In the first three chapters we settled the question of the self-sufficiency of the Quran and in the fourth we produced clear evidence to show that the hadiths sanctified and clothed in the garb of holiness could not constitute a source for Islam, by pointing to the method of collection. Assuming that the companions of the Prophet are free from all error, the question of the literal representation in the collection of hadiths proved the unreliability of it, no matter how honorable the intention may have been. We shall no longer be dealing with these in the present chapter. The object of our study will be the intentional interpolations. This will enable us to have an insight into the reasons of inventions of which we shall furnish examples in Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9.


Infidels have invented innumerable hadiths with a view to perverting Islam and adulterating the religion. Later, they and a host of non-believers who succeeded them used these hadits to subvert the foundations of Islam. Concealing their lack of faith in Islam, their hatred and the grudges in their hearts, they infiltrated into the midst of people clad in the garb of the true believer, and tried to sow dissent among the faithful and arouse suspicion in their minds. With this aim they invented an infinite number of concocted hadiths ascribing their authorship to the Prophet. There are verses in the Quran that speak of the hypocrites who had already infiltrated among the people during the lifetime of the Prophet.

The notorious atheist Abdulkerim b. Abil Avca had made the following statement before he was decapitated under Caliph Mahdi: “You are killing me; yet I have invented 4000 hadiths that adulterated your religion, turning the lawfully permitted into what was forbidden by the religion and the forbidden into the permitted.” Considering that there are 6000 verses in the Quran, the invention of 4000 hadiths by one single man can give you an idea of the harm that the so-called hadiths may have done. It is reported (by Ibni Hajar, Lisan’ul Mizan) that the number of hadiths invented by Ahmad bin Al Juvaybari, Muhammad bin Ukesha and Muhammad bin Tamim exceed, 10,000. Zahabi states that Ahmad bin Abdullah had invented thousands of hadiths allegedly based on hearsay evidence, ascribing his concoctions to the hadith imams. He mentions that he had heard from Dinar Abu Mikyas, who claimed to be the servant of Ahmad bin Abdullah, a whole invented page alleged to have originated from Anas bin Malik (Zahabi, Mizan). The hadith books are full of inventions willfully made to adulterate the religion. This is an established fact. But who can come forth and say that this hadith is authentic while that one is unauthentic? Who can claim that the sinister plots of the hypocrites already swarming around during the lifetime of the Prophet have not watered down what we have as hadiths today?


Not forty years had elapsed before clashes began between Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet, and Muaviya. From this moment on the world of Islam entered a phase of schisms and political turmoil. Politically disintegrated communities, deemed mutual excommunication and antagonism praiseworthy acts, invented hadiths in support of their respective ends and concluded that belief in their own political ideals was God’s order. They praised themselves to the skies while belittling the leaders of the opposition. We read in Halili that some 300,000 hadiths had been invented by Shiites in connection with Ali, son-in-law of the prophet, and the way Ali’s sayings had been distorted (Halili, Al Irshad). This number represents 50-fold the number of verses in the Quran. Someone who had broken away from the Shiites had declared: “May God punish them, they invented innumerable hadiths” (Muslim, Sahihi Muslim). The Sunni viewpoint that favored Abu Bakr to Ali and considered this as a requirement of their school of religion and their age old controversies outside the confines of the Quran is a good example. When Islam became politicized, those who wielded political power made use of religion to give shape to public opinion according to their interests. Thus they manipulated the people with a view to molding them to suit their own ends by making additions and omissions in religious practice.


Innumerable prominent persons reputed to be accomplished Muslims(!) are beautifully described by Yahya bin Said: “No greater lies were told in the field of hadiths than those pronounced by the devotee.” The author of one of the two major hadiths books said to be most reliable, Muslim, asserts and declares this fact. Muslim transmitted the following from what he had heard from Abu Zannat: “I came across some one hundred people in Madina, they were reliable people without exception, but the hadiths they transmitted were not creditable” (Muslim, Sahihi Muslim). As one can plainly see the fact that a good many pious people had invented hadiths they ascribed to the Prophet and this was an established fact in the eyes of the transmitters of the hadiths themselves. These people who deemed their opinions worthy of being added to the body of traditions believed that they had done a laudable act; for instance, by inventing something that the Quran did not contain, namely the segregation of men and women. They may have thought that by separating the men’s and women’s sections, adultery and corruption would be prevented. They should have put on their thinking caps and thought that had God so willed this, He would have included it in His Book. To expect that interpolating something one believes beneficial into the established religion is a primitive method of reasoning and its grave consequences are well known.


This item has some similarities with the preceding one. The types of persons under this heading are convinced that they will contribute to the promotion of religion, as if God needed their assistance, to make religion and ritual appear pleasant to the eyes of the public. This populist concern caused the revealed religion to be adulterated by invented hadiths and interpretations. Among these promoters of religion was also a man by the name of Abu Ismet Nuh who had invented a hadith to extol and exalt every Sura of the Quran. There are hadiths concocted with a view to praising the Prophet’s merits. These people argued as follows: “We told no lie on behalf of the Prophet; we did it simply to consolidate his message” (Ibn Hajar, Fethul Bari). What they did was not fraudulent according to them; they even considered their act a laudable and pious one.

These devout fanatics have formed one of the most dangerous religious classes. In fact, they were considered reliable people favored by the public whose behavior and acts they emulated. A tradition transmitted by them was accepted without any objection. In this way, the pure religion was watered down and the newly shaped creed replaced the original Islam.


Removed from the original pattern of Islam, people took man’s word for the word of God; this gave rise to wide divergences in Islamic concepts. Conflicting conclusions and dissensions led to the formation of schools or sects. People estranged from the true source of religion, the Quran, became partisans of factions. In this attempt, to justify their arguments and influence the public, they felt the need to base themselves on the hadiths fabricated to praise their respective sects while disparaging others. To give you an example, the following is a hadith fabricated by the members of the Hanafi sect: “Among my community an imam by the name of Shafi will rise. He is a fiend and his influence will be detrimental, worse than Satan’s. Among the members of my community a person by the name of Abu Hanafi will rise and he will be the light of my community” (Ibn Arrak, Tenzihus Sharia). On the other hand, the partisans of Imam Shafi did not remain idle; they also concocted hadiths. “The Quraish scholar (Imam Shafi) will spread his wisdom over the earth.” Then came the turn of the partisans of Imam Maliki and did not fail to declare their hadith. “A day will come when the necks of camels will be cut (long distances will be covered) and there will be no one wiser than the scholar of Medina” (Imam Maliki).

Abu Raja Muhriz, an old member of the Kadiriya order of dervishes, said: “Don’t let any hadith be transmitted from any member of Kadirie; for we fabricated hadiths with a view to drawing people to our sect, hoping thereby to perform a laudable and pious act. In this way I enrolled four thousand souls” (Ar jarhu we’l tadi’l).


As we have already pointed out, at the beginning of the movement of the collection of hadiths, especially under the Omayyad caliphs, threats and torture were everyday occurrences. The following saying of Ez Zuhri, claimed to be the first collector of hadiths, is evidence of this: “We did not like to invent hadiths. But the administrators (the Omayyad caliphs and their men) forced us to do it.” In collections made under pressure, the hadiths selected were those that gratified the powers that supported the conceptions of administrators related to culture, traditions and history. A great many of them were used to conform and corroborate traditions. For instance, when reference was made to a particular act of the Prophet, they used the introductory phrase: “The Prophet said that…” or “The Prophet has ordered that…” All the inventions and semantic deviations were carried out under the command of the powers in conformity with the views and concepts they cherished. Interpolations made under pressure were not confined to the Omayyads and the Abbasids. These interpolations of fabricated hadiths were later transformed into fatwas and canonical jurisprudence under the pressure of caliphs and governors. Under the Ottomans, the caliphate was to pass from father to son, and fratricide for the welfare of the State came to be admitted within the framework of these fatwas and canonical jurisprudence. This attitude is an indication of the freedom that the powers in charge enjoyed in regard of the revealed religion. All these took place at the request of the Sheikhulislam, considered an imposing personality clothed with authority and paid by the government.


