About Fabricated Ahadiths - Part I
Monday, 20 April 2009
”Need is the mother of invention”
"Need is the mother of invention" is a saying that is true in many areas but in particular it is true to what is called the science of the Qur'an.
When the Muslims found themselves in the need to protect what they believed to be the miraculous nature of the Qur'an they invented:
1. Pre-Islamic poetry.
2. Non-Hijazi and foreign words
3. Grammatical rules.
And it goes without saying that
4. They invented a huge amount of Hadith.
We begin with the last, the Hadith inventions, since it explains the underlying motives for the inventability of the Muslims in all areas mentioned above.
In the following we will quote the words of Muslim scholar, Mahmood
Abu Rayyah in his book
Fabricating hadiths was not limited to the enemies of Islam
but also good pious Muslims fabricated hadiths thinking that they were doing a
good deed and when they were asked, "How do you lie to the Prophet of
Allah", they replied, "We do not lie against him but for him."
For lying is only considered as lying if it is pre-determined. Muslim reported
on the authority of Yahya ibn Said al-Qattan, and from his father, who said,
"I have never seen good people telling more lies in any matter than when
they do with the hadith." That is as Muslim said: lying flows from their
tongues unintentionally." Muslim reported on the authority of Abi Zinad who
said, "I saw in Madina One hundred trusted believers but would not trust
them when it comes to the Hadith." Alhafez Ibn Hagar said "Some
ignorant people, being puffed up have fabricated threatening and wooing
Hadith". To defend themselves they said, "We did not lie against the
Prophet we did what we did to support his tradition." ... Abdallah
Annahawandi said to one of the followers of Ahmad, "From where did you get
those hadiths which you recite in order to make peoples hearts tender (Raqa'q)?"
He replied, "We made it up to make the heart of the masses tender."
Ibn al-Gozi said of this follower of Ahmad that he was an ascetic who deserted
the lusts of this world, he used to live solely on herbs and the markets of
Ahmad bn Muhammad al-Marouzi, one of the staunchest traditionalists of his time, and a strong defender of the Sunna who used to reproach anyone who deviates from it, in spite of all that he used to fabricate the Hadith and change it. Bukhari reported in his at-Tarikh al-Awsat on the authority of Omar bn Sobeyh bn 'Omran at-Tamimi that he said: I made up the prophet's farewell speech. And al-Hakem in his Madkhal on the authority of Abi 'Ammar al-Marouzi, it was said to Abi 'Esmah: from where did you get on the authority of 'Akramah and the authority of Ibn 'Abbas in the virtues of the Qur'an chapter by chapter, and the followers of 'Akramah have none of it? He replied: "I saw the people neglecting the Qur'an and showed more interest in the work of Abu Hanifa and Ibn Ishaq, so I made up these Hadith."
We are not discussing here the fabricated Hadith that was put by the enemies of Islam. And we are not discussing some so called Hadith which is in fact come from Christian sources.
We are talking about pure Islamic material that originated from the brains of godly and pious Muslim leaders. This fabricated Hadith was not a little change here and there, but a wholesale invention. And through it all, this fabrication was not done to degrade Islam and lie against Muhammad, but to spread his teaching through lying for his sake.
In the above mentioned book, Mahmood Abu Rayyah also wrote under the heading How did they justify fabricating the Hadith:
The Hadith fabricators did not leave their work without producing some support to what they manufactured that suit their fabrication. Tahawi wrote in al-Moshkel on the authority of Abu Huraira: If you were told a Hadith you appreciate and do not dislike, believe it, whether I said it or not! For I say that which is appreciated, not that which is unlikable. Khalid bn Yazid said: I heard Muhammad bn Sa'eed ad-Demeshqi saying: If I found some good speech, I saw no reason why I should not make a chain of authority for it.
So with " good intentions" and under this licence the parables of Christ were reproduced as Hadith (see Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 559, cf. Matthew 20:1-16), the Lord's prayer was attributed to Mohammad (see Sunan Abu Dawud, Number 3883; cf. Matthew 6:9-13), and even the teaching of the Apostle Paul now comes from the lips of Muhammad (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 467, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9).
And if it was not for the obvious time factor,
This "good" but twisted intention permeates the whole topic.
In the face of the different problems in the Qur'an all is needed are people with "good" intention to rise and defend that which they believe to be beyond reproach.
[Ps: Bukhari doesn’t give price the criterias he utilized for the selection of the “unreliable” or “unsuitable” ahadiths. He finally choses out 7397 from around 600’000 (that means 1.23%). But without all the repetitions, we have at the end with 2762 ahadiths. Thus, more than 99% of all ahadiths that were available at the time of Bukhari (aD 810-870) were false! And of course this poses some doubts about the reliability of all ahadiths. Even the science of the isnads (the chain of transmission), started only during the 10th century, after that lots of isnads wee already compiled (they were started to be written arounf aD 750 under the Umayyd dynasty. For this reason, some modern scholars esteem that all isnads were fabricated. Even for the birth date of Muhammad, there are some diffferencies. Lawrence Conrad believes that the Sirah is not authoritative, and thus shows that there is a time gap of 85 years between what is believed to be the birth date of Muhammad and his real date. 622 aD is important for Islam, because it is the beginning of the Hegira, but there is no source of the 7th century that identifies this year as the Hegira)]
We now turn to see how these godly people have fabricated not only Hadith but also pre-Islamic poetry.
1. Mahmood Abu Rayyah,
2. Mahmood Abu Rayyah, p. 110
Muslims in defense of the grammatical errors of the Qur'an have used what is called pre-Islamic poetry as their first line of defense. In this poetry grammatical deviations found in the Qur'an were matched by similar deviations in the so called pre-Islamic poetry.
Various scholars have come to the conclusion that this so-called pre-Islamic poetry is an invention by early Muslims. Here we will summarise briefly the findings of an Egyptian Muslim scholar by the name of Taha Hussein.
Taha Hussein, in his book Fi al-Adab al-Jaheli contended that:
The vast quantity of what is called pre-Islamic poetry has nothing to do with the pre-Islamic literature, but it is fabricated after Islam. ... Thus our research will lead us to a very strange conclusion; that this poetry can not be used in interpreting the Qur'an. Taha Hussein by comparing the contents of "pre-Islamic" poetry with the Qur'an has shown that what is called pre-Islamic literature does not represent the religious, intellectual, political or economic life of the pre-Islamic period.
Taha Hussein has utilized some research that documented that the language of the so-called pre-Islamic poetry is vastly different from the recorded pre-Islamic poetry. The supposed authors of this poetry did not speak or write the Arabic of the Qur'an but the language of the Hameereyin because they belonged to the Qahatny tribes.
He has also established that the supposed authors of the so-called pre-Islamic poetry belonged to different tribes having different dialects. These different dialects cannot be detected in the recorded "pre-Islamic" poetry which we have in our hands. One would have expected this poetry to represent these tribal dialects, on the contrary that poetry uses the language of the Qur'an i.e. the language of Qoraysh.
Taha Hussain also noted that the Muslim scholars who quoted "pre-Islamic poetry" to prove their points of view did not find any difficulty in finding the exact piece of poetry that supported their case; so much so, that Taha Hussain felt that this "pre-Islamic Poetry" had been tailored exactly to suit the Qur'an and the Hadith; no more and no less.
Taha Hussain, quoting Ibn Sallam who criticized Ibn Ishaq and others, who used poetry attributed to 'Aad and Thamoud, saying that this poetry was fabricated. The strong evidence for this is found in the Qur'an which states that God destroyed the people of 'Aad and Thamoud with no one of them surviving to recite their poetry to the coming generations.
The fabricators of the pre-Islamic poetry went beyond the invention of human authors for this poetry; they even made the Jinn to compose poetry. Taha Hussein quoted a sample of this Jinny poetry an ode in praise of Omar Ibn el-Khatab after his death.
Those fabricators were not content to invent pre-Islamic poetry, they even fabricated pre-historic poetry, an ode in praise of Abel, who was killed by Cain, and attributed it to Adam himself, in Arabic of course! One wonders how such precious words of Adam escaped all the previous prophets and were not even noted by Mohammad. Neither Jews nor Christians or any other group have known about this Ode. The fabricators must have received a special revelation that place them in the class of prophets.
In Itqan by Suyuti we are told of the unbelievable incident where a man comes to ask Ibn 'Abbas questions relating to the strange words of the Qur'an and Ibn 'Abbas in one sitting recited to the man a verse of poetry for every difficult word in the Qur'an, except four words. The impossible impression one gets is that Ibn 'Abbas was a walking data-base who knew all the poetry that has been said before his time and during his time in this vast land which now spans from Yemen to Syria.
In his book 'Ulum al-Hadith Dr Sobhy as-Saleh discusses why early Muslims used "pre-Islamic" poetry instead of the Hadith and then agrees with the assessment of Ostaz Sa'eed al-Afghani, who stated, "... they [the early Muslims] should have never considered such poetry which is soon surrounded by doubt when measured by the modern standards of scientific research."
So it is not only Taha Hussein who believed that the so called "pre-Islamic poetry" is a fabricated work, there are also some respectable contemporary scholars who think that there is something fishy about this so called pre-Islamic poetry.
Even if Taha Hussein was wrong in claiming that most pre-Islamic poetry has been fabricated, the charge that some pre-Islamic poetry has been fabricated is well established.
If some people had the courage and the audacity to fabricate hundreds and thousands of lines to the collections of sayings of their prophet how much more will they freely fabricate verses of poetry that belonged to normal people.
These are not the only comments about this so called "pre-Islamic poetry". More to come in the following section.
1. Fil-Adab al-Jaheli, Taha Hussein, Dar al-Ma'aref, 16th edition, p. 65, 67.
2. ibid., pp. 70-80.
3. ibid., pp. 80-92.
4. ibid., pp. 92-105.
5. ibid., p. 108.
6. ibid., p. 131.
7. ibid., p. 134.
8. Itqan, chapter 36.
9. 'Ulum al-Hadith, Dr Sobhy as-Saleh, Dar al-'Elm
Muslim scholars did not only invent Hadith and poetry that they claimed to belong to the pre-Islamic period, they even took the liberty to invent words in other languages.
Thus one of the ways early Muslims tried to solve some of the inconsistencies found in the Qur'an is to claim that some words found in the Qur'an are NOT actually Arabic words but they are either tribal words belonging to other than Hijjaz (which is the language of the Qur'an) or words that are totally foreign words eg. Coptic or Roman etc.
It is like saying "can" in English it means able (as in I can see) but in Arabic it means "was".
Now let us have a look at some passages from the Qur'an and see how the early Muslims sought to explain away the problems they encountered with them. Here are some examples:
And from the fruits of the palms and the vines, you take ther from an intoxicant... (Q. 16:67 Arberry)
Some early Muslims found it too much that Allah would say something good about wine. So according to those early Muslims, claimed that the authentic Arabic word (sakara) can not mean wine but it means vinegar in Ethiopian. This invented meaning is attributed to Ibn 'Abbas. The word (sakara) is a normal Arabic word that means wine, even Ibn Kathir understood it to be so. Most English translators translated it as "intoxicant" except Yusuf 'Ali he translated it as "wholesome drink". He obviously still suffering the hang up of the early Muslims.
And while we are on the topic of wine, early Muslims had another difficulty with another verse:
...Said one of them, 'I dreamed that I was pressing grapes... (Q. 12:36 Arberry)
...Said one of them, 'I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine... (Q. 12:36 Yusuf 'Ali)
The word in dispute is (khmr).
The problem is obvious, people do not press wine they press grapes to get wine.
Arberry and Dawood took the liberty to change the word from wine (khamr) to grapes ('enab). Yusuf 'Ali and Zafrulla Khan however stuck with the Arabic text and so did Pickthall. But how did the early Muslims get out of the illogic of that verse? The word khamr means grapes in the languge of the people of 'Uman.
Obviously Yusuf 'Ali and Zafrulla Khan did not swallow the invention of the early Muslims about the true meaning of the word khamr, otherwise they would have translated it grapes instead of wine.
Here we can see a good normal Arabic word has been distorted and misplaced to mean something else and belong to a language that is different from that of Hijjaz. Those early Muslims forgot the same word Khmr is used again five verses later in the same Sura, and it means wine not grapes, and Arberry and Dawood had to change the meaning of the word from grapes to wine which is the proper meaning of the word five verse later!
Another word which has been invented is found in Q. 55:54:
...reclining upon couches lined with brocade... (Arberry)
...reclining upon couches lined with silk brocade... (Pickthall)
Some early Muslims must have had some difficulty with the above verse. People usually do not line couches with silk brocade, they cover them with silk brocade.
So they invented a Coptic word. The good Arabic word (bata'noha) which is translated rightly as lined has become a Coptic word which means "that which appears on the outside". So according to this Coptic word the meaning of the verse should be: "reclining upon couches covered (not lined) with silk brocade". Ibn Kathir understood the word to mean that which is hidden or that which is on the inside.
And (remember) when We did deliver you from pharao's folk, who were afflicting you with dreadful torment, slaying your sons and sparing your women: That was a tremendous trial from your Lord. (Q. 2:49; Pickthall)
The word balaa' which is translated as (tremendous trial) according to Suyuti means favour or grace (ne'mah).
But why did Suyuti do that? The context of the verse and the passage demands it. Have a look at verse 47 (two verses before the one we are dealing with):
Indeed if the words " tremendous trial" were replaced by the word "favour or grace" the passage will read
That makes sense.
Suyuti's intention was good. He wanted the Qur'an to make sense. Unfortunately none of the translators agreed with him.
Thus the proper Arabic word ( balaa') which is derived from (balwa) meaning disaster or calamity according to Suyuti has come to mean grace or favour!
The early scholars simply fabricated another meaning for the word balaa'.
Another word that has been radically transformed is found in Q. 90:4 ”Verily we have created man into toil and struggle” (Yussuf Ali)
But according to Suyuti the word translated " toil and struggle" means "straightness and uprightness".
It is interesting that even Yusuf Ali who usually sides with early Muslim scholars when faced with a difficult word to translate, this time he did not swallow Suyuti's meaning, nor this pre-Islamic verse. So they invented a word and a verse of poetry to support it!!
But why did Suyuti do that?
Because the creation of man in " toil and struggle" contradicts another Qur'anic verse which says:
Surely We created man of the best stature. Q. 95:4.
In Q. 21:17 "If We had wished to find a pastime (lahwa), We would have found it in our presence - if We ever did." the word (lahwa) is translated by Yusuf Ali and Pickthall as "pastime", and by Arberry as "diversion". These two words is an accurate translation of the word "lahwa". But in Itqan the meaning of the word is given as "woman", claiming that (lahwa) means "woman" in the langauge of Yemen.
What made the early scholars come to this invention?
The verse does not make sense if the word " lahwa" is translated as pastime. What is the meaning of a pastime found in Allah's presense?
Ibn Kathir reported, Ibrahim an-Nakha'i saying that "lahwa" means one of the specially created women "hur" and al-Hasan and Qatada said "lahwa" means a woman in the Yemeny language. But 'akramah and as-Sady said "lahwa" means a son. Ibn Kathir added that this is like Q. 39:4, "If Allah had willed to choose a son, He could have chosen what He would of that which he hath created. (Pickthall)
And Razi agreed with the above and stated that " lahwa" means a son in the Yemeny language.
It is a fact that the early scholars have invented another meaning of the word " lahwa" and claimed that it is a Yemeny word.
In Q. 2:260 we read
He said: "Take four birds; tame them to turn to thee; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them; they will come to thee (flying) with speed..." (Yusuf Ali)
The word that has been translated " tame them to turn to thee" is (sorhon). But according to early Muslim scholars the word (sorhon) meant to cut into pieces in the Roman languge. Why did the early scholars invent this meaning? Because if (sorhon) meant to cut into pieces the above verse will read: "Take four birds; cut them into pieces; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them; they will come to thee (flying) with speed..." That makes more sense. The word (sorhon) could have been taken from the word (sor) meaning to gather or to bundle. But in order to make the passage understood the word had to wear a Roman hat.
In 13:31: Do not the believers know (yay'as), that had God so willed he could have guided all mankind (to the right)?
The word ( yay'as) is translated by Yusuf Ali, Arberry and Pickthall as "know". This word is a proper Arabic word meaning despair. The word is used 13 times in the Qur'an. If we exclude the above reference, in the remaining 12 times it means despair. The commentators could not even produce one Hadith in which the word is used as know. The reason the commentators and the translators see that the word "yay'as" means "to know" is because the Qur'anic verse does not make sense if the word is to be understood as despair.
This word is grouped in Itqan under two headings. One of the heading is " The Strange things in the Qur'an", the second heading is "Other than Hijjazi words in the Qur'an".
So the word yay'as according to 'abi Saleh was thought to be a Hawzen and according to al-Faraa' it was thought to be in the language of Nakh'.
In other words the word yay'as is not a Hijjazi word, the languge of the Qur'an, which we now call the Arabic language. And to support their view they have invented a verse of pre-Islamic poetry using that word. They even invented an occasion where Ibn 'Abbas was asked whether the Arabs knew the word (yay'as) or not and he reportedly quoted that it is a word in the language of bani Malik and recited the verse.
We are told however that Ibn 'Abbas is innocent of this nonsense because it is reported that he read that Qur'anic verse in a different way using the proper Arabic word (yatabayan meaning to realise) instead of (yay'as) and when it was pointed out to him that it is written in the Mushaf (yay'as) and not (yatabayan) he replied: "I think the scribe wrote it while he was being drowsy".
Do we need any further proof that the so called pre-Islamic poetry used to solve the Qur'anic problems is a fabricated one?
And the tragedy is that people like Arberry in his English translations translated yay'as as realize. We are sure he knows better. However, the authorities must have told him what to write.
And we challenge any one to produce the word yay'as as meaning to know in any piece of literature in the past, present or even the future! Except the Qur'an and that one verse of forged poetry.
Another invented word is found in Q. 19:24: ... But the one that was below her called to her ...
The word ( tahtah) that is translated below her by the English translators and so was understood by commentators like Ibn Kathir and Razi did not mean below to some early Muslims. Probably for some exegetical reasons the proper Arabic word (taht) meaning below has become "abdomen" in the Nabati language.
Another word is found in Q. 2:102: ... and they learned what hurt them, and did not profit them, knowing well that whoso buys it shall have no share in the world to come; evil then was that they sold themselves for... (Arberry)
... And they knew that the buyers of (magic) would have no share in the happiness of the hereafter. And vile was the price for which they did sell their souls... (Yusuf 'Ali)
The word in dispute appears twice in the above verse first as " eshtara" then as "sharou". It is derived from the root "shara" meaning to buy.
When Arberry and Yusuf 'Ali translated the first form of the word they correctly translated it as buy, but when they came to the second word they translated it as sell. As a matter of fact all other translations we looked up, translated the second word as sell. But the Arabic word used in the above verse means "bought". The translators felt compelled to translate it as sell because of the context. The Qur'an could have used another word "ba'ou" meaning sold.
The early Muslims to get out of the problem said that the word " sharou" means "ba'ou" in the languge of Hazil.
And to prove that the word "sharou, bought" means "ba'ou, sold" they invented a verse of poetry:
The word "sharou" is a good faithfull Arabic word, but the early Muslims disowned it and "bought" it cheap to the tribe of Hazil in order to "buy" the integrity of the Qur'an.
And if you do not get my point imagine the following sentence:
I bought my car to my cousin for 5000 dollars.
Now what will people say about my English if I claim that the word "bought" (which is a very well known English word) means "sell" in French. Would that be the ultimate in eloquence? Or the ultimate in confusion?
And if the Hazilly word "buy" means sell in Arabic, what is the Hazilly word for sell?
Incidentally this is not the only verse where this confusion occur. For example in Q. 4:74: Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. (Yusuf 'Ali)
Her the word " sharoun" was translated as sell by Yusuf 'Ali, and so did Arberry.
Now compare it with Q. 2:86: These are the people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter... (Yusuf 'Ali)
The word " eshtarou" has been translated buy in Yusuf 'Ali's translation, purchased by Arberry.
The grammatical settings are the same in those two verses as is clear from the English translation but in one the same word was translated sell and in the other it was translated buy. The English translators made the correction that should have been there in the Arabic Qur'an in the first place.
Did not the author of the Qur'an know that the word ba'a exist? Yes. The Qur'an uses the word "ba'a". The early Muslims knew it too.
If the word " shara" meant buying and selling at the same time, why did the early Muslims invent the existence of the Hazil word? Even if we accept that it is very proper to use the word "shara" to mean both buy and sell, the early Muslims will be still guilty of the charge of inventing words to get out of problems in the Qur'an. And that is our main charge.
Suyuti in Itqan mentioned another word: "wara'" Q. 18:79. This is a proper Arabic word meaning behind. But according to Shaydalah and Abul-Qasim this word is Nabati word and it means "in front".
And in al-Burhan fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an by Zarkashi the same word wara' has become (in front of) in the Coptic languge.
In spite of Itqan and al-Burhan the translators have translated it correctly as meaning behind in Q. 18:79 "for there was a king behind them...".
So the proper Arabic word wara' meaning behind has come to mean in front of in the Nabati languge according to Itqan and in the Coptic language according to al-Burhan.
They could get away with it in the early days of Islam. Who was going to check their claims?
And Suyuti in his Itqan goes even further and tell us that according to Abi Malik the word wara' wherever it was mentioned in the Qur'an means behind except in two places.
It is a fact, however, that Suyuti wanted his readers to believe that ( wara') means ('amam) in front.
In other words Suyti wanted us to believe that the Arabic word wara' meaning behind is the is realy the Nabati word for ('amam) in front.
Another word is mentioned in 21:105 "We have written in the psalms after the reminder (az-Zikr)"
But according to some early Muslims the word " after" really means "before".
There is a theological reason for this 180 degree turn. If after means after in the above verse, then this means that the reminder (az-Ziker) refers to that which was before the psalms and that is the Torah. So according to the Qur'an the Torah historically speaking is az-ziker and the original Zikr at that. But Muslims believe that az-Zikr is the Qur'an. Hence the word after in that verse must mean before to match the theological position of Muslims.
Another good Arabic word that has undergone some magical metamorphosis is found in Q. 38:7. The word is "al-Aakhera". The word literally means "the last" but Suyuti says that this word (which is also a good authentic Arabic word) means the first in the Coptic language. According to Itqan the Coptic first is the Arabic last and vise versa.
Throughout this discussion please remember that the early Muslims knew the Arabic language much better than any subsequent or living contemporary scholars. They did not try any clever tricks to get out of the difficulties they encountered in the Qur'an. The only way out for them was to claim the context could be harmonised by the invention of foreign words.
We have seen what some Muslims did to good Arabic words we now turn to see what they did to the Arabic grammar .
1. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 38.
2. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
3. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
4. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 36.
5. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 36.
6. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
7. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 38.
8. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
9. Al-Furqan, Ibn a-Khatib, Dar al-Kotob al-'
10. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
11. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 37.
12. Al-Burhan Fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an, Zarkashi, Dar al-Ma'refa,
13. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 39.
14. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, chapter 39.
15. Itqan fi 'Uloum al-Qur'an, Suyuti, Vol 1, Section 38.
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