Can this narration be quoted to prove the virtue of Quran?
سمعت عبد الله بن أحمد بن حنبل يقول: سمعت أبي – رحمة الله عليه – يقول: رأيت رب العزة في النوم فقلت: يا رب، ما أفضل ما يتقرب المتقربون به إليك؟ فقال: بكلامي يا أحمد، فقلت: يا رب بفهم أم بغير فهم؟ فقال: بفهم وبغير فهم
This narration is recorded in Manaqibul Imam Ahmad of Ibnul Jawzi, Siyaru A’alamin Nubala and An Nashr Fil Qira’atil ‘Ashr with its full chain.
(Manaqibul Imam Ahmad, pg. 583-584, Siyaru A’alamin Nubala, vol. 11 pg. 347, An Nashr Fil Qira’atil ‘Ashr, vol. 1 pg. 18)
It has also been cited by Imam Ghazali and ‘Allamah Munawi (rahimahumallah).
(Ihya ‘Ulumid Din, vol. 2 pg. 263, Faydul Qadir, Hadith: 1304 and 6269)
I have not come across several narrators in the chain. However, the Muhaddithun have relaxed the stringent rules in incidents of this nature. This is in addition to the fact that the above sources have all cited this incident as a merit of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) without objection.
(Refer: Al Jami’u Li Akhlaqir Rawi of Hafiz Khatib Baghdadi, vol. 2 pg. 182 onward. Also see: Al Isnadu Minad Din, pg. 36-37 and footnotes on Ma’alim Irshadiyyah of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah hafizahullah, pg. 292-293)
Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahumallah) says: “I heard my father (rahimahullah) say: ‘I saw Allah in a dream and asked, ‘O My Rabb! What is the best [deed] that those seeking proximity to You may carry out?’. He replied, ‘Through My Speech [i.e. The Quran] O Ahmad.’ I asked, ‘O My Rabb! [Does it have to be recited] with understanding or without understanding [to attain this virtue].’ Allah ‘Azza wa Jalla replied, ‘With understanding or without.’”
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved 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.