The letter of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) to the river Nile

Question

Is this incident authentic and suitable to quote:

Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) said: It was narrated to us via Ibn Lahiy’ah from Qays ibn al-Hajjaj from someone who told him: When Egypt was conquered, its people came to ‘Amr ibnul ‘As (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and said to him: O Amir, this Nile of ours is used to something and cannot flow unless it is done. He said: What is that? They said: On the twelfth night of this month, we take a young girl from her parents, and we placate her parents, then we dress her in jewellery and the finest garments there can be, then we throw her into this Nile.  ‘Amr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said to them: This is something that cannot happen in Islam, Islam erases that which came before it [of bad customs]. So they stayed for a while, during which the Nile did not flow at all, neither a little nor a lot, until they thought of leaving. Then ‘Amr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) wrote to ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu), telling him about this. He wrote to him, saying: You did the right thing. I am sending you a piece of paper with my letter; throw it into the Nile. When his letter came, ‘Amr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) took the piece of paper on which was written:

“From the slave of Allah, ‘Umar, Amirul Muminin, to the Nile of the people of Egypt. To proceed: If you only flow on your own initiative, then do not flow, for we have no need of you. But if you only flow on the command of Allah, the One, the Subduer, and He is the One Who causes you to flow, then we ask Allah, may He be exalted, to make you flow.”

He threw the paper in the Nile and by Saturday morning, Allah had caused the Nile to flow [to a depth or width of] sixteen cubits in one night, and Allah put an end to this particular custom of the people of Egypt until today.

 

Answer

This incident is recorded in several sources with weak chains, among them are:

Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, vol.44 pg.336 -Darul Fikr edition- and Al-Muntazam fit Tarikh of Ibnul Jawzi, vol.4 pg.294

Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has quoted it in his book on History, Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol.3 pg.  without any comment on its authenticity.

It would therefore be understood as suitable to quote as a historical event.

The Muhaddithun have relaxed the rigid rules for authenticity and do not apply them to Historical quotes.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar