03 May


Dr. Sohil Momin

If the hadiths were to be a source of Islam like the Quran, the Prophet would have asked his companions to copy and learn them by heart. Yet, he prohibited their copying, let alone ordering them to be copied as we have seen in the previous chapters. Had the Prophet desired them to be learned by heart, the companions nearest to him like Abu Bakr, Omar, Usman, Ali, Sugry, Zed b. Sabit and Selma al Farsi, would have transmitted thousands of hadiths. Instead, the words that have been transmitted from the abovementioned companions are very few. For instance, not even one third or one fourth of the hadiths alleged to have been transmitted by Abu Hurayra, one of the fabricators, can be ascribed to all the words spoken by other prominent companions. We shall be dealing in this chapter with some fabricators, including Abu Hurayra, instrumental in interpolating into the established creed Jewish and Christian legends and parables. We shall see the reason why the infinite number of hadiths these people invented cannot be relied upon. We shall also observe the lack of fastidiousness and meticulousness, which they claimed to have had in collecting and sorting out the hadiths.

In Chapter 4, we have seen that a person who had the chance of setting eyes on the Prophet was styled his companion (sahabe) and whatever that person said was taken to be the literal truth. The word sahabe actually means the persons who were very close to the Prophet. We read in the Quran that there had been many hypocrites who professed to be Muslim, whereas in fact they were disbelievers and had created innumerable difficulties for the Prophet. It is regrettable to observe that the transmitters of the hadiths turned a blind eye to the meaning of the relevant verses and preached that whoever abided by the sayings of the companions was on the right path. The Sunnis who detected many errors in declaring the Twelve Imams innocent, ended with a more serious failure, which led them to face a derision they did not deserve, by announcing immune a whole generation and the persons among whom there were mischievous characters and about whom there were deprecatory allusions in the Quran. We shall now take up the case of Abu Hurayra, declared infallible, having been styled a companion of the Prophet, who transmitted thousands of hadiths, and see where such a mentality leads us.

    About the life of Abu Hurayra prior to his conversion we know nothing other than what he himself said. Having been converted, he became one of the companions of the Prophet. In Muslim’s Fezailus Sahabe, it is said that Abu Hurayra remained in the Prophet’s company and became his servant without asking for any consideration in return. Ibn Hazm says in the Musnad of Baki b. Mahlad that 5374 hadiths were quoted from Abu Hurayra. Bukhari quoted only 446 of his in his book.
    From the accounts of Abu Hurayra we deduce that the person he feared most was Caliph Omar. The hadith books mention that Omar had threatened and harassed Abu Hurayra because of his involvement in the transmission of hadiths.

    “If I transmitted these hadiths during the lifetime of Omar, he would surely strike me,” said Abu Hurayra.
    Az Zahabi – Tazkiratul-Huffaz

    Abu Hurayra said: “We could not utter ‘God’s Messenger spoke thus’, before Omar died.”
    Muslim, Sahihi Muslim

    Had we had the opportunity to see Muslim, we would have asked him the following question: “O Muslim! You have written a book and claimed that all the hadiths in it were authentic and that you screened carefully the transmitters’ accounts. Why did you not notice that Caliph Omar had accused him of recounting falsehoods, and have not found Omar’s indictment convincing enough? This shows that the hadiths that you claim to be reliable are in fact based on unsound arguments.” It is regrettable to observe that Muslim also had taken every one of the Prophet’s companions as a star that guided one in the right direction. It may be because he realized that had he applied a strict screening method to Abu Hurayya’s hadiths, not many would have left. Omar was not the only one who accused Abu Hurayra of lying. We also observe that Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, had accused him more than once, which is mentioned even in the hadith books that stand up for Abu Hurayra.

    When Aisha said to Abu Hurayra ”You are reporting false hadiths you never heard from the Prophet,” he had retorted impudently: “I see that mirror and kohl have kept you aloof from the Prophet.”
    Zahabi, Siyeru Alemin Nubela

    Ali said: “The person who ascribed the greatest number of lies to God’s Messenger is Abu Hurayra.”
    Ibn Abul Hadid, Sherhu Nahjul Belagha

    When Ali heard him say, alluding to the Prophet: “My dear friend said that…” He asked: “Since when has the Prophet become your dear friend?”
    Ibn Masud, a well-known companion of the Prophet who heard him say: “The person who washes the body of a deceased person and the person who carries it on his shoulders should perform ablution” was furious and retorted: “O men, your dead will in no way soil you!”

