1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet
All hadiths in the database consulted are one paragraph. For readability, lengthy hadiths are broken into short paragraphs. Any text in a hadith contained within round brackets () is that of the translator unless in italics. Except for paragraph breaks and the correction of obvious typos, the hadiths are presented as is.
Hadiths referenced are from the Sunni cannon. Collections: Sahih Al-Bukhari translated by M. Mohsin Khan, Sahih Muslim translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, Sunan Abu-Dawud translated by Prof. Ahmad Hasan and Malik's Muwatta translated by Aisha Abdarahman at-Tarjumana and Yaqub Johnson.
Hadiths (or hadith, in English academic usage hadith is often both singular and plural) are mostly hearsay evidence of what the Prophet Muhammad said and did, including his silent approval of actions taken in his presence or of which he was aware but did not object.
... Umar then came forward, and when he had asked and had been granted permission he found the Prophet sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He told that he decided to say something which would make the Prophet laugh, so he said, "Messenger of God, I wish you had seen the daughter of Kharija when she asked me for extra money and I got up and slapped her on the neck."
God's messenger laughed and said, "They are around me as you see asking for extra money."
Abu Bakr then got up, went to Aisha and slapped her on the neck, and Umar did the same to Hafsa ...
Sahih Muslim 9.3506
Aisha was the daughter of Abu Bakr, and Hafsa the daughter of Umar. Abu Bakr would succeed the Prophet. His short rein as the first caliph would be followed by the caliphate of Umar.
Hadiths, which are often referred to as Traditions of the Prophet, are the second holiest scriptures in Islam after the Koran and are an integral part of Islamic law i.e. the Sharia. For example, the Koran in revelation 4:34 grants the husband the right to beat his wife, but it is a saying of the Prophet which pretty much guarantees the wife-beater immunity from prosecution.
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.
Abu Dawud 11.2142
Does it matter that the Prophet said she should not be beaten about the head?
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "If somebody fights (or beats somebody) then he should avoid the face."
Karen Armstrong, former nun and unabashed fan of the Prophet, in Islam, A Short History, explains why hadiths were made necessary and how they transformed Islam..
The Quran contains very little legislation, and what laws there were had been designed for a much simpler society. So some of the jurists began to collect reports about the Prophet and his companions to find out how they had behaved in a given situation … Thus they believed they would gain true ilm, knowledge of what was right and how to behave. (p.49)
... the Prophet, the Perfect Man, became the person to imitate. By imitating the smallest details of his external life and by reproducing the way he ate, washed, loved, spoke and prayed, Muslims hoped to acquire his interior attitude of perfect surrender to God. (p. 60)
Most hadiths were collected approximately 200 years after the Prophet's passing by men who travelled the land asking people, who may have known of people, who knew of people who were contemporaries of the Prophet and recorded what they remembered the last person in the chain telling them of what God's Messenger said and did, or did not do.
The task of collecting and classifying the hadiths was mostly completed by the end of the 9th century. A fatwa was issued declaring that all the knowledge about the nature of existence and whatever information humanity needed to know to conduct its affairs as God intended was in the Koran and the sanctioned collections of hadiths to which no further hadiths could be added.
The Pseudo-Science of Hadith Authentication
Sunni Islam considers the hadiths collected by six men – al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, At-Tirmidi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood and An-Nisa’i – as the “six canonical collections.” Al-Bukhari's collection of 7,275 hadiths is considered the most authoritative. All of Bukhari’s (d. 870) and Imam Muslim’s (d. 875) hadiths are considered to be authentic (sahih) by Sunnis.
Shiites consider the recollections of the Companions of the Prophet suspect because they voted Abu Bakr, a good friend of the Prophet to whom he had given his nine old daughter Aisha in marriage, his successor when God’s Messenger passed away instead of Ali, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law. It is said that Ali was busy arranging his father-in-law's funeral when the vote was taken which is why he was overlooked.
Shiites have developed their own books of hadiths which are largely based on what members of the “House of the Prophet” reported; that would be the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, Ali, and Ali’s two sons, Hassan and Hussein.
Bukhari’s hadiths are accepted as authentic without question because, in part, he is said to have collected over 600,000 and kept only approximately one percent as valid, therefore his scholarship in weeding out nonsense, erroneous recollections and outright lies is assumed to be beyond reproach.
In collecting, more than a thousand years ago, recollections of what the Prophet said and did, or did not do, unproven assumptions were the rule, not the exception (by Western standards, assumptions are unproven by definition); assumptions that, along with the Koran, became the unalterable foundation of Islamic Law.
In deciding that Bukhari's collection of hadiths was of unimpeachable quality, another assumption was made: that none of it contradicted the Koran. What to make of hadiths, such as the following, which appear to contradict the Koran as to where the sun disappears at night?
Narrated Abu Dhar:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes [at the time of sunset]?"
I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better."
He said, ‘It goes till it prostrates itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then [a time will come when] it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west.
And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: 'And the sun runs its fixed course for a term [decreed]. That is The Decree of [Allah] The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.’"
The Koran is unequivocal, the sun disappears in a sea of mud on which a flat earth appears to float and re-emerges the next morning on the other side.
18:86 Then, when he (Alexander the Great) reached the setting-place of the sun, he found that it sets in a spring of black mud and found, by it, a people. We said: “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish them or show them kindness.”
Hadiths being hearsay evidence collected over two centuries after the Prophet’s passing cannot be expected to have the clarity and easy to follow structure of verses from the Koran.
The process by which the strength or weakness of a hadith is arrived at is considered the Science of Hadith. The process, which involves the weighing of hearsay evidence to establish a level of credibility, has little in common with the type of empirical proof required in the physical sciences.
What Islam considers a scientific method (as opposed to a methodology) of ascertaining whether a hadith is genuine usually begins with ensuring that the hadith does not contradict the Koran, that would be like the Prophet refuting God (a reputable scholar of Islam, I am sure, could explain the apparent contradiction about where the sun sets).
With the possible exception of a Mutawatir hadith (see explanation which follows), one of the narrators, of a reputable chain of narrators, had to have heard or seen the Prophet in action. An example of a hadith received by way of Abu Al Nauman, who said he heard it from Said ibn Zayd, who said he heard it from Ali ibn Zayd, who said he heard it from Jabir ibn Abdullah, that the Prophet said: "Whoever has three daughters, cares and provides for them, and shows them mercy, will enter Paradise."
A Mutawatir hadith is a saying or story remembered by a sufficient number of people to be considered sahih. The rational being, that a large number of people reporting the same thing could not be "expected to agree upon a lie". An example is the story told by the Prophet about the coming of the Mahdi, the "prophesied redeemer of Islam" Wiki.
The Mahdi, a man named Muhammad b. `Abdullah and a descendant of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) through Fatimah [his daughter], who will be the Leader (Imam, Khalifah) of the Muslims, rule for seven years and fill the world with justice and equity after it had been filled with tyranny and oppression. He will also fight the Dajjal along with Jesus son of Mary ...
The Concept of the Mahdi among the Ahl al-Sunnah (Sunnis) [has the support of] 69 later scholars who wrote in support of the concept, compared to 8 scholars who rejected the idea. The hadith prophesying the Dajjal (False Christ), a one-eyed man who will have miraculous powers and will be followed by the Jews, and the return of Jesus Christ son of Mary (peace be upon them), who will descend in Damascus and pray behind the Mahdi, kill the Dajjal at the gate of Lod in Palestine, break the Cross, kill the Pig, marry and have children and live for forty years before dying a natural death, are Mutawatir in meaning.
The Mahdi in a hadith:
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead a prominent nose. He will fill the earth will equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years."
Abu Dawud 36.4272
A authenticated hadith (sahih) or good (hasan) in Islam is a legal precedent if it does not contradict the Koran and can be traced, as mentioned earlier, to a witness (often referred to as Companions of the Prophet) of what the Prophet said or did, or did not do, via a chain of reliable transmitters.
Even if the narrator of a hadith is unsure of where and when he heard it, it can still be considered authentic (Id ul fitr in the following hadiths is the festival which marks the end of Ramadan; Id ul Adha commemorates the end of the Hajj).
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
On Id ul fitr or Id ul Adha Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, "O people! Give alms." Then he went towards the women and said. "O women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women)."
The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the reason for it?"
"He replied, "O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious wise man astray."
Then he left. And when he reached his house, Zainab, the wife of Ibn Masud, came and asked permission to enter.
It was said, "O Allah's Apostle! It is Zainab."
He asked, 'Which Zainab?"
The reply was that she was the wife of Ibn Mas'ub.
He said, "Yes, allow her to enter."
And she was admitted. Then she said, "O Prophet of Allah! Today you ordered people to give alms and I had an ornament and intended to give it as alms, but Ibn Masud said that he and his children deserved it more than anybody else."
The Prophet replied, "Ibn Masud had spoken the truth. Your husband and your children had more right to it than anybody else."
A weak (dhaeef) hadith is one where there is a break in the chain of transmitters and/or the integrity of the narrator(s) is suspect; or not enough people remember hearing about it. A weak hadith can still be considered a legal precedent depending on the circumstances and the school of Islamic law.
If the chain of narrators through the pseudo-science of hadith authentication is judged to be reliable then, what was reported by a Companion of the Prophet is considered beyond reproach; the scholarship ends with the first person to claim to have heard it from one of the Companions of the Prophet.
It could not be any other way. To question what any of the Companions of the Prophet said they heard God's Messenger preach is to question the very validity of basing a legal system on immutable precedents derived from hearsay evidence about what someone said and did two hundred years earlier.
It is not always clear, to the layperson, what precedents can be found in many convoluted hadiths. An example:
Narrated Abu Humaid As-Sa'idi:
We took part in the holy battle of Tabuk in the company of the Prophet and when we arrived at the Wadi-al-Qura, there was a woman in her garden.
The Prophet asked his companions to estimate the amount of the fruits in the garden, and Allah's Apostle estimated it at ten Awsuq (One Wasaq = 60 Sa's) and 1 Sa'= 3 kg. approximately).
The Prophet said to that lady, "Check what your garden will yield."
When we reached Tabuk, the Prophet said, "There will be a strong wind tonight and so no one should stand and whoever has a camel, should fasten it." So we fastened our camels.
A strong wind blew at night and a man stood up and he was blown away to a mountain called Taiy,
The King of Aila sent a white mule and a sheet for wearing to the Prophet as a present, and wrote to the Prophet that his people would stay in their place (and will pay Jizya taxation.)
When the Prophet reached Wadi-al-Qura he asked that woman how much her garden had yielded. She said, "Ten Awsuq," and that was what Allah's Apostle had estimated.
Then the Prophet said, "I want to reach Medina quickly, and whoever among you wants to accompany me, should hurry up."
The sub-narrator Ibn Bakkar said something which meant: When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) saw Medina he said, "This is Taba." And when he saw the mountain of Uhud, he said, "This mountain loves us and we love it. Shall I tell you of the best amongst the Ansar (i.e. helpers, people of Medina who assisted the Muslims who fled Mecca)?"
They replied in the affirmative.
He said, "The family of Bani-n-Najjar, and then the family of Bani Sa'ida or Bani Al-Harith bin Al-Khazraj. (The above-mentioned are the best) but there is goodness in all the families of Ansar."
Crime and Punishment
The Koran usually sets the punishment, with the sayings of God’s Messenger filling in the details. For example Allah said in revelation 17:33 “ … Whoever is killed unjustly, We have given his heir the power [to demand satisfaction]; but let him not exceed the limit in slaying, for he will be the victor”.
Satisfaction does not have to be in the form of a murder for a murder if the family of the deceased is willing to accept monetary compensation for the loss of a loved one, which the Prophet set at a maximum of 100 camels.
And intentional murder shall be punished according to talion law (Law of Retaliation); where the murderess intention is not clear and the victim is killed using a club or a stone it will cost the perpetrator one hundred camels as blood money. Whoever demands more is a man from the time of ignorance.
From a translation of the Prophet’s last sermon by Islamic scholar and author Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah’s [1908-2002]
Another case in point, it is the Prophet who established the threshold at which Allah’s horrific punishment for stealing is to be applied.
The Prophet said, "The hand should be cut off for stealing something that is worth a quarter of a Dinar or more."
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah curses the thief who steals an egg (or a helmet) for which his hand is to be cut off, or steals a rope, for which his hand is to be cut off."
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
The Prophet cut off the hand of a thief for stealing a shield that was worth three Dirhams.
The most glaring and pitiful exception to the Koran setting the punishment and God's Messenger setting the threshold is the stoning of women, which, as narrated by Ali the fourth Caliph (Leader of the Believers) is a tradition established by his father-in-law.
Narrated Ash-Sha'bi, from Ali when the latter stoned a lady to death on a Friday:
Ali said, "I have stoned her according to the tradition of Allah's Apostle."
The second caliph Umar said that a revelation demanding the stoning of women guilty of illegal intercourse had been received but had been lost. If you believe Umar, then Allah’s Messenger was just doing what he had been told.
Prosecutor and Judge
An example from the Prophet on the conduct of a trial:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
A girl wearing ornaments, went out at Medina. Somebody struck her with a stone. She was brought to the Prophet while she was still alive.
Allah's Apostle asked her, "Did such-and-such a person strike you?"
She raised her head, denying that.
He asked her a second time, saying, "Did so-and-so strike you?"
