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Did Rasulullah (sallallahu'alayhi wasallam) have a shadow?

Question

Did the Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) have a shadow or not?

Is there any Hadith for this?

 

Answer

There are conflicting reports on this issue, which lead to some scholars preferring one view over the other whilst others have reconciled this conflict.

Hereunder are the details of the discussion:

 

1. Zakwan reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) never had a shadow.

(Recorded by Hakim Tirmidhi, see al-Khasa’isul-Kubrah of Suyuti vol.1 pg.164; Subulul-Huda wal-Rashad vol.2 pg.90 and Sharh uz-Zarqani ‘alal-Mawahib vol.7 pg.200)

Al-Muhaddith Zhafar Ahmad al-Thanwi (rahimahullah) has pointed out the extreme weakness of this narration.

(Imdadul Ahkam vol.1 pgs.338, 340)

 

2. Imam Zurqani (rahimahullah) also states that Imams Ibnul-Jawzi (rahimahullah) and Ibnul Mubarak (rahimahullah) have reported on the authority of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) did not have a shadow.

(Sharh Zurqani vol.7 pg.200).

However, the authenticity of this narration still remains unclear to us.

 

The opposite 

3. On the contrary, Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) has narrated from Sayyidatuna ‘Aishah (radhiallahu ‘anha) that Sayyidatuna Zaynab (radhiallahu ‘anha) said (as part of a lengthy hadith):

‘…Until one day at the time of midday, I could see the shadow of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) approaching.’

(Musnad Ahmad vol.6 pg.132; hadith2 4883)

This hadith indicates that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) did have a shadow.

 

4. Allamah ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullah) has mentioned a narration from Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu’anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said (as part of a longer narration):

‘… and I saw my and your shadows’.

(Hadil-Arwah pg.50 – see Fatawa Mahmudiyyah vol.1 pg.109)

 

5. Moulana Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri (rahimahullah) has stated that, ‘I haven’t come across any (authentic) narration with regard to Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) not having a shadow.

(Malfuzat-Kashmiri pg.248; also see Fatawa Rashidiyyah pg.167)

 

Reconciliation

Some ‘Ulama have opted to reconcile between these conflicting reports, by stating that it is possible that Rasulullah’s (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) shadow was sometimes visible, and sometimes not. Rasulullah’s (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) shadow being invisible at times could also be deduced from the narration that states, ‘Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) used to be shaded by a cloud.’

(Bawadirun Nawadir, Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi pg.369)

 

Al-Muhaddith Allamah Zhafar Ahmad Thanwi (rahimahullah) has provided a neutral explanation by saying that it would not be incorrect for one to hold the view that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) did have a shadow.

On the other hand, if one holds the opposite view, i.e. that Rasulullah’s (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) shadow was not visible, it could be justified. He further states that this is a very famous view amongst ‘Ulama as well, which indicates that there should be some proof for it – although we haven’t located it.

(Imdadul Ahkam vol.1 pg.340)

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar