Is the Hadith, “I was a hidden treasure that was unknown…”, authentic?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

The Hadith, “I was a hidden treasure…”, is fabricated (Mawdu) or baseless (La Asl Lahu) according to many scholars of Hadith, including Imams al-Suyuti and Ali al-Qari.

It is prohibited to attribute a fabricated or baseless Hadith to Allah (Most High) or His Messenger ﷺ. It is only permitted to mention such narrations to warn people about them. It must not be promoted or propagated. If a scholar has quoted it in his book, then it is a mistake which later scholars will point out. The Ummah does not agree upon misguidance.

The narration in the question has been identified as fabricated or baseless by many classical scholars. Therefore one must not attribute it to Allah (Most High) or His Messenger (peace be upon him). Rather one should strive to warn people against it.

(حديث) “كُنْتُ كُنْزاً لاَ أُعْرَفُ فَأَحْبَبْتُ أَنْ أُعْرَفَ، فَخَلَقْتُ خَلْقاَ فَعَرَّفْتُهُمْ بِي فَعَرَفُونِي” لا أصل له. (الدرر المنتثرة في الأحاديث المشتهرة).

The Hadith, I was a hidden treasure that was unknown. And I loved to be known, so I created the creation. I gave them knowledge of myself, so they came to know me. (The Hadith) is baseless. (Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Sayuti, al-Durar al-Manthoorah).  

حَدِيثُ كُنْتُ كَنْزًا لَا أُعْرَفُ فَأَحْبَبْتُ أَنْ أُعْرَفَ فَخَلَقْتُ خَلْقًا فَعَرَّفْتُهُمْ بِي فَعَرَفُونِي نَصَّ الْحُفَّاظُ كَابْنِ تَيْمِيَّةَ وَالزَّرْكَشِيِّ وَالسَّخَاوِيِّ عَلَى أَنَّهُ لَا أَصْلَ لَهُ. (المصنوع في معرفة الحديث الموضوع. الموضوعات الصغرى).

The Hadith, I was a hidden treasure that was unknown. And I loved to be known, so I created the creation. I gave them knowledge of myself, so they came to know me. (The Hadith) is baseless according to the explicit statements of Hufaadh like, Ibn Taymiyah, al-Zarkashi and al-Sakhaawi. (Imam Ali bin Sultan al-Qari, al-Mowdo’aat al-Sughraa). 

Many other scholars referred to this Hadith as baseless (La Asla Lahu) or fabricated (Mowdu), please see:

  • Al-Ghumaaz ala al-Lumaaz, Imam Noorud-deen al-Samhoodi
  • Tanzeeh al-Shariah, Imam Ibn Araaq al-Kanani
  • Tadhkiratu al-Mowdo’aat and Majma Bihaar al-Anwaar, Imam Muhammad bin Tahir al-Fatani

It is important to recognise that the onus is upon people narrating Hadith to reference them correctly. If they do not do so, then it should be requested of them. A failure to adhere to such practices has resulted in many dubious Hadith narrations spreading in the community.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ كَذِبًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِعَ

(Sayidina) Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘It is enough of a lie for a person to narrate everything that he hears.’ (Sahih Muslim, Chapter 3, Prohibition of Narrating Everything One Hears).

In the Hadith above the Holy Prophet ﷺ emphasises the importance of not simply repeating everything one hears. Rather one must verify. This is even more important when the narration one is disseminating is attributed to Allah (Most High) or His Messenger ﷺ.

In reality, we should not have to remind people of such teachings. Since our love and concern for our religion should be sufficient to make us incredibly protective regarding anything attributed to it. Strangely, we often find those who speak most about the Deen demonstrate the least care regarding the authenticity of what they are narrating.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (12.11.2021)

See also:

Narrating Hadith Without Reference

Referencing Hadith Correctly

What do the different Hadith classification terms mean?

See also (video):