Among the Masihiyyat stated by Tamim al-Dari to the Prophet (S), we can refer to the story of Jassasah, and that of the impostor, with that of descension of Jesus, and others.
In regard of the hadith of Jassasah, it is reported by Muslim339 in his Sahib from contradictory ways and chains. Hereunder its text as reported from Fatimah bint Qays, the sister of al-Dahhak ibn Qays, who was among the first immigrants.
After gathering people, the Messenger of Allah (S) said: By God, I have never gathered you out of desire,or dread, but because Tamim al-Dari340 was a Christian man, who came, swore allegiance and embraced Islam. He told me that he boarded a sea ship with thirty men from Lakhm and Jadham. Then they became the sport of the waves for one month, after which they landed at an island, staying there until sunset. On entering the island, they encountered a hirsute hairy mount, whose forepart could not be distinguished from the backside, when they said: Woe to you, what are you? It said: I am al-Jassasah. Then it advised them to look at a man inside the convent, pointing to him. On going into the convent, they met the greatest man in nature, and firmest in fetters, with his hands tied together to his neck, between his knees up to the heels, with iron chains. When he recognized them to be among the Arabs, he layed before them numerous questions, for which they gave answers. Then he said to them: Tell me what has the Prophet of illiterate done? They said: He departed Mecca and settled down in Yathrib. He asked: Have the Arabs fought him? They replied: Yea. He said: What has he done to them? They told him that he had overcome whoever came close to him from among the Arabs, and they obeyed him. He said: I apprise you about myself. I am Jesus (Messias) and I am about341 to be permitted to rise out, when I will go out… I will proceed on earth for forty days, through which I shall enter every and each village I pass by, other than Mecca and Tibah as they are both forbidden for me. Whenever I intended to enter any of them, I will be received by an angel holding in his hand an unsheathed sword to restrain me from (entering) it.
After stating this, he thrusted the messenger with his wand, on the pulpit saying: This is Tibah, this is Tibah, this is Tibah, meaning al-Madinah.
Abu Hurayrah never missed this report without foisting it with a breath of his oddities. So he narrated that between the two horns of al-Jassasah there was a distance of one parasang for the rider!
I came across a comment on this hadith by al-Allamah al-Sayyid Rashid Rida (may God’s mercy be upon him), as follows: About hadith of Jassasah which is related by Tamim al-Dari to the Messenger of Allah and recorded by Muslim in his Sahih through chains contradicting each other in respect of its text, it can be said that this difference in the text was caused by some narrators mentioned in the Sahih, and it can’t be taken as caused by multiplicity of story.342
Further, can the narration of Tamim al Dari to the Messenger â€” if its chain be free from defects â€” make the hadith supplementary to what the Prophet (S) uttered of his own accord, so as to determine the veracity of its origin in accordance with his (S) permission or approval of an act, as indicated by his warrant and permission? Apparently this qiyas (analogy) is out of scope here, and the Prophet had no knowledge of the unseen, as he â€” like common people â€” used to hold speech of people to be true, when no suspicion being raised against it. Most often he believed the traditions related by even the hypocrites and disbelievers, the fact indicated by the hadith of Arinayn343 and people of Ma’unah well. In fact he could recognize the falsity of some liars through wahy (revelation), or some ways of test, or reporting by trustworthy people, and the like ways of human knowledge. It is known that the prophets could be distinguished from ordinary people through revelation and ismah (infallibility) against telling lies. And revelation was not to be sent down but with matters related to religion, and da`wah (invitation) to it, with safeguarding it and the man who brought it, beside the fact that to believe the liar is not the same as telling lie. It is sufficient to meditate in this section (bab) admonition from Allah to His Messenger, due to his granting permission to some of the hypocrites who asked him to exempt them from taking part in the Battle of Tabuk, and the justification he gave for this, through saying to him: God forgive thee (O Our Apostle!) Why didst thou give them leave (to stay behind) until it was manifest unto thee who spake the truth, and thou hadst known the liars. (9:43)
When the prophets and messengers are allowed to believe the liar in some matters that neither breach the Din, nor entail a legal rule, or anything inconsistent with the position of message, isn’t it permissible for others to believe the liar in every report that no evidence is there to prove its containing any falsity? Whoever believes anything can relate it to any other person without ascribing it to that from whom he heard.344
About descension of Jesus from the heaven and reappearance of al-Dajjal and al-Mahdi345 he said:
Many traditions about descension of Jesus are reported in the two Sahihs and Sunan and other books, most of which are cited about the last hour (end of time) and mixed with the traditions of al-Dajjal, in which and in the traditions on al-Mahdi (A), there is much confusion, difference and contradiction. Out of them altogether, it is apparent that among the Jews a dajjal (impostor), and rather the biggest impostor ever known throughout the history of nations, will appear and claim to be Jesus that is awaited by the Jews. At that time a large number of people will be tempted by him. At the end of his epoch, Messias, Jesus the son of Mary, shall appear, with his descension being at the white Minaret, east of Damascus. Then he will meet the impostor Messias at the Lidd Gate in Palestine, where the real Messias will kill the impostor Jesus346 after a long war between the Muslims and Jews. And most of the Christians had a strong belief in the descension of Jesus, and they tried all the time, from advent of Islam till the present time, to disseminate it among the Muslims. Wahb ibn Munabbih, the second pillar after Ka’b al-Ahbar, was among those who tried this through inserting it into exegesis, with the aim of distorting tafsir of the Qur’an through the superstitions he spread.
339. See Vol.I, p.520.
340. He and his brother Nu’aym came to al-Madinah in 59 H. and embraced Islam, as stated before.
“The geographers are requested to search for this island and recognize its place in the sea! and inform us then so as to see the oddities contained in it, about which we are told by – our master – Tamim al-Dari, may God be pleased with him!
341. This imminence is about the year 9 H., while we are now in the year 1386, without seeing the face of this Messias, or sensing any trace of him!!
342. He is referring by this to the making of the men of hadith, who when finding any difference in the text of any hadith would immediately estimate the plurality of the event on which the hadith was said, thinking that by this they managed to unite the knot of contradiction.
343. Hadith of ‘Ariniyyin is thus: Some people from Akal and Arinah came to al-Madinah, approaching to the Prophet, saying to him: O Prophet of God, we were herders of sheep not villagers, so would you give us shelter and food. And they found al-Madinah unhealthy for them, so the Prophet ordered to provide them with cattle and a shepherd and commanded them to go out and drink from their milk. Then they set out, till reaching the district of al-Hirah, where they converted disbelievers after embracing Islam, killing the shepherd sent with them by the Prophet, driving the cattle with them. When the Prophet heard of their practices, he sent after them some men, and when capturing them he gave his orders to amputate their hands and legs and forsake them alone in al-Hirah, where they died on this condition. In regard of the people of the Well of Ma’unah it is said: Some magnates of Ra’l, Dhakwan, ‘Usayyah and Banu Lihyan came to the Prophet (S) and claimed that they embraced Islam, seeking his support against their people. So he provided them with seventy of the Ansar, when they went away with them till reaching the well of Ma’unah, when they betrayed and killed them. When the Prophet heard of their doing, he kept for one month invoking God against people of Ra’I, Dhakwan and Banu Lihyan.
344. Al-Manar Journal, Vol.XIX, pp.99, 100.
345. Ibid., Vol.XXIII, p.756.
Adapted from: “Lights on the Muhammadan Sunnah” by: “Mahmud Ali Riyyah”
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