Saturday, May 17, 2008

'Weak' Hadeeth

Assalamu alaikum, below are the first part of my notes for Lesson 172 from the Book of Funerals
(al Tajrid al Sarih, The Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari). Hadeeth 656-658 were covered in this lesson which was delivered on on Friday 9th November 2007. Notes for Hadeeth 656 and 657 are below. Full lesson in MP3 format on the Al Kawthar podcast. Below you will also find a 10 minute video clip from this lesson.

باب: مَا يُكْرَهُ مِنَ النّيَاحَةِ عَلَى المَيّت

Chapter 17 - What (sort of) wailing over a deceased is disliked

Traditionally in Arab society at the time of news of bereavement, women would often wail, weep, pull their hair and physically harm themselves. These are all considered ‘wailing’ for the purpose of simplicity.

As discussed in the last dars, mourning and weeping is permissible. however, the type of mourning and wailing described above is forbidden.

656. عَنِ المُغِيرَةِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: (إِنّ كَذِبًا عَلَيّ لَيْسَ كَكَذِبٍ عَلَى أَحَدٍ, مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَيّ مُتَعَمّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النّارِ).

656. Narrated Al Mughira رضى الله عنه : I heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, Ascribing false things to me is not like ascribing false things to anyone else. Whosoever tells a lie against me intentionally then surely let him occupy his seat in Hellfire. Al Mughira added that he heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, The deceased who is wailed over is tortured for that wailing. (2:378O.B.)

Al Mughira narrates two separate hadeeth in this instance. The first part refers to lying about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) says lying about him is not like lying about anyone else. Although lying is haraam anyway e.g. claiming someone said something when they did not is haraam and is applicable for anyone and about anyone. This sentence in the hadeeth does not mean that lying about or to anyone other than the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is tolerable. However, lying about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is of a much greater degree of seriousness and hence the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) says that if someone lies about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then he should take his seat in the fire of hell. That is a warning and a threat to that individual.

If we claim that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said something and we know for certain that he didn’t or we have no knowledge that he did say such a statement, then this is haraam and of grave seriousness. Similarly, if we deny a hadeeth – we are rejecting a statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and this is also a grave sin. Many people agree that ascribing a false hadeeth to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is a grave sin, but at the same time denying a hadeeth is not thought to be a serious and grave sin.

The Shaykh narrated an incident of an Imam who narrated a du’a from the hadeeth as part of his Arabic khutbah and was accused of lying against the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) – the du’a included the words “Oh Allah, allow me to live as a misqeen and die as a misqeen, and raise me amongst the misqeen on the Day of Judgement”. Some people that were incensed by hearing this hadeeth were not scholars but were extremely angered and said ‘How can the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) have said that may Allah allow me to live and die as a poor person?”. The Shaykh mentioned that this is an authentic and saheeh hadeeth. The word ‘misqeen’ in this context doesn’t mean ‘poor’ in terms of wealth. Misqeen also means humble. This is the meaning of this particular hadeeth. Hence, one should be very careful before rejecting hadeeth. Just because certain ahadeeth and not to our liking or we feel uncomfortable with them, we shouldn’t simply reject them. People are very careful with verses of the Holy Qur’an but this is not the case with hadeeth. Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq said that a famous Arabic word that many non-Arabs know as well is ‘daeef’ i.e. weak and therefore any hadeeth that people do not like are instantly labelled as being daeef or fabricated.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه) has 27,000 hadeeth in his musnad whereas most of the other books have 3000 to 5000 hadeeth on average, and it is said about him that he had memorised one million hadeeth. By one million, it is meant the same hadeeth with different narrators. On one occasion, there was someone reciting Qur’an at a graveyard. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه) asked people to prevent him. Someone said to the Imam ‘What do you say about such and such a narrator?’ The Imam gave his approval. The person mentioned a few other narrators. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه) gave his approval to all these narrators and then the person narrated a hadeeth from these narrators which allowed a person to recite at the grave. SubhanAllah. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه) had not heard that hadeeth. Thus, the Shaykh stressed that we need to be very careful before rejecting a hadeeth just because it challenges our thoughts, beliefs or prejudices.

The Shaykh also gave an example of someone attributing something to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) which was false. A female novelist wrote an explicit novel and many people complained about it becomes it was considered to unbefitting a Muslim author. She was interviewed by a journalist and responded by saying ‘Why is there such reticence in the Muslim community? Look at Aisha – she was so explicit in her own speech. If Aisha can be so explicit and she was the mother of the believers then why can no else?’ She said ‘We should follow in the footsteps of Aisha about whom the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said take half of your knowledge from Aisha’. The journalist questioned whether this was a hadeeth. She claimed that the hadeeth was in Bukhari and Muslim and that just because men did not like certain hadeeth they denied them. Such a hadeeth is not in Bukhari or Muslim.

Both of these instances can be considered lying about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).

At the end of the lesson, Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq expanded on the meaning of a 'weak' hadeeth. Below is a video clip of this part of the dars:

The second part of the hadeeth was discussed in the last lesson – a person is only sinful if they gave instruction to people to wail after they passed away. When people ascribe statements to deceased which are untrue are also haraam e.g. when it is said ‘He was so brave’ etc even though it was known to be untrue.

باب: لَيْسَ مِنّا مَنْ ضَرَب الخُدُود

CHAPTER 18. 'He is not one of us who slaps his cheeks'

657. عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (لَيْسَ مِنّا مَنْ لَطَمَ الخُدُودَ, وَشَقّ الجُيُوبَ, وَدَعا بِدَعْوَى الجَاهِلِيّةِ). رواه البخاري: 1294

657. Narrated 'Abdullâh رضى الله عنه : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and calls to or follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance, is not from us. (2:382O.B.)

Arab women would slap their cheeks and tear their clothes from the top (near the collar) as part of their mourning and wailing. Also, they would scream and wail and say things that resembled things of jahiliya. The Prophet condemns all three things – they are all part of wailing which is haraam.

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