Al-Asharah Al-Mubashsharah: A Fabricated Tradition

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Among the well-known and famous Sunni traditions is the tradition of Asharah-e-Mubashsharah. In Arabic Asharah means ten and Mubashsharah implies those who have been given glad tidings. So Asharah-e-Mubashsharah is a tradition narrated by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that promised paradise to ten of his companions. Based on this, the Ahle Tasannun claim that these ten individuals are the most superior and criticizing them is not permitted as Paradise awaits them.


Only a brief analysis of the tradition is sufficient to conclude that it is a fabricated and concocted narration. It fails the test on chain of narrators and there are many discrepancies with other traditions and historical reports. For this reason, this tradition is rejected by scholars and cannot be used as an argument in support of the companions.

Clearly, due to the importance of certain companions included among the Asharah-e-Mubashsharah, the Ahle Tasannun have not investigated this tradition with the same scrutiny as Hadith-e-Ghadeer or Hadith-e-Saqalain.

So we have scrutinized this tradition so as to put the issue beyond all doubt. However, we do not aim to refute the virtues and glad tidings of Paradise which have been widely recorded for companions like Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), Ammar Ibn Yasir (r.a.), Salman-e-Muhammadi (r.a.), Miqdad Ibn Aswad (r.a.), Bilal-e-Habashi (r.a.), Abdullah Ibn Salaam (r.a.), Amr Ibn Hamiq al-Khuzaaee (r.a.), etc.

Even some of the taabe’een (those who have not seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) but have seen his companions) like Owais-e-Qarani (r.a.) had received glad tidings of Paradise from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

The difference is that the aforementioned companions and taabe’een are righteous according to BOTH sects, while the Asharah-e-Mubashsharah are righteous according to the Ahle Tasannun only. So consensus (Ijmaa’) suggests the former group is more deserving of Paradise than the latter.                         

Text of the tradition

Some companions have narrated this tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

A. Narration of Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf

Ahmed Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Tirmidhi in his Sunan and Nesaai in his Fazaael-e-Sahaabah have narrated from Qutaibah Ibn Saeed from Abdul Aziz Ibn Muhammed Daravardi from Homaid and he from his father Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) reportedly said:

Abu Bakr is in paradise, Umar is in paradise, Usman is in paradise, Ali is in paradise, Talha is in paradise, Zubair is in paradise, Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf is in paradise, Saad is in paradise, Saeed is in paradise and Abu Ubaydah Ibn Jarrah is in paradise.

•        Musnad-o-Ahmed vol. 1 p. 193    

•        Sunan-o-Tirmidhi vol. 5 p. 627    

•        Kitab al-Manaaqeb Bab-o-Manaaqeb-e-Abd al-Rahman Ibn Awf in Fazaail-o-Sahaabah p. 28

After recording the abovementioned tradition, Tirmidhi writes – Musab has informed us through Abdul Aziz Ibn Muhammad from Abdul Aziz Ibn Homaid from his father from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and Abdul Aziz Ibn Homaid has not narrated it through Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf.

Due to the following reasons, this tradition is ambiguous:

1.      There can be no doubt that Tirmidhi’s report from Musab is a ‘mursal’ tradition. A tradition is said to be mursal when no one has directly heard it from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) or the infallible Imams (a.s.) and is narrated from them without any channel. In other words, a mursal tradition is a tradition whose last narrator is not mentioned or known. This is a mursal tradition because Homaid Ibn Abd al-Rahman Ibn Awf had never seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) so could not have heard it from him (s.a.w.a.).

2.      Even according to the first narration, this tradition is clearly mursal because according to Fallaas, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Is’haaq al-Harbi, Ibn Abi Aasim, Khalifah Ibn Kheyaat, Yaqoob Ibn Sufyan and Ibn-e-Moayyan – Homaid Ibn Abd al-Rahman died in 150 Hijri (Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb vol. 2 p. 30). At death, he was 73 years old, implying that in 32 Hijri when his father Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf died either Homaid Ibn Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf was recently born or about 1 year old. In that case, how is it possible for Homaid to narrate the tradition from his father when he had only seen his father for a few days?

That was the reason why Bukhari had said that the tradition of Homaid Ibn Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf through Saeed Ibn Zaid is more correct as compared to his tradition through his father Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf

(Sunan-e-Tirmidhi vol. 5 p. 647)

3.      In this tradition Homaid Ibn Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf cannot be exempted from lying and fabrication because he was among the people who were appointed by Muawiya to fabricate traditions.

4.      Since the name of the narrator of this tradition, Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf is also present in the tradition among the ten people of Paradise, it is highly probable that he may have fabricated this tradition for his own fame and glory.

5.      Abdul Aziz Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ubaid is also one of the narrators of this tradition. According to many experts in the chain of narrators, he has been a subject of blame, criticism and falsehood.

Abu Zar’ah says his memorization power is not good. Nesaai does not consider him reliable in narrating traditions.[1] Abu Haakim says that traditions narrated by him cannot be taken as proofs.[2] Ibn Hajar says except 2 traditions Bukhari has not narrated any tradition from him and even these 2 traditions he has attributed to Abdul Aziz Ibn Abi Haazim and other narrators.

B. Narration of Saeed Ibn Zaid

Most of the chains of this tradition revert to Saeed Ibn Zaid Ibn Amr Ibn Nufail-e-Adudee. Five of them have narrated from him:

1.      Tradition of Abdullah Ibn Zaalim Mazati

Haakem Neshapuri documents in his Mustadrak that Bukhari and Muslim have not relied on the traditions of Abdullah Ibn Zaalim as proof.

(Al-Mustadrak Alaa al-Saheehain, vol. 3 p. 316,317)

Zahabi in Talkhis al-Mustadrak, mentioning Abdullah Ibn Zaalim, Bukhari says his tradition is not Saheeh (correct). 

(Al Mustadrak alaa al-Saheehain vol. 3 p. 316,317)

2.      Tradition of Abd al-Rahman Ibn Akhnas

Ibn Hajar has interpreted him as ‘’Mastoor – Veiled one”[3] and al-Sarakhsi has explained that this term means that he was among the group of transgressors and disbelievers, who lacked intellect and gave in to their base desires.[4] Muhammad Ibn Hasan Shaybaani has stated categorically that his tradition is like the transgressor’s narration. While the condition for a correct narration is that the narrator should be known for his just disposition.

Also, in this narration there is another ambiguity in the shape of Muhammad Ibn Talhah Ibn Musarrif Yaami Kufi who Nesaai, among others, does not consider reliable; Ibn Moayyan considers him weak and Ibn Sa’d says he is a transmitter of fabricated traditions.

3.      Tradition of Homaid Ibn Abd al-Rahman Ibn Akhnas

The tradition of Homaid Ibn Abd al-Rahman Ibn Auf is narrated from Saeed Ibn Zaid from his son Abd al-Rahman Ibn Homaid from Umar Ibn Saeed Ibn Shuraih al-Madani from Moosa Ibn Yaqoob Zam’ee and he has narrated the tradition of Asharah-e-Mubashsharah from Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Abi Fadeek.

Earlier we have already mentioned about Homaid Ibn Abd al-Rahmaan.

But Ali Ibn Madini has considered Musa Ibn Yaqoob as a weak transmitter and denier of tradition and Nesaai has not considered him as reliable.[5] Ibn Saad has considered Ibn Abi Fadeek as unreasonable.

(Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, vol. 5 p. 42)   

Tradition Of Riyaah Ibn Haaris

The tradition of Riyaah has been narrated on an individual basis by Saeed Ibn Zaid from his grandson Sadaqah Ibn Mansha Ibn Riyaah from Yahya Ibn Saeed Qataan and Isa Ibn Yunus from Hisham Ibn Ammar and Abdul Wahid Ibn Ziyaad and they from Abu Kamil Muzaffar Ibn Mudrak.

Regarding Hisham Ibn Ammar, Abu Dawood records that he has narrated 400 ‘Musnad’ traditions all of which are baseless, concocted and false.

(Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, vol. 6, p. 37)

Regarding Abdul Wahid Ibn Ziyaad Abadi Basri, Zahabi has written that Yahya and Ibn Habbaan have not taken him into account at all, and Zahabi himself writes about him, “He is of a whimsical character.”

(Tazkerah al-Huffaaz, vol. 1 p. 258)

Tradition Of Abu Tufail

Aamir Ibn Wasala has narrated the tradition on an individual basis from Saeed Ibn Zaid and he from Walid Ibn Abdillah Ibn Jomay al-Qarashi and his son from him and also Muhammad Ibn Lakeer al-Khazrami has narrated this tradition from Thaabit. Ibn Habban has enumerated Walid Ibn Abdillah among the weak narrators and to oppose/benefit from his tradition is forbidden. And al-Aqeelee says: There is discrepancy in his tradition and Haakim Nishapuri says if Muslim had not rejected his tradition, it would have been preferable and his son Thaabit is from the ignorant ones and Muhammad Ibn Bukair is also recognized as ‘Saahibe Gaaraeb’, a narrator of strange (i.e. unauthenticated) traditions.

