Most Muslim scholars define the companions (sahaba) of Prophet Muhammad to be the people who lived during his time period, and saw or heard him speak, even for a brief moment.
Islam teaches that no person should be praised or condemned without a valid reason regardless of their origin, belief, or color. According to the Noble Qur’an, those nearest to Allah are the ones who are the most pious,
“Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that believer who has more piety and righteousness.”1
Neither blood relation, friendship, companionship, monetary status, nor social status play a role in nearness to Allah.
As for the companions (sahaba), the Noble Qur’an divides them into two groups. The first consists of those who were truthful and loyal, and had sacrificed their wealth and souls (i.e. life) to defend the cause of Islam. The Qur’an says,
“Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful. Their Lord gives them glad tidings of mercy from Him, that He is pleased (with them), and of Gardens for them wherein are everlasting delights. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward.”2
Other numerous verses in the Noble Qur’an hail the good companions of the Prophet, such as the al-Badriyun, those who stood by the Prophet during the Battle of Badr, even though their number was less than one third of their enemies and their weapons were trivial compared to the weapons of their adversaries. They stood firm and sacrificed their lives and are among the best of examples for the Muslims.
Likewise, there were respected women among the sahaba who participated in the political, social, and economic life of Islam, such as Umm Amarah who sacrificed four sons to defend Islam. While tending to the fatal injuries of one of her sons, Umm Amarah herself went to the battlefield to fight the enemy. The Prophet witnessed her bravery and said about her, “O Umm Amarah, who can bear what you are bearing?”
However, there is another group—the hypocrites, which the Noble Qur’an clearly describes. Numerous verses in the Noble Qur’an condemn their attempts to destroy the Muslim nation. In particular, there are two Surahs in the Noble Qur’an that refer to some of the companions as hypocrites: Surah 9 (al-Tawbah or The Repentance) and Surah 63 (al-Munafiqeen or The Hypocrites). In Surahtul Munafiqeen, the Noble Qur’an teaches that people should not be judged by their physical appearance, or even by their public actions, but rather by their sincerity and dedication to Allah, His Prophet, and the Muslim nation. This Surah says,
“And when you look at them, their bodies please you, and when they speak, you listen to their words. They are as blocks of wood, propped up. They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies. So beware of them; may Allah curse them. How are they denying the right path?”3
These are the disobedient whom Allah will not forgive on the Day of Judgment, according to the Noble Qur’an,
“It is equal for them whether you (Prophet Muhammad) ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them. Allah will not forgive them. Verily, Allah guides not the people who are rebellious, disobedient to Allah.”4
Although they performed the prayers and gave alms (zakat), these acts stemmed from their hypocrisy and desire to show off and were not for the sake of Allah. The Qur’an also says,
“And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger and that they came to prayers only in a lazy state, and that they only offer contributions (zakat) unwillingly.”5
Even when praying behind the Prophet himself, whenever a trade caravan would enter Madina, these hypocrites would leave their position in the prayer row to watch the caravan, rather than listen to the sermon of the Prophet of Allah. The Qur’an states,
“And when they see some merchandise, or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave you (Muhammad) standing (while delivering the Friday jum’ah congregational religious sermon). Say: that which Allah has is better than any amusement or merchandise, and Allah is the best of providers.”6
According to historical reports, some of these hypocrites who posed as the Prophet’s “companions” were actually plotting to kill him.7 The Noble Qur’an mentions that they had schemed to start a civil war in Madina:
Verily, they had plotted sedition before and had upset matters for you—until the truth (victory) came, and the Decree of Allah became manifest though they hated it.8
They (the hypocrites) say, ‘If we return to Madina, indeed the more honorable (the chief of the hypocrites) will surely expel the abased (Allah’s Messenger and his followers) from it.’ But honor, power, and glory belong to Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, but the hypocrites know not.9
Some of these hypocrites established a masjid and invited the Prophet to inaugurate it, not to please Allah but to compete with the other Muslims and to cause disunity among the believers. Allah ordered the Prophet to refuse their invitation and destroy that masjid which was based on hypocrisy:
And as for those who put up a masjid by way of harming and disbelief, and to disunite the believers, and as an outpost for those who warned against Allah and His Messenger aforetime, they will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good. Allah bears witness that they are certainly liars. Never stand therein.
Verily, the masjid whose foundation was laid from the first day based on piety is more worthy for you to stand therein. In it are men who love to clean and purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure. Is he who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His good pleasure better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbles to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell?
And Allah guides not the people who are the dhalimun (cruel, violent, proud, hypocrites, and wrongdoers). The building which they built will never cease to be a cause of hypocrisy and doubt in their hearts, unless their hearts are cut to pieces. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.10
Some of the hypocrites would approach the truthful Muslim believers and claim that they were genuinely part of the Muslim nation; yet, Allah informed the Muslims not to believe them,
“They swear by Allah that they are truly of you while they are not of you, but they are a people (hypocrites) who intend to divide (the Muslim nation).”11
The Muslim hypocrites, on countless occasions, insulted and offended the Prophet of Islam, the Qur’an says,
“And among them (the hypocrites) are men who hurt the Prophet and say, ‘He is (lending his) ear (to every news).’ Say, ‘He listens to what is best for you, he believes in Allah, has faith in the believers, and is a mercy to those of you who believe.’ But those who hurt Allah’s Messenger will have a painful torment.”12
Even the Prophet was unaware of some of the hypocrites in Madina. Although he knew of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ubay, the leader of the hypocrites, there were others in the Masjid of the Prophet—in the city of Madina—whom Allah did not inform him about. The Qur’an says,
“And among the desert people (A‘arab) around you, O believers, there are some hypocrites, and so are there some among the people of Madina. They exaggerate and persist in hypocrisy. Even you (Prophet Muhammad) know them not. We know them; We shall punish them twice and thereafter they shall be brought to a great, horrible torment.”13
The acts of desecration to Islam and the Muslim society had reached such an extent by some of the hypocrites that Allah promised them eternal punishment. Therefore, Muslims should not extend the pleasure of Allah to all of the people around the Prophet without distinguishing between who was a true believer and who was a pretender. Nor should the Muslims refer to them as “the stars…whomever we follow, we will be guided.” Imam al-Bukhari narrates:
Allah’s Messenger said, I will be there at the Fountain of Kawthar before you, and I will have to contend for some people, but I will have to yield. I will be saying, My Lord, they are my companions, they are my companions, and it will be said, You don’t know what innovations they made after you.14
Imam al-Bukhari also narrates a similar version of this hadith:
Allah’s Messenger said in the company of his companions, I will be at the Fountain waiting for those who will be coming to me from among you. By Allah, some people will be prevented from coming to me, and I will say, My Lord, they are my followers and the people of my ummah (nation). And He will say, You don’t know what they did after you; they have been constantly turning back on their heels (from your religion).
Since many of the companions heard the Prophet saying this, a companion by the name of ibn Abu Mulaikah began then to include it in his supplication. It is reported that he used to say (in supplication), “O Allah, I seek refuge with You that we should turn back upon our heels or be put to any trial about our religion.”15
Some Muslims claim that whoever disrespects any of the people around the Prophet is a not a Muslim or a believer. Certainly, criticizing a devout and genuine sahaba of the Prophet is completely forbidden and unacceptable. However, it should not be forgotten, that within the group of people around the Prophet there were some who were hypocrites, whom even the Prophet did not know of.16 Nonetheless, Allah was well aware of them and even cursed those hypocrites who portrayed themselves as true companions of the Prophet, but in reality were not.
Scholars contend that to curse or speak ill about a companion is an abomination. However, within the Umayyad clan, there was a particular caliph who established a precedent for cursing a certain companion known for his devotion to Allah and Islam. If any Muslim who curses one of the companions is declared a disbeliever, then what would be the Islamic judgment regarding this caliph?
In addition, some hadiths claim that the companions were infallible, if they were infallible then why is it that after the death of the Prophet, some of the companions, from time to time not only disagreed with each other but their arguments even escalated into physical attacks. If they were infallible then why were they fighting each other? It has been documented that certain individuals from the companions of the Prophet were responsible for the assassination of the third caliph, ‘Uthman ibn Affan. Should they still be regarded as equal to the pious companions of the Prophet?
If a hadith, such as “my companions are like stars…whomsoever you follow, you will be guided,” indiscriminantly extends to all those companions who were around the Prophet, then such a hadith cannot be considerd authentic in the Shi‘a school of thought since some of these same companions were reprimanded and cautioned about (to the Prophet) by Allah in the Qur’an.
Some of the companions commited sins without intending to defy Allah, and Allah promised them forgiveness,
“And there are others who have acknowledged their sins. They have mixed a deed which was righteous with another that was evil. Allah shall turn to them in forgiveness. Surely Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”17
Similarly, the wives of the Prophet are included in what was said about the companions of the Prophet, since blood relation or the bond of marriage alone does not ensure a safe passage to Paradise. Allah teachesus in the Noble Qur’an that only good deeds entitle the believers to success and to enter Paradise. Being a wife or a son or a daughter of the Prophet would not automatically grant success on the Day of Judgment, although it may grant them the fellowship of the Prophet and knowledge of his traditions.
