The degree of authenticity and meaning of a group of Hadiths

Q 1: I was confused after reading some Hadiths in the books of Sunan (Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes). It is reported by Abu Dawud, as Hadith Marfu` (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration), that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, every building is an affliction for its owner, except what is essential to protect from heat, cold, beasts of prey, and the like.” In another narration, also ranked as Hadith Marfu` with a good Sanad (chain of narrators), Al-Tabarany reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If Allah wills evil for His servant, He makes adobes and mud abundant for them, so that they may indulge in building.” He also reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If Allah wants to disgrace a servant, He makes them spend their money on building.” There is another narration that says, “Whoever constructs a building exceeding their need will be ordered to carry it on the Day of Resurrection.” Al-Daraqutny and Al-Hakim reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whatever expenses a servant spends (in the Cause of Allah), Allah is the One to replace it, and indeed Allah is the Guarantor, except what is spent on (constructing) buildings or (committing) sin.” Al-Tirmidhy also reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A man is rewarded for whatever expenses he spends (in the Cause of Allah), except what he spends on ‘dust’ - or the narrator said, ‘on buildings.’” Al-Tirmidhy further reported that he (peace be upon him) said, “All spending is in the Cause of Allah except constructing buildings, for there is no good (reward) in it.” In addition, it is reported by (Part No. 4; Page No. 487)  Abu Dawud and others that “Once Al-‘Abbas built a dome and the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered him to demolish it. So he asked if he can give its price in charity, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘No, just demolish it.’” It is also reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah that “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed by a dome built above the door of a man from Al-Ansar, and said, ‘What is this?’ It was said, ‘A dome built by so-and-so.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Anything like this will be evil for its owner on the Day of Resurrection.’ The man from Al-Ansar was informed of this and he demolished it. Later, the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by the house in the afternoon but did not see the dome, so he asked about it and was told that the man had demolished it once he heard what he had said. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘May Allah be merciful to him. May Allah be merciful to him.’” Finally, Ibn Abu Al-Dunya reported on the authority of ‘Amir ibn `Ammar that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If a man raises his building higher than seven cubits, a caller will call upon him (saying): ‘O you most evil person! Where to?’”


