QURAN & HADITH
1. Preliminary Details & Definitions
literally means `talk`. Its plural is AHADITH.(أحاديث)
In SHI`A terminology `HADITH` means the talk of a MA`SUM and
also that narration which describes the talk, action or `TAQRIR`
of a MA`SUM. Talk of a MA`SUM includes his writings and sign
(ISHARAH) also. If a MA`SUM abstains from a work or thing,
then this abstaining also is counted as an `action` (in the
`TAQRIR` of a MA`SUM means that if a follower of a MA`SUM
did a work in the presence of the presence of the MA`SUM and
the said MA`SUM did not prohibit that work_ even though he
was in a position to forbid it is he so wished_ then it is
called `TAQRIR` of the MA`SUM. We may translate this term as
`tacit approval` or `silent approval`.
If a narration does not reach up to a MA`SUM, it is not
counted as ` HADITH ` according to SHI`A terminology.
(Though sometimes a talk of a companion of a MA`SUM or a
disciple of such a companion is called ` HADITH ` just as a
figurative expression.) According to the SUNNI terminology,
talk, action and TAQRIR of the Prophet, his companions and
disciples of such companions is called ` HADITH `. HADITH is
also known as KHABAR (خبر)
i.e. news and ATHAR (أثر)
i.e. trace or track.
Many terms will be used in the following chapters. It is,
therefore, necessary to explain important ones beforehand.
Here a compete tradition is given with its translation:
حماد بن سلمة عن محمد بن إسحاق عن عمرو بن شعيب عن أبيه عن جده
قال : "قلت يا رسول الله اكتب كل ما أسمع منك؟ قال, نعم . قلت
في الرضا والغضب؟ قال, نعم. فإني لا أقول في ذلك إلا الحق".
HAMMAD IBN SALMAH narrated from MUHAMMAD IBN ISHAQ who
narrated from `AMR IBN SHU`AYB who narrated from his father
who narrated from his father who said:
"I said, O Messenger of Allah, should I write everything
which I hear from you?" The Prophet said, "Yes, I said, 'In
pleasure and displeasure?" (That is, Should I write
everything said by you in every condition?) The Prophet
said, "Yes! Because I do not say any condition but the
truth". The first part of the HADITH contains the names of
the narrators who had transmitted it one to the other. This
chain of narrators is called SANAD (سند)
Its plural is ASNAD.
The second part is the actual narration beginning from "I
said, 'O Messenger of Allah' up to the end of the HADITH. It
is called MATN (متن)
i.e. the next. The narrator is called RAWI (راوي).
Its plural is RUWAT. The SANAD and MATN together are called
one HADITH. A scholar of HADITH is called MUHADDITH (محدّث).
Its plural is MUHADDITHUN or MUHADDITHIN.
2. The Status of HADITH.
After the QUR'AN, the HADITH of a MA'SUM is the most
important binding authority (HUJJAT) IN Islam; and if anyone
wants to succeed on the Day of Judgment, then he must follow
the QUR'AN and HADITH together. For example Allah says in
the QUR'AN; "O You who believe! Obey Allah and obey the
Prophet and those who are Masters of the Affairs among you"
In this AYAH Allah makes it obligatory for the believers to
obey the Holy Prophet and the Masters of the Affairs, i.e.
the Twelve Imams. Obviously nobody can follow the Holy
Prophet and the Imams unless he knows what the Holy Prophet
and Imams had said or done. And that brings us to AHADITH.
MEANING OF OBEDIENCE & FOLLOWING
To follow a MA'SUM means to do the same work as has been
done by the MA'SUM with the same intention. For example, the
Holy Prophet received some money from a Muslim by way of
ZAKAH; if now someone usurps some property or money from
someone without any religious authority it will not be
called following in the foot-steps of the Prophet. It should
be remembered that the AHADITH of the twelve Imams (a.s.)
and the Lady FATIMAH AZ-ZAHRA (A.S.) are The AHADITH of the
Holy Prophet himself.
The Imams themselves have made it quite clear many times.
For example, IMAM MUHAMMAD BAQIR (A.S.) said, "When I
narrate a HADITH without mentioning any chain of narrators,
then my SANAD is from my father, who narrated it from my
grandfather (IMAM HUSAYN) from his father (Imam Ali) from
the Messenger of Allah who heard it from JIBRA'IL who was
informed of it by Allah". The same declaration was made by
IMAM JA'FAR AS-SADIQ (A.S.) about his own AHADITH.
A person who did not see a MA'SUM or did not hear from him,
the only way for him to know the religion is through the
AHADITH of the Holy Prophet, the 12 Imams and the Lady
FATIMAH AZ-ZAHRA (peace be on them all). It is, however,
necessary to see that the HADITH is authentic before acting
upon it. In the following pages some details about the
categories of AHADITH will be given to help the readers in
3. The Categories of HADITH.
The value of a HADITH depends very much on the probity and
trustworthiness of its narrators, the RUWAT.
Some important qualifications of a RAWI are as follows:
The RAWI of a HADITH must be an adult (BALIGH), sane,
Muslim, just (ADIL), and of good memory; according to the
SHI'A ITHNA ASHERI sect, he should also be a SHI'A ITHNA
ASHERI, though in some cases, the AHADITH narrated by non-ITHNA
ASHERI Muslims are acceptable. ADIL means a person who does
not commit any major sin (not intentionally) then he repents
at once. Only an ADIL person can be relied upon. If he is
not ADIL, he might forge AHADITH and mislead people. Good
memory is necessary for a RAWI if he is to be trusted;
otherwise, he may forget something and thus change, add or
omit some wordings from the HADITH.
It is not necessary that a RAWI should be a scholar or
The Four Types Of Hadith
ALLAMAH AL-HILLI and the ULAMA coming after him have divided
the AHADITH into four categories according to the
qualifications of the RUWAT:
1. SAHIH (Correct: True): A HADITH all of whose RUWAT are
SHI'A ITHNA ASHERIS and all have been praised for their
trustworthiness. For example, such wordings have been used
for all of them: "He is trustworthy- THIQAH": "His AHADITH
are correct- SAHIHU'L- HADITH" and such other words which
show their trustworthiness.
2. HASAN (Good): A HADITH, all of whose narrators are SHI'A
ITHNA ASHERIS but not all of them have been praised for
trustworthiness; instead some or all have been praised in
such word: "He is virtuous -MUSTAHSAN" or "He is of good
3. MUWATHTHAQ (Reliable): A HADITH not all of whose
narrators are SHI'A ITHNA ASHERI, but all have been praised
4. DA'IF (Weak): A HADITH, which is neither SAHIH, HASAN nor
The first three categories are considered as genuine. DA'IF
has got no worth at all, unless it was accepted by all 'ULAMA
of the early period, in which case it is called MAQBUL
(acceptable), that is, accepted by early scholars. As has
been mentioned earlier, a HADITH consists of a SANAD (chain
of narrators) and a MATN (text). If a HADITH is classified
as DA'IF (weak), it means that that particular SANAD is
weak. But that same text might have been narrated somewhere
else with SAHIH, HASAN or MUWATHTHAQ SANAD; and the value of
HADITH will change accordingly.
MUTAWATIR & WAHID
HADITH is also classified into "MUTAWATIR" and "WAHID"
categories based on the number of its ASNAD:
1. MUTAWATIR (متواتر)
: It means a HADITH narrated at every stage by so many
people that the very number of narrators is enough to create
a conviction of its truth. A HADITH is classified as
MUTAWATIR only if it fulfils the following four conditions:
(a) There must be, in all stages of narration, so many
people that common sense cannot accept their coming together
to forge a lie. If the number is great, fro example, in the
beginning and the end but too small in the middle, such a
HADITH is not called MUTAWATIR.
For example, the number of the narrators of the HADITH "INNAMA
'L-A'MALU BI 'N-NIYYAT- Verily, the actions are valued by
the intentions" is too great in the middle and the later
stages, but in the beginning its only narrator in UMAR IBN
AL-KHATTAB. So, this HADITH is not MUTAWATIR.
(b) The information conveyed should be about a thing which
can be felt by one of the five senses (sight, hearing,
smell, taste and touch).
(c) The hearers should not have prior knowledge of that
(d) The hearers should not have a prior doubt about that
information nor a preconceived belief opposed to that
If a HADITH is classified as MUTAWATIR, then there is no
need to look at its individual ASNAD, or the credentials of
its RUWAT. MUTAWATIR is of two kinds:
i. MUTAWATIR in words:
A HADITH, which is narrated by all narrators with the same
wording. For example, the HADITH "MAN KUNTU MAWLAHU FA HADHA
'ALIYUN MAWLAHU - He whose Master am I, 'Ali is his Master",
and also the HADITH "MAN KADHABA 'ALAYYA FAL-YATABAWWA'
MAQ'ADAHU FI 'N-NAR"- whoever tells a lie on me, should
prepare his abode in the Fire", are MUTAWATIR in words. ii.
MUTAWATIR in meaning:
If the narrators use different wordings but there is a
common factor in all narrations, then that common factor
will be called MUTAWATIR in meaning. For example, let us
suppose that some one says that 'ALI IBN ABI TALIB (A.S.)
killed 35 enemies in the battle of BADR; another says that
he conquered the fortress of KHAYBAR; a third one says that
he stayed fighting in UHUD while others had fled away, and
likewise. Now all such narrations have one common factor-
that 'Ali (a.s.) was extra -ordinarily brave person. Though
each and every narration in itself may not be MUTAWATIR but
the braver of Ali is MUTAWATIR.
2. WAHID: The second main category of HADITH based on the
number of narrators is WAHID (واحد).
Every HADITH, whose narrators are not so many as to make it
MUTAWATIR, is called WAHID.
As the MUTAWATIR HADITH creates a sure knowledge of its
truth, it is obligatory to follow it. But the WAHID HADITH
creates not a sure knowledge but only a reasonable
assumption of its truth. However, if the WAHID HADITH is
substantiated by the context or association (QARINAH) which
creates certainty of its truth, then it will be obligatory
to accept and follow it like a MUTAWATIR HADITH. Here are a
few examples of such contexts:
- Conformity with logical reasons;
- Conformity with the clear meaning of the QUR'AN;
- Conformity with other authentic AHADITH;
- Conformity with an unanimous belief of the Muslims and /
or the SHI'A sect of Islam.
If a WAHID HADITH is associated with any of the above
mentioned contexts, it must be accepted and followed. If it
is not joined by any such context, then also according to
many 'ULAMA, it is allowed to follow it, provided it is not
against any accepted tenets of the religion.
4.Recording of the AHADITH.
As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the Holy
Prophet (P) encouraged people to write down whatever they
heard him saying. Unfortunately, the first three Caliphs
reversed this policy and forbade people to narrate or write
any HADITH of Prophet (P). The first caliph burned such
writings and this policy was followed by the 2nd and the 3rd
In contrast to this policy, IMAM ALI IBN ABI TALIB (A.S.)
always emphasized the importance and essentiality of writing
the AHADITH. Many companions of the Prophet like 'ABDULLAH
IBN ABBAS, SALMAN AL-FARISI, ABU DHARR AL-GHIFARI, BILAL and
ABU RAFI' wrote down the traditions of the Holy Prophet.
