Answered by: Maulana Mujahid Hussain
I wanted to know the meaning of this Hadith, it is as follows:
“On the Day of Resurrection, some of the Muslims will come with sins like mountains, but Allaah will forgive them and will put them (the sins) onto the Jews and Christians.” Sahih Muslim 2767
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
This Hadith is narrated with different wordings, the most correct wordings according to the scholars of Hadith is as follows;
Abu Musa’ reported that Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said:
When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your rescue from Hell-Fire.
The second wording is:
On the Day of Resurrection, some of the Muslims will come with sins like mountains, but Allah will forgive them and will put them (the sins) onto the Jews and Christians.”
With regards to the meaning of the first, al-Nawawi said in his commentary:
الجنة خلفه الكافر في النار لاستحقاقه ذلك بكفره . معنى ( فكاكك من النار ) أنك كنت معرضا لدخول النار ، وهذا فكاكك ; لأن الله تعالى قدر لها عددا يملؤها ، فإذا دخلها الكفار بكفرهم وذنوبهم صاروا في معنى الفكاك للمسلمين .
“The meaning of this Hadith is the same as the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah: “For each person there is a place in Paradise and a place in Hell.” When the believer enters Paradise, his place in Hell is taken over by the non believer because he deserves that because of his kufr. The meaning of the phrase “Your ransom from the Fire” is that you could have entered Hell, but this is your ransom because Allah has decreed a certain number to fill it; when the non believers enter Hell because of their kufr and sins, this is like a ransom for the Muslims.”
As for the Hadith you have mentioned in your question (which is Hadith number two), the scholars have two varying approaches to it; some holding the view this wording is incorrect, whilst others after accepting theses wording have interpreted it in different ways.
Amongst the Scholars who hold the view this wording is incorrect include;البخاري, البيهقي, الحافظ ابن حجر
They make the following observations;
This Hadith is narrated by eight narrators from Abu Burdah ( رضي الله عنه ) and all of them narrate it with the wording of the first or similar wordings.
The second wording is only reported by غيلان بن جرير from أبو بردة who reports from his father, furthermore this chain it’s self has varying versions.
Imam Bukhari has reported it with the following chains in his التاريخ الكبير :
فمرة يقول بعضهم : عن أبي بردة ، عن أبيه ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم .
وأخرى يقول آخر : عن أبي بردة ، عن عبد الله بن يزيد.
ويقول آخر : عن أبي بردة ، عن رجل من أصحاب ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم .
وجاء مرة عن أبي بردة ، عن رجل من الأنصار ، عن أبيه .
ومرة عن أبي بردة ، عن رجل من الأنصار ، عن بعض أهله
Then Imam-Bukhari indicates this wording is not authentic
Imam Bayhaqi also pointed out another problem with this particular wording;
“اللفظ الذي تفرد بها شداد أبو طلحة بروايته في هذا الحديث . وهو قوله : ( ويضعها على اليهود النصارى ) مع شك الراوي فيه : لا أراه محفوظا . والكافر لا يعاقب بذنب غيره . قال الله عز وجل : ( لا تزر وازرة وزر أخرى )
وإنما لفظ الحديث على ما رواه سعيد بن أبي بردة ، وغيره ، عن أبي بردة”
The wording “the sins will be placed upon the Jews and Christians “ are only narrated by Shaddad Abu Talha, moreover he narrates the wordings saying “ I think he said this “ I (Imam Bayhaqi speaking) do not view this narration as preserved correctly and a non- believer cannot be punished for the sins of others as Allah ( سبحانه و تعالى ) tells us in the Quran no one will carry the sins of another “
We learn not only is the wording Shaazشاذ )),but the narrator himself is unsure and uncertain of his narration.
Ibn Hajar said the following in Fathul-Bari
” وفي حديث الباب وما بعده – وهي أحاديث تحت باب القصاص يوم القيامة – دلالة على ضعف الحديث الذي أخرجه مسلم من رواية غيلان بن جرير … – وذكر الحديث ونقل عن البيهقي تضعيفه – “
“There are other Hadith which indicate the wording narrated by Imam Muslim from غيلان بن جرير are weak “
The scholars also mention a few possible explanations for this Hadith if it was accepted.
Mufi Taqi Usmani in Takmila-Fahul-Mulhim explains the Hadith as follows :
“ This Hadees tells us how Allah ( سبحانه و تعالى ) will deal with the sins of those who believe and those who disbelieve, as for the believers, Allah ( سبحانه و تعالى ) will forgive their sins whilst the sins of the disbelievers will be placed upon their backs, meaning Allah ( سبحانه و تعالى ) will take them account for their sins and not forgive them. The words “ he will put the sins on to the Jews and Christians” does not means he will put the sins of the believers on to the disbelievers, but rather he will put their own sins on their backs, thus informing us he will take them fully account for their sins”
A possible second explanation is what Imam Nawawi has mentioned above
A third explanation is based on the following Ayah
لِيَحْمِلُوا أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ الَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ – 16:25
That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they misguide without knowledge. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.
Meaning this Hadees refers to those Jews or Christians who would misguide others and it is well knows whoever misguides others he will get the sins of the wrong actions carried out by those who he has misguided.
Only Allah Knows best.
Written by Maulana Mujahid Hussain
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Saheeh muslim 6838 with commentary of Fathul-mulhim
شرح النوويللصحيح لمسلم باب كتاب التوبة Commentary is under Hadees 2767
قَالَ أَبو عَبد اللهِ: والخبر عَنِ النَّبيِّ صَلى اللَّهُ عَلَيه وسَلم فِي الشَّفاعة، وأن قومًا يُعذبون، ثم يخرجون، أكثر وأَبيَنُ وأَشهَرُ
See التاريخ الكبير volume 1 page 39 print دار المعارف
البعث و النشور from Hadees number 84- 90 print مركز الخدمات ببيروت
فتح الباري كتاب الرقاق باب القصاص يوم القيامة under Hadees 6169
تكملة فنح الملهمبتصرف volume 6 page 32 under Hadees 6945 print دار إحياء التراث العربي
This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.