Did the Master of Both Worlds (Allah bless him and give him peace) have a shadow or not? Some lecturers say that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not have a shadow. Is there any evidence for this?
If it is established with an authentic [and reliable] chain of transmission that, as a miracle, the Blessed Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not have a shadow, no Muslim will hesitate in accepting this fact. However, there are no reports with a reliable chain of transmission on this issue. There is no mention of such a hadith regarding this issue in the well-known hadith compilations such as the Sihah Sittah, etc.
However, there is a single narration mentioned by Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (may Allah have mercy on him) in his book Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, in the chapter regarding the miracle in the Prophet’s excreta (Allah bless him and give him peace)… Hakim al-Tirmidhi narrates from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qays al-Za’farani from ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Walid from Zukran that no shadow could be seen for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in sunlight nor [could it be seen] in moonlight and his excreta did not leave behind any effect or remains. Imam al-Suyuti then comments: “Ibn Saba’ says ‘From his specialties (khasa’is) [and distinguishing characteristics] is that his shadow would not fall upon the earth and that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) was light (nur). When he would walk in sunlight or moonlight, no shadow would be visible.'” (Khasa’is; 1/71)
Some scholars have brought, in support of this view, the hadith in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) supplicated: “Oh Allah, make me light.” Similar to this has been mentioned in al-Mawahib as related from Al-Fakhr al-Razi. (2/398)
However, these narrations are not reliable because of the following:
Firstly, instances of moving about in sunlight and moonlight obviously occurred many times in front of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), in journey and while being resident, throughout the Prophet’s blessed life. This was witnessed by thousands of Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and it was their habit that they would relate the smallest and minutest of details of the Prophet’s conditions and actions (Allah bless him and give him peace); and they were extremely particular in preserving such matters. Thus, if the miracle of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) not having a shadow was an established fact, this would necessitate that a large group of companions would have absolutely narrated this fact and narrations regarding it would have definitely been massively transmitted. But when we turn to the hadith treasuries, all we find is one narration in this regard and even that is a mursal hadith (an expedient report) with a weak chain of transmission, which in this matter is a strong indication that this did not occur.
Secondly, a mursal hadith (expedient report) according to an overwhelming majority of hadith scholars is unsuitable as evidence.
Thirdly, the first narrator of this hadith, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qays al-Za’farani, is an unreliable and discredited narrator. He has also been considered a liar and an un-trustworthy person. It has even been said that he openly fabricated hadiths.
Consider the following references:
Imam Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) relates in al-Mizan: “Ibn Mahdi and Abu Zur’ah have considered him a liar. Imam Bukhari says: ‘His reports are not reliable.’ Imam Ahmad says: ‘He was not acceptable.’ Hakim narrates a munkar (disclaimed hadith) from him and said that it is sahih.” … [Similar has been written in Al-Taqrib of Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (may Allah have mercy on him) and he adds:] “Nasa’i says: ‘His reports are to be discarded …’ Zakariyya al-Saji says: ‘Weak.’ Saleh ibn Muhammad says: ‘He used to forge hadith.’ Ibn ‘Adi says: ‘Most of his reports cannot be corroborated with reliable narrators.’ …”
The second narrator of the hadith, ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Walid, is unknown. His biography has not been mentioned in the biographical accounts of hadith reporters.
Finally, [from the above-mentioned arguments] we can conclude that:
For the illustrious companions to observe silence or for there to be only one expedient report about such a common occurrence is a strong indication that the narrations regarding this issue are not established. Secondly, the narration is a weak, mursal report. Thirdly, the narrator of the report has been documented to be a liar and fabricator of hadith. Thus if we were to say this hadith is a fabricated one, this would not be an over-exaggeration.
Some have tried to prove that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not have a shadow because Allah Most High has referred to him as light (nur) in the Qur’an and that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself has supplicated to Allah to make him light. These arguments are completely undeserving of any attention. It is obviously apparent from the verse and the hadith that the Prophet being light does not mean that he was excluded from having the effects of the realm of the five essential elements, nor was the purpose of his du’a to separate from the realm of the five elements and become some invisible entity (Allah forbid). Rather, by consensus of scholars and those endowed with intelligence, the meaning of this is that just as light is a means of guidance and discernment, similarly, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is a means of guidance [for mankind].
Since the greatest perfection (kamal) for a prophet is the state of Prophethood and guidance, they should be existent within him to the fullest extent. For this reason, the Noble Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) supplicated that he be granted perfection in it. It is [also] for this very reason that Allah Most High has referred to the divine scriptures, the Qur’an and the Torah, to be light. For the same reason, the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) were referred to as stars of guidance. Moreover, the entire Ummah has been instructed to make this supplication, it is not specific to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Some individuals have explained the fact that the Prophet did not have a shadow by arguing that in whichever direction he would walk, angels would make shade for him or that he would be shaded by clouds of mercy. If this is even established, then there are authentic and explicit narrations which contradict this.
For example, in the Sahih of Imam Bukhari there is one hadith narrated by A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) regarding the hijrah, wherein it is mentioned that Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) stood up to tend to the needs of the people and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) sat down quietly. So those amongst the Ansar who had not seen the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as of yet, began to give greetings to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) until the sun began to beam down upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) then turned to him to shade him with his scarf. So from this action, the people then recognized the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) … Zurqani writes in the commentary of al-Mawahib: It is narrated from Ibn ‘Uqbah who narrates from Zuhri that the Ansar began to take Abu Bakr to be the Messenger, until the sun began to shine down upon the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) due to which Abu Bakr went to him with something to shade him with. (Sharh al-Mawahib li ‘l-Zurqani: 1/350)
It has also been mentioned from similar references that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was shaded by the Companions (my Allah be pleased with them) in the farewell Hajj (pilgrimage). This incident is famous and has been narrated in the major works of hadith. For this reason, we can either say that in the presence of these hadiths, the narration of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) not having a shadow is regarded as unreliable or it could be said that it occurred [as a miracle] in the beginning but later this condition did not remain. Imam al-Qastallani has opted for this view in al-Mawahib. After mentioning the hadith of the farewell Hajj he writes: “What becomes apparent from this hadith is that the sun would affect the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). That which was previously mentioned about the clouds and angels shading him was a miracle that occurred before his Prophethood was evident in its place.”
Risalah: Hope of Acceptance Regarding the Shadow of the Messenger, Fatawa Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, Imdad al-Muftin; (2/257-260)
In addition to the above - here are some Narrations that contradict the view of there being no Shadow.
Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that once while the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was on a journey, the camel of his wife Sayyida Safiyya (Allah be pleased with her) fell ill. However, his other wife Sayyida Zaynab (Allah be pleased with her) had an extra camel. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to Sayyida Zaynab: “The camel of Safiyya has become ill, can you lend her your extra camel?” She replied: “should I give that Jew?” (Sayyida Safiyyah was originally a Jew). So, (upon hearing this, the Messenger of Allah became upset and) deserted her for two or three months and he would not come to her…. She says: “Until one day, at midday, I could see the shadow of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) approaching…..” (Musnad Ahmad, 6/132)
Sayyidduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that, one night the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) led us in prayer, and whilst in prayer he stretched out his hand and then pulled it back. We said: “O Messenger of Allah! We saw you doing something in prayer that we have not seen you do before.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Indeed, Paradise was presented before me, and I saw in it, fruits that were low and near. I intended to take one but was told to holdback, thus I held back. Then Hell was presented before me until I saw my and your shadow in it, thus I gestured to you to move back.” (Mustadrak al-Hakim, 4/456 & authenticated by Imam al-Dhahabi)
Narrated Jabir bin 'abdullah : On the day of the Battle of uhud, my father was brought and he had been mayhemed and was placed in front of Allah's Apostle and a sheet was over him. I went intending to uncover my father but my people forbade me; again I wanted to uncover him but my people forbade me. Allah's Apostle gave his order and he was shifted away. At that time he heard the voice of a crying woman and asked, "Who is this?" They said, "It is the daughter or the sister of Amr." He said, "Why does she weep? (or let her stop weeping),for the angels had been shading him with their wings till he (i.e. the body of the martyr) was shifted away." (Sahih Bukhari Book #23, Hadith #381)
Angels are created from Noor and even they have shadows.
Surah AL RA`AD ayah 15 "And unto Allah falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons"
This is clear cut ayah that whoever is in the heavens and earth prostrate in front of ALLAH and so their shadows
Surah Al Nahl verse 48. "Have they not observed things that Allah has created: (how) their shadows shift from right to left, prostrating to Allah while they are humble)"
Ibne Kathir Commented
Allah informs us about His might, majesty and pride, meaning that all things submit themselves to Him and every created being - animate and inanimate, as well as the responsible - humans and Jinns, and the angels - all humble themselves before Him. He tells us that everything that has a shadow leaning to the right and the left, i.e., in the morning and the evening, is by its shadow, prostrating to Allah. Mujahid said, "When the sun passes its zenith, everything prostrates to Allah, may He be glorified.'' This was also said by Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others.
(while they are humble) means, they are in a state of humility. Mujahid also said: "The prostration of every thing is its shadow'', and he mentioned the mountains and said that their prostrations are their shadows. Abu Ghalib Ash-Shaybani said: "The waves of the sea are its prayers''. It is as if reason is attributed to these inanimate objects when they are described as prostrating, so Allah says:
(And to Allah prostrate all that are in the heavens and all that are in the earth, of the moving creatures) As Allah says:
(And to Allah (alone) all who are in the heavens and the earth fall in prostration, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons.) (13:15)
Some go to the extreme to say that Even the Green Dome over the House of Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) where the Prophet (Pbuh) doesn't have a shadow!
In other Fatawa, Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam (also quoting the above Hadith) says: Finally, I would like to reiterate that, this issue is not a fundamental part of one’s belief. When the scholars of Islamic Creed (aqidah) discuss the miracles of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in their respective books, they do not even mention this issue. Also, the status and rank of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) will not increase by him not having a shadow, neither will it decrease if his did possess one. Therefore, arguments and disputes must be avoided in this regard.
One may believe that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did not possess a shadow and there is nothing wrong in believing this, for many scholars (as mentioned earlier) did have this opinion. At the same time, if one did not believe this due to the other narrations indicating that he did have a shadow, then there is nothing wrong with that also. It is not a matter of belief and disbelief, or Sunnah and Bid’a, and one will not be asked regarding this on the Day of Judgment (qiyama). We need to concentrate on the more immediate aspects of Deen, which is to practically follow and implement the ways of the best of creation, our beloved & Master, the Messenger of Allah (May peace and blessings be upon him).
However, Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri categorically said in a lecture at Masjid-e-Quba, London Ramadhan 2015, that the Barelwi's claim that the Prophet (pbuh) did not have a shadow but we quote the Hadith of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal where as above, the Wife of the Prophet (pbuh) says she recognised him (pbuh) from his shadow!
What About Allah's Shade?
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are seven persons whom Allah will shade on a day when there is no shade but his. They are a just ruler, a young person who grew up in the worship of Allah, a person whose heart is attached to the mosques, two persons who love each other and who meet and depart from each other for the sake of Allah, a man whom a beautiful woman of high status seduces but he rejects her by saying I fear Allah, a person who spends in charity and conceals it such that his right hand does not know what his left hand has given, and a person who remembered Allah in private and he wept.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 629, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1031