Explanation of hadith of Abu Bakr

Question 381:

A brother asks: I heard a hadith about Abu bakr siddique رضي الله عنه stating “Go suck the clitoris of al-Lat!” against a man named Urwa.  If a Muslim uses such words against kuffar when the situation calls for such response, should we advise him not to utter such words or should we remain silent taking the incident as evidence.  I also came to know that some salafi scholars have opinions about this hadeeth. What is the correct explanation of this hadeeth if it is saheeh?

Answer :

This hadeeth came in Sahih Al Bukhari with number : 2731,2732. It is a long hadeeth and context of the hadeeth which has this words :

… Then ‘Urwa said, “O Muhammad! Won’t you feel any scruple in extirpating your relations? Have you ever heard of any one amongst the Arabs extirpating his relatives before you? On the other hand, if the reverse should happen, (nobody will aid you, for) by Allah, I do not see (with you) dignified people, but people from various tribes who would run away leaving you alone.”  Hearing that, Abu Bakr abused him by saying ‘Go suck clitoris of al-Lat’ and said, “Do you say we would run and leave the Prophet , alone?” ‘Urwa said, “Who is that man?” They said, “He is Abu Bakr.”  ‘Urwa said to Abu Bakr, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, were it not for the favour which you did to me and which I did not compensate, I would retort on you.” ….

Al Hafiz Ibn Hajr says in explanation of this, Al-Lat is name of an idol which is worshiped by Quraish and Thaqeef. Arabs used to abuse with these words, but with word of ‘mother’ and Abu Bakr wanted exaggeration in abusing Urwa (who described the companions as they are not dignified people and they flee away and leave Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)) so he used his god’s name in the place of ‘mother’. What made Abu Bakr angry to use these words is, Urwa’s description of Muslims that they flee away (and leave Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)).

In this, there is proof for the permissibility of uttering repugnant words upon a person as a rebuke who deserve these words because of what he have uttered.

(As the Prophet(Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was silent on saying of Abu Bakr and didn’t rebuke him, it shows the permissibility of using these words when the situation demands).

End of Quote from Fath Al Bari (5/340).

But we need to see the Benefits and Harms while using these kind of words. If using these kind of words is in practice of the people and using these words doesn’t harm the honor of the person and status of the Islam (which is the case when Abu Bakr (Radiallahu anhu) has used these words) then it is permissible. Allah knows the best.

Compiled by : AbdunNoor Al Hindi