If the traditions of the Messenger of Allah were altogether the cornerstone of religion — like the Qur'an — upon which Din is set up, and source of all rulings that every Muslim should know and follow, as he follows the Qur'an and if the Prophet (S) commanded his Companions to memorize these traditions so as to be followed after his demise, those Companions exaggerating in narrating them would be of higher religious position, firmer firm in faith, and sublimer in knowledge.
Further, those narrating less would be lower than them in religious status, having degree of knowledge, honour and consideration beyond theirs. But in fact the situation — as revealed in the well-known hadith books — being on the contrary of this, as the best of Companions in rank, higher in status, broader in knowledge of Din and sincerest in safe-guarding it, who were entrusted with shouldering the precepts of religion which they learnt from their teacher, like the rightly-guided caliphs and the ten who claimed that he (S) died while being pleased with them or augured them with paradise, beside magnates of the Muhajirun and Ansar and others, were less than others in relating hadith to the extent that some of them have not reported from the Messenger even one hadith!!
Being unsatisfied with all this, the magnates among the Companions shunned relating the hadith and forbade others from doing so. Their extreme precaution in this regard led them to set to fire whatever was written down, as was known before. This fact made us dedicate a separate biography for the most prolific in relating hadith from the Messenger of Allah among the Companions, and broader in narration, though being one of the common companions who was neither here nor there... that was. Abu Hurayrah.
Had not these abundant traditions — due to the commoners trust in them filled the hadith books deserved respect and trust inside the Muslims' hearts and seized their minds and thinking, to the extent they regarded them of the general rules of religion, though having intricate problems embarrassing the minds of the believers, with suspicions and superstitions constituting weak points in religion and reliable asanid to confirm the Israeliyyat and Masihiyyat (Jewish and Christian fabricated traditions) and other creeds... had not all these things been there, I would have never prepared this research, nor cared that much for it.
During the pre-Islamic era and advent of Islam, there was no disagreement regarding any name like the one that was in regard of the name of Abu Hurayrah. No one had verified knowledge of the name his family gave to him so as to be called with among people.
Al-Nawawi says: Abu Hurayrah's name is Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr, according to authentic reports from thirty sources.
The Moroccan Hafiz Ibn Abd al-Barr, in al-Isti‘ab1 writes:
There was much controversy and disagreement regarding the original names of Abu Hurayrah and his father, in a way that no one could know it exactly and accurately whether during the pre-Islamic period or after it in the Islamic era.. With such disagreement and confusion, nothing can be so reliable, and his nickname was more common than his name, as if he had no name other than that, with which he was called everywhere .
The author of al-Mishkat said: People differed much concerning the name of Abu Hurayrah and his descent, and he was only called with that kunyah as if he having no other name. The kunyah became so widely known to the extent that the original name was forgotten, since much disagreement was there regarding it.
From what is exposed, giving him any definite special name would be no more than conjecture. So we suffice with mentioning his kunyah, which he himself manifested its real cause saying: I used to pasture the sheep of my family, having a little pussy (hirrah) which I used to place inside a tree at night. During daytime I would take it with me and play with it. That is why people gave me the nickname of "Abu Hurayrah".
Beside the disagreement regarding the name of Abu Hurayrah, nothing was known about his growing up or his biography before embracing Islam, except what he exposed about himself: that he used to play with a little she-cat, and he was poor and destitute, serving people in return for having food for living on. The only information available about his origin and descent, being that he descended from Tribe of Sulaym ibn Fahm that belonged to Tribe of Azd and of Dous then.
About this he said: I grew up as an orphan, and migrated as a destitute, and was a servant in return for food as sustenance (as a payment).
In his book al-Ma'arif, after referring to the disagreement among people regarding his name, and that he was from a tribe in Yemen called Dous, stated what follows:
"Abu Hurayrah said: I grew up as an orphan, and migrated as a destitute, and was a servant hired by Bisrah bint Ghazwan with my pay being only some food to sustain on... I used to serve them when they got down, and urge forward by singing when they mounted the horsebacks. And I was nicknamed with Abu Hurayrah because of having a little pussy (hirrah) I used to play with."
After passing the thirty, Abu Hurayrah came to al-Medina, when the Prophet (S) was out (participating) in the Battle of Khaybar which took place in the seventh Hijrah year.
Ibn Sa'd in al-Tabaqat al-kubra, writes: The Dousis including Abu Hurayrah arrived at al-Madinah while the Messenger of Allah was in Khaybar. Thereat the Messenger asked his Companions to give Abu Hurayrah a share from the booty, which they did. And due to being poor, he betook himself to the Siffah2 after r returning to al-Madina, living in it as long as he was residing in al-Madinah, being the most famous among those frequenting to it.
Abu Hurayrah was frank and honest in revealing the reason behind his companionship to the Prophet (S), as he was honest in uncovering the truth about his growth. He didn't claim that he kept his company out of affection and seeking guidance — as the case with other Muslims but he said: "I kept his company for only filling my abdomen"
In a hadith reported by Ahmad and the two Shaykhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim), from Sufyan, from al Zuhri, Abd al-Rahman al-A'raj3 said: "I heard Abu Hurayrah saying: I was a destitute man, who used to keep the company of the Messenger of Allah in return for filling my belly." In another narration by Muslim, he said: I used to serve the Messenger of Allah, and according to him also... for satiating my abdomen."
In another narration by Muslim. He said: I was a destitute man, serving the Messenger of Allah in return for satiating my belly. In another narration by him too: I accompanied the Messenger of Allah (as a servant) with satiating my abdomen in return.
In history books it is recorded that he was gluttonous and greedy, being fed everyday in the Prophet's house, or the house of any of his companions to the extent that some of them were averse to him.
Al-Bukhari reported that he said: I used to ask someone to cite for me a Qur'anic verse that was with me, so as to make him turn toward me and give me food. And the most benevolent of people to the needy was Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, who used to receive us and feed us of whatever he had in his house (of food).
From him too al-Tirmidhi reported: Whenever asking Ja'far about a verse, he would not give me any reply but only after going home (i.e. bringing food). That is why this Ja'far was considered by Abu Hurayrah as the best of all the companions, giving him priority over Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali and Uthman, beside other great companions (may God be pleased with them all).
Al-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim, through a reliable isnad (chain), reported that Abu Hurayrah said: No man has ever put on a sandal, or got on mounts, or trodden the earth, after the Messenger of Allah, better than Ja'far ibn Abi Talib4.
The title given to Abu Hurayrah was Shaykh al-Mudirah. The care given by the ulama’, writers and poets to this Mudirah was never given to similar sorts of sweets. These people kept on mocking it, calumniating Abu Hurayrah because of it for several centuries. Following are some of their reports about the Mudirah:
In his book Thimar al-qulub fi al-mudaf wa al-mansub al-Tha'alibi writes5:
Shaykh al-Mudirah was Abu Hurayrah, for his excellence and nearness to the Prophet (S), as a jester and glutton. Marwan ibn al-Hakam used to depute him (as a governor) on al-Madinah, when he would mount a donkey on which a saddle was tied. On meeting any man on his way he would say: The road! The road! (i.e. make room), the emir is coming.
He further was claiming to be expert in medicine. Al Taha'alibi, after referring to a part of his medicine, all of which being only food that heals the intestine disease, and cures gluttony, stated: “He had strong love for Mudirah, and used to have it with Mu'awiyah, but in time of prayers he used to pray behind Ali (may God be pleased with him). When questioned about this, he would reply: Mudirah of Mu'awiyah is verily fattier and tastier, while performing prayer behind Ali is better. He was widely known and called with the name of "Shaykh al-Mudirah."
Al-Tha'alibi concluded his statement with two poetic lines for some poet, in which he satirized Abu Hurayrah, I preferred not to state here.
Badi' al-Zaman al-Hamadani has dedicated one of his maqamat for this Mudirah, in which he harshly satirized Abu Hurayrah saying: "Isa ibn Hisham related to us saying: I was once in Basrah with Abu al-Fath al-Exandari, the man of high eloquence and rhetoric. I attended with him a banquet to which we were invited by some merchants. There a Mudirah was served for us, that was so tasty, luxuriant, auguring of healthiness, and acknowledging imamate for Mu'awiyah.
Al-Imam Muhammad Abduh, in his exposition of this, said:
"Mu'awiyah claimed to be the caliph after swearing allegiance to Ali ibn Abi Talib (A), but no one was there to acknowledge his caliphate during lifetime of Ali except some of pleasure-seeking people, and runners after lusts.
Had this Mudirah been among the ordinary food of Mu'awiyah, it would have enticed its eaters to acknowledge his caliphate, even though the real owner of the legitimate allegiance was alive. Ascribing acknowledgement to it (Mudirah) is due to its being the only factor causing it to exist, with the fact that Imamate and caliphate having the same meaning."
In al-Asas, Jar Allah writes: Ali with the wretched condition is verily better then Mu'awiyah with the Mudirah.
Abu Nu'aym in Hilyat al-Awliya’ says: Abu Hurayrah, while circumambulating round the House (Ka'bah), used to say: Woe to my belly, when satisfying it, it would seize me, and if I starve it, it would defame me. In another narration by Ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, he said:..it would weaken me.
In Khass al-khass6 al-Tha'alibi stated:
Abu Hurayrah used to say: I have never smelled a scent nicer than that of hot bread, nor seen a knight better than butter on dates!
Besides, Abu Hurayrah was counting eating (part) of manliness. When asked once: What is manliness? He replied: Fear of God (taqwa) and doing favour, and having lunch and supper in the courtyards.
I abandoned many other reports, since some of them contain things that hurt the feelings of some people.
Once upon a day, the Messenger of Allah said to Abu Hurayrah: Visit at long intervals, you verily increase in love. He (S) was the best educator for his Companions, taking charge of them all the time with his wisdom and sagacity, planting in them of his noble morals through his conduct. It was not proper for him(S) to let one like Abu Hurayrah to keep on his past practice of frequenting to houses whenever he liked, that was either received by some or repelled by some, without educating him with his sublime morality. As a consequence of this, the Messenger said once to Abu Hurayrah: Where were you yesterday O Abu Hurayrah? He replied: I visited some of my relatives. He said to him: Visit at long intervals, you verily increase in love.
Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, in his book al-sadaqah wa al-sadiq, writes that Abu Hurayrah said: The Arabs' dictum "Visit at long intervals you verily increase in love" became widely circulated among people till I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (S), and "he verily said it to me."
Al-Masjidi said: "This dictum is not to be taken in general, but there are certain situations in which it should be said, since the visitor deserving it! Don't you see that he never utters such words to Abu Bakr or to Ali ibn Abi Talib or their likes, while Abu Hurayrah being competent for that hadith! because of some slips that he should avoid and shun."7
Abu Hurayrah's slips for which al-Masjidi slanders being his frequenting to the Companions' houses every now and then, out of his gluttony, with some of them shunning and averting him. So the Messenger decided to teach him the etiquette of visiting and entering the houses, citing for him the Arabic proverb. "Visit at long intervals you verily increase in love." Besides, he (S) used to, through all occasions, teaching his companions manners of conduct and the ways of attaining good morality.
All the historians writing about biography of Abu Hurayrah concur that he was joking and hallucinating all the time, showing love to people and entertaining them with abundance of traditions, and strange sayings so as to attract their attention, making them keen to meet him. Following some of the narrations they cited in this regard:
A'ishah – who was the greatest among people for him due to their long age both – in al-mihras tradition, said about him: he was a hallucinating man.
People used to scorn Abu Hurayrah making fun of his narrations, because of the variety he followed in inventing them, and his exaggeration in multiplying them.
