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Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: The son of Adam causes Me pain as he says: Woe be upon the Time. None of you should say this: Woe be upon the Time, as I am the Time (because) I alternate the day and the night, and when I wish I can finish them up. (Muslim, Book 27, Number 5582)

So, If Human abuses time, does it cause "pain" to God that befits his majesty? And God is time but according to what befits his majesty?

(Just to back this up with some famous scholar, Ibn Uthaymeen says "running is an attribute of God" in his Fatawa al-Aqida, Page 112. And Ibn Uthaymeen also says about this Hadith that His statement (“yuadhani son of Adam”) meaning: he afflicts me with Al Adhaa (harm). So Adhiyyah for Allah is Affirmed and it is obligatory upon us to Affirm it because Allah affirms it for himself).

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  • Brother this is more like, Allah gets "displeased". When Allah Subhan wa Ta'ala says he gets hurt he doesn't mean literally. – gallickgunner Nov 30 '20 at 0:10
  • @gallickgunner I know these things are not meant to be taken literally. But anyone who interprets these things metaphorically is considered an innovator! I've given you the source of Ibn Uthaymeen, for instance. – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 7:45
  • "But anyone who interprets these things metaphorically is considered an innovator!" And who told you that? Arabic language is very vast, there are multiple meanings of the same word. So obviously you're gonna interpret it based on certain ground rules or the tenets which form our Aqeeda. – gallickgunner Nov 30 '20 at 9:09
  • @gallickgunner Yes you can have metaphors but when God talks about himself, Muslims can't disagree! So, in the Hadith, if God says he is harmed, Muslim affirm it! As proved by Ibn Uthaymeen. – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 9:25
  • @gallickgunner And ofcourse it doesn't mean "displease" because the word "harmed" is used !! If God wanted Muslims to interpret it as "displease", why he didn't use the word "displease" !! Why he explicitly used the word "harmed" !! As God said that about himself, Muslims can't reject it! As Ibn Uthaymeen said – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 9:48
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The hadith is regarded as Sahih and is compiled in several sources like both Sahih's, Sunan abi Dawod and Musnad Ahmad with a slight difference of wording:

Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: The son of Adam causes Me pain as he says: Woe be upon the Time. None of you should say this: Woe be upon the Time, as I am the Time (because) I alternate the day and the night, and when I wish I can finish them up.
(Sahih Muslim in several chapters, Sahih al-Bukhari in several chaptersand Sunan abi Dawod)

The original text of the version from Sahih Muslim is:

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُؤْذِينِي ابْنُ آدَمَ يَقُولُ يَا خَيْبَةَ الدَّهْرِ ‏.‏ فَلاَ يَقُولَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ يَا خَيْبَةَ الدَّهْرِ ‏.‏ فَإِنِّي أَنَا الدَّهْرُ أُقَلِّبُ لَيْلَهُ وَنَهَارَهُ فَإِذَا شِئْتُ قَبَضْتُهُمَا

And the word that might cause trouble here is:

يُؤْذِينِي

Which was rather wrongly translated:

causes ME pain (or injury)

While it is closer to:

hurt ME
annoy ME

The hadith is rather self-explaining. It makes clear what the issue is: Allah created day and night and therefore time. Allah says in the qur'an:

And it is He who has made the night and the day in succession for whoever desires to remember or desires gratitude. (25:62)

In the pre-Islamic culture it was usual to abuse or complain about the "time" as stated in the hadith:

he says: Woe be upon the Time.

So Arabs said for example:
here and in the following I'll be translating from Arabic language, as these translations are of my own take them with the necessary care!

قبح الله الدهر الذي شتت شملنا
May Allah distort the that that separated us

Note that the term:

الدهر

May refer to time, age, epoch, era etc.

But when a person complains about time or abuses it (as is the statement in the linked version from Sahih al-Bukhari) that person indirectly complains about or abuses the Creator of time Himself.

Therefore imam a-Shafi'i said in a poem:

نعيب زماننا والعـيـــــب فينا - ومـا لـزماننا عـيـب سـوانا
وقد نهجوا الزمان بغير جرم - ولو نطق الزمان بنا هجانا
وليس الذئب يأكل لحم ذئب - ويأكل بعضنا بعضا عيانا
We blame our time though we are to blame,
no fault has time but only us.
We scold the time for all the shame,
had it a tongue, it would scold us.
For no Wolf eats the meat of another,
While we kill each-other without remorse.

Can humans hurt Allah at all?

The question is does this really hurt Allah or causes Him pain? First of all assuming this is true we should know that this hurt is beyond our knowledge as Allah says:

...There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (42:11)

Secondly:

أذى

in Arabic isn't necessarily pain nor does it harm or hurt (See for example: in the Sahih hadith speaking about removing harmful things إِمَاطَةُ الأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ). As أذى may simply cause some kind of negative reaction, as for the example of a bad smell (like in this Sahih hadith"!وَلاَ يُؤْذِيَنَّا بِرِيحِ الثُّومِ should not harm us with the odour of garlic"). It doesn't hurt you nor does it harm you, but you may find it disgraceful or unappetizing or disgusting etc.. And in the case of the earlier linked hadith this may mean: to remove an obstacle which may hurt a person who oversees it, or remove pieces of bread in order to avoid people step on it etc. so the hurt or harm must not happen, but could happen, and is not necessarily a physical hurt or harm.

Allah the almighty says:

Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment. (33:57)
إن الذين يؤذون الله ورسوله لعنهم الله في الدنيا والآخرة وأعد لهم عذابا مهينا

Where "يؤذون" was translated as "who abuse".

And HE also made clear:

And do not be grieved, [O Muhammad], by those who hasten into disbelief. Indeed, they will never harm Allah at all. ... (3:176)
ولا يحزنك الذين يسارعون في الكفر إنهم لن يضروا الله شيئا

So none of Allah's creation can ever hurt or harm HIM as their attempts would never reach HIM.
Note that the verbs:

آذى، يؤذي

and

ضرَّ، يضرُّ

are synonyms!

This meaning also appears in the long hadith Qudsi starting with Allah's prohibition of injustice and oppression:

O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. (Sahih Muslim)
يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّكُمْ لَنْ تَبْلُغُوا ضَرِّي فَتَضُرُّونِي وَلَنْ تَبْلُغُوا نَفْعِي فَتَنْفَعُونِي

So how would humans be able to hurt or annoy or harm Allah -if that is possible-?

In fact this is by ignoring HIM and by setting others equal to him (shirk), by speaking the untruth about HIM and HIS creation and power, or by abusing or talking badly about HIS creation as is the case with the "Time" in the hadith above. Our sins especially performing big sins: in general by our denial and disobedience. Some of these may start in a light manner "by saying something unintentionally" or unaware of the link. As it is when one speaks bad about "our times", as one indirectly refers to their Creator. It is by simple unthought words like: "may Allah remember you next time" while Allah says:

...and never is your Lord forgetful - (19:64)

Or for example if we ask: "Allah why me? What have I done?". While Allah says:

He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned. (21:23)

So to sum up Allah can't be injured or harmed in a physical manner as we may imagine.

Some quotes from hadith commentaries

Ibn Hajar in his Fath al-Barry فتح الباري quoted al-Qurtobi's statement:

قَالَ الْقُرْطُبِيُّ مَعْنَاهُ يُخَاطِبُنِي مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِمَا يَتَأَذَّى مَنْ يَجُوزُ فِي حَقِّهِ التَّأَذِّي وَاللَّهُ مُنَزَّهٌ عَنْ أَنْ يَصِلَ إِلَيْهِ الْأَذَى وَإِنَّمَا هَذَا مِنَ التَّوَسُّعِ فِي الْكَلَامِ وَالْمُرَادُ أَنَّ مَنْ وَقَعَ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ تَعَرَّضَ لِسَخَطِ اللَّهِ
Al-Qurtobi said: The meaning is that I'M addressed with a speech that may hurt those on which harming is permissible. While haram iis strictly forbidden to reach Allah. But this is an expansion of speech, and it is intended that whoever does that will be exposed to the wrath of God.

The same statement appears in Irshaad as-Sary إرشاد الساري of al-Qustalani.

And in 'Umdat al-Qari عمدة القاري we find a statement of at-Tybi:

وَقَالَ الطَّيِّبِيّ: الْإِيذَاء إِيصَال الْمَكْرُوه إِلَى الْغَيْر قولا أَو فعلا أثر فِيهِ أَو لم يُؤثر، وإيذاء الله عبارَة عَن فعل مَا يكرههُ وَلَا يرضى بِهِ، وَكَذَا إِيذَاء رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم.
Al-Tayyiby said: Harm is the delivery of what is detestable to someone else by word or deed that has an effect on him or not, and harming Allah is an act of what He hates and does not please Him, and that is what He dislikes and does not satisfy Him.

Finally imam an-Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim said about "The son of Adam causes Me pain":

فَمَعْنَاهُ يُعَامِلُنِي مُعَامَلَةً تُوجِبُ الْأَذَى فِي حَقِّكُمْ
It means that he treats ME as a treatment that would cause harm to you (humans) if you were the adressed.

The different meanings of "أذى" in the qur'an

To emphasize the impoirtance of context here just a few examples:

  • injury: (2:196) "ailment of the head", (3:111) "not harm you except for [some] annoyance."
    This 2nd verse also would apply partly for the last category, however some of the scholars of Tafsir described it as physical hurt.
  • filth, uncleanness: (2:222) "hurt and a pollution."
  • abuse: (3:186) "much abuse."
  • talk (reminders) that may hurt the listener: (2:262), (2:263) "with reminders [of it] or [other] injury".
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  • أذى means hurt/pain !! Ofcourse, you can mold this into whatever form you want depending on the context !! In that way, you can mold anything in anyway !! That is why I gave the example of "Running is an attribute of God" !! Anyway, what about Ibn Uthaymeen than? Why did he say we have to affirm "he is harmed"? – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 13:44
  • @aesoupv2.0 ibn 'Uthaymeen is not God nor all knowing, and we speak about Arabic language and أذى is something that cause a kind of harm: be it physical or non-physical. In all languages I know of words may have different meanings according the context , Arabic is no exception here. People may translate literally or based on prior knowledge. In fact the hadith is mainly self-explanatory. And combined with the qur'an sources it actually denies that Allah can be hurt because ضرر is more related to pain unless the context implies something else. – Medi1Saif Nov 30 '20 at 14:23
  • Do you have any authentic evidence from the first 3 generations that this Hadith means "displeases God" instead of "hurts God"? – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 15:03
  • @aesoupv2.0 you have the qur'an and ask about evidences from people? – Medi1Saif Nov 30 '20 at 15:06
  • This is strange coming from you! Quran and Hadith are words and words are interpreted by Scholars! You and I can't read Quran and interpret it according to what we think is correct. That is why I gave evidence of Ibn Uthaymen who is one of the greatest scholars in 20th century! – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 15:23
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Bro you have a lot of misconceptions going on. There is a reason why people say you need a proper mentor if you want to study these things in depth.

There are certain preconditions you need to fulfill if you want to gain knowledge and stay on the right track. These are called the "Adaab" and if you read Imam Ghazali's "Ahya ulum ud din" you'll find them. There is so much explosion of information in this era you really need to decide what to take and what not.

I'm just gonna tell you there is a method or a way to start getting into these things similar to how you can't jump directly to calculus without studying the pre-requisites. So we need to get our Beliefs and Aqeeda straight. No compromise on that. And it's Ijma ul Umma that you can't attribute any weakness towards Allah. He is absolute and free from all of these things like Lie, sleep, jealousy, etc. Now if you keep this in mind you'll know what answers to take on the net and what not. Not every scholar is on the correct path. There are many misguided ones on this planet as they are humans as well.

Secondly if you really wanna go into these details which you should not at this stage, you should pick up highly reputable scholars that came in the early era as it's again decided that people who came before and the era that was closest to our Prophet was way better than the later eras. So go and pick up someone like Imam Al Nawawi. Not some Ibn Uthaymeen who belongs to this era.

Thirdly to directly answer your question, The arabic word Allah used is "Zeen" which if you go and open up an Arabic Lughat gives you the meaning of "weakness/flaw". When it's translated to Urdu I've read this hadith as "Mankind attributes flaws/weakness towards Me by cursing time". So that's what the most proper interpretation seems (again keeping the above pre-requisites our Aqeeda in mind). The proper meaning isn't that mankind harms Allah but instead mankind attributes flaws or weaknesses towards Allah which he shouldn't.

Hope this'll satisfy you. JazakAllah.

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  • Taking the apparent meaning is the aqeeda of Salaf !! Ibn Uthaymeen explicitly says "when God affirms he is harmed, who are we to reject it"? Yes, it is not like how Humans are harmed but he is harmed whatever befits his majesty! – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 10:21
  • And the word used is "يُؤْذِينِي" which doesn't mean flaw or weakness but pain !! The literal meaning is "he hurts me" !! I know Arabic! Maybe they might have translated that in Urdu – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 10:24
  • Brother, every arabic word has its base word which is based on 3 and in some cases 4 letters or "Huruf" and the base word for what you wrote is "Zeen" I find it's meaning in Misbah Ul Lughat and it says "Aaib" in urdu which literally means "flaw" in english. – gallickgunner Nov 30 '20 at 10:43
  • And I think you misunderstood what I mean by Aqeeda. I meant the basic Aqeeda that's common and on which there is Ijma Ul Ummah. The problem is these things are unimportant and we shouldn't try to dive too deep, more so when we are studying without any proper mentor, as Allah SWT is certainly out of reach of anyone's minds. Why are we, with our limited minds, trying to understand How does He get harmed, for instance. When nobody can even comprehend truly what this means. Just get your beliefs and basic tenets straight. You can't attribute any flaws or weaknesses towards Allah SWT. – gallickgunner Nov 30 '20 at 10:45
  • That is exactly what Ibn Uthaymeen is saying! We affirm it simply and move on! If God says he is harmed, he is harmed! How? He knows best! We hear an we obey. – user42169 Nov 30 '20 at 10:52

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