Fulfilling the Vow of a Deceased Mother

Fulfilling the Vow of a Deceased Mother


Hadīth

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)

I

روي أن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه استفتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في نذر كان على أمه توفيت قبل أن تقضيه. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاقضه عنها.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) asked the Prophet (sws) regarding a vow of his mother, which she had not fulfilled at her death. The Prophet (sws) directed: "Fulfil the vow on her behalf."[1]

II

روي أن سعد بن عبادة أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن أمي ماتت وعليها نذر أفيجزئ عنها أن أعتق عنها؟ قال أعتق عن أمك.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) came to the Prophet (sws) and inquired: "My mother died without being able to fulfil her vow. Would it suffice for her if I free a slave on her behalf?"[2] The Prophet (sws) said: "Free a slave on behalf of your mother."[3]

Notes on the Text of the Narrative:

The first narrative, with some variations, has been reported in Bukhariī's Nos. 2610, 6320 and 6558, Muslim's Nos. 1638a and 1638b; Abū Dā'ūd's No. 3307, Tirmidhī's No. 1546, Nasā'ī's Nos.3657, 3658, 3659, 3660, 3661, 3662, 3663, 3817, 3818 and 3819, Ibn Maajah's No. 2132, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's No. 3506, Ibn Hibbān' Nos. 4393, 4394, 4395, Al-Bayhaqī's Nos. 8021, 12413 and 19934, Abū Ya'lā's Nos. 2383 and 2683, Al-H@umaydi'sNo. 522, Nasā'ī's Sunan al-Kubrā's Nos. 4759, 4760, 4761, 6484, 6485, 6486, 6487, 6488, 6489 and 6490, Mālik's No. 1007, 'Abd al-Razzāq's Nos. 16333, 16334, Ibn Abī Shaybāh's Nos. 12080, and 36120.

The second narrative,[4] with some variations, has been reported in Nasā'ī No. 3656, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's No. 23897, Bayhaqī's Nos. 12418, 12419, Nasā'ī Sunan al-Kubrā'sNo. 6483 and Mālik's No. 1473.

The First Narrative

In some narratives, as for instance in Bukhārī's No. 6320, the words فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: فاقضه عنها (the Prophet (sws) directed: Fulfil the vow on her behalf) have been reported as فأفتاه أن يقضيه عنها (the Prophet (sws) directed him to fulfil the vow on her behalf).

In some narratives, as for instance in Bukhārī's No. 6320, there is an addition of the words فكانت سنة بعد (it became an established norm after this incident) at the end of the narrative.

In some reportings, as for instance in Bukhārī's No. 2610, this narrative has alternatively been reported as under:

روي أن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه استفتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن أمي ماتت وعليها نذر. فقال: اقضه عنها.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) asked the Prophet (sws) saying: "My mother has died while she still had a vow on her, [can I do something about it?]" The Prophet (sws) said: "Fulfil the vow on her behalf."

In some narratives, as for instance in Abū Dā'ūd's No. 3307, there is an addition of the words لم تقضه (which she did not fulfil) after the words وعليها نذر (while she still had a vow on her); while in Nasāi's No. 3819, these words have been reported as فلم تقضه ('but she did not fulfil it'); while in some narratives, as for instance in 'Abd al-Razzāq's No. 16333, the words فقال: اقضه عنها (the Prophet (sws) said: "fulfil the vow on her behalf") have alternatively been reported as فأمر بقضائه (the Prophet (sws) directed him to fulfil the vow).

In some reporting, as for instance in Nasā'ī's No. 3661, this narrative has been reported as under:

روي أن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه قال: ماتت أمي وعليها نذر. فسألت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأمرني أن أقضيه عنها.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) said: "My mother died while she had a vow on her. I asked the Prophet (sws) about it and he directed me that I should fulfil it on her behalf."

In some narratives, as for instance in Nasā'ī's No. 3663, there is an addition of the words ولم تقضه (and she had not fulfilled it) after the words وعليها نذر (while she had a vow on her).

In some reportings as for instance in 'Abd al-Razzāq's No. 16334, this narrative has been reported slightly differently as under:

روي أنه جاء سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن أمي كان عليها نذر أفأقضيه؟ قال: نعم. قال: أينفعها ذلك؟ قال: نعم.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) came to the Prophet (sws) and asked: "My mother was under a vow [when she died], should I fulfil it [on her behalf]?" The Prophet (sws) said: "Yes." Sa'd asked: "Will my fulfilling it, benefit her?" The Prophet (sws) said: "Yes."

The Second Narrative

In some narratives, as for instance in Bayhaqī's No. 12418, the narrative has been reported with the omission of a very significant part, as under:

روي أن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه قال لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أمي هلكت فهل ينفعها أن أعتق عنها؟ فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: نعم أعتق عنها.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubādah (rta) asked the Prophet (sws): "My mother has died. Will my freeing a slave benefit her?" The Prophet (sws) replied: "Yes. Free a slave on her behalf."

In the foregoing narrative, the narrators have omitted the part in which the companion refers to the fact that his deceased mother had made a vow which she could not fulfil during her life. This omission has completely altered the implication of the incident from what it originally was.

According to the Qur'ān, the basic principle of reward and punishment in the Hereafter has been given in the words: لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَى ( 53: 39) ([In the hereafter,] man will only get what he strived for, (53:39)). It is clear that if a person never intended to carry out a good or a bad deed, he/she would not get any reward thereof, if someone else were to carry it out on the person's behalf. Thus, the implication entailed in the foregoing version of the report – i.e., freeing of a slave by one person can reap rewards for another person – seems to be clearly against the stated principle of the Qur'ān.

In yet another narrative, the implication of the incident has been further distorted due apparently to a mistake by the narrators. Bayhaqī's No. 12419 is reproduced below:

روي أن سعدا رضي الله عنه أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله، إن أم سعد كانت تحب الصدقة وتحب العتاقة. فهل لها أجر إن تصدقت أو أعتقت؟ قال: نعم.

It is narrated that Sa'd came to the Prophet (sws) and said: "Messenger of God, the mother of Sa'd used to relish giving charity and freeing of slaves. Will she be rewarded if I give charity or set a slave free?" The Prophet (sws) said: "Yes."

Some other distortions of the same incident are given below:

روي أن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه توفيت أمه وهو غائب عنها فقال يا رسول الله إن أمي توفيت وأنا غائب عنها أينفعها شيء إن تصدقت به عنها قال نعم قال فإني أشهدك أن حائطي المخراف صدقة عليها.

It is narrated that Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah's (rta) mother died while he was not with her. [When he found out about it, he asked the Prophet (sws)], saying: "Messenger of God, my mother died while I was not with her. Will it benefit her if I give something in charity on her behalf?" The Prophet (sws) replied: "Yes." Sa`d said: "I make you witness that my garden is a charity for her."

This is reported in Bukhārī's Nos. 2605, 2611 and 2618, Abū Dā'ūd's No. 2882, Tirmidhī's No. 669, Nasā'ī's Nos. 3650 and 3655, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's Nos. 3504 and 3508, Ibn Hibbān's No. 3354, Bayhaqī's Nos. 12411 and 12412, Nasā'ī's Sunan al-Kubrā's Nos. 6477, 6481 and 6482, Mālik's No. 1450, Ibn Khuzaymah's Nos. 2500, 2501 and 2502 and 'Abd al-Razzaq's No. 16337.

In another set of narratives, the incident has been reported as under:

عن سعد بن عبادة رضي الله عنه قال: قلت: يا رسول الله، إن أمي ماتت أفأتصدق عنها؟ قال: نعم. قلت: فأي الصدقة أفضل؟ قال: سقي الماء.

It is reported by Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah, he says: "I said to the Prophet (sws): Messenger of God, my mother has died. Can I give charity on her behalf?" The Prophet (sws) replied: "Yes." I asked: "What is the best charity?" The Prophet (sws) replied: "To arrange for drinking water."

The above narrative, with some variations has been reported in Nasā'ī's Nos. 3664 and 3666, Ahmad ibn Hanbal's Nos. 22512 and 23896, Nasā'ī's Sunan al-Kubrā'sNos. 6491 and 6493 and Ibn Khuzaymah's No. 2496.




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