Hadith: “Womb i.e. family relation is an interlocking branch created by Allah.” (*)

This Hadith has been narrated by a number of companions of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) including: Abu Hurayrah, `Aa’ishah, `Abdullah ibn `Amr, Ummi Salamah, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id ibn Zaid and `Aamir ibn Rabi`ah:

1 – As for the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah, it has two chains:

The First: Abu Salih narrated it on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, from the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who said: “Womb, i.e. family relationship) was created by Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious).” And Allah said: “Whoever keeps it, I will keep ties to him, and whoever severs it, I will sever ties with him.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari] (2) He is alone in the narration of this Hadith; none of the six compilers of Hadith narrated this Hadith.

The Second: Muhammad ibn Ka`ab Al-Quradhi narrated it on the authority of Abu Hurayrah with similar words; as was reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah, (3) Ahmad (4), Al-Bukhari – in his book ‘Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ –(5) and Ibn Hibban, (6) Al-Hakim, (7) Abu Nu`aym (8). All of them narrated it through different chains from Shu`abah, from Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Jabbar, from Muhammad ibn Ka`ab Al-Qurdhi, on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah.

In this context, Al-Hakim said: “This narration has an authentic chain but was not reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim also Adh-Dhahabi agreed with his conclusion. However, their opinion is not accurate as this chain includes Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Jabbar Al-Ansari, who was described by Al-Hafiz with following words: “He was the mentor of his people and he is an acceptable narrator.” (9) Moreover, this narration was narrated by Al-Bukhari from Abu Hurayrah through another chain. That is why the conclusion of Al-Hakim who said: “This narration was not recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.” means that this narration was not recorded by them with this chain.

Furthermore, Al-Haythami said: “This narration was narrated by Ahmad and its narrators are the narrators of Al-Bukhari, except Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Jabbar, who is also a trustworthy narrator.”(10). Perhaps, he has mistook due to the recommendation of Ibn Hibban (11) beside the narration of Shu`abah on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Jabbar.

2 – The Hadith of `Aa’ishah that the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Womb (family relationship) is an interlocking branch. So whosoever keeps good relations with it (womb i.e. Kith and kin), I will keep good relations with him, and whosoever will sever it (i.e. severs his bonds of kith and kin) I too will sever His relations with him.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]. (12)

3 – The Hadith of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A`as that has many chains:

The First: Abu Qabus narrated on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A’as that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Merciful. Be merciful to the people of the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you, “the womb (family relationship) is an interlocking branch created by Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious) .....” and the Hadith continues on like the narration of Abu Hurayrah.

This narration was reported by At-Tirmidhi (13) and Al-Humaydi (14) in a brief way, and by Ahmad (15) and Al-Hakim. (16) All of them have narrated it through different chains of Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah, from `Amr ibn Dinar, from Abu Qabus, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A’as.

Moreover, At-Tirmidhi said: “This Hadith is a good and authentic narration.” As well as this Hadith was graded as authentic by Al-Hakim and was supported by Adh-Dhahabi.

However, this chain includes Abu Qabus a freed slave of `Abdullah ibn `Amr who was an acceptable narrator. (17) In addition to that, Abu Qabus has been supported by other narrations as would be discussed below.

The Second: Abu Al-`Anbas said: “I went to `Abdullah ibn `Amr, at his land in At-Ta’if called ‘Al-Wahat’ (18) whereupon he narrated that the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) pointed to us with his finger and said: “the womb (family relationship) is an extended interlocking branch created by Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious). It will have a fluent tongue and will talk whatever it wanted, so whosoever keeps good relations with it, Allah will keep good relations with him, and whosoever will sever it Allah too will sever His relations with him.”

This Hadith was reported by At-Tayalisi (19) -and the words belong to his narration– and by Al-Bukhari in his book ‘Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ (20) and the words in his narration include ‘It will have on the Day of Judgment a fluent, eloquent tongue and will talk whatever it wanted.’ Both of them narrated it through the chain of `Uthman ibn Al-Mughirah, from Abu Al-`Anbas, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr.

Abu Al-`Anbas Ath-Thaqafi’s name is Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abdullah or ibn `Abdur-Rahman ibn Qarib who is an acceptable narrator. (21) In addition to that, he was supported by other narrations.

