Hadith of the two weighty things

Hadith of the two weighty things
Arabic حديث الثقلين
Romanization Hadith at-Thaqalayn
Literal meaning Narration of the Two Weighty Things

The Hadith al-Thaqalayn refers to a saying (hadith) about which translates to "the two weighty things." In this hadith prophet Muhammad referred to the Qur'an and Ahl al-Bayt ('people of the house', Muhammad's family) as the two weighty things. The Hadith is accepted by all Muslims, however, like most other hadith, the scholars have decided on various interpretations.


Main article: Hadith

Hadith are collections of the reports claiming to quote what the prophet Muhammad said verbatim on any matter.[1] The term comes from the Arabic meaning "report", "account" or "narrative". Hadith are second only to the Quran in developing Islamic jurisprudence,[2] and regarded as important tools for understanding the Quran and commentaries (tafsir) on it. Many important elements of traditional Islam such as the five salat prayers, are mentioned in hadith but not the Quran. Different hadith are regarded with different levels of importance by different Muslims, although all variants emphasize the Sunnah.

The hadith literature is based on spoken reports that were in circulation in society after the death of Muhammad. Unlike the Quran itself, which was compiled under the official direction of the early Islamic State in Medina,[3] the hadith reports were not compiled by a central authority. Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries, generations after the death of Muhammad, after the end of the era of the "rightful" Rashidun Caliphate, over 1000 km from where Muhammad lived.


Both Sunnis and Shi'as believe that Muhammad said the following:

A narration attributed to Yazid b. Hayyan reports:
I went along with Husain b. Sabra and 'Umar b. Muslim to Zaid b. Arqam and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him: Zaid. you have been able to acquire a great virtue that you saw Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) listened to his talk, fought by his side in (different) battles, offered prayer behind me. Zaid, you have in fact earned a great virtue. Zaid, narrate to us what you heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). He said: I have grown old and have almost spent my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), so accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and. exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah's call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family. He (Husain) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren't his wives the members of his family? Thereupon he said: His wives are the members of his family (but here) the members of his family are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: 'Ali and the offspring of 'Ali, 'Aqil and the offspring of 'Aqil and the offspring of Ja'far and the offspring of 'Abbas. Husain said: These are those for whom the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. Zaid said: Yes."

Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Muslim[4]

A narration attributed to Yazid b. Hayyan reports:
We went to him (Zaid b. Arqam) and said to him. You have found goodness (for you had the honour) to live in the company of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and offered prayer behind him, and the rest of the hadith is the same but with this variation of wording that lie said: Behold, for I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, one of which is the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, and that is the rope of Allah. He who holds it fast would be on right guidance and he who abandons it would be in error, and in this (hadith) these words are also found: We said: Who are amongst the members of the household? Aren't the wives (of the Holy Prophet) included amongst the members of his house hold? Thereupon he said: No, by Allah, a woman lives with a man (as his wife) for a certain period; he then divorces her and she goes back to her parents and to her people; the members of his household include his ownself and his kith and kin (who are related to him by blood) and for him the acceptance of Zakat is prohibited."

Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Muslim[5]

A narration attributed to Tirmidhi reports:
I am leaving among you something which is very important and should be followed, you will not go astray if you get hold of it after I am gone, one part of it being more important than the other: Allah's Book, which is a rope stretched from Heaven to Earth, and my close relatives, who belong to my household. These two will not separate from one another till they come down to the reservoir, so consider how you act regarding them after my departure."

While both Sunnis and Shi'as believe in respecting Ahl al-Bayt, the Shi'a believe that the successors of the Prophet were appointed from the Ahl al-Bayt, while Sunnis reject the claim that anyone was appointed as successor.

But according to the Muwatta[6] by Malik ibn Anas:

" 46.3 Yahya related to me from Malik that he heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I have left two things with you. As long as you hold fast to them, you will not go astray. They are the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet.".

[7] - Some chains of transmission of this Hadith are Sahih and this Hadith is mentioned in many other books as well.

There are also other versions of this Hadith that say:

"I leave for you the Quran alone you shall uphold it. Muslim 15/19, nu 1218; ibn Majah 25/84, Abu dawud 11/56.


