QUESTION: How sound is the hadeeth narrated from Salmaan al-Faarisi (may Allaah be pleased with him) in which he is reported to have said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) addressed us on the last day of Sha’baan and said: ‘O People, there has come to you a great and blessed month, a month in which there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Allaah has made fasting (this month) an obligation and spending its nights in prayer an act of voluntary worship. Whoever draws near to Allaah during this month by doing some good deeds is like one who does an obligatory action at any other time, and the one who does an obligatory action during this month is like one who does seventy obligatory actions at any other times. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is ransom from the Fire…’”?
ANSWER: Its isnaad includes ‘Ali ibn Zayd ibn Jad’aan, of whom Ibn Sa’d said: “There is some weakness in him and he cannot be quoted as evidence. He was classed as da’eef (weak) by Ahmad, Ibn Ma’een, al-Nasaa’i, Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Jawzjaani and others, as it says in Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 5/207.
Abu Haatim al-Raazi judged the hadeeth to be munkar (a kind of weak hadeeth). Al-‘Ayni said likewise in ‘Umdat al-Qaari’, 9/20, as did Shaykh al-Albaani in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Da’eefah wa’l-Mawdoo’ah, vol. 2/262. no. 871. So it becomes clear that the isnaad of this hadeeth and similar reports are all da’eef (weak), and that the muhadditheen (scholars of hadeeth) judged it to be munkar, in addition to the fact that it contains some phrases whose authenticity is subject to further examination, such as its dividing the month into three parts, saying that the first ten days are mercy, then forgiveness, then ransom from the Fire. There is no evidence for this, rather the bounty of Allaah is immense, all of Ramadaan is mercy and forgiveness, and there are those whom Allaah ransoms from the Fire EVERY night and at the time of breaking the fast, as is proven by the ahaadeeth.
Moreover, in this weak hadeeth it says, “Whoever draws near to Allaah during this month by doing some good deeds is like one who does an obligatory action.” There is no evidence for this, rather naafil actions are naafil and obligatory actions are obligatory in Ramadaan and at other times. This hadeeth also says, “and the one who does an obligatory action during this month is like one who does seventy obligatory actions at any other times.” This number is subject to further examination, because a good deed earns a reward between ten and seven hundred times in Ramadaan and at other times, and nothing is exempted from that apart from fasting, for its reward is immense and unlimited, because of the hadeeth qudsi: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.” (Agreed upon; narrated from Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him).
We must beware of da’eef (weak) hadeeth and make sure of their status before we speak of them. We must strive to find out the saheeh ahaadeeth about the virtues of Ramadaan. May Allaah grant us all strength and accept our fasting, night prayers and all our good deeds.
And Allaah knows best.
-Dr. Ahmad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Baatili.