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What is the status of this hadith?

From Abi Umamah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

مَا ضَلَّ قَوْمٌ بَعْدَ هُدًى كَانُوا عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا أُوتُوا الجَدَلَ

“No people go astray after having followed right guidance, but those who indulge in disputes,”

Sunan al-Tirmizi (3176) and Sunan Ibn Majah (47)


Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Actually, we have answered this question previously in a Q&A session in JKR surau. This hadith is stated by Imam al-Ghazali in his books such as al-Ihya’ and al-Minhaj. Hence, we detailed the matters as follows:

The Status of the Hadith

The following are scholars’ opinions regarding the hadith:

  • Imam al-Tirmizi stated in his sunan that the hadith is hasan sahih
  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said the hadith is sahih.(See: Hidayah al-Ruwwah ila Takhrij Ahadith al-Masabih wa al-Mishkah, 1/138)
  • Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haithami stated the hadith is sahih (authentic). (See: al-Zawajir ‘an Iqtiraf al-Kabair, 1/202)
  • Al-Albani ruled the hadith as (See: Sahih al-Tirmizi, 7/253)

According to the above opinions of scholars, we are inclined to state that the hadith is hasan.

Meaning of the Hadith

The above hadith means that a group of people who are guided will never be led astray unless if they are those who love to argue. What is meant as argue is when a person leaves the right path (guidance) and choose the deviant path, where they are those who love to argue (on matters of falsehood). Al-Qadhi said, the hadith meant to describe those who are obsess in promoting unrecognized madhab or deviant faith, not arguing in order to uncover the truth, learning or teaching others according to his knowledge, for all of these is included as communal obligation and not in the context of the hadith. (See: Faidh al-Qadir, 5/453)

Fiqh al-Hadith

Among fiqh al-Hadith that can be taken from the above hadith:

  • We should always follow the road of guidance which is the true path.
  • Arguing in falsehood will distance oneself from the truth.
  • Obsession is an attribute that is against the teachings of Islam.
  • Arguing or debating in order to uncover the truth is permissible.
  • Although it is permissible to have debates in Islam, it must be done in a harmonious way, being mindful of one’s manners and without any prejudice and enmity.


To conclude, we should always maintain our behaviour and character when we are debating or arguing. We should also avoid arguing in matters of falsehood as stated above. Here, we include the words of Imam al-Syafi’e RA:

مَا جَادَلْتُ أَحَدًا إِلَّا تَمَنَّيْتُ أَنْ يُظْهِرَ اللهُ الْحَقَّ عَلَى لِسَانِهِ دُوْنِيْ

“I will not argue with anyone but with hopes that Allah SWT reveal the truth from the other person rather than from myself.”

مَا نَاظَرْتُ أَحَدًا قَطُّ عَلَى الْغَلَبَةِ

“I never engage in a debate with the purpose of victory.”

Lastly, may Allah SWT protect our tongues and ourselves from transgressions and sins.