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in category Middle East

Where did the Prophet (saw) understand Najd to be - Iraq or Saudi Arabia?

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In a Nutshell: The Prophet (saw) understood Najd to be a region in contemporary Saudi Arabia as evidenced by a number of authentic ahadith.

Background

Some claim Najd is a region in Iraq, rather than in Saudi Arabia. This claim is justified by reference to a narration from Musnad Ahmad and Bukhari where a hadith suggests Najd to be in Iraq. Additionally a narration attributed to the companion Ibn Umar (ra) claims Najd to be in Iraq.

Analysis

The hadiths containing the region of Iraq are deemed shaadh (odd) by the classical scholars, whilst a mawquf narration attributable to the view of a companion cannot stand when it contradicts authentic hadiths attributed to the Prophet (saw).

The following points need to be considered to draw any conclusion. Each is evidenced by hadiths going back to the Prophet (saw), collectively indicating Najd cannot refer to Iraq.

1. The Prophet (saw) determined different miqat in relation to hajj for people coming from Iraq and those coming from Najd (Muslim, 2810; Nasa'i, 2657) Najd and Iraq were deemed different regions by the Prophet (saw).

2. The Prophet (saw) indicated Najd was where the sun rose (Ahmad 2/72, 5410). In Medina the sun never rises from Iraq rather from within Saudi Arabia's Najd or Riyadh.

3. The Prophet (saw) pointed towards the house of A'isha (ra) (Bukhari, 3104) from his pulpit which cannot possibly be Iraq.

4. The Prophet (saw) said the horns of Satan will emerge from Rabi'a and Mudar (Bukhari, 3302; Muslim, 181; Ahmad, 12580), both tribes come from Saudi Arabia and not Iraq.

5. The Prophet (saw) pointed "East" (Bukhari, 3511; Muslim, 7292 and others). Iraq is North of Medina not East.

6. The Prophet (saw) prayed for Iraq (Tabrani, 273) refusing to pray for Najd.

7. The narrations which mention Iraq are thus shadh (odd) as they contradict the above points.

Conclusion

The Prophet (saw) understood Najd to be a region in contemporary Saudi Arabia and not in Iraq.


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