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The Hadith which promises the reward of 100 Martyrs

The following hadith is commonly quoted when emphasising the importance of the sunnah:
Whoever holds of to my sunnah at the time of corruption of my Ummah, will get the reward of a
hundred martyrs
This hadith is reported by the following ahabah !radiyallahu "anhum#
$# ayyiduna %bu &urairah !radiyallahu "anhu#:
&is narration appears in 'ish(atul 'asabih) &afidh *bn &a+ar !rahimahullah# states in his ta(hree+ of
this boo(: recorded by ,aihaqi in his (itabu- -uhd on the authority of ayyiduna %bu &urairah
!radiyallahu.anhu# !&idayatur Ruwat, hadith:$/0 #
*mam 1a+i !rahimahullah# has mentioned that ,aihaqi has also recorded it in his %l2'ad(hal on the
authority of ayyiduna %bu &urairah !radiyallahu "anhu# with the reward as a hundred martyrs
!"U+alatul *mla, pg)03 !

1ote: *mam Tabarani !rahimahullah# cites the narration of %bu &urairah in %l2'u.+amul awsat !40$0#
wherein there is mention of the reward of only one martyr
*mam 1a+i !rahimahullah# states that the version of Tabarani was probably altered) &e says:

5erhaps the word hundred was !accidently# omitted from this !Tabarani.s# narration) !"U+alatul
*mla, pg)03#
6ne could also argue that both versions of ayyiduna %bu &urairah !radiyallahu "anhu# be viewed
separately) *t is possible that Rasulullah !sallallahu "alaihi wasallam# initially said one martyr)
Thereafter %lmighty %llah increased the reward to that of one hundred martyrs) This e7planation is
common in such cases) 8urthermore, the narrations of the following ahabah also support the reward of
one hundred martyrs)

9# ayyiduna "%bdullah ibn "%bbas !radiyallahu "anhuma#:
"%llamah 'undhiri !rahimahullah# quotes the very same wording !the reward of a hundred martyrs# in
his %l2Targheeb on the authority of ayyiduna "%bdullah ibn "%bbas !radiyallahu "anhuma#
&e then references it to ,aihaqi also)
!%l2Targheeb, vol)$ pg):3 %nd ;itabu- <uhd of ,aihaqi, hadith:$$9) %lso see %l2;amil of *bn "%diy,
vol)= pg)$/=2$/0#

=# ayyiduna "%li !radiyallahu.anhu#
Recently, a friend drew my attention to this narration in *bn ,atta.s %l2*banatul ;ubra !vol)$, pg)=3>#
This version also has the reward as one hundred martyrs)

The status of the hadith
This hadith can be graded as sound !hasan# according to &afidh ibn &a+ar !rahimahullah# and
acceptable according to "%llamah 'undhiri !rahimahullah#)
The reason for this is that &afidh ibn &a+ar has abstained from criticising the narration in his boo(
&idayatur Ruwat) &afidh ibn &a+ar himself has stated that his silence in this particular chapter !fasl
thani# denotes acceptance) !*ntroduction fo &idayatur Ruwat, vol)$ pg) 4:#

8urthermore, %l2'undhiri !rahimahullah# has quoted the narration in a manner that indicates
acceptability to him) i)e) &e used the word !"an# when doing so) &e has stated in his introduction to
%l2Targhib that any narration for which he uses the word !"an# will be sahih !authentic#, hasan
!sound# or close to them two) !Targhib, vol)$ pg) =/#
?astly, hay(h 'uhammad Tahir %l28atani !rahimahullah# quotes a similar hadith with the same virtue
of a hundred martyrs for reviving a sunnah, and grades it as hasan !sound# !Tadh(iratul 'awdu.at,

. @

%n 6b+ection
ome people have challenged the authenticity of the narration of ayyiduna "%bdullah ibn "%bbas
!radiyallahu "anhuma# because of a narrator in the chain named: &asan ibn Autaibah) Their claim is
bac(ed by the fact that "%llamah Bhahabi !rahimahullah# has declared him e7tremely wea( !# !%l2
'i-aan, vol)$ 5g)0/= #
%ccording to them, this ought to render the narration as e7tremely wea()

&asan ibn Autaibah being e7tremely wea( is not a unanimous verdict)
&afidh %l2'undhiri !who is an earlier muhaddith to Bhahabi# actually viewed &asan ibn Autaibah as
one regarding whom there are mi7ed opinions) &e therefore included him in the chapter of the
narrators that are differed upon at the end of his boo() !Targheeb, vol)0 pg)4C>#

Derdicts of the 'uhaddithun on &asan *bn Autaibah
*mam Baraqutni says:
%l2%-di said:
Bhahabi said:
1ote: The above three verdicts denote e7treme wea(ness)

*mam %bu &atim %l2Ra-i says:
%l2"Uqaily said:
%l2'undhiri, *bn &a+ar and %l2,useeri have all used the term:
1ote: The verdicts of these five 'uhaddithun denote general wea(ness, i)e, not severe)

*mam *bn &ibban has declared him as reliable !thiqah# but added:

*mam *bn "%dy says:

1ote: The words used by the above two 'uhaddithun denote a degree of credibility)
References for the above: 'i-anul i.tidal, vol)$ pg)0/=, Bu.afa lil "Uqaili, vol)9 pg)$/, %l2Earh Wat2
Ta.deel libn %bi &atim, vol)=, pg)==, Targheeb, vol)0 pg)4C>, %l2'atalibul "%liyah, vol)0 pg)9>4,
*htaful buseeri, vol)>, pg)900, Tiqat2*bn &ibban, no)//9 F %l2;amil li *bn "%dy, vol)= pg)$/0#

These quotations clearly illustrate the amount of difference on &asan ibn Autaibah.s credibility) To
only quote those 'uhaddithun who discredit him severely while omitting those who stated otherwise is
academic treachery)
1arrations that have people li(e this !differed upon# are generally classified as hasan !sound# by
'undhiri !rahimahullah# and others) !see introduction to Targhib, vol)$ pg)=/ F Aawa.id fi "Ulumil
hadith, pgs)/92//#

The varied opinions of the earlier scholars on &asan *bn Autaibah only affect the narration of
ayyiduna "%bdullah ibn "%bbas !radiyallahu "anhuma#)
The hadith in question is further substantiated by the narration of ayyiduna %bu &urairah
!radiyallahu.anhu# in which there is apparently no mention of &asan ibn Autaibah) Therefore even
though some may challenge the authenticity of the chain of ayyiduna "%bdullah ibn "%bbas
!radiyallahu "anhuma#, it acquires sufficient strength when combined with the chain of ayyiduna %bu
&urairah !radiyallahu "anhu#) This is probably the reason for three 'uhaddithun clearly sanctioning the
hadithG they are *mams: %l2'undhiri, *bn &a+ar and %l2'uhaddith hay(h %l28atani !may %llah be
pleased with them all#) This is sufficient to prove the acceptability of the hadith)

8inal caution
$) The word used in this narration is: man Tamassa(a which translates as: 6ne who holds steadfast to
my sunnah, and not: 6ne who revives it !as is commonly quoted#)
9) % loo( at the other ahadith in the chapter under which "%llamah 'undhiri and "%llamah ,aghawi
have cited this hadith clearly points to the meaning being: %dherence to the sunnah in general)
8or e7ample, &afidh 'undhiri !rahimahullah# quotes the following hadith before this one:
Whoever eats halal, practices upon the sunnah and doesn.t harm the people will enter Eannah
"%llamah ,aghawi !rahimahullah# cites the following hadith before the one in question:
@Whoever loves my sunnah loves me, and who loves me will be with me in Eannah !Tirmidhi#
Undoubtedly, these ahadith do not mean that the love or practice of +ust one sunnah yields the reward
of EannahH %lthough it cannot be denied, that %llah Ta.ala could grant an individual Eannah even for his
love for only one sunnah)
Therefore, when as(ed about this issue, hay(h Iunus Eawnpuri !may %llah protect him# answered:
*t.s quite clear that the &adith is referring to the practice on the entire sunnah, although it wouldn.t be
farfetched to understand it to be referring to even +ust one sunnah !%l2Iawaqitul Jhaliyah, vol)$

%fter writing the above, * as(ed my Respected Teacher, %l2'uhaddith hay(h 'uhammad "%wwamah
!may %llah protect him# on $= Eanuary 93$0, about the meaning of the hadith, to which he replied: *t.s
difficult to say that it refers to adhering to +ust one sunnah) The more appropriate meaning is the
broader one !i)e, that this is the virtue of holding on to the sunnah in general# although one may use it
for a specific sunnah when wisdom demands so)
,e that as it may, let us all ma(e a firm intention to always stic( to the way of our ,eloved 1abi
!sallallahu.alayhi wasallam#)