Abu Rafi' is reported to have said: A man from Quraysh met Abu Hurayrah while he was wearing a new garment, swaggering with it, when he said to him: O Abu Hurayrah, you relate abundant traditions from the Messenger of Allah, have you heard him say anything regarding this garment? He said, I heard Abu al-Qasim saying: A man from those who were before you, while swaggering in a vestment God caused the earth to sink with him, and he will keep on rattling with it till the Doomsday. By God I don't know, he may be of your folk or flock.8
Out of the question put forth by this man, we can conceive that he was not inquiring (to know something) but sarcasting, as didn't say to him: You commit to memory the traditions of the Messenger of Allah! But he said: You relate abundant traditions from the Messenger of Allah. Besides, the course of the tale indicates also that he was mocking and ridiculing him.
All men of hadith concur that Abu Hurayrah was the most prolific among the Sahabah in relating traditions from the Messenger of Allah. Whilst his company to the Prophet was only for a year and nine months9. Muhammad ibn Hazm states that Musnad Ibn Mukhallad contained 5,374 traditions narrated by Abu Hurayrah of which 446 ones reported by al-Bukhari.
He himself said about himself – as reported by al Bukhari – None among the Companions of the Prophet (S) exceeds me in relating traditions from him except Abd Allah ibn `Amr,10 as he used to write down (the traditions) while I was not.11 If we go through all the traditions related by Ibn Amr we would find seven hundred ones recorded by Ibn al-Jawzi, seven hundred twenty two ones recorded in Musnad Ahmad, with seven ones reported by al-Bukhari and twenty by Muslim.
The multiplicity of traditions narrated by Abu Hurayrah stunned Umar ibn al-Khattab, who hit him with his pearl saying to him: O Abu Hurayrah, you have exaggerated in narration (riwayah) and I think you to be ascribing false traditions to the Messenger of Allah. Then he threatened to exile him to his homeland if he didn't give up relating hadith of the Messenger of Allah.
Ibn Asakir reported the hadith of al-Sa'ib ibn Yazid that he said: You should give up relating hadith of the Messenger of Allah, or otherwise I shall exile you to the land of Dous.
Therefore, after death of Umar and going away of his pearl, he started again relating so numerous traditions since no one was there to be afraid from other than him (Umar). In this regard he said: I relate to you traditions which had I related during the lifetime of Umar, he would have hit me with the pearl — (in another narration: he would have fractured my skull).
Al-Zuhri reported from Abu Salamah as saying: I heard Abu Hurayrah saying: We were unable to say: "The Messenger of Allah said, but till when Umar deceased! Then he said: Had I been relating to you such traditions when Umar was alive, by God I would have been certain that the beater (mikhfaqah) would be hitting my back, as Umar used to say: Engage yourselves with the Qur'an as it is the speech of Allah.
The faqih traditionist al-Sayyid. Rashid Ridha’ (may God's mercy be upon him) said about this: Had Umar survived till after the death of Abu Hurayrah, all these abundant traditions would have never reached us at all.12 And about his fabricated miscellaneous traditions he said: "None of them can be taken as a base to establish any of the principles of religion13.
Abu Hurayrah was justifying his relating abundantly from the Prophet (S) by saying that: as long as he neither deems lawful what is unlawful nor forbidding what is lawful, so no harm in narrating, supporting his practice with traditions he ascribed to the Prophet. Of these traditions I can refer to some that were reported by al Tabarrani in his al-Tafsir al-kabir, from Abu Hurayrah:
The Messenger of Allah said: "If you neither deem lawful what is unlawful nor prohibit what is lawful (halal), but convey the meaning, there is no harm in it" (relating the hadith).
He also said that he heard the Prophet saying: "Whoever relates a hadith pleasing Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, it is verily said by me, though I haven't (really) uttered it." This hadith is reported by Ibn Asakir in his Ta’rikh.
Al-Tahawi reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whenever relating any hadith from me that you hold to be reasonable and never deny, you should believe it whether I said it or not ... as I utter that which is known and not disapproved. And whenever you relate from me a hadith that you disapprove (by reason) and can never be acquainted with, you should belie it, as I never utter that which is disapproved and can never be reasoned."14
Beside some other similar traditions he reported, whereas what is established for us that the Prophet said: "Whoever relates from me a hadith that I never uttered, he should settle in hell as his abode." Umar was obliged to remind Abu Hurayrah with this hadith when he drew the long bow in narration.
Ulama’ of hadith state that Abu Hurayrah used to defraud; and imposture, as is known, is to relate from whoever meeting him that which he didn't hear from him, or from that who lived contemporaneously with him without meeting him, deluding people that he heard it from him. Imposture is of several kinds, with all being absolutely abominable15, and a number of ulama’ were averse to tadlis, with Shu'bah16 being the severest in disapproving this practice, till saying: To practise adultery is more desirable to me than practising imposture! He also said: Imposture is the brother of falsity."
"Among the memorizers are some who vilified whoever known of practising tadlis among the narrators, refuting totally his narration, though he using the word of chain, even he was known of defrauding only once, as was stated by al-Sahfi'i. "Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj reported from Busr ibn Sa'id, as saying: Observe your duty to Allah and be cautious toward relating hadith.
By God, we used to sit with Abu Hurayrah, and he was relating traditions of the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be God's peace and benediction) and those of Ka'b al Ahbar. On his departure, I would hear some of the attendants making the hadith of the Messenger of Allah to be from Ka'b, and hadith of Ka'b to be of the Messenger. In another narration: They would make Ka'b's utterance as if said by the Messenger of Allah, and what is said by the Messenger of Allah as if uttered by Ka'b. So guard against Allah and beware in relating hadith.
Yazid ibn Harun is reported to have said: I heard Shu'bah saying: Abu Hurayrah used to defraud – i.e. used to narrate whatever he heard from Ka'b and from the Messenger of Allah, without any discernment between the two. This hadith was reported by Ibn Asakir. It seems that Shu'bah is referring through this to the hadith "Whoever enters upon the morning with the state of ritual impurity (during Ramadan), his fasting is invalid. And when this hadith was disapproved of him he said: I was told by some narrator, and did not hear it from the Messenger of Allah."17
In Ta’wil mukhtalif al-hadith18 Ibn Qutaybah said: "Abu Hurayrah used to say: The Messenger of Allah (may God's peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) said so and so, but in fact he heard it from some trustworthy (thiqah) and related it."
Ibn Qutaybah, in Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith, said: "When Abu Hurayrah reported that abundance of traditions the similar of which none among his Companions and the foremost in Islam could never relate, he was accused and his narrations were disapproved by others, saying: How did you hear this alone? Who heard it other than you? A'ishah was the severest in disapproving his narrations, due to the prolongation of their lives."19
"Among those charging Abu Hurayrah with falsification, were Umar, Uthman and Ali and others. Thus he was truly — as stated by the great Islamic writer Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi'i20 – the first narrator accused in Islam." "When A'ishah said to him: You relate a hadith that I never heard from the Prophet (S), he gave her an impolite answer (as reported by Ibn Sa'd, al-Bukhari and Ibn Kathir and others) saying: Your attention was kept of him by the mirror and kohl bottle! In another narration (he said): My attention was not kept of him by the kohl bottle and dye, but that was your business".
"But he did not wait to witness that she being more knowledgeable than him, and she was not busied with the mirror and kohl bottle. That was when he related the hadith "Whoever enters upon the morning with the state of ritual impurity his fasting is invalid," A'ishah disapproved it of him saying: The Messenger of Allah has sometimes entered upon the dawn with the state of ritual impurity, not because of having a venereal dream, when he would take a ritual bath and keep on his fasting. I sent him someone to ask him to stop relating such a hadith from the Messenger of Allah, when he had no choice but to submit. Then he said: She is verily more knowledgeable than me, and I never heard it from the Prophet, but from al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas. Thus he quoted a dead man deluding people that he heard the hadith from the Messenger of Allah (S), as said by Ibn Qutaybah in Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith"21
"Ali (may God be pleased with him) was evil-minded toward him, saying about him: He is verily the biggest liar among people, or he said: The biggest liar among the living creatures against the Messenger of Allah is verily Abu Hurayrah. When he heard him (Abu Hurayrah) saying: "My intimate friend (khalil) told me!", he said to him: When was the Prophet your
When he related the hadith, "Whenever anyone of you gets up of bed, he should wash his hands before placing them in the pot, as none among you knows where has his hand passed the night," A'ishah never approved it saying: What to do with the mortar?22 And when al-Zubayr heard his traditions he said: He said the truth, he lied23.
Abu Hassan al-A'raj is reported to have said: Two men entered upon A'ishah (may God be pleased with her) saying: Abu Hurayrah relates from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said:
"Evil omen verily lies in the woman, mount and house," she felt pity and said: By Him Who sent down the Qur'an upon Abu al-Qasim, whoever relating such a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be God's peace and benediction) has verily told a lie. What the Messenger of Allah said being: The pre-Islamic people used to say: Evil omen is verily in the mount, woman and house. Then she cited: "Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before We bring it into being...24
Ibn Mas'ud disapproved his saying: "Whoever washes or carries a dead (corpus), he should perform the rite of ablution," using harsh words against him, saying then: O people, do not be contaminated (najis) of your dead.25
Muhammad ibn al-Hasan reported from Abu Hanifah to have said: "I imitate the mufti judges among the Companions like Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and the three Abds, and I never allow to contradict them with my opinion except three persons — in another narration" I imitate all the Sahabah and never permit contradicting them with my opinion except only three persons (Anas ibn Malik and Abu Hurayrah and Samurah ibn Jundab). When being disputed in this regard he said: In regard of Anas, he became disordered in mind at the end of his life, and he used to issue verdicts from his intellect, and I never imitate his intellect. Concerning Abu Hurayrah, he used to narrate whatever reaching his ears without meditating the meaning and without discerning between the abrogating (nasikh) and abrogated (mansukh)."26
Abu Yusuf is reported to have said: I said to Abu Hanifah: Every report reaching me from the Messenger of Allah contradicts our analogy (qiyas), how should we deal with it? He replied: If it is reported by the trustworthy narrators we verily act according to it and abandon opinion.
I said: What is your opinion about narration of Abu Bakr and Umar? He said: How great are they. I said: What about Ali and Uthman? He said: The same is true.
When I began to enumerate the Companions, he said: All the Companions are just except some referring among them to Abu Hurayrah and Anas ibn Malik.27
Ibrahim al-Nakha'i is reported to have said: Our companions used to claim some of the traditions reported by Abu Hurayrah and reporting of al-A'mash from him, but they were never approving of all traditions of Abu Hurayrah.
Al-Thawri reported from Mansur ibn Ibrahim as saying: They (Companions) were observing something in the traditions of the Messenger of Allah, and were never approving of all the traditions of Abu Hurayrah except those describing the paradise or fire, or urging toward a virtuous deed, or forbidding from an evil mentioned in the Qur'an.28
Abu Shamah reported from al-A'mash that he said: Ibrahim was known of correct hadith,29 and whenever hearing any hadith I would come toward him and put it before him. Once a day I brought him some traditions of Abu Salih that he reported from Abu Hurayrah, when he said: Forget about Abu Hurayrah! They (Companions) used to rejecting many of his traditions.
Abu Ja'far al-Iskafi is reported to have said: Our Shaykhs were of the opinion that Abu Hurayrah was fraudulent and of disapproved narration... he was beaten by Umar who said to him: You have been relating so many traditions, and I see you to be falsifying traditions of the Messenger of Allah.30
Ibn al-Athir said: Concerning narration of Abu Hurayrah, there was much suspicion regarding it due to its abundance.31
In al-Ahkam, al-Amudi writes: The Companions disapproved multiplicity of narrations of Abu Hurayrah since with multiplicity one can never be immune against difference and inexactitude with which that whose narration is less can never be inflicted.
One day, the issue of Misrat32 took place in the meeting of al-Rashid regarding which a quarrel erupted among the attendants, who started to produce loud voices, with some of whom arguing with the hadith related by Abu Hurayrah. One of them refuted the hadith saying: Abu Hurayrah is suspected in whatever he narrates, the example of whom was followed by al-Rashid.
Ulama’ of hadith state, under the bab "The Companions reporting from the Followers" or "Riwayat al-Akabir 'an al-Asaghir", that Abu Hurayrah, the three Abds, Mu'awiyah and Anas and others used to report from Ka'b al-Ahbar, the Jew who proclaimed Islam delusively, hiding his Jewish belief inside his heart. It seems that Abu Hurayrah was more than other Companions beguiled by him, having confidence in him, and in reporting traditions from him and his (Jew) brothers, as he was more prolific in relation of hadith.
Out of investigation it can be discovered that Ka'b al-Ahbar has imposed his faculty of sagacity upon naivety of Abu Hurayrah so as to seize, and control him, growing him so as to dictate upon him whatever he intended to propagate into Islam; the superstitions and fancies, following in this regard strange means and wonderful methods.
In Tabaqat al-huffaz, al-Dhahabi — under the bab “Tarjumat Abu Hurayrah” — reported that Ka'b said in his regard: I have never met one who had never read the Torah to be having more knowledge of its contents than Abu Hurayrah.
Thus we come to realize the extent of sagacity of this priest and his artifice against Abu Hurayrah, which is manifest through his biography that shows him to be a man of unawareness and inexperience. As how could Abu Hurayrah be acquainted with what the Torah contained while he never knew about it, and had he known he would have never been able to read it33 since it was written with the Hebrew language, and he was unable to read his own language — the Arabic as he was illiterate knowing not how to read or write.
The fact that this sagacious pontiff managed to bring Abu Hurayrah under his full control till making him to repeat the same words of this priest rendering them a hadith reported from the Prophet, a portion of which I cite herewith:
Al-Bazzar reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: The sun and moon are two bulls in the hell on the Day of Resurrection! Al-Hasan said: What is their guilt? He said : While I relate to you a hadith from the Messenger of Allah how do you daresay : What is their guilt?
The same and very words were uttered by Ka'b as reported by Abu Ya'la al-Mousili that Ka'b said: The sun and moon will be brought on the Day of Resurrection like two barren oxen, and they will be pelted into the Hell in a way that can be seen by those who worshipped them.34
Al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, and al-Tabarrani — and his rijal of al-Sahih — reported that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet said: Allah permitted me to relate a hadith about a rooster whose legs are on the earth and neck is fixed under the Throne, saying: Glorified are you (O God), how magnificent are You! He said: It will be given the reply, and that is unknown by that who swore with me falsely.
This hadith is related by Ka'b al-Ahbar with its text being thus: Allah has a rooster whose neck is under the Throne and claws at the bottom of the earth ... when it crows the other roosters will crow, saying: Glorified is the Holy One, the Sovereign Lord and the Beneficent, that no god is there other than Him.35
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: The Nile, Sihan, Jihan and Euphratese are the rivers of paradise. The same hadith was reported by Ka'b in this way: Heavens rivers are four that Allah, the Glorified and Mighty, has made on earth: Nile is honey river in paradise, Euphratese is wine river in paradise, Sihan is water river in paradise and Jihan is milk river in paradise.
In his Tafsir, Ibn Kathir said that hadith of Abu Hurayrah on Yujuj and Majuj, whose text as reported by Ahmad from Abu Hurayrah being thus: “Yajuj and Majuj” used to excavate the dam everyday till when they were about to see the sunray, those supervising them said to them: "Go back, you will excavate it tomorrow," then they would return... etc. Ahmad reported this hadith from Ka'b. Ibn Kathir said that Abu Hurayrah may have taken it from Ka'b, as he used to accompany him and relate hadith to him, citing in many places of his Tafsir the traditions that Abu Hurayrah learnt from Ka'b.
It is reported in the two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah narrated that: Allah has created Adam according to His shape, the same words reported in the first Ishah of the Torah (the Old Testament) as such: Allah created man according to His shape, with His shape He created him.36
When Ka'b mentioned the Prophet's attribute stated in the Torah, Abu Hurayrah said about his attribute: He was neither obscene nor indecent nor clamorous throughout markets. That was the full text of Ka'b's saying as cited before.
Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah as saying: The Messenger of Allah took me with the hand and said: Allah created the earth on Saturday, creating on it the mountains on Sunday, the trees on Monday, the misfortune on Tuesday, and light on Wednesday, spreading through it the mounts on Thursday creating Adam, upon whom be peace, in the afternoon of Friday at the end of creation, at the last hour of Friday, the time from afternoon upto night.
The same hadith was reported too by Ahmad and al-Nasa'i from Abu Hurayrah.
Al-Bukhari and Ibn Kathir and others said that Abu Hurayrah has received this hadith from Ka'b al-Ahbar as it contradicts the text of the Qur'an which indicates that Allah created the heavens and earth within six days.
What is surprising here is that Abu Hurayrah has declared in this hadith that he heard it from the Prophet (S) and he took him by the hand when he related it to him. I challenge those claiming to have knowledge of the science of hadith in our country, and all of their likes in other countries, to be able to solve this problem.
Indisputably this hadith is of correct chain of transmission according to their rules, and was reported by Muslim in his Sahih without declaring his hearing it only from the Prophet, but claimed that the Messenger of Allah took him with the hand while he was relating hadith to him. Imams of hadith determined that this hadith was taken from Ka'b al-Ahbar and its being contradictory to the holy Book.
Undoubtedly this narration is considered a blatant falsity, and slander against the Messenger of Allah, so what would be the position of that relating it? And shall it be subject to the rule stated in the Messenger's hadith: (Whoever lies against me should occupy his abode in Fire)? Or is there an outlet for the narrator of this hadith by itself? I am really in need for benefiting from their knowledge in this hadith alone which undoubtedly lays bare the truth about Abu Hurayrah's narrations of which extreme precaution should be taken in believing them."
Ka'b al-Ahbar's cunning and exploiting of Abu Hurayrah's naivety and unawareness reached an extent that he was dictating on him the superstitions and misconceptions he desired to spread into Islam. When Abu Hurayrah embarked on relating them he would believe him, so as to confirm these Israeliyyat creating credibility in them inside the minds of Muslims, as if the ahadith being reported from Abu Hurayrah while it was in fact reported by Ka'b al-Ahbar.
Herewith I cite an example with which I conclude my quoting of traditions reported by Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet, which being in fact among the Israeliyyat: Al-Imam Ahmad reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said:
Abu Hurayrah could hardly narrate this hadith till Ka'b rushed saying: He said the truth by Him Who sent down the Torah upon Moses and the Qur'an upon Muhammad, if a man rides a jar or a trunk and revolving round the top of that tree, he will never reach it but only when becoming decrepit! The Almighty Allah has planted it by His hand and breathed into it, with its branches being for those behind the veils of heavens, and no river is there in heavens but flowing from the root of this tree.
In this way these two collaborate to propagate such kind of superstitions. What raises our wonder is the fact that this report being related by Wahb ibn Munabbih in an odd work, to which can be referred by anyone desiring to.37 Many examples of this kind can be found in the chapter of Israeliyyat.
When he narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Verily if the belly of any of you be filled with pus and blood is much better than to be filled with poetry", A'ishah said: He did not learn by heart, rather he (the Prophet) said: "...than to be filled with poetry with which you are satired."38
Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah as saying: "I learnt by heart from the Messenger of Allah two receptacles,39 one of which I have already disseminated, while the other if I spread my pharynx would be cut."
This hadith is incongruous with another one reported by the Jama'ah (Sunnis),40 with similar words, from Ali, who when asked: Do you have a (separate) book? said: No, except the Book of Allah or comprehension bestowed to a Muslim man, or what this Sahifah contains.
It is also contradicted with a hadith reported by Abd al-Aziz ibn Rafi' who said: I and Shaddad ibn Ma'qil entered upon Ibn Abbas, to whom Shaddad said: Has the Prophet left (behind) anything? He replied: He left nothing except what is contained between these two covers (Qur'an).
Had there been anything else with which the Prophet(S) would distinguish any of his intimate favorites keeping it from all his other Companions, Ali would verily have been the most entitled among people to such a merit. That is due to the fact that Ali was his step-son, cousin, the first to embrace Islam and son-in-law, never separating himself from him whether in travel or presence, accompanying him in all the battles, except Tabuk. When the Prophet made him his deputy over al-Madinah, Ali said to him: Do you leave me behind among the women and boys? The Prophet said to him? Aren't you pleased to have near me the position Aron had near Moses? But there would be no prophet after me. (This hadith was reported by al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidhi).
Truly, Ali was the best of all people entitled to such a merit, Hadn't he been so, then it would be given to Abu Bakr or Umar or Abu Ubaydah — the most beloved of his wives to him (the Prophet) after Khadijah, or the wise sedate Umm Salamah, or Ibn Mas'ud to whom the Prophet said: I permit you to raise the curtain and hear my private talk. He kept so close to the Prophet (S) that people counted him to be one of his (S) household, and he came to be known among all the Companions with the epithet "Sahib al-Sawad wa al-Wisad", that was never given to any other Companion.
Those were the most entitled people to be distinguished by the Prophet with that which he didn't like to disclose to any other Companion, had there been any secret he intended to confide to any of his intimate favorites.
And who was that Abu Hurayrah to deserve to be confided by the Prophet with a thing that he distinguished him with alone, keeping and hiding it from his bosom friends and beloved and nearest people to him?
In fact he neither had any merit to bring him near to the Prophet nor counted, after the demise of the Messenger, among any of the classes of Companions,41 nor he was among the early foremost (in Islam) nor among the Immigrants (Muhajirun) or Helpers (Ansar), nor among those who strove with their wealth or their lives,42 nor among the poets who defended the
Prophet (against his opponents), nor among the muftis (those giving verdicts), nor among the reciters (qurra') who memorized the Qur'an, nor of those regarding whose merit a hadith from the Messenger was reported.43 And all that was known about him is that he was one of Ahl al-Siffah, no more no less.
From the biography of Abu Hurayrah revealed before, it became clear that his company to the Prophet was only for satiating his belly as he himself stated recurringly, saying that he took al-Siffah as his shelter due to his poverty, eating in it like all its people, or eating in the house of the Prophet or with any of his companions. A person with such a state should undoubtedly be among the common companions who having neither status nor weight. He kept on such case during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) and rule of Abu Bakr and Umar, then during the era of Uthman, he began to show himself after choosing seclusion, and appear before people after being hidden.
When the war broke out between Ali and Mu'awiyah, or in other words when struggle erupted publicly between the Umayyads and Hashimites,44 after being out of sight during the era of the Prophet and his two successors Abu Bakr and Umar, and Muslims were divided into several groups and sects, Abu Hurayrah tilted toward the side suiting his temper and agreeing with his self constitution and desire. And that was the side of Mu'awiyah which possessed all means of power, opulence, wealth, and ease that were not owned by the side of Ali that had nothing except poverty, starvation and asceticism.
It is verily not strange for that who grew up and lived the same life and condition of Abu Hurayrah to shun the path leading toward Ali, and tread the course leading to Mu'awiyah in order to satiate his gluttony from different sorts of his appetising foods, attaining his desire of his (Mu'awiyah's) gifts and splendour grants.
