The Narration of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) Contemplation of Suicide is Inauthentic in Terms of Its Transmission and Textual Content


Sheikh Saalih Al-Munajjid

Translated by:

Abu Nadm al-Zahiri

Translation Revised by:

Bassam Zawadi



During my research online, I found a comment stating that in the historical collection of Bukhari, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have attempted suicide, but I didn't find the specific report in the collection, which was necessary in order to dismantle this doubt. If you would be so kind, I would like to know the specific report in Bukhari's collection along with a detailed explanation. Thanks so much.


Praise the Lord.

First of all:

The narration about which our brother is asking about is present in Bukhari's collection as narration number 6581 in the chapter of "Interpretation of Dreams" under the section heading "Commencement of the Divine Revelation to Allah's Messenger (saws) was in the form of good dreams" The exact wording is:

"Az-Zuhri said: 'Urwah informed me on the authority of A'isha (may God be pleased with her) that she said:. the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet (peace be upon him) became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Messenger () in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said before."

Second of all:

This addition is not from the speech of A'isha, rather it is the statement of Az-Zuhri. He was from the second generation of Muslims and did not witness any of these incidents, nor did he remark that any of the companions of the Prophet informed him of this. He clarifies this in the very narration itself with his statement: "in what has reached us."

Ibn Hajar (may God have mercy on him) said:

"Thus, the one who made the statement 'in what has reached us' was Az-Zuhri, and the meaning of his statement is: in this sentence is that which has reached us regarding the Prophet (peace be upon him) in regards to this story. It is merely an addition from what has reached Az-Zuhri and is not actually connected back to the original narration, as Al-Kirmani said: this is what is apparent."(Fath al-Bari, volume 12, page 359)

Abu Shama al-Maqdisi (may God have mercy on him) said:

"This is the statement of Az-Zuhri or someone else other than A'isha - God knows best - due to the phrase: 'in what has reached us,' and Aisha did not say anything from what was mentioned in the hadith." (Sharh al-Hadith al-Muqtafa fi Mab'ath an-Nabi al-Mustafa, page 177)

Third of all:

Additions of Az-Zuhri from that which reached him are not accepted because their chain of narration is disconnected to begin with, thus they are considered to be "hanging" narrations in both the terminological and practical sense. The mere presence of hanging narrations like this in the collection of Bukhari doesn't mean that Bukhari considered them to be authentic, or that it would be accurate to say that Bukhari narrated them, because that which Bukhari is said to have narrated authentically is only in regards to that which he narrated with a complete chain from beginning to end.

Sheikh Albani (may God have mercy on him) said:

"To ascribe this narration as being one of Bukhari's is a manifest error, because one who ascribes such a thing imagines that this story of jumping off the mountain is authentic according to the conditions of Bukhari himself. This is not the case, and the proof is that Bukhari narrated this event himself at the end of A'isha's statement in the chapter of "How the Revelation Began".[Albani goes on to quote the full narration].

"This narration along with Az-Zuhri's addition has been recorded by Ahmad (volume 6, pages 232-233), Abu Nu'aym (ad-Dala`il, pages 68-69), and Al-Baihaqi in his ad-Dala`il, volume 1, pages 393-395), via Abdur Razzaq on the authority of Ma'mar. It has also been narrated via this route by Muslim (volume 1, page 98), but he did not narrate the expression; rather, he only referred to the expression narrated by Yunus on the authority of Ibn Shihab without Az-Zuhri's addition. Muslim and Ahmad (volume 6, page 223) both narrated it this way via Aqil bin Khalid on the authority of Ibn Shihab without Az-Zuhri's addition. Bukhari also narrated it this way in the beginning of his collection via Aqil.

"Thus I [Albani] say: we may conclude, from the above, that the addition to the narration contains two defects:

The first: only Ma'mar narrated it this way, while Yunus and Aqil did not; thus it is rendered an oddity (shaadha).

The second: its chain of narration is disconnected at two consecutive levels (mursala mu'adalla). The phrase "in what has reached us" is the addition of Az-Zuhri, as is clear from the expression, as Ibn Hajar declared in his al-Fath.

So I [Albani] say: this is something which the Dr. [meaning: Dr. Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti, author of the book which Albani is criticizing] has either forgotten or failed to realize, as he seems to think that every letter of Bukhari's collection must be authentic according to his own conditions. Perhaps he has failed to differentiate between that which has a complete chain of narration and that which has an incomplete chain, just as he failed to differentiate between the authentic narration which contains additions and the inauthentic narration which contains some authentic information. An example of this is the narration of A'isha, which contains at the end of it this inauthentic addition. So know that this addition is not present in any of the narrations with complete authentic chains, which are accepted as proof as I clarified in my book Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da'ifa, number 4858, and as I pointed out in my commentary on my summarized version of Bukhari's collection." (Difa' 'an al-Hadith an-Nabawi, pages 40-41)

Fourth of all:

Other chains of narration are available wherein we find the story about the Prophet (peace be upon him) attempting suicide after the revelation ceased for the first time. All of these chains are rejected and are either falling into the categories of inauthentic or fabricated.

From them:

1) The chain of Ibn Mardawayh:

Ibn Hajar (may God have mercy on him) said: "there is to be found in the book at-Tafsir of Ibn Mardawayh, via Muhammad bin Kathir on the authority of Ma'mar, the narration without the phrase "in what has reached us", but with the rest of the statement "led him to the cliffs of a mountain." and so forth. Thus, it was rendered as an insertion into the narration of Az-Zuhri on the authority of 'Urwa on the authority of A'isha, and the first version is the reliable one." (Fath al-Bari, volume 12, pages 359-360)

The meaning of Ibn Hajar's statement "and the first version is the reliable one" refers to the narration of Az-Zuhri which includes the phrase "in what has reached us" and this phrase is not authentically linked to the chain of narration.

Albani (may God have mercy on him) commented in regard to Ibn Hajar's judgment: "he is supported by two points. The first is that Muhammad bin Kathir is a weak narrator - due to his defective memory - and he is also known as as-San'ani al-Masisi. Ibn Hajar said he is honest, but very error-prone, and he is not the same person as Muhammad bin Kathir al-Abdi al-Basri, who is a strong narrator. The second is that this narration contradicts the narration of Abdur Razzaq who narrated from Ma'mar,which distinguished the beginning of the whole quote from the end, and clearly signified the end of it as an addition by Az-Zuhri. All this points to the error of Muhammad bin Kathir as-San'ani for including this addition and it's weakness has been established." (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da'ifa wal-Maudu'a, volume 10, page 453)

2) The chain of Ibn Sa'd:

Muhammad bin Sa'd said: Muhammad bin Umar informed us that Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa narrated from Dawud bin al-Hussain from Abu Ghatafan bin Tarif from Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would spend days without seeing Gabriel and was befallen by a great sadness when the revelation would descend upon him at the cave of Hira. So great was his sadness that he would go to Thubair, or sometimes Hira, wanting to throw himself from them. So he (peace be upon him) would take himself to the top and would hear a voice from the sky at which point the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would freeze where he was upon hearing the voice, and would then raise his head. Lo and behold, Gabriel was on a chair between the sky and the earth closing in around him and said "O Muhammad, you truly are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel." Ibn Abbas said: So the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would leave. God would open his eyes and cause his soul to become firm and the revelations would again continue and satiate his desire. (at-Tabaqat al-Kubra, volume 1, page. 196)

Albani (may God have mercy on him) said: "This chain of narration is fabricated. This is either from one of two people. Muhammad bin Umar - and he is al-Waqidi - is accused of fabrication, as Ibn Hajar said in his book at-Taqrib: 'He is abandoned, despite the depth of his knowledge.' The verdicts of the scholars regarding him have preceded more than once.

The other person is Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Musa - and he is Ibn Abi Yahya - and his real name is: Sam'an Al-Aslami the freed man of Abu Ishaq al-Madani. He is abandoned as well just like al-Waqidi or even worse. Ibn Hajar also said about him: 'abandoned,' and narrated in at-Taqrib the critical statements of the scholars regarding him, and they almost constitute absolute consensus on his dishonesty. From those statements is that of al-Harbi: 'The scholars of prophetic tradition loathe his narrations; al-Waqidi narrated on his authority that which resembles fabrication, though al-Waqidi made things worse.'

And al-Harbi's statement regarding the chain itself: 'Ibn Abi Musa - and I believe he is in actuality Ibn Abi Yahya, but his name was changed intentionally by al-Waqidi as he has done with others - was stated by Abd al-Ghani bin Sa'id al-Masri to be Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi 'Ata who was criticized by Ibn Juraij. He is also Abd al-Wahhab who was criticized by Marwan bin Mu'awiya and he is Abu adh-Dhi`b who was criticized by Ibn Juraij.'" (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Dai'fa wal-Maudu'a, volume 10, page 451)

3) The chain of at-Tabari:

Ibn Jarir at-Tabari said: Ibn Humaid said that Salama narrated on the authority of Muhammad bin Ishaq from Wahb bin Kaisan freedman of the people of az-Zubair who heard from Abd Allah bin az-Zubair who said to 'Ubaid bin 'Umair bin Qatada al-Laithi who said: O 'Ubaid, what was the beginning of the prophetic revelation to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) like back when Gabriel (peace be upon him) came to him? So 'Ubaid said - and Abd Allah bin az-Zubair said that he and those with him were present - that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) would take off to the cave of Hira for a month every year. Gabriel came to him by the order of God and the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: "he came to me, while I was sleeping, with a sort of silk wrapping with a book inside it and said: Read. I asked what I should read, so he seized me until I thought I would face death, and then released me and said: Read. I asked what I should read, and I only said that so he wouldn't grab a hold of me again. He said: {Read in the name of your Lord Who created} up to {He taught man that which he did not know}." The Prophet said: "So I recited it," and then said: "Then it ended and he left me in my sleep and it was as though he had written that book in my heart." He then said: "There was nothing from all of God's creation more hated to me than a poet or a madman; I couldn't even look at such people. He said: I said: indeed this is the furthest person - meaning himself! - from a poet or a madman, as the Quraish never said that about me, to intentionally go to the high barren mountain to throw myself from it in order to kill myself and gain some sort of peace." He said: "So I went out wanting to do exactly that until I was halfway to the mountain when I heard a voice from the sky saying: O Muhammad, truly you are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel." He said: "I lifted my head to the sky and lo and behold, Gabriel was there in the image of a man with his feet resting at the horizon saying: O Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel." (Tarikh at-Tabari, volume 1, pages 532-533)

