I have a doubt about the Hadith, “Soon the nations will gather against you, just as people are called to a feast”, for two reasons:
Firstly: It speaks about the unseen, and none knows the Ghaib except Allah.
Secondly: It influences the people to be pleased with our state, and not try to change at all.
There is no doubt that it is a fabricated Hadith, from one of the enemies of Islam.
Answer from Shaykh al-Albani:
The Hadith is authentic without doubt, and it speaks about an unseen matter, which Allah knows of, and it is one of the matters that is possible, without any kind of confusion, as it is one of the necessities of prophethood and being a messenger, and it points to something other than one what questioner is asking.
That is my general answer, and as for the details:
Firstly, the authenticity of the Hadith:
This Hadith has been narrated through many different routes, and all going back to two Sahabi, the first is Thawban, the lad of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, and the second is Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, who memorized what others from the Sahabah did not, in terms of Ahadith.
As for Thawban, there are three routes which lead to his Hadith, the first, is from Abu `Abd as-Salam, who narrated that Thawban said, “Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Imminently, there will come a time when the nations gather against you, just as people gather around a feast.’ A man said, ‘Will it be because we are few at that time, O Allah’s Messenger?’ He responded, ‘No, you will be numerous in those times, but you will be as useless as the scum of the sea, and Allah will remove the fear that your enemies used to posses from you from their chests, and He will place al-Wahn in your hearts’, it was said, ‘What is al-Wahn?’, he responded, ‘Love of life, and hatred of death.’”
This Hadith was collected by Abu Dawud in his Sunan, 2/210, and ar-Ruyani in his Musnad, 25/134/2, from the route of `Abd ar-Rahman bin Yazid bin Jabir from Abu `Abd as-Salam, and all of its narrators are trustworthy, except Abu `Abd as-Salam, he is unknown, but he was not alone in narrating the Hadith, as we will see.
The second route from Thawban is from Abu Asma’ ar-Rahbi from Thawban, which was collected by Ahmad, 5/287, and al-Bazzar, from al-Mubarak bin Fudhala, who narrated it from Marzuq Abu `Abdullah al-Himsi, who narrated it from Abu Asma’ ar-Rahbi, and this chain of narration is great, and its narrators are all trustworthy, except al-Mubarak commits Tadlis, but he expressed that he heard it from Marzuq, so that does not affect the chain of narration.
The third route is from `Abd bin `Ubaid at-Tamini al-Abasi who narrated from Thawban. This route was collected by at-Tayalisi in his Musnad, pg 123 (2/211 in the copy of Shaykh al-Banna), and this chain is weak, but it is strengthened by the previous chain of narration.
Therefore, the second path which we mentioned is enough of proof that it is authentic, and these two weaker chains only strengthen it.
As for the version of Abu Hurairah, it was collected by Ahmad in his Musnad, 2/259, from Shubail bin `Awf, from Abu Hurairah who said, “I heard Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, say to Thawban, ‘How will you be, O Thawban, when the nations gather against you…’” It is the same Hadith, and its chain is not bad, and it has other Ahadith as witnesses.
Al-Haithami said in Majma` az-Zawa’id, 7/287, “It was collected by Ahmad and at-Tabarani in al-Awsat, and Ahmad’s chain is good.”
Therefore, the Hadith is authentic with all of its routes, so we cannot reject it in terms of the authenticity of the chain, and we must submit and accept it.
Secondly, the Prophet speaking about the unseen:
I am amazed at the doubt in this Hadith, and that it, “speaks about the unseen, and only Allah knows the unseen.” It is sad to see that these types of accusations are made by many of our Muslim youth, and I have heard it many times before, and it harms Islam, as it essentially states that since the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is human just as other humans, he has no connection with the heavens, and no revelation is revealed to him.
But the majority of the Muslims, we believe opposite to that, we believe that the Prophet, peace be upon him, is unique in that he receives revelation, which is why Allah, Tabaraka wa Ta`ala, ordered him to convey this to the people, and he quoted the last Ayah of Surat al-Kahf,
“Say I am only a human like you, but revelation is revealed to me, that your God is one.” [Surat al-Kahf, Ayah 110]
This is why his speech, peace be upon him, is free from error, as Allah said,
“He does not speak out of his desires, it is only a revelation revealed to him.” [Surat an-Najm, Ayah 3]
This revelation is not limited to the Religious Rulings, but it includes other aspects, such as matters of the unseen, and the Prophet, even if he does not know the unseen, as Allah said,
“If I knew the unseen I would have done more good, and I would not have been struck with harm, but I only warn and bring glad tidings to a believing people.” [Surat al-A`raf, Ayah 187]
However, Allah gives him some knowledge of unseen, and the proof is what Allah said,
"He (Allah) is the knower of the unseen, and none has access to that knowledge, except whoever he chooses from among his Messengers.” [Surat al-Jinn, Ayah 26-27]
He also said,
“None has access to His Knowledge, except if He wishes.” [Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 255]
Therefore, we as Muslims must believe that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, does not attain knowledge of the unseen alone, but it granted knowledge of some aspects of that knowledge by Allah, and that the Prophet, peace be upon him, tells us about that unseen through the Qur’an and Sunnah.
The matter such as the details of the Last Day, the resurrection, paradise, hellfire, the angels, the jinn, and details about what will happen in the future, are only matters of the unseen that Allah gave to His Prophet, and His Prophet told us about them. After knowing this, how can someone have any kind of doubt in any Hadith, due to it speaking about the unseen?!
If this doubt is true, we would have to reject many Ahadith, it may even be up to one-hundred Ahadith, or more, and these are all signs of his Prophethood, peace be upon him, and the truth of his message, and rejecting all this is falsehood, and a well known fundamental is that whatever necessitates falsehood is falsehood in of itself.
Al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir has investigated these types of Ahadith in his Tarikh, and he dedicated a chapter thereto, he said, “Chapter: Things which the Prophet, peace be upon him, told of which are in the future of his life, and after his death, and those which have happened of those things.” Whoever wants to review that, it will bring guidance and light to him, he should look to al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, 6/182-256.
Allah has spoken the truth when he said,
And (remember) when the Prophet (SAW) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. Aishah), and Allah made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: ‘Who told you this?’ He said: ‘The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allah) has told me.’” [Surat at-Tahrim, Ayah 3]
He also said,
It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by Inspiration, or from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His Leave. Verily, He is Most High, Most Wise . And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad SAW) Ruhan (an Inspiration, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Quran) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad SAW) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allahs religion of Islamic Monotheism). The Path of Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Verily, all the matters at the end go to Allah (for decision). [Surat ash-Shura, Ayah 51-53]
The Muslims should read the Book of their Lord, and ponder upon it with their hearts, so that it is a protection for them from any perversion or deviation, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “This Qur’an: an edge of it is in Allah’s Hand, and another in your hands, so hold fast to it, for if you did, you will not be deviated to destroyed after that.” (1)
Thirdly, the purpose of the Hadith:
Now that we know that this Hadith’s chain is authentic to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and that what it contains, such as informing about the unseen, it is only revelation from Allah, Ta`ala, to him, peace be upon him, then it would become clear that it is impossible that its meaning is what the noble questioner said, “It drives people to be pleased with the state we are in…”
Rather, it drive people to do the total opposite thereof, and it speaks of the reason that the nations will gather upon them, and it is that we will, “Love life and hate death”, this love of life and hatred of death is what drives us to be pleased with our state of lowness, and our going away from Jihad in Allah’s Path, and all of its types, such as Jihad of one’s own self, and Jihad with money, and by speaking, and other types; this is the situation of most Muslims today, to our great sorrow.
This Hadith tells us that to finish with this situation that we are in is to act upon this Hadith, and to take the means of success and winning in this life and the next, and that we return to what our Salaf were upon, they would love death to the same extent that their enemies love life.
This reality is alluded to in another Hadith, wherein Allah’s Messenger states, “If you deal with al-`Eena (2), follow the tails of cattle, become pleased with farming, and abandon Jihad in Allah’s Path, Allah will send disgrace upon you, until you return to your religion.” (3)
Ponder how this Hadith agrees totally with the one which has been mentioned, “Allah will not take the disgrace away until you return to your religion.” Not only that, this has also been mentioned in the Qur’an, when Allah said,
“Allah does not change the state a people are in until they change what is in theirselves.” [Surat ar-Ra`d, Ayah 11]
We have established that the goal of the Hadith is warning Muslims from persisting upon, “Loving live, and hating death”, and it is a great goal to be achieved. If only the Muslims pay attention and acted upon it, they would be noble in this life, and the flag of the Kuffar would not be risen at all, however, this will all come to end eventually, as Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, said in many Ahadith, that Islam will enter every house, he said, “This religion will reach whatever the night and day reach, there will not be a home except it is upon this religion, regardless if the person is noble or not; Allah will use the noble to aid this religion, and the one who was not noble to disgrace disbelief and the disbelievers.” (4)
The confirmation of this Hadith is what Allah said,
“They want to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will only complete His Light even if the disbelievers do not like that, He has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, so that it may become apparent over all other religions, even if the polytheists.” [Surat at-Tawbah, Ayah 32]
Allah has spoken the truth when he said,
“You will come to know of it after a while. [Surat Sad, Ayah 88]
Abu `Abd ar-Rahman
Muhammad Nasir ad-Din al-Albani
Source: At-Tamaddun al-Islami Magazine, 24/421-426
1. A Sahih Hadith: It was collected by Ibn Nasr in Qiyam al-Lail, pg. 74, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 1/122, with an authentic chain of narration, al-Munthiri said in at-Targhib, 1/40, “It was collected by at-Tabarani in al-Kabir with a good chain of narration.”
2. It is that a person sells something to someone for a certain price, for a certain amount of time, then purchases it back later for a less price, thereby making a profit.
3. Collected by Abu Dawud, 2/100, Ahmad, numbers, 4825, 5007, and 2562, ad-Dulabi in al-Kunaa, 52, and al-Baihaqi, 5/316, with two chains from Ibn `Umar, one of which was declared Sahih by Ibn al-Qattan, and the other was declared Hasan by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah, in al-Fatawa, 3/32, 278.
4. Collected by Ahmad, 4/103, at-Tabarani in Mu`jam al-Kabir, 1/126/2, al-Hakim, 4/430, Ibn Bashran in al-Amali, 1/60, Ibn Mandah in Kitab al-Iman, 1/102, and al-Hafidh `Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi in Thikr al-Islam, 2/126, from the route of Ahmad who narrated it from Tamim ad-Dari, from Allah’s Messenger, and its chain is authentic. Al-Hakim declared it authentic, and ath-Thahabi agreed with him, al-Maqdisi said, “It is a Hasan Sahih Hadith”, and it has two other narrations which strengthen it, one from al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad which Ibn Mandah and al-Hakim collected, and it has an authentic chain, and the other from Abu Tha`laba al-Khashni, which was collected by al-Hakim, 1/488.
Translated by: Amr Abul Rub