Hadith 1

How did the revelation begin to Allâh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم

And the Statement of Allâh:

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِه

Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. (V.4:163).

  1. Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated:

I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person has only what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”

Ibn Hajar’s Explanation:

An objection was raised in regards to the Author’s (Al Bukhari) lack of an opening address beginning with the praise of Allah الحمد, and the testimony of faith الشهادة, based on the hadith of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: Every affair that does not begin with the praise of Allah is deficient. (Abu Dawood and others)

And he صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Every sermon which does not contain a testimony (الشهادة ) is like a hand cut off”.  (Abu Dawood and others)

-And the answer to that objection is:

That there is no specific format for an opening address, rather the purpose of the opening address is an introduction with anything that clarifies the purpose.  So the author began his book with the introduction ‘The beginning of the revelation’, and with the hadith of actions and intentions which indicates his intention.

-And the answer to the second objection about beginning every important matter with the praise of Allah:

First of all the two narrations mentioned do not pass Imam Bukhari’s criteria for authenticity, rather they both have criticism surrounding them.  Even if we agree for the sake of argument that they are authentic, there is nothing in the narrations that indicate that the praise and testimony is necessary both verbally and textually. It could very well be that he praised Allah and declared the testimony of faith verbally while writing the book, and he didn’t write them down sufficing with, البسملة, (In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful), instead.

The first verse revealed in the Quran was:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ

Recite in the name of your Lord’,

So the correct way to emulate this verse would be to suffice with البسملة, (In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful).  Also supporting this is the fact that the Prophet of Allah used to write letters to the different kings and leaders, as well as his letters of litigation beginning with,  البسملة, (In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful), without the praise of Allah or anything else as will be shown in the hadith of Abu Sufyan and the story of Heraclius in this chapter, and as is shown in the hadith of Al Bara` and the story of of Suhayl bin Amr and the story of the conciliation of Hudaybiyah. So this shows that the utterance of the praise of Allah, الحمد, and the testimony of faith, الشهادة, is only necessary in sermons and not in letters or any other documents. So with this said, the author did not begin his book with the introductory sermon, and rather began in the form of a letter to the people of knowledge so that they may benefit from his work and teach it.

-Other disputable answers were given for the author’s lack of a traditional introduction:

1) That there was a contradiction whether to use, البسملة In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful or الحمدلة , because if he would have started with الحمدلة, it would have went against the norm.

2) That he was implementing the statement of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ

O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger

So Imam Al Bukhari didn’t want to put anything before the words of Allah and his Prophet, however this opinion is weak due to the following:

He could have began with, the praise of Allah, ,الحمد by using the words of Allah, The exalted.

He did actually use his own words before the words of Allah by beginning with the Book title, ‘The start of the revelation’. On the same token, he listed the chain of narration before the actual wording of the hadith.

3) And the strangest of opinions is that he actually did start with the introductory sermon that included الحمد, and الشهادة, however some of the people that narrated the book after him removed it from his book.

However as we see from the teachers of Bukhari and their teachers and the scholars in his time such as: Imam Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawood, and others that did not begin their compilations with a sermon, and rather began with only the البسملة.  Actually only very few scholars began their works with an introductory sermon, and the vast majority sufficed with the البسملة, and nobody would say that all of these individuals had statements removed by the people that narrated their books from them.

* So we understand from this that they praised Allah verbally , and to support this it was narrated that Imam Ahmad used to verbally send the peace and blessing upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم when writing the hadith, and wouldn’t write it down.  He may have done that for the sake of saving time, or it may be that they used to see the الحمد, and الشهادة being specifically for sermons only, as was seen in the action of Imam Muslim who began his compilation with an opening sermon containing الحمد, and الشهادة. And Allah knows best

There is also a difference of opinion regarding whether or not a book of poetry should begin with البسملة or not.

  1. Al Sha`by and Al Zuhri were of the opinion of the impermissibility. Al Zuhri said: “It is not from the sunnah to write In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful in books of poetry”.

  2. Saeed bin Jubair and the majority of scholars are of the opinion that it is permissible to do so.

(The start of the revelation):

Revelation linguistically means informing or notifying privately. Technically revelation means informing or notifying with regards to Islamic law. Sometimes the word revelation is used and what is actually meant is: that which was revealed, which is the word of Allah that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم.

“Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him”:

It was said that Nuh was mentioned specifically in this verse because of the fact that he was the first prophet that was sent as a messenger, or because he was the first prophet to have his nation chastised. This by no means contradicts the fact that Adam was the first prophet to be sent as is will be shown in the hadith concerning the intercession.  The correlation between the verse and the title of this chapter, The start of the revelation, is that the characteristics of the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم coincided with the characteristics of the revelation to the previous messengers.

  1. Hadith # 1: Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated:

I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The deeds are upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever’s emigration for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”

Al Bukhari narrated this hadith from Al Humaidi Abdullah bin Al Zubair, as if he was trying to implement the hadith of the Prophet “Give Priority to Quraish.”  Al Humaidi is the most knowledgable man from Quraish that he took hadith from, and for this reason he put the hadith he heard from him as the first hadith in his book.  Another correlation between Al Humaidi and this narration is that the narration deals with the start of the revelation, and the start of the revelation was in Mecca, so it was appropriate for Al Bukhari to begin this chapter with the narration he heard from this man who was from Mecca.

Different answers were given explaining the reason Imam Al Bukhari began this chapter The beginning of the revelation with this hadith concerning intentions, from them:

  • That he used this hadith to seek the blessing in his work before he began

  • That he wanted to show his good intention behind this compilation

  • That he wanted to use this hadith in place of the opening sermon of the book, because it was narrated that Umar said this hadith to the companions while on the pulpit, so if it acceptable as a sermon on a pulpit then it is acceptable to be used as an introductory sermon of a book.

-However If Imam Al Bukhari wanted to use this hadith in place of the opening sermon he would have began with it before the introduction, chapter, book title, and anything else that came before it.

  • Because the Prophet addressed the people with these words upon his arrival to Al Madinah after his migration, and everything before the migration served as an introduction to this hadith and what was coming in Al Madinah such the allowance to fight back the polytheists.

-This would be a good point except I have not come across what was mentioned in regards to this being the first thing mentioned by the Prophet of Allah after migrating. And this hadith is also mentioned in the chapter of the abandonment of trickery as beginning with “O people! The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions…”, indicating it to be in the form of a sermon, however with regards to it being in the beginning of his صلى الله عليه و سلم arrival to Al Madinah, I have not seen anything indicating or proving that.  Perhaps the people of that opinion were referring to that which was narrated regarding the story of the migrator of Umm Qays.  It was narrated that a man migrated from Mecca to Al Madinah not seeking the virtues of migration, rather seeking to marry a woman named Umm Qays, and for this reason the hadith specified migrating for the sake of marrying a woman and not any other possible cause of migration.  However, even if this was true it wouldn’t necessitate the Prophet beginning with this immediately upon his arrival to Al Madinah. The above mentioned story is narrated by Sa`eed bin Mansoor and Al Tabarani:”There was a man amongst us that got engaged to a woman called Umm Qays, however she refused to marry him unless he migrated to Al Madinah, so he migrated and married her.  So we used to call him the migrater for Umm Qays.”  This narration is correct according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim, however there is nothing in it indicating that the hadith concerning actions being based on intentions was based on that specific story.

  • Allah, The exalted, revealed to the previous prophets and then to Muhammad that “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions” and this is based on the verse :

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ

And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion

And the statement of Allah:

شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا

He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah

  • *However from the best and most concise reasons why the imam used this hadith under this chapter title is that this compilation was meant to gather the revelation from the sunnah so for that reason he started with The beginning of the revelation, and with the reason for the revelation being to clarify and reveal the actions of the legislation, it was only proper to begin with the hadith dealing with actions and intentions.

**So having said this it is not befitting to say there is no correlation between the hadith and the introduction of this chapter.  Also, the scholars of Islam have agreed about the veneration and honor of this hadith:

  1. Abu Abdillah said concerning this hadith: There is nothing more complete, helpful, and more beneficial than this hadith.”

  2. Abdul Rahman bin Mahdi, Imam Al Shaf`ee, Imam Ahmad, Ali bin Al Madeene, Abu Dawood, Al Tirmidhi, Al Daraqutni, and Hamza Al Kanani have all agreed that this hadith comprises of one third of Islam.

