The Knots of Islam will be Untied_Hadith

The Knots of Islam will be Untied_

A Prophetic Tradition


The noble hadith of the Prophet (saw) reported by Abu Umamh al-Bahili (ra) mentions:


لتنقض عرى الإسلام عروة عروة فكلما انتفضت عروة تشبث الناس بالتي تليها فأولهن نقضا الحكم وآخرهن الصلاة.

Verily, the knots of Islam will be undone one by one. Whenever one knot is lost then the people grabbed onto the one which came after it. The first of these knots will be the ruling (al-hukm) and the last will be the salah.”[1]


لتنقض عرى الإسلام عروة عروة و لتنكونن أئمة مضلون و لتخرجن على أثر ذلك الدجالون الثلاثة…

Verily, the knots of Islam will be undone one by one. And verily the scholars will become misguided and upon this sign, the three imposters will emerge…”[2]


لتنقض عرى الإسلام عروة عروة كما ينقض الحبل قوة قوة…

Verily, the knots of Islam will be undone one by one like the rope is untied [bit by bit]…”[3]


أول ما تفقدون من دينكم الخشوع وآخر ما تفقدون من دينكم الصلاة ولتنقضن عرى الإسلام عروة عروة وليصلين النساء وهن حيض ولتسلكن طريق من كان قبلك حذو القذة بالقذة وحذو النعل بالنعل لا تخطئون طريقهم ولا يخطأنكم حتى تبقى فرقتان من فرق كثيرة فتقول إحداهما ما بال الصلوات الخمس لقد ضل من كان قبلنا إنما قال الله تبارك وتعالى أقم { الصلاة طرفي النهار وزلفا من الليل } لا تصلوا إلا ثلاثا وتقول الأخرى إيمان المؤمنين بالله كإيمان الملائكة ما فينا كافر ولا منافق حق على الله أن يحشرهما مع الدجال

“The first aspect of your religion that will be lost is humility and the last will be the salah. And indeed, the knots of Islam will be untied one by one. Women will pray while in a state of menstruation …”[4]


  • The term hukm here means the ‘ruling authority of the religion’. It is prefixed with the definite article (al-) that denotes specific designation (li’l-tacrif) and not that of the entire genus or class of things (li ’l-jins) because the hadith would have a stilted meaning, e.g. ‘Verily, the knots of Islam will be undone one by one … the first of these knots will be all of the Islamic rulings and the last of them will be the salah.’ This is affirmed by the repetition of the word curwatan curwatan (‘knot by knot’) indicating that one by one the essentials of the religion will be removed. Moreover, the conditional phrase, ‘whenever one knot unties…’ states a single knot (curwah). Furthermore, the phrase ‘the first of them’ (awwaluhunna) does not indicate a plurality of knots but one amongst several (hunna = feminine plural). Therefore, al-hukm cannot mean all the Islamic ruling (ahkam al-sharciyyah).
  • The verb hakama [calayhi] in addition to meaning 1) preventing and restraining; 2) judging and 3) deciding, can also mean 4) to exercise governance; 5) to pass judicial pronouncement and to 6) decree a matter (judicially).[5]
  • The notion of a ‘knot’ or ‘fastener’ linguistically means the button holes by which the shirt is tightened and fastened or the loop handle of a mug or bucket.[6] It also means the loops of loads tied together and hoisted onto the backs of camels.[7] Thus, the notion is that of dependence and strength as well as keeping the Religion strong and unified.
  • The religion depends upon the ruling structure and system. Through the latter, the laws, values and systems are protected and are kept firmly together just like how a bundle of wood/logs is tied firmly together the untying of which will cause the load to come crashing down.
  • The salah being the last of the knots to be unfastened and untied may suggest that Islam would have been reduced to mere individual worship where before that all the essential social, ruling and judicial laws were undone.
  • The hadith also gives indications of the time in which the religion will be severely weakened and each knot unfastened. They suggest an inversion of the norms of practicing the Religion, e.g. women praying when in a state of menstruation (i.e. a state of ritual impurity and hence unlawful [= haram]).

And Allah knows best.


[1] See:

  1. al-Bukhari, Ta’rikh al-Kabir, 4:233.
  2. Imam Ahmad from Fayruz al-Daylami from his father in the Musnad, 4:232, hadith no.18068 and graded it hasan li-ghayrih (‘good through others’ = al-Arna’ut).
  3. al-Tabarani, Mucjam al-Kabir, 8:98, hadith no.7486.
  4. al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak cala ’l-Sahihayn, 4:469, hadith no.7022 where he declared the isnad as sahih but not related by either Bukhari or Muslim and Dhahabi concurred in his Talkhis of the Mustadrak.
  5. Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 15:111, hadith no.6715 with a very strong isnad (= al-Arna’ut).
  6. Al-Mundhiri, al-Tarhib wa’l-Targhib, 1:263 with a sahih chain of transmission (isnad).
  7. Al-Haythami, Majmac al-Zawa’id, 7:284 (bab: naqd ura al-Islam) where he comments that the narrators of the hadith are all sound (rijaluhu rijalun sahih).
  8. Al-Sacdi, Fawatih al-cAtirah, p.297 grading the first part [لينتقض الإسلام عروة عروة] as hasan. Cf. al-Albani, Sahih al-Jamic, no.5478.

[2] Narrated by cAbd Allah b. cUmar (ra) and Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman (ra). It is has weakness in its isnad as mentioned by al-Albani in Silsilat Ahadith al-Dacifah, no.4302 and his Dacif al-Jamic, no.4658. al-Hakim, mentioned it in his al-Mustadrak cala ’l-Sahihayn, 4:528, hadith no.8611 stating its isnad is sahih but al-Dhahabi declared it munkar in his Talkhis because of the transmitter cAbd al-Acla who is considered weak by Imam Ahmad and Abu Zurcah.

[3] Narrated by Fayruz al-Daylami and is sahih. See al-Wadici, Sahih al-Musnad, no.1077 and his Sahih min Dala’il al-Nabuwwah, p.647.

[4] From al-Hudhayfah (ra) by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak cala ’l-Sahihayn, hadith no.8448 where he declared the isnad as sahih but not mentioned by either Bukhari or Muslim.

[5] See Lane, Lexicon, Bk. 1, pp.615-617.

[6] See Lane, Lexicon, Bk. 1, p.2028.

[7] See Lane, Lexicon, Bk. 1, p.2028.


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