A young brother sent me the following question a few days ago:
A shia brother posted this status:       

The Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu'mineen (believers), with respect to the martyrdom of Hussein raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), a heat that never subsides.

[Mustadrak al-wasail vol 10 pg 31]

Basically he is claiming the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) knew that Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was going to be martyred…what is your take on this?

So I started looking in the Sunni references.  My focus was to find out whether the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) knew that his grandson al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was going to be martyred, whether he referenced it anywhere, or told anyone.  As Ahlu-Sunnah, we believe that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) does not know the future on his own, so it would have to be some form of revelation from God.  Alḥamdulillāh, I found some really good and elaborate discussion on this topic, from the Hadith point of view,  in Silsitat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah by Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, vol. 3, p. 159, hadith 1171.  Here, and for the sake of brevity, I will not mention all the narrations or references that the Sheikh mentioned in his book.  Rather, I will focus on three distinctive narrations [from three different Companions] found in Musnad al-imam Ahmad, followed by some commentary (basically grading the level of authenticity of each narration) by Sheikh al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him).

The Narration of Ali bin Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)

حدثنا محمد بن عبيد حدثنا شرحبيل بن مدرك عن عبد الله بن نجي عن أبيه أنه سار مع علي، وكان صاحب مطهرته، فلما حاذى نينوى وهو منطلق إلى صفين فنادى علي: اصبر أبا عبد الله، اصبر أبا عبد الله بشط الفرات، قلت وماذا؟ قال: دخلت على النبي ذات يوم وعيناه تفيضان، قلت: يا نبي الله أغضبك أحد؟ ما شأن عينيك تفيضان؟ قال: بل قام من عندي جبريل قبل فحدثني أن الحسين يقتل بشط الفرات، قال: فقال هل لك إلى أن أشمك من تربته؟ قال قلت نعم. فمد يده فقبض قبضة من تراب فأعطانيها فلم أملك عيني أن فاضت. أخرجه أحمد ٨٥/١

Narrated Muhammad bin Udaid, narrated Shurahbil bin Mudrik, from Abdullah bin Nujayy, from his father, that he traveled with Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), and he used to carry his purifying water.  When they were next to Nainawa on his way to Siffin, Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) called, “Be patient Oh Abu Abdillah (the kunya of his son al-Hussain), be patient Oh Abu Abdillah by the banks of the Euphrates.  I [Nujayy] said, “what is this?”.  He [Ali] said, “I entered upon the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) one day while his eyes were shedding tears.  I said, 'what is it with yours eyes shedding tears?'.  He said, 'Rather, Jibreel was here earlier and he told me that al-Hussain will be killed by the bank of the Euphrates and he [Jibreel] said 'do you want me to provide you a sample from his soil [where he will be killed] so you can smell it?' and I said 'yes'.  So he extended his hand and he took a grip from the soil and gave it to me so I couldn't help my eyes to fill with tears'”.  [Recorded by Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 85.]

Sheikh al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) commented on this narration:

قال الألباني: قلت وهذا إسناد ضعيف، نجي والد عبد الله لا يدرى من هو كما قال الذهبي، ولم يوثقه إلا ابن حبان، وابنه أشهر منه، فمن صحح هذا الإسناد فقد وهم

“I say this is a weak chain of narration.  Nujayy the father of Abdullah is unknown according to Dhahabi, and no one said he's reliable except ibn Hibban.  His son is more famous than he is.  So whoever authenticated this chain has erred.”

The Narration of Anas bin Malik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)

حدثنا مؤمل حدثنا عمارة بن زادان حدثنا ثابت عن أنس بن مالك أن ملك القطر استأذن ربه أن يأتي النبي فأذن له، فقال لأم سلمة املكي علينا الباب لا يدخل علينا أحد، قال وجاء الحسين ليدخل فمنعته، فوثب فدخل فجعل يقعد على ظهر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى منكبه وعلى عاتقه، قال: فقال الملك للنبي أتحبه؟. قال نعم. قال: أما إن أمتك ستقتله، وإن شئت أريتك المكان الذي يقتل فيه. فضرب بيده فجاء بطينة حمراء، فأخذتها أم سلمة فصرتها في خمارها. قال قال ثابت: بلغنا أنها كربلاء. أحمد ٢٤٢/٣

