The Hadith is the record of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The sayings and conduct of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) constitute the Sunnah.
The Hadith has come to supplement the Holy Quran as a source of the Islamic religious law. The Hadith is the second pillar after the Quran upon which every Muslim rests his faith. Hadith consists of Mat'n and Isnad. Mat'n means the text of the Hadith, while Isnad means the chain of transmitters to that Hadith.
The scholars of the Hadith literature divided the Traditions into categories according to the degree of authenticity and reliability, each category had to meet certain criteria.
The categories are as follows:
1. Sahih: The genuine Traditions, the authentic ones.
2. Moothaq: Almost like the Sahih but the narration is not as strong as those of the Sahih.
3. Hasan: The fair Traditions although inferior in matter of authenticity.
4. Dha'eef: The weak Traditions which are not so reliable.
In Shari'ah (Islamic Constitution) deeds and actions are divided into five classes:
1. Fardh or Wajib: An obligatory duty the omission of which is Islamically punishable.
2. Mus'tahab: An action which is rewarded, but whose omission is not punishable.
3. Mu'baah: An action which is permitted but legally is indifferent.
4. Mak'rooh: An action which is disapproved by the Shari'ah but is not under any penalty.
5. Haram: An action which is forbidden, and Islamically punishable1.
1. History of Fabrication:
a. During Benu Umayya's Rule.
b. During Benu Abbas' Rule, in particular with the advent of the schools of thought in Islam.
2. By the year 200 H.: Total of 600,000 Hadiths were in existence, out of which 408,324 Hadith were fabricated Hadiths by 620 forgerers2.
3. Most Notorious Forgerers: Ibn Jundub, Abu Bukhtari, Ibn Basheer, Abdullah Al-Ansaari, Al-Sindi. Ibn Au'jaa professed before he was hanged that he alone had forged 4,000 Hadiths3.
4. Reason to Fabricate:
a. Financial incentive by the Khalifas, for example Mu'awiya awarded Ibn Jundub and others hundreds of thousands of dinars for coming forth with Hadiths that suited him4.
b. As a means of self-promotion in the government.
c. In a drive to enhance a particular school of thought.
d. Fanaticism for a school of thought at the expense of others5.
5. Al-Qassassoon (The story-tellers): Their operation and major role in the public.
1 Introduction to the Hadith, A. Rahman Doe, Page 34.
2 Al-Ghadeer, Al-Amini, Vol. 5, Page 245.
3 Mish'kaat Al-Masabeeh, Translation by Fazlul Karim, Vol. 1, Pages 17-20.
4 Al-Saadiq and the Four Madh'habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Page 218.
5 Al-Saadiq and the Four Madh'habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Pages 264-268.