Press "Enter" to skip to content

Fabrications in the Narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (as) – Part 1

This is a translated article, original source: Ayatollah Hussain Al-Radhy

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

All praise be to Allah (swt), and peace and blessing be upon Muhammad (saw), his pure progeny and chosen companions.

Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd al-Yaqtini narrated that some of our companions asked Yunus b. Abdul Rahman, and I was present, so they said to him: “O Abu Muhammad why are you so strict with hadith and you reject a lot of what our companions narrates. So, on what basis you reject ahadith?”

So, he said: Hisham b. al-Hakm narrated to me that he heard Abu Abdullah (as) saying:

“O Abu Muhammad, do not accept from us a hadith except that is in accordance with Qur’an and Sunnah or that for which you find evidence from our earlier narrations, because Mugheera b. Saeed, may Allah curse him, inserted narrations into the books of companions of my father which he did not narrate. So, fear Allah and do not accept from us which contradicts the words of Allah and sunnah of our Prophet (saw). Whenever we narrate we say, Allah (swt) said or Prophet (saw) said.”

Yunus said: I came to Iraq and found some of the companions of Abu Jafar (as), and I also found that companions of Abu Abdullah (as) were numerous. So I heard (ahadith) from them and collected their books. I later presented them to Abu al-Hasan al-Riḍa (as), and he rejected a lot of their ahadith, stating that they are not ahadith of Abu Abdullah (as). And he said to me, “Verily, Abu al-Khattab lied upon Abu Abdullah (as). May Allah curse Abu al-Khattab and the companions of Abu al-Khattab. They are interpolating these ahadith, up till this day of ours, in the books of the companions of Abu Abdullah (as). Therefore, do not accept anything attributed to us which contradicts the Qur’an, because whenever we speak, we speak what agrees with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. We narrate from Allah and from His Messenger. And we never say {so-and-so said}; otherwise our words would contradict. Verily, the words of the last of us is the same as the words of the first of us, and the words of the first of us confirm the words of the last of us. So, whenever anyone comes to you with a hadith which contradicts this, reject it from him and say {You know, and what you have brought}. This is because every statement from us has reality, and upon it is light. As such, whatsoever has no reality with it and no light upon it, then it is from the words of Shaytan.”

The above hadith presents a problem experienced by all Muslims since the time of Prophet (saw) to this day. It is the problem of fabrication, forgery, distortion and lies. Muslims faced this problem since the early days until books were written and principles were defined to distinguish between sahih (authentic) and daif (weak) and to identify fabrications and forgery.

Yes – the above hadith speaks about the serious problem which was faced a lot by Imams (as) and their companions. This is the problem of fabrication and interpolation in their narrations and traditions. These (fabricated narrations) were recorded in collections of hadith with good intention or due to negligence, and they got mixed with true narrations and became part of religion and spirit of Shi’ism. And now it is not possible for anyone to talk about them or criticize them unless one is ready to deal with thousands of accusations.

But with all this, throughout the history and especially from the times of Imam al-Kadhim (as) and to this day, people and brave men are found who took it upon their shoulders the responsibility to expose the exaggerators and they contributed invaluably to remove doubts and separate lies and fabrications from the madhab of Ahl al-Bayt(as) and their traditions.

Consciousness of Yunus b. Abdul Rahman

Among few narrators who were watchful of the tactics of enemies who fabricated and forged hadith of Ahl al-bayt (as) is Yunus b. Abdul Rahman. He was from the companions of Imam al-Kadhim (as) and Imam al-Rida (as) and his period was full of events and challenges of fabrications and forgery. There are common points and great similarities between our times and the time of Yunus. Refer to biography of Yunus for more details.

He was famous for his strictness in accepting hadith. He realized the danger of taking hadith from random or unknown people who narrates from Imams. When he was asked why is he strict in accepting hadith and oppose large number of them? His reply was clear and unambiguous – it is not about personal taste or individual’s choice that he randomly accepts what he likes and rejects what he doesn’t want. Rather, it is the responsibility to distinguish right from wrong, and distinguish what Imams (as) said from what they have not said, and there are warnings from Imams about lies attributed to them.

Yunus has uncovered facts and reality in this aspect detailed below:

  1. Imams (as) have set certain rules for accepting and rejecting ahadith. And from them is to accept hadith that is in accordance with Qur’an or established sunnah or if there is a satisfying evidence of it in other established narrations.
  2. The ahadith of Ahl al-bayt (as) are in accordance with Qur’an and ahadith of their grandfather (saw). It does not contradict with Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet (saw).
  3. Imams (as) prohibited their companions and their followers to accept ahadith that contradicts Qur’an or established sunnah, especially if they are inconsistent and contradictory.
  4. Ahadith from questionable (or doubtful) sources are not proof (hujjah) and are not to be acted upon unless proven from Imams (as).
  5. Imam al-Sadiq (as) revealed many events that actually occurred such as – Mughira b. Saeed and his companions interpolated the books of companions of Imam al-Baqir (as).
  6. Abu al-Khattab and his companions interpolated hadith in the books of companions of Imam al-Sadiq (as) and this continued till the times of Imam al-Rida (as).
  7. Imam al-Rida (as) stressed that the ahadith which contradicts Qur’an are not acceptable. And they narrate only that is in accordance with Qur’an explicitly or implicitly. Anything which contradicts or opposes Quran shall be thrown away (or disregarded).
  8. There is no contraction in the ahadith of Ahl al-bayt (as) whether from one individual or multiple as their source (of knowledge) is same.
  9. If a hadith comes to you contradictory to what has been stated, it is necessary to reject it and not to act upon it as they are not hujjah.
  10. And it was indicated that ahadith from them (Imams) are in accordance with reality and upon it is light. And they are in accordance with fitrah (nature) and common sense and rational. They are the source of wisdom and clear speech.

And if this was the situation of the Shias and companions of Imams in the presence of Imams, that when some ahadith were shown to Imams, it was found that they were interpolated and infiltrated with lies. Then what about our times, with more than 1200 years passed between us and them and there have been different ways of manipulation and fabrication of ahadith (in this long period), along with various internal and external challenges.

Hashwiyah (Literalists) of 15th Century AH

To demonstrate fabrication, lies and infiltration in narrations of Ahl al-bayt (as) and the need to categorise narration (according to its authenticity) and criticism of those who accepts all narrations without distinction, Shaykh Najm al-Deen Jafar b. al-Hasan known as Al-Muhaqqiq al- Hilli (d. 676 AH) said:

Al-Hashwiyah (literalist) exaggerated by acting upon solitary reports, such that they accepted all narrations without understanding that they are contradicting.

And from the narration of Prophet (saw): Narrations attributed to me will increase after me (meaning fabricated narrations will increase).

And narration of al-Sadiq (as): For every man from us there is a man who lies to him.

Al-Mutabar v.1 pg. 29


This was around seventh century AH when al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli criticized literalist Shias who did not distinguish between authentic, weak and fabricated ahadith and he quoted famous hadith of Prophet (saw) and al-Sadiq (as) as his evidence.

If only al-Muhaqqiq look at literalists of 15th century AH and see what they do with ahadith which contradicts with Quran, Sunnah and common sense, and there are some in our times who calls on to accept all ahadith in our four books (al-Kafi, Man la yahduruhu al-faqih, tahdhib al-ahkam, al-istibsar) and the later collections such as al-Bihar or al-Wasael or Mustadrak, and they present same arguments as literalists that they are doing this to defend, strengthen, propagate and present the doctrine (madhab) of Ahl al-bayt (as). It is a joke of 15th century AH!