  • Al Bayhaqi said: “The reason it is one third of knowledge is because the servant can only gain with three things:

  1. His heart

  2. His tongue

  3. His limbs

The intention, dealing with the heart, is one of these three categories and could very well be the most important because it could be an independent act of worship, while all other acts of worship are in need of it.”

  • Imam Ahmad meant by saying that it is one third of knowledge; that this hadith is one of the three principles that all rulings are derived from:

  1. “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions”

  2. “The halal is clear and the haram is clear. Between the two there are doubtful matters concerning which people do not know whether they are halal or haram. One who avoids them in order to safeguard his religion and his honor is safe, while if someone engages in a part of them he may be doing something haram, like one who grazes his animals near the hima (the grounds reserved for animals belonging to the King which are out of bounds for others’ animals); it is quite likely that some of his animals will stray into it. Truly, every king has a hima, and the hima of Allah is what He has prohibited. (Reported by al-Bukhari’ Muslim, and others)

  3. “Whoever does an act that is not a part of our matter (religion), will have it (his act) rejected.”  (Related by Muslim)

-Can a hadith that’s ahaad [1] be authentic?

First of all, Bukhari and Muslim have agreed upon the authenticity of this hadith, and it was recorded by all the famous scholars of hadith in their compilations expect imam Malik.  Secondly, although this hadith may be ahaad, it’s meaning came in many different narrations such as

  1. The hadith recorded in Muslim on the authority of Aisha, and Umm Salama that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ” The people will be resurrected according to their intentions.”

  2. The hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas in Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said  on the day of the Conquest of Mecca, “There is no migration (after the Conquest), but Jihad and good intentions.

  3. The hadith of Abu Musa al Ash`ari recorded in Bukhari and Muslim that the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The one who fights so that the Word of Allah (Islam) be exalted, is the one who fights in the cause of Allah.”

**And many more narrations that can’t all be mentioned that indicate the same meaning. So technically, this narration can actually be considered a successive narration, mutawatir, based on the meaning of the hadith and not on the chain of narration.

His saying: On the pulpit

Meaning the pulpit of The Prophet’s Mosque صلى الله عليه و سلم in Medinah.

His saying: The deeds are upon the intentions

Both deeds and intentions are plural, i.e. the reward of each deed depends upon its intention. Alkhoobi said: “It seems as if he pointed out that intentions are of several types just like deeds are of different types, e.g. a person may do a deed intending from it the reward of Allah, or to obtain that which Allah promised, or to save himself from Allah’s  punishment.

In other narrations, deeds are plural but intention is singular, like the narration of Maalik in Sahih Al Bukhari in the “Book of Faith” that Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The deeds are upon the intention”, because the deeds are performed by many different organs so they are plural, contrary to the place of the intention, the heart, being one. Also the intention is based upon sincerity which is one, and directed towards The one with no partners. What is meant by “deeds” here in this hadith is the “deeds of worship”.

His saying: upon the intentions

Intentions linguistically means: The determination of the heart.

“Upon” either means that the intention is an integral part of the deed, or that the intention is the reason for doing the deed. It is said that the meaning is “The deeds are judged based upon the intentions” or “The deeds are completed upon the intentions” or “the deeds are obtained based upon the intentions” or “the deeds are established with the intentions”. Also the deeds are the actions performed by the organs including the words of the tongue and actions of the heart. What is meant by the hadith here is not that actions don’t exist without intentions, as there could be actions with absolutely no intentions.  Rather, the meaning is that complete, or correct actions don’t exist except for with intentions.

His saying: and every person has only what he has intended

Al-Qurtubi said “In this is evidence that intention and sincerity are preconditions for the deeds”, and he was inclined to consider ‘making the intention’ highly recommended (mu’akkadah). Others said that the two sentences “the deeds are only upon the intentions” and “every person has only what he intends for” imply different meanings. The first sentence tells us that the deed follows and accompanies the intention, so the judgment of that actions is based upon that intention. While the second sentence implies that the doer gets nothing except what he intended for. Ibn Daqeeq Al-Eid said “The second sentence implies that whoever intends something gets it, i.e. if he does the deed with its preconditions or even if he is prevented from doing it by a legally acceptable excuse. And whatever he does not intend for, he does not get it.” By saying “whatever he does not intend for” he meant that no intention is made specifically or generally. For if he does not intend something specific, but he had a general intention which covers what he did not specifically intend for, then the scholars have differed in this.

