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Posted By Topic: Meaning of "70" or "100" in hadeeth

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11-06-2008 @ 11:58 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abu Shereen Rasheed bin Fred Abdullah (California)
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2008
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I was told long ago that when the number 70 is referred to in hadeeth (e.g. 70 hourul ayn, istighfar 70 times a day, 70,000 rings around jahannam with 70,000 angels holding each one, etc.) that it is meant a large number and not 70 exactly.  This did not come from an authentic source so I would like to verify this.  

11-08-2008 @ 2:32 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sep 2002
wa 'alaykumus-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

It differs depending on the context.

Sometimes it can be what the scholars of usool call "kharaja makhraj al-'adad" so there is no opposite deduction made, like the aayah where Allaah says that He will not forgive the hypocrites even if the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) would have sought forgiveness for them 70 times (9:80).  We do not understand that Allaah would have forgiven them if he had sought forgiveness for them 71 times.  So here the number 70 means a large number, like when you say, "I told you a thousand times..." it means you have told the person many, many times.

Sometimes it does have a specifically intended meaning, like the mention of 70 men from the tribe of Moosaa (7:155)

Those two examples are in the Qur'aan.  The same idea applies to texts of the Sunnah.  Sometimes they can refer to the number 70 specifically and sometimes the meaning is just "a large amount".


1 - SPECIFICALLY INTENDED: "The lifespans of (the members of) my ummah are between 60 and 70, rarely does one live beyond that." (at-Tirmithee, Ibn Maajah)

2 - A LARGE NUMBER: Can't think of an example right now...  I'll try an post one later in shaa' Allaah.

NOTE: This applies to 70, 80, 100, 50000, or any large number.

I hope this helps.

Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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