Likewise many of their disciples, like MITHAN TAMMAR, ALI
IBN ABU RAFI, RABI'AH IBN SUMAY, ASBAGH IBN MUBATAH,
UBAYDULLAH IBN AL-HUR, and SULAYM IBN QAYS AL-HILALI also
wrote the traditions heard from Imam Ali and other
Unfortunately almost all those books are now lost except the
book of SULAYM IBN QAYS AL-HILALI. The system established by
the Prophet (P) and Ali (a.s.) was followed by the Imams of
AHLUL-BAYT, and we find that thousands of famous companions
of Imams (a.s) had collected all the AHADITH they heard from
them. Some of those companions are so highly respected that
a HADITH narrated by any one of them is considered authentic
by many SHI'A scholars. Such companions of the Imams are
divided into three groups:
First Group consists of six companions of Imam MUHAMMAD AL-BAQIR
(A.S.) and Imam JA'FAR AS-SADIQ (A.S.) as follows:
1. ZURARAH IBN A'YAN.
2. MA'RUF IBN KHARABBUDH.
3. BURAYD IBN MU'AWIYAH AL-BIJILLI.
4. ABU BASIR AL-ASADI.
5. FUDAYL IBN YASAR.
6. MUHAMMD IBN MUSLIM ATH-THAQAFI.
Some people count ABU BASIR AL-MURADI in place of ABU BASIR
AL-ASADI. Second Group consists of six companions of Imam
JA'FAR AS-SADIQ (A.S.) as follows:
1. JAMIL IBN DARRAJ.
2. ABDULLAH IBN MASKAN.
3. ABDULLAH IBN BUKAYR.
4. HAMMAD IBN UTHMAN.
5. HAMMAD IBN ISA.
6. ABAN IBN UTHMAN AL-AHMAR.
Third Group consists of six companions of Imam MUSA AL-KAZIM
(A.S.) and Imam ALI AR-RIDHA (A.S.) as follows:
1. YUNUS IBN ABDU 'R-RAHMAN YAQTINI.
2. SAFWAN IBN YAHYA AL-SABIRI.
3. ABDULLAH IBN AL-MUGHIRAH.
4. MUHAMMAD IBN ABI 'UMAYR AL-AZDI.
5. AL-HASAN IBN MAHBUB.
6. AHMAD IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ABI NASR.
Some people count HASAN IBN ALI IBN FADDAL in place of HASAN
IBN MAHBUB; others add the name of FADHALA IBN AYYUB or
UTHMAN IBN ISA in this list. Some other famous names are ABU
HAMZAH ATH-THUMALI, ABAN IBN TAGHLIB, JABIR INB YAZID AL-JU'FI,
MUHAMMAD IBN QAYS, HISHAM IBN AL-HAKAM, HISHAM IBN SALIM,
ABDULLAH IBN YAHYA AL-KAHILI, ALI IBN RI'AB AL-KUFI, MANSUR
IBN HAZIM, ALI IBN YAQTIN IBN MUSA, ABDULLAH IBN MUGHIRAH
AL-BIJILLI, MU'AWIYAH IBN HUKAYM, ZAKARIYYAH IBN ADAM,
ISMA'IL IBN MIHRAN, ABDU'R-RAHMAN IBN ABI NAJRAN AT-TAMIMI,
HUSAYN IBN SA'ID IBN AL-HAMMAD, ALI IBN MAHAZYAR AL-AHWAZI,
FADHL IBN SHADHAN, ABU JA'FAR AHMAD IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ISA,
AYYUB IBN NUH IBN DARRAJ, ALI IBN IMAM JA'FAR AS-SADIQ (A.S),
AHMAD IBN ISHAQ AL-QUMMI.
These are some of those highly respected companions of Imams
(a.s) who collected traditions and wrote many other books,
which are mentioned in their biographical details and in
SHI'A bibliographical works. In short, from the days of Imam
Ali (a.s) up to the days of Imam HASAN AL-ASKARI (A.S.)
companions of Imams (a.s) wrote more than 6600 books, most
of them containing the AHADITH of the Holy Prophet (P) and
the Imams (a.s).
STYLE OF HADITH BOOKS
The recording of traditions varied in size and style as
1. A narrator would record one long tradition on one
subject. For example, SALMAN recorded the HADITH of
literature was of this type.
2. Others collected the AHADITH of one subject in one
booklet. During the period of Imams (a.s) thousands of such
booklets were written. The collection was usually known by
the subject; such as "KITABU 'S-SALAH- the Book of Prayer",
"KITABU 'L-HAJJ- the Book of Pilgrimage" etc.
3. Some narrators collected AHADITH of different subjects in
one volume. Such collections were called "AN-NAWADIR".
4. Many companions noted down whatever HADITH they heard
from Imams, without any distinction of subject and without
dividing them into chapters. Such collections were known as
"ASL" (pl. USUL), foundation. Four hundred such USUL were
prevalent among the SHI'AS at the time of the death of Imam
HASAN AL-'ASKARI (A.S.).
These four hundred USUL were most popular of all collections
and they formed the main source of the tenets, beliefs and
laws of SHI'A ITHNA ASHARI faith.
However, there were many difficulties in relation to the
above-mentioned four styles of HADITH collection:
Firstly, as there was no press in those days, those USUL and
other HADITH literature were not easily available
everywhere. The persecution of the SHI'AS compounded the
problem by making the owners extraordinarily cautious: they
did not give their copies except to those whom they fully
trusted. Secondly, none of those four hundred USUL contained
AHADITH concerning all aspects of religion in one place.
Moreover, they were not divided according to subject. This
resulted in great difficulty for anyone trying to find the
Thirdly, there was a danger that these treasures of
religious knowledge would be lost forever due to the
persecution of the SHI'AS and also because of the difficulty
in obtaining and preserving the four hundred USUL.
THE FOUR BOOKS (AL-KUTUBU'L-ARB'AH).
These problems warranted the need for a new style in
recording in which the AHADITH from all available sources be
collected and arranged subject-wise, divided into chapters
and sections. Such collections were called "KITAB-Book".
However, the words ASL and KITAB are usually
The need for this type of HADITH collection was felt by the
SHI'A scholars after the death of Imam HASAN AL-ASDARI (A.S.).
They believed that if the AHADITH in those USUL were
collected in one book and divided subject-wise into parts,
chapters and sections, it would fulfill a great need of the
time since handling one book would be much easier than four
hundred booklets. This would also ensure the preservation of
that vast treasure of knowledge.
