Is Sijl a Companion and One of the Scribes of the Prophet?
(An Extraction from 'The Book of Hands')
Commentary on Surah Al Ambiyā: 104
“And (remember) the Day when We shall roll up the heavens like a scroll (Sijl) rolled up for books.”
The exegetes differ on the meaning of the word "Sijl". Some said: "It is a book."
Some said: "It is an Angel."
Some said: "It is the name of a companion who was the scribe of the Prophet."
Abu Dawud, An Nasai (Al Kuburah), and At Tabari reported it from Ibn 'Abbās: "As Sijl was the scribe of the Prophet (salla Allāh 'alayhi wa sallam).
Al Khatīb also reported it in his Tārikh from Ibn 'Umar: "As Sijl was the scribe of the Prophet."
Then he (Ibn Kathīr) commented: "This is rejected and weak report from Ibn 'Umar."
Ibn Kathīr said: "It is also a weak report from Ibn 'Abbās and he added; the memorizers of narrations explicitly declared that it was fabricated, despite being in Sunan Abi Dawud, among them was the great memorizer, Al Mīzi… I have written a treatise on this report.
Al Imām Abu Ja'afar At Tabari had examined the narration and completely refuted it and said: "No companion was known bearing As Sijl, all the scribes of the Prophet were well known." He (Rahimahu Allāh) is correct, and this is from the strong evidence that the hadīth is rejected.
Other exegetes and verifiers such As Ash Shawkāni (Fat'h Al Qadīr 3/590), Sidīq Hasan Khān (Fat’h Al Bayān 8/377), Mustafa Al 'Adhami, Ahmad Shākir (‘Umdah At Tafsír 2/573), ‘Abdullāh bn 'Abdil Muhsin At Turk (in his verification of Tafsīr Al Qurtubi 14/297) relied on Ibn Kathīr verifications.
I (Abu Sahl) have concluded before I read Al Imām Al Albāni (Silsilah Ahādīth Ad Da'īfah 12/403) saying: "The critics among the scholars followed Ash Shawkāni in his Tafsīr which he cited from Ibn Kathīr..."
AlhamduliLlāh for the success!
Note: In Fat'h Al Bayān 8/377, Siddíq Hassan Khān wrote “…Ash Shawkāni has written a treatise on this report.” This is a mistake from the him, rather the statement belong to Ibn Kathīr; Ash Shawkāni and others (as mentioned) relayed it from him, even Siddīq himself!). So, the treatise belongs to Al Imām Ibn Kathīr.
Those (Ibn Athīr and Abu Nu'aym) that mentioned the name among the companions only relied on the weak reports (of Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbās).]
Ash Shaykh Mustafa Al 'Adhami then commented: "I also consider the reports fabricated, I only mentioned it for comprehensiveness."
I (Abu Sahl) say: "At Tabari's statement was also cited by Al Qurtubi Al Mufassir, Ibn Taymiyyah, and Ibn Qayyim, definitely they all relied on his (Imām At Tabari) conclusion."
Al Imām As Sama'āni said: "Ibn Ishāq reported, Sijl was a scribe of the Prophet and it is a strange (and weak) opinion. The second opinion is, Sijl is an Angel, however the third opinion that As Sijl is a scroll, is the preponderant. (Tafsīr Al Qur'ān 3/412).
Ibn Qayyim Al Jawzi added the fourth opinion: "He was a man." (Zād Al Masīr 5/395).
Ash Shaykh Al Amīn Ash Shinqīti said: "The opinion is glaringly invalid" (Al Adwā Al Bayān 4/866).
Ibn Hajar authenticated it in Al Isābah 3/28-29), and refuted those who graded it mawdu'.
As Suyuti (citing Al Bayhaqi) also graded it hasan (Ad Durr Al Manthūr 5/683-684). Al Albāni refuted this statement by saying: "I could not see his (Al Bayhaqiy) authentication in the page..." (Ad Da'īfah 12/404)
Dr Hikmat graded the narration of Ibn 'Abbās Hasan and weakened Ibn 'Umar's narration (Tasliyah Al Kadhīm Takhrīj Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr 5/371).
Allāh knows best, the narration is weak as graded by Abu Dawud, Adh Dhahabi, Al ‘Uqayli, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Kathīr, and others among the critics and verifiers.