Sh. Gibril F. Haddad: Merits of al-Sham al-Sharif

Merits of al-Sham al-Sharif

Forty Narrations on The Immense Merits of al-Shâm
Compiled and translated by GF Haddad

The Arabic word al-Shâm has been left untranslated for lack of an English equivalent. It is originally written and pronounced al-Sha’m and means “the North” with relation to the Hijaz, covering the lands of present-day Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan from the Euphrates to Sinai. Ibn Hibban said: “Al-Shâm begins at Bâlis [East of Aleppo] and ends at `Arish Misr [at the border of Egypt].”1 The lexical and geographical inclusion of al-Qudus (Jerusalem) in al-Shâm in the language of the Arabs is established by the narration of Salman al-Farisi’s question to the Christians of Persia: “Where is the origin of this religion?” They replied: “In al-Shâm.”2 In modern usage al-Shâm often means old Damascus. The Arabic term for the latter is Dimashq, which is cited in the authentic hadith.3

I. In the Noble Qur'an

I. In the Noble Qur’an

1. Allah Most High blessed the land of Shâm when He said {Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place of Worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Nearer, the Seer} (17:1).

The Prophet ﷺ said: “I was brought the Burâq, a tall white beast, bigger than a donkey but smaller than a mule. He could place his hooves at the farthest boundary of his gaze. I mounted it until I arrived at the Hallowed House (Bayt al-Maqdis). I tied it at the ring where the Prophets tied it before him. I entered the mosque and prayed two rak`as there.4

Other narrations of the hadith of isrâ’ and mi`raj state that the following took place during the Prophet’s ﷺ flight on top of the Burâq:

Gibrîl said: “Alight and pray here.” The Prophet ﷺ did so then remounted. Gibrîl said: “Do you know where you prayed?” He said no. Gibrîl said: “You prayed in Madyan5 at the tree of Musa.”6 The Burâq continued his lightning flight, then Gibrîl said: “Alight and pray here.” He did so then remounted, then Gibrîl said: “Do you know where you prayed?” He said no. Gibrîl said: “You prayed at the mountain of Sînâ’ where Allah addressed Musa.” Then he reached a land where the palaces of al-Shâm became visible to him. Gibrîl said to him: “Alight and pray.” He did so and remounted, then the Burâq continued his lightning flight and Gibrîl said: “Do you know where you prayed?” He said no. Gibrîl said: “You prayed in Bayt Lahm, where `Isa ibn Maryam was born.”… He continued travelling until he reached the city of the Hallowed House and he entered it by its Southern gate. He dismounted the Burâq and tied it at the gate of the mosque, using the ring by which the Prophets tied it before him. “We entered the mosque from a gate through which the sun and the moon could be seen when they set. I prayed in the mosque for as long as Allah wished.”7

The commentaries are unanimous in adducing the Prophet’s ﷺ reports whereby {the Far Distant Place of Worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed} is the divine sanctuary in al-Qudus in Shâm.8 Ka`b al-Ahbar said: “Allah has blessed al-Shâm from the Euphrates to al-`Arish [Egypt’s border].”9

2. Allah Most High also said {And We caused the folk who were devised to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We had blessed} (7:137), meaning Shâm, as narrated from the authorities in tafsîr among the Tâbi`în.10

3. Allah Most High also said {And We verily did allot unto the Children of Israel a beautiful abode (mubawwa’a sidq), and provided them with good things} (10:93). The scholars of the Tâbi`în explained the beautiful abode to mean Shâm.11

4. Allah Most High also said {And We rescued him [Ibrahim] and Lot (and brought them) to the land which We have blessed for (all) peoples} (21:71) meaning Shâm according to the Salaf as reported by the commentators.12

5. Allah Most High also said {And unto Solomon (We subdued) the wind in its raging. It set by His command toward the land which We had blessed} (21:81), meaning Shâm.13 Ibn `Abd al-Salam said that the scholars differed whether this blessing consisted in the presence of the Prophets and Messengers, or with the abundance of harvests and water.14

6. Allah Most High also said {And We set, between them and the towns which We had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and We made the stage between them easy, (saying): Travel in them safely both by night and day} (34:18). The early scholars have identified those blessed towns as Shâm.15

7. Allah Most High also swore {By the fig and the olive, By Mount Sînâ} (95:1-2), meaning by “the fig” al-Shâm and by “the olive” Palestine, which is also in Shâm, as is Sînâ.16 Each of these three symbols and the places they stand for refers in turn to a Prophet, respectively Ibrahim `alayhi as-Salam, `Isa `alayhi as-Salam, and Musa `alayhi as-Salam.

8. The divine mention of “the first gathering” in the verse {He it is Who has caused those of the People of the Scripture who disbelieved to go forth from their homes unto the first gathering} (59:2) is an allusion to the second and final gathering, both of which take place in Shâm.17

9. The land of refuge for `Isa ibn Maryam `alayhi as-Salam and his mother in the verse {And We made the son of Mary and his mother a portent, and We gave them refuge on a height (rabwa), a place of flocks and water springs} (23:50) was Damascus according to Ibn `Abbas, `Abd Allah ibn Salam, Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib, and al-Hasan al-Basri.18

10. His – the Most High – statement {many columned Iram, The like of which was not created in the lands} (89:7-8) was explained by Bishr ibn al-Harith to refer to Shâm.19

I-Notes

NOTES

1In Ibn Hibban (16:294). Bâlis is sixty miles East of Aleppo, at the South-East bend of the Euphrates, while `Arish Misr is the first Egyptian town on the side of Shâm, on the Mediterranean coast as defined in Mu`jam al-Buldan. Al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur mentions that Ibn `Asakir narrates something similar from the Tâbi`î Abu al-Aghdash. This definition is confirmed by the report narrated from Ka`b al-Ahbar below.

2Narrated as part of a very long hadith by Ahmad in his Musnad and al-Tabarani, both with sound chains as stated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa’id, and by al-Bazzar in his Musnad.

3Cf. below, Part I #9 and Part II #14, 23, 26, 27, and 36.

4Narrated as part of a long hadith from Anas by Muslim and Ahmad.

5A city on the shore of the Red Sea bordering Tabuk near the valley of Shu`ayb.

6The tree under which Musa `alayhi as-Salam rested from fatigue and hunger during his flight from Fir`awn.

7Narrated as part of a long hadith from Anas by al-Nasa’i with a sound chain and from Shaddad ibn Aws by al-Bayhaqi who declared it sound in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (2:355-357), and by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa’id. See Ibn Hajar’s Mukhtasar (1:90-91 #32).

8See al-Suhayli, al-Ta`rif wa al-I`lam fi ma Ubhima fi al-Qur’an min al-Asma’ wa al-A`lam (p. 96) and the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (5:155), Ibn Kathir (3:22-24), al-Jalalayn (p. 365), al-Durr al-Manthur (5:182, 5:195, 5:222), al-Tabari (15:5), al-Wahidi (2:627), al-Nahhas (4:119), etc. Also al-Mubarakfuri, Tuhfa (8:450).

9In al-Suyuti, Mufhimat al-Aqran fi Mubhamat al-Qur’an (p. 21).

10Narrated from al-Hasan and Qatada by `Abd al-Razzaq, `Abd ibn Humayd in his Musnad, al-Tarabi in his Tafsir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al-Shaykh, and Ibn `Asakir as mentioned in al-Suyuti’s al-Durr al-Manthur and Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 13-14).

11Narrated from Qatada, al-Dahhak, and Ibn Zayd by Ibn al-Mundhir as stated by al-Suyuti in Mufhimat al-Aqran fi Mubhamat al-Qur’an (p. 115) and Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 14). See the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (4:174), al-Jalalayn (p. 281), al-Durr al-Manthur (4:389), al-Tabari (11:166-167), `Abd al-Razzaq (2:297), Ibn al-Jawzi (4:62), al-Shawkani (2:485), al-Nahhas (3:316), etc.

12See the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (6:77), Ibn Kathir (3:186), al-Jalalayn (p. 427), al-Durr al-Manthur (5:642-643), al-Tabari (11:166, 17:45-47), al-Qurtubi (11:305), al-Wahidi (2:720), Ibn al-Jawzi (5:368), al-Shawkani (3:416), etc.

13See the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (6:80), al-Jalalayn (p. 428), al-Tabari (17:55), al-Qurtubi (11:322), Ibn al-Jawzi (5:370-374), al-Shawkani (3:419) etc.

14Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib (p. 13).

15See the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (7:128), Ibn Kathir (3:534), al-Tha`alibi (3:244), al-Jalalayn (p. 566), al-Durr al-Manthur (6:692), al-Tabari (22:83-84), al-Qurtubi (14:289), al-Wahidi (2:882), Mujahid (2:525), Ibn al-Jawzi (6:448), al-Shawkani (4:321), al-Nahhas (5:410) etc.

16See the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (9:174), Ibn Kathir (4:527), al-Jalalayn (p. 813), al-Durr al-Manthur (8:554-555), al-Tabari (30:239), `Abd al-Razzaq (3:382), al-Qurtubi (20:111), al-Wahidi (2:1214), Ibn al-Jawzi (9:168-170), al-Shawkani (5:464-465), etc. and al-Bakri’s Mu`jam ma Ustu`jam (3:898).

17See the Tafsirs of al-Jassas (5:316), Abu al-Su`ud (8:225), al-Tha`alibi (4:281-282), al-Jalalayn (p. 730), al-Durr al-Manthur (1:730), al-Tabari (28:28-29), `Abd al-Razzaq (3:282), al-Qurtubi (18:2), al-Wahidi (2:1080), Ibn al-Jawzi (8:204), al-Shawkani (5:195, 5:199), etc. and al-Hakim (1990 ed. 2:525). See also the report cited below (#28).

18Cf. Ibn Abi Shayba (6:409) with a sound chain to Sa`id ibn al-Musayyib, al-Suyuti in Mufhamat al-Aqran (p. 148), al-Haythami (7:72), Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 27), and the Tafsirs of Abu al-Su`ud (6:137), Ibn Kathir (3:247), al-Thawri (p. 216), al-Durr al-Manthur (6:101-102), al-Tabari (18:26), `Abd al-Razzaq (3:45), al-Qurtubi (12:126), al-Wahidi (2:748), Ibn al-Jawzi (5:476), al-Shawkani (3:486-487), al-Nahhas (4:461-462), etc. as well as Yaqut’s Mu`jam al-Buldan (2:464) and al-Bakri’s Mu`jam ma Ustu`jam (2:637).

One narration of this commentary has a chain from Ibn al-Musayyib up to `Abd Allah ibn Salam but its authenticity was questioned by Ibn Abi `Asim (d. 287) in his `Ilal al-Hadith (2:65-66) on the grounds that none of the authorities went further up than Ibn al-Musayyib. However, the hadith master Abu Muhammad al-Ramahurmuzi’s (d. 362) narration in al-Muhaddith al-Fasil Bayn al-Rawi wa al-Wa`i (“The Hadith Scholar That Differentiates Between Narrators and Containers”) (p. 475) does narrate it up to `Abd Allah ibn Salam with his chain, and both Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (3:247) and al-Qurtubi in his (12:126) mention Ibn Salam’s narration. Note that al-Dhahabi lauded al-Ramahurmuzi’s book in his Siyar (1996 ed. 12:233) and related that al-Silafi carried it wherever he went. Dr. Nur al-Din `Itr pointed out in a class communication that it was the first comprehensive book on hadith science ever written, second to which came the works of al-Hakim, al-Khatib, and Ibn al-Salah.

Another narration raises this commentary to the Prophet ﷺ from Abu Umama as narrated by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (1:192), Tammam al-Razi in al-Fawa’id (2:11), al-Raba`i in Fada’il al-Sham wa Dimashq (p. 37), and al-`Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa’ (1:544). However, its chain is very weak due to Maslama ibn `Ali who is discarded as a narrator (matrûk).

19Narrated from al-Maqbiri by al-Tabari in his Tafsir (30:111) and others.

II. In the Noble Hadith

II. In the Noble Hadith

The Prophet ﷺ called al-Shâm the purest of the lands of Allah Most High, the place where Religion, belief and safety are found in the time of dissension, and the home of the saints for whose sake Allah sends sustenance to the people and victory to Muslims over their enemies. The following is a list of hadiths relevant to the immense merits of al-Shâm:

11. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Blessings to al-Shâm, blessings to al-Shâm, blessings to al-Shâm!” (yâ tûbâ li al-Shâm). They asked why and he replied: “Because the wings of the angels of the Merciful are lowered over it.”1

Ibn `Abd al-Salam said: “This is an allusion to the fact that Allah has put certain angels in charge of guarding Shâm and protecting it. This is in agreement with the hadith of `Abd Allah ibn Hawala [#18] that states that they [the people of Shâm] are under His guarantee (kafâla) and His care.”2

12. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The heartland of the Abode of Islam is al-Shâm.” (`Uqr dâr al-islâm al-shâm.)3 A longer version states that Salama ibn Nufayl al-Hadrami al-Sakuni came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “I have fattened the horses and laid down arms, for war has rested its burdens and there is no more fighting.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Now has fighting come! There shall not cease to be a group in my Community that shall remain victorious over all people. Allah shall cause the hearts of some to go astray and those shall fight them and receive from them His sustenance, until His command comes to pass as they are in that state. Lo! Verily, the heartland of the Believers is al-Shâm (`uqr dâr al-mu’minîn al-shâm), and immense good remains tied to the forelocks of horses until the Day of Resurrection.”4

Ibn `Abd al-Salam said: “In this hadith the Prophet ﷺ informed us of the apostasy that would take place on the part of those whose hearts Allah would cause to go astray, and the fighting against the apostates. In his telling us about residing in Shâm there is a sign that to live there consists in waging war for His sake, and news that Shâm shall remain a fortified borderline city until the Day of Resurrection. We have witnessed this, for the outer borders of Shâm are permanent front lines.”5

13. Strengthened by the above report is that of the Prophet’s ﷺ saying: “The people of Shâm, their spouses, their offspring, and their male and female servants are garrisoned for the sake of Allah murâbitûn). Therefore, whoever takes up residence in one of the cities of Shâm, he is in a garrison-post or fortified borderline city and he is a mujâhid.”6

14. The Prophet ﷺ is also related to say: “A party of my Community shall not cease to fight at the gates of Damascus and its surroundings and at the gates of Bayt al-Maqdis and its surroundings. The betrayal or desertion of whoever deserts them shall not harm them in the least. They shall remain victorious, standing for truth, until the Hour rises.”7 Al-Nawawi explained the term “the Hour” to mean “the spread of the wind [that shall take away the lives of the Believers].”8

15. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The anti-Christ shall come out into my Community and endure for forty days or months or years” – the narrator was unsure – “after which Allah shall send `Isa ibn Maryam, who looks exactly like `Urwa ibn Mas`ud. `Isa shall pursue the anti-Christ and destroy him. Then people shall live for seven years without the least enmity among them. Then Allah shall send a cool wind from the direction of al-Shâm, whereupon none shall remain on the face of the earth that has an atom’s worth of goodness in their heart except they shall be taken away…”9 The Prophet ﷺ described that wind as having “the scent of musk and the touch of silk.”10

16. The Prophet ﷺ said: “O Allah, bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen!” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!” He did not reply but again said: “O Allah, bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen!” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!” He did not reply but again said: “O Allah, bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen!” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! and our Najd!” He said: “Thence shall come great upheavals and dissensions, and from it shall issue the side of the head of Shaytân.”11

Som people claim that Najd means Iraq in the terminology of the hadith but this is incorrect.12 Al-Nawawi said: “Najd is the area that lies between Jurâsh (in Yemen) all the way to the rural outskirts of Kûfâ (in Iraq), and its Western border is the Hijaz. The author of al-Matali` said: Najd is all a province of al-Yamama.”13 Al-Fayruzabadi said: “Its geographical summit is Tihama and Yemen, its bottom is Iraq and Shâm, and it begins at Dhatu `Irqin14 from the side of the Hijaz.”15 Al-Khattabi said: “Najd lies Eastward, and to those who are in Madina, their Najd is the desert of Iraq and its vicinities, which all lie East of the people of Madina. The original meaning of najd is `elevated land’ as opposed to ghawr which means declivity. Thus, Tihama is all part of al-Ghawr, and Mecca is part of Tihama.”16 This is confirmed by Ibn al-Athir’s definition: “Najd is any elevated terrain, and it is a specific name for what lies outside the Hijaz and adjacent to Iraq.”17 Similarly al-Dawudi said: “Najd lies in the vicinity of Iraq.”18 Iraq itself lexicaly means river-shore or sea-shore, in reference to the Euphrates and the Tigris.19 In other words, Najd is the mountainous area East of the Hijaz, bordering it and Iraq at the same time and actually separating them. This is confirmed by the verse of the poet `Awamm ibn al-Asbagh:

Next to Batni Nakhlin there is a mountain called the Black One: One half of it is Hijazi, another half Najdi.20

