What is the status of this hadith?
- It is said that the Prophet PBUH said:
رَحِمَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً عَرَفَ قَدْرَ نَفْسِهِ
“Allah bless those who know their capabilities,”
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.
According to the above question, we did not find the hadith in any renown hadith books, except a narration which is said to be from Caliph Umar bin Abd Aziz as stated by Imam al-Qurthubi. Imam al-Qurthubi said in his commentary:
وَبَلَغَ عُمَرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ أَنَّ ابْنَهُ اشْتَرَى خَاتَمًا بِأَلْفِ دِرْهَمٍ فَكَتَبَ إِلَيْهِ: إِنَّهُ بَلَغَنِي أَنَّكَ اشْتَرَيْتَ خَاتَمًا بِأَلْفِ دِرْهَمٍ، فَبِعْهُ وَأَطْعِمْ مِنْهُ أَلْفَ جَائِعٍ، وَاشْتَرِ خَاتَمًا مِنْ حَدِيدٍ بِدِرْهَمٍ، وَاكْتُبْ عَلَيْهِ رَحِمَ اللَّهُ امْرَأً عَرَفَ قَدْرَ نَفْسِهِ
“News has reached Umar bin Abd al-Aziz that his child has bought a thousand-dirham ring, thus he wrote to his child: I’ve heard news that you have bought a thousand-dirham ring. Sell the ring and feed a thousand hungry people. Then, buy a one-dirham iron ring and inscribed on it “Allah blesses someone who knows their own capability.” (See Tafsir al-Qurthubi, 10/89)
On another hand, Imam al-Munawi also included the story of Caliph Umar bin Abd al-Aziz and his child in his book. (See Faidh al-Qadir, 4/29). Reviewing both statements above, then it is clear that it is not the statement of the Prophet PBUH, but a statement of Caliph Umar bin Abd al-Aziz.
Although the hadith or narration is not from the Prophet PBUH, but the meaning is authentic for when a person knows his own capabilities and limitations, then he will be more obedient and motivated to perform worship and put their hope in Allah so that he will not waste even a second. Furthermore, if a person who knows his own capabilities faced with other people, then it will save him from being arrogant, self-absorbed, cocky and others. This usually happens to students when they are given some knowledge, they then begin to think then only they know and understand the subject matter. In truth, it is a test from Allah SWT for students to always protect their hearts and realize that all that Allah SWT has given is actually incomparable to the knowledge of Allah SWT as stated by Allah SWT in the Quran:
- Allah SWT state:
وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلً
“And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little."
Surah al-Isra’ (85)
To conclude, the origin of the narration or hadith is unknown, where it cannot be found in any renown hadith books with the exception of a narration regarding Caliph Umar bin Abd al-Aziz. Lastly, may Allah SWT protect our hearts and subsequently make us from among His slaves who are saved from bad character and conduct. Amin.