It was, however, not an easy task: collecting the USUL from
far and wide was an uphill task in itself; then editing and
arranging them was another painstaking job. All eyes turned
to THIQATU 'L-ISLAM ABU JA'FAR MUHAMMAD IBN YA'QUB AL-KULAYNI
AR-RAZI. When pressure mounted, he accepted the
responsibility. This was during the Minor Occultation of our
Twelfth Imam who was accessible to the people only through
his special deputies who resided in Baghdad.
ABU JA'FAR AL-KULAYNI was the religious head of the SHI'A in
Ray (near Tehran) and had moved to Baghdad just two years
before his death. He spent twenty years of his life in
collecting AHADITH, several times traveling to other places
and obtaining as many USUL as he could. Thus, after twenty
years of continuous backbreaking effort AL-KAFI came into
AL-KAFI alone contains more AHADITH than all the six books
(AS-SIHAHAS -SITTAH) of the SUNNIS put together. It is
divided into three parts: AL-USUL (related to matters of
belief) in 2 volumes; AL-FURU (related to SHARI'AH laws) in
5 volumes; and AR-RAWDAH, one volume. Each volume is divided
in sections, and in all there are thirty sections,
containing 16199 traditions.
AL-KULAYNI was born in 260 AH and died in 329 AH/941 CE. In
other words, his life began and ended with the Minor
Occultation. Other scholars also collected the AHADITH from
other books and USUL. The most famous among them are:
ABU JA'FAR MUHAMMAD IBN ALI IBN HUSAYN IBN MUSA IBN BABUWAYH
AL-QUMMI, popularly known as SHAYKH AS-SADUQ (born cir. 306
AH; died 381 AH/991 CE) wrote MAN LA YAHDURUHU 'L-FAQIH.
This book contains 5963 AHADITH divided into 666 chapters.
ABU JA'FAR MUHAMMAD IBN HASAN IBN ALI AT-TUSI, popularly
known as SHAYKHU 'T-TA'IFAH and SHAYKH AT-TUSI (born 385 AH;
died 466 AH/1067 CE) wrote TAHDHIBU 'L-AHKAM and AL-ISTIBSAR.
TAHDHIBU 'L-AHKAM has 393 chapters with 13590 AHADITH; and
AL-ISTIBSAR has 925 (or 915) chapters containing 5511
The later two books opened the way of critical study of
AHADITH, and thus laid the foundation of IJTIHAD.
You may have noticed that all three authors of these four
books were named "Muhammad" and all had the KUNYAH of "ABU
JA'FAR". In 448 AH, the SUNNIS of Baghdad attacked the
SHI'AS and burned the house of SHAYKH AT-TUSI and his
library, which contained many unique manuscripts.
Disheartened, he left Baghdad and went to Najaf. His
disciples and seeders of knowledge followed him: this was
the beginning of the town and the religious university of
Many other collections of AHADITH were written in the period
under review, but only these four became popular and famous.
There was another collection, MADINATU 'L-ILM, by SHAYKH AS-SADUQ
which would have formed, in view of SHI'A scholars, as the
fifth of the "Early Books", if it would not have been lost.
A point, which students of HADITH must bear in mind, is that
if a HADITH is found in any of the above-mentioned four
books, it does not necessarily follow that that "HADITH" is
authentic. On the other hand, if a HADITH is found in other
collections and fulfils all the required conditions, then it
will be accepted as authentic even if it is not found in the
THE THREE LATER BOOKS
In later period the following collections of AHADITH became
1. MUHAMMAD IBN MURTADA IBN MAHMUD, popularly known as MULLA
MUHSIN FAYD AL-KASHANI (d. 1091 AH/1680 CE) wrote AL-WAFI.
2. SHAYKH MUHAMMAD IBN HASAN AL-HURR AL-'AMILI (d. 1104
AH/1692 CE) wrote WASA'ILU'SH-SHI'A. its new edition has
been printed in 20 volumes; and contains 35850 AHADITH.
3. MUHAMMAD BAQIR IBN MUHAMMAD TAQI, popularly known as
ALLAMAH MAJLISI (d. 1111 AH/1700 CE) wrote BIHARU 'L-ANWAR
in 26 bulky volumes. Its new edition in typescript has been
published in 110 volumes.
It is interesting to note that these three traditionalists
were also named Muhammad. They are called "the later three
MUHAMMADS". In the 14th century, SHAYKH HUSAYN NURI
(1254-1320 AH) wrote MUSTADRAKU 'L-WASA'IL in 1319 AH. It
contains 23,000 AHADITH. With the exception of AL-KAFI and
BIHARU'L-ANWAR, the other six collections are confined to
the AHADITH related to the SHARI'AH laws. Among them, AL-WAFI
is considered the best in style, classification and other
In our times, a new collection, known as JAMI'U
AHADITHI'SH-SHI'AH, is being prepared and published which is
sure to eclipse all the above-mentioned six collections.
This work began by order and under patronage of the late
AYATULLAH SAYYID HUSAYN AL-BURUJARDI (d. 1380 AH) in QUM.
The project has continued under patronage of succeeding
MARAJI', and is nearing completion. So far 25 volumes have
THE SUNNI COLLECTIONS
It will not be out of place to give here the names of some
famous collections of AHADITH written by the SUNNI scholars:
1. IMAM MALIK IBN ANAS IBN MALIK (d. 175 AH/795 CE) wrote
2. IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN ISLAM'IL AL-BUKHARI (d. 256 AH/870 CE)
wrote SAHIH AL-BUKHARI,
3. IMAM MUSLIM IBN HAJJAJ AN-NISHAPURI (d. 261 AH/875 CE)
wrote SAHIH MUSLIM.
4. HAFIZ MUHAMMAD IBN YAZID IBN MAJAH AL-QAZWINI (d. 264
AH/886 CE) wrote AS-SUNAN.
5. HAFIZ ABU DAWUD SULAYMAN IBN ASH'ATH AS-SIJISTANI (d. 275
AH) wrote his AS-SUNAN.
