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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious.
Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad, his family and companions.

There is an accusation by the khawarij that implies that the people of Prophet Noah worshipped idols carved of deceased PIOUS people and that the Sunnis today are doing same worshipping PIOUS Auliyah/PIRs in their graves.

But the reality is the Khawarij can never prove from holy Qur'an or Hadith that the Prophets or deceased Pious have ever been worshipped.  However they do attempt this by referencing a hadith from Sahih Bukhari.  This article is a critical analysis of the hadith in Bukhari often quoted by the Khawarij:

 

 

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 442 (Online) or Hadith No. 4920

 

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

All the idols which were worshipped by the people of Noah were worshipped by the Arabs later on. As for the idol Wadd, it was worshipped by the tribe of Kalb at Daumat-al-Jandal; Suwa' was the idol of (the tribe of) Murad and then by Ban, Ghutaif at Al-Jurf near Saba; Yauq was the idol of Hamdan, and Nasr was the idol of Himyr, the branch of Dhi-al-Kala.' The names (of the idols) formerly belonged to some pious men of the people of Noah, and when they died Satan inspired their people to (prepare and place idols at the places where they used to sit, and to call those idols by their names. The people did so, but the idols were not worshipped till those people (who initiated them) had died and the origin of the idols had become obscure, whereupon people began worshipping them. [Volume 6, Book 60, Number 442 (Online) or Hadith No. 4920]

 

The chain of narration is as follows:

Imam Bukhari
Ibrahim bin Musa
Hisham
Ibn Juraij
Ata
Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him)

 

The following are statements of the Muhadithin (Hadith Masters) on this narration. 

1) Allamah Badar-ud-Din Ayni in the commentary of this hadith writes: "Within the sanad of this hadith, there is mention of Hisham. This is Hisham bin Yusuf Al-San'ani. And Ibn Juraij, this is Abdul Malik bin Abdul-Aziz bin Juraij. And Ata, this is A’ta Al Khurasani. Note this is not A'ta bin Abhi Riba and neither A'ta bin Yasar. Therefore this is the reason this hadith is Munqati’ (A chain of narrators from which one or more than one narrator is removed or disconnected.) because A’ta Al Khurasani did not hear (receive) this hadith from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him). Also Abu Masud Dimishqi has said that Imam Bukhari has possibily taken this A'ta to have been A'ta bin Abhi Riba which is not the case. And Ibn Juraij has not heard this tafsir from A’ta Al Khurasani which highlights another break in the chain. In fact Ibn Juraij took a book from the son of A’ta Al Khurasani and studied it."

Also Allamah Ayni writes "that Saleh bin Ahmad narrated from Ibn Al-Madini that Ibn Al-Madini had asked Yaya bin Saeed about this hadith of Ibn Juraij from A’ta Al Khurasani and he replied those are all Da'if (weak)."
[Allamah Badar-ud-Din Ayni, Umdatul Qari, Volume 19, Pg 377, Dar-ul-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah Beirut]

 

2) Imam Ibn Rajab Humble writes: "A’ta Al Khurasani did not hear this hadith from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him)." Again emphasising the breakage in the chain. [Fath-ul-Bari, Commentary Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Pg 197]

 

 

3) Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani in the commentary of this Hadith writes: "It is Munqati’ (broken chain) because A’ta Al Khurasani never met Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA)." [Fath-ul-Bari, Chapter of Tafsir, Commentary of Sahih Bukhari]

 

 

4) Imam Saleh bin Ahmad bin Humble writes in Al-Illal: "Imam Ali bin Madini asked Imam Yaya Al-Qattan about hadith of Ibn Juraij from A’ta Al Khurasani and he got the reply the hadith is Da'if (weak). [Kitabul Al-Illal]

 

 

5) Allamah Shahabuddin Qastalani writes: "A’ta Al Khurasani never met Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) and Ibn Juraij also never met A’ta Al Khurasani." [Arshad-as-Sari, Commentary of Sahih Bukhari]

 

 

6) Shaykh Wahiduzaman (an authority in the Salafi school of thought), he writes: "A’ta Al Khurasani is da'if (weak). Secondly Ibn Juraij never heard this narration from A’ta Al Khurasani. In fact Ibn Juraij had got the book of A’ta Al Khurasani from his son Usman. Perhaps he saw this hadith in there. And perhaps Imam Bukhari has considered it to be A'ta bin Abhi Riba. This is a mistake by Imam Bukhari and no matter how big an Imam becomes, sometimes they are able to make mistakes. Don't forget it is the Swimmer that drowns in the water and it's the Horse Racer who falls". [Tayser ul-Bari, Volume 4, Pg 75]

 

