Assalamualaikum, what is the status of the following hadith?
This hadith is narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdillah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
رَجَعْنَا مِنَ الجهادِ الأصغرِ إلى الجهادِ الأكبرِ . قالوا : وما الجِهادُ الأكبرُ ؟ قال : جِهادُ القَلبِ
“We have come back from a smaller jihad to a greater jihad. They asked: What is meant by the greater jihad? The prophet PBUH replied: The determination of a slave fighting his nafs (desires).”
This hadith is narrated with the same meaning by al-Baihaqi (373) in al-Zuhd, Sunan al-Kabir
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Opinions of Scholars Regarding This Hadith:
- Al-Baihaqi: The sanad is dhaif (weak) (al-Zuhd al-Kabir, 1:165)
- Al-Iraqi: The hadith is ruled as dhaif (weak) (Takhrij al-Ihya’, 2:6)
- Ibn al-Rejab: The sanad for this hadith is dhaif (weak) (Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa al-Hikam, 1:489)
- Al-Zaila’iy: This hadith is too gharib (odd) (Takhrij al-Kasyaf, 2:396)
- Ibn Taimiyyah: The hadith is ruled as of no origin (Majmu’ al-Fatawa 1:197)
After analyzing the opinions of scholars on this hadith, in our opinion, this is not a hadith according to the opinion of Ibnu Hajar. Al-‘Ajlouniy cited the opinion of Ibnu Hajar in his book stating that this hadith is famous among people and it is the words of Ibrahim bin Abi ‘Ublah who is a tabi’in (عبلة) and not from the Prophet PBUH. (Kasyhful al-Khafa’, 1:425)
Application of Hadith
It is undeniable that fighting and controlling one’s desires (nafs) is a great act which is hard to do. The reason is it needs great effort and willpower to control one’s desires so that he will not fall to the valleys of sin. Among matters that can be done in order to control one’s desires is to always do good and strengthen the bond with Allah SWT as stated in the Quran:
Allah SWT states:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.”
Surah al-Ankabut (69)
Lastly, may Allah SWT make us from among His pious slaves who always fulfils His commandments and leaves His prohibitions.