Hadith
Hadith Sciences
 

Fabricated Hadith

It is one of the peculiarities of human nature that allows us to transmit events in a way that differs from how they actually occurred or to flatter people whom we love or have sympathy for.Another aspect of this kind of behavior is that we can act in a certain way for some kind of spiritual or material gain. Clearly this characteristic of human nature can lead a person to exaggerate, or even lie; this, in turn has led to the birth and development of mawdū‘(fabricated) ahadith. The strong personality of the Prophet and the divine assistance he received led to him being accepted as an exemplary person by his Companions, contemporaries and even the following generations. However, a number of insincere people, acting in order to take advantage of Prophet Muhammad’s acceptance by Muslims, and many uniformed Muslims who desired to serve Islam in the attempted to ascribe thousands of words and deeds which they had fabricated to the Prophet.

In spite of the Prophet's explicit warning, some people did not refrain from fabricating ahadith in his name. The thousands of fabricated and false words found in fiqh books are undeniable evidence of this fact. In addition, there are some people who try to deny the existence of suchfalse ahadith.

In hadith terminology, the term mawdū‘ is used to mean words that have been made up or falsely ascribed to the Prophet; this is generally translated as "invented” or “fabricated" in English.

Some words that have been falsely attributed to the Companions and the persons of the following generations are also included in this term. However, if the word mawdū‘ is used on its own, it only refers to fabricated words that have been attributed to the Prophet. For words that have been fabricated and ascribed to other people, then the expression, "this is falsely ascribed to… " is used.

It is one of the peculiarities of human nature that allows us to transmit events in a way that differs from how they actually occurred or to flatter people whom we love or have sympathy for.

HADITH FABRICATION AND THE REASONS FOR FABRICATION

A. The Beginning of Hadith Fabrication and the Companions’ Attitude towards It:

There has been a continuous conflict between hadith scholars regarding the issue of the reasons for hadith fabrication. There are some scholars, i.e. Ibn Hathm (456/1063), who maintain that the fabrication of ahadith dates back to the lifetime of the Prophet, a claim they support with the fact that a man went to an outlying region of Medina and told a tribe living there that the Prophet (pbuh) had given him authority over them. On the other hand, there are some scholars who accept the above-mentioned fact as nothing more than a lie told against the Prophet and maintain that the actual movement of hadith fabrication began much later. It is remarkable that scholars who support the latter view worry about making an accusation against the Companions if they accept that the fabrication of ahadith started during the lifetime of the Prophet. However, it is always possible to presume the existence of people who may have ascribed fabricated words to the Prophet during his lifetime, considering the large number of enemies to Islam who lived at this time and the fact that there were those who dared to accuse the Prophet of being insane, a liar or a magician. 

It should also be stated that the event mentioned above is unique to the period of the Prophet. The main reason for this fact is certainly based on the idea that the Prophet would personally have denied any such hadith.

There is no incontrovertible evidence concerning the forgery of ahadith during the eras of Abu Bakr (632 - 634) or Umar (634 - 643).

No event that confused public opinion or caused conflicts occurred during the lifetime of the Prophet. Some conflicts occurred after his death, but these were not serious enough to harm the solidarity of the Muslims, and were quickly sorted out. For some, it is difficult to conceive imagine that ahadith regarding the issue of the caliphate could have been fabricated by the opponents of the first three Caliphs during this period. However, this is easier to understand if we consider that the important schism and faction-creating movements began at a later date.

It should also be stated that the event mentioned above is unique to the period of the Prophet. The main reason for this fact is certainly based on the idea that the Prophet would personally have denied any such hadith.

The seeds of the first important conflict were planted by Abdullah ibn Saba (40 - 660). Claiming that Uthman was not justified in becoming caliph, he went to the cities of Basra, Damascus and elsewhere, inciting the public against Uthman. The assassination and martyrdom of Uthman, an event known as "The First Fitnah (provocation)", led to the creation of different factions. As a result of this conflict, Ali (40 - 660) and Muawiyah (60 - 679) went to battle at Siffin, on the banks of the Euphrates River. Following the "hakam (arbitrator or judge) case", two major sects came into existence. One of them was the Kharijites, who accused Ali of being an infidel, and Ghulat Shia, who claimed that Ali was a caliph chosen by Allah and the Prophet, cursing Abu Bakr and Umar.

Moreover, it was at this time, at the end of the period of the Companions, that the Qadariyyah and Murjia sects came into being. Several other sects, such as the Jahmiyya and Mushabbiha came into being after this period. 

The end of the period of the Companions was a period when opposing parties and sects emerged and the number of careless and insincere hadith students increased. It was in this critical period that the movement of hadith fabrication started and developed. Most of the Companions did not witness a great increase in the fabrication of ahadith; indeed, most Companions were very careful to not include even the slightest deviation in recording the Prophet's words and actions.  

B. Causes of the Fabrication of Ahadith

1. Efforts to Defend Parties, Sects and Tribes

The batil (untrue) parties followed two ways to destroy or forge ahadith:

  1. They rejected those ahadith that did not meet their needs or suit their purposes. They claimed that these ahadith were mawdū‘.
  2. As they were constantly in need of religious dogma that would support their opinions, they fabricated ahadith as evidence to be used against their opponents and they ascribed them to the Prophet.

The opponents used these two ways to destroy ahadith and they made great progress in supporting their opinions with the authority of the words of the Prophet.

We can also place the followers of political parties, as well as the sects of fiqh and kalam that fabricated ahadith in order to legitimize their own opinions under this category. Also to be included in this category are those who forged ahadith under the influence of nationalistic sentiments. In addition, the enemies of Islam fabricated ahadith in order to cause harm to the religion.

2. In the Desire to Serve Islam

Batil ahadithwhich were fabricated to encourage Muslims to commit good deeds, to give to charity and to avoid behavior which was not approved of by the religion make up a large proportion of mawdū‘ ahadith. Those who forged ahadith that were not based on any evidence with the intention of performing a good deed in the presence of Allah included ascetics, mystics and people who acted in similar ways. They created a large number of formulas for worship. We can find the following expression in nearly all of them: "One who performs this amount of prayer on such day and recites so many verses this many times will be given this much reward in the Hereafter."

Whereas most of the batil ahadith were fabricated to encourage prayer and fasting, other types of invented ahadith that were concerned with other kinds of worship emphasized the virtues of the Qur’an. There must have been some people who were not satisfied with the ahadith that existed concerning the verses of the Qur’an, and thus they tried to fabricate ahadith concerning each individual verse. 

3. Seeking Blessings:

Those who saw no harm in using sublime concepts to support their despicable purposes will be examined under this category.

Some opportunists, who wanted to make the best of this world, invented ahadith in keeping with the desires or lifestyles of some powerful people, thus receiving recompense for this endeavor. Moreover, some people invented new ahadith that would give them spiritual weight, allowing them to take up the position of a respectable savant. This desire to achieve a reputation had different characteristics. Some people would give an answer when asked a question that was supported by a hadith that they had just fabricated.

For some, it is difficult to conceive imagine that ahadith regarding the issue of the caliphate could have been fabricated by the opponents of the first three Caliphs during this period. However, this is easier to understand if we consider that the important schism and faction-creating movements began at a later date.

AHADITH THAT TEND TO BE FABRICATED

Hadith scholars who conducted thorough and effective classification studies for the differentiation between authentic and fabricated ahadith have categorized all ahadith after studying them one by one. As a result of such studies, fabricated ahadith have been compiled into separate books. Some critics who have surveyed this vast compilation of fabricated ahadith in detail have tried to determine the ahadith that tend to be fabricated so that readers could easily recognize them.   

Following such studies, the ahadith that tend to be fabricated are as given below:

  1. Ahadith about prayers being performed on a specific day or night of the year or week,
  2. Ahadith on the virtue of the month of Rajab and fasting performed in this month,
  3. Ahadith providing information about specific events that will happen at a specific time,
  4. Ahadith declaring that the signs of the Day of Judgment will occur in certain months.
  5. Ahadith disparaging Turks, Ethiopians or the Sudanese,
  6. Ahadith disparaging or praising Imam Abu Hanifah or Imam al-Shafii by name,
  7. Ahadith about the lives of Khidr or Elijah,
  8. Ahadith about the Murjia, Jahmiyya, Qadariyyah, or Asariyyah sects,
  9. Ahadith disparaging or praising places like Alexandria, Damietta, Basra, Baghdad, Kazveen, Jordan, Abadan, Jeddah, Askalan, Nusaybeen, Antakya, Khorasan, Merv, Bukhara, Samarqand, Tus, Herat, Kairouan, or Morocco,
  10. Ahadith about the graves of prophets or other important people,
  11. Ahadith about the virtues of the day of Ashura and praising the use of khol, dressing up, feeling sad, performingprayers, dispensing charity and cooking ashura on this day,
  12. Ahadith about foods like lentils, rice, broad beans, eggplants, oranges, grapes, leeks, watermelons, walnuts, cheese and halva and flowers or plants like the rose, daffodil or violet,
  13. Ahadith about the virtues of meat and ahadith prohibiting eating outdoors or cutting meat with a knife,
  14. Ahadith including the sayings of Aisha or Humayra, or starting with "Ya Humayra,"
  15. Ahadith that start with the expression, "O Ali, something has 3 signs," and bequeathing various things to Ali. However, among these ahadith, "O Ali, you are to me as Aaron is to Moses," is authentic.
  16. Most of the ahadith about verses of the Qur’an. According to Imam al-Suyuti, the verses about which there are ahadith are the following: al-Fatihah, al-Baqarah, Al-Imran, An-Nisa, Al-Maidah, Al-An'am, Al-A'raf, At-Taubah, Al-Kahf, Ya-sin, Ad-Dukhan, Al-Mulk, Az-Zalzalah, An-Nasr, Al-Kafiroon, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, and An-Nas.
  17. Most of the ahadith about an increase or decrease in faith,
  18. Ahadith concerning the virtues of naming a child Muhammad or Ahmad. There is no authenticated hadith on this subject.
  19. All of the ahadith disparaging having children,
  20. Ahadith praising celibacy,
  21. Ahadith about the virtues of rings made of cornelian.

SIGNS OF MAWDŪ‘ AHADITH AND THE WAYS TO RECOGNIZE THEM

  1. Confession of the forger,
  2. Deficiency in the words or meaning of the hadith,
  3. Lack of reliable hadith books,
  4. Only one witness of an event that many people could have witnessed,
  5. Contradiction of the hadith in the Quran or authenticated Sunnah practice,
  6. Being opposed to logic, sense or observation,
  7. Contradiction by historical events.
For the entire text, please see M. Yaşar Kandemir, Mevzû Hadisler (Mawdū‘ Hadiths), Ankara 1975.
 

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