Travelers who set out on journeys to collect hadiths had lucrative objectives. It is reported that Yakub b. Ibrahim would not transmit any hadiths unless he was paid one dinar per hadith. Abu Naim al-Fadl expected a consideration per hadith transmitted. Ali b. Jafar, a student of his, reported: “We copied hadiths from Abu Naim al Fadl in return for which he received from us precious dirhams. If the dirhams we had about us happened to be low in value, he asked extra consideration.” “There was no end to the liars wallowing in riches,” had retorted Ali b.Qasým to Shuba b. Hajjaj who had said that Umera b. Hafsa was rich, consequently he would not lie, and the hadiths he transmitted should be trusted after his special injunction to the effect that no hadiths should be received from the poor (Al kifaya).

There were also people who produced hadiths to order. In order to promote their merchandise many traders had recourse to the hadith agents in return for money, and had them invent hadiths extolling the benefits of the goods they sold. An example of this is the case of the perfume sellers who had invented hadiths praising the benefits of fragrance. Hadith fabricators like Abu’l Mujazzam, who fabricated 70 hadiths in return for one kurush as reported by Shuba b. Hajjaj, may be given as an example.


After the death of the Prophet and following the era of the first Four Caliphs, a class of people styled as story and parable tellers had developed the habit of sitting in mosques to preach, and people made a circle around them. What they were actually interested in was creating an image of superiority and repute in the minds of the public. They arranged their sermons to suit their ends. They well knew that the path that led to fame passed through religion, an institution of towering importance for the public; therefore, they took special care to have recourse to rhetoric and make their audience cry by the dramatic effects they created. They interspersed their stories with legends they fabricated about the Prophet. Heaven and hell were described with pathos to overpower their audience.

Although nothing was missing in the Quran about hell and heaven, these story and parable tellers drew on a great scale on the lore of hadiths to mystify and exhilarate people. Their professional merit was based on the extensive use they made of hadiths. This tragicomic picture of the state of affairs gave rise to the following incident: upon the announcement by Kulsum, the poet, that anyone who could touch his nose with the tip of his tongue would be spared the torture of hell, the congregation he preached to began to try it. Ibn ul Jawzi described these people as follows: “Among them were people who dipped their faces into all sorts of dyes to give their complexion a pallid appearance with a view to giving the impression that this was due to their fasting and devotion. There were others who made use of their fasting and devotion. There were others who made use of salt to bring tears to their eyes whenever they wanted to. Still others displayed great courage by throwing themselves down in a fit of transport from the chair above which they had lavishly decorated, or they banged on the desk and climbed and descended the flight of stairs in an agitated mood making violent gestures and gesticulations in the course of the narration of their stories that appeared odd to unfamiliar eyes” (Ibn ul Jawzi, al-Kussas wel Muzekkirin). A cursory examination of our environment will show us that these human figures described by Ibn ul Jawzi are reminiscent of the ‘impostor-fabricators’. Crocodile tears, running noses and excessive saliva, banging and gesticulating must associate in the minds the story-tellers described by Ibn ul Jawzi.

There was no limit to the imagination of the tellers of cock-and-bull stories. There was a man by the name of Jafar b. Nastur Frab who claimed to be three hundred and twenty years old and had had the opportunity of seeing the Prophet, and because of the Prophet’s prayers, he had lived for so many years. Rafan’s case was similar. These men, who lived in the fourth and eighth centuries AH, claimed they had been companions of the Prophet, and Rafan wrote a book that contained three hundred hadiths and had succeeded in gathering around him many disciples.


As we may well remember, the Quran has laid down certain precepts, injunctions and commands leaving a great many issues to the discretion of man. We studied this point in Chapter 2 and will be further tackling it in Chapter 39. Men are supposed to act as it may seem best to them in their own respective fields within the framework of their traditions, customs and views of the world. The Quran makes no mention of any table manners and does not say whether we should eat with our fingers, use a fork or sticks or not. There is no prescription for the garments a man or a woman should wear, whether a man should wear a turban, a mantle, a necktie or a shirt or whether a woman should wear a kimono. Given the fact that we are free in our actions in the fields left to our discretions, we are at liberty to choose among the alternatives mentioned above. To say that something is permissible or not would contradict the Quran. An important part of the interpolations during the reign of the Omayyads and the Abbasids was made under the guise of traditions and customs to which they gave a holy character. The Quran was explicit and contained nothing regarding traditions and customs. The thing to be done therefore was to invent hadiths and give a sacred character to traditions and customs in a Sunni background. Because of the racist and tribalist concepts of the Arab-Omayyad, many traits were introduced in the religion as practiced, ranging from the Arabic language to the fashions of the time, the food, and the manner of using the toilet (for details see Chapter16).


This subject may be studied in two sections: the first section will deal with people who deliberately invented stories with a view to corrupting religion rendering it illogical or transforming it to fit one’s own faith. The second section is related to those people who felt obliged to bring into Islam their former creeds and customs before conversion into Islam. Jewish parables, Christian legends, pagan customs and the shamanic concepts of the Turks were introduced into Islam either as hadiths or canonical jurisprudence. In terms of the space they occupy, the Jewish legends have a larger space compared to Christian ones. The legends inherited from other religions dating far back in history infiltrated Islam as they found it easier to have access. We shall confine ourselves to the former ones.

Kab al Ahbar, Wahb b. Munabbih and Abdullah b. Selam were the prominent figures that brought into Islam the Jewish legends. In speaking for the foremost fabricators of hadiths we shall take up this point to show how much Jewish sources can be dependable. One thing is certain: some Muslims saw no contradiction in narrating these legends along with the Quranic verses. This is one of the reasons that inflated the volume of hadiths. In a great many hadith books and the commentaries, we often come across invented stories ascribed to these people. Let us give two examples to illustrate this. The hadiths whose origins go back to Jewish lore transmitted by Wahb Munabbih run like this: “The people of Bayt ul Makdis are God’s neighbors. God takes special care not to grieve His neighbors. Those who are buried in Baytul Makdis are spared from the ordeal of a grave.” Another fabrication attributed to Kab al Ahbar, mentioned in the commentary of Kurtubi, runs as follows: “When God created it, the sky said: ‘God has created no greater entity than me.’ And it proudly swayed to and fro. God caused it to be encircled by a snake with 70,000 wings, each of which having 70, 000 feathers. Each feather had 70,000 faces. Each face had 70,000 mouths. Each mouth had 70,000 tongues. Its tongues repeated God’s name every day as many times as there are raindrops, leaves of trees, grains of sand and pebbles, the days of the world and the number of angels. The snake coiled around the sky and the sky could attain only half of it. Only then did the sky begin to be modest.”

On the other hand, Tamim ed Dari and Ibn Jurayj may be held responsible for the interpolations into Islam of stories of Christian origin. The second coming of Christ, the Antichrist, the Angel of Death and heaven and hell may be traced back to Christian legends. (In Chapter 20, we shall tackle the problems given rise to in Islam by the Second Coming of Christ and Mahdi and the Antichrist.)

The traditionalist fundamentalists, furious at the Muslims who based Islam exclusively on the Quran, are mad at the researchers who preach the unreliability of the hadiths. Regardless of the intention of these researchers, what concerns us is the scholarly value of their work. These people who had adopted an unbiased approach, which is inexistent in Muslim communities, have incontestably put forward serious facts, meat for thought. We must adopt an impartial attitude toward their work, find out their mistakes, if any, and try to benefit from their discoveries. Among these, we must especially single out the works of Goldziher, Schacht, van Kramer, Sprenger and Dogi. Goldziher, the most renowned scholar among them, says: “The sayings of Jewish and Christian scholars, the quotations made from the gospels, the doctrines of Greek philosophers, the literary extracts of Persian and Indian origin, etc. have infiltrated Islam. All these, directly or indirectly became integrated into Islamic culture. A great many religious parables have found their way to Islam. If we examine the material used in the hadiths and Jewish culture, we observe the extent of them in Islam” (Goldziher, Al Akida Wes Sharia).



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