A further confirmation is in the account of the qunût of the Prophet ﷺ against the tribes of Najd. `Amir ibn Malik came to the Prophet ﷺ in the 4th year of the Hijra, neither accepting nor rejecting Islam. Instead he said: “O Muhammad! If you send some of your Companions to the people of Najd to call them to your affair, I have hope that they shall respond favorably to you.” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “Truly I fear for them [harm] from the people of Najd” (innî akshâ `alayhim ahla Najd). `Amir said: “I proclaim that they are under my protection.” The Prophet ﷺ then sent seventy men from the elite of the Ansar. They travelled until they alighted at the Well of Ma`una, at which time they sent Haram ibn Malhan with the letter of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ to `Amir ibn al-Tufayl. The latter did not look at the letter but instead killed Haram ibn Malhan. Then he called upon the Banu `Amir for assistance to kill the rest of the Muslim group, but they declined to challenge `Amir ibn Malik’s protectorate. So `Amir ibn al-Tufayl called upon the following tribes of the Banu Sulaym: `Usayya, Ra`l, Dhakwan, and they responded to him. They formed an expedition and surrounded the group with their mounts. The Muslims were killed to the last man but for `Amr ibn Umayya al-Dumari who returned to Madina. The Prophet ﷺ was deeply affected by their death and remained supplicating (yaqnutu) for one month during the dawn prayer against the (Najdi) Banu Sulaym tribes of Ra`l, Dhakwan, Banu Lahyan, and `Usayya.21

Another proof is that no-one from Iraq entered Islam in the time of the Prophet ﷺ but only after his time. However, the Prophet ﷺ sent military expeditions to Najd, went there himself, and some Najdis even accepted Islam as shown by the following hadiths:

(a) It is narrated from Talha ibn `Ubayd Allah in al-Bukhari and Muslim that “a man came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ from the people of Najd (min ahli najd), disheveled, the din of his voice audible although he was unintelligible…” to the end of the hadith in which the man said, speaking of the Five Pillars of Islam: “By Allah! I shall never add to this nor subtract from it,” whereupon the Prophet ﷺ said: “He shall obtain success if he proves truthful.” As stated by al-Khatib,22 this is a different man from that mentioned in the hadith of Anas in al-Bukhari as coming into the Mosque with his camel and asking “Which one of you is Muhammad?” later identifying himself as Dimam ibn Tha`laba al-Sa`di al-Bakri from the Banu Sa`d ibn Bakr tribe.

(b) The hadith of Abu Hurayra in the two Sahihs and the Sunan: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent a mounted detachment towards Najd and they brought a man from Banu Hanifa named Thumama ibn Uthal…”

(c) The hadith of Abu Hurayra in Abu Dawud with a good chain, “We went out to Najd with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ until we arrived at Dhat al-Riqa` in a region of datepalms, where he met a detachment from Ghatafan.” The Ghatafan are a Najdi tribe as shown by al-Tabari’s phrase: “Two thousand Najdis coming from Ghatafan,”23 and Ibn al-Qayyim states: “Then he ﷺ raised a campaign against Najd, aiming at the Ghatafan.”24 This tribe is famous for two facts:

Before Islam the Jews of Khaybar vanquished them by making tawassul through the Prophet ﷺ as stated by Ibn al-Qayyim in Hidayat al-Hayara (p. 18) in explaining the verse (And when there came to them a (true) Book from Allah the Qur’an) verifying that which they have (the Torah), and aforetime (before the Qur’an was revealed) they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve (saying: O Allah, grant us victory against them by the intermediary and help of the Prophet ﷺ that is to be sent at the end of time), but when there came to them (the Prophet; the truth which they knew from the Torah, namely, the advent of the Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him (due to envy and aversion to their loss of authority); so the curse of Allah is on the unbelievers( (2:89; Muhammad Shakir’s translation together with Tafsir al-Jalalayn);

After Islam, the Ghatafan were among the tribes that turned apostate and said the claims of the pseudo-prophet Tulayha al-Asadi were true.

(d) The famous hadith of the spoils from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri in the two Sahihs and the Sunan in which the Quraysh became angry and said: “He is giving to the nobility of Najd and leaving us out!” to which the Prophet ﷺ replied: “I am only trying to win their hearts over to us.” Then a man named Dhu al-Khuwaysira from the Banu Tamim came with sunken eyes, protruding cheeks, big forehead, profuse beard, and shaven head. He said: “Fear Allah, O Muhammad!” Etc. which ends with the prophecy that “Out of that man’s seed shall come a people who will recite the Qur’an but it will not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its quarry. They shall kill the Muslims and leave the idolaters alone. If I live to see them, verily I shall kill them the way the tribe of `Ad was killed.”

It is also established in the authentic Sunna that after Abu Talib’s death by about three years, in the 10th year of the Hijra, on the actual night that the Prophet ﷺ was preparing to leave Makka for Madina, the plot to kill him by the collective hand of a conspiracy of the tribes was hatched up by Iblis in the guise of a venerable old man (shaykh jalîl) who, when asked who he was, simply answered “An old man from Najd” (shaykhun min Najd). The reports go on to refer to him as “The Old Man from Najd” (al-shaykh al-najdî).25

At any rate, the above explanations prove that those who say that Najd in the hadith denotes present-day Iraq exclusively of present-day Najd26 are mistaken, as Najd at that time included not only Iraq but also – as in our present time – everything East of Madina, especially the regions far South of Iraq. The proof for this is the hadith whereby the Prophet ﷺ pointed to Yemen and said: “Verily, belief is there; but hardness and coarseness of heart is with the blaring farmers (al-faddadîn), the people of many camels, where the two sides of the head of Shaytân shall appear, among [the tribes of] Rabi`a and Mudar.”27 Ibn Hajar identified these two tribes as “the most prestigious of the people of the East, the Quraysh – from which the Prophet ﷺ is issued – being a branch of Mudar.”28 This is confirmed by al-Bukhari’s narration in seven places and Muslim’s in six, from Ibn `Umar, that the East (al-Mashriq) is the origin of dissension and the place where the side of the head of Shaytân would appear – or two sides in one narration of Muslim. The fact that Muslim narrated that Salim ibn `Abd Allah ibn `Umar applied this hadith to the people of Iraq does not limit its meaning to them. It only confirms that the Prophet ﷺ foresaw the dissension of the Khawârij among other dissensions hailing from the East, such as that of Musaylima the Liar and others: Ibn `Abidin said: “The name of Khawârij is applied to those who part ways with Muslims and declare them disbelievers, as took place in our time with the followers of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab who came out of Najd and attacked the Two Noble Sanctuaries.”29

Another proof is that the Prophet ﷺ set Qarn al-Manazil as the starting-point (mîqât) for the state of consecration (ihrâm) for pilgrims coming from Najd, which in his time included Iraq, although Islam had not yet reached the latter. Later, the people of Iraq, finding Qarn al-Manazil too far out of the way for them, asked for something nearer, whereupon `Umar – Allah be well-pleased with him – set Dhatu `Irqin (Kufa) as their mîqât as established in the following narrations:

a) “The Prophet ﷺ declared that the ihrâm of the people of Madina starts at Dhu al-Hulayfa; that of the people of Shâm starts at al-Juhfa; that of the people of Najd starts at Qarn al-Manazil; and that of the people of Yemen starts at Yalamlama.”30 Al-Nawawi said: “Qarn al-Manazil is the mountain of that name. Between it and Mecca on the East lies a distance of two legs of journey.”31

b) “When these two cities were conquered – al-Basra and al-Kufa – they came to `Umar ibn al-Khattab and said: `O Commander of the Believers, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ gave Qarn as a limit to the people of Najd, and it is out of our way, so that if we want to go to Qarn it creates hardship for us.’ `Umar replied: `See what lies nearest to it on your way.’ So he determined Dhatu `Irqin as a limit for them.”32 Ibn al-Athir said: “Ibn `Abbas said: `At Dhatu `Irqin, facing Qarn,’ Dhatu `Irqin being the mîqât of the people of Iraq, and Qarn that of the people of Najd, and they are equidistant from the Haram.”33

On the foregoing evidence one might make a case that Najd is synonymous with Iraq in the hadith in the general sense of the immediate East in relation to Madina. This view is supported by other narrations of the hadith “bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen” in which the terms “East” and “Iraq” are used interchangeably in the place of Najd:

a) The Prophet ﷺ said: “O Allah! Bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen!” A man said: “And our East, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet ﷺ repeated his invocation twice, and the man twice said: “And our East, O Messenger of Allah!” whereupon the Prophet ﷺ said: “Thence shall issue the side of the head of Shaytân. In it are nine tenths of disbelief. In it is the incurable disease (al-dâ’ al-`addâl).”34

b) The Prophet ﷺ said: “O Allah! Bless us in our sâ` and in our mudd (i.e. in every measure)! Bless us in our Mecca and our Madina! Bless us in our Shâm and our Yemen!” A man said: “O Prophet of Allah, and our Iraq!” The Prophet ﷺ said: “In it is the side of the head of Shaytân. In it shall dissensions heave. Verily, disrespect (al-jafâ’) lies in the East.”35

17. The Prophet ﷺ said: “A huge fire shall issue from Hadramawt – or: from the direction of the sea of Hadramawt – before the Day of Resurrection, which shall cause a great movement of people.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you order us to do at that time?” He said: “You must go to Shâm.”36

