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I was reading Sahih Bukhari, and stumbled upon the following hadith in Volume 6, Book 60, Number 61:

Allah's Apostle said, "We have more right to be in doubt than Abraham when he said, 'My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.' He said, 'Do you not believe?' He said, 'Yes (I believe) but to be stronger in Faith.' "(2.260)

What exactly is the message of this hadith? It seems to suggest, to me, that being skeptical towards afterlife, or being skeptic in belief (at least to some degree) is a sensible position. Is it correct, or am I misinterpreting this hadith?

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According to the majority opinion, Abraham عليه السلام was not in doubt.

The explanation of the hadith is that when some of the people heard the verse (2:260) they misinterpreted it and said that Abraham had doubted Allah's power while they and their prophet did not.

On this the prophet Muhammad ﷺ refuted them by saying that "We have more right to be in doubt than Abraham", i.e. when we do not have any doubt then it is also not possible for Abraham to have it.

The expression "A has more X than B" is at times used to negate the quality X in both A and B. For example one might say "the devil has more integrity than Jack", the meaning of this is that Jack lacks integrity just as the the devil lacks it.

Reference:

وأما قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( نحن أحق بالشك من إبراهيم ) فمعناه أنه لو كان شاكا لكنا نحن أحق به ونحن لا نشك فإبراهيم عليه السلام أحرى ألا يشك ، فالحديث مبني على نفي الشك عن إبراهيم

Tafsir Ibn 'Atiyyah

وقيل معناه إذا لم نشك نحن فإبراهيم أولى أن لا يشك أي لو كان الشك متطرقا إلى الأنبياء لكنت أنا أحق به منهم وقد علمتم أني لم أشك فاعلموا أنه لم يشك

Fath al-Bari

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  • thanks a lot, this makes sense. however, you said this is the majority opinion. so does this mean that abraham indeed doubted and this hadith can be interpreted wrt to that according to some scholars? – SpiderRico Jan 5 at 9:04
  • @SpiderRico Some have recorded other expositions on the meaning of doubt and regarding exactly what he had doubt. Regarding what is relevant to your question, being skeptical of the afterlife is Kufr and such a belief it is not attributable to a prophet nor considered sensible to have, by any scholar. – UmH Jan 5 at 10:16
  • @UmH Your explanation in your 2nd line! Is there anyone from the Salaf who said that? – user41856 Jan 5 at 14:03

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