6. HAFIZ ABU 'ISA MUHAMMAD IBN 'ISA IBN SURA AT-TIRMIDHI (d.
279 AH/893 CE) wrote AL-JAMI', known as SAHIH AT-TIRMIDHI.
7. IMAM ABU 'ABDI 'R-RAHMAN AHMAD IBN SHU'AYB AN-NASA'I (d.
303 AH/915 CE) wrote his AS-SUNAN. He also wrote AL-KHASA'IS.
The books nos. 2 to 7 are jointly known as AS-SIHAH AS-SITTA
(The Six Authentic Books) among SUNNIS.
8. The son of IMAM AHMAD IBN HANBAL collected his AHADITH,
which is known as MUSNAD of IMAM AHMAD IBN HANBAL. (IMAM
AHMAD IBN HANBAL died in 241 AH/855 CE). This book is
thought by many SUNNIS to be as authentic as AS-SIHAH AS-SITTA.
9. IMAM ABUL QASIM SULAYMAN IBN AHMAD AT-TABARANI (d. 360
AH) wrote AL-MU'JAMU 'L-KABIR.
10. IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN ABDULLAH AL-HAKIM AN-NISHAPURI (d. 405
AH) wrote AL-MUSTADRAK 'ALA'S-SAHHAYN.
11. IMAM ABDU R-RAHMAN JALALU 'D-DIN AS-SUYUTI (d. 911 AH)
wrote JAMU' 'L-JAWAMI'.
12. SHAYKH MULLA ALI IBN HUSAMU 'D-DIN AL-MUTTQI AL-HINDI
(d. 975 AH) edited the book of AS-SUYUTI and named it KANZU
It should be noted again that being included in, or excluded
from, these books has no effect upon the authenticity or
otherwise of a given HADITH. As the writer of MISHKATU 'L-MASABIH
says, "The books of AS-SIHAH AS-SITTA contain all types of
HADITH: SAHIH, HASAN and DA'IF". Not only that. A thorough
study will show that there are even many forged and
completely baseless "AHADITH" in these books; therefore,
every HADITH has to be judged on its own merits.
5.The Problem of Fabrication & Its Solution
MAWDU' literally means forged. In Islamic terminology it is
used for a "HADITH" which is not from any MA'SUM but has
been forged by someone and attributed to a MA'SUM. It is
HARAM and strictly unlawful to narrate a MAWDU' "HADITH"
except when it is first declared to be forged. It is an
extremely painful tragedy of early Islamic period that a
good number of the companions of the Holy Prophet and many
of their disciples used to fabricate AHADITH for material
benefits or for the sake of sectarian polemics. It is not
possible to give full detail of this tragedy here. I will
enumerate some of the causes, which prompted such
unscrupulous persons to lie against the Holy Prophet and
1. Some people fabricated AHADITH to please the rulers.
2. Others fabricated AHADITH on the spur of the moment to
fit it in their talks so that their popularity brings them
3. Many apparently pious people forged AHADITH to exhort
their audience to do good work. Such AHADITH are found
mostly on the subject of abstaining from worldly affairs and
in sermons dealing with ethics.
4. Many people forged AHADITH to support their own religious
views. For examples, the atheists (ZANADIQA) forged at least
12,000 AHADITH and attributed them to the Holy Prophet. A
KHARIJITE said after repenting from his previous belief; "Be
careful in listening to AHADITH; because we used to forge
HADITH whenever we wanted to support an opinion". Also those
people who believed that Imams were gods fabricated AHADITH
in support of their belief.
5. MU'AWIYAH and his successor UMAYYAD rulers started
wholesale fabrication of AHADITH in praise of the first
three KHALIFAS and in condemnation of Imam Ali and his
Muslim history records that in the beginning of the UMAYYAD
rule, those people who forged 'the saying of the Prophet'
according to the wishes of the rulers, were greatly
encouraged. They were given handsome presents and heavy
monthly allowances and thus they were immensely enriched.
And those who dared mention any true saying of the Prophet
which happened to be against the desires and wishes of the
rulers, were denied their basic rights and their names were
removed from the roll of BAYTU 'L-MAL (public treasury).
Such a person was turned away from the courts of the rulers
and his statements were treated as false and were rejected.
It is clear that those sayings of the Prophet, which were
against the policy of the government, had more chances of
being genuine than those, which were in favor of the
reigning group. Those who wrote against the government were
always in danger of losing their lives, property and honor.
On the other hand, those who wrote for the government had a
strong worldly motive to coin stories and forge traditions.
The political needs of those sovereigns gave rise to many
things in the HADITH corpus, which were totally against the
Some examples have been given in my other books. See for
example, the comment of 'ALLAMAH SHIBLI on the belief of
predestination of man's actions (in Justice of God) and the
controversy about MI'RAJ- ascension of the Holy Prophet (in
The Holy Prophet).
One more example may be given here of such "AHADITH" which
attribute sins to the previous prophets and to the Holy
Prophet of Islam. Most of the rulers who are regarded as
caliphs according to the SUNNI belief, were fallible (non-MA'SUM),
and most of them (especially from the UMAYYADS and then, the
ABBASIDS) were of very low moral standard; they were more
depraved than even a common man. 'ALLAMAH SHIBLI has
slightly hinted at it, in the statement quoted in Justice of
God. Under these circumstances, it was the easiest thing for
saving their skins from various charges, to invent stories
and coin AHADITH to show that even the Holy Prophet Himself
was not free from sins; and, therefore, there was no harm if
those caliphs were guilty of various sins and crimes.
These "traditions" were forged by some companions of the
Holy Prophet like ABU HURAYRAH and his ilk. It is
interesting to note that ABU HURAYRAH accepted Islam at the
end of the 7th year of HIJRA and remained with the Holy
Prophet for about 3 years only during which, period he also
went to Bahrain. And he claimed to hear in such a short
period so many things from the Holy Prophet that exceed by
far the total AHADITH narrated in SUNNI books from the first
four caliphs (ABU BAKR, UMAR, ALI), the lady FATIMAH, all
wives of the Holy Prophet (including AISHAH), and HASAN and
HUSAYN. Traditionalists have counted that there are 5374
AHADITH narrated by ABU HURAYRAH. Now look at The AHADITH of
some of the above mentioned personalities recorded in SUNNI
- ABU BAKR: 142 AHADITH
- UMAR: 537 AHADITH
- UTHMAN: 146 AHADITH
- ALI (A.S): 586 AHADITH
- TOTAL 1411 AHADITH
And these 4 KHALIFAS had spent together a total of about 86
years with the Holy Prophet. Now compare 1411 AHADITH in 86
years with 5374 AHADITH in less than 3 years!!!
