Student of Knowledge Raising Punishment of the Grave

Recently, an imam in a masjid narrated a hadith that “when a student of the Islamic sciences passes by a graveyard then the punishment of the people of that graveyard is raised for 40 days.

The imam referenced this hadith to a later book, not to an original book of hadith. How authentic is this hadith?

Classification: La asla lahu (Baseless)


Firstly, when a person narrates hadith and wants to reference it, it is required to reference it to original books of hadith that have complete chains of narration.

Imam Al-Bayhaqi said:

وَذُكِرَ عَنْ الْحَافِظِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ الْبَيْهَقِيّ أَنَّ الْأَحَادِيثَ الَّتِي قَدْ صَحَّتْ أَوْ وَقَعَتْ بَيْنَ الصِّحَّةِ وَالسَّقَمِ قَدْ دُوِّنَتْ وَكُتِبَتْ فِي الْجَوَامِعِ الَّتِي جَمَعَهَا أَئِمَّةُ الْحَدِيثِ وَلَا يَجُوزُ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ شَيْءٌ مِنْهَا عَلَى جَمِيعِهِمْ وَإِنْ جَازَ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ عَلَى بَعْضِهِمْ لِضَمَانِ صَاحِبِ الشَّرِيعَةِ حِفْظَهَا فَمَنْ جَاءَ الْيَوْمَ بِحَدِيثٍ لَا يُوجَدُ عِنْدَ جَمِيعِهِمْ لَمْ يُقْبَلْ مِنْهُ  

“The haidth that have been considered authentic (sahih) or between authentic and weak have indeed been recorded in the major books of hadith. The imams of hadith have collected them so it is not possible for a hadith to be missing from all of them. It is possible that some of the imams missed out certain hadith but for all of them to miss out a (sound) hadith is not possible because the revealer of the sharia (Allah, Most High) has taken it upon Himself to preserve the sharia. For this reason, if somebody brings a hadith today which is not present in any of those recognised books, it is not going to be accepted.”

References:
Imam Ala al-Din al-Bukhari, Kashf al-Asraar Sharh Usool al-Bazdawi, Vol. 3, p49.
Imam Ibn al-Salah, Muqadimah Ibn al-Salah, p121.
Imam al-Suyuti, Tadreeb al-Raawi, Vol. 1, p403.
Imam al-Sakhaawi, Fath al-Mugheeth, Vol. 2, p111.
Shaykh Nurudin Itr, Manhaj al-Naqd, p88.

As for this particular narration, many scholars have included it in their books on fabricated hadith and some have mentioned it in their books on takhreej hadith. Amongst the most well known is Imam al-Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa (Vol. 1, p251), where he mentioned this hadith and then afterwards wrote Imam al-Suyuti said this hadith is baseless:

إن العالم والمتعلم إذا مرا على قرية, فإن الله تعالى يرفع العذاب عن مقبرة تلك القرية أربعين يومًا.
قال السيوطي: لا أصل له

Imam Ali al-Qari also mentioned it in Al-Asrar al-Marfu’a fil-Akhbar al-Mawdu’a (p123) and he also quoted Imam al-Suyuti as saying it is baseless:

إِنَّ الْعَالِمَ وَالْمُتَعَلِّمَ إِذَا مَرَّا عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى يَرْفَعُ الْعَذَابَ عَنْ مَقْبَرَةِ تِلْكَ الْقَرْيَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا
قَالَ الْحَافِظ جلال الدّين لَا أَصْلَ لَهُ

He also mentioned it in his book on fabricated hadith, Al-Masnoo’ fi Marifah al-Hadith al-Mawdu’a (p65) and once again he mentioned it is baseless:

حَدِيثُ إِنَّ الْعَالِمَ وَالْمُتَعَلِّمَ إِذَا مَرَّا عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى يَرْفَعُ الْعَذَابَ عَنْ مَقْبَرَةِ تِلْكَ الْقَرْيَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا قَالَ الْحَافِظُ الْجلالُ لَا أَصْلَ لَهُ

So this hadith is baseless according to the Imams of hadith, and it’s not to be quoted or attributed to the Prophet ﷺ. If a person mentions it, then they can only mention it in order to warn the people of it.