Hadith: “If this world weighed the weight of the wing of a mosquito in the Sight of Allah, no disbeliever would have had a drink of water from it.” ( *)
This Hadith was narrated directly from the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) by a number of his companions, including: Sahl ibn Sa`ad, Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Umar and a person from the tribe of Bani Salim whose name was not mentioned, as well as from many other companions of the Prophet whose names also have not mentioned.
1 - The Hadith of Sahl ibn Sa`ad was reported by At-Tirmidhi, (2) Ibn `Adi (3) and Abu Nu`aym. (4) All of them narrated it through the chain of Qutaybah ibn Sa`id.
Furthermore, this Hadith was reported by Al `Uqayli (5) through the chain of Yaha ibn Quz`ah, both of them narrated it from `Abdul-Hamid ibn Sulayman, from Abu Hazim -Salamah ibn Dinar- on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa`ad. However, they have the word 'equals' instead of ‘weighs’.
In this regard, At-Tirmidhi said: “This Hadith is an authentic narration but it is strange through this chain."
Abu Nu`aym said: “This Hadith is an strange narration from `Abdul-Hamid ibn Sulayman, from Abu Hazim.”
`Abdul-Hamid ibn Sulayman is brother of Fulayh, a weak (6) narrator, but he has been supported by another narration as was narrated by Ibn Majah (7) but he has the word ‘weighs’ with another addition. Also this Hadith was narrated by Ibn Abi `A’asim, (8) Al Hakim (9) and Al Baghawi. (10) All of them narrated it through different chains from Zakaria ibn Manzur, from Abu Hazim, on the authority of `Abdul-Hamid ibn Sulayman.
Moreover, Al-Hakim said: “This Hadith is an authentic one but was not recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.” However, Al-Hakim was criticized by Adh-Dhahabi who said: “Zakaria was weakened by the critics while Al-Hafiz said about him that he was a weak narrator.” (11)
Anyway, the Hadith with this supporting narration and other evidences rises to the degree of ‘Hasan Li Ghayrihi’ (a good narration due to some supporting evidences).
2 – As for the Hadith of unnamed companions of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him), it was narrated by Ibn Al Mubarak (12) through his chain from Al Baghawi, (13) from Isma`il ibn `Ayyash, from `Uthman ibn `Ubaydullah ibn Rafi`a, that some companions of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said the abovementioned Hadith.
However, this chain includes Isma`il ibn `Ayyash who was an authentic narrator when he narrates from the people of his own country, but when he narrates from the people of other countries he commits mistakes. (14) Here his Sheikh is `Uthman ibn `Ubaydullah ibn Rafi`a Al Madini, he was mentioned by Al Bukhari (15) and Ibn Abi Hatim (16) but none of them mentioned any recommendation or criticism whilst he was mentioned by Ibn Hibban in his book Ath-Thiqat (Authentic Narrators) (17) where he added saying: “He is a freed slave of Sa`id ibn Al `A’as, from Al Madinah.” Due to that, the narration of Isma`il here is a weak narration, even though, the Hadith is valid to be cited as was concluded by Al Albani. (18)
3 – The Hadith of an unnamed person from the tribe of Bani Salim or Fahim was reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah (19), from `Abdullah ibn Idris, from Muhammad ibn `Umar, from `Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman ibn Ma`amar, on the authority of a person from Bani Salim who mentioned similar words with some addition and he has the word “weighs” instead of “equals”.
Furthermore, this chain includes Muhammad ibn `Umar but I could not find his biography, perhaps, he is Muhammad ibn `Umarah ibn `Amr ibn Hazm who was an authentic narrator but he used to make mistakes. (20) He narrates from `Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman ibn Ma`amar while `Abdullah ibn Idris narrated from him. This conclusion was supported by the fact that Al Bayhaqi narrated it through the chain of Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya, from Ya`aqub ibn `Ubayd, from Abu `A’asim An-Nabil, from Muhammad ibn `Umarah, from `Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman with similar words, but this narration is a Mursal narration. (21)(A Mursal Hadith is a Hadith where the chain only goes up to a Tabi`i.)
4 - The Hadith of Abu Hurayrah was reported by Ibn Abi `A’asim, (22) from Abu Ma`ashar, from Sa`id Al-Maqburi, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. Abu Ma`ashar is Najih ibn `Abdur-Rahman As-Sindi who was a weak narrator and when he became advanced in age his memory was imbalanced. (32)
This Hadith has another chain from Abu Hurayrah as was narrated by Ibn Abi `A’asim, (24) Ibn `Aday (25) and Al Qudha’i. (26) All of them narrated it through different chains from Muhammad ibn `Ammar, from Salih the freed slave of At-Taw’amh, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. Muhammad ibn `Ammar is the Muadhdhin Al Madani, Al Hafiz said about him: “He is a non-objectionable narrator.” (27) However, Salih the freed slave of At-Taw’amh is Ibn Nabhan Al Madani, Al Hafiz said about him: “An authentic narrator but his memory became imbalanced later.” ( 28)
5 - The Hadith of Ibn `Umar was narrated by Al Qudha’I, (29) and Al Khatib (30) through two chains, from Abul-Hasan `Ali ibn `Isa ibn Al Muthanna Al Malini, from Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi `Awn, from Abu Mus`ab, from Malik from Nafi`a, on the authority of Ibn`Umar. However, this narration has the word ‘weighs’ instead of ‘equals’.
In this context, Al Khatib said: “This is a very strange narration from Malik, I do not know anyone who narrated it except Abu J`afar ibn Abi `Awn, from Abu Mus`ab, and `Ali ibn`Isa Al Malini has narrated it from him and Abu J`afar ibn Abi `Awn was an authentic narrator.”