What is more tragic is that ABU HURAYRAH is not alone. There
are scores like him, and their "AHADITH" have found place in
all SUNNI books because they were companions of the Holy
Prophet! It is such AHADITH which serve as the armory for
the enemies of Islam, who use them to cast doubt on the
character, sincerity, integrity and truth of the Holy
Prophet on Islam.
HOW TO TEST A HADITH
AHADITH have been collected by SUNNIS and SHI'AS alike
indifferent books. But all those books are a collection of
every kind of traditions. It must be clearly understood that
there never was in Islam any system of canonization of the
books. There was never any system of authorization by state
or church for the publication of books. It helped
tremendously in the advancement of knowledge, because
scholars were free to write whatever they liked. But so far
as traditions were concerned it corrupted the authenticity
of the traditions. Forgery and corruption of HADITH became a
common disease. Soon devices had to be developed to test the
authenticity or otherwise of traditions.
The First Device was provided by the Holy Prophet himself.
He told the Muslims to test any tradition with the QUR'AN.
It has been mentioned earlier that every word of the Prophet
was based upon revelation. And QUR'AN also was revelation.
And truth from the same source of knowledge cannot differ.
Therefore, if a HADITH was not against QUR'AN, it was to be
regarded as genuine one; if, on the other hand, it was
against QUR'AN, the Holy Prophet ordered the Muslims to
reject it outright as fabrication.
The Second Device was to check the character and life of
those who narrated that tradition right from the person who
claimed to have heard it from the Prophet to the last man in
the chain. If the chain was broken or one or more links were
weak or unreliable, then the HADITH lost its value. The
subject which deals with the categories of the narrators is
named '''ILMU 'R-RIJAL-KNOWLEDGE about men'''. It is an
objective critique of every person in the field of
tradition. As it has direct bearing on the value of AHADITH,
which is a part of revelation, this is one of the most
important subjects of Islamic Theology. Thus, it will appear
that though the books of AHADITH have not been purged from
fabricated narrations, still we have full records by which
every tradition may be tested, and accordingly accepted or
The Third Device is of AD-DIRAYAH: It literally means
"knowledge". In Islamic terminology it means verifying a
HADITH with "known" factors. For example, if a HADITH
attributed to the Holy Prophet contains a word, which was
not in use in his days, it will be a proof that that HADITH
was forged. Or if some RAWI mentions an event, which he did
not see himself, and then he does not mention the name of
his source, it will be a proof of forgery. These three
devices are the most important for sifting the authentic
AHADITH form the mass collected in the books of traditions.
ADDENDA* THE SATANIC SUGGESTION!!!
It appears from a story narrated by many SUNNI (traditionist)
(fortunately this time not in their "Six authentic
collections") that even after the supposed repeated removal
of the pathetic satanic portion from the Prophet's heart, he
fell prey to a very serious satanic suggestion --- and that
too in conveying the revelation to the people!
AS-SUYUTI his AD-DURRU 'L-MANTHUR has quoted from ten (traditionists)
several "traditions" to this effect, one of which is given
here as a sample: - "IBN ABI HATIM has narrated through MUSA
IBN 'AQABAH from IBN SHAHAB that he said, "When the SURAH
AN-NAJM was revealed; and the polytheists used to say, "If
this man (the Prophet) were to mention our deities in good
(terms) we would have accepted him and his companions; but
he does not use such abusive and harsh words about others
like the Jews and the Christians who oppose his religion, as
he does about our gods"; and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w)
was much distressed because of the troubles inflicted upon
him and his companions by the idolaters and their rejection
(of faith), and he was aggrieved by their straying;
he therefore wished cessation of their harmful activities.
When Allah sent down the SURAH AN-NAJM, and he recited (the
verses 19 and 20): Have you then considered the Lat and the
'USSAH, and MANAT, the third, the other? The Satan inserted
some words after the mention of the idols and said, "and
surely they are the exalted cranes, and surely it is their
intercession that is hoped for".
It was the Satan's rhymed composition and his mischief; and
these two sentences entered the heart of every MECCAN
polytheist, and it was continuously on their tongues, and
they congratulated each other and said that Muhammad had
returned to his old religion and that of his people. When
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) reached the end of (the SURAH)
AN-NAJM, he prostrated and with him did prostrate every
Muslim and polytheist. This word spread among the people,
and the Satan propagated it,
until the news reached the country of Ethiopia. Then Allah
revealed (verse 52 of SURAH AL-HAJJ): And We did not send
before thee any messenger or prophet, but when he desired,
the Satan made a suggestion respecting his desire; but Allah
annuls that which the Satan casts, then does Allah establish
His signs, and Allah is Knowing, Wise. So when Allah made
known His decision and freed him from the Satanic rhymes,
the polytheists turned back to their straying and their
enmity of the Muslims, rather it became more serious!
Similar "traditions" with minor or major variations are
quoted in AD-DURRU 'L-MANTHUR, vol. IV pp. 366-368.
Some of them say that the Prophet was praying in the Sacred
Mosque and recited the SURAH; but the fact is that the
Prophet or the Muslims were not in a position to pray in the
Sacred Mosque in the 5th year of the declaration of the
Prophet-hood, when this incident is said to have taken
place. Other claim that he felt sleepy while praying and in
that drowsiness the Satan made him utter these words!
Yet others say that JIBRA'IL came to the Prophet and told
him to recite again the revelation brought by him. The
Prophet recited the SURAN together with the satanic verses.
