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Incongruous Traditions (With Muslims Knowing not Which to Adopt)

Al-Bukhari reported from Imran ibn Husayn, that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: The best of my Ummah being my offspring, and then their descendants and after them the descendants of their descendants. Imran said: I know not whether he has mentioned after his progeny two or three descents... then after you there will come people who give witness but won't be summoned to witness, betray and won't be trusted, and give warning but never fulfil (their promise), with fatness afflicting them.

Abd Allah reported that the Prophet said: "The best of my Ummah are my household, and after them their descendants, and they will be succeeded by people whose testimony precedes their oath, and oath their testimony.

Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani is reported to have said : About the characteristic of the Prophet (S) we can refer to his saying: I have been delegated to the best descent of the children of Adam. In another narration by Buraydah, as reported by Ahmad: The best of this Ummah being the folk to whom I was delegated. It was known later on that there was about a hundred and twenty years separating between the Bi'thah and the last of Companions, with a little difference in regard of the decease date of Abu al-Tufayl. And when counting it from the post-demise of the prophet, it would be one hundred, or ninety or ninety-seven years!

Concerning the generation of the Followers, if it be considered from the year 100 H, it would be seventy or eighty years, till he said: It was unanimously concurred that last among the followers of followers approving his utterance, one who lived for two hundred and twenty years. At that time heresies spread so extensively, with the Mu'tazilah finding good chance to say their word, and the philosophers pridely keeping their heads up! and men of knowledge were tested so as to believe in the invention of the Qur'an! with the conditions and circumstances being subject to so many changes.457 This matter continued to be deficient till the present time, with the circulation of the Prophet's words: "Then falsity will prevail so manifestly and explicitly,458 till including all the sayings and acts and tenets, and Allah is the only One from Whom help is sought!

This hadith required that the Companions being superior to the Tabi'un and the latters in turn being better than the followers of Tabi'un. Ibn Abd al-Barr argued with the hadith : "The parable of my Ummah is like that of rain, the good of which is not known to lie in its beginning or end.459 It is a good (hasan) hadith, with several chains, that may amount to degree of veracity.

Ibn Abi Shaybah reported from Abd al-Rahman ibn Jabr, that the Messenger of Allah said: Jesus Christ will verily come up with folks who are like you or better than you — repeating these words thrice. Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, reported a hadith related by Abu Tha'labah, as the Prophet used to say: There are some days in which for that who strives on God's way there will be a reward of fifty men. Then it was said to him: Are these fifty from among them or among us O Messenger of Allah? He replied: Rather, they are from among you. This is a confirmation for the hadith "The parable of my Ummah is that of rain." Ahmad, al-Darimi and al-Tabarrani reported hadith of Abu Jumu'ah as saying: Abu Ubaydah said: O Messenger of Allah, is there anyone superior to us?! We have embraced Islam with you, and contended in war with you! He said: "You will be succeeded by a people who believe in me without sighting me. This hadith was of good isnad (chain of transmitters), and confirmed by al-Hakim.

What we conceive from speech of Ibn Abd al-Barr, is that among those coming after the Companions there will be people superior to some of the Companions, as expressed by al-Qurtubi. But verily Ibn Abd al-Barr never meant all the Sahabah in these words, as he excepted those who took part in the Battle of Badr and (Treaty of) al-Hudaybiyyah. About this matter, Ibn Hajar has a detailed comment, to which any one can refer.

It is known for all how many exorbitant misfortunes afflicted the Prophet's Household, among which we can refer to the fitnah (sedition — turmoil) that erupted after murder of Uthman, beside the calamities it caused for Muslims, and the Umayyads' measures and intrigues to undermine the principle of shura in Islam! Here is not the place to state all the ordeals experienced by the Progeny of the Prophet, that were recorded in history books.

Therefore, we prefer that the correct hadith which agrees with the spirit of the Muhammadan Message being: "The parable of my Ummah is like that of rain, the good of which is unknown to lie in its beginning or end."

There are many other incongruous traditions of which books can be compiled.


457. Fath al-Bari, vol. VII, p.7 and following pages.

458. It seems that falsity hs not spread but only in the 3rd century.

459. This hadith is reported by al-Tirmidhi, Abu Ya'la and al-Daraqunti from Anas with a chain of transmitters. It is also reported by al-Khatib from Malik in al-Ruwat, beside al-Hasan al-Qattan in al-'Ilal. It is further reported by al-Tabarrani with other words. The parable of my Ummah is that of rain, which Allah mmakes good in its beginning and in its end. Al-Bazzaz also reported it with a good chain form Imran ibn Husayn (who is the narrator of the first hadith).

Adapted from: "Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah" by: "Mahmud Ali Riyyah"

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