Hadeeth: “The Sultan is the shadow of Allah on earth”
Fatwa No: 174979

  • Fatwa Date:6-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 13, 1433
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Question

Salam... I would like to bring your attention to; As-Sultān dhillullāh fi’l-ard, “The Sultan is the shadow of Allah on earth” is a saying of Ka‘b al-Ahbār as stated by al-Daraqutnî, al-Zarkashî and and al-Suyûtî. Is that an authentic or a sound Hadith? If it is, what does it mean?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

This wording is mentioned in a Hadeeth (narration) attributed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and which was reported by Al-Bazzaar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his Musnad from Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and by At-Tabaraani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him from Abu Bakrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and by Ibn Khuzaymah and by Al-Bayhaqi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them in Shu’ab Al-Eemaan from Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him.

This Hadeeth was reported with different wordings and the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them differed in opinion about their ruling on it. Some of them ruled that some of its expressions were fabricated and some of its expressions were Dha’eef [weak], while some other scholars classified the Hadeeth as Hasan [good].

On the other hand, Shaykh Al-Albaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him classified the narration by Abu Bakrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him as Hasan in his book entitled Thilaal Al-Jannah. The narration reads, “The Sultan (i.e. the Muslim ruler) is the shadow of Allaah on earth, so whoever honors him (the Sultan), Allaah will honor him, and whoever despises him, Allaah will despise him.

The meaning of the Hadeeth is likening the Sultan with shade, as the people get rest from the coolness of his justice as opposed to the heat of (his) injustice but he repels harm from the people in the same manner that the shade prevents the heat of the sun. This is how Al-Munaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him interpreted it in his book entitled Faydh Al-Qadeer.

Allaah Knows best.

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