The so called hadith of the 10 promised paradise

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” (Qur’an 4:82)

Say: “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.” (Qur’an 46:9)

We would expect that any divine source that would want to regulate and legislate the lives of human beings would be in harmony with itself.  It would be consistent with all of its parts.

This is not the case with the so-called ‘hadith’ of the 10 companions that were promised paradise.

I will be dividing this into two parts insh’Allah.

a) The first part will deal with the contradiction itself.

b) The second part will deal more with the ‘matn’ or the text and show some of the theological as well as political ramifications of the hadith.

It will be hoped that part two will also be an eye-opener for the readers so they can see motives for the reasons that some of the hadith in the current corpus were corrupted or forged.

The 10 Companions Promised Paradise?!  

Here are the various ‘matn’ or text of the hadith and you can see the obvious conflict.

It should be noted that this ‘famous’ hadith is not to be found in Bukhari or Muslim, both of which have been regarded by the Sunni faction as the most authentic compilations of hadith.

Narrated Sa’id ibn Zayd:

AbdurRahman ibn al-Akhnas said that when he was in the mosque, a man mentioned Ali . So Sa’id ibn Zayd got up and said:

I bear witness to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) that I heard him say: Ten persons will go to Paradise: The Prophet (saw) will go to Paradise (1), Abu Bakr will go to Paradise (2), Umar will go to Paradise (3), Uthman will go to Paradise (4), Ali will go to Paradise (5), Talha will go to Paradise (6): az-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam will go to paradise (7), Sa’d ibn Malik will go to Paradise (8), and AbdurRahman ibn ‘Awf (9) will go to Paradise. If I wish, I can mention the tenth. The People asked: Who is he: So he kept silent. The again asked: Who is he: He replied: He is Sa’id ibn Zayd (10).

(Collected by Abu Dawud, Sunan Abu Dawud 40:4632)

Abdul Rahman bin `Awf said: The Prophet (s) said: Abu Bakr in Paradise (1), Umar in Paradise (2), ‘Uthman in Paradise (3), Ali in Paradise (4), Talha in Paradise (5), al- Zubair bin al-‘Awwam (6) in Paradise, AbdulRahman bin `Awf in Paradise (7), Saad bin Abi Waqqass (8) in Paradise, Sa’id bin Zayd (9), and Abu ‘Ubaida bin al- Jarrah (10) in Paradise.”

( Collected by Tirmidhi, Hadith 3747 )

Sa’id bin Zayd, that the Prophet (s) said in a number of people, ten are in Paradise: Abu Bakr (1) in Paradise, Omar (2) in Paradise, ‘Uthman (3) , Ali (4), al-Zubair (5), Talha (6), Abdul Rahman (7), Abu ‘Ubaida (8), and Saad bin Abi Waqqass (9). He counted these nine and was quite about the tenth. They said: By Allah, Abu-al Aawar (i.e. Sa’id), who is the tenth? He said: You swore by Allah – Abu-al Aawar  (10)is in Paradise.” al-Tirmithi commented that Abu-al Aawar is Sa’id bin Zayd bin Amr bin Nawfal (10).
(Collected by al-Tirmidhi, under 3748)
(Collected by al-Tirmidhi, Volume 5, Page 605, Hadith 3748)
(Abu Dawud, #4649 and #465 )

The ten people who are claimed to been promised paradise by the Blessed Messenger are:

  1. Prophet Muhammed (SAW)
  2. Abu Bakr
  3. Umar
  4. Uthman
  5. Ali ibn Abu Talib
  6. Talha
  7. Zubair bin al-Awwam
  8. Saad bin Abi Waqas
  9. Sa’id bin Zayd   (Sa’id bin Zayd bin Amr bin Nawfal Also known as Abul-al Aawar)
  10. Abdul Rahman ibn Awf
  11. Saad bin Malik
  12. Abu `Ubaida bin al-Jarrah

We can see that the list is a total of 12 people.  Now let’s discuss how the hadith scholars try to reconcile all the ‘matn’ or text.

First, it is said that Saad bin Abi Waqas is the same individual as Saad bin Malik.    So let us say that we grant this.