Sometimes a person doing a specific deed also gets what he was not specifically intending for, e.g. a person entering a mosque prays the obligatory or recommended prayers before sitting, gets the reward of performing  the ‘tahiyyatul masjid’ (two units of prayers recommended before sitting for the one who enters the mosque) whether he specifically intended to pray tahiyyatul masjid or not, because the reason behind tahiyyatul masjid has been achieved and that is not to sit before praying two units. And this is different from the case of the person who bathes on a Friday because of ritual impurity (janabah). The stronger position is that this person is not considered having done the recommended Friday bath, because the Friday bath is an act of worship and not just cleansing, so it is a must to have a specific intention for that, and this is different from tahiyyatul masjid, where a general intention was sufficient. And Allah knows best.

Al-Nawawi said, “the second sentence (“every person has only what he intends for”) tells us that it is a precondition to make the intention specific, e.g. the one who has to pray a missed prayer, it is not sufficient that he intends only to pray a missed prayer but he should specify whether it is Dhuhr or ‘Asr prayers.” This is obviously when he has to pray more than one missed prayers.

Ibn Sum’aani said “This (“every persons has only what he intends”) means that deeds which are not acts of worship are not rewarded (by Allah) except when the doer intends by it closeness to Allah, like eating with the intention of gaining strength to obey Allah”.

Other scholars said “It means that making the intention cannot be delegated to another person. This is the original principle other than exceptions such as the cases in which the wali (guardian) makes the intention for the child (in Hajj and ‘Umrah pligrimages).”

Ibn Abdil Salaam said “The first sentence (“the deeds are only upon the intentions”) is meant to specify what are counted as (valid) deeds, and the second ( “every person has only what he intends for”) shows what are the consequences of those deeds. It also implies that intention is a precondition only in those acts of worship which are themselves distinguishable (from non-worship acts). So the deeds of worship which are clearly distinguishable as such e.g. remembrance (Dhikr), invocations (D’uaa) and recitation (tilaawah) are deducible from the manner in which they are performed”. Also if the Dhikr, for example, is done with an intention of seeking closeness to Allah, then the reward is more.

**So, in sum every act (of worship) needs an intention. This includes the act of not doing something! That is, if a person leaves a certain deed by stopping himself from doing it, fearing the punishment from Allah, then indeed he is rewarded for stopping himself from doing it. This is unlike the person who gives no weight to the enormity of disobeying Allah, and leaves doing that deed without any intention.

His saying: “So whoever’s emigration was for worldly benefits”

Imam Bukhari’s leaving out part of the hadith “So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Prophet, his emigration is for Allah and his Prophet”

Imam Bukhari while narrating this hadith here, narrated it without the words above, although the complete narration can be found elsewhere in the Sahih of Bukhari as in the chapter (Baab) on Hijrah. This can have several explanations. Firstly, some scholars said that by narrating this hadith as the first Hadith in his book, Imam Bukhari placed it as a preface for his book, like many other authors who write prefaces to explain their methodology in their books. So Bukhari prefaced his book by specifying his intention, and referring to the sincerity of that intention to Allah, so that if it is in Allah’s Knowledge that he wanted to earn worldly gains from this work, then Allah will Judge him according to what he intended. So, he knowingly left out the other part of the narration “whoever emigrated for Allah and His Prophet…” to free himself of self-praise and self-purification, because here the author is telling us about his intention in writing this book.

Also Bukhari views it permissible to narrate part of the hadith and to narrate the meaning of the actual words, both of which he applied here. At times, Bukhari’s method is to convey a narration while leaving out some of the words.   It is also his methodology that if he has the same text with more than one chain of narrators, then he mentions the text with one chain at one place and with a different chain at another place (i.e. in another chapter). This is if the narration reaches the level of authenticity according to his standard for a hadith to be authentic in his Sahih, but if it is not up to the standard he has set, then he mentions it without a chain or leaving out part of the chain (mu’allaq). This he does either with definiteness like saying “He said such and such”, if it is authentically reported but not up to the standard he has set, or passively (tamreedh) like saying “It was narrated that he said such and such”, if it has some weakness. And if he has a text with only one chain of narrators (i.e up to the standard set by him), he takes liberty in reporting the text, reporting part of it in one place and part in another place according to the requirement of the chapter he has named. It is very rare that he would mention one narration with the same text and same chain, completely at more than one places in his Sahih. A scholar I (Ibn Hajr) met told me he took care to count the places in Bukhari’s Sahih where he mentions the complete text with the same chain at more than one places, and he was able to count them as about twenty places only!

