Featured, Fiqh

Explanation of the hadith prophesying Al-Quds as the future capital of the Khilafah

There are two similar hadith narrated in the book Tarikh Dimashiq (History of Damascus) by Ibn `Asakir al-Dimashqi al-Shafi`i al-Ash`ari (1106–1175) related to the future capitals of the Khilafah. These are:

قَرَأْتُ بِخَطِّ أَبِي الْحُسَيْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الرَّازِيِّ ، أنا أَبُو الْحَسَنِ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ عُمَيْرِ بْنِ جَوْصَا ، أَنْبَأَنَا أَبُو عَامِرٍ مُوسَى بْنُ عَامِرٍ ، أَنْبَأَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ ، أَنْبَأَنَا مَرْوَانُ بْنُ جَنَاحٍ ، عَنْ يُونُسَ بْنَ مَيْسَرَةَ بْنِ حَلْبَسٍ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

: ” هَذَا الأَمْرُ كَائِنٌ بَعْدِي بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِالشَّامِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْجَزِيرَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْعِرَاقِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ ، فَإِذَا كَانَ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ فَثَمَّ عُقْرُ دَارِهَا ، وَلَنْ يُخْرِجَهَا قَوْمٌ فَتَعُودَ إِلَيْهِمْ أَبَدًا “

 . يَعْنِي بِقَوْلِهِ بِالْجَزِيرَةِ : أَمْرٌ مَرْوَانَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ الْحَمَّارَ ، وَبِقَوْلِهِ بِالْمَدِينَةِ : بَعْدَ الْعِرَاقِ ، يَعْنِي بِهِ الْمَهْدِيَّ يَخْرُجُ فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ ، ثُمَّ يَنْتَقِلُ إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ وَبِهَا يُحَاصِرُهُ الدَّجَّالُ ، وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ

The Messenger of Allah said: “This matter (the Caliphate) will be after me in Madinah, then in Al-Sham, then in the Peninsula, then in Iraq, then in the City, then in Bait ul-Maqdis. If it is in Bait ul-Maqdis, its home country is there, and no people will be able to remove it, so it will return to them forever.” Ibn Asakir, Tarikh Dimashiq 368

 

حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ ، عَنْ مَرْوَانَ بْنِ جَنَاحٍ ، عَنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ مَيْسَرَةَ الْجُبْلانِيِّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :

 ” هَذَا الأَمْرُ كَائِنٌ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِالشَّامِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْجَزِيرَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْعِرَاقِ ، ثُمَّ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، ثُمَّ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ ، فَإِذَا كَانَتْ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ فَثَمَّ عُقْرُ دَارِهَا ، وَلا يَخْرُجُ مِنْ قَوْمٍ فَيَعُودُ إِلَيْهِمْ

The Messenger of Allah said: “This matter (the Caliphate) will be in Madinah then in Al-Sham, then in the Peninsula, then in Iraq, then in the City, then in Bait ul-Maqdis. If it is in Bait ul-Maqdis, its home country is there and never will a people be able to remove it so it will return to them forever.” Ibn Asakir, Tarikh Dimashiq 266

The matn (text) of both hadith is the same so we will use hadith 368 for the explanation since it contains the complete isnad (chain of narration) and also a commentary by Ibn Asakir on what he believes the capital Al-Jazeera (The Peninsula) is referring to.

The hadith chain of narration (isnad)

There are a number of questions relating to the isnad which a muhaddith would examine before reaching a decision on whether the hadith is hasan (good) or not. We will deal with these in turn.

  1. How can Yunus Ibn Maisarah who never met the Prophet ﷺ, narrate a hadith from him?

Yunus bin Maysarah Al-Hamiri (12-132AH) resided in Damascus. He was born after the Prophet ﷺ passed away and so never met him. However, Yunus Ibn Maisarah did meet, accompany and learn from a number of sahaaba and so this makes him a Taabi’. When a hadith isnad starts with a Taabi’ and misses out the name of the sahabi who heard the hadith directly from the Prophet ﷺ then we call this hadith Mursal (hurried).