18. The Prophet ﷺ said: “It shall reach the point when you will all be joining [opposite] armies: one army in al-Shâm, one in Yemen, and one in Iraq.” `Abd Allah ibn Hawala said: “Choose for me, O Messenger of Allah! in case I live to see that day.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “You must join al-Shâm, for it is the chosen land of Allah in His earth. In it shall the chosen ones among His servants have protection. Otherwise, go to Yemen but be prepared to drink from still water. For Allah has given me a guarantee concerning Shâm and its people.” `Abd Allah ibn Hawala would add after narrating the above: “And whoever has Allah as his guarantor shall suffer no loss.”37 Another version states that some Companions said: “We are herdsmen, we cannot adapt to Shâm,” whereby the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever cannot adapt to Shâm, let him go to Yemen. Verily, Allah has given me a guarantee concerning Shâm.”38

19. In another version Ibn Hawala states: “When he noticed my dislike for Shâm he said: `Do you know what Allah says about Shâm? Verily, Allah said: O Shâm, you are the quintessence (safwa) of My lands and I shall inhabit you with the chosen ones among My servants.”39 Ibn al-Athir defines safw and safwa in his dictionary al-Nihaya as “the best of any matter, its quintessence, and purest part.”40

20. Related to the events mentioned by the Prophetﷺ above is his hadith: “Strife shall take place after the death of a Caliph. A man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqâm. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Shâm but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (Abdâl) of Shâm and the best people of Iraq shall come to him and swear allegiance to him…”41

II-Notes

NOTES

1Narrated from Zayd ibn Thabit al-Ansari by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (hasan gharîb) with a fair chain because of Yahya ibn Ayyub al-Ghafiqi who is merely “truthful” (sadûq) as in al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf’s al-Tahrir (4:78 #7511); Ahmad with two chains, one of which is sound according to Ibn al-Qayyim in his commentary on Abu Dawud’s Sunan (7:115), the other is a fair chain because of `Abd Allah ibn Lahi`a; al-Hakim (2:229; 1990 ed. 2:249) who said it is sahîh and al-Dhahabi concurred; al-Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab (2:432); Ibn Abi Shayba (4:218, 6:409); Ibn Hibban (16:293) with a sound chain meeting Muslim’s criterion according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut; and al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (5:158 #4935) with a sound chain according to al-Haythami (10:60) and al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30).

2Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 21).

3Narrated from Salama ibn Nufayl by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (7:53 #6358) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:60).

4Narrated from Salama ibn Nufayl by Ahmad with a fair chain, al-Nasa’i with a sound (sahîh) chain, Ibn Sa`d (7:427-428), and al-Bukhari in his Tarikh al-Kabir (4:70), the latter with the addition: “and I find the breath of the Merciful coming from over there [i.e. Yemen].” Also narrated from al-`Irbad ibn Sariya and al-Nuwwas ibn Sam`an by Ibn `Asakir in his Tarikh (1:70, 1:105-106). A forged mursal report narrated from the Tâbi`î Kathir ibn Murra al-Hadrami by Nu`aym ibn Hammad (d. 228) in Kitab al-Fitan (1:254) states that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Lo! Verily, the heartland of the Abode of Islam is al-Shâm. Allah leads to it the quintessence of His servants. None earnestly desires to live in it except a beneficiary of divine mercy, and none earnestly desires to live away from it except one seduced by sin. Allah trains His gaze upon it since the beginning of time until the end of time, with shade and rain. Even if He makes its people needy of money, He never made them needy of bread nor water.” Its chain contains Sa`id ibn Sinan who is discarded as a narrator because of his forgeries, but I cited it because its last sentence is true from general obervation, and its first two sentences are confirmed in sound narrations. See also below, hadith #38.

5Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 20).

6Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ through Abu Muti` Mu`awiya ibn Yahya from Artah ibn al-Mundhir from someone unnamed from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Tabarani, the rest being trustworthy, as stated by al-Haythami (10:60), Artah himself being highly trustworthy, and Muti` fair as stated by al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:32 = 1994 ed. 4:106 #4514). The hadith is further strengthened by Ibn `Asakir’s chain in Ta`ziya al-Muslim (p. 75) from Sa`id al-Bajali from Shahr ibn Hawshab (cf. n. 1636) from Abu al-Darda’ and by hadiths #23-26 and 32 below.

7Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Abu Ya`la in his Musnad and by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat, al-Haythami (10:60-61) indicating that the former chain is sound but the latter weak because of al-Walid ibn `Abbad, who is unknown. However, he is also in Abu Ya`la’s chain and Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil (7:84) stated that this hadith is narrated only through him. The hadith is therefore weak with this chain and wording – although confirmed by the hadith #32 below – and mass-transmitted with the wording “A party of my Community shall not cease to remain victorious, standing for truth, until the Hour rises.” See al-Kattani, Nazm al-Mutanathir (p. 141).

8In Sharh Sahih Muslim (1972 ed. 13:66).

9Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by Muslim and Ahmad as part of a longer hadith.

10Narrated from `Uqba ibn `Amir by Muslim.

11Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Bukhari, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahîh gharîb), and Ahmad with three chains, one of which with the addition: “And in it [Najd] are nine tenths of all evil.”

12Cf. masud.co.uk

13Al-Nawawi in Tahrir al-Tanbih (p. 157, s.v. “najd”).

14Ibn Hajar gave the opinion that Dhatu `Irqin is Kufa in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 3:390).

15In al-Qamus al-Muhit, article al-Najd. See also Mu`jam al-Buldan.

16In Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:48).

17Ibn al-Athir, al-Nihaya, s.v. n-j-d.

18In Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:48).

19Ibn al-Athir, al-Nihaya, s.v. `-r-q.

20In Yaqut al-Hamawi (d. 626), Mu`jam al-Buldan (1:192, 2:219).

21Narrated by al-Tabari in his Tarikh (2:81) and – in parts – from Anas by al-Bukhari; al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunan al-Kubra (9:225 #18587), Abu Ya`la (5:448), Ahmad, al-Tahawi in Sharh Ma`ani al-Athar (1:244 waj`al qulûbahum `alâ qulubi nisâ’a kawâfir). The story is told in al-Buti, Fiqh al-Sira (p. 254-255).

22In al-Rihla fi Talab al-Hadith (p. 191).

23Tarikh (2:384).

24Zad al-Ma`ad (3:190).

25Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya (3:6-8); al-Tabari, Tafsir (9:227-228) and Tarikh (1:566-567); Ibn Kathir, Tafsir (“sahîh” 2:303 on verse 8:30) and al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya; al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur (verse 8:30).

26Cf. al-Albani in his notes on al-Raba`i, Fada’il al-Sham wa Dimashq (p. 6, 27).

27Narrated from Abu Mas`ud by al-Bukhari in three places and Muslim.

28Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:531). The first words of al-Busiri’s Qasida Mudariyya are: “O our Lord! Send Your blessings on the Elect One of Mudar” (Ya rabbî salli `alâ al-mukhtâri min mudarin).

29Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (3:309), Bab al-Bughat [Chapter on Rebels].

30Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

31Al-Nawawi, Tahrir al-Tanbih (p. 157, s.v. “qarn”). Al-Shawkani in Nayl al-Awtar (4:295) said the same.

32Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Bukhari.

33In al-Nihaya s.v. h-dh-y.

34Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (2:529 #1910) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (3:305).

35Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (12:84 #12553) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (3:305). Abu Nu`aym narrates something similar in the Hilya (1985 ed. 6:133).

36Narrated from Ibn `Umar by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb sahîh) who added that it is also narrated from Hudhayfa ibn Asid, Anas, Abu Hurayra, and Abu Dharr. Also narrated from Ibn `Umar by Ahmad with five chains, Ibn Hibban (16:294) with a sound chain meeting al-Bukhari’s criterion according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut, Ibn Abi Shayba (7:471), Ibn Tahman in his Mashyakha (#201), and Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (9:405) with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami (10:61).

37Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Hawala by Abu Dawud and Ahmad with sound chains, Ibn Hibban (16:295), al-Hakim (4:510; 1990 ed. 4:555) who said it is sahîh and al-Dhahabi concurred, al-Tahawi in Mushkil al-Athar (2:35), al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (9:179), and Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 15). Also narrated from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:58) after al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30). Something similar is narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Yazid by al-Tabarani with a very weak chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:58) and from Wathila ibn al-Asqa` by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (22:55-58), specifying that those who were asking the Prophet ﷺ were Mu`adh and Hudhayfa. Al-Haythami (10:59) stated that all al-Tabarani’s chains of the latter narration were weak. Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Mughir (p. 71) declared this hadith forged by Mu`awiya’s – Allah be well-pleased with him – supporters against `Ali – Allah be well-pleased with him -!

38Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (10:58).

39Narrated by al-Tabarani with two chains of which one is fair according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30). Something similar is narrated from al-`Irbad ibn Sariya by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (18:251) with a sound chain according to al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:30) and al-Haythami (10:58), chapter entitled Fada’il al-Sham, and from Ibn `Umar by al-Tabarani and al-Bazzar with a weak chain according to al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur. Al-Suyuti also said that Ibn `Asakir narrated it from Thabit ibn Ma`bad.

40The Prophet ﷺ also compared the world to a little rain water on a mountain plateau of which the safw had already been drunk and from which only the kadar or dregs remained. Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq. Al-Huwjiri and al-Qushayri mention it in their chapters on tasawwuf respectively in Kashf al-Mahjub and al-Risala al-Qushayriyya.

41Narrated from Umm Salama by Abu Dawud through three different good chains in his Sunan, Ahmad, Ibn Abi Shayba, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (12:369 #6940) with a fair chain according to Shaykh Husayn Asad, al-Tabarani in al-Awsat (2:89 #1175) and al-Kabir (23:389-390 #930-931), al-Hakim, Ibn Hibban (15:158-159 #6757) with a weak chain because of Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Rufa`a – but he has been corroborated – and al-Bayhaqi.

III. In the Noble Hadith

III. In the Noble Hadith

21. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “As I was sleeping I saw the Column of the Book being carried away from under my head. I feared lest it would be taken away, so I followed it with my eyes and saw that it was being planted in al-Shām. Verily, belief in the time of dissensions will be in al-Shām.”1 The Prophet repeated three times: “When the dissensions take place, belief shall be in al-Shām.” One version states: “Safety will be in al-Shām.”2

22. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “I saw on the night that I was taken on a Night-Journey a white column resembling a pearl, which the angels were carrying. I said to them: `What are you carrying?’ They replied: `The Column of the Book, we have been ordered to place it in al-Shām.’ Later, in my sleep, I saw that the Column of the Book was snatched away from under my headrest (wisādatī). I began to fear lest Allah the Almighty had abandoned the people of the earth. My eyes followed where it went. It was a brilliant light in front of me. Then I saw it was placed in al-Shām.” `Abd Allah ibn Hawala said: “O Messenger of Allah, choose for me (where I should go).” The Prophet said: `alayka bi al-shām -“You must go to al-Shām.”3

23. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The rallying-place of Muslims on the day of Armageddon (yawm al-malhama) is in al-Ghūta, next to a city called Damascus (Dimashq), which is among the best of the cities of al-Shām.” The narrator added in Abu Dawud: “Meaning in great battles.”4

24. `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As narrated: “A time shall come when people shall see no believer remaining on earth except they have repaired to Shām.”5 Ibn `Abd al-Salam said of this report: “Such a statement is not made except by [Prophetic] prescription (tawqīfan).”6 This is in conformity with the rules of hadith science, tafsīr, and usūl whereby news of the unseen in an authentic mawqūf Companion-report has the full force of a marfū` Prophetic narration.7 The hadith master and imam of Shām in his time al-Walid ibn Muslim (d. 195) reported that because of the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – insistence on the immense merits of Shām, 10,000 eyes that had seen the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – later entered Shām.8

25. A similar Companion-report to that effect is that of Ka`b al-Ahbar9 on the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – sovereignty over Shām as part of his qualities mentioned in the Torah according to the saying of Allah (Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they can find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them( (7:157): * Ibn `Abbas asked Ka`b al-Ahbar: “What qualities of the Messenger of Allah – Allah bless and greet him – do you find written in the Torah?” Ka`b replied: “We find him named Muhammad ibn `Abd Allah, his birthplace Mecca, his place of migration Tābah [=Madina], and his kingdom Shām. He is not coarse of speech nor boisterous in the market-places. He does not return wrong with wrong but forgives and pardons.”10 In another version Ka`b adds: “His Community are the Praisers (al-hammādūn). They praise Allah in every happy and sad occasion, and extol Allah on every height. They cleanse their limbs, wear the waist-wrap, and line up for their prayers just as they do for battle. The sound they make in their places of worship is like that of bees. Their callers [to prayer] can be heard in the air of the heaven.”11 * In another version Ka`b said: “The description of Muhammad – Allah bless and greet him – in the Torah is as follows: `Muhammad is My chosen servant. He is neither rough nor harsh. He is not boisterous in the market-places nor does he return wrong with wrong, but he forgives and pardons. His birthplace is Mecca, his place of migration is Madina, and his kingdom is Shām.'”12 * In another version Ka`b said: “In the first line [of the Torah’s text] is: `Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, My elect servant. He is neither rough nor harsh. He is not boisterous in the market-places nor does he return wrong with wrong, but he forgives and pardons. His birthplace is Mecca, his place of migration is Madina, and his kingdom is Shām.’ In the second line is: `Muhammad the Messenger of Allah. His Community are the Praisers. They praise Allah in every happy and sad occasion. They praise Allah in every place and extol Him on every high place. They observe the movements of the sun and accomplish the prayer when its time comes, even if they find themselves on top of a refuse-heap. They wear the waist-wrap and cleanse their limbs. The sound of their voices in the night air is like that of bees.'”13 * There are other similar strong reports from Ka`b that do not mention Mecca, Madina, and Shām.14 * `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As, `Abd Allah ibn Salam, `A’isha, and Wahb ibn Munabbih all relate something similar to the above reports but without mention of Mecca, Madina, and Shām.15

26. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – was also related to say: “The fortress (ma`qal) of the Muslims at the time of the great battles 16 shall be in Damascus, their fortress against the anti-Christ (al-dajjāl) shall be Bayt al-Maqdis, and their fortress against Gog and Magog (Ya’jūj wa Ma’jūj) shall be Bayt al-Tūr.”17 Related to these two narrations are Abu Dawud’s reports from the Tābi`īn whereby “The Byzantines shall cut through al-Shām for forty days, and none but Damascus and Amman shall repel them”18 and “One of the foreign kings shall dominate all the cities except Damascus.”19

27. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “When the great battles take place, an army of foreigners (al-mawālī) shall come out of Damascus, the noblest of the Arabs in knightship and most skillful in weaponry. Through them shall Allah support the Religion.”20

28. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The place of the Final Gathering is al-Shām” (al-Shām ardu al-mahshar.)21 In another version: “The place of the Final Gathering and Resurrection is al-Shām.” (Al-Shām ardu al-mahshar wa al-manshar.)22 Al-Qari said that the letter of this report means that al-Shām is the starting-point for these events or that it shall be expanded so as to contain all humankind.23

29. Asma’ Bint Yazid narrated that Abu Dharr (al-Ghifari) used to serve the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and when he finished he would go to the mosque and sleep. The mosque was his house. One time the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – came in and found Abu Dharr lying on the ground. He nudged him with his foot and Abu Dharr sat up. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “Sleeping?” He replied: “O Messenger of Allah, where else can I sleep? I have no house other than this.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “What will you do if they expel you from it?” He said: “I will repair to al-Shām, for verily al-Shām is the land of emigration, the land of the Final Gathering, and the land of Prophets. So I shall be one of its dwellers.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “What will you do if they expel you from al-Shām?” He said: “I will come back here and make it my house and my dwelling.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “What if they expel you from it a second time?” He replied: “Then I will take up my sword and fight them off until I die.” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – looked displeased and he held him firmly and said: “Shall I tell you of a better way?” He said: “Yes, may my father and mother be ransomed for you, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “Let them lead you whither they lead you, and let yourself be taken whither
they take you, until you meet me again in that very state.”24

III-Notes

NOTES

1Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ by Ahmad with a chain whose narrators are all the men of the sahih and by al-Bazzar with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami and al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:31). Also narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat and al-Hakim.

2Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Awsat. Al-Haythami (10:58) said the men in its chain are those of sound hadith except for Ibn Lahi`a.

3Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Bazzar and from `Abd Allah ibn Hawala by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat, both with sound chains as indicated by al-Haythami (7:289, 10:58), and from `Amr ibn al-`As by Ahmad with a weak chain according to al-Haythami (10:57).

4Narrated from Abu al-Darda’ with sound chains by Abu Dawud, Ahmad, al-Mundhiri in al-Tarhib wa al-Targhib (4:63), and al-Hakim (4:486) who declared its chain sound while al-Dhahabi concurred. Also narrated from Makhul by Abu Dawud.

5Narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba (4:217) with a sound chain meeting Muslim’s criterion, al-Hakim (4:457=1990 ed. 4:504) with a fair chain because of al-Husayn ibn Hafs who is merely “truthful” (sadūq), and Ibn al-Mubarak in al-Jihad (p. 152).

6Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 24-25).

7Cf. Nur al-Din ‘Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith (p. 328).

8In Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 25).

