The above hadith is often quoted to emphasis gaining of knowledge other than Islamic knowledge because at that time, China did not have Islam but the hadith says so. I have heard this may not be authentic hadidth. Is this true?

5 Answers 5


This Hadith is fabricated, it has no Sanad.

This Hadith was related by Ibn Adee, and classified as fabricated (موضوع) by Ibn Jawzee and Ibn Hibban.


100 Fabricated Hadiths, page 45

Information for the book: 100 Fabricated Hadiths

  • I would have gladly accepted your answer but the link you provided does not have reference to this hadith.
    – muslim1
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:09
  • @Thecrocodilehunter see page forty five of the pdf.
    – مجاهد
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:12

I have heard from our Masjid Imam who was a learned Imam in well educated area that he could not found source of this hadith even though he read many book. Therefore this hadith is not true and can be treated as fabricated.

This link on IslamQA also says this is farbicated hadith. The correct hadith is

‘Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim'

  • I don't really see how this is much different from Hadith you claim fabricated. The essential spirit remains. Dec 9, 2012 at 15:24
  • @MoziburUllah so you means 'knowledge is obligatory on all Muslim' is equivalent to 'seek knowledge if in China'. Really?
    – muslim1
    Dec 9, 2012 at 16:26
  • Yes, I do. You're quibbling. All that the qualifier 'China' means is to intensify what is meant by Knowledge. After all, the Arabic scientists learnt trigonometry & the decimal system from India; and it's so closely identified with them that they are called Arabic Numerals. Paper was invented in China very early on (8 BCE). The Islamic civilisation certainly learnt from them. Dec 9, 2012 at 16:39
  • @MoziburUllah then plz answer this question that they are the same.
    – muslim1
    Dec 9, 2012 at 17:03
  • @muslim1 please stop trying to win the argument and understand that "china" is was probably just a symbol for non islamic knowledge.
    – Hisham
    Jul 27, 2019 at 19:36

There would be two 'matan' or 'the content' of the concerning Hadis or maybe more, I know only two. First one (translated) : Seek knowledge is a fardh(obligation) onto all muslim. The first Hadis is sahih.

Secondly (translated) : Seek knowledge is a fardh(obligation) onto all muslim, seek knowledge even to China .

The second Hadis is false or not sahih.

Al-Hafiz Mizi split the second hadis into two part, he wrote it as the first part 'Seek knowledge is a fardh(obligation) onto all muslim' is sahih, but the second part 'seek knowledge even to China' is not sahih because there is no root to support of it's authenticity or even to prove it's base of existence.

There is no chain of narrator for the second hadis, as far as Al-Hafiz Mizi prescribed but the first Hadis is sahih. People always mistaking as the misunderstood what Al-Hafiz Mizi mean by saying that part of the hadis is right so the hadis is acceptable, its the firs't only.

  • read as -> its base of existene <- instead of (it's) //I miss wrote this, sorry
    – Amir
    Mar 8, 2016 at 18:43

"Al mizzi says it has so many chains that it deserves a grade of fair (hasan)."

Hadith HASAN MASHHÛR - "fair, famous." Note: Applied to a hadith, the term mashhûr refers to a type of ahad narration that has five to nine narrators at each link of its chain and is therefore nearly mass-narrated (tawatur). Note that this is not an index of its authenticity as a mashhûr hadith may be either sahîh, hasan, or da`îf. Also, the label of mashhûr is sometimes given to merely famous narrations which are not nearly-mass-narrated.

Narrated from Anas by al-Bayhaqi in Shuab al-Imaan and al-Madkhal, Ibn Abd al-Barr in Jami Bayaan al-Ilm, and al-Khatib through three chains at the opening of his al-Rihla fi Talab al-Hadith (p. 71-76 #1-3) where Shaykh Nur al-Din Itr declares it weak (daîf). Also narrated from Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud, Jabir, and Abu Said al-Khudri, all through very weak chains. The hadith master al-Mizzi said it has so many chains that it deserves a grade of fair (hasan), as quoted by al-Sakhawi in al-Maqaasid al-Hasana. Al-Iraqi in his Mughni an Haml al-Asfar similarly stated that some scholars declared it sound (sahîh) for that reason, even if al-Hakim and al-Dhahabi correctly said no sound chain is known for it. Ibn Abd al-Barr's "Salafi" editor Abu al-Ashbal al-Zuhayri declares the hadith hasan in Jami Bayaan al-`Ilm (1:23ff.) but all the above fair gradings actually apply to the wording: "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim."

al-Mizzi said it has so many chains that it deserves a grade of fair (hasan)

The first to declare the "China" hadith forged seems to be Ibn al-Qaysarani (d. 507) in his Marifa al-Tadhkira (p. 101 #118). This grading was kept by Ibn al-Jawzi in his Mawduat but rejected, among others, by al-Suyuti in al-La'ali' (1:193), al-Mizzi, al-Dhahabi in Talkhis al-Wahiyat, al-Bajuri's student Shams al-Din al-Qawuqji (d. 1305) in his book al-Lu'lu' al-Marsu (p. 40 #49), and notably by the Indian muhaddith Muhammad Taahir al-Fattani (d. 986) in his Tadhkira al-Mawduat (p. 17) in which he declares it hasan.

Al-Munawi, like Ibn Abd al-Barr before him, gave an excellent explanation of the hadith in his Fayd al-Qadir (1:542). See also its discussion in al-Ajluni's Kashf al-Khafa' under the hadith: "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim," itself a fair (hasan) narration in Ibn Maajah because of its many chains as stated by al-Mizzi, although al-Nawawi in his Fatawa (p. 258) declared it weak while Dr. Muhammad Ajaj al-Khaatib in his notes on al-Khatib's al-Jami (2:462-463) declared it "sound due to its witness-chains" (sahîh li ghayrih). Cf. al-Sindi's Hashya Sunan Ibn Maajah (1:99), al-Munawi's Fayd al-Qadir (4:267) and al-Sakhaawi's al-Maqaasid al-Hasana (p. 275-277).

Online Source: http://www.sunnah.org/sources/hadith_utlub_ilm.htm


The mentioned hadith can be found in Kanz al-Ummal , No 28697: The Prophet (SAWA) said,

Seek knowledge even in China, for verily to seek knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim.

Seeking knowledge is therefore not restricted on seeking Islamic knowledge, but knowledge in general when it is useful for the development and advancement of a Muslim himself and its community.

  • 1
    Sorry but the Question is about the authenticity of the Hadith and the Answer tells a source which might be a helpful comment
    – Medi1Saif
    Dec 6, 2015 at 16:54

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