The hadeeths which state that the scholars are superior to the martyrs, or that the ink of the scholar is superior to the blood of the martyr, were narrated from a number of the Sahaabah, but they have weak and flimsy, or fabricated isnaads, which we will mention here in brief:
From Abu’d-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him):
It was narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in Jaami‘ Bayaan al-‘Ilm (1/150). His isnaad includes Ismaa‘eel ibn Abi Ziyaad, of whom Ibn Hibbaan said: He is a charlatan. Hence al-‘Iraqi classed it as da‘eef in Takhreej al-Ihya’, p. 5
From ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him).
It was narrated by Abu Na‘eem in Akhbaar Asbahaan (1718) and ad-Daylami in Musnad al-Firdaws. Its isnaad also includes Ismaa‘eel ibn Abi Ziyaad, who is mentioned above.
It was also narrated by Ibn al-Jawzi in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanaahiyah (1/81) via another isnaad. He said: This is not saheeh. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: Muhammad ibn Yazeed al-Waasiti did not narrate anything from ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Ziyaad. Ibn Hibbaan said: He narrates fabricated reports from trustworthy narrators.
From Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by ad-Daylami in Musnad al-Firdaws. Its isnaad includes Ishaaq ibn al-Qaasim and his father, who are not known.
It was also narrated by al-Khateeb in Tareekh Baghdaad (2/193) and via him by Ibn al-Jawzi in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanaahiyah (1/80). He said: This hadeeth is not soundly narrated from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). al-Khateeb said: Its men are all trustworthy apart from Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, and we think that it is something that he made up.
4. From an-Nu‘maan ibn Basheer (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by as-Sahami in Tareekh Jarjaan (p. 91, 222), and by Ibn al-Jazwi in al-‘Ilal al-Mutanaahiyah (1/81). He said: This is not saheeh. As for Haroon ibn ‘Antarah, Ibn Hibbaan said: It is not permissible to quote him as evidence; he narrated such odd (munkar) reports that one cannot help thinking that he is the one who fabricated them. And Ya‘qoob al-Qummi is da‘eef.
From ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by ar-Raafa‘i in Tareekh Qizween (3/481). Its isnaad includes ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Maslamah, who narrated odd (munkar) reports. It also includes ‘Abdullah ibn Luhay‘ah.
6. From ‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by al-Marhabi in Fadl al-‘Ilm – as was narrated by as-Suyooti in ad-Durr al-Manthoor (3/423); it is also narrated in Juz’ Ibn ‘Amashleeq (p. 44) with the same isnaad, which includes Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Qaasim, the mu’adhdhin of Tarsoos, for whom I could not find any biography.
7. From Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by Ibn an-Najjaar from him, as was mentioned by as-Suyooti. It is also mentioned in Lisaan al-Mizaan (5/225) via Jarraab al-Kadhdhaab (the liar).
8. From Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated in Juz’ Ibn ‘Amashleeq (p. 45) via al-Kalbi from Abu Saalih from Ibn ‘Abbaas; this is a waahin (flimsy) isnaad.
9. From Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)
It was narrated by as-Sam‘aani in Adab al-Imla’ wa’l-Istimla’ (p. 181). Its isnaad includes al-Muzaffar ibn al-Husayn, the shaykh of as-Sam‘aani, for whom I could not find any biography.
To sum up, the hadeeth is not saheeh. Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi said concerning it: It is mawdoo‘ (fabricated). Imam adh-Dhahabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Its text is fabricated. End quote from Mizaan al-I‘tidaal (3/517). Ash-Shawkaani mentioned it in al-Fawaa’id al-Majmoo‘ah (p. 17), and al-‘Aamiri mentioned it in al-Jadd al-Hatheeth fi Bayaan ma laysa bi Hadeeth (p. 203). Shaykh al-Albaani said in as-Silsilah ad-Da‘eefah (hadeeth no. 4832): This verdict (i.e., that it is fabricated) is what one feels comfortable with. End quote. Shaykh Muhammad Rasheed Rida said something similar in Majallat al-Manaar (3/698).
What appears to be the case is that what is narrated about the virtues of the blood of the martyr in and of itself has no parallel concerning the ink of the scholars. Rather we do not know of any saheeh hadeeth that speaks of the virtue of the ink of the scholars in and of itself, let alone about it being superior to the blood of the martyr. With regard to the blood of the martyr, it is proven that it will come on the Day of Resurrection with its colour the colour of blood and its fragrance the fragrance of musk, and the martyr is forgiven with the first drop of his blood that is shed… And other reports of that nature. But this is one thing, and the superiority of the martyr himself over the scholars is another matter.
Al-Mannaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
As a matter of fact, what is narrated concerning the martyr and the special rewards he will attain, and the saheeh reports about the protection against punishment and forgiveness of shortcomings that he will be granted, have no parallel concerning the scholar merely for the knowledge he has. No one can definitively state that the same ruling applies to the scholar. However it is possible that one who attains a higher degree will attain a better reward.
With regard to the scholar, what should be taken into consideration is the scholar’s character, the impact of his knowledge and what responsibilities he had. We should also examine the character of the martyr, the consequences of his martyrdom and what responsibilities he had. So the comparison should be made on the basis of the deeds of each of them and the benefits of his actions. How often a martyr or scholar warded off or reduced the impact of turmoil and was the cause of relief at a time of hardship. Therefore it may be that one martyr is better than a group of scholars, or one scholar is better than a group of martyrs, each according to his situation and the impact or legacy of his knowledge and deeds. End quote.
Fayd al-Qadeer, 6/603
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
This issue – the superiority of the ink of the scholars over the blood of the martyrs, or vice versa – is an issue that was the subject of a great deal of debate, in which those who favoured each view gave their evidence.
What may decide the matter and bring about consensus on this issue is the following:
· Highlighting the different levels of virtue
· Highlighting which is superior
· Examining which of the two is more virtuous than the other (in the light of the above)
These three principles will explain the matter and help us to reach the right conclusion.
With regard to the different levels of virtue, there are four: Prophethood, siddeeqiyyah (see below), martyrdom and wilaayah (being a righteous close friend of Allah).
Allah, may He be glorified, mentioned them in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddeeqoon (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!
Such is the Bounty from Allah, and Allah is Sufficient as All-Knower”
The highest of these levels of virtue is Prophethood and Messengership, followed by siddeeqiyyah. The siddeeqs are the prominent leaders of the followers of the Messengers, and their status is the highest after Prophethood.
If the pen of the scholar wrote that which is connected to siddeeqiyyah, , then it is superior to the blood of the martyr who did not reach the same level.
But if the martyr had attained the level of siddeeqiyyah and the shedding of his blood was connected to that, then his blood is superior to the ink of the scholar who fell short of that. The better of the two is the one who is a siddeeq.
If they were equal in terms of being siddeeq, then they are equal in terms of status. And Allah knows best.
Siddeeqiyyah is when one attains the level of perfection of faith in what the Messenger brought in terms of knowledge, belief and implementation. This level is based on knowledge. Everyone who has greater knowledge of what the Messenger brought and more complete faith in it will be of a higher level of siddeeqiyyah. Siddeeqiyyah is like a tree: its roots are knowledge, its branches are belief and its fruits are action.
This is a comprehensive discussion of the issue of the scholar and the martyr, and which of them is superior.
End quote from Miftaah Daar as-Sa‘aadah, 1/297-299
This argument presented by Ibn al-Qayyim is, in our opinion, more sound and is better than being certain of the difference between the two as being two completely separate deeds, as it was discussed by many scholars.
And Allah knows best.