Truth has arrived, and falsehood has perished; verily falsehood by its nature perishes. Holy Qur’an, 17:81

The critical influence of the Quraysh group was not confined to the temporary prohibition of the compilation of hadith. This group and the Bani Umayyah came and went, however the results of their propaganda tactics survive until today in the invented practices that have found their way into the books of hadith.

Under the employment of the Bani Umayyah, individuals such as Abu Huraira al-Dusi and al-Mugheerah b. Shu’bah composed stories ridiculing the household of the Prophet and exaggerating other companions. They even attributed some false hadith to Imam Ali. As a result, the sources of Islamic shariah (legal law) and legislation became tainted which lead to many people within the ummah becoming misinformed.

Some Muslims believe that if one rejects any hadith narrated in the six books of hadith called the Sahih as-Sittah (the six authentic books of hadith), then they are actually rejecting their faith. Few people realize that belief in the validity of these six sahih hadith books is not a prerequisite for faith and that another option does exist.

Where did all of these fabricated hadith come from? A major source is the man whom Umar b. al-Khattab accused of stealing the wealth of the Muslims and called him “the enemy of Allah and the enemy of the Book Legacy of the Quraysh on the Hadith of Allah”[1] and that man was Abu Huraira, who is known to have narrated over 5,700 hadith. In fact, in regards to him, Umar said, “Most likely because of the abundance of the hadith you have delivered, you are lying about the Prophet.”[2] Abu Huraira used to tell stories in which the Prophet would say absurd things and when the Muslims stared at him dumbfounded, he would affirm, “I believe in this hadith, and so do Abu Bakr and Umar.” By his own statement, he was implying that no one else had faith to believe in his narrations![3]

Abu Huraira was not the only person who composed his own hadith and attributed the sayings to Prophet Muhammad. Another prominent storyteller was Amr b. al-Aas.[4] For example, Amr b. al-Aas narrates that when Lady Aishah was asked who was the closest person to the heart of the Prophet, she said, “My father.” When asked who else, she said, “Umar,” and then after him, she named other people.[5] However, Lady Aishah had always maintained that amongst men, the closest person to the Prophet was Ali b. Abi Talib, and that amongst the women it was his daughter, Lady Fatima al-Zahra.[6]

Sunni scholars who carefully examine the sahih books would automatically question the authenticity of some of the problematic hadith. Of course, had the Bani Umayyah not begun the practice of forging their own hadith, then the entire science of hadith classification may never have developed. Nevertheless, since they did, the science of hadith classification was developed.

One of the primary principles, which both Sunni and Shia scholars use in the science of hadith, is that if one narrator in a chain of narrators is unreliable then all of his hadiths are meaningless.[7] In this case, why did the fables of Abu Huraira, and those that insulted the Prophet, remain in the sahih books? By their own inclusion of a few shortsighted narrators, these false and fabricated hadiths affected Muslim thought forever.

[1] Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, 8:116
[2] Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah, 1:360
[3] Sahih al-Muslim, 4:1857, hadith 2388
[4] Amr b. al-Aas was one of the most cunning figures in Arab history. He is known for ridiculing and deriding the Prophet. The Holy Qur’an says about him, “For he who hates you, he will be cut off from prosterity (children).”(c. 108:3) He was cursed by the Prophet when he was seen singing and drinking alcohol. Mu’awiyah appointed him to be the governor of Egypt and it was he who fought against Imam Ali in the Battle of Siffeen in 37 AH. He died in Egypt in 43 AH.
[5] Sahih al-Muslim, 4:1856, hadith 2384
[6] Sunan al-Tirmidi, 5:362
[7] Al-Imam al-Nawawi, Al-Taqrib

When Power and Piety Collide by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini

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