Monday, 23 March 2015

Researching a Hadith: "Teeth of a Comb"

The Hadith of the Teeth of the Comb

Sunni Version
In عربي (Arabic) script, then the transliteration of both phrases, each followed by its English translation:
االناس سواسيه كااسنان المشط
لافرق بين عربي ولا اعجمي الا بالتقوى

An nasu sawasi-yatan ka asnan il masht.
* People are equal like the teeth of a comb.

La farqa bayna `arabi wa la `ajami illa bi taqwa.
* There is no difference between Arabs and non-Arabs except in piety.

The Arabic, transliteration, and English for this was quoted in the following:
"The Shaykh’s Tears Clean His Mureeds," by Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (07 November 2012 in Lefke, Cyprus), pub: 2012, Sufilive. Seeking a more classical reference. Leave a comment with any information.

In Shia Islam, the first phrase in Arabic is possibly from this source:  من لا يحضره الفقيه:٠٢٧٢/٤٠ (I used cifr as place-holder). In English: Man La Yahduru al Faqih, Vol 4, p 272. I found that reference in the following: دائرة المعارف الحسينية: العامل السياسي لنهضة الحسين - الجزء الأول - "The Hussaini Encyclopedia," Vol 1, by Mohammad Sadiq Al-Karbassi, pub London, 2007 by Hussaini Centre for Research, p 258

The first phrase, worded الناس كأسنان المشط سواء, was quoted in Sh Saduq's "Al Mawa'ith" (The Sermons), which is available online at The following endnote was offered: "Refer to Man La Yahduru al Faqih, Vol 4, p 378, hadith 5797; Bisharat al Mustafa, p 265; Jami' al Akhbar, p 93; Mishkat al Anwar, p 174; Rawdat al Wa'idin, p 469; Ibn Abi Hadid's Sharhu Nahj al Balagha, Vol 4, p 127 and Vol 13, p 316; and Bihar al Anwar, Vol 71, p 286, hadith 42."

Seeking a longer version of the hadith along with proper classical reference. Leave a comment.

A fuller version of the same quote from Shia Islamic hadith literature has been widely attributed to Imam Sadiq on the Internet, but without reference: "People are equal like the teeth of a comb. With the support of his brothers, a man can be regarded as great. No goodness is expected in the friendship of those who do not like for their friends whatever they like for themselves."

Image below grabbed from  Dark grey comb bearing Arabic words "An-nas suwasiyatan." Words below in white: "ka as-snan al masht." Background: light blue mottled with brown, light purple, olive green.

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