What is the status of a hadith which states that whoever glorifies his teacher is the same as glorifying his God?
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.
The Text (matan) of the Hadith
Narrated by Aishah RA, it is recorded that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ وَقَّرَ عَالِمًا فَقَدْ وَقَّرَ رَبَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
“Whoever glorifies a scholar, then he has glorified his God,”
The Ruling of the Hadith
Among the scholars who evaluated the hadith:
- Imam al-Zahabi stated that in the chain of narrators (sanad) of this hadith, there is al-Hakam bin Abdullah who are criticized by the scholars (tajrih). Among them, Imam Bukhari stated that all of his hadith is fake and his narration is abandoned. [Refer: Mizan al-I’tidal, 572/1]
- Imam Ibn ‘Arraq view this hadith as fabricated in his book. [Refer: Tanzih al-Syariah, 274/1]
In our opinion, the above hadith is fabricated and cannot ever be said as a narration of the Prophet PBUH. However, the meaning of the hadith is true and does not contradict with what is taught in this religion. This is in accordance with the Allah SWT’s saying:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّـهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
“Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge,”
Surah Fathir (28)
Furthermore, we include some texts of popular hadith which are narrated from the Prophet PBUH regarding glorifying scholars and those with knowledge:
مَنْ أَكْرَمَ عَالِمًا فَقَدْ أَكْرَمَ سَبْعِيْنَ نَبِيًّا
“Whoever glorifies those with knowledge/scholars, then he has glorified 70 prophets”
- Imam Ibn al-Jauzi stated this hadith as not an authentic narration from the Prophet PBUH because there is a narrator named Muhammad bin Amir. Yahya bin Ma’in said that the scholars are still sifting and evaluating his hadith. [Refer: al-‘Ilal al-Mutanahiyah, 100/1]
- Imam Ibn ‘Arraq stated that he does not agree with Imam Ibn al-Jauzi who state that this hadith is weaken by Muhammad bin Amir. This is because, Muhammad bin Amir is one of the narrators for Sunan al-Arba’ah (Sunan Abi Dawud, Jami’ al-Tirmizi, Sunan al-Nasa’ie and Sunan Ibn Majah). For that, it is weak because of another person. Imam al-Zahabi said in Talkhis al-‘Ilal al-Mutanahiyah that this hadith is a fabrication of Abdulrahman bin Muhammad al-Balkhi. [Refer: Tanzih al-Syariah, 290/1]
From Jabir bin Abdillah RA, it is said the Prophet PBUH said:
أَكْرِمُوا الْعُلَمَاءَ فَإِنَّهُمْ وَرَثَةُ الأَنْبِيَاءِ فَمَنْ أَكْرَمَهُمْ فَقَدْ أَكْرَمَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ
“Honor the scholars for they are the heirs of the prophets. Whoever glorifies them, then he has glorified Allah and His Messenger.”
- Imam al-Jauzi state the hadith is not authentic. Imam Ibn ‘Adiy said: Narration of al-Dahhak is not accepted even when it is cited from thiqah (trustworthy) narrators for he is a munkar hadith (his narrations are rejected). His narration is munkar whether it is the text (matan) or sanad (chain of narrators). Imam Ibn Hibban said it is impermissible to use his hadith as evidence and other scholars have narrated another hadith stating that scholars are heirs of prophets with a good (salih) sanad. (See al-‘Ilal al-Mutanahiyah, 70/1)
- Imam al-Zaila’i said al-Dahhak bin Hajwah is one of the narrators and Imam Ibn Hibban said that it is impermissible to use his in argument. Imam Ibn ‘Adiy said he is a munkar hadith and Imam al-Daraqutni said he is a hadith fabricator. (See Takhrij Ahadith al-Kasyaf, 10/3)
- Imam Ibn ‘Arraq said that the hadith from Jabir has a narrator named al-Dahhak bin Hajwah. In al-Mizan it is stated the hadith is from a disastrous person (al-Dahhak bin Hajwah).
Narrated by Abi Darda’ RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
وَإِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ
“Verily, the learned are the heirs of the Prophets”
[Sunan Abi Dawud 3641]
- Imam Ibn Hibban narrated this hadith in his Sahih. [Refer: Sahih Ibn Hibban, 289/1]
- Imam al-Sakhawi said that this hadith has its own syawahid in which each syawahid strengthens one another. [Refer: al-Maqasid al-Hasanah, 459]
- Imam Ibn al-Mulaqqin said that this hadith is sahih. It is narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, Abu Dawud in his Sunan, al-Tirmizi in his Jami’ and Abu Hatim bin Hibban in his Sahih from the narration of Abi Darda’ RA in marfu’ (the narration is linked to the Prophet PBUH). [Refer: al-Badr al-Munir, 587/7]
- Syeikh Syuaib al-Arna’outh upon doing the takhrij of this hadith said that it is hassan and comes with few syawahid (it is supported by other narrations) as explained in Musnad Imam Ahmad. While, the sanad of this hadith is weak (dhaif) due to Kathir bin Qais who is dhaif (weak). [Refer: Sunan Abi Dawud, 485/5]
These are some hadiths which are popular and well spread among our society these days. Here, we would like to state that we are inclined to say that the first and second hadith are so weak (dhaif) in the aspect of their sanad because they both contain narrators who are problematic and highly criticized by the scholars. Therefore, we cannot claim these two as the sayings of the Prophet PBUH. However, regarding the third or the last hadith, we would like to state that it is hassan with enough syawahid which strengthens one another.
In conclusion, there are many verses of the Quran and Sunnah which emphasize on the virtues of the learned or knowledgeable people as well as the virtues of those who give knowledge to others that we have mentioned in our past articles on the virtues of seeking knowledge. Before we end this article, we would like to share words of one of the prominent figures and a great imam in Islamic madhab:
- Imam al-Syafi’e RA said: “Seeking knowledge is prioritized than performing Sunnah worships”.
Lastly, may Allah SWT give us understanding in this religion as well as preserving our tongues from falsehoods in the name of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Ameen.