Category: Hadith
Fatwa#: 16588
Asked Country: United Kingdom

Answered Date: Apr 16,2008

Title: Mufti Desai has quoted the hadith "The differences among my Ulama is Rahmat (mercy)..", Someone told me that the hadith quoted is maudhu' based on explanation by Ibn Hazm

Question


I have very important question. Last time I tried many times to ask several questions via
Ask Imam but could not get through.

My Question regarding Fatwa #  5784

Quoting:

'The differences among my Ulama is Rahmat (mercy).'

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai

I happen to refer your fatwa to unite Muslim brothers but I was requested to prove the authenticity of that hadith.

Someone told me that the hadith quoted is maudhu' based on explanation by  Ibn Hazm.

Can you please explain the status and the authenticity of that hadith.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

The meaning of the hadith is correct and accepted by many Tabi’in and the scholars that followed after them.  As for the hadith itself:

Imam Bayhaqi has narrated the hadith with the wording, “Whenever a certain ruling comes to you from the Book of Allah, then verily there is no excuse in not practicing upon it. If not from the Book of Allah, then it comes from my previous practices (sunnah). If not found in my practices, then what my companions have said. Verily my companions are like the stars in the sky. Which every one you choose and follow, you will be guided. The differences of companions for you are a mercy.” (Al-Madkhal ila al-Sunan al-Kubra li l-Bayhaqi)

أخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ ، وأبو بكر أحمد بن الحسن ، قالا : ثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ، ثنا بكر بن سهل الدمياطي ، ثنا عمرو بن هاشم البيروتي ، ثنا سليمان بن أبي كريمة ، عن جويبر ، عن الضحاك ، عن ابن عباس قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مهما أوتيتم من كتاب الله فالعمل به ، لا عذر لأحد في تركه ، فإن لم يكن في كتاب الله ، فسنة مني ماضية ، فإن لم يكن سنتي ، فما قال أصحابي ، إن أصحابي بمنزلة النجوم في السماء فأيما أخذتم به اهتديتم ، واختلاف أصحابي لكم رحمة (المدخل إلى السنن الكبرى للبيهقي)

Tabrani and Daylami have also narrated this hadith in their musnad with the abovementioned wording. In the chain, the narrator Jawaybir is extremely weak and Dahhak has not heard from Ibn Abbas. (Al-Maqsid al-Hasana p 26)

ومن هذا الوجه أخرجه الطبراني والديلمي في مسنده بلفظه سواء، وجويبر ضعيف جداً، والضحاك عن ابن عباس منقطع (المقاصد الحسنة)

Zarkashi in his al-La’li al-Manthura fi al-Ahadith al-Mashhura writes that Nasr al-Din al-Maqdasi has narrated the hadith in his book Al-Hujjah reaching up to Nabi (Sallalahu 'Alayhi Wasallam), but Zarkashi did not provide a chain for it. (Al-Maqsid al-Hasana p 26)

وقد عزاه الزركشي إلى كتاب الحجة لنصر المقدسي مرفوعاً من غير بيان لسنده ولا صحابيه (المقاصد الحسنة)

Zaynudin al-Iraqi writes that Adam ibn Abi Iyas narrates without the exact wording “The difference between my companions is a mercy for my Ummah”, which Iraqi classifies as a weak mursal. (Al-Maqsid al-Hasana p 26)

وكذا عزاه العراقي لآدم بن أبي اسام في كتاب العلم والحكم بدون بيان بلفظ: اختلاف أصحابي رحمة لأمتي، قال: وهو مرسل ضعيف (المقاصد الحسنة)

Imam Bayhaqi also narrates with the similar wording in his Risala al-Ash’ariya, but without a chain. (Al-Maqsid al-Hasana p 26)

وبهذا اللفظ ذكره البيهقي في رسالته الأشعرية بغير اسناد (المقاصد الحسنة)

Despite the above, the mere fact that this statement was so commonly quoted by several Muhaditheen and Fuqaha shows how widely accepted it was. This is why Imam Suyuti after quoting the hadith, “The differences of my nation are a mercy” states, “The hadith has been narrated by Nasr al-Din al-Maqdasi and Bayhaqi without a chain. It has also been narrated by al-Haleemi, Qadi Husayn, Imam al-Haramayn, and others. It is possible that the narrators were mentioned in the previous work of hadith, but have not reached us.” (Al-Jami’ al-Shaghir 1/71)

