- Status : EXTREMELY WEAK / FABRICATED
This following story is narrated in a number of works of tafsirs and has been narrated from At-Tabarani in his Mu’jam Al-Kabir.
A Companion by the name of Tha’laba ibn Hatib repeatedly asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to pray that Allah bestow him wealth, and made an oath saying that were Allah to bestow him wealth, he would give everyone his rightful due. So the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed for him, and Allah gave him much wealth. Thalaba thereafter withdrew from Medina due to the numerous livestock and flock he now owned. He came less frequently to the prayer, and when it was time for zakat, he refused to pay it. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said “Woe to Tha’laba,” and the verses [9:75-77] were revealed.
Tha’laba then brought the zakat to the Prophet, who said that Allah forbade him from accepting it. Tha’laba threw dirt over his head in regret. Later in the caliphate of Abu Bakr, he again brought his zakat payment, yet Abu Bakr too refused to accept it. The same happened with Umar in his caliphate, after which Tha’laba died in the caliphate of Uthman.
Sayyiduna Tha’laba ibn Hatib (RA) is innocent of such a crime as he remains a noble and venerable Companion, may Allah be pleased with him. This is substantiated by the fact that Ibn Hajar (RA) and others affirm that Tha’laba (RA) fought at Badr, making him among the best of the Prophetic Companions. (al-Isaba fi Ma’rifat al-Sahaba)
And as our Beloved Messenger ﷺ said about those who fought at Badr, “Perhaps Allah looked upon the people of Badr and said, ‘Do as you wish, for indeed I have forgiven you.’” [Sahih Muslim].
Now coming to the narration, let it be known that the great hadith master Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in one work grades this story’s chain of narration (isnad) as “weak, to the extent that it cannot be used as evidence,” and in another work as “extremely weak.” (Fath al-Bari; al-Kaff al-Shaff fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Kashshaf)
Hafiz ‘Iraqi also grades its chain as “weak” in his Takhrij Ahadith al-Ihya’, as does al-Fattani in Tadhkirat al-Mawdu’at.
Imam Haythami states in Majma’ al-Zawa’id, “Tabarani narrated it. In its chain is Ali ibn Yazid al-Alhani, who is a very unreliable narrator (matruk).”
Imam Qurtubi also clarifies that the story is not reliable, and that the verses were revealed instead regarding a group of the Medinan hypocrites. He adds that therefore the verse “So He put as a consequence hypocrisy into their hearts” means “So He put as a consequence increased hypocrisy into their hearts.” (Tafsir al-Qurtubi)
Shaykh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghudda, concludes that the story is “useless and sick,” i.e. that it has no basis whatsoever. (Annotation of Lakhnawi, al-Ajwiba al-Fadila lil As’ila al-Ashr al-Kamila).
Lastly a few booklets have been written on the subject showing its fabrication which you can refer to as mentioned in the sources below.
Salīm Al-Hilālī’s treatise “Ash-Shihābuth Thāqib Fith Thabbi An Tha‘labah Ibn Hatib”.
Mahmud ‘adab al-hamishi’s treatise ثعلبة بن حاطب: الصحابي المفترى عليه
by محمود عداب الحمش ,دار الفتح للدراسات.
“Al-Muhallā” of Ibn Hazm (vol. 11 / pp.207-8) concerning the critics on the narrators.
Please kindly inform people who narrate such stories (both offline and online) to stop doing so, and that they reconsider their talks . We are talking here about a badri companion who was martyred in Uhud, not just ‘another weak’ hadith…Have some respect for your predecessors.