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Did Abu Talib breast feed the prophet?

Question:

What do you have to say about the narration in al-Kafi, that Abu Talib breast feed the prophet pbuh?

Answer:

In the name of Allah the most compassionate, the most merciful.

O Allah send your blessings upon Muhammad and his progeny, hasten their reappearance and damn their enemies.

This is one of the doubts casts spread on the websites by those who follow the ideology of Ibn taymeeya, in order to deceive the general public. The reply to this issue will be within three points:

Firstly: we don’t believe in the absolute authenticity of any book, besides the book of Allah. That is why we don’t have book like Sahih al-Kafi, Sahih Albihar, or Sahih al-Wasa’el. Because of that we are not bound by every narration that is narrated in our books, rather we put forth these narrations for further research and investigation. The rule is if the chain and the content of a narration are authentic we abide by it, if it is not, then we don’t accept it. Hence, why bounding us with every narration in our books, is invalid. The valid and correct way to bind us by a narration, is to clarify at first the authenticity or weakness of the narration according to the rules set out in the science of Hadith and narrators. Unlike Sunnis, as Shias we can bind them by any narration in Bukhari or Muslim, since they consider all the narrations in them authentic.

Secondly: The narration referred to, is as follows

Muhammad Ibn yahya narrates from Sa’ad Ibn Abdullah from Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad al-Thaqafi from Ali Ibn al-Mu’ala from his brother Muhammad from Darast Ibn Abi Monsur from Ali Ibn Abu hazmah from Abu Basir who narrated from Imam Al-Sadiq a.s saying: when the prophet peace be upon him and his pure progeny was born, he remained few days without milk, so Abu Talib placed him on his chest, then Allah placed in the breast of Abu Talib milk, so the prophet was breast feed for few days, till Abu Talib found Halimah al-sa’diya, where he gave the prophet to her to breast feed him.

Alamam Al-Majlisi (r.a) commented on this narration saying: This Hadith is odd and strange, and the chain contains a group of people who their narrations cannot be accepted (1).

Almajisi’s saying “is odd and strange”, implying he found the content problematic not only the chain. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the scholars have denounced the narration, because of the Waqifi narrator in the end of the chain Ali Ibn Abu hazmah Al-Bataeini, who is known for lying.

Sayed Al-Khoei (r.a) said:” It appears that ‘Ali’ that is found at the end of the chain, the one the lair that is accused (in fabricating Hadith) Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah al-Bata’eni, like Ibn al-Fadil mentioned (2).”

Shaheed al-Althani: (r.a) said: “Ali Ibn Abi Hamzah al-Bata’eni is from the lairs that have no fear of Allah, and the scholars of Hadith have condemned him and criticised him, therefore the Hadith is fundamentally invalid, and the reader should refer to Kitabul Ghayba to know more about man (3)”

Imam Al-Khomeini قدس الله سره الشريف  said ” Ali Ibn Abi Hamzah al-Bata’eni, Abul Hassan Ibn al-Fadel said about him, he is a cursed, a lair and accused (in fabricating Hadith) (4)”

It is out of our hands to quote the opinion of all the scholars in this short answer, the reader should refer to the references listed below (5) to know about this narrator. It is also important to note that Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah is al-Bata’eni the Waqifi after investigation, as sheikh al-Saduq mentioned (6) , and not Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah al-Thumali .

The narration does however have another chain that contains weakness in it, due it having al-khusaiby as one of it’s narrators. Therefore, the narration mentioned is denounced because of both; the chain and the content. As it has Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah in the first chain and Alkhusaybi in the second chain.

Thirdly: If were to suppose the authenticity of this narration, the most that can be said is that it was a miracle from Allan to his prophet peace be upon him and his pure progeny . And this is not difficult for Allah or too much to give to his beloved prophet.

The problem that some have, is not really the action itself, rather Abu Talib (as) himself, the father of Imam ALI (as), being mentioned in the narration. Had Abu sufyan or his likes, it would of not bothered this group of people, rather they would of tried to prove a that it is a miracle for him.

The evidence for this is that the same case was mentioned in their books without them noting any objection to it. Al-khatib al-Baghdadi mentioned in his book (7) :

Narrated on the authority of Abul Hassan Muhammed Ibn Assad Ibn Ali al-Katib and al-Hassan Ibn Abu bakr al-mu’adal from Ahmad Ibn Abu ‘awf who said I heard my uncle and my dad both say ” we were in the gathering of yazeed Ibn harun, at the garden of umm Jafar, then we saw a tall man holding a boy in his hands and breast feeding him, that man then said the  mother of this child gave birth to him and then she passed away in the lands of mufazah or Falat so I placed him on my breast, so Allah gave us this blessing. We saw him and the milk was coming out of his breast to child”

The chain of the narration is authentic according to their standards.

Abul Hassan Muhammed Ibn Assad, al-hafiz said about him: He is truthful (8)

Ahmad Ibn Abu ‘awf: Is trustworthy and so is his father, as al-Daruqutni said (9)

Ahmad Ibn Kamil, Ibn razqawiya said about him: I have never laid my eyes on someone better than him (10).

In conclusion, the narration that you have put forward to use against us, is denounced and not authentic (likewise with the narration of the prophet breast feeding imam

Ali or imam Husain, they are all not authentic and rejected by the scholars) . However, you mention the same case in your books, between an ordinary man and an infant child, through an authentic chain!.

والله العالم  

Sheikh Nami Farhat AlAmeli
 Translated by: Hajj Hadi Hamoud

References:

(1) Biharul Anwar V3 page 340

(2) Kitabul Taharah V 9 page 271

(3) Sharh al-lum’a al-demashqiya V3 page 96

(4) Kitabul Taharah V3 page 250

(5) Sayed Muhammed Baqir alsadr, Sharh al-urwa V4 page 33

Sheikh Subhani, kuliyat fi ilm al-rijal page 101

Sayed Muhammed sadik al-rohani, Fiqh al-Sadik v26 page 197

Sayed kadim al-Haeri, al-Qadaa fi alfiqh alislami page 569

Sheikh makarim al-Shirazi, Qawa’ed alfiqhiya V2 page 160

(6) Man la Yahdarahu al-Faqih v1 page 245, 360

(7) Tarikh Baghdad V15 page 146

(8) Tarikh Baghdad V2 page 73

(9) Tarikh Baghdad V4 page 246 and Su’ulat al-Sahmi entry 34

(10) Tarikh Baghdad V4 page 357


About Sheikh Nami Farhat