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Why people fabricated hadeeth

Written by Asim Nazir
Student of Master in Islamic Studies
Islamic University Qatar

Fabricate hadith is called Mau’doo in Arabic which is worst kind of weak hadith. This term means when someone makes up a hadith and lie on the Prophet (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) already has warned us that indeed lying about me is not like lying about anyone else, and whoever lies about me on purpose, and then let him take his seat in the hellfire .
After the death of 3rd caliph Usman ibn Affan (may Allah be please with him), political situation of the Madina outrightly changed. It became worst when dispute emerged between new Caliph Ali (May Allah be please with him) and Muawiyah (May Allah be please with him) which led to war, wherein blood was spilt and lives were lost. At this point the Ummah of the Prophet (PBUH) divided into groups i.e. Khawarij and Shiah. Khawarij turned against Ali and Muawiyah after having previously been strong supporters of Ali (May Allah be please with him). After the death of 4th caliph Ali (May Allah be please with him) a group from the Prophet’s family demanded their rights to the caliphate. Because Ummah had already divided into different groups so each group started to give evidences from Quran and Sunnah to support their position . This period was the birth place of hadith fabrication and Shiah was the first recorded in the history of hadith forgery as it is said by Ibn Abi al Hadeed in Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, “Know that lies in the hadith of virtues first started with the Shiah…..”
Reasons for Fabrication:                                             
Fabrication of hadith started in Tabioon’s period and there were several reasons of fabrication which are the followings.

  1. Political Differences

Political differences were the primary cause of fabrication, as I have mentioned above that after the death of Usman (may Allah be please with him) and Ali (may Allah be please with him) politically, Ummah divided into groups and each group started to support their position from Quran and Sunnah i.e. Shiah demanded their rights for caliphate and started to make up hadith to support their position, also hadiths were fabricated in praise of Ali and his family. On contrary according to Ibn Abi al-Hadeed, reward was declared by Muaawiya for anyone fabricating hadith against Ali .

  1. Different views of Imaan

According to the aforementioned statement, number of groups appeared after the death of Ali (may Allah be please with him) i.e. Khawaarij, Qadariya, Jubariya, Mu’tazila and others. They all had different views on Imaan (except Khawaarij) which led them to fabricate hadiths to support their beliefs. For example Muhriz Aboo Raja, a strong supporter of Qadariya admitted that they were behind a lot of spurious hadiths. He said, “Don’t report anything from anyone among the Qadariya as we used to fabricate hadiths in order to persuade people to believe in Qadar with an intention of receiving reward from Alalh.” According to historical scholars Khawaarij did not fabricate hadith because they considered lying to be major kufr .

  1. Heretics

As we know that many disbelievers accepted Islam to harm it, because of its strength and glory they could not oppose it openly. They adopted a strategy to deface the pure Islamic image by fabricating many hadiths regarding about Islamic beliefs. For example among was Muhammad ibn Sa’eed Ash-Shaami who was later crucified for his disbelief by Aboo Jafar (the Abbasid Caliph), he invented a hadith from Anas attributing to Prophet (PBUH) that Prophet (PBUH) said, “I am the seal of the Prophets and no Prophet will come after me except if Allah so wishes.” Also the famous fabricator Abd al-kareem ibn Abee al-Aujaa who admitted at the time of his death that “By God I have fabricated four thousand hadiths forbidding what is allowed or allowing what is forbidden.”

  1. Fanaticism for one’s race, tribe, language, country or Imam

Certain nationalists and followers of different scholars also fabricated hadiths to promote their ideology or teachings of certain imams. For example few nationalists invented a hadith that “indeed, if Allah is angry, he sends down revelation in the Arabic, but if He is pleased, He sends down revelation in Persian. ” Also fanatical followers of Abu Hanifa made up the hadith that Prophet (PBUH) said, “There will come a man in my nation who is called Abu Hanifa an-Numan and he is the lamp of my nation.

  1. Story Tellers

Story telling was also a main source of fabricating hadiths. Story tellers used to quote a hadith along with full Isnad to prove its legitimacy. A famous incident of a story teller was recorded when he was reporting a hadith standing inside the mosque of Basra that “A’mash reported to us on the authority of Abee Ishaaq who reported from Aboo Waa’il, etc.” Al-Amash was also sitting in that gathering, upon hearing this he seated himself in the middle of the circle and started plucking hairs from his armpit. The story teller was much annoyed and said, “Shame! What are you doing while we are discussing matters of knowledge? A’mash replied, “I am doing better than what you are.” He said, how? A’mash replied, because I am doing what is Sunnah while you are telling lies, I am A’mash and I reported nothing of the sort you are saying.
There were also many other reasons to fabricate the hadiths i.e. some fabricated the hadiths in order to create a desire in people to do good deeds and to create in them a fear of evil deeds. Some people were led to invent hadiths for the pleasure of the rulers and some reporters have tried to credit to the Prophet (PBUH) different parables and saying of wisdom.

Why Khawariji did not fabricate many hadiths as compare to Shiah?
Khawariji was the group of people who left the camp of Caliph Ali (may Allah be please with him) after he agreed to settle his disputes with Mu’awiyah (may Allah be please with him) . According to the people of knowledge among the various sects, Khawariji were least guilty of fabricating lies about the Prophet (PBUH). It was because of their beliefs, according to their beliefs a perpetrator of a great sin is a disbeliever. Al-Ka’bee related, “They held that anyone who sinned, regardless of whether the sin was major or minor one, was a disbeliever, therefore they did not regard lying and wickedness as being lawful in their worship and austerity despite their false beliefs, but yet that did not prevent some of their leaders from fabricating lies about the Messenger (PBUH)” .  Most scholars are agree that Kawariji did not fabricate hadiths due to their beliefs as Imam Abu Dawood said, “Among the people who follow their own desires, the most authentic hadiths come from the Khawarij.” Ibn Taymiyah wrote, “Among the people who follow their own desires, there are none more truthful and upright than the Khawarij, he also said, they don’t lie on purpose rather they are known for truthfulness.”

Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaee, The Sunnah and its role in Islamic Legislation, International Islamic Publishing House, 2nd Edition, p.110

Reign 644-656 CE

Ibid, p.109

Ibid, p.110

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, The Fundamentals of Hadeeth Studies, IOU edition, p. 31

Ibid, p.32 Article by Luton Islamic Centre “CalltoIslam.Com”, p.1 

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, The Fundamentals of Hadeeth Studies, IOU edition, p. 32


Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaee, The Sunnah and its role in Islamic Legislation, International Islamic Publishing House, 2nd Edition, p.121


Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, The Fundamentals of Hadeeth Studies, IOU edition, p. 32

Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaee, The Sunnah and its role in Islamic Legislation, International Islamic Publishing House, 2nd Edition, p.117

Ibid, p.119



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