بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

A brief analysis of the Hadith, “Ramadan: the first [part] of it is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the end of it is freedom from the Fire.”

The trend of forwarding messages on the social media without paying slightest attention to the authenticity or gravity of the information provided is constantly increasing. Some people with immature mentality cross all the limits in bashing others if they see something inconsistent with their ideology. The same happens when it comes tothe Hadith:“Ramadan: the first [part] of it is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the end of it is freedom from the Fire.”The Ulama have differed in regard with the authenticity of this narration. Looking into the weakness in its chain of transmission, a group of Hadith experts regarded it as Da’if (weak). Some even called it Munkar. However, since the narration deals with virtues [and not legal issues], some Hadith scholars from the third Islamic century accepted and included it in their famous Hadith collections. But that’s not what bothers people. The issue is mention of the Hadith by some scholars of the Indian subcontinent in their books. This has risen to a series of hateful attacks on them by some people on the social media. Things get worse when people keep forwarding it without checking its authenticity. They fail to realize that this sort of discussion and hatemongering eventually creates doubts about the basic sources of Islam, the Quran and Sunnah. This is indeed very vile.

As for the content of the Hadith in discussion i.e. sending down of special blessings by Allah, forgiving their sins and freeing them from hellfire during Ramadan, all the three virtues of the month are proved by authentic narrations and the whole Ummah believes that Ramadan in general comes with all these virtues. But whether or not each ten days of the month have any distinct virtue or importance besides the common ones has been a disputed issue among the scholars. Some believeall the three parts of the month have their distinctive virtues while others reject it.

Before startingto criticize others, we should bear in mind that it was not these scholars of the subcontinent who first wrote this Hadith in their writings but it was a considerable number of reliable Hadith experts of the past who included it in their books. Hence passing harsh judgments against them is utterly unacceptable. It will suffice here to name a few such scholars: Imam Ibn KhuzaimahNishapuri (233-311 AH) in his famous ‘Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah’ v 3, p 191, Imam Abu Bakr Baghdadi aka Ibn Abi al-Dunya (208-281 AH) in his famous treatise ‘Fada’il Ramadan’, Imam Ibn Shahin Baghdadi (297-385 AH) in his ‘Fada’ilShahr Ramadan’, the renownedMuhaddith Imam Baihaqi (384-458 AH) in his acclaimed ‘Shu’ab al-Iman’, Hadith No. 3336 and ‘Fada’ilAwqat, p 37, Imam AbulQasimIsfahani (457-535 AH) aka Qiwam al-Sunnah (Upholder of the Sunnah) in his ‘Al-Targhibwa al-Tarhib’ Hadith No. 1753 and Imam Baghawi (433-510 AH) aka Muhyi al-Sunnah (Reviver of the Sunnah) in his famous commentary of the Qur’an Ma’alim al-Tanzil, v 1, p 202. These are a few names I have mentioned just to show how a great number of Muhaddithin used this Hadith in their writings otherwise the list is long. The Hadith was reported on the authority of Salman Farsi and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) in numerous collections of Hadith though of course with a weak chain of transmission.

In short, all the three virtues of Ramadan i.e. descending of special blessings of Allah, forgiveness and salvation from hellfire are proved by other authentic narrations. What was disputed among the scholars is whether or not every ten days of Ramadan have any distinct feature. Since it is disputed we should avoid quoting this Hadith ourselves. However, we shouldn’t criticize the scholars who included it in their collections of Hadith or those who mentioned it in their writings because the Ummah is and will ever remain indebted to these great individuals for their beneficial and valuable services for Islam. Over a millennium has passed but Ummah with its all different sects is benefiting from their legacy in respect of religious sciences. One may or may not agree with them but criticizing them for quoting the Hadith in an undue manner cannot be justified. If you regard the Hadith as unquotable in view of its technical weakness, you are at full liberty to ignore it but considering what you believe as the final truth and trying to force it on others is not reasonable.

Some people have written different Du’as for each of the ten days of Ramadan just like different supplications are suggested by some people for each round of Tawaf and Sa’i. But the fact is no specific supplications [for each round of Tawaf or Sa’i or each part of Ramadan] are reported from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). One may ask Allah the Exalted for whatever one wants in whatever language. The soul of supplication lies in attentiveness, humility and devotion irrespective of wording and the language used.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (