1. God’s bounty through the Prophet’s mediationAllah says:
We help everyone, those (who desire the world) and those (who desire the Hereafter). (O honoured friend! All this is) the bounty from your Lord, and the bounty of your Lord is not closed (to anyone).The choice of the pronoun in this Qur'anic verse is quite significant. The verse is not phrased as “all this is the bounty from their Lord,” but, on the other hand, it is phrased as “all this is the bounty from your Lord.” There is no doubt that the bounty is from the Lord, but the collocation “your Lord” shifts the focus of attention from the Lord to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), from the Creator to the creature. That is, by the prefixation of the pronoun “your” to the Lord, Allah has deliberately and pointedly elevated the stature of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) above all other creatures.
It means that whatever a creature acquires in this world, he acquires it through the means of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), and the process of acquisition is unending, i.e., the creature will continue to acquire it as long as he is alive, but it will be invariably filtered through the person of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). The devolution of power here is unmistakable. God is devolving the divine power to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) by making it explicit that divine recognition is contingent on the Prophet’s recognition.
The first part of the Qur'anic verse delineates the divine system. In this system, it is the Lord who freely bestows bounties on everyone and helps each one of His creatures. The second part is in the form of a declaration: O beloved Prophet, whatever a person receives in this world, whatever bounty is bestowed on him and whatever he is blessed with, is the blessing of your Lord.
Here the normal expectations are not fulfilled which would have preferred the phrase ‘atā’i rabbihim (the bounty of their Lord) in place of ‘atā’i rabbika (the bounty of your Lord) because the general addressee of the verse is mankind, and not any specific person. God is telling human beings, in unambiguous terms, that their achievements are not the result of personal effort but they are the blessings from the Lord. But the Qur'anic verse reverses the normal order of expectation. God is consciously trying to impress upon the people that whatever is bestowed upon them, and whatever they have acquired, is the bounty from the beloved’s Lord, and they have received all these bounties through the beloved’s means. The reason that God is being so explicit is that these people may not entertain any illusions about their personal accomplishment because their achievements are not the outcome of their personal struggle but they have received all this through the instrumentality of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
Here the question arises about the nature of His Lordship. Is He not the Lord of all those He is helping? He is their Lord also and that is why He helps them. If He had not been their Lord, He would never have declared, “We help everyone.” If He is their Sustainer also, then why did He, in this context, particularly declare, “All this is the bounty from your Lord?”
The answer is that He intends to impress upon the believers the extraordinary status of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He means to bring home to them the fact that, though all blessings emanate from Him, these are doled out to them as blessings of Allah’s beloved (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). So this verse is communicating to them the exceptional stature of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in the current idiom:
“Whether you believe it or not, we believe.”
“Whatever God gives, He gives it by virtue of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).”This is our faith and this faith is based on truth and certitude. Besides, the word rabbika (your Lord) is also unravelling the fact that the beloved of the Lord is as unique as the Lord Himself. Just as there is only one Lord, similarly there is only one beloved, and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is the unique beloved. His status among the creatures is unique because he is the practical manifestation of all the divine attributes and the universe is a concrete illustration of all these qualities. That is why he makes it clear that all these bounties are the bounties from your Lord.
A similitudeOne could cite the example of a person who comes from outside and brings a gift for his son as well as gifts for his son’s friends and there is no break in the continuity of the process, i.e. whenever he brings a gift for his own son, he also brings gifts for the friends of his son. With the passage of time, the friends may entertain the illusion that the gifts are a matter of their right and they have earned this right by virtue of their own sense of accomplishment. If this happens, and they begin to ignore the actual reason for the arrival of these gifts, the father assembles his son’s friends and tells them there is no doubt that I give these gifts to you, but you should keep in mind that I give these gifts to you because you are my son’s friends. If you wish the process to continue, then you should keep up this link. If you break the link, and you come to me directly by snapping the link, then this process of receiving gifts will also come to an end.
The point that Allah is making explicit here is that though all help and all assistance emanate from Me, yet the first centre and focus of My help and assistance is My beloved. Therefore, whatever I confer on you, O people, I confer it as the Lord of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Therefore, you should keep it in mind that each bounty is bestowed on you from the Lord of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). If you wish the process to continue, then you should hold firmly on to him, keep in touch with this centre and never snap your link with it. If the link continues, the chain of My bounties will also continue, but the day the link is broken, the chain of bounties will automatically come to a stop. Then you will drift from door to door and roam about aimlessly but your entire struggle will prove futile. So get it into your head that I bestow My bounties on you but I bestow them as the Lord of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). God is making it clear that though the bounties come from Allah, their centre of distribution is undoubtedly the blessed person of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
All kinds of bounty are fleshed out through the means of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Without his means, they remain hollow as skeletons, mere frames of lifeless bones. O believers, make a note of it that the Lord’s bounty is directly related to Prophethood. It is inconceivable without coordination through the Messengership. If you wish the bounty to increase, you should increasingly reinforce the link as the greater the link, the more abundant are the bounties. If you move closer to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), you move closer to the Lord’s bounties, and if you move away from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), you in fact move away from the bounties of the Lord. So make the link stronger and stronger to ensure an uninterrupted flow of the bounties.
A close reading of the Qur'anic verse also reveals the subtle point that Allah is forging a direct linkage between His Providence and Prophethood. Here it should be noted that God does not depend on linkages and connections. He is absolutely Independent but, in spite of His independence, He is introducing His Providence through His relationship with Prophethood. The rationale of the divine scheme is that the creatures should have faith in His Providence but this faith, instead of finding a direct expression, should be mediated through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), i.e., they should believe in Him as the Lord of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) because the only way to seek divine proximity is through the person of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). All other means are inadequate and misleading.
Expression of Providence through ProphethoodAt different places in the Holy Qur'an, Allah has expressed His Providence in terms of relationship with Prophethood i.e., He has linked Himself with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He says:
So (O beloved!) By your Lord! These people cannot be Muslims unless they make you judge in every dispute between them.Here the Lord is endorsing the authenticity of His own Providence through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). The expression wa rabbika (By your Lord!) is deliberately used to stress a subtle point: I am everybody’s Lord but the pleasure I draw from being your Lord is exceptional; it does not accrue from being the Lord of others. Here Allah is stressing His Own uniqueness as the Creator and also the uniqueness of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as His creature.
If we cast a glance at the blessings enjoyed by the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), we at once come to realize that all these blessings owed their origin to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). God especially blessed the Companions because they had the closest link with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Without this link, they would have led ordinary lives. All these bounties were in fact a visible expression of min ‘atā’i rabbika (the bounty from your Lord).
Now if we pause to reflect that since fourteen hundred years have passed and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is no longer among us in manifest form, therefore, can we still receive the same blessings on account of our close association with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)? Since Allah is Omniscient and nothing is unknown to Him, He knows even before an idea germinates in our consciousness. On account of the perfection and ubiquity of His knowledge He has known all along all the questions human beings might raise. Therefore, He has a pre-packaged answer for us. He is warning the people who lived in the earlier times as well as those who followed them and the others who are living in the present times when the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is no longer among us, and therefore, they may entertain their association with him. Allah’s warning applies not only to the present generations of Muslims but to all the future generations who will populate the earth till the arrival of the Day of Judgement that:
The bounties of your Lord are not closed (to anyone).As the older generations received the bounties of your Lord, the future generations will also continue to benefit from His favours and this process will last till the Day of Judgement. The past generations deserved their blessings on account of their nexus with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the future generation will also deserve them on account of a similar association. The rainfall of Allah’s bounties on these people is made certain by their bond of love and reverence with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). So Allah’s bounties do not depend on the exigencies of time and space. The only precondition for their emergence is our sincere and passionate association with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
Today, if we wish to light up the candle of faith, retrieve the lost taste of belief, reinforce our link with the Creator and attain the blessings of the Lord, the path we should follow has already been chalked out for us, and this is the path of those who were rewarded by Allah because they had a close link with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). If we who live in this world of sham and pretence develop the same association with him, the candle of our faith will continue to burn with an increasingly brighter radiance.
The Qur'anic verse is also unfolding the fact that the centre of faith is our link with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the bounties of Allah revolve around this centre. It means that our relationship with Allah is based on our relationship with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). If we wish to strengthen our relationship with God, we should first of all strengthen and shore up our relationship with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) because this is the only authentic and reliable foundation on which the superstructure of our relationship with God can be adequately raised.
