Prophetic Medicine Between Revelation and Traditional Knowledge

P

By Dr. Jamīl Farīd

Translated by Muntasir Zaman

[Translator’s preface: In today’s intellectually turbulent climate, many Muslims are increasingly finding it difficult to reconcile ḥadīths that conflict with modern sensibilities and are consequently dismissing them summarily. This crisis of faith is nothing new. As early as the second century AH, scholars like al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204 AH) and later al-Ṭaḥāwī (d. 321 AH) realized this phenomenon and dedicated volumes to address it. The present article is an excerpt from Dr. Jamīl Farīd’s landmark thesis “Athar al-ʿIlm al-Tajrībī fī Kashf Naqd al-Ḥadīth al-Nabawī” on the application of experimental science in grading ḥadīths. Here the author answers the pressing questions of what religious and medical authority prophetic medicine wields and how to resolve the conflict between these ḥadīths and the findings of contemporary medical research.

Balancing the fine line between total rejection and unrestricted authority, the author demonstrates the nuance required when assessing ḥadīths of this nature. At the heart of this issue, the author emphasizes, is the need to distinguish between medical information that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) conveyed based on knowledge that was prevalent in Arab societies in his time and ḥadīths that were informed by revelatory knowledge. He provides several examples to clarify this delicate subject, which unfortunately has been misappropriated to undermine the authority of ḥadīths. It may be useful to add that even prophetic medicine informed by revelation lends itself to multiple interpretations; al-Māzarī (d. 536 AH) postulates that ḥadīths about ʿajwah dates preventing poison and magic were specific to the Prophet’s era,[1] and al-Khaṭṭābī (d. 388 AH) explains that the generality in black seeds being a cure is restricted to particular scenarios.[2] An idiomatic translation was adopted, and sub-headings were added, to make the article more reader-friendly.]

Introduction

It is necessary to distinguish between ḥadīths from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that were pronounced in his capacity as a human and others that were informed by revelation. Overall this distinction is accepted among Muslim scholars—legal theorists, jurists, exegetes, and Ḥadīth experts—but they disagree on the method of distinguishing between these two categories of ḥadīths. However, the scope of this debate has been inaptly expanded in the modern era where it is now used as a pretext to deny the authority of the Sunnah and strip it of its infallible and legislative elements. I will not delve into the specifics of the modern debate on the subject. I will focus on ḥadīths about prophetic medicine and their pronouncement as revelation or from a human capacity because this issue has a profound impact on both affirmative (ījābī) and negative (salbī) historical criticism.

Its utility for affirmative historical criticism is borne out by historians being aware that ḥadīths about prophetic medicine comprise information that was shared by the Prophet in his capacity as a human; they will proceed with caution when attempting to strengthen a given report on the basis that it contains accurate medical knowledge. Thus, an expert further explores the indication of the text and other considerations to complete an exhaustive critique. In terms of negative historical criticism, keeping this distinction in mind can help assuage modern concerns surrounding the conflict between ḥadīths and contemporary medical research by interpreting the ḥadīths as an outcome of information that was prevalent during that time, not based on revelation. This is a delicate topic that has been addressed in previous studies.[3]

Two Categories of Ḥadīths

In my opinion, it is not possible for all ḥadīths of this nature to be subsumed under one broad category because there are two equally convincing and competing considerations at play here. First, there is ample proof that some ḥadīths on prophetic medicine are informed by revelation, such as the following:

  • “‘Allah has spoken the truth and your brother’s belly has lied.’ He then gave him honey and he was cured.’”[4]
  • “Indeed, Allah did not place your cure in unlawful things.”[5]
  • Ḥadīths that speak about the unseen in connection to medical issues, such as the ḥadīth, “The form of each one of you is assembled in their mother’s womb for forty days.”[6]

Included are ḥadīths that contain medical information where matters of the unseen are addressed that could have only been known through revelation. In fact, the Jews [of Madīnah] recognized the signs of prophethood on account of the Prophet relaying this information. The general agreed-upon principle in regard to ḥadīths is, as mentioned in the Qurʾān, “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination; it is just a revelation revealed.”

The second consideration is that medicine is a worldly subject that Islam is not primarily concerned with correcting or improving, and the Prophet did not issue any directives concerning it that reach the level of taʿabbud (an act of devotion). Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (d. 544 AH) states:

It was possible for the Prophet to believe something concerning the matters of this world based on one interpretation where the opposite was true, or to be subject to doubt or supposition regarding them. Matters of religion, on the other hand, were not like this [he then cites the ḥadīth of cross-pollination and the battle of Badr]. Fallibility of such kind which pertains to any such worldly matters which do not involve religion, its beliefs, or teachings are permitted to him since none of this implies imperfection or demotion. They are ordinary things capable of being known by anyone who attempts to learn and occupy himself with them. The heart of the Prophet, however, was directed towards the best interests of his community in this world and the hereafter.[7]

Ibn Khaldūn (d. 808 AH) writes:

The medicine mentioned in religious tradition is of the (Bedouin) type. It is in no way part of the divine revelation. (Such medical matters) were merely (part of) Arab custom and happened to be mentioned in connection with the circumstances of the Prophet, like other things that were customary in his generation. They were not mentioned in order to imply that that particular way of practicing (medicine) is stipulated by the religious law. He was sent to teach us the religious law. He was not sent to teach us medicine or any other ordinary matter. In connection with the story of the fecundation of the palms, he said, “You know more about your worldly affairs.”

None of the statements concerning medicine that occur in sound traditions should be considered to (have the force of) law. There is nothing to indicate that this is the case. The only thing is that if that type of medicine is used for the sake of a divine blessing and in true religious faith, it may be very useful. However, that would have nothing to do with humoral medicine but be the result of true faith. This happened in the case of the person who had a stomach-ache and was treated with honey, and similar stories. Allāh guides to that which is correct.[8]

Notwithstanding the generality in Ibn Khaldūn’s words which is the point of contention, the crux of his argument is what is intended here. It is therefore imperative for a researcher to bear this point in mind and to analyze the context and transmission of every ḥadīth, know what science has to say on the subject, and note the congruence of its words with the latest medical research. Only then can we ascertain whether a given ḥadīth on prophetic medicine is based on revelation or the human element. This explanation is not meant to contest academic research that examines prophetic medicine. In the same breath, however, we notice a flaw in a number of studies that overlook the human element of these ḥadīths or, at the bare minimum, the specificity of the Prophet’s particular atmosphere in regard to medical treatment. Failure to keep these things in mind has led many researchers to proffer far-fetched answers to resolve objections to these ḥadīths.

It appears that Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ alludes to this detail—having accepted the inadmissibility of ḥadīths pertaining to worldly affairs—with his statement:

But such fallibility only happened in respect of certain matters. The rare case is allowed and in things which concern observing this world and its fruits, not in doing such things often to the point of stupidity and inattention. Many transmissions have come from the Prophet showing a deep knowledge of the matters of this world and understanding of the fine points concerning the best interests of his people and the politics of the different groups of his people that was a miracle among men.”[9]

The words “in respect of certain matters” are important as they indicate the extent of this exception. This is also the conclusion of Dr. Muḥammad Sulaymān al-Ashqar who categorized ḥadīths on medicine into two categories: 1) those that are considered and practiced as part of the religion; 2) those that are not authoritative. He cites several examples for both categories—some of these can be contested, but the intent here is his perspective. He then states after concluding the first category:

There are two issues to bear in mind when considering whether ḥadīths that mention medicine or treatments with the Prophet mentioning that he learned them through revelation or was informed by the angels or that Allāh likes or dislikes them, and their like—are authoritative in the field of medicine.

First, the ḥadīth needs to meet a high standard of authenticity because its application can potentially lead to severe bodily harm. If any harm is caused, a physician cannot be excused on the grounds that his treatment was based on an apparently authentic ḥadīth that in reality was a fabrication. I therefore suggest no ḥadīth be taken as proof simply from a medical perspective until it is definitively proven, i.e. a mutawātir report. Or it is nearly definitive, that is, to be transmitted via two completely independent routes such that it is verified that no transmitter is solely responsible for its transmission in any strata of the chain even in the stratum of the Companions due to the possibility of error; each route should be rigorously authentic according to the requirements of Ḥadīth nomenclature. Second, the ḥadīth should conform to medical research under the supervision of specialists. If its utility is proven, that will suffice; the medical research will then be the evidence for its utility.[10]

I can now say that further caution is required when speaking about the influence of scientific facts on grading ḥadīths about prophetic medicine, because some of them may have been pronounced in a human capacity and not through revelation. Hence, when a researcher does not thoroughly research every ḥadīth, he will arrive at reckless and faulty conclusions. It is for this reason many ḥadīths have become the subject of lengthy debate, all the while the response is fairly simple when we keep in mind the difference between what is religiously legislative and not legislative by analyzing the context of each ḥadīth. At the same time, it is incorrect to hastily reject scenarios of accurate scientific information found in prophetic medicine due to the ḥadīths’ human element when they contain proof of their authoritativeness and they were pronounced from the prophetic niche.[11]

Examples

It is beyond the scope of the present study to examine all the relevant ḥadīths on the subject. Nonetheless, I will mention a few examples to provide clarity on the matter. Take ḥadīths that specify a time for cupping, i.e. the 17th, 19th, and 21st of the lunar month. None of these ḥadīths are reliable, contrary to those who have authenticated them. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Mahdī said, “Nothing reliable has been transmitted from the Prophet about it (the timing for cupping), apart from a general directive to do cupping.”[12] Al-Bardhaʿī said, “I observed that Abū Zurʿah did not authenticate any ḥadīth that prefers or discourages cupping on a specific day.”[13] A group of researchers studied the impact of cupping on days besides those prescribed in the ḥadīths. They concluded that the desired results of cupping can only be achieved by observing those dates; other days yield relatively less benefit. The results of these tests can be found in Muḥammad Amīn Shaykhū’s book al-Ḥijāmah. He writes:

A group of medical experts conducted cupping sessions in the first half of Rabīʿ, while a group of chemists analyzed the blood samples. The blood samples taken from these sessions were similar to the specification of the venous blood in number, form, and viscosity, as opposed to the blood samples taken from the sessions conducted in the second half of the month.[14]

It does not follow, however, that these results establish the reliability of the ḥadīths. Cupping was an ancient practice of the Arabs transmitted from generation to generation; even among the Coptic, Greek, and Chinese civilizations. Manuscripts dated before the Prophet’s birth contain diagrams of cupping sessions.[15] This information was likely transmitted by the Arabs in detail in terms of method, timing, and place. This is where the foundational pillar of applying experimental science to strengthen weak ḥadīths fails: the human element of the ḥadīth and the possibility of it being based upon the transmitted knowledge of the Arabs, not to mention the weakness of the chain.

It is important for a researcher to be aware when a hadīth clearly displays its human and probable (ẓanniyyah) elements, as narrated on the authority of Mūsā ibn Ṭalḥah from his father who said:

The Prophet and I passed by people who were attending to date palms. He asked what they were doing, so they replied that they were fecundating them. The Prophet said, “I do not think it will provide them any benefit.” When they were informed of this, they refrained from doing it. News reached the Prophet and he said, “They should do it if it will provide them benefit. I only conveyed what I assumed; do not blame me for my assumptions. But if I narrate anything to you from Allāh, hold fast to it; I will never lie about Allāh.”[16]

Consider the words “I do not think it will provide them any benefit.” They clearly indicate that his comments were based on human judgment that is potentially correct or incorrect, not on certainty. He therefore said, “I only conveyed what I assumed; do not blame me for my assumptions.” Al-Nawawī explained the ḥadīth as such in his words:

Scholars mention that his statement was not information that he passed on; it was an assumption, as he explained in these reports. They mention that his opinions about worldly matters are like those of others. It is therefore not inconceivable for this to occur, and there is no deficiency entailed in this.[17]

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “He did not prohibit them from fecundating; they mistakenly understood that he prohibited them, just as the one who erred in his judgment that “al-khayṭ al-abyaḍ” and “al-khayṭ al-aswad” refer to black and white threads.”[18]

