Hadith of the “Ten People Guaranteed Paradise”

One of the most infamous hadith a fabrication is referred to as, “Ten People Guaranteed Paradise (al-Asharah Mubashsharah bil-Jannah).”

According to this hadith the “ten people guaranteed Paradise” are: (1) Abu Bakr b. Abi Qahafah (2) Umar b. al-Khattab (3) Uthman b. al-Affan (4) Talha b. Ubaydillah (5) Zubayr b. al-Awam (6) Abd al-Rahman b. Auf (7) Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas (8) Abdullah b. Masoud (9) Abu Obaydah b. al-Jarrah and (10) Ali b. Abi Talib. Collectively granting them all paradise puts us in a great dilemma because many of these individuals are known for their questionable character.

To begin with, only al-Tirmidhi includes this hadith, whereas al-Bukhari, al-Muslim, and al-Dhahabi all reject it.[8] It behooves us to ask why the other prominent hadith recorders did not mention this hadith, since being guaranteed Paradise assures that their course of life was traveled correctly. Then who narrated this “hadith?” Near the top of the chain of narrators lies Sa’ed b. Zayd, the son-in-law of the second caliph – a man who refused to pay allegiance to Imam Ali during his caliphate.

Another point to consider is that those guaranteed Paradise should include those who sacrificed their lives and properties in the path of Allah, so why were not the hundreds of martyrs and companions included in this hadith? For example, the “Leader of the Martyrs (Sayyid al-Shuhada),” Hamzah, the uncle of the Holy Prophet is not included in this hadith, nor are any of the Ansar whom the Holy Prophet constantly praised.

Above that, to guarantee Paradise to Talha, Zubayr, Abd al-Rahman b. Auf, and Uthman b. al-Affan would bring about a problem for several reasons. First, Talha, Zubayr, and Abd al-Rahman b. Auf used to call Uthman a “fasiq” (indecent), and they eventually revolted against him during his caliphate. In addition, Talha and Zubayr pressed for a civil war by supporting and joining Lady Aishah in the Battle of the Camel, in which both of them were killed in the battle. Secondly, Uthman and Abd al-Rahman b. Auf (whom Umar nicknamed “the Pharaoh of this nation”[9]), after a falling out, did not speak to one another until death. Furthermore, after Uthman’s assassination, the Muslims were so angry with Uthman that they did not allow for his body to be buried in al-Baqi cemetery; hence, his remains were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Kokab.[10] He remained buried there until Mu’awiyah came to power and included him in the common cemetery of al-Baqi, in Madinah. To add, Sa’d b. Abi al-Waqqas refused to pay allegiance to Imam Ali even when the rest of the ummah accepted him as their fourth caliph. Nevertheless, many Muslim leaders still cite this fabricated hadith, and many Muslims embrace it unquestioningly.

[8] Al-Dhahabi, Mizan al-Itedaal
[9] Ibn Qutaybah, Al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, 24
[10] Ibn Abd al-Birr, Al-Estiaab

When Power and Piety Collide by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini