Sahifa al-Sadiqah: The First Book of Hadith

In the Name of Allah---the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Sahifa al-Sadiqah: The First Book of Hadith

Sahifah al-Sadiqah: The First Book of Hadith

by Sajid Mahmood Ansari

At the beginning of the revelation of the Qur'an, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade the writing of his words (hadith) other than the Qur'an so that the Qur'an and the commands of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would not be confused. As earlier nations had confused the divine books and the words of the prophets, so it was made difficult to distinguish between the divine book and the words of the Prophet. The Holy Prophet ﷺ wanted the Muslim Ummah to keep the Word of Allah (Quran Hakim) distinguished and prior to the words of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ so that the Holy Qur’an, which has a privileged and miraculous position as the Word of Allah, would never be affected and created. His words should not be given the status of Allah's words. It is true that the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ is actually derived from another type of the word of Allah (revelation), but in any case, the status of the hadith of the Prophet cannot be equal to that of the Holy Qur’an because the order and style of the Holy Qur’an have miraculous perfection within it. Yes, no other word can compete with it. The Holy Qur'an is higher and better than the words of creation in every respect. 

In Makkah, the practice of prohibiting the writing of hadith continued. Being unfamiliar with the Prophet’s command, some companions began to write down the decrees of the Holy Prophet ﷺ for personal memory, among which Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas (RA) was the first. Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated this whole story to the Prophet ﷺ, so the Prophet ﷺ granted permission to write down his decrees because, until that time, the Qur'an was not only revealed in several parts. It had already been confiscated in the form of scriptures.

حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، وَأَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الأَخْنَسِ، عَنِ الْوَلِيدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي مُغِيثٍ، عَنْ يُوسُفَ بْنِ مَاهَكَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، قَالَ كُنْتُ أَكْتُبُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ أَسْمَعُهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أُرِيدُ حِفْظَهُ فَنَهَتْنِي قُرَيْشٌ وَقَالُوا أَتَكْتُبُ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ تَسْمَعُهُ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَشَرٌ يَتَكَلَّمُ فِي الْغَضَبِ وَالرِّضَا فَأَمْسَكْتُ عَنِ الْكِتَابِ فَذَكَرْتُ ذَلِكَ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَوْمَأَ بِأُصْبُعِهِ إِلَى فِيهِ فَقَالَ ‏ "‏ اكْتُبْ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ إِلاَّ حَقٌّ ‏

Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he used to write down whatever he heard from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so that he could memorize it. Some people from the Quraish clan stopped him by saying that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is a human being, sometimes he speaks in anger and sometimes in happiness. So he stopped writing (hadiths). Then he narrated this whole story to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he pointed to his blessed forehead and said: Write it down, by the One in Whose power is my soul, nothing comes out but the truth from his (mouth).

 The collection of hadiths collected by Sayyidna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas, may Allah be pleased with them, has been mentioned in the history books as Sahifah al-Sadiqah or simply Al-Sadiqah. It has the privilege of being a book. However, it should be clear that this is only a collection of hadiths that Sayyiduna Amr bin Al-Aas (RA) had heard from the Prophet (PBUH) with his own ears. Therefore, no one should be under the illusion that it contains all the hadiths of the Holy Prophet. Nevertheless, Sahifa al-Sadiqah has a unique position as the first book of hadith.

This scripture was passed down from one generation to another generation in the descendants of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas. Many companions and followers have testified to the existence of Sahifa al-Sadiqah.

. بْنُ مُنَبِّهٍ، عَنْ أَخِيهِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، يَقُولُ مَا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَحَدٌ أَكْثَرَ حَدِيثًا عَنْهُ مِنِّي، إِلاَّ مَا كَانَ مِنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو فَإِنَّهُ كَانَ يَكْتُبُ وَلاَ أَكْتُبُ

(Musnad Ahmad: H#7383, Sahih al-Bukhari: H#113)

It was narrated from Sayyidina Abu Hurairah that no companion narrated more hadiths than me, except Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas, the reason being that he used to write down the hadiths and I did not write them down.

Imam Amr bin Shuaib was a descendant of Sayyidina Amr bin al-Aas (R.A) and used to narrate the hadiths from Sahifa al-Sadiqa. Muhadditheen had no doubts about the truthfulness and integrity of Imam Amr bin Shuaib, may God bless him and grant him peace. However, most of the muhaddith scholars generally consider the tradition of Imam Amr bin Shuaib, may God bless him and grant him peace, to be invalid simply because his hadith was from Wajadah. Therefore, the Muhadditheen have set the condition that the narrator's memory must be mature for a valid hadith, and in a valid hadith, it is necessary to hear the narrator directly from the narrator from whom he narrates the hadith. There is a strong possibility that the traditions which he narrated from Sahifa al-Sadiqah with the chain Amr bin Shoaib from his father, and he from his grandfather, did not reach him by memorization and hearing, therefore, according to most of the muhaddiths, they are not considered authentic, as a Hadith principle. However, many Muhadditheen have accepted his hadith and taken evidence from it, in which the name of the chief of muhadditheen, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him) is on the list, who included this Sahifa al-Sadiqah in his large compendium of Hadith, titled al-Musnad.

I have seen Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Ali bin Abdullah al-Mudaini, Imam Ishaq bin Rahwayh, Imam Abu Ubaidah al-Qasim, may God have mercy on him, and most of the muhadditheen take evidence from the hadith of Imam Amr bin Shuaib.

It has been reported in Usud al-Ghabah (Biographies of Prophet’s Companions):

Imam Mujahid (R.A) narrates that one day he attended the service of Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas, may God be pleased with him, and he picked up scripture that was placed on his bed and started looking at it. They stopped me. I said that you never forbade me to take anything of yours, so he said that this is al-Sadiqah, in which are written the hadiths that I have heard directly from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

(Usdu al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahaba: Biography No. 345)

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