Another example is the ḥadīth narrated by Muslim on the authority of Judhāmah bint Wahb al-Asadiyyah that the Prophet said, “I intended on prohibiting ghīlah but I recalled that the Romans and Persians practice it, and it does not harm their children.”[19] According to most scholars, ghīlah is the practice of a husband having intercourse with his breastfeeding wife.[20] If a researcher carries out tests and medical science provides insights about ghīlah, it will not affect the narrations on the subject. It is proven that the entire issue was based on the Prophet’s human judgment. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr explains, “His prohibition may be issued out of good conduct, compassion, and kindness for his community, not as a religious edict. Had he prohibited ghīlah, it would be for those reasons.”[21]

Mice and Camel Milk

This discussion affects our present study on the influence of science in grading a hadīth. A clear example is the ḥadīth, “A tribe of the Israelites went missing and their whereabouts were unknown. I believe they are [were transformed into] mice; do you not see when camel milk is presented to mice, they refuse to drink, but if goat milk is presented, they drink it?” This ḥadīth revolves around Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn from Abū Hurayrah. Ibn Sīrīn’s trustworthy students transmit it from him: (i) Ashʿath ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Ḥuddānī[22] and ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAwn[23] narrate it from him in its entirety as a prophetic ḥadīth; (ii) Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī, [24] Khālid ibn Mihrān,[25] and Hishām ibn Ḥassān al-Azdī[26]—he was Ibn Sīrīn’s most reliable student—narrate it from him as a statement of Abu Hurayrah, but the ending of the report indicates that it is Prophetic in origin. Abū Hurayrah said, “Mice are a result of maskh (punishment in the form of transformation). The proof for this is they will drink if they are given goat milk, but if they are given camel milk, they will not taste it.” Kaʿb asked, “Did you hear this from the Prophet?” He replied, “Has the Torah been revealed to me?[27]

The contention remains whether the pronoun “this” in Kaʿb’s question refers to the entire report from Abū Hurayrah or only the words “Mice are a result of maskh,” in which case the remainder of the report, i.e. mice do not drink camel milk, is Abū Hurayrah’s own words and inference. However, experimental research disproves this inference: mice drink camel milk without hesitation. Dr. Muʿizz al-Islām studied six mice and six rats, male and female, under a month old. They were given camel milk and goat milk. After observing their daily intake of the milk, it was proven that they drank both types of milk. He concluded, “In summary, our research demonstrates the ability of the mice and rats to drink camel milk, as is the case with goat milk. There is no evidence to suggest that mice and rats refuse to drink camel milk.”[28]

In light of the above, we arrive at one of two conclusions. Either the ḥadīth was based on the Prophet’s worldly judgment, as evidenced by the words, “I believe they are mice” and in the route of Ashʿath ibn ʿAbd Allāh from Ibn Sīrīn from Abū Hurayrah, from the Prophet “Allāh knows best whether they are mice or not.”[29] Ibn Ḥajar said, “It appears that used to be his opinion but then he came to know that they are not.”[30] Alternatively, the ḥadīth is a non-prophetic report from the words of Abū Hurayrah. Only the words “Mice are a result of maskh” are from the Prophet, and what is meant here is that maskh (punishment in the form of transformation) took place among the species of mice, not that every mouse till this day is from that maskh, because we learn from authentic ḥadīths that maskh is not passed down. Or only the words “A tribe of the Israelites were lost and their whereabouts unknown” are prophetic. This possibility is preferred for a number of reasons.

First, two students transmit the entire hadīth as a prophetic report: Khālid al-Ḥadhdhāʾ and Ashʿath ibn ʿAbd Allāh. They are in conflict with Khālid ibn Mihrān, Hishām ibn Ḥassān, and Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī (despite some feeble disagreement in the transmission from the two) who narrate it as a Companion report. Furthermore, the final part of Kaʿb’s question is not clear in making the entire report prophetic. Ḥadīth experts agree that Hishām ibn Ḥassān is the most preferred in transmission from Ibn Sīrīn. ʿAlī ibn al-Madīnī said, “Hishām is more reliable than Khālid al-Ḥadhdhāʾ vis-à-vis Ibn Sīrīn.” Yaḥyā ibn Saʿīd said, “Hishām ibn Ḥassān from Ibn Sīrīn is more beloved to me than ʿĀṣim al-Aḥwal and Khālid al-Ḥadhdhāʾ.” Abū Ḥātim said, “He was cautious vis-à-vis elevating ḥadīths to the Prophet from Ibn Sīrīn.”[31] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal said, “Hishām ibn Ḥassān is more beloved to me than Ashʿath.”[32] Therefore, al-Dāraquṭnī said about the non-prophetic version, “It is more accurate.”

Second, Abū Salamah corroborates Ibn Sīrīn’s report without adding the words under discussion, i.e. the mice’s refusal to drink camel milk.[33] Someone may object that Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn is known to narrate reports from Abū Hurayrah as Companion statements for the purposes of brevity but his intent is that they are prophetic. Ibn Sīrīn explained, “Everything I narrate from Abū Hurayrah is from the Prophet.”[34] Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī said, “Ibn Sīrīn frequently transmitted material as Companion statements (mawqūf) for brevity.”[35] However, this does not mean every ḥadīth Ibn Sīrīn narrates from Abū Hurayrah as a Companion statement will be taken as a prophetic report (marfūʿ). Rather, each report will be studied in light of the available indications. Therefore, al-Dāraquṭnī at times prefers the mawqūf version when there is conflict from Ibn Sīrīn on the prophetic or non-prophetic nature of a report.[36]


[1] Al-Māzarī, al-Muʿlim bi Fawāʾid Muslim, vol. 3, p. 121; Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, vol. 10, pp. 239-240.

[2] Al-Khaṭṭābī, Aʿlām al-Ḥadīth, vol. 3, p. 2112; ʿUthmānī, Takmilat Fatḥ al-Mulhim, vol. 10, pp. 308-312.

[3] See al-Ashqar, Madā al-Iḥtijāj bi al-Aḥādīth al-Nabawiyyah fī al-Shuʾūn al-Ṭibbiyyah wa al-ʿIlājiyyah, pp. 66-70; al-Quḍāh, Hal Aḥādīth al-Ṭibb al-Nabawī Waḥy; Bāzmūl, Ḥujjiyyat al-Aḥādīth al-Nabawiyyah al-Wāridah fī al-Ṭibb wa al-ʿIlāj.

[4] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.

[5] Abū Yaʿlā, al-Musnad, vol. 12, p. 402, on the authority of Umm Salamah via a sound transmission.

[6] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.

[7] Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, al-Shifā bi Ḥuqūq al-Muṣṭafā, vol. 2, pp. 183-185 [modified translation of Aisha Bewley].

[8] Ibn Khaldūn, al-ʿIbar wa Dīwān al-Mubtadaʾ, vol. 1, p. 651 [modified translation of Franz Rosenthal].

[9] Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, al-Shifā bi Ḥuqūq al-Muṣṭafā, vol. 2, p. 185 [modified translation of Aisha Bewley].

[10] Al-Ashqar, Madā al-Iḥtijāj bi al-Aḥādīth al-Nabawiyyah fī al-Shuʾūn al-Ṭibbiyyah wa al-ʿIlājiyyah, p. 29. He further states, “Although we opine that ḥadīths of the second category and their like are not authoritative in matters of medicine, that does not mean they should be completely abandoned. The possibility of them being accurate should be considered, like other medical knowledge from non-specialists with experience and understanding; in fact, ḥadīths of this category should be accepted a fortiori due to the possibility, albeit tenuous, that they were informed by revelation. I therefore believe that they should be subject to the studies and experiments applied by specialists. If their utility is proven, they will be accepted, and the evidence for their utility will be the tests not that they are transmitted from the Prophet. This is particularly the case when many of these ḥadīths are not established via definitive transmission in the manner discussed under the first category. Thus, the need to establish their utility remains.” Scholarly statements that apparently demonstrate the unrestricted authoritativeness of ḥadīths on prophetic medicine are interpreted according to the aforementioned explanation, i.e. in the presence of indications of their utility. Alternatively, these statements will be dismissed based on the previous explanation.

[11] Some people have fallen into this error in assessing the ḥadīth narrated by al-Bukhārī, “Indeed, the black seed is a cure for every illness except death,” questioning how a seed can be a cure for every illness. However, medical experts like Dr. Aḥmad al-Qādī have discovered the benefits of black seeds for the immune system: one drop of black seed oil increases cells that kill off germs by 73%. See al-Ṣāwī, al-Ḥabbah al-Sawdāʾ Shifāʾ li Kull Dāʾ.

[12] Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Mawḍūʿāt, vol. 3, p. 215. Ibn Ḥajar said, “None of these ḥadīths are reliable.” See Fatḥ al-Bārī, vol. 10, p. 149.

[13] Abū Zurʿah, al-Ḍuʿafāʾ (Ajwibah ʿalā Asʾilat al-Bardhaʿī), vol. 2, p. 757.

[14] Shaykhū, al-Ḥijāmah al-Dawāʾ al-ʿAjīb, pp. 142-143.

[15] Ibid., pp. 72-74.

[16] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2361.

[17] Al-Nawawī, al-Minhāj, vol. 15, p. 116.

[18] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, vol. 18, p. 12.

[19] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 1442. The ḥadīth prohibiting ghīlah is narrated as “Do not discreetly murder your children, for ghīlah will catch up with a horse rider and drop him from his horse” by Aḥmad and Abū Dāwūd via Muhājir ibn Abī Muslim from Asmāʾ bint Yazīd ibn al-Sakan from the Prophet. But this chain is unreliable due to Muhājir ibn Abī Muslim. See Ibn Ḥajar, Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb, vol. 10, p. 498.

[20] See Mālik, al-Muwaṭṭaʿ, vol. 4, p. 877.

[21] Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Tamhīd, vol. 13, p. 93. Al-Ṭaḥāwī states, “His prohibition was not informed by revelation…he ordered it for no other reason than compassion for his community.” See Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār, vol. 3, pp. 47-48.

[22] Musnad Aḥmad, vol. 16, p. 279, with the words “A tribe from the tribes went missing. Allāh knows best whether or not they are mice. Do you not see when they are given camel milk, they do not drink?”

[23] Al-Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿjam al-Awsaṭ, vol. 6, p. 375. Al-Ṭabarānī states, “Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Sāriyah al-ʿAkkāwī narrated to us, saying: Mūsā ibn Ayyūb al-Naṣībī narrated to us: Baqiyyah ibn al-Walīd narrated to us, from Ismāʿīl ibn ʿAyyāsh, from Ibn ʿAwn, from Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn, from Abū Hurayrah that the Prophet said, ‘Mice are a result of maskh; the proof for this is if they are given goat milk, they will drink it, but they will not drink camel milk.’ No one besides Ismāʿīl ibn ʿAyyāsh narrated this as a prophetic ḥadīth from Ibn ʿAwn, and no one besides Baqiyyah narrated it from Ismāʿīl; Mūsā ibn Ayyūb alone transmitted it.”

[24] Musnad Aḥmad, vol. 13, p. 265, with the chain: ʿAbd al-Ṣamad narrated to us: my father narrated to us: Ayyūb narrated to us, from Muḥammad, from Abū Hurayrah, who said, “A tribe of the Israelites went missing” and he mentioned mice. He said, “Do you not see when you give them camel milk, they do not approach it, and if you give them goat milk, they drink it?” He was asked, “Did you hear it from the Messenger of Allāh like that?” He replied, “Do I read the Torah?”

Yes, Ḥammād ibn Salamah narrates it from Ayyūb al-Sakhtiyānī, Hishām ibn Ḥassān, and Ḥabīb as a prophetic ḥadīth, as recorded by al-Bazzār, who said, “I do not know anyone besides Ḥammād who narrated this ḥadīth.” See Musnad al-Bazzār, vol. 17, p. 280. However, one should not be content with this prophetic version from Ḥammād, because his students disagree whether he narrated it as a non-prophetic report from Abū Hurayrah. Al-Dāraquṭnī states, “There is disagreement on it being a prophetic report. Khālid al-Ḥadhdhāʾ, Hishām ibn Ḥassān, and Ashʿath narrate it as a prophetic report from Ibn Sīrīn from Abū Hurayrah. There is disagreement from Ayyūb: ʿAbd al-Aʿlā ibn Ḥammād from Ḥammād ibn Salamah, from Ayyūb, Ḥabīb, and Hishām, from Ibn Sīrīn, from Abū Hurayrah as a prophetic report; al-Ḥasan ibn Musā narrates it from Ḥammād ibn Salamah from Ḥabīb ibn al-Ṣhahīd and Hishām from Ibn Sīrīn from Abū Hurayrah as a Companion report, and this is more accurate.” See al-Dāraquṭnī, al-ʿIlal, vol. 10, p. 36. Some of Ḥammād ibn Salamah’s students narrate it with doubt. Abū Yaʿlā said, “ʿAbd al-Aʿlā narrated to us: Ḥammād narrated to us, from Ḥabīb, Hishām, and Ayyūb from Ibn Sīrīn, from Abū Hurayrah—I assume he narrates from the Prophet […]” See Musnad Abī Yaʿlā, vol. 10, p. 448.

[25] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no. 3305; Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2997.

[26] Suwayd ibn Saʿīd al-Ḥadathānī incorrectly narrated the entire ḥadīth from Hishām ibn Ḥassān as a prophetic report. See Musnad Abī Yaʿlā, vol. 10, p. 449. This route cannot be considered a reliable source of conflict from Hishām ibn Ḥassān, because Suwayd ibn Saʿīd erred and the route of Muslim from Hishām is much more reliable than the chain of Abū Yaʿlā.

[27] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2997.

[28] See Dr. Ḥudhayfah al-Khaṭīb and Dr. Muʿizz al-Islām, Dirāsah Naqdiyyah li al-Ḥadīth al-Sharīf: Fuqidat Ummah min Banī Isrāʾīl lā Urāhā illā al-Faʾr, p. 18. Khālid al-Ḥadhdhāʾ said, “I narrated this ḥadīth in Wasit in a gathering attended by ʿInabah ibn ʿUmar al-Makhzūmī, who said, ‘By Allāh, I have a she-camel, and I will test this.’ He later met me and said, ‘Abū Manāzil! I found the ḥadīth to be as you narrated it: I gave it camel milk and it did not approach it.’” See al-Dāraquṭnī, al-Muʾtalif wa al-Mukhtalif, vol. 3, p. 1653. However, this experiment is deficient for our purposes. It lacks all the requirements for the application of experimental sciences (outlined earlier in the book), and therefore, we cannot take this report as proof.

[29] Musnad Aḥmad, vol. 16, p. 289.

[30] Fatḥ al-Bārī, vol. 6, p. 353.

[31] Al-Jarḥ wa al-Taʿdīl, vol. 9, p. 56.

[32] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, al-ʿIlal wa Maʿrifat al-Rijāl, vol. 1, p. 411.

[33] Ibn ʿAdī, al-Kāmil fī Ḍuʿafāʾ al-Rijāl, vol. 6, p. 90. The chain of transmission is reliable; I was unable to find a defect in it. The tadlīs attributed to ʿUmar ibn ʿAlī al-Muqaddimī is not a defect according the most sound view. Al-Bukhārī negated tadlīs from him, and he narrated from in his Ṣaḥīḥ via ʿanʿanah without explicit oral reception. Al-Dhahabī said, “Scholars have tolerated his tadlīs.” See al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām al-Nubalāʾ, vol. 8, p. 514; Ibn Ḥajar, Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb, vol. 8, p. 486.

[34] Al-Khaṭīb, al-Kifāyah, p. 416.

[35] Fatḥ al-Bārī, vol. 9, p. 31.

[36] For a detailed study of the conflict between the prophetic and non-prophetic nature of reports from Ibn Sīrīn, see ʿAlī al-Ṣayyāḥ, al-Thiqāt alladhīna Taʿammadū Waqf al-Marfūʿ aw Irsāl al-Mawṣūl, pp. 43-69.

By Muntasir Zaman

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,743 other subscribers