Wednesday, 9 January 2013



1. The hadith which is under objection

2. Explaining and refuting the misconception from an Islamic point of view 

(i) The one upon whom this hadith is implied upon 
(ii) Meaning of the statement "satan urinated in his ear" 
(iii) hadeeth backing the scholar's explanations
(iv) opinions of those scholars who understand this hadeeth literally and metaphorically

3. Those who ridicule the possibility of ridicule using science as their shield 

(i) Science vs God # 1 : Science is 1435 years behind Islam
(ii) Science vs God # 2 : Science has no established proofs to supernatural existence 
(iii) Science vs God # 3 : Science has no answers to the numerous prophecies come true

4. Meaning or Implication of the word "ears" in the hadeeth

(i) Example # 1 
(ii) Example # 2 

5. Usage of the word "urinates" by poets as a metaphor
6. Question to those who take everything literally
7. Conclusion & Summary  


عن عبد الله رضي الله عنه، قال: ذكر عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجل نام ليله حتى أصبح، قال: " ذاك رجل بال الشيطان في أذنيه، أو قال: في أذنه "

Narrated 'Abdullah: It was mentioned before the Prophet that there was a man who slept the night till morning (after sunrise). The Prophet said, "He is a man in whose ears (or ear) Satan had urinated (in)." [Sahih Bukhari, Book 54, Hadith 492]

عن عبد الله رضي الله عنه، قال: ذكر عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم رجل، فقيل: ما زال نائما حتى أصبح، ما قام إلى الصلاة، فقال: «بال الشيطان في أذنه»

Narrated 'Abdullah : A person was mentioned before the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- and he was told that he had kept on sleeping till morning and had not got up for the prayer. The Prophet said, "Satan urinated in his ears. [Sahih Bukhari, Book 21, Hadith 245]


The implication of this hadeeth is upon the one who misses the obligatory prayer on purpose : 

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud; The Prophet –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- was asked about one who slept from the beginning of the night towards its end. He said: “He is the one in whose ear Satan has urinated.”

[Sharh Mushkil al-Athar, Al-Resala publications, Beirut, 1994 vol.10 Hadith 4020]

The above 3 narrations , are self explanatory that this hadeeth is applicable or implied to a  person who misses his obligatory prayers due to sleeping without a legitimate reason such as sickness, etc and In Islam, prayer (salah) which is of utmost importance, is to be taken very seriously, much more than a man takes 'his visiting the office every morning on time' seriously, fearing loosing his job 

Also see Ibn al-Jawzi (r.h), Talbees Iblees, p. 458  where the shaikh has explained the role of satan in such adversities or situations 

Meaning of the statement " Satan urinated in his ear" 

There are two meanings of this statement as scholars differed over it, but the more correct opinion is that this phrase is more of a metaphorical statement than a literal one and the scholars of Islam who understand the beauty and whereabouts of the 'Arabic language, its history and usage have explained this phrase as follows : 

Mention of urination is actually to denote the worst overpowering of sleep that pleases Satan

Ibn Hajr (r.h) said:

هو مثل مضروب للغافل عن القيام بثقل النوم كمن وقع البول في أذنه فثقل أذنه وأفسد حسه والعرب تكني عن الفساد بالبول

“It is an example used for the one who is negligent of prayers due to heavy sleep as if he has got his ear filled with urine till it became weighed down and his senses got corrupted. Arabs have used urination as a metaphor for corruption. 

[Ref: Fath al-Bari, Dar al Ma’rifa, Beirut 1379 A.H. vol.3 pp.28-29] 

See :

Likewise Imam al-Nawawi (r.h) and Al Harbi (r.h) said :

معناه استخف به واحتقره واستعلى عليه يقال لمن استخف بإنسان وخدعه بال في أذنه وأصل ذلك في دابة تفعل ذلك بالأسد إذلالا له وقال الحربي معناه ظهر عليه وسخر منه

And its meaning is to scoff at, deride and belittle. It is said for the one who scorns a human and deceives him that he urinated in his ear. The origin of this term came from an animal doing it to a [sleeping] lion as an act of humiliation. Al-Harbi said, 'It means he became victorious over him and is ridiculing him.'” 

[ Sharh Sahih Muslim, Dar Ahya al-Turath al-‘Arabi, Beirut 1392 A.H. vol.6 p.64 ]


at-Tahawi says:

وكان النوم المذكور في الحديث ... نوما كان من نائمه تضييعه فرض الله عز وجل في العشاء، ثم خلافه لما كرهه له نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم من النوم قبلها الذي كان سببا لتضييعها، ولترك أداء فرضها في الوقت الذي أوجب الله عز وجل عليه أداءه فيه، فكان في ذلك مخالفا لربه عز وجل، مطيعا للشيطان فيما يريده منه، فضرب على أذنيه بذلك النوم، وهو ما ألقي فيهما من ثقل النوم، والعرب تسمي مثل ذلك ضربا على الأذن ومنه قول الله عز وجل في أهل الكهف: {فضربنا على آذانهم في الكهف سنين عددا} [الكهف: 11] ، وأضيف ذلك الفعل به إلى الشيطان، لأنه مما يرضاه الشيطان منه، وذكر فيه بول الشيطان في أذنه، أي: فعل به أقبح ما يفعل بالنوام وليس ذلك على حقيقة البول منه في أذنه، ولكن على المثل والاستعارة في المعنى

And this sleep (mentioned in the hadith being discussed) … is a sleep in which a person misses the obligation towards Allah at night (i.e. obligatory prayers). Moreover it is also for sleeping before isha prayers disliked by the Prophet- peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- which causes the missing (of isha prayers) and also delaying it from the time prescribed by Allah; in all this he goes against the commandment of his Almighty Lord while showing obedience to Satan in what he wants from him. So a covering is put over his ears due to this sleep, and it is from the affliction of sleep in his ears. Arabs termed such a thing as covering over the ears as is the word of Allah regarding the people of the Cave, “Therefore we put a covering over their years for a number of years.” (Qur’an 18:11) And this act is attributed to Satan for it pleases Satan. And the mention of urination of Satan in his ear means it is worse than what happens in sleep (ordinarily). It is not urination in the ear in the real sense; rather it is by the way of simile and allusion 

[Ref: Sharh Mushkil al-Athar, vol.10 pp.193-194] 

According to Ibn-i Kutayba : 

وقال الطيبي : خص الأذن بالذكر ، وإن كانت العين أنسب بالنوم إشارة إلى ثقل النوم ، فإن المسامع هي موارد الانتباه . وخص البول لأنه أسهل مدخلا في التجاويف ، وأسرع نفوذا في العروق ، فيورث الكسل في جميع الأعضاء

what is meant with urinating is 'corrupting'. Arabs use the word 'urinating' in allusion to 'corrupting'. 

[Ref: Fath ul-Bahri vol: 3 pg: 28-29] 

According to Tiybi, the reason why ear is mentioned in that hadith instead of eye, which is actually more appropriate in the subject of sleeping, is because the deepness of the sleep is thus pointed out. For it is through the ears that waking takes place. And the reason why urine is mentioned among filths is that it easily flows in holes and veins. Thus it causes laziness in the whole body.  

[Ref: Fath ul-Bahri vol: 3 pg: 28-29] 

The above explanation by both the esteemed scholars describing how the devil averts the believer from prayer are in agreement with the below hadeeth which in itself explains the same thing : 

 إذا أراد العبدُ الصلاةَ من الليلِ أتاه ملَكٌ فقال له قمْ فقد أصبحتَ فصلِّ واذكرْ ربَّك فيأتيه الشيطانُ فيقولُ عليك ليلٌ طويلٌ وسوفَ تقومُ فإن قام فصلَّى أصبح نشيطًا خفيفَ الجسمِ قريرَ العينِ وإن هو أطاع الشيطانَ حتى أصبحَ بال فيأذنِه

[Rough Translation] : When a believer intends to pray at night the angles come to him and say: Wake up its morning, pray and remember your Lord and then the Shaitaan (satan) comes to him and says: You have a long night ahead, so sleep. If he (the believer) wakes up and prays the morning prayer he feels energetic and its coolness to his eyes (i.e a good mood and etc) and If he obeyed the devil then (it is as if) he urinated in his ears.

[Al Haythami in Maj'ma az-Zawaahid 2/265, Albaani in Da'eef at-Targreeb , Da'eef, the last two lines are authentic as they are present in another hadeeth al-Bukhaari (3269) and Muslim (776) ]

Thus the above ahadeeth along with the explanations make it clear that one who is not aware of the language in dept should refrain from deriving meanings according to his own whims and perspective. If every layman begins interpreting Shakespeare's poems then it would be catastrophic now wouldn't it? Same way, I urge the critics to leave such matters to the experts in this field 

Secondly, some scholars such as Al Qurtubi (r.h) and others who differed to believe that urinating could be both metaphorical as well as literal in meaning :

قوله : ( في أذنه ) في رواية جرير : " في أذنيه " ؛ بالتثنية . واختلف في بول الشيطان ، فقيل : هو على حقيقته . قال القرطبي وغيره : لا مانع من ذلك ، إذ لا إحالة فيه ، لأنه ثبت أن الشيطان يأكل ويشرب ، وينكح ، فلا مانع من أن يبول.

[Rough Translation] : That i don't see any objection in this (phrase that satan urinated in the ear), there is no impossibility in it, as it is already been proven that shaitan (satan) eats, drinks and marry's, so there is no objection to him urinating. 

[Ref: Fath ul-Bahri vol: 3 pg: 28-29] 

According to Hattabi, that expression is a similitude. The situation of the person who is in a deep sleep and who is unwary of the Prayer is likened to the situation of the person on whose ear is urinated and who thus can no longer hear and whose senses are maimed. Hattabi saw it also possible that the expression may refer to reality and said: “If what is meant is really the Satan's urinating, that cannot be denied, either...


Science vs God # 1 : Science lags 1435 years behind Islam

Those who ridicule such notions using "science" as their shield , forget one very basic fact, that "science" in itself is limited and gradual in progress. The very fact that what Qur'an mentioned and discussed regarding certain scientific establishments, came into research and knowledge not before a 100-200 years max. In other words, the Lord of the Universe whose wisdom excels and supersedes any and everything has imparted us with a very minute fraction of knowledge 1435 years ago and praise be to Allah for what we knew back then, science has discovered it only recently, once again proving that no matter how advance you get, you cannot bypass the wisdom and intelligence of Allah and to back this statement (which is not really required for sane people) please see the below links : 

The above 3 examples are merely a glimpse into the scientific wonders of Qur'an, but it shall suffice destroying the false notion that 'we know better and more than God' 

Always remember : a century or more ago, if you'd have said 'Earth is not flat', or ' the earth rotates around the sun' you would have been ridiculed too like how some famous philosophers like Galileo and others were ridiculed and threatened , but that doesn't mean you were wrong. Same is the knowledge which Allah imparts us, we may or may not comprehend it. 

'By 1616 the attacks on the ideas of Copernicus had reached a head, and Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade the Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas. In the end, a decree of the Congregation of the Index was issued, declaring that the ideas that the Sun stood still and that the Earth moved were "false" and "altogether contrary to Holy Scripture", and suspending Copernicus's De Revolutionibus until it could be corrected. Acting on instructions from the Pope before the decree was issued, Cardinal Bellarmine informed Galileo that it was forthcoming, that the ideas it condemned could not be "defended or held", and ordered him to abandon them.

Also see famous scientists and others who insisted earth was flat

Science vs God # 2 : Science has no established answer to supernatural existence 

Thus , a human mind and environment is limited, and so are his powers. Thus instead of ' Avoiding challenging and cross questioning your company's Boss but rather indulging in challenging/ridiculing the intelligence of God', i suggest hypocrisy be removed and fairness be implemented. If you don't have the guts to question your Principle, Boss, and others in Authorities over your with such derogatory and challenging tones, then why even D.A.R.E do that with the Lord of the universe , the All-Powerful, the All mighty ? Isn't it hypocritical of us to tremble with fear anticipating the punishment of the world , but show a 'least bothered' attitude towards the wrath of the All-powerful for ridiculing and disbelieving in him? 

Another example is the case of 'Jinns' which are commonly called as spirits, devils, or etc. They may not have any scientific proof as of yet, but it is of no doubt that these things are true and happens all the time in the very world we live in. We have movies, documentaries, live examples from friends, relatives and etc who have gone through the affect of Jinns, thereby testifying to its existence. Islam has taught about these creatures in great detail , and also taught us how to prevent or combat their harm .  See the below 

Links for details :  (i) Jinn and their types   (ii) Yes the Jinns can harm us

Science vs God # 3 : Science has no clue or answer to the numerous prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) which came true 

One example shall suffice here, see : The Minor and Major signs before the Judgement Day


As explained above, the saying was  more of a metaphorical speech than a literal one (but either ways , it doesn't matter) , similarly Ears represent the faculty of listening, stand for ability to reason and its synonyms. Its relation to tight sleep and disconnection from the world is obvious.  The below examples will show how hearing or ears relate to the meaning explained in the above paragraph 

Example # 1 :   إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّىءْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا - فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى ءَاذَانِهِمْ فِى الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا

  When the young men fled for refuge to Al-Kahf. They said: "Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!''. Therefore, We covered up their hearing in Al-Kahf for a number of years. [Qur'an 18:10-11] Obviously this is self explanatory, however , whether we take it in a literal way or metaphorical that they were disassociated from the world's on-going activities , this is in harmony with our explanation above 

Example # 2 :  Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment. [Qur'an 2:7] whether we take this literally or metaphorically it shows how Allah has caused them to ignore and not pay heed to the truth when it reaches their ear and thus once again it proves our example to be right . So on and So forth 


بال سهيل في الفضيخ ففسد
Literally it would be :  “Canopus urinated in the beverage and it was spoiled.”    However it (actually) means; “… that when Canopus rises [aurally, which it does, in central Arabia, early in August, the making of that beverage is stopped, for] the season of unripe dates has passed, and they have become ripe.  [Ref: Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, pp.276-277 entry بول] Ibn Battal points to a verse of Al-Farazdaq [A famous arab poet; see :] in which there is a link of urine with corruption and trouble. He said;
وإن الَّذِي يسعى ليفسد زوجتي كساع إِلَى أسد الشرى يستبيلها
“And verily he who strives to corrupt my wife is like one betaking himself to the lions of Esh-Shara’ (a certain road abounding with those animals) to receive their urine in his hand  [Sharh Sahih Bukhari, vol.3 p.136 and Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, p.277]

See See See

We can see urine represents changing the condition, perversion and trouble. Therefore, urination in the hadith under consideration is about evil due to negligence from the duties prescribed by Allah- something Satan loves so much!


When a teacher calls his student something and he gets no answer, a teacher can say: “you have garbage in your ear !” or sometimes we hear " your brain is stuffed with hay" do you really take every word for it?

Now if you literalists like taking everything as per literature, then how about shout out loud that the kid actually has 3 cans of Pepsi, 2 bags of thrash in his ear or the kid actually has a brain stuffed with  hay? If you would take these sentences and the rest as per their implication (i.e simile, metaphor  etc) then please don't go around searching points to make the prophet look ignorant.


1) The hadeeth as explained by some scholars shows the devilish role of satan in alluring a believer away from prayer 

2) The closest opinion is that it is to be taken metaphorically , but even if taken otherwise i.e literally, think two thousand four hundred and one million times before claiming 'victory' over God's wisdom 

3) Do not interpret Islamic texts according to google translator or Oxford dictionary or the peanut size brain that you have and end up insulting and ridiculing your and my Lord- Allah, his prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and the invincible religion Islam altogether 

4) We muslims don't cross the line (i.e start jumping to conclusions on our own in matters of the unseen), but we Hear and Obey 

 Parts of this article has been taken from Brother Waqar Akbar Cheema's article on []


  1. If this be the case, then why should Shaytan sleeping in the upper nose and trying to enter through the nasal canal into the heart of a believer who neglects prayer be taken literally while Shaytan urinating in the ear be taken metaphorically? Why must Shaytan be washed out of the nose with literal and not metaphorical water and why must the ears be also washed similarly with literal water in wudu? It seems like the interpretations and the decision to take passages literally or figuratively are based on the whims of scholars and not on the text as it is.

    1. @Alan Wood: the entire hadeeth shows that sniffing the nose thrice is a part of the regular ablution process. The satan's residence in the nose does not make it an additional 3 times of nose sniffing

      Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When one of you awakens from his sleep, then let him perform ablution and sniff water into his nose three times. Verily, Satan spends the night in the upper part of his nose.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3121,

      also, the article clearly mentions that even if taken literally, we muslims have no problem to it. As for accusing scholars of giving in to their whims then this is similar to a kindergarten kid accusing a physics professor of interpreting energy equations as per his whims


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