JIBRA'IL said, "I had not brought this to you; it is from
the Satan". Then the verse 22:52 was revealed. Still anther
"tradition" says, that the Prophet, on being informed of
that satanic mischief was very grieved and felt remorse for
"fabricating lie against Allah". This depression continued
until at the end Allah revealed the verse 22:52.
The actual meaning of the word, AL-GHARANIQ (translated here
as 'cranes') is obscure. It may mean wading birds (like
cranes), or a soft grass growing with boxthorn, or a
There are twelve variations in as many traditions of the
pathetic satanic verses, some of them difficult to
understand, e.g. 'they are surely in the exalted GHARANIQ'
and, 'they are surely with the exalted GHARANIQ. This story
is so diametrically opposed to many QUR'ANIC realities, that
it should not be glorified by comment. But seeing that it
has been used by orient-lists like Alfred Guillaume to
discredit the Prophet's claim of divine revelation, some
scrutiny is in order. After describing the story, he very
- "In fact the incident is the strongest possible testimony
to the sincerity of Muhammad. Of course it opens the door to
the enquiry whether he may have been mistaken in supposing
that his words were inspired on other occasion also". If
this story is true then certainly this question would arise.
As mentioned elsewhere, the people had started attributing
false stories and forged traditions to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w)
even during his lifetime. The Prophet (s.a.w) had to warn
the Muslims against this FITNAH in these words:
- "Surely there are many who forge lie against me, and their
number is sure to increase; whoever intentionally tells a
lie against me should prepare his abode in the Fire.
Therefore, whenever a HADITH is narrated to you, put it (for
testing) before the Book of Allah and my (established)
SUNNAH, and whatever conforms with the Book of Allah, take
it, and what goes against the Book of Allah and my SUNNAH,
reject it". Therefore we must check whether this story
conforms with other QUR'ANIC statements:
- First: The Satan himself had admitted that he had no power
over the purified servants of Allah:
'He (Satan) said, "My Lord! and I will certainly cause them
all to deviate, except thy servants from among them, the
purified ones. He (Allah) said… surely as regards My
servants, you have no authority over them except those
deviators who would follow you. (QUR'AN, 15:39-42). "He (the
Satan) said, "Then by Thy Might! I will surely make them
deviate all of them, except Thy servants from among them,
the purified ones". (QUR'AN, 38:82-83).
- Second: Allah himself is the protector of the QUR'AN and
He guarantees that falsehood shall not come to it from any
side: "Surely We have revealed the Reminder (the QUR'AN) and
most surely We are its Protector". (QUR'AN, 15:9). "And most
surely it is a Mighty Book; falsehood shall not come to it
from before it nor from behind it; a revelation from the
Wise, the Praised One". (QUR'AN, 41:41-42).
Now with all this divine protection and guarantee how could
the satanic falsehood enter into it-and that also to such an
extent that it was imprinted on the memory of the Prophet
and he even repeated it before JIBRA'IL?
- Third: Allah declares about the Prophet:
"And if he had fabricated against us some of the sayings, We
would certainly have seized him by the right hand, then We
would certainly have cut off his aorta; and not one of you
could have withheld us from him". (QUR'AN,69:44-47).
Then how is it that in spite of such serious fabrication
against the fundamental belief of monotheism and passing off
the satanic sayings as divine revelation, the Prophet's
aorta was not cut off? Now let us have a glance at the SURAH
AN-NAJM, and see if such insertion was possible in this
- One: At the beginning of the SURAH, Allah swears that the
Prophet has not erred nor has he gone astray, nor does he
speak out of desire; it is nothing but revelation that is
revealed. (Vs. 1-4). Is it not amusing that after such a
sworn divine statement, the narrators had the temerity to
claim that the Satan inserted his own composition in this
Vs. 5-18 speak of the Prophet's ascension and say that his
heart was not untrue to what he saw there; and he certainly
saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.
- Two: Then come the vs. 19-23 in condemnation of the idols:
"Have you then considered the Lat and the UZZA, and the
MANAT, the third, the other? (Vs. 19-20). What! For you are
the males and for Him the females? This indeed is an unjust
division! They are nothing but names which you have named,
you and your fathers; Allah has not sent for them any
authority. They follow nothing but conjecture and the low
desires which (their) souls incline to, while the guidance
has certainly come to them from their Lord".
These "traditions" allege that the satanic rhymes were added
after verse 20. How could those sentences fit in the above
vs. 19-23? Were the MECCAN idol-worshippers so naïve that
they were overjoyed and prostrated to Allah even after
hearing such condemnation of their deities?
- Three: Vs. 24-26 describe Allah's ownership of this life
and the hereafter, and declare that intercession of many an
angel will not avail at all except after Allah's permission
"to whom He pleases and chooses". Vs.27-30 ridicule the
idolaters' custom of giving female names to the angles. This
right of intercession, denied even to the angels, was
supposed to be bestowed upon the three idols through that
The whole SURAH proceeds in the same vein declaring Allah's
power and might and describing the punishment meted out to
some previous peoples because of their disbelief and
arrogance. In short, the theme of the whole SURAH from the
beginning to the end testifies to the incorruptibility of
the divine revelation, condemns idol-worship, and emphasizes
monotheism and divine power. How could that totally
miss-matched satanic sentence fool the idolaters?
Now, let us have a look at the v.52 of SURHA AL-HAJJ
It is a part of a long speech, beginning with verse 49 and
going to verse 54 and beyond. After declaring that the
Prophet was a Warner to the people, it mentions good reward
of the believers and then says:
- "And (as for) those who strive to oppose our sings, they
shall be inmates of the flaming fire". (Verse;51). Then
comes verse 52: "And We did not send before thee any
messenger or prophet, but when he desired, the Satan made a
suggestion respecting his desire; but Allah annuls that
which the Satan casts, then does Allah establish His signs.
And Allah is Knowing, Wise". (V.52). And then it proceeds:
"So that He may make what the Satan casts a trial for those
in whose hearts is disease and those whose hearts are hard:
and most surely the unjust are in a great opposition".