While indigence and hunger of Abu Hurayrah reaching a degree that he falls unconscious,45 with people placing their feet on his neck! Would it be possible for him to forsake the Umayyad State with its broad domain and tasty foods, and turn toward Ali the poor ascetic man whose food was only cured meant? Such a behaviour is verily rejected by the human natural dispositions, and never agreeing with self instincts! except only those protected by the Lord, who being very few in number.
The Umayyads, recognizing his good action for them and appreciating his loyalty to them, showered him with their favours and extended to him their support and presents. Consequently, in a short time, his condition turned from distress into ease, from hardship into comfort, and from poverty into opulence. Besides, after he used to cover his body with a ragged garment,46 he began to put on clothes of tissue of silk and wool, and stretched linen.47
The first consideration made by the Umayyads toward Abu Hurayrah as a reward for his support to them, was appointing him a ruler over al-Madinah by Bisr ibn Arta'ah, after being delegated by Mu'awiyah to the people of Hijaz violating their rights and looting their and their descendants' properties. Further, Marwan used to depute him as a governor over al-Madinah. Then they increased in their generosity and abundant grants, building him a palace at Aqiq with granting him a land (as a fief) in Aqiq and Dhu al-Hulayfah. Being unsatisfied with all this, they even gave him in marriage Bisrah bint Ghazwan, the sister of the Emir Utbah ibn Ghazwan, whom he used to serve during the days of his destitution and poverty in return for filling his belly.48
His vainglory and ostentation made him feel joyous, with his origin and descent making him transgresses the boundaries of etiquette and veneration with this noble lady. This fact was indicated, after this marriage of which he never dreamt, when he was saying "I was a servant for Bisrah bint Ghazwan in return for satiating my belly, in a way that when she got on (the camel) I would lead the mount, and when she alighted I would serve her, while at the time being I get on and on my alighting (from the horse) she would serve me!".. And on reaching a plain land she would get down saying: I will never remain here till you make me porridge! Here I am, whenever coming to any side of her place I would say to her: I will never stay here unless you make me a porridge!
Ibn Sa'd reported that he (Abu Hurayrah) said: I gave myself on hire for the daughter of Ghazwan in return for feeding my belly and for heel of my leg, and she used to task me with mounting the horse standing and come in barefooted. After that Allah gave her in marriage to me, when I imposed upon her to mount (the horse) standing and come in barefooted.49
The favour Abu Hurayrah did for Mu'awiyah was not through striving (Jihad) with his sword or wealth, but was striving with traditions he disseminated among Muslims with the only aim being to disappoint supporters of Ali and defame him, making people deny and repudiate him, and extolling Mu'awiyah and his government. Among what he narrated were some traditions in regard of honour and merit of Uthman and Mu'awiyah and their likes who having kinship relation to Abu al-`As household and the Ummayads as a whole.
Al-Bayhaqi reported that when Abu Hurayrah entered the house of Uthman at the time of being besieged, he asked permission to speak. When he permitted him, he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: You will verily face after me a sedition and disagreement, when someone inquired him: To whom we should take shelter then, O Messenger of Allah? ... Or what do you order us to do then? He replied: You have to shelter to the trustworthy and his companions, pointing to Uthman. (This hadith was reported by Ahmad with reliable chain of transmitters).
As soon as Uthman transcribed the masahif, Abu Hurayrah entered upon him saying.50 You have verily hit the mark and succeeded! I testify that I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: The staunchest and strongest in loving me among my Ummah, are people coming after me, believing in God and me without seeing me, and acting according to the hanging papers... till seeing the masahif. This hadith pleased Uthman, who ordered to award Abu Hurayrah ten thousand (dirhams).
This hadith is verily one of his strange narrations, that undoubtedly indicating its being composed and ephemeral.
In regard of Mu'awiyah he fabricated a hadith reported by al-Khatib that he said: The Prophet (upon whom be God's peace and benediction) handed Mu'awiyah a share saying to him: Take this share and keep it till meeting me with it in the heavens.
Further, Ibn Asakir, Ibn Adi and al-Khatib al Baghdadi reported from him as saying: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: Allah verily entrusted His revelation to three men: me and Gabriel and Mu'awiyah. In another narration,51 from Abu Hurayrah, with a chain of transmitters, (the Messenger of Allah said:)" The trustworthy men are three: Gabriel and me and Mu'awiyah.
It is reported that Abu Hurayrah gazed at A'ishah bint Talhah, who was known with being so pretty, saying: Subhan Allah (Glory be to God), how best your family nourished you! By God I have never seen a face better than yours except the face of Mu'awiyah when being on the minbar (tribune) of the messenger of Allah.52 There are numerous reports in this regard.
He exaggerated in backing and supporting the Umayyads to the extent that he was urging people to pay the alms-due requested by them (Umayyads), warning them against slandering or insulting them.
Al-Ajjaj al-Rajiz is reported to have said: Abu Hurayrah said to me: Wherefrom are you? I said: I am from the people of Iraq. He said: The speckled of the Sham53 are about to come to you and collect your alms. When they come go and receive them, and if they enter (the house) you have to be in the farthest place, leaving a distance between you and it (alm-sadaqah). Be careful and never slander them, as by so doing your reward will verily vanish while they taking your Sadaqah, and if you be patient this sadaqah will be placed in your scale on the Day of Resurection54.
Abu Ja'far al-Iskafi55 said that Mu'awiyah forced some of the Companions and the Followers to narrate obscene and indecent reports, with ascribing then to Ali, with the aim of defaming and disowning him. He dedicated for this act a certain stipend, that made them compose and falsify traditions which pleased him, among whom being Abu Hurayrah, 'Amr ibn al-`As and al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah, beside Urwah ibn al-Zubayr from among the Tabi'un.
Al-A'mash reported that: When Abu Hurayrah arrived, with Mu'awiyah, in Iraq in the year called at-Jama'ah year56 he betook himself to the Kufah Mosque. On noticing the great multitude of people gathered for his reception, he kneeled down on his knees, beating his bald head recurringly, saying: O people of Iraq! Do you allege that I am lying to Allah and His Messenger,57 and burn myself in Fire? By God, I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: For every prophet there is a special shrine, and my shrine is at al-Madinah between "Ir to Thawr. Whoever causing hadath (condition requiring wudu' or ghusl), will be subject to damnation of Allah and the angels and all people... and I give witness by Allah that Ali has caused a hadath in it. When Mu'awiyah became aware of this hadith, he awarded and honoured Abu Hurayrah, with appointing him a governor over al-Madinah.
But truth never loses supporters, and though the Companions having among them a man like Abu Hurayrah, who can easily be beguiled and overcome by Mu'awiyah, the overwhelming majority of them can neither be tempted by any promise, nor be intimidated by any threat or menace. Sufyan al-Thawri reported from Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Qasim, from Umar ibn Abd al-Ghaffar, that when Abu Hurayrah entered al-Madinah with Mu'awiyah, he used to sit in the nights at Kindah Gate where people would gather round him.
A youth from Kufah approached him saying: O Abu Hurayrah, I adjure you by God, have you heard the Messenger of Allah say to Ali ibn Abi Talib: O God! Befriend whoever befriends him and be the enemy of whoever be hostile to him? He replied: Yes, by God. He said: I give witness by Allah that you have verily befriended His enemy and contracted the enmity of His friend. Then after levelling at him such a painful blow, he departed him.
Muslim reported that Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan said to Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas: What prohibits you from insulting Abu Turab?58
He said: Don't you remember three virtues disclosed by the Messenger to him? Had I possessed one of which, it would have been dearer for me than the red camels, the fact for which I abstain from slandering him. I heard the Messenger of Allah, as he left him behind in one of his battles59, and when Ali inquired him: O Messenger of Allah, are you leaving me with the women and lads? He said to him: Are you not pleased to have the position (manzilah) in relation to me as that Aron had in relation to Moses? But surely there is no prophethood after me."
Also I heard him on the day (of the victory of) Khaybar: "Tomorrow I will give the standard to a man, who loves God and His Messenger, and God and His Messenger love him." Everyone of us was hopeful of getting it. (The next day) the Prophet declared: Summon Ali. Then they brought him while suffering from eye pain (ramad). The Prophet applied his saliva to his eyes and prayed for him. Ali recovered as if he had no pain before. Then the Prophet gave the standard to him. Also at the time of the revelation of the holy verse:
…فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ…
the Messenger of Allah summoned Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn saying: O God, these are my household.
Further, among the merits of Ali, we can refer to what the Prophet said to him. You are from me and I am from you. He also said to him: Of whomever I am his master Ali also is his master.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal says: The reports that we got in regard of any of the Companions can never amount to those ones regarding (the merits of) Ali. In another place, he and al-Nasa'i and al-Nisaburi and others said: the authentic and supported reports that reached us in honour of anyone of the Sahabah can never exceed those reported in regard of the merits of Ali.
About Ali too, Muslim is reported to have said: By Him Who split the seed and created the soul, what I know about him is that (the Prophet said to him): "Verily none loves you but only the believer and that who detests you should be a hypocrite." Also al-Nasa'i has compiled a book under the title al-Khasa’is about the virtues and excellences of Ali.
Umar appointed Abu Hurayrah as a governor over Bahrayn in 21H.,then some reports reached him telling of his behaving in a way contradictory to the trust undertaken by the just governor. For this reason, Umar deposed him, appointing in his place Uthman ibn Abi al-'As al-Thaqafi. Then he summoned him and said to him: Do you remember that when I made you a wali over Bahrayn, you were barefooted! Then I came to know that you bought horses with a thousand and six hundred dinars! He said: We had horses that bred and multiplied and donations that were given successively! He said: I have allocated for you enough wages and sustenance, and this is a favour that you should fulfil. He said: I am not obliged to do this for you! Umar replied: By God you should do so, and I have the right to hit your back for it.
Then he stood up holding the durrah (pearl), beating him with it till causing blood to come out (from his back). After that he said to him: Bring it. He replied: I have taken it into account. Umar said: That may be approved only in case you have earned it through lawful means, and discharged it willingly! Have you come from the farthest spot in the Bahrayn, to this region where taxes are collected from people for you, neither for God nor for the Muslims? Verily Umaymah (mother of Abu Hurayrah) has never produced you but only for pasturing the red camels.60
In another narration reported by Abu Hurayrah himself: Umar said: O the enemy of Allah and enemy of His Book! You have looted property of Allah, wherefrom you collected all these ten thousand (dinars)?
I suffice with the reports cited here, as they can supply enough information.
Abu Hurayrah died in 59 H, at the age of eighty, in his palace in the Aqiq. His coffin was carried to the Medina and he was buried in al-Baqi' (graveyard). Salat al-mayyit (prayer upon the dead) was performed on him by al-Walid ibn Utbah ibn Abi Sufyan, who was the then emir of al-Madinah, as a sign of honour to him.
When al-Walid sent a letter to his uncle Mu'awiyah announcing to him the death of Abu Hurayrah, Mu'awiyah wrote to him: "You have to seek and know whomever he left behind (wife and children), and pay to his heirs ten thousand dirhams, doing the honours of them and treating them amicably." Thus their support and donations to him continued even after his death.
Reaching this stage of the biography of Abu Hurayrah, I follow by quoting some words uttered by the great scholar and muhaddith al-Sayyid Rashid Ridha’, about him.
"He embraced Islam in the year 7H., keeping the company of the Messenger of Allah for three-plus years, so most of the traditions he reported were not got directly from the Prophet but he heard them from the Companions and followers. Had all the Companions been — as claimed by most of the (Sunni) traditionists — just in whole, this epithet (adalah) can never be applied to the Followers (Tabi'un). Further it is confirmed that he used to hear and take traditions from Ka'b al-Ahbar who was known of uttering weak and unauthentic traditions. But Abu Hurayrah used to declare publicly of hearing61 in the hadith "Allah created the soil (turbah) on Saturday," upon which there was unanimity among ulama’ that he quoted this hadith from Ka'b al-Ahbar."62
He added: "In his traditions, he depended on narration on the basis of denotation (intended by the hadith) and irsal63 (reporting hadith without referring to chain of narrators), due to the fact that most of them he heard from the Sahabah and some of the Tabi'un. Narrating hadith according to its meaning used to be the cause and source of a large number of seditions and disorders."
