Sunni Islam is short for the arabic title, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

During the time of the Prophet sent Sahaba from Medinah to different regions Mecca, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria etc etc. These different regions pretty much developed into different madhabs, schools of thought.
After dust of fiqh issues had settled, the four madhabs of fiqh, came to represents Sunni Islam, Shafi, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali. And in Aqida, Ashari, Maturidi and Athari. And in Tasawwuf, many, such as the Shadhilis, Naqshabandi etc. This was the face of Sunni Islam for over a thousand years.

After this the Muslim world was colonized by Europe, ie they conquered the Muslim world, destroying much of Islamic scholarship. Ignorant Muslims sought to find solutions to the Muslim problem without adequate Islamic education and many reformist movement were born, one such group was the Wahabis, which is named after Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab. He literally made takfir on the Muslims including the Muslims in Mecca and Medinah during his time, and called for them to make hijrah to Nadj. Islamic scholarship at the time, ruled the Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab was a rebirth of the Khawatij, even his older brother Sulayman wrote a book against him. This group evolved into the modern day Salafis (Salafi Dawah, Salafi Minhaj), and has many splinter groups associated with it, modern day Ahlul Hadith, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Madkhalis, even some of the Ikhwan Muslimeen (called Surooris, I believe), etc etc.

The irony of this group is they sought to unite the Muslims, upon this newly found minhaj, only to find themselves divided.

Messenger of Allah, , said, “Without doubt, my Ummah will never be UNITED upon misguidance. Whenever you see disagreement, hold fast to the greater majority.” [Ibn Majah]

In traditional Sunni Islam, the four madhabs of fiqh and the three madhabs of Aqida are still united, as Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah and have been for over 1000 years.

Imam Saffarini said, “The Ahlus Sunnah consist of three groups: the textualists al-Atharis, whose Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the Ash’aris, whose Imam is Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari, and the Maturidis, whose Imam is Abu Mansur al-Maturidi رضي الله عنهم and they are all one group, the saved sect (al-Firqatun Najiyyah), and they are Ahl al-Hadith, the Ahlus Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah.” [Imam Muhammad Saffarini al-Nabulusi al-Hanbali رحمه الله in Lawami` al-Anwar]

And Allah knows best

The Methodology of the traditional Sunni scholarship in dealing with weak Hadith

Edited by aMuslimForLife

The edited edition of Shaykh Habib Ali Jifri exposition of weak hadith is intended to give a fuller explanation of the issue at hand. I refrained from commenting myself and only quoted scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

Habib Ali Jifri:
“The vast majority of Sunni Hadith scholars like Imam Ibn Hajar al Asqalani, Imam Ibn Salah and Imam al Nawawi in his introduction to al Adhkar, says that hadith that are classified as weak are accepted and acted upon in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds (Fadail al Amal).[/SIZE]

[AMFL: (Shaykh al-Islam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi: ) “The scholars among the experts in hadith and the experts in law and others have said: it is permissible and (also) recommended that the religious practice (al-`amal) concerning good deeds and good character (al-fadâ’il), encouragement to good and discouragement from evil (al-targhib wa al-tarhib) be based (even) on weak hadith (bi al-hadith al- da`îf) as long as it is not forged (mawdu`).(Al Adhkar)]

Habib Ali Jifri:
In a previous lesson we’ve mentioned that people today have inverted the meaning of being scrupulous (wara). They say in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds “I’ll be cautious, this hadith might be weak, it is better I don’t act upon it.” NO. Even if it is a weak hadith and mentions righteous deeds, then do it, to be on the safe side, because there might be other sources which attest to its soundness.

The status “weak (daif)” does not mean that the Prophet did not say it. What does weak mean then?”

The meaning of weak hadith (daif) is that one of the narrators in the hadith chain of transmission started to muddled in his narration in old age, and the scholars therefore had concern that he might be forgetful or he lost possession of his books and therefore his capacity to memorize was weak. So there is doubt concerning his name. [/SIZE]

Weak Hadith Does Not Mean Fabricated

[AMFL: (Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) “Weak (Daif) is a term for any hadith with a chain of transmission containing a narrator whose memory was poor, one who was not trustworthy, not identified by name or for other reasons. But weak (daif) cannot simply be equated with false (mawdu). Were this the case, mere analysis of the transmitters would be the universal criterion for acceptance or rejection of a particular rulings based on hadiths. While scholars do use this measure in upgrading the work of preceding generations of legal authorities, they have not employed it as a simplistic expedient to eliminate every piece of legal information that is connected with a weak hadith because of various considerations.]

Multiple Means of Transmission

[AMFL: (Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) One of these is that when a piece of information is received through a means of transmission that may or may not be trustworthy, we generally have doubts about it. But when one and the same piece of information reaches us through several completely different channels, even though each one may or may not be trustworthy, the logical probability of the information’s falsity us much reduced. And if we receive the very same piece of information from ten such channels, the possibility of its falsity does not usually even come to mind.

This verificatory principle has two important implication, one being the obligatory nature of belief in hadiths that are mutwatir and the second being the weight that hadith scholars give to multiple means of transmission, which can raise a hadith from well authenticated (Hasan) to rigorously authenticated (Sahih), or from weak (daif) to well authenticated (Hasan), as described in the following account of a hadith’s reclassifcation by a major specialist in hadith forgeries.

(Imam Ali Qari: ) “The Hadith, ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate,’was mentioned by Tirimidhi in his Jami, where he said it was unacknowledgeable. Bukhari also said this, and said that it was without legitimate claim to authenticity. Ibn Ma’in said that it was a baseless lie, as did Abu Hatim and Yahya ibn Said. Ibn Jawzi recorded it in his book of hadith of forgories, and was confirmed by Dhahabi and others in this. Ibn Daqiq al Eid said, “This hadithis not confirmed by scholars said, “This hadith is not confirmed by scholars, and is held by some as spurious.” Daraqutni stated that is was uncorroborated. Ibn Hajar Asqalani was asked about it and answered that it was well authenticated (hasan), not rigorously authenticated (Sahih), as Hakim had said, but not a forgery (mawdu) as Ibn Jawzi had said. This was mentioned by Suyuti. The Hadith master (Hafiz) Abu Sa’id Ala’i said, “The Truth is that the hadith is well authenticated (hasan), in view of its being neither rigorously authenticated (hasan) nor weak (da’if) much less a forgery (Risala al mawdu’at).”

(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: ) Thus, when the person who has related a hadith is an Islamic schlar of the first rank, it is not enough for a student or popular writer to find one chain of transmission for the haidth that is weak. There are a great many hadiths with several chains of transmissions, and adequate scholarly treatment of how these affect a hadith’s authenticity has been traditionally held to require a master (hafiz), those like Bukhari, Muslim, Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, or Suyuti who have memorized at least 100,000 hadiths – their texts, chains of transmission, and significance — to undertake the comparative study of the hadith’s various chains of transmission that cannot be accurately assessed without such knowledge. Today, when not one hadith master (hafiz) remains in the Muslim Community, we do not accept the judgment of any would-be reclassifiers of hadith, no matter how large their popular following, unless it is corroborated by the work of previous hadith masters.]

Text and Chain of Transmission are Different Things

[(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi: )
Another reason why weak (da’if) cannot simply be equated with false (mawdu) is the fact that weak is an attribute of the hadith’s chain of transmission (isnad), while false is an attribute of the hadith’s text (matn). These are two different things, and the relationship between their respective reliabilities is a probabilistic expectation )istinbat) that is neither strictly causal, nor yet a necessary logical implication (lazim), there being four logical possibilities for any hadith:

(1) a sound text and sound chain of transmission, as with well authenticated (hasan) or rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadiths;

(2) a sound text and an unsound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that a transmitter with poor memory, or unknown to the person who recorded the hadith, or one not trustworthy, is in principle capable of relating the hadith correctly;

(3) an unsound text and unsound chain of transmitters, as with hadiths that are forged (mawdu):

(4) or an unsound text and a sound chain of transmitters, reflecting the possibility that one of those who clssify the personalities and reliability of various hadith transmitters could in principle make an error in their ijtihad regarding a particular person.

Because of the distinction between text and transmission, forms of evidence other than the authenticity rating of the chain of narrators are sometimes admissible, as when there is a consensus of legal scholars who have received the hadith with acceptance, which is an acknowledged form of corroboration for hadiths of the second type mentioned above.

(Isma’il Ansari: ) Ibn Hajar Asqalani says, “‘Among the characteristics that necessitate acceptance is for scholars of Sacred Law to have concurred on applying the implications of a hadith. Such a hadith is acceptable, even oblgatory to apply, as a number of Imams of fundamentals of Islam (usul) have explicitly stated. Shafi’i for example says, ‘What I have said about water when its taste, odor and color change, has been related from the Prophet, (SAW) through a channel of transmission that hadith scholars do not confirm the like of, but it is the position of all scholars without a single dissenting voice I know of.’ And he said of that hadith ‘There is no bequest to an estate division heir’ – ‘Scholars of Hadith do not corroborate it, but all scholars receive it with acceptance and apply it.'”

Ibn Qayyim,
in his Illam al muwaqqi’in, when discussing the hadith of Mu’adh (in which the Prophet (SAW) asked Mu’adh Ibn Jabal when dispatching him to Yemen how he owuld judge, to which Mu’adh replied that he would judge first by the Quran, then by the sunnah, and then by his own reasoning (ijihad)), says, “Legal scholars (fuqaha) accept it and employ it as evidence, from which we learn that they hold it to be rigorously authenticated (Sahih), just as we learn of the authenticity of the Prophet’s Saying (SAW):

(1) ‘There is no bequest to an estate division heir.’
(2) ‘(The hadith about the sea) Its water is purifying.’
(3) ‘When buyer and seller differ about the price they have agreed upon and the merchandise still exists, each swears (that his side of thestory is correct) and (if they cannot agree) they cancel the sale.’
(4)’The Killer’s extended family is responsible for the indemnity.’

Even if these hadiths are unauthenticated in their chains of transmission, since virtually all scholars have related them, the hadiths’ authenticity, which they accept, eliminates their need to verify the channels of transmission, and so it is too with the Hadith of Muadh: the fact that all scholars have adduced it as evidence eliminates the need for their checking its means of transmission.”

And Ibn Ab al Barr says in al Istidhkar, concerning Tirmidhi’s having related that Bukhari said of the hadith of the sea “Its water is purifying’ that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih)— “Hadith scholars do not consider hadiths with the like of its chain of transmission to be rigorously authenticated (Sahih), though I hold it to be so, because scholars have received it with acceptance.” (Al Isaba Fi nusra al Khulafa al Rahidin wa Sahaba)
(Shaykh Abdul Wakil al Durubi:) Among the primary textual evidence for the admissibility of such hadiths is the word of the Prophet

“Allah will never make my Community concur upon misguidance, and Allah’s hand is over the group.”

So it is inadequate for someone who proposes to annul a ruling of the Sacred Law to adduce that the hadith supporting it has a weak chain of transmission, unless he can also establish both that there are not a number of similar variants of alternate channels of transmission that strengthen it, confirming this by means of a text by a hadith master (hafiz); and that the meaning of the hadith has not been received with acceptance by the scholars of the Muslim Community.”]

Habib Ali Jifri:
There is a very big possibility for most of the hadith classified as weak, The Prophet did actually say them but the reason that those hadith were downgraded from being sound (Sahih) or Fair (Hasan) to be weak was out of precaution.

[AMFL: al Suyuti: If anyone says, ‘This hadith is not Sahih, (if he had said it is weak it would have been shorter) then it means its chain is not authentic according to the aforementioned conditions, not that it is actually a lie, because of the possibility of truthfulness of a liar and the correctness of someone who makes many mistakes. (Tadrib ar Rawi)]

[(Zafar Ahmad al Uthmani:
) Concerning the ruling on acting by a weak hadith and the conditions for doing it is only narrated by one route. If it is narrated through two or more routes we have already seen that it is somethings to be appended to the (degree) of Sahih and sometimes to the (degree) of hasan. (Muqaddima I’la as Sunna)]

Habib Ali Jifri:
For this reason, be cautious with regards to virtuous deeds is to act upon them and not to say, “this hadith is weak, therefore I won’t act upon it.” We say be on the safe side and act upon the deed so you don’t lose at an opportunity to attain reward. Only in issues pertaining to permissible (Halal) and forbidden (haram) matters are hadith not accepted (generally speaking).

[AMFL: Ibn Hajar said in the commentary of Al Arbain, “It (weak hadith) can be acted upon because if it is in fact sahih then it has been given its due of action, but if not no harm comes of it in terms of declaring something to be halal (which actually may not be) or haram (when it actually may not be), of voiding some other’s right.” . (Muqaddima I’la as Sunna-Zafar Ahmad al Uthmani)]

Habib Ali Jifri:
However Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbali of the Hanbali school of Law was o fthe opinion that weak hadith can be used to determine a matter of halal and haram in the absense of a sound hadith. So mam Ahmad preferred to choose a weak hadith over analogical reasoning (qiyas) in any issue which had no sound (Sahih) or …good (Hasan)… to support it, despite other jursit and scholars preferring to choose qiyas over a weak hadith in matters of halal and haram.

Imam Nawawi was of the view that weak hadith are accepted in matters of halal and haram only when it pertains to exercising scrupulousness (Wara). It is related to question such as ‘is this transaction allowed or not?” Is selling an item in a particular way halal or haram? There are no particular (sound or hasan) hadith which offer a clear answer, but there is a weak hadith which indicates that it is haram – here you have a weak hadith and do not perform the action, out of scrupulousness because the weak hadith indicated it.[/SIZE]

[AMFL: (Shaykh al-Islam Abu Zakariyya al-Nawawi:) As for legal rulings (ahkâm) such as what is permitted and what is forbidden, or the modalities of trade, marriage, divorce and other than that: one’s practice is not based upon anything other than sound (sahih) or fair (hasan) hadith, except as a precaution in some matter related to one of the above, for example, if a weak hadith was cited about the reprehensibility (karahat) of certain kinds of sales or marriages. In such cases what is recommended (al-mustahabb) is to avoid such sales and marriages, but it is not obligatory (la yajib).” .(Al Adhkar)]

[(Al Suyuti): The weak hadith is acted upon in rulings (ahkam) also if there is in it some precaution.”]

Habib Ali Jifri:
Today many people think that a weak hadith should be thrown to the side. To think this is grave and wrong. Regarding weak hadith, the overwhelming majority of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah, do yo uknow what “overwhelming majority” means? It means almost all of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah, so much so that the matter has almost reached a consensus amongst them. They say that a weak hadith can used for virtuous deeds and anything less than it.

What is less than virtuous deeds? Prophetic biographies (Sira), biographical accounts that recount the merits of the righteous (manaqib), and history. So, every weak hadith that is used in the books of prophetic biography or in the books of history or in books that recount the merits and virtuous of the righteous or those who proceeded them. Weak hadith used is used in the genre of signs of hte end times. They (weak hadith) are accepted , unless the weakness falls to the same level of a fabricated (mawdu) hadith or the weak hadith conflicts with a sound hadith, in which case the sound hadith is accepted over the weak.

Are the principles for dealing with a weak hadith now clear? We want to make sure of this because today, if our youth come to the religion they hear people speaking wrongly about weak hadith to the point they think we need to discard these hadith. No. There is a very likely possibility that the Prophet did actually say what is contain in the weak hadith. To confirm, we accept and use weak hadith in matters pertaining to virtuous deeds, prophetic biographies (sira), biographies of the merits of the righteous (manaqaib), history and the signs of the end times.

‘Pass them on without asking how’

Transmits the text without delving into how the verse or hadith is understood.

This is based on the hadith.

نَضَّرَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً سَمِعَ مِنَّا شَيْئًا فَبَلَّغَهُ كَمَا سَمِعَ فَرُبَّ مُبَلَّغٍ أَوْعَى مِنْ سَامِعٍ

The Messenger of Allah said, “May Allah make radiant someone who hears something from us, and then conveys it as he heard it (Quran and Hadith), for it might be that someone who it is conveyed to understands better than the one who heard (it first). (Sahih-Tirmidhi 2657)

In this hadith is the proof for tafwid and tawil, as understood by the Asharis and Maturidis.

This hadith proves that not every Quranic verse and hadith was intended to be understood by every single companions.

Let’s take one of these hadiths.

Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “Our Lord Descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: `Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?”[ Bukhari and Muslim.]

The point of the hadith isn’t how Allah descends (literally or metaphorically), the point of hadith is to get Muslims to pray tahajjah.

Two facts about the Makkan phase:

1) The Prophet taught tawhid for 13 years during the Makkan phase. (And I don’t believe he was explaining the meaning of the Hand, Face, and Eyes of Allah during that time as you don’t find any of the companions explaining these narrations)

2) Tahajjah was obligatory during the Makkan phase.

I’m taught that the Tawhid that the Prophet was teaching was Experiential Tawhid (Tawhid Dhawqi) during the Makkan phase as expressed in the Hadith the Awilya.

The Prophet said:

Allah Most High says: “He who is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him” (Fath al-Bari, 11.340–41, hadith 6502);

Imam Malik said, “Knowledge does not consist in narrating much. Knowledge is but a light which Allah places in the heart.”

For the Prophet said, ” “He for whom Allâh desires great good, He grants him (superlative) understanding in the Religion (yufaqqihhu/yufqihhu fî al-dîn). I only distribute (ie The Quran and Sunnah) and it is Allâh Who gives (ie understanding). That group shall remain in charge of the Order of Allâh, unharmed by those who oppose them, until the coming of the Order of Allâh.” (Bukhari)

I am not saying none of the companions understood it, but this understanding was not convey in the normative way, but rather, the Prophet and his companions transmitted the knowledge of how to receive these understandings from Allah.

This is why tafwid is emphasized, it is Allah who gives understanding.

“He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted abundant good; and none would take heed except those endowed with understanding.” (2:269)

And Allah knows best.

Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah was a termed used by the early Muslims (Salafus Saleh) to distinguish themselves, from Ahlul Bidah (Mutazilah), in matters of Aqida. Aqida was transmitted from the Salafus Saleh by two Imams, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Ahmad.

Imam Tahawi later codified the Aqida of Imam Abu Hanifa, and describe his text on Aqida as representing the Aqidah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

Imam Tahawi said, “..the following is an exposition of the creed of the People of the Prophetic Way and Majority of scholars (Ahl al Sunnah wa al jama’ah) in accordance with the understanding of Muslim jurists such as Imam Abu Hanifa al Nu’man bin Thabit al Kufi, Abu Yusuf Yaqub bin Ibrahim al Ansari, and Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Al Hasan Al Shaybani. It includes their beliefs about the foundations of the religion upon which they base their worship of their Lord of the worlds. (Aqida Tahawi)

The Ashari Aqida is contained in Aqida Tahawi

Imam al Subki (d771), the great Shafi scholar, noted that the Hanafis, Shafis, Malikis and Hanbalis are one in creed, he said,

“All of them follow the opinion of the Prophetic Way and the Majority of the scholars (Ahl al Sunnah wa al jama’ah). They worship Allah in accordance with the creed of Abu al Hasan al Ashari. None of them deviates from it, save the riffraffs among the Hanafis and Shafis who adopted the rationalist creed and those among the Hanbalis who opted for anthropomorphism. However, Allah protected the Malikis from such things, for we have never seen a Maliki except that he was Ashari in creed. In summation, the creed of Al Ashari is what is contained in the Creed of Imam Abu Jafar al Tahawi, which the scholars of the various legal scholars have endorsed and are content with as a creed…. So say to those fanatics among the sects, “Take heed, leave your fanaticism, abandon your heresies, and defend the religion of Islam.”

The Asharis and Maturidis are upon the creed of Imam Abu Hanifa as expressed by Imam Tahawi, in Aqida Tahawi, the Aqida of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

This Aqida of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah is quite different from the Mutazilah, Jahmiyyah and the anthropormorphist (mushabbihah).

Imam Tahawi says, “We pray to Allah that He may confirm us in faith, let us die upon it, save us from the erroneous ideas and heretical doctrines such as those advanced by the anthropormorphist (mushabbihah), the Mutazilah, Jahmiyyah, determinists (jabariyyah), free willers (Qadariyyah), and others who have differed from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah and fallen into error.” (Aqida Tahawi)

And Allah knows best.

Dealing with the unclear verses and hadiths pertaining to Allah’s Attributes

Imam Nawawi said, “Scholars disagree about the Quran verses and hadiths that deal with the Attributes of Allah, [such as Allah’s ‘hand’ (Quran 48:10), His ‘eyes’ (52:48), or His ‘nearness’ (50:16)] as to whether they should be discussed in terms of a particular figurative interpretation (tawil) or not.
Some say that they should be figuratively interpreted as befits them (ie interpreting His hand for example, as an allusion to His omnipotence). And this is more well known of the two positions of the scholastic theologians.

Others say that such verses should not be given a definitive interpretation, but rather their meaning should not be discussed, and the knowledge of them should be cosigned to Allah Most (tafwid), while at the same time believing in the transcendence of Allah Most High, and that the characteristics of created things do not apply to Him (Allah). For example, it should be said we believe that

“the All Merciful is ‘established’ (Arabic: istawa) on the Throne.” (Quran 20:5)

But we do not know the reality of the meaning of that, nor what is intended thereby, though we believe of Allah Most High that

“there is nothing whatsoever like unto Him (Quran 42:11)”

And that He is above indwelling in created things (hulul), or having the characteristics of temporal, contingent existence (huduth). And this is the path of the Early Muslims or the vast majority of them, and is the safest, for a person is not required to enter into discussions about this. When one believes in Allah’s transcendence above created things, there is no need for debate on it, or taking risks over what there is neither pressing necessity nor even any real call for.
But if the need arises for definitive interpretations to refute someone making unlawful innovations and the like, then the learned may supply them, and this is how we should understand what has come down to us from scholars in this field. And Allah knows best. (Al Majmu- Nawawi)

To summarize and highlight some important key points.

There are two approaches toward the unclear verses and hadith pertaining to Allah’s Attributes

1. Tafwid, saying, “such verses should not be given a definitive interpretation, but rather their meaning should not be discussed, and the knowledge of them should be cosigned to Allah Most (tafwid), while at the same time believing in the transcendence of Allah Most High, and that the characteristics of created things do not apply to Him (Allah).”

“And this is the path of the Early Muslims (Salafus Saleh) or the vast majority of them, and is the safest, for a person is not required to enter into discussions about this.” Imam Nawawi is saying that it is the path of the vast majority of them, indicates, that a small group of Salaf engaged in tawil, the second approach.

The Basis for Tafwid in the Quran

Quran 3:7 can be read two different ways.

(1) Proof for Tafwid: “He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. “(Qur’an, surah 3 verse 7)

Ibn Masud read it this way. ((Suyuti- Itqan v.2, p. 4)

This position of tafwid is reinforced with the Quranic verse, Say: The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are….and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge. (7:33)

In essense, the knowledge of Allah can only come from two sources, the Quran and Sunnah, since Allah and His Messenger did not explain the meaning of the Hand of Allah, neither explaining that it should be taken upon it’s apparent (literally) meaning (ala Dhahiri) nor explaining it to meaning, power (qudra) or favor (nima) it is best to remain silent. This is why Imam Shafi said, “I believe in what comes from Allah in the meaning meant by the Messenger of Allah,.” (Ibn Qudamah in Lam’at al Itiqad)

Tafwid is to believe in the wording of the Quran and hadith when related to the unclear verses and hadiths pertaining to Allah and that it is true and from Allah, but to remain silent concerning its meaning and its howness as Allah and His Messenger did not delve into it.

2. Tawil. Saying, “Some say that they should be figuratively interpreted as befits them (ie interpreting His hand for example, as an allusion to His omnipotence). And this is more well known of the two positions of the scholastic theologians.” (Meaning more well known among the scholars of the khalaf – later generation)
When is tawil done?
Imam Nawawi says, “But if the need arises for definitive interpretations to refute someone making unlawful innovations and the like, then the learned may supply them, and this is how we should understand what has come down to us from scholars in this field.”

The point is that tawil is done, when innovation exist, and it is the only way to keep the common people save from such innovation. And the reason it is done this way is because, this is when the Salafus Saleh (Early Muslims), usually engaged in tawil. Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani said, “al-Bayhaqi and others have narrated from the four imams, from the two Sufyan, the two Hammad, al-Awza’i, from al-Layth and others, that they DID interpret this text (make tawil) according to what befits Allah, and what is in use in the language of the Arabs.” (1)

Imam Ali Qari said, “The Salaf and Khalaf agree over tawil. The difference between them is only in terminology (al Khilafu baynahuma) as they have Consensus (ijma) over the fact that the outward terms must not be taken literally (sarf al lafzi min zahirih). However, the tawi of the Salaf is general (ijmali) as they practiced resignation (tafwid- consigning or remaining silent) to Allah Most High of the intended meaning of the wording, which is not taken literally as Allah is beyond that. As for the Khalaf, their tawil is specific (tafsili) because they were forced to recur to it due to the abundance of innovators. They did not intend, in so doing to diverge from the pious Salaf – Allah is our refuge from such a thought. It is only that necessity demanded it, in their time, due to the many anthropomorphists (mujassima_, Jahmiyya, and others of the people of misguidance, lest they prevail over the minds of the general public. They intended thereby the deterrence and routing of their arguments. This is why many of them apologized and said, “if only our times had the same purity of faith as that of the Salaf!” So what is obligatory upon us is what we mentioned regarding belief, together with negation of resemblance. And if it is feared for laypersons that they do not understand istiwa – short of saying it means istila (dominion) – except in the sense of contact 9ittisal) and the like among the requirements of corporeal requirements, then there is no harm in reorienting their understanding to meaning of istila in strict avoidance of what is forbidden, and in saying “istiwa means istila.” (Al Qari- Miraq al Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al Masabih)

Examples of Tawil among the Salafus Saleh:

Ibn Abbas and the Companions of the Prophet, sallahu alayhi wa salam:

Concerning the verse, “The day that a Shin will be laid bare,” (Quran 68:42) Ibn Abbas interpreted the “shin” to mean “severity.”

Commenting on this verse, Imam al Tabari said, “A group of the Prophet’s companions and their disciples, and the people of figurative interpretation have said, ‘He will uncover a severe matter.’ And among those who interpreted the shin to mean ‘severity’ from the Imams of Quranic exegesis are Mujahid, Said Bin Jubayr, Qataba and others. Allah be He exalted said, ‘And the sky we built with hands. And it is We who give expanse.’ (Quran 51:47). Ibn Abbas said concerning it: “With strength.” (Tafsir al Tabari) That is, “We built it with strength.”

Imam Ahmad

Concerning the verse, “Do they but wait until Allah comes to them in the canopies of the clouds?” (Quran 2:210)
Qadi Abu Yala mentioned that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal commented on this passage saying that, “The meaning of it is , ‘His power and command.’ (Ibn Jawzi, Daf Shubah al Tashbih)

Imam Bukhari

Imam al Bayhaqi reports that Imam Al Bukhari said concerning the hadith, “Allah laughs at two men, one of them kills the other and both of them enter Paradise,” that laughing means, “mercy.” (Bahaqi Al Asma wa al Sifat) That is, “Allah shows mercy to both of them.”

Sufyan al Thawri

Sufyan al Thawri said concerning Allah’s saying, “And He is with you where ever you are” (Quran 57:4) “It means with His knowledge.” (Tashih al Mahafim al Aqadiyya)

The Basis for Tawil in the Quran

Quran 3:7 can be read two different ways.

(1) Proof for Tafwid: “He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. “(Qur’an, surah 3 verse 7)

Ibn Masud read it this way. ((Suyuti- Itqan v.2, p. 4)

(2). Proof for Tawil: “He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. Say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.”(Qur’an,surah 3 verse 7)

Ibn Abbas said, “I am of those well grounded in knowledge, who know the meaning (of the allegorical verses).” (Suyuti- Itqan v.2, p. 4)

Ibn Taymiyyah says, “This reading has been reported from Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Muhammad Ibn Ijma Ibn Az Zubayr, Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Qutybah and others. To me this and the other reading are both correct… Both readings have been reported from ibn Abbas and both are correct.” (Ibn Taymiyyah al Majmoo Al Fatawa)

Proof from Hadith

The Prophet, sallahu alayhi wa salam said, “May Allah make radiant someone who hears something from us, and then conveys it as he heard it (Quran and Hadith), for it might be that someone who it is conveyed to understands better than the one who heard (it first). (Sahih-Tirmidhi)

This hadith illustrates, that the later generations may have a better understanding of something the early generation did not.

And Allah knows best.

(1) Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, while explaining one of the versions of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, sometimes referred to as hadith an-Nuzul (and which would give the impression that Allah descends on Earth every night, in his book Fath al-Bari, volume 3, page 23, illustrates all these points, mentioned by Imam Nawawi.. Imam Ibn Hajar al Asqanlani said, “As for his saying ‘Yanzilu Rabbuna ‘ila s-Samaa’i d-Dunya“, those who confirm a direction to Allah, have relied on this text and said that it is the direction of ‘above’ (al-uluww), and this has been refuted by the scholars (al-jumhur), because talking like that equals limiting Allaah, who is exempted from that. Thereafter people have diverged about the meaning of an-nuzul: some took it according to its literal meaning and verily, these are the anthropomorphists (al-mushabbihah) , and Allaah is absolutely free (exempted) from what they say. Others have resorted to deny the truthfulness of all the hadiths which have been narrated in that regard: those are the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah, and these are really astonishing because on the one hand they interpret what has reached [us] in the Qur’an which is similar to this, and on the other hand they deny what has come from hadith, either due to ignorance, or to stubbornness. Others have read those texts as they were revealed, believing in them in general, while freeing Allaah from the manner [kayfiyyah] of the anthropomorphists, and these are the majority of the Salaf. [On top of that], al-Bayhaqi and others have narrated from the four imams, from the two Sufyan, the two Hammad, al-Awza’i, from al-Layth and others, that they DID interpret this text according to what befits Allaah, and what is in use in the language of the Arabs. Some other ones went so far in their interpretation that it ended up being a type of distortion. Others [still] made a difference between what is a ‘close’ interpretation’, i.e. in use in the language of the Arabs, and what would be a ‘far-fetched’ one, and as a result they have interpreted in some cases and made tafweed [i.e. leaving the meaning to Allaah] in some cases, and this has been narrated from imam Malik. It has been confirmed by Ibn Daqiq al-Id that al-Bayhaqi said that the safest [of all these methods] is to believe in those texts without a how (bila kayf) and to not speak about what is intended.”

Abu Hanifa & Tawassul

Abu Hanifa & Tawassul
by Shaykh Gibril Haddad

Imam Abu Hanifa: His Supposed Objection to Tawassul (Using Intermediaries)

Imàm Abu Hanïfa nowhere objected to tawassul but only – as narrated from Abu Yosuf in Kitàb al-Àthàr–to the use of a specific wording in supplication, namely, “by the right You owe to So-and-so” (bi-haqqi fulàni ‘alayk), or “by the joints of power and glory in Your Throne” (bima ‘àqidal-‘izzmin‘arshik).[1] The reason for this is that, on the one hand, Allàh owes no-one any right whatso­ever except what He Himself conde­scends to state on His part as in the verse [To help believers is incumbent upon Us (haqqun ‘alaynà)](30:47). On the other hand, “by the right owed so-and-so” is an oath and is therefore a formula restricted to Allàh Himself on pains of shirk. Imàm Abu Hanïfa said: “Let one not swear any oath except by Allàh alone, with a pure affirmation of tawhïd and sincerity.”[2] A third reason is that the expression “the joints of power and glory in Your Throne” is a lone-narrator (àhàd) report and is therefore not retained nor put into practice, in accordance with the rule for any such reports that might suggest anthropomorphism.

Those that claim[3] that the Imàm objected to tawassul altogether are unable to adduce any­thing to sup­port such a claim other than the above caveat, which is not against tawassul but against a specific, prohibitive wor­ding in tawassul. A proof of this is that it is permissi­ble in the Hanafï School to say “by the sanctity/honor of so-and-so in Your presence” (bi-hurmati/bi-jàhi fulàn). This is stated in the Fatàwà Bazzàziyya (6:351 in the margin of the Fatàwà Hindiyya) and is also the position of Abþ al-Layth al-Samarqandï among the major Hanafï Jurists, not to mention that of Imàm Ibn ‘Àbidïn among the later ones.

Even so there is authentic evidence in[1]the hadïth of Fàtima bint Asad, [2] the hadïth of “the right of those who ask You,”[3] the hadïth: “O Allàh, I ask you by the joints of power in the Throne,” and [4] the hadïth: “Do you know the right owed to Allàh by His slaves and the right owed by Allàh to his slaves?”[4] to support the permissibility of such a wording. If the above objection is authentically reported from Abu Hanïfa then either he did not deem these hadïths authentic by his standards, or they did not reach him. An illustration of this is that Abu Yusuf permitted the formula “By the joints of power…”. [5] Further, the oppo­site is also reported from him, namely, that he per­mitted tawassul using those very expressions. Ibn ‘Àbidïn said: “In the Tatàrkhàniyya: The Àthàr also report what shows permissibility.” Then he cites–from al-Qàrï’s Sharh al-Niqàya, al-Munàwï quoting Ibn ‘Abd al-Salàm (cf. the very first of his Fatàwà in the printed Risàla edition), and al-Subkï – fur­ther explanations that it is permitted, then he cites the fatwa by Ibn Amïr al-Hajj in the thir­teenth chapter of Sharh al-Munya that such permissibility is not limited to tawassul through the Prophet e. i.e. it extends to the Sàlihïn.

[1] Cf. al-Zabïdï, It hàf (2:285) and Ibn Abï al-‘Izz, Sharhal-‘Aqïda al-Tahàwiyya (1988 9th ed. p. 237).

[2]Cf. al-Kasànï, Badà’i‘ al-Sanà’i‘ (3:8).

[3]Cf. Ibn Taymiyya, Majmþ‘ al-Fatàwà (1:202-203) and his imitators.

[4]The first hadïth is narrated from Anas by al-Tabarànï in al-Kabïr (24:351) and al-Awsat. (1:152) and Abu Nu‘aym in his Hilya (1985 ed. 3:121) with a chain contain­ing Rawh ibn Salàh concerning whom there is difference of opinion among the authorities. He is unknown according to Ibn al-Jawzï in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanàhiya (1:260-270), Ibn ‘Adï in al-Kàmil (3:146 #667), and al-Dàraqutnï in al-Mu’talif wal-Mukhtalif (3:1377); Ibn Màkþlà in al-Ikmàl (5:15) declared him weak while al-Hàkim asserted was trustwor­thy and highly dependable (thiqa ma’mun) – as men­tioned by Ibn Hajar in Lisàn al-Mïzàn (2:465 #1876), Ibn Hibbàn in­cluded him in al-Thiqàt (8:244), and al-Fasawï considered him trustworthy (cf. Mamdoh, Raf‘ [p. 148]). Al-Haythamï (9:257) said: “Al-Tabarànï narrated it in al-Kabïr and al-Awsat and its chain contains Rawh ibn Salàh whom Ibn Hibbàn and al-Hàkim declared trustworthy although there is some weakness in him, and the rest of its sub-narrators are the men of sound hadïth.” I was unable to find Abu Hàtim’s declaration of Rawh as trustworthy re­ported by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawï in his Mafàhïm (10th ed. p. 145 n. 1). Nor does Shaykh Mahmod Mamdohin his discussion of this hadïth in Raf‘ al-Minàra (p. 147-155) mention such a grading on the part of Abu Hàtim although he con­sid­ers Rawh “truthful” (sadaq) and not “weak” (da‘ïf), according to the rules of hadïth science when no reason is given with regard to a nar­rator’s purported discreditation (jarhmubham ghayr mufassar). Mamdoh(p. 149-150) noted that al­though Albànï in his Silsila Da‘ïfa (1:32-33) claims it is a case of explicated discreditation (jarh mufassar) yet he himself de­clares identi­cally-formulated dis­creditation cases as unexplicated and therefore unaccept­able in two dif­ferent contexts! Ibn ‘Alawï adds that the hadïth is also narrated from Ibn ‘Abbàs by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr – without specifying where – and from Jàbir by Ibn Abï Shayba, but without the du‘à. Imàm al-Kawtharï said of this hadïth in his Maqàlàt (p. 410): “It provides textual evidence whereby there is no difference between the living and the dead in the context of using a means (tawassul), and this is explicit tawassul through the Proph­ets, while the hadïth of the Prophet from Abu Sa‘ïd al-Khudrï ‘O Allàh, I ask You by the right of [the promise made to] those who ask You (bihaqqi al-sà’ilïna ‘alayk)’* constitutes tawassul through the generality of Muslims, both the living and the dead.”

