Thursday, 11 August 2011

How many years were there between Adam and Muhammad (peace be upon them both)?


How long was the period of time between the creation of Adam (peace be upon him) and the creation of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?

Praise be to Allaah.


There is nothing in Islam that defines the period between
Adam and Muhammad (peace be upon them both); indeed the length of time that
Adam (peace be upon him) lived is not known. 

But there are some ahaadeeth and reports which, if we put
them together, we can arriver at an approximate length of time, but that not
cover the complete period. Some of these ahaadeeth and reports are saheeh
(sound) and others are subject to differences of scholarly opinion, and some
periods of time are not defined precisely in any reports. Among the saheeh
reports concerning that are the following: 

1 – Allaah says concerning the length of time that Nooh
(peace be upon him) remained calling his people: 

“and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty

[al-‘Ankaboot 29:14] 

2 – The period between ‘Eesa and our Prophet (peace be upon
them both): al-Bukhaari narrated that Salmaan al-Faarisi said: “The period
between ‘Eesa and our Prophet (peace be upon them both) was six hundred
years.” There are also other reports whose soundness is debatable, which
mention the following:  

3 – The period between Adam and Nooh (peace be upon them
both): it was narrated from Abu Umaamah that a man said: “O Messenger of
Allaah, was Adam a Prophet?” He said, “Yes, and Allaah spoke to him.” The
man asked, “How much (time) was there between him and Nooh?” He said, “Ten
centuries.” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, 14/69; and by
al-Haakim, 2/262. He said it is saheeh according to the conditions of
Muslim, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidaayah
wa’l-Nihaayah (1/94): this is (saheeh) according to the conditions of
Muslim, even though he did not narrate it. 

4 – The period between Nooh and Ibraaheem (peace be upon them
both): our evidence is in the continuation of the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah
(may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above: … He said, “And how long was
there between Nooh and Ibraaheem?” He said, “Ten centuries.” (Narrated by
al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 2/288. He said: this hadeeth is saheeh
according to the conditions of Muslim, although he did not narrate it. And
it was narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 8/118. 

It was reported that some of the narrators of this hadeeth
were da’eef (weak), but al-Albaani classed it as saheeh on the
basis of corroborating reports. 

Some of the reports that were narrated include the

5. The period between Moosa and ‘Eesa (peace be upon them
both). Al-Qurtubi said: there was some difference of opinion as to the
length of this period. Muhammad ibn Sa’d mentioned in his book
al-Tabaqaat that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “between Moosa ibn ‘Imraan and ‘Eesa
ibn Maryam (peace be upon them both) there were one thousand and seven
hundred years, and there was no fatrah (interval when no Prophet was sent)
between them, for one thousand Prophets of the Children of Israel were sent
between them, apart from other Prophets who were also sent (to other
nations). And between the birth of ‘Eesa and the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) there were five hundred and ninety-nine
years.” (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 6/121). Ibn Hajar said: “The narrators
are agreed that the period of the Jews until the coming of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was more than two thousand
years, and the period of the Christians until the coming of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was six hundred years.” (Fath
al-Baari, 4/449) 

By looking at the verse, ahaadeeth, reports and opinions
quoted above, if they are correct then we may use them to work out the
period in question. 

But as for being certain of the length of time between Adam
and Muhammad (peace be upon them both), then in addition to the above there
are many other considerations to be addressed before we can work it out,
including the following: 

Differences of scholarly
opinion concerning the definition of the word qarn (translated above
as “century”) – does it mean one hundred years, or does it mean one
generation? What we know is that the lifespan of the people at that time was
a fraction of the time that Nooh spent in calling his people, and we do not
know how long the people of those generations lived.

There is no report which
defines the number of years between Ibraaheem and Moosa (peace be upon them

 It remains to be said that being certain about such matters
or researching them are not things on which we base our acts of worship or
our actions, and the words of Allaah are sufficient for

“And (also) ‘Aad and Thamood, and the Dwellers of Ar-Rass,
and many generations in between”

[al-Furqaan 25:38 – interpretation of the meaning]

 We must strive to follow the example of these Prophets and
walk in their footsteps, because this is the purpose behind mentioning them
and their lives:

 “They are those whom Allaah had
guided. So follow their guidance”

[al-An’aam 6:90]

 And Allaah knows best.

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