Is this narration reliable?
أحب توبة إلى الله توبة شابّ
I have not come across these exact words in a Hadith.
The following words have appeared in a Hadith:
ما من شيء أحب إلى الله عز وجل من شاب تائب
“There is nothing more beloved to Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla than a youngster who repents.”
This Hadith has been reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Salman Al Farisi (radiyallahu ‘anhu) with a very weak chain. The Hadith has also been reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu). ‘Allamah Dhahabi (rahimahullah) has declared this version extremely weak (من مناكيره)
(Refer: Al Mudawi, Hadith: 3104 and Lisanul Mizan, vol. 6 pg. 305, number: 5992)
The following narrations should be quoted instead which explain the virtue of a youngster who devotes himself to ‘ibadah:
1) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “… Allah Ta’ala will grant shade to seven types of people on the Day of Qiyamah, a day when there will be no shade but His… The second category being, ‘That youngster who grew up worshipping Allah Ta’ala…”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 660, 1423, 6806 and Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1031)
2) Yazid ibn Maysarah (rahimahullah) says:
“Allah Ta’ala boasts to the angels regarding a youngster who is engaged in the ‘ibadah of Allah. Allah says, ‘Look at my servant, he has given up his desires for my sake.’”
(Az Zuhd of Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal, Hadith: 547. See here)
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.