She raised her head, denying that.
He said for the third time, "Did so-and-so strike you?"
She lowered her head, agreeing. Allah's Apostle then sent for the killer and killed him between two stones.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
A Jew crushed the head of a girl between two stones, and the girl was asked, "Who has done that to you, so-and-so or so and so?" (Some names were mentioned for her) till the name of that Jew was mentioned (whereupon she agreed). The Jew was brought to the Prophet and the Prophet kept on questioning him till he confessed, whereupon his head was crushed with stones.
One of the most quoted narrator as to why he memorized, then repeated what the Prophet said.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
People say that I have narrated many Hadiths (The Prophet's narrations). Had it not been for two verses in the Qur'an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: "Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down . . . (up to) Most Merciful." (2:159-160).
And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business (bargains) and our Ansari (people of Medina) brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Huraira) used to stick to Allah's Apostle contented with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize.
Abu Huraira did not always have a good memory.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I said to Allah's Apostle "I hear many narrations (Hadiths) from you but I forget them."
Allah's Apostle said, "Spread your Rida' (garment)."
I did accordingly and then he moved his hands as if filling them with something (and emptied them in my Rida') and then said, "Take and wrap this sheet over your body."
I did it and after that I never forgot anything.
Abu Huraira felt it was his duty as a believer to spread the truth and the truth is also very much what he and I are all about.
The hadiths of the Sunni canon and the Shia collection are meant, in no particular order: to provide a rebuttal of empirical i.e. fact based history, an alternative scriptural history, a personal history, to fill in the blanks left by Allah, reinforce i.e. amplify what is written in the Koran, clarify God’s intent, add to God's laws where necessary and, last but not least, provide a living example in the person of the Prophet, the embodiment of the perfect human being, as to how to worship God and to live as He intended.
You could not call yourself a Prophet if you did not make prophecies. Most of what God's Messenger had to say about the future have to do with the portents of the End Times and what will take place on Judgement Day with a scattering of predictions of a more personal nature, the majority surrounding his death. Like most prophecies that are said to have come to pass, a flexible interpretation by those who believe is a prerequisite to their validation.
Some of the wives of the Prophet asked him, "Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?"
He said, "Whoever has the longest hand."
So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda's hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of 'Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Muawiya).
Except for a few dozen hadiths, from Sahih Muslim mostly, it is mainly those of the greatest collector of them all, Bukhari, that you will find here.
Like in the Koran, but to an even greater degree, there is a tremendous amount of duplication in the hadiths, with mostly minor variations. The 901 sayings and deeds of the Prophet are more than representative of what the Prophet said and did.
As you read the hadiths in 901 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet Muhammad keep in mind that it is crime under Islamic Law not to believe that whatever the Prophet said or did in authenticated hadiths, which are the only kind presented here, is the truth and nothing but the truth!
Allah said "kill them wherever you find them." An uncomfortable truth about the hadiths is the normalcy they bring to "killing them wherever you find them".
Narrated Jarir bin Abdullah:
Allah's Apostle has never refused to admit me since I embraced Islam, and whenever he saw me, he would smile.
(In another narration) Jarir bin 'Abdullah narrated: There was a house called Dhul-Khalasa (a rival to the Prophet's Ka'ba in Mecca) in the Pre-lslamic Period and it was also called Al-Ka'ba Al-Yamaniya or Al-Ka'ba Ash-Shamiya. Allah's Apostle said to me, "Will you relieve me from Dhul-Khalasa?"
So I left for it with 150 cavalrymen from the tribe of Ahmas and then we destroyed it and killed whoever we found there. Then we came to the Prophet and informed him about it. He invoked good upon us and upon the tribe of Ahmas.
The late Ayatollah Khomeini is quoted as saying “There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” What you are about to read, like Allah’s revelations, is serious stuff. Any humour in a hadith is undoubtedly unintended and may only bring a smile to your lips and no one else.
Narrated Imran bin Husain:
I went to the Prophet and tied my she-camel at the gate. The people of Bani Tamim came to the Prophet who said "O Bani Tamim! Accept the good tidings."
They said twice, "You have given us the good tidings, now give us something"
Then some Yemenites came to him and he said, "Accept the good tidings, O people of Yemem, for Bani Tamim refused them."
They said, "We accept it, O Allah's Apostle! We have come to ask you about this matter (i.e. the start of creations)."
He said, "First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth."
Then a man shouted, "O Ibn Husain! Your she-camel has gone away!"
So, I went away and could not see the she-camel because of the mirage.
By Allah, I wished I had left that she-camel (but not that gathering).