7) Imam Sirajuddin Abu Hafas Umar bin Ali bin Ahmad Ansari Shafaie (Hafiz Ibn Mulaqqan) who is the teacher of Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani has the same opinion that in this hadith to consider A’ta Al Khurasani to be A'ta bin Abhi Riba is wrong. And it should be noted that it definitely is A’ta Al Khurasani and all hadith from A’ta Al Khurasani that Ibn Juraij has narrated are all weak. [Al-Tawzi Li Sharah Al-Jamiah Al-Sahih (Commentary of Sahih Bukhari)]

 

 

8 ) Imam Abu Dawud (the famous Hadith Master) says: "A’ta Al Khurasani never met or seen Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA)." [Al-Murasil Li Abu Dawud, Pg 408, Chapter of Wasayah (Wills)]

 

 

9) Imam Bayqhi has stated exactly the same thing that: "A’ta Al Khurasani never met Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA)." [As Sunan Al-Kubra, Vol 7, pg 307]

 

 

10) Imam Ibn Hibban (famous Hadith Master) says: "A’ta Al Khurasani never heard anything from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA)." [kitabul Majruhin, Vol2, Page 250]

 

 

11) Shaykh Ibn Hazam Zahiri (considered an authority by the Salafis) writes: "A’ta Al Khurasani never heard from Abdullah bin Amar bin Al-Aas (RA) and also he never heard from any other Sahabi (Companion) other than Hazrat Anas (Allah be pleased with him)." [Al-Muhalla bil Ah'saar]

 

 

12) Imam Abu Hatim writes: "A’ta Al Khurasani never heard anything from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) though has seen Hazrat Ibn Umar (RA) but never heard anything from him either." [Al-Murasil]

 

13) Imam Ahmad Al-Kannani says: "A’ta Al Khurasani never heard from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA)." [Misbah Az-Zu'jahjah, Volume 3, Pg 225, Kitabul Adahi (Chapter of Sacrifice)]

 

So in conclusion it comes to light from all these references of the Grand Muhaddithin of the past that A’ta Al Khurasani never heard anything from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) therefore confirms the hadith is Munqati’ (severely broken) and daif (severely weak).

 

 

14) Imam Fakihi has written this narration using the chain from Muhammad bin Saur (which goes and meets Ibn Juraij and A’ta Al Khurasani) in his book Akhbare Makkah. He goes on to say there is the same weakness to be seen:
a) A’ta Al Khurasani never heard anything from Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) proving the hadith is Munqati’ (broken chain)
b) According to Imam Yahya bin Saeed, all narrations from A’ta Al Khurasani that Ibn Juraij has taken are all weak.
c) According to Imam Abu Masud, Ibn Juraij never heard this from A’ta Al Khurasani but has taken it from his son Usman and probably seen it from him.
[Akhbare Makkah Lil Fakihi]

 

 

15) Saleem Ullah Khan Deobandi has written exactly the same things about this hadith:

a) Imam Bukhari has made a mistake here and taken this narration thinking it is A'ta bin Abhi Riba but yet know it is A’ta Al Khurasani.
b) Ibn Juraij never heard this narration directly from A’ta Al Khurasani but in fact Ibn Juraij has taken it from the book of A’ta Al Khurasani which was in the possession of his son Usman.
c) This narration by A’ta Al Khurasani does not meet the conditions of Imam Bukhari therefore Imam Bukhari should not have mentioned in his Sahih. But clearly Imam Bukhari did not realise.
d) However in summary, it is definitely known amongst the Muhadithin that the A'ta in his this narration is definitely A’ta Al Khurasani and by narrating this hadith Imam Bukhari has made a misunderstanding. [Kashful Bari, Kitabul Tafsir, Pg 699-700, Maktaba Farookiya Kirachi]

 

Conclusion

All the discussion thus far has been based on narrations and writings of the Grand Muhadithin of the past. But lets now consider this from a different angle. We know that these idols were present during the time of Sayidena Nuh (Alayhissalam). The aya (verse) of the Holy Qur'an [71:23] confirms this. But the hadith states at the beginning "All the idols which were worshipped by the people of Noah were worshipped by the Arabs later on". Now how can this even be possible? Within the Holy Qur'an we learn that everything was destroyed and only Prophet Noah (Alayhissalam) and those people, animals and possessions that embarked the Ark were saved. And further more all were believers in the Oneness of Almighty Allah.

So how did these idols reach the Arabs as claimed in the hadith? Imam Fakharuddin Razi (rah) questions this in the same way in his discussion in his Tafsir Kabir.

But Alhumdolillah when the narration is a fabrication we don't need to dwell any further.
 

 

(tbc - Page last updated 12th July 2014)

 

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