Imran Ibn Husain RA – The Angel Resemblance
A famous recorded oral tradition among Muslims (Arabic: Hadith) is about comment made by Imran ibn Husain, one of the companions of Rasulullah ﷺand a Narrator of hadith.
It was in the year of Khaibar that Imran Ibn Husain RA turned to Rasulullah ﷺ, swearing to him the oath of allegiance. Since the moment Imran Ibn Husain RA put his right hand into Rasulullah ﷺ right hand, his hand became subject to respect. Imran Ibn Husain RA promised himself to use it only in good and virtuous deeds, an attitude displaying how much sensitivity this person enjoyed.
‘Imran Ibn Husain RA was a clear image of honesty, humility, piety, and devotion to Allah.
Although Imran Ibn Husain RA was blessed with a great deal of divine success and guidance, Imran Ibn Husain RA never stopped weeping and saying, “I wish I were ashes dispersed by the wind.”
God-fearing men of this type did not fear Allah because of their sins. Sins were rarely committed by them, since the day of their conversion to Islam. The more they got acquainted with Allah’s greatness, majesty, and sublimity, the more they recognized their inability to truly thank and worship Allah and the more God-fearing they became, no matter how much they prayed, praised Allah or submitted themselves to Him.
Once Rasulullah ﷺ’s Companions asked him, “O Rasul of Allah, why when we are sitting with you do we feel calmness and tenderness in our hearts as an ascetic, seeing the Hereafter as if it were before us, but when we leave you to meet our wives, children, and our worldly affairs, we deny ourselves?” Rasulullahﷺ responded, “By Allah, if you adhered strictly to your first state, the angels would have shaken your hands clearly. So it is natural for there to be a worshiping time followed by business.”
When Imran Ibn Husain RA heard this from Rasulullah ﷺ his longing desire was moved; therefore, Imran Ibn Husain RA promised himself never to abstain from striving to reach such a great goal, even if it cost him his whole life. Imran Ibn Husain RA was never convinced to live dividing his time one hour for leisure and one hour for worship. Imran Ibn Husain RA wanted instead his life to be a long chain of intimate prayer and total devotion towards the Lord of the Worlds.
During the caliphate of Saidina Umar Ibn Al-Khattab RA, Imran Ibn Husain RA was sent to Basra, to teach its inhabitants jurisprudence. Imran Ibn Husain RA settled there and soon people turned to him to seek his blessing and the guiding light of his religiosity. Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Ibn Sirin said, “No one of Rasulullah ﷺ’s Companions who entered Basra can be considered better than Imran Ibn Husain RA.
Once Imran Ibn Husain RA judged against someone, but the man said: I swear you misjudged and oppressed me, Imran Ibn Husain RA asked: how is this?
The man said: you heard a forged testimony!
Imran Ibn Husain RA said: “so I return your rights from my own money and will never judge any more, and so he did”
Imran Ibn Husain RA refused to occupy himself with anything but worship. Imran Ibn Husain RA spent his whole time doing nothing but adoring Allah until it seemed as if he belonged to another world other than the one in which he lived among his people and walked on its ground. Yes, it is true. Imran Ibn Husain RA became like an angel living among angels, listening to, talking to, and shaking hands with them.
When the great uprising between the parties of “Saidina Ali Ibn Abu Talib RA and Muawiyah RA took place, Imran Ibn Husain RA did not just hold a neutral position, but appealed to people to abstain from joining the fight, adhering to the cause of peace. Imran Ibn Husain RA went on saying, “I would prefer to be a shepherd on top of a mountain till I die rather than shoot an arrow at anyone in either party, right or wrong.” Any Muslim he met, Imran Ibn Husain RA advised saying, “Keep to your mosque. If it is broken into forcefully, then keep indoors. If the doors are broken into forcefully by someone who aims at taking your life and wealth, then fight him.”
Imran Ibn Husain RA’s faith reached a very high level. For 30 years Imran Ibn Husain RA suffered from severe disease. However, Imran Ibn Husain RA never showed any sign of discontent nor did he grumble. Instead Imran Ibn Husain RA adored and worshiped Allah persistently, all through his life. When his visitors came to encourage him, he always replied, “The dearest things to my heart are those dearest to Allah.”
Once a friend of him, Mutraf Ibn Abdillah RA paid him a visit when he couldn’t help crying, so Imran Ibn Husain RA asked: what makes you so sad? He said: I hate seeing you in this state! Imran Ibn Husain RA said: don’t be, if Allah loves this for me I shall love it for myself! Would you not till this secret till I die? I see angels’ every day and speak to them!
When Imran Ibn Husain RA felt that death was approaching, he said to his family and kin, “When you finish burying me, slaughter and feed the people.”
Truly, they should slaughter and feed the people. The death of someone likes Imran Ibn Husain RA should be considered a great and glorious wedding festival, wherein his soul is being wedded to a Paradise as wide as earth, heaven prepared for the pious.
Story of Hussain father of Imran Ibn Husain RA who embraced Islam later than his son.
Hussain RA Father of Imran Ibn Husain RA
Imran Ibn Husain RA son of Hussain RA had embraced Islam prior to his father. A group of representatives from Quraish came to Hussain RA (before he had accepted Islam), for Hussain RA was very wise and respected person, and complained to him, “We are very much teased and annoyed by Muhammad, for he always speaks ill of our gods. Since you are a wise and experienced man, please go to him and ask him to mend his behavior for fear that he will have to face the consequences.”
Hussain, along with these people, came to the front of the house of Nabuwaat (Rasulullah ﷺ). Hussain made his people sit there and he himself went inside. Rasulullah ﷺ saw him and said to his disciple, “Give wide place to your chief to sit.” Imran Ibn Husain RA his son was already sitting there, when the disciples sat around, the conversation commenced between Hussain and Rasulullah ﷺ;
Hussain: I have been told you speak ill of our Gods, is this true?
Rasulullah ﷺ ; Hussain! How many Gods do you worship?
Hussain: We worship seven Gods on the earth and one in the Heavens.
Rasulullah ﷺ; To whom you ask when you are afflicted with harm?
Hussain: The only God, we ask Who is in the Heavens.
Rasulullah ﷺ; To whom you pray when you are deprived of your property?
Hussain: The only God in the Heavens.
Rasulullah ﷺ; what a sorrowful is the matter, you pray to the only God who is in the Heavens but you owe your worship to the useless Gods on earth. Do you like this polytheism? Oh Hussain! Accept Islam as your religion, you will be delivered from the torment of Allah (S.W.T).
The curtains on his heart wrapped back by the blessed sight and light of Rasulullah ﷺ. Hussain RA embraced Islam right there, Imran Ibn Husain RA choked with pleasure kissed his father’s head, hands and his feet. The tears ran from the eyes of Rasulullah ﷺ of grace and kindness. Rasulullah ﷺ said he was impressed very much by the behavior of Imran Ibn Husain RA, which caused his tears running with pleasure. When Hussein RA came there, Imran Ibn Husain RA remained sitting but when Hussein embraced Islam, Imran Ibn Husain RA ran to him and kissed him with love and respect. When Hussein RA intended to go back, Rasulullah ﷺ asked the Companions (R.A): “Accompany Hussein RA to his home”.
When the people waiting outside, cast their glances on face of Hussein RA, they were frightened by the Divine light emitting from his face. They understood Hussein RA had broken his relation with the idols and infidelity. Hussein RA was now free from the confinement of the false Gods and was of no use to them.
(Al-Syart-ul-Halbiah, Vol. I, p.269, and other books of Sirah)
Hadith of Mut’ah and Imran ibn Husain RA.
The comment was regarding the prohibition of Mut’ah, a word with several meanings.
Although the narration is prominently quoted and referred to, it is not given any formal name, in contrast to other hadith such as the Hadith of the pond of Khumm or the Hadith of Qur’an and Sunnah.
To be able to understand this narration, one needs to be familiar with the concepts that are presented in the Hadith of Saidina Umar’s speech of forbidding Mut’ah.
A narration attributed to Imran ibn Husain RA reports:
The Verse of Mut’ah was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Rasul, and nothing was revealed in Qur’an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested.
Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Bukhari.
A narration attributed to Mutarrif reports:
‘Imran b. Husain RA sent for me during his illness of which he died, and said: I am narrating to you some Ahadith which may benefit you after me. If I live you conceal (the fact that these have been transmitted by me), and if I die, then you narrate them if you like (and these are): I am blessed, and bear in mind that Rasulullah ﷺ combined Hajj and Umrah. Then no verse was revealed in regard to it in the Book of Allah (which abrogated it) and the Apostle of Allah did not forbid (from doing it). And whatever a person (Saidina Umar Al Khattab RA) said was out of his personal opinion.
Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Muslim.
Third hadith quoted here by some biased person totally out of context and is not remotely related to Mut’ah. The actual hadith is “Mutarrif reported:
‘Imran b. Husain sent for me during his illness of which he died, and said: I am narrating to you some Ahadith which may benefit you after me. If I live you conceal (the fact that these have been transmitted by me), and if I die, then you narrate them if you like (and these are): I am blessed, and bear in mind that Rasulullah ﷺ combined Hajj and Umrah. Then no verse was revealed in regard to it in the Book of Allah (which abrogated it) and Rasulullah ﷺ did not forbid (from doing it). And whatever a person (Saidina Umar ibn Al Khattab RA) said was out of his personal opinion.”
