Confessions of Some Forgers
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, even supposedly good people indulged in this forgery. Abu Ismah, Faraj bin Abi Maryam al-Marwazi was asked: "From where have you got all these traditions narrated through 'Ikrimah, from Ibn 'Abbas, from the Prophet, describing the reward of reciting each and every surah (chapter) of the Qur'an?" He said, "I found people interested only in the fiqh of Abu Hanifah and maghazi of Ibn Ishaq; therefore, I forged these ahadith 'for the pleasure of God' to bring them back to the Qur'an." 1
Once forgery of ahadith became the norm of the Muslim academic world, the atheists, zanadiqah, and hypocrites exploited it to their full advantage. They introduced thousands of ahadith all supposed to come down through well-known companions of the Prophet to destroy the fabric of Islam, to weaken its foundation and bring down the whole edifice. For example, the well-known atheist, 'Abdu 'l-Karim ibn Abi 'l-'Awja', was sentenced to death by the governor of Kufa. When he was about to be killed, he said, "Well, even if you kill me, I have fabricated four thousand ahadith turning halal into haram and haram into halal. By God, I have made you to break fast on the day of fasting and to fast on the day of 'Id." 2
But this plan could not succeed unless the Muslims were made to believe that the Qur'an was not collected during the Prophet's time, but was later collected piecemeal from papers, shreds of pottery and bones, some twenty three years after the Prophet's death.
They understood very well the psychology of various groups of the Muslims, and they presented their anti-Qur'anic themes disguised as a distinction (fazilat) of the sahabah (the companions) and the Imams of Ahlul Bayt in order to mislead the Sunnis or the Shi'as, respectively. The poison was administered in sherbet and it was unhesitatingly swallowed.
The distinction of collecting the Qur'an was given to Hazrat Abu Bakr or Hazrat 'Uthman. Every fabricator has used his own imagination and it resulted in a lot of traditions contradictory to each other.
Sayyid al-Khu'i has reviewed in detail all the traditions concerning the later days collection of the Qur'an, and has come to the conclusion that the third Caliph had not "collected" the Qur'an. What he had done was to unite the Muslims on the recital which was followed in Medina, and forbid all other recitals, which had sprung up here and there. Those interested to study this in depth should refer to his al-Bayan from p. 187 to p. 278.
However, once this story of later days collection was established it was easy to circulate ahadith showing that a lot of verses, even some surahs, were lost and could not be found at the time when Hazrat Abu Bakr and/or Hazrat 'Uthman wanted to collect it in Book form. They attributed such statements to great companions and wives of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him & his progeny).
Mesmerized by those traditions, the Muslims forgot that Allah Himself is the Protector of His Book and that the Prophet had appointed the Qur'an as the standard to test the authenticity of traditions. They turned the table and began testing the authenticity of the Qur'an through those alleged ahadith!