Our list would then be

  1. Prophet Muhammed (SAW)
  2. Abu Bakr
  3. Umar
  4. Uthman
  5. Ali ibn Abu Talib
  6. Talha
  7. Zubair bin al-Awwam
  8. Saad bin Abi Waqas (Saad bin Malik)
  9. Sa’id bin Zayd   
  10. Abdul Rahman ibn Awf
  11. Abu `Ubaida bin al-Jarra

Now let us see how the hadith scholars work their magic!  Obviously listing the Blessed Messenger (saw) among those who were promised paradise would raise an eyebrow.  How can all these companions be promised paradise and then not have the Blessed Messenger (saw) included?  Unthinkable!

So the scholars will then turnaround and tell us, you see we do have a list of 10 companions going to paradise because now the list looks like this:

  • Abu Bakr
  • Umar
  • Uthman
  • Ali ibn Abu Talib
  • Talha
  • Zubair bin al-Awwam
  • Saad bin Abi Waqas (Saad bin Malik)
  • Sa’id bin Zayd   
  • Abdul Rahman ibn Awf
  • Abu `Ubaida bin al-Jarra

Voila! Magic is created!

In reality, we don’t have a single narration that mentions 10 companions ‘promised paradise’.   The disparate narrations that are then brought together and all other narrations are made to conform to this one narration. That being the one being (Tirmidhi, Hadith 3747) mentioned above.

In fact, if the scholars of hadith have demonstrated anything, they have just demonstrated forgery before our very eyes.  The reason I say this is because they take all the disparate narrations, bring them together, and then we get the list above!   Why aren’t the other list acceptable?  It should also raise some eyebrows about memory retention.  We always hear about how great people’s memories were.

Then would someone care to explain why we do not have agreement among the narrators as to what was actually narrator from the Blessed Messenger (saw)?

The political and theological ramifications of this particular hadith.

“Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision in that without account.” (Qur’an 40:40)

Say: “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.” (Qur’an 46:9)

In the previous post on the subject we looked at how the ‘scholars’ of hadith had taken the disparate narrations that relate to us that 10 companions will be going to paradise.  What we saw is that the ultimate product was a concoction.  We have three different texts that are ultimately combined into one text.

Here are some of the theological and political ramifications of the choices on the list.

Notice immediately the politically charged climate of the hadith:

“AbdurRahman ibn al-Akhnas said that when he was in the mosque, a man mentioned Ali. So Sa’id ibn Zayd got up and said: I bear witness to the Messenger of Allah (saw) that I heard him say: …”

What is not told to us is what was mentioned about Ali. It had to have been something not very good in order for Sa’id ibn Zayd to stand up and than retell a narration.   What this hadith tells us is that there was a deeply Anti-Ali sentiment.  So in order not to give fuel to the early Pro-Alid faction of Muslims, but without robbing the pro Zubayrid flavour that this hadith favours.  Notice who could have been on this list but is not.  There are no sahabah who were known to be close to Ali on this list. Those who sided with him in the battle of the Camel, or Siffin.  Also notice that Muaviyah nor Amr ibn Al-As are on the list.

It is just very bizarre that such a hadith that could have diffused so much violence between Muslims becomes a sacred gem in the hands of the few. The few who seemingly only appeal to it in very odd circumstances.

Now I can understand completely why the Sunni would not cast any aspersions upon any of the companions of the Blessed Messenger (saw).  To do so would undermine allot of the hadith corpus.

If any of you have taken any courses or classes on hadith you will know that one of the conditions of accepting a report from a narrator is that the narrator has to be considered ‘thiqa’ or trustworthy.  The narrator also has to be ‘adala’ or just.

I’m sure if you take any hadith classes or courses I’m sure you will run across the oft repeated story of Imam Bukhari, the ever diligent hadith collector, and his travels took him to Egypt where he encountered a man who was dispensing hadith.   He found the man taking barley (or whey) and holding it to a horse (donkey or mule) the animal would come over and the man would remove his hand.   Bukhari is reported to have gasped and said, “I would not take a hadith from a man who would lie to an animal”.
The idea is to create an impression upon you the student that, ‘Wow! such strict criteria such a great moral compass this man had’.    Now, I am not here to say anything about Imam Bukhari

However, I would wonder how is it possible not to take hadith from a man who would lie to an animal but take hadith from Muslim companions of the Blessed Prophet (saw) who actually thrust their swords into the chest of other companions?  That seemed a little more serious to me than denying an animal some barley!

