Hadith: “My Life is a Great Good for You” and Lake-Fount Hadiths

by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

Q. What is the status of the hadith, “My life is better for you and my death is better for you . . .” and how is it reconciled with the hadiths that mention the Prophet not being aware of the members of his community negation of their shahadah, such as, The Prophet Muhammad said, “I will be at my Lake-Fount (Kauthar) waiting for whoever will come to me. Then some people will be taken away from me where upon I will say, ‘My followers!’ It will be said, ‘You do not know they turned Apostates as renegades (deserted their religion).” al-Bukhari 9.99.172

A. Wa alaikum as Salam wa rahmatullah:

May Allah bless your deeds with His acceptance and increase your beneficial knowledge. This reply is in two parts. The first part is about the status and meaning of the first hadith. The second part reconciles the apparent contradiction with the second hadith by contextualizing the latter through its variant wordings.

I. The Hadith “Hayati Khayrun Lakum

The Prophet said, upon him blessings and peace: “My life is an immense good for you: you bring up new matters and new matters are brought up for you. My death, also, is an immense good for you: your actions will be shown to me; if I see goodness I shall praise Allâh and if I see evil I shall ask forgiveness of Him for you.” (H.ayâtî khayrun lakum tuh.dithûna wa yuh.dathu lakum wa-wafâtî khayrun lakum tu`rad.u a`mâlukum `alayya famâ ra’aytu min khayrin h.amidtu Allâha wa-mâ ra’aytu min sharrin istaghfartu Allâha lakum.)

Narrated from Ibn Mas`ûd by al-Bazzâr in his Musnad (5:308-309 §1925) with a sound chain of trustworthy narrators as stated by:

1. al-Suyût.î in Manâhil al-S.afâ (p. 31 §8) and al-Khas.â’is. al-Kubrâ (2:281),

2. al-Haythamî in Majma` al-Zawa’id (9:24 §91),

3. al-Zarqânî in Sharh. al-Muwat.t.a’ (1:97) and his commentary on al-Qast.allânî’s Mawâhib al-Lâduniyya.

4. al-`Irâqî in T.arh. al-Tathrîb (3:297) – his last book, as opposed to al-Mughnî `an H.aml al-Asfâr (4:148) where he questions the trustworthy rank of one of the narrators in al-Bazzâr’s chain cf. al-Zabîdî, Ith.âf (9:176-177).

5. Shihâb al-Dîn al-Khafâjî in his commentary on Qâd.î `Iyâd.’s al-Shifâ (1:102).

6. Shaykh `Abd Allâh al-Talîdî said in his Tahdhîb al-Khas.â’is. al-Kubrâ (p. 458-459 §694) that this chain is sound according to Muslim’s criterion.

7. Shaykh Mahmûd Mamdûh. in Raf` al-Minâra (p. 156-169) discusses it at length and also declares it sound.

8. Their shaykh, Sayyid `Abd Allâh ibn al-Siddîq al-Ghumârî (d. 1413/1993) declared it sound in his monograph Nihâyat al-Âmâl fî Sharh. wa-Tas.h.îh. H.adîth `Ard. al-A`mâl. Opposing these judgments, al-Albânî declares it weak in his notes on al-Qâd.î Ismâ`îl’s Fad.l al-S.alât (p. 37 n. 1) and in his Silsila D.a`îfa (2:405). It is also narrated with weak chains from Anas and – with two sound mursal chains missing the Companion-link – from the Successor Bakr ibn `Abd Allâh al-Muzanî by Ibn Sa`d (2:194) and Ismâ`îl al-Qâd.î (d. 282) in his Fad.l al-S.alât `alâ al-Nabî sallAllahu `alayhi wa-Sallam (p. 36-37 §25-26). The latter chain was declared sound by:

9. Mullâ al-Qârî in Sharh. al-Shifâ (1:102),

10. Shaykh al-Islâm al-Taqî al-Subkî in Shifâ’ al-Siqâm, and

11. his critic Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Hâdî in al-S.ârim al-Munkî (p. 217) despite his excessive rigor and harshness, and may Allâh forgive him!

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