Iman Jalaluddin Suyuti (d. 911 AH) writes: “Hakim Tirmidhi narrated from the chain of ‘Abdur Rahman bin Qais Za’farani, from ‘Abdul Malik bin ‘Abdullah bin al-Walid, from Sayyidna Zakwan that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) had shadow neither in sunlight nor moonlight. (Khasa’is al-Kubra, 1:71)
This narration proves that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had no shadow and when he did not have shadow he was not bashar.
This hadith is not acceptable and reliable. First, because one of its narrators is ‘Abdur Rahman bin Qais Za’farani, he is called liar by Imam ‘Abdur Rahman bin Mahdi. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says: his hadith is weak, he is abandoned. Imam Abu Zur’ah calls him kadhdhab (liar). Imam Muslim bin al-Hajjaj says that his hadiths are unacceptable. Imam Abu ‘Ali says he used to fabricate hadiths. Imam Nasa’i calls him as matruk al-hadith (one whose hadiths are abandoned), while Imam Saji says that he was dha’if (weak). (Tarikh al-Baghdad, 10:251-252)
All these comments are reported by Hafiz Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib. He added that according to Imam ‘Adi, most of his hadiths are not supported by other reliable narrators and Hakim Abu Ahmad says that his hadiths were forsaken, while Imam Abu Na’im Asfahai says that he was nothing. (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, 6:259)
Secondly, Mulla ‘Ali Qari says: “Hakim Tirmidhi narrated this hadith in Nawadir al-Usul from ‘Abdur Rahman bin Qais, who is criticised. ‘Abdur Rahman narrated it from ‘Abdul Malik bin ‘Abdullah bin Walid, who is unknown. (Sharh al-Shifa’, 2:282, Egypt) So along with a fabricator narrator, this hadith was narrated by a majhul (unknown) narrator too.
Thirdly, Zakwan is a Tabi’i, he did not directly meet the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Had it been any derivative (far’i) issue, it would have been treated so, but since it is a matter of belief; therefore how one can accept baseless narrations compared to Qur’anic verses and sahih hadiths and how can one found his religion over them. Interesting enough, Imam Suyuti himself writes, at other place, about ‘Abdur Rahman bin Qais al-Za’farani that he was kadhdhab (big liar) and wadhdha’ (fabricator). (Manahil al-Safa fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Shifa‘, p.7) This narration was mentioned in Nawadir al-Usul which was written by ‘Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Hussain (d. 255 AH). Imam Shah Abdul ‘Aziz Muhaddith Dehlawi states: “Most of the hadiths mentioned in Nawadir al-Usul are unreliable.” (Bustan al-Muhadditin, p. 68)
(Taken from: Nur wa Bashar: ‘Allamah Sarfaraz Khan Safdar)