    The following anecdote shows how fastidious were the transmitters of hadiths in checking to what extent they stood the test: “A prominent transmitter of hadiths goes to see a person from whom he is going to receive a hadith. Arriving at his destination, he observes how he calls his horse as if he were going to give it fodder, but fails to do so. He concludes that a person who cheats his horse may cheat people as well, and does not include the hadith he heard from him in his work.” Those who recount this anecdote as evidence of the insight of the transmitters believe to have proved the authenticity of the hadiths they transmitted. We have demonstrated so far the reasons why the true and the false had been jumbled together. This chain of reasoning is illogical of course. Most of the transmitters upon whom the hadiths were drawn had already died during the compilation. The rest were scattered over a vast area of Islamic lands. To have paid a visit to each of them is inconceivable given the state of the means of communication of the time. Supposing that this had been possible, the honesty of the people concerned and the trustworthiness of their memories should be questioned. Not every transmitter of hadiths could have been as lucky as the collector who had detected the cheating of the horse by its master! As for Abu Hurayra, how can he still be trusted despite the accusations and beating of Omar and Ali and in the light of Aisha’s flat denial of the account of the given by the man?

    It is told that Caliph Omar had dismissed Abu Hurayra from office of governor to which position he had assigned, because of embezzlement. Omar is reported to have spoken as follows: “When I appointed you governor to Bahrein, you barely had a pair of shoes on your feet. Yet I have been told that you bought horses for 1000 dinars and 600 hundred dinars. Did you come from the remotest corner of Bahrein with a view to having people give the tributes they owed to Allah and the Muslims to you?”
    Zahabi, Siyer

    In a hadith transmitted by Hurayra himself Omar spoke to him as follows: “O you, enemy of God and His Book! You stole God’s money, didn’t you? How else could you be in possession of ten thousand dinars?”
    Ibn Sa’d, Tabakat

    Abu Hurayra himself gives this account despite this fact the believers in hadiths quote the largest number of the hadiths from him as they find him credible. In the meantime, they contend that they have quoted no hadith from a source that had not been established to be reliable. The believers in hadiths, who affirm that they have not quoted from any transmitter unless he was proven to be dependable, consider Abu Hurayra, declared by Omar to be an enemy of God and his Book, as dependable!

    The era of the Omayyads, who came to power after the murders of the Caliphs Omar and Ali, was the golden age for Abu Hurayra. The Omayyads had a mansion constructed at al-Akik and made a gift of it to Abu Hurayra along with a parcel of land. The following hadiths quoted in al Bidayave’n Nihaya of Ibn Kathir shows the compensation in return for these favors during the reign of Muaviya:

    Abu Hurayra said: “God’s Messenger gave Muaviya an arrow and spoke thus: ‘Take this and meet me in paradise with this arrow and bow.’”

    “I heard God’s apostle say: ‘God entrusted God’s revelation to three persons: To me, to Gabriel and to Muaviya.’”

    In spite of all these evidences it is a fact that saying ”The hadiths transmitted by the companions of the Prophet are trustworthy” was not to be taken for granted. Who was Abu Hurayra anyhow to tell cock-and-bull stories about the Prophet’s acts and sayings which not even the nearest to him had reported? For instance, the following strange hadith is just one of the illogical hadiths transmitted by Abu Hurayra.

    Abu Hurayra reported that he had heard the following anecdote from the Prophet: The Angel of Death was sent to Moses. When he came near him, the latter struck a severe blow on him. The angel went back to his Lord and spoke to him thus “You sent me to someone who does not want to die.” God restored his eyes that Moses had deprived him of and said: “Go tell him to place his hand on an ox. He will have as many years as the hairs of the ox that his hand covers.” The Angel asked further: “O Lord, what then?” God said: “Death.”

    The criticism leveled at Abu Hurayra might take volumes. Hüseyin Hilmi Iþýk, author of Saadeti Ebediye-Tam Ýlmihal, one of the staunch defenders of the importance of the hadiths for Islam, speaks of the significance of Abu Hurayra as follows: “Anyone who denies the role of Abu Hurayra denies half of the canonical law, for half of the hadiths on which judgments were based had their origin in Abu Hurayra.”

    The Jews who converted to Islam took with them a good many parables to Islam under the guise of hadiths. Although the general contention is that this was a consequence of their attempt at corrupting Islam, one may be inclined to conjecture that they could not get rid of their ancient beliefs and customs or that they intended to give Islam a Judaistic character. Ibn Khaldun speaks as follows in his Mukaddima: “Commentaries of transmitted hadiths contained everything, whether true or false, accepted or denied. The reason was the Arabs were not versed in literature and scholarship. They distinguished themselves in ignorance and the Bedoin characteristics. When people asked them about the mystery of the universe, they consulted first those who had been given books before them and provided answers accordingly. Among them figure such personages as Kab al Ahbar, Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Abdullah b. Salam. Commentaries of hadiths were full of hadiths transmitted by such men. The interpreters had been careless in filling up their books with the commentaries of hadiths.”

    Kab al Ahbar is the person who had been instrumental in interpolating the greatest number of Jewish anecdotes and parables into Islam. He is said to have converted to Islam either during Abu Bakr’s era or Omar’s. His lore of Jewish legends and interminable stories had put him in the focus of his time. In one of the hadiths, it is said: “There is no harm in transmitting hadiths from Judaic lore.” It was Abdallah bin Amr who reportedly transmitted this hadith. Tirmizi, Abu Davud and Bukhari also mentioned this hadith. As we shall be seeing presently, Abdallah b. Amr was among the novices of Kab al Ahbar. Those who fabricated this hadith prior to the other unfounded hadiths used it as a basis for their new fabrications. Kab al Ahbar was a pioneer in this. Not only did he transmit hadiths, but also gave instruction to Abu Hurayra, as we have already examined, as well as Abdallah b. Amr, Ibn Omar and Ibn Abbas. Thus he benefited from these people when spreading his interpolations.

    Caliph Omar, who revolted against Abu Hurayra, had displayed a similar reaction to Kab al Ahbar and threatened him with exile. Kab al Ahbar, who had had difficulty in spreading his teaching, found partial relief in the wake of Omar’s death. Mahmud Abu Rayya, claiming that Kab had been partially responsible for the killing of Caliph Omar said: “Despite the fact that Caliph Omar had the insight of diligence to keep track of this ingenious Jew and had sensed the evil intentions he would be displaying, he had, thanks to his stroke of genius, continued to set traps and overcome Omar’s vigilance and good will. The scheme ended with the murder of Caliph Omar. The evidence in hand shows that the plot had been hatched by a secret society. The head of this society, of which Kab also was a member. was a certain Hurmuzan. Hurmuzan was the king of Huzistan and had been brought to Medina as a captive. The mission to kill Omar was entrusted to Abu Lulue.”
    Mahmud Abu Rayya, Enlightenment of the Muhammadan Sunna

    We cannot, of course, claim the absolute truth of this likelihood told by Mahmud Abu Rayya with quotations from Ibn Kathir. But we have every reason to doubt the authenticity of the hadiths transmitted by a person whose attempts at copying the hadiths had been banned by Caliph Omar and by such individuals as Abu Hurayra, Abdallah b. Omar, Ibn Omar etc., to whom he had given lessons. On the other hand, can the meticulousness and fastidiousness of these people who interpolated a host of Jewish parables and legends be taken for granted? After these questions, what if we return to Kab to the fabrications of which there was no end: the creation of the universe, like the views of the other world, the importance of Damascus, etc.

    A man ran across Kab whom he saluted and blessed. Kab asked him: “Where are you from?” The man said: “I am from Damascýs.” Kab commented: “You may be one of those men elected from among the people of Damascus not to be subjected to interrogation and suffering!”
    Ibn Asakir- Tarih

    Kab said: “God looked upon the earth and spoke thus: ’I will touch a part of you.’ Where upon mountains ran toward Him. Rocks flattened. God thanked them for this and put His feet on them.”
    Abu Rayya, Enlightenment of the Muhammedan Sunna.

    Beytül Makdis (The Mosque in Jerusalem) will be the place where the resurrection and the reckoning will take place. Those who are buried there will not be subjected to suffering.
    Mahmud Abu Rayya, Enlightenment of the Muhammadan Sunna.

    Although some of these concoctions are quoted from him, those that have been transmitted by his students are far more numerous. Muaviya, who had supported Abu Hurayra, had also backed up Kab and ordered him to tell parables ( Ibn Hajar, Isaba).

