"A person who slanders another person remains in Hell until he is forgiven by that person." Is there a hadith like that?

Details of the Question
"If a person slanders another person, Allah will keep him in Hell until he is forgiven by the person who is slandered." - Can we learn the resource of this hadith? - Can Allah not forgive it if that person does not forgive? - How should that hadith be understood?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The translation of the hadith mentioned in the question is as follows:

"If anyone makes an untruthful accusation against a Muslim, he will be made by Allah to dwell in the corrupt fluid flowing from the inhabitants of Hell till he retracts his statement.” (Abu Dawud, Aqdiya, 14; Ibn Majah, Ashriba,4)

Another hadith regarding the issue is as follows:

“If anyone attacks a Muslim saying something by which he wishes to disgrace him, he will be restrained by Allah on the bridge over Hell till he is acquitted of what he said.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 36)

The Arabic text of the hadith is not suitable to be translated as in the question. The explanations of the hadith explain it like that too.

"If a person slanders a believer Allah will keep him in Hell until the person who has been slandered forgives him."

According to the apparent expression of the hadith, slandering a person is related to violation of that person’s rights; therefore, a person who commits such a sin cannot be saved from Hell until he is punished. Those statements generally correspond to the statements of the hadiths related to violation of people’s rights.

According to some scholars like Qadi Iyad, the meaning of the hadith is as follows: A person who slanders will definitely be punished unless he repents and is forgiven by the person he has slandered. (see Awnul-Mabud, the explanation of the relevant hadith)

However, it should not be forgotten that these kinds of statements in hadiths are expressed with the style of guidance and warning. That is, this punishment is based on the principle of justice. That it is stated in an absolute way without mentioning any way out is a style of expression that aims to cause people to be very careful about violation of others’ rights.

There are also sound hadiths stating that Allah can take a person to Paradise without putting him in Hell by persuading the person who is wronged if He wishes. (see at-Targhib wat-Tarhib, 3/309; Kanzul-Ummal, h. no: 8863)

Note: The narrations by al-Musanna b. as-Sabah, who is included in the chain of narrators of the hadith reported by Hafiz Haythami, Tabarani and Abu Yala according to the majority of the scholars are not relied. (see Majmauz-Zawaid, 5/70)

However, that person is not included in thechain of narrators of the hadith reported by Ibn Majah and Abu Dawud. Therefore, this hadith can be regarded as sound.

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