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Unformatted text preview: er. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 65 Distortion and Forgery There is no dispute over the occurrence of extensive forgery in the Hadith literature. The ulema of Hadith are unanimous on this, and some have gone so far as to affirm that in no other branch of Islamic sciences has there been so much forgery as in the Hadith. The very existence of a bulk of literature and works by prominent ulema bearing the title al-Mawdu'at, or 'fabricated Hadith', bears witness to extensive forgery in this area. [82. Cf. Shabir, Authority of Hadith, p. 50.] There is some disagreement over determining the historical origins of forgery in Hadith. While some observers have given the caliphate of 'Uthman as a starting point, others have dated it a little later, at around the year 40 Hijrah, when political differences between the fourth caliph, 'Ali, and Mu'awiyah led to military confrontation and the division of the Muslims into various factions. According to a third view, forgery in Hadith started even earlier, that is, during the caliphate of Abu Bakr when he waged the War of Apostasy (riddah) against the refusers of zakah. But the year 40 is considered the more likely starting point for the development of serious and persistent differences in the community, which is marked by the emergence of the Kharijites and the Shi'ah. Muslims were thenceforth divided, and hostility between them acquired a religious dimension when they began to use the Qur'an and Sunnah in support of their claims. When the misguided elements among them failed to find any authority in the sources for their views, they either imposed a distorted interpretation on the source materials, or embarked on outright fabrication. [83. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 75; Shabir, Authority of Hadith, p. 51.] The attribution of false statements to the Prophet may be divided into two types: (1) deliberate forgery, which is usually referred to as hadith mawdu'; (2) unintentional fabrication, which is known as hadith batil and is due mainly to error and recklessness in reporting. For example, in certain cases it is noted that the chain of narrators ended with a Companion or a Successor only but the transmitter instead extended it directly to the Prophet. The result is all the same, and fabrication whether deliberate or otherwise must in all cases be abandoned . [84. Azami, Studies, pp. 68-70; Hitu, Wajiz, p. 292.] Our present discussion is, however, mainly concerned with deliberate fabrication in Hadith. The initial forgery in Hadith is believed to have occurred in the context of personality cult literature (fada'il al-ashkhas) which aimed at crediting (or discrediting) leading political figures with exaggerated claims. The earliest forgery in this context, according to the Sunnis, was committed by the Shi'ah. This is illustrated by the Hadith of Ghadir Khumm in which the Prophet is quoted to have said that "Ali is my brother, executor and successor. Listen to him and obey him'. A similar statement attributed to the Prophet is as follows: 'Whoever wishes to behold Adam for his knowledge, Noah for his piety, Ibrahim Principles o...
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