Q&A (Fatwa)

#229: On the claim that Mughīrah bn Shu’uba Married and Divorced so many Wives


Alhamdulillaahi Rabbi Al-‘aalamin!
Sometime yesterday there was a serious dispute on the posting that was made some days ago by a brother stating that:
“Abu Abdullaah, Al-Mugheerah bn Shu’bah, the noble companion, married and divorced a lot as he married more than 80 women. He was wounded in the stomach during a battle and a woman was brought to treat his wounds. When he saw her, he asked: Do you have a husband? She responded: your condition could not prevent you from asking me that?
And he used to say: The one with one wife, when she travels, he travels; when she menstruates, he menstruates; when she does nifaas, he does; when she is ill, he is also ill. The one with two wives is in a battle of two fires trying to overcome each other; the one with three wives is in happiness; and when the wives become four, he is in a bliss that nothing compares with.
After that, there was a controversy that arose from a comment made by a brother challenging the author of the post for neither referencing nor ensuring the authenticity of the act or statement that was attributed to the Noble Companion Al-Mughirah bn Shu’bah – radiyallaahu ‘anhu.
The author of the post got upset when he made a reference for his post to ‘Al-Bidaayah Wa An-Nihaaya’ of Imaam Ibn Katheer to justify the narration to which he referred from Ibn Wahb to Imaam Maalik – rahimahumallaah.
After allowing the controversy to settle, we find it necessary to re-examine the matter regarding the narration and the attribution itself.
Firstly, we most strongly apologise to the author of the post and request that he forgives the brother that challenged him. Disagreements and disputes are bound to happen in the realm of Islam and within any group of people that seek the Knowledge of Islaam. And if we truly want to be among that calibre of people, then we must be ready to experience that and to overlook such occurrence whenever they happen.
However, we do not consider the brother’s seeking of a reference and the authentication of that reference a wrong act in itself for that is one of the rudiments of knowledge-seeking. However, the author of the post has a right to be displeased with the manner with which he was challenged and what followed by the @LeadAdmin seeming to portray the author of the post to be lending free air to statements that may have been fabricated by enemies of Islam.
The stance in Islam is to seek forgiveness and seek pardon from your brother who is offended by your word or deed, whether or not you intended to offend him.
So, again, we apologise to the author of the post for that seeming recklessness in challenging him.
We however excuse the challenger(s) for doing that out of jealousy over the symbols of Islaam as we perceive of them. Alhamdulillah!