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Abdullah said: “the absence of the mention of the Sahaabi from the Sanad (chain) of the Hadeeth does not make it Da’eef and invalid to be used as evidence. That is because the Sahaaba (rah) are not in need of evaluation of their trustworthiness (Ta’deel) as Allah Ta’Aalaa has praised and commended them and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ did likewise. As such the Mursal At-Taabi’iy is used as evidence as long as it is not contradictory to or in opposition to a Hadeeth that is stronger than it.”

Imam Abu ‘Abdullah al-Haakim said:  There is no difference of opinion among the shaykhs of hadeeth that the mursal hadeeth is one which the muhaddith narrated with a complete isnaad back to the Taabi’i, and the Taabi’i says, “The Messenger of Allah said.”

 

  1. Which sahaaba did Yunus Ibn Maisarah meet and narrate from?

There are many hasan hadith found in Sunan Ibn Majah and Abu Dawood narrated from Yunus Ibn Maisarah which are not mursal and mention the name of the sahabi who Yunus heard the hadith from.

The sahaaba in Damascus who Yunus Ibn Maisarah met and narrated from were Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan, Abu Sa’eed Az-Zuraqi and Wathilah bin Asqa’. Some of these hadith are below.

حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عَمَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ بْنُ جَنَاحٍ، عَنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ مَيْسَرَةَ بْنِ حَلْبَسٍ، أَنَّهُ حَدَّثَهُ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنَ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ أَنَّهُ قَالَ ‏ “‏ الْخَيْرُ عَادَةٌ وَالشَّرُّ لَجَاجَةٌ وَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ ‏”‏

It was narrated that Yunus bin Maisarah bin Halbas said: “I heard Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan narrating that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Goodness is a (natural) habit while evil is a stubbornness (constant prodding from Satan). When Allah wills good for a person, He causes him to understand the religion.’” Ibn Majah: Book 1, Hadith 226

 

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ شُعَيْبٍ، أَخْبَرَنِي سَعِيدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ، حَدَّثَنَا يُونُسُ بْنُ مَيْسَرَةَ بْنِ حَلْبَسٍ، قَالَ خَرَجْنَا مَعَ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الزُّرَقِيِّ – صَاحِبِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ – إِلَى شِرَاءِ الضَّحَايَا ‏.‏ قَالَ يُونُسُ فَأَشَارَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ إِلَى كَبْشٍ أَدْغَمَ لَيْسَ بِالْمُرْتَفِعِ وَلاَ الْمُتَّضِعِ فِي جِسْمِهِ فَقَالَ لِي اشْتَرِ لِي هَذَا ‏.‏ كَأَنَّهُ شَبَّهَهُ بِكَبْشِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏.‏

Yunus bin Maisarah bin Halbas said: “I went out with Abu Sa’eed Az-Zuraqi, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, to buy animals or sacrifice.” Yunus said: “Abu Sa’eed pointed to a ram that had some blackness around its ears and jaw, and was neither too big nor too small, and said to me: ‘Buy this one for them, as it seems to resemble the ram of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.’” Ibn Majah: Book 26, Hadith 3249

 

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الدِّمَشْقِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ بْنُ جَنَاحٍ، حَدَّثَنِي يُونُسُ بْنُ مَيْسَرَةَ بْنِ حَلْبَسٍ، عَنْ وَاثِلَةَ بْنِ الأَسْقَعِ، قَالَ صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَأَسْمَعُهُ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّ فُلاَنَ بْنَ فُلاَنٍ فِي ذِمَّتِكَ وَحَبْلِ جِوَارِكَ فَقِهِ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْقَبْرِ وَعَذَابِ النَّارِ وَأَنْتَ أَهْلُ الْوَفَاءِ وَالْحَقِّ فَاغْفِرْ لَهُ وَارْحَمْهُ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ ‏”

It was narrated that Wathilah bin Asqa’ said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ offered the funeral prayer for a man among the Muslims and I heard him say: ‘O Allah, so-and-so the son of so-and-so is in Your case and under Your protection. Protect him from the trial of the grave and the torment of the Fire, for You are the One Who keeps the promise and You are the Truth. Forgive him and have mercy on him, for You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Ibn Majah: Book 6, Hadith 1566

 

  1. Isn’t the isnad broken because there is a gap of 150 years between the first narrator in the chain Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi and Ibn Asakir?

This is answered by Ibn Asakir at the beginning of the hadith chain.

