How do you reconcile between the two Hadiths on which was the favourite daughter?
1. This narration seems to indicate Zainab (RA):
Sayyidah`A’ishah (ra), reported that the Prophet (saws) said about Zaynab: هي أفضل بناتي، أُصيبت فيّ [She is the best of my daughters, she was hurt for my sake.]
Source: al-Sagheer by al-Bukhari 1/7.
2. And, this indicates Fatima (RA):
Usamah said: I was at the mosque so al-`Abbas and `Ali came to me and said: “O Usamah, take permission from Rasul-Allah (saw) so we may enter.”
I entered on him (saw) and said: “al-`Abbas and `Ali both seek your permission to enter.” He (saw) told me: “Do you know what their need is?” I said: “By Allah I do not know.” He (saw) said: “I do, so permit them to enter.”
Then they both came in saying:
“O Rasul-Allah (saw), we came to you asking: Which of your family is most beloved to you?” He (saw) said: “The most beloved of my family is Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad.”
They said: “We do not ask you regarding Fatimah!” He said: “Then it is Usamah ibn Zayd, the one whom Allah has blessed and so have I.”]
Please also confirm which, is authentic and how authentic it is?
There is no contradiction between these narrations, concerning who was the favourite of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam)
The second Hadith clearly states that Sayyidatuna Fatimah (radiyallahu’anha) was the most beloved.
The narration regarding Sayyidatuna Zaynab (radiyallahu’anha) doesn’t mention such about her.
However, there is a discussion among the scholars regarding who from these two blessed daughters was more virtuous?
The first Hadith that you have cited clearly states that Sayyidah Zaynab was the most virtuous, whilst several other Hadiths mention Sayyidah Fatimah as the most virtuous.
Imam Tahawi (rahimahullah) has reconciled between these Hadiths by stating that it was Sayyidah Zaynab (radiyallahu’anha) who was initially given this title. This was when Sayyidah Fatimah (radiyallahu’anha) was not yet mature, and therefore wasn’t part of the comparison.
When Sayyidatuna Fatimah grew up, she took over this title from her beloved sister (radiyallahu’anhuma)
Refer: Sharh Mushkilil Athar, after hadith:142, vol.1 pg.136 & fathul Bari, hadith: 3767.
Status of the Hadiths in question
The first Hadith has been declared authentic (sahih) by Imam Hakim (rahimahullah). ‘Allamah Haythami has declared the narrators as reliable (rijalus sahih). Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has declared the chain as good (jayyid)
(Mustadrak, vol.4 pg.44, Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.9 pg.213 & Fathul Bari, after hadith: 3775)
The authenticity of the second Hadith is debated by the Hadith masters. Imams Tirmidhi and Hakim (rahimahumallah) have declared it reliable.
(Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith: 3819 & Mustadrak Hakim, vol.2 pg.417)
Cautionary Note: Matters like these do not really affect us in practice, and should therefore not distract us from our practical duties.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar