Sunday, December 8, 2013

Refuting the argument that the Prophet tried to commit Suicide

Shias attempted to respond back to the article. Let's take a look at their major points:

Reply One – Imam al-Bukhari considers EVERYTHING in his book to be Sahih

Reply Two – Sunni scholars testified to the immense authenticity of Sahih Bukhari

Reply Three – Ibn Hashmi himself accepts EVERYTHING in Sahih Al-Bukhari to be Sahih
This is only in regards to the fully connected chains. These don't include the disconnected narrations, which don't satisfy Imam al-Bukhari's criteria for authenticity. Given that the narration in Bukhari isn't fully connected, this argument becomes null and void. 

margin writer Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout in his commentary of the said hadith stated:

إسناده صحيح على شرط الشيخين
“The chain is Sahih according to the standards of the two Sheikhs”
This is from the older Qurtuba edition, but if one looks at the 2001 Risaala edition of Shaykh Arna'ut's tahqeeq, Volume 43, Narration no. 25959, page 114, Footnote no. 2 one would observe that Shaykh Arnaut discards the bit about the mountain due to it being from the balaaghaat of az-Zuhri. 

Ibn Habban who sought to record only Sahih traditions in his book, also recorded the said tradition in his book ‘Sahih Ibn Haban’ Volume 1 page 216 and on the top of that, the margin writer of the book Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout confirmed the authenticity of the tradition and said:

“The tradition is Sahih”
Quite deceptive, since they are only citing footnote no.2 and not footnote no.1 where Shaykh Arna'ut discards the bit about the mountain, since it is from the Balaaghat of az-Zuhri. See footnote no.1, on page 219 over here.

Last but certainly not least, Imam of the Salafi cult, Al-Albaani declared the tradition ‘Sahih’ in his book Mishkat al-Masabih, Volume 3 page 270 Hadith 5842:

وزاد البخاري : حتى حزن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم – فيما بلغنا – حزنا غدا منه مرارا كي يتردى من رؤوس شواهق الجبل فكلما أوفى بذروة جبل لكي يلقي نفسه منه تبدى له جبريل فقال : يا محمد إنك رسول الله حقا . فيسكن لذلك جأشه وتقر نفسه
Bukhari added: Until the prophet felt sad – as it has been narrated to us – and tried to throw himself from the top of the mountain, whenever he reached the edge of the top of the mountain to throw himself, Jebrail appeared to him and say: ‘O Muhammad, you are the messenger of God’. Then he (prophet) feled comfort.
To be fully acquainted with what Al-Albani has said, see this

Sunni scholars have graded the Mursal of al-Zuhri as authentic.
As for Ibn al-Hashimi’s comment that Zuhri’s words ‘as we have heard’ (fi ma balaghana) renders the tradition as ‘Mursal’ we would like to mention that Zuhri enjoyed such an esteemed rank amongst the esteemed Sunni Imams that even a Mursal of Zuhri is deemed authentic. We read in Al-Kifaya by Khatib al-Baghdadi, page 386:

أخبرنا محمد بن الحسين القطان قال أنا عبد الله بن جعفر بن درستويه قال ثنا يعقوب بن سفيان قال سمعت جعفر بن عبد الواحد الهاشمي يقول لأحمد بن صالح قال يحيى بن سعيد مرسل الزهري شبه لا شيء فغضب أحمد وقال ما ليحيى ومعرفة علم الزهري ليس كما قال يحيى
Ya’qub ibn Sufyan said: ‘I heard Ja’far ibn Abd al-Waheed al-Hashimi saying to Ahmad ibn Salih that Yahya ibn Sa’eed said: ‘The Mursal of al-Zuhri is unreliable’. Ahmad got angry and said: ‘What does Yahya know about the knowledge of Zuhri, that which Yahya said is untrue’’.
It's false to make it out as if Yahya was the only one who critiqued az-Zuhri's mursal narrations. Scholars have discussed az-Zuhri's maraaseel, with some saying that they are the worst kind, while others argued that sometimes it could be accepted and at other times it cannot. The point is that the scholars of the field certainly did not accept az-Zuhri's maraaseel point blank unconditionally. 


We read in The History of al-Tabari – Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt & M.V. McDonald, Volume 6, pages 67-68:

Ahmad b. ‘Uthman, known as Abu al-Jawza – Wahb b. Jarir – his father – al-Nu‘man b. Rashid – al-Zuhri – ‘Urwah – ‘A’ishah: The first form in which the revelation came to the Messenger of God was true vision; this used to come to him like the break of dawn. After that, he grew to love solitude and used to remain in a cave on Hira’ engaged in acts of devotion for a number of days before returning to his family. Then he would return to his family and supply himself with provisions for a similar number of days. This continued until the Truth came to him unexpectedly, and said: “Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God.” [Describing what happened next], the Messenger of God said, “I had been standing, but fell to my knees; and crawled away, my shoulders trembling. I went to Khadijah and said, ‘Wrap me up! Wrap me up!’ When the terror had left me, he came to me and said, ‘Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God.’”
He (Muhammad) said: I had been thinking of hurling myself down from a mountain crag, but he appeared to me, as I was thinking about this, and said, “Muhammad, I am Gabriel and you are the Messenger of God.”

This shows that the al-Bukhari narration’s is not a rumour picked by al-Zuhri, Aisha actually narrated it, claiming to have heard it from the Messenger of Allah (s)!
The chain for this is weak as stated in Volume 2, page 11 of Saheeh wa Da’eef Taareekh at-Tabari

One could observe that the narrator an-Nu’man bin Rashid (النعمان بن راشد الجزري) is weak according to the scholars of Jarh wa-Ta’deel.

Similarly there is another report by Zuhri in The History of al-Tabari, Volume 6 page 76 wherein he did not use “fi ma balaghana” :

Muhammad b. Abd al-Ala – Ibn Thawr – Mamar – al Zuhri:

“The inspiration ceased to come to the Messenger of God for a while, and he was deeply grieved. He began to go to the top of the mountain crags, in order to fling himself from them; but every time he reached from the summit of a mountain, Gabriel appeared to him and said to him, ‘You are the Prophet of God’. Thereupon his anxiety would subside and he would come back to himself.
The narration is clearly Mu'dal. Az-Zuhri is narrating events long before his time directly.

We read in Ibn Kathir’s The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (English translation of his Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya) translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed, Volume I, pp. 298-299 as follows:

“Al-Bukhari stated in his account given above, “then the revelation waned, so that the Messenger of God was so depressed, as we have been told, that he would often feel like throwing himself down from the summits of high mountains. Whenever he reached the top of a mountain to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear to him and say, ‘O Muhammad, you are in truth the Messenger of God.’ This would relieve his distress and he would return down. And if the revelation was again long in coming, he would feel and do the same. When he would reach the mountain summit, Gabriel would appear and speak to him as before.”

Ibn Kathir has relied upon the story, rather than object to it, and he is undoubtedly more knowledgeable than Ibn Hashimi. When he has no objection to incorporating this tradition as part of his account of the life of the Prophet (s) who is Ibn al Hashimi to insist that it is weak?
No where did Ibn Kathir comment on the authenticity of the story in his Seerah. The critic needs to bear in mind how methodology differs when one writes a Seerah, rather than making an authentic hadeeth collection. 

Secondly, Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Surah Al-'Alaq states that he discussed the matn and isnad of the story in his Sharh of Saheeh Bukhari:

وهذا الحديث مخرج في الصحيحين من حديث الزهري وقد تكلمنا على هذا الحديث من جهة سنده ومتنه ومعانيه في أول شرحنا للبخاري مستقصى ، فمن أراده فهو هناك محرر ، ولله الحمد والمنة .
However, we unfortunately don't have an accessible and published book of Ibn Kathir's sharh with us today. Hence, it's not known what his actual opinion on the story is.

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