9This trustworthy Tābi`ī is mukhadram i.e. he may have met the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and is therefore accorded the same respect as the Companions. Even if he is known to relate Israelite reports (isrā’īliyyāt), these reports are accepted when they are confirmed by the Qur’an and/or Sunna. This rule is spelled out by the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in his saying: “Convey [the Religion] on my behalf, even a single verse, and narrate without constraint (haraj) from the Israelites, but whoever purposely tells a lie about me, let him prepare himself for his seat in the Fire.” Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As by al-Bukhari, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahīh), Ahmad, and al-Darimi. Al-Shafi`i said: “It means: narrate from the Israelites whatever you know not to be a lie, and whatever you consider to be possible (mā tujawwizūnahu), there is no contraint on you not to narrate it from them.” In Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:498).

10Narrated by Ibn Sa`d (1:360) with a strong chain except that Mu`awiya ibn Salih’s shaykh, Abu Farwa, is unknown.

11Narrated by al-Darimi in his Sunan with a sound chain except for Abu Farwa, who is unknown. The only person to narrate from him in the Nine Books is Mu`awiya ibn Salih ibn Hudayr, who is trustworthy (thiqa) as stated in al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf, Tahrir al-Taqrib (3:394 #6762).

12Narrated by Ibn Sa`d (1:360) with a strong chain except that Mu`awiya ibn Salih does not name the link between him and Ka`b, which is probably Abu Farwa, who is unknown.

13Narrated by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (1:175-176) and al-Darimi with a very weak chain because of al-Darimi’s shaykh, Zayd ibn `Awf, who is discarded as a narrator. Ibn `Abd al-Salam cites this report in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 25-26).

14Narrated from Ka`b by al-Tabari in his Tafsir (9:83), Ibn Sa`d (1:360), al-Bayhaqi in his Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, and Abu Nu`aym in his.

15`Abd Allah ibn `Amr: Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Tabari in his Tafsir (9:83), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (p. 95), al-Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (1:421), al-Qurtubi in his (7:299), and al-Shawkani in his (2:254); `Abd Allah ibn Salam: Ibn Sa`d (1:360); `A’isha: ibid. (1:363), al-Hakim (1990 ed. 2:671) who declared it sahīh, and al-Bayhaqi and Abu Nu`aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa; Wahb: Narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim in his Tafsir and Abu Nu`aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa as cited by al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur for verse 7:157.

16In Abu Nu`aym only.

17Narrated from al-Husayn ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib ( through al-Awza`i by Abu Nu`aym in his Hilya (1997 ed. 6:157 #8141) and HiHmursal from the Tābi`ī Abu al-Zahiriyya Hudayr ibn Kurayb by Ibn Abi Shayba (4:217, 6:409). Abu al-Zahiriyya is trustworthy (thiqa) as stated in al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf’s Tahrir (1:256 #1153).

18Narrated from Makhul by Abu Dawud with a sound chain.

19Narrated from Abu al-A`yas `Abd al-Rahman ibn Salman by Abu Dawud with a fair chain.

20Narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Tabarani in Musnad al-Shamiyyin (2:414), al-Hakim (4:548=1990 ed. 4:591) who said its chain is sound and al-Dhahabi concurred, and Ibn Majah – the latter without mention of Damascus – but al-Busiri in Misbah al-Zujaja (4:206) avered that the chain is only fair (hasan) because of `Uthman ibn Abi al-`Atika. However, the latter is weak for uncorroborated reports according to al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in al-Tahrir (2:439 #4483), and so the narration is weak.

21Narrated from Ibn `Abbas by al-Bazzar, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, al-Bayhaqi in al-Ba`th as well as Shu`ab al-Iman (1:316) but the latter without chain, and Ibn `Uyayna in his Tafsir as cited by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 11:380); and from `Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanm – with a chain questioned by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (verses 17:76-77) – by Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Bayhaqi in al-Dala’il, and Ibn `Asakir. Cf. Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 8:111-112) on Tabuk.

22Narrated from Maymuna bint Sa`d by Ahmad and Ibn Majah with a sound chain as stated by al-Busiri in his Zawa’id (2:14) and al-Nawawi in al-Majmu` and from Abu Dharr by Ibn Marduyah, Ibn `Asakir, and Abu al-Hasan ibn Shuja` al-Raba`i in Fada’il al-Sham with a fair chain according to al-Suyuti in al-Jami` al-Saghir and al-`Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa’.

23In al-Mubarakfuri, Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (6:345) and `Azim Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud (11:289).

24Ahmad narrated it with a weak chain because of Shahr ibn Hawshab al-Ash`ari al-Shami as per al-Haythami (5:222-223) and al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in al-Tahrir (2:122 #2830), although Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1989 ed. 3:65) and al-Dhahabi declared him reliable after the opinion of several of the early Imams. Nevertheless, the hadith is authentic with regard to Abu Dharr’s words regarding al-Shām as they are authentically reported from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – himself as established in the previous hadith.

IV. In the Noble Hadith

IV In the Noble Hadith

30. Shurayh ibn `Ubayd said that the people of al-Shām were mentioned in front of `Ali ibn Abi Talib while he was in Iraq, and some people said to him: “Curse them, O Commander of the Believers.” He replied: No, I heard the Messenger of Allah – Allah bless and greet him – say: “The Substitutes (al-Abdāl) are in al-Shām and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another in his place.1 By means of them Allah brings down the rain, gives us victory over our enemies, and averts punishment from the people of al-Shām.”2

The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Ibrahim – upon him peace -]. Through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place.” Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan is one of them.”3

In another narration the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The Substitutes in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another one in his place.”4

Another version adds: “By means of them the world subsists (bihim taqūm al-ard), you receive rain, and you achieve victory.”5

A similar narration of Ibn `Abbas states: “The world after Nuh – upon him peace – has never been without seven people through which Allah Most High wards off evil from humankind.”6

31. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “Do not curse the people of Shām but curse their worse men. For among them are the Abdāl.”7

In another version `Awf ibn Malik said to the people of Egypt: “Do not curse the people of Shām, for I heard the Messenger of Allah – Allah bless and greet him – say: `Among them are the Abdāl. Through them you achieve victory and receive sustenance.”8

Another version states that `Ali ibn Abi Talib said to the people of Iraq: “Do not curse the people of Shām, for among them are the Substitutes (al-Abdāl), but curse their injustice.”9

Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – in my sleep and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Where are the Substitutes(budalā’) of your Community?” He gestured with his hand towards Shām. I said: “O Messenger of Allah! Are there not any in Iraq?” He said: “Yes: Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time.”10

32. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “When the people of Shām become corrupt, no goodness shall be left among you. There shall not cease to be a group in my Community that shall remain victorious over all people; those who betray or desert them cannot harm them in the least; and so until the Hour rises.”11 Al-Tirmidhi narrated from al-Bukhari that `Ali ibn al-Madini said: “These are the hadith authorities (ashāb al-hadīth).”

Al-Mubarakfuri explained the phrase “there shall be no goodness left among you” as meaning “for residing in Shām or going there.”12

33. Another version states that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “Goodness is ten parts, nine in al-Shām and one in the remaining countries; and evil is ten parts, one in al-Shām and nine in the remaining countries. When the people of Shām become corrupt, no goodness shall be left in you.”13 Another version attributes this hadith to Ibn Mas`ud.14 Ka`b al-Ahbar said: “There will still be time for people until the head is struck. When the head is struck they shall perish.” He was asked: “What is the striking of the head?” He replied: “The destruction of Shām.”15

34. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – is related to say: “The world shall be destroyed forty years before Shām is.” (Tukhrabu al-ardu qabla al-Shāmi bi arba`īna sana.)16 Nu`aym ibn Hammad al-Marwazi (d. 288) narrates it mawqūf from Ka`b al-Ahbar and Abu al-Zahiriyya.17

35. Another hadith of the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – states: “The people of the West (ahl al-gharb) shall not cease to be victorious, standing for truth, until the Hour rises.”18 Al-Nawawi said:
Ibn al-Madini said that [it is read al-gharab so that] “the people of al-gharab” are the Arabs and `al-gharab’ refers to the very large pail (al-dalaw), as they are known to use it. Others said that al-gharb denotes the West of the earth. Mu`adh ibn Jabal said: “It is Shām.”19 Another narration says Bayt al-Maqdis.20 It is also said that it refers to the people of Shām and whatever lies beyond it. Al-Qadi `Iyad said: “It is said that ahl al-gharb denotes the people of hardship and long-suffering, as the gharb of anything is its utmost (hadd).”21

Al-Qurtubi said:

The beginning of the West in relation to the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – city is al-Shām and its end the continental far-Western tip of the earth, all that lies in between being `the Occident’ (al-maghrib). So then, is what is meant by ahl al-gharb, the entire West, or its beginning? Both are possible. Abu Bakr al-Turtushi said in an epistle he sent to the farthest part of Morocco: “Allah knows best whether the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – meant you by this hadith or whether he meant the people of North Africa and Andalusia (ahl al-maghrib) as a whole, because of their staunch adherence to the Sunna and the Congregation, their exemption from innovations in the Religion, and their strict following in the steps of the pious Salaf.”22

Ibn Abi Hujja said:

It refers to the wise scholars of knowledge (al-`ulamā’), as al-ghar(a)b homonymously denotes a huge pail, or the place where the sun sets, or the abundant shedding of tears. Therefore, the meaning of “the people of al-gharb shall not cease” etc. is: the people that shed tears of humble Godwariness knowing Allah and His rulings, shall not cease to be victorious.

Al-Qurtubi cited the preceding paragraph and commented:

This interpretation is confirmed by the Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – hadith: “He for whom Allah desires great good, He grants him understanding in the Religion. There shall not cease to be among the Muslims a party who shall fight on the side of truth and remain victorious over those who oppose them until the Day of Resurrection.”23 The latter narration literally ties the first part with the last. Allah knows best.24

Al-Suyuti said:

What supports the view that by gharb is meant the West of the earth is the narration of `Abd ibn Humayd and Baqiy ibn Makhlad25 with the wording: “The people of the West (ahl al-gharb) shall not cease to be victorious”26 and al-Daraqutni’s narration: “A party in my Community shall not cease to be victorious, standing for truth in the Occident (fi al-maghrib) until the Hour rises.”27 Nor would it be far-fetched to say that by Occident, Egypt is meant, for it is included by all among the Western parts.28

Ibn Hajar said:

It was also said that by ahl al-gharb are meant the people of strength and striving in jihād…. It is possible to put together the reports and say that the people to which they refer shall be in Bayt al-Maqdis, which is part of Shām, use the pail for watering, and possess fighting-strength against the enemy as well as zeal and intensity.29

Nearly all these meanings were cited for ahl al-gharb by the lexicographers.30

36. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “`Isa ibn Maryam – upon both of them peace – shall descend at the White Minaret East of Damascus, wearing two lightly-saffroned garments resting his hands upon the wings of two angels. Whenever he moves his head it trickles water, and when he raises it, the like of pearl droplets fall from it.”31

37. The Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “There shall be successive emigrations (hijra ba`da hijra), at which time the best of human beings shall rally to Ibrahim’s – upon him peace – haven (muhājar). Only the most evil of people shall remain on the earth. Their own abodes shall loathe them, Allah Himself shall detest them, and Hellfire shall collect them together with apes and swine.”32 “Ibrahim’s haven” is al-Shām.33

38. A hadith narration states that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “Shām is the quintessence of the lands of Allah Most High. There do the quintessence of his servants go for protection. Therefore, whoever departs from Shām to go somewhere else earns [His] anger (sakhta), and whoever enters it from somewhere else earn His mercy.”34

39. Another narration states that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: “The quintessence of the lands of Allah Most High is Shām. In it are the quintessence of His creatures and servants. Verily, a vast number (thulla) of my Community shall enter Paradise without reckoning nor punishment.”35

40. Haram ibn Hayyan asked Uways al-Qarani: “Where do you advise me to go?” Uways replied: “To Shām.” Haram asked: “How is one’s livelihood there?” Uways said: “Fie upon such hearts! Doubt has mixed into them and admonition is wasted on them.”36

41. `Ata’ al-Khurasani said: “When I decided to move, I consulted those of the people of knowledge who were in Mecca, Madina, Kufa, Basra, and Khurasan, asking them where they thought I should go with my dependents. All of them said: `You must go to Shām.'”37

42. `Abd Allah ibn Shawdhab said: “We spoke about Shām and I said to Abu Sahl38: `Have you not heard that such-and-such would take place in it?’ He replied: `Yes, but whatever takes place in it is lesser than what takes place elsewhere.'”39

IV-Notes

NOTES

1Al-Suyuti in al-Ta`aqqubat `ala al-Mawdu`at asserted that the Prophetic report of the existence of the Abdāl is sahīh and its general meaning is mutawātir. This is confirmed by the hadith master al-Kattani in his Nazm al-Mutanathir (p. 220-221) and Ibn `Abidin in his Majmu`a al-Rasa’il (2:264-281). Ibn Hajar said, as reported by al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir: “Some of the reports on the Abdāl are sound, some weak.” The claims of Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Manar al-Munif (p. 136) that all the Prophetic reports that mention the Abdāl are invalid and that of his teacher Ibn Taymiyya whereby “the name of Abdāl does not appear in a single hadith whether sound or weak” are attributed to stubbornness and fanaticism by al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir. Al-Suyuti’s position is supported by the fact that the Salaf believed in the existence of the Abdāl, and Ibn Taymiyya himself included such belief into his Islamic creed entitled al-`Aqida al-Wasitiyya!

Al-Sakhawi cited Shurayh ibn `Ubayd’s narration as the strongest report on the Abdāl and said in al-Maqasid al-Hasana (p. 33 #8): “What makes this hadith stronger and indicates its currency among the Imams is the statement of our Imam, al-Shafi`i, concerning a certain man: `We considered him one of the Abdāl’ and al-Bukhari’s words concerning another: `They did not doubt that he was one of the Abdāl,’ and other than these two among the highly meticulous scholars, hadith masters, and Imams [such as Qatada, see above] also used this description for other people, stating that they were of the Abdāl.” Abu Hatim said of `Abd al-Kabir ibn Mu`afi that he was considered one of the Abdāl. Abu Dawud in the Sunan narrates the same from Muhammad ibn `Isa about `Anbasa al-Qurashi. Ibn Majah in his Sunan states the same of Yahya ibn `Uthman al-Himsi, al-Khatib in al-Jami` li Akhlaq al-Rawi (1983 ed. 2:229) of Abu `Umar al-Khawlani, al-Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab (4:137) of Jabir ibn Marzuq, al-Daraqutni in al-`Ilal (6:63) of al-Nadr ibn Kathir al-Sa`di, al-Nawawi in Bustan al-`Arifin (p. 31) of the hadith master Hammad ibn Salama ibn Dinar (d. 167), al-Fattani in his Tadhkira of Hubaysh ibn Dinar, etc.

2Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad and Fada’il al-Sahaba (2:906) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid, al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawa’id, al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir, al-Suyuti in al-Khabar al-Dall `ala Wujud al-Qutb wa al-Abdal, and al-Ghumari in his notes on the latter who all declared its narrators trustworthy. Al-Suyuti similarly declared it sound in al-Jami` al-Saghir. Al-Maqdisi in al-Mukhtara (2:110) cites the same chain while Ibn `Asakir in his Tarikh narrates it through Isma`il ibn `Ayyash from Safwan ibn `Umar al-Saksaki from Shurayh from `Ali from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – as in al-Suyuti’s al-Khabar al-Dall (p. 4). To the correct objection that the chain is munqati` because Shurayh never met `Ali ( al-Haythami (10:62) replied: “Shurayh narrated from al-Miqdad [ibn al-Aswad], who is older than `Ali.” Al-Suyuti in al-Khabar al-Dall (p. 4-5) cites Ibn `Asakir’s narration of corroborating chains of the same hadith from `Abd Allah ibn Zurayr al-Ghafili from `Ali from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – with weak or very weak chains.

Al-Sakhawi mentions Shurayh’s narration in his Maqasid (p. 33 #8) and states that it is more likely a saying of `Ali himself. This is confirmed by:

The mawqūf narration of the same hadith from `Abd Allah ibn Zurayr from `Ali in Ibn Yunus’s Tarikh Misr as cited by al-Suyuti in al-Khabar al-Dall (p. 5-6);

The sound mawqūf narration of the same hadith from `Abd Allah ibn Zurayr from `Ali with a similar chain through `Uthman ibn Sa`id al-Darimi by al-Hakim (1990 ed. 4:596) who said it is sahīh, and al-Dhahabi concurred;

The sound mawqūf narration of the same hadith from al-Zuhri from `Abd Allah ibn Safwan from `Ali in Imam Ahmad’s Fada’il al-Sahaba (2:905), al-Azdi’s al-Jami` (11:249), Ibn Abi al-Dunya’s al-Awliya’ (p. 30), al-Bayhaqi, al-Khallal’s al-Awliya’, al-Maqdisi in two places in al-Mukhtara (2:111-112), and Ibn `Asakir.

The same mawqūf report is also narrated from al-Zuhri from Safwan ibn `Abd Allah ibn Safwan from Shurayh from `Ali by Ibn Rahuyah, al-Dhahabi in `Ilal Hadith al-Zuhri, and al-Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, and al-Suyuti cited many other chains.

Even if the report were established as sound only from `Ali, it would still have the force of a Prophetic narration as it contains information about the unseen which is not subject to opinion, and is confirmed by other narrations.

3Narrated from Anas by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat with a fair chain and from Ibn Mas`ud with a chain containing two unknown narrators, both as stated in Majma` al-Zawa’id (10:63). Ibn Hibban narrates it in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra as: “The earth will never lack thirty men similar to Ibrahim – upon him peace – the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain.” The latter is unanimously a forged narration as stated by Ibn al-Jawzi in al-Mawdu`at, Ibn Hibban in al-Tarikh, al-Suyuti in al-Ta`aqqubat, al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir, and al-Fattani in his Tadhkira.

4Narrated from `Ubada ibn al-Samit by Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Nawadir al-Usul, Ibn Marduyah, Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir for the verse (And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted( (2:251), and al-Khallal in Karamat al-Awliya’. Al-Haythami (10:62) indicated that Ahmad’s chain was sound, but Ahmad himself declared the hadith “condemned” (munkar) after narrating it. However, al-Suyuti declared it sahīh in al-Jami` al-Saghir.

5Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and al-Bazzar from `Ubada ibn al-Samit. Al-Suyuti declared it sahīh in al-Jami` al-Saghir and al-Munawi did not contradict him in Fayd al-Qadir. However, al-Haythami (10:63) said that their chains contains two unknown narrators, which makes the narration weak. Al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (10:181) also narrates from Ibn Mas`ud a similar narration mentioning the number forty.

6Narrated by Ahmad in al-Zuhd and al-Khallal in Karamat al-Awliya’ with a sound chain according to al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur.

7Narrated as part of a longer hadith from `Ali by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat with a chain of trustworthy narrators except for `Abd Allah ibn Lahi`a, and he is fair (hasan) as stated by Ibn `Adi in al-Kamil (4:144 #977, 4:153): “Ibn Lahi`a’s narrations are fair, the Salaf did not declare him weak, and he is fair as a narrator.” Cf. al-Haythami (7:52): “There is weakness in him and his narrations could be graded fair”; (4:196, 5:325): “There is weakness in him and his narrations are fair”; (1:155, 5:23, 10:16): “His narration is fair.” Moreover, Ibn Lahi`a relates this narration from `Iyash ibn `Abbas, `Abd Allah ibn Hubayra, and al-Harith ibn Yazid.

8Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (18:65) with a chain containing `Amr ibn Waqid who is discarded as a narrator as stated in al-Taqrib, and Shahr ibn Hawshab who is weak. Al-Suyuti declared it hasan in al-Jami` al-Saghir, and al-Munawi did not contradict him in Fayd al-Qadir, but this is incorrect as the chain is very weak.

9Narrated as part of a longer hadith pertaining to al-Mahdi and al-Dajjal by al-Hakim (4:553=1990 ed. 4:596) who graded it sound (sahīh), and al-Dhahabi concurred.

10Narrated from Julays by Ahmad in al-Zuhd, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu`aym, al-Bayhaqi, and Ibn `Asakir.

11Narrated from Qurra ibn Iyas by al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahīh), Ahmad with three sound chains, and Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi in his Musnad (2:145 #1076); also Ibn Hibban (16:292-293 #7302-7303) with two sound chains according to Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut, al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (19:27), Abu Nu`aym in Hilya al-Awliya’ (1985 ed. 7:230-231), and al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (8:417, 10:182), the last four without the second part. The first part is mass-narrated (mutawātir) as pointed out elsewhere. Al-Tirmidhi added that it is also narrated from `Abd Allah ibn Hawala, Ibn `Umar, Zayd ibn Thabit, and `Abd Allah ibn `Amr.

12In Tuhfa al-Ahwadhi (6:359).

13Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by al-Khatib in al-Muttafaq wa al-Muftaraq and Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (1:143) with a fair chain because of al-Wadīn ibn `Ata’ who is sadūq hasan al-hadīth as stated by al-Arna’ut and Ma`ruf in al-Tahrir (4:59-60 #7408). Ibn `Abd al-Salam cites it in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 22-23) and Yaqut in Mu`jam al-Buldan (3:312).

14Narrated mawqūf from Ibn Mas`ud by al-Hakim (4:505=1990 ed. 4:550) who said its chain is sound and al-Dhahabi concurred, al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (9:177), and Ahmad in Fada’il al-Sahaba (2:897-898), the latter two with chains containing `Abd Allah ibn Dirar who is weak as stated by al-Haythami (10:60), and Ibn `Asakir.

15Narrated from Abu al-Nadr by Nu`aym ibn Hammad in Kitab al-Fitan (1:237).

16Narrated from `Awf ibn Malik by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (1:185) and thus cited by Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 23).

17Nu`aym ibn Hammad, Kitab al-Fitan (1:237, 1:254).

18Narrated from Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas by Muslim, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad (2:118) with a sound chain according to Shaykh Husayn Asad, and al-Tabarani in al-Awsat.

19After the hadith of Mu`awiya narrated by Ahmad with a fair chain and al-Bukhari in his Sahih: “A party of my Community shall remain in charge of Allah’s Order, unharmed by those who betray or desert or oppose them, until the coming of Allah’s order while they are victorious over all people.” Malik ibn Yakhamir al-Saksaki stood up and said: “O Commander of the Believers! I heard Mu`adh ibn Jabal say: `They are the people of al-Shām.'”

20Narrated from Abu Umama by Ahmad and al-Tabarani in al-Awsat as cited in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:295).

21Al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim (1972 ed. 13:68).

22In al-Suyuti, al-Dibaj `ala Sahih Muslim (4:514).

23Narrated from Mu`awiya by Muslim in his Sahih. See also variant versions, n. 14-15.

24Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir, verse (Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware( (9:122).

25Baqiy ibn Makhlad ibn Yazid, Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Qurtubi al-Andalusi, the pious ascetic and worshipful hadith master and student of Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi, he compiled a Tafsir and a Musnad in which he narrated from 1,300 Companions according to fiqh sub-headings.

26I could not find such a narration in `Abd ibn Humayd’s Musnad and his narration (p. 115) from Mu`awiya states: “O people of Shām! Al-Ansari [Zayd ibn Arqam] narrated to me that the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – said: `A party in my Community shall not cease to stand for truth until the coming of Allah’s Order,’ and verily I consider that that party is you, O people of Shām!”

27I could not find such a narration in al-Daraqutni’s Sunan or `Ilal, and the narration from al-Mughira in the latter (7:128) states “A party in my Community shall not cease to be victorious, standing for truth, until the coming of Allah’s Order” without mention of the words “in the Occident.”

28Al-Suyuti, al-Dibaj `ala Sahih Muslim (4:514).

29Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 13:295).

30Cf. Al-Fayruzabadi in al-Qamus al-Muhit, Ibn al-Athir in al-Nihaya, and Ibn Manzur in Lisan al-`Arab.

31Narrated from al-Nawwas ibn Sam`an al-Kilabi as part of a long hadith by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahīh gharīb), Ibn Majah, and Ahmad; also by Abu Dawud with a sound chain and al-Hakim who said it is sahīh – al-Dhahabi concurred; and from Aws ibn Aws al-Thaqafi by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (1:186, 19:196) with a sound chain as indicated by al-Haythami (8:205).

32Narrated from `Abd Allah ibn `Amr by Abu Dawud and Ahmad with weak chains because of Shahr ibn Hawshab, but the hadith is also narrated from thus by al-Azdi in his Jami` as appended to `Abd al-Razzaq’s Musannaf (11:377) and from Abu Hurayra by al-Hakim (1:510) with a chain he declared sahīh, al-Dhahabi concurring; however, the latter’s chain is merely fair, due to `Abd Allah ibn Salih al-Juhani.

33As in al-`Azim Abadi’s commentary on this hadith in `Awn al-Ma`bud and others.

34Narrated from Abu Umama by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (8:171) and al-Hakim (4:509-510, 1990 ed. 4:555) but al-Dhahabi said its sub-narrator `Ufayr ibn Ma`dan is feeble (wāhin) – after al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (1997 ed. 4:32) – and al-Haythami (10:59) said he is weak. Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Mughir (p. 61) declares him a forger but al-Dhahabi reported no such position from the authorities in the Mizan (3:83 #5679), and Shaykh Ahmad in the same book (p. 104) declares his conviction that even the two Sahihs contain some forged narrations!

35Narrated from Abu Umama by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (8:194) with a chain containing `Abd al-`Aziz ibn `Ubayd Allah al-Himsi whom al-Haythami (10:59) said is weak. The hadith is cited by al-Suyuti in al-Jami` al-Saghir and by al-Munawi in its commentary Fayd al-Qadir with the wording: Verily, three batches (hathayāt) of my Community shall enter Paradise without reckoning nor punishment.” Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari in al-Mughir declared it forged like the precedent narration, but al-Dhahabi in the Mizan (2:632) reported no such grading on `Abd al-`Aziz ibn `Ubayd Allah.

36Cited by al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir (4:170-171).

37Cited by Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 17).

38This is Kathir ibn Ziyad al-Bursani al-Basri al-Balkhi.

39Cited by Ibn `Abd al-Salam in Targhib Ahl al-Islam (p. 18).

Blessings and greetings of Allah on the Holy Prophet, his Noble Family, and all his Companions.

GF Haddad ©

20-07-13

Source: http://www.livingislam.org/mshsh_e.html

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