did whatever has been reported from him. Only a mass narrated report can do that.

For example, the hadith ‘Actions are only by intentions.’ has been narrated with a sound chain of transmission and is therefore “authentic” (sahih). We can say that we believe with great confidence that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did indeed say these words, but can’t say that we know that he said these words.

By contrast, the hadith, ‘Whosoever intentionally lies about me should take his seat in the Hell-Fire.’ has reached us from many, many independent sources, and is as such mass (mutawatir) [al Azhar al Mutanathira, Suyuti]. We can say that we know objectively that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) did indeed say these words.

With an authentic (sahih) hadith, we may reject the report based on stronger information. With a mass narrated hadith, there is no question of rejecting the report because it is a fact. The only room for investigation is what the hadith means, and what may be extrapolated from it.

The Case of Contagion

There is a hadith in Sahih al Bukhari that says that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that there was no such thing as a contagion, that is to say, that diseases are never contagious and do not spread from one carrier to another. This is clearly at odds with well-known and established science.

What is interesting about this hadith is that the Prophetic Companions themselves noticed this apparent conflict between science and religion. When they objected to what seemed blatantly wrong, Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, ‘Well who made the first one sick?’ (Bukhari)

What this means is that the initially apparent meaning that we all assumed when we first heard the hadith was not what was actually intended. There is no real conflict between science and religion in this hadith. Rather, what was being said was that Allah is the ultimate cause of every effect we see, and so subsequent effects (contagion) are also caused by Allah, and not by the sick person or animal.

The methodological lesson we take from this is that when we read a hadith that seems to go against science, we have to be willing to investigate other possible interpretations of the words we are reading. This is why the scholars of legal theory (usul al fiqh) spend so much time on hermeneutics (mabahith al alfadh).

Critiquing Hadith Based on History

Sometimes we find hadiths that do not make historical sense. In Sahih al Bukhari there is a hadith that quotes the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, ‘Indeed the righteous slave (mamluk) has two rewards. And I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, were it not for fighting in Allah’s way, performing Hajj, and serving my mother, I would love to die as a slave (mamluk).’

Now when we read this hadith at face value, we understand that there is a two-fold reward for someone who is owned by someone else and is righteous and that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would have loved to die in bondage were it not that being a slave would prevent him from fighting in Jihad and from having the time to serve his mother.

But despite the beauty and truth of the message, there is a historical anachronism. We all know very well that his mother passed away when he was very young, so this hadith doesn’t make historical sense.

Commentating on this, Imam al Suyuti said, ‘The words ‘And I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul …’ are obviously the words of [the sub-narrator] Abu Hurayra because it is inconceivable that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) could wish to die in bondage…because his mother wasn’t even alive.’ (Tadrib al Rawi, Suyuti)

So this tells us that the great confidence we have in the content of a sound hadith could be called into question when it conflicts with something that we know as an historical fact.

(Critiquing it based on a mere alternative historical possibility is another kettle of fish. Please see: Re: Hadith – Content: Answers)

This not an issue of religion vs history, rather of weighing up two historical accounts against each other in view of their respective strength.

Critiquing Hadith Based on Archeology

Because a merely authentic hadith (sahih) that is not mass narrated (mutawatir) only gives us great confidence (dhann), and not objective knowledge (ilm), it is also valid to critique a hadith based on factual archeological evidence.

One example of this can be seen by the way that Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, 15th-century traditional hadith scholar, critiqued a hadith referring to Prophet Adam’s gigantic form.

In Sahih al Bukhari there is a hadith that quotes the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, ‘When Adam was created he was sixty cubits tall… and people (khalq) have continued to shrink until now.’

After confirming the meaning of the hadith, and that words of the hadith did indeed indicate that Prophet Adam (upon whom be peace) was about 90 ft tall, Ibn Hajar adds the following:

‘What is problematic here is what is observable today of the archeological remains of previous nations, such as those of Thamud, since the size of their houses does not give the impression that they were exceptionally tall, as this would imply.

Furthermore, it is obvious that they lived a long, long time ago, and the time between them and Adam was less than the time between them and those at the beginning of this nation. To date, I have not been able to explain this problem.’ (Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar al Asqalani)

So Ibn Hajar is basically saying that archeology of 500 hundred years ago does not seem to add up with a giant human race that is proposed by the hadith. And at the same time, he is not willing to completely write off the hadith as a fabrication.

We learn from this that there is room to critique an authentic (sahih) hadith if there is evidence that is stronger than it. Whether we agree with Ibn Hajar’s conclusion, or whether his use of archeology was valid, is irrelevant.

The point is that in our Islamic heritage, we have the openness and the philosophical apparatus to tackle such problems, and we do not have to throw the baby out with the bathwater as most post-Darwinian Western thinkers did with the Bible.

 

The Gender of the Child Hadith

Let us now turn to the hadith in question, armed as we are now with a methodology with which we can meaningfully tackle the problem.

To my knowledge, there are three separate hadiths on this issue.

The first is in Sahih al Bukhari and mentions that a convert from Judaism asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) about three issues to verify whether or not he was a true prophet. In it mentions that ‘as for which parent the child will resemble, when a man sleeps with a woman and his water/sperm comes before her[s], then the [child] will resemble him, and if her water/sexual fluid comes first, then the [child] will resemble her.’

Another version of the same hadith in Tabarani mentions ‘overcoming (ghalaba)’ in place of ‘coming first [sabaqa].

The second hadith is in Musnad al-Bazzar and is related by Ibn Abbas and states, ‘The resemblance goes to whichever of them overcomes (ghalaba) the other. If they join (ijtama’a), [the resemblance] will be from both.

The third hadith is in Sahih Muslim and mentions that Umm Sulaim asked about women having wet dreams and it mentions the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, ‘Men’s water/semen is thick and white, and women’s water/sexual fluid is thin and pale/yellow/black. Whichever of them comes over, or precedes the other, that will determine the resemblance.’

 

An Analysis of the Hadith

So we now need to critique these hadiths in the way explained above.

First, we need to ask whether hadiths are mass transmitted (mutawatir), or merely authentic (sahih); then we need to look at the scientific facts that they seem to be at odds with, and see if they are actual facts, or merely likelihoods.

To answer the first question, we see that the hadiths are narrated in Bukhari and Muslim and are therefore authentic, but are definitely not mass narrated. This means that we are very confident that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said these words, but we are not 100% certain.

Regarding the science, I think we can say quite categorically that we know that female sexual fluid/ejaculate has nothing to do with the resultant gene makeup of the child, and women’s sexual fluid/ejaculate is definitely not black. It may, however, be yellow.

Now looking at the words used, the real conflict here is the issue of which of the two reaches climax. When looking at the different wordings of the hadiths (‘overcoming’ and ‘preceding’),

I think it not far-fetched at all that the narrations reflect the general meaning of dominance, and it wouldn’t be wrong to argue that ‘overcome’ was the actual wording while ‘preceding’ was just a paraphrasing by on of the sub-narrators.

The question then remains of the water. What is most apparent when reading the hadith is that water means semen or sexual excretion. That said, although far-fetched in itself, I don’t think it impossible that it has more than a general sense of any sexual contribution to the fertilization process.

 

Outcome of Analysis

So now we can come to one of a number of conclusions:

The first possibility is that we have simply misread the hadith, and there is no conflict whatsoever. This assumes that ‘water’ doesn’t mean semen or sexual excretion, is not impossible, but arguably far-fetched.

The second is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) never said these words to begin and was just misquoted. This assumes the narrators, who were all very accurate and bonafide hadith scholars, made a mistake. This is also not impossible, but also far-fetched.

The third is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said these words, to begin with, and was correctly interpreted and he himself made a mistake.

This would mean that he was not a Prophet. This is an invalid conclusion because we are saying that he definitely said something that is definitely false, and as we have already said we do not know that he definitely said these words because they are not mass narrated (mutawatir).

What remains is to weigh up which of the first two possibilities is most likely, which can be handled by senior scholars.

Conclusion

Any non-mass transmitted hadith (sahih) can be called into question when it contradicts other authentic hadiths, verses of the Qur’an, or clear and unquestionable historical and scientific facts. The scholars of Islam have always recognized that and built a solid methodology with which to critique hadiths.

The hadiths in question elicit things that are not completely irreconcilable with well-known and established science and are not mass-narrated, to begin with.

The issue at hand then is the proper criticism and understanding of the hadiths, and there is absolutely no reason to question one’s faith when reading hadiths of this nature.

 

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

 

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Heart Melting Traditions: The Temptations of This World

Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Part Two: The Temptations of This World

This is the second article based on the series, The Heart Softeners from ‘Kitab al-Riqaq from the Mishkat al Masabih, presented by  Shaykh Abdullah Misra. In the previous article, we learned about the reality of this world and touched on the two blessings of health and free time. After learning about the insignificance of this world in the eyes of Allah Most High we begin to learn about the temptations and trappings of this world so that we can put them into perspective in our own lives. We are reminded that this world is “the arena of our deeds.” And that “this is the one place that we have to do these deeds.”

We are taking a step further on the slow journey to soften our hearts. A type of treatment of the heart where we realize our true blessings and resources in this life and our treatment of them. With that in mind, we begin exploring desires and pleasures and how to put them into perspective.

Hadith Five

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)  said, “That hellfire is veiled,” or in another narration, surrounded by desires, or lustful desires or pleasures, “and that paradise is veiled,” or surrounded by disliked inconveniences, as narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

Sometimes what we find that which is beautiful and attractive in this world will actually reveal the hellfire to us, and often those things we find inconvenient actually reveal Heaven to us.  Ustadh Abdullah explains to us that not all pleasures and desires are sinful, and this is referring to those which Allah Most High has made haram, or sinful.

Disliked inconveniences can refer to things such as the discomfort of fasting during Ramadan, waking up for Fajr, or simply holding one’s tongue when our words could possibly hurt another’s feelings. We also learn that there are halal pleasures, such as eating, sleeping, and having relations with our spouse, that when fulfilled for the sake of Allah Most High can actually fall into the second category of lifting the veil to Heaven.

Hadith Six

The messenger of God, (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,  “How unfortunate is the slave of the gold coin, the dinar, and the slave of the silver coin, the dirham, and the slave of fine clothing,” clothing that arrogant people wear, “When he gets and he receives something he is pleased, that slave, and when he does not get, people don’t give him, he is angry.  How unfortunate and how terrible, and when he is pricked by a calamity he cannot remove it from himself.”

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) continues:

“Glad tidings be to the servant who grabs the reins of his horse in the path of God with disheveled hair and dusty feet if he is assigned to the advance guard of the army,”  meaning if he’s on duty and assigned to the front, he fulfills his duty, “and if he’s assigned to the rear guard, sent to the back, he fulfills his duty the same. If that type of person asks permission to join a gathering he will not be permitted, and if he intercedes on behalf of someone else his word will not be accepted.”

This hadith shows us two contrasting types of people in this world. The first is one who is overcome by the objects of this world and acquiring them. This person’s state of completely revolving around the things and money they have, or don’t have, and when the smallest problem befalls them they lack the perspective to deal with it. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) tells us how sorry a state this is to be in –  when a person lacks the meaning in their life to weather the storms it brings.

Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) goes on to tell us the opposite of this. This is a person who has no attachment to the things of this world but is the complete slave to Allah Most High. His clothes may be disheveled and dusty, people exclude him from gatherings because he has no status in their eyes and they do not take his world, either. Yet, in spite of all this, this person struggles in the way of Allah Most High seeking only His pleasure. They may not have had the chance to dress nicely, but are clothed in humility and humbleness.

Though people may not take their word, when this kind of person prays to Allah Most High that prayer is accepted because they are asking for Allah’s pleasure, forgiveness, and mercy. This tells us not to look at the standards of people of the world but look at the standards of those who are simple and humble towards Allah and who do their duty for Allah’s sake.

Hadith Seven

Imam Tabrizi is narrating to us the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Of the things that I fear for you after my life is how much will become available, how much will open up to you of the fleeting, dazzling beauty of this world and its charms.” And a man, a man who was there, asked, ” Oh Messenger of Allah, will such nice things bring with them any evil?” And so the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) became very saddened until the Righteous Companions thought that he would receive revelation, and then he began to perspire.

Sweat began to overcome his face and then he came out of it and then he asked “Where’s the one who asked that question?” As though he was praising him for asking. Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘it’s not that the good things of the world bring evil, but that sometimes the amount that sprouts in the abundance of springtime can kill a creature or come close to that if it is overeaten.”

We can learn a great deal from this hadith about wealth. For one, that wealth in and of itself is not bad, but how we approach it. If someone takes what they need and spends it in truth earning it in truth and spending it in truth, how beautiful that wealth is. But whoever takes it without its due right is like the one who keeps on eating but never feels satisfied. That bears witness against him on the day of judgment. It is good to take the wealth we need in halal ways and enjoy it, but overindulgence can lead to our downfall and destruction as an animal that has overgrazed can die or be killed due to that overeating.

Hadith Eight

It is narrated from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah grant him blessing and peace) said, ”Oh Allah, make the provision of the family of Muhammed just enough,” or in another narration, just according to what suffices.

We can find different meanings in this hadith. While the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed that his own family only be granted just enough, this does not mean that we need only live with the bare minimum, but that we can have what we need for our daily lives and for our family and a little extra to enjoy and thank Allah with it. So while the religious leaders, the elect and elite of the pious and righteous, would do with just a little so as not to need to account for anything or be distracted, we may take what we need and a little bit extra and thank Allah, and use that to worship Allah Most High.

We close this second episode by asking Allah Most High to make us realize the meanings of these hadiths and make us live these meanings and change our hearts and soften our hearts in the days and nights. May we apply what is in these hadiths so when we stand in front of Allah in the night, we connect to Allah deeply.

Biography of Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration, and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies, and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focused his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.

 

Watch full video here:

Hadiths of the Heart Softeners: The Temptations of This World (part two)

 

Does the Prophetic Command Indicate Obligation?

Question: Does the Prophetic command indicate obligation?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

 

Does a Command Mean Obligation?

Commands addressed to creation from Allah Most High and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) generally indicate obligation. [Zuhayli, al-Wajiz fi Usul al-Fiqh al-Islami]

That is, unless, any of the following factors are found:

(1) Explicit mention of recommendation [Ibid.]

(2) There is contextual or legal evidence that illustrates that the command is for a recommendation. [Ibid.]

For example:

Allah Most High says, “O believers! When you contract a loan for a fixed period of time, commit it to writing…” [Qur’an; 2:282]

The command to commit the loan to write would generally indicate obligation. However, the following verse indicates that it is for a recommendation.

