Can you please explain the hadith on tasyabbuh and its interpretation?
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.
- It is narrated from Ibn Umar R.Anhuma that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ, فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ
“He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.”
[Sunan Abu Dawud (4031), Ahmad (5114)(5115)(5667), Ibn Abi Syaibah in his Musannaf (19401), al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Awsath (8327), al-Baihaqi in Syu’ab al-Iman (1154) and al-Bazzar in his Musnad (2966)]
The Ruling of the Hadith
This hadith of Ibn Hibban has isnad (sanad) which is jayyid as mentioned in Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim (1/269) by Sheikh al-Islam and in al-Fatawa (25/331) mentioned that this hadith is jayyid. Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said this hadith is thabit and its sanad is hassan (good) in Fath al-Bari (10/282). Al-‘Iraqi said its sanad is sahih while doing takhrij upon this hadith in al-Ihya’ as stated in al-Mughni (1/359). Al-Zahabi said that its isnad (sanad) is salih (good) as mentioned in Irwa’ al-Ghalil (5/109) that its isnad (sanad) is hassan and all of the rijal are thiqah except Ibn Thawban where there is a disagreement on it.
Hence, we are inclined to the opinion which states that this hadith is thabit and sahih from the Prophet PBUH as explained by the scholars although there is a narrator who is evaluated as dhaif (weak) like Ibn Thawban.
The Meaning of the Hadith
Among the meaning of this hadith is as what is stated by the scholars which are:
- Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir states that: This hadith indicates a great prohibition and warning for anyone from imitating the disbelievers in their sayings, actions, clothes, celebration, worships and others which are not in line with the Shari’a set by us. [See: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 1/87]
- Sheikh al-‘Azim Abadi cited the opinion of al-Munawi and ‘Alqami. They said: “What is meant by this hadith is in how we clothe ourselves and the garments themselves. Also, resembling their action and behaviour.” [See: Aun al-Ma’bud Syarh Sunan Abu Daud, 9/54]
- Al-Imam al-San’ani said: “This hadith shows that whoever resemble or imitate the fasiq people, the disbelievers, or who frequent bid’ah, then he is among them (the same as them). In which he imitates what is specific for them like clothing, their ride or action.” [See: Subul al-Salam Syarh Bulugh al-Maram, 4/175]
- Ibn Abd al-Bar said: ‘He who imitates any people is considered to be one of them’ is interpreted generally is by imitating (their action). [See: Al-Tamhid, 6/80]
- Al-Kalabazi said: ‘He who imitates any people is considered to be one of them’. This is because, people are known based on their physical appearance while what is inside is not known except by Allah SWT. [See: Bahr al-Fawa’id which is known as Ma’ani al-Akhyar, 1/169]
- Al-Munawi said: Its ruling is the same as the ruling for them because each sin is inherited from a nation and those nations which Allah destroyed. Hence, whoever resembles and imitates any nation, then he is included among the nation. [See: al-Taisir bi Syarh al-Jami’ al-Saghir, 1/1016]
We end the explanation on this hadith based on a hadith narrated by Ibn Umar R.Anhuma which states that the Prophet PBUH said with the meaning, whoever imitates the disbelievers like through clothing and other, the fasiq people, bad people, the Sufis, the pious and good people, then he is among them either inheriting the sins or good deeds. This is because, al-Thibi said that this is general towards all form of creation, behaviour and eminence.
May Allah protects us from imitating the sinners and those who receive the wrath of Allah, but make us from among those who imitate or resemble people who succeed. Therefore, hopefully, we will be successful like them. It is true the words of a famous poet, Imam al-Sahrawardi:
فَتَشَبّهوا إِن لَم تَكُونوا مِثلَهُم, إِنَّ التَّشَبّه بِالكِرامِ فَلاحُ
“Imitate even if you are unlike them. Indeed, imitating the glorious people is a glory
Lastly, we pray that we all be blessed with success and glory in the Dunya and the Akhira. Ameen.