Secondly, we must remind ourselves and the entire Ummah in this occasion that it is not everything that has come in the Books of History (Ta’rikh) that can be taken in whole without cross-checking. In fact, Ta’rikh is one of the areas where the Ulamaa are not strict when it comes to Isnaad.
Shaykhu Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah – rahimahullaah – said in his book ‘Muqaddimatun Fi Usuli At-Tafsir’:
“What is implied is that: Allah has placed upon the quotations upon which reliance is needed in the Din pointers to how to verify which of them is Sahih and which is not. And what is well known (among the Ulamaa) is that most of the narations that are trite in Tafsir are like those that are trite in Al-Maghaazi (History) and Al-Malaahim (Prophecies on the End Time). It is for this reason that Imaam Ahmad said: ‘three areas do not have any Isnaad: Tafsir, Al-Malaahim and Al-Maghaazi’ and it is narrated: ‘they have no evidences – meaning: Isnad’. That is because most of them are Mursal (broken chains of Isnaad), the likes of this are what were mentioned and narrated (in Histroy) by Urwah bn Az-Zubayr, Ash-Sha’abi, Az-Zuhri, Musa bn ‘Aqaba and Ibn Is’haaq, and those that came after them such as Yahya bn Sa’id Al-Umawi, Al-Walid bn Muslim, Al-Waaqidi and their likes in the matters of Al-Maghaazi…”
Ref: ‘Muqaddimatun Fi Usuli At-Tafsir’ page 17 (Publication of ‘Maktabatu Al-Imaam Al-Waada’i’, Yemen)
And in the light of that, most of what is narrated in the Books of Ta’rikh must be taken with a pinch of Salt and further cross-checked. This is trite knowledge in the Science of Hadith.
Shaykh Muhammad bn Ibraahim Aal Ash-Shaykh – rahimahullaah – said:
“What is most popular among the majority of Historians and the People of Seera is not to concern themselves with the rules of narrations…”
Ref: ‘Majmu’u Al-Fataawa Ibn Ibraahim’ 5/37
Al-Imaam Zaynuddin Al-Haafidh Al-Iraaqi – rahimahullaah – (a teacher to Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaani) said:
“Let the Student of Knowledge realise that history combines that which is authentic and that which is not.”
Ref: ‘Alfiyyatu As-Seera’, page 1
Al-Allaamah ‘Abdurrahman Al-Mu’allami – rahimahullaah – said:
“That is based on the fact that the need to have a deep knowledge of the conditions of the narrators of the historical events is more severe than the way it is needed for accessing the Hadith; that is because lies and carelessness are more rampant in History.”
Ref: ‘Ilmu Ar-Rijaal Wa Ahmiyyatuhu”, page 24
Advising the Student of Knowledge, Shaykh Muhammad bn Saalih Al-Uthaymin – rahimahullaah – said:
“With respect to what historians narrate, you must be very careful. That is because most of what is in the books of History are without a source/reference and without Isnaad. Rather, they are mere stories that are narrated and shared between people. Therefore, it is imperative to exercise utmost caution regarding them and that a person be keen on carefuly cross-checking its narrations.”
(Ref: ‘Sharhu Riyaadhi As-Saaliihin’ 1/318)
For this reason, Imaam At-Tabari – rahimahullaah – himself who is considered the foremost in rank of our Historians and Mufassirun said:
“And let the one who studies this book of ours know that my reliance on all that I narrated and mentioned here with its isnaad is that upon which I was sure I cross-checked…and whatever lies in this book of mine which we mentioned of narrations from some of the people of the past that the reader finds abhorent or the hearer finds disgusting for the fact that neither an authentic reference for it is known nor a sound meaning is attributed, then let him know that that has not come from us but from those who reported them to us, and we simply narrated that which was narrated to us…”
Ref: ‘Muqaddimatu Ta’rikh At-Tabari’

Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddin Al-Albaani – rahimahullaah – said:
“And some of them might think that everything that is narrated in the books of At-Ta’rikh and As-Seera are things which cannot be disputed as been a part of the Ta’rikh of Islam and that it is not permissible to deny any of it. This kind of thought is a naked ignorance and it denies the specific attribute of the illustrous Ta’rikh of Islam which is special and distinct from the Histories of the past nations for the fact that it is only it that has the knowledge-based means to separate that which is authentic of it and that which is not – this means is the same with which we seperate and seive the Hadith of that which is Sahih from that which is not. What is been refered to here is the (Science of) Isnaad about which one of the Salaf said: ‘were it not to be for Isnaad, then anyone could have said what he wills’. And for this reason, when the other Umams (Nations) lacked this great, its history became filled with falsehood and impossibilities. And without taking the mind of the reader afar, here are books of theirs which they call holy books – in which are mixed that which is possible and that which is not – and they cannot even seperate between that which is authentic and that which is not of what it contains of the details of the Law that was sent down upon their Prophets… Do these people want us to accept everything that is said to have been narrated in Islamic History even if the Ulamaa discountenanced them?…”
Ref: “As-Silsilatu As-Sahihah” 5/260

