There is a hadith “Difference of opinion in my Community is a mercy for people”. Is this hadith authentic? I’ve heard that scholars questioned its authenticity, and some even said it has no basis. If the hadith is not authentic, is the meaning correct? What i mean, is that, is the saying “Difference of opinion in my (Prophet’s) Community is a mercy for people” a correct saying, and is true? What is the meaning of this hadith?
Imaam Suyuti (RA) has mentioned the following Hadith in his ?al-Jaami-us-saghir?: Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ?The Ikhtilaaf (disagreement) of my Ummat is a mercy.?
Imam Suyuti (RA) then mentions: This Hadith has been quoted by Imaam Nasir al-Maqdisi and Imaam Bayhaqi without any mention of its chain of narrators. And it has also been quoted by al-Haleemi, Imaamul Haramayn and others. So, possibly it’s chain of narrators has been mentioned in some of those works which has not reached us. (al-Jaami-us-Saghir Hadith288)
However, Hafiz al-Iraaqi (RA) has mentioned that it has been narrated through a weak chain of narrators by Imaam Adam ibn Abi Iyaas. (Maqaasidul Hasanah and Takhrij Ihyaa)
Furthermore, it has been reported from Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (RA) that he said, ?It pleases me that the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhu) disagreed on some matters because if not, then there would have only been one view and this would be difficult on the people.? Similar statements have been recorded from Imaam Qaasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (RA) and Imaam Aun ibn Abdullah ibn Utbah ibn Mas?ood (RA). (See Jaamiu Bayaanil ilm wa fadhlihi of Imaam ibn Abdul-Barr vol.2 pg.80 and Sunan al-Darimi vol.1 pg.151) In fact, this has also been echoed by Haafiz ibn Taymiyyah in his Majmoo?ul Fataawa and other great Ulama.
The meaning of this statement has been explained in the words of Khalifa Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz.
Also refer to Jazeelul Mawaahib fee ikhtilaafil Madhaahih of Imaam Suyuti (RA), (the translation of the title is ?Abundant Favours in the disagreement of the different schools of thought) and Adabul Ikhtilaaf of Shaykh Muhammad Awwaamah (pgs-25-33).
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Moulana Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon Abassommar
FACULTY OF SPECIALTY IN HADITH
CHECKED AND APPROVED: Mufti Ebrahim Desai