The Variant on the Valley of Riches


Bassam Zawadi


Here is the hadith which talks about the alleged "missing Quranic verse": 

        Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 445:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "If the son of Adam had money equal to a valley, then he will wish for another similar to it, for nothing can satisfy the eye of Adam's son except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him." Ibn 'Abbas said: I do not know whether this saying was quoted from the Qur'an or not. 'Ata' said, "I heard Ibn AzZubair saying this narration while he was on the pulpit."Anchor

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 446:

Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd:

I heard Ibn Az-Zubair who was on the pulpit at Mecca, delivering a sermon, saying, "O men! The Prophet used to say, "If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam's son except dust. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him." Ubai said, "We considered this as a saying from the Qur'an till the Sura (beginning with) 'The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you..' (102.1) was revealed." 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 005, Number 2285:

Ibn Abbas reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: If there were for the son of Adam a valley full of riches, he would long to possess another one like it. and Ibn Adam does not feel satiated but with dust. 1413 And Allah returns to him who returns (to HiM). 1414 Ibn Abbas said: I do not know whether it is from the Qur'an or not; and in the narration transmitted by Zuhair it was said: I do not know whether it is from the Qur'an, and he made no mention of Ibn Abbas. 

Some of the Prophet's companions (peace be upon him) weren't sure if the Qur'an's statement, "If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust," was part of it. Some of them even thought that it was. 

It turns out that the statement was nothing more than a hadith. Here are some hadiths which prove that this is the case: 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 444:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

I heard the Prophet saying, "If the son of Adam (the human being) had two valley of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam's son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him."

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 447:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle said, "If Adam's son had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him." 

Imam Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani says in Fathul Bari:

فلما نزلت هذه السورة وتضمنت معنى ذلك مع الزيادة عليه علموا أن الأول من كلام النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم , وقد شرحه بعضهم على أنه كان قرآنا ونسخت تلاوته لما نزلت ( ألهاكم التكاثر حتى زرتم المقابر ) فاستمرت تلاوتها فكانت ناسخة لتلاوة ذلك                                                                                                                                                                  

When this Surah was revealed and expressed the same meaning as it (the Adam statement) they knew that the first statement (the Adam statement) was from the statements of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Some of them explained it to be part of the Quran and then its recitation was abrogated when 'The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you..' (102.1) was revealed." so its recitation persisted so it abrogated the recitation of that (the Adam statement). But it's wisdom and ruling was not abrogated if its recitation was abrogated. 

ومنه ما وقع عند أحمد وأبي عبيد في " فضائل القرآن " من حديث أبي واقد الليثي قال " كنا نأتي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا نزل عليه فيحدثنا , فقال لنا ذات يوم : إن الله قال إنما أنزلنا المال لإقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة , ولو كان لابن   آدم واد لأحب أن يكون له ثان " الحديث بتمامه , وهذا يحتمل أن يكون النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أخبر به عن الله تعالى على أنه من القرآن , ويحتمل أن يكون من الأحاديث القدسية , والله أعلم وعلى الأول فهو مما نسخت تلاوته جزما وإن كان حكمه  مستمرا                                                                                                                                                         

And it also occurred at Ahmad and Abi Ubayd in "Virtues of the Quran" from hadith Abi Waqid Al Labani who said "We used to go to the Prophet (peace be upon him) if something was revealed to him so he would tell us, so he told us that day: Allah says "We have sent down money for the establishment of prayer and payment of Zakat,  and if the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys." that is the very hadith, and it is possible that the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed that this is a verse from the Quran, and it is also possible that it is from the Qudsi Hadith, and God knows and if it is the first (meaning first explanation that it was part of the Quran) then it is what was abrogated from recitation even though its wisdom and rulings are still implemented. (Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani, Fathul Bari, Kitab: Al Raqaaq, Bab: Maa Yataqey Min Fitnatil Maal, Commentary on Hadith no. 5959, Source)

Again this just takes us back to the whole issue of abrogation. Or, as the commentary says, it could be a Qudsi Hadith. Now, for those who don't know what a Qudsi hadith is, here is the definition: 

Hadith Qudsi are the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) as revealed to him by the Almighty Allah. Hadith Qudsi (or Sacred Hadith) are so named because, unlike the majority of Hadith which are Prophetic Hadith, their authority (Sanad) is traced back not to the Prophet but to the Almighty.

Among the many definitions given by the early scholars to Sacred Hadith is that of as-Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani (died in 816 A.H.) in his lexicon At-Tarifat where he says: "A Sacred Hadith is, as to the meaning, from Allah the Almighty; as to the wording, it is from the messenger of Allah (PBUH). It is that which Allah the Almighty has communicated to His Prophet through revelation or in dream, and he, peace be upon him, has communicated it in his own words. Thus Qur'an is superior to it because, besides being revealed, it is His wording." (Source)



The Quran is preserved the way God had intended it to be. When we Muslims argue that the memory of the early Muslims has passed down the Quran, we are obviously not talking about some divine memory because they were human beings just like us. Some would naturally tend to forget some verses of the Quran. However, NOT ALL THE MUSLIMS WOULD FORGET the ENTIRE Quran. That's why every year during the month of Ramadan, Muslims recite the whole Quran in their Taraweeh prayers. Sometimes, the Imam would make a mistake, and the people praying behind him would correct him. This shows that if anyone ever forgot a verse of the Quran, there would be others to correct him. This is how Allah Almighty preserved the Quran. 

Now, as for this statement of the valley of riches, it is clear that it was really a Qudsi hadith. A Qudsi hadith is still a revelation from God but expressed in the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So it is possible that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) told them that Allah told him this statement, they mistakenly believed that it was a Quranic revelation. Even if it was a Quranic revelation, then its recitation was abrogated, and its wisdom is still maintained.

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