Is it true that Sayidina Umar asked Sayidina Ammar to take care when narrating Hadith?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Yes, it is true that Sayidina Umar asked Sayidina Ammar to take care when narrating Hadith. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim. If Sahabah who directly interacted with the Prophet ﷺ had to be careful with Hadith narrations, then it is even more important for us to verify Hadith before forwarding them.

عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبْزَى، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّ رَجُلًا أَتَى عُمَرَ، فَقَالَ: إِنِّي أَجْنَبْتُ فَلَمْ أَجِدْ مَاءً فَقَالَ: لَا تُصَلِّ. فَقَالَ عَمَّارٌ: أَمَا تَذْكُرُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، إِذْ أَنَا وَأَنْتَ فِي سَرِيَّةٍ فَأَجْنَبْنَا فَلَمْ نَجِدْ مَاءً، فَأَمَّا أَنْتَ فَلَمْ تُصَلِّ، وَأَمَّا أَنَا فَتَمَعَّكْتُ فِي التُّرَابِ وَصَلَّيْتُ، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّمَا كَانَ يَكْفِيكَ أَنْ تَضْرِبَ بِيَدَيْكَ الْأَرْضَ، ثُمَّ تَنْفُخَ، ثُمَّ تَمْسَحَ بِهِمَا وَجْهَكَ، وَكَفَّيْكَ» فَقَالَ عُمَرُ: ” اتَّقِ اللهَ يَا عَمَّارُ قَالَ: إِنْ شِئْتَ لَمْ أُحَدِّثْ بِهِ 

Saeed bin Abd al-Rahman bin Abza narrated on the authority of his father that a man came to (Sayidina) Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) and said, ‘I am impure (Janabah) but did not find water. He (Sayidina Umar) said, ‘Do not pray.’ (Sayidina) Ammar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) then said, ‘Do you remember, O Commander of the Faithful, when I and you were on a military expedition and we became impure but did not find water. You did not pray. But as for myself, I rolled in dust and then prayed. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘It was sufficient for you to strike the ground with your hands and then blow away (the excessive dust) and then wipe your face with them (your hands).’ (Sayidina) Umar said, ‘Fear Allah O Ammar.’ He (Sayidina Ammar) said, ‘If you so prefer, then I will not narrate it.’ (Sahih Muslim 368 – 112).

In the Hadith narration above we find Sayidina Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) reminding Sayidina Ammar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) to be cautious with the Hadith of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. This may surprise many Muslims since Sayidina Ammar is also a Sahabi and will certainly take care when narrating Hadith. However, this narration illustrates the great caution the Sahaabah exhibited regarding the Hadith of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.

The Sahabah understood that protecting the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ is an important manifestation of loving the Holy Prophet ﷺ. Contrast this with the attitude of many Muslims today. Not only do they not take care when narrating Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, they are offended when asked to correctly reference the Hadith narrations.

Some go even further and claim it is bad Adab (disrespectful) to ask a learned person to reference or authenticate Hadith narrations. How contradictory is this to the way of the Sahabah and the Imams of Ahl al-Sunnah? In the narration above we have Sayidina Umar reminding Sayidina Ammar about Hadith verification. So, if it is correct to query Hadith authenticity with Sahabah, why is it not permitted with contemporary scholars? This is clearly a departure from the way of Ahl al-Sunnah.

قَالَ النَّوَوِيُّ مَعْنَى قَوْلِ عُمَرَ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَا عَمَّارُ أَيْ فِيمَا تَرْوِيهِ وَتَثَبَّتْ فِيهِ فَلَعَلَّكَ نَسِيتَ أَوِ اشْتَبَهَ عَلَيْكَ. (فتح الباري شرح صحيح البخاري)

(Imam) al-Nawawi said: (Sayidina) Umar’s saying, ‘Fear Allah O Ammar.’ Meaning regarding what you narrate. It may be that you have forgotten or confused it (the narration). (Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari).

وَقَوله: اتَّقِ الله يَا عمار. مَعْنَاهُ: احْتَرز فِيمَا تروي، وَلَيْسَ أَنه شكّ فِيهِ، وَلكنه تثقيف لَهُ وتأديب لغيره. (كشف المشكل من حديث الصحيحين)

His saying, ‘Fear Allah O Ammar.’ Meaning regarding what you narrate. This was not due to him doubting it (the narration). Rather it was reinforcement for him and guidance for other than him. (Kashf al-Mushkil, Imam Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Jowzi).

This narration should serve as a reminder regarding the importance of being protective over the Hadith narrations attributed to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Protecting the Sunnah is an essential part of loving the Prophet ﷺ. A Muslim who claims to love the Prophet ﷺ, but makes no effort to protect the Sunnah has contradicted the way of the Sahabah.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (29.11.2022)

See also:
Bad Adab to question scholar on authenticity of hadith they narrate?
Narrating Hadith Without Reference

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