Foremost it should be pointed out that Allah himself said that those companions of the Blessed Messenger (saw) who died defending the faith were assured of paradise.

“And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allâh, “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not. (Qur’an 2: 154)

Why 10 promised paradise? Why not the 14 promised paradise?  Why not the 5 promised paradise?

Other companions of the Blessed Messenger (saw) were promised paradise such as Bilal bin Rabah, Ammar bin Yassir, Salman Al Farsi, and Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib, Hassan & Hussein etc.

Here are the propositions to consider and those that are discussed.

1) The mentioned 10 companions would enter paradise without accountability. Which implies that no matter what these people do, Allah will ignore their sins and treachery if any, and will allow them entry into paradise.

2) The mentioned 10 companions would enter paradise with accountability. Which shows that their actions and deeds till their death will earn them Allah’s pleasure.

3) The mentioned 10 companions would eventually enter paradise after being punished for their sins, if any.

Now let us look at these propositions and dissect each of them.

Proposition 1)

If you believe that they will enter paradise without accountability, then you are excluding them from the justice of Allah. And you are also attributing infallibility to them.

“And  We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) will We bring it, and sufficient are We to take account” (Qur’an 21:47)

“So Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth and that every soul will be rewarded for what it has earned and they shall not be wronged.” (Qur’an 45:22)

Narrated by Abu Hurairah : Allah’s Apostle (saw) said, “The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the Hellfire).” They said, “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise).”

Source: (Bukhari Vol. 8 : No. 470)

Narrated ‘Um al-‘Ala:
An Ansari woman who gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet that the Ansar drew lots concerning the dwelling of the Emigrants. ‘Uthman bin Maz’un was decided to dwell with them (i.e. Um al-‘Ala’s family), ‘Uthman fell ill and I nursed him till he died, and we covered him with his clothes. Then the Prophet came to us and I (addressing the dead body) said, “O Abu As-Sa’ib, may Allah’s Mercy be on you! I bear witness that Allah has honored you.” On that the Prophet said, “How do you know that Allah has honored him?” I replied, “I do not know. May my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle! But who else is worthy of it (if not ‘Uthman)?” He said, “As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope for the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me,” By Allah, I will never assert the piety of anyone after him. That made me sad, and when I slept I saw in a dream a flowing stream for ‘Uthman bin Maz’un. I went to Allah’s Apostle and told him of it. He remarked, “That symbolizes his (good) deeds.”

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number  266)

This above hadith that is attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) was in the very early period of Islam.  Because, Uthman bin Maz’un was first companion to be buried in Baqi.  So when you consider the statement: “By Allah, I will never assert the piety of anyone after him, this means that for the hadith of ‘The 10 promised paradise’ to be true it should be said before this event.    So this means this knowledge is in circulation before.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab found out that Hudhayfa Al-Yaman was informed of the names of twelve hypocrites by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Umar asked Hudhayfa, “I adjure you by Allah! Tell me, am I one of them? Hudhayfa replied, “No, and I will not tell anyone anything further after this.”

Source: (Sh. Gibril Haddad Sunna notes p.126 from Tabari in his Tafsir (11:11), Al-Bazzar through trustworthy narrators according to Al-Haythami (3:42), Al-Bayhaqi in Sunan Al-Kubra (8:200))

The above narration also shows that the so called hadith of ‘The 10 promised paradise’ is problematic. It is not possible for Umar ibn Al Khattab to doubt his sincerity if he was one of the 10 promised paradise.

It is not possible that the Blessed Messenger (saw) can make such a promise without being informed by Allah (swt).

So be patient, for the promise of Allah certainly is true. And do not be disturbed by those who have no sure faith. (Qur’an 30:60)

Proposition 2)

If you believe that they will enter paradise after answering for their deeds, then you are assuming that their deeds will include no wrong as the Blessed Messenger (saw) had promised them paradise. You attribute infallibility to them again. The onus is on you to prove to us that these men were infallible, and they did not  go against the Qur’an or the Sunnah in their lifetimes.

Think about this:

Talha and Zubair fought against Ali in the battle of Jamal.  All three of them will be in heaven? A

Abu Bakrah ath-Thaqafi  reported – The Blessed Messenger (saw) is reported to have said:  “If two Muslims meet each other with their swords, then both the killer and the killed will be in the Hell-fire.” I said, “O Allah’s Messenger, that is the case for the killer but why should that be the case for the killed?” He answered, “Because he wanted to kill his companion.”

Source: ( Sunan an-Nasa’i 4118  Book 37, Hadith 153)

“Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his payment is Hell, he shall abide in that respect forever. The wrath and the curse of Allāh shall be upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” (Qur’an 4:93)

Proposition 3)

If you believe that they will eventually enter paradise with accountability or, after being appropriately punished for their sins, then the hadith is meaningless because this applies to everyone and not only to the ten mentioned.

If this hadith were indeed true, then how come one did not see Uthman use it in protest of those who found it lawful to murder him? Nor did any of his companions come to his aid, protesting the unlawfulness of killing someone who is guaranteed paradise. Actually, it would have been unlawful for them to stay silent in this matter.

Is not Allah the Supreme, The All Wise, The Just the best of Judges?“

Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision in that respect without account.” (Qur’an 40:40)

15 Comments

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15 responses to “The so called hadith of the 10 promised paradise

  1. Pingback: The so called hadith of the 10 promised paradise part 2 | primaquran

    • Mahendra bin Budi Nasution

      clearly this article were very wrong at scholarly level, since whoever the editor is. he disregarded the Sanad chain and just favoring the matn weakness

      • Mahendra you do not give any consideration to matn criticism at all? I found it interesting that out of all articles on this site this is the one you chose to comment on. Again, bring the seekers of truth something of substance. You won’t be censored. However, if it is just more labels and name calling take that some where else. May Allah (swt) guide you to what is beloved to Allah (swt).

  2. Umar

    Brother, you should rather consentrate on matters that directly affect your ibadah that will save you from the punishment of Allah than indulge in arguments that would only encourage the enemies of Islam that are seeking ways to diecredit all the Ahadith as forgeries. What is it that will harm Islam if it is said that some Shabas will enter paradise? After all this Ahadith does not say that only the 10 will enter Paradise, there are plenty of other instances where the Prophet (SAW) give glad tidings to people about paradise. What is your headach? Please concentrate on more serious issues that will help increase muslims in IMAAN and practice of the five pillers of islam.

    • Brother Umar,
      I appreciate your concern. However, if the so called ‘hadith science’ is as strong as the Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadi scholars say it is than assuredly it can withstand any scrutiny. This entire matter is directly related to my worship, because we are told that without these oral traditions we wouldn’t even know how to perform the minute details of our prayers in the ‘correct way’. There is no getting around it.
      With due respect I am not sure English is your first language as I’m not sure I understand the statement,

      “What is it that will harm Islam if it is said that some Shabas will enter paradise? After all this Ahadith does not say that only the 10 will enter Paradise, there are plenty of other instances where the Prophet (SAW) give glad tidings to people about paradise. What is your headach?”

      I certainly believe it is amazing if the Blessed Messenger (saw) gave tidings of paradise to anyone, by way of knowledge that Allah (swt) revealed to him. That would be great!

      I believe you miss the point is that in this particular entry as well as part two we are looking at the ‘matn’ the text. For example you are correct to note that this hadith does not say ‘only these 10…..’ will enter paradise. Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) is said to be among those in paradise, as in a report attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw).

      However, what becomes odd about this particular narration is that if other people were promised paradise why does this particular hadith stand out? Why does it become known as ‘the 10 promised paradise’ ? Is this because it helps identify it as a category. For example if we had ahadith that mentioned a zebra would we call it ‘the Zebra hadith’ for sake of reference and title? if so than fine.

      I have listed the various narrations and shown how they are made to conform with one particular narration.

      As regards the issue, “Please concentrate on more serious issues that will help increase muslims in IMAAN and practice of the five pillers of islam.”

      I hope you can appreciate what a niche is? There are people who give fiery sermons to encourage the faithful to do certain acts of worship. There are those who teach the recitation of the Holy Qur’an to others. There are those who delve into speculative philosophy so as to give answer to questions that may plague the minds of the people.

      I have received a lot of good feed back from both Muslim and Non Muslims about this web site. In fact it increase people in IMAAN to know that many of these horrible things in the ahadith are not actually proven to have come from the Blessed Messenger (saw). There is no ‘iron clad’ evidence.

