Defending Sahih Bukhari – Hadith of Prophet moving his lips to preserve the revelation

Fahm al-Hadeeth


We study and ponder over ahadith to fully benefit from the prophetic knowledge transmitted to humanity in the form of traditions through Salaf’s Fahm (Understanding)

Thursday, August 13, 2015



Table of Contents 

1. The hadeeth via Ibn `Abbas showing how the prophet moved his lips in the earlier stages so as to not forget the revelation being revealed via jibrael a.s

2. Objection # 1 : Ibn `Abbas did not witness that event

Answer # 1:

3. Objection # 2: Sa`eed commits tadlees

Answer # 2

Objection # 3 : Sa`eed is alone in reporting this

Answer # 3


Before we begin remember the following traits regarding those among the claimants of being Muslims, who attack Islamic literature : 

Trait # 1. They always oppose centuries of unanimity or majority
Trait # 2. They don’t have actual learned scholars of the past in their support
Trait # 3. They don’t have actual learned scholars of their time in their support
Trait # 4. They and their analysis always happens to be in line with what the enemies of Islam desire
Trait # 5. They self interpret narrations and principles as per their own desires stemming from their limited human intellect
Trait # 6. They make lame,  baseless claims and assertions on and against the Islamic scholarship and texts.

1. The hadeeth via Ibn `Abbas showing how the prophet moved his lips in the earlier stages so as to not forget the revelation being revealed via jibrael a.s 
Narrated Musa Ibn Abi `Aisha:

Sa`id bin Jubair reported from Ibn `Abbas (regarding the explanation of the Verse: ‘Do not move your tongue concerning (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith) . He said, “The Prophet () used to undergo great difficulty in receiving the Divine Inspiration and used to move his lips.’ Ibn `Abbas said (to Sa`id), “I move them (my lips) as Allah’s Messenger () used to move his lips.” And Sa`id said (to me i.e Musa ibn Abi `Aisha ), “I move my lips as I saw Ibn `Abbas moving his lips,” and then he moved his lips. So Allah revealed:– ‘(O Muhammad!) Do not move your tongue concerning (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and give you (O Muhammad) the ability to recite it. (i.e., to collect it in your chest and then you recite it).’ (75.16-17) But when We have recited it, to you (O Muhammad through Gabriel) then follow you its recital.’ (75.18) This means, “You should listen to it and keep quiet and then it is upon Us to make you recite it.” The narrator added, “So Allah’s Messenger () used to listen whenever Gabriel came to him, and when Gabriel left, the Prophet () would recite the Qur’an as Gabriel had recited it to him.”

[Ref: Saheeh Bukhaari, 7524]

Objection # 1 : Ibn `Abbas did not witness that event

How can Ibn `Abbas move his lips the way the prophet sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam moved when ibn `Abbas wasn’t even born that time when these verses of surah baqarah (16-19) were revealed. When he didn’t see the prophet `alayhi salatu was salaam do it then how can he move it like him and narrate it to sa`eed? This has to be the personal addition/fabrication of Musa ibn abi `aisha

Answer # 1: 


As seen, the entire objection rests on the notion that ibn abbas wasn’t present there when the Messenger of Allah received these verses to see how he moved his lips. This is , in all honesty a very lame reason to attack the prophetic traditions that too in Bukhaari. Many sahaaba who weren’t present with the prophet `alayhi salatu was salaam on many battles, campaigns and even many other events knew many things about the prophet which he did and said in their absence.

Many sahaaba narrate traditions they heard from another sahaabi even when they themselves weren’t present there. One of the proofs for this is the narration in Bukhari itself .

Imam Bukhaari has named a chapter in his Book Sahih al Bukhaari as
باب التَّنَاوُبِ فِي الْعِلْمِ
i.e To fix the duties in rotation for learning (religious) knowledge” under hadeeth no. Sahih al-Bukhari 89

Under this chapter he narrates a hadeeth wherein Umar ibn Khattab and his ansaari neighbor used to take turns to go to the prophet (s.a.w) to seek knowledge. Meanwhile they used to work , or etc. This also shows the importance of working and earning.

Narrated `Umar:

My Ansari neighbor from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live at `Awali Al-Medina and used to visit the Prophet (sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam) by turns. He used to go one day and I another day. When I went I used to bring the news of that day regarding the Divine Inspiration and other things, and when he went, he used to do the same for me


Since 14 centuries all the muffassireen the muhadditheen and scholars have agreed upon this event for those verses in baqarah. Everyone has the same explanation that the prophet moved his lips or tongue fearing he might forger the revelation. But now all of a sudden there is a new discovery !!!!

Pick any tafseer book and see.

Also beneficial read related to this deviation: The Obligation of seeking knowledge via the understanding of the salafus saliheen

Link :


in another narration Ibn `Abbas himself said

“I saw (raitu) the Messenger of Allah sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam move his tongue ” 

[Ref: Musnad al-Mustakhraj `ala saheeh Imam Muslim by Imam abu Nu`aym asbahani rahimahullah (2/68) with an authentic chain]

this shows that ibn `abbas saw it, but the question is when?

The answer is very simple. The prophet sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam used to teach ibn `Abbas the tafseer and he also prayed for him the very same du`a which is well known ” oh allah teach him the book”

The prophet sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam must have taught him the meaning/hadeeth/event behind the revelation of this verse and moved his lips/tongue to show how it all happened . How is this “impossible” for its objectors? Since they don’t really consider the authenticity of chains to be of any value then should we now join hands with them in not only complying with their 21st century innovated laws of accepting/rejecting a narration but also encourage them by ourselves indulging in such a corrupt verification methodology?

Imam Ibn Hajar asqalani rahimahullah said on this hadeeth :

” It is possible that that the Prophet sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam himself informed him (Ibn `Abbas) later on (while teaching him) or another sahaabi showed it to him who saw the prophet sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam (move his lips) but the former scenario is the right one because its clarification is present in the Musnad of Abi dawood at-tayalasi ….”

[Ref: Fath ul-Bari of Ibn Hajar 1/29]

As for the objections on the chain of narrations then they don’t even stand a chance. And neither do such people have any value for the science of hadeeth but does that mean if one were to look the world up side down, we are obliged to explain him in the same upside down fashion submitting to his yardstick, his reasoning and methodology? Never.

However let us look at some of the desperate attempts by ignorant folks to attack the chain of this narration to satisfy the hearts of Muslims and disclose the foolishness of hadeeth attackers and rejectors

Objection # 2: Sa`eed commits tadlees 

Sa`eed ibn Jubayr rahimahullah has narrated a lot from Ibn `Abbas , however there are two types of narrations he narrates from Ibn `Abbas. One which he acquires from a third person and one which he himself hears or takes from Ibn `Abbas.

Example of the first case would be sa`eed saying ” Haddathani Ikrima `an ibn `Abbas …”  (Ikrima narrated to me from Ibn `Abbas…)

and example of the second case would be sa`eed saying : ” Haddathani ibn `Abbas  or Sami`tu ibn `Abbas” ( ibn abbas narrated to me or i heard from ibn abbas) ,

but in many instances sa`eed even when taking it from a third person used to say ” an Ibn `Abbas” from ibn abbas instead of mentioning the name of the one who narrated it to him.  And likewise In this particular narration , for all the chains via Sa`eed ibn Jubayr he doesn’t say haddathani (narrated to me) or sami`tu (i heard) but rather he says ” An Ibn Abbas..’ from Ibn `Abbas which shows that someone else narrated this to him and he trusted him without verification and thus this story of the Prophet moving his lips became famous

Answer # 2


What a filthy accusation by those totally ignorant of the field of asmaa ur-rijaal against the giant the Imam , one of his kind Sa`eed ibn Jubayr rahimahullah that he was not only lax in taking from anyone but also guilty of hiding the narrator in the chain . Something commonly known as tadlees. Subhanallah !  Reminds me of this warning :

مَنْ حَالَتْ شَفَاعَتُهُ دُونَ حَدٍّ مِنْ حُدُودِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَادَّ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ خَاصَمَ فِي بَاطِلٍ وَهُوَ يَعْلَمُهُ لَمْ يَزَلْ فِي سَخَطِ اللَّهِ حَتَّى يَنْزِعَ عَنْهُ وَمَنْ قَالَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ مَا لَيْسَ فِيهِ أَسْكَنَهُ اللَّهُ رَدْغَةَ الْخَبَالِ حَتَّى يَخْرُجَ مِمَّا قَال

and whoever knowingly argues for falsehood, then he will never be free of Allah’s displeasure until he stops; and whoever says something about a believer that is untrue, then Allah will lodge him in a hole of mud until he repents from what he said.”

[Ref: Sunan Abu Dawud 3597; Saheeh by Imam Ahmad shakir Misri. This is not the ordinary hole btw]

Who among the experts of this field (hadeeth) ever brought such an argument against this hadeeth? Or are you now more knowledgeable and wiser than 14 centuries of scholarship?!!! What virtue do you have over them in terms of knowledge, expertise let alone piety?!

Imam Dhahabi’s statement regarding sa`eed refutes such ignorant 21st century made up accusations

“The leader (Imam), al-Haafidh, the Muffassir , the martyr.., one of his kind, he narrated alot from Ibn `Abbas  free from defects and also studied qur’an from Ibn `Abbas …”

[Ref: Siyar `alam (7/355)]

Where is their evidence for this self made invented claim ?!! How can they prove sa`eed did not take this directly from Ibn `Abbas? None whatsover !


The height of ignorance allah puts deviants into is so obvious that in the very same narration under discussion (at the very begining) sa`eed himself says

فَقَالَ سَعِيدٌ أَنَا أُحَرِّكُهُمَا كَمَا كَانَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ يُحَرِّكُهُمَا


And Sa`id said (to Musa ibn abi `aisha), “I move my lips as I saw Ibn `Abbas moving his lips,” 

Which shows that sa`eed not only took this narration directly from ibn `abbas but also saw ibn `abbas moving his lips while narrating this to him

More so, even in Musnad ahmad the same narration has the statement of sa`eed ibn jubair saying

” faqaala-Li ibn `Abbas”

” so Ibn `Abbas said to me…”

[Ref: Musnad Ahmad (1/343) saheeh]

this also shows that he took the narration directly from ibn `Abbas , unless you out of frustration now break all barriers of ignorance to display its audacity by claiming sa`eed was a liar?!