A: In the beginning, we will show the degree of authenticity of all the Hadith you have mentioned, and then we will give you the correct opinion regarding this issue. Let us start by the degree of authenticity of every Hadith:1. The Hadith: “Verily, every building is a misfortune for its owner...” is related by Abu Dawud on the authority of Anas. Al-Munawy cited in his book "Fayd Al-Qadir" the words of Ibn Hajar who said, "All its narrators are trustworthy with the exception of the narrator from Anas, who is Abu Talhah Al-Asady, for he is an unknown narrator, and corroborating reports can be found in what was related by Al-Tabarany." 2. The Hadith: “If Allah wills evil for His servant, He makes adobes and mud abundant for them, so that they may indulge in building” is related by Al-Tabarany with a good Sanad just as you have mentioned, while Al-Suyuty indicated in his book "Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir" that it is Da‘if (weak). Al-Munawy cited the words of Al-Haythamy who said: "All its narrators are Rijal Al-Sahih (narrators of Hadith compiled by Al-Bukhari and/or Muslim) (Part No. 4; Page No. 488) except Shaykh Al-Bukhari (other than the famous Hadith compiler) but no one considered his Hadith to be Da‘if." Al-Mundhiry said: "Al-Tabarany related it in all his three books of Hadith with a good Sanad." Al-Munawy said: "A group of scholars said it was related by Abu Dawud on the authority of `Aishah." Al-‘Iraqy said: "Its Sanad is good."3. The Hadith: "If Allah wants to disgrace a servant..." Al-Suyuty said in "Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir": "It was related by Al-Baghawy and Al-Bayhaqy in "Shu‘ab Al-Iman" on the authority of Muhammad ibn Bashir Al-Ansary who did not narrate any other Hadith. It was also related by Ibn ‘Ady in his book "Al-Kamil" on the authority of Anas, and Al-Suyuty indicated that it is Da‘if." Al-Munawy commented on the narration of Muhammad ibn Bashir citing the words of Al-Haythamy who said: "It was related from him by his son Yahya, in case it was an authentic narration." The Sanad includes Salamah ibn Shurayh about whom Al-Dhahaby said: "He is an unknown narrator." Al-Munawy commented on the narration of Ibn ‘Ady on the authority of Anas while discussing the biography of Zakariyya Al-Misry Al-Waqqad, saying: "He is known for fabricating Hadith, and is considered a liar by Salih Jazarah and others." Al-Haythamy cited the words of Al-Tabarany who said: "The Sanad includes some narrators that I do not know."4. The Hadith: “Whoever constructs a building exceeding their need...” was deemed by Al-Suyuty in "Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir" as Da‘if, while Al-Munawy said in "Al-Mizan": "This is Hadith Munkar (rejected Hadith reported by a weak narrator whose narration conflicts with an authentic Hadith)." Al-Hafizh Al-‘Iraqy said: "Its Sanad chain is weak and disconnected."5. The Hadith: “Whatever expenses a servant spends (in the Cause of Allah)...” is related by Al-Daraqutny and Al-Hakim. But its Sanad includes ‘Abdul-Hamid ibn Hasan Al-Hilaly whose Hadith are considered Da‘if by a group of scholars.6. The Hadith: “A man is rewarded for whatever expenses they spend...” Al-Suyuty ascribed it in his book "Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir" to Al-Tirmidhy who reported it on the authority of Khabbab (Part No. 4; Page No. 489)  Al-Suyuty indicated it to be authentic, while Al-Munawy did not pass any judgment on him. A Hadith carrying its meaning was narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Khabbab as Hadith Mawquf (words or deeds narrated from a Companion of the Prophet that are not attributed to the Prophet) with the following wording: “A Muslim is rewarded (in the Hereafter) for whatever they spend (in the Cause of Allah) except for something that they spend on this dust.” It is considered to be Hadith Marfu‘ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration), since the like of this cannot be said by way of personal opinion.7. The Hadith: “All spending is in the Cause of Allah...” is related by Al-Tirmidhy on the authority of Anas, and Al-Suyuty indicated that it is Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish). After reporting it in the book "Description of the Day of Resurrection," chapter on "Prohibition of Wishing for Death" Al-Tirmidhy said that it is Gharib (a Hadith with a single narrator usually at the beginning of the chain of narration). Al-Munawy cited the opinion of Al-Sadr Al-Munawy who said that the Sanad includes Muhammad ibn Humayd Al-Razy, Zafir ibn Sulayman, Shabib ibn Bishr, and Muhammad. Al-Bukhari said: "He is debatable, and was deemed by Abu Zur‘ah as a liar, as for Zafir there is weakness concerning him, whereas Shabib is layyin (a kind of weak narrator)."8. The Hadith: "Once Al-‘Abbas built a dome..." is related by Abu Dawud as Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration) from Abu Al-`Aliyah, and it is known that Hadith Mursal are classed among the Da‘if.9. The Hadith: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed by a dome..." is the cause of the previous Hadith and it has already been discussed.10. The narration: "If a man raises his building higher than seven cubits..." is an Athar (narration from the Companions) and we do not know of anyone who classed it as Sahih (authentic). Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar said in his book "Al-Fath" (vol. 11, p. 92) the following: "Another explicit dispraise of raising buildings is reported by Ibn Abul-Dunya from the narration of `Umarah ibn `Amir who said: 'If a man raises his building higher than seven cubits, he will call be called: O you wicked person! Where to?' There is weakness in its Sanad although it is Hadith Mawquf." (Part No. 4; Page No. 490) All these Hadith and the ones similar to their meaning are either Sahih (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish), Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish), or not Sahih. The Hadith that can be taken as evidence dispraise those who construct high buildings for the sake of pomposity and extravagance. However, there is wide variance in conditions, people, places, and times. It is authentically related in the "Sahih" Book of Hadith by Muslim on the authority of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased him) that Jibril asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the Signs of the Hour, and he said: ...When you see the barefooted, naked, destitute shepherds vying with one another in constructing lofty buildings. Ibn Rajab commented on this Hadith saying: "It means that the most inferior will become the chiefs of people. They will have abundant wealth and will compete in constructing lofty buildings and decorating them." Al-Nawawy expressed a similar view in his book "Sharh Sahih Muslim" when commenting on this Hadith.However, if the building is raised for a lawful purpose, such as providing shelter for the needy, as a means of earning, providing housing for one’s dependants, or the like, we believe there is nothing wrong with that. Deeds are judged according to the intentions, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Actions are only according to intentions, and every person shall have but that which they intended.” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in their two Sahih books of Hadith on the authority of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.


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