Changing the wording of a hadeeth
Fatwa No: 306454

  • Fatwa Date:20-12-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 9, 1437
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Question

Assalaam alaykum. During a discussion with a Christian, I referred to the hadith of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, that mentions that smiling to your brother is charity. The thing is is that I changed the word 'brother' to 'someone', so I said, "Smiling to someone is charity." My question is: does this constitute lying about the prophet? If so, then what is required of me because I am aware that the Prophet said that whoever tells a lie on him, then let him take his seat in Hell.

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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The authentic version of the hadeeth reads, "Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity..." [At-Tirmithi and others - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)]

The statement that you mentioned, "Your smiling in the face of someone is charity," is not a hadeeth as far as we know. If you mistakenly changed it and did not deliberately lie about a hadeeth attributable to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then you bear no sin for that. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Verily, Allaah, The Exalted, has pardoned for me my community: their mistakes, their forgetfulness, and that which they are forced to do under duress." [Ibn Maajah - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh]

The relevant warning applies only to deliberately attributing a lie to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as evidenced by the hadeeth that reads, "Whoever deliberately tells lies about me, let him take his place in Hellfire."

Allaah knows best.

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