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The Classification of Hadeeth

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Who Fabricated Hadeeth

From "The Criticism of Hadith" by Sheikh Suhaib Hassan

The reasons for the fabrication of Hadeeth and those groups most notorious for the fabrication of Hadeeth shall be discussed here in details. Though some of the groups date back to the time of the Calphate of Ali - radiyallahu anhu - their principles are found even today among the various deviant and innovative sects.

Political Differences :
Muslim history witnessed a lot of termoil and disorder after the murder of the third Caliph Uthman . The battles between the supporters of Ali  and those of A’aisha and later with the supporters of Muawiyah  led to the creation of the Shi’aa and Khawarij. A great deal of fabricated Hadeeth in favour of Ali and the house of the Prophet came from the Shi’a themselves, as admitted by a well-known Shi’aa source.

Ibn Abi al-Hadid says: “Lies were introduced in Hadeeth on merits originally by Shi’a. They in the beginning fabricated many Hadeeth in favour of their man motivated by enmity towards their opponents. When Bakriyya
(the supporters of Abu Bakr)  found out what Shi’a had done they fabricated on their part Hadeeth in favour of their man.”

Ibn Abi al-Hadid: Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, Dar al-Kutub al-Arabiya al-Kubra, Cairo [1:135]

One of their well-known reports in this connection is the Hadeeth of Ghadir Khumm (the spring of Khumm). It says:
“The Prophet took hold of Ali’s hand in the presence of the Companions, on his way back from the farewell Hajj. He let him stand till all of them knew him. Then he said: This is my attorney and brother and the Caliph after me. So listen to him and obey him.”

Ibn Katheer: al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya [7:347]

Iraq has always been the central place for the fabrication business.

A’aisha is reported to have said: “O people of Iraq, the people of Sham (Syria) are better than you. A great number of the Prophet’s Companions went to them. So they reported to us what we know. But to you a small number of them went. But you reported to us what we know and what we did not.”

Ibn Asakir: al-Mudu’at al-Kubra [1:4]

Abd al-Rehman b al-Mahdi reported to Malik that the amount of Hadeeth he heard in Medina during fourty days was no more than he heard in Iraq in one day. On hearing this, Imaam Malik remarked (addressing the people of Iraq):
“From where did you get this coinage? You make it (the Hadeeth) at night and let it circulate the following day.”

Ibn Taimiya: al-Muntaqa min Minhaj al-I’tidal, p.88

But it does not necessarily mean that there was no one to check this tendency. Traditionists (or the scholars of Hadeeth) like Qatada, Yahya b. Abi Kathir, Hammad b Salama, Jarir b Hazim and Hisham al-Dastawa’i at Basra ans Ibn Ishaq al-Amash, Thauri, Ibn Uyaina and Isra’il at Kufa were known to be prominent figures in this field.

Khawarij on the other hand appeared to be strong opponents to both Ali  and Mu’awiya , but due to their strict principle regarding lies, which was a great sin to them, they would hardly fabricate Hadeeth. Reports that they too fabricated Hadeeth are disputed, with many scholars speaking favourably about them, among them Ibn Taimiyah who is known to be very strict in giving judgment on Hadeeth.

Ibn Taimiyah : Minhaj al-Sunnah, Bulaq, 1321 A.H. [3/31]

Factions based on issues related to faith:

During the last days of the Umayyad Caliphate and throughout the Abbasid period, a number of issues related to faith and attributes of Allah were raised. Such disagreements led to the creation of various factions known as Qadariyya, Jabariyya, Mu’tazila, Murji’a, Mujassima and Mu’atila.

Contradicting Hadeeth either supporting one opinion or rejecting it were fabricated by the supporters of each opinion. As admitted by Muhriz Abu Rajaa, a strong supporter of Qadariyya (who were behind a lot of spurious Hadeeth), who says: “Don’t report anything from anyone among the Qadariyyah as we used to fabricate Hadeeth in order to persuade people to believe in Qadar with an intention of receiving reward from Allah.”

Ibn Hajar : Lisan al-Mizan [1:12]


They were those surrendered ti the Islaamic faith but never accepted it wholeheartedly. They dispised Islaam both as a belief and as a state. Hadeeth giving an unrealistic and illogical picture of Islaam were circulated by them.

Abd al-Karim b Abi al-Auja is one of them who admitted at the moment when he was put to death by the order of Muhammed b Sulaiman b Ali, the Amir of Busra: “By God I have fabricated four thousand Hadeeth forbidding what is allowed or allowing what is forbidden.” Ibn al-Jauzi : [1:31]

A rediculous Hadeeth about the origin of the creator is regarded as being one of their daring ventures. It goes as follows: “When Allah Almighty wanted to create Himself He created the horse first and let it gallop till it sweated. Then He created Himself from its sweat.”

Suyuti : al-Lail al-Masnu’a fi al-Ahadith al-Maudu’a [1:3]

Another notorious fabricator, Muhammed b Sa’id al-Muslub, who was put to death by the Abbasid Caliph, invented the following Hadeeth on the authority of Anas that the Prophet said: “I am the seal of the Prophets except if Allah wishes.” Suyuti : Tabrib, p.186

Clearly the man wanted to give credence to his claim of prophethood by adding the exceptional cause. Sayings like: “Looking at a pretty face brightens the eye and looking at an ugly face leaves it stern”

Ibn Iraq : Tanzih al-Shari’a al-Marfu’a, Cairo [1:179]

Story-tellers :
 Amazing stories full of incredible events and attractive exposition were always a source of inspiration for the common man. This is what the story-tellers used to do in the mosques. To give credence to their material, they used to precede it with a full Isnad. Most of such narrations were strongly rejected by the scholars of Hadeeth. Sulaiman b Mihran al-Amash, a famous scholar of Hadeeth, entered one of the mosques of Basra where he heard a story-teller saying: “A’mash reported to us on the authority of Abu Ishaq who reported from Abu Wa’il ......... etc. On hearing this A’mash seated himself in the middle of the circle and started plucking hairs from his armpit. The story-teller was much annoyed and said: ‘Shame! What are you doing while we are discussing matters of Knowledge? A’mash replied: “I am better than what you are.” He asked: ‘How?’ A’mash replied, “Because I am doing what is the Sunnah while you are telling lies. I am A’mash and I reported nothing of the sort you are saying.”

Suyuti : Tahdhir, p.214

It is reported that a story-teller from Baghdad was explaining the following verse: “Soon will your Lord raise you to a station of praise and glory” Soorah Israa (17):79
He said that Allah would seat the Prophet next to Him on His Throne. This explanation was reported to Muhammed b Jarir at-Tabari (d.310 A.H) who rejected the idea outright and inscribed on his door the following line: “Glorified is He who has neither a companion nor anyone sitting beside Him on the Throne.”
This created a fury among the people of Baghdad who pelted his house with stones till the door was covered by them       .Suyuti : Tahdhir p.161

Ignorant Ascetics (Soofis) :
In order to make people devote much of their time in non-obligatory (Nawafil) forms of worship, the Soofis used to fabricate Hadeeth on the merits of various actions. About four hundred of such Hadeeth are known to be invented by Ghulam Khalil (d. 275 A.H.) one of the renowned Soofis of Baghdad. His death caused the whole market to close its doors in mourning.” Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi : Tarikh al-Baghdad, [5:79]

Some of the Karramiya
Karramiya : They are named after Muhammed b Karram al-Sijistani who believe that the attributes of Allah are similar to those possessed by human beings  made a daring contribution to the fabrication of Hadeeth on the merits of some particular actions. They admitted that the Prophet said: “Whoever speaks a lie against me intentionally, should reserve his seat in the fire.” But they remarked: “We did not speak a lie against him but instead for him.”

Ibn Katheer : al-Ba’ith al-Hathith, p.79

People like Maisra b Abd Rabbihi and Abu Isma Nuh b. Abi Maryam al-Marwazi used to invent Hadeeth on the merits of each Soorah of the Qur'aan. They justified their acts by saying: “I found people deserting the Qur'aan and occupying themselves with Fiqh of Abu Hanifa and Maghazi (battles) of Ibn Ishaq, so I invented there Hadeeth for a sake of reward (from Allah).”

Another example given by Sheikh al-Albaani is, “The world is prohibited to the people of the hereafter and the hereafter is prohibited to the people of the world. And both are prohibited to the people of Allah.”

Sheikh Nasir ud-Din al-Albaani : Silsilat al-Ahadeeth al-Da’ifa wal-Maudu’a, Beirut, (1384 A.H.), [1:50

Prejudice for town, race or one’s Imam :

(I) Hadeeth literature contains a lot of material on the merits or otherwise of various towns, most of them proved to be fabricated. Prejudice for a certain place was indeed a major factor behind such fabrication. Hadeeth on the merits of Jeddah, Basra, Jordan, Khurasan, Asqalan, Qizwin, Nisibin, Antioch, Ibadan (Iraq) and condemning Constantinople, Tabriya, Antioch, the burnt city and San’aa comprise a large section in Ibn Iraq’s work.

Ibn Iraq, pp.2:45-65

(ii) Prejudice for or against a race is another factor behind the circulation of Hadeeth such as the following:
“A Zanji (black) commits adultery when he is satisfied and steals when he is hungry. There is generosity and a helping spirit among them as well.”

Ibn Iraq, p.231

“Love the Arabs for three reasons. I am an Arab. The Qur'aan is in Arabid and the people of paradise will converse in Arabic.”

Ibn Iraq, 2:30

“The one who has nothing to give as charity should curse the jews instead.”

al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, 14:270

(iii) Prejudice for one’s own Imaam and hate for another is well depicted in the following fabricated Hadeeth :

“There shall be in my Ummah by the name of Muhammed b Idris (i.e. ash-Shafi’i) who will be more dangerous to my Ummah than Iblis and there shall be a man from my Ummah known as Abu Hanifah who is the lamp of my Ummah.”
Ibn Jawji in al-Mawdoo’at [1/457] & Ibn Iraq, 2:3. For a complete eplanation of the statement refer to “the Prophet’s Prayer described .......” by Sheikh al-Albaani

Similar factors seem to be at work in fabricated Hadeeth which support a legal issue held by one Imaam or denounce altogether the opinion of another.

Inventions for personal motives:

A good example is the Hadeeth that have been fabricated about the merits of perticular vegetables or grains. Ibn Qayyim has collected many such Hadeeth that he came accross, in his collection called ‘al-Manar al-Munif fi al-Sahih wal-Da’if’. Among them are Hadeeth that show the advantages of water-melon, lentils, fish, egg-plant, grapes, beans, broad beans, salt, leek, pomegranate and other vegetables. To quote one example, “Use the pumpkin as it brightens the head and use the lentils as it has been glorified by seventy messengers.”

Sheikh al-Albani, Silsilat il-Ahadeeth al-Da’ifah wal-Maudu’a, 1:57

Sayings of wisdom turned into Hadeeth :

Some have tried to credit to the Prophet different parables and sayings of wisdom. For example the following saying is known to be that of Harith b Kalda, a well-known doctor in the Arabs, “The abdomen is the house of disease and prevention is the head of remedies.”

Muhammed Adib Salih : Lamahat fi Usul al-Hadeeth, Damascus, 1393 A.H., p.305

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