Ashra Mubashra – Hadith Grading and Response to Doubts
In this article we will be taking a close look at the narration of the Ashra Mubashra in which the Prophet – peace be upon him – is said to have declared ten people as part of the people of Paradise. Below, we will be providing readers with a brief grading of the hadith as well as evidences for corroborating individual narrations that the men mentioned are indeed from the people of heaven according to the testimony of the Prophet – peace be upon him – .
- Grading of the Ashra Mubashra Hadith
- Who are the Ashra Mubashra Exactly?
- Can we accept a Narration in which the Narrator Praises Himself?
- Merits of the Ashra Mubashra
Grading of the Ashra Mubashra Hadith
The narration of the Ashra Mubashra has arrived us through multiple chains and through several companions. However, it is mainly attributed to Sa’eed bin Zaid. Perhaps the strongest narration is the narration by Humaid bin Abdulrahman in Sunan Al-Tirmithi #3681. The narration is not at the highest level of authenticity due to some weakness in a narrator named Musa bin Ya’qoub. He has been described as reliable by Ibn Ma’een and Ibn Adi. On the other hand, he was weakened by Ali bin Al-Madeeni and Imam Ahmad. Al-Nasa’ee says, “He is not strong.” (Refer to his biography in Tahtheeb Al-Tahtheeb.)
Another narration that has some strength is the narration of Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabeer #360 through Abu Al-Tufail. It contains two narrators that have some weakness. The first is Thabit bin Al-Waleed, who has been slightly weakened by Ibn Hibban. The other is his father, Al-Waleed bin Abdullah bin Jumai’. He has been criticized by Al-Uqaili, Ibn Hibban, and Al-Hakim, however, Imam Ahmad, Yahya, Abu Zur’ah, and Ibn Sa’ad had favorable opinions of him.
Interestingly, there are several other narrators that have narrated this hadith from Sa’eed bin Zaid. There are the narrations of Abdulrahman bin Al-Akhnas (Sunan Abi Dawud #4031), Abdullah bin Thalim (Sunan Al-Tirmithi #3690), and Riyah bin Al-Harith (Sunan Ibn Majah #4031). All three of these students of Sa’eed bin Zaid are not known though.
Khaythama bin Sulaiman (#42) also narrates the hadith through Ziyad bin Ilaqa, yet it is weak as well.
There are other chains, however, include major disconnections or liars.
Grading: The first two narrations that we have first examined do have some weakness, but when combined with the three narrations that are attributed to anonymous students of Sa’eed bin Zaid, we can be certain that this narration was indeed said by Sa’eed himself.
Who are the Ashra Mubashra Exactly?
It is important to keep in mind that some of the narrations include Sa’ad bin Malik instead of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas. This is not a problem since Malik’s name is Abu Waqqas.
The narrations mentioned above, do not include Abu Ubaida as one of the ten. It is only in the narration of Humaid bin Abdulrahman that we find the mentioning of Abu Ubaida. This is the view that was adopted by Imam Ahmad. He states in Kitab Al-Sunnah by Al-Khallal 1/286 that those promised paradise were nine, and that the Prophet – peace be upon him – is the tenth.
It is important to be aware that we do not mean by this that Abu Ubaida was not promised paradise. We only hold the opinion that he was not promised paradise in this specific hadith.
It is known that Anas bin Malik narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #4031 that the Prophet – peace be upon him said – that “every nation has a trust man, and the trusted man of this nation is Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah.” This was also narrated by Huthaifa bin Al-Yaman in Al-Bukhari #4029.
It is only reasonable to believe that one that is referred to as the “trusted man of this nation” is one who is guaranteed paradise.
Can we accept a Narration in which the Narrator Praises Himself?
According to the rules of hadith sciences, the answer depends on the status of the narrator. If one who is unreliable narrates praise for himself, then it is not accepted. However, if one has been praised by others as being reliable, then his narration from the Prophet – peace be upon him – is accepted, even if the narration contains praise for himself.
We have already mentioned in the past that Ali has quoted the Prophet’s – peace be upon him – praise for him tens of times in Kitab Al-Khasa’is by Al-Nasa’ee. Sunnis do not reject these hadiths because they contain self-praise. Rather, they are accepted, since Ali is a reliable narrator of hadith.
The same applies to Sa’eed bin Zaid, who is a reliable narrator of hadith, as per the consensus of Sunni scholars.
Merits of the Ashra Mubashra
For the sake of the argument, even if we were to simply reject the narration, doing such does not serve Shias in the least. The narration of the Ashra is only one of many hadiths in which these men are praised by the Prophet – peace be upon him – . Many of these narrations are very explicit, like the two narrations in the chapters of merits of the first three caliphs that have been accepted as authentic by scholars. The first is the famous narration of Anas in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #3423 in which he narrates that the Prophet – peace be upon him – was on top of Uhud along with Abu Bakr, Omar, and Uthman. Uhud then shook. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: “O’ Uhud remain stable, for nothing is upon you other than a prophet, a siddeeq, and two shaheeds.” We can understand from the Qur’an and the Sunnah that those that are referred to as siddeeqeen and shuhada are from the people of heaven.
The second narration, in Al-Bukhari #3419, from the narration of Abu Musa that the Prophet – peace be upon him – told Abu Musa to go to Abu Bakr, Omar, and Uthman and give them the good news that they are from the people of paradise.
Note: Even though we have provided some of these merits above from Saheeh Al-Bukhari, we would like to assure our doubting Shia readers that these narrations can be found in several other sources as well.
By skimming through works of hadith, we will also find explicit praise for the rest of the ten, as well as general merits for the Muhajireen in general, and those that participated in Badr and Hudaibiya. However, the above is sufficient to show that Shias do not have a case by attacking the hadith of the Ashra Mubashra. Rejecting the narration of the Ashra Mubashra is fruitless, unless one rejects all the authentic reports that praise the ten individually.
In other words, rejecting the narration of Sa’eed bin Zaid does not change the fact that these ten companions will remain reliable, respected, and adored by Sunnis, regardless as to whether the narration is authentic or not.