Shattering the Mirage: A Response to ‘Abdul Hussain Sharaf al Din’s al Muraja’at: Letter 31 and 32

BACK Return to Table of contents

 

Letter 31

 

Thul-Hijjah 22, 1329

Requesting Sources of this Hadith

 

You have not provided any proof testifying to this hadith as being said on any occasion besides that of Tabuk. I am very eager to be acquainted with its pristine sources; so, please take me to its fountain-heads, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

S

 

Letter 32

Thul-Hijjah 24, 1329

 

I. Among Its Sources: the Prophet’s Visit to Umm Salim

II. The Case of Hamzah’s Daughter

III. Leaning on ‘Ali

IV. The First Fraternity

V. The Second Fraternity

VI. Closing the Doors

VII. The Prophet Comparing ‘Ali and Aaron to the Two Stars

 

1) One of its sources is the discourse of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with Umm Salim,1 a woman of lengthy achievements, a woman of wisdom who enjoyed a special prestigious status with the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam due to being among the foremost in accepting Islam, and because of her sincerity, contributions, and sacrifices in the cause of Islam.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to visit her and talk to her at her own house. One day, he said to her: “O Umm Salim (mother of Salim)! ‘Ali’s flesh is of mine, and his blood is of my own; he is to me like Aaron to Moses.”2 It is obvious that this hadith is only an excerpt of his lengthy hadith which is stated for the purpose of conveying the truth and providing advice for the sake of Allah in order to highlight the status of his vicegerent, the one who would take his own place (of responsibility) once he is gone, and it cannot be confined to the Battle of Tabuk.

 

2) A similar hadith was made in the case of Hamzah’s daughter in whose regard ‘Ali, Ja’far and Zaid disputed. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said then: “O ‘Ali! You are to me like Aaron to Moses, etc.”

 

3) Another incident occurred when Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah were in the company of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who was leaning on ‘Ali. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam patted ‘Ali’s shoulder and said: “O ‘Ali! You are the strongest among the believers in faith, the first (man) to embrace Islam, and your status to me is similar to that of Aaron to Moses.”3

 

4) The ahadith narrated during the First Fraternity also include this text. These were made in Mecca prior to the migration, when the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam consummated brotherhood among the emigrants in particular.

 

5) On the occasion of the Second Fraternity, while in Medina, five months after the migration, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made fraternity between the emigrants (Muhajirun) and the supporters (Ansar). In both events, he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam chose ‘Ali as his brother,4 thus preferring him over all others, saying to him: “You are to me like Aaron to Moses except there will be no Prophet after me.” Narrations in this regard are consecutively reported. Refer to what others state about the First Fraternity such as the hadith narrated by Zaid ibn Abu ‘Awfah. Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal has included it in his book Manaqib ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Asakir in his Tarikh,5 al Baghwi and al Tabrani in their Mujma’s, al Barudi in his Al Ma’rifa, by Ibn ‘Adi6 and others.

The hadith under discussion is quite lengthy, and it contains guidelines about how to establish brotherhood. It ends with: “‘Ali said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! My soul has expired, and my spine has been broken, having seen what you have done for your companions while leaving me alone. If this is a sign of your anger with me, then I complain only to you and beg your pardon.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘I swear by the One Who sent me to convey the truth about Him, I have not spared you except for my own self. You are to me like Aaron to Moses, except there will be no Prophet after me. You are my Brother, heir and companion.’ ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam asked him: ‘What shall I inherit from you?’

He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam answered: ‘Whatever Prophets before me left for those who inherited them: the Book of their Lord, and the Sunnah of their Prophet. You will be my companion in my house in Paradise together with my daughter Fatima. You are my Brother and Companion.’ Then he, peace be upon him and his progeny, recited the verse: ‘They are brethren seated conveniently facing each other,'” referring to the brethren whose hearts Allah has joined in affection who look at each other with sincere compassion.

Refer also to the events of the Second Fraternity. Al Tabrani, in his Al Tafsir Al Kabir, quotes Ibn ‘Abbas reporting one hadith stating that the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam: “Are you angry because I have established brotherhood between the Ansar and the Muhajirun and have not selected a brother for you from among them? Are you not pleased that your status to me is like that of Aaron to Moses, except there will be no Prophet after me?”7

 

6) The same hadith was also said when the companions’ doors overlooking the Prophet’s mosque in Medina were ordered closed except that of ‘Ali. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah quotes the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, saying: “O ‘Ali! It is permissible for you to do at this mosque whatever is permissible for me, and you are to me like Aaron to Moses, except there will be no Prophet after me.”

Huthayfah ibn ‘Asid al Ghifari has said that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, once delivered a khutba on the occasion of closing those doors in which he said: “There are some men who have disliked that I got them out of the mosque while keeping ‘Ali. Allah, the Dear and Mighty, inspired to Moses and his brother to reside with their people in Egypt and make their homes a qibla and say their prayers,” till he said: “‘Ali to me is like Aaron to Moses. He is my Brother, and none of you is allowed to cohabit therein other than he.”

The sources of this hadith are numerous, and they cannot all be counted in a brief letter like this, yet I hope that what I have stated here suffices to falsify the claim that the status hadith is confined only to the Battle of Tabuk. How much can such a claim weigh in the light of abundance of sources of this hadith?

 

7) Anyone who is familiar with the biography of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will find him, peace be upon him and his progeny, describing ‘Ali and Aaron as the two bright stars arranged alike, neither one differing from the other. This by itself is a testimony to the generality of status of this hadith, yet the generality of the status is what comes to mind regardless of any pretext, as we have explained above, and peace be with you.

 

Sincerely,

Sh


Footnotes

  1. She is daughter of Milhan ibn Khalid al Ansari and sister of Haram ibn Milhan. Her father and brother were martyred in the company of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She possessed a great deal of accomplishment and wisdom. She narrated a few ahadith of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and she is quoted by her son Anas, in addition to Ibn ‘Abbas, Zaid ibn Thabit, Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdul-Rahman, and by others.

She is considered to be in the first row of those who accepted and supported the Islamic faith, and she herself was a caller to Islam. During the pre-Islamic period of jahiliyya, she was in love with Malik ibn al Nadar from whom she conceived her son Anas ibn Malik. At the dawn of Islam, she was among the foremost to embrace it, and she invited her husband Malik to believe in Allah and His Messenger, but he refused; so, she deserted him, and he in his rage moved to Syria where he died as a kafir. She advised her son, who was then ten years old, to serve the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam accepted his service in order to please her.

Many Arab men of prestige sought her hand, but she always used to say: “I shall not get married except when Anas reaches manhood;” so, Anas always used to say: “May Allah reward my mother, for she took very good care of me.” Due to her own influence, Abu Talhah al Ansari became Muslim. He sought her hand when he was still kafir, but she refused to marry him unless he embraced Islam; so, he accepted her invitation to embrace the new faith, and his dowery to her was his own acceptance of Islam.

She conceived a son by him, but the baby fell sick and died; so, she said: “Nobody should mention his death to his father before me.” When her husband came home and inquired about his son, she said: “He is in most content;” so he thought that she meant their son was asleep. She served him his dinner, then she put on her best clothes and perfume, and he went to bed with her. The next day she said to him: “Pray for your son’s soul.”

Abu Talha narrated this story to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said to him: “Allah blessed you last night.” She continues to say that he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam invoked Allah to provide me with what I wanted and even more. In that same night, she conceived ‘Abdullah ibn Abu Talha upon whom Allah showered His blessings. He is the father of Ishaq ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Abu Talha, the faqih, and his brothers were ten; each one of them was a man of knowledge.

Umm Salim used to participate in the Prophet’s military campaigns. On the Day of Uhud, she had a dagger to stab any infidel who would come near her. She rendered Islam a great service, and I do not know any woman besides her whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to visit in her own house and she would offer him a present. She was aware of the status of his progeny, knowledgeable of their rights… May Allah shower His choicest mercy on her.

