Saturday, February 26, 2011

I have found the promise of my Lord to be true

Assalamu alaikum, today's post is the second part of my notes from Lesson 182 of the Commentary of al Tajrid al Sarih (Book of Funerals, The Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari) which was delivered by our respected teacher Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 1st February 2008. In this lesson, we studied ahadeeth 688-693. The notes below are for hadeeth 689 and 690.

---

689. عَن ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ: اطّلَعَ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَى أَهْلِ الْقَلِيبِ, فَقَالَ: (وَجَدْتُمْ ما وَعَدَ رَبّكُمْ حَقّا). فَقِيلَ لَهُ: أَتَدْعُو أَمْواتًا فَقَالَ: (ما أَنْتُمْ بِأَسْمَعَ مِنْهُمْ, وَلكِنْ لاَ يُجِيبُونَ). رواه البخاري: 1370



689. Narrated Ibn 'Umar رضى الله عنهما : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم looked at the dead people of the well (the well in which there were the bodies of those pagans killed during the battle of Badr) and said, Have you found true what your Lord promised you? Somebody said to him, You are addressing dead people. He replied, You do not hear better than they but they cannot reply. (2:452O.B.)

The refers to an incident that happened after the battle of Badr when 313 sahabah fought an army of around 1000 Quraish in which many of the chieftains of the Quraish fell. After the battle, many others were taken captive as prisoners. Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stayed in the vicinity of Badr for three days. The bodies of the fallen Quraish remained there. After three days, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم came back to the battlefield and ordered the bodies of 24 of the chieftains of the Quraish whose bodies remained there to be placed in a well that was there. This does not refer to a built, raised well as we normally think of. It was an open well which hadn’t been built up – there was a natural well at Badr which was the reason why the Muslims had camped there in the first place. Those Quraish whose bodies were placed in that well became known as ‘People of the Well’. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم looked over them and addressed them - from other narrations we learn that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم addressed each one e.g. ‘Oh Abu Jahl’ and so on. He mentioned each of them by name and said ‘I have found the promise of my Lord to be true’ i.e. he shall give me victory over you. These are actually words of the Qur’an when the people of Jannah shall call out to the people of Jahanam ‘وَجَدْتُمْ ما وَعَدَ رَبّكُمْ حَقّا’. (‘We have discovered the promise of our Lord to be true. Have you discovered the promise of your Lord to be true?’). So, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used the same words to address the chieftains of the Quriash who were dead ‘I have found the promise of my Lord to be true. Have you found the promise of your Lord to be true?’ The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم meant that you will be punished in your graves – have you discovered the punishment of your Lord to be true in the graves?
We learn from other narrations (such as that of Imam Muslim) that the person that spoke to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was Sayyiduna Umar ibn Khattab رضى الله عنه who said ‘Oh Prophet of Allah, Do you call out to the dead? They cannot hear you’. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said ‘You cannot hear any more than they can but they do not answer’. Now, there are some issues of discussion here. The first is a discussion about the punishment of the grave and second is whether the dead can hear.

The respected Shaykh discussed the second topic first – can the dead hear e.g. what is happening in their surroundings. This is a classical theological discussion and there was even a difference amongst the sahabah. Some people believe that Umm ul Mumineen Aisha رضى الله عنها was of the opinion that the dead could not hear but the others believed that the dead could hear. This comes about because of the next hadeeth.

690. عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ: إِنّمَا قَالَ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (إِنّهُمْ لَيَعْلَمُونَ الاَن أَنّ ما كنْتُ أَقُولُ حَقّ). وَقَدْ قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: (إِنّكَ لاَ تُسْمِعُ المَوْتَى). رواه البخاري: 1371


690. Narrated A'isha رضى الله عنها : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, They (the Quraish pagans killed during the battle of Badr) now realise that what I used to tell them was the truth. And Allâh تعالى said, 'Verily! You cannot make the dead to hear (i.e. benefit them, and similarly the disbelievers) nor can you make the deaf hear. (V.27:80). (2:453O.B.)


This hadeeth is actually related to the previous subject matter. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar رضى الله عنه narrates the incident that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stood over the people of the well and addressed them. Actually, Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar رضى الله عنه was not actually present at the battle of Badr as he was too young. Other sahabah also relate this hadeeth even though they were also not present. When Umm ul Mumineen Aisha رضى الله عنها heard that certain companions were narrating this hadeeth actually she did not accept their narrations. For a certain time she was of the opinion that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم only said ‘They know now that what I used to say is the truth’. She accepted that they came to know of Allah’s promise but did not accept that they could actually hear the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Also, it has been attributed to the scholars of the Hanafi fiqh that they say that the dead cannot hear. That ascription to the Hanafi scholars is not entirely correct. The Hanafi scholars do not believe that the dead cannot hear at all. Some of them draw the distinction that the dead can hear when Allah allows them to hear but not all of the time.

The reason why Umm ul Mumineen Aisha رضى الله عنها believed this only for a certain time as Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal narrates a hadeeth where Umm ul Mumineen Aisha رضى الله عنها says the same as Abdullah ibn Umar رضى الله عنه (hadeeth 688). Thus, this suggests that she retracted her earlier view and accepted what the other companions said. On many occasions, her opinions differed from those of the sahabah. The ulama of Islam whilst respecting her did not always accept her verdicts. They would say that whatever her understanding was, with all due respect to Umm ul Mumineen Aisha رضى الله عنها, she was not present on many occasions when the other senior companions were.

Many ulama believe that the dead can hear as there are clear, categorical hadeeth that state the dead can hear such as the ones we have covered. There are other hadith, for example, Imam ibn Abdul Barr relates a sahih hadeeth that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said ‘Whenever someone passes by the grave of a believer that they used to know in the dunya and they say ‘Assalamu alaikum’, Allah returns the spirit (ruh) to the deceased, and he hears the salaam and he actually responds by saying ‘Walaikum salaam’.

2 comments:

Umar Saeed said...

We all should do good deeds and be ready for the questioning in the grave. Thanks for sharing the valuable information

junaid said...

Great article! I just got immersed reading it. I appreciate your hard work in sharing great prophetic sayings referenced to the works of early Imams. Thanks for sharing.