Additional Wording Of The Hadith: “If You Knew What I Knew”

salamu `alaykum

A brother asked:

[…] if my memory serves me somewhat well, shaykh adhami might have said that when the Prophet (sal’allahu ‘alayhi wa sallaam) said this (“verily, if you knew what I know you would laugh less and weep more.”) to his companions, angel gabriel later came to him and said something to the effect of, “but they dont know what you know so…” i dont want to complete the paraphrased quote because i dont want to make any unsubstantiated insinuations, but it was something like “be easy with them” or something else in the same spirit.

my two minutes of research has shown that all the accounts of this hadith that i read online end at the same place this one does. finally, id like to emphasize the content of my disclaimer; if my post isnt confirmed, ignore my comments.

This additional wording is found as:

لو تعلمون ما أعلم لضحكتم قليلا ولبكيتم كثيرا ولخرجتم إلى الصعدات تلدمون صدروكم وتجارون إلى ربكم فهبط جبريل عليه السلام فقال إن ربك يقول لك لم تقنط عبادي فخرج عليهم ورجاهم وشوقهم

“‘Verily, if you knew what I know you would laugh less and weep more, and you would go out to the hills hitting your chests and making petition to your Lord.’ [Then] Gibril (Allah bless him) descended and said, ‘Indeed, your Lord says to you (oh Messenger), ‘Why do you give rise to despair in my servants, so that their hope and longing will rebel against them?'”

Narrated by Imam Ghazali in his Ihya `Ulum al Din, Kitab al Khawf wal Raja’ [Book of Fear & Hope].

Imam al `Iraqi states in his takhrij that this hadith – mentioning Gibril (Allah bless him) – was narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih from Abu Hurayra. Imam Ibn Hajar `Asqalani also states this in his Fath al Bari (bab al qasd wal mudawamat `ala `amal). However, note that the narration in Ibn Hibban’s Sahih only comes in the following wording:

فأتاه جبريل ، فقال : إن الله يقول لك : لم تقنط عبادي ؟ قال : فرجع إليهم ، فقال :سددوا وقاربوا وأبشروا

“‘Indeed, if you knew what I know you would laugh less and weep more.’ Gibril came to him and said, ‘Indeed, God says to you, ‘Why do you induce despair in my servants?’ He (s: the narrator) said, ‘And he (s: the Prophet) returned to them and said, ‘Direct yourself (to what is right), seek closeness, and rejoice.'”

(Kitab al `ilm. Ibn Hibban narrates it in Kitab al Birr without the phrase “qaaribu”)

[s: the word سدد comes in the meaning of ‘making right’ or ‘directing to what is right’ – among many other meanings. Ibn Hibban actually quotes Abu Hatim stating that what is meant by this phrase is directing towards what is right by following the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his way]

Imam Ahmad narrates this same narration in his Musnad (#9692) but without the mention of Gibril (Allah bless him) coming down. Rather, his narration simply states, “If you knew what I know you would laugh less and weep more, but direct yourself to what is right, seek closeness, and rejoice.”

Further, the wording “you would go out to the hills” is not narrated by Ibn Hibban, but by Al Hakim in his Mustadrak, who narrates a number of variant and additional wordings none of which are with the mention of the coming of Gibril (Allah bless him) though – all of which Al Hakim declares sahih. Note that Al Hakim’s grading in his al Mustadrak does not carry much weight unless corroborated by others. Imam Ahmad also narrates similar versions, none of them mentioning this descent of Gibril.

Thus, it seems that Imam Ghazali combined these two narrations together to formulate one. Imam `Iraqi implicitly points this out when he states:

“And the narration ‘Gibril came to him’ comes from Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, narrated by Abu Hurayrah. Its beginning (i.e. the wording ‘If you knew what I know… weep more) is agreed upon. The additional wording of ‘you will go out to the hills’ comes in Hakim and Ahmad.”

To Conclude:

[1] The narration mentioning the descent of Gibril (Allah bless him) is narrated only by Ibn Hibban. Ibn Hajar mentions this additional wording and does not comment further, which would imply that the narration is at least hasan in his eyes.

[2] There are many other variants that mention ‘going to the hills’ (which is merely one) and so forth, in other sources though none of them mention this coming of Gibril (Allah bless him).

[3] Imam Ghazali combined both narrations together, a practice which is not uncommon amongst the scholars.

And Allah Knows Best

Wasalam

Salman

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Additional Wording Of The Hadith: “If You Knew What I Knew”

  1. ماشاالله

    the time of crying has come; God grant us all the light of hope…

  2. eydan bukhari

    thanks very much.

  3. jazakAllahu Khair for sharing that.

  4. I’m going to research that more insha’Allah.

  5. Z L

    Jazakalah khyr Sidi for the info.
    I don’t remember coming acorss the additional wording in the Hadith, thanks for writing up on it.

  6. I never knew there was additional wording to that hadith beyond “laugh and weep”.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. May you be rewarded for it Insh’Allah.

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