Is the story regarding Muhallim ibn Jath-thamah true?
He went out in jihad and killed ‘Amir ibn Al Adbat (radiyallahu ‘anhu). ‘Amir ibn Al Adbat had just accepted Islam but Muhallim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) still killed him. After the family members of ‘Amir (radiyallahu ‘anhu) accepted the blood money, Muhallim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) was brought to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) so that he may seek forgiveness on his behalf. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘O Allah! Do not forgive Muhallim.’
Muhallim (radiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away a few days later and was buried, however the earth didn’t accept him. This happened three times so they placed his body in a mountainous area and covered him with stones. His body was consumed by the animals.
The first part of the incident is recorded in Sunan Abi Dawud, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah and other Hadith collections.
However this narration ends by those around Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) at the time saying, that although Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘O Allah! Do not forgive Muhallim’, He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sought forgiveness on his behalf quietly.
This part was omitted above in your question.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has declared the chain in Abu Dawud sound (hasan).
(Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 4496 and Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 38168, Al Isabah, vol. 4 pg. 270/271, under the biography of Sa’d ibn Dumayrah. Also see: Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 2625, Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5 pg. 112 and Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 7 pg. 8)
Nabi sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam probably did this so that Muhallim and those present would realise the seriousness of the offence.
The second part of the narration regarding the earth not accepting Muhallim’s (radiyallahu ‘anhu) body, has been recorded by Muhammad ibn Ishaq (rahimahullah) and Imam Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah. However, this narration has been transmitted through a misguided liar. This part is not suitable to quote.
(Refer: Mizanul I’tidal, vol. 3 pg. 277-283 and footnotes of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah on Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 38168)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar