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Explanation of words in a narration in Sahih Muslim

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In the following Hadith the words نفعه , وجدته and فاخرته indicates past tense. What is the explanation?

عن العباس بن عبدالمطلب: قُلتُ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ، إنَّ أبا طالِبٍ كانَ يَحُوطُكَ ويَنْصُرُكَ فَهلْ نَفَعَهُ ذلكَ؟ قالَ: نَعَمْ، وجَدْتُهُ في غَمَراتٍ مِنَ النّارِ، فأخْرَجْتُهُ إلى ضَحْضاحٍ
(صحيح مسلم ٢٠٩)


In cases like this, these words are understood to be used to denote certainty, as is a common occurrence in the sacred texts of Islam; the Quran and Hadith.

This is one form of expression in the Arabic language; to use the past tense, when referring to an occurrence of the future, with the intent of denoting its guaranteed occurrence.

Therefore, this means that it will definitely occur as mentioned, not that it has already happened as such.

Furthermore, in this case, Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) -after quoting the Hadith in question- then quotes the version of Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al-Khudry (radiyallahu’anhu) in which the future tense is used. This supports my explanation above.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

This answer was collected from HadithAnswers.com. The answers were either answered or checked by Moulana Haroon Abasoomar (rahimahullah) who was a Shaykhul Hadith in South Africa, or by his son, Moulana Muhammad Abasoomer (hafizahullah), who is a Hadith specialist. 

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