Do not favour between the Prophets

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Do not favour between the Prophets


لا تفضلوا بين الأنبياء

Do not favour between the Prophets.


لا تخيروا بين الأنبياء

Do not give preference between the Prophets.


This is favouring and giving preference and superiority based on prejudice or as Ibn Kathir states:


التفضيل بمجرد الآراء و العصبية و أن مقام التفضيل ليس إليكم

Giving superiority just on presumption or due to prejudice. The station of giving superiority is not your right.[1]


Hafiz suggested that tafdil (grading) should not be with regards to nubuwwah itself as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:


لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ

We make no distinction between any of His Messengers.[2]


He did not forbid declaring the superiority of some individuals over others as He subhanahu wa ta ‘ala Himself declares:


تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

Those Messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others.[3]


Or that tafdil takes place with all types of virtues or that it be based on division.[4]

I say: The context of the hadith supports this. It is admonishment for the one who became angry at the Jew’s statement:


والذي اصطفى موسى على البشر

By the Being who chose Musa over mankind.


He retorted saying:

والذي اصطفى محمدا على البشر

By the Being who chose Muhammad over mankind.


If tafdil is from this angle, then it is prohibited. However, if tafdil is according to the knowledge from the side of Allah, then it is not prohibited.

The text is explicit on not giving superiority over Sayyidina Musa ‘alayh al Salam. Coupled with this, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gives superiority to Musa ‘alayh al Salam over himself in a specific aspect, that is the Nabi’s doubt as to whether Sayyidina Musa ‘alayh al Salam was among those Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala excluded from the sa’q (unconsciousness) or not. As if he is saying, if this is established then he is superior to me in this aspect. When this is the case, it is not correct to understand the superiority of Sayyidina Musa ‘alayh al Salam over him unconditionally.

The summary of the views in this regard are:

  1. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made this statement prior to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informing him that he is the leader of the children of Adam ‘alayh al Salam. When Allah informed him of this, he made it known.
  2. The prohibition only applies to such tafdil which involves denigration of the lesser.
  3. The prohibition only applies to such tafdil which leads to argumentation and fitnah like in the incident of the Jew.
  4. The prohibition applies to tafdil in nubuwwah itself. Superiority or virtue only takes place with those specialities which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has mentioned of the Prophets.[5]


Next⇒ Do not give me preference over Yunus ibn Matta

[1] Tafsir Ibn Kathir vol. 1 pg. 305.

[2] Surah al Baqarah: 285.

[3] Ibid: 253.

[4] Fath al Bari vol. 6 pg. 446.

[5] Sharh Sahih Muslim vol. 15 pg. 36.

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