He also said: "Abu Hurayrah had been a unique narrator of many traditions, some of which were disapproved or suspected (of being falsified) because of their odd and eccentric theme, like those related to seditions and the ones concerned with describing the conditions of the Prophet (S) through some invisible and hidden events that were about to take place after him.
Added to this, some of these texts (of the traditions) were odd and strange in themselves, in a way that had the like of which been singly reported by anyone other than the Companions, it would have been counted among the factors through which its narration could be confirmed — as commonly known among hadith critics, Ahl al-Jarh wa al-Ta`dil (men of sarcasm and modification) .64 For this reason we see some people keep on murmuring about narrations of Abu Hurayrah.65
Al-Bukhari recorded 446 traditions on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, with recording only 217 ones for Ibn Abbas. They were not alone in narrating this number of traditions on principles (usul) of religion, but some others shared them in reporting many of them.
Enumerating the traditions concerned with legal rulings that were singly reported by Abu Hurayrah, we would find them to be very few in number, realizing that hadn’t he narrated them, not that many would have been missed of books of ahkam, and whatever is missing can be learnt from the static Shari'ah rules and definite principles, like: the law of relieving the interdiction and distress, establishing and preferring ease, beside the principle of freedom from obligation, and that prohibition is applied originally to all evils and adversities, and lawfulness being the basic rule for all the good things (tayyibat), and that necessity knows no law, and other laws.66
Also al-Bukhari, declaring that the two champions of Israeliyyat and sources of superstitions being Ka'b al-Ahbar and Wahb ibn Munabbih, said:
"How can we know that all the narrations – or the mawquf (suspended) ones – are reported by them both, as the Companions were not citing what they used to hear from each other and from the followers out of narration and transmission, but they were doing so in occasions and often without referring to chain of transmitters. And so were many of the Tabi'un, rather most of the marfu’ traditions reported by Abu Hurayrah, he never heard from the Prophet (S), the reason why he narrated them with weakness (‘an’anah) or by saying; The Messenger of Allah said (S), or at least with the words: I heard the Messenger of Allah say so and so.67 It is known that he reported from some Companions and some followers, and it is proved that he reported hadith from Ka'b al-Ahbar. Hence we can say decisively that the inalienable (mawquf) traditions of the Sahabah, that having no room for ijtihad or exertion of opinion, have not the power of marfu’ (whose chain goes back to the Prophet) — as said by the traditionists — unless they be not like the Israeliyyat.68
That was a brief profile of Abu Hurayrah, in which I observed the reportorial aspect, not adopting the analytical and objective method, without which accurate profiles can never be perfect, nor study of rijal and episodes can be done properly. That is because I have not realized yet the possibility of its dominance, especially when it is concerned with one of the Companions in whose regard it was said that all of them being righteous and just to the extent
that no one is ever entitled, though presenting a scientific and decisive proof and argument (hujjah), to criticize any of them or suspect his narration, or witness, or conduct.
Further it was said about them that their rug had been rolled" as if adalah is singly confined in them alone and that they exceeded the level of human being, where they can never be afflicted, like other people, with oversight, or erring, or fancy, or forgetfulness. I utter such words not out of falsity or calumny!
But approving of their claim that every Companion was infallible against whatever afflicting other people, and his being non-liable to forgetfulness, or committing a mistake, or imagination, or misunderstanding, and that no hypocrite was there among the Sahabah, or that none of them perpetrated any major or minor sin, nor all those disputes occurred among them, and that no one of them apostatized after the demise of the Prophet (S), nor other alike things with which their sahih history books were filled, it can be said that the case with Abu Hurayrah differs from that of all the Companions, as he was criticized and deplored by a number of high-ranking Sahabah, and those who succeeded them, raising doubts and question marks about his narrations, as it was previously manifested.
Among the statements uttered by the ulama of Kalam — owners of open and free reasons I would prefer the following wise words about him: "What raises our wonder about them — i.e. men of hadith — being their accusing the (shaykh)69 with falsity, and abstaining from recording from him those traditions that got the approval of muhaddithun, through referring to sarcasm of Yahya ibn Mu'in and Ali ibn al-Midyani and their likes,70 arguing with the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in respect of what was disapproved by all the Companions. And it is known that Umar, Ali, Uthman and A'ishah belied him and denied the veracity of his traditions.71
Throughout the exposition of biography of Abu Hurayrah only reality is observed, and I demonstrated his true character as created by Allah, without any addition on my part. But I cited the correct and authentic traditions about that, referring only to confirmed and indisputable doubtless sources. However I have deliberately neglected many things confirmed and proved by correct history, due to the fact that some of our present age people are still fearing power of truth, and never tolerating decisiveness of proof and argument.
And — as said before — Abu Hurayrah had no considerable position whether during the lifetime of the Prophet (S) or the reigns of the Four Caliphs, with being unable to utter even one hadith except only after the murder of Umar. Further he could not dare to issue one fatwa (legal verdict) but only after the first fitnah (insurrection)72 which was the killing of Uthman and the Umayyads' attaining to sublime status and dominance. Further we never forget to say that al-Bukhari has never mentioned his name among the Companions in whose honour and excellence several traditions are reported from the Messenger of Allah.
We never miss the chance to state that among the traditions he reported, there appears a ray of the light of prophethood that penetrates the healthy hearts. These traditions might be among what he actually heard (and did accurately). The correct hadith gives light like daylight.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that he said: Death Angel was sent to Moses (A), and when he approached him, he (Moses) slapped him,73 when he returned to his Lord, saying to Him: You have delegated me to a bondman refusing to die. Then Allah recovered his eyes and said to him: Go back and tell him (Moses) to put his hand on the back of an ox, as with each hair comes under his hand one year will be added to his life! He said: O God, then what? He replied: After that death comes. He (the angel) said: Now I beg God to bring him near the Sacred Land a stone’s throw! The Messenger of Allah said: Had I been there at that time I would have shown you his grave on the road side near the red sandhill!
In another narration Muslim said: Moses slapped the Death Angel on his eye, which he gouged out.
In Tarikh al-Tabari, Abu Hurayrah is reported to have said: The Death Angel used to come to people conspicuously till visiting Moses who slapped him and gouged out one of his eyes, after which he started to come to people stealthily. Verily this hadith smells of Israelism!
They also reported from him, that the Prophet (S) said: The Paradise and Hell reasoned with each other! The Hell said: I have been distinguished with (containing) the arrogant and tyrants. The Paradise said: What is the matter with me that only the oppressed and low people enter me! Allah, the most High, said to the Paradise: You are My mercy, with you I compassionate whomever I will from among My bondmen. Whereas He said to the Hell: You are just a torture, with you I torment whomever I will from among My servants, and every one of you has its filling. Concerning the Hell, it can never be filled till Allah the Glorious and Most High places His leg in it when it says: Never, never. Only then it will be filled and will gather its all ramifications.
Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah as saying: "Between the two shoulders of the disbeliever there is a three-day march for the hasty rider."
Also al-Bukhari with Ibn Majjah reported from him, that the Prophet said: If a fly falls in the cup of anyone of you, he has to immerse all of it and throw it away then, as verily in one of its wings there is malady and in the other is remedy.74
In al-Awsat, al-Tabarrani reported from him that the Prophet said: an angel brought me a letter from Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, and then he raised his leg and placed it over the sky while keeping the other one on earth, never lifting it.
Al-Tirmidhi reported from him that the Messenger of Allah said: "Compressed dates come from Paradise and they contain remedy for poison.
Al-Hakim and Ibn Majjah, through a reliable and correct sanad, reported from him that the Prophet said: "Anneal the pots, recline the water-skins, putrefy the doors and prevent your boys from (approaching) the women, as the jinn spread suddenly and snatch... turn out the lights in time of sleeping, since the fuwaysaqah (i.e. rat) may pull the wick and burn the inmates of the house.
Muslim also reported from him that the Messenger of Allah said: In the Paradise there being a tree under whose shade the rider may move for a hundred years.
Beside other narrations for Abu Hurayrah like that or even much more exorbitant with which many books are replete, and we are unable to cite them as a whole, since this task needs several complete volumes.
Out of whatever was stated before, it became clear that Abu Hurayrah related from the Messenger of Allah 5374 traditions (of which 466 ones reported by al-Bukhari), though he did not keep company with the Prophet (S) but only for a year and few months. What should be declared further are the traditions reported by those who outstripped them in faith, being closer to the Prophet, more knowledgeable and of higher level in honour and jihad, from among the Muhajirun and Ansar and others, who spent long years in the company of the Messenger, so as to see how many traditions were reported by them.
Do people know the number of traditions reported by Abu Bakr, who was among the first men in embracing Islam after Ali, and shaykh of all the Sahabah, keeping the company of the Prophet in Mecca and Medina, with being expert in genealogy of Arabs?
Al-Nawawi, in his al-Tahdhib, writes that al-Siddiq reported from the Prophet 142 traditions, of which 104 ones were recorded by al-Suyuti in Ta’rikh al-khulafa’ and 22 others were cited in Sahih al-Bukhari.
He embraced Islam in the year 6H. and kept the Prophet's company till the last days of his(S) life. Among the statements uttered by him, the following one can be referred to: "I and some neighbor from among the Helpers used to alternately descend to the Messenger of Allah, he one day and I the other. When it was my turn to meet him I would apprise him of what was revealed that day, and other things, and so did he on his going down. Despite all this, the number of traditions he (Umar) reported from the Prophet never reached more than fifty ones as confirmed by Ibn Hazm.
Ali was the first man who embraced Islam and was brought up under patronage of the Prophet, living in his lap before the Prophetic mission,
keeping his company till he(S) passed away. He did not separate from him, whether in travel or in presence, as he was his cousin and son-in-law: husband of Fatimah al-Zahra’, attending all the battles except Tabuk, in which he deputed him to administer al-Madinah, where he said: O Messenger of Allah, do you leave me behind among the women and boys? He replied: Are you not pleased to have the position in relation to me as that Aron had in relation to Moses? But there will be no prophet after me.
To this Imam, who outstripped all the Companions in knowledge, they ascribed — as reported by al-Suyuti — only 58 traditions. Ibn Hazm said that only fifty of these traditions were correct, of which only twenty ones were related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
In respect of Uthman, nine traditions were reported for him by al-Bukhari and five ones by Muslim.
For al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, al-Bukhari reported nine traditions and Muslim only one.
For Talhah ibn Ubayd Allah al-Bukhari reported only four traditions.
For Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf al-Bukhari reported nine traditions.
For Ubayy ibn Ka'b sixty-plus traditions are recorded in the Six Books (al-Kutub al-Sittah).
For Zayd ibn Thabit al-Bukhari reported eight traditions, and the Two Shaykhs concurred on five ones only.
For Salman al-Farsi al-Bukhari reported four traditions and Muslim three ones...etc.
It is established that many Companions did not narrate from the Prophet any hadith, among whom being Sa'id ibn Zayd ibn Nufayl, one of the Ten promised with Paradise, and Abu Ammarah... etc.
I previously stated that riwayah from the Messenger of Allah included many ambiguous and odd traditions, of which I cite some herewith for exemplary sake only as covering them all needs several volumes.
Ibn Abbas is reported to have said: Allah created a preserved label from a white pearl with two leafs made of red ruby, and a pen and a book of light. Its width extends between the skies and earth, in which he makes a glance every day. He gives life and causes death, renders strong" and subdues, doing whatever He likes, as He said in the holy Book:
كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ
This hadith is reported by Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Tabarrani and al-Hakim.
Al-Shaykhan (al-Bukhari and Muslim) with some Sunan, Musnads and Tafsir reported that the Messenger of Allah said to Abu Dharr: Do you know where does it go? He said: Allah and His Messenger know better! He(S) said: It moves along till reaching a place where it will prostrate under the Throne. Thereat it will ask for permission, which it will be granted. In a short time, it may try to prostrate but it won't be accepted of it, and seek permission which will not be granted to it. It will be said to it: Go back to wherever you like. Thereat it will rise from its point of maghrib (sunset), the fact to which Allah the Exalted refers in the holy Qur'an:
وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا
In the introduction to his book, Muslim reported from Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-'As, owner of the two fellowships, as saying: In the sea, there are detained devils, tied by Sulayman ibn Dawud, and they are about to go out and recite Qur'an for people.
Al-Bukhari, in his Sahih under "bab al-Dawa’ bi al-‘Ajwah li al-sahar" (Remedy with compressed dates for daybreak meal), reported from `Amir ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, from his father, as saying: The Prophet said: "Whoever takes breakfast with compressed dates, will never be harmed neither by poison nor by the daybreak meal of that day till night." In another narration. "... with seven compressed dates...". The same hadith was reported by Muslim from Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas.
Al-Nasa'i reported from Jabir as saying: The compressed dates (‘ajwah) being from paradise and remedy for toxication.
The two Shaykhs reported from Abu Hurayrah that he said "when it is called for prayers, the Satan retraces his steps with producing (breaking) wind, so that not to hear call for prayers. When adhan is over he comes in, till on starting prayers he retreats, after which he would come back to sow dissension between man and his nafs (soul).
The investigating ulama, in exposing this hadith, say: He did this so as not to hear (adhan) and will be obliged to give witness in favour of it on the Day of Resurrection.
Muslim reported that Abu Sufyan said to the Prophet: O Messenger of Allah, promise me to achieve three things: get married to my daughter Umm Habibah, and make my son Mu'awiyah a scribe, and command me to fight the disbelievers as I fought the Muslims (before).
And so it happened, as Umm Habibah was married by the Messenger of Allah when he was in Abyssinia with al-Najashi naming a dowry for her. Also Abu Sufyan embraced Islam (?) in the year of conquest (of Makkah), while several years separated between migration (hijrah) and conquest (of Makkah).
Muslim reported from `Amr ibn al-Sharid that he said: I rode behind the Prophet (S) who said to me: Do you remember any of Umayyah's poetry? I said: Yes. Then I recited for him a hundred verses, when he said: He was about to confess Islam in his poetry.
In his Musnad, Ahmad reported from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (S) said: Umayyah said the truth in some of his poetry. In another narration, the Messenger of Allah said: Umayyah ibn Abi al-Salt said the truth in part of his poetry when he said:
Saturn and Thawr being under His right leg,
And Vulture is under the left and Layth is prepared.
The Messenger of Allah said: He said the truth and he said:
And the sun rises every end of night,
Red with its colour becoming rosy,
It comes but never rises for us fluently,75
But only when suffering pain and tolerating.
This hadith is of correct isnad (chain of transmission), and recorded in Majma’ al-zawa’id, beside being reported by Abu Ya'la and al-Tabarrani through trustworthy rijal.
When objection was raised against his saying "But only when suffering pain and tolerating", Ibn Abbas said:76
By Him Who owns my soul, the sun would never rise but only when being pricked by seventy thousand angels who would say to her: Rise, rise! She would say: Nay, I never rise for a people worshipping me other than Allah! Thereat an angel would approach her, when she would blaze for producing light for mankind. A devil would come to her intending to restrain her from rising when she would rise from between his two horns, under which Allah would burn her. To this the Messenger of Allah referred by saying: The sun has neither risen nor set but only between the devil's two horns, nor it has ever set but only when prostrating her self. Then a devil would come to her intending to curb her from prostration, when it would set between his two horns, under which Allah would burn her.
Also al-Tabarrani reported from Abu Amamah as saying: Allah put the sun into the charge of nine angels hurling snow at her every day, unless which she would set to fire every thing subject to her rays.
In Sahih Muslim, the two Shaykhs reported from Anas ibn Malik that he said: A man questioned the Prophet: When will the Hour come (Doomsday)? Anas said that the Messenger of Allah kept silent for a while, looking at a lad near him from the tribe of Azd Shanu'ah, saying then: If this lad lives long, he will never become decrepit till the coming of the Hour (Resurrection Day)". Anas said: That lad was among my contemporaries at that time.
It is known that Anas died in 93 H., after his life was contemporaneous with that of the lad regarding whom the Prophet said that he would never reach decrepitude till the coming of the Hour...thus, as is defined by the hadith, the coming of the Hour would have been before the end of the first Hijrah year.77
So what would adorers of asanid say about this?? Some may daresay and claim that: Who knows, this lad may have not reached decrepitude yet?
In his Musnad Ahmad reports that the Messenger of Allah (S), once upon a morning, came out feeling happy with a shining face. When asked about the reason he said: Why not! my Lord the glorious and Exalted, came toward me with the best shape saying: O Muhammad! I said: Here I am my Lord and be felicitous! He said: About what the Celestial City is disputing? I said: I know not O my Lord! He (Messenger) said: He then put His two palms (of His hand) between my shoulders, when I sensed their coolness between my two breasts till whatever the heavens and earth containing became clear for me!
In another narration by al-Shahristani, (the Prophet said): My Lord met me, shook hands with me and received me, placing His hand between my shoulders till I felt the coolness of the tips of His fingers.
In Bada’i’ al-fawa’id78 Ibn al-Qayyim reported that the Prophet used to say that for the believers, on the Day of Resurrection, the bull of Paradise of which it used to eat, will be sacrificed and be their entertainment. Ibn al-Qayyim said: This animal which used to eat from Paradise will be sacrificed and presented as entertainment for its inhabitants.
Al-Qadi79 said: Ahmad confirmed that Isra’ was reality. And when it was related to him that Musa ibn Aqabah holds that traditions on Isra’ were all dreams, he said: This is the claim of the scowling people.80
Abu Bakr al-Najjar said: He (the Prophet) saw God for eleven times, nine of which were on the Mi’raj (ascension) night, when he was frequenting to and fro between Moses and his Lord, the Glorious and Exalted, and two other times in the Book.
It is reported in Muntakhab Kanz al-ummal fi sunan al-aqwal wa al-af’al that: Anas quoted the Prophet as saying: I was permitted to relate a hadith on an angel from among the throne bearers, whose two legs being on the lower earth, with the throne being rested on his horn, and between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder there being 700-year flutters of the bird saying: You are the Sovereign Lord, be Glorified wherever You be.
Ibn Abbas said: Thunder is one of Allah's angels charged with the clouds, holding rags of fire with which he drives the clouds wherever Allah, the most High, will.81
From him also it is reported: The snakes are the transformation of Jinn as the apes and pigs were metamorphosed during the era of the Children of Israel. From him further: The first thing Allah created was the "qalam" (pen), then He created the nun (alphabet letter). Then He compressed the earth on the back of the (Nun).82
Ibn Abbas is reported to have said: The Black Stone is Allah's right hand in the earth, with which He shakes hand with whomever He wills from among His creatures.83 In another narration by him also, he said: The Black Stone is in origin from Paradise, and it was much whiter than the snow, till it was blackened by the guilts of polytheism, and it is said that it will come on the Day of Resurrection, having a tongue and two lips to give witness in behalf of that who touched (istalama) it as it should be.
It is obvious that this hadith is an Israeli (Jewish fabricated) one, and it is reported from Wahb ibn Munabbih who said in it: "It (Black Stone) was a white pearl but blackened by the polytheists.84
Al-Jahiz scoffed at this hadith saying: The Muslims were supposed to whiten it on embracing Islam...
Ala' ibn Abi Rabah reported from Jabir ibn Abd Allah that he said: When 'In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful' was revealed, the clouds fled toward the east, the winds calmed, the sea agitated, the beasts listened with their ears, the devils were stoned from the sky, and Allah the Most High took an oath with His Power and Glory that when His name be pronounced on anything, that thing would be verily blessed with it.85
Jabir said: The Messenger of Allah said: "I was permitted to relate a hadith on an angel from among the throne bearers, between the lobe of his ear and shoulder there being a distance of seven hundred years." It is reported by Abu Dawud and al-Bayhaqi.
Al-Imam Ahmad reported from Abd Allah as saying: "The Messenger of Allah saw Gabriel in his shape, having six hundred wings, each of which can fill up the horizon, with pearls and ruby falling down in succession from his wing with quantity known only by Allah." (Its isnad is strong).
Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud said: The Messenger of Allah saw Gabriel, wearing a green vestment, filling up the space between the sky and the earth. This hadith was reported by Muslim.
The Two Shaykhs reported that the Prophet (S) said: Allah will verily uncover His leg. In another narration recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari: Abu Sa'id said: I heard the Prophet say: Our Lord will uncover His leg, when every believing man and believing woman will prostrate for it.
Ibn Mas'ud said: Allah will uncover His right leg, with the light of which He will illuminate the earth.
In Sunan Ibn Majjah, Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet said: The sheep is among the Paradise mounts (animals).
In the two Sahihs, through a hadith reported by Anas, the Prophet said: Still whenever people are flung into hell, it keeps on saying: Can there be more to come? Till the Almighty Lord places His foot in it, when it will shrink and gather its sides.
Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Sa'id, that the Prophet said: In the heaven there is a tree, that the horse mounter or fast racer keeps on moving for a hundred years without managing to cover its distance. In another narration: In the heaven there being tree under whose shade the rider moves for a hundred years but failing to cover it.
Al-Tabarrani in al-Awsat, and al-Tirmidhi and others reported from Anas that (the Prophet said): The most credible hadith is that which it is sneezed when cited.
Ahmad and Ibn Hibban reported in a hadith: Touba is a tree in Paradise. In another narration: Touba is a tree in paradise which Allah planted with His hand, and breathed into it of His Spirit. It will produce ornaments and vestments, with its branches being seen from behind the fence of paradise.
The problems are too many to be enumerated. It is sufficient to know that al-Tahawi compiled the book Mushkil al-athar in four bulky volumes, but failed to cover all the problems in it. this book was printed and published in India.
Out of the controversial narrations we can refer to the various traditions cited in the books widely known among the Sunnis, dealing with al-Mahdi the Awaited, stating that he will reappear at the end of time to fill the world with justice as it was filled with oppression.
Ahl al-Sunnah take him to be Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, and in another narration: Ahmad ibn Abd Allah. While the Shi'ah concur that he is Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi, one of the Infallible Imams, giving him the title al-Hujjah and al-Qa'im al-Muntazar.
The Kaysanites hold that al-Mahdi is: Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, and he is alive and residing on a Ridawi mountain between two lions protecting him, having two sprinkling eyes overflowing water and honey, with forty (supporters) accompanying him.
Regarding his ancestral lineage he is known to be Alawi Fatimi, and among the sons of al-Imam al-Hasan, with the Imami Shi'ah taking him to be one of the sons of (al-Imam) al-Husayn.
In his Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun86 writes:
It is commonly known among all Muslims throughout course of time, that at the end of time a man from among Ahl al-Bayt should appear, to support the Din and make justice prevail ... he will be followed by the Muslims and will dominate all the Islamic kingdoms, and his name is al-Mahdi. The appearance of al-Dajjal and consequent events will be verily among the provisos of the appointed hour (of his reappearance), which were established in the sahih works. It is also stated that Jesus will come down after him, and help him in killing al-Dajjal, and he will perform his prayers behind him (al-Mahdi). They argue in this bab with traditions reported by the Imams, but doubted by the deniers to this belief, or even objected by some reports (akhbar)... etc.
