Home > Refutations, Shirk, Sufism, Weak and fabricated Hadith > Uthman bin Hunaif (Story of the blind man) – sufis supporting waseelah through this hadith?

Uthman bin Hunaif (Story of the blind man) – sufis supporting waseelah through this hadith?

 

On the authority of Uthman bin Hunaif that a blind man came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to invoke Allah so that he is cured. The Prophet replied that invocation could be postponed if he wanted to since it would be better for him that way or he (Prophet) could supplicate for him (right now). He asked to supplicate. The Prophet ordered him for a well performed ablution and to pray two raka’at and then follow it with the following supplication: “O Allah! I am asking you and I am attending to you with/through Your Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad! (s.a.w) I am attending to my Lord through you so my request gets answered. O Allah! Accept his mediation (Prophet’s prayer) for me.

[Ref: Ibn Maja 1375, Tirmidhi 3502, Al-Hakim Vol. 1 Hadith 1180 & 1909, Tareekh Al-Kabeer of Bukhari, Vol. 6, Page 209, Hadith no 2192)]

 

Observation of the Chain of Narrators:

In Tahzeeb-ut-Tahzeeb by Ibn Hajar it is written that according to Tirmizi Abu Jafar narrating from Umara bin Khuzaima is not Abu Jafar Al-Khatmi. In one edition of Jamay Tirmizi it is recorded that according to Imam Tirmizi, Abu Jafar (in the chain) is not Abu Jafar Al-Khatmi. In another edition it is written that according to Tirmizi Abu Jafar (in the chain) is Abu Jafar Al-Khatmi. If not Khatmi then the other option is of Abu Jaffar Al-Raazi. Different scholars hold different views about him. Ibn Hajar after summarizing writes that Abu Jafar Raazi is a truthful person but has a bad/weak memory. [Ref: Taqreeb ut Tahzeeb]

 

 

Imam Bukhari in His Tareekh Al-Kabeer has mentioned this incident with a chain that mentions Abu Jafar Al-Khatmi, but there is no mention about intimating wasila in that prayer. The words of the prayers mentioned are:
“O Allah! I ask you and attend to you.”

 
Generally in narrations only Abu Jafar is mentioned thus there is some discrepancy regarding this narrator. However Imam Zahbi has considered this narration correct in Talkhees of Mustadrak. Ibn Taimiyyah and Al-Albani also believe that it is Abu Jafar Al-Khatmi, but both scholars are against the issue of intimating wasila regarding rank or status of a dead person in one’s supplication. See their books “Qaidah Al-Jaleelah fi Al-Tawassal Wal-Wasila” by Ibn Taimiyyah and “Al-Tawassul Anwa’ wal Ahkam” by Al-Albani. This is because the hadith under discussion does not prove the intimation of wasila regarding rank or status of a dead person in supplication. Let us try to comprehend the “Matan” (text) of the hadith.

 

 

Observation of Matan (Text of Hadith):

After pondering on the text of this Hadith, considering the chain to be correct, the actual state of episode that comes forth is that one blind Sahabi came to the Prophet and requested him to pray for the return of his eyesight. Prophet offered him two options. One, that he should have patience so it will be better for him.

 

Second that if he wants the Prophet can pray for him. The Sahabi opted for the second choice thus the Prophet commanded him to make ablution and read two “Rakat Salah” (which in its self is a very big wasila) and then taught him the supplication.

 

 

The words in the narration are:

” In nee As-aloka wa-atawajjaho Ilaika be Nabiyyika ”
Meaning that I ask you (O Allah) and attend to you with or through your Prophet.
And “In nee tawajjahto beka ila Rabbi”
That I attend with or through you (O Prophet) towards my Lord.

 

 

According to the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, that man did this. And since Prophet said that he would supplicate for him, he must have done so by which his sight came back.

 

 

This is the simple gist that is apparent from this Hadith. There is no sign about intimating wasila regarding rank or status of a dead person in one’s supplication. The Prophet is wasila in a sense that his prayers and teachings are a source for us by which we can get near to Allah, provided we act upon them. This is what his companion did, he went to the Prophet and through him learnt and supplicated to Allah and Prophet supplicated with him. See the following hadith of Bukhari and Muslim, which throws light upon this concept of wasila.

 

Narrated Abu Musa (radiallahu anhu), the Prophet said:

” The example of guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. (And) another portion of it was hard and held the rainwater and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drink from it and for irrigation of the land for cultivation. (And) a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation (Then that land did not give any benefits). The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefits (from the knowledge) which Allah Ta’ala has revealed through me (the Prophet) and learns and then teaches others. The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not take Allah’s guidance revealed through me (he is like that barren land) ” [Bukhari – Book of Knowledge, Hadith No.77]

 

 
Thus regarding the credibility & authenticity of the Hadith of Uthman bin Hunaif, some people might have a difference of opinion. But with regard to the meaning & gist, there is hardly any room for discrepancy.

