Great Companions like Abu Bakr and Umar (r. anhuma) narrated very few hadiths. What is the wisdom behind it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"... Just as someone in need of  medicine goes to a doctor, mathematicians are consulted on mathematical problems, and questions to do with the Shari‘a are asked of the Mufti, and so on; so too, some of the scholars among the Companions were charged with the duty of instructing succeeding centuries in the Hadiths of the Prophet, working with all their strength for this end. Yes, Abu Hurayra devoted his entire life to memorizing Hadiths, while ‘Umar was occupied with the world of politics and the caliphate.  ‘Umar therefore narrated very few traditions, relying on persons like Abu Hurayra, Anas, and Jabir, to teach the Hadiths to the Muslim community." (Mektubat, On Dokuzuncu Mektup, p. 132)

Many Companions including the notables like Hz. Abu Bakr, Hz. Umar, Hz. Uthman, Hz. Ali, the other six Companions who were given the glad tiding of Paradise, Abdullah Ibn Masud, Abdullah Ibn Amr and the wives of the Messenger of Allah except Hz Aisha, who were with him for a long time and who talked to him a lot, are among those who reported few hadiths.

The reasons why those Companions, who had very much knowledge about the Sunnah, narrated few hadith, may have been as follows:

- Many Companions did not narrate the hadiths that they did not know for sure fearing that they could narrate them in a wrong way and could fall into a state of slandering the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); they narrated hadiths when they had to and as much as it was necessary.

- Some Companions died when the Prophet (pbuh) was alive or a very short time after his death; therefore, they did not narrate any hadiths at all (e.g. Hz. Khadijah) or they reported very few hadiths.

- After the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), some Companions were too busy with the administration of the state and jihad to have enough time to narrate hadiths.

- After the Prophet (pbuh), some Companions remained in the centers of knowledge like Makkah and Madinah but others moved to distant or solitary places, and very few hadiths were reported from them. Few hadiths were reported Abdullah b. Amr, about whom Abu Hurayra said, “he knows more hadiths than me”, because he moved to Egypt and settled there.

- Not all Companions had the same ability to memorize and narrate hadiths. This difference affected their narrations.

- Not all hadiths reported from the Companions reached reliable hadith resources. (See also Muksirûn item; Şamil İslam Ansiklopedisi, Hadis item.)

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
In order to make a comment, please login or register