Ibn Khaldun confuted and doubted most of the traditions on al-Mahdi cited in the Sunni books known among the Jumhur (Ahl al-Sunnah). Whereas the Shi'ah — particularly the Imamiyyah — have certain evidences they report from their Imams, upon which they depend to proving the reappearance of al-Mahdi. Every people have their own sunnah and leader.
There are several traditions expressing that he will be one of the sons of al-Abbas. Due to the abundance of these traditions, we suffice by referring to them in a reviewing way, leaving the door open for those desiring to be acquainted with their full texts and details to refer to their sources.
When the Alavids have their Mahdi, and the Abbasids another one, why don't the Umayyads have a third Mahdi! As long as the field of fabrication has capacity for whatever coming into it. Especially after the Umayyads got that much power and dominance, to the extent that fabricators used to make advances to them to have share in their gifts and donations. There are reports stating that they had their own Mahdi called al-Sufyani, that it is out of scope here to prolong the discussion by referring to the traditions and reports cited about him.
Following are the traditions reported about the twelve caliphs (successors), so as to be aware of one of the aspects of falsification and fabrication of hadith, which is our concern in this research. Whatever lies beyond this aspect is out of scope and far from our intention, as we have no right to debate people regarding their beliefs and tenets.
There are numerous traditions foretelling that the successors of the Prophet (S) will be twelve in number. Herewith some of those traditions we passed by, with their different wording without discussing or presenting the meanings of their texts!
Al-Bukhari reported that the Two Shaykhs related from Jabir ibn Samurah (that the Prophet said): "Verily there will be twelve emirs, all being from Quraysh."
In Sahih Muslim it is recorded: "The affairs of people keep in process as long as they be ruled by twelve men, all of whom are from Quraysh."
In another narration: "This affair (successorship) is not to terminate till when being undertaken by twelve caliphs, from among people."
Yet elsewhere it is reported: "Islam is verily safeguarded and kept powerful and inviolable as long as twelve successors are ruling." In another hadith that was reported by al-Bazzaz and al-Tabarrani, Abu Juhayfah narrated it with the words: "The affair of my Ummah is still all right..." Abu Dawud, from Jabir ibn Samurah, reported it with the same wording with some addition.87
"On returning home people of Quraysh approached him saying: What would happen then? He said: Then disorder and tumult would be there,".. i.e. sedition and fighting (insurrection).
In another narration by Abu Dawud: "This religion is still established as long as you are governed by twelve caliphs upon whom there is unanimous agreement by the Ummah."
Ahmad recorded it thus: "This affair is still fit and in proper condition..." In another narration by him too: "This affair remains satisfactory and agreeable." While al-Tabarrani reported it with the words: "... they are never harmed by the enmity harboured by those contracting enmity of them."
Whereas it is recorded by Abu Dawud, and reported by Ahmad and al-Bazzaz, in a hadith by Ibn Mas'ud, that he was questioned: How many caliphs will reign over this Ummah? He replied: We have inquired the Messenger of Allah about it and he said: There will be twelve ones exactly the number of the nuqaba’ (chiefs) of the Children of Israel."
Al-Tabarrani reported a hadith transmitted by Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-'As, tracing it back to the Prophet as saying: "When twelve men from the descendants of Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy seize power, there will be flicking and tattling till the Day of Resurrection.
Also Ka'b al-Ahbar — as there should be a hadith by him! Since everywhere is a "trace of him! — reported: "There will be twelve Mahdis, and after them Spirit of Allah will come down (from the heaven) and kill al-Dajjal.
Though all these traditions indicate the caliphs to be twelve ones, but they (narrators) have reported a hadith contradicting all of them, which is called the Ark hadith that was reported by the authors of Sunan, and confirmed by Ibn Hibban and other narrators, with these words: (the Prophet said): "Verily successorship after me will last for thirty years, after which it will be supreme power."
Further Abu Dawud reported from Ibn Mas'ud a hadith with a chain going back to the Prophet that he said: "The era of caliphate in Islam will last for thirty-five or thirty-six or thirty-seven years. If they (caliphs) perish, so everyone with his course, and if their religion is established, it will survive for seventy years." Al-Tabarrani and al-Khitabi added to it: People then inquired the Prophet: Is it with the exception of the passed years? He replied : Yes.
Al-Qadi Iyad said: There are two objections raised regarding this number (i.e. twelve), one of which being: It is contradicted by the Ark hadith uttered by the Prophet (S): "Verily successorship after me will last for thirty years, after which it will be supreme power (mulk)." Since throughout these thirty years Muslims were ruled by the Four Caliphs (al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun) and (al-Imam) al-Hasan ibn Ali for several days. The second objection is: Caliphate was undertaken and conducted by caliphs exceeding this number.
In Kashf al-mushkil, Ibn al-Jawzi is reported to have said: I have made untiring and deep investigation concerning the meaning of this hadith, and strived hard to find out its hidden denotation, doing much inquiry about it, but I could not reach my sought aim. That was because of the difference in its words and terms, and I am quite sure that all the confusion and inconsonance afflicting this hadith being done by the narrators.
Also, al-Suyuti, after citing the statements of the ulama’ in regard of these ambiguous traditions, expressed an odd opinion I cite herewith for the sake of jesting with readers.
"Hence among the twelve successors, we can mention the four caliphs (Rightly-guided), with al-Hasan, Mu'awiyah, Ibn al-Zubayr and Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, who altogether constitute eight caliphs. Then it can be added to them al-Mahdi from the Abbasids as his position among them is the same as that of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz among the Umayyads, beside al-Zahir due to his being characterized with justice. After that remain the two awaited (caliphs)!! one of whom being al-Mahdi! as he belongs to the household of Muhammad (S)". But he missed to mention the second awaited one…and may God’s mercy be upon that who said in regard of al-Suyuti that: he was a night wood-cutter.88
Before concluding our speech about al-Mahdi, I cite herewith a statement about him uttered by al-Allamah Murtada al-Askari, one of the Iraqi eminent great ulama’, that revealing the belief held by the Ithna Ashari Imami Shi'ah toward al-Mahdi.
In a long reply (to a question) he sent to us, he said:
The Ithna-Ashari Shi'ah hold that the earth was never devoid of an authority for Allah upon His creation, and will never be devoid too. And he either be alive as a prophet to whom it is revealed, or anyone appointed by him to take charge of his Shari`ah after him, and clarify it for his Ummah.
"They consider the traditions you cited in your book pp.210-211, 89 under the heading "al-Khulafa' al-Ithna-Ashar" (the Twelve Caliphs), as an indication of the Twelve Imams taking charge of the Din after the Prophet, as this number applies neither to the Rashidun, nor the Umayyad caliphs, nor others. Besides, they narrate hundreds of traditions, through their special turuq (chains of transmission) from the Messenger of Allah, that indisputably determine this fact. Also they believe that the Twelfth of these Imams being al-Mahdi, the son of al-Hasan al-Askari, who was born in Samarra' in 255 H., whom they believe to be still alive, as in the case of Noah who lived among his folk for a thousand years save fifty years, and that of Jesus whom they slew not nor crucified but it appeared so unto them, but Allah took him up unto Himself.
"They (Shi’ah) believe that al-Mahdi is existent and alive with the power of Allah that fashioned out of clay a bird and made the fire coolness and peace for Abraham. and having faith in his being existent all that long period is verily an evidence indicating faith in God's power, believing also he is present among people, sighting them like anyone of them without being distinguished by them. Among the advantages they state of his existence, being that when Muslims needing a concealed correct opinion, he would guide some of the ulama’ to the unerring opinion in that matter.
"Concerning the appointed hour of his appearance, they concur that this being a hidden fact unknown but only by Allah, and there be certain signs for his appearance, some of which being inevitable and some others potential, as indicated by traditions. Also they hold that his appearance — as commonly known — will start in Mecca, and his first campaign shall be by an army with the same number of that of the Messenger of Allah during the Battle of Badr, and he will fill the earth with justice, and judge among people according to actuality and facts, though it being incongruous with the testimony of witnesses.
In regard of the crypt of occultation, about which it is said to be situated in Hillah or Samarra', I have never heard any Shi'i claiming occultation of al-Mahdi to be in it, or his existence in it, or his emergence from it. The crypt known in Samarra' might have been an oratory (musalla) that the two Imams Ali al-Hadi and al-Hasan al-Askari made of it a place for worship and performing prayers, as it was a common habit that people used to make a certain separate place for performing prayers, a habit that continued to the present time.
- 1. See pp. 718, 719.
- 2. The Saffah is a shadowy place in the rear northern part of the Mosque of Prophet. And Ahl al-Suffah are - as said by Abu al-Fida' in his al-Ta'rikh al-mukhtasar - poor people having neither houses nor tribes, sleeping during lifetime of the Prophet in the mosque and staying there all night. So the ledge of the mosque was their abode, hence they were called with this nickname. When the Messenger of Allah was having supper, he would invite some of them to share him, dispersing the others among the Sahabah to feed them.
- 3. Al-A'raj is his disciple and companion.
- 4. Fath al-Bari, vol. VII, p. 62.
- 5. See p. 86, 87.
- 6. See p. 43.
- 7. See p. 51.
- 8. Al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. VIII, p. 10.
- 9. Refer to my book Shaykh al-Mudirah.
- 10. He is one of the three Abds who reported from Ka'b al-Ahbar. He got two Zamilahs of the books of Ahl al-Kitab, which he used to narrate to people, the reason why most of leaders of Tabi'un refrained from reporting from him, and used to say to him: Never relate to us (anything) from the two Zamilahs.
In regard of his sahifah which he called al-Sadiqah (the truthful) and used to covet eagerly, it was only comprised of supplications and prayers, as stated by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi. In its regard al-Mughirah said: "What pleases me is that its worth can never be in my view more than two fils" - (Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith, p. 93).
- 11. Ibn Hajar, in Fath al-Bari, p. 167, says: It was established that Abu Hurayrah was never writing down (hadith) and was never memorizing the Qur'an.
- 12. Al-Manar Journal, vol. X, p. 851.
- 13. Ibid., vol. XIX, p. 100.
- 14. Al-Shatibi, al-Muwafiqat, vol. II, p. 23.
- 15. Al-Shaykh Ahmad Shakir, Sharh Alfiyyat al-Suyuti, p. 35.
- 16. He is Shu'bah ibn al-Hajjaj, the leader of men of hadith. He died in Basrah in 160 H. He was so explicit in his utterances. An example for his candidness is his saying: "By God I am more well-versed in poetry than in hadith. If I intended (to please) God I would never come out to you, and if you sought (pleasure of) God you would never come toward me. But we love flattery and detest censure."
- 17. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. VIII, p. 109; And refer also to my book on Abu Hurayrah, which has elaboration on this saying.
- 18. See p. 50.
- 19. See p. 48.
- 20. Ta'rikh adab al-Arab, Vol. I, p. 278. Refer too to chapter "Companions Criticizing Each Other" in this book. And in Ikhtisar 'ulum al-hadith, p. 114, Ibn Hanbal, Abu Bakr al-Hamidi and Abu Bakr al-Sayrafi are reported to have said: The narration of that who falsified and lied in the traditions of the Messenger of Allah can never be accepted, even when he repents and gives up falsity. Al-Sam'ani also said: Whoever lied in one hadith, all his former traditions should be refuted and rejected (al-Nawawi's al-Taqrib, p. 14).
