Chapter Three – Analysing the defences offered by the charlatan advocates of Muhammad (s)
Ibn al Hashimi the lead Nasibi advocate of the cyber era authored a curious rebuttal entitled ‘Hadith About the Prophet Contemplating Suicide’ wherein he sought to negate the Shia criticisms of the said traditions. This chapter is our counter to his claims.
Defence One – Sahih Bukhari is not 100% authentic
In his attempt to ‘refute’ the Shia criticism of the said tradition, Ibn al-Hashimi begins with playing down prominent Sunni position that Sahih Bukhari is deemed the most authentic book after the Holy Quran:
Ibn al Hashimi stated:
To the Sunnis, there are six books of Hadith which are referred to as the “as-Sihah as-Sittah” which translates to the “six authentic books.” However, this does not mean that each and every single one of these books is 100% accurate to the Sunnis. For example, Sunan al-Tirmidhi is part of as-Sihah as-Sittah, but it is not considered 100% Sahih. In other words, yes Sunan al-Tirmidhi is referred to as part of as-Sihah as-Sittah but this is merely Islamic parlance. Likewise, with the Sahihayn (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim), then it should be known that not every single letter in them is Sahih. Yes, they are referred to as “100% Sahih” in Islamic parlance, but by this the scholars do not mean that every single letter is authentic.
Reply One – Imam al-Bukhari considers EVERYTHING in his book to be Sahih
This is what Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, the Salafi translator, has written in his Introduction to his translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari:
It was a great task for him to sift the forged Hadiths from the authentic ones. He laboured day and night and although he had memorised such a large number he only chose approximately 7275 of which there is no doubt about their authenticity.
Before he recorded each Hadith, he would make ablution and offer a two Rak’at prayer and supplicate his Lord (Allah). Many religious scholars of Islam tried to find fault in the great remarkable collection of Sahih Al-Bukhari but without success.
From the above, we understand that Imam al-Bukhari has recorded in his Sahih only hadiths that he deemed undoubtedly authentic. Ibn Hashmi’s trickery cannot therefore work here. The bulwarks of Sunni scholarship have likewise been unsuccessful in their attempts to find fault in the book. If the hadith under discussion is weak as he claims, then the earlier scholars would certainly have been successful in their efforts to find fault with Sahih Al-Bukhari.
A Salafi website, Islamic Awareness, in its article entitled “On The Nature Of Hadith Collections Of Imam Al-Bukhari & Muslim”, penned a defence of both Sahihs, and as part of it cited Imam al-Bukhari’s statement:
“I have not included in my book al-Jami` but what is authentic, and I left out among the authentic for fear of [excessive] length”.
Do we need to comment any further?
Reply Two – Sunni scholars testified to the immense authenticity of Sahih Bukhari
Ibn al-Hashimi’s Nasibi Imam Ibn Tamiyah confidently made the following admission in his book Majmo’a al-Fatawa, Volume 18 page 74:
“There is’nt any other book under the surface of the sky more authentic than Bukhari and Muslim”
We read in Hujatullah al-Balegha, Volume 1 page 249 by Shah Waliullah Dehalwi:
“The scholar agreed that all the connected traditions contained within both Sahihs are absolutely authentic and the two books are successively attributed to their (respective) authors and verily whoever belittled their status (the two books) is an innovator and is not adhering to the path of the believers.”
Shaykh Ahmed Shakir stated in his prominent work Al-Baaeth al-Hathith, page 35:
“All of the traditions of the two Sahihs are authentic, there is not a single tradition that can be criticized or weakened”
Shawkani records in Nail al-Awtar, Volume 1 page 22:
“You should know that whatever is recorded in the two Sahihs or one of can be relied upon without the need for further investigation to ascertain its authenticity, because they (the author of the books) personally sought to record the authentic traditions, in addition the nation has accepted the contents of the books”
Reply Three – Ibn Hashmi himself accepts EVERYTHING in Sahih Al-Bukhari to be Sahih
These are his own words in his Umm Kulthume article, chapter on the authenticity of Furu al-Kafi:
When you debate with the Shia, keep asking him why the Shia can say that Al-Kafi is not authentic, when the compiler of Al-Kafi himself says they are authentic. The Shia propagandist will always dodge this point so it is important to hammer it in. It would be like the Sunni denying the authenticity of Sahih Bukhari despite the fact that Imam Bukhari has declared that they are authentic. Surely, the best one to ask if a Hadith is authentic is the one who compiles it!
