Message No : 16Sr.No : 268/724
Question By : mujtaba ali

As Salaam Mualaikum Respected Scholar & Representatives of Islam,

The Esteemed Khateebs and Imams through out the world recite the follwing hadith almost every Friday and I hope you can explain it in details:
"The best of people/mankind is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them"
Where is this hadith located?
What is the hadith trying to convey to us?
What does "my generation" mean? Is it the era before the demise or after the demise of the Prophet (SALAL O ALAI E WASALAM) ?
What does "then those that follow them" mean? Is it the era of Companions or Tabaieen?
What does "then those that follow them" mean?
Can you please give information about each generation? When did it began? When did it end? Who were they?
Who was the Last Companion of The Prophet? when was his demise?
Who was the Last Tabaeen? When was his demise?
Who was the last Taba-Tabaeen?
Can you please recommend any books on this subject?


Reply By : Mohd. Shihabuddin Qasmi
Designation : Mufti, ODI, MMERC, Mumbai 

In the name of Allah, All Gracious, All Merciful
Wa Alaikumussalam
Dear Brother in Islam,
The answer to your question is as follows:

The Hadith you asked about is mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari. It goes like, ¡°Zuhdam bin Mudrab narrated, ¡°I heard Imran bin Husain saying, ¡°The Prophet said, ¡®The best are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation). Imran said, ¡°I don¡¯t know whether the Prophet mentioned two or three generations after his generation. The Prophet added, ¡°There will be some people after you, who will be dishonest and will not be trustworthy and will give witness without being asked to give witness, and will vow but will not fulfill their vows and fatness will appear amongst them¡±. (Bukhari, Kitabush-Shahaadah)

The Hadith indicates that Khairul Quroon; the best generations of all time are the generation of the Prophet (SWS); Sahabah, those who followed them; Taabi¡¯een and then those who followed them; Tabe¡¯ Taabi¡¯een.

The word used for generation in the above-mentioned Hadith is ¡®Qarn¡¯ which is interpreted as follows:

1. ¡°Qarn¡± means one hundred years. This interpretation is supported by several Ahaadeeth whether the Prophet (SWS) is reported to have said that someone will reach ¡®Qarn¡¯ and then other reports state that the person lived around 100 years.
2. ¡°Qarn¡± implies ¡°People of a particular time under a particular prophet or leader¡±.
3. "Qarn" of the Prophet (s.a.w.s) is Sahabah, the next one is Taabi'een and the third one is Tbe' Taabi'een.

The majority of the first generation had passed away by the end of the Khilafah of the four Khalifah when most of the second generation had passed away during the reign of Ibnuz Zubair and Abdul Malik and the majority of the third generation had passed away during the last period of Ummyah rule, at the beginning of the Abbassee rule.

Since Ulama and Islamic Historians have different opinions about the last person of each generation therefore, it is difficult to mention the specific name and the period. However, Ulama have agreed that the period of Khairul Quroon lasted around 220 years and then all kinds of innovations appeared and Mu¡¯tazilah and other deviant sects came into existence. (Fathul Baree, Kitaabu Faza¡¯ilis-Sahaabah: 7/8)

This kind of information can be achieved from Islamic History particularity the one consists of the period of Khilafat-e-Rashidah, Banu Ummyah and Abbasia.

And Allah k

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