The Third: `Amr ibn Shu`yab narrated from his father, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A’as that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “the womb i.e. family relation is interlocking branch it grows like the branch grows in branch.” And the Hadith continues on like the narration of Abu Al-`Anbas, as was narrated by Al-Baghawi (22), through the chain of Humayd ibn Makhalad ibn Al-Zanjwayh, from `Abdullah ibn Yusuf, from Ibn Lahi`ah, from `Amr ibn Shua`yb, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A’as.

It is noteworthy that this chain includes Ibn Lahi`ah who was an authentic narrator but his memory got imbalanced after his books were burnt. Nevertheless, the narration of Ibn Al-Mubarak and ibn Wahab from him is more authentic than the narrations of others from him. In addition to that, there are some of his narrations recorded in Sahih Muslim that were supported with other narrations. (23)

4 – The Hadith of Ummi Salamah that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “the womb i.e. family relation is interlocked branch that will take refuge of Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious), asking its right, then He will say: “are you not pleased that whoever keeps you, I will keep ties to him…….” This Hadith was reported by ibn Abi `A’asim(24)  and At-Tabarani (25), both have narrated it from the chain of Ibn Abi Shaybah, as was mentioned in his book Al-Musannaf (26), from Zayd ibn Al-Hubab, from Musa ibn `Ubaydah, from Al-Mundhir ibn Jaham Al-Aslami, from Nawfal ibn Masahiq, on the authority of Ummi Salamah.

This chain includes Al-Mundhir ibn Jaham Al-Aslami who was mentioned by ibn Abi Hatim (27) and Al-Bukhari (28) with a slight difference in his name as Al-Bukhari pronounced the name as ‘Mundhir ibn Abi Al-Jaham’ but none of them have mentioned any recommendation or criticism about him. That is why he would be counted among unknown narrators.

Musa ibn `Ubaydah Ar-Ribdhi was weakened by Al-Hafiz especially when he narrated from `Abdullah ibn Dinar. (29) However, here his narration is not from `Abdullah ibn Dinar.

5 –The Hadith of Ibn `Abbas was narrated by Ahmad (30), Ibn Abi `A’asim (31), Al-Bazzar (32), and Ibn `Adi (33). All of them narrated it through the chain of Ibn Jurayj, from Salih a freed slave of At-Tawamah, on the authority of Ibn `Abbas similar to the Hadith of Ummi Salamah.

However, the narration of Ibn Abi `A’asim has the following addition: “the womb i.e. family relation is an interlocked branch created by Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), its origin lies in the Sacred House, when the Day of Judgment will come it will go to the Court of Ar-Rahman, seeking His refuge and will say: “this the place of one who seeks Your refuge.”

In this connection, Al-Bazaar said: "We do not know if this has been narrated from Ibn `Abbas with another chain.”

Furthermore, its all narrators are authentic except Salih the freed slave of At-Tawamah who is Ibn Nabhan. Al-Hafiz said about him: “He was a trustworthy narrator before his memory got imbalanced.” And Ibn `Adi said: “there is nothing wrong if the narration from him was previous, like the narration of Ibn Abi Dhi’eb and Ibn Jurayj. (34) The full quote in his book ‘Al-Kamil’ is as follows: “there is no objection in the narration of Salih if it was heard previously.” Then Ibn `Adi mentioned the names of some narrators who heard him previously like; Ibn Jurayj, Ibn Abi Dhi’eb and Ziyad ibn Sa`ad. Afterwards, he commented saying: “I don't view his narration as a weak Hadith; if the narrators from him were authentic, the problem lies in the narrators after Ibn Abi Dhi’eb, who narrate from him even if they were weak, (35) but the narrator in this Hadith from him is Ziyad ibn Sa`ad, who was an authentic and trustworthy narrator (36) that heard from him before his memory was disordered, that is why this chain is good.

6 – The Hadith of Sa`id ibn Zayd was narrated by Ahmad, (37) Al-Bazzar, (38) and Al-Hakim (29). All of them narrated it through the chain of Abu Al-Yaman, from Shu`yab ibn Abi Hamzah, from `Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Hussain, from Nawfal ibn Masahiq, on the authority of Sa`id ibn Zayd. The words of narration are as follows: “the womb i.e. family relation is an interlocked branch created by Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), whoever severs it, Allah prohibits Paradise for him.”  This word belongs to Ahmad and Al-Bazzar, but Ahmad has some addition in the beginning of this Hadith. Furthermore, the narrators of this Hadith are authentic and the Hadith is valid as was mentioned previously.

7. The Hadith of `A’amir ibn Rabi`ah was narrated by Al-Bazzar (40) and Abu Ya`ala, (41) both of them narrated it from the chain of `Ali ibn Qadim, (42) from Sharik Al-Qadhi, from `A’asim ibn `Ubaydullah, from `Abdullah ibn `A’amir ibn Rabi`ah, on the authority of his father. The words Al-Bazzar are as follows: “the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘the womb, i.e. family relationship is an interlocked branch whoever keeps it, Allah will keep ties to him…..”  While the words of Abu Ya`ala are “the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He– meaning the Lord– says: ‘the womb, i.e. family relationship is an interlocked branch created by Me whoever keeps it, I will keep ties to him…...”

It is noteworthy that this chain includes `A’asim ibn `Ubaydullah ibn `A’asim ibn `Umar, who was weakened (43) by Al-Hafiz. And Sharik Al-Qadhi is an authentic narrator but he makes mistakes frequently, his memory got imbalanced after he held the post of judge in Al-Kufah. (44) Also the narrator from him is `Ali ibn Qadim an authentic (45) narrator, but I did not find anyone who mentioned that `Ali ibn Qadim narrated from him before he got imbalanced. 

Reasoning:

This Hadith was quoted by Muhamad Kamil `Abdus-Samad in his book ‘The Scientific Miracles in Islam’ – Section: As-Sunnah) (46) in order to prove miracles in As-Sunnah where he mentioned this Hadith coupled with explanation of the word Ash-Shajnah in the Hadith which denotes the interwoven branches of tree. In this context, he said: "it has been verified by the recent anatomy that the womb lies in the center of the basin in the body of woman which remain protected and safe from any harm and the womb is a hollow muscular organ ... " After that, Muhamad Kamil `Abdus-Samad mentioned the description and nature of the womb and said: “the womb has two tubes; everyone on each side and the tube of the womb ends on a swelling called the fallopian tube which surrounds the ovary with a group of tissues."(47)

Then he adds: “This shows the womb in the shape of an interwoven branch of a plant and that is the shape which was denoted by the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) in his words: “the womb is interwoven branch created by Allah.” Undoubtedly, this description by him is a scientific miracle, especially when we bore in our minds that it was before we knew about the recent science called anatomy, which describes the organs of the human body with precision and clear statement." End of quote.

Comment:

This reasoning depends on what was meant by ‘Ar-Rahim’ (womb) in this Hadith. That is why I consulted Arabic dictionaries and I found, Ibn Faris, for example; says: "Any Arabic word consisting of Alphabet Ar-Ra’, Al-Ha’ and Al-Mim denotes tenderness, kindness and compassion, as well as the word ‘Ar-Rahim’ means the family relationship. Afterwards, the womb of a female has been called ‘Ar-Rahim’ because it produces babies that require mercy, tenderness, kindness and compassion.”

In addition to that, Ibn Sayyidah, Al-Jawhari and others have defined ‘Ar-Rahim’ as the family relationship, viewing the womb as its origin which is an abode of the embryo and its vessel in the abdomen. (48)

Moreover, Ar-Raghib Al-Asbahani says: “Ar-Rahim is the womb of a woman, but afterwards, the word has been borrowed for the ‘family relationship’ as it originates from one womb." (49)

Therefore, ‘Ar-Rahim’ is used for an organ wherein an embryo is created and developed, as well as the word is used to denote the family relations. In addition to that, the word has been used in the Hadiths of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) in the context of ‘keeping the relation or severing it’ which specifies the meaning of ‘family relations’. That is why Abu `Ubayd explained the meaning of the Hadith and said: "the womb is interwoven branch created by Allah.” This Hadith means that the family relations are interwoven like the interlocking branches.” (50) However, the words of the Hadith indicate to the meaning of womb or the uterus of a female wherein the embryo is created. Think well in the words of the Hadith and Allah knows best.

