Why does the Hadith about loving the Prophet ﷺ more than all mankind mention only the father (Sahih al-Bukhari, 15)?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

The word used in the Hadith about loving the Prophet ﷺ can include both father and mother, according to Imam Ali al-Qari as mentioned in his Mirqaat al-Mafateeh.

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ «لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ، حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَالِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ»

(Sayidina) Anas  narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘None of you (truly) believe until I am more beloved to him than his parents, children and all of mankind.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 15).

In the Hadith above the word وَالِدِهِ (Walidihi) can be literally translated as ‘his father.’ However, in this context it is also acceptable to consider it to mean both parents, as explained by Imam Ali al-Qari below. Therefore, the Hadith does not necessarily say father not mother, or father alone. Rather a word is used that may include both.

 (مِنْ وَالِدِهِ) أَيْ: أَبِيهِ، وَخُصَّ عَنِ الْأُمِّ لِأَنَّهُ أَشْرَفُ، فَمَحَبَّتُهُ أَعْظَمُ، أَوِ الْمُرَادُ بِهِ مَا يَشْمَلُهُمَا، وَهُوَ وَوَالِدِهِ. (وَوَلَدِهِ) أَيِ الذَّكَرِ وَالْأُنْثَى. (مرقاة المفاتيح).

Min Walidihi, meaning his father. He has been specified rather than the mother due to his nobility and greater love. Or it is intended to include both of them (mother and father). And his child, includes male and female. (Imam Ali al-Qari, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

It is important to understand that learning through Q and A  is considered to be supplementary learning and cannot replace formal studies. It is very useful for those who engage in studying the Islamic sciences, because it clarifies issues they have learned, and also helps them contextualise learning.

However, people who have not studied, may misunderstand answers because they do not understand the framework in which the answer is given. They may have limited knowledge of related issues which contextualise the answer. They may be unaware of conditions and restrictions applied to the answer.

Such individuals need to understand that Q&A can be a useful insight into religious issues but it cannot replace formal learning. Alhamdulillah, there are many opportunities to learn in our time, every Muslim should engage in some means of studying the Islamic sciences. Whether it is online or in person, it is of fundamental importance to one’s religious well-being to complete a study of the obligatory sciences  in Islam.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (02.09.2021)

See also:

Naming someone Abd al-Nabi

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