 
There are some additions made to the above-mentioned hadith. We need to examine them with respect to their authenticity.

The First Addition:
At the end of the hadith it is written that the Prophet said:

“If there is for you any need (in future), do this (act).”
Apparently it seems from this sentence that this matter is not restricted to the time of the Prophet and whenever a need arises, this prayer can be read. But this addition is not correct and one cannot present it as a proof.

 

 

The Hadith under discussion has been narrated in many books, but there is no mention of this additional statement in any book. This addition has only been mentioned by Imam Abu Bakar bin Khathima in his “Tareekh” (History) with the chain of narrators as follows:

” Muslim bin Ibrahim haddasana Hammad bin Salamah un Abee Jaffar and so on…”

 

 

There are two drawbacks in this chain. Muhadditheen ignored this addition e.g. Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal, Imaam Al-Tirmizi, Imaam Nasai have not mentioned this addition. The Hadith has been narrated by four of Abu Jaffar’s students: Imaam Sho’bah, Hisham Al-Dastwayee, Hammad bin Salamah & Raoh bin Al-Qasim. But the addition in the last has only been narrated by Hammad bin Salamah; no other student has narrated this addition.

 

 

And this is an accepted principle in the science of Hadith that whenever a less “Thiqa” (Trustworthy / Reliable) narrator opposes a more “Thiqa” narrator than him or a group of narrators then the hadith of that narrator will be classified as “Shaaz” (Irregular, Odd, Strange). [Ref: Tadreeb Al-Ravi]

 
It is accepted that in comparison to Hammad bin Salamah the other three narrators are more “Thiqa” and apart from being more trustworthy and reliable, they are also more in number. That is why this addition is unreliable and weak.

 

 
The Second Addition:

The above invocation recommended by the Messenger of Allah to the blind man was used after the life of the Prophet. It has been reported that a man during the time of Uthman Ibn Affan had a request not solved by Uthman, and Uthman did not pay full attention to it in order to accommodate the man’s need. The man met Uthman Ibn Hunaif and told him the story of his unanswered request. Uthman Ibn Hunaif ordered him to perform ablution, and then come to the mosque and pray two raka’at and then say the following invocation:

“O Allah I am asking you and I am directing my request to you through Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad! (s.a.w) I am asking by your right to my Lord so my question gets answered.”
And then say your need and come back to me so I can accompany you. The man did just what he was asked to do, and then, he went to Uthman Ibn Affan’s office and met the gate keeper of Uthman. The gate keeper held the man’s hand and took him to Uthman. The man reported his need to the Khaleefa (Uthman), and it was answered right away. The man left Uthman’s office and then, when he met Uthman Ibn Hunaif, he said to him may Allah reward you for he (Uthman bin Affan) would not look into my question nor dedicate full attention to me until you have spoken to him about it. Uthman bin Hunaif said to the man, By Allah! I have not spoken to him, but I had witnessed the Messenger of Allah when a blind man came to him and complained about loosing his sight. Then Uthman Ibn Hunaif repeated the hadith (see Narration # 1) and said: ” By Allah we did not leave where we gathered, and went on a long conversation until the man (the blind man) came back to us as though he had suffered no harm with his sight.”
[Ref: Tabarani, Mu’jam Al-Kabeer & Al-Sagheer]

 

 

Observation of the Chain of Narrators:

This episode revolves around Abu Saeed Al Makki whose name is Shabeeb bin Saeed. He has narrated this incident from Raoh bin Al-Qasim and Raoh bin Al Qasim narrated from Abu Jafar. Regarding Abu Saeed, scholars of Jarah and Ta’deel (The science of justifying the reliability of an individual or otherwise challenging it and proving it guilty) say that only those of his ahadith will be accepted in which he narrates from Younus bin Yazeed. And narrator who narrates from him should be his son Ahmad. Another condition to accept his narration is that at the time of narrating from Younus bin Yazeed he should not rely solely on his memory but should rather read from the book for narrating. If these two conditions are not met then his narrations will be weak and unacceptable. [Ref: Meezan ul Aitidal and Al-Kamil fid Duafa)

 

 

Had this incident been authentic, Umar bin Khattab (radiallahu anhu) would never have turned away from the methodology of intimating wasila regarding rank or status of a dead person in his supplication. The correct hadith in Bukhari clearly shows that after the death of the Prophet, Umar bin Khattab went to his Uncle Abbas (radiallahu anhu) in need of invocation for rain. Thus it was clear to him that a prayer or supplication of a living person can be a wasila but not the rank or status of a person who has passed away. After all why would he not intimate wasila of the Prophet after his death and on the contrary go to his uncle for prayers and supplication?

 

Thus we are justified to say that this episode is weak and unacceptable.

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  1. Fahad
    April 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    جزاك الله خير

    Like

    • Dr Iftakhar Ahmed
      April 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

      wa antum fajazakAllahu khair

      Like

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