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According to one Hadith :

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Verily, Allah has forbidden the Earth to consume the bodies of the Prophets.” (Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1047), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (1374), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1636).)

I found a contradictory report here http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/printpage.php?doc_type=1&doc_id=15300 :

Al-Abbas, the paternal uncle of Prophet Muhammad, entered Muhammad's room three after his death, before his burial, as his body remained there for three days as the people were too busy to bury him, as all of them were engaged in debates of Al-Thaqeefa Council of choosing a ruler/caliph of Yathreb to succeed him. Once Al-Abbas entered the room, he put his hands at once at his nose, and said to the gathered men outside: "Bury your friend Muhammad fast, for HIS BODY BEGAN DECOMPOSITION just like the rest of human beings" … (capital emphasis mine)

Where can this opposing Hadith be found. The link doesn't provide a source. Certain anti-islamists have used this to point out the "falsehood" (Nauzubillah) of Prophet Muhammad SAW bcuz he said the bodies do not decompose. I need help. Where can it be found and is it authentic?

2 Answers 2

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Well refuting or answering questions of anti-Islam or anti-sunnah etc. websites is not the purpose of this site. I'm answering this with a focus on source identification or reference-request and check of the authenticity of the source with a small insight into hadith interpretation.

An anti sunnah-website that misuses Sunnah to show its contradiction

This hadith (is hadith the right term here?) can be found in ibn Sa'ad's Tabaqat and in Sunan ad-Darimi and in Mosannaf 'Abdurrazaq.

Note that none of these sources have reported the bold part of this sentence:

Once Al-Abbas entered the room, he put his hands at once at his nose, and said to the gathered men outside

Nor did al-'Abbas say:

His body began decomposition

but he said:

وَإِنَّهُ لَبَشَرٌ وَإِنَّهُ يَأْسُنُ كَمَا يَأْسُنُ الْبَشَرُ
He is nothing but a human being that (will) decompose(s) like any other human being.

So these are clear additions and fabrications of the author of this article. And this is not the only deviation from the text as reported by the above sources! there's no mentioning of the a-Taqeefah council all this is just a "nice addition" to create a picture that might be close to truth, but includes some imagination and description of a situation that might lead to false conclusions like if the rest of the story or the main goal (a falsified statement) will be accepted as a truthful explanation and hold as an argument and evidence to show the contradiction with another statement that most people rely on and refute it. Of course not referencing a source is another tool to keep this false statement upright, as they may say no the source is not such nor such.

Authenticity based on the given sources

As for ad-Darimi (see here in Arabic) and according to islamqa fatwa #282133 (so far in Arabic only) ibn Sa'ad they reported it via:
Sulaiman ibn Harb سليمان بن حرب (trustworthy) -> Hammad ibn Zayd حماد بن زيد (trustworthy)-> Ayyub as-Sakhytani أيوب السختياني (trustworthy) -> 'Ikrimah عكرمة (trustworthy)

While 'Abdurazzaq only deviated slightly to this narrator chain by reporting it via:
Ma'amar (for further details on this narrator you may refer to What is the authenticity of the following narrative in which Aisha RA had a girl remove the bells from her anklets?) -> Ayyub as_Sakhtyani -> 'Ikrimah.

The issue here is that 'Ikrimah is a tabi'iy (who hopefully is the companion of ibn 'Abbas as else there's a second 'Ikrimah among the followers -tabi'iyn- who met one single sahabi -according to imam a-Dhahabi who's name is al-Hirmas ibn Ziyad الهرماس بن زياد who died 90 a.H.) and he never met Al-'Abbas himself and we don't know who was the intermediate that told him this encounter at least according to these sources.
There's however a report of at-Tabarni that fixes the issue in this narrator chain: as it states that 'Ikrimah has reported from ibn 'Abbas according to this fatwa on islamweb #143643 this was reported via: Ibn 'Oyyanah سفيان بن عيينة -> Ayyub as-Sakhtyani -> 'Ikrimah -> Ibn 'Abbas -> Al-'Abbas

This chain would basically (assuming it is connected as it seems to be the case -I didn't find it yet-) reach the condition of al-Bukhari.

One issue I found in the content of this narration is that it suggests that Muhammad () was buried Wednesday night while sahih narrations report that he was buried Tuesday see for example in al-Muwatta' and Sahih al-Bukhari but ibn Majah reported that this happend on Wednesday (see here).

Explanation and resulotion of the pretended contradiction

As for the statement of al-'Abbas:

"Bury your friend Muhammad (fast), for he's (nothing but) a human being (of) that (his body) will decompose like any of the human beings"

Most scholars like ibn Hajar explain it as an ijtihad of al-'Abbas not a as something he experienced or witnessed at this moment. This is only a conclusion al-'Abbas made without having prior knowledge, so he thought that what happens to the body of any human being will happen to the body of the prophet(). So there's no such thing like a contradiction to the hadith which was compiled by the authors of the Sunan and imam Ahmad in his Musnad as these ahadith report a statement of the prophet () himself -who should know better- while this report just displays a conclusion of al-'Abbas.

Also be aware that the statement or better speech of al-'Abbas even show this as it goes much further he made his call or alert to bury the body of the prophet () fearing that decomposition would happen to this body of a person of high esteem not because there already were any signs of decomposition like an odor as the additions may suggest.

Here's the hadith as stated in a-Darimi's Sunan:
As I'm not a professional translator nor a native English speaker.
I'm translating only some parts -for example italic parts of the original text are left untranslated- of this hadith as these translations are of my own take them carefully!

توفي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم الاثنين فحبس بقية يومه وليلته والغد حتى دفن ليلة الأربعاء
The Messenger of Allah Allah's prayers and blessing be upon him died on a Monday and was kept (like he was) for the rest of the day and night and the next day (too) until he was buried on Wednesday night.

وقالوا إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يمت ولكن عرج بروحه كما عرج بروح موسى فقام عمر فقال إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يمت ولكن عرج بروحه كما عرج بروح موسى والله لا يموت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى يقطع أيدي أقوام وألسنتهم فلم يزل عمر يتكلم حتى أزبد شدقاه مما يوعد ويقول
Some said that the Messenger of Allah Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him did not die, but his soul was raised as it was the case with the soul of Musa. 'Omar stood up and said (to the gathered people): the Messenger of Allah Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him did not die, but his soul was raised as it was the case with the soul of Musa, by Allah the Messenger of Allah Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him will not die until he will cut off the hands of some people and their tongues ...

فقام العباس فقال إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قد مات وإنه لبشر وإنه يأسن كما يأسن البشر أي قوم فادفنوا صاحبكم
Al-'Abbas stood up and said (to the gathered people): indeed the Messenger of Allah Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him died and he is nothing, but a human and will decompose like any human, oh people bury your companion.

فإنه أكرم على الله من أن يميته إماتتين أيميت أحدكم إماتة ويميته إماتتين وهو أكرم على الله من ذلك أي قوم فادفنوا صاحبكم
As he is too noble by Allah to be caused to death twice, does HE cause one of you to death once and cause him to death twice while he is too noble by Allah to be treated like this oh people bury your companion!

فإن يك كما تقولون فليس بعزيز على الله أن يبحث عنه التراب إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم والله ما مات حتى ترك السبيل نهجا واضحا فأحل الحلال وحرم الحرام ونكح وطلق وحارب وسالم ما كان راعي غنم يتبع بها صاحبها رءوس الجبال يخبط عليها العضاه بمخبطه ويمدر حوضها بيده بأنصب ولا أدأب من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان فيكم أي قوم فادفنوا صاحبكم قال وجعلت أم أيمن تبكي فقيل لها يا أم أيمن تبكي على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قالت إني والله ما أبكي على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ألا أكون أعلم أنه قد ذهب إلى ما هو خير له من الدنيا ولكني أبكي على خبر السماء انقطع قال حماد خنقت العبرة أيوب حين بلغ ها هنا

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  • Jazak Allahu Khayr
    – Afiq
    Oct 9, 2019 at 15:05
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I have also seen this source, and the reference given was Tareekh-al-Kabeer: 1/31. It might only be in Arabic. I have sometimes found that Islamic sites are not always clear on giving references to certain sources, and also plenty of Arabic sources that have not yet been translated, and sometimes giving false translations if there is something embarrassing.

By the sound of the source, it doesn't sound like a presumption on the part of Al-Abbass, but rather an experiential statement.

Another problem is that Muhammad's claim that prophets' bodies do not decompose is in direct contradiction to the Scriptures. For example, the Old Testament speaks of the bones of Joseph being carried out of Egypt (which he requested for the Israelites to do), and the bones of Elisha (one of Israel's most famous prophets) are also mentioned, when a man was hurriedly thrown on them during a time of conflict and when the man touched the bones he was brought back to life. The only prophets that did not suffer decomposition (as in, we are directly told what happened to them) would be Enoch & Elijah (both taken directly to Heaven), and Jesus. Moses did die, but we are told that God Himself burried him in an unknown place. For Jesus it was specifically prophesied in the Psalms that His body would not decay, and in Isaiah that He would rise (prolong His days) after dying for the sins of others. Jesus Himself warned His disciples that He would die and rise again according to the Scriptures, and when it happened, they all saw Him afterward, and saw Him ascend back to Heaven. Considering Muhammad claimed to affirm the prior Scriptures, this is a problem.

Another insightful Islamic source that I have seen posted on a website is Umar's reaction: Umar, who was so stunned that he almost lost consciousness and stood before people addressing them: "Some of the hypocrites claim that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam died. The Messenger of Allah did not die, but went to his Lord in the same way as Moses ibn 'Imran did. He stayed away for forty nights, but finally came back though they said he had been dead. By Allah, the Messenger of Allah will come back and he will cut of the hands and legs of those who claim his death." - ( Ibn Hisham, 2/655)

I have heard that Muhammad claimed he would be the first to resurrect. You can't resurrect unless you're dead.

And there are supporting Islamic sources on Muhammad's body, you can see those here, by an Arabic speaker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9GEMqMDehE

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  • This feels to be based on nothing but speculation and conspiracy, and the discussion in the last paragraph is irrelevant. The Quran is the foremost and uncorrupted scripture and it implies that Solomon's body did not decompose (34:14<). Further Abu Bakr and Ali (who washed the Prophet's body) observed the body of the Prophet and said that it was in a good state unlike the bodies of other people who died.
    – UmH
    Sep 6 at 15:04

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