Abu Hurayra used to ascribe what he heard of prophetic traditions from any one to the Prophet (S.) as if he himself had heard them from the Prophet (S.) directly without looking for any evidence of certainty.
If you were in doubt of that, would you please notice his saying: “Prophet Muhammad (S.) said to his uncle Abu Talib: “Say: there is no god but Allah (S.w.T.). I will witness it for you in the Day of Resurrection.” His uncle said: “I am afraid that Quraysh may blame me for that.”2
It was certain for all that Abu Talib had died ten years before Abu Hurayra came to Hijaz. So where were the Prophet (S.) and his uncle talking in this tradition that Abu Hurayra narrated as if he had seen with his own eyes and heard them with his own ears?
He said: “When Allah (S.w.T.) revealed to the Prophet (S.) (And warn your nearest relations), he stood up and said: “O people of Quraysh, I don’t substitute for you near Allah (S.w.T.) (in the Day of Resurrection).3
All of the jurisprudents and scholars agreed unanimously that this Qur’anic verse was revealed to the Prophet (S.) in the beginning of the Islamic mission and before declaring it in Mecca, where Abu Hurayra was still worshipping his idols in Yemen. He came to Hijaz twenty years after the revelation of this verse. He narrated this tradition as if he had been among the attendants to see the Prophet (S.) with his eyes standing up and hear him with his ears warning his tribe.
He said: “The Prophet (S.) prayed in his prayer saying: “O Allah (S.w.T.), save Salama bin Hisham, save al-Waleed bin al-Waleed, save Ayyash bin Abu Rabee’a. O Allah (S.w.T.) save the oppressed believers (who were held back by the polytheists in order not to emigrate with the others from Mecca to Medina).4
This happened seven years before Abu Hurayra came to Hijaz and became a Muslim. He narrated it as if he had been with the Prophet (S.) when he was praying.
He said: “Abu Jahl said: “Does Muhammad prostrate for his god among you?’’ It was said: “Yes.”5
If Abu Jahl really had said that, it would have been twenty years before Abu Hurayra came from Yemen and became a Muslim. He narrated it as if he had seen and heard what happened.
Where was he from the combat of ar-Rajee’ and its leader Aassim bin Thabit al-Ansari, who was martyred in it to tell of it as if he had seen everything?6 It happened in the month of Safar the fourth year of hijra, three years before Abu Hurayra came to Hijaz and became a Muslim.
Any one, who inquired the manner of Abu Hurayra in narrating traditions, would know that he was just as what we said. These few traditions were enough to prove that.
Ahmed Ameen noticed that and said about Abu Hurayra: “It seemed that he didn’t narrate what he had heard from the Prophet (S.) only, but he narrated what he was told of by the others.”7
Abu Hurayra himself confessed that. When he narrated that the Prophet (S.) had said: “Whoever was impure when it dawned, he was not to fast.” Aa’isha and Um Salama denied it. He accused al-Fadhl bin al-Abbas, who was dead then,8 of saying that. He said that he had heard it from al-Fadhl and had not heard it from the Prophet (S.). Anyhow he confessed, whether it was true or false, that he ascribed to the Prophet (S.) what he had heard from others.
If you say: what of it if he ascribed to the Prophet (S.) a tradition that he had heard from another one?
We say: it does not matter, but the tradition must not be considered as true tradition unless all the series of narrators would be known and proved to be trusty.
That is to say the honesty of the narrator must be proved as condition for the tradition to be true. The tradition must not be considered as true one if the narrator was unknown.
In a word, many of Abu Hurayra’s traditions were such that it could not be depended upon. They mixed with his true traditions that made us avoid them all according to the rule of suspicions.
This man obliged us to doubt him. He pretended that he had attended some events that he had never done.
He said: “Once I entered the house of Ruqayya, the Prophet’s (S.) daughter and Othman’s wife. She had a comb in her hand. She said: “The Prophet (S.) left just a little ago. I combed his hair. He said to me: “How do you find Abu Abdullah (Othman)?” I said: “he is good.” He said to me: “Grace him! He is the most similar to me, among my companions, in morals.” It was mentioned by al-Hakim,9 who said: “This tradition has a true series of narrators but untrue text, because Ruqayya had died in the third year of hijra during the battle of Badr, whereas Abu Hurayra came and became a Muslim after the battle of Khaybar.”