The text of this narration is rejected in light of its contradiction of the authentic versions, for in this version there is a meeting of the Prophet (peace be upon him) with Gabriel in a dream rather than being awake! Also, therein is the statement "what should I read!" Both of these are false. The meeting between the two messengers wasn't during sleep, and that which he (peace be upon him) said was "I can't read," cancelling the ability to read at all, yet this rejected narration holds that he was literate.

As for the chain of narration, then Albani (may God have mercy on him) said: "However in this chain there is nothing to be happy about, especially with its contradiction to that which has preceded from the strong narrators. There are several defects. The first is Irsaal, as 'Ubaid bin 'Umair was not from the first generation of Muslims, rather he was from the older members of the second generation having been born during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The second: Salama - and he is Ibn al-Fadl al-Abrash - was said by Ibn Hajar to be an honest man, but very error prone. I [Albani] say: In addition to that, he is contradicted by Ziyad bin Abd Allah al-Bakkaa`i who narrated the book "as-Sira" on the authority of Ibn Ishaq,. Also, via this same route narrated Ibn Hisham, and Ibn Hajar said regarding him: he is an honest man as affirmed in al-Maghazi. Ibn Hisham recorded this narration in as-Sira (volume 1, pages 252-253) from him from Ibn Ishaq without the addition, which I placed between the two brackets [], and between them is the rejected story about considering suicide.

It is possible that al-Abrash alone included it in opposition to al-Bakkaa`i and it is thusrejected from another angle due to this opposition, as the narration is recorded without this addition by Ibn Ishaq, as the previous statement of Ibn Hajar indicates.

And it is also possible that Ibn Hisham himself left it out of the book due to the narration's false meaning and due to its contradicting the notion of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) infallibility. Ibn Hisham did imply this in the introduction of his book, as he said in volume one, page four: '.leaving out some of what Ibn Ishaq recorded in this book from that which is not authentically reported about the Messenger of God (peace be upon him).and things which indicate the narration's weakness.'

And this is all said in regards to the possibility of the narration's being free from the following third defect: Ibn Humaid - and is name is Muhammad ar-Razi - is a very weak narrator. A group of scholars have declared him to be a liar, from them Abu Zur'ah ar-Razi.

In short: the narration is inauthentic both in terms of the soundness of its chain and the accuracy of the text. The heart of the believer is not comfortable with the claims of these weak narrators in regards to that which is attributed to the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) as far as considering killing himself by jumping off a mountain. And the Prophet is the one who said - in that which actually is authentically linked to him - that "whoever throws himself from a mountain and kills himself will be in the fires of Hell throwing himself within it forever and ever." This is agreed upon by the two collections of Bukhari and Muslim and in at-Targhib (volume 3, pages 205). This lack of comfort in accepting these claims is especially strong in light of the fact that these weak narrators contradicted the trustworthy scholars whose narrations are accepted and who also transmitted this report." (Silsila al-Ahadith ad-Da'ifa wal-Maudu'a volume 10, pages 455-457)


The weakness of the chains of narration in which it is claimed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) attempted suicide has been confirmed; even the falsehood and fabrication of these chains, in fact. It is not hidden that the text is also false and rejected and that is from several angles:

1) The period in which the revelation ceased was in order to allow for the subsiding of the fear, which our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) endured from the first time the revelation came to him. It was also for the sake of preparing for what would come after it. How could he possibly have faced such a cessation while contemplating suicide? Ibn Tulun as-Salihi (may God have mercy on him) said:

"The wisdom in the cessation of revelation - and God knows best - was so that what he (peace be upon him) experienced in terms of fear could subside, and so a desire for that revelation to return could develop." (Subul al-Huda war-Rashad fi Sira Khair al-'Ibad volume 2, page 272)

2) The Prophet (peace be upon him) never doubted his own status as a prophet for one minute, as Almighty God made his heart firm via the revelation and the fear he felt the first time he experienced revelation merely indicates his humanity and the intensity of the revelation. After that (i.e. the first revelation) he (peace be upon him) would sometimes suffer during particular forms of revelation.


The narration regarding the Prophet's (peace be upon him) contemplation of suicide due to the delay of further revelations after the first one is inauthentic and the addition in the collection of Bukhari does not meet his own conditions and thus cannot be attributed to his own personal reports. Indeed, Bukhari himself affirmed this addition as being the statement of none other than Az-Zuhri, as it is an inauthentic addition with a disconnected chain of transmission. We explained here that the report has numerous other narrations and all of them confirm the weakness of the story, both in terms of its chain and its textual accuracy.



Original Arabic Source -


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