Please tell me about the legitimacy of the following narration? According to a narration of A’mash, Azrail, who was in disguise, visited Sulayman, may Allaah exalt his mention, and very carefully looked at a man who was there. The man noticed it. When Azrail left, the man asked Sulayman who he was. When he found out that he was Azrail, he said, "He looked at me as if he was going to take my soul. I am scared." Sulayman asked him, "What do you want me to do?" The man said, "Send me to the other side of India with the wind. Sulayman did what the man asked. When Sulayman met Azrail again, he asked Azrail why he had looked at that man like that. Azrail said, "I was ordered to take the soul of that man in the east of India soon. I was surprised to see him here. That is why I looked at him like that." Thus, what Allaah had predestined took place. The man wanted to escape death but ran towards it.[61 Ihya, IV, 837]
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 is His slave and Messenger.
This story was mentioned by Ibn Abu Shaybah in Al-Musannaf, by Ath-Tha’labi in his Tafseer, by Ahmad in Az-Zuhd, by Ibn Battah in Al-Ibaanah, by Al-Asbahaani in al-‘Athamah, by Ibn Hibatil-Allaah in Taareekh Dimashq (the History of Damascus), and by Abu Nu’aym in Al-Hilyah.
However, their chain of narrators did not go beyond Shahr ibn Hawshab, who was a Taabi’i (of the generation following the Companions).
It is known to the Scholars of Hadeeth that what is attributed to a Taabi’i and stops at him is considered interrupted [i.e. there is a gap in its chain of narrators] thus is from the of weak ahaadeeth. So, the story is not attributed to the Prophet and perhaps it was taken from the Israelites stories. It should also be mentioned that the scholars of Hadeeth criticized Shahr.
Finally, it should be pointed out that there is no authentic evidence that the name of the Angel of Death is 'Azraa'eel (Azrael).
Allaah knows best.
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