Two Blows Allowed to the Hellfire

Two Blows Allowed to the Hellfire


Hadīth

(This write-up has been prepared by the Hadīth Cell of Jāved Ahmad Ghāmidīwhich includes Moiz Amjad, Izhār Ahmad, Muhammad Aslam Najmi and Kaukab Shehzad)

روى أنه قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: اشتكت النار إلى ربها فقالت ربي أكل بعضي بعضا فأذن لي أتنفس. فأذن لها بنفسين: نفس في الشتاء ونفس في الصيف. فأشد ما تجدون من الحر فمن نفس جهنم، وأشد ما تجدون من الزمهرير فمن نفس جهنم.

It is narrated that that Prophet (sws) said: [Once,] the Hellfire complained[1] to its Lord saying: "My Lord, some parts of me are eating away others, allow me to take a breath [and blow my heat out]." At this, the Lord allowed it to exhale twice:[2] once in the winters and once in the summers. Thus, the severest of heats that you feel, it is only a breath of the hellfire; and the severest of colds that you feel, it is only a breath of the hellfire.[3]

Notes on the Text of the Narrative:

This narrative or a part of it, with some variations, has been reported in al-Bukhārī (nos. 512 and 3087), Muslim (no. 617), Tirmidhī (no. 2592), Mu'atta' of Imām Mālik (nos. 27 and 28), Ibn Mājah (no. 4319), Ahmad ibn Hanbal (nos. 7246, 7708, 9114, 9956 and 10545), Dārimī(no. 2845), Ibn Hibbān(nos. 1510 and 7466), Nasā'īAl-Sunan al-kubrā(no. 11640) Ibn Khuzaymah (no. 34138) and al-Bayhaqī (nos. 1897, 1898 and 1900) Abū Ya'lā(nos. 4303, 5871) and al-Humaydī (no. 942). The preferred text, except where otherwise specified, is the one reported in al-Bukhārī (No. 3087).

In some narratives, as in Muslim (no. 617), the phrase اشتكت النار إلى ربها (the hellfire complained to its Lord) have been recorded as قالت النار (the hellfire said); in some other narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 9114), it has been recorded as أن جهنم استأذنت ربها (that the hell sought permission from its Lord).

The sentence فاذن لي أتنفس (therefore permit me to breathe) has been reported in Muslim (no. 617). In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 7708), this sentence has been recorded as فنفسني (therefore, release me from this pain).

In some narratives, as in Tirmidhī (no. 2592), the sentence فأذن لها بنفسين (then He permitted it to exhale twice) has been reported as فجعل لها نفسين (He granted it two breaths); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibbān(no. 7466), this sentence has been recorded as: فجعل لها في كل عام نفسين (He granted it two breaths in each year); in some narratives, as in Mu'atta' (no. 27), this sentence has been recorded as فأذن لها بنفسين في كل عام (then He permitted it to exhale twice in each year); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 9114), this phrase is recorded as فنفسها في كل عام مرتين (then it allowed it relief twice in each year), in some narratives, as in al-Nasā'ī Al-Sunan al-kubrā (no. 11640), it has been recorded as: فأذن لها كل عام بنفسين (He permitted it two breaths in each year); while in some narratives, as in Abū Ya'lā (no. 5871), this sentence has been recorded as: فأذن لها أن تنفس نفسين (then it permitted it that it may breathe two breaths).

In some narratives, as in Ibn Hibbān(no. 7466), the phrase نفس في الشتاء ونفس في الصيف (a breath in the winters and a breath in the summers) has been reported as: في الشتاء والصيف ([one each] in winter and in summer).

In some narratives, as in Muslim (no. 617), the phrase فأشد ما تجدون من الحر (thus, the severest of what you feel in the summer) has been reported as ما وجدتم من حر أو حرور (that which you have experienced of heat or heats); in some narratives, as in Tirmidhī (no. 2592), this phrase is recorded as أما نفسها في الصيف فسموم (as for its breath in summer, it is the scorching wind); In some narratives, as in Ibn Mājah (no. 4319), this phrase is recorded as: شدة ما تجدون من الحر من سمومها (the severity of heat that you feel is from its [that is, hellfire's] scorching winds); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 7708), this phrase is recorded as أشد ما تجدون من الحر من حر جهنم (the severest of heat that you feel is from the heat of hellfire); in some narratives, as in al-Humaydī(no. 942), this phrase has been recorded as: أشد ما تجدون من الحر من حرها (the severest of heat that you feel is from its heat [that is, from the heat of hellfire]); in some narratives, as in AbūYa'lā (no. 4303), this phrase has been recorded as: شدة ما تجدون من الحر حرها (the severity of the heat that you feel is its [that is, hellfire's] heat); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 9114), this phrase is recorded as: شدة الحر من حر جهنم (the severity of heat is from the heat of hellfire); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibbān(no. 7466), this phrase has been reported as: شدة الحر الذي تجدون من حر جهنم (the severity of heat which you feel is from the heat of hellfire).