Muslims view this hadith as notable since it can be seen as related to the Hadiths regarding the legality of Nikah Mut’ah, and is often mentioned when discussing those topics.
The comment of Imran ibn Husain RA is regarding the Hadith of Saidina Umar Ibn al Khattab RA’s speech of forbidding Mut’ah.
All Muslims agree that this hadith is authentic, and that Saidina Umar Ibn al Khattab RA did indeed forbid Mut’ah. However, there is dispute on how to define “Mut’ah” and whether or not it was forbidden before Saidina Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA. The hadith tells about a “Verse of Mut’ah” revealed in the Qur’an. Muslims disagree which verse is alluded to, since two different verses can be seen as the Verse of Mut’ah.
The first one is found in Surah An-Nisa, verse 24. We read:
The Quran, chapter 4 (An-Nisa), verse 24:
And (also forbidden are) all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to ‘those whom you profit by (istamta´tum), give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing and Wise.
The word “istamta´tum” is notable, because the word used literally means “to seek Mut’ah”. Muslims differ on what is meant by Mut’ah here, and which judgement the verse gives about it. Generally, Shi’a Muslims tend to believe that Mut’ah here refers to the temporary marriage, and that this verse permits it.
Among the Sunnis, different view exists:
Some Sunnis do not believe that this verse refers to the Nikah Mut’ah at all. This view was favored by Imam Suyuti Rahimullah.
Other Sunnis agree that the verse refers to the temporary marriage, but disagree that the verse permits it. This view was favored by Ibn Kathir.
The second possibility is that “The Verse of Mut’ah” refers to Al-Baqarah, 196. We read:
The Quran, chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah), verse 196:
And accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for Allah, but if, you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination; but whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, he (should effect) a compensation by fasting or alms or sacrificing, then when you are secure, whoever profits (tamattu´) by combining the visit with the pilgrimage (should take) what offering is easy to obtain; but he who cannot find (any offering) should fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days when you return; these (make) ten (days) complete; this is for him whose family is not present in the Sacred Mosque, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
Translated by Muhammad Habib Shakir
The phrase “…whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage” is notable, because the Arabic word used here is tamattu`, which literally means “to do Mut’ah”. All Muslims agree that this verse refers to the Mut’ah of Hajj.
Sunnis considered this hadith as Sahih and it’s found in the first and second of their Six major Hadith collections, the Two Sahihs, both believed by Sunnis to contain only authentic hadith (Arabic: Sahih). In both of them, it is included among the chapters of the Hajj related subjects.
Muslim ibn al-Hajar, a 9th century Sunni Islamic scholar comments in his Book Sahih Muslim:
“This hadith been narrated on the authority of Jurairi with the same chain of transmitters and Ibn Hatim said in his narration:
“A person said according to his personal opinion, and it was Saidina Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA.”
A Sunni Tafsir includes:
“The Sahabah of Rasulullah Imran Ibn Abi Husain RA said the verse of Mut’ah appeared in the Book of Allah and no verse descended to abrogate it. Rasulullahﷺ gave order allowing for the practice of Mut’ah and we did Mut’ah in his presence. Rasulullah(s) dies and till then he did not refrain us from practicing it, after him Saidina Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA gave his personal view and banned Mut’ah.
Some Sunni commentators of hadith have put Imran ibn Husain RA among the Salaf in favor of Nikah Mut’ah after Rasulullah ﷺ, based on this narration.
However, the major Sunni opinion is that this hadith actually refers to the Mut’ah of Hajj. Sunni Muslims believe that this view is strengthened by the fact that in both Sahih’s, the hadith is included under Hajj-related topics. Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, a 13th century Sunni Islamic scholar, the author of the commentary of Sahih Muslim supports the view that this hadith concerning Mut’ah refers to the Mut’ah of Hajj.
Ibn Kathir, a 14th century Sunni Islamic scholar wrote on his commentary of Al-Baqarah, 196:
“This last Hadith proves that Tamattu` (doing Mut’ah) is legislated. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that `Imran bin Husain RA said, “We performed Hajj At-Tamattu` in the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger and then the Qur’an was revealed (regarding Hajj At-Tamattu`). Nothing was revealed to forbid it, nor did he (the Prophet) forbid it until he died. And somebody said what he wished (regarding Hajj At-Tamattu`) according to his own opinion.
Ibn Kathir thus believed that “The verse of Mut’ah” mentioned in the hadith refers to Al-Baqarah, 196.
The same view was held by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, a 14th century Sunni Islamic scholar and Ibn al-Jawzi.