Narrated Mu'ammal, narrated Umaarah bin Zaadaan, narrated Thaabit from Anas bin Malik that the Angel of Rain took permission from his lord to visit the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) so He gave him permission. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) to watch the door so no one could come in. Al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) came wanting to enter and I stopped him. But he jumped, entered, and started sitting on the back of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) [al-Hussain was a young child at the time], and on his shoulders. Then the angel asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), “Do you love him?”. He said, “yes”. The angel said, “Indeed your Ummah will kill him, and if you wish, I can show you the place where he will be killed”. Then, he struck with his hand and came with red clay. So Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) took it and tied on it in her veil. Thaabit [the sub-narrator] said, “it has reached us that it's Karbala”. [Recorded in Musnad al-imam Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 242]

Sheikh al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) said about this chain of narration:

قلت ورجاله ثقات غير عمارة هذا. قال الحافظ: صدوق يكثر الخطأ. وقال الهيثمي: رواه أحمد وأبو يعلى والبزار والطبراني بأسانيد، وفيها عمارة بن زادان وثقه جماعة وفيه ضعف وبقية رجال أبي يعلى رجال الصحيح

“Its narrators are trustworthy except for Umaarah. Al-Haafidh [ibn Hajar] said about him, 'he tells the truth but his mistakes are many'. Al-Haythami said, “this hadith was narrated by Ahmad, Abu Ya'la, al-Bazzar, and Tabarani through several chains, in it is Umaarah bin Zaadaan, some affirmed his trustworthiness but he has some weakness. The remaining narrators of [the chain of] Abu Ya'la are the narrators of Sahih [narrators found in Bukhari and Muslim].'”

So we see here that al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) related to us the difference of opinion regarding one narrator in this Hadith and that is Umaarah bin Zaadaan. The issue with Umaarah is not trustworthiness but rather his weak memory which renders this narration as slightly weak.

The Narration of Umm Salamah, the Wife of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

حدثنا وكيع قال حدثني عبد الله بن سعيد عن أبيه عن عائشة أو أم سلمة. قال وكيع: شك عبد الله بن سعيد. أن النبي قال لإحداهما: لقد دخل علي البيت ملك لم يدخل علي قبلها فقال لي: إن ابنك هذا حسين مقتول، وإن شئت أريتك من تربة الأرض التي يقتل بها. قال: فأخرج تربة حمراء. مسند الإمام أحمد ٢٩٤/٦

Narrated Wakee', narrated Abdullah bin Sa'eed, from his father from Aisha or Umm Salamah [Wakee' said this doubt came from Abdullah bin Sa'eed] that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to one of them [either Aisha or Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them)], “An angel entered the house on me, he never entered on me before, and he said to me, 'this son of yours, al-Hussain, will be killed, and if you wish I can show you the soil from the earth where he will be killed'. Then he took out some red soil”. [Recorded in Musnad al-imam Ahmad, vol. 6 p. 294]

Al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) commented on this narration,

قلت: وهذا إسناد رجاله كلهم ثقات رجال الشيخين فهو صحيح إن كان سعيد وهو ابن أبي هند سمعه من عائشة أو أم سلمة، ولم أطمئن لذلك، فإنهم لم يذكروا له سماعا منها، وبين وفاته ووفاة أم سلمة نحو أربع وخمسين سنة وبين وفاته ووفاة عائشة نحو ثمان وخمسين سنة. والله أعلم

“This chain of this narration has all trustworthy narrators, narrators of the two Sheikhs [i.e. Bukhari and Muslim]. Therefore, this narration is authentic IF Sa'eed, and he's ibn Abi Hind, has heard it from Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) or Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them). But I'm not at peace with that since they [Hadith scholars] have not mentioned that he has heard from her. Meanwhile, between his death and the death of Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) is about 54 years, and between his death and the death of Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) is about 58 years, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows best.”