    Next to Kab came Wahb Ibn Munabbih, notorious for his concoctions. He had transmitted numerous hadiths ascribing them to the Prophet’s companions; Abu Hurayra, Ibn Omar and Ibn Abbas quoted many hadiths of his. Ahmet Emin speaks as follows: “Including the most reliable ones, they are not entirely purged from Jewish interpolations. Quite the reverse is the case, since the oldest among them contain even more. Ibn Ishak considered the most reliable among them who had drawn profusely upon Wahb Ibn Munabbih who was a convert. We know also that Ibn Ishak had also drawn largely upon Christian and Magian sources” (Ahmed Emin, Duhaul). It is regrettable that Wahb has not been made a subject of criticism as seriously as Ahmet Emin, and in order to be able to transmit as many hadiths as possible, they transmitted invented stories from Wahb like the following:

    Four angels support the sky on their shoulders. Each has four faces: namely, the faces of an ox, of an eagle, of a lion and of a human being. Each is equipped with four wings. Two of these cover their faces so that they are not scorched when they chance to look upward. His majesty covers the skies and the earth.
    Malti-Kitab at Tanbih.

    Reþid Rýza describes the harm Kab and Wahb have done to Islam in the following manner: “Among those who interpolated Jewish legends and deceived the Muslims, Kab and Wahb were the most evil. All the superstitions related to creation, genesis, prophets, past communities, mischief done, the day of resurrection and the hereafter have found their way to commentaries and history textbooks thanks to the labor of these two fiends. Among their concoctions, those that they supposedly drew upon, the Torah and other heavenly books, have been examined by us. The conclusion we reached was the fact that most of them were devoid of any foundation. The scholars of ancient times could not have detected themas they had not been familiar with the books of Jews and Christians. Most of the tales reported by these two Jews were superstitions from Jewish folklore, but had infiltrated many commentaries and other publications. Pagans hostile to Islam claimed that Islam, like other religions, was a religion of superstitions and delusions.”
    Reþid Rýza, Mecelletül Menar

    Tamim ad Dari and Ibn Jurayr are two prominent figures that interpolated legends of Christian origin. Among these legends those that are related to the Antichrist, Satan, the Angel of Death, heaven and hell are more prominent. Legends about Christ also are to be seen among them. We can quote the following hadiths to illustrate this:

    God’s Messenger gathered the public and spoke to them: “By God, I have not convened you here to scare you or enjoin you anything. Now hear: Tamim ad Dari was a Christian. He came to me and expressed his desire to be converted into Islam and he told me: ‘He had boarded a vessel with thirty monstrous lepers. Having had a ghastly time with a rough sea they ended by landing on an island in the midst of the ocean. No sooner had they set foot on this island than they encountered an animal whose body was covered with an abundance of hair that made it impossible to distinguish his front from his back. That animal that introduced itself as Cesase suggested they go and see a man in the monastery. When Tamim and his companion entered the monastery, they set eyes upon a creature of gigantic size chained from top to toe. The man who listened to their story and learned that they were Arabs interrogated them on many an issue. He ended by asking one last question: “Tell me the latest news of the Prophet of the ignorant community?” They answered: “He left Mecca for Medina.” And to the question ”Did he fight against the Arabs?” the answer provided was ”Ye.”. Then he went on asking: “What has been the behavior of the Prophet against them?” They replied: “He overcame the Arabs and subjected them.” Whereupon the man revealed his identity: “I am the Antichrist; my time is near. I shall soon be released, and then I shall have the opportunity to visit the earth within a space of time of forty days, and there will be no town left unvisited except Mecca and Medina. For, those two towns have been banned to me. If I dare make an entry into any one of them, an angel with a sword in hand will bar the way.” Having said this, the Prophet struck the altar with his scepter and said: “Here it is. The Medina! The Medina!”
    Muslim-Fiten, Abu Davud-K.Melahun, Ýbn Maja- K.Fiten

    This hadith is quoted in the works of Muslim, Abu Davud and Ibn Maja, works that have been declared as the best. A person who refutes the authenticity of this hadith quoted by Muslim is declared an infidel, and a person who confirms the authenticity of it is considered a faithful follower of the sunna and the Prophet. Here we have another hadith having its origin in Christian legends:

    Satan wounded every man at their birth. However, he failed to hurt Christ, son of Mary.
    Bukhari-K.Badul Halk, Hanbal

    While this hadith extols Christ, the rest of mankind including the Prophet Muhammad is declared wounded. There are also unseemly hadiths that tell that the Prophet’s heart had been operated on five times so that he might be cleansed of the black clot of blood from the wound caused by Satan. Bukhari and Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali sect, give this account- the hadith that the most reliable book of hadiths contains!


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