  1. This hadith, I mean Umm Salim’s, is number 2554 of the ones numbered in Kanz al ’Ummal as narrated on page 154 of its sixth volume. It also exists in Muntakhab al Kanz; so, refer to the last line of the footnote on page 31 of Volume 5 of Ahmed’s Musnad, where you will find it verbatim.
  2. This is quoted by al Hassan ibn Badr, al Hakim in his chapter on kunyat, al Shirazi in his chapter on surnames, volume six, and by Ibn al Najjar. It is hadith 6029 and also 6032 of the ones numbered in Kanz al ’Ummal, page 395.
  3. Discussing the biography of ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam in his Isti’ab, Ibn ‘Abdul Birr describes him thus: “He made brotherhood with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, among the immigrants, then between the immigrants and the supporters. In each of these instances, he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam: ‘You are my brother in this life and the life hereafter,’ then he made brotherhood between himself and ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam.” The details are in the books of traditions and history. For the details of the first brotherhood, refer to page 26, Vol. 2, of Al Sira al Halabiyya, and in the second brotherhood on page 120, Vol. 2, also of Al Sira al Halabiyya, where you will find how the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam favoured ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam in both occasions over everyone else. In Al Sira al Dahlaniyya, the details of the circumstances of the first brotherhood and those of the second are similar to what is published in Al Sira al Halabiyya. The author also stated that the second brotherhood took place five months after the migration.
  4. This is quoted from Ahmed and Ibn ‘Asakir by a group of trusted authorities such as al Muttaqi al Hindi; so, refer to hadith 918 of his Kanz al ’Ummal at the beginning of page 40 of its fifth volume. It is also quoted on page 390, Vol. 6, from Ahmed’s book Manaqib ‘Ali, numbering it hadith 4972.
  5. This is quoted from these Imams by a group of trusted authorities such as al Muttaqi al Hindi at the beginning of page 41, Vol. 5, of of his Kanz al ’Ummal, numbering it hadith 919.
  6. This is quoted by al Muttaqi al Hindi in his Kanz al ’Ummal and Al Muntakhab; so, refer to the Muntakhab’s footnote on page 31 of its fifth volume regarding Ahmed’s Musnad, and you will find it verbatim just as we have quoted it here. It is not difficult to sift the gist of the phrase “You have angered ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam” and comprehend the meanings of companionship, compassion, and the love of a compassionate and kind father to his son. If you wonder how ‘Ali had some doubts in the second time he was left behind, although in the first time he had some doubt, too, then he found out that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, had kept him there just for himself, and why he did not consider the second incident in the light of the first. The answer is that the second incident could not be compared with the first one, for the first was regarding the immigrants in particular; so, the comparison did not forbid the prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from creating brotherhood with ‘Ali ‘alayh al Salam, contrary to the second which was between the immigrants and the supporters. One immigrant in the second instance may be joined in brotherhood to a supporter, and vice versa. Since the prophet and the wasi were both immigrants, the assumption in the second instance was that they should not be brothers; so, ‘Ali thought that his brother would be a supporter, just like others by way of comparison. When the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not create brotherhood between him and any of the supporters, some doubt entertained his mind, but Allah and His Messenger insisted on favouring him, and so it was: he and the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became brothers, contrary to the common norm of practice among all the immigrants and supporters at that time and place
 
 

Discussions

 

Versions of the Hadith

One of the greatest advantages of a single-sided debate is that one can always call the opponents bluff. This is precisely what unfolds in this round of debate. ‘Abdul Hussain asks the question using the pen of his opponent; and replies in a half-truth which will resonate well with his reading audience.

‘Abdul Hussain has presented a number of occasions wherein it is alleged that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam announced the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was to him as Harun ‘alayh al Salam was to Musa ‘alayh al Salam; attempting to discredit the claim that this was not limited to the occasion of Tabuk. However, he fails to address the fact that Harun ‘alayh al Salam did not succeed Musa ‘alayh al Salam. This has been the crux of our previous discussion.

Our task, then, is to investigate whether or not ‘Abdul Hussain has been honest in his citations; whether the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said this at any other occasion than the expedition of Tabuk.

 

The first narration

The first narration cited by ‘Abdul Hussain is said to be the narration of Umm Sulaim.[1] He correctly ascribed this narration to Kanz al Ummal and its abridgment. He painstakingly pointed out which line the narration could be found in as well; a sign of erudition no doubt.

Conveniently, he fails to mention the fact that the author of Kanz al Ummal, ‘Ali al Muttaqi, ascribed this narration to Abu Jafar al ‘Uqayli, the compiler of al Duafa’ which is an encyclopedia on unreliable and disreputable narrators. It is expedient to do so when there is no real debator.

In his introduction to the abridged version of al Kanz, ‘Ali al Muttaqi was cautious to point out that is was sufficient to deem unreliable any narration exclusively referenced to al ‘Uqayli, along with a host of other earlier books.

He writes:

 

Whatever is acribed [in this work of mine] to Ibn ‘Adi, al ‘Uqayli, al Khatib, Ibn ‘Asakir, al Hakim al Tirmidhi in Nawadir al Usul, al Hakim in his Tarikh, Ibn Jarud in his Tarikh, and al Daylami in Musnad al Firdaws; is considered weak. Mere reference to any of these works suffices in pointing out the fact that the narrations quoted are unreliable…[2]

 

It is hard to believe that ‘Abdul Hussain went out of his way to point out the exact line in which the narration could be found, yet failed to read the basic principle spelled out by the author in the introduction to his book; where he explains his methods and symbols to be used throughout the book.

