Friday, 27 April 2007

The Shadow of Rasulullah SAW

Question:

Is there any Hadith that states that Rasulullah SAW did not have a shadow?


Answer:

Zakwaan RA reports that Rasulullah SAW never had a shadow. This narration is recorded by Hakim Tirmidhi. (Seek al-Khasaaisul Kubrah of Imam Suyuti; Subulul Hudaa War Rashaad; and Sharh Zarqaani Alal Mawaahib.

However, Al-Muhaddith Zafar Ahmad Thanwi RA has indicated towards the extreme weakness of this narration. This is explained in the kitab - Imdaadul Ahkam.

Imam Zurqaani RA also states that Imam Ibn Jawzi RA and Imam Ibn Mubaarak RA have reported on the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas RA that Rasulullah SAW did not have a shadow. (Sharhu Zurqaani). However, the authenticity of this narration still remains unclear to us.

On the contrary, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal RA has narrated from Aishah RA that Zainab RA said (as part of a lengthy Hadith):

"Until one day I, at the time of midday, I could see the shadow of Rasulullah SAW approaching." (Musnad Ahmad) This Hadith indicates to the fact that Rasulullah SAW did have a shadow.

Ibn Qayyim RA has mentioned a narration from Anas ibn Malik RA in which the following words are narrated from Rasulullah SAW:

"And I saw my and your shadows." (Haadiyul Arwaah)

The Asian scholar Sheikh Anwar Shah Kashmiri RA has stated that, 'I haven't come across any (authentic) narration with regard to Rasulullah SAW] not having a shadow. (Malfuzatul Kashmiri)

Some Ulama have chosen to reconcile between these conflicting reports, by stating that it is possible that Rasulullah SAW at times had a shadow and at times he did not. Rasulullah SAW not having a shadow at times, could also be deduced from the narration that states:

"Rasulullah SAW used to be shaded with a cloud."

The Grand Muhaddith Sheikh Zafar Ahmad Thanwi RA has stated that it would not be incorrect for one to hold the view that Rasulullah SAW did have a shadow. On the other hand, if one holds the opposite view, i.e. that Rasulullah's shadow was not visible, it could be justified. He further states that this is a very famous view among the Ulama as well.

All in all - we should be careful so that we do not indulge in hasty generalisations spurred by lack of depth of wisdom and incorrect research. This will doom people who wish to remain arrogant with their ignorance.

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