Abu Ja`afar was the Sheikh of `Ali ibn`Isa Al Malini. Al Khatib said about Abu Ja`afar: “He was an authentic narrator.” (31) And Abu Mus`ab is Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Al Harith, Al Hafiz said about him: “A trustworthy narrator.” (32) Therefore, this chain should be graded as good.
This Hadith was quoted by Dr. Ibrahim Dahina, in his book (Like this, I Recognized My Lord), (33) as well as by Sheikh `Abdul-Majid Az-Zindani, in one of his lectures. (34) They view that this Hadith agrees with the fact proven by modern astronomy that has discovered that the earth is very small when compared with the incalculable celestial cosmic bodies. Sheikh Az-Zindani supported this reasoning and said: “If the world would have been a big thing, the existence of a single disbeliever would have been regarded a sort of breach in the Kingdom of Allah as disbelief is unacceptable thing in the Sight of Allah (Glory be to Him) (35), but in the Kingdom of Allah, it is even lesser than a mosquito's wing; so if one becomes proud and boasts within the wing of a mosquito and says: “ I am your highest lord” as was said by the Pharaoh, then what is the value of such words! And what is the impact of such person? And what may it belittle the Kingdom of Allah the Almighty?” End of quote.
However, Dr. Rashid has expressed his objection to this reasoning, (36) viewing that the intention of Hadith is the immaterial value of this world not its physical size. Therefore, the reasoning may be totally opposite and this Hadith may denote the huge body and large size of this earth. I mean, in spite of its large size and huge body it does not equal even the mosquito's wing.
Furthermore, his objection is supported by the fact that this Hadith has the word “Ad-Dunya” not the word “Al-Ardh” (or the earth) which is opposite of the Hereafter. (37) This world is called “Ad-Dunya” because it is near (38) to us. Also the word “Ad-Dunya” has been used in the Glorious Qur’an mostly as the opposite of the Hereafter except four places:
The First: Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
([Remember] when you were on the near side of the valley, and they were on the farther side, and the caravan was lower [in position] than you. If you had made an appointment [to meet], you would have missed the appointment. But [it was] so that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined - that those who perished [through disbelief] would perish upon evidence and those who lived [in faith] would live upon evidence; and indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.) [Al-Anfal 8: 42]
However, the remaining three places are in the description of the sky. (39)
Despite all this, the reasoning may be acceptable because the life of this world and adornments of human being are on this earth that is lesser than a mosquito’s wing. Furthermore, this conclusion is strengthened by the Hadith narrated by Muslim (40) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon) related from his Lord (Magnified and Exalted be He) Who said: “O My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me...” And He (Glory be to Him) said: “O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinn become as pious as the most pious heart of any one amongst you, it will not add anything to My Power or Kingdom. O My servants! even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinn become as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone amongst you, it will not decrease anything from My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinn gather together on a sector of land and all ask of Me, and if I were to give everyone of them what they asked, that will not, in any way, decrease what I have, anymore than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it.” And Allah knows best .
(1) The word “Al-Kown” (Universe) here refers to the celestial bodies.
(*) Like this, I Recognized My Lord, (p. 113).
(2) Sunan At-Tirmidhi - Book of Asceticism - Chapter on (the littleness of this world in the Sight of Allah), (4/ 485 Hadith No. 2320).
(3) Al-Kamil, (5/319).
(4) Al-Hilyah, (3/253).
(5) Adh-Dhu`afa’, (3/46).
(6) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 333).
(7) Sunan Ibn Majah -Book of Asceticism- Chapter on (an example of this world) (2/ 1376, 1377 Hadith No. 4110).
(8) Az-Zuhd, (49 Hadith No. 128).
(8) Al-Mustadrak, (4/306).
(10) Sharh As-Sunnah, (14/228, 229 Hadith 4027).
(11) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 216).
(12) Az-Zuhd, (p. 178).
(13) Sharh As-Sunnah, (14/228, Hadith No. 4026).
(14) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 109).
(15) At-Tarikh Al-Kabir, (6/232- 236).
(16) Al-Jarh Wat-Ta`adil, (6/156).
(17) Ath-Thiqat, (7/190).
(18) As-Silsilah As-Sahihah, (2/307).
( 19) Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, (13/225 Hadith No. 16171).
(20) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 498).
(21) Shu`ab Al-Iman, (7/326 Hadith No. 10469), the edition of Zaghloul.
(22) Az-Zuhd, (p. 49 Hadith No. 129).
(23) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 559).
(24) Az-Zuhd, (p. 49, 50 Hadith No. 130).
(25) Al-Kamil, (6 /230).
(26) Musnad Ash-Shihab, (2/ 317, Hadith No. 1440).
(27) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 498).
(28) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 274).
(29) Musnad Ash-Shihab, (2 /316, 317, Hadith No. 1439).
(30) Tarikh Baghdad, (4/92).
(31) Tarikh Baghdad, (1/311).
(32) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 78).
(33) Like this, I Recognized My Lord, (p. 113).
(34) A lecture at the Literary Club in Makkah.
(35) Perhaps, for the greatness of the Paradise, the Prophet A’dam (peace be upon him) was brought out of Paradise when he forgot his Lord’s Commandment and he and the devil were sent down to the earth.
(36) The Director of Umm Al Qura University and Chairman of the Literary Club in Makkah.
(37) Tartib Al Qamus, ( 2/220 ) and Lisan Al-`Arab, (2/1435).
(38) Maqayis Al-Lughah, (2 /303).
(39)See Verse No. 6th of Surah Al Anfal, Verse No.12th of Surah Fussilat and Verse No. 5th of Surah Al Mulk.
(40) Sahih Muslim (4/ 1994, 1995, Hadith No. 2577).