Weakness in the Hadith of “…Whoever imitates a people, he is one of them”



Prophet Muhammad pbuh (peace be upon him) said: “I was sent with the sword just before the Last Hour so that Allah is worshipped, my sustenance was provided for me from under the shadow of my spear and made inferior, and whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.”


This Hadith is well known and most quoted in talks and articles, particularly the first part of the Hadith which is always used by some group of Muslims. When another group focuses on the last part of the Hadith which quoted and narrated in Sunnan Abu Dawood when the full Maten (text) of the Hadith is narrated by Al-Imam Ahmad and others by the same Isnaad (chain).


I understand clearly how the authenticity of this Hadith is sort of undebatable to some Muslims and it almost like a sin to indicate the defects in the narration, however, this does not surprise me as this Hadith is repeated by many speakers and some scholars have ever been authenticated, such as Shaykh Al-Albani.


As for the followers (Muqalideen) of those scholars are unacceptable in any way to doubt the credibility of this Hadith, as they are holding behind the barriers of the superiority of those scholars. Therefore, it is unlikely to make a mistake and what’s more difficult to accept whether is there any mistake to be hinted by some not well-known scholars or intellectuals.


The Hadith has few chains where each one of them may have single Isnaad (chain) that is Saheeh (authentic) with no defects. For this different Isnaad (chain) narrating the same text, some scholars authenticated this Hadith by using the method of Shawahid (witnesses).  It is mostly accepted the late Muhaditheen (Scholars of Hadiths) in different level and circumstances in which some of them are more rigid than others in regard to the type of defect, the condition of the narrators and if they have narrated from the same Shaykh which called Mutaba’at(follow-ups), if they are from same country or different land and so on. However, other scholars can be very lenient, authenticating many Hadiths for some different weak chains that this text of Hadith is being narrated.


As, for many of the early Muhaditheen the way of authenticating Hadiths by Shawahid (witnesses) is not acceptable to make a Hadith as authentic to be debatable or refute, and this is what I consider it to be the crux of the matter. InshaAllah if you read the details below with an open mind and without any discernment, you will understand my argument and you have the right to agree or disagree.


The first Isnaad (chain):


حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النَّضْرِ ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ ثَابِتٍ ، حَدَّثَنَا حَسَّانُ بْنُ عَطِيَّةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي مُنِيبٍ الْجُرَشِيِّ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ ” .


أبو داود في السنن


حَدَّثَنَا هَاشِمُ بْنُ الْقَاسِمِ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ ثَابِتٍ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا حَسَّانُ بْنُ عَطِيَّةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي مُنِيبٍ الْجُرَشِيِّ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” إنَّ اللَّهَ جَعَلَ رِزْقِي تَحْتَ رُمْحِي وَجَعَلَ الذِّلَّةَ وَالصَّغَارَ عَلَى مَنْ خَالَفَ أَمْرِي , مَنْ تشبه بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ ” .


عُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ في المصنف


حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النَّضْرِ ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ ثَابِتِ بْنِ ثَوْبَانَ ، حَدَّثَنَا حَسَّانُ بْنُ عَطِيَّةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي مُنِيبٍ الْجُرَشِيِّ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” بُعِثْتُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْ السَّاعَةِ بِالسَّيْفِ حَتَّى يُعْبَدَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ، وَجُعِلَ رِزْقِي تَحْتَ ظِلِّ رُمْحِي ، وَجُعِلَ الذُّلُّ وَالصَّغَارُ عَلَى مَنْ خَالَفَ أَمْرِي ، وَمَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ ” .


أحمد في المسند


As you can see Abu Dawood narrated from Ibn Abi Shaybah from Abu Al-Nadhr whose name is Hisham ibn Al-Qasam, both of Imam Ahmad and Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated from Abu Al-Nadhr the full text in their book, yet Abu Dawood brought the last part of the hadith.


The same hadith has been narrated by other than Abu Al-Nadhr such as:


محمد بن يزيد ، وسليمان بن داود ، والفريابي ، وعلي بن عياش ، وغسان بن الربيع


In fact, they all narrated from the same Shaykh


عبد الرحمن بن ثابت بن ثوبان ، حدّثنا حَسان بن عطية ، عن أبي مُنيب الجرشي


So this Isnaad (chain) depends on the reliability of those narrators.


The first defect:


عبد الرحمن بن ثابت بن ثوبان


This narrator is not Thiqah (trustworthy), has been weakened by many scholars though they accepted him as a religious good person but is not reliable in his narration.


Imam Ahmad said:  أحاديثه مناكير (forbidden hadith = weak hadith)


Yahya ibn Ma’een said:    لا شىء  ضعيف صالح (there is nothing weak in this hadith)


The second defect:


أبي مُنيب الجرشي


This is from the Tabe’ee(follower who came after the death of Prophet Muhammad pbuh), who but narrated from Ibn Umar yet he did not clearly say that he has heard it from Ibn Umar rather he used the word  A’n which does not mean necessary that he has heard it from Ibn Umar and there is no evidence to prove  that he heard from Ibn Umar, as he might have heard it through another person.