The phrase فمن نفس جهنم (it is a breath of hellfire) has been reported in Muslim (no. 617).

In some narratives, as in Muslim (no. 617), the phrase أشد ما تجدون من الزمهرير (the severest of colds that you feel) has been reported as ما وجدتم من برد أو زمهرير (that which you have experienced of cold or of freezing cold); in some narratives, as in Tirmidhī (no. 2592), this phrase is recorded as أما نفسها في الشتاء فزمهرير (as for its breath in winters, it is the freezing cold); in some narratives, as in Ibn Mājah (no. 4319), this phrase is recorded as شدة ما تجدون من البرد من زمهريرها (the severity of the cold that you feel is from its [that is, hellfire's] freezing cold); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 7708), this phrase is recorded as أشد ما تجدون من البرد من زمهرير جهنم (the severest of colds that you feel is from the freezing cold of hellfire); in some narratives, as in al-Humaydī(no. 942), this phrase has been recorded as: أشد ما تجدون من البرد فمن زمهريرها (the severest of colds that you feel is from its [that is, hellfire's] freezing cold); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 9114), this phrase is recorded as: شدة البرد من زمهريرها (the severity of cold is from its [that is hellfire's] freezing cold); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibbān(No. 7466), this phrase has been reported as: شدة البرد الذي تجدون من زمهريرها (the severity of cold that you feel is from its [that is, hellfire's] freezing cold').

In some narratives, as in al-Bayhaqī (no. 1897), the sentence فأشد ما تجدون من الحر... فمن نفس جهم (Thus, the severest of heats that you feel… it is a breath of the hellfire) has been reported as: فهو أشد ما تجدون من الحر وأشد ما تجدون من الزمهرير (Thus, it is this [blowing of the hellfire] that you feel of the severest of heats and that you feel of the severest of colds).

In Ahmad ibn Hanbal (no. 7246), the sentence فأشد ما يكون من الحر من فيح جهنم (thus, the severest of heats is [a manifestation] of the raging of the hellfire) has been added at the end of the reported saying of the Prophet (sws).

In some narratives, as in Muslim (no. 617), the sequence of the two phrase of the sentence: فأشد ما تجدون من الحر... الزمهرير فمن نفس جهنم (Thus, the severest of heats that you feel… colds that you feel, it is a breath of the hellfire) has been altered and has been reported as:فما وجدتم من برد أو زمهرير فمن نفس جهنم، وما وجدتم من حر أو حرور فمن نفس جهنم (thus that you have experienced of cold or of freezing cold, it is a breath of hellfire; and that which you have experienced of heat or of heats, it is a breath of hellfire).

In some narratives, as for instance in al-Bukhārī (no. 512), the narrator has annexed this saying ascribed to the Prophet (sws) with that relating to delaying prayers during intensely hot days. Thus, the referred saying has been reported as:

إذا اشتد الحر فأبردوا بالصلاة فإن شدة الحر من فيح جهنم واشتكت النار إلى ربها فقالت يا رب أكل بعضي بعضا فأذن لها بنفسين: نفس في الشتاء ونفس في الصيف. فهو أشد ما تجدون من الحر وأشد ما تجدون من الزمهرير.

When the heat intensifies, cool down your prayers [by delaying them], for indeed the intensity of heat is [a manifestation] of the raging of hellfire. Once, the Hellfire complained to its Lord saying: "My Lord, some parts of me are eating away others, allow me to take a breath [and blow my heat out]." At this, the Lord allowed it to exhale twice: once in the winters and once in the summers. Thus, the severest of heats in summers and the severest of colds in winters are these two blows of the hellfire.

Although it is possible that the Prophet (sws) may have said these words as they have been reported in this saying, yet, because in most of the narratives the recommendation regarding delaying prayers during summers has been reported independent of the saying regarding the blows of the hellfire, therefore, the two parts of this saying are treated as two separate narratives.




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