So again we see here a slight weakness in the narration. Everything looks good except the question of whether Sa'eed bin Abi Hind heard from one of the wives of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or not. Here we're not negating that he heard from them. We just don't possess solid evidence that he did. Also, you notice here the precision of the scholars of Hadith in calculating the difference in death years between narrators. Depending on the gap, this can increase or decrease the likelihood of one narrator meeting the other or hearing from them.

Final Verdict on the Hadith

As we see from above, every narration has a slight weakness one way or another. So what's the final verdict? Does the story stand. Can we say that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), for certain, was told that his grandson, al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), was going to be killed? And the answer is YES.  Al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) makes the following conclusion after going over more narrations:

قلت وبالجملة فالحديث صحيح بمجموع هذه الطرق، وإن كانت مفرداتها لا تخلو من ضعف، ولكنه ضعف يسير، لا سيما وبعضها قد حسنه الهيثمي، والله أعلم

“Altogether, the Hadith is authentic by collectively considering all the chains of narration. This is true even though each single chain is not free from defects, but it's minor defects. This is not to mention that some of those chains were graded as Hassan [less authentic than Sahih, yet authentic] by al-Haythamee.  And Allah knows best.”

Here al-Albani raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) is following a well-known rule among the scholars of Hadith. If the Hadith is narrated through different chains of narrations all with slight weakness, then the chains of narration corroborate each other and the minor weakness is overlooked. This means that the essence of the story holds true. However, unique details mentioned in one version but not the other don't have to be authentic. For example, we notice that there is no agreement on who the angel is among the narrations. One narration mentions Jibreel, another mentions the Angel of Rain, yet another doesn't identify the angel at all. So here we don't have to dwell on this difference since we may not have enough evidence to prove it one way or another.

Some Final Words

No doubt, loving Ahlul-Bayt [the family of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)] should be in the heart of every Muslim.  Loving Ali, Fatima, al-Hassan, and al-Hussain (may Allah's mercy be upon them all) is part of our faith.  Therefore, the killing of al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) along many members of his family was a great calamity that afflicted this Ummah.  It should ache our hearts just like it ached the heart of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he was foretold as we saw in the narrations above.  But that does not justify the extremism that we see around this whole issue.  Some people still scream revenge for al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) up till today.  You hear expressions like “يا لتارات الحسين” which translates “Oh [how many are] the revenge(s) for Hussain”.  Others are in a constant state of mourning as they proclaim “كل أرض كربلاء وكل يوم عاشوراء” which translates “every land is Karbala and every day is Ashoura”. This is not to mention the repulsive self-beating that happens every year on the Day of Ashoura.  And recently, we have seen the name of al-Hussain being invoked by some Shia groups fighting on the side of Assad against the oppressed people of Syria.  To me, this is the biggest disgrace to al-Hussain raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) whose most important legacy was to fight on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor!!

About The Author

Born and raised in Lebanon, Hlayhel began attending study circles at his local mosque when he was ten. He came to the United States at 17 and studied electrical engineering at the University of Houston. At its MSA, he met Sh Yasir Qadhi and worked together to raise Islamic awareness on campus. Hlayhel studied traditional sciences of Aqeedah (Islamic creed), Fiqh (Islamic law) and Nahw (Arabic grammar) under Sh Waleed Basyouni and Sh Waleed Idriss Meneese among others. After settling in Phoenix AZ, he worked tirelessly, in the capacity of a board member then a chairman, to revive the then dead AZ chapter of CAIR in order to face the growing Islamophobia in that state and to address the resulting civil right violations. Today, he's considered the second founder of a strong CAIR-AZ. In addition, Hlayhel is a part-time imam at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley in Phoenix, husband and father of four. His current topics of interest include positive Islam, youth coaching, and countering Islamophobia.

28 Responses

  1. O H

    Jazak Allaau Khair Brother Anas. Learned quite a few important things from this.

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    • Hassan

      Yes I can explain: Short answer you are wrong. Long answer you are wrong to say that he used to make many mistakes in this area.