Almighty Allah puts forth in the Noble Qur’an a parable about the wives of two prominent messengers of Allah, Nuh and Lut,
“Allah sets forth an example for those who disbelieve: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut. They were under two of our righteous slaves but they both betrayed (their husbands, by rejecting their doctrine), so they benefited them not against Allah, and it was said to them, ‘Enter the Fire with those who enter it.’”18
Muslim historians narrate that some of the wives of the Prophet were not always on good terms with him. Imam al-Bukhari narrates from one of the wives of the Prophet, Lady ‘A’ishah:
The Apostle of Allah used to spend time with Zaynab bint Jahsh (one of his wives) and drink honey at her house. She (Lady ‘A’ishah) further said, I and Hafsa (another wife) agreed that the one whom the Apostle of Allah visited first should say, I notice that you have an odor of “maghafir” (the gum of mimosa).
He visited one of them and she told him this, whereupon he said, I have taken honey at the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh, and I will never do it again. After this, the following verse was revealed, referring to his abstention from honey, O Prophet! Why do you ban for yourself that which Allah has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives (Lady ‘A’ishah and Hafsa)? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.19
The Noble Qur’an also addresses Lady ‘A’ishah and Hafsa exclusively,
“If you two (wives of the Prophet) turn in repentance to Allah—but your hearts are so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes). But if you help one another against him, then verily Allah is his Protector—and Jibril, and the righteous among the believers, and the angels are also his helpers. It may be that if he divorced you, his Lord would give him, instead of you - wives better than you—Muslims submitting to Allah, believers, women obedient to Allah, who turn to Allah in repentance, worship Allah sincerely, given to fasting, or emigrants (for the cause of Allah)—previously married and virgins.”20
These verses of the Noble Qur’an prove that not all the wives of the Prophet were the best of his companions.
For political, social, and economic reasons, as well as to spread the word of Allah, the Prophet had several wives and was patient with their mischief and rebellion (see Noble Qur’an, 66:4-5).
Now, let us take an unbiased look at the history of Islam.
Imam ‘Ali was the first male to embrace Islam.21 He himself declared, “I started worshipping Allah nine years before anyone else in this nation started worshipping Him, except for Prophet Muhammad.”22
The Prophet held two ceremonies of Brotherhood (mu’akhat) in which he made the Muslims brothers of each other. He did one before the migration to Madina and one afterwards.23 In both Brotherhoods, the Prophet made brothers of himself and Imam ‘Ali, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, ‘Uthman ibn Affan and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Mutallib and Zayd ibn Haritha, Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr and Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqass, Salman al-Farsi and Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, and Talha and Zubayr.24
The Prophet ordered all of the gates which had access to the courtyard of the Masjid of the Prophet to be closed except the gate which connected to the house of Imam ‘Ali, since the ritually impure (junub) were no longer allowed to enter the masjid before performing the ritual bathing (ghusl). However, the Prophet, Imam ‘Ali, and Lady Fatima al-Zahra were exceptions to this rule, as an emphasis to the “Verse of Purity” (Noble Qur’an - 33:33). Even Hamzah, the uncle of the Prophet was saddened by this decision and came to the Prophet weeping. The Prophet told him, “I did not ban you, and I did not allow him (‘Ali); but it was Allah who allowed him.”25
Ibn Hanbal also narrates that many companions wondered about the Prophet’s decision to exempt Imam ‘Ali from having to shut his door to the masjid, the Prophet answered them by this sermon, “I commanded that these doors be closed except for the door of ‘Ali. By Allah, it was not my own desire, but I was commanded by Allah, and I followed his command.”26
For this reason, the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, says, “Ibn Abi Talib has been given three virtues of which, if I had been given only one, it would have been better for me than everything in this life: the Messenger of Allah married him to his own daughter and she delivered offspring for him, the Prophet sealed all the gates to the Masjid of the Prophet except his door, and the Prophet gave him the banner on the Day of Khaybar.”27
Towards the end of the life of the Messenger of Allah, the Roman army was gathering on the border of the Islamic state, and the Prophet ordered all of his companions except for Imam ‘Ali to leave Madina and to join the battalion of Usama ibn Zayd. Some of the prominent companions refused to join. The Prophet ordered them again to go, but they still refused. The third time, when they gathered in his house on a Thursday, four days before he passed away, the Prophet opened his eyes and saw that his companions had gathered around his deathbed.
The Prophet asked for a pen and paper to write his will but one of the companions refused to give it to him, saying, “Verily, pain has overwhelmed him. The book of Allah is enough for us.” Once the argument increased, the Prophet turned to them and said, “Go away from me. You should not argue in my presence.”28 ‘Abdullah Ibn al-‘Abbas says, “Disaster struck when they did not allow the Prophet to write his will.” 29 Other historians narrate that on that day, the same companion said, “Leave him (the Prophet) alone. He is hallucinating.”30
This situation occurred despite the clear command of the Noble Qur’an,
“Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger that you may obtain mercy,”31
“He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (Muhammad) as a watcher over them.”32
This companion later on confessed as to why he denied the Prophet’s request during the “Event of Thursday,” by saying that the Prophet had wanted to mention Imam ‘Ali for leadership during his final days so he stopped him from doing that.33
Imam al-Bukhari reports on the authority of Sa‘d ibn Jubayr from Ibn al-‘Abbas:
Thursday, and what about Thursday! Then he wept until his tears wetted the gravel. Thereupon I said, ‘O Ibn al-‘Abbas, what about Thursday?’ He said, ‘The Messenger of Allah said, Bring me (a pen and paper) so that I may write for you a document (by which following) you will never go astray.’ But they disputed, while in the presence of the Prophet, there should be no disputing. They said, ‘What is the matter with him?’ Ask him. He said, ‘Leave me alone. That which I suffer is better. I give you three wills: Drive the polytheists out of the Arabian Peninsula; grant delegations the same allowance that I used to give;’ but he kept silent over the third, or he said it but I was made to forget it.34
One of the undeniable historical facts that all Muslim historians, regardless of their school of thought, unanimously agree upon is that the beloved daughter of the Prophet, Lady Fatima al-Zahra died approximately three months after him; as a result of the great pain and suffering she endured during the incident of the attack on her house. She died at the age of 18 years and 7 months. On the day of her burial, Imam ‘Ali addressed the Prophet at his grave and said:
O Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon you from me and from your daughter who has come to you and who has hastened to meet you. O Prophet of Allah! My patience about your chosen daughter has been exhausted, and my power of endurance has weakened, except that I have ground for consolation in having endured the great hardship and heart-rending event of your separation. I laid you down in your grave when your last breath had passed, when your head was between my neck and chest.
Verily, we are Allah’s and verily, unto Him shall we return. Now the trust has been returned, and what has been given has been taken back. As to my grief, it knows no bounds, and as to my nights, they will remain sleepless until Allah chooses for me the house in which you are now residing. Certainly, your daughter will apprise you of the joining together of your people for oppressing her. You ask her in detail, and get all the news about the matter.
This has happened when a long time had not elapsed, and your remembrance had not disappeared. My salaam be upon you both, and the salaam of a grief-stricken, not a disgusted or hateful person, for if I go away it is not because I am weary of you, and if I stay it is not due to lack of belief in what Allah has promised the ones who endure.35
Lady Fatima al-Zahra, three months after her father, the Messenger of Allah’s death were all spent in grief and agony. She was never seen smiling, not even once after the death of her father.36 Her suffering increased day by day as a result of the injuries she sustained when one of the companions slammed the door on her, two days after her father’s death, causing her to mis-carry her son, Muhsin. When Lady Fatima died, her husband Imam ‘Ali buried her in the night. Only a handful of sincere companions participated in her funeral and he performed the prayers over her.37
She was also denied her inheritance from the Prophet Muhammad— mainly, a land outside Madina called Fadak—on the grounds that prophets do not leave inheritance. Imam Bukhari narrates that when Lady Fatima asked for her share of the Prophet’s inheritance, she received the response that the Prophet had said, “We, the group of prophets, do not leave inheritance. What we leave is charity.” Thus she was refused anything from her father’s inheritance despite the fact that the Noble Qur’an gives examples of prophets inheriting from other prophets, such as,
“And Sulayman inherited from Dawud.”38
These incidents happened even though the Messenger of Allah had said, “Lady Fatima is a part of me. Whoever angers her, angers me.”39 Ibn Qutaybah records that Lady Fatima al-Zahra said to some of the companions, “I take Allah as a witness, and His angels, that you have angered me and did not please me, and when I meet with the Prophet, I will raise my grievances about you to him.”40
As mentioned earlier, the Prophet before his death ordered the majority of his companions to leave Madina and to join the battalion of Usama, in order to defend the Muslims against the Roman aggression. However, some of the companions refused his commands and stayed in Madina, while Usama camped in an area called Jurf.
