Is Paradise under the shade of swords?
Written by Muhammad Fajr
Some heretics quote the following Hadith to show Islam is a violent Religion.
Narrated `Abdullah bin Abi `Aufa:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords.”
Reference: Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 73
We know that without a context nothing is to be decided in Islam. The above Hadith has a context. Let us take a look at it.
Narrated Salim Abu An-Nadr:
The freed slave of `Umar bin ‘Ubaidullah who was `Umar’s clerk: `Abdullah bin Abi `Aufa wrote him (i.e. `Umar) a letter that contained the following:– “Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (during a holy battle), waited till the sun had declined and then he got up among the people and said, “O people! Do not wish to face the enemy (in a battle) and ask Allah to save you (from calamities) but if you should face the enemy, then be patient and let it be known to you that Paradise is under the shades of swords.” He then said,, “O Allah! The Revealer of the (Holy) Book, the Mover of the clouds, and Defeater of Al-Ahzab (i.e. the clans of infidels), defeat them infidels and bestow victory upon us.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 210 / Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 266 / Sunan Abu Dawood Book 16, Hadith 2625 / Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4314 / Riyadh as Salihin Book 1, Hadith 53 / Riyadh as Salihin Book 12, Hadith 1324.
So We find that it was during the time of war Muhammad ﷺ was telling to his people that Paradise is under the shade of swords. The Hadith in Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4314 elaborates a little:
It is narrated by Abu Nadr that he learnt from a letter sent by a man from the Aslam tribe, who was a Companion of the Prophet (ﷺ) and whose name was ‘Abdullah b. Abu Aufa, to ‘Umar b. ‘Ubaidullah when the latter marched upon Haruriyya (Khawarij) informing him that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in one of those days when lie was confronting the enemy waited until the sun had declined. Then he stood up (to address the people) and said:
O ye men, do not wish for an encounter with the enemy. Pray to Allah to grant you security; (but) when you (have to) encounter them exercise patience, and you should know that Paradise is under the shadows of the swords. Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up (again) and said: O Allah. Revealer of the Book, Disperser of the clouds, Defeater of the hordes, put our enemy to rout and help us against them.
Taking the whole context into account, clearly, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was hoping to not be in a war and suggested the same to his companions. Moreover, he preached his companions to pray for prosperity. In case war would become inevitable and the end could be death, he reminded that, although it would not be desired, it would also be a big sacrifice which would open the doors to paradise; hence something not to be worried about.