The repetition of the expression ‘atā’i rabbika is not only a reflection of His bounties but also an indication of the factors which have prompted the flow of these bounties. And He is telling the people in categorical terms: listen, O people! There is no doubt that it is my bounty whether it is in the form of the wealth of faith, the wealth of action, the wealth of sincerity or the wealth of close proximity to divine presence but it all flows through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). It means that our access to all the coveted virtues is routed through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Therefore, his pleasure is a precondition for the ultimate acceptance of our wishes because divine acknowledgement presupposes the Prophet’s acknowledgement.
This verse also posits a direct relationship between divine unity and Messengership. It clearly implies that man’s relationship with God is strengthened only when he forges a stronger bond of love and sincerity with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). It also tends to dissolve the distinction between relationship with Allah and relationship with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as both types of relationship intermingle. If a sincere and passionate link is established with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), this will automatically ensure a similar link with the ultimate divine authority. This basic link is vital for the true spiritual development of a human being as without it he will remain emotionally drained and spiritually stunted. The way to Allah is in fact the way through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). When this realization dawns on a believer, he experiences the climax of his status as a creature.
There is no doubt that the personage of the Lord and the personage of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) are poles apart because the Lord is the Creator and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is the creature. But the Qur'an has qualified this difference in a highly sophisticated manner. Though the Creator and the creature are two different entities, this difference is merged as far as the issue of the distribution of bounties is concerned; though there is a difference of entity, there is no difference of affinity; though there is a difference of entity, there is no difference of proximity; though there is a difference of entity, there is no difference of loyalty.
2. Forgiveness through the means of the holy Prophet (SAW)Allah has honoured the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) with the highest status among His creatures. Intermediation through his person was valid during his earthly existence and it is equally valid after his death. The two phases of his existence do not modify in any sense the quality of intermediation through him and there is no legal and rational argument that militates against the validity of intermediation through him after his death. When we consider it valid to beseech divine help through the means of our good deeds, then how can we say that to seek help through the means of the Prophet’s person is an invalid act? To consider it invalid is highly perverse because our own good deeds, which we regard as valid, are in fact practical illustrations of the Prophet’s sayings. The motivating factor, therefore, is the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself. Thus our practice derives from the practice of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). When intermediation is valid through other persons, how could it be declared invalid through the means of a person who is the chief motivating force behind this practice. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is the most exalted person among all the creatures and it is through him alone that we have received the guidance to do good deeds.
We should not also brush aside the fact that the correct belief does not elevate the intermediaries to the level of Allah’s partners. They essentially remain His creatures, and it is in fact a deep realization of their creaturely status that has prompted the Creator to raise them to the superlative degree of excellence among His creatures. Therefore, how can those, who claim to be the humble servants of the Lord, ever aspire to be His partners or rivals? Thus they are neither Allah’s partners nor His equals. The deeds serve only as means while Allah is the only authority Who has the exclusive prerogative to either accept or reject the source through which His favour is being solicited. Allah has no rival or partner. He is unique in every respect, both in terms of His personality and the attributes that define His personality. No prophet or saint, dead or alive can be His partner because He Alone has the power to grant or turn down our petitions. Thus in all forms of intermediation, the intermediary himself acts as a humble servant of the Lord and he relies on the divine mercy as much as the petitioner does. In no sense whatsoever he treats himself as His equal. As a matter of fact, his own status as an intermediary owes to the divine favour. Though He directly receives the prayers and petitions of His creatures and grants them without any means, the presence of means expedite the hope of their acceptance. Therefore, these saintly people are relied upon to implore His help and favour, presuming that Allah responds more sensitively and quickly to prayers through His own favourites and grants these prayers instantaneously and relieves us of our troubles. Allah says:
(O beloved!) And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they (on the basis of this means and intercession) would have surely found Allah the Granter of repentance, extremely Merciful.To restrict the efficacy and operational range of this verse to the earthly existence of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), as some people believe, is to indulge in exegetical misapplication and reflects their unawareness and lack of understanding. Both the exegetes and the traditionists consider intermediation through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as a valid act whether it was done through his earthly existence or after his death.
Ibn Kathīr comments on the Qur'anic verse:
(In this Qur'anic verse) Allah is exhorting the sinners and evildoers that when they commit sins and errors they should call on the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and ask forgiveness from Allah. They should also request the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to pray for them. When they do so, Allah will turn to them and forgive them and He will show mercy to them. That is why He used the words la-wajadullāha tawwāban-rahīmā (they (on the basis of this means and intercession) would have surely found Allah the Granter of repentance, extremely Merciful). Many have stated this tradition. One of them is Abū Mansūr Sabbāgh who writes in his book al-Hikāyāt-ul-mashhūrah that, according to ‘Utbī, once he was sitting beside the Prophet’s grave when a bedouin came and he said, “Peace be on you, O Allah’s Messenger. I have heard that Allah says: ‘(O beloved!) And if they had come to you, when they had wronged their souls, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also had asked forgiveness for them, they (on the basis of this means and intercession) would have surely found Allah the Granter of repentance, extremely Merciful.’ I have come to you, asking forgiveness for my sins and I make you as my intermediary before my Lord and I have come to you for this purpose.” Then he recited these verses: “O, the most exalted among the buried people who improved the worth of the plains and the hillocks! May I sacrifice my life for this grave which is made radiant by you, (the Prophet,) the one who is (an embodiment) of mercy and forgiveness.” Then the bedouin went away and I fell asleep. In my dream I saw the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He said to me: O ‘Utbī, the bedouin is right, go and give him the good news that Allah has forgiven his sins.We come to learn from the words jā’ūka fastaghfarullāha of the Qur'anic verse that sinners and wrong-doers should ask forgiveness from Allah through the means of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) while the words wastaghfara lahum-ur-rasūlu furnish a proof of his intercession. In lawajadullāha tawwāban-rahīmā the proof of intermediation is embedded in a precondition: seek forgiveness through the means of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and it is clear when the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) asked forgiveness for his follower, the act of intermediation turned into an act of intercession and through intercession the grant of forgiveness itself becomes a means of forgiveness.
Some people treat means and intercession as two different things. Therefore, it should be noted that when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is elevated to the office of intercession, he can claim it as his right while this very act serves as a means in favour of his follower.
The happening of the bedouin has been recorded by the following:
- Bayhaqī in Shu‘ab-ul-īmān (3:495-6#4178).
- Ibn Qudāmah in al-Mughnī (3:557).
- Nawawī in al-Adhkār (pp. 92-3).
- Ibn ‘Asākir in Tahdhīb tārīkh Dimashq al-kabīr popularly known as Tārīkh/Tahdhīb Ibn ‘Asākir as quoted by Subkī in Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (pp. 46-7).
- Ibn Hajar Haythamī in al-Jawhar-ul-munazzam (p. 51).
In addition, Imam Qurtubī in his famous exegesis al-Jāmi‘ li-ahkām-il-Qur'an (5:265-6) has related another happening similar to ‘Utbī’s tradition. He says:
“Abū Sādiq has reported it from ‘Alī. A villager came to see us three days after the burial of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). He placed himself near the Prophet’s grave, sprinkled its earth over his body and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you said and we have heard it from you. You received commands from Allah and we received commands from you, and one of these divine commands is wa law annahum idh zalamū anfusahum. It is true that I have wronged myself, therefore, you should pray for my forgiveness.’ (In response to the villager’s act of imploring) he was called out from the grave: ‘there is no doubt that you have been forgiven.’”
Faith-boosting review by Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-MālikīMuhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī has reproduced these two occurrences in his book Mafāhīm yajib an tusahhah (pp.157-8) and then offered a sizzling review which is quite relevant to our context. He writes, “This episode has been reproduced by Imam Nawawī in the sixth chapter of his famous book al-Īdāh, Abū al-Farj bin Qudāmah in his book ash-Sharh-ul-kabīr and Mansūr bin Yūnus al-Buhūtī in his book Kashshāf-ul-qinā‘ which is a popular book in Hambalī school of thought.”
Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī expresses in his review an ambivalent attitude towards the tradition as he cannot positively certify its authenticity, but in spite of its lack of certainty, most of the traditionists have relied on its credibility. We may only ask if these heavy weights (traditionists and exegetes) have reproduced disbelief and infidelity, or they have reproduced something that tempts people towards idolatry or worship of the graves? If (may God forbid) this happens, then it would become almost impossible to sort out the genuine books from the spurious ones, leading to unmanageable chaos and confusion.
3. Intermediation through the Prophet’s request for forgiveness after his deathThe Prophet’s statement has quashed all doubts and suspicions and acts as a reassurance to all believers that the Prophet’s prayer for forgiveness in favour of his followers is as valid after his death as it was valid before his death. It is a continuous process and will continue to remain in operation till the Day of Judgement.
It is attributed to ‘Abdullāh bin Mas‘ūd that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is reported to have said:
My life is blissful for you because you hear traditions from people and relate them to others and my death is also blissful for you because your deeds will be presented to me. If I see the virtues prevail, I will be grateful to Allah, and if I see the vices prevail, I will pray for your forgiveness from Allah.
4. Descension of rain through the Prophet’s meansImam Dārimī relates from Abū al-Jawzā’ Aws bin ‘Abdullāh:
The people of Medina were in the grip of a severe famine. They complained to ‘Ā’ishah (about their terrible condition). She told them to go towards the Prophet’s grave and open a window in the direction of the sky so that there is no curtain between the sky and the grave. The narrator says they did so. Then it started raining heavily; even the lush green grass sprang up (everywhere) and the camels had grown so fat (it seemed) they would burst out due to the over piling of blubber. So the year was named as the year of greenery and plenty.The famine gripping the people of Medina ended through the mediation of the Prophet’s grave. Heavy rains created a spring scenario all around. Men found their food and the animals found their fodder. And the rain that came about as a result of the Prophet’s mediation made the lands of Medina greener and more fertile and on account of over-harvesting, they named the year as the year of greenery and plenty.
Those who deny the conceptual relevance of intermediation have raised some objections against this tradition. One of the objections is that its chain of transmission is weak and so it cannot be offered as an argument.
The chain of transmission of this tradition is as follows:
“Abū an-Nu‘mān heard it from Sa‘īd bin Zayd, he from ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī and he from Abū al-Jawzā’ Aws bin ‘Abdullāh who has reported it.”Below are given the allegations levelled against these narrators and a rebuttal of these baseless charges:
- The name of Abū an-Nu‘mān ‘Ārim was Muhammad bin al-Fadl Sadūsī. They agree that he was a reliable reporter of traditions as is confirmed by Dhahabī in Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (4:7): “He was Imam Bukhārī’s teacher, memorizer of traditions and an extremely truthful person.” But their objection is that he had lost his marbles in the declining years of his age. Burhān-ud-Dīn Halabī, who possessed great knowledge of traditions, comments in his book al-Muqaddimah on this reporter along with others who had lost their memory in the closing years of their lives: “The ruling on these narrators is that the traditions reported by them before their loss of memory are acceptable, while the traditions after their deranged conditions are unacceptable. And if we do not know whether these traditions were received from them before or after their memory lapse, we should not accept these traditions from them either.” The objectors say that since we do not know whether Abū an-Nu‘mān has narrated this tradition before or after his loss of memory, we cannot adduce the tradition as evidence.
This objection not only lacks significance but also lacks credibility. Their objection is logically inconsistent. While they discard this tradition as weak, because it is the product of his loss of memory, they ignore other traditions though they are also the products of the same state of mind. Dhahabī says: ‘Imam Dāraqutnī comments, “Though he had lost his memory towards the end of his life, he never reported any tradition in this condition that could affect his veracity, therefore, he remains a truthful narrator.’ I insist that it is a report by that contemporary memorizer of traditions who is only matched by Imam Nasā’ī.” Ibn Hibbān is of the opinion that there are many incompatibilities in Abū an-Nu‘mān’s narrations after his loss of memory but Dhahabī rejects this opinion by asserting that Ibn Hibbān has failed to produce a single fact that establishes him as a misreporter of traditions. And the real position is the one that has been endorsed by Imam Dāraqutnī.
‘Irāqī has admitted in at-Taqyīd wal-īdāh that Imam Dhahabī has convincingly rebutted Ibn Hibbān’s statement. Dhahabī has explained it in al-Kāshif (3:79) that the change took place before death, but after the change he had not related any tradition.
Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī writes in Taqrīb-ut-tahdhīb (2:200) that Abū an-Nu‘mān was a sound narrator and the change came about in his last years.
Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī writes, “Abū an-Nu‘mān’s mental debility is neither damaging for him nor does it affect his credibility as a narrator because Imam Bukhārī in his as-Sahīh has taken more than one hundred traditions from him and has not taken a single tradition from him after his loss of memory as is stated by Imam Dāraqutnī.”
Besides Imam Bukhārī, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī and Abū ‘Alī Muhammad bin Khālid Zarīqī have also heard traditions from Abū an-Nu‘mān before his mental confusion set in.
Imam Dārimī is one of the well-reputed teachers of Imam Bukhārī and other famous memorizers of traditions. Therefore, it was impossible for him to accept any tradition from Abū an-Nu‘mān after he had suffered a loss of memory.
- An objection is raised against Sa‘īd bin Zayd Abū al-Hasan Basrī, brother of Hammād bin Zayd, that he is somewhat weak because Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī has written about him in Taqrīb-ut-tahdhīb (1:296), “That is, he is extremely truthful but sometimes he commits an error.” Dhahabī writes in Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (2:138), “Yahyā bin Sa‘īd has called him weak, Sa‘dī says that he is not an argument and his traditions are weak and Nasā’ī etc., are of the opinion that he is not sound.”
The objections of those, who deny the validity of intermediation, are not only partial as they base them exclusively on these statements and references, but they are also based on porejudice as their arguments are not logical because they are tailored to their preconceptions. A detailed refutation of their groundless objections is presented as follows:
Dhahabī negates it in al-Kāshif (1:286). He says that the decrepitude attributed to Sa‘īd bin Zayd is incorrect because Imam Muslim accepted traditions from him and Ibn Ma‘īn has called him authentic and trustworthy.
Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī has described it in detail in Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (4:32-3):
“Imam Bukhārī said that Muslim bin Ibrāhīm reported to us that Sa‘īd bin Zayd Abū al-Hasan is extremely truthful and knows the traditions by heart.
“Dūrī has reported it from Ibn Ma‘īn that Sa‘īd bin Zayd is a trustworthy narrator.
“Ibn Sa‘d has also called him a reliable narrator.
“‘Ujlī comments that he belongs to Basrah and he is a dependable relater of traditions.
“Abū Zur‘ah said he heard it from Sulaymān bin Harb that Sa‘īd bin Zayd is trustworthy.
“Abū Ja‘far Dārimī said: Hibbān bin Hilāl reported to us that Sa‘īd bin Zayd has related to us that tradition and he is truthful and a preserver of traditions.
“Ibn ‘Adī has stated in al-Kāmil (3:1212-5) that Sa‘īd bin Zayd is truthful and he knows the traditions by heart. He has not related any inauthentic tradition except that someone else relates it and to me he happens to be among the (truthful) narrators.”
The famous compiler and exegete of traditions ‘Abdullāh bin Muhammad bin Siddīq al-Ghumārī from Morocco writes in his book Irghām-ul-mubtadī al-ghabī bi-jawāz-it-tawassul bi an-nabī writes: “Imam Ahmad bin Hambal has referred to Sa‘īd bin Zayd as laysa bihī ba’s. It means that there is no objection against him and he is absolutely truthful. Imam Ahmad’s expression is semantically identical with trustworthiness, which is considered the highest virtue by all traditionists of integrity.
Ibn Ma‘īn also identifies the term laysa bihī ba’s with trustworthiness.
The traditionist Ibn-us-Salāh in al-Muqaddimah, Sakhāwī in Fath-ul-mughīth, Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī in Hady-us-sārī muqaddimah Fath-ul-bārī and Nawawī in at-Taqrīb wat-taysīr have identified laysa bihī ba’s with veracity. Besides, a number of traditionists of the third century (ah), for instance, Ibn Ma‘īn, Ibn Madīnī, Abū Zur‘ah, Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī, Ya‘qūb bin Sufyān Fasāwī, etc., have invested laysa bihī ba’s with the distinction of veracity.
- Ibn Hibbān has called ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī as veracious as Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī writes in Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (8:96), “Ibn Hibbān has mentioned him in his book Kitāb-ut-thiqāt. Therefore, Ibn Hibbān’s acknowledgement of his credibility is based on truth and it is beyond any iota of doubt that Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, on the basis of his authenticity, has called ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī in Taqrīb-ut-tahdhīb (2:77), “Sadūq lahū awhām (he is truthful but there are doubts about him).”
The word sadūq (truthful) used by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī attests to the veracity of ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī and he has given it precedence over others. Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh refers to it in his book Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.258) that ‘Abdullāh bin Ahmad, attributing it to his father, commented, “Annahū ka-annahū da“afahū (as if he weakened him).” I say that the word ka-anna (as if; as though) is doubt and suspicion; it cannot serve as an act of justification.
When ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Alī bin Madīnī referred to Hasan bin Mūsā Ashyab as wa ka-annahū da“afahū (and as if he weakened him), Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī endorsed him by saying: hādhā zann, la taqūmu bihī hujjah (it is suspicion, therefore, it cannot serve as a justification).
So this statement makes the veracity of ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī unquestionable. Dhahabī has explained it further in Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (3:286) and al-Mughnī (2:488). Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh writes:
“Ibn ‘Adī has bracketed ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī with ‘Amr bin Mālik Rāsibī in al-Kāmil (5:1799) and has dubbed him as a recanter narrator. Dhahabī has explained it in Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (3:285) and al-Mughnī (2:488) while Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī has commented on it in Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (8:95). Both these hadith-scholars have delinked ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī from ‘Amr bin Mālik Rāsibī and disproved the linkage forged by Ibn ‘Adī, which has driven some of the traditionists to label ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī as unreliable. These traditionists are not to blame as they have based their deductions on the conclusions drawn by Ibn ‘Adī without any conscious attempt at distortion as has been explained by Ibn-ul-Jawzī in Kitāb-ul-mawdū‘āt (2:145) and by Ibn Taymiyyah in Qā‘idah jalīlah fit-tawassul wal-wasīlah.”
Albānī writes in Ta‘līq ‘alā Fadl-is-salāt ‘ala an-nabī (p.88): ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī is a reliable narrator as has been endorsed by Dhahabī. He has also confirmed this view in another book Silsilat-ul-ahādīth-is-sahīhah (5:608).
- A large number of people have taken over traditions from Abū al-Jawzā’ Aws bin ‘Abdullāh on the basis of his credibility and the direct transmission of this tradition from ‘Ā’ishah has also been established. In support of this contention it suffices to state that Imam Muslim has recorded Abū al-Jawzā’ Aws’s narration through ‘Ā’ishah. Imam Bukhārī says:
It was related to us by Musaddad who had heard it from Ja‘far bin Sulaymān, who from ‘Amr bin Mālik an-Nukrī who had reported it from Abū al-Jawzā’. He said: I spent twelve years with Ibn ‘Abbās and ‘Ā’ishah and there was not a single verse of the Holy Qur'an about which I had not asked them.
Ibn S‘ad has related another tradition on these lines:
Abū al-Jawzā’ has related: I lived as Ibn ‘Abbās’s neighbour for twelve years and there was not a single verse of the Holy Qur'an about which I had not asked him.
Abu Na‘aym has added the following words to the tradition:
And my deputy visited the Mother of the Believers (‘Ā’ishah) every morning and evening. So I did not hear from any other quarter (except what I heard from her), nor did I hear from any other source (except from her) what Allah has enjoined about sin that I shall forgive him (the sinner) except the one who associates any partner with Me.
According to Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, it by no means implies that he never met ‘Ā’ishāh afterwards. So, the inference drawn by Imam Muslim from the frequency of visits clearly indicates that he had a face-to-face meeting with ‘Ā’ishah.
Thus when his meeting with ‘Ā’ishah has been established with irrefutable finality, the element of deceit and incredibility in his statement is automatically washed out and his tradition, therefore, acquires authenticity. To call him an impostor is, actually, to commit excess against his genuineness as a reporter, and to do him justice we have to acknowledge the obvious fact that his statement is based on sound transmission. This conclusion is compatible not only with the findings of Imam Muslim but also reflects the general drift of public opinion.
Abū Nu‘aym has confirmed the authenticity of a number of traditions by Abū al-Jawzā’ with the words ‘an ‘Ā’ishah (from ‘Ā’ishah) in Hilyat-ul-awliyā’ wa tabaqāt-ul-asfiyā’.
Ibn-ul-Qaysarānī has also reported a tradition from Abū al-Jawzā’ by using the words sami‘a ‘Ā’ishah (he listened to ‘Ā’ishah).
This detailed discussion proves beyond doubt that these certificates of authenticity are not based on any forgery but on verifiable evidence, and this chain of transmission is sahīh (sound) or hasan (fair).
Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī says, “This tradition has a good chain of transmission; rather, in my opinion, it is sound. The scholars have also acknowledged its soundness and have established its genuineness on the basis of almost equally credible evidence.
Therefore, this tradition may be relied upon as a viable argument because, according to Imam Nasā’ī’s contention, a narrator may be discarded only when all the traditionists have unanimously rejected him/her.
Those who deny the relevance of intermediation object to the tradition as undependable as its range of reference is limited only to the Companion and does not extend up to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself. In their opinion, it is only one of ‘Ā’ishah’s statements and not a command to be indiscriminately followed. They add that, even if it carries the stamp of her certification, it cannot serve as cogent argument as it is based on personal opinion, which is generally characterized by fluctuation. Sometimes the personal opinion of a Companion may prove correct but at other occasions it may prove incorrect. Therefore, its application is not binding on the believers.
A simple answer to this baseless objection is that not only the tradition is properly certified, but no Companion has ever raised any objection against the mode of action prescribed by ‘Ā’ishah, nor has such an objection been ever reported, just as no objection has been raised against the person in the tradition reported by Mālik ad-Dār who prays for rain at the grave of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). These traditions reflect the collective opinion of the Companions and such a consensus is quite valid. An act, which enjoys the tacit support of the Companions, cannot be spelled out as invalid or a discredited form of innovation, and it is obligatory for us to follow the Companions. In this context, Imam Shāf‘ī says, “For us, their opinion about us is far more authentic than our own opinion.”
This tradition clearly establishes the fact that ‘Ā’ishah commanded the natives of Medina to rely on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in his grave as a source of intermediation for divine blessings.
Ibn Taymiyyah has discarded the tradition as mere fabrication. According to him, during the entire life of ‘Ā’ishah, there was no such hole in the roof of the Prophet’s tomb. But this objection is weak as watered tea because Imam Dārimī and the religious leaders and scholars who followed him were more deeply aware of these details. For example, a traditionist and historian from Medina, ‘Alī bin Ahmad Samhūdī has disconfirmed Ibn Taymiyyah and supported Imam Dārimī’s contention. According to him, Zayn-al-Mirāghī said, “Let it be known that it is a practice of the people of Medina to date that, during a period of drought, they open a window at the bottom of the dome in the Prophet’s tomb in the direction of prayer niche though the roof intervenes between the grave and the sky. I say that in our period, too, one of the gates in the boundary wall, enveloping the tomb, called al-mawājahah, that is, the door that opens towards the Prophet’s face, is flung open and people gather there (for prayer).
The Ottoman Turks followed the practice of offering prayers through the mediation of the Prophet’s grave. The practice remained in vogue till the early years of the twentieth century. Whenever there was famine and scarcity of rain, the residents of Medina persuaded a six-or-seven-year-old child to climb the roof of the grave. (He performed the ablution before climbing over the roof.) The child tugged at the rope, which had been hung down the roof to close the hole in the grave, dug at the suggestion of the Mother of the Believers, ‘Ā’ishah. When there was no curtain between the sky and the grave, it started raining.
5. Intermediation through the Prophet’s grave during ‘Umar’s tenureMālik ad-Dār has related:
The people were gripped by famine during the tenure of ‘Umar (bin al-Khattāb). Then a Companion walked up to the Prophet’s grave and said, “O Messenger of Allah, please ask for rain from Allah for your Community who is in dire straits.” Then the Companion saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in a dream. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said to him, “Go over to ‘Umar, give him my regards and tell him that the rain will come to you. And tell ‘Umar that he should be on his toes, he should be on his toes, (he should remain alert).” Then the Companion went over to see ‘Umar and passed on to him the tidings. On hearing this, ‘Umar broke into a spurt of crying. He said, “O Allah, I exert myself to the full until I am completely exhausted.”Ibn Taymiyyah has endorsed its authenticity in his book Iqtidā’-us-sirāt-il-mustaqīm mukhālifat ashāb-il-jahīm (p.373). Ibn Kathīr has confirmed the soundness of its transmission in al-Bidāyah wan-nihāyah (5:167). Ibn Abū Khaythamah narrated it with the same chain of transmission as quoted by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī in al-Isābah fī tamyīz-is-sahābah (3:484), while the latter writes in Fath-ul-bārī (2:495-6): “Ibn Abū Shaybah transmitted it with a sound chain of transmission and Sayf bin ‘Umar Tamīmī has recorded it in al-Futūh-ul-kabīr that the dreamer was a Companion known as Bilāl bin Hārith Muzanī.” Qastallānī has remarked in al-Mawāhib-ul-laduniyyah (4:276) that Ibn Abū Shaybah has narrated it with a sound chain of transmission while Zurqānī has supported Qastallānī in his Commentary (11:150-1).
It is quite surprising that some people have tried to dub even this soundly transmitted tradition as weak and, therefore, lacking the sinews to face a rigorously probing analysis, though this is far from the truth. They have marshalled in their favour the following objections:
First objection: One of its narrators is A‘mash who is a double-crossing impostor (mudallis).
Reply: Though A‘mash is an impostor, his tradition is popular for two reasons whether its soundness is proved or not:
- A‘mash is regarded as a second-grade impostor, and this is a class of impostors from whom our religious leaders recorded traditions in their authentic books. Therefore, it is proved that this tradition narrated by A‘mash is accepted.
- If we accept this tradition only on the basis of its transmission by A‘mash, as is the practice in the case of third-grade or even lower-grade impostors, even then the tradition by A‘mash is likely to retain its popularity as he has copied it from Abū Sālih Dhakawān Sammān. Imam Dhahabī comments: “When A‘mash begins a tradition with the word ‘an (from) there is a possibility of imposture and deception. But if he relates it from his elders like Ibrāhīm, Ibn Abū Wā’il, Abū Sālih Sammān, etc., then it is presumed to possess sound linkage (ittisāl).
Second objection: Albānī in his book at-Tawassul, ahkāmuhū wa anwa‘uhū observes, “I do not acknowledge it authentic because the credibility and memory of Mālik ad-Dār is not known and these are the two basic criteria for any authentic narrator of traditions. Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī in Kitāb-ul-jarh wat-ta‘dīl [4/1/213(8:213)], while discussing Mālik ad-Dār, has not mentioned any narrator except Abū Sālih who has accepted any tradition from him, which shows that he is unknown. It is also supported by the fact that Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī, who himself is a leading figure of Islam and a memorizer of traditions, has not mentioned anyone of them who has pronounced him trustworthy (thiqah). Similarly Mundhirī has remarked that he does not know him while Haythamī in his Majma‘-uz-zawā’id, has supported his observation…”
Reply: This objection is refuted by the biographical details which Ibn Sa‘d has furnished while discussing him among the second-grade Medinan Successors: “Mālik ad-Dār was a slave freed by ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb. He reported traditions from Abū Bakr as-Siddīq and ‘Umar, and Abū Sālih Sammān reported traditions from him. He was known.”
In addition, this objection is also cancelled by Khalīlī’s (d.446 ah) comment on Māik ad-Dār: “Mālik ad-Dār’s trustworthiness and reliability is generally accepted and the group of Successors has eulogized him.”
Besides, the biographical sketch provided by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī also serves to neutralize this objection:
“Mālik bin ‘Iyād, a slave freed by ‘Umar, was known as Mālik ad-Dār. He had seen the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and heard traditions from Abū Bakr. He has taken traditions from Abū Bakr as-Siddīq ‘Umar Fārūq , Mu‘ādh and Abū ‘Ubaydah, and Abū Sammān and the two sons of this (Mālik ad-Dār) ‘Awn and ‘Abdullāh have taken traditions from him.
“And Imam Bukhārī in at-Tārīkh-ul-kabīr, (7:304-5), through reference to Abū Sālih, has acknowledged a tradition from him that ‘Umar is reported to have said during the period of famine: I do not shirk responsibility but I may be made more humble.
Ibn Abū Khaythamah has reproduced a long tradition along with these words (which we are discussing), ... and I have copied a tradition narrated by ‘Abd-ur-Rahmān bin Sa‘īd bin Yarbū‘ Makhzūmī with reference to Mālik ad-Dār, in Fawā’id Dāwūd bin ‘Umar and ad-Dabī compiled by Baghawī. He said that one day ‘Umar called me. He had a gold wallet in his hand, which had four hundred dinars in it. He commanded me to take it to Abū ‘Ubaydah, and then he narrated the remaining part of the happening.
Ibn Sa‘d has placed Mālik ad-Dār in the first group of Successors among the natives of Medina and has averred that he has taken traditions from Abū Bakr as-Siddīq and ‘Umar, and he was known. Abū ‘Ubaydah has asserted that ‘Umar had appointed him the guardian of his family. When ‘Uthmān was elevated to the office of the caliph, he appointed him as the minister of finance, and that is how he came to be known as Mālik ad-Dār (the master of the house).
“Ismā‘īl Qādī has reported it from ‘Alī bin Madīnī that Mālik ad-Dār was the treasurer of ‘Umar.”
Ibn Hibbān has attested to the trustworthiness and credibility of Mālik ad-Dār in Kitāb-uth-thiqāt (5:384).
Now if Mundhirī and Haythamī insist that they do not know Mālik ad-Dār, it means that they have not asserted anything about his credibility or lack of credibility. However there are traditionists of great repute like Imam Bukhārī, Ibn Sa‘d, ‘Alī bin Madīnī, Ibn Hibbān and Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī who know him. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī has even mentioned him in Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (7:226; 8:217).
It is shocking to learn that Albānī gives weight to the opinion of those who do not know Mālik ad-Dār and prefers them to those who know him. Albānī has discarded the traditions of Mālik bin ‘Iyād who is popularly known by the title “ad-Dār” while the great Companions appointed him as their minister because they relied on his trustworthiness. He was even given the portfolio of finance minister, an office that requires honesty, integrity and a huge sense of responsibility. On the contrary, Albānī gives credence to the traditions of those who enjoyed a much lower status than Mālik ad-Dār. The following examples support my contention:
- He has pronounced Yahyā bin ‘Uryān Harawī as hasan (fair) in Silsīlat-ul-ahādīth-is-sahīhah (1:49). His argument is based on the statement made by Khatīb Baghdādī in Tārīkh Baghdad (14:161) in which he declares Yahyā bin ‘Uryān Harawī as a traditionist of Baghdad.
This statement is quite transparent. Khatīb Baghdādī has argued neither in favour of nor against Yahyā bin ‘Uryān Harawī. His stance is neutral, as he has not tried to establish the stature of his narrations. He has not labelled them as authentic or inauthentic. In spite of his posture of neutrality, it is quite surprising that Albānī has called him fair (hasan).
- Abū Sa‘īd Ghifārī has also been pronounced a fair narrator in Silsilat-ul-ahādīth-is-sahīhah (2:298). After stating that he is no longer unknown because two narrators have acknowledged traditions from him, he writes, “So he is a Successor. A group of those who have committed the traditions to memory have verified the authenticity of his traditions. Therefore, ‘Irāqī has declared the traditions attributed to him as authentic (isnāduhū jayyid), and there is no harm in it. This gave me a sense of satisfaction and I felt deeply contented.”
The question is why has he tried to discriminate between Abū Sa‘īd Ghifārī and Mālik ad-Dār?
- Sālih bin Khawwāt has also been pronounced credible in Silsilat-ul-ahādīth-is-sahīhah (2:436) because a group of people has relied on his traditions, and Ibn Hibbān has mentioned him in Kitāb-uth-thiqāt.
While, according to our research, Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī has described him as an acceptable narrator in Taqrīb-ut-tahdhīb (1:359) and has also stated that he belonged to the eighth category of Successors. If an eighth-grade narrator is being described as credible, what justification is there to pronounce a first-grade Successor as incredible? The discrimination seems to be rooted more in prejudice than reason.