قَرَأْتُ بِخَطِّ أَبِي الْحُسَيْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الرَّازِيِّ ، أنا أَبُو الْحَسَنِ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ عُمَيْرِ بْنِ جَوْصَا ، أَنْبَأَنَا أَبُو عَامِرٍ مُوسَى بْنُ عَامِرٍ

“I (Ibn Asakir) read the handwriting of Abi Al-Hussein Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi, (which read) I am Abu Al-Hasan Ahmad bin Umair bin Jawsaa, Abu Amir Musa bin Amir narrated to us…”

Therefore Ibn Asakir read one of Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi’s handwritten books rather than heard from him directly. Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi is a thiqah (trustworthy) narrator of hadith and famous scholar who resided in Damascus.

 

  1. Are all the narrators in the chain trustworthy?

The full list of narrators in the chain is below. The names used are their well-known names so will differ slightly from those mentioned in the isnad.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ —> Sahabi (omitted) —> Yunus bin Maysarah Al-Hamiri —> Marwan bin Janaah Al-Amwi —> Al-Waleed bin Muslim Al-Quraish —> Musa bin Abi Al-Haitham Al-Miri —> Ibn Jawsaa Al-Damishqi —>  Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi (book) —> Ibn Asakir

A summary of the narrators is below. The muhaditheen would refer to the hadith biographies for a more detailed explanation on each person so they can decide according to their criteria if the narrators are reliable or not.

Name Yunus bin Maysarah Al-Hamiri
Level Thiqah (trustworthy)
Death 12-132AH
Residency Damascus
Generation Taabi

 

Name Marwan bin Janaah Al-Amwi
Level Truthful
Death ?
Residency Damascus, Kufa
Generation Assume Taabi Taabi

 

Name Al-Waleed bin Muslim Al-Quraish
Level Thiqah.
Death 121-194AH (739-810CE)
Residency Damascus

 

Name Musa bin Abi Al-Haitham Al-Miri
Level Truthful
Death 255AH, 869CE
Residency Damascus

 

Name Ibn Jawsaa Al-Damishqi
Level Truthful but he had some oddities
Death ?
Residency Damascus

 

Name Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi
Level Thiqah
Death 347H, 958CE
Residency Damascus

All the narrators resided in Damascus and they met each other or in the case of Ibn Asakir read the handwritten book of the first narrator Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Razi as explained earlier. Therefore, this hadith is reliable in giving good news to the Ummah that the blessed city of Al-Quds will return to the hands of Muslims once again.

 

The text of the hadith (matn)

Having established that this hadith has a reliable change of narrators we can move on to the text itself. The Arabic sentences in this hadith are informative (khabariya) and there are no commands. This hadith is simply good news to the ummah and not commanding us to move our capital to a particular location. The placement of the Khilafah’s capital is up to the ijtihad (opinion) of the Khaleefah and throughout Islamic history the Khilafah had many capitals.

  1. What were the capitals of the Khilafah in Islamic history?

There were 13 capitals of the Khilafah in Islamic history. These are listed below in chronological order.

Capital Khilafah
Madinah Munawwarah Rightly Guided Caliphs – Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman
Kufa (Iraq) Rightly Guided Caliphs – Imam Ali, Imam Hassan
Damascus (Al-Sham) Umayyads – Muawiya
Makkah (Arabian Peninsula) Abdullah ibn Zubair
Damascus (Al-Sham) Umayyads – Abdul-Malik bin Marwan…
Harran (Turkey) Umayyads – Marwan II
Kufa (Iraq) Abbasids – Abul Abbas al‐Saffah
Baghdad (Iraq) Abbasids – Al-Mansur
Raqqa (Syria) Abbasids – Harun al‐Rashid
Samarra (Iraq) Abbasids – Al‐Mu’tasim…
Baghdad (Iraq) Abbasids – Al‐Mu’tadid…
Cairo (Egypt) Abbasids within Mamluk Sultanate – Al‐Mustansir II…
Constantinople Ottomans – Salim…

  

  1. How can we reconcile the actual capitals with those mentioned in the hadith?

There will inevitably be difference of opinion on interpreting this hadith and which cities it refers to. This is similar to the many different interpretations we find among people on the signs before the day of judgement.

The capitals of the Khilafah mentioned in the hadith are:

  1. Madinah
  2. Al-Sham
  3. Peninsula
  4. Iraq
  5. Madinah or The City
  6. Bait ul-Maqdis

Ibn Asakir in his notes on this hadith says,

يَعْنِي بِقَوْلِهِ بِالْجَزِيرَةِ : أَمْرٌ مَرْوَانَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ الْحَمَّارَ ، وَبِقَوْلِهِ بِالْمَدِينَةِ : بَعْدَ الْعِرَاقِ ، يَعْنِي بِهِ الْمَهْدِيَّ يَخْرُجُ فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ ، ثُمَّ يَنْتَقِلُ إِلَى بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ وَبِهَا يُحَاصِرُهُ الدَّجَّالُ ، وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ

“He means by his saying ‘in the peninsula’: Marwan bin Muhammad Al-Hammar*, and his saying ‘in the city’, after Iraq, means the Mahdi comes out at the end of time, and then moves to Bayt ul-Maqdis and is surrounded by Dajjal, Allah knows (best).”

* This is Marwan II who was nicknamed Al-Hammar (donkey). He was the last Umayyad Khaleefah before the Abbasids took power from him. He moved the capital to Harran in Turkey. Since Anatolia is technically a peninsula this is why the sheikh is giving this opinion.

Al-Waie magazine said that the second reference to Al-Madinah doesn’t mean Madinah Munawarrah but means the city Constantinople.

There are 6 capitals mentioned in the hadith and 13 actual capitals in Islamic history. If we take the hadith to mean dynasties then we get the following matches and Allah knows best.

  1. Madinah – Rightly Guided Caliphs
  2. Al-Sham – Umayyads
  3. Peninsula – Abdullah ibn Zubair
  4. Iraq – Abbasids
  5. The City (Constantinople) – Ottomans
  6. Bait ul-Maqdis – Future Mahdi and Rightly Guided Caliphs

 

  1. Are there any other similar hadith alluding to Al-Quds being the future capital?

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَسَدُ بْنُ مُوسَى، حَدَّثَنَا مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، حَدَّثَنِي ضَمْرَةُ، أَنَّ ابْنَ زُغْبٍ الإِيَادِيَّ، حَدَّثَهُ قَالَ ‏:‏ نَزَلَ عَلَىَّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ حَوَالَةَ الأَزْدِيُّ فَقَالَ لِي ‏:‏ بَعَثَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِنَغْنَمَ عَلَى أَقْدَامِنَا فَرَجَعْنَا فَلَمْ نَغْنَمْ شَيْئًا وَعَرَفَ الْجُهْدَ فِي وُجُوهِنَا فَقَامَ فِينَا فَقَالَ ‏:‏ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَىَّ فَأَضْعُفَ عَنْهُمْ، وَلاَ تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ فَيَعْجِزُوا عَنْهَا، وَلاَ تَكِلْهُمْ إِلَى النَّاسِ فَيَسْتَأْثِرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ وَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَى رَأْسِي – أَوْ قَالَ ‏:‏ عَلَى هَامَتِي – ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏:‏ ‏”‏ يَا ابْنَ حَوَالَةَ إِذَا رَأَيْتَ الْخِلاَفَةَ قَدْ نَزَلَتْ أَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةِ فَقَدْ دَنَتِ الزَّلاَزِلُ وَالْبَلاَبِلُ وَالأُمُورُ الْعِظَامُ، وَالسَّاعَةُ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مِنْ يَدِي هَذِهِ مِنْ رَأْسِكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ ‏:‏ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ حَوَالَةَ حِمْصِيٌّ

Narrated Abdullah ibn Hawalah al-Azdi: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent us on foot to get spoil, but we returned without getting any. When he saw the signs of distress on our faces, he stood up on our faces and said: O Allah, do not put them under my care, for I would be too weak to care for them; do not put them in care of themselves, for they would be incapable of that, and do not put them in the care of men, for they would choose the best things for themselves. He then placed his hand on my head and said: “Ibn Hawalah, when you see the caliphate has settled in the holy land (أَرْضَ الْمُقَدَّسَةِ), earthquakes, sorrows and serious matters will have drawn near and on that day the Last Hour will be nearer to mankind than this hand of mine is to your head.”

Abu Dawud said: ‘Abd Allah b. Hawalah belongs to Hims. Sunan Abu Dawud 2535