Hadith Qudsi

The following has been translated from Al-Qawl al-Mufīd ‘ala Kitāb al-Tawhīd vol.1, pp. 80-83 of Shaykh Muhammad bin Sālih al ‘Uthaymīn – may Allāh have mercy upon him.

[Definition]

The hadīth qudsī is: that which the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has reported from his Lord and the scholars of hadīth have included it amongst the Prophetic hadīth due to the fact that it is attributed to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as a form of conveyance. It is not part of the Qur’ān according to the consensus even though the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had conveyed every one of them to his nation from Allāh – the Almighty and Exalted.

[Differing Views]

The scholars – may Allāh have mercy upon them – have differed with respect to the wording of the hadīth qudsī: is it the speech of Allāh the Most High or is it the case that Allāh the Most High revealed its meaning to His Messenger and the wording is that of the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)? There are two views in this regard:

The First View: the hadīth qudsī is from Allāh both in wording and meaning because the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) ascribed it to Allāh the Most High and it is well known that the fundamental principle regarding attributed speech is that it is in the wording of the original speaker and not the transmitter especially in the case of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who is the strongest person in terms of trustworthiness and the most reliable in narration.

The Second View: the meaning of the hadīth qudsī is from Allāh whilst the wording is that of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and that is due to two reasons:

Firstly: If the hadīth qudsī was from Allāh in wording and meaning then it would be higher in terms of the chain of narration than the Qur’ān; this is due to the fact that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) narrates it {directly} from his Lord the Most High without any intermediary as is apparent from the context. As for the Qur’ān it was revealed to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by means of Jibrīl as He the Most High stated:

‘Say (O Muhammad) Rūh al-Qudus (Jibrīl) has brought it (Qur’ān) down from your Lord’ al-Nahl (16): 102

He also stated:

‘Which the trustworthy spirit (Jibrīl) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be one of the warners. In the plain Arabic language.’

al-Shu’arā (26): 193-195

Secondly: If the wording of the hadīth qudsī was from Allāh then there would be no difference between it and the Qur’ān because both of them in this regard are the speech of Allāh the Most High. Wisdom necessitates establishing equality in the ruling when two entities agree in origin and it is known that there are many differences between the Qur’ān and the hadīth qudsī:

[Differences Between the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth Qudsī]

1) The hadīth qudsī is not recited to engage in worship meaning that people do not worship Allāh the Most High merely by reciting it, hence one is not rewarded ten good deeds for every one of its letters whereas the Qur’ān is used to perform worship by its recitation with every one of its letters equal to ten good deeds.

2) Allāh the Most High challenges the people to bring the like of the Qur’ān or a verse from it and this has not been mentioned with respect to the hadīth qudsī.

3) The Qur’ān has been preserved by Allāh the Most High, far is He removed from any imperfections stated:

‘Verily, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (Qur’ān) and surely We will guard it (from corruption).’ al-Hijr (15): 9

The ahādīth qudsiyyah differ in this regard since there are sound ones and fair ones rather even weak or fabricated ones have been added to them. This is the case even though they are not counted amongst them nevertheless reference, deferment, increase and omission have been attributed to them.

4) It is not permitted to recite the Qur’ān in meaning according to the consensus of the Muslims, as for the ahādīth qudsiyyah then the opposite is the case since it is permissible to narrate the Prophetic hadīth in meaning and the majority allow it.

5) The recitation of the Qur’ān has been legislated in the prayer and part of this is that the prayer is not correct without its recitation in contradistinction to the hadīth qudsī.

6) The Qur’ān may not be touched except by one who is pure according to the most correct opinion[1] in contrast to the hadīth qudsī

7) The Qur’ān may not be read by the one in sexual impurity until he bathes according to the predominant opinion in contrast to the hadīth qudsī.

8] The Qur’ān has been established by successively definitive numerous chains of narrations which amount to beneficial certain knowledge. Thus, if one rejects a letter from it which the reciters have consensus upon then he is a disbeliever; this is in contrast to hadīth qudsī; if one rejects something from them claiming that it is not established then he has not disbelieved as for the case in which he rejects it along with the knowledge that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had actually stated it then he is a disbeliever due to disbelieving the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

They have responded to the fact that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) attributed it to Allāh and that the fundamental principle with respect to attributed speech is that it is in the wording of the one who originally stated it with the acknowledgement that this is the fundamental principle. However (they say that) a statement may have been attributed to its originator in meaning and not in wording as occurs in the Noble Qur’ān. Indeed, Allāh the Most High has attributed statements to their speaker while we know that they have been ascribed to them in meaning and not wording as occurs in the “Stories of the Prophets” and others besides them, the speech of the hoopoe bird and the ant; for it occurs in other than the definitive wording.

By this the dominance of this view becomes clear, this difference is not like the difference between the Ashā’irah and Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the Speech of Allāh because the difference between them is in respect to the origin of the Speech of Allāh the Most High. Ahl al-Sunnah state: the Speech of Allāh the Most High is genuinely real which is heard and the One far removed from any imperfections speaks with a voice and letters while the Ashā’irah do not affirm that. They only state: the Speech of Allāh the Most High is the self existent meaning and is not letters or a voice rather Allāh creates a voice by which the self existent meaning is expressed. There is no doubt in the falsity of their view and in reality this is the view of the Mu’tazilah, because they say: the Qur’ān is created, it is the Speech of Allāh and they (Ashā’irah) say: the Qur’ān is created and it is an expression of the Speech of Allāh. Hence, they have agreed that what is between the two covers of the mushaf is created.

Furthermore, if it is said regarding our issue – the speech regarding the hadīth qudsī -: it is more appropriate to abandon delving into this out of fear that it would be from amongst the over stringent acts that destroy its people and that restricting {ourselves} to the statement that the hadīth qudsī is what the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) narrated from his Lord suffices then that would be sufficient and perhaps the most safest and Allāh knows best.


[1] This is questionable according to al-Άllāmah al-Albānī (may Allāh have mercy upon him). Refer to pp. 107-108 of Tamām al-Minnah.

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