Ibn Hajar says: The ulama' concurred on considering ascription of false hadith to the Messenger of Allah to be a major sin. Moreover al-Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Juwayni has gone even farther to charge with impiety everyone doing so, the idea to which Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi inclines.
- 21. See p. 28.
- 22. The mihras is a huge craved rock that cannot be lifted or moved by men, but they used to fill it with water with which they would cleanse themselves.
- 23. Al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. VIII, p. 109.
- 24. Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith, pp. 126, 127.
- 25. Jami' bayan al-'ilm, vol. II, p. 85.
- 26. Mukhtasar Kitab al-Mu'ammal of Abu Shamah, pp. 31, 32.
- 27. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah about him, and we know the truth about him. He was born in the 1st century and came up with the era of Sahabah, and due to his high status he was called al-Imam al-A'zam. He was born in 80 H. and died in 150 H.
- 28. Al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. VIII, p. 109.
- 29. They used to call him 'Sayrafi al-Hadith'.
- 30. Sharh Nahj al-balaghah, vol. I, p. 360.
- 31. Al-Mathal al-sa'ir, p. 81.
- 32. The misrat is the she-camel or cow, from whose udder milk is collected, and withheld for some days without milking for misleading the purchaser of its being so milky. The reason for the Hanafis' refutation to the hadith of Misrat was its being contrary to all their analogies, as they viewed milking as an offence, which should be returned with its like or with its price. And every measure of capacity of dates cannot be returned with one of them.
- 33. Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah as saying: The people of the Scripture used to read the Torah with the Hebrew, interpreting it with the Arabic for followers of Islam. Had he been acquainted with the Hebrew he would have said: I was among those who interpreted the Torah.
- 34. Hayat al-hayawan, p. 222.
- 35. Al-Nuwayri, Nihayat al-arab, vol. X, p. 220.
- 36. In another narration of this hadith: His (i.e. Adam) height is 60 cubits. In another one: He has the shape and complexion of the Beneficent (al-Rahman). This hadith was criticized in one of its respects by Ibn Hajar, in his Fath al-Bari, when he said:
What raising doubt against this being the old traces of the precedent nations, like the houses of 'Ad and Thamud which indicate that their statures were not that height, to which referred by Abu Hurayrah. Also this hadith was disapproved and denied by Malik.
- 37. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. IV, pp. 513, 514.
- 38. Some ignorants have adopted this utterance of Abu Hurayrah as an evidence proving that the Prophet was averse to poetry. This idea spread among the Muslims and non-Muslims, while he (S) used to listen to the poetry, praising it and rewarding for it.
Ubayy ibn Ka'b reported that the Messenger of Allah said: Some of the poetry is verily wisdom. Abu Dawud reported from him (S) that he said: "From elocution there is got enchantment, and some of ilm is ignorance, and some of poetry is wisdom." In another rnarration by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad, and Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah: "In poetry wisdoms are found." Then he (S) quoted some poetry of Umayyah ibn Abi al-Salt.
- 39. In another narration: jiraban (two wallets), and in another version: three jirabs.
- 40. Al-Jama'ah means Ahmad and the two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), and authors of Sunan.
- 41. They divided the Companions, in respect of their merit and honour, into twelve classes, in any of which we couldn't find him (Abu Hurayrah)! Who are: (1) The first outstrippers who embraced Islam in Makkah. (2) Those who attended Dar al-Nadwah. (3) Immigrants to Abyssinia. (4) Those who attended the First Aqabah. (5) Those who attended the Second Aqabah (swearing allegiance to the Prophet) (6) First immigrants who joined the Prophet at Quba before he entered al-Madinah.
(7) Those who participated in Battle of Badr. (8) Immigrants in the period between (Battle of) Badr and (Treaty of) al-Hudaybiyyah. (9) Those who attended the bay'ah of Ridwan. (10) Those who migrated during the period between the Hudaybiyyah and conquest of Makkah. (11) Those who embraced Islam at conquest of Makkah (12) Lads and children who saw the Messenger of Allah on the day of conquest and in time of Hijjat al-Wada', and we can count him among this class of lads (al-Rawd al-basim, of al-Wazir al-Yamani, vol. I, pp. 69, 70.
- 42. It is established in history that he fled the Battle of Mu'tah, and when he was reproached with this he couldn't find any answer.
- 43. Al-Bukhari and others have reported numerous traditions on honour of a large group of notable Sahabah, among whom the name of Abu Hurayrah is not seen.
- 44. Refer to my book on Abu Hurayrah, in which you can find a separate chapter titled "How the Umayyad State was established?"
- 45. The words uttered by Abu Hurayrah, as reported by al-Bukhari, were : I was falling down between the minbar of the Messenger of Allah and room of A'ishah, swooned, when people would come and put their feet on my neck, thinking me to be lunatic while I was not foolish, but what I was feeling being only hunger.
- 46. In al-Hilyah, it is reported that he said: I have taken off a cloak of my back and spread it before him (S), when I witnessed, the lices creeping on it. He used to fasten this cloak to his neck, and when it would reach his two legs he would gather it so as not to let his private parts appear to the seer.
- 47. In Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd it is reported that Abu Hurayrah used to wear cloths made of tissues of silk and wool, and teak embroided with pure silk. Al-Bukhari reported that he used to put on the combed linen.
- 48. What indicating that Abu Hurayrah remained poor and destitute till the last days of caliphate of Umar, can be learned from the fact that when Umar summoned him from al-Bahrayn, after committing wrongs necessitating his deposing from its governorship which he undertook in 21 H., he said to him: Do you know that from the time I appointed you as a governor on al-Bahrayn and you be without sandals!
- 49. Do you see how this speech is devoid of any manliness and dignity, as he is boasting of disgracing his wife and avenging himself upon her! Can a noble man do so?
- 50. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. VII, p. 216.
- 51. Ibid., vol. VIII, p. 120.
- 52. Al-Iqd al-farid, vol. VI, p. 109.
- 53. The biq'an (speckled) of Sham are their servants, slaves and mamalik.
- 54. Ibn Qutaybah, al-Shi'r wa al-shu'ara', p. 572.
- 55. Sharh Nahj al-balaghah, vol. I, p. 358.
- 56. It is the year in which (al-Imam) al-Hasan renounced his right to rule to Mu'awiyah for sparing Muslims' lives in 41 H. They used to call it the Jama'ah year while it was in fact year of separation.
- 57. This saying indicates that Abu Hurayrah's lying against the Prophet became so commonly known everywhere, since he said this when he was in Iraq. And all people were talking about this falsity wherever they settled and depared.
- 58. Abu Turab is Ali (A). And the practice which Mu'awiyah and the Umayyad rulers who succeeded him followed was their asking or obliging people to slandering and cursing Ali from over the pulpits. This bad sunnah remained to be followed for many years till it was cancelled by Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (may God's mercy be upon him).
- 59. It is the Battle of Tabuk.
- 60. That is, your mother has not given birth to you but for taking care of the asses. It is known that Umar has never addressed anyone other than Abu Hurayrah with such a rude language which reveals only harsh humiliation, by describing him to be unfit but to pasturing the asses. In fact he kept company with the Prophet for only one year and nine months (refer to my book Shaykh al-mudirah).
- 61. That is, he heard it (hadith) from the Messenger of Allah (S).
- 62. Al-Sayyid (Rashid Ridha’), the great muhaddith or rather the head of muhaddithun in present time, and others proved that he (Abu Hurayrah) was untruthful in his claim that he heard this hadith from the Prophet (S). The text and occasion of this hadith were stated before in al-Manar Journal, vol. XXIX, p. 43.
- 63. The mursal tradition is that one in which no reference is made to the Companion who heard it from the Prophet (S).
- 64. Was there anyone daring to suspect authenticity of Abu Hurayrah while they closed the door of jarh and ta'dil in respect of all the Sahabah, opening it wide for others? Had jarh and ta'dil been applied and accepted in respect of the Sahabah, Islam would have benefitted much from this.
- 65. Journal of al-Manar, vol. XIX, p. 97.
- 66. Ibid., p. 101. It is noted that al-Sayyid said these words in his refutation to propagators of Christianism who criticized Abu Hurayrah, so we find him defending Abu Hurayrah.
- 67. You have seen the value of veracity of his narration when he said, that he heard it from the Prophet (S) previously in the hadith: God created the turbah (ground) on Saturday!
- 68. Tafsir al-Manar, vol. IX, p. 476.
- 69. No definite shaykh is meant by this, but any of the shaykhs, whomsoever.
- 70. That means the ulama' of jarh and ta'dil.
- 71. Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith, pp. 10, 11.
- 72. In his exposition of Ibn Abbas, Ibn Sa'd said: It is reported from Ziyad ibn Mina as saying: Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, Abu Hurayrah, Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-'As, Jabir ibn Abd Allah, Rafi' ibn Khadij, Salamah ibn al-Akwa', Abu Waqid al-Laythi, and Abd Allah ibn Buhaynah with their likes among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) were issuing verdicts in al-Madinah and relating hadith from the Messenger of Allah from the time Uthman died till the end of their lives.
If we review those who used to give fatwas during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah and caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar, we will never find Abu Hurayrah, among them, nor any Companion to whom people were referring in any issue but only after the death of Uthman. Also 'A'ishah used to give fatwa during the caliphates of Abu Bakr and of Umar and Uthman and even Ali till the last days of her life, and some of the magnates among the Companions used to question her about the sunan.
- 73. When al-Tha'alibi reported this khabar in his book Thimar al-qulub, under the heading, 'Musa's slap' he said: And of the legends of the ancestors, that Musa asked his Lord …(the story). What he said: The Angel of Death is one-eyed, and it was said about him:
O Angel of Death, you faced an abomination,
Slap of Musa made you one-eyed!
Al-Tha'alibi concluded his speech by the clause "I am free from this tale", and he has right to discharge himself of this.
- 74. The full text of the hadith is thus: When a fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should immerse it and take it away, as in one of its wings there is malady while in the other is cureness. It is reported by al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah from Abu Hurayrah. In another narration, this clause is added to it: It wards off (evil) with its wing having illness. In a third narration: If a fly falls in the utensil of any of you he should take it out of it as in one of its wings there be poison and in the other there is remedy, and it advances the poison and delays the remedy. In a fourth narration: If a fly falls in the utensil of anyone of you he should immerse it completely or take it away, as remedy is in one of its wings and malady in the other. In a fifth narration: It wards off (evil) with its wing having malady, so he should immerse it fully.
- 75. Rasl means rifq (leniency - slowness), see Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. IV, p. 7.
- 76. Ibn Abbas was one of great disciples of Ka'b al-Ahbar, and was surnamed Habr al-Ummah. Al-Mu'arri, with his biting style, sarcasted this hadith counting it among their falsities they used to fabricate against the Prophet (S) saying:
They lied even against the sun that it,
Is contempted and beaten sunrise.
See al-Luzumiyyat, vol. I, p. 207.
- 77. There are other traditions on life-time of the world, that will be stated later on.
- 78. Bada'i' al-fawa'id, vol. III, p. 177.
- 79. Ibid., vol. IV, p. 39. Al-Bukhari reported from Sharik as saying: The Isra' was (only) a dream.
- 80. Ibid., vol. II, p. 455.
- 81. Ibid., p. 459.
- 82. Ibid., p. 449, and nun is the wale.
- 83. Ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith, p. 271.
- 84. Ibid., p. 368.
- 85. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. I, p. 17.
- 86. Edition of Beirut, p. 311.
- 87. It is noted that most of the traditions on al-Mahdi, cited in Sunnah books were reported by Jabir ibn Samurah.
- 88. Fath al-Bari and Ta'rikh al-Khulafa', vol. XIII, pp. 179-183.
- 89. That is my book Adwa', 1st edition.