      I’ll give you a quick example. It can really really disturb some people’s IMAAN to believe that a 60 plus year old man (saw) actually had sexual intercourse with a 9 year old girl. I have known very pious and educated Muslims who are very disturbed by this. This practice continues among areas that we could argue are not very high in literacy, where as it is interesting that as literacy and knowledge increase in certain Muslim areas the Muslims themselves find it repugnant.

      So, knowing that the narrations go against clear stipulations as laid out in the Qur’an for a ‘firm covenant’ and that one should have mental maturity, as well as the report attributed to the blessed Rasul Allah (saw) that he did not allow boys under 15 to participate in battle, but would allow women to do so, gives these people a sense of hope.

      It actually increases them in IMAAN. Where as there IMAAN was on the verge of collapse, ‘Accept a 60 plus year old man (saw) had sexual relations with a 9 year old girl, or forever have turbulence in your mind’.

      Yet, after more research many are confident that this absolutely did not happen, and it becomes a huge IMAAN booster for them.

      So if you feel this web site does not increase you in IMAAN than I am sorry for that. There are tomes of websites that speak about minute details of what does or does not break my ablution. I find these web sites and books tedious and dry. It does not increase me in my IMAAN. However, someone else may absolutely love such minute and mundane details and they maybe overjoyed that such information is given to them. It may increase their IMAAN.

      So it is possible this web site does not contain information that you feel is beneficial. Al hamduillah, I accept your comment and your opinion.

      May you have a very blessed and beautiful Ramadan!

    • Mahendra bin Budi Nasution

      do not deceived by his venomous words, brother. as he based his novel opinion from the belief of Ibadi, which deviated from the way of Ahle Sunnah and Sahabah

      • The only venom is from yourself. You haven’t brought anything for consideration. You think just by throwing labels around claiming that you are part of some group which the Blessed Messenger (saw) NEVER mentioned in his life that you are upon the truth and everyone else is in error.

        So know if you have something fruitful for seekers of truth to weigh your comments will be approved if you will come with more vitriolic your comments will not be approved.

  3. jannan

    why are there 10 companions promised paradise? why not 11? or 12…?
    what is the punishment of insulting a companion?

    • Certainly a very just question.

      As regards insults. I do know that the teacher of Imam Bukhari had some nasty things to say about anyone who would insult a companion.

      The book ‘Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World’ by Dr. Jonathan Brown

      “Ibn Ma’in where he said about someone who critiqued a companion, calling the man ‘a sucker of his mother’s clitoris’.” (page 86)

      Maybe others have something to contribute.

  4. Hakimullah

    When the prophet (saw) tells that somebody is going to paradise, he/she is going to the paradise. Not because he is Allah, but because he received revelation from Allah. Same implies to when he tells that somebody is going to the hellfire.

    Like the hadith were the prophet (saw) tells that a female is going to the hellfire because she killed a cat.

    So these 10 people mentioned are going to the paradise based on this authentic narration.

    Besides that, it is written in the Quran itself, that the companions of the prophet (saw) is going to the paradise.

    Quran 9:100

    “And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.”

    • sunia

      you got to be kidding. It is the false belief that all shaba go to paradise. why sura munafiqoon revealed to prophet is all goes to paradise, munafiqoon was among sahaba,, in the war of Jamal Talah and zubir killed 30,000 sahabas, now who is going to go to paradise, Zubir and Talah or Ali! they are all in that Hadis of 10 rewards.

  5. Omer

    Allah (swt) chooses very word including every preposition carefully…please notice the first forerunners AMONG the Muhajiroon and the Ansarand those who followed them in good conduct…

    It may be appropriate to think the verse applies to all the first forerunners but even that is not air tight since the verse says that Allah has PREPARED gardens ….for them….but a preparation does not necessarily mean it is a done deal.

    I may be wrong but I think there is a verse where Allah says that He has prepared heaven for the believers…but does this mean every believer at time=X is for certaintly going to paradise? Not necessarily since believers can become unbelievers…this has not happened among Muslims often but it has happened.

  6. Mahendra bin Budi Nasution

    why should we trust ur words if you did not provide use the narrator’s chains analysis for ur argument of this?

    fear Allah and distance yourself from something you did not know anything about it

    • We should all fear Allah (swt), you, me, the angels and all of creation. Rather or not I am speaking about something I know nothing about is an accusation so far without proof.

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