Hadith of Mut’ah and Imran ibn Husain

A famous recorded oral tradition among Muslims (Arabic: Hadith) is about comment made by Imran ibn Husain, one of the companions of Muhammad and a Narrator of hadith. The comment was regarding the prohibition of Mut’ah, a word with several meanings. It is used in both Nikah mut’ah and Mut’ah of Hajj.

Main article: Nikah Mut’ah

Although the narration is prominently quoted and referred to, it is not given any formal name, in contrast to other hadith such as the Hadith of the pond of Khumm or the Hadith of Qur’an and Sunnah

. . . Hadith of Mut’ah and Imran ibn Husain . . .

A hadith in Sahih Bukhari states:

Narrated ‘Imran: The Verse of Mut’ah[1] was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur’an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested.

Sahih Bukhari[2]

Another hadith under the topic of Hajj states:

حWe performed Mut’ah in the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger and then the Qur’an was revealed (regarding Hajj-at-Tamattu`) and somebody said what he wished (regarding Hajj-at-Tamattu`) according his own opinion.[3]

The hadith recorded from him in Sahih Muslim states:

‘Imran b. Husain said there was revealed the verse of Tamattu’ in Hajj in the Book of Allah and the Messenger of Allah commanded us to perform it. and then no verse was revealed abrogating the Tamattu’ (form of Hajj), and the Messenger of God did not forbid to do it till he died. So whatever a person said was his personal opinion.[4]

Another recorded by Sahih Muslim states:

Mutarrif reported: ‘Imran b. Husain sent for me during his illness of which he died, and said: I am narrating to you some ahadith which may benefit you after me. If I live you conceal (the fact that these have been transmitted by me), and if I die, then you narrate them if you like (and these are): I am blessed, and bear in mind that the Messenger of Allah combined Hajj and Umra. Then no verse was revealed in regard to it in the Book of Allah (which abrogated it) and the Messenger of Allah did not forbid (from doing it). And whatever a person (‘Umar) said was out of his personal opinion.[5]

Muslims view this hadith as notable since it can be seen as related to the Hadiths regarding the legality of Nikah Mut’ah, and is often mentioned when discussing those topics.

The comment of Imran ibn Husain is regarding the Hadith of Umar’s speech of forbidding Mut’ah.

All Muslims agree that this hadith is authentic, and that Umar did indeed forbid Mut’ah. However, there is dispute on how to define “Mut’ah” and whether or not it was forbidden before Umar. The hadith tells about a “Verse of Mut’ah” revealed in the Qur’an. Muslims disagree which verse is alluded to, since two different verses can be seen as the Verse of Mut’ah.

The Quran, chapter 4 (An-Nisa), verse 24:[6]

And (also forbidden are) all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to ‘those whom you profit by (istamta´tum), give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.

The word “istamta´tum” is notable, because the word used literally means “to benefit, to enjoy, to profit“.[7] Muslims differ on what is meant by Mut’ah here, and which judgement the verse gives about it. Generally, Shi’a Muslims tend to believe that Mut’ah here refers to the temporary marriage, and that this verse permits it.[8] Among the Sunnis, different view exists:

  1. Some sunnis do not believe that this verse refers to the Nikah Mut’ah at all. This view was favored by Suyuti.[9]
  2. Some agree that the verse refers to the temporary marriage, but disagree that the verse permits it. Ibn Kathir cited the hadith from Mujahid ibn Jabr to this effect.[10]
  • The second possibility is that “The Verse of Mut’ah” refers to Al-Baqarah, 196. We read:

The Quran, chapter 2 (Al-Baqara), verse 196:[11]

And accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for Allah, but if, you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination; but whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, he (should effect) a compensation by fasting or alms or sacrificing, then when you are secure, whoever profits (tamattu´) by combining the visit with the pilgrimage (should take) what offering is easy to obtain; but he who cannot find (any offering) should fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days when you return; these (make) ten (days) complete; this is for him whose family is not present in the Sacred Mosque, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
translated by Muhammad Habib Shakir

The phrase “…whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage” is notable, because the Arabic word used here is tamattu`, which literally means “to do Mut’ah”. All Muslims agree that this verse refers to the Mut’ah of Hajj.[12][13]

. . . Hadith of Mut’ah and Imran ibn Husain . . .

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. . . Hadith of Mut’ah and Imran ibn Husain . . .

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