Ascertaining the most accurate wording of the hadeeth of ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit “…unless you see public Kufr for which you have evidence from Allaah”
It is reported in the al-Jaami’ as-Saheeh al-Bukhaari,
Told us Isma’eel, told us Ibn Wahb, from ‘Amr, from Bukayr, from Busrun Ibn Sa’eed, from Junada Ibn Abi Umayah who said, “We entered upon ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit while he was sick. We said, “May Allaah make you healthy. Will you tell us a hadeeth you heard from the Messenger and by which Allaah may make you benefit us?” He said, “The Messenger called us and we gave him the Pledge of allegiance for Islaam, and among the conditions on which he took the Pledge from us, was that we were to listen and obey (the orders) both at the time when we were active and at the time when we were tired, and at our difficult time and at our ease and to be obedient to the ruler and give him his right even if he did not give us our right, and not to fight against him unless we noticed him having Kufr Bowwah (open disbelief) for which we would have a proof with us from Allaah“.
This hadeeth is stronger than the two previous ones we have discussed and is mentioned in both Saheeh Muslim and Saheeh al-Bukhaari and the whole Ummah has accepted it. We know of no one who has ever disputed its authenticity in any way.
In other places in Saheeh al-Bukhaari, instead of “unless you see public Kufr for which you have evidence from Allaah” the following wordings are used “unless he commands you with a disobedience to Allaah publically” or the wording “unless he orders you with sin publically” or the wording “unless he orders you with a public sin for which you have evidence from the book”. All these narrations have similar authentic isnads and are authorities in and of themselves.
The hadeeth is also found in Saheeh Muslim with the isnaad: told us Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahman ibn wahb ibn Muslim, from his uncle Abdullaah ibn Wahb, from ‘Amr ibn Al-Harith, from Bukayr, until its end.
It is mentioned in the Musnad Abu ‘Awanah (ch1: p4: 408): with the isnaad: Abu ‘Ubaidah Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahman, from his uncle, from ‘Amr, from Bukayr, until its end.
It is also mentioned in the As-Sunnah al Kubra of Imaam Al-Bayhaqi, with the isnaad, Abu Tahir Al-Faqih, told us Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Al-Fadl Al-Fahim, told us Muhammad ibn yahya, from Naeem ibn Hamd, from ibn Wahb, from ‘Amr ibn Al-Harith, from Bukayr, until its end.
It is also mentioned in the Fath al Bari with the isnaad from Al-Ismaili who heard it through Uthman ibn Salih, who heard it from ibn Wahb, who heard it from ‘Amr who heard it from Bukayr, who heard it from Bashir ibn saeed, who heard it from Jun?da Ibn Abi Umayah.
It is also narrated in the Musnad Ahmad through another channel from Sufyan, from Yahya, from ‘Ubaidah ibn Al-Waleed ibn ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit, who heard it from his grandfather ‘Ubaaidah, one of the seven who gave the bayah at Mina, who said “We gave the Pledge of allegiance to prophet Muhammad to listen and obey (the orders) both at the time when we were active and at the time when we were tired, and at our difficult time and at our ease and not to fight the rulers and to say the truth wherever we are without fearing anybody” Sufyan said that some people added the phrase “unless you see public Kufr” into this narration and we say that this shows Sufyan was aware of this addition but maybe he had not heard it from a channel that satisfied him, whereas we know that there are other channels, including those which are contained in Saheeh Muslim and Bukhaari which establish the addition without doubt.
This is the famous hadeeth of kufr buwah and it is related only to the appearance of public kufr in the public sphere, independent of the ruler being kafir or not as that is not relevant here and independent of whether he has any excuse such as ignorance or otherwise as this will have implications for the person of the ruler, in the hereafter or in front of a Shariah court but it does not have an impact on whether we can see kufr buwah publically. If it exists then the hadeeth clearly gives you the authority to rebel, including by the sword if necessary to change the kufr buwah.
There is another hadith that has come via the Saheeh of Ibn Hibban also on the authority of Junada Ibn Abi Umayah.who said that he heard ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit saying that the Messenger of Allaah addressed him, saying “Oh ‘Ubaidah” and he said “Yes!” Then the Messenger of Allaah said ” listen and obey, both in ease and in hardship, and at times when you dislike it, and at times when others are preferred over you, even when they take your money and beat your back unless it is a disobedience to Allaah publically” (meaning he commands you with a disobedience publically). Shaikh Shuhaib Al-Arnaut says that this isnaad is Hasan and we say that he has lowered it from what it should be, which is Hasan Saheeh and it should be taken as an authority in of itself.
It is mentioned in the Musnad Ahmad even better Isnaad then the one contained in the Saheeh of Ibn Hibban that says:
Told us Al-Waleed ibn Muslim, told us Al-Awzai, From Omair ibn Hani, who heard from Junaada Ibn Abi Umayah, from ‘Ubaaidah bin As-Samit who said that the Messenger of Allaah said,
”Listen and obey, both in ease and in hardship, and when you are active and at the time when you are tired, and at times when others are preferred over you, and don’t dispute the affairs even when you feel you are more worthy of leadership than them”
Then Imam Ahmad said Told us Al-Waleed ibn Muslim, told us Saeed Ibn Abdul Aziz, from Hayan ibn Abi Al-Nadr, from Junada Ibn Abi Umayah, narrating the same hadeeth from ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit.
Then Imam Ahmad said: told us Al-Waleed, told us Ibn Thawban (probably Abdul Rahman ibn Thabit ibn Thawban), told us Omair ibn Hani, told us Junada Ibn Abi Umayah, told us ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit who said that the Messenger of Allaah said the same hadeeth but added:
“unless he commands you with a sin publically”
The first two isnaads are Saheeh hadiths which are authorities of themselves and the last one with the addition “unless he commands you with a sin publically” is hasan of itself but is raised to Saheeh because of the other witnessing ahadeeth in Saheeh Muslim and Saheeh al-Bukhaari and the Saheeh of Ibn Hibban. So it is Hasan Saheeh.
There is another interesting hadeeth in the Musnad Al-Shamiyeen of Imam Tabarani with an important addition.
Told us Muhammad ibn Abi Zurha Al Dimishqi, told us Hisham ibn Amar, told us Ibn Dahaym, from his father (Dahaym), from Al-Waleed ibn Muslim, told us Thawban, from Omair ibn Hani, from Junada Ibn Abi Umayah, from ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit who said that the Messenger of Allaah said the hadeeth ”Listen and obey, both in ease and in hardship, and when you are active and at the time when you are tired, and at times when others are preferred over you, and don’t dispute the affairs even when you feel you are more worthy of leadership than them”
Omair then narrated that Hudayr or Kudayr Al-Salami said that he heard from ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit the same above hadeeth with the addition ”Unless they command you with a sin publically, for which you have an evidence from the book (Qur’aan)” then Hudayr or Kudayr Al-Salami said “what if he commands me with a sin publically and I obey him, what will happen to me?” ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit then said “then you will be taken by your hands and legs and thrown into the Hellfire and let him come and save you then!”
This isnaad is very good, including the addition because Hudayr or Kudayr Al-Salami is one of the thiqah narrators of the Saheeh of Ibn Hibban. Although not very famous, he is known to narrate from ‘Ubaidah bin As-Samit and Kab Al-Ahbar and Imam Bukhaari has written a short biography of him where he has named him as Hudayr, not Kudayr. This hadeeth is very importance in that it indicates that obeying the rulers in their haraam rulings will enter the doer into hellfire.