*A hasan hadïth of the Prophet according to Shaykh Mahmod Mamdoh who showed in his mono­graph Mubàhathat al-Sà’irïn bi Hadïth Allàhumma Innï As’aluka bi-Haqqi al-Sà’ilïn, narrated from Abu Sa‘ïd al-Khudrï by Ahmad in his Musnad with a fair chain according to Hamza al-Zayn (10:68 #11099) – a weak chain according to al-Arna’þt(17:247-248 #11156) who considers it, like Abu Hàtim in al-‘Ilal (2:184), more like­ly a mawquf saying of Abu Sa‘ïd himself; Ibn Màjah with a chain he declared weak, Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Amal al-Yawm wa al-Layla (p. 40 #83-84), al-Bayhaqï in al-Da‘awàt al-Kabïr (p. 47= 1:47 #65), Ibn Khuzayma in al-Tawhïd (p. 17-18) [and his Sahïh (2:458?) as indicated by al-Busïrï in his Zawà’id (1:98-99)], al-Tabarànï in al-Du‘a (p. 149=2:990), Ibn Ja‘d in his Musnad (p. 299), al-Baghawï in al-Ja‘diyyat (#2118-2119) and – mawquf – by Ibn Abï Shayba (6:25=10:211-212) and Ibn Abï Hàtim in ‘Ilal al-Hadïth (2:184). Al-‘Iràqï in Takhrïj Ahàdïth al- Ihyà’ (1:291) graded it hasan as a marfu‘ Prophetic hadïth, as did the hadïth Masters al-Dimyàtï in al-Muttajir al-Ràbihfï Thawàb al-‘Amal al-Sàlih (p. 471-472), Ibn Hajar in Amàlï al-Adhkàr (1:272) and al-Mundhirï’s shaykh the hadïth Master Abu al-Hasan al-Maqdisï in al-Targhïb (1994 ed. 2:367 #2422=1997 ed. 2:304-305) and as indicated by Ibn Qudàma in al-Mughnï (1985 Dàr al-Fikr ed. 1:271). Shaykh Mamdohin his monograph refuted the reasoning of Nàsir Albànï and Hammàd al-Ansàrï in declaring this hadïth weak. The third hadïth is narrated from [1] the Companion Qayla bint Makhrama by al-Tabarànï in al-Kabïr (25:12) with a fair chain according to al-Haythamï (10:124-125); [2] Ibn Mas‘ud by al-Bayhaqï in al-Da‘awàt al-Kabïr (2:157 #392) – Ibn al-Jawzï in al-Mawdu‘àt (2:142) claimed that it was forged as cited by al-Zayla‘ï in Nasb al-Ràya (4:272-273) but this ruling was rejected by al-Suyutï in al-La’àli’ (2:68); [3] maqtþ‘ from Wuhayb by Abu Nu‘aym in the Hilya (1985 ed. 8:158-159); [4] Abþ Hurayra by Ibn ‘Asàkir with a very weak chain cf. Ibn ‘Arràq, Tanzïh al-Sharï‘a (1:228); and [5] Abþ Bakr in al-Tadwïn and al-Firdaws. The fourth is narrated from Mu‘àdh in the Six Books and Ahmad except for al-Nasà’ï.

[5]Cf. al-Kàsànï, Badà’i‘ al-Sanà’i‘ (5:126).

[6]Ibn ‘Àbidïn, Hàshiya (6:396-397).

Seeking Aid with the Prophet
Shaykh al Islam Ibn Hajar al*Haytamī


From amongst the untruths of Ibn Taymiyya which no scholar before him had*said, and*whereby he created*dissent between the people of Islām, is that he denounced tawassul and istighātha (seeking aid) through him ; and*that is not as he (Ibn Taymiyyah) had*decreed* (i.e. that it is impermissible). Rather, tawassul through him is hasan (good) in every state: before his creation and*after his creation, in the dunya and*in the ākhira. That which proves seeking tawassul through him before his creation and*that it is the path taken by the pious predecessors, the Prophets, the Awliyā and*others (and thus the view of Ibn Taymiyya has no basis [and*is] from his concoctions) is: that which al* Hākim transmitted*and*declared*sahīh that he said:

“When Ādam committed his mistake he said: O my Lord, I am asking you to forgive me for the sake of Muhammad. Allāh said: O Ādam, and how do you know about Muhammad whom I have not yet created? Ādam replied, O my Lord, after You created me with your hand and breathed into me of Your Spirit, I raised my head and saw written on the heights of the Throne: lā ilāha illallāh muhammadun rasūlallāh. I understood that You would not place next to Your Name but the Most Beloved One of Your creation. Allāh said: O Ādam, I have forgiven you, and were it not for Muhammad I would not have created you.”

The meaning of ‘for his sake’ (bi*haqqihi) is his rank and*station in His sight Most High, or the right (haqq) that Allāh made for him over creation, or the right which Allāh Most High made obligatory on Himself over him by His grace as in a sahīh Hadīth,

“He said: what is the right (haqq) of the servants over Allāh?”

not [that it is] incumbent (wājib) [upon Allāh] since nothing is incumbent upon Him.
Furthermore, asking by him is not actually asking him such that it may be considered*associating [partners with Allāh]. It is truly but asking Allāh Most High through one who has a high estimation, an elevated rank and*a great distinction with Him. From amongst his miracles from his Lord*is that He does not fail one asking

through him, and*seeking intermediary to Him through his rank. It suffices as humiliation for one who denies this that he is deprived*of this [blessing].
[That which proves seeking tawassul through him] during his lifetime is that which was transmitted*by al*Nasā’ī and*al*Tirmidhī who declared*it sahīh that:

“An afflicted man approached the Prophet and said, ‘supplicate to Allāh on my behalf that He cures me’. He said, ‘if you wish, I will supplicate (to Allāh on your behalf) and if you wish you can remain patient and that is better for you.’ He said, ‘supplicate to Him.’”

And*in (another) narration (he said):

“’I have no guide and it is difficult for me’, so he (the Prophet) instructed him to perform wudū and perfect his wudū and supplicate with this supplication: ‘Oh Allāh, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy; O Muhammad, I seek your intercession with my for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allāh! grant him intercession for me.’”

Al*Bayhaqī also declared*it sahīh and*added,

“he stood and was able to see”.