Nonetheless, two people namely Lady ‘A’ishah, the daughter of the first caliph and the wife of the Prophet and Anas ibn Malik, narrate that the first caliph led the prayers with the consent of the Prophet during his sickness, Lady ‘A’ishah narrates, “The Prophet went to the masjid to lead the prayers while he was too weak to walk, and Abu Bakr was leading the prayers. The Prophet came and sat next to Abu Bakr who was leading the prayers.”41
However, this narration does not imply that the Prophet commanded the first caliph to lead the prayers since—despite his illness—he still went outside to lead the prayers. The other narrator, Anas ibn Malik is not considered as a unbiased source, according to the Shi‘a school of thought.
Those historians who do relate that the first caliph was present in Madina during the time of the death of the Prophet, indicate that on the day the Prophet was destined to pass away at noon, Lady ‘A’ishah ordered Bilal to tell her father that the Prophet wanted him to lead the morning prayers. Once the Prophet learned of this, he went out to lead the prayers himself, even though he was severly sick, leaning on Imam ‘Ali and al-Fadl Ibn al-‘Abbas. After removing the first caliph and leading the prayers, the Prophet then went back to his room in the masjid and said to Lady ‘A’ishah, “You are as companions of Yusuf (Joseph).”42
This story has been narrated in various words by nine narrators: Lady ‘A’ishah, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, ‘Abdullah Ibn al-‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn Zam’a, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, Buraydah al-Aslami, Anas ibn Malik, and Salim ibn Ubayd. However, an examination of these sources show that all the narrations go back to Lady ‘A’ishah. In addition, there are also some unreliable individuals in the chains of narrators.
Furthermore, even if the Prophet had appointed Abu Bakr to lead those prayers, this appointment would not imply an appointment to succeed the Prophet in all aspects of life, since during the Prophet’s lifetime, he had permitted many people to perform the prayers, and of course, they are not considered as the caliphs;, such as Ibn Umm Maktum who was blind.43
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah acknowledges that being a successor for certain tasks in life does not stretch to include succession after death. He adds that the Prophet had appointed many people, such as ibn Umm Maktum, Bashir ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir, and others for certain tasks, such as leading the congregational prayers. Nevertheless, most of these people were not suitable for succession to the Prophet.44
In another slightly contrasting hadith, the famous historian and transmitter of hadith, al-Tabari45 narrated that the first caliph, Abu Bakr was not in Madina at the time of the death of the Prophet, and when the Prophet was in extreme pain and could not go to the masjid to perform the prayers, Bilal, the mu’adhdhin (the caller to prayer) asked, “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be your ransom, who will lead the prayers?”46 The Prophet called upon Imam ‘Ali. Then his wife, Lady ‘A’ishah said to him, “We will call for you Abu Bakr,” and his wife Lady Hafsa said, “We will call for you ‘Umar.” Thus, the Prophet’s call did not reach Imam ‘Ali, and the rest of the people came. Once they gathered around the Prophet, he said to them, “Go away. If I need you I will send for you.” Then these companions left.47
Tirmidhi narrates that the Prophet declared that ten of his companions were guaranteed paradise, while Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim (al-Dhahabi in his book, Mizan al-I’tidal) deny that the Prophet had ever made such a statement, as well as. This hadith counters logic on many levels, and as such, cannot be accepted. For instance, Talha and Zubayr, who are both included in this hadith, ordered the killing of the third caliph ‘Uthman—who is also included in this hadith.
They are the same—Talha and Zubayr—who revolted against the legitimate caliph, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib after paying allegiance to him. Another individual included in this hadith is Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqass, who refused to pay allegiance to Imam ‘Ali but did pay allegiance to Mu’awiyah. Another individual was ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf who revolted against the third caliph, ‘Uthman ibn Affan and was killed by the Umayyads. The second caliph described ibn ‘Auf as the “pharaoh of this nation.”48
The very notion that only ten of the Muslims should be guaranteed Paradise is illogical, since it exempts hundreds of other sincere and virtuous Muslims, such as Hamzah - ‘Sayyid al-shuhada (Master of the Martyrs) and uncle of the Prophet, Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib, Zayd ibn Haritha, Sa‘d ibn Ma‘adh, ‘Ammar ibn Yassir, about whom the Prophet said, “He is filled with faith (iman) from head to toe,” and Salman al-Farsi, about whom the Prophet said, “He is one of us, the Ahlul Bayt.” Since the hadith of the ten who are guaranteed Paradise was narrated by Sa‘id ibn Zayd, who was not on good terms with the Ahlul Bayt, the Shi‘a school of thought can not accept it.
