Did the Prophet really kiss his grandson’s private part?


There is a hadith with a few versions which mentions that the Prophet PBUH allegedly kissed his grandson Hasan/Husayn’s private part. Some anti-Islamic polemists and propagandists make it an issue of accusations non-called for. The following is a detailed break-down of this issue, collected from various classical and contemporary sources.

The analysis

The narration has four versions out of which the first comes from four chains of narrations, which essentially come from a common link of narrators.

Figure 1 shows these chains as 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d, with self-explanatory symbols. As evident from the isnad tree, all these four chains have a common narrator named Qabus ibn Abi Dhibyan. A number of Hadith giants like Imam Ahmad and Ibn Ma’een in al-‘Ilal (771 & 4018), Ibn Sa’d in at-Tabaqaat (339/6), Abu Haatim, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibbaan have criticised Qabus.

Abu Haatim said: “Weak in hadith, [was] lenient in his narrations, and can’t be taken as evidence” [Al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (145/7)].

An-Nasa’i said about him “Not strong [in narrating and is] weak”.

Ibn Hibbaan makes it more specific by stating that “He was weak in memory and would bring singular narrations on the authority of his father – that which had no origin, and maybe connected Mursal narrations [to the Prophet] and connected the reports [of the Companions to the Prophet]; and [however] his father was trustworthy” [al-Majruhin (216/2)].

Ibn Hibbaan’s criticism is enough to pin-point the reason for his weak status, especially since he has mentioned exactly the phenomenon which has happened in the report at hand. This entire report is also being narrated by Qabus on the authority of his father, and just as Ibn Hibbaan said – he has erred, which will be clearer as we progress. Furthermore, the critics who have weakened this report in particular are Ibn Taahir in Dhakhirat al-Huffadh (770/2), and Ibn Hajar in at-Talkhees al-Habeer (1/222).

The second version is mentioned by al-Bayhaqi in Sunan al-Kubra (651). An isnad tree for this is as shown in figure 2. The narrator named Muhammad ibn Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Layla is criticised by the critics of hadith for weak memory.

Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi narrated from Shu’ba ibn al-Hajjaj that he said regarding Muhammad ibn Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Layla that: “I have never seen anyone with a worse memory than Ibn Abi Layla”.

Rawh reported from Shu’ba that he said: “Ibn Abi Layla benefitted me with some narrations, only to find out [later] that they were jumbled”.

Abu Haatim said: “His position is [that he was] truthful, [but] was of bad memory; he got involved in judicature and ended up having a bad memory; he isn’t accused with any form of lying, rather he is disapproved due to his excessive mistakes; his narrations are written but not taken as evidences”.

Ibn Hibbaan said: “He was excessive in mistakes, and weak of memory, [which resulted in him having] numerous rejected narrations from his narrations; [Imam] Ahmad and Yahya [Ibn Ma’een] deserted him (i.e.: his narrations)”.

Saleh ibn Ahmad ibn Hambal reported on the authority of Ibn al-Madini that he said: “He had a weak memory, [and was] weak in hadith”.

Abu Ahmad al-Haakim said: “Generally his narrations are jumbled”.

Ad-Daaraqutni said: “He was weak in memory and had much delusions.”

Figure 3 shows the third set of chains of narrations. This set of chains has the following three problems:

Firstly, ‘Ali ibn al-Madini mentioned in ‘Al-Maraseel’ of Ibn Abi Haatim (19), that one of the primal singular link, the popular tabi’ee Ibrahim an-Nakha’ee never heard from any of the Companions. This means the part Ibrahim an-Nakha’i from Anas ibn Maalik is a broken link and hence unacceptable.

Secondly, Yamaan ibn Sa’eed – also a common link – was crticised by ad-Daraqutni as a weak narrator, as in ad-Du’afaa wal-Matrukin of Ibn al-Jawzi (610).

Thirdly, Muhammad ibn Sufyan as-Saffaar al-Missisi is an unknown narrator.

And it goes without saying that classical scholars have already weakened this narration, as by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami in ‘Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj’ (197/7).