(Tahzeeb al- Tahzeeb, vol. 6 p. 90)   

The tradition of Saeed Ibn Zaid is ambiguous from the narrative aspect but its text is also confusing (Muztarib). (Such a tradition which in accordance to its text or narration is differently narrated and if this difference is in its meaning or in the series of the chain of narrators then there is a doubt in such a tradition and it fails to inspire confidence, so it cannot be acted upon. When there are 2 such traditions out of which one has been narrated by a Haafiz (memorizer) then such a tradition is fit to be acted upon. For, in some narrations Abu Ubaidah Ibn Jarraah is included among the following ten companions and in some other traditions Abdullah Ibn Masood is also given glad tidings.[6] Also since Saeed Ibn Zaid is present in the text of the tradition of ‘Asharah-e-Mubashsharah’ it is probable that he is buttressing his own position as a pure and virtuous companion. In such a condition, if this person considers others as pure or bears witness to this, then according to Shariat of Islam his witness will not be accepted for the purity of those persons.

(Al Fasaah fi al-Imaamah, p. 71,   Talkhis al-Shaafi, vol. 3 p.241)

Tradition Through Abdullah Ibn Umar

Tabaraani has narrated from Ahmed Ibn Husain Ibn Abd al-Malik al-Qasri Moaddab from Hameed Ibn Yahya  from Sufyaan from Sufyaan Ibn Khumais from Habib Ibn Abi Thaabit from Abdillah Ibn Umar and he from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

(Al Mojam al Wast, Kanzul Ummal vol. 11 p. 645)

Sufyaan Ibn Aainia is among the narrators of this tradition and he is from the ‘Ahl Tadlees’ and among its narrators is Habib Ibn Abi Thaabit, who according to Khuzaima and Ibn Habbaan, is among the  ‘Mudallis’.(Mudallis and Ahl Tadlees are transmitters known for cheating and deception. In such traditions when a transmitter narrates a tradition, he says – I have been informed by so and so, and he pretends as if he himself has heard the tradition from the original narrator, however it is not so, the reality is that he has just met the person but not heard the tradition from him or maybe he was his contemporary but not actually met him or something on those lines or it may be that from among the series of narrators, he eliminates the weak ones so that  the tradition  can be considered as an accepted tradition.

(Mizaan al-E’tedaal, vol. 2 p. 170, tradition No. 3,327, Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb vol. 1 p. 431)

Some Common Ambiguities And Objections Against The Tradition

There are many objections and ambiguities raised against the narration of the tradition of Asharah-e-Mubashsharah, some of which are cited below:

1.      The spread of such traditions only took off during the rule of Muawiya, that is, thirty years after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This raises questions about the truthfulness of the tradition.

During the rule of the earlier caliphs, the conditions were not suitable for the spread of such traditions. Thus, there is a high possibility that this tradition may be among those traditions which have been fabricated in the honour of some of the companions during Muawiyah’s reign.

2.      It is really surprising that even though Bukhari and Muslim have defended the companions with all the zeal and enthusiasm at their disposal, they have not quoted this and similar traditions. If this tradition had a correct chain of narrators, then they would have certainly quoted it.

3.      Even more surprising is that Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas has said that he has not heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) say about any living person on earth expect Abdullah Ibn Salaam that he is from the people of Paradise.  The moot question is, ‘How is it possible that such a tradition was hidden from Saad Ibn Abi Waqqaas when he himself was among the ten companions mentioned in the tradition of Asharah-e-Mubashsharah?’

(Musnad-o-Ahmed vol. 1 p. 177, Taarikh-o-Dimishq vol. 7 p. 449, Al-Isaabah vol. 4 p. 81)

4.      How can this tradition be accepted when among the ten people mentioned in the tradition some of them consider shedding blood of the other as lawful? Were not Talhah and Zubair staunch opponents of Usman? Was it not that these two along with Ayesha made a grand plan to instigate against Usman and encouraged the Muslims to kill him?

Why Umar Ibn Khattab threatened to kill the six members of the Consultative Council (Shooraa) whereas all of them are present among the ten mentioned in the tradition of ‘Asharah-e-Mubashsharah’?

Also Talhah and Zubair fought against Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) in the Battle of Jamal. Obviously, one of them is right and other is in the wrong and will go to Hell for opposing a person of Paradise. But this tradition maintains both are from Paradise.

However, when it comes to Usman’s murderers – who were also Muslims, including companions, the Muslims maintain that the killers have committed a crime by murdering Usman, who was assured Paradise. 

5.      This tradition is even against the intellect that – how is it possible to assure Paradise to individuals who were prone to making mistakes and errors and were as fallible as other Muslims.  Had they been infallible, they would have merited Paradise but that is not the case.

(Al Afsaah fee Al Imaamah p. 71, 72, Talkhis Al Shaafi vol. 3 p. 241)

6.      Looking from the viewpoint of practical application of this narration, there are obvious flaws. None of the three caliphs at any instance have advanced this tradition for their benefit or to prove their superiority. Abu Bakr did not use it in Saqifah which was the most opportune situation. And when Usman was besieged he did not use this tradition to prove his superiority when it was the most suitable moment and might have well saved his life. Is it not that the people of Paradise should be protected at all cost? This is another proof of this tradition being a fabrication. If this tradition is saheeh/correct then why was it that Usman Ibn Affan’s dead body was left for three days in the garbage until some people of his tribe came and buried him in the graveyard of the Jews which was only surrounded by four walls and named ‘Hashsha Kawkab’? This did not suffice them. They stoned Usman’s corpse and even his funeral prayers were not recited.

(Taarikh-e-Tabari vol. 5 p. 143-144, al-Istiaab)

7.      If this tradition is saheeh/correct, then these personalities should have been satisfied with the mercy and forgiveness from Allah’s side since the noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had given them glad tidings of being the people of Paradise. However, when we go through traditions we see Abu Bakr despairing at the time of death of what was to follow in the hereafter. Umar was just as distressed at the time of his death and was heard saying that he wished he was clay and that his mother had not given birth to him so that he would have got deliverance from his deeds. In the same way, when Usman was besieged he was screaming and lamenting whereas according to the tradition of ‘Asharah-e-Mubashsharah’ he should have remained content in view of impending salvation.

8.      The narration of Asharah-e-Mubashsharah makes no mention of other individuals who are even more certain of entering Paradise like Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.), who according to the most reliable traditions from Ahle Tasannun and Shia sources, are the Chiefs of the Youths of Paradise. The two sons of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) are conspicuous by their absence.

About Those Who Fabricate Traditions

With such fabricated traditions poisoning the belief of Muslims, it is pertinent to study the implications of such forgery on the authority of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) warned: One who knowingly attributes a lie to me, he should know his  place is in hell.

(Sunan-o-Ibn Maajaah, vol. 1 pp. 13, 14)

In another tradition, it is narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed: One who attributes something to me which I have not said, then he should see his place in hell.

(Sunan-o-Ibn Maajaah vol. 1 pp. 13, 14)

Similarly, it is narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: Do not attribute lie to me because attributing lie to me is a cause of entering hellfire.

(Sunan-o-IbnMaajaa vol. 1 p. 13)

Likewise, it has been narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: One who quotes a tradition from me while he knows that it is a lie then he is one of the liars.

(Sunan-o-Ibn Maajaah vol. 1 pp. 14, 15)

Suyuti says – I have not found any sin greater than attributing a lie to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The followers of Sunnah will attribute disbelief to a person who commits this sin. And that is the reason Shaikh Muhammad Juwaini who is from among our companions has said: One who purposely attributes a lie to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has disbelieved and hence is outside the realm of Islam. A group of scholars like Imam Nasiruddin Albaani has followed him in this view and all this is proof that to attribute a lie to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is among the biggest greater sins because according to the Sunni school, no sin from among the greater sin leads to disbelief.

(Tahzeer al Khawaas p. 21)

He, Nawavi and others have narrated that to attribute a lie to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is among the greater sins.

(Al Khasaaes al Kubra, vol. 2 p. 254)

[1]      Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb vol. 3 p. 471

[2]      Mizaan al-E’tedaal vol. 2 p. 432

[3]      Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, vol. 1 p. 472

[4]      Usool al-Sarakhsi, vol. 1 p. 370

[5]      Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, vol. 5 p. 585

[6]      Mustadrak al-Haakim vol. 3 p. 316

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