His saying: whoever’s emigration

Hijrah (emigration) linguistically means to leave something, and to emigrate to something means to transfer to that thing from some other thing. In Islamic law it means to “leave something Allah has forbidden”. And emigration in Islam occurred in two forms: firstly in the transfer from a place of fear to a place of peace, as in the emigration to Abyssinia and the earlier part of emigration from Mecca to Medina, and secondly in the transfer from a place of disbelief to a place of Islam like the emigration to Medinah after the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم became established there. After the conquest of Mecca, this latter form was not limited to Medinah, but rather became general to all places of Islam.

His saying: or a woman”

Even though, the woman may be counted as coming under the generality of “the world” i.e worldly benefits, but she is mentioned separately because the fitnah (trial) from her (upon men) is greater, so special care was taken to warn in this regard.

His saying: “his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”

This does not mean that the one who emigrates for marriage or worldly benefits, then his emigration is invalid or blameworthy completely in all cases. For example, a person who emigrates intending marriage and leaving the place of disbelief both, then his reward would be less than the one who emigrated only for the sake of Allah. The one who is to be reproached is the one who emigrates purely for the sake of the woman. Similarly a person who intends from his emigration to seek marriage, but intends it as a means of gaining Allah’s reward by remaining chaste, is also rewarded. An example of this is that Umm Sulaym (Anas’s mother) embraced Islam before Abu Talhah. So when Abu Talha proposed to her, she promised to marry him if he too embraced Islam. So he did that and the dowry (sadaaq/mahr) between them was the Islam of Abu Talhah. This was narrated by Al-Nasai. It can be said that Abu Talhah wanted to embrace Islam of his own will and added to it the intention to marry, similar to the one who intends from his fasting (sawm) both worship and nutrition!

[1] Ahaad

Ahaad, (آحاد), or singular narration, refers to any hadith not classified as mutawatir (مُتَواتِر), or a ‘successive’ narration. A successive narration is one conveyed by narrators so numerous that it is not conceivable that they have agreed upon a lie, thus being accepted as unquestionable in its veracity. The number of narrators is unspecified.. Linguistically, hadith ahad refers to a hadith narrated by only one narrator. In hadith terminology, it refers to a hadith not fulfilling all of the conditions necessary to be deemed mutawatir.
Hadith ahad consists of three sub-classifications also relating to the number of narrators in the chain or chains of narration.


5 Responses to “Hadith 1”

  1. asalamoalaikumwarehmatullah, May Allah bless you in this noble mission, keep you firm and accept your efforts, I always wondered if Fathulbari will ever be available in English, seems it may be possible after all.
    Brother, it would be good to give your own introduction, credentials, teachers etc. Finally must say the blog’s appearance is fantastic.

    • Wa Alaikum As-salam

      Jazak Allahu Khair for the dua, and may Allah grant us all steadfastness. We are actually a group of brothers, made up students from Medina and Azhar university, having also sat with many of the well-known scholars in saudi arabia and egypt. We also have a few editors on the english side, and refer any questions with regards to Ibn Hajar’s explanation to 1 of a number of scholars that we have access to. Keep us in your dua and please spread the word so others will benefit also.

      Barak Allahu Fekum

  2. May Allah reward you brothers. I have also wondered if this would ever be translated. May Allah make it easy for you to do so. I can’t wait to get started reading this.

  3. Assalam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah.
    May Allah bless you for undertaking this monumnetal work. I suggest while you are doing the translation also give references and cross refrences for the Ayat and Ahadith quoted. It will make this work even more useful if you could also check and give proper references to Ibn Hajar (rh) sources.
    May Allah bless you.

  4. Salam. Masha’Allah! keep up the good work! Very good translation! ws Abu Yusuf al-Karanshi

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