A note on differing with the Kuffaar: Ibn Hajar

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas narrated that:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَسْدِلُ شَعْرَهُ، وَكَانَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ يَفْرُقُونَ رُءُوسَهُمْ، وَكَانَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ يَسْدِلُونَ رُءُوسَهُمْ، وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُحِبُّ مُوَافَقَةَ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ فِيمَا لَمْ يُؤْمَرْ فِيهِ بِشَىْءٍ، ثُمَّ فَرَقَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَأْسَهُ‏

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to let his hair fall naturally, and the mushrikoon used to part their hair, and the Ahl al-Kitaab used to let their hair fall naturally, and the Prophet (ﷺ) liked to follow the Ahl al-Kitaab in matters for which he had not been given any instruction, but later on the Prophet (ﷺ) started parting his hair.

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #3944]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar briefly commented on this hadeeth by saying:

قوله : ( ثم فرق النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – رأسه ) بفتح الفاء والراء الخفيفة ، وقد سبق شرحه في صفة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ، وفيه دليل على أنه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – كان يوافق أهل الكتاب إذا خالفوا عبدة الأوثان أخذا بأخف الأمرين ، فلما فتحت مكة ودخل عباد الأوثان في الإسلام رجع إلى مخالفة باقي الكفار وهم أهل الكتاب .

His statement, “but later on the Prophet (ﷺ) started parting his hair” – its explanation has already preceded in [the chapter on] the attributes of the Prophet (ﷺ). And in this is a proof  that he (ﷺ) used to agree with the the Ahl al-Kitaab when differing with the idol worshippers was the easier of the two matters. But then with the opening of Mecca and the entrance of the idol-worshippers into Islam, he returned to differing with the remaining kuffaar, who were the Ahl al-Kitaab.

[Fath al-Bari #3728]

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