Shadow of the Holy Prophet ﷺ | Muftī Muḥammad Kifāyatullāh  ؒ

Shadow of the Holy Prophet ﷺ | Muftī Muḥammad Kifāyatullāh ؒ

Question:

Did the Holy Prophet  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)

Answer:

Many authors of Sīrah have mentioned under the miracles and exclusive traits of the Prophet  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-Khaāʾi al-Kubrā and Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī  ؒ in his Shar al-Shifā.

The text of Madārij al-Nubuwwah is as follows:

ونبود مرآں حضرت  را سایہ نہ در آفتاب و نہ در قمر

“My Respected One  did not have a shadow – neither under the sun nor under the moon.”[1]

The text of al-Khaāʾi al-Kubrā is as follows:

أخرج الحكيم الترمذي عن ذكوان، أن رسول الله  لم يكن يرى له ظل في شمس ولا قمر

“Al-Hakīm al-Tirmidhī narrated on the authority of Dhakwān that the Prophet’s  shadow was invisible in both sunlight and moonlight.”

The text of Shar 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 adīth 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-Ramān b. Qays, who has been criticised [by some scrutinisers of transmitters of adīth]; 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 adīth of Dhakwān  ؓ has been transmitted by a criticised narrator and another unknown.

The second narration is of Ibn ʿAbbās  ؓ, which al-Khafājī  ؒ related in Shar al-Shifā from Kitāb al-Wafā fī Faāʾil al-Muṣṭafā. He states:

وهذا رواه صاحب الوفا عن ابن عباس ؓ قال: لم يكن لرسول الله  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  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 Shar al-Shamāʾil. He states:

وفي حديث ابن عباس ؓ قال: لم يكن لرسول الله  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 adīth of Ibn ʿAbbās  ؓ, he said: ‘The Messenger of Allāh  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 adīth 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-Nāirīn:

ومن فضائله ما ذكره ابن سبع إلخ

“And among his virtues is what Ibn Sabuʿ has mentioned []

In Anwār Muammadiyyah, it is stated:

قال ابن سبع: كان  نورا، فكان إذا مشى بالشمس أو القمر، لا يظهر له ظل

“Ibn Sabuʿ said: He  was light. Therefore, when he walked under the sun or moon, there was no shadow.’”

Regarding this, one must contemplate that if the Prophet  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 , as night and day are regular occurrences. This should have been narrated in such abundance that it should haved reached tawātur[2] and recorded in all the major books of adīth 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 adīth. This is sufficient to deem its validity doubtful.

[Muftī] Muammad Kifāyatullāh (kāna Allāhu lahū)[3]


[1] Assistance was sought from Shaykh Abu Asim Badrul Islam in translating the Persian text.

[2] 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)

[3] Translated from Kifāyatullāh, Muḥammad, Kifāyat al-Muftī, Maktabah Haqqāniyyah Karachi, vol. 1 pp. 75-76.

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