With this in mind, why is Ibn al Hashimi turning his back on himself now? Apparently, he now attacks Sahih al-Bukhari simply because this hadith really embarrasses him.
Answering the notion that Mursal recorded in Sahih Bukhari should not be considered ‘Sahih’
We have noticed that some friends of Ibn al-Hashmi have tried to come to his aid on different discussion forums available over the internet and have suggested that if it is said that Imam al-Bukhari considered everything in his book to be Sahih or that the Sunni scholars testified to the immense authenticity of Sahih Bukhari or if Ibn al-Hashmi himself accepted everything in Sahih Bukhari to be Sahih that would not include the Mursal and this would only be in regards to the fully connected chains. These don’t include the disconnected narrations, which don’t satisfy Imam al-Bukhari’s criteria for authenticity.
Our response is, that this is certainly not true as Bukhari included in his book only what satisfied his criteria. If it is being tried to convey that what Bukhari recorded as “Shawahed” and “Mutabe’at” are disconnected and weak then we would rather like to have Ibn Hajar to respond to this specific assertion who stated in Fatah al-Bari, Volume 1 page 384:
فإمَّا إِن خرج لَهُ فِي المتابعات والشواهد والتعاليق فَهَذَا يتَفَاوَت دَرَجَات من أخرج لَهُ مِنْهُم فِي الضَّبْط وَغَيره مَعَ حُصُول اسْم الصدْق لَهُم وَحِينَئِذٍ إِذا وجدنَا لغيره فِي أحد مِنْهُم طَعنا فَذَلِك الطعْن مُقَابل لتعديل هَذَا الإِمَام
And What he recorded as “Mutab’at” and “Shawahed” and “Ta’aleeq” so it varies in the level of narrator in respect of accuracy of narration but if (the narrator is) approved as truthful, then if we found someone weaken them that will contradict the Imam’s (Bukhari’s) authentication.
Thus as per Imam Ibn Hajar. the additional traditions recorded in Sahih Bukhari such as the disconnected traditions (Mursal) which have been added as explanation (etc), even this type of traditions are authentic.
Defence Two – The narration is weak
Ibn al Hashimi stated:
If we look at the Hadith in question, it says:
…the Prophet became so sad as we have heard (fi ma balaghana) that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains…
The narrator says “fi ma balaghana” which translates to “as we have heard”; …
The phrase “fi ma balaghani” was used by the Seerah authors to denote a degree of doubt. To denote an even higher degree of doubt, they would use the term “za’ama” (he alleged).
Az-Zuhri said: “Urwah told me on the authority of Aisha…”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar explained in Fath al-Bari that this means that the addition of “fi ma balaghana” was an addition to the narration and it would be referred to as “Balaghaat az-Zuhri” only; Zuhri added it to Aisha’s narration based on what he had heard from other sources. Such an addition is considered Dhaeef (weak) because of the large gap between Zuhri and Aisha. Furthermore, this story is found in other sources but without Zuhri’s addition. Zuhri’s narration is graded as Mursal; Mursal means that the chain is “hurried” and incomplete, so we are in doubt of its authenticity. Everything Mursal by az-Zuhri is considered Dhaeef (weak) by the scholars of Hadith. Imam Yahya ibn Saeed al-Qattaan said: “Mursal az-Zuhri is worse than the Mursal of any other!”
