Is Ibn Kathir a rebellious sinner for exposing the sins of companions?

Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem.

“Verily, those who like that lewd sinful acts should propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter” (Qur’an 24:19)

The direct interpretation of the verse, in the context in which it occurs, is this: Those who cast aspersions, propagate evil, publicize it and bring Islamic morality into disrepute deserve punishment. The words in the text, however, comprehend all the various forms that can be employed for the propagation of evil. These include actual setting up of brothels, production of erotic stories, songs, paintings, plays and dramas as well as all kinds of mixed gatherings at clubs and hotels, which induce the people to immoralities. 

Ibn Kathir in (al Bidayah al Nihaya, Volume 4 page 160) writes the following:

ثم خرج إلى الناس فخطبهم وتلا عليهم ما أنزل الله عزوجل من القرآن في ذلك ثم أمر بمسطح بن أثاثة وحسان بن ثابت وحمنة بنت جحش وكانوا ممن أفصح بالفاحشة فضربوا حدهم

“Then he (prophet) went to the people and addressed and then recited what Allah revealed in Qur’an, then he ordered that Mastah bin Uthatha, Hasan bin Thabit, Hamna bint Jahsh to be punished because they were among those who spread the allegation of adultery.”

Hasan bin Thabit and Hamna bint Jahsh are both companions, and both whom were the cause for serious grief for the Blessed Messenger (saw) and his wife (may Allah be pleased with her) and yet, they both are still used in transmission of hadith!

It is recorded for all posterity what they did. So Ibn Kathir shows no concern for these people’s families?

Is he heartless?

He has no concern for the families of:

Mastah bin Uthatha,

Hasan bin thabit,

Hamna bint Jahsh?

It simply doesn’t follow.

There are countless examples of sins and errors of the companions that various scholars have recorded and passed down through the generations.

Something to ponder about the following verse:

“The woman or man found guilty of illicit sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.” (Qur’an 24:2)

Now let us propose a scenario:

Let us say that Saadia and Thomas were caught in the act. Let us say that Saadia has three children.

Is the above punishment not carried out because Saadia has three children? Of course not!

Does the above punishment have anything to do with the three children of Saadia? Of course not!

Couldn’t a person argue that because Thomas and Saadia were publicly flogged and that because Saadia has children that this brings shame to Saadia’s children?

Isn’t the public nature of their punishment unfair to the children?

That would be an argument against what Allah (swt) has decreed. Allah (swt) is just.

As far as the children of Saadia bearing shame absolutely not. They may feel ashamed of their mother but they do not share in the shame they did no blame.

This is the problem with the Muslim community today. They think that people like Ibn Kathir are open sinners because they recorded the sins of people and passed this down.

Obviously court houses would keep records of people’s transgressions. They do this in the case if a person is a repeat offender.

So let’s go back to the above verse:

“And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.” (Qur’an 24:2)

Let’s say that Thomas and Saadia get publicly flawed for illicit sexual activities. Day 1.

Day 2.

Life goes on. Thomas and Saadia still have to be functioning members of society. They dust themselves off and go about their lives. Maybe they decide to get married.

Nonetheless they still have to get on with life. Perhaps they go to school, go to work, go to the market place and interact with society. Thomas and Saadia presumably have siblings, parents, uncles and aunts, cousins …you name it.

Muslim societies today are deeply sick because they think that if Saadia did something immoral that this means something about her sisters or her brothers. It means nothing of the sort!

This has the hallmarks of Christian theological understanding and it is dangerous and disturbing trend among Muslims.

This concept of honor is no honor at all. It’s simply very warped thinking.

As Allah (swt) clearly stated in the Qur’an again and again we bare our own sins. No one else is responsible for our sins.

“And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.” (Qur’an 24:2)

So because Allah (swt) has allowed the sins of Thomas and Saadia to be made public and to be punished publicly does that have any baring on their children?

Only if a warped Muslim community with a Christian theological bent allows them to think so.

But a healthy Muslim community who trains their children in sound theological doctrine will know and understand that if their parents do something vile and shameful that it has absolutely nothing to do with them.

A healthy Muslim community that trains their children with sound theological doctrine will be able to tell those children to lift their heads up high and move on in life.

That we are humans and that we err and make mistakes and that we dust ourselves off , pick up the pieces and move forward.

If your father is registered as a sex offender. If your mother made the headlines of a news paper in Chicago for the murder of her sister any healthy child should know that these things have nothing to do with them.

Allah (swt) knows best and the help of Allah (swt) is sought.



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2 responses to “Is Ibn Kathir a rebellious sinner for exposing the sins of companions?

  1. Jav

    Again, this is a logical jump. would any of those companions have been subject to punishment and exposure if they were on their death bed? Would they be dragged into the street while they couldn’t move in order to be made an example of? I’m not speaking about a healthy person who is capable of facing the consequences of his actions. Where is the wisdom in this?

    • “Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, “Now have I repented indeed;” nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous.” (Holy Qur’an 4:18)

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