Ibn Wahb said: Ashhal ibn Haatim told us from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Awn from Ibn Seereen who said: Hudhayfah said:

The one who gives fatwas to the people is one of three: either he knows what has been abrogated of the Qur’an, or he is a leader who has no choice (but to issue a fatwa) or he is a fool who is doing something that is not his job. He said, perhaps Ibn Seereen said: I am neither of the first two, and I do not want to be the third. 

[Ref: I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een, 1/28, 29]


Mujahid was not among the teachers of sa`eed ibn jubayr as you have mentioned . He was his contemperory and his student .

As seen in Sunan abi dawood (Hadeeth 2438) Imam Mujahid rahimahullah narrates from sa`eed ibn jubayr rahimahullah and not vice versa so even while quoting examples you make blunders unaware of the fact that mujahid never came among the teachers of sa`eed nor has sa`eed narrated from Mujahid from ibn `Abbas. See Tahdheeb al-Kamal of Imam al-Mizzi if you wish

`Ali radhiallahu is reported to have said to Shurayh :

لِسَانُكَ عَبْدُكَ مَا لَمْ تَتَكَلَّمْ ، فَإِذَا تَكَلَّمْتَ فَأَنْتَ عَبْدُهُ ، فَانْظُرْ مَا تَقْضِي ، وَفِيمَ تَقْضِي ، وَكَيْفَ تَقْضِي ، وَفِيمَ تَمْضِي ، وَإِلَيْهِ تَقْضِي


Your tongue is under your control as long as you do not speak, but once you speak you are bound by what you say. So think about what your verdict is, and the BASIS for your verdict, and how to work out your verdict.

[Ref: ibn Asakir in Tareekh Damishq, no. 22237]


The claim of validating the narration of a narrator based on him `an is only in the case of a Muddallis. This is among the basics of uloom al-hadeeth. Sa`eed ibn Jubayr is not a muddalis and never has been recorded to be one. From where did you copy paste the criteria used for Apples and fit it in oranges?!

Objection # 3 : Sa`eed is alone in reporting this

Sa`eed ibn Jubair is alone in reporting this tradition from Ibn `Abbas and none of his other students narrated this from him. We anyways do not accept such ahad or lone narrations

Answer # 3 


Is it mandatory that all the students have to know the same bit of knowledge from their teacher? Or is it incumbent that all of them have to report it ? Even today with regards to our wordily math classes or islamic classes, it is very much the case that not all the students may know everything the teacher knows or shares with one or two particular students due to whatsoever reasons.

If two students studying under the same teacher know two different things, do we render them null and void unless the whole class reports it or knows of it too? Absurd claims !

Using this same analogy are we to now reject the famous narration ” Verily actions are based on intentions” which was narrated only by Umar radhiallahu `anhu and no one else?  Despite the fact that countless sahaaba were very close to the prophet yet only `Umar narrated it. Will you reject this as well ?!

As for the khabar ul-wahid excuse then see : The Authority of Khabar Wahid and refutation of those who oppose it



When Imam Ayyub as-sakhtiyani saw a man among the people of kalaam or those who used logic of their limited intellects on religious affairs he rahimahullah said :

فَقَالَ : ” قُومُوا بِنَا لا يُعْدِينَا بِجَرَبِهِ ” .

Get up lest he afflicts you with his disease as well 

[Ref: Hilyatul Awliyah 3058, Authentic ]
Imam Shah Muhaddith Dhelvi Hanafi rahimahullah said :

أما الصحیحان فقد اتفق المحدثون علی أن جمیع ما فیھما من المتصل المرفوع صحیح بالقطع و أنھما متواتران الی مصنفیھما و أنہ کل من یھون أمرھما فھو مبتدع متبع غیر سبیل المؤمنین


As for the matter of Saheehayn then the muhaddithoon are united and agreed upon the fact that whatever musnad marfoo muttasil narrations are present in it are qat`an (without a doubt) saheeh and the chains in these two books connecting to their authors are known by tawatur and whoever intends to reduce its nobility or value (in front of people or anyone) then he is an innovator and has strayed from the path of ahl al-emaan 

[Ref: Hujjatullah al-Baaligha 1/297, the version which was published in karachi]

More details on the above subject can be found in shaykh abu Yahya’s “Saheeh Bukhaari ka Mutalla aur Munkarine hadeeth” under chapter two. The above article is an ongoing series of projects we intend to cover wherein we abridge and partially translate from Shaykh Abu Yahya Noorpuri’s work along with few additions to strengthen the argument and few alterations as and when required. Kindly note that the above translations into English is a rough translation but ensuring the original intended meaning of the arabic passage is unchanged. 


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