Reply One – The report has been declared authentic by Sunni Imams
Whilst our previous replies with respect to the general authenticity of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim shall suffice to water down Ibn al-Hashimi’s attempt to weaken the cited tradition, the fact that Sunni scholars have not declared it ‘Mursal’ but ‘Sahih’ should further diminish his exuberance.
In addition to Imam Bukhari who personally deemed it a Sahih tradition, we see that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal recorded the tradition in his book ‘Musnad ibn Hanbal’ Volume 6 page 232 Hadith 26001 and the margin writer Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout in his commentary of the said hadith stated:
“The chain is Sahih according to the standards of the two Sheikhs”
Ibn Habban who sought to record only Sahih traditions in his book, also recorded the said tradition in his book ‘Sahih Ibn Haban’ Volume 1 page 216. Last but certainly not least, Imam of the Salafi cult, Al-Albaani pointed out the very ‘Balagh’ thing which Ibn al-Hashimi has and in fact stated:
“But he narrated this as Balagh, thus it’s disconnected, therefore we ranked it as a different hadith and gave it a different number”.
Despite this, Al-Albaani declared the tradition ‘Sahih’ in his book Mishkat al-Masabih, Volume 3 page 270 Hadith 5842:
Bukhari added: Until the prophet felt sad – as it has been narrated to us – and tried to throw himself from the top of the mountain, whenever he reached the edge of the top of the mountain to throw himself, Jebrail appeared to him and say: ‘O Muhammad, you are the messenger of God’. Then he (prophet) felt comfort.
Reply Two – Sunni scholars have graded the Mursal of al-Zuhri as authentic
As for Ibn al-Hashimi’s comment that Zuhri’s words ‘as we have heard’ (fi ma balaghana) renders the tradition as ‘Mursal’ we would like to mention that Zuhri enjoyed such an esteemed rank amongst the esteemed Sunni Imams that even a Mursal of Zuhri is deemed authentic. We read in Al-Kifaya by Khatib al-Baghdadi, page 386:
Ya’qub ibn Sufyan said: ‘I heard Ja’far ibn Abd al-Waheed al-Hashimi saying to Ahmad ibn Salih that Yahya ibn Sa’eed said: ‘The Mursal of al-Zuhri is unreliable’. Ahmad got angry and said: ‘What does Yahya know about the knowledge of Zuhri, that which Yahya said is untrue’’.
This is a direct rebuttal to Ibn Hashimi’s citing of Yahya ibn Sa’eed al-Qattan, who rejected the Mursal of al-Zuhri. Yahya has been declared ignorant about the Mursal of al-Zuhri. Therefore, even if it is said that the embarrassing part was his interpolation, it would still be treated as authentic since he would never narrate from unreliable sources. This is why Imam Bukhari likewise recorded it in his Sahih.
Reply Three – There is another version of the incident without the words ‘as we have heard’ (fi ma balaghana)
Ibn al-Hashimi towing the line of his predecessors has tried to play with the words ‘as we have heard’ (fi ma balaghana) in an attempt to make the above cited version recorded by Bukhari as void, but the fact that there exists a similar report with a slight variation in the chain of narration, without the words ‘as we have heard’ (fi ma balaghana) throws Ibn al-Hashimi’s excuse in to the realms of embarrassment.
We read in The History of al-Tabari – Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt & M.V. McDonald, Volume 6, pages 67-68:
Ahmad b. ‘Uthman, known as Abu al-Jawza – Wahb b. Jarir – his father – al-Nu‘man b. Rashid – al-Zuhri – ‘Urwah – ‘A’ishah: The first form in which the revelation came to the Messenger of God was true vision; this used to come to him like the break of dawn. After that, he grew to love solitude and used to remain in a cave on Hira’ engaged in acts of devotion for a number of days before returning to his family. Then he would return to his family and supply himself with provisions for a similar number of days. This continued until the Truth came to him unexpectedly, and said: “Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God.” [Describing what happened next], the Messenger of God said, “I had been standing, but fell to my knees; and crawled away, my shoulders trembling. I went to Khadijah and said, ‘Wrap me up! Wrap me up!’ When the terror had left me, he came to me and said, ‘Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God.’”
He (Muhammad) said: I had been thinking of hurling myself down from a mountain crag, but he appeared to me, as I was thinking about this, and said, “Muhammad, I am Gabriel and you are the Messenger of God.”
In one of the discussion forums on the internet, someone made an attempt to prove that al-Nu’man bin Rashid is weak. Hence we would like to respond that Ibn Abi Hatim has authenticated him (Mizan al-Etidal, v4, p265) Yahya bin Mueen said: ‘He is Thiqah’ (Tarikh ibn Mueen, p318). Ibn Haban included him in his book of Thiqah narrators namely al-Thuqat. Imam Tirmidhi authenticated his narration (Sunnan al-Tirmidhi, v3, p319).
This shows that the al-Bukhari narration’s is not a rumour picked by al-Zuhri, Aisha actually narrated it, claiming to have heard it from the Messenger of Allah (s)!
Similarly there is another report by Zuhri in The History of al-Tabari, Volume 6 page 76 wherein he did not use “fi ma balaghana” :
Muhammad b. Abd al-Ala – Ibn Thawr – Mamar – al Zuhri:
“The inspiration ceased to come to the Messenger of God for a while, and he was deeply grieved. He began to go to the top of the mountain crags, in order to fling himself from them; but every time he reached from the summit of a mountain, Gabriel appeared to him and said to him, ‘You are the Prophet of God’. Thereupon his anxiety would subside and he would come back to himself.
This once again demonstrates that al-Zuhri attested to the veracity of the incident, and was not merely repeating an unsubstantiated rumour.
Reply Four – Ibn Kathir regarded the narration as authentic and relied upon it
We read in Ibn Kathir’s The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (English translation of his Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya) translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed, Volume I, pp. 298-299 as follows:
“Al-Bukhari stated in his account given above, “then the revelation waned, so that the Messenger of God was so depressed, as we have been told, that he would often feel like throwing himself down from the summits of high mountains. Whenever he reached the top of a mountain to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear to him and say, ‘O Muhammad, you are in truth the Messenger of God.’ This would relieve his distress and he would return down. And if the revelation was again long in coming, he would feel and do the same. When he would reach the mountain summit, Gabriel would appear and speak to him as before.”
Ibn Kathir has relied upon the story, rather than object to it, and he is undoubtedly more knowledgeable than Ibn Hashimi. When he has no objection to incorporating this tradition as part of his account of the life of the Prophet (s) who is Ibn al Hashimi to insist that it is weak?
Reply Five: Other Sunni scholars have accepted the report and included it in their accounts of the life of the Prophet (s)
We read in Fiqh al-Sira, by Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti, page 36:
This is how it is translated into English by Nancy Roberts in her translation of that book, under the title ‘The Jurisprudence of the Prophetic Biography & a Brief History of the Orthodox Caliphate’ page 145:
“It was decreed by the divine wisdom that the angel who had once appeared to him in the Cave of Hira’ should be withheld from him for a long time, and that he should suffer intense anxiety on this account. His anxiety was so great, in fact, that he began to fear that God Almighty had abandoned him due to some evil he had committed. He suffered such torment over this that whenever he found himself on a mountain top, he was tempted to throw himself down from it.”
Muhammad Rida in his book Muhammad, page 66 also states:
“When the revelation was disconnected, the Prophet (s) was extremely grieved, thus he tried on several occasions to throw himself from the top of mountains.”
Imam Nasiruddin Al-Albaani likewise in his ‘Sahih Sira al-Nabwiyah’ has included the episode and needless to say that he considered the episode as ‘Sahih’ which is evident from the title of the book:
Sahih Sira al-Nabwiyah, Volume 1 page 86
In addition to the above notable figures, various other early scholars of Ahle Sunnah likewise recorded the episode in their respective books such as:
- Muhammad bin Fatuh Al-Hamidi in his authority work Jama Bayn al-Sahih-Hayn Al-Bukhari wa Muslim, Volume 4 pages 47-48 Hadith 3175
- Ibn Jauzi in Safa tul Safwa, Volume 1 page 88
- Musnad Ishaq bin Rahwiya, Volume 2 page 252 Hadith 731
- Lalkai in Aitiqad Ahle Sunnah, Volume 4 page 758
- Jalaluddin Suyuti in Khasais al-Kubra, Volume 1 page 155
It is appropriate to mention that Imam Hibatullah Lalkai (d. 418 H) has collected those traditions in his book ‘Aitiqad Ahle Sunnah’ that form the foundations of the Sunni belief system, and in it, the episode under discussion has also been recorded by him as referred to hereinabove.
Defence Three – The suicidal state of the Prophet (s) was because he (s) feared that he had incurred the displeasure of Allah (swt)
Ibn al Hashimi stated:
The Prophet had become depressed because he thought that he had earned the displeasure of Allah. The Prophet thought that Allah had forsaken him due to some failure on his own part and as such he wished to end his life. So we see that even if we accept the addition that the Prophet wished to commit suicide, then we find that this does not disparage the character of the Prophet, but rather it shows the Prophet could not live with the fact that he had displeased and failed his Lord.
Reply – Sunni narrations inform us that the suicidal state of the Prophet (s) was because he suspected he had gone mad (God forbid)
Fearing displeasure does not even come in to the equation. Ibn al Hashimi’s premise is based on an assumption that at this stage in time, the Prophet (s) was unaware of the office bestowed on him. The al-Zuhri narrations that we have cited thus far would suggest that at this stage the Prophet (s) had doubts about himself and rather than affirm that he was divinely appointed, he actually felt that he was mentally deficient! Let us start by citing this remarkable Prophetic admission “I fear that something may happen to me”. The Sahihyan do not shed light on what that fear was. However, we read in The Life of Muhammad – A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasulallah, page 106:
I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed – Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying ‘O Muhammad! thou are the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.’ “O Khadijah I hear sounds and see light and I fear I am mad”
al-Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, Volume 1, page 225 also records the words of Rasulullah (s) to his wife:
“O Khadijah I hear sounds and see light and I fear I am mad”
Qadi Iyad in his famed work Al-Shifa page 284, whilst discussing the commencement of the mission of Muhammad (s), cites from al Bayhaqi:
“Hammad ibn Salama said that the Prophet said “I hear a voice and see a light and fear that there is some madness in me”.
The History of Al-Tabari Volume 6 page 71 manages to shed yet further light on the alleged state of the Prophet (s):
“There was no one of God’s creation more hateful to me than a poet or a madman; I could not bear to look at either of them. I said to myself ‘Your humble servant (meaning himself) is either a poet or a madman, but Quraysh shall never say this of me. I shall take myself to a mountain crag, hurl myself down from it, kill myself, and find relief in that way”
Defence Four – Allah (swt) protected the Prophet (s) from committing suicide, in the same way that He (swt) protected him (s) from music and forgetting divine Quranic verses
Ibn al Hashimi stated:
Every single time Prophet Muhammad had any such thoughts, then Allah sent His burhan (i.e. Arch-Angel Jibraeel) and thereby prevented the Prophet and maintained his infallibility. The Shia are actually arguing over a non-issue; the Hadith conforms to the idea that Allah protected His Prophets from such thoughts, because it shows that Allah removed them from their minds…Sahih Bukhari Hadith shows that the Holy Prophet was protected from any suicidal thoughts by Allah and His burhan, Al-Hamdu Lillah! We recall the story of the Prophet during his youth: the Prophet had gone to a wedding party in which there was music playing. But Allah protected him from that by putting him into a deep slumber. The Prophet said:
“I wanted to go down to Mecca and entertain myself as the young men did. I went down to the first house in Mecca where I heard music. I entered and asked: ‘What is this?’ Someone answered: ‘It is a wedding party.’ I sat down and listened but soon went into a deep sleep. I was awakened by the heat of the sun. I went to my fellow shepherd and told him what happened to me. I never tried it again.”
(narrated by Ibn al-Atheer, classed as Sahih by Hakeem)
In other words, the Prophet could have the normal instincts and thoughts, but Allah then prevented him from indulging in that, and in fact, Allah removed all avenues and ways to that…
Prophet Muhammad himself could not read, but Allah gave him the power to read when Arch-Angel Jibraeel embraced him. The Prophet had told Jibraeel multiple times that he could not recite, but then Allah gave him the power to do that. The Prophet was also a human being so he could forget things, but Allah then protected the Prophet from forgetting any of the verses of the Quran.
Reply One – Such an argument raises serious questions about Prophethood
The difficulty for this line of argument is that it is linked to the fact that the Prophet (s) contemplated suicide BECAUSE he doubted his divine appointment, and opined that he had lost his senses, fearing rebuke from his community he contemplated suicide, it was then that Angel Gibrael (as) intervened and assured him he was a Prophet (s). The question is how could the Prophet (s) still have doubts after receiving the first revelation? Why was he still unsure of his appointment? Why was he doubting his divine appointment and thinking he had gone insane? Can Nawasib not see how this belief system becomes ammunition for those that reject the Prophethood of Muhammad (s)?
Reply Two – According to Sunni reports the Prophet (s) did listen to music after his appointment
Especially for Ibn al Hashimi, we will submit evidence from his esteemed works to demonstrate (contrary to his claim) that the Prophet (s) did listen to music, and hence was not protected as he suggests.
We read in Sahih Bukhari Merits of the Helpers in Madinah (Ansaar) Volume 5, Book 58, Number 268:
That once Abu Bakr came to her on the day of ‘Id-ul-Fitr or ‘Id ul Adha while the Prophet was with her and there were two girl singers with her, singing songs of the Ansar about the day of Buath. Abu Bakr said twice. “Musical instrument of Satan!” But the Prophet said, “Leave them Abu Bakr, for every nation has an ‘Id (i.e. festival) and this day is our ‘Id.”
A similar narration in Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 15, Number 70 reads as follows:
Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (p.b.u.h) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ?” Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) turned his face towards him and said, “Leave them.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left.
We read in Sahih Bukhari the Book of Nikah Volume 7, Book 62, Number 77:
(the daughter of Muawwidh bin Afra) After the consummation of my marriage, the Prophet came and sat on my bed as far from me as you are sitting now, and our little girls started beating the tambourines and reciting elegiac verses mourning my father who had been killed in the battle of Badr. One of them said, “Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen tomorrow.” On that the Prophet said, “Leave this (saying) and keep on saying the verses which you had been saying before.”
The above references totally debunk Ibn al Hashimi’s argument for the said traditions make it clear that not only did the Prophet (s) listen to music, he would do so in female gatherings, and offer his feedback on lyrics!
Reply Three – According to Sunni reports the Prophet (s) was not protected from forgetting Quranic verses either!
We shall quote three traditions from Aisha through her nephew Urwa, all that are from Sahih al Bukhari, Chapter on virtues of the Quran. Volume 6, Book 61, Number 556:
The Prophet heard a man reciting the Qur’an in the mosque and said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on him, as he has reminded me of such-and-such Verses of such a Surah.”
Volume 6, Book 61, Number 558:
Allah’s Apostle heard a man reciting the Qur’an at night, and said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on him, as he has reminded me of such-and-such Verses of such-and-such Suras, which I was caused to forget.”
Volume 6, Book 61, Number 562:
The Prophet heard a reciter reciting, the Qur’an in the mosque at night. The Prophet said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on him, as he has reminded me of such-and-such Verses of such and-such Suras, which I missed!”
This narration completely destroys Ibn al Hashimi’s argument.
The traditions throw up questions that need answering:
- Who was that person that caused him (s) to forget the verses?
- It cannot be Allah (swt) personally, if He (swt) caused him to forget who did he send?
- If the forgotten verses were abrogated what was the intention behind the Prophet (s) being made to forget them?
- If Allah (swt) caused him (s) to forget the verses, was He (swt) seeking to inform the people that absolute reliance should not be placed on him, as he is prone to forgetting things?
Are such traditions acceptable? Clearly not, f the Prophet (s) was (as he suggests) protected from forgetting Qur’anic verses, why did he need a Sahabi’s recitation to remind him of a verse that he had forgotten? What depiction of the Prophet (s) is this that suggests that he (s) would forget the very verses that Allah (swt) ordered that he convey to the people? Is it plausible that the one upon whom the Quran descends forgets verses from it? How can a living miracle, the walking Quran forget the Quran that was delivered on him? If this is accepted as true then it in effect throws doubts then all of his words and actions can be called into question. If he was to deliver an order, people might assume at a later date that he had forgotten it. It would raise doubts over the completeness of verses, after all people might be unsure whether a verse was complete, wondering whether the Prophet (s) might have forgotten some of it. To suggest that the Prophet (s) could forget the Quran is completely false, and has been refuted by the guarantee of Allah (swt) who says in Surah A’la verse 6:
By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget,
Moreover in Sahih Muslim we learn that the Prophet (s) himself stated in Book 004, Number 1724:
“… What a wretched person is he amongst them who says: I have forgotten such and such a verse. (He should instead of using this expression say): I have been made to forget it. Try to remember the Qur’an for it is more apt to escape from men’s minds than a hobbled camel”.
The Prophet (s) deems one that forgets a Surah to be a wretched person and yet according to the testimony of Aisha the Prophet (s) was one such person who forgot a Surah, and depended on one of his subjects to remind him (s) of its existence!
Reply Four – According to Sunni reports, the Prophet (s) also forgot the divine ordinance relating to the Night of Power
We read the following traditions in Sahih Bukhari, the chapter entitled Praying at Night in Ramadaan (Taraweeh). Volume 3, Book 32, Number 234:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.”
Volume 3, Book 32, Number 237:
Allah’s Apostle used to practice Itikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan ,”
Volume 3, Book 32, Number 240:
Narrated ‘Ubada bin As-Samit:
The Prophet came out to inform us about the Night of Qadr but two Muslims were quarreling (sic) with each other. So, the Prophet said, “I came out to inform you about the Night of Qadr but such-and-such persons were quarreling , so the news about it had been taken away; yet that might be for your own good, so search for it on the 29th, 27th and 25th (of Ramadan).
Think carefully the entire role of the Prophet (s) is to propagate the teachings of Allah (swt) to the masses, to deliver all that has been told. Now consider this, the Prophet (s) leaves his home so as to cascade the date upon which the Night of Qadr occurs, he witnesses men quarrelling, forgets the date and urges his followers to search for the correct night themselves! Is it really our duty, when Allah (swt) gave the date to Gibrael (as) to deliver to the Prophet (s)? Allah (swt) delegated that Gibrael convey the date, he does so accordingly and the recipient forgets it! It is apt at this point to pose some questions:
- What is importance of the Night of Power?
- If it has no importance why did the Prophet (s) insist that we find it?
- If it was insignificant why did Allah (swt) intend that the date be given to Muhammad (s) who must likewise disclose it to the Ummah?
- If it remained important, rather than urge the companions to locate the right date, why did he not refer the matter back to Allah (swt) for the purposes of clarification?
- Why did the Sahaba and Aisha not urge the Prophet (s) seek the counsel of Allah (swt), after all the Prophet (s) and Sahaba were spending days in the Mosque praying uncertain if they were praying on the right day, would clarification not eliminated this uncertainty?
- If the Prophet (s) could forget the Night of Power is it not logical that he could likewise forget other orders sent by Allah (swt)?
- Does the forgetting of the Night Power not also carry the risk of him forgetting obligatory duties?
- If he can likewise forget obligatory duties where does that leave his station of Prophethood?
- If it does not affect his station of Prophethood, why not?
Reply Five – Aisha and the Sahaba believed that the Prophet (s) was a sinner
In this regards we shall cite two traditions of Aisha as evidence:
We read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 19:
Whenever Allah’s Apostle ordered the Muslims to do something, he used to order them deeds which were easy for them to do, (according to their strength endurance). They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We are not like you. Allah has forgiven your past and future sins.” So Allah’s Apostle became angry and it was apparent on his face. He said, “I am the most Allah fearing, and know Allah better than all of you do.”
In Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 361:
The Prophet used to offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet used to crack. I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?” He said, “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?’ When he became old, he prayed while sitting, but if he wanted to perform a bowing, he wound get up, recite (some other verses) and then perform the bowing.
(NB. Dr Muhsin Khan, the English translator of Sahih Bukhari used to refer to faults when it in fact means sins as is evident from the previous tradition wherein he has defined the same word as such).
So we learn as follows from both traditions:
- the argument of the Sahaba when given a difficult task that they could not do, unlike the Prophet was that he had the benefit of having his past and present sins forgiven
- this angered the Prophet (s) not only did visible signs of anger appear on his face, he gave a riposte ‘I am the most Allah fearing, and know Allah better than all of you do.’
- the Prophet (s) would pray for such great lengths his ankles would swell
- Aisha queried why he prayed so much when his past sins have been forgiven
- he (s) responded the he desired to be a Servant of Allah (swt)
Both traditions set out a belief of the Sahaba and Aisha that:
- the Prophet (s) was a sinner, and would commit sins now and in the future, all of which would be forgiven.
- he was not infallible, rather like the Sahaba he also committed sins, if he was infallible he would possess the physical capability to keep aloof from sins, as was not the case in their estimation.
- in the first tradition the Prophet (s) made it clear ‘I am the most Allah fearing, and know Allah better than all of you do’ but neither of them felt this evidenced his infallibility
Our questions are as follows:
- The Sahaba and Aisha fail to clarify the precise nature of these sins, what were they?
- Were they sins associated with etiquettes, the Shariah or the society wherein he lived?
- We know nothing about his past sins, what were these transgressions that Allah (swt) had forgiven him for?
- Were these sins before or after his divine order to commence the Prophetic mission?
- If they preceded his appointment what were they?
- If they were afterwards what were they?
- Is belief that the Prophet (s) was protected from sins a false one?
- Were the open chest surgeries on the Prophet (s) to extract a Satanic clot not linked to a desire that he be cleansed from sins? If so why did the Sahaba and Aisha attest that he remained a sinner?
The above two traditions leave those Sunnis that belief that the Sahaba was protected from sins in a real quandary. It is even more serious when one considers that the first tradition has been recorded in Sahih Bukhari, in the Chapter of Iman, that implies that belief that the Prophet (s) is a sinner should be accepted as part of one’s faith, in accordance with the views of Aisha and Sahaba. If they wish to maintain a belief that Prophet (s) was protected from sins, then they will need to condemn Aisha and the Sahaba for perpetuating the precise opposite belief. Ibn al Hashimi, you cannot have your cake and eat it. Clearly one of these beliefs is incorrect. You cannot believe that the Prophet (s) from the cradle to the grave was sin free and also accept the above two traditions wherein the Sahaba and Aisha said the opposite. The problem is once you reject the above two traditions, the entire Sunni belief based on the truthfulness of the Sahaba and the wives of the Prophet (s) falls apart! Alhamdolillah there is no such confusion for the Shia Ithna Ashari, we believe that the Prophet (s) from his birth until his death was protected from all forms of sins, on account of his infallibility.
- The excellences of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) from the Quran and Sunnah
- The shameful depictions of the mental state of the doubting Muhammad (s) following his receiving the divine revelation
- Analysing the defences offered by the charlatan advocates of Muhammad (s)
- Some final thoughts for Ibn al Hashimi to contemplate
- No public Twitter messages.