It is noteworthy that the word ‘Shajnah’, has been pronounced as ‘Shujnah’ and ‘Shijnah’ (51) that denotes originally a combination of interlocking branches of a tree. (52) In this regard, Ibn Al-Faris says: “Any Arabic word consisting of the Alphabet Ash-Shinn, Al-jim and An-Nun denotes attachment or intertwinement of something so the word ‘Ash-Shajn’ was derived from it which means the interwoven tree." (53)

I have seen some images of the uterus that includes the meaning of interwoven branches.

________________________________________

(1) Fath Al-Bari, (10/418).

(*) The Scientific Miracles in Islam —Section: As- Sunnah, pp. 183, 184.

(2) Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Etiquettes – Chapter on (Whoever keeps family relations, Allah will keep ties to him) (10/417 Hadith No. 5988).

(3) Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, (8/350 Hadith No. 5446).

(4) Al-Musnad, (2/306, 383, 406, 455).

(5) Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, (1/146 Hadith No. 65) and At-Tarikh Al-Kabir, (1/169).

(6) Al-Ihsan, (1/334, 335 Hadith No. 443, 445).

(7) Al-Mustadrak, (4/162).

(8) Al-Hilyah, (3/220).

(9) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 491).

(10) Al-Majm`a, (8/150).

(11) Ath-Thiqat, (7/415).

(12) Sahih Al-Bukhari (10/417 Hadith No. 5989), Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, (1/137 Hadith No. 55).

(13) Sunan At-Tirmidhi-Book of Virtue and Joining of the Ties of Kinship- Chapter on (What has been narrated about showing mercy toward one another between Muslims) – (4/285 Hadith No. 1924).

(14) Musnad Al-Humaydi, (2/270 Hadith No. 592).

(15) Al-Musnad, (2/160).

(16) Al-Mustadrak, (4/159).

(17) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (666).

(18) He means a land of him in At-Ta’if – as was explained in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad-. Furthermore, Al-Wahat is a plain region of the earth where various species of Arabic thorny trees grow. It was a property of `Amr ibn Al-`A’as, or `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`A’as in At-Ta’if. See: An-Nihayah, Al-Qamus and Lisan Al-`Arab.

(19) Musnad At-Tayalisi, (298 Hadith No. 2250).

(20) Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, (1/135, 136 Hadith No. 54) It is more brief than the words of At-Tayalisi.

(21) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (662).

(22) Sharh As-Sunnah, (13/23, 24 Hadith No. 3435).

(23) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 319).

(24) As-Sunnah, (1/237 Hadith No. 537).

(25) Al-Mu`ajam Al-Kabir, (23/404 Hadith No. 970).

(26) Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, (8/350, 351 Hadith No. 5447).

(27) At-Tarikh Al-Kabir, (7/358).

(28) Al-Jarh Wat-Ta`adil, (8/243, 244).

(29) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (552).

(30) Al-Musnad, (1/320).

(31) As-Sunnah, (1/237 Hadith No. 538).

(32) Kashf Al-Astar, (2/375 Hadith No. 1883).

(33) Al-Kamil, (4/57).

(34) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, p. (274).

(35) Al-Kamil, (4/85).

(36) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 219).

(37) Al-Musnad, (1/190).

(38) Kashf Al-Astar, (2/379 Hadith No. 1894), where the name was mentioned as (Shu`yab ibn Abu Hussein, on the authority of Nowfil), which is a mistake, as Shu`yab is ibn Abi Hamzah who narrated from Ibn Abi Hussein.

(39) Al-Mustadrak, (4/157).

(40) Kashf Al-Astar, (2/375 Hadith No. 1882).

(41) Musnad Abu Ya`ala, (13/156 Hadith No. 7546).

(42) This has been altered with ‘Darim’ in Kashf Al-Astar.  

(43) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 285).

(45) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 266).

(46) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 404).

(47) The Scientific Miracles in Islam –Section: As-Sunnah– (p. 183, 184).

(48) Maqayis Al-Lughah, (2/498).

(49) Lisan Al-`Arab, (3/1613).

(50) Al-Mufradat, (p. 191).

(51) Gharib Al-Hadith by Abu `Ubyad, (1/209).

(52) Fath Al-Bari, (10/418).

(53) An-Nihayah, (2/447).

(54) Maqayis Al-Lughah, (3/248).

 

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