The Hadeeth ‘If faith were at Pleiades...’ refers to the Persians
Fatwa No: 266854

  • Fatwa Date:22-9-2014 - Thul-Qi'dah 28, 1435
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Question

Could U plz explain the meaning of the following hadeeth: Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were sitting with the Prophet Surat al-Jumu'a was revealed to him, and when the Verse, "And He (Allah) has sent him (Muhammad) also to other (Muslims).....' (62:3) was recited by the Prophet, I said, "Who are they, O Allah's Apostle?"The Prophet did not reply till I repeated my question thrice. At that time, Salman al-Farsi was with us. So Allah's Apostle put his hand on Salman, saying, "Even if Faith were at (the place of) Ath-Thuraiya (pleiades, the highest star), then some men or man from these people (i.e. Salman's folk) would attain it." (Sahih al-Bukhari) Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: If the din were at the Pleiades, even then a person from Persia would have taken hold of it, or one amongst the Persian descent would have surely found it. (Sahih al Muslim) Does the above hadeeth refers to Imam Bukhari (the author of Sahih al-Bukhari), who is also of Persian descent?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

This Hadeeth refers to the virtue of the Persians and the blessings of faith and knowledge that Allaah bestowed on many of them, and it includes Al-Bukhari and other Persian scholars.

Al-Qurtubi said: “The best of what was said about them is that they are from Persia and this Hadeeth is evidence for it, and men from among them attained this blessing as the religion was salient among them and there were many scholars among them. The fact that they are like this is also further evidence of the veracity of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The Quran and the Sunnah praised some non-Arabs; Allaah says (what means): {It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error – And [to] others of them who have not yet joined them. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.} [Quran 62:2-3]."

Then he mentioned the narrations which the questioner stated in the question and other narrations, and then he gave examples of scholars from Persia during the era of the Taabi‘is (followers of the Companions) and those who came after them, as he said: “The truthfulness of this is what was noticed from the Taabi‘is and those who came after them, from the people of Persia, the free men and the freed slaves alike, such as Al-Hasan, Ibn Seereen and ‘Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and others who came after them who were eminent in faith, religion and Islamic knowledge, to the point that these prominent people became better than most Arabs. The same applies to other non-Arab ethnicities such as the Abyssinians, the Romans and the Turks, who were outstanding in faith and religion, and they were many as is known by the scholars. Indeed, the real virtue is following what Allaah sent Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to deliver, of faith and knowledge, both inwardly and outwardly; the stronger a person is (in faith and knowledge), the better he is."

Some scholars of the Hanafi School interpreted this Hadeeth to mean that it applies to Imaam Abu Haneefah as stated by Ibn ‘Aabideen: “There were authentic Ahaadeeth that indicate the virtue of Abu Haneefah, among which is the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah, and reported by At-Tabaraani from Ibn Mas‘ood that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Even if faith were at Pleiades, some men from Persia would attain it.” This Hadeeth was also reported by Abu Nu‘aym from Abu Hurayrah and reported by Ash-Sheeraazi and At-Tabaraani from Qays ibn Sa'ad ibn ‘Ubaadah, with the wording: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If knowledge were hanging at Pleiades, some men from Persia would reach it."

The wording of At-Tabaraani from Qays reads: “...and the Arabs do not attain it, men from Persia would attain it.The narration by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah reads: “If faith were at Pleiades, then a man from Persia would reach for it until he attains it." A narration by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah reads: “I swear by the One in Whose hand my soul is, if faith were hanging at Pleiades, a man from Persia would attain it.

Persia does not refer to the known country, but it refers to a non-Arab race, who are the Persians, as per the narration by Ad-Daylami: “The best of the non-Arabs are the Persians.

According to many scholars, the grandfather of Abu Haneefah was from Persia. As-Suyooti said: “This Hadeeth narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim is an authentic source, reliable in its reference to Abu Haneefah; its soundness is agreeable, and it eliminates the need for the reports of the biographers who have no knowledge about the sciences of Hadeeth, as in the chain of narrators of those reports there are liars and fabricators. [End of quote] [Abridged]

Moreover, the Commentary of Ash-Shabraamallisi, citing the prominent scholar Ash-Shaami, the student of As-Suyooti, reads: “What our Shaykh authoritatively determined - that it is Abu Haneefah who is meant by this Hadeeth - is apparent and there is no doubt about it; because no man from the people of Persia reached his status in knowledge.

Allaah Knows best.

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