And, in [another] narration,

“O Allāh! Grant him intercession for me and grant me intercession for myself”

The Prophet knew that but did*not supplicate for him because he desired*to achieve from him concentration and the toil of poverty, brokenness and*desperation, seeking istighātha through him , so as to attain for him the perfection of his objective. And*such an implication is attainable in his life and*after his death; and*therefore the Salaf have used*this supplication in their needs after his death. `Uthmān ibn Hunayf taught it to a Sahābī…*al*Tabarānī and al*Bayhaqī narrated it and*at*Tabarānī narrated*with a jayyid (good) chain that,

“He mentioned in his supplication ‘for the sake of Your Prophet and the Prophets before me.’”

There is no difference between the mention of tawassul, istighātha, tashaffu` and*tawajjuh (directing/turning) through him or through others of the Prophets and likewise the Awliyā. This is because the permissibility of tawassul with actions as in the sahīh Hadīth of the cave has been mentioned*despite them (the actions) being transitory; therefore pious souls are more preferable, and*(also) because `Umar ibn al*Khattāb sought tawassul through al*`Abbās for seeking rain and*(al*`Abbās) did*not repudiate this. It is as though the wisdom of his tawassul through him and*not the Prophet and*his grave was to display humility on his behalf, and*elevation of his relatives, and*thus in his tawassul through al*`Abbās he is performing tawassul through the Prophet and*more.

It is not to be said*that the expressions tawajjuh and*istighātha presuppose that the one by whom aid*is sought (al*mustaghath bihi) is higher than the one whose aid*is sought
(mustaghāth ilayhi). That is because tawajjuh comes from [the word] jāh which is a high status. Tawassul could be sought from a possessor of rank unto one who possesses a higher rank than him.


Istighātha is seeking aid, and the one seeking aid is seeking from the one from whom aid is sought in order to obtain aid from other than him, even if that other is greater than him. So tawajjuh and istighāthah with him and others than him does not have a meaning in the heart of the Muslims other than that and they do not intend by these two matters (i.e tawajjuh and istighātha) anyone besides Him . So, whoever’s breast is not opened with this, then let him cry over himself. We ask Allāh for well being. The one in whom aid is sought in reality is Allāh the Exalted, and the Prophet is an intermediary between Him and the one seeking aid. So aid is sought from Him, the Exalted, and the aid comes from Him both in creating and bringing fourth. The Prophet is the one whose aid*is sought and aid is from him by way of intermediary means and*kasb (acquisition) and aid is sought from him metaphorically.

So in general, using the term istighātha in an unrestricted sense for the one from whom aid is obtained, even if only by way of intermediary means and kasb, is something well known and*there is no doubt regarding it; not in the language, or in the Sacred*Law. Therefore, there is no difference between it and*asking, especially in light of the narration that has been mentioned*in al*Bukhārī concerning the intercession on the day of judgement:

“As they were in that state, they sought aid (istaghāthū) from Ādam , then Mūsa , then Muhammad ”

Tawassul could also mean seeking supplication from him for indeed*he is living and knowing the question of the one who asks him. It has been authentically reported from a long Hadīth:

The people suffered a drought during the successorship of `Umar ,
whereupon a man came to the grave of the Prophet and said:“O Messenger of Allāh, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished,” after which the Prophet appeared to him in a dream and told him that the rain shall come. And in it also it appears: “Go to `Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!”

Meaning, gentleness, because he was severe in the religion of Allāh.

So he came to him and informed him, after which he cried and then said: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!”

In another narration it states that the one who saw the dream was Bilāl ibn Hārith al Muzanī, the companion .

And Allah knows best.

1 Ibn Hājar al*Haytamī, al*jawhar al*munazzam; as cited by al*Qādi Yūsuf al*Nabhānī in shawāhid al*haqq fīl*istighātha bī*sayyid al*khalq (The Proofs of Truth in the Seeking of Aid with the Master of Creation )

2. The people were gripped by famine during the tenure of ‘Umar (bin al-Khattāb). Then a Companion walked up to the Prophet’s grave and said, “O Messenger of Allah, please ask for rain from Allah for your Community who is in dire straits.” Then the Companion saw the Prophet Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam in a dream. The Prophet Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said to him, “Go over to ‘Umar, give him my regards and tell him that the rain will come to you. And tell ‘Umar that he should be on his toes, he should be on his toes, (he should remain alert).” Then the Companion went over to see ‘Umar and passed on to him the tidings. On hearing this, ‘Umar broke into a spurt of crying. He said, “O Allah, I exert myself to the full until I am completely exhausted.” ( Related by Ibn Abū Shaybah in al-Musannaf (12:31-2#12051); Bayhaqī, Dalā’il-un-nubuwwah (7:47); Ibn ‘Abd-ul-Barr, al- Istī‘āb fī ma‘rifat-il-ashāb (2:464); Subkī, Shifā’-us-siqām fī ziyārat khayr-il-anām (p.130); ‘Alā’-ud-Dīn ‘Alī, Kanz-ul-‘ummāl (8:431#23535); and Abū Ya‘lā Khalīl bin ‘Abdullāh Khalīlī Qazwīnī in Kitāb-ul-irshād fī ma‘rifat ‘ulamā’-il-hadith (1:313-4), as quoted by Mahmūd Sa‘īd Mamdūh in Raf‘-ul-minārah (p.262). Ibn Taymiyyah has endorsed its authenticity in his book Iqtidā’-us-sirāt-il-mustaqīm mukhālifat ashāb-il-jahīm (p.373). Ibn Kathīr has confirmed the soundness of its transmission in al-Bidāyah wan-nihāyah (5:167). Ibn Abū Khaythamah narrated it with the same chain of transmission as quoted by Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalānī in al-Isābah fī tamyīz-is-sahābah (3:484), while the latter writes in Fath-ul-bārī (2:495-6): “Ibn Abū Shaybah transmitted it with a sound (Sahih) chain of transmission and Sayf bin ‘Umar Tamīmī has recorded it in al-Futūh-ul-kabīr that the dreamer was a Companion known as Bilāl bin Hārith Muzanī.” Qastallānī has remarked in al-Mawāhib-ulladuniyyah (4:276) that Ibn Abū Shaybah has narrated it with a sound chain of transmission while Zurqānī has supported Qastallānī in his Commentary (11:150-1))