Figure 4 shows the chain of narration for the fourth report. This report comes with three problems. The chain of narration contains Muhammad ibn Mazeed ibn Abil Azhar, who is a prominent hadith fabricator. In fact, he is the weakest link of this chain and the only narrator criticised for fabricating narrations in this chain – which is exactly why Khatib al-Baghdadi after quoting this narration goes on to declare it fabricated by Ibn Abil Azhar himself. He says: “This hadith is also fabricated, its chain as well as its body of text; and it isn’t far [that it was] fabricated by Ibn Abil Azhar, who made it up and narrated it on the authority of Qabus, from his father, from his grandfather, from Jabir ibn Abdullah; then he realized the absurdity of this narration, so he narrated again and missed out “from him from his grandfather”; that is because Abu Dhibyan met Salman al-Farisi (a Companion), and heard [narrations] from him, and heard [narrations] from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (another Companion) as well (so he realised he should not put extra narrators in the chain when a Companion is already reached). And the name of Abu Dhibyan is Husayn ibn Jundab, and Jundab – his father is an unknown [narrator], was he [even] a Muslim or a disbeliever? Before knowing whether he [actually] narrated something. But in the hadith which we has mentioned contains another corruption; its fabricator wasn’t convinced [in the first time] so he changed it. And that is the absurdity of the narration from Sa’eed ibn ‘Amir from Qabus, which is because Sa’eed is a Basran [narrator], while Qabus is a Kufan [narrator], and they both never met; rather Sa’eed couldn’t meet Qabus because Qabus was [much] old [than Sa’eed], narrators like Sufyan ath-Thawri and [other] major narrators of Kufa reported from him; and from the last of those who could meet him were Jarir ibn Abdil Hamid (d. 187 AH). And [moreover] there is no report of Sa’eed ibn ‘Amir except from Basran [narrators], and Allah knows best”. End quote from Al-Khatib.

Al-Khatib’s statement is further corroborated by Ibn Mandah and Ibn ‘Asakir’s statement about Jundab ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Harith – that although he was a Companion, but they don’t know any narration transmitted by him. Apparently, Ibn Abil Azhar was uninformed about this which led him to his second mistake which he couldn’t make-up for.

One more thing is worth noticing throughout the four versions of this report (see figure 1-4), and that is: two of the reports mention al-Hasan while the other two mention al-Husayn – which is another proof of a made-up hearsay as the narrators were not unified on which grandson it was. It is also worth noting that whether al-Hasan was murdered, or he died naturally is debated and differed upon in the Islamic academia.


Another important question which a reader might be pondering upon: Why did such a vile report even creep into the hadith corpus? Some might think that this is quite a problematic narration for Muslims; to the contrary this is a very straight-forward issue to comprehend.

Imam Ahmad reports a hasan (fair/authentic) hadith in Musnad – his magnum opus – under the section titled ‘Virtues of al-Hasan and al-Husayn’ (777/2) hadith number 1385 narrated on the authority of ‘Umayr ibn Ishaq who said: “I was with al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, and we met Abu Huraira, who said: Come to me I will kiss you as I saw the Messenger of Allah kissing. Then he kissed his [al-Hasan’s] belly button.”

Al-Haythami said in Majma az-Zawaed (177/9): Ahmad and at-Tabarani narrated it, except that he [at-Tabarani] said: [Abu Huraira] exposed his stomach and put his hand on his [al-Hasan’s] belly button. And the narrators of these [two] narrations are the narrators of the two Sahihs [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim], except ‘Umayr ibn Ishaq, who is trustworthy [but not narrator of the two Sahihs].

Evidently, Abu Huraira’s intention was as stated by him: “Let me do as I have seen the Messenger of Allah doing” – which is to practice a Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم). This tradition is what I believe emerged as the root cause idea behind spreading a distorted version of it, done by two kinds of narrators: the prominent hadith fabricators like Muhammad ibn Mazeed Ibn Abil Azhar, and others due to their delusional transmission and exceptionally weak memory, like Muhammad ibn Abdir Rahman ibn Abi Layla.


This, and Allah knows best.

13th October 2023

Author: ahmad7890

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