The Household

Majority of scholars are of the view that the Household which Muhammad is referring to here include not only Ali, Fatima and the descendants of Muhammad, it includes his wives as well. When we look for the word "ahlulbayt" (meaning household) in the Qur'an, then we find that it has been mentioned in Chapter 33 (Ahzab), verse 33.

" Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity, O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification"[8]

This verse was revealed when the Prophet was sitting with his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and their sons Hassan and Hussain. The event is known as the event of the cloak, or hadith al Kisa.[9] The word Ahlul-bayt has also been used in the Quran for Sara, the wife of Abraham. Hence, it shows that Ahlul-bayt refers to wives as well. Linguistically, a wife of a person is an integral part of his household i.e. his Ahlul-bayt.

Shia view

Shi'as believe that Muhammad said Hadith al-Thaqalayn multiple times in multiple settings in multiple wordings. They argue that Muhammad said Hadith al-Thaqalayn at Mount Arafat during his Farewell Sermon, at Ghadir Khumm, in the mosque of Medinah, during his last illness, and at many other places.

Shi'as believe that this hadith is mutawattir, meaning that it has been related so many times by so many people that there is no doubt about its authenticity.

One such version corresponds closely to what the Sunnis also believe in:

Muhammad said: "One of them (i.e. the Thaqalayn) is the Book of Allah and the other one is my select progeny (Itrat), that is family (Ahlul-Bayt). Beware of how you behave (with) them when I am gone from amongst you, for Allah, the Merciful, has informed me that these two (i.e., Quran and Ahlul-Bayt) shall never separate from each other until they reach me in Heaven at the Pool (of al-Kawthar). I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt. Once more! I remind you, in the name of Allah, about my Ahlul-Bayt." [10]

Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Volume 6, Chapter 31, Hadith No. 3788:

Zaid bin Arqam, narrated that the messenger of Allah . said: "Indeed, I am leaving among you, that which if you hold fast to them, you shall not be misguided after me. One of then is greater than the other: (First is) The book of Allah is a rope extended from the sky to the earth, and (the second is) my family, the people of my house (ahlul bait), and they shall not split until they meet me at the hawd, so look at how you deal with them after me." (Sahih).

Volume 6, Chapter 31, Hadith No. 3786:

Jibir bin Abdullah said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah during his Hajj, on the Day of Arafah (on his last pilgrimage). He was upon his camel Al-Qaswa, giving a Khutbah, so he said: O People! Indeed, I have left among you, that which if you hold fast to it, you shall not go astray: The Book of Allah (Quran) and my Family, the People of my House (Ahlul-Bait).(Sahih)

The Shi'as, however, also believe in other versions of the Hadith such as:

"I have left with you something, which if you strictly adhere to, you shall never go astray–The Book of Allah and my progeny."

"I leave you two weighty things, if you stick to both you will never go astray after me: the Book of Allah and my progeny."

"I am leaving for you two precious and weighty Symbols that if you adhere to both of them, you shall not go astray after me. They are, the Book of Allah, and my progeny, that is, my Ahl al-Bayt. The Merciful has informed me that these two shall not separate from each other till they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Based on Shia belief, it can be concluded from this hadith that "household" are not all descendants and relatives of the prophet and specific individuals are meant by this.[11]

See also


  1. Abou El Fadl, Khaled (22 March 2011). "What is Shari'a?". ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  2. Ibn Hajar, Ahmad. al-Nukat ala Kitab ibn al-Salah, vol. 1, p. 90. Maktabah al-Furqan.
  3. Cambridge Companion to the Quran. p. 62.
  4. Sahih Muslim, 031:5920
  5. Sahih Muslim, 031:5923
  6. http://quran.com/33/33
  7. http://arabianjewel.weebly.com/concerning-love-for-his-family.html
  8. A’alam al-Wara, pp 132-133
  9. Tabatabaei, Sayyid Mohammad Hosayn (1975). Shi'ite Islam. Translated by Sayyid Hossein Nasr. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-87395-390-8.

Shi'a Viewpoint:

Sunni Viewpoint:

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