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A Question was sent to Syeduna AlaHadrat Ash-Shah Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al-Qadiri Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho by Syed Muhammad Shah Sahib of Amroha on 22nd Sha’ban al Mu’azzam 1311H regarding the ruling on Referring to Madina Sharif as ‘Yathrib’ according to Shari’ah al Mutahhara… Following is the Question and the remarkable Answer given by the Great Imam and Mujaddid Alaihir RaHmatu war-Ridwan!!

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Question: Is it permissible in the Shari’ah to call Madina Sharif ‘Yathrib’? What is the ruling for the person who does? Bayyinu Tujiru.

Answer: It is impermissible and forbidden to call Madina Tayyiba as Yathrib. It is a sin and the one who says it a sinner. RasoolAllah SallAllahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam said:

من سمی المدینة یثرب فلیستغفر اﷲ ھی طابة ھی طابة، رواه الامام احمد بسند صحیح عن البراء ان عازب رضی اﷲ تعالٰی عنه
“Whoever calls Madina Yathrib, it is necessary for him to repent. Madina is Taabah, Madina is Taabah. [Narrated by Bara’ bin ‘Azin, Musnad Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Maktaba al Islami (Berut), Vol 4, Page 285]

‘Allama Manawi writes in al-Taysir Sharh al-Jami’ al-Saghir:

فتسمیتھا بذٰلک حرام لان الاستغفار انما ھو عن خطیئة
From this hadith we learn that it is Haram to name Madina Tayyiba as Yathrib. We are told to repent after calling it so and repentance is only after a sin. [al-Taysir Sharh al-Jami’ al-Saghir, Maktaba Imam Shafa'ee (Riyadh), Vol 2, Page 424]

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Mulla ‘Ali Qari rahimahu’l Bari writes in al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat:

قد حکی عن بعض السلف تحریم تسمیة المدینة بیثرب ویؤیده مارواه احمد لافذکر الحدیث المذکور ثم قال قال الطیبی رحمه اﷲ تعالٰی فظهران من یحقر شان ما عظمه اﷲ تعالٰی ومن وصف ماسماه اﷲ تعالٰی بالایمان بمالایلیق به یستحق ان یسمی عاصیا
It is reported from some of the predecessors that calling Madina as Yathrib is Haram. This is supported by the hadith which is recorded by Imam Ahmad . ‘Allama Tayyibi rahimahullah said that it is evident from this that whoever disrespects anything that Allah has honoured and has given the name Iman and this person talks about it in a way that is unbefitting, then he is worthy of being names ‘Aasi (sinner). [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, Maktaba Habibiya (Quetta), Vol 5, Page 622]

When the Qur’an mentions the word Yathrib, it is to inform us what the hypocrites would say:

واذاقالت طائفة مهنم یااھل یثرب لامقام لکم
And when a party of them said: O folk of Yathrib! There is no stand (possible) for you, therefore turn back. [33:13]

The word Yathrib means fighting and censure. This is why these filthy people referred to it as such. Allah refuted them by naming it Taabah. RasoolAllah SallAllahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam said:

یقولون یثرب وھی المدینة
They call it Yathrib but it is Madina. [Bukhari, 1:252]

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He SallAllahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam also said:

ان اﷲ تعالٰی سمی المدینة طابة
Indeed Allah has named Madina as Taabah.

References:

Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Maktaba al Islami , Vol 5, Page89
Sahih Muslim, Qadeemi Kutb Khana , Vo 1, Page 445

Mulla ‘Ali Qari writes in al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat:

المعنی ان اﷲ تعالٰی سماھا فی اللوح المحفوظ او امرنبیه ان یسمیھا بها ردا علی المنافقین فی تسمیتھا بیثرب ایماء الی تثریبهم فی الرجوع الیها
It means that Allah had names Madina Munawwara as Taabah on the preserved tablet or He ordered his beloved Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam to name it such. Allah has castigated the hypocrites for reverting to the disreputable name Yathrib. [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, Maktaba Habibiya (Quetta), Vol 5, Page 622]

He also writes:

قال النووی رحمه اﷲ تعالٰی قد حکی عیسٰی بن دینار ان من سماھا یثرب کتب علیه خطیئة واما تسمیتھا فی القراٰن بیثرب فهی حکایة قول المنافقین الذین فی قلوبهم مرض
Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states that it is reported regarding ‘Isa bin Dinar that whoever calls Madina as Yathrib, he is a sinner. When the Qur’an refers to Yathrib, it is only to let us know of the illness present in the hearts of the hypocrites. [al-Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, Maktaba Habibiya (Quetta), Vol 5, Page 622]

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Some verses of poetry from the scholars contain this word. Our excuse for them is that they did not know of this hadith and ruling. He who knows the ruling and persists has no excuse, whether it is poetry or otherwise. The Shari’ah governs the poetry, not vice versa. Mawlana Shaykh MuHaqqiq ‘Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi Quddassa Sirrahu writes:

حضرت محمد صلی الله تعالٰی علیه وسلم او رامدینه نام نهاد از جهت تمدن واجتماعی مردم واستیناس و ایتلاف ایشاں دردے ونهی کرد از خواندن یثرب یا از جهت آنکه نام جاهلیت است یا سبب آنکه مشتق از یثرب بمعنی هلاک وفساد وتثریب بمعنی توبیخ وملامت ست یا بتقریب آنکه دراصل نام صنمے یا یکے از جبابره بود، بخاری درتاریخ خود حدیثے آورده که یکبار یثرب گوید باید که ده بار مدینه گوید تاتدارک و تلافی آں کند ودر روایتے دیگر آمده باید که استغفار کند و بعضے گفته اند که تعزیر باید کرد قائل آں را وآنکه درقرآن مجید آمده است یا اهل یثرب از زباں منافقان ست که بذکر آں قصد اهانت آن می کردند عجب که برزبان بعضے اکابر دراشعار لفظ یثرب آمده۔ والله تعالٰی اعلم وعلمه جل مجده
The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam names it Madina. This is because people lived and gathered there and loved the city. He warned against calling it Yathrib because this is the name from the days of ignorance or because it is derived from either Tharb which means destruction and fighting or Tathrib which means reprimand and censure or because Yathrib was the name of an idol or an oppressive and rebellious person. Imam Bukhari narrates a hadith in his Tareekh that whoever says Yathrib once, he should say Madina ten times so that he compensates for it. When the Qur’an says, “Ya ahla yathrib”, it is from the tongues of the hypocrites and by saying Yathrib, they wanted to disrespect Madina. Another narration mentions that whoever says Yathrib should repent towards Allah and seek forgiveness. And some have said that he be punished. Amazing is the fact that some leading people have used Yathrib in their poems. And Allah knows well, the knowledge of the glorious is complete and strong. [Ashi'atul Lum'aat Sharh Mishkat, Maktaba Noori Razavi (Sukkar), Vol 2, Page 393-394]

Taken From
Fatawa Radawiyyah, Vol 21, Page 116 to 119

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Courtesy
Muhammad Aqdas
United Kingdom