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IRSYAD AL-HADITH SERIES 181: REFUSING TO BE IMAM

IrsyadHadith #181.png

 

Question:

What is the status of this hadith?

مِنْ عَلامَةِ السَّاعَةِ التَّدَافُعُ عَنِ الإِمَامَةِ

“Among the signs of the Last Hour is when people are refusing to be imam.”

Answer:

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.

According to the above hadith, we did not find any hadith with the same text in muktabar (renown and acknowledged) hadith books such as kutub sittah. However, we did find the hadith in the books that gather fake hadiths. Among the scholars that commented on the hadith are:

  • Syeikh Mulla Ali al-Qari said that it is not a hadith. (See: al-Masnu’ Fi Ma’rifah al-Hadith al-Maudhu’, 196)
  • Syeikh al-Qauqaji said that it is not a hadith. (See: al-Lu’lu’ al-Marshu’, 203)

After analysing the opinion of scholars, we would like to state that the above saying is not a hadith and it is prohibited for us to claim that it is from the Prophet PBUH. The reason is, claiming something is from the Prophet PBUH when in fact it isn’t is a lie on the Prophet PBUH’s name.

Furthermore, Syeikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah explained in his commentary of the hadith stating that when a man is asked to be an imam, he refuses to do so. Then, when another person is asked to be the imam, he also refuses and so on.

However, there is another hadith that has a similar meaning with the above hadith, as stated in Sunan Abi Daud in chapter “It Is Disliked to Refuse the Position of Imam”:

  • From Salamah binti al-Hur al-Fazariyy, she said she heard the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ مِنْ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ أَنْ يَتَدَافَعَ أَهْلُ الْمَسْجِدِ لَا يَجِدُونَ إِمَامًا يُصَلِّي بِهِمْ

“One of the signs of the Last Hour will be that people in a mosque will refuse to act as imam and will not find an imam to lead them in prayer.”

Sunan Abu Daud (581) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arnouth stated that the hadith is dhaif (weak) because two of its narrators, Ummu Ghurab and Aqilah are majhul/unknown]

Furthermore, in Sunan Ibn Majah there is another hadith that carries the similar meaning with the above hadith:

  • From Salamah binti al-Hur al-Fazariyy RA, she said she heard the Prophet PBUH said:

يَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ يَقُومُونَ سَاعَةً، لَا يَجِدُونَ إِمَامًا يُصَلِّي بِهِمْ

“A time will come when the people will stand for a long time and will not be able to find any Imam to lead them in prayer.”

Sunan Ibn Majah (982) and Musnad Ahmad (27137) [Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arnaouth stated the hadith is dhaif (weak)]

In ‘Aun al-Ma’bud, it is stated that what is meant by refusing to be the imam is when everyone in a mosque refuse to be the imam claiming that he is not competent, for he did not learn the basics needed to be the imam as stated by al-Thibi. Or people in a mosque are pushing each other to the front or mihrab to be the imam and they refused for they did not have the knowledge of it. (See: ‘Aun al-Ma’bud, 203/2)

Conclusion

To conclude, the position of imam is an honour in Islam. This is stated in Jami’ al-Tirmizi:

  • From Abdullah bin Umar RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

ثَلَاثَةٌ عَلَى كُثْبَانِ المِسْكِ ـ أُرَاهُ قَالَ ـ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ: عَبْدٌ أَدَّى حَقَّ اللَّهِ وَحَقَّ مَوَالِيهِ، وَرَجُلٌ أَمَّ قَوْمًا وَهُمْ بِهِ رَاضُونَ، وَرَجُلٌ يُنَادِي بِالصَّلَوَاتِ الخَمْسِ فِي كُلِّ يَوْمٍ وَلَيْلَةٍ

"There shall be upon dunes of musk- I think he said: On the Day of Judgment- a slave who fulfils Allah's right and the right of his patron (master), a man who leads a people (in prayer)) and they are pleased with him. And a man who calls for the five prayers during every day and night."

Sunan al-Tirmizi (1986) and (2566) [imam al-Tirmizi stated that the hadith is hasan gharib]

Hence, an imam should be someone who is responsible and trustworthy. Furthermore, an imam must prepare himself with ample religious knowledge. Lastly, let us all avoid this attitude (refusing to be the imam) and may Allah SWT guide and bless us. Amin.

Wallahua’lam.


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