Imaam Al-Andalusi Al-Qahtaani – rahimahullaah – said in the Nuniyyah:
لا تقبلن من التواريخ كلما * جمع الرواة وخط كل بنان
ارو الحديث المنتقي عن أهله * سيما ذوي الأحلام والأسنان
“Do not accept from History everything; that was compiled by the Narrators and written by all hands. Instead, narrate the established Hadith that has been purified from its People, especially the People of understanding and Scruplousness”
All of these explain to us that not everything that is recorded in the books of Islamic History can be relied upon. It doesn’t therefore, suffice to make a reference to a book known to come from a Historian, it must be proven to be authentic (Sahih) before it can be quoted with certainty. Otherwise, it is obligatory to quote it and explain the uncertainty that surrounds it.
That is because the Ulamaa of Hadith are at a consensus that it is not permissible to quote a Da’if Hadith without mentioning that it is weak or at least refering to its incertainty. Shaykh Muhammad bn Saalih Al-Uthaymin mentioned this in his Sharh of ‘Al-Bayquniyyah’.
Mentioning that an account is an Athar does not also absolve its writer of verifying and confirming its authenticity. That is because, aside the difference among Ulamaa on the definition of Athar, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaani – rahimahullaah – mentioned undisputably in his ‘Nuzhatu An-Nadhar’ that both Mawquf and Maqtu’ Hadith are what is referred to as Athar. It therefore follows that every Athar that is attributed to either a Sahaabi or a Taabi’i is also a Hadith.

Thirdly, concerning the narration to which the author referred, we will hereby examine its authenticity.
The narration is found in many of the books of ‘Ilmu Al-Rijaal’. The oldest of them been ‘Siyar A’alaami An-Nubalaa’.
Imaam Adh-Dhahabi – rahimahullaah – said:
“Abu Ishaaq At-Taaliqaani said: I was told by Ibn Al-Mubaaraq who said: Al-Mughirah bn Ash-Shu’bah would have beneath him four wives and he would divorce them all at the same time. And he said: You women are of beautiful character and long-necked. But I am a man that divorces much, therefore, you are all divorced.’ and from Ibn Wahb, from Maalik who said ‘And he (Mughirah) would marry four women at a time and divorce them all at a time.”
Ref: ‘Siyar A’alaam An-Nubalaa’ 3/31
A similar statement and attribution can be found in:
Al-Bidaayah Wa An-Nihaaya 8/317; ‘Khulasatu Tahdhib Al-Kamaal’ page 385, and ‘Tahdhibu Al-Kamaal’ 11/323
The same references mentioned the narration that the Companion Al-Mugheera bn Ash-Shu’bah – radiyallaahu ‘anhu – married about 800 women in his lifetime.
And for the fact that Imaam Adh-Dhahabi is foremost in Ilmu Ar-Rijaal over his own teacher Al-Haafidh Al-Mizzi and his student Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer and Ibn Katheer relied on Adh-Dhahabi in this regard, we will be examining the chain referred to by Adh-Dhahabi inshaa Allaah.

1. This Athar is without an Isnaad.
Adh-Dhahabi said: ‘Abu Ishaaq Al-Taaliqaani said: I was told by Abdullah bn Al-Mubaaraq who said….’
Fistly, Imaam Adh-Dhahabi (673 – 748H) never met Abu Ishaaq At-Taaliqaani who was a confirmed student of Abdullah bn Al-Mubaaraq (118 – 181H)
The generations between Adh-Dhahabi and At-Taaliqaani are at least, five. Adh-Dhahabi never claimed to have been told by At-Taaliqaani, never did he claim in his anecdote that the narration as attributed was confirmed sound from At-Taaliqaani – rahimahumullaah.
As for Abu Ishaaq At-Taaliqaani, about him, Al-Imaam Al-Haafidh Al-Mizzi – rahimahullaah – said:
“He is Ibrahim bn Ishaaq bn Isa… Abubakr bn Abi Khaythamah narrates from Yahya bn Ma’in that he said about him: ‘He is a thiqah (trustworthy)’, and in another occasion, he said: ‘laysa bihi ba’s – there is nothing wrong with (taking a narration from) him’.
He (Al-Mizzi) said: ‘And Ya’qub bn Shaybah said: he is a ‘thiqatun thabatun’ (trustworthy and confirmed narrator) who used to hold Irjaa views. And Abu Haatim said: he is a Saduq (Truth-bearing Narrator)”
Ref: Tahdhibu Al-Kamaal
It is also confirmed that he was a student to Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak and narrated Ahaadith from him.
While talking about ‘Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak, Imaam Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaani – rahimahullaah – said:
“And from him narrated Ath-Thawri, Mu’ammar bn Raashid, Abu Ishaaq Al-Fizaari…Ishaaq bn Raahawayh, Yahya bn Ma’in, Ibraahim bn Is’haaq At-Taaliqaani and others”
Ref: ‘Tahdhibu At-Tahdhib 5/335-336
Therefore, if there is an unbroken chain of trustworthy narrators from Adh-Dhahabi to At-Taaliqaaani, then we cannot doubt the authenticity of the report as been from Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak. That is because, At-Taaliqaani is confirmed to be a Witness of Truth and Trustworthy
of memory.
As for Imaam Abdullaah bn Al-Mubaarak – rahimahullaah -, he lived between 118 and 181H as mentioned by Imaam Ibn Hajar in ‘Tahdhibu At-Tahdhib’ 5/386 and Al-Imaam Ibn ‘Asaakir in ‘Ta’rikh Dimashq’ 38/305
And never met any of the Sahaabah including Al-Mughirah bn Ash-Shu’ba – radiyallaahu ‘anhu
Imaam Adh-Dhahabi – rahimahullaah – said:
“The eldest Shaykh that he (Ibn Mubaarak) met is the Imaam Abu Hanifah and so many of the Taabi’in”
Ref: ‘As-Siyar Min A’alaami An-Nubalaa’ 8/379