أَبِي مُنِيبٍ الْجُرَشِيِّ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ


Although he has been mentioned in the book of Ibn Heebban Ath-Thiqaat but the fact is that he is Majhool (incompetent) although Ibn Heebban listed his name following his ruling of including any Tabe’ee how has been Majrooh(reliable), and those who did Tawtheeq (attestation) to this Tabe’ee followed Ibn Heeban.  Furthermore, it should be known that no Hadith has been narrated through this Tabe’ee in both of Bukhari and Muslim and the four books of Sunnan other than this narration and he is known by his Konyah (roots) only as Abu Moneeb, and not by his name nor his father’s.


The second Isnaad (chain):


حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ ، ثَنَا أَبِي ، ثَنَا عَمْرُو بْنُ الْحَارِثِ ، ثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَالِمٍ ، عَنِ الزُّبَيْدِيِّ ، ثَنَا نُمَيْرُ بْنُ أَوْسٍ ، أَنَّ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنَ الْيَمَانِ ، كَانَ يَرُدُّهُ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : ” مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ” .


مسند الشاميين للطبراني


The first defect


The narrators عَمْرُو بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ and his father are not Thiqa (trustworthy), yet the son is better than the father but the best can be said about him that he is Sadooq (honest). However, the father is described to be Nothing by Abu Dawood and Not Thiqa (trustworthy) by An-Nisaee.


The second defect


The narrator is  عَمْرُو بْنُ الْحَارِثِ Majhool (incompetent)


The third defect


The narrator نُمَيْرُ بْنُ أَوْسٍ did not hear anything from the Sahabee Hudayfah, so the Isnaad (chain) is Munqat’a i.e.  there is a gap between the Sahabee and this narrator (Nomaar Ben Awa), which means Nomaar heard from another narrator whom we don’t know his credibility, that if the first three narrators mentioned above narrated the correctly which is unlikely.


The third Isnaad:


حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ زَكَرِيَّا ، ثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَرْزُوقٍ ، نا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ ، ثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ غُرَابٍ ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ حَسَّانٍ ، عَنِ ابْنِ سِيرِينَ ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ بْنِ حُذَيْفَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ ، أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : ” مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ ”


لَمْ يَرْوِ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ حَسَّانٍ ، إلا عَلِيُّ بْنُ غُرَابٍ ، وَلا عَنْ عَلِيٍّ ، إلا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ ، تَفَرَّدَ بِهِ : مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مزوقٍ


المعجم الأوسط للطبراني


حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَرْزُوقٍ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ غُرَابٍ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ حَسَّانَ ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ بْنِ حُذَيْفَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : ” مَنْ تَشَبَّهَ بِقَوْمٍ فَهُوَ مِنْهُمْ ” ،


وَهَذَا الْحَدِيثُ لا نَعْلَمُهُ يُرْوَى عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ مُسْنَدًا إِلا مِنْ هَذَا الْوَجْهِ ، وَقَدْ رَوَاهُ غَيْرُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ غُرَابٍ ، عَنْ هِشَامٍ ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ مَوْقُوفًا .


البحر الزخار بمسند البزار


If you read Arabic then you can understand that At-Tabari highlighted the Tafarrod of Ali Ben Ghoraab from Hisham Ibn Hassaan from Ibn Syreen from Abu U’baydah Ben Hudayfah


The first defect


The narrator عَلِيُّ بْنُ غُرَابٍ is not Thiqah(trustworthy), Abu Dawood called him weak, An-Nasaee and Abu Hatem said: he is not bad and Ibn Heebbaan criticised him very harshly. However, the best can be said about him that he is Sadooq (honest) yet he was also known as Mudalles (fraud/con man). Therefore, in this Isnaad (chain) he has narrated is considered weak.


The second defect


The Tabe’ee whose name is not known yet his known by his Konyah (roots) as,  Abu U’baydah, he is a son of the great Sahabee Hudayfah Ibn Al-Yaman, in general, his state in Hadith like the Tabe’ee in the first Isnaad Abu Muneeb.  Abu Hatem said about him, he is not named, Ad-Daraqtni considered him to be Majhool (incompetent) and Ibn Hajer said he has no biography, yet Ibn Heebban listed him in his book of Ath-thiqaat.



I can go on and on pertaining to the chain of this hadith. As you can see that most of the barrier of this hadiths are unreliable and not trustworthy. Hence, the conclusion to this hadith is weak and could not be proven to be useful to refute anyone who imitates other people as unlawful or wrongdoing.

Which then, we need to go back to the Quran, where Allah has commanded mankind to know and learn one another, and bring unity, peace,  and harmony within the community.  They should bring joy and goodness to the world

I believe that the most appropriate way of understanding and handling today’s social problem goes back to this verse in the Quran:

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you people and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (al-Hujurat verse 13)

I truly believe that the society needs to reconcile and brings unity in humanity regardless of:  race, creed, religion, and gender.

A true believer in One God will stand united with all people without discernment nor biases. They will hold hands to care and protect one another.  Humiliations will not exist in their daily practices, and not even within their own faith.

The writer of this website would like to state that whatever has been written in this article is merely for education and guidance, based on the limited knowledge from the writer.

Whatever knowledge, inspiration, and exploration pertaining to the sacred knowledge that the writer has encountered are solely based on the writer’s personal experiences and understanding.

It is with due diligent to know that the writer of this article will not be held responsible for whatever misunderstanding or wrongly transliterated words, text or context written in this article.

– The End –




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