اختلاف أمتي رحمة ( نصر المقدسي في الحجة البيهقي في الرسالة الأشعرية ) بغير سند وأورده الحليمي والقاضي حسين وإمام الحرمين وغيرهم ولعله خرج في بعض كتب الحفاظ التي لم تصل إلينا (الجامع الصغير للسيوطى)

 

Imam Sakhawi in Al-Maqasid al-Hasana writes, “I have read from the pen of my teacher (Ibn Hajr) that the hadith is famous amongst people.” Sakhawi further writes, “Ibn Hajib mentions it in his Al-Mukhtasar in the chapter of analogy with the wording ‘Differences between my nations is a blessing for the people.’ Many questions have been raised regarding the status of the hadith and some scholars thought it has no bases. However, Khattabi in his Gharib al-Hadith has written that only two people have raised objections to this hadith. One was shameless and the other was deviated; Ishaq al-Musali and Amr ibn Bakr al-Jahiz. They both claimed that if differences were to be a mercy, then it would mean agreements are a curse. Thereafter, Khattabi goes about refuting this argument.” (Al-Maqasid al-Hasana p.26)

وقد قرأت بخط شيخنا: إنه يعني هذا الحديث حديث مشهور على الألسنة، وقد أورده ابن الحاجب في المختصر في مباحث القياس بلفظ: اختلاف أمتي رحمة للناس، وكثر السؤال عنه، وزعم كثير من الأئمة أنه لا أصل له، لكن ذكره الخطابي في غريب الحديث مستطرداً، وقال اعترض على هذا الحديث رجلان، أحدهما ماجن والآخر ملحد، وهما اسحاق الموصلي وعمرو بن بحر الجاحظ، وقالا جميعاً: لو كان الاختلاف رحمة لكان الاتفاق عذاباً، ثم تشاغل الخطابي برد هذا الكلام (المقاصد الحسنة)

Nevertheless, the meaning of this statement is absolutely correct, as mentioned by the Tabi’in and Fuqaha.

1.  Khatib al-Baghdadi in his book Ruwat An Malik narrates from Isma’il ibn Abi Mujalid that Harun Rashid said to Malik, “O Abu ‘Abdullah, we will make copies of these books (the books of Malik) and spread them in the Islamic empire so that we can make Ummah practice upon it.” Imam Malik replied, “O lead of the faithfuls, differences of the ‘Ulama is a blessing which Allah has bestowed this Ummah. Each [scholar] follows that which is correct according to him, each one is on guidance, and each one desires [the pleasure of] Allah. (Kash al-Khifa wa Muzil al-Ilbas 1/56)

فقد أخرج الخطيب في رواة مالك عن إسماعيل بن أبي المجالد قال : قال هارون الرشيد لمالك بن أنس : يا أبا عبد الله تكتب هذه الكتب يعني مؤلفات الإمام مالك وتفرقها في أفاق الإسلام لتحمل عليها الأمة قال : يا أمير المؤمنين إن اختلاف العلماء رحمة من الله تعالى على هذه الأمة كل يتبع ما يصح عنده وكل على هدى وكل يريد الله تعالى (كشف الخفاء ومزيل الإلباس)

2.  ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Qasim narrates from his father that he said, “I very much like the saying of Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz “I would not like if they companions of the Prophet did not disagree, because if there was only one view in a matter, then the people would have been in hardiness. They (the companions) were leaders whom people followed. If a person takes their view, he would have the liberty to do so. (Jami Bayan al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi)

وذكر ابن وهب ، عن نافع بن أبي نعيم ، عن عبد الرحمن بن القاسم ، عن أبيه ، أنه قال : لقد أعجبني قول عمر بن عبد العزيز رضي الله عنه ما أحب أن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يختلفوا ؛ لأنه لو كان قولا واحدا كان الناس في ضيق وإنهم أئمة يقتدى بهم ولو أخذ رجل بقول أحدهم كان في سعة (جامع بيان العلم وفضله للابن عبد البر)

3. Imam Bayhaqi in his Al-Madkhal narrates up to Qasim ibn Muhammad with the words: “The differences of the companions of Muhammad (Sallalahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) are a mercy for the bondsmen of Allah.” (Al-Maqsid al-Hasana p 26)

وفي المدخل له من حديث سفيان عن أفلح بن حميد عن القاسم بن محمد قال: اختلاف أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم رحمة لعباد الله (المقاصد الحسنة)

Ibn Sa’d in Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra has narrated it with the wording “The differences of the companion of Rasulullah (Sallalahu 'Alayhi Wasallam) is a mercy for people.” (Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 5/189)

حدثنا أفلح بن حميد عن القاسم بن محمد قال كان اختلاف أصحاب رسول الله رحمة للناس (الطبقات الكبرى لابن سعد)

4.  Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali writes in ‘Luma’ al-‘Itiqad’’, “Attributing an issue towards a particular Imam in subsidiary matters of religion, such as the four schools of Fiqh, it is not reprehensible. Verily differences in subsidiary matters is a mercy and those having the differed opinion are worthy of praise and rightful of reward for their ijtihad. Their differences are a blessing and their agreements are a strong proof.” (Shaykh Abd al-Fattah ala Hamish Risala al-Ulfa Bayn al-Muslimeen p.17)

هو الإمام ابن قدامة المقدسى الحنبلى رحمه الله تعالى. قال ذلك فى آخر وختام رسالته اللطيفة: ((لمعة الإعتقاد)) : (( وأما النسبة إلى إمام فى فروع الدين كالطوائف – أى المذاهب – الأربع فليس بمذموم ، فإن الإختلاف فى الفروع رحمة ، والمختلفون فيه محمود فى إختلافهم ، مثابون فى اجتهادهم ، وإختلافهم رحمة واسعة واتفاقهم حخة قاطعة)) – (على هامش رسالة الألفة بين المسلمين لابن تيمية الحرانى الدمشقى)

5. Imam Darimi in the muqadima to his Sunan narrates that ‘Awn ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas’ud said, “I would not please me if the companions of the Prophet (Sallalahu 'Alayhi Wasallam) did not disagree. If they all were to agree on something and someone [coming later] did not practice upon it, then he would not be practicing upon the sunna. If the companions disagreed and a person accepts one of their views, he would still be practice upon sunna.(Adab al-Ikhtilaf p. 34)

ومن أقران القاسم بن محمد هذا: العالم الثقة العابد الخليل عون بن عبد الله بن عتبة بن مسعود رضى الله عنه ، فقد روى عنه الدارمى فى مقدمة ((سننه)) تحت باب : إختلاف الفقهاء ، أنه قال: ((ما أحب أن أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يختلفوا ، فإنهم لو اجتمعوا على شئ فتركه رجل ترك السنة ، ولو اختلفوا فأخذ رجل بقول أحد ، أخذ باسنة)) – (أدب الإختلاف)

6. Ibn Taymiyya in his Majmu’ al-Fatwa writes, “A person once wrote a book on differences. Imam Ahmed said to him, “Do not name it ‘Kitab al-Ikhtilaf’ (Book of Differences), but name it ‘Kitab al-Sunna’ (Book of Sunna).” (Majma’ al-Fatawa 14/95)

For a more detailed discussion on difference being a mercy, we recommend the reading of Adab al-Ikhtilaf by Shaykh Muhammad Awwama. The Shaykh has elaborated the discussion in much detail in which he has also refuted the view of Ibn Hazm. (See pg. 117-126 & 32-36)

 

- المقاصد الحسنة للشخاوى– مكتبة الخانجى القاهرة

- اللالئ المنثورة فى الأحاديث المشهورة للزركشى – المكتب الإسلامى

- إتقان ما يحسن من الأخبار الدائرة على الألسن لنجم الدين محمد بن محمد الغزى الدمشقى – القاروق الحديثة

- الدرر المنثورة فى الأحاديث المشتهرة للسيوطى – مكتبة الوراق

- كشف الخفاء ومزيل الإلباس عما إشتهر من الأحاديث على ألسنة الناس لإسماعيل بن محمد الهادى الجراحى العجلوعى الشافعى- عباس أحمد الباز

- الجامع الصغير من حديث البشير والنظير للسيوطى – مكتبة نزار مصطفى الباز

- الشذرة فى الأحاديث المشتهرة لمحمد طولون الصالحى – دار الكتب العلمية

- الطبقات الكبرى لابن سعد – دار صادر بيروت

- أدب الإختلاف فى مسائل العلم والدين لمحمد عوامة – دار البشائر الإسلامية

- رسالة الألفة بين المسلمين لابن تيمية الحرانى الدمشقى – مكتب المطبوعات الإسلامية بحلب

- جامع بيان العلم وفضله للابن عبد البر – مكتبة الشاملة

And Allah knows best

Wassalam

Ml. Ehzaz Ajmeri,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah

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