Al-Haafidh Ibn Al-Jawzi – rahimahullaah – said:
“Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak met some of the Taabi’in such as Hishaam bn Urwah, Ismaa’il bn Abi Khaalid, Al-A’amash, Sulayman At-Taymi, Humayd At-Tawil, Abdullah bn ‘Awn, Khaalid Al-Hidhaa, Yahya bn Sa’id Al-Ansaari, Musa bn Aqabah and others”
Ref: ‘Safwatu As-Safwah’ 4/146
The trustworthiness of Imaam Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak – rahimahullah – is agreed upon and he could not be attributed to lies, but in Hadith Literature, we cannot accept a Hadith that is broken in chain. That is because the authenticity of the narration cannot be verified.
Besides that Imaam Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak – rahimahullaah – is among the Muhadditin that do not accept a Hadith or a narrative that is Mursal (broken in chain) as Ibn Rajab mentioned in Sharh Ilal At-Tirmidhi and Imaam Abu Umar
Besides that Imaam Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak – rahimahullaah – is among the Muhadditin that do not accept a Hadith or a narrative that is Mursal (broken in chain) as Ibn Rajab mentioned in ‘Sharh Ilal At-Tirmidhi’ and Imaam Abu Umar bn AbdilBarr mentioned in At-Tamheeddddd.
Therefore, by virtue of its Isnaad, this Hadith is Mu’allaq by virtue of the generations gap between Adh-Dhahabi and At-Taaliqaani, and Munqati’ with respect to what is between Abdullah bn Al-Mubaarak and Al-Mughira bn Ash-Shu’bah – radiyallaahu ‘anhu. How then can it be said that this Athar is sound and should be quoted and relied upon.
As for the statement that he said:
‘And from Ibn Wahb from Maalik that he said…’
It also bears the same thing as te first.
Imaam Abdullah bn Wahb (125 – 197H), though a Thiqah and a Haafidh, was never a teacher to Adh-Dhahabi and the narrators of Adh-Dhahabi are unknown – therefore it has no Isnaad. Ibn Wahb is one of the highest ranking authorities from Maalik, but Maalik himself never met Al-Mughirah bn Ash-Shu’bah and cannot narrate what happened in his lifetime without an intermediary.
It thus becomes clear that the attributions mentioned here have no Isnaad upon which reliance can be made. There is entirely nothing authentically reported here.
And we hope the reader will not begin to say: ‘the fact that Adh-Dhahabi, Ibn Katheer and Al-Mizzi mentioned this account is a fact that indicates it authenticity’, we say: ‘that is not true’
The Ulamaa of Hadith have agreed that the mere mentioning of a Hadith by an Aalim does not imply his authenticating of that Hadith unless for collections of Hadith in which the Aalim stipulates at the onset of his book that everything he mentions there is Sahih.
This is clearly not the case with Adh-Dhahabi in the Siyar. Instead, it is the contrary, for he categorically mentioned that he was narrating everything that has come for or against every narrator.
Additionally, the Ulamaa of Hadith have an agreement that anything that an Aalim or a Muhaddith narrates with a ‘And they said…’ or ‘And it was said…’ or ‘And it was reported…’ is regarded as an indication of his considering of that narration to be weak, or it is an indication of his uncertainty of that report.
This is called ‘Sighatu At-Tamrid’.
And this is clearly the case with all the references that mention this report. None of them ever mentioned the Isnaad and confirmed it. The closest to that is with Ibn Katheer but what he, himself said, was that many of the narrators said.
We cannot again, rely on what is mentioned in ‘Hayaatu As-Sahaabah’ because it is known that the author of the Book did not put it upon himself to verify every report he quotes in his book.

