The Hadiths: 'We have returned from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad' and 'Whoever learns the language of some people will be safe against their

Q: My question is about the degree of authenticity of the following two transmitted sayings, which are commonly said by people: (Part No. 4; Page No. 435) First: What is ascribed to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that he said after returning from one of his battles: “We have returned from the lesser Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah) to the greater Jihad (the inward spiritual struggle).” Second: What is also ascribed to him that he (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever learns the language of some people will be safe against their deception.”


A: As for the first Hadith reporting that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said after returning from one of his battles: “We have returned from the lesser Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah) to the greater Jihad (i.e., Jihad against oneself).” They asked, “What is the greater Jihad? He replied, “The struggle against one’s heart.” This Hadith is related by Al-Ghazaly in Kitab Sharh ‘Aja’ib Al-Qulub (The Explanation of the Wonders of the Heart), Chapter on “Bayan Shawahid Al-Naql Min Arbab Al-Basa’ir wa Shawahid Al-Shar‘” in his book entitled Ihya’ ‘Ulum Al-Din to prove that the best way to overcome diseases of the heart is to abandon forbidden desires. Al-`Iraqy also mentioned in his book entitled “Al-Moghny ‘an Haml Al-Asfar Fi Al-Asfar Fi Takhrig Ma Fi Al-Ihya’ Min Al Akhbar”, that the said Hadith: “We have returned from the lesser Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah) to the greater Jihad” is related by Al-Bayhaqy in Kitab Al-Zuhd (Book of Renunciation of Worldly Pursuits) on the authority of Jabir and said that the Isnad (chain of narrators) of this Hadith is Da‘if (weak). Al-Minawy also said in his book “Faid Al-Qadir fi Sharh Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir” after relating the Hadith that it is also narrated on the authority of Jabir by Al-Bayhaqy in Kitab Al-Zuhd which is a small volume, and said that it has a weak Isnad. This view was also held by Al-‘Iraqy. It is also reported by Al-Suyuty in his book “Al-Durar Al-Muntathera” on the authority of Ibn Hajar that he said in his book “Tasdid Al-Qaws” in his commentary on this Hadith: (Part No. 4; Page No. 436) “That it is a popular phrase said by Ibrahim ibn Abu ‘Ablah, in the book entitled Al-Kuna by Al-Nasa’y.” As for the second Hadith: “Whoever learns the language of some people will be safe against their deception”, it is not mentioned in any Hadith books that we reviewed, and it might be traced to one of Al-Salaf (righteous predecessors). However, it bears a true and reasonable meaning, for anyone who learns the language of different people, will surely know what they are talking about, and thus be protected against their deception.Furthermore, the implication that such Hadith entails concerning learning foreign languages is valid and permissible. It is worth mentioning that the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded Zayd ibn Thabit to learn the language of the Jews to be a trustworthy interpreter between him (the Prophet) and the Jews.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

Tags: