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Verification of the Ḥadīth of 30 Years of The Rightly Guided Khulāfah – Shaikh Zubair ‘Alī Zai [1435H]

Compiled, Translated and Annotated
Abū Ḥibbān & Abū Khuzaimah Anṣārī


In this article we wish to present the verification of the famous ḥadīth of “Prophetic Khilāfah will be for 30 years” so that the general people are aware of it.

Imām Abū Dawūd as-Sijastānī in his Kitāb as-Sunan 2/290 Kitāb as-Sunnah, Bāb Fil-Khulāfa no.4646), Imām Abū Eesā Tirmidhī in Kitāb as-Sunan 2/46, Abwāb al-Fitan Bāb Mā Jā Fil Khilāfah no.2226), Imām Abū ʿAbdur Rahman Nasā’ī in Kitāb as-Sunan al-Kubrā 5/47 no.8155, Kitāb al-Manāqib Bāb 5, Imām Abū Ḥātim bin Ḥibbān Bastī in as-Ṣaḥīḥ (al-Ehsān no.6623, 6904, Mawārid az-Zamān no.1534,1535 and many other scholars of ḥadīth via various chains from Saʿīd bin Jamhān from Safīnah Abū ʿAbdir Rahman the servant of the Messenger of Allāh narrates

“The Messenger of Allāh said “The Prophetic khilāfah will remain for 30 years and the Allāh will give power to whom He Wills. Saʿīd said Safīnah said to me “count the years, 2 years of Abū Bakr and 10 years of Umar and 12 years of Uthmān and Alī so on (i.e. 6 years). Saʿīd said “I said to Safīnah these people say that Alee was not a khalīfah to which he replied “The backs of Banū Zarqā and Banū Marwān have lied.”

This is the wording of Abū Dawūd which differs slightly from the others  however the meaning is the same.

Concerning this Ḥadīth Imām Tirmidhī said,

“This Ḥadīth is Ḥasan.”

Imam Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal said,

“The Ḥadīth of Safīnah concerning the Khilāfah is authentic and it is my position regarding the Khulāfa.” [Jāmʿe Bayān al-ʿIlm Wa Faḍilihi [2/225], see also Kitāb as-Sunnah of ʿAbdullāh bin Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal [2/590 no.1400]

Imam Ibn Abī ʿĀṣim said,

“This Ḥadīth in terms of being written is established. Saʿīd bin Jamhān narrates from Ḥamād bin Salamah, a-ʿĀwām bin Ḥaushab and Ḥashraj (bin Nabātah)” [Kitāb as-Sunnah [2/549-550 no.1181,1185]

Hāfiẓ Ibn Taymīyyah has also graded this narration to be authentic [as-Silsilah as-Ṣaḥīḥaḥ [1/744] of Shaikh al-Albānī]

Imam Ḥākim also graded it authentic [al-Mustadrak [3/71]

The narrator Saʿīd bin Jamhān was declared to be trustworthy Imam Yaḥya bin Maʿīn, Imam Nasā’ī, Imam Ibn Ḥibbān and Imam Aḥmad.

Imam Abū Dawūd also declared him to be trustworthy

Imām Ibn ʿAdīyy said

“According to me there is no harm in him” [Tahdhīb ut-Tahdhīb [1/14]

Ḥāfiẓ Dhahabī said

“Truthful from the middle (level of narrator).” [al-Kāshif [1/282].

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr

“Truthful individual” [Taqrīb ut-Tahdhīb no.2279]

In contrary to these Imāms, Imām Abū Ḥātim ar-Rāzī said, “Write his ḥadīth but he cannot be used evidence.”

This criticism is rejected due to a number of reasons:

1] This opposes the praise of the majority

2] Zailaʿī’s Naṣb ur-Rāyah mentions [2/439]

“Abū Ḥātim’s saying “He is not evidence” is not harmful because he has not mentioned the reason for this criticism, he has used these words for many of the trustworthy and established narrators of the authentic books of ḥadīth without mentioning the reason, e.g. Khālid al-Ḥada and others, and Allāh knows best.”

Ḥāfiẓ Dhahabī said

“When Abū Ḥātim declares someone to be trustworthy, then hold onto it because he only declares someone trustworthy who is in the Ṣaḥīḥ Ḥadīth. Similarly when he declares someone to be weak or if he he says “he cannot be used as evidence” then hold back until you know what others have said. If someone says they were trustworthy then do not take Abū Ḥatīms criticism as he was firm with regards to the narrators. He has said about a group of narrators from the Ṣaḥīḥs they were not evidence and not strong and other similar statements.” [Siyar Āʿlām an-Nabūla [3/260]

Hence this criticism is rejected.

3] Some scholars have alleged Imām Abū Ḥātim was harsh hence his statement is rejected compared to Imām Aḥmad bin Ḥanbals statement who was balanced and investigative.

Imām Sājī’s statement, “His Ḥadīth have no supports.” Is also general and it is rejected because it is not detailed neither is it severe jarḥ. When someone’s honesty is established not being supported does not affect him. As it has already been established that Saʿīd bin Jamhān is trustworthy with definitive evidences, him being alone in reporting this Ḥadīth does not affect it it anyway.

The Deceit of the Ḥadīth Rejecters.

The real aim and objective of the Ḥadīth rejecters through their deceitful plots and treachery it to show the authentic Ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallalahu Alayhee Wasallam) are fabricated. This is to lead the general Muslims away from the fundamentals of the dīn and to create doubts so that the people begin to think the dīn as unreliable and then they eventually stray from the straight path.

With this they then want to express and impose their deficient opinions amongst the people, which will eventually lead to no one acting on the Qurān or Ḥadīth.

One person from amongst the rejecters and deniers of Ḥadīth is Tamannā ʿAmādī Phalwārī, he writes in his fabrication of a book, ‘Intizār Mahdī Masīh’ [Awaiting The Mahdī Messiah] whilst vilifying and rebuking this very same Hadīth,

“You have seen the name of Ḥashraj bin Nabātah Al-Kūfi with regards to these narrations. He is a weak in Ḥadīth according to almost all of the Imāms of Rijāl, he is not evidence and rejected in Ḥadīth and you do not generally find any supports for his Hadīth.” [pg.57]

We would like to say regarding Hashraj bin Nabātah Imām Ahmad said, “Trustworthy.” And Ibn Ma’īn said, “Good, trustworthy and there is no harm in him.” Abū Zurʿah said, “There is no harm in him and he is grounded in Ḥadīth.” Ibn ʿAdīyy said, “There is no harm in him.” Tirmidhī graded his Ḥadīth Hasan.

On the other hand Abū Ḥatīm said, “Good write his Ḥadīth but he is not used as evidence.” as-Sājī said, “Weak.” Ibn Ḥibbān said, “He has a few Ḥadīth, his narrations are rejected and it is impermissible to use his reports as evidence when he is alone in reporting them.” Nasā‘ī said he is not strong and criticised him another time he said there is not harm in him and praised him. [Summarised from Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb]

Ḥākim and Dhahabī authenticated one of his Ḥadīth. [Mustadrak [3/606], ʿAlī (I think Ibn Al-Madīnī) also declared him to be trustworthy [Mizān Al-‘Eitidāl [1/551]. Hāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr said, “Truthful but errs.” [Taqrīb]

The conclusion is, this narrator is trustworthy and truthful according to the majority of the scholars of Ḥadīth. Hence, Tamannā ʿAmādī is a liar in his claim that, ” He is a weak in Ḥadīth according to almost all of the Imāms of Rijāl”

There are so many lies in Tamannā ʿĀmādī’s book that a collation of them would result in a book. For example in the same book on [pg.54] this individual writes,

“Muʿammar bin Rāshid of Yemen was a freed slave who died in the year 154H. He was active in compiling and collating Ḥadīth, he would narrate from the well known liar Ābān bin ʿAbbās. Whilst narrating from him he would put forward the name of Thābit al-Banānī instead [Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb [1/101] yet the scholars of Ḥadīth still considered him to be trustworthy.”

We say let us look at the referenced page from Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb and it clearly says,

“Khalīlī has transmitted in in al-Irshād with an authentic chain from Aḥmad that he said to Yaḥya ibn Maʿīn when he was copying the manuscript of ʿAbdur Razzāq from Muʿammar from Ābān, “You are writing this when you know Ābān is a liar?” He (Ibn Maʿīn) replied, “May Allāh have mercy on you Oh Abū ʿAbdullāh, I am writing it in order to memorise it so that when a liar (like Tamannā ʿĀmādī) narrates on Muʿammar from Thābit from Anas, I will say to them you have lied the chain is via Ābān (and not Thābit).” [Tahdhīb at-Tahdhīb [1/101]

We ask the readers now, why is Muʿammar to blame here and what is his fault? What he heard he narrated it in the same way, when he heard from Ābān he would say Ābān and when he heard from Thābit he would say Thābit. If he scholar of Ḥadīth do not consider him to be trustworthy what should they consider him (meaning he was honest)

The likes of Tamannā ʿĀmādī are liars whose tongues and pens are free, if they want to, they can try to prove the day as night and night as day but they must remember a day will come when there will most definitely be punishment. On that day one will be taken to account for every deed big or small.

So this was the research into the correct position of Ḥashraj bin Nabātah, it must be remembered here that he is not alone in reporting the Ḥadīth, rather the following individuals support him

1] ʿAbd al-Wārith [Abū Dawūd no.4646]

2] al-ʿAwām bin Ḥūwshab [Abū Dawūd no.4647]

3] Ḥamād bin Salamah [Musnad Aḥmad [5/220-221]

Thus the criticism against Ḥashraj is rejected from every angle.

Shaikh ul-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah said concerning this Ḥadīth,

“This Ḥadīth is well known from the narrations of Ḥamād bin Salamah, ʿAbd al-Wārith bin Saʿīd and al-ʿAwām bin Ḥūwshab and others on the authority of Saʿīd bin Jamhān. Imām Aḥmad relied on this narration for evidence for the Khilāfah of the four Khulāfa ar-Rāshidīn and he also authenticated it. He would also use it as evidence against those people who would remain silent with regards to the Khilāfah of ʿAlī as the people began to differ. To the extent that Aḥmad said, “Whoever does not consider ʿAlī as the fourth Khulāfa is more astray than is domestic donkey.” He also forbade in establishing wedlock with such people. This issue is agreed upon by the jurists, scholars of the Sunnah, the people of knowledge and insight and the righteous people, this is also the position ie madhab of the general people. Some of the people of desires have opposed them in this, from them are the people of theological rhetoric and like them the Rāfidah who rebuke and censure the first three Khalīphs. Likewise, the Khawārij who abuse the Khilāfah of two son in laws ie Uthmān and ʿAlī (of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) or like some of the Nāṣibīs who attack the Khilāfah of ʿAli or like some of the ignorant ones upon the Sunnah who remain silent of the Khilāfah (of ʿAlī)” [Majmūʿa Fatāwa [35/18-19]

The following scholars graded the Ḥadīth to be authentic and strong,

1] Aḥmad bin Ḥanbal

2] at-Tirmidhī

3] Ibn Jarīr at-Ṭabarī

4] Ibn Abī ʿĀsim

5] Ibn Ḥibbān

6] al-Ḥākim

7] Ibn Taymīyyah

8] ad-Dhahabī

9] Ibn Ḥajr al-ʿAsqalānī (Silsilah as-Ṣaḥīḥaḥ [1/745 no.459] All praise be to Allāh.

Some scholars have mentioned two supporting narrations for this Ḥadīth

[1] On the authority of Abī Bakra (RaḍiAllāhu ʿAnhu) as transmitted by Baihaqī in Dalail an-Nabūwwah [6/342] the chain is weak due to ʿAlī bin Zaid bin Jadʿān

[2] On the authority of Jābir bin ʿAbdullāh (RaḍiAllāhu ʿAnhu) [al-Wāhidī in al-Wasīṭ cited from as-Ṣaḥīḥaḥ [1/745] and its chain is weak.


Some of the later people claim this Ḥadīth of Safīnah opposes the Ḥadīth of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim which Jābir bin Samurah (RaḍiAllāhu ʿAnhu) narrates from the Messenger of Allāh (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam),

“This affair will not cease until there are 12 Khalīphs…. And all of them will be from the Quraish.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Kitāb al-Imārah, Bāb an-Nās Tabʿa Li-Quraish Wa Khilāfah Fil Quraish [no.1821] and its origin is in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī [no.7222-7223]

This is lack of knowledge on the part of the claimants because both authentic Ḥadīth can be reconciled. The Ḥadīth of Safīnah refers to the Khilāfah of the Khulāfa Rāshidīn and the Khilāfah on the Prophetic Manhaj and the Ḥadīth of Jābir refers to the unrestricted Khilāfah. Thus the first Ḥadīth restricts and negates any more years than the 30 years of the Khilāfah of the Khulāfa ar-Rāshidīn and the second Ḥadīth establishes the Khilāfah of the non Rāshidīn hence there is contradiction between the two Ḥadīth.

Hāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr has alluded to this reconciliation in Fath al-Bārī [13/212 under Ḥadīth no.7223] as well as Hāfiẓ Ibn Taymīyyah in Majmūʿa Fatāwa. This is what is correct and for further details refer to Shaikh Muḥammad Nāṣir ud Dīn al-Albānī’s book Silsilah as-Ṣaḥīḥaḥ [1/742-749 no.459] as he has discussed this issue in great detail.

Hāfiẓ Zubair ʿAlī Zai


[JazakAllāh Khair to brother Shehzad Anwar Sattar for his help]

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