He says, “If you trust one another, then there is no need for a security, but the debtor should honor this trust by repaying the debt—and let them fear Allah, their Lord.” [Qur’an; 2:283]

Thus, if there is trust between the contracting parties, the command to record the contract is of mere recommendation. [Ibid.]

 

The Hadith of the Blind Man

The Prophetic narration that you have quoted has come in multiple narrations.

Ibn Umm Maktum (Allah be pleased with him) is narrated to have said, “O Messenger of Allah, indeed Medina has many predatory animals and critters.” The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Do you hear come to the prayer, come to success? Then come.”   [Bayhaqi]

After bringing this narration, Imam al-Bayhaqi quotes from Imam Ahmad that Abu Bakr al-Faqih said, “The Prophet’s command to this blind man to attend the congregation does not indicate obligation because he gave permission to Itban bin Malik, who was blind.” [Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra]

Here we see, a scholarly indication of an underlying reason that the Prophetic command does not always indicate obligation.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences

What is the Reward for Patience during Plagues?

Question:

Assalamu ‘alaykum.

Does the following hadith relate to Covid 19?

Aisha asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) about plagues and he said, “It is a punishment that Allah sends upon whomever he wills, but Allah has made it mercy for the believers. Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by plague, remaining patient and hoping for a reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, will be given the reward of a martyr.” (Bukhari)

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

 

Hadiths on Plagues

Yes, this hadith, and others like it, do apply to Covid 19. The commentators on this hadith defined the ‘plague’ mentioned in the hadith as any widespread illness which affects people on a large scale. It can also mean lethal illnesses of that nature. (Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari)

This is good news for the believer. By the grace of Allah, we benefit from everything. We should feel happy for those who die due to it. Death, for the believer, is just the door to a permanent, perfect home. Someone who is blessed with shahada has the coming stages facilitated, their sins forgiven, and a high rank where they will enjoy the hospitality of the Most Generous.

Take all precautions. That is the way of the Sunnah. At the same time, look forward to meeting Allah – whenever it is to be and work to be the best servant to Him that you can be. If it is tomorrow or in 90 years, we ask Allah to make the day we meet him the best of our days until that point.

Study the final juz‘ of the Qur’an, and reflect on the Akhira. It will help process everything. May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Were Any Prophetic Teachings Hidden by the Prophetic Companions?

Question: Did the Prophetic Companions (Sahaba) narrate all the teachings of the Prophet to them? Did they hide anything that we need to believe in or need to act upon?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

While it is true that certain hadiths have not reached us, this does not apply to hadiths about which our whole religious practice, beliefs, or ethics revolve. It only applies to certain hadiths concerning the names of certain bad Muslim rulers or extra details about the basic Islamic morals about which we already know.

The message of Islam has reached it’s full, and this religion will be preserved until the End of Time.

 

The Preservation of the Whole Message of Islam

Let us deal with the first question first: Did the Prophetic Companions (Sahaba) narrate to us all the teachings of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)?

Yes, the teachings in their general and specific sense were all conveyed to us. However, it would not be true to say that every single word that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) ever said and every action that he ever did was recorded and transmitted to us. Rather, the Prophetic Companions (Allah be pleased with them) would generalize and summarise, saying things like ‘He used to say …’ or ‘He used to forbid ….’ etc.

So, the Prophetic Companions conveyed the message of Islam to us in its complete form, and whatever one Companion did not know or did not convey to the next generation was known and conveyed by another Companion down to this day of ours.

 

The Role of the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and give him peace)

Now, regarding the second question: Did the Prophetic Companions ever hide anything that we need to believe in or need to act upon?

Well, let’s first ask the question: Did the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself hide anything that we need to believe in or need to act upon?

The answer is an emphatic no. Allah Most High says,

‘And the duty of the Messenger is only to clearly convey (the message).’ (Qur’an, 29: 18)

And He Most High says,

‘O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message.’ (Qur’an, 5: 67)

And He Most High says,

‘This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion Islam.’ (Qur’an, 5: 3)

And He Most High says,

‘Indeed, those who conceal what We have sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture, those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.’ (Qur’an, 2: 159)

All of these verses clearly tell us that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was ordered to convey the whole message of Islam. That is to say that everything that we have to believe in and everything that we have to do was taught to us by our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

In the famous Farewell Hajj, the Prophet said, ‘Have I not conveyed Allah’s message to you?
They said, ‘Yes indeed.’
He said, ‘O Allah! Bear witness! It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey it (this information) to those who are absent.’ (Bukhari)

This hadith very clearly tells us not only that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) conveyed the whole message, but that he also told everyone else to convey the message.

So, we can conclude thus far that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was ordered to convey the whole message of Islam, that he did so, and that he commands others to do the same.

 

Until the End of Time

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘This religion will remain sound (qa’im) and defended by a group of the Muslims until the Last Hour.’ (Muslim) Now if this is true, there is no room for anyone to go around hiding from us fundamental information about its core tenets or practices.

With this being the case, it is impossible that the Prophetic Companions, or any other generation of Muslims, could systematically remove key pieces of revelation such that fundamental beliefs and practices be hidden from the rest of the Muslims. Rather, this religion is protected and will remain so until the End of Time.

 

The Role of Prophetic Companions

We have already quoted the words of Allah Most High, ‘Indeed, those who conceal what We have sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture, those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.’ (Qur’an, 2: 159), and we have already asserted that the Prophet Companions were commanded to convey the whole message too.

What is very clear from the actions of Prophetic Companion is that they were very keen to convey the message in its totality, and they did indeed convey the whole message to the next generation of believers.

The Muadh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘There is not a single person who bears witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah in faith, and from the bottom of his heart, save that Allah will bar him from the Hell-Fire.
‘Shall I not inform everyone, O Messenger of Allah,’ asked Muadh, ‘so that they might rejoice?’
‘No, ‘ he replied, ‘lest they just rely [on that] on.’
The narration closes stating that Muadh conveyed the hadith to others at his death so as to avoid sin (taaththuman). (Bukhari and Muslim)

So here we see that even when he was told not to tell others, he still felt compelled to tell them and that he would be sinful for not hiding Sacred Knowledge if he did not tell them. He understood that the onus of conveying Islam to the next generation was still on his shoulders and that the command to not tell others was only at a time when the religion was still not clear to everyone. (Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar al- Asqalani) This tells us that Muadh ibn Jabal took the responsibility of conveying the message very seriously.

Any cursive reading of the lives of the Prophetic Companions will show us that others did the same.

 

Hadiths Not Narrated for Fear of Error

A number of the Prophetic Companions were so scared of making errors in narrating Hadiths that they only narrated a very few hadiths in comparison to the number of hadiths that they heard.

Zubayr ibn Awwam, for example, was asked by his son why he did not narrate as many hadiths as other Prophetic Companions. ‘I was always by his side,’ replied Zubayr. ‘It is just that I heard him say, ‘Whoever lies/makes a mistake (kadhiba) about me, let him take his seat in the Hell-Fire.’ (Bukhari) So for fear of making a mistake in narrating hadiths, Zubayr ibn Awwam (Allah be pleased with him) generally refrained from narrating hadiths.

Anas ibn Malik said the same thing: he said, ‘The only reason I don’t narrate  more hadiths to you is that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Whoever intentionally lies about me, let him take his seat in the Hell-Fire.’ (Muslim)

Similar words and accounts have been narrated from Ibn Umar, Zayd ibn Arqam, Ibn Hurmuz, and many others. This indicates that they, like the rest of the Prophetic Companions, only narrated hadiths that they were 120% sure about. They did not treat narrated hadith as a light thing.

This also tells us that there were certain Prophetic teachings that certain Prophetic Companions knew about and did not narrate to us. However, it is far fetched to assume that those hadiths were both essential pieces of information necessary for applying the religion correctly and that no other Prophetic Companion knew about it or conveyed it to others.


Hadiths Not Narrated for Other Reasons

One Companion who certainly did not take this approach was Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him). He was genuinely scared that Allah would punish him if he did not narrate everything that he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

That said, we also know that he said, ‘I have memorized two great containers [of knowledge] from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). As for one of them, I have dispersed it, and as for the other, were I to do so, this throat of mine would be slit.’ (Bukhari)

Similarly, he used to say of himself, ‘How many a bag that Abu Hurayra has that he hasn’t opened!’ (Siyar Alam al Nubala, Dhahabi) He meant knowledge that he had not mentioned publicly.

Commenting on this, Imam al-Dhahabi says, ‘This proves that it is permissible to hide certain hadiths that cause political strife, whether they be to do with beliefs or religious practice, or the merit [of certain people or things] or their evil. As for hadiths without which certain rulings in the Sacred Law could not be known, it is absolutely forbidden to hide such hadiths because they are of the “clear proofs and guidance” (Qur’an, 2: 159). (Siyar Alam al-Nubala, Dhahabi)

Further explaining this, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said, ‘Scholars have interpreted this second “great container” to refer to the specific names of the corrupt rulers [to come], what they would be like, and what would happen during their reign … Ibn al Munayyir said, ‘Certain Ismailis and Alawis (al-Batiniyya) have used this hadith to promote their ideas that the Sacred Law has a superficial understanding (dhahir) and an esoteric understanding (batin). The only upshot of this is to get out of adhering to the letter of the Sacred Law.’ (Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani)

So nothing essential was being hidden. This tells us that we are not in the dark as to what Islam really is, and there is nothing hidden that any sect can pull out of the pockets and reinvent Islam with.

 

Knowing All the Hadiths

No laymen or scholar has ever known all the hadiths that have ever existed. (Raf al-Malam, Ibn Taymiyya) And this is not a concern. Of all the approximately 40,000 hadith we have access to today, most of them are not pivotal. This is not to discount the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), but rather to say that the core hadiths are relatively few, and not knowing one hadith would not mean that the religion would be lost.

To demonstrate what I mean, Imam al-Shafi’i said that the most important hadiths to do with legal rulings (ahadith al-ahkam) are about five hundred. (Siyar Alam al-Nubala, Dhahabi) Ibn Hajar’s Bulugh al Maram (summary of hadiths to do with legal rulings) only has about 1,300 hadith in it. Imam Nawawi’s Riyad al-Salihin on hadiths to do with key Islamic morals only contains about 2,000.

The key pivotal hadiths are not that many, so missing one of two hadiths is not going to change the whole religion, and there is no possibility that any key and fundamental hadiths have somehow been hidden from everyone.

 

Conclusion

The message of Islam has reached its full. The fact that some Companions did not narrate a few hadiths does not pose a threat to the preservation of Islam. They conveyed to us all the key teachings from the Messenger of Allah that we need to know. This is all because the religion of Islam will be preserved until the End of Time.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

When Hearts Go Hard – Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Part  One: The Reality of This World by Shaykh Abdullah Misra

 

Our world can be viewed from the lens of a trial; in both good times and bad, the potential to develop cynicism and callousness exists. It is our duty as Muslims to always remain vigilant such that we do not forget Allah Most High’s blessings and mercy. For this purpose SeekersGuidance scholar Shaykh Abdullah Misra chose the documented work of Imam Khatib al-Tabrizi; Mishkat al-Masabih (The Niche Of Lamps) to deeply explore the topic of a soft heart. Imam al-Tabrizi gathered sayings and practices of the Prophet (hadiths) found in the six canonical books such as Bukhari, Muslim and others on a multitude of topics.

A soft heart is one that has not fallen into despair and whose intimate relationship with Allah Most High and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is safeguarded. Throughout this nineteen article series, Shaykh Abdullah explains each hadith focused on softening the heart. 

This is the first article based on a series of online podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar – Shaykh Abdullah Misra – called When Hearts Grow Hard.

Hardness of the Heart is an affliction that happens to everyone at some point in their life, but what exactly is this hardness? We may feel a sense of despair when experiencing different life events such as illness, loss of wealth, and even uncertainty in a pandemic. We become selfish and lack a sense of empathy as our only concern is this worldly life, when instead, we should be striving for the Hereafter.

The heart is cured by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in numerous hadiths. These are the heart softeners which open our souls to the Divine Wisdom of our Creator, Allah Most High. Our means of reaching Allah is through the heart, and it must be purified before His guidance can penetrate it. 

 

Five Hadiths on the Reality of this World

  1. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are two blessings that most people are cheated from good health and free time.” (Bukhari)

In our youth, we are unencumbered with responsibilities, and as a result, we have more free time. Instead of wasting it on social media, partying, or idle talk, we are encouraged to seek beneficial knowledge that will lead us to Paradise. Free time is a resource that is limited, and it parallels good health. A person in retirement has more free time but lacks the good health of one’s youth. One may want to spend more time in the remembrance of Allah but is not always physically able due to illness in old age. We must not cheat ourselves of the limited blessings of free time and good health.

  1. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) narrated, “ I swear by Allah this world compared to the Hereafter is like if one of you dipped his finger into the sea; let him see how much water he comes back with.” (Muslim)

This world, dunya in Arabic, is the lowest form of life because it is temporary, compared to the Hereafter which is everlasting. The scholars have mentioned that life in this world is a fleeting moment, like an hour of time. We must strive to make it an hour of obedience and worship to Allah. 

  1. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by a dead lamb that had no ears, and asked, “Which one of you would like to have this for a silver coin?” Those present said, “We wouldn’t want that for anything!”. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “ Then I swear by Allah, this world is more insignificant to Allah than this carcass is to you all.” (Muslim)

All the affairs in this world are meaningless to Allah  Most High –  yet man obsesses over the pursuit of wealth, love, or fame. Allah in His infinite wisdom taught us the Hereafter will never end, and we must aim for Paradise with our good deeds.

  1. “This world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  (Muslim)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was blessed with the brevity of speech, containing meanings that have a lasting impression. As Muslims, we do not indulge our base desires as this can lead to immoral behavior and consequently punishment in the Hellfire. Disbelievers view a Muslim’s life as restricted,  akin to a prison. A disbeliever is ungrateful for Allah’s blessings and pursues the forbidden pleasures of this world, which give him a false sense of happiness like a paradise. Our goal, as Muslims, is to please Allah Most High, even if we must sacrifice our inner desires.

  1. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “ Allah does not deal unjustly with a believer for even one small good deed; for it, he is given good in this world and rewarded for it in the Hereafter also. As for the ungrateful disbeliever, he is given things in this world as a reward  for the good works they did for Allah’s sake, until they reach the Hereafter without a single good deed to be rewarded for.” (Muslim)

A Muslim is rewarded in this life and in the Hereafter for any single good deed that he has performed, whereas a disbeliever is only rewarded in this life for any good he has done. The ingratitude of the disbeliever for Allah’s bounties will lead him to doom on the Day of Judgment.

In conclusion, we must not take our good health and free time for granted and understand that Allah Most High created us to obey and worship Him. This world is insignificant compared to the permanent abode of the Hereafter. By heeding the advice of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), may Allah guide us to soften our hearts, so we can accept His Divine guidance.

 

Biography of Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration, and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies, and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focused his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.

 

Watch the full video here: 

 

 

The Prophet’s Smile – “Around Us But Not on Top of Us”

The Prophet’s Amusement at Allah’s Mercy

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing. By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character. By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

In this article, we discuss one particular incident where a bedouin requested for rain. His response to the abundance of rain made the prophet smile.


Anas narrates that a Bedouin man came to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) while he was delivering the Friday sermon in Madinah and complained to him that there was a drought and their livestock was dying and their women and children were hungry. He then beseeched the Prophet to ask for rain. The Prophet raised his hands in supplication. At that point, there was not a cloud in the sky but as soon as he began to supplicate, clouds began to form and pile up like mountains and then it began to rain. Even before he had descended from the pulpit, the Prophet’s beard was dripping with rainwater. It continued to rain that day and the following day and the rain continued until the following Friday.

On that day, the Prophet was once again delivering his sermon on the pulpit when the same man returned (or another man – Anas could not be sure). “O Messenger of Allah,” he said, “our homes are falling apart and our livestock are drowning, so ask your Lord to make it stop!”

The Prophet smiled and raised his hands in supplication saying: “O Allah, around us but not on top of us, around us but not on top of us!” He pointed to the sky and signaled for the clouds to move and they began to clear until there was a circle of clear sky around Madinah while the rain continued to fall upon the areas around the city for another month.

(Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Life was not easy in the early community in Madinah which mostly relied on agriculture and livestock for its sustenance. The drought was a very serious threat to the survival of the people of the city. This Bedouin man came in a state of desperation. He was obviously feeling the effects of the drought hard as he tried to graze his animals in the area around Madinah. He was so desperate that he did not even wait for the Prophet to finish speaking, but interrupted his sermon and complained about the severity of the situation. The Prophet could have told him to sit down and wait but he responded immediately, knowing that the man was speaking not just for himself but for a whole community. Allah says of him: Your suffering distresses him: he is deeply concerned for you (Quran, 9:128).

The Prophet is Allah’s Beloved and when the Beloved asks, the One who loves him so much instantly responds. Within seconds rain started pouring down. Rain is symbolic of Allah’s mercy – when the one who was sent as a mercy to everything asks the All-Merciful for mercy, it duly pours down. In fact, it comes in such abundance day after day that people cannot handle it. And this was perhaps what brought a smile to the Prophet’s lips when the request came to stop the rain. It tells us something about human nature – as Allah says: man was created hasty (Quran, 21:37). We want something very badly and then we get it, we realize we want something else. Blessings can quickly turn into trials. The Prophet’s smile may also have been an expression of his wonder at his Lord’s bounty and generosity.

Here we witness not just one but two miracles, two acts of divine mercy – the immediate sending down of rain and then the immediate removal of that rain. It is noticeable that the Prophet did not ask for the rain to stop completely, but instead, he asked for it to be removed from the city of Madinah itself where the damage was being felt. He asked for the harm to be removed but the benefit to continue and this is what happened: the valleys around Madinah continued to receive plentiful rainfall for a month. There is a lesson in this that if we receive a blessing but it then becomes difficult, we should not ask for it to stop coming but we should ask for whatever detracts from that blessing to be removed. The scholars also teach us when we ask for something to ask for it accompanied with gentleness and wellbeing (lutf and afiyah).

We see time and time again that when the Companions were in difficulty or had needs great or small they would go to the Messenger. The Bedouin man could have asked Allah directly for rain but he knew that the Prophet was infinitely closer to Allah and his prayers would be answered. They understood the concept of an intermediary. They knew the status of the Prophet in Allah’s sight and they knew the Prophet was happy to play the role of an intermediary. And he did so with a smile.

May Allah give our beloved Prophet the highest of rewards on our behalf.

 

Angels Helping to Find Things

Question: There is a hadith that mentions calling upon certain angels to help one find something you have lost. What is the hadith exactly and is it authentic?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

There are a number of very similar hadiths to this effect with varying levels of authenticity in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shayba, Musnad Ahmad, Musnad al Bazzar, al Mujam al Kabir of Tabarani, and Shuab al Iman by Bayhaqi.

One such narration is found in al Mujam al Kabir of Tabarani and it translates as follows:

If anyone loses something or needs help while he is alone in the wilderness, let him say, ‘O slaves of Allah, help me! O slaves of Allah, help me!’ because Allah actually has slaves that we cannot see.’

The hadith backed up with its various versions and chains of transmission are sound (hasan) (Majma al Zawaid, Haythami; al Futuhat al Rabbaniyya, Ibn Allan).

Tabarani adds at the end of the hadith that this has been tried and tested. Imam Ahmad and Imam Nawawi also mention that they applied the hadith and it worked (Kitab al Adhkar, Nawawi; Masail al Imam Ahmad bi riwayat ibnihi Abdillah, Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal).

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Authenticity of Nahj al Balagha and al Sahifa al Sajjadiyya

Question: How authentic are the books Nahj al Balagha and al Sahifa al Sajjadiyya in the eyes of Sunni scholars?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Short Answer:

Scholars have criticized the authenticity of Nahj al Balagh because of its lack of chains of transmission and unique religious and linguistic content that is unreflective of a work of its nature.

Scholars have also failed to find a solid and reliable chain of transmission for Al Sahifa al Sajjadiyya.

The objectivity of authentication the past

First of all, authenticity is an objective historical judgment and has nothing to do with madhhabs or sects. The authenticity of a hadith, saying, or book is judged according to the accuracy of the sources, not the religious affiliation of the narrator or critic. Many Sunni and Shi’i hadith narrators and hadith critics have deemed authorities in hadith narration and hadith criticism respectively.

Nahj al Balagha

With regards to Nahj al Balagha which is a collection of sayings and sermons ascribed to Sayyidna Ali (May Allah ennoble his face) that was gathered by Sharif al Radi (359 AH – 406 AH), there are a number of problems.

Firstly, for the most part, the sayings and sermons ascribed to Sayyidna Ali (May Allah ennoble his face) lack any full chain of transmission. Given that the sayings were collected by a scholar approximately 350 years after Sayyidna Ali, this calls into question the authenticity of the work.

Secondly, most of the book’s content is not found anywhere else. When we look at any normal book of hadith or sayings of the early Muslims, we generally find a lot of cross-over with other sources. A saying ascribed to Sayyidna Umar, for example, will often turn up in a number of other primary works. This enables us to cross-reference, pinpoint, and ultimately critique the origin of the quote. Finding a hadith in Jami al Tirmidhi, for example, that honestly does not exist anywhere else is quite rare. The fact that a whole host of quotes and sermons of Sayyidna Ali should just appear nearly four centuries after his death is very questionable indeed.

For this reason, al-Khatib al Baghdadi says that the likes of the Book of Danyal and the sermons of Ali ibn Abi Talib of those useless interests that are not authentic and should not be busied with (Kitab al Jami li Akhlaq al Rawi wa Adab al Sami). According to Imam al Dhahabi, the book is not authentic and merely a fabrication by Sharif al Radiyy (359 AH – 406 AH) (Siyar Alam al Nubala, Dhahabi; Tarikh al Islam, Dhahabi).

A further problem with the work is that the language used in the Nahj al Balagha is also suggestive of the fact that it is fabricated. The great scholar of Arabic language and literature, and hadith, Mahmoud Shakir (1909-1997), mentioned that the work Nahj al Balagha contains a noticeably large number of uncommon Arabic words (gharib). These words, said Shakir, are the kind of words that the scholars of gharib al-hadith (uncommon words used in hadiths and sayings of the early Muslims) recorded, examined, and explained in multiple works. Despite the exhaustive efforts of such scholars as Nadr ibn Shumail (d. 203 AH), Abu Ubayd (d. 224 AH), and Ibn Qutayba (d. 276 AH) who were closer to the time of Sayyidna Ali than Sharif Al Radiyy, who amongst many others ferreted out rare words and phrases of the Early Muslims, and went to great pains to explain even their passing remarks, it is more than uncanny that these words should not be found in such dictionaries. From a lexicographical point of view, Nahj al Balagha seems to have been born in the four Hijri century, as it were, by immaculate conception (Mawaqif, Mahmoud Muhammad Shakir).

Al Sahifa al Sajjadiyya

As for al Sahifa al Sajjadiyya, Shi’i scholars themselves, such as Khomeini, have said that there is no sound chain of transmission for it back to Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (Allah show him mercy) (d. 95 AH) (Al Makasib al Muharramah, Khomeini).

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Authenticity of Hadith on Losing One’s Son

Question: There is a hadith to the effect that the reward for losing one’s son is Paradise?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

This hadith is narrated by Abd ibn Hamid and Ahmad in their Musnads, and Ibn Manda and Abu Nuaym, and is weak (Marifat al Sahaba, Ibn Manda; Musnad Ahmad, ed. Al Arnaut).

The hadith translates as follows:

A man had a boy who had come of age, and he and his son used to frequently come and see the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). But then the boy died and the man was beside himself out of sorrow for him for about six days and stopped coming to see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then asked about him, ‘Where is So-and-so?’
‘O Messenger of Allah,’ they said, ‘His son died and he is beside himself with sorrow.’
When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) finally saw him, he said to him, ‘Would you prefer to have your son back as good and clever as any other boy? Would you prefer to have your son back as brave as any other boy? Would you prefer to have your son back as a good and fully adult man (kahl)? Or would you prefer it to be said to you, ‘Enter Paradise as a reward for what We took from you!?’

Despite the fact that the hadith is weak, there are many sound hadiths that tell us the meaning is true.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language