(V.53) And so it goes on.
Now let us look at the claim that the verse 52 was revealed
to console the Prophet after that satanic interpolation.
- First: Had SURAH AN-NAJM and the verse 52 of SURAH AL-HAJJ
been connected in any way, they should have been revealed at
about the same time. But even according to Rev. RODWELL,
SURAH AN-NAJM (ch.53) was revealed at Mecca 5 years after
the declaration of the Prophet-hood; and SURAH AL-HAJJ
(ch.22) was revealed at Medina. According to the order of
revelation established by Rev. RODWELL, AN-NAJM is the 46th
chapter while AL-HAJJ is the 107th. (Although Muir calls it
a MECCAN chapter, he too believes that it must have been
revealed at the very end of the Prophet's stay at Mecca,
i.e. some 8 years after AN-NAJM). There can thus be no
connection between the two chapters.
- Second: To create the connection one has to look at the
verse 52 in isolation and take it out of its context. Does
academic honesty allow such exercise?
- Third: The meaning of the above-mentioned AYAH is plain
and simple. There is no need for any story to make its
meaning clear. What is the desire of every messenger and
prophet? Simply, to establish in the world the belief in the
Unity of Divine Being, explaining the truth, which is
revealed to him. Satan interferes is this desire of every
messenger and prophet; instigating men, making suggestions
to them to oppose the prophets and to put obstacles in the
way of truth. But God promises to establish truth of His
Now where is the need of any story to make its meaning
- Fourth: Those who want to connect the verse 22:52 with
that supposed satanic interpolation, have to interpret the
word UMNIYYAH (desire) as "recital". RODWELL has translated
this sentence as follow: "We have not sent any apostle or
prophet before thee, among whose desires Satan injected not
some wrong desire".
Then he has written the following note: "It is said by
tradition that Muhammad was consoled by this revelation for
the satanic suggestion mentioned in SURA LIII, 20, p.70 (n).
But in this view of the text, for 'among whose desires' or
'affections', we should render 'when he recited'.
So you see, the connection cannot be established unless the
meaning of "UNMIYYAH" is changed from desire to recitation.
But "desire" is the actual meaning of the word; and
recitation etc. is metaphorical extension of the true
meaning. IBN MANZUR explains in his LISANU 'L-ARAB: "Recital
is called UNMIYYAH because when a recite of the of the
QUR'AN passes from a verse of mercy, he desires (to get) it,
and when he passes from a verse of chastisement, he desires
to be saved from it". Further extension has given this word
meanings of lie and forgery, "because when someone says a
thing he does not know, then it is as if he desires it (to
And it is a well-established rule of Arabic literature that
the real meaning should always be given preference, unless
there is some solid reason to overlook it for metaphorical
interpretation. Therefore, the translations, which use the
word recital and reciting, are all off the mark. And without
this change, no connection can be established between the
Thus both external and internal QUR'ANIC evidence goes
emphatically against this story of the Prophet's "lapse". In
view of these QUR'ANIC proof's, there is no need to look at
the chains of its narrators. Even so, it should be mentioned
here that this story appears for the first time in the book
of AL-WAQIDI who is known to be unreliable and fabricator of
reports. Moreover, six "traditions" end at one or the other
TABI'I (disciple of a companion);
and eight end at IBN 'ABBAS who was not even born at the
time this incident is said to have taken place. Who was the
person who informed those narrators about it? We do not know
- probably because there was no such person; and those
reports were forged by some people in later days. Although
ALFRED GUILLAUME rejects traditions everywhere
indiscriminately, he has tried to prove this "tradition" as
genuine, as it suits his purpose. He has this to say against
this last argument:
"Critics of tradition have endeavored to discredit the
honesty of those who reported this story; but it is
impossible to suggest a motive for its invention other than
a desire to discredit Muhammad, the QUR'AN, and Islam itself
- and such a supposition in regard to sincere Muslims is
absurd. In other words, if the real motive is disclosed, A.
Guillaume would accept this story as false. In this
connection, we shall have to remind our readers of the
painful reality of the early days of Islam, and that is the
currency of false and gorged "AHADITH", as briefly mentioned
in pp. 107-110. Alfred Guillaume himself has written several
pages about it in this same book.
The political needs of the UMAYYADS brought in very many
things which were totally against the Islamic Faith, e.g.
about the predestination of human actions. 'ALLAMAH SHIBLI
"Although all these causes were present which were
responsible for the difference in faith, yet the political
differences started the ball rolling. The reign of the
UMAYYADS was full of cruelty and bloodshed; and as against
that there was a spirit of revolt among the common people;
but the well-wishers of the government always silenced the
people by saying that "Whatever happens takes place
according to the will of the Almighty, and as such common
people should not raise their voices against it at all.
Every thing is destined before-hand, and whatever happens,
good or bad, happens according to the Will of God; and we
should bow down to that".
The SHI'AS believed that their Imams were MA'SUM, sinless.
And the UMAYYAD caliphs were certainly not sinless. In fact
most of them were more immoral and depraved than even their
subjects. It is not the intention here to prove as to whose
idea about the "sinless-ness" was correct; it is enough to
point out here that this difference of the article of faith
was present there with full force. Under such circumstances,
it was the easiest thing to save their sinful caliphs from
serious charges by inventing stories and "AHADITH" to show
that even the Holy Prophet himself was not free from sins
and satanic snares. Why should the public be concerned if
their caliphs were guilty of various sins and crimes, and if
they were open to the temptations of Satan?
In this back-ground not only the motive for forging this
story of the satanic verses, but also of all attempts which
were made to smear and tarnish the image of the Holy Prophet
becomes clear. It was due to these forgeries that Alfred
Guillaume had to say that the SUNNIS did not believe in the
"sinless-ness" of the prophets; and that it was only after
they were effected by the "sinless Imams" of the SHI'AS, and
the "sinless Messiah" of the Christians that they also began
to believe in the "sinless-ness" theory of all other