Ath-Thahabi mentioned this tradition in his book Talkheess al-Mustadrak and said: “It was true with its narrators but its text was denied for Ruqayya died at the time of the battle of Badr while Abu Hurayra became a Muslim at the time of the battle of Khaybar.”
Abu Hurayra said: “The Prophet (S.) led us in the Zuhr or Asr prayer and he ended the prayer after two ruk’as (instead of four). Thul-Yadayn asked him: “Did you lessen the prayer or forget?”
Thul-Yadayen was martyred in the battle of Badr some years before Abu Hurayra became a Muslim.
How many times he boasted: “We conquered Khaybar but we didn’t gain gold or silver. We gained sheep, cows, camels, wares and houses.”10
He said so, although he never participated in the battle. He became a Muslim after the Muslims had conquered Khaybar and the battle had been finished. Thus those, who explained the tradition, were confused when they reached his saying (we conquered Khaybar). They justified it by saying that Abu Hurayra had said it metaphorically. He referred to his Muslim fellows.11
He said: “We fought with the Prophet (S.) in Khaybar. The Prophet (S.) said to a man, who pretended to be a Muslim that he would be in Hell. When the fight began, the man fought courageously until he had many wounds. Some men were about to doubt the Prophet’s (S.) word. The man suffered the pain of his wounds. He took some arrows out of his quiver and suicided with them.”12
We have two notes about this tradition.
The first: he pretended that he participated in the battle with the Prophet (S.) and it was proved that he had not been there. Those, who commented on the tradition, became confused and justified that Abu Hurayra said it metaphorically because he came from Yemen after the battle of Khaybar as al-Qastalani said.13
The second: the man, who killed himself, was the hypocrite Qazman bin al-Harth, the ally of the tribe of Zafar. He fought for the sake of fame. His case, which Abu Hurayra mentioned, was famous.14 He was killed in the battle of Uhud many years before Abu Hurayra came to Hijaz and became a Muslim. Abu Hurayra was uncertain about him, therefore he confused everything.
Abu Hurayra said: “I had seen seventy of the suffa’s inhabitants that no one of them had a dress on him.”15
Those seventy ones were all martyred in the combat of the well of Ma’ouna. The Prophet (S.) became very sad for them. He prayed against their killers for a month. This combat took place in the fourth year of hijra, some years before Abu Hurayra came from Yemen. So how did he see them? Al-Qastalani said16 that the seventy ones, whom Abu Hurayra had seen, were other than those. Allah (S.w.T.) is the most aware!
After inspecting and inquiring about Abu Hurayra, we found that he often narrated prophetic traditions, which he had not heard from the Prophet (S.) and often told about the events that he had not attended or he pretended that he had attended. He might admire something he had heard from Ka’bul Ahbar17 or another one and he narrated it as if he had heard it from the Prophet (S.) like he did in his tradition: “Allah (S.w.T.) created Adam according to His own shape in sixty cubits long and seven cubits width.” All that made the believers avoid his traditions.
I wonder why those, who collected Hadith, filled their books with traditions narrated by this man without paying any attention to his wonders and oddities or without taking any notice of his fabrication and invention! If you inspected the two Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim, you would wonder at the naivety of these two sheikhs. Here is an example showing this fact:
Muslim mentioned in his Sahih (the chapter of Abu Sufyan’s virtues) a tradition narrated by Akrima bin Ammar al-Ijli al-Yamami that the Muslims did not look at Abu Sufyan and did not sit with him. He said to the Prophet (S.): “O messenger of Allah (S.w.T.), I ask you for three things to grant me them.” The Prophet (S.) said: “Yes, I do.” He said: “I have the best and the most beautiful one among the Arabs, my daughter Um Habeeba. I marry off her to you.” The Prophet (S.) said: “Yes.” He said: “My son Mu’awiya, you make him a clerk for you.” The Prophet (S.) said: “Yes.” He said: “and you order me to fight the unbelievers as I used to fight the Muslims.” The Prophet (S.) said: “Yes.”18
It was mentioned by Muslim alone when he talked about the virtues of Abu Sufyan! It was considered unanimously to be null. Abu Sufyan became a Muslim forcedly after the conquest of Mecca. Before that he was an enemy to Allah (S.w.T.) and His apostle.