It is important here to state that we are not the only ones that disagree with the authenticity of this narration. Instead, it is the mention of most of the Scholars of Hadith. This was mentioned by Shaykh Ali Muhammad As-Salaabi in ‘Ilmu Ar-Rijaal Wa Ahmiyyatuhu’ page 28-31.
He even emphatically stated that not only that which is attributed to Al-Mughira bn Ash-Shu’bah, it is also wrongly reported about Al-Hasan bn Ali bn Abi Taalib and Ali bn Abi Taalib – radiyallaahu ‘anhum – himself.
He ended his findings with the statement:
“And hereby, we advise on the importance of the Science of Al-Jarhu Wa At-Ta’dil and the passing of Hukm on the Riwaayaat, and the great role played by the Ulamaa of Hadith in explaining the falsehood of the likes of these stories. For this reason, we advise researchers into the History of the Annals of Islam to pay attention to this and be cautious on the likes of these narrations so that they will be able to seperate that which is authentic of it and that which is weak of it, so that they will be able to present to the Ummah an illustrious service…”
After saying all of that, it is imperative to note that, even if this report was sound, there is neither wisdom is propagating it nor does it agree with the tenets of Islam.
Talaaq, though permissible in Islam is neither encouraged nor advised unless when there is a reason for that. This is the fatwah of the majority of Ulamaa.
What corroborates that is what Imaam Ahmad – radiyallaahu ‘anhu – transmitted and recorded in his Musnad 22/275 from Jaabir bn ‘Abdullah – radiyallaahu ‘anhu – who said that the Messenger of Allah – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said:
“Indeed Iblis placed his throne on water from which he sends out his expeditions. The greater in fitnah among them is the more distant in position from him. One of them returns saying: ‘I did so and so’ then he tells him: ‘you have done nothing’ He said: then another of them comes and says: I did not depart from him (a believer) until I had caused him to break with his wife’ He said: then he draws him nearer to himself. Or he said: ‘then he draws him closer saying ‘Yes, you have done well’.
This is what the Rasul – salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said about divorce.
This applies that most times the hand of Iblis lies behind divorce. What then is expected to be the lesson to be derived from the story that was posted about Mughirah marrying four at the same time and divorcing four at the same time?

Lastly, we want to advise ourselves and every member of this forum on the following:

1. Let us endeavour to make all our postings with their proper references and to try to ensure that those references are authentically true, or at least, to indicate uncertainty.

2. Let us be cautious when accusing people of ignorance, misbehaviour or arrogance. Most of these things return to the intentions which are known only to Allaah.

3. We should be polite and requesting for references when they are not indicated, and gentle on one another when criticising and correcting.

4. As students of knowledge, we should be careful not to cross the limits of dispute, not to hasten in conclusions and not to accuse our brothers/sisters without confirming from them first in whatever they said or did.
We ask Allaah to reward the writer of the post and those who countered abundantly, Aameen. Also, we appeal to the egos of everyone here, that they should inculcate patience, carefulness and humility in their words.
Baarakallaahu feekum; jazaakumullaahu khayran!



Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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