The Meaning of “I am from Husayn”

On the authority of Ya’a ibn Murra (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace) said:

Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. Allah loves him who loves Husayn.

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, al-Bukhari (in al-Adab al-Mufrad), Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim, with a chain that suffers from some weakness.

The expressions “So-and-so is from me” and “I am from so-and-so” should be understood according to usage by the Arabs, examples of which are found in the Qur’an and Sunna.

“Husayn is from me” means: Husayn follows my way and does not swerve from it.

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{When Saul went forth with the soldiers, he said, “Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not from me, and whoever does not taste it – excepting one who takes from it in the hollow of his hand-  is indeed from me”} (2:249)

Abraham said: {My Lord, indeed [these idols] have led astray many among the people. So whoever follows me – then he is from me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are Forgiving and Merciful} (14:36)

Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) passed by a mound of wheat. He was inspired to put his hand into the middle of the pile and found the food in the center to be wet (and therefore close to going bad). He (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to the trader, “What is this?” The man replied, “Rain fell on it oh Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever cheats is not from me.”  (Narrated by Muslim)

Imam Nawawi said: “It means he does not follow my guidance, and does not take my knowledge, action, and beautiful way as his example. This is like when a father is not happy with the action of his son and says to him: ‘You are not from me.'”

The Messenger of Allah also said: “Whoever cheats us (i.e. the believers) is not from us.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Al-Zamakhshari said: “It means that cheating is not from the actions and characteristics of the believers.”

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever seeks something different from my Sunna is not from me.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).

Therefore when the Arabs say “so-and-so is from me” they mean that they are united in their ways, and whoever is displeased with someone’s action says, “so-and-so is not from me.”

“and I am from Husayn” means: I approve fully of the actions of Husayn.

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Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“When the people of the Ash’ari tribe run short of food during battles, or when their families and dependents run short of food in the city, they collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally by measuring it with a bowl. Therefore they are from me, and I am from them.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told Ka’b ibn Ujra about rulers that will come in the future. He said: “Whoever believes their lies and assists them in their oppression is not from me, and I am not from him….as for he who does not believe their lies, and does not assist them in their oppression, he is from me, and I am from him…”  (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi)

Therefore “I am from him and he is from me” is an expression of full approval of, and support for, the actions of another, and shows that one would so the same as the other. So when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), said: “Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn,” he meant that Husayn will follow the way of his grandfather the Messenger of Allah, and that the Messenger of Allah was fully pleased with the actions that al-Husayn will undertake in the future, and was fully in support of them.

It must be remembered that al-Husayn was seven years old when the Messenger of Allah died, meaning that he was still a child and not yet mukallaf (he had not yet reached the age when he is legally and religiously accountable), and it is clear, therefore, that the Messenger of Allah was not talking about the actions of al-Husayn as a child.

That is why al-Qadi Iyad said: “It is as if he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) knew through the light of revelation of what will happen between al-Husayn and those people (who will kill him), therefore he singled him out in mention, and showed that they are as one with regard to the obligation of loving them, and the prohibition of going against them or fighting them. Then he supported and emphasized this again by his statement, ‘Allah loves him who loves Husayn.'”

If this statement of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is authentic, the intended meaning is not only to show the unity and close connection between himself and al-Husayn and that al-Husayn should be loved and respected as one loves and respects the Messenger of Allah. The statement is also intended to show that in the future, it is al-Husayn who will be on the side of the truth, and whose actions will be the most correct, and that God’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) fully supports al-Husayn’s future actions.  And Allah (most great) knows best.

Written November 2014

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