Therefore, the silence of Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī is hardly an argument against the unknown stature of Mālik ad-Dār because his silence is based on lack of evidence about the narrator. Thus the absence of evidence and reasoning does not reflect the unknowingness of the narrator, which his silence neither explains nor indicates towards any definite interpretation. On the contrary, it opposes any attempt to establish the unknowingness of the narrator. There are a number of narrators about whom Ibn Abū Hātim Rāzī has remained silent though other scholars have argued about them and the books on tradition and related issues are riddled with similar examples.
Reply: This suspicion is a fallacy, as it has no basis in reality. In its rejection, it is sufficient to say that Abū Sālih like Mālik ad-Dār was a native of Medina and he has reported traditions from the Companions. Therefore, he is not an impostor and a fraud. It may also be noted that only contemporaneity is an adequate guarantee for the connection of transmission as Imam Muslim has mentioned the consensus in the Preamble (muqaddimah) of his as-Sahīh.
Fourth objection: There is no justification for the soundness of this tradition because it entirely depends upon a person whose name has not been spelled out. Only in the tradition narrated by Sayf bin ‘Umar Tamīmī, he has been named Bilāl and Sayf has declared him as a weak narrator.
Reply: This objection is also groundless, because justification does not depend on Bilāl but on ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb’s act. He did not prevent Bilāl from performing his act; on the contrary, he acknowledged it. He rather himself cried and said: ‘my Creator, I do not shirk responsibility but I may be made more humble.’ Therefore the person visiting the grave, whether he is a Companion or a Successor, does not affect the soundness of the tradition.
The gist of the discussion is that the tradition related by Mālik ad-Dār is sound, as I have stated in the earlier part of my exposition. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī writes:
“All those people who have made reference to this tradition or narrated it or reproduced it in their books have never labelled it disbelief or infidelity. They have not questioned the substance of the tradition and it has been mentioned by a scholarly person of high level like Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī who has confirmed it as a soundly transmitted tradition. Therefore his confirmation needs no apology in view of his highly distinguished stature among the hadith-scholars.”This tradition establishes the following principles:
- Visiting graves with the intention of mediation and seeking help.
- It is valid to visit the grave of a pious dead person during the period of one’s trials and tribulations to seek help from him because if this act were invalid, ‘Umar would surely have forbidden that person to do so.
- The Prophet’s appearance in the dream of the person who visited his grave and to give him good tidings, argues in favour of the fact that it is quite valid to seek help from non-Allah and the dead because if it were invalid, it would have been impossible for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) not to have forbidden that person to do so.
- Validation of the mode of address “O Messenger of Allah (yā rasūl Allah)” even after his death.
- Call for help and the act of intermediation dates back to the early ages.
- The holy personality of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is a fountain of guidance even after his death.
- The head of the state is responsible for administrative matters. The Holy Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), in spite of being the chief of prophets, did not break the state channel and, as a visible demonstration of his sense of discipline, he commanded the man visiting his grave to see the head of the state.
- The man visiting the grave implored his help through the instrumentality of the Ummah. This shows the Prophet’s immeasurable love for the Community of his followers.
- Justification for making the Ummah as a source for seeking his help.
- Justification for making non-prophet a means of help in the presence of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
- Anyone who strengthens his link with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is rewarded by his sight and is showered with his blessings.
- The Holy Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), even after his death, is aware of the weakness of his Ummah or anyone of its rulers and he issues different commands for removing these flaws.
- To seek guidance from Allah’s favourites.
- The acknowledgement of the Prophet’s commands by the Companions after his death as just and truthful.
- Imposition of commands received in dreams on others.
- When intermediation was discussed in the presence of ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb, he did not forbid it; rather he cried and responded to it acknowledging it as valid.
- ‘Umar bin al-Khattāb’s love for the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) that he incessantly cried as someone mentioned the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
6. Fulfilment of needs through the Prophet’s mediationIn the first and second section we have established through sound traditions that the believers relied on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as a means both before his birth and during his earthly life. The famous tradition narrated by ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf with reference to the Prophet’s life was discussed in detail in which a blind man submitted his petition to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and his eyesight was restored through his mediation. Now we would like to explain that this mode of intermediation was not confined to his life on earth alone, but the Companions relied on it even after his death. It is clear from Tabarānī’s tradition that a person used to visit ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affān on a personal errand. ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affān not only was indifferent to him but also turned a deaf ear to his need. That person met ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf and lodged his complaint against it. ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf said to him: fetch an earthen pot and perform the ablution, then go to the mosque and offer two cycles of prayer and say:
O Allah, I beseech you and submit myself to you through the mediation of our Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), a merciful Prophet. O Muhammad! I submit to my Lord through your means so that He should fulfil my need.And then mention your need. The man went away and he did as he was told to do. Later when he arrived at ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affān’s door, the porter caught him by his hand and took him to ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affān who made him sit beside him on the mat and asked him: what is your need? He mentioned the need and the caliph fulfilled his need and said to him: why haven’t you mentioned your need so far? He told him further: do come to me whenever you have a problem? When the man left his place, he met ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf and said to him: May God bless you! He neither gave any thought to my need nor turned his attention to me until you recommended me to him. ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf replied:
By God! I did not say this, but once I was in the company of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) that a blind man came over to see him and complained to him about the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) asked him to be patient, but he said: O Messenger of Allah! I don’t have any servant and I am in great trouble. The Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: ‘fetch an earthen pot and perform the ablution, then offer two cycles of prayer and implore Allah with these praying words.’ Then ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf said: ‘By God! We had neither gone out far away from the meeting nor had the conversation among us stretched out that the man came running to us as if he had never been blind.That is, ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf taught him the prayer that had been used as the source of the Prophet’s help and succour after his death. The point to be noted is that the person was under the illusion that his need had been fulfilled on account of ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf’s recommendation to the caliph. So ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf instantly shed his illusion and related to him the tradition he had heard from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and had himself put to test to prove that his need was fulfilled because he had relied on the means of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) by calling on him and seeking his help. He swore by God and convinced him that he had not recommended him to the caliph but it had all happened through the blessing of the Prophet’s mediation.
Ibn Taymiyyah’s endorsementIbn Taymiyyah has related a story in the perspective of this tradition that Ibn Abū Dunyā has narrated a tradition in his book Mujābī ad-du‘ā’ that a person came over to see ‘Abd-ul-Malik bin Sa‘īd bin Abjar. ‘Abd-ul-Malik pressed his belly and told him that he was suffering from an incurable discase. The man asked him: what is it? ‘Abd-ul-Malik replied that it was a kind of ulcer that grows inside the belly and ultimately kills the man. It is said that the patient turned round and then he said:
Allah! Allah! Allah is my Lord. I regard no one as His rival or partner. O Allah! I beseech You and submit myself to You through the mediation of Your Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), the merciful Prophet. O Muhammad! Through your means I submit myself to your and my Lord that He should take mercy on me in my state of illness.It is said that ‘Abd-ul-Malik pressed his belly again and said: you are cured, you are no longer suffering from any disease. Ibn Taymiyyah after recording the whole incident in his book, comments:
I say that this and other forms of supplication have been taken over from our predecessors.The noteworthy point is that Ibn Taymiyyah has also endorsed it that (1) it is an act of our predecessors, and (2) it is quite valid to recover from disease through this act.
Proof of ritualistic assignmentThe two traditions also make it clear that the practice of ritualistic assignment by the saintly people to others is a valid act because this has been the practice of Allah’s favourites in the past. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had not asked ‘Uthmān bin Hunayf, though, to pass it to other people.
7. Intermediation through the Prophet (SAW) on the Day of JudgementEven on the Day of Judgement the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) will act as a means of forgiveness for the believers. The Qur'an states:
O our Lord! Bless us with all that you have promised us through your messengers and do not humiliate us on the Day of Judgement. Surely You do not go back on Your Word.In the light of these verses, the divine promise made to all the prophets is here acting as a source of intermediation. All the rewards promised to other prophets carry special significance for the followers of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) through his means. On the Day of Judgement, grilled by the unbearable heat, the entire mankind will rally round the prophets but each prophet will tell them to move on to some other prophet until the whole mankind will rally round the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). The following is an agreed upon tradition:
The Holy Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: ‘when it is the Day of Judgement, people, out of nervousness, will call on one another. First of all, they will call on Adam (عليه السلام) and request him to intercede on their behalf before Allah but he will turn down their request by saying that today it is beyond his power to help them out and he will advise them to call on Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) because he is the Friend of Allah. So people will call on Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام) who will also excuse himself by saying that he is not in position to help them, therefore they should go to Mūsā (عليه السلام) because he is Allah,s interlocutor. They will go to Mūsā (عليه السلام) and he will also express his inability to help them and advise them to see ‘Īsā (عليه السلام) because he is the soul created by Allah and His word. They will go to ‘Īsā (عليه السلام) and he will also tell them that he is not able to help them. Therefore, they should go to Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) (because he is the beloved of God). So all human beings will rally round me and I will tell them that yes (today) I hold the office of intercession. I will seek permission from my Lord and I will be granted the permission. Then He will inspire me to praise and glorify Him with such praises, which I cannot describe at this time. (In short,) I will praise and glorify Allah with those praises and prostrate myself before Him. Then I will be told: ‘O Muhammad, raise your radiant head, speak and you will be heard, demand and you will be blessed with it, and intercede (on behalf of your people), your intercession will be granted.’ So I will implore: ‘O Lord! My Ummah, my Ummah!’ God shall command: ‘go and take them out of the Hell, whosoever is left with faith even as small as the grain of barley.’ So I will go and do so ( I will take all such people out of Hell). Then I will return and praise and glorify Him with those praises and I will prostrate myself before Him. So I will be commanded: ‘O Muhammad, raise your radiant head, speak and you will be heard, beg and you will be blessed with it, intercede (on behalf of your people) and your intercession will be granted.’ I will implore: ‘O Lord, my Ummah! My Ummah!’ I will be commanded: ‘go and take them out of Hell too, whosoever is left with faith even as small as the tiny grain of rye.’ So I will go and do so. Then I will return and praise and glorify Him with the same praises and I will again prostrate myself before Him. So I will be commanded: ‘O Muhammad, raise your radiant head, speak and you will be heard, beg and you will be blessed with it and intercede (on behalf of your people), your intercession will be granted.’ I will implore: ‘O Lord, my Ummah! My Ummah!’ I will be commanded: ‘go and take them out of Hell whosoever is left with the tiniest faith, even smaller than a grain of rye.’ Such a person will also be taken out of Hell. Accordingly I will go and do so (I will take them out of Hell). (Hasan has added a few more words to the tradition narrated by Anas. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:) ‘I will return the fourth time, and I will praise and glorify the Lord in the same way, then I will prostrate myself before Him, so I will be commanded: ‘raise your radiant head, and speak, you will be heard, beg and you will be blessed with it, and intercede (on behalf of your people), your intercession will be granted.’ At that time I will implore the Lord that I should be allowed to take out a person from Hell who has recited lā ilāha illallāhu (there is no deity except Allah) even once in his life (from the core of his heart). The Lord will reply, I swear by My honour, glory, greatness and supremity that I will liberate a person from the fire of Hell who has even once recited lā ilāha illallāhu (there is no deity except Allah).This tradition has proved, without any particle of doubt, that on the Day of Resurrection the process of judgement and accountability will be initiated through the mediation of the Prophet’s prayer, praise and glorification of the Lord. And on account of the Prophet’s mediation, the process of accountability will start with his Ummah so that they do not have to stay longer than necessary in the scorching heat of the Day of Resurrection. The Qur'an has also explained in the context of the Day of Judgement:
(It will be the day) when Allah will disgrace neither His Prophet nor the people who embraced faith along with him. (On that day) their light (of faith) will keep sprinting ahead of them and on their right side.The Qur'anic verse spells out in unmistakable terms that Allah will not humiliate the followers of the Last Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) through the means of his eternal blessing, on the other hand, He will allow them to enter Paradise, with all the glory and splendour associated with such an occasion. A visible proof of the divine concession will be the enveloping light to which they will be entitled through the means of Allah’s Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).
All these traditions and proofs reinforce the reality of intermediation and endorse it as a valid religious concept, and not as a figment of the frenzied imagination. If, in spite of these irrefutable indicators, someone still tries to confine intermediation through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) only to his life on earth, he is living in a world of fantasy and self-fabrication because confining intermediation to his physical existence remains unsupported both by argument and precedent.
The Prophet (SAW) wields authority even after his deathSome people, on account of their ignorance and paucity of knowledge, express the view that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) after his death wields no authority and he can neither hear us nor can he pray for us. May Allah guard the believers against such a perverse view! No Muslim with sound belief can ever conceive such a possibility. Intermediation through the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is an established fact supported by evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah and this is a proof of his stature and distinction. Those who do not believe in intermediation through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) after his death are trying to lower his exceptional status.
It is part of the belief of Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al-Jamā‘ah that a dead person can hear, possesses awareness, benefits from the virtuous deeds of the living and is disturbed by their wicked deeds. (It will be discussed in the sixth chapter.) The point that clamours for attention is that this belief has been established through the experience of an ordinary man. When an ordinary person can exercise such power, how can we possibly deny it to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who is the most superior person among Allah’s creatures. Various authentic traditions testify to the reality that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is alive even after his death. It sounds like a paradox to perverse ears but in his case it is as true as the daily sunrise. He returns our greetings, the affairs of the Ummah are reported to him, he asks forgiveness from Allah over the evil deeds of the Ummah and praises and glorifies Him over her good deeds. It is stated in a number of traditions that once Marwān saw Abū Ayyūb al-Ansārī lying down over the Prophet’s grave and asked him what he was doing. Abū Ayyūb al-Ansārī gave a faith-freshening reply. The tradition is recorded below:
It is attributed to Dāwūd bin Abū Sālih. He says: one day Marwān came and he saw that a man was lying down with his mouth turned close to the Prophet’s grave. Then he (Marwān) said to him, “Do you know what are you doing?” When he moved towards him, he saw that it was Abū Ayyūb al-Ansārī. (In reply) he said, “Yes (I know) I have come to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and not to a stone. I have heard it from the Messenger of God (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) not to cry over religion when its guardian is competent. Yes, shed tears over religion when its guardian is incompetent. Hākim declared that it fulfils the requirements of authentic traditions as demanded by Bukhārī and Muslim, while Dhahabī has also called it sahīh (sound).
Seek his help todayThe gist of the discussion is that it is a futile exercise to prove arguments against intermediation through the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and to establish authentic traditions as weak and invalid through self-concocted strategies According to the Prophet’s own statement, the benefit of his blessings is still a tangible reality as it was during his earthly life; his death has not changed this reality. And it is further reinforced by the tradition with an impeccable chain of transmission that on the Day of Judgement, the process of accountability will be initiated on his recommendation.
Let’s briefly speculate on the Day of Judgement. The heat and warmth will be at its climax. The people will face deep distress. The Lord will be present in His chair. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) will also honour the gathering with his presence and he will be accompanied by all the prophets. The earlier believers and the later ones will also form part of the audience. In this scenario, when these people, presuming Adam (عليه السلام) as the first ancestor, will call on him and request him to help them out of their trouble, but he will send them on to Ibrāhīm (عليه السلام), who will refer them to Mūsā (عليه السلام), who will direct them to see ‘Īsā (عليه السلام) and finally he will send all of them to the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), the intercessor of mankind. During the whole process, none of the honoured prophets will say: ‘what disbelief are you perpetrating and what have you come to us for? Allah Himself is there, why don’t you go to Him?’ On the other hand, they will despatch them willingly and expectantly to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) so that he may intercede on their behalf before God. Thus we come to realize that intermediation and appeal for help is a continuous process, uninterrupted by the exigencies of space-time and unaffected by the laws of physical existence, and on the Day of Judgement a consensus among the prophets will emerge on the conceptual and practical relevance of intermediation. The subtle point to note is that when the first personality in the world of humanity committed error, he offered to the Lord the mediation of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and as a result his error was condoned. The Prophet’s mediation relieved him of the agony he had been suffering from as a consequence of his error. Similarly on the Day of Judgement when life on earth will come to an end and the people will experience the agony of waiting in uncertain anticipation of the process of accountability, they will be liberated from their torture only through the means of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). It is now transparent from these examples that the first man in the world of humanity was relieved of his agony through the mediation of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), and the world is drawing to a close and mankind is passing through the torture of waiting in a superheated environment, they will also be relieved of their ordeal through the means of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Fortunate are the people who even today hold on to this belief and will also witness this scenario on the Day of Judgement.
. Qur'an (al-Isrā’) 17:20.
. Qur'an (an-Nisā’) 4:65.
. Qur'an (al-Isrā’) 17:20.
. Qur'an (an-Nisā’) 4:64.
. Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr-ul-Qur'an al-‘azīm (1:519-20).
. Haythamī transmitted it in Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (9:24) and said that that tradition had been reported by Bazzār (in his Musnad) and its sub-narrators are all of sahīh (sound) hadith. ‘Irāqī has confirmed the soundness of its transmission in his book Tarh-ut-tathrīb fī sharh-it-taqrīb (3:297). Ibn Sa‘d has recorded it in at-Tabaqāt-ul-kubrā (2:194). Qādī ‘Iyād has inscribed this tradition in ash-Shifā (1:19); and Suyūtī, recording it in al-Khasā’is-ul-kubrā (2:281) and Manāhil-us-sifā fī takhrīj ahādīth ash-Shifā (p.3), has commented that Ibn Abū Usāmah in his Musnad has reproduced it through Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī and Bazzār in his Musnad who have relied on its narration by ‘Abdullāh bin Mas‘ūd with a sound chain of transmission. It has been endorsed by Khafājī and Mullā ‘Alī Qārī in their commentaries on ash-Shifā, i.e. Nasīm-ur-riyād (1:102) and Sharh ash-Shifā (1:36) respectively. Hadith-scholar Ibn-ul-Jawzī has reproduced it in al-Wafā bi-ahwāl-il-mustafā (2:809-10) from Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh and Anas bin Mālik. Subkī has copied this tradition in Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.34) from Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī, and Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Hādī in as-Sārim-ul-munkī (p.266-7) has authenticated its veracity. Bazzār’s tradition has also been recorded by Ibn Kathīr in al-Bidāyah wan-nihāyah (4:257). Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī narrated it through Bakr bin ‘Abdullāh Muzanī in al-Matālib-ul-‘āliyah (4:22-3#3853). ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī copied Ibn Sa‘d’s tradition in Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (11:407#31903) and from Hārith (#31904). Nabhānī related it in Hujjatullāh ‘alal-‘ālamīn fī mu‘jazāt sayyid-il-mursalīn (p.713).
. Dārimī related it in his Sunan (1:43#93); Ibn-ul-Jawzī in al-Wafā’ bi-ahwāl-il-mustafā (2:801); Subkī in Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.128); Qastallānī in al-Mawāhib-ul-laduniyyah (4:276); and Zurqānī in his Commentary (11:150).
. Dhahabī, Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (4:8).
. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī, Shifā’-ul-fu’ād bi-ziyārat khayr-il-‘ibād (p.152).
. ‘Irāqī, at-Taqyīd wal-īdāh (p.462).
. Bukhārī, at-Tārīkh-ul-kabīr (3:472).
. Ibn Sa‘d, at-Tabaqāt-ul-kubrā (7:287).
. Imam Ahmad’s statement has been reproduced by Dhahabī in Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (2:138) and by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī in Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (4:32).
. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Lisān-ul-Mīzān (1:13).
. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Hady-us-sārī muqaddimah Fath-ul-bārī (p.397).
. Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh, Raf‘-ul-minārah (pp.259-60).
. Bukhārī, at-Tārīkh-ul-kabīr (2:16-7).
. Ibn S‘ad, at-Tabaqāt-ul-kubrā (7:224).
. Abū Na‘aym, Hilyat-ul-awliyā’ wa tabaqāt-ul-asfiyā’ (3:79).
. Ibn-ul-Qaysarānī, al-Jam‘ bayn as-Sahīhayn (1:46) as quoted by Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh in Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.261).
. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī, Shifā’-ul-fu’ād bi-ziyārat khayr--il-‘ibād (p.153).
. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, Nuzhat-un-nazr bi-sharh nukhbat-ul-fikr fī mustalah hadith ahl-ul-athr (p.89).
. This tradition will be discussed later.
. Ibn-ul-Qayyim, A‘lām-ul-muwaqqi‘īn ‘an rabb-il-‘ālamīn (2:186).
. Samhūdī, Wafā’-ul-wafā (2:560).
. Related by Ibn Abū Shaybah in al-Musannaf (12:31-2#12051); Bayhaqī, Dalā’il-un-nubuwwah (7:47); Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr, al-Istī‘āb fī ma‘rifat-il-ashāb (2:464); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.130); ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī, Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (8:431#23535); and Abū Ya‘lā Khalīl bin ‘Abdullāh Khalīlī Qazwīnī in Kitāb-ul-irshād fī ma‘rifat ‘ulamā’-il-hadith (1:313-4), as quoted by Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh in Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.262).
. Dhahabī, Mīzān-ul-i‘tidāl (2:224).
. Ibn Sā‘d, at-Tabaqāt-ul-kubrā (5:12).
. Abū Yā‘lā Khalīl bin ‘Abdullāh Khalīlī Qazwīnī, Kitāb-ul-irshād fī ma‘rifat ‘ulamā’-il-hadith, as quoted by ‘Abdullāh bin Muhammad bin Siddīq al-Ghumārī in Irghām-ul-mubtadī al-ghabī bi-jawāz-it-tawassul bi an-nabī (p.9).
. Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī, al-Isābah fī tamyīz-is-sahābah (3:484-5).
. Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh, Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.266). Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī also mentioned in his Tahdhīb-ut-tahdhīb (7:226; 8:217).
. Muhammad bin ‘Alawī al-Mālikī, Mafāhīm yajib an tusahhah (p.151).
. Related by Tabarānī in al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (9:31#8311) and al-Mu‘jam-us-saghīr (1:183-4); Bayhaqī, Dalā’il-un-nubuwwah (6:167-8); Mundhirī, at-Targhīb wat-tarhīb (1:474-6); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.125); Haythamī, Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (2:279); and Suyūtī in al-Khasā’is-ul-kubrā (2:201-2). Mundhirī graded it sahīh (sound).
. Ibn Taymiyyah, Qā‘idah jalīlah fit-tawassul wal-wasīlah (p.91).
. Qur'an (Āl-i-‘Imrān) 3:194.
. Related through different narrators by Bukhārī in his as-Sahīh, b.of tawhīd (Islamic monotheism) ch.36 (6:2727-8#7072), b. of īmān (faith) ch.32 (1:24-5#44), b. of ambiyā’ (prophets) ch.5,12 (3:1215-6, 1226#3162,3182), b. of tafsīr (interpretation of the Qur'an) ch.3,203 (4:1624-5, 1745-7 # 4206, 4435), b. of riqāq (softening of hearts) ch.51(5:2401# 6197), b. of tawhīd, ch.19,24,37 (6:2695-6, 2708-9, 2730#6975,7002, 7078). Muslim, as-Sahīh, b. of īmān (faith) ch.84 (1:182-4# 193); Tirmidhī, al-Jāmi‘-us-sahīh, b. of sifat-ul-qiyāmah (signs of Doomsday) ch.10 (4:622-4# 2434). Ahmad bin Hambal has recorded it in his Musnad (1:4-5, 281-2; 2:435-6; 3:116,244,247-8) in six different contexts through different narrators and all these contexts are linked through a sound chain of transmission. Dārimī narrated it in his Sunan (2:234-5#2807); Abū Dāwūd Tayālisī, Musnad (pp.268-9#2010); Abū ‘Awānah, Musnad (1:171-4, 183-4); Ibn Abū Shaybah, al-Musannaf (11:444-51#11720-1,3); Abū Ya‘lā, Musand (1:56-9#59); Ibn Hibbān, as-Sahīh (14:377-9, 393-7# 6464,6467); Bayhaqī, Shu‘ab-ul-īmān (1:285-6#308-9); Baghawī, Sharh-us-sunnah(15:157-60#4333); Haythamī in Mawārid-uz-zam’ān (pp.642-3#2589) and Majma‘-uz-zawā’id (10:373-4).
. Qur'an (at-Tahrīm) 66:8.
. Related by Ahmad bin Hambal with a sound chain of transmission in his Musnad (5:422); Hākim, al-Mustadrak (4:515); Tabarānī, al-Mu‘jam-ul-kabīr (4:158# 3999), al-Mu‘jam-ul-awsat (1:199-200#286; 10:169# 9362); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.113); Haythamī, Majma‘-uz-zawāi’d (5:245); ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī in Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (6:88#14967).