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Fabrications in the Narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (as) – Part 2

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

This is the second part of the sermon by Ayatollah Hussain al-Radhy – Fabrications in the Narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (as). First part here. In this sermon al-Radhy has quoted excerpts from the book Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar authored by Ayatollah Muhammad Asif al-Muhsini.

Dangers of Unreliable Narrations

1. Propagation of Deviant Teachings

Grand Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Asif Al-Muhsini said in his discussion about dangers of relying on weak narrations and their negative consequences:

As for the causes of deviation, it is the scholars – in addition to non-scholars – relying on the matn (text) of the narrations without considering that the isnad (chains of narrations) have weak narrators which includes liars, exaggerators or narrators with unknown status. Even a group of scholars acquainted with ilm al-rijaal (science of men) – like the author (of Bihar al-Anwar) Allama Majlisi – do not like to declare that “al-khabr al-wahid (singular report) with weak narrators does not constitute knowledge” and they neglect the weakness in the sanad when inferring conclusions (maqam al-istidlal). This is very strange from them.

Many preachers, writers and followers present the narrations of exaggerators, liars and unknown narrators as ahadith of Prophet and Imams as if they are confirmed sunnah or authentic like Quranic verses just because they are mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar or other books. They propagate these narrations on pulpits, books, magazines and newspapers with such eloquent expressions and attractive words that affects the hearts of the readers and listeners like magic. Especially if the cover of the book is well designed, the common Muslims believe that they (weak narrations) are central part of religion and originated from the tongue of Prophet (saw) and his successors (as).

What assures them from the possibility that these narrations may be from fabrications of the fabricator, works of forgers or ignorant? How can we treat these narrations as sayings of Prophet (saw)?

{آللّهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ أَمْ عَلَى اللّهِ تَفْتَرُونَ}

“Has Allah permitted you [to do so], or do you invent [something] about Allah?”

{وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ}

“and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.”

{وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ}

“do not say about Allah except the truth”

{وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُم مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُم بِهِ عِلْمٌ}

“and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge”

It is unfortunate that the task of authoring and preaching has fallen into the hands of people who do not deserve it and it is a means of earning for them.

{فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ}

“So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.”

This tragic condition has led to the formation of distorted culture in knowledge, ethics and beliefs and it is so rooted in the minds of common people and average (mediocre) scholars that a group cannot speak about reforms because of the fear of revolt of the masses. Religious official and seminaries have shown lack of interest in refinement of narrations and editing of extensive Islamic information.

This is a great danger to religion and its people. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 9-11

2. Doctrinal Damage

He also said:

For this reason, the fakir took on (the responsibility) to write this commentary and built this mashra’ah to let average scholars know that the Bihar of Allama Al-Majlisi (ra) – while being Bihar al-Anwar (Seas of Light) – has germs in it harmful for drinking. It has unhealthy substances, questionable and doubtful things which must be avoided.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 11

3. Distortion of Religion

Once again, we assert to the students and the virtuous – and the knowledgeable scholars already know the importance of this assertion – to seek the truth and protect the religion from additions and subtractions. One of the important obligations of Muslims is to restrict themselves to ahadith with reliable chains of narration and reject the texts that has reached us with weak or questionable chains of narrations as the esteem of knowledge and scholarly instinct always take into account the method (of authentication) regardless of the quantity (of narrations) and their rejection.

Backwardness of Muslims

Examine closely our present books on code of ethics and how these books have misrepresented the Islamic ethics by mixing them with the rituals of irfaniah and sufiah and exaggerations of ignorant fools. These books are decorated with daif (weak) or majhool (unknown) ahadith attributed to Prophet (saw) and Imams (as) as if these narrations are mutawatir ahadith (mass transmitted narrations)!

These factors have impacted the intellect of Muslims in economic, communal, political and skill development. They lagged behind in civilization and became captive of Atheistic western colonialism and lost their deen (religion) and well as dunya (worldly life) as we have mentioned in our books (روش جديد أخلاق إسلامي ) and ( أيام جهادنـا ضد الماركسيين والسوفياتيين ).

The Islamic ethics must be taken from reliable books and ahadith with no leniency and tolerance in rejecting unreliable ahadith. The same (principle) applies to issues related to Islamic economics, Islamic politics, Islamic history and fadail (virtues) of Prophet (saw) and his successors i.e. the fantasies (fabrications) of ghulah, common people and exaggerators must be rejected in all matters, without limiting this methodology (of examining narration) to matters about halal and haram, principles of shariah, branches of beliefs and Islamic knowledge.

The scholar committed to this path is not afraid of the opposition of people, ignorant, exaggerators, imitators and writers who are not well acquainted with religious knowledge and understanding even if they are famous.

والذين جاهدوا فينا لنهدينهم سبلنا وإن الله مع المحسنين

“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.”

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 15-16

Examining authenticity of attribution

He continued:

Many unreliable narrations have matn (text) useful and beneficial for the purpose of preaching and exhortation. Therefore, preachers (muballigh) from the people of knowledge benefit from such narrations for themselves and for the islah (reform) of the people. However, it is not right for them to say on pulpits or in majalis that Imam al-Sadiq (as) said so-and-so, or Allah (swt) said to Musa (as) so-and-so, or Prophet (saw) said so-and-so, or Musa(as) said so-and-so, or Musa (as) did so-and-so, or Jibrael (as) said so-and-so, because attributing a saying or an act to someone is not right except with knowledge or certainty or legitimate evidence. In the absence of evidence, he must say: “In a narration” or “it is related from Imam that he said so-and-so”, or “al-Majlisi mentioned in Bihar a narration saying so-and-so” or something similar to such expressions.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 285


Commenting on some narrations which are inappropriate to quote, he said:

There is an objection that in quoting these narrations – even if it is assumed that they are reliable, or whether they are unreliable and therefore not useful for anything – there is disclosure of secrets and abandonment of taqiyyah and harms caused to believers by quoting such narrations. There is nothing like the book Bihar al-Anwar in Isfahan or other countries and villages of believers. And Allah (swt) knows how much damaged is caused to the personality, dignity and assets of the believers in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan and some Arab countries because of such narrations while the author Allama (al-Majlisi) knew about Islamic laws regarding sanctity of believer’s property, dignity and respect. However, I could not find in his works any justification for disclosing such matters and abandoning taqiyyah by quoting (narrations) which causes harm to believers. And Allah(swt) is the Guide. May Allah forgive us and forgive him and everyone.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 235


And he said:

And know that the insistence of a number of muhadditheen (hadith scholars) and others – to accept all narrations even if they are inauthentic or accept all narrations in al-Kafi irrespective of their chains of narrations – is not correct.

In fact, the matter is about either accepting weak and unreliable narrations that are likely to be the speech of ignorant and fabricators…or abandonment of unreliable narrations, examining narrations by comparing with Qur’an and aql and accepting what does not contradict with the two.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 272


Commenting about dangers of relying on some inauthentic narrations, he said:

In this section, there are narrations that are not reliable by sanad and this makes matn (text) void. Its content contradicts to what is evident (obvious) among teenagers in schools. So is it right for us to attribute things to Imams (as) that invalidates prophethood and imamah among people and accuses Islam of lies and ignorance. We seek refuge with Allah (swt).

The book Bihar al-Anwar is an important book, but it is not right to accept everything in it.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 273


And commenting on the narrations about “blessed” (lucky) and “unfortunate” (unlucky) days in Arabic months, he said:

These are the narrations about unseen matters that are beyond rational. These are like marketplace for Muslims to delay their worldly matters by relying on mursalat (narrations with incomplete chain) attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (as). Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

Mashra’ah Bihar al-Anwar pg. 281

4. The books that are not reliable or their reliability is questionable

He said:

The narrations are inauthentic because of unreliable sanad (chain of narration) and unreliable masdar (source), or because of unreliable sanad only, or because of unreliable masdar only, and that is if the sanad from the writer (the companion of Imam who compiled the hadith book) to the Imam (as) is reliable but the writer himself is unknown, or if the writer is thiqah (trustworthy) but the attribution of the book to him is not proven, or if the authors of the existing hadith collections like al-Wasael, al-Wafi, Bihar al-Anwar, Mustadrak al-Wasael etc did not receive the copy of the original hadith book through continuous reliable chain.

And here is the incomplete list of books that are the sources of ahadith in Bihar al-Anwar:

1. Kitab Ali b. Jafar (as)

2. Al-Mahasin al-Barqi

3. Tafsir Ali b. Ibrahim (al-Qummi)

4. Basair al-Darajat by Al-Saffar

5. Kitab al-Zuhd by Hussain b. Said

6. Nawadir Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa

7. Qurb al-Isnad by Hamiri

8. Some of the books by Shaykh Saqud as referred to by Allama al-Majlisi

9. Amali of Shaykh al-Mufid

10. Amali of Shaykh al-Tusi

The copies of these books did not reach the authors of four hadith books (mentioned above) with reliable chains. Moreover, for tafsir attributed to al-Qummi, there is another uncertainty and that is the lack of knowledge regarding its compiler who combined the narrations of tafsir al-Qummi and narrations of Abi Jarud al-Zaydi.

If you would like more knowledge and understanding about these ambiguities and problems, then refer to topic fifty-two in our book Buhuth fi ilm al-rijaal from pg. 489 to 517 (fourth edition).

والحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على محمد وآله الطاهرين

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