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      • Ahmed

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • O H

        Shaykh ul Albaani is considered to be the muhaddith of the 20th Century and some scholars consider him to the mujaddid (reviver of the deen) for the 20th Century. No person, including the scholars, are infallible except the Prophet (peace be upon him) but to dismiss Shaykh Al Albaani’s credentials on the basis of a few ‘perceived’ mistakes is grossly unfair. By the way the mistakes you are talking about may not be mistakes at all! I suggest myself and you to study the Islamic sciences such as fiqh and Usool al Fiqh etc before making such claims. Jazak Allaahu Khair

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    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Dear Ahmed

      Your comments have not been deleted but voted down and hidden by the readers. The readers’ rating mechanism is not in the control of the moderation team and even comments of MuslimMatters team can be voted down.

      WIth regards to the use of Shaykh Al-Albani (r) as the authenticating authority for hadith, our authors consider him a valid source of authentication. Other than your objection to the source of authentication, your views on the actual content are not apparent.

      -Aly
      CommentsTeam Lead

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  2. Abu Musab

    As’Salamu Alaykum,

    @ Br. Ahmed, Shaykh Albani is not the first one to point the weakness in few ( very few) ahadiths of al-Bukhari and Muslim. Many hadeeth scholars have pointed that out in the past, with likes of Ad-Dahabi, Ibn-Hajar, etc. Ibn-Hajar actually proved that some hadeeths in Bukhari are (technically) weak. And the scholars of his time agreed with him.

    No person who loves sunnah, attacks Shaykh Albani except that he is a Fanatic Muqallid, Usually comes from either a deobandi or barelwi.

    -Ma’salam

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      • Abu Musab

        Nah! not even close. That brother is way ahead of me. May Allah reward him.

        InShaAllah, One day, I hope to make videos like him.

        I’m poor indian, struggling to learn arabic. Make dua for me.

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      • O H

        Assalamalaykum

        Don’t worry brother that brother excels in giving dawah to the masses. Allaah Subhana wa ta’ala may have given you another quality in which you may excel over others through which you can attain a high rank in Jannah Insha Allaah! Or maybe you have got it in you to give Dawah in the future as well.

        May Allaah Subhana wa ta’ala allow us to contribute sincerely and positively to the Ummah. Ameen

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  3. Abu abdullah

    May Allah reward our father sheik Albani. I am a learner of deen from Nigeria….was born a Muslim, but was very unconscious of correct seen. the few Ibadan I use to make was in direction of bidha and torikah of tijaniyah…….kindly help me to send things that will assist me in line of sunnah…may Allah reward you all

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    • O H

      Assalamu alaykum brother Abu Abdullah

      May Allaah reward you immensely and guide you to siraatul mustaqeem (straight path). Ameen. Check these useful links below:

      http://islamqa.info/en (go here to get answers for all sorts of Islamic questions based on the qur’an and sunnah. There are useful articles as well)

      http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com/diploma/ (go to this site for authentic free Islamic courses. This organisation is founded by Dr Bilal Phillips.)

      http://www.islamhouse.com/ (has got useful books, articles, audio, video, etc)

      Make dua that Allaah Subhana wa ta a’ala keeps you steadfast on the truth. Make dua for me as well :)

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      • Abu Musab

        Im a student of islamic online university. Its been blessing for those who want to study Islam, especially for those who are living in the West.

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  4. Kayvee

    Jazakallah khairan for this article

    I am an ex Iranian Shia, who converted to “Sunni” Islam a few years ago.

    Besides the extremism surrounding the Shia’s around this issue and the self beating, there is another major issue.

    Depending which sect of Shiasm you look at, there are many differences. One of the one major sect of Shiasm are known as the Raafidis, Imamis or Ithna ‘Asharis or Twelvers.

    As the name suggests they have 12 Imams. A Shia will have mourning rituals for all 12 imams And celebrate the birthday of all 12 imams.

    When I was a shia myself, I noticed that the focus of the Shia had become these 12 Imams.

    When in fact our focus of spirituality and worship should be Allah.

    I just wanted to add that point

    Kayvee

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    • Kayhan

      As a Shi’a Muslim, I can discredit your claims that Shi’a focus on the 12 Imams. You sunni first claim that we worship Imam Ali (as) and now you say this? For thousands of years, the Sunnis have killed and oppressed the Shi’as of Ali (as) but the truth will never die. Imam Hussein (as) gave his life to keep Islam pure from the criminal Yazid (la). You were never a Shi’a with these deliberate lies you’re spreading. Typical takfiri propaganda campaign.

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  5. Muslim

    Asalamu aleykum. I just want to point out that the wives of the prophet (ra) were also part of ahlulbayt (ra) and Allah swt himself called them that in the quran. Shias claim to love ahlulbayt (ra) when in reality they hate most of them and also hate the ones they claim to love (Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussein ra). They only love their fabricated version of them and not the real Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husein (may Allah be pleased with them) who loved the sahabah and followed the sunnah and would NEVER have accepted shiaism! Just like christians dont accept the real prophet Isa (as) and only love the fabricated version of him.

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    • Mustafa

      Asalamu aleykum. I just want to point out that the wives of the prophet were not part of ahlulbayt (as) and Allah swt himself placed them apart from the ahlulbayt in the quran. Sunnis claim to love ahlulbayt (as) when in reality they hate most of them and also love those who hated and killed members of the ahlulbayt (Abu bakr, Omar, uthman, Abu Sufian, muawiya, yazeed, etc.). They only love their fabricated version of them and not the real Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husein (may Allah be pleased with them) who respected the sahabahs who followed the ahlulbayt after the rasool’s death (bilal, salman Farsi, Amman Ibn Yasir ra), and followed the quran and would NEVER have accepted sunnism! Just like christians dont accept the real prophet Isa (as) and only love the fabricated version of him.

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      • ali

        lol

        the shia turned ahlul bayt into gods or demi gods

        and he accuses sunnis of being like the christians

        classic

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  6. Muslim

    Another thing i want to mention is that the martyrdom of Hussein (ra) and the events of karbala have already taken place and Hussein (ra) is doing well now as he died a martyr so there is no need for our hearts to ache over this. If the narrations above are true then the prophet (saw) weapt over something that were going to happen but to us 1400 years later – it has already happened and our beloved Hussein (ra) was martyred and is now being rewarded so that’s that, he passed the test of life. We do not feel ache in our heart about the passing of the sahaba (ra) because it was something that had to happen and it happened and they are doing well now. Their trial of pain/suffering etc is no longer ongoing so we don’t need to dwell on it. It’s like somene stealing your gold and then you get the same gold back in addition to billions and billions of tons of gold, treassures and everything you want – in such a situation, you don’t mourn the temporary loss of your gold since you got something that was billions of times better shortly after losing it!

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    • Mustafa

      Those who mourn for Hussain are not just doing it over his martyrdom but also over the fact that he was martyred fighting a non-muslim tyrant, and trying to maintain the ummah towards the prophets message which the tyrant yazeed wasnt doing. There are also plenty of examples of prophets mourning over those who passed away long ago, so your claim of forgetting about Hussain because it happened long time ago is bogus. The mourning of Hussain because of his martyrdom is just one reason and you can’t seem to get it.

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  7. Modest Muslim

    Shia and Sunni are both Muslims and who ever tries to disunite them, will be defeated in his hideous intentions, Insha’Allah! Imam Husain was killed and he knew that he was going to be killed. It’s written in Sunni books that Prophet Mohamed had predicted the murder of Husain.

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    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Dear “Modest Muslim”

      Our Comments Policy requires a valid name or Kunyah to be used when commenting. You may also use a blog handle provided your blog is linked, the email address is a valid one, and it is not advertising a product.

      Best Regards
      Comments Team

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  8. ali

    i want to know if theres a hadith about the rasool (saw) kissing one of his sons on the forehead and one on the lips

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  9. afreena

    Salaam all ppl lets all be good Muslims first at home then the rest we all are going to be judged according to our deeds all of us not sects because in Islam thay is no sect we are only Muslim that wat Islam teaches us xxx

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