Al ‘Uqayli indeed quotes the narration, identifying it as the solitary narration of Dahir ibn Yahya al Razi. He was an extreme Rafidi, and his narrations were not corroborated. Al ‘Uqayli then cites this narration as one of his anomalous narrations:

 

‘Ali ibn Sa’id – Abdullah ibn DahirDahir ibn Yahya al Razi – al A’mash – ‘Abayah al Asadi – Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to Umm Salamah, “O Umm Salamah, indeed ‘Ali’s flesh is from my flesh, his blood is from my blood, and he is to me as Harun was to Musa except that there is no prophet after me.”[3]

 

He goes on to list a number of unsubstantiated narrations by Dahir; all on the virtues of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he concludes saying:

 

The narration, “You are to me as Harun was to Musa,” is authentic through other chains. Yahya ibn Sa’id narrates it from Sa’id ibn al Musayyib, from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; as does ‘Amir ibn Sa’d, Mus’ab ibn Sa’d, Ibrahim ibn Sa’d, all of them by way of Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu [i.e. the narration at Tabuk]. All the other versions besides these are anmolous and not sound.[4]

 

It is ironic that the source cited by ‘Abdul Hussain to prove that this narration was repeated on many occasion negates that very fact. It also proves that the early Hadith critics were aware of a number of narrations of this nature but had pointed out that all the other versions were unreliable and contradicted much sounder authority. Furthermore, this narration mentions Umm Salamah, the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wife, instead of Umm Sulaim.

Ibn ‘Adi lists this narration under the biography of ‘Abdullah ibn Dahir; quoting Yahya ibn Ma’in that he was not reliable and severly impugned. Ibn ‘Adi concludes saying:

 

‘Abdullah ibn Dahir has many other narrations besides these, most of which are about the virtues of ‘Ali. He is suspected of forging many of them.[5]

 

Al Dhahabi flags both father and son for the forging of this narration. Under the biography of Dahir he describes him as, “A vengeful Rafidi whose dreadful narrations are uncorroborated.”[6]

Under the biography of ‘Abdull ibn Dahir, al Dhahabi quotes Ahmed ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Ma’in who criticized him severely, pointing out the fact that he cannot be trusted. In conclusion he states:

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala favoured ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in that his merits are well-established, independent of all such fabrications and fairytales.[7]

 

The second narration

‘Abdul Hussain then alludes to the narration which mentions the dispute between Zaid ibn al Harithah, Jafar ibn Abi Talib, and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhum over the custody of Hamzah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu orphaned daughter.

This Hadith is very famous; though the wording quoted by ‘Abdul Hussain is at variance with all the other versions.

The narration appears by way of al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib radiya Llahu ‘anhu and is final part of a lengthy narration which describes the incident at Hudaybiyyah, the make-up ‘Umrah, and finally the dispute over the custody of Hamzah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu daughter. The part of the Hadith which concerns us is as follows:

 

‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “I took her for she is the daughter of my uncle.”

Jafar radiya Llahu ‘anhu argued, “She is the daughter of my uncle, and her aunt is my wife.”

Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “She is the daughter of my brother.”

On that, the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave her to her aunt and said, “The aunt is of the same status as the mother.”

He then said to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “You are from me, and I am from you,” and said to Jafar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “You resemble me in appearance and character,” and said to Zaid, “You are our brother and our freed slave.”[8]

 

A similar narration is recorded from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, himself, without much alteration in the way it is worded. The chain is as follows Hajjaj (ibn Muhammad al Masisi) – Isra’il (ibn Yunus) – Abu Ishaq (al Sabi’i) – Hani’ ibn Hani’ and Hubairah ibn Yarim – ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with the wording, “You are from me, and I am from you.”[9]

The version ascribed to al Nasa’i in Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu does not support ‘Abdul Hussain’s claim. It is narrated in Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as follows:

Ahmed ibn Harb – al Qasim ibn Yazid al Jarmi – Isra’il – Abu Ishaq al Sabi’i – Hubairah ibn Yarim and Hani’ ibn Hani’ – ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu

The reference to Manzilah in the context of the dispute over the custody of Hamzah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu daughter appears to be an editing error. We have consulted a number of editions and found the ones which have relied on well-preserved manuscripts are phrased, “You are from me, and I am from you.”[10]

If we were to concede, for argument’s sake, that the wording of this narration is as ‘Abdul Hussain claims, then this narration is munkar. It stands in variance of not only the highly authenticated version by al Bara ibn ‘Azib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but all the other narrations by way of Isra’il, from Abu Ishaq, from Hani’ ibn Hani’ and Hubairah ibn Yarim, from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Besides al Qasim ibn Yazid the following narrators all narrate from Isra’il and all their narrations only mention the words, “You are from me, and I am from you.”

  • Yahya ibn Adam – his narration appears in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed[11], al Nasa’i in Khasa’is ‘Ali[12]
  • Aswad ibn ‘Amir – his narration is found in Musnad Ahmed[13] though his chain only mentions Hani’ and not Hubairah.
  • ‘Ubaid Allah ibn Musa – al Hakim in al Mustadrak[14] as well as al Bazzar[15]though his narration only mentions Hani’. This, in addition to Ibn Sa’d in al Tabaqat[16] and Ibn Hibban[17]; all three of them narrate it with this chain from both Hani’ and Hubairah but only mention the virtue of Jafar.
  • Zakariyyah ibn Abi Za’idah – his narration appears in the Sunan of al Bayhaqi[18]
  • Hajjaj ibn Muhammad al Masisi – his narration appears in Musnad Ahmed as mentioned earlier[19]

It is evident from the wording of all these narrations that there is no mention of the comparison between Musa ‘alayh al Salam and Harun ‘alayh al Salam. The narration cited by ‘Abdul Hussain from Khasa’is Ali[20] from al Qasim ibn Yazid matches the remaining narrations in the well-edited editions; and differs in its wording in the editions with less rigourous editing. One could either accept the wording that matches the remaining five versions; or accept the wording which mentions the Manzilah in which case it would contradict five stronger versions with a common chain as well as the well-established version narrated by al Bara’ ibn ‘Azib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The latter option means that the wording of this Hadith is in stark contrast to the other versions which proves that it is unreliable. Either way, the narration disproves ‘Abdul Hussain’s allegation.

A narration worded similar to the one cited by ‘Abdul Hussain is to be found in Tarikh Dimashq of Ibn ‘Asakir[21] with the following chain:

Abdullah ibn Shabib – Ibn Abi Uways – Muhammad ibn Ismail – Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr – Ismail ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar – ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar

This chain includes Abdullah ibn Shabib; whom al Dhahabi describes as being severely weak. He quotes Abu Ahmed al Hakim who described him as extremely unreliable. Ibn Hibban stated that he used to attach sound chains on false narrations.[22]

Also appearing in this chain is Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al Mulayki. Al Bukhari describes him saying, “Dhahib al Hadith.” Ahmed ibn Hanbal and al Nasa’i also agree that his weakness is significant.[23]

Anyone familiar with the science of Hadith would know that a narration of this nature could not even be elevated even without the existence of a narration to the contrary. What then could be said of a case where the sound narration is worded differently?

There remains the matter of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam words to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “You are from me, and I am from you.” No doubt this is a major accolade for ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he is well-deserving of such praise and virtue. The issue, though, is whether it is considered among the unique features of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; or have others been described as such?

An attentive read of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sirah provides numerous examples of him using a similar phrase for other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum as well. We present two such cases.

Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates that the Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

When the people of the Ash’ari clan run short of provisions during the military campaigns, or the food for their families in Madinah ran short, they would collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally using a small vessel. They are from me and I am from them.[24]

 

Abu Barzah relates that the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was searching for Julaybib after one of the battles. When he came across the slain corpse of Julaybib he realised that Julaybib had been killed after fighting off seven enemy combatants. Upon seeing this the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “He is from me; and I am from him.”[25]

We learn that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spoke these words in respect of more than one person. It is no doubt a great merit for those to whom the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said this; but it cannot possibly imply pre-eminence for leadership else many would have been vying for it on that basis.

 

The third narration

‘Abdul Hussain’s resourcefulness is rather endearing. He is correct in ascribing this narration, by means of Kanz al Ummal, to the sources which they are referenced to. He withholds the fact that these are not within the catchment area of reliable Ahadith, and are repositories of all sorts of narrations. The purpose of some of these books is to try and identify unfamiliar names appearing in the chains of obscure narrations.

Conveniently, ‘Abdul Hussain also hides the fact that the compiler of Kanz al Ummal, ‘Ali al Muttaqi, mentions this naration at three places in short succession, and not just two. ‘Abdul Hussain cites the narrations numbered 6029 and 6032 in Kanz al Ummal. However, if he turned back just one page[26] would have had to quote the common isnad for this narration:

Aslam ibn Fadl ibn Sahl – Hussain ibn Ubaid Allah al Abzazi – Ibrahim ibn Sa’id al Jawhari – al Ma’mun –al Rashid – al Mahdi – al Mansur – his father – ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas

This in addition to the fact that ‘Ali al Muttaqi concludes this citation saying, “Al Abzazi is a counfounded liar!”[27]

The problem does not end there. The narrators appearing in this chain are all ‘Abbasid Khalifah’s; not known for the transmission of Hadith. Their status as Hadith narrators is a complete mystery and they have not been documented as such.

The father of al Mansur is Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas. His father, ‘Ali, is known to have heard Hadith from his father, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, and to have narrated Hadith to some of his sons, ‘Isa, Dawood, Sulaiman, and ‘Abdul Samad.[28] There is no mention of Muhammad though.

Considering the fact that this chain comprises of a series of ‘Abbasid Khulafa’ whose status as Hadith narrators remains unknown, the possible interruption between Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdullah, the father of al Mansur, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas one would question the narration. However, the appearance of Hussain ibn ‘Ubaid Allah al Abzazi, a known forger and liar, confirms beyond doubt the baseless nature of this narration.

 

The fourth narration

‘Abdul Hussain made vague references to an ealier union of brotherhood between the companions; a matter which is largely contested among Sunni scholars, and rebounded to a narration by Zaid ibn Abi Awfa. However, he employed the sly tactic of splicing the narration and presenting only the part of which which suited his argument; completedly ignoring the rest of the narration.

This anomaly could either be a consequence of ignorance, or a deceitful omission. The fact that he referenced it to multiple sources, and considering that the entire narration being a thorn in his side, compels us to believe that this is a case of dishonesty and deceit rather than ignorance.

What does the narration speak about?

About Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu it says, “Your favours upon me can only be compensated by Allah. Where I to take a Khalil [other than Allah] it would have been you. Your status to me is like my clothing is to my body.”

With regards to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu it says, “You are the third of three who will be in my company in Jannat.”

The narration goes on to praise ‘Uthman, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Talhah, Zubair, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir among others radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Naturally, this information is counter-productive to the propaganda campaign of al Murajaat and was therefore omited

Whats more interesting is that this narration has corrrectly been ascribed to al Istiab of ibn ‘Abdul Barr in al Murajaat. However, it neglects to mention that he discredited this narration and declared it unreliable.[29] If anything, the objectivity of Sunni scholars is revealed here since it would suit them that such flowery mention is made of the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam senior companions who are all loved and revered by Sunnis; yet the Sunni scholars deem this narration unreliable.

The narration is found in numerous collections[30] although they eventually converge upon a common narrator and the rest of the chain is relatively the same; with the exception of an unnamed narrator who belongs to the tribe of Quraysh as some versions mention him whereas others omit him. Let us examine the chain of transmission with its common chain

Abdul Mu’min ibn AbbadYazid ibn ManAbdullah ibn Shurahbila man from Quraysh – Zaid ibn Abi Awfa

It would be best if we began from the Sahabi narrating this Hadith and work our way backwards,

  • Zaid ibn Abi Awfa

Al Bukhari said, “He was not corroborated,”[31] meaning that this was the only chain leading to Zaid ibn Abi Awfa. This is to be understood from another statement of his, “This is an unknown chain which is not supported in addition to the fact that it is not known whether some of them have heard from others [above them in the chain].”[32]

Ibn ‘Adi says:

 

Zaid ibn Abi Awfa is known only for this Hadith, on fraternal bonds, with this chain. All those who we have mentioned [in this book of ours] who were known to be Companions of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have only come under al Bukhari’s scrutiny because of the chain that leads to them; a chain which is unsupported and anomalous. It is not that he discredited the Companion to him the narration is described as they are beyond scrutiny.[33]

 

Considered carefully, the statement of Ibn ‘Adi above reveals that there is interuption in the chain along with the anonymity of some of the narrators. All of these are factors which discredit the narration.

  • A man from Quraysh

This addition appears in some versions of the narration and in others it is made to appear as if ‘Abdullah ibn Shurahbil heard it from Zaid directly. The approach of the Muhaddithin is to treat these two versions as conflicting, then to ascertain which version appears to be a more accurate account of how this narration was transmitted. The experts are inclined towards the version which includes the anonymous man from Quraysh as this not only comes with additional information, but ‘Abdullah ibn Shurahbil is known mainly to have narrated from ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Azhar. It is not entirely clear if he narrates from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.[34] These are the only two names among the Companions whom the early scholars have considered him to have narrated from. As such, it lends support to those who consider the correct version the one which includes the anonymous narrator from Quraysh.

  • Yazid ibn Ma’n

There are two main narrators who are known to narrate from ‘Abdullah ibn Shurahbil; ibn Shihab al Zuhri and Sa’d ibn Ibrahim.[35] There is no mention of Yazid ibn Ma’n. As a matter of fact we have not been able to find a biography from Yazid ibn Ma’n. this anonymity of this narrator raises further questions.

  • ‘Abdul Mu’min ibn ‘Abbad

Al Bukhari considers his narrations unsubstantiated and ibn Abi Hatim said that he is unreliable.[36] Ibn Hajar points out that al Saji and Ibn Jarud have both included him in their compilations of weak narrators.[37]

Also consider what the great experts of Hadith, Hafiz Shams al Din al Dhahabi and Hafiz Zayn al Din al ‘Iraqi, have said about the first bond of brotherhood. Al Dhahabi states that the correct version of events mentions only fraternal bonds between the Muhajirin and Ansar, not the Muhajirin among themselves. As a matter of fact, he considers this narration a complete forgery.[38] Haƒiz al ‘Iraqi was more softer in his tone. He said, “Whatever has been narrated about the bonds of brotherhood between the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is all weak; none of it is reliable.”[39]

‘Abdul Hussain is so cautious in his citations so that he cannot appear to have been dishonest. This trick would only have worked in a debate with an untrained individual. If any scholar were to examine his references he would be made out as a huge fraud.

He referenced his narration to Kanz al Ummal, vol 5 page 40, at the top of the page. If anyone bothered to check the reference they would find that in the very next narration ‘Ali al Muttaqi provided the complete chain for it; concluding that it is an unknown chain which is not supported, in addition to the fact that it is not known whether some of them have heard from others above them in the chain.[40]

 

The fifth narration

He mentioned the narration from Ibn ‘Abbas in al Tabarani.

This narration is found in both al Mujam al Kabir[41] and al Mujam al Awsat.[42] Both narrations are found with the same chain:

Mahmud ibn Muhammad al Marwazi – Hamid ibn Adam al Marwazi – Jarir – Layth – Mujahid – ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu

 

In this chain is Hamid ibn Adam al Marwazi. Ibn Ma’in said, “[He is] a confounded liar. Allah’s curse be upon him!” Ibn ‘Adi confirms that he was known to be a liar.[43]

This fact is not restricted to the earlier books. Later books, ones to which ‘Abdul Hussain had access, like Majma al Zawa’id[44] by al Haythami also point out the fact that Hamid ibn Adam al Marwazi was a liar.

 

The sixth narration

The narration of Jabir is found in history books and that is exactly where ‘Abdul Hussain found the narration; in the books of al Akhtab al Khawarizmi, a Shia historian and literateur. This fact has conveniently been excluded from the English translation; though it appears in the Arabic editions of al Murajaat.[45]

After pouring over a number of primary and secondary sources we discovered that this narration has been narrated exclusively by way of

Haram ibn Uthman – ‘Abdul Rahman and Muhammad the sons of Jabir – Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al Ansari

Under his biography al Dhahabi says:

 

Malik and Yahya both consider him unreliable

Ahmed said that they abandoned his narration [on suspicion of forgery]

Al Shafi’i said that narrating from Haram is Haram [forbidden]!

Ibn Hibban said that he adopted an extreme brand of Tashayyu’ and was known for mixing up his chains.

Yahya ibn Ma’in reciprocated the sentiments of al Shafi’i as did al Jawzajani

 

Al Dhahabi went on to cite this narration as a example of his baseless narrations.[46] Ibn Hajar concured with him in every detail.[47]

 

The seventh narration

This narration appears only in Yanabi al Mawaddah[48] of al Akhtab al Khawarizmi, the Shia about whom Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

 

Those who have the slightest knowledge regarding hadith, let alone one who is a specialist in this field, will be able to tell that his narrations are fabricated. Akhtab is neither a scholar of hadith, nor is he amongst those who are referred to regarding the subject.[49]

 

It is now clear that the bold claim of Hadith al Manzilah being mentioned at repeated intervals during the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime is based on nothing but forged and spurious narrations.

The only sound version of this Hadith is the one said at the time of Tabuk, and the context in which it was said to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is not only consistent with its text, but with the entire narrative of the Sirah as well.

 

NEXT⇒ Letter 33 and 34


[1] The translation has it as Umm Salim, which is either an academic error or a typographical error. Our inclination is to give the translator the benefit of the doubt despite certain inaccuraicies in the translation at many places.

[2] Muntakhab al Kanz vol. 1 pg. 9

[3] Al Du’afa al Kabir vol. 2 pg. 47

[4] Al Du’afa al Kabir vol. 2 pg. 48

[5] Al Kamil vol. 5 pg. 380

[6] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 2

[7] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 417

[8] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Sulh Hadith 2699; al Tirmidhi cites a sentence from it and alludes to the background story, Abwab al Manaqib, Hadith 3716

[9] Musnad Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 249, Hadith no. 931

[10] Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, pg. 87, editing by Ahmed al Balushi; al Sunan al Kubra, Dhikr Khasa’is Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib vol. 10 pg. 381 Dar al Ta’sil edition

[11] Musnad Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 160, Hadith no. 770

[12] Khasa’is ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, pg. 204, editing by Ahmed al Balushi; al Sunan al Kubra, Dhikr Khasa’is Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib vol. 10 pg. 466 Dar al Ta’sil edition

[13] Musnad Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 213, Hadith no. 857

[14] Al Mustadrak vol. 3 pg. 120. He declared this narration authentic and al Dhahabi concurs with his assesment.

[15] Al Bahr al Zakhkhar vol. 2 pg. 316, hadith 744

[16] Tabaqat ibn Sa’d vol. 4 pg. 36

[17] Al Ihsan fi Taqrib Sahih ibn Hibban vol. 15 pg. 520, Hadith 7046

[18] Al Sunan al Kubra vol. 8 pg. 6

[19] Musnad Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 241, Hadith no. 931

[20] Khasa’is ‘Ali pg. 87

[21] Tarikh Dimashq vol. 42 pg. 170

[22] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 438

[23] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 2 pg. 550

[24] Sahih al Bukhari, Kitab al Shirkah, Hadith no. 2483; Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al Sahabah, Hadith no. 2500

[25] Sahih Muslim, Fada’il al Sahabah, Hadith no. 2272

[26] Kanz al ‘Ummal vol. 6 pg. 394, Hadith 6015

[27] Ibid

[28] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ vol. 5 pg. 252

[29] Al Isti’ab vol. 2 pg. 537

[30] Fada’il al Sahabah by Imam Ahmed vol. 2 pg. 638 and 666, al Mujam al Kabir vol. 5 pg. 220 Hadith 5146, al Kamil vol. 4. 160, Ma’rifat al Sahabah vol. 3 pg. 1191, Tarikh Dimashq vol. 21 pg. 414 and vol. 42 pg. 51, al ‘Ilal al Mutanahiyah vol. 1 pg. 214

[31] Al Tarikh al Kabir vol. 3 pg. 386

[32] Al Tarikh al Saghir vol. 1 pg. 217

[33] Al Kamil fi Du’afa al Rijal vol. 4 pg. 164

[34] Al Tarikh al Kabir vol. 5 pg. 117, Al Jarh wal Ta’dil vol. 5 pg. 81

[35] Ibid

[36] Mizan al I’tidal vol.2 pg.670

[37] Lisan al Mizan vol. 5 pg.283

[38] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’ vol. 1 pg. 142-143

[39] Al Mughni fi Haml al Asfar, vol. 2 pg. 190

[40] Kanz al ‘Ummal vol. 5 pg. 41

[41] Al Mujam al Kabir vol. 11 pg. 75, Hadith 11092

[42] Al Mujam al Awsat vol. 8 pg. 39, Hadith 7894

[43] Al Kamil vol. 3 pg. 409

[44] Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 111

[45] See pg 144 of the Arabic edition published by Mu’assasat al Wafa’

[46] Mizan al I’tidal vol. 1 pg. 468-469

[47] Lisan al Mizan vol. 3 pg. 6

[48] pg 100

[49] Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 3 pg. 101