The man who narrated the largest number of hadith—5,374 (446 of which are in Sahih al-Bukhari), although he says that he only spent three years with the Prophet49—was Abu Hurayra al-Dusi. He embraced Islam on the seventh year after the migration to Madina. Abu Hurayra himself says that only ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrated more traditions than he did, and that ‘Abdullah used to write them down whereas he did not.50
In fact, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar only narrated 2,630 hadith, of which Imam al-Bukhari mentions only seven and Imam Muslim narrated, twenty. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab himself narrated only 527 hadith; while ‘Uthman ibn Affan narrated 146; Abu Bakr, 142; ‘A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet, 1,210; Jabir ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ansari, 1,540; ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, 848; Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, 281; Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet, 378; ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, 537; and Anas ibn Malik, 2,286.
Furthermore, Imam Muslim also narrates that the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab beat Abu Hurayra on one occasion. 51 Abu Hurayra admits, “I have narrated to you several traditions that had I narrated them during the time of ‘Umar, ‘Umar would have lashed me with a stick.”52 It has been said that Abu Hurayra was the first narrator who was accused justly in Islam.53
‘Umar al-Khattab said to him, “You have taken the money of the Muslims for yourself….”54 ‘Umar also told him once, “You have narrated too many hadiths, and most likely, you lie about the Prophet.”55 Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says that the ‘ulama unanimously agreed that lying about the Messenger of Allah is one of the cardinal sins (kaba’ir), and others went further to say, that whoever lies about the Prophet is an unbeliever (kafir). Al-Sam‘ani states that narrations would not be accepted from someone who lied about the Prophet, even one time.56
Another example of the narrations of Abu Hurayra is found in the Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari. Abu Hurayra attributes the following advice to the Messenger of Allah, “When a fly falls into one of your goblets, immerse the entire fly inside the goblet and then take it out, and then consume the (contents of the) goblet, because on one wing of the fly is a disease, and on the other wing is the cure.”57
Sahih Muslim narrates from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet slept until sunrise and missed the morning prayers!58 This hadith is not compatible with the Noble Qur’an which says,
“Stand to pray all night, except a little—half of it, or a little less than that, or a little more—and recite the Qur’an in a slow style.”59
How could the Prophet, who never missed the midnight prayers, miss the obligatory morning prayers? Along the same line, in Sahih Bukhari, it narrates from Abu Hurayra that the Muslims were standing in their prayer rows about to pray, and that the Prophet had just finished the Iqamah when suddenly he remembered that he was junub (in a state of ritual impurity)!60
Al-Bukhari also narrates from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said, “The Shaytan (Satan) confronted me and kept me busy!”61 This hadith also diverges from the Noble Qur’an, which says,
“When you want to recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan, the cursed. Verily, he has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord. His power is only over those who obey and follow him and those who join partners with him.”62
Imam Muslim also narrates from Abu Hurayra that Lady ‘A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet said:
One day, the Messenger of Allah was lying in my house, revealing his thighs. Abu Bakr sought permission (to enter). He gave him permission, so he entered and spoke to the Prophet, and the Prophet remained in the same condition. Then ‘Umar sought permission (to enter). He gave him permission, and he spoke to him while he was in the same condition. Then ‘Uthman sought permission (to enter.) Once ‘Uthman sought permission, he (the Prophet) sat down properly and covered himself. When he spoke to him and he left, I said, “You neither paid attention to Abu Bakr nor ‘Umar, so why did you (when ‘Uthman entered) cover your thighs?” The Prophet said, “Would I not be embarrassed in front of a man whom the angels are embarrassed in front of?”63
Ibn ‘Arafa explains that most of such narrations were constructed during the time of the Umayyad Dynasty.64 When Mu’awiyah reached power, he wrote to all his governors around the Islamic state, “For every virtue which is narrated by the Prophet on behalf of Imam ‘Ali, I need a similar virtue to be said on behalf of the companions.”65
Since hadiths are the second source of Islamic legislation all the contents and chains of narrators must be carefully examined and compared to the Book of Allah before being accepted. The Shi‘a school of thought has strict criteria for judging the narrators of hadith and determining the authenticity any of ahadith.