Did the Holy Prophet ﷺ have a shadow under the sunlight and moonlight? (Questioner – Mawlānā Karīm Bakhsh, M.A. Honours, Professor at Arabic Government College, Lahore – 21st Jumādā ’l-Ūlā 1352 AH / 12th October 1933 CE)
Many authors of Sīrah have mentioned under the miracles and exclusive traits of the Prophet ﷺ that he would not have a shadow in neither sunlight nor moonlight. All of their statements are based on two narrations.
The first of these narrations is that of Dhakwān ؓ, attributed to al-Hakīm al-Tirmidhī ؒ in his Nawādir al-Usūl, as mentioned by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Haqq ؒ in his Madārij al-Nubuwwah, Jalāl ad-Dīn al-Suyūṭī ؒ in al-Khaṣāʾiṣ al-Kubrā and Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī ؒ in his Sharḥ al-Shifā.
The text of Madārij al-Nubuwwah is as follows:
ونبود مرآں حضرت ﷺ را سایہ نہ در آفتاب و نہ در قمر
“My Respected One ﷺ did not have a shadow – neither under the sun nor under the moon.”
The text of al-Khaṣāʾiṣ al-Kubrā is as follows:
أخرج الحكيم الترمذي عن ذكوان، أن رسول الله ﷺ لم يكن يرى له ظل في شمس ولا قمر
“Al-Hakīm al-Tirmidhī narrated on the authority of Dhakwān that the Prophet’s ﷺ shadow was invisible in both sunlight and moonlight.”
The text of Sharḥ al-Shifā is as follows:
وهذا معنى ما في النوادر، ولفظها: لم يكن له ظل في شمس ولا قمر
“[…] and this is the meaning of what is in al-Nawādir. Its wording is ‘did not have a shadow, [neither] in sunlight nor moonlight.’”
In the same book, Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī ؒ quotes the chain of transmission to the ḥadīth of Dhakwān ؓ as follows:
ذكره الحكيم الترمذي في نوادر الأصول عن عبد الرحمن بن قيس – وهو مطعون – عن عبد الملك بن عبد الله بن الوليد – وهو مجهول – عن ذكوان، من أنه كان لا ظل لشحصه في شمس ولا قمر
“Al-Hakīm al-Tirmidhī mentioned it in Nawādir al-Usūl from ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Qays, who has been criticised [by some scrutinisers of transmitters of Ḥadīth]; from ʿAbd al-Malik b. ʿAbdillāh b. al-Walīd, who is unknown; from Dhakwān, that he (the Prophet) did not have a shadow under the sun nor the moon.”
It is evident from this scrutiny that the ḥadīth of Dhakwān ؓ has been transmitted by a criticised narrator and another unknown.
The second narration is of Ibn ʿAbbās ؓ, which al-Khafājī ؒ related in Sharḥ al-Shifā from Kitāb al-Wafā fī Faḍāʾil al-Muṣṭafā. He states:
وهذا رواه صاحب الوفا عن ابن عباس ؓ قال: لم يكن لرسول الله ﷺ ظل، ولم يقم مع شمس إلا غلب ضوؤه ضوءها، ولا مع سراج إلا غلب ضوؤه ضوءه
“[…] and this is what the author of al-Wafā narrated from Ibn ʿAbbās ؓ. He said: ‘The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ did not have a shadow. Whenever he stood with the sun, his light superseded its light; and whenever he stood with a lantern, his light superseded the light of the lantern.’”
Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī ؒ also mentioned this in Sharḥ al-Shamāʾil. He states:
وفي حديث ابن عباس ؓ قال: لم يكن لرسول الله ﷺ ظل، ولم يقم مع شمس قط إلا غلب ضوؤه ضوءها، ولم يقم مع سراج قط إلا غلب ضوؤه ضوءه. ذكره ابن الجوزي
“And in the ḥadīth of Ibn ʿAbbās ؓ, he said: ‘The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ did not have a shadow. Whenever he stood with the sun, his light superseded the light of the sun; and whenever he stood with a lantern, his light superseded the light of the lantern.’ It is narrated by Ibn al-Jawzī.”
The chain of transmission to this ḥadīth cannot be located, nor is Kitāb al-Wafā available. Beside these two narrations, no other narration [negating the shadow] is known. Most books have sufficed on narrating only from Ibn Sabuʿ as-Subtī, as mentioned in Nuzhat al-Nāẓirīn:
ومن فضائله ما ذكره ابن سبع إلخ
“And among his virtues is what Ibn Sabuʿ has mentioned […]”
In Anwār Muḥammadiyyah, it is stated:
قال ابن سبع: كان ﷺ نورا، فكان إذا مشى بالشمس أو القمر، لا يظهر له ظل
“Ibn Sabuʿ said: ‘He ﷺ was light. Therefore, when he walked under the sun or moon, there was no shadow.’”
Regarding this, one must contemplate that if the Prophet ﷺ had no shadow in sunlight or moonlight, there ought to be a large number of recordings by every person who was for and against the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ, as night and day are regular occurrences. This should have been narrated in such abundance that it should haved reached tawātur and recorded in all the major books of Ḥadīth as his most obvious and manifest miracle.
Despite the above, this is mentioned only in the aforementioned two narrations one transmitted by a criticised narrator and an unknown narrator, while the second has no recorded chain of transmission – and nowhere else. Not a single mention of it is made in the major books of Ḥadīth. This is sufficient to deem its validity doubtful.
[Muftī] Muḥammad Kifāyatullāh (kāna Allāhu lahū)
 Assistance was sought from Shaykh Abu Asim Badrul Islam in translating the Persian text.
 A report that has been transmitted from so many channels that common sense rejects it being a colluded fabrication or coincidence. Such reports are equivalent to an āyah of the Qurʾān in authenticity. (Translator)
 Translated from Kifāyatullāh, Muḥammad, Kifāyat al-Muftī, Maktabah Haqqāniyyah Karachi, vol. 1 pp. 75-76.