Last sermon of Muhammad. In the supposed last sermon (Khutba) of Muhammad, it was reported in many of the hadith books including Muslim, Muwatta, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Ahmed Ibn Hanbal. There were supposed to be about 100,000 witnesses. There are a number of differences in the records, though, concerning one particular statement:

  1. "I am leaving for you two things that you must uphold, the Quran and my Sunnah" (Muwatta 46.3).
  2. "I am leaving for you the Quran and my relatives (Ahl Al-Bayt)" (Sahih Muslim 44.4, Nu 2408; Ibn Hanbal 4.366; Darimi 23.1, Nu 3319), which supports the Shi`ite claim to leadership.
  3. "I am leaving for you the Quran; you shall uphold it" (Sahih Muslim 15.19, Nu 1218; Ibn Majah 25.84, Nu 3074; Sunan Abu Da'ud 11.56, Nu 1905).
While this might be a little small problem by itself (and we generally accept that people have faulty memories), in this particular incident, we are told that there were as many as 100,000 witnesses (that is a very large number). Yet, the hadith reports were not agreed on this particular statement, which Shiites and Sunnis have argued over. This raises a larger problem of the authenticity of the hadiths, and especially when implementation of laws is concerned, where often, the number of witnesses is small.

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