What is the status of this hadith?
The Prophet PBUH said:
طُوبَى لِمَنْ رَآنِي وَآمَنَ بِي، ثُمَّ طُوبَى، ثُمَّ طُوبَى، ثُمَّ طُوبَى لِمَنْ آمَنَ بِي وَلَمْ يَرَنِي
“So blessed those who see me and believe in me. And it even blessed, and it is even blessed, and it is even blessed those who believe in me, but never see me”
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.
The Prophet PBUH is an honourable man and the most noble among the creations of Allah SWT on the earth. Besides, all believing Muslim wants to be with the Prophet PBUH just like the experience of the Companions. Also, Allah SWT said that we are the best of nations for having the best prophet among other prophets.
Allah SWT said in the Quran:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.”
Surah Ali Imran (110)
This verse shows that Allah SWT praise this nation by stating them as the best nation created by Allah among other humans. This is due to the completeness inside of them by having faith and commitment in obeying Allah’s commandments as well as completing others by enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. [See: Taysir al-Karim al-Rahman, 143]
Before we cite scholars’ opinions on this hadith, we would like to first state the source of this hadith which is narrated by some companions of the Prophet PBUH. Among them are Abu Sa’id al-Khudri RA, Ibn Umar RA, Anas bin Malik RA, Abu Umamah RA, Abu Hurairah RA and Wa’il bin Hujur RA. This narration exists in Musnad Imam Ahmad. [See: Musnad Ahmad, (11673) 18/211]. Besides, this hadith is also narrated by Imam al-Thabarani in his three Mu’jam. [See: u’jam al-Kabir, 8/259-260, Mu’jam al-Awsat, 6/171, Mu’jam al-Saghir, 2/104]. Also, there is a difference in the phrase ثُمَّ طُوبَى لِمَنْ آمَنَ بِي وَلَمْ يَرَنِي. Pertaining to the status of this hadith, the scholars have differing opinion on this:
- Imam Ibn Hibban (354h) views this hadith as sahih in his Sahih. [See: Sahih Ibn Hibban, 16/213]
- Imam Ibn al-Jauzi (597h) states that the above hadith of the narration of Ibn Umar is not sahih. [See: Ilal al-Mutanahiyah, 1/302]
- Imam al-Iraqi (806h) views the hadith as dhaif from the narration of Anas bin Malik RA. [See: al-Arba’un al-‘Ashariyah, 1/228]
- Sheikh al-Albani views this hadith as sahih. [See: Sahih al-Jami’ al-Saghir wa Ziyadatuhu, 2/729]
- Shiekh Shu’aib al-Arna’outh views the sanad of this hadith as dhaif when doing takhrij of this hadith in Musnad Imam Ahmad. [See: Musnad Ahmad, 18/211]
According to the above opinions of scholars, we say that each sanad of this hadith is not free from critics from the scholars as there are narrators who are viewed as dhaif, matruk or munkar. Hence, we are inclined that the status of the above hadith is hassan li ghairihi due to the existence of syawahid for the hadith.
Besides, the scholars have differing opinions on stating the meaning of “طُوبَى” in the hadith. Some said that it is a tree in Paradise as mentioned in the hadith or what is meant by “طُوبَى” is the Paradise and etc.
In conclusion, the above hadith is hassan li ghairihi due to the existence of syawahid or supports in the narration. Besides, this hadith portrays the advantages of the nation of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH who believe in the Prophet PBUH after his passing. However, this never indicates that the faith of the nation of Muhammad PBUH after his passing is greater than the companions of the Prophet PBUH. This is because, there is none who can challenge the faith of the companions as mentioned by the Prophet PBUH that the companions are in the best of times. Lastly, may Allah SWT make us from among the believers who love the Prophet PBUH wholeheartedly. Amin.