Such extreme views and narrow mindedness actually suppresses the doctrine (madhab) of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) and distorts its reputation. They are like tools of destruction that will damage the madhab from inside and poses even more threat from outside.

Factors for accepting weak and forged narrations

  1. Lack of complete knowledge (or consciousness) within the ummah, including group of scholars and specialists.
  2. Propaganda and misinformation to achieve material or non-material benefits.
  3. Momineen are instigated and intimidated to accept such narrations. And the one who criticize such narrations has to face the consequences in the form of campaigns and fights against him.
  4. For the survival of the authority of certain groups who believe that they are the only guardian of deen (religion) and madhab (doctrine), and defending these narrations is necessary to defend the madhab.
  5. Influence of the political, religious and other agendas that are passed onto Shi’ites masses.

The lack of screening and categorisation of narrations attributed to Ahl al-Bayt (as) and accepting everything attributed to them, provides a suitable ground to their enemies and naïve people to distort their reputation and dignity and also allows them to cause damage to the religion. Therefore, Imams (as) warned about this danger surrounding them and their followers.

Narrated from al-Kashi with the sanad mentioned earlier from Yunus from Hisham b. al-Hakm that he heard Aba Abdullah (as) saying: al-Mughira b. Sa’id use to lie purposely about my father and take the books of his companions, and his (Mughira’s) companions were under cover among the companions of my father, they would take the books from companions of my father and send them to al-Mughira. Al-Mughira used to interpolate into them kufr (disbelief) and Zanadiqa (heresy) and attribute it to my father, then he would send them to his companions and order them to establish them among the Shia. So whatever Ghuluw is in the books of companions of my father, that is what was interpolated by al-Mughira b. Said in their books.

And therefore, Imam al-Sadiq (as) based on this this hadith indicates that the narrations attributed to him contains:

  1. What leads to kufr
  2. What leads to Zanadiqa (heresy)
  3. What leads to ghuluw (exaggeration), disowned by Imams (as)
  4. Clear lies about Imams (as)

Widespread Ghuluw

The existence of above mentioned things in the narrations attributed to Ahl al-bayt (as) is very obvious and its falseness is known to even school going teenagers.

Explicit Lie about the Reward of Ziyara Ashura

Discussed earlier, the sanad (chain) and matn (text) of Ziyara Ashura commonly narrated from Misbah al-Mutahajjid is weak from the view of ilm al-rijaal, and therefore it is not possible to rely on it. Additionally, its matn is forged according to the words of Sayyed Ibn Tawoos and ancient written script (Al-Rizviyah Copy). Existence of an older script free from forgery and distortion is not established yet.

One of the explicit lie is about the reward of Ziyara Ashura falsely attributed to Imam Al-Baqir (as), which was narrated by one of the ghulah (exaggerator) and liar Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani. He has been weakened by Ibn al-Waleed, al-Saduq, al-Tusi, al-Najashi and others.

He said: “Whoever pay visitation (ziyara) to Imam al-Hussain (as) on the Day of Ashura and stays by him (as) until he cries will meet Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgement with the reward of two million Hajj and two million Umra and two million ghazwah (military expedition). The reward of each of these Hajj, Umra and ghazwa is equivalent to reward of Hajj, Umra and ghazwa performed with Prophet (saw) and the guided Imams (as).”

And the narrator continued his lies about the one who pay visitation (ziyara) to Imam al-Hussain (as) from distance: “Whoever do this will be rewarded for one million Hajj and one million Umra and one million ghazwa, all performed with Prophet (saw). And for him is the reward of the sufferings endured by all prophets, messengers, righteous people and martyrs, who died or were killed, since Allah (swt) created this world till the day of judgement.”

And he continued his falsehood saying:

“After paying salutation to him and two rakah prayers, say these words, and if you say that then you have recited (the ziyara) which is recited by the angels who visit Imam (as), and for you Allah (swt) will write one million good deeds and erase one million sins and raise your status by one hundred million. And you will be like those who were martyred with al-Hussain b. Ali (as) and you will share the same status as them, and you will be known as those who were martyred with him, and for you will be written the reward of every prophet and messenger and for you will be the reward of ziyarah by everyone who paid visitation to Imam al-Hussain (as) since the day he was killed.”

And in al-Misbah, for the first part, 2000 Hajj, 2000 Umra, and 2000 Ghazwa is stated instead of 2,000,000 Hajj, 2,000,000 Umra and 2,000,000 Ghazwa as mentioned earlier.

For the second part, 1000 Hajj, 1000 Umra, and 1000 Ghazwa is stated instead of 1,000,000 Hajj, 1,000,000 Umra and 1,000,000 Ghaza as mentioned earlier.

ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم ، إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

There is no might nor power except with Allah the Almighty. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.

I am writing these words with pain, sadness and sorrow in my heart because of afflictions faced by madhab of Ahl al-bayt (as) and the lies, fabrications and exaggerations attributed to our glorious Imams (as). What oppression on Prophet (saw) and Imams (as) is greater than attributing things to them which they did not say. What offence to Prophet (saw) and Imams (as) is greater than that they are equated to rest of the people – that if one pay visitation (ziyara) to Imam al-Hussain (as), “for him is the reward of the sufferings endured by all prophets, messengers, righteous people and martyrs, who died or were killed, since Allah (swt) created this world till the day of judgement.”

And if you visit him (as) – “you will be like those who were martyred with al-Hussain b. Ali (as) and you will share the same status as them, and you will be known as those who were martyred with him, and for you will be written the reward of every prophet and messenger and for you will be the reward of ziyarah by everyone who paid visitation to Imam al-Hussain (as) since the day he was killed.”

And if the word “كل” is meant to include “everyone” as the scholar of Arabic language and Usul al-fiqh says, then “كل نبي” includes Prophet Muhammad (saw). The visitor is given the reward of sufferings endured by Prophet (saw), including the sufferings of his grandson al-Hussain (as), and the visitor is given the reward of Prophethood for which the Prophet (saw) spent his whole life.

Is this how you protect beliefs of mumineen(believers) from deviation when you say to them, that for them is the reward of all prophets and all messengers… and so on, or is this what shakes the beliefs of mumineen when the Hashwiyah of our times insist that these are the focal point of religion and madhab and no one is allowed to argue about them. It is a great calamity on Prophet’s family, and it is not less painful than swords, arrows and spears that hit their hearts by their enemies!

Are the visitors doing favor on Prophet (saw) and Imams (as) by visiting their graves? Is it not from the rights of the Prophet (saw) and Imams (as) that their Shias and followers visit their graves without these lies and exaggerations? Is it not better that they are told hadith with reliable chain which was narrated by al-Hasan b. Ali al-Washa, he said: I heard al-Rida (as) saying:

“For every Imam there is a covenant on the neck of his followers and Shias, and one of the ways of perfectly fulfilling the covenant is visitation of their graves, for whoever visited them with a desire to visit them and confirming to what they have ordered in it, their Imams would intercede them on the Day of Judgement.”

And there are other ahadith which proves the reward of visitation to the graves of Prophet (saw), Imams (as) and particularly grave of Imam al-Hussain (as) on the Day of Ashura without attributing lies and exaggeration to Imams (as).

And how is the narration mentioned earlier about reward of ziyara Ashura weak?

Stance of al-Muhaqqiq al-Tustari about this reward (of ziyara Ashura)

Al-Muhaqqiq al-Shaykh Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari, weakened Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani , he said:

there is consensus on his weakness. Ibn al- Waleed, Ibn Babawayh, Ibn Nuh, Shaykh (al-Tusi) in Fihrist, al-Najashi and Ibn al-Ghadairi weakened him.

