Kindly explain the meaning of the word حليفه in the following Hadith:

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: جاءت سهلة بنت سهيل إلى النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالت يا رسول الله إنى أرى فى وجه أبى حذيفة من دخول سالم وهو حليفه. فقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم: أرضعيه . قالت: وكيف أرضعه وهو رجل كبير؟ فتبسم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال:  قد علمت أنه رجل كبير



Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) has recorded this Hadith on the authority of Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radiyallahu ‘anha). Therefore, this Hadith is authentic.

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1453; Also see: Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 5088)


One of the various meanings of حليف is that it denotes one who has united with another in a confederacy/pact of clientage. This is also known in Arabic as a pact of موالاة. In short, when one conducts such a pact, one grants another the right of inheriting from them after they die. In exchange, the other partner pledges to assist monetarily if the former is ever penalized due to a crime.

Coupled with the above meaning, the word حليف also signifies the intimate relationship that Sayyiduna Salim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) shared with Sayyiduna Abu Hudhayfah (radiyallahu ‘anhu). After all, Sayyiduna Abu Hudhayfah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) had adopted Sayyiduna Salim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) at a very young age, lived with him in the same house and raised him like his own son.

(Refer: Al-Lubab Fi Sharhil Kitab, vol. 4 pg. 335 onwards, Takmilatu Fathil Mulhim, Hadith: 3585, Al-Bahrul Muhituth Thajjaj, Hadith: 3600; Also see: Al-Isabah, Number: 3059 and Tajul Urus, vol. 23 pg. 158 onwards)



Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radiyallahu ‘anha) has narrated:

“Sahlah bintu Suhayl (radiyallahu ‘anha) came to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), certainly I notice [concern] on the face of Abu Hudhayfah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) due to Salim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) entering, whereas he is his حليف (close companion).”

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: ‘Suckle him.’

She said: “How can I suckle him whereas he is a grown man?”

Rasulullah (sallalalhu ‘alayhi wasallam) then smiled and said: ‘Verily, I knew that he is a grown man.’”

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1453)


And Allah Ta’ala knows best.


Answered by: Moulana Farhan Shariff


Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar