Hadith (Holy Narrations)

Lady Fatima: ‘the best thing for a woman is not to see men, and not to be seen by men’. How?


Fatima al Zahra[a.s]  said ‘the best thing for a woman is not to see men, and not to be seen by men’. How is this hadith best interpreted? Is it only in a physical sense, because in the West this isn’t practical. Is there a more metaphorical meaning for it, and can the ‘best thing’ still be achieved by someone who takes an active role in society?


Salamun Alaykum,

On a jurisprudential level, yes, a mere seeing and being seen is not Haraam (forbidden) unless there is an evil intention behind it, or she is not dressed modestly. So, this ‘best’ is talking about a Mustahab (recommended) act as a preventing factor. However:

It is mentioned in the biography of the late Sheikh Hasanali Nokhodaki (one of the amazing mystics of the early 20th century) that he was asked of the secret that when he was praying, his prayer would be granted. He said, ‘I don’t know but I tried not to sin all my life. I lived with my sister-in-law in a house for about 40 years and I never saw her face!’.

My friend, our present society is not the best, but what we can do is what Imam Ali said: ‘ you can’t be like me but help me (to intercede you) by endeavouring to piety’.

May God protect all of us.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Why were the hadiths of the Holy Prophet (s) prohibited and banned from being said?


I have read in another Q&A on this site that ‘the Ahadith of Prohibition’ (narrations that prohibit the narration of Hadiths) are “undoubtedly either fabricated to justify the mistakes of the Caliphs or they were special instruction for specific people such as Abu-Horayra”.

Why do you say this?


Analysis of the Motivations Behind the Prohibition of Hadith

1. The best evidence of this claim is that many Companions including Abu-Bakr had books of Hadith. Is it possible that the Prophet of Islam (P) has forbidden something yet many Companions disobey him and do otherwise?! The narrations concerning prohibition of Hadith indicate to us that the Companions in general were into the good tradition of collecting the Ahadith of the Prophet (P). It was due to this tradition that when Omar sought their opinion about compiling the Hadith, they all consented (see here).

2. If they were truly concerned about the forged Hadith, would it not be more reasonable to form a committee of Hadith investigation and then compile the Ahadith that there was enough trustworthy testimonies on them? Moreover, Abu-Bakr had accompanied the Prophet (P) for many years, could he then not at least keep the Ahadith that he had heard directly from the Prophet (P)? Why did he have to burn all of them?! Is it possible that he meant to hide something from the next generations lest they used it against him? Abu-Bakr asserted that he was concerned about the further future disputes amongst the Muslims and hence decided to uproot the problem by eradicating the Prophetic Hadith! Today and for many centuries, Muslims suffer various sectarianism primarily due to the fact that the collection of the Prophetic Hadith was prohibited over the first century of the advent of Islam.

3. In our opinion, the main root for prohibition of the Hadith must be sought in the critical issue of the caliphate after the Prophet (P). The following are some proofs for this opinion:

3/1: As mentioned earlier (in this Q&A) it was Qoraysh- not the Prophet (P) – who forbade Abdullah son of ‘Amr Ibn ‘As to narrate the Prophetic Hadith. The reason mentioned in the narration is interesting: “The Prophet (P) is only a human and has rage and pleasure.” This expression is used only when the speaker has spoken about the virtues or vices of someone else. Surely, the Prophet of Islam (P) did not speak in favour of the Qoraysh or else they would never abandon Abdullah from narrating it. Thus, it seems more likely that Abdullah had collected some Ahadith that could be used against the party of Qoraysh.

3/2: Omar had ordered the Companions of the Prophet (P) to lessen the narrations from the Prophet (P) except if it was about the practical laws of Islam. This again indicates that the main concern of Omar was about the Ahadith that dealt with the virtues of his opponent, i.e. Imam Ali (a.s). This claim can be proven by studying the trend of the Hadith prohibition at the time of Mo’awiyah who –unlike Omar- explicitly abandoned any narration concerning the virtues of Imam Ali (a.s).

3/3: The fabricators of the law of Hadith Prohibition did not apply it to their sincere and loyal friends, nor would it apply to themselves. Among those selected people on whom the law of Hadith prohibition did not apply was the mother of the believers; Aiysha, the loyal daughter of Abu Bakr. During the reigns of Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman, she was the official spokeswoman of the government. Similarly, Omar freely fabricated some narrations concerning himself such as “The Agreements” (al Mowafiqaat).

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Can you please provide examples of Hadith Prohibition from famous Sunni books?


I would like some examples of Hadith prohibition according to famous Sunni references.


Some Examples of Hadith Prohibition

1) Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Muslim, al-Darami (the teacher of Bukhari), al-Termedhi and Nasaei narrated in their Isnad from Abu-Sa’eid al-Khodri: The Prophet (P) said: “Do not quote me in other than the Quran. So, whoever has written anything from me other than the Quran, shall erase it.”

2) Ahmad Ibn Hanbal narrated from Zaid Ibn Thabet: “The Messenger of Allah (P) prohibited us from writing anything from him and he erased them.”

3) Ahmad Ibn Hanbal narrated from Abu-Horayra: “We were sitting writing what we had heard from the Prophet (P), when the Prophet (P) arrived. He asked what we were writing. We said: What we have heard from you. He said: Are you (compiling) a book besides the Book of Allah? We said: (we write) what we hear from you. He said: “Write the Book of Allah. Write only the Book of Allah. Are you writing other than the Book of Allah? Write only the Book of Allah.” Abu-Horayra said: Following the instruction of the Prophet (P) we collected our writings and burnt them in a fire.”

The ‘Ahadith (narrations) of Prohibition’ are undoubtedly either fabricated to justify the mistakes of the Caliphs, or they were special instructions for specific people such as Abu-Horayra (see this Q&A for proofs). Remarkably, although-according to Abu-Horayra- the Prophet (P) had prohibited him to write any Hadith, the Sunni books of Hadith are largely filled with his narrations. In fact, in the Sunni books of Hadith, no one has narrated from the Prophet (P) more than Abu-Horayra!

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Why place the hand on the head when Imam Mahdi’s name is heard or said?


I want to enquire as to the reason behind standing, placing the hand, and bending slightly whenever our 12th Imam’s name is heard or said?


There is a Hadith that the name of Imam Mahdi(ajtf) was mentioned in front of our 8th Imam, Imam Al-Ridha (a.s.). Upon hearing Imam Madhi’s name, Imam Al-Ridha (a.s.) stood up and put his hand on his head.

This is an expression of: ‘I’m at your service and ready for your command’.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei