Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Hadeeth Of The Bird

Hadeeth Of The Bird

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. "In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." All praise be to Allah (swt) alone and peace and blessings be upon his final messenger Muhammad (saw) and his holy progeny (a.s).

The ‘Hadeeth of the bird’ (Hadeeth-e-Ta'ir) lacks dilution in Sh'iee and Sunni debates, mainly due to attempts by its opponents to conceal it from the Ummah. Here we shall address exactly what is so frightening about this tradition.

Ibn Taymiyyah:

“Hadeeth Al-Ta'ir (bird) is among the lies and fabrications.”

Source: Minhaj As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah. Vol. 7, Pg. # 371.


Ibn Kathir:

All in all, there are concerns [in my heart] about the authenticity of these narrations even if there were many ways for its narration and Allah knows best.

Source: Al-Bidaya Wa'an-Nihaya. Vol. 11, Pg. # 83.


Mutawatir Hadeeth

Mutawatir or a 'successive' narration is one conveyed by so many narrators simultaneously that it would be inconceivable for them to have unanimously agreed on falsehood and hence, questioning the authenticity of a Mutawatir narration would be unreasonable. A hadeeth is said to be Mutawatir if it was reported by a significant (though unspecified) number of narrators at each level in the chain of narration, thus reaching the succeeding generation through multiple chains of narration leading back to its source. This provides confirmation that the hadeeth and incident is authentically attributed to its source at a level above reasonable doubt. 

Ibn Hajar:

And 'Mutawatir' [the recurrent narration] should not be asked and examined about its men [narrators] however it should be taken without searching about it.

Source: Nuzhat Al-Nazar Fi Tawdih Nukhbat Al-Fikar. Pg. # 58. 

Abdulkarim Al-Khudhair:

The 'Mutawatir' [the recurrent narration] should be necessarily accepted because it is useful for certain and necessary knowledge therefore there is no need to look for the status of the chain of its narrators.

Source: Tahqiq Al-Raghba Fi Tawdih Al-Nukhba. Pg. # 46.


.. 'Mutawatir' [the recurrent narration] it is known that all of them are necessarily honest, because it cannot be that all of them can compile to lie (about others like them from the beginning) of the chain of reference (to the end of it). Therefore it must be used without examination about the men of the chain of narrators and there is no specific number that should be accepted for this. And Al-Estakhry said, "At least there should be ten and it is the chosen one because it is the first group for the multiplicity of crowds."

Source: Tadreeb Al-Rawi Fi Shareh Takreeb Al-Nawawi. Vol. 2, Pg. # 751.

Al Tirmidhi:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:' There was a bird with the Prophet (saw), so he said: 'O Allah, send to me the most beloved of Your creatures to eat this bird with me.' So 'Alee (a.s) came and ate with him."

Footnote: Narration is Hasan 'Reliable' 

Source: Jami` at-Tirmidhi. Vol. 6. Pg. 393. H. # 3721.

Hakim Al-Nishaburi:

My father told us, Yahya ibn Hassan told us, narrating Sulaiman ibn Bilal, narrating Yahya ibn Saeed, narrating Anas ibn Malik, he said, "I used to serve the Messenger of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, and the Messenger of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him was served a roasted bird. Then he (saw) said, 'Oh Allah (swt), bring me the one whom you love the most among all your creatures to eat with me this bird.' Then I said, 'Oh Allah (swt), let him be a man from Al-Ansaar (the supporters).' Then Alee may Allah be pleased with him came, then I (Anas) said, 'The Messenger of Allah is busy (with something).' Then (he came) again and I said, 'The Messenger of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him is busy.' Then he came (third time) and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Open! (to let him in).' Then he (Alee (a.s)) came in. Then the Messenger of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him said, 'What was holding you from coming to me?' Then he(Alee (a.s)) replied, 'This is the third time Anas holds me back, claiming that you busy doing something?' Then he (saw) said, 'What made you do what you did?' Then I (Anas) said, 'O Messenger of Allah (saw)! I had heard your  supplication and I liked it to be one of my folk.' Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'The man might love his folk (his own tribe).'" 

Footnote: This is an authentic narration based on the condition of the two Sheikh's i.e. Bukhari and Muslim and they did not narrate it. And it has been narrated with reference to Anas by a group of his companions that count more than thirty people then the narration was judged correct narrated by Alee (a.s) and Aboo Sa'eed Al-Khudri and Safina and in the narration of Thabit Al-Banani narrating Anas there are more terms added.

The narration as the trustworthy and reliable Al-Ma'moon Aboo Al-Qasim Al-Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Hussain ibn Ismail ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Fadhl ibn Alya ibn Khalid Al-Sukuni told us at Kufa from his original book, Ubaid ibn Kathir Al' Amery told us, Abdur Rahman ibn Dubiys told us and Aboo Al-Qasim told us, Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Sulaiman Al-Hadramy told us, Abdullah ibn Umar ibn Abban ibn Saleh both of them said, Ibraheem ibn Thabit Al-Basri Al-Qassar told us, Thabit el Banani told us; Anas ibn Malik was little sick and Muhammad ibn Al-Hajjaj came to visit him with some of his companions, and there was a talk till they talked about Alee (a.s) and Muhammad ibn Al-Hajjaj degraded him. Then Anas said, 'Whom is the one talking? (Anas said) let me sit.' Then they made him sit and he said, 'Oh son of Al-Hajjaj, I see that you are degrading Alee ibn Aboo Talib (a.s)? And by the One who sent Muhammad with the Truth, I say that I was the servant of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and there was another guy from the sons of Al-Ansar [supporters] who used to serve him also, and there was a day when it was my due. Then Umm Ayman, the servant of the Messenger of Allah (saw) came with a bird and served it for the Messenger of Allah (saw) then he said, "Oh Umm Ayman, what is this bird?" She replied: 'This is a bird I got and I made it for You." Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Oh Allah, bring me the most loved by You and me among your creation to eat this bird with me." Then the door was knocked and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Oh Anas, check whom is at the door." Then I [Anas] said, 'Oh Allah, let him be someone among Al-Ansaar [supporters]. Then I went and I found Alee (a.s) at the door and I said, 'The Messenger of Allah (saw) is busy.' Then I came till I reached where I was sitting, then the door knocked again and he (saw) said: "Oh Anas, go and check whom is at the door." And I said, 'Oh Allah, let him be someone from Al-Ansaar.' Then I went and I found that Alee (a.s) was at the door and I said, 'The Messenger of Allah (saw) is busy.' Then I came where I left (was sitting before and took my place) and the door knocked again and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Oh Anas, go and let Him in, and you are not the first one to be fanatic for his own folk, and he is not from Al-Ansaar.' Then I went, and I let him (a.s) in, and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Oh Anas, bring the bird for him [Alee (a.s)]." He said, 'I put the bird in front of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and they ate from it.' Muhammad ibn Al-Hajjaj said, 'Oh Anas, this happened in your presence?' He said, 'Yes!' Then he replied, 'I give oath to Allah (swt), that I will never degrade Alee (a.s) after this, and if I knew anyone who does it, then I would shock his face.'

Source: Al-Mustadrak Ala Sahihayn. Vol. 3, Pg. # 141 - 143, H. # 4650 - 4651.


Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ayyad narrated his father Aboo Ghassan Ahmad ibn Ayyad narrating Aboo Tayba Al-Masri, narrating Yahya ibn Hassan then he mentioned the narration of the bird. Al-Hakim said, "This is based on the conditions of Al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn Hajjaj." I said, all (narrators) are trustworthy except this one then it appeared to me that it is trustworthy. Al-Tabarani narrated from him, and Alee ibn Muhammad Al-Wa'ez and Muhammad ibn Ja'far Al-Rafiqi and Hameed ibn Yunus Al-Zayyat and many others did. He narrates Harmala and others from same level of trustworthiness and he is nicknamed Aboo Ulatha. He died in 291 hijri and he used to be present in the front line of religious dues and he also narrated Makki ibn Abdullah Al-Ru'eyny and Muhammad ibn Salama Al-Muradi and Abdullah ibn Yahya ibn Ma'bad the companion of ibn Lahy'a, and I do not know his father.

Footnote: Al-Hafiz (ibn Hajar) said in 'Al-Lisan' ibn Yunus mentioned it in the history of Egypt [Tarikh Misr] Ahmad ibn Ayyad ibn Abdu Malik ibn Nasr Al-Fardi the servant of Habib, the one whose nicknamed Aboo Ghassan and Yahya ibn Hassan narrates him and he died in 293 hijri, this is how he mentioned him and he did not defame him.

Source: Mizan Al-I'tidaal. Vol. 4, Pg. # 53, Person # 7186 [7036].


“Hadeeth Al-Ta'ir (of the bird) has so many chains of narration, I collected them in a separate book and the total of it proves that the hadeeth is genuine.”

Source: Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz. Vol. 3, Pg. # 1042 - 1043.

Ibn Asakir:

Aboo Ghalib ibn Al-Bana narrated Aboo Al-Hussain ibn Al-Abnusi narrated Aboo Al-Hassan
Al-Daraqutni narrated Muhammad ibn Mukhlid ibn Ḥafs narrated Ḥatim ibn Al-Layth narrated UbaydAllah ibn Musa narrated Isa ibn Umar Al-Qari narrated Al-Suddi from Anas ibn Malik: Birds were given as gifts to the Messenger of Allah (saw). So he distributed them and left a bird. Then he said, "O Allah (swt)! Bring to me the most beloved to You of Your creation to eat with me from this bird. So Alee b. Abi Talib (a.s) came and entered and ate with him from that bird.

Source: Tarikh Madinatul Damishq. Vol. 32, Pg. # 254.

Analysis Of The Chain Of Narrators

1 - Aboo Ghalib
2 - Ibn Al-Abnusi
3 - Al-Daraqutni
4 - Muhammad ibn Muhklid
5 - Hatim ibn Al-Layth
6 - UbaydAllah ibn Musa
7 - Isa ibn Umar Al-Asadi
8 - Al- Suddi

1 - Aboo Ghalib


Aboo Ghalib ibn Al-Bana: The righteous Shaykh, the thiqah (trustworthy) narrator, the hadeeth transmitter of Baghdad, Aboo Ghalib Ahmad ibn Imam Aboo Alee Al-Hassan ibn Ahmad ibn Abd Allah ibn Al-Bana Al-Baghdadi Al-Hanbali.

Source: Siyar A'lam An-Nu'bala. Vol. 42, Pg. # 254.

2 - Ibn Al-Abnusi


Ibn Al-Abnusi: The thiqah (trustworthy) Shaykh, Aboo Al-Hussain, Muhamamd ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Alee, ibn Al-Abnusi Al-Baghdadi.

Source: Siyar A'lam An-Nu'bala. Vol. 18, Pg. # 85.

3 - Al-Daraqutni


Al-Daraqutni: The Imam, the excellent Hafiz (hadeeth scientist), Shaykh Al-Islam, the signpost of the pundits, Aboo Al-Hassan Alee ibn Umar ibn Ahmad ibn Mahdi ibn Mas'ud ibn Al-Nu'man ibn Dinar ibn AbdAllah Al-Baghdadi Al-Maqri, the hadeeth expert.

Source: Siyar A'lam An-Nu'bala. Vol. 16, Pg. # 449.

4 - Muhammad ibn Muhklid

Ibn Hajar:

Muhammad ibn Muhklid ibn Hafs...He is thiqah (trustworthy), thiqah (trustworthy), thiqah (trustworthy), well-known.

Source: Lisan Al-Mizan. Vol. 15, Pg. # 256.

5 - Hatim ibn Al-Layth


Hatim ibn Al-Layth: The hadeeth scientist, the prolific hadeeth narrator, the thiqah (trustworthy) narrator, Aboo Al-Fadl, Al-Baghdadi, Al-Jawhari.

Source: Siyar A'lam An-Nu'bala. Vol. 12, Pg. # 519.

6 - UbaydAllah ibn Musa

Ibn Hajar:

UbaydAllah ibn Musa ibn Abi Al-Mukhtar Al-Ubsi Al-Kufi, Aboo Muhammad: Thiqah (trustworthy), he was a Shi'ee.

Source: Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb. Pg. # 315, Person # 4345.

7 - Isa ibn Umar Al-Asadi

Ibn Hajar:

Isa ibn Umar Al-Asadi Al-Hamdani, Aboo Umar Al-Kufi Al-Qari: Thiqah (trustworthy).

Source: Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb. Pg. # 375, Person # 5314.

8 - Al-Suddi

Ibn Hajar:
"Isma'eel ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Karima Al-Suddi, Aboo Muhammad ibn Kufi, he is truthful and he has been accused to being Shi'a. He is of the 4th generation. He died in 127 A.H. Muslim and the four Sunan have narrated from him."

(Shu'ayb Al-Arna'ut and Dr. Bashar Awad Ma'rouf): "He is rather truthful, his hadeeths are Hasan (Reliable). He is an Imam in Tafsir, he has not been criticized except because of him being Shi'a. and the meaning of Shi'a in his time is different from its meaning after his time, so it is not a relevant allegation upon him. And the Imams of people have narrated from him like: Sufyan Al-Thawri, Shu'ba, Sulayman Al-Timi, Zahida ibn Qudama, Aboo Uwana Al-Wadhah ibn Abdullah Al-Yashkuri and others. And Ahmad ibn Hanbal has said that he is trustworthy, Al-Ijlli and ibn Hibban said the same. Yahya ibn Sa'eed has praised him even though he is very strict (in his critics), he says: 'There is no problem in him and I haven't heard anyone mention him except with goodness and no one has abandoned his narrations.' And Al-Nasa'i says: 'There is no problem in him.' Abdul Rahman ibn Mahdi became angry when Yahya ibn Ma'een weakened him and disliked it what he said. And Aboo Zar'a said: 'He is slightly weak.' Aboo Hatam said: 'His narrations are written, but are not to be taken as proof.' And Imam Al-Dhahabi has mentioned him in his book, "the narrators who have been criticized but are trustworthy." In Tafsir, it has been mentioned that Isma'eel ibn Khalid said that Al-Suddi was more knowledgeable in Qur'aan than Al-Sha'bi. And Aboo Yahla Al-Khalili has prefered Tafsir of Al-Suddi over all other Tafsir even over the Tafsir of ibn Jarir Al-Tabari. And Ibn Adi has narrated his narrations and has learned them and then he has said: 'His narrations are upright in my opinion, he is truthful and there is no problem in him.'"

Source: Tahrir Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb. Vol. 1, Pg. # 136 - 137, Person # 463.

The following chain is the same as that which we have verified above. 

Ibn Al-Jawzi:

Aboo Al-Qasim Al-Hariri narrated Aboo Talib Al-Ashri narrated Al-Daraqutni from Muhammad ibn Mukhlid narrated Hatim ibn Al-Layth from UbaydAllah ibn Musa from Isa ibn Umar Al-Qari narrated Al-Suddi from Anas ibn Malik said: Birds were given as gifts to the Messenger of Allah (saw). So, he distributed them. Then he said, "O Allah (swt)! Bring to me the most beloved to You of Your creation to eat with me from this bird!" So, Alee ibn Abi Talib (a.s) came and entered, and ate with him from that bird.

Ibn Al-Jawzi: "This is not authentic, because Isma'eel Al-Suddi has been weakened by Abdul Rahman ibn Mahdi and Yahya Ibn Ma'een, Al-Bukhari says: "And there is problem in Mus'har."

Source: Al-Ilal Al-Mutanahiyyah Fi Al-Ahadeeth Al-Wahiyyah. Vol. 1, Pg. # 230, H. # 363.

Al-Albani also commented on this report the following:


Ibn Al-Jawzi has recorded it with his chain from the route of Al-Daraqutni narrated Muhammad ibn Mukhlid from Hatim ibn Al-Layth narrated UbaydAllah ibn Musa with it (i.e. the full chain with the hadeeth). All the narrators of this chain are trustworthy, except for the difference of opinions concerning Al-Suddi, and he is Al-Suddi Al-Kabir, and his name is Isma'il ibn Abd Al-Rahman. And he is the reason that ibn Al-Jawzi criticized this narration, he says: "This is not authentic, because Isma'eel Al-Suddi has been weakened by Abdulrahman ibn Mahdi and Yahya."

Ibn Ma'een, Al-Bukhari says: 'And there is problem in Mus'har."

Source: Silsilah Al-Ahadeeth Al-Dha'eefa Wal Maudu. Vol. 14, Pg. # 174.

Since Al-Suddi too is thiqah (trustworthy), or at least saduq (very truthful) due to the disputes about him, the sanad  (chain of narration) is therefore either Saheeh (Authentic)  or Hasan (reliable). We go with the stricter ruling. As such, we declare that chain of the hadeeth is Hasan (reliable) due to Al-Suddi. All its narrators are reliable, and there is no disconnection whatsoever in the sanad.

Meanwhile, the hadeeth itself is absolutely Saheeh (Authentic) due to the existence of massive, overwhelming corroboration for Al-Suddi. Al-Ḥakim for instance, declares about the narration the following; "It has been narrated from Anas by a group of his companions, numbering more than thirty individuals!"

This establishes the rightly given importance of the Hadeeth from Anas, and shoots the report of Al-Suddi up from the level of being reliable to the highest authentic grade.

The most beloved individual to the Prophet (saw) was no other than Imam Alee (a.s). The Hadeeth reflects the extraordinary relationship he (a.s) had with the Prophet (saw) and his God given high position.

Naturally, many of the scholars have attempted to cast doubt on this narration. It is not a surprise that we find Ibn Taymiyyah and his disciple ibn Kathir at the top of the list. Ibn Kathir had said, “All in all, there are concerns [in my heart] about the authenticity of these narrations even if there were many ways for its narration.” Ibn Kathir while commenting on this narration suffers indigestion. Is this the talk of an academic? Does this not remind one of the talk of Aboo Jahl (la) who rejected the Holy Qur'aan simply because his heart could not accept the truth?

We find this incident has at least 20 different chain of narrations and is indeed authentic. As we have already shown, according to the principles of Science of Hadeeth, any narration that has 10 chains or more does not require its chain to be investigated. Despite this, we have also shown the numerous scholars who attested to this Hadeeth and there is no room for ambiguity. But the so-called, 'Ahl ul Sunnah' do not stick to their own principles of Hadeeth. This just goes to show their double standards and inconsistency.

While the second usurper of Islam, 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab' laid on his death bed, he said, “If Salim, the servant of Aboo Hudhayfa was still alive, I would have appointed him as my successor.” When pressed for the reason he added, “He is a strong lover of Allah (swt).” Umar is telling the people that a person’s love of Allah (swt) is certainly an important criterion in deciding who should succeed someone. In which case who better to succeed the Prophet (saw) than the one who was the most beloved to him (saw) and the most beloved to Allah (swt)?

In fact, Aboo Bakr supposedly being the most beloved to the Prophet (saw) is someone frequently mentioned by the so-called, 'Ahl ul Sunnah' and is why they and Umar think he was the best companion and thus the best person to be caliph. However, Umar’s comments about Aboo Bakr run in complete contradiction to the Hadeeth of the bird. Indeed, it was Alee (a.s) who was the most beloved to the Prophet (saw).

We can only conclude this Hadeeth exposes the issue of jealousy that some companions had towards Imam Alee (a.s). We see Anas ibn Malik lie not once but twice to Imam Alee (a.s), only so that Imam Alee (a.s) would not receive the well deserved status he was about to achieve regardless of his spiteful plan. We appeal to justice, what type of individual lies to Alee ibn Abi Talib (a.s) and sends him away on two occasions? What kind of betrayal and cunningness is this? 

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  1. Excellent article brother!

    Jazakallah :)

  2. Mashallah, very good article

  3. You should write an article on the father of cats Abu hurraira...