Qamoos al-Rijal in v. 9 pg. 612

He (al-Tustari) indicated that Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani fabricated the reward of this ziyara, he says:

There is no doubt in its union (i.e. Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani and Muhammad b. Musa b. Isa as-Samman al-Hamdani are same person), and his weakness. There is a doubt whether he fabricated the books of two Zayd (Zayd al-Narsi and Zayd al-Zarrad) …” and so on, till he says “even if it’s doubtful whether he fabricated the books of Zayd, this does not negate that he was a fabricator. Also, he is in the chain of hadith of reward for ziyara Ashura which has objectionable and contradicting description.

Al-Tustari answered the question: How is it possible that al-Hamdani was from ghulah (exaggerators) when he himself authored a book on refutation of ghulah?

He said: Al-Hamdani writing a book on refutation of ghulah does not negate that he was from ghulah because ghuluw (exaggeration) has levels.

He said in his book: Distortions and alterations have occurred in the sanad and sharh of ziyara Ashura.

Regarding the ziyara and its sharh, he said:

“The narration has weak sanad (chain) because of Muhammad b. Musa al-Hamdani. Ibn al-Waleed, Ibn Babawayh, Ibn Nuh, and Ibn al-Ghadairi, al-Najashi weakened him. The alteration of the books of Khalid b. Abdullah, Zayd al-Zarrad, Zayd al-Narsi is attributed to him.

Even though al-Shaykh (Tusi) did not mention in Al-Misbah his sanad to Saif or Saleh, however, it seems that his tariq (chain of narration) to them is same as in al-Kamil. Also, it includes objectionable description (sharh munkar) i.e. “everyone who paid visitation to Imam al-Hussain (as) since he got killed”, so al-Kamil and al-Misbah are consistent in this, which also implies the same (that his chain is same as Ibn al-Qawlayah’s in Kamil al-Ziyarat).

And the narration implies that with this visitation (ziyara), the visitor becomes like those who were martyred with Imam al-Hussain (as) and will share the same status as them, and will be known as those who were martyred with him, especially if he recites it every day. In al-Kamil, after the text of ziyara, he said: “O Alqama, if you are able to visit him (send salutations) every day, then do so, and you will get the reward of all that (all the above-mentioned rewards).”

And in al-Misbah: Alqama said: Abu Ja’far (as) said: “if you are able to visit him (send salutations) every day, then do so, and you will get the reward of all that (all the above-mentioned rewards)”.

Which implies that he will become superior to them by reciting it for a number of days.”

al-Akhbar al-dakhila v.1 pg. 252


He indicated that the ziyara can be authenticated by saying:

It is possible to authenticate the ziyara with another narration which does not have objectionable description…” and so on, till he says “and the chain from al-Shaykh in al-Fihrist to al-Tayalsi is sahih and the description in it is not against reason.

The above discussion by al-Muhaqqiq al-Tustari can be summarized as:

  1. He weakened the sanad (chain) of this ziyarah with its sharh.
  2. He disapproved and expressed unusualness about its reward.
  3. The sanad of Shaykh Tusi to this ziyara and its sharh is same as ibn al-Qawliyah’s (in Kamil al-Ziyarat) – with some differences in matn (text).
  4. The narration implies that the visitor will become superior than the one who is visited, if he visits him (send salutations) every day. This is clearly false (batil).
  5. He indicated authenticity of the sanad of ziyarah with al-Tayalsi in it. However, as mentioned earlier in our research about chains of ziyara Ashura that the chain of Shaykh (al-Tusi) to al-Tayalsi is dai’f (weak), and even if it is assumed to be sahih (authentic) then al-Tayalsi himself is majhool (unknown), so this way of authentication is not valid.

Read the second part here.

— EDITORS NOTE —
For the Arabic readers, Ayatollah Hussain al-Radhy has also conducted his own research regarding the doubted authenticity of (parts of) Ziyarat Ashura, it can be found in his book
“Ziyarat Ashura fil Mizan”

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.