An Analysis of the Hadits, 'Whoever Assists a Mu’min in Distress...'

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from An Analysis of the Hadits, “Whoever Assists a Mu’min in Distress, Allah Will Grant Him Seventy-Three Rewards…”, on the 16th May 2014, by Ustadz Muntaswir Zaman.

In Hilyat al-Awliya’, Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Asfahani (r.a.) reported on the authority of Tsawban (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever relieves a distressed believer, Allah will Grant him seventy-three counts of Forgiveness, by one of which, He will Amend his worldly life and afterlife, and the seventy-two, He will Return to him in full on the Day of Judgment.”

Thereafter, Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.) wrote, “It is rare from the hadits of Farqad, and we have only written it from this route.”

The hadits has also been reported on the authority of Anas (r.a.) with variations in the wording through several chains.  Imam al-Bazzar (r.a.) narrated via Shaykh Ziyad ibn Abi Hasan (r.a.) from Anas (r.a.) as that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever assists a distressed person, Allah will Decree seventy-three counts of Forgiveness for him, one of which is sufficient for the betterment of all his affairs and seventy-two will be for the Day of Judgment or Allah will Keep it for the Day of Judgment.”  This is in Imam al-Bazzar’s (r.a.) al-Bahr az-Zakhkhar.  This chain is inadmissible as the narrator, Ziyad ibn Abi Hasan has been heavily criticised by Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) in Lisan al-Mizan, Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) in Kitab al-Mawdhu’at, Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) in Fawa’id al-Majmu’at, and others.

In Shu’ab al-Iman, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), after narrating a similar report from Shaykh Ziyad ibn Abi Hasan (r.a.), commented, “Ziyad ibn Abi Hasan is alone in transmitting it.”

However, Imam ibn ‘Arraq al-Kinani (r.a.) responded in his Tanzih ash-Shari’ah, “al-Bayhaqi said that Ziyad is alone in transmitting it, but that is not the case because ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Husayn al-Makki had followed up Ziyad, as related by ibn ‘Asakir.  It was also transmitted from Tsawban (r.a.), which Abu Nu’aym related via Farqad from Shumayt, the freed slave of Tsawban, and he said, ‘It is rare from the hadits of Farqad.’  I say, I have not come across the biography of Shumayt.”

Hence, even if Shaykh Ziyad ibn Abi Hasan (r.a.) is an extremely weak transmitter, Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) had given a chain of transmission that corroborated his report.

In Tarikh Dimashq, Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) narrated via Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Makki (r.a.), from Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever assists a distressed person, Allah will Grant him seventy-three counts of Forgiveness; one for the worldly life and seventy-two for the high ranks of Paradise…”

There is also another corroborating report, which Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.) narrated via Shaykh Aban (r.a.) from Anas (r.a.) in Akhbar Asfahan that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever assists a distressed person, Allah will Grant him ninety-three counts of forgiveness, He will Gather the good of the worldly life and the afterlife, and ninety-two in Elevating his status in Paradise.”

In Tarikh al-Baghdadi, Khathib al-Baghdadi (r.a.) narrated via Shaykh Dinar (r.a.), the freed slave of Anas (r.a.), from Anas (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever fulfills a worldly need of his brother, Allah will Fulfill seventy-two needs of his, the lightest of which is Forgiveness.”  Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) in his Fawa’id al-Majmu’at, and Imam al-Ghumari (r.a.) in his al-Mudhawi, stated that this chain is extremely weak and cannot be used for corroboration.  In this reference, Imam Ahmad al-Ghumari (r.a.) also answered the objections posed by Imam al-Munawi (r.a.) in Faydh al-Qadir.  Imam ibn ‘Adi (r.a.) in his al-Kamil fi ad-Du’afa’ also narrated a similar narration via Shaykh ‘Abbad ibn ‘Abd asw-Swamad (r.a.) from Anas (r.a.).  However, this chain is also extremely weak, according to Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) in his Mizan al-I’itidal.

A point worth consideration is that in part of Imam Ahmad al-Ghumari’s (r.a.) critique in al-Mudhawi of Imam al-Munawi’s (r.a.) assessment of this hadits, Imam al-Ghumari (r.a.) took him to task for mentioning criticism of a certain ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd asw-Swamad, who is not a narrator of this hadits, nor is he mentioned in at-Tarikh al-Kabir as he claimed.  However, it seems Imam al-Munawi (r.a.) recorded the narrator, Shaykh ‘Abbad ibn ‘Abd asw-Swamad (r.a.), who did narrate the hadits also, directly from Anas (r.a.); but, this is with a separate chain to that which was under discussion.  Hence, in his assessment of the hadits, Imam al-Munawi (r.a.) appears to have mistakenly mentioned the criticism of a different isnad of the same hadits and this is where the confusion arose.  Imam al-Munawi (r.a.) wrote, “al-Bukhari says, ‘He is munkar al-hadits.’”

In al-Mizan, it is mentioned, “ibn Hibban wahdahu and he narrates from Anas’ collection, most of which is filled with fabrications.”  This entire description fits the narrator, Shaykh ‘Abbad ibn ‘Abd asw-Swamad (r.a.), a narrator of the hadits, not the fictional ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd asw-Swamad.

Although some of these narrations are weak and some are more severe in their weakness, because of the multiplicity of the slightly weak transmissions, the hadits gains strength and is suitable to mention.


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