As for his daughter Um Habeeba, whose name was Ramla, she became a Muslim before hijra. She was one of the loyal Muslims. She was among those, who migrated to Abyssinia escaping from her father and people. The Prophet (S.) got married to her while her father was excessive in his unbelief and excessive in his fighting against the Prophet (S.). When Abu Sufyan heard that the Prophet (S.) had married his daughter, he said: “(That obstinate wouldn’t be defeated).” He came to Medina tending to increase the period of the truce with the Prophet (S.). He went to his daughter’s house. When he wanted to sit down, Um Habeeba, his daughter, folded the rug. He said: “Do you prevent me from sitting on your rug?” She said: “Yes, I do. This is the rug of the Prophet (S.) and you are an impure unbeliever.” Most of the historians mentioned this speech when they talked about Um Habeeba.19
Thanks be to Allah (S.w.T.) for His guidance. Thanks be to Allah (S.w.T.), Who made us able to distinguish the truth. Allah (S.w.T.)’s blessing and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad (S.).
- 1. Musnad: a tradition that was narrated by true well-known series of narrators. Mursal: a tradition that was narrated by unknown narrators or without mentioning the narrators.
- 2. It was mentioned by Muslim in his Sahih, vol.1, chapter of “Faith”, pg.31.
- 3. It was mentioned by al-Bukhari in his Sahih, vol.2 chapter on Wasaaya, pg.86; by Muslim in his Sahih and Ahmed in his Musnad. We mentioned it in the previous chapter and commented on it.
- 4. Refer to al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol,2 section on asking the lord to defeat infidels, pg.105.
- 5. Muslim’s Sahih, vol.2, pg.467.
- 6. Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.2 chapter of Jihad, pg.117.
- 7. Fajrul Islam (the dawn of Islam), pg.262.
- 8. Refer to Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.1 section on waking up in state of Junub while fasting , pg.225.
- 9. Refer to his Mustadrak, vol.4, pg.48.
- 10. Refer to al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.3 section on battle of Khaibar, pg.37.
- 11. Refer to pg.154, vol.8 of Irshad as-Sari and Tuhfatul Bari, which were printed together as one book. So said As-Sindi in his comment on the tradition in the margin of al-Bukhari’s Sahih.
- 12. Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.3 section on battle of Khaibar, pg.34 and vol.2 section on Jihad, pg.120.
- 13. in his book Irshad as-Sari, vol.6, pg.322.
- 14. It was mentioned by al-Waqidi, ibn Iss-haq, ibn Hajar in his Issaba and others. This Qazman fought courageously in the battle of Uhud against the polytheists until it was said to the prophet: “No one of us did as what he did.” The prophet said: “Nevertheless, he will be in Hell.” He was wounded seriously. He erected his sword on the ground, pressed his chest against it and killed himself. Refer to al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.2, section on Jihad, pg.101.
- 15. Al-Bukhari’s Sahih, vol.2, pg.60.
- 16. His book Irshad as-Sari, vol.2, pg.220.
- 17. A Jew later became a Muslim.
- 18. Sahih of Muslim, vol.2, pg.361. It was untrue tradition fabricated by Akrima al-Yamami as it was confirmed by ibn Hazm. Ath-Thahabi said in his book Mizan al-I’tidal that Akrima al-Yamami fabricated a denied tradition mentioned in Muslim’s Sahih about the three things that Abu Sufyan asked the prophet for. Another false tradition narrated by Akrima that the prophet had said: “Abu Bakr is the best of people.” It was mentioned by ibn Adiy in his book al-Kamil, which was the best of books in distinguishing those, who fabricated tradition. Such was said by ath-Thahabi in his Mizan.
- 19. Refer to an-Nawawi’s Sharh, printed in the margins of Irshad as-Sari and Tuhfat al-Bari, vol.11, pg.360.