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Abu Hurayrah And The Abundance Of His Ahadith

 

Abu Hurayrah And The Abundance Of His Ahadith
Due to the large number of ahadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, I decided to shed some light on his personality. Traditionists have unanimously agreed that Abu Hurayrah narrated more traditions about the Messenger of Allah than anyone else although he did not keep the Prophet's company except for one year and nine months or, according to some narratives, three years. The Sahih books of the Sunnis have included 5,374 traditions of which al-Bukhari narrated 446. As for Abu Hurayrah himself, he has said, "No companion of the Prophet (a.s) narrated more traditions than I have except 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, for he can write and read [whereas I cannot]." 1 But all what Ibn 'Umar transmitted are 722 traditions from which al-Bukhari quotes only seven and Muslim only twenty ...

As for the reason why Aloft Hurayrah kept the Prophet (a.s) company so much, he himself answers this question when he says, "They say that AM) Hurayrah narrates too many traditions, and Allah is the One Who promises; and they say, 'Why do the Muhajirun and the Ansar not narrate as he narrates?' My brothers from among the Muhajirun kept busy making transactions at the market, and my brothers from among the Ansar kept busy by their money being invested, and I was a poor man who kept company with the Messenger of Allah (a.s) in order to fill my belly. So I was present when they were absent, and I remembered when they present when they forgot." 2 He also said, "People say, 'Abu Hurayrah has narrated too many [traditions].' I used to keep the Messenger of Allah (a.s) company in order to satisfy my stomach, so that I do not have to eat what is prohibitive nor wear silk nor be served by this man or by that woman. And I used to tie a stone to my stomach on account of acute hunger, although I would recite a verse with me so that he might feed me. The most kind man to the destitute was Ja'far ibn Abi Talib. He used to take us to feed us whatever he had in his own house, so much so that he used to bring us a container which had
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1 Al-Bukhari, , vol. 1,p. 86 in the book of knowledge. Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1, P
2 Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 313 in the book of farming in a chapter about the horse.


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nothing in it, so we would tear it and lick what is in it." 1

Abu Hurayrah expressed his appreciation of the food charity of Ja'far ibn Abi Talib by saying the following about him, "Nobody who ever put on sandals, or rode animals, or treaded the dust after the Messenger of Allah (a.s) was better than Ja'far ibn Abi Talib." 2

So, what criterion did Abu Hurayrah apply in favoring Ja'far ibn Abi Talib over all other sahabah?!

In his Sahih, Muslim has narrated saying that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab beat Abu Hurayrah when he heard him quoting the Messenger of Allah (a.s) as having said, "Whoever says, 'La ilaha illa'llah' [there is god except Allah] enters Paradise." 3

Ibn 'Abd al-Barr has quoted Abu Hurayrah himself saying, "I have brought you traditions which, had I narrated them during the time of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, Umar would have beaten me with the club." 4

The traditionist-faqih Rashid Rida has said, "Had 'Umar's lifespan extended until the death of Abu Hurayrah, such numerous ahadith would not have reached us." Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi'i, therefore, says, "He, meaning Abu Hurayrah, was the first traditionist in Islam to be charged [with fabricating hadith]."

When the Battle of Siffin took place, Abu Hurayrah sided with Mu'awiyah and was rewarded with plenty of money for doing such a "good job" in narrating hadith and for supporting the Umayyads. Marwan ibn al-Hakam, for example, used to appoint him as his own deputy in his job as the wadi [governor] of the city. His conditions, hence, improved a great deal. Ayyub ibn Muhammed is quoted as
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1 Al-Bukhdri, Sahih, Vol. 5, p. 47 in the book of the virtues of the , sahabah in a chapter about the merits of Ja'far ibn Abu Talib.
2 Al-Tirmidhi, Sahih, Vol. 13, p. 189 (Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi edition), Beirut, Lebanon. The compiler follows this statement by saying that its isnc 7d is authentic.
3 Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 201 in a chapter about one who says "There is God except Allah" out of firm belief enters Paradise.
4 Sheikh Muhammed Fiqh al-Sirah, p. 41 (sixth edition).


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having said, "We were once with Abu Hurayrah, and he was wearing two beautiful linen garments. He blew his nose, so he said, 'How can this be?! Abu Hurayrah blows his nose while wearing linen?! I remember being the very last one in the distance between the pulpit of the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and the chamber of 'A'ishah, losing my consciousness. One would come and put his foot on my neck, thinking that I am mad. I was not mad; I was only hungry." 1

What is linked to his support for the Umayyads is his deliberately keeping silent about some traditions of the Messenger of Allah (a.s) because narrating them would have jeopardized his own life [not just his pocket]. Abu Hurayrah himself has said, "I learned from the Messenger of Allah (a.s) two pouches [of ahadith]. As for one of them, I disseminated it. As for the other, had I disseminated it, this throat would have been cut off." 2 Where does this statement stand in comparison to this following statement by Abu Hurayrah himself: "People say that Abu Hurayrah has narrated too many traditions. Had it not been for two verses in the Book of Allah, I would not have narrated a single hadith: 'Those who conceal the clear (Signs) and the guidance We have sent down after We have made it clear for the people in the Book-the curse of Allah, and the curse of those entitled to curse, shall be upon them, except those who repent and make amends and openly declare (the truth): I turn to them; for I am oft-Returning, Most Merciful' (Qur'an, 2:159-160)." 3

From all these irrefutable proofs, the truth becomes quite clear about Abu Hurayrah and his "integrity" in narrating hadith and which makes him similar to the "sultans' preachers" in our own time. And it becomes quite clear why the Shi'ahs turn away from his traditions: It is their answer to the Sunnis who exaggerate in
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1 Al-Bukhari, Sahib, Vol. 9, p. 317 in the book of upholding the Book and the Sunnah in a chapter about what the Prophet (a.s) stated according to the agreement of people of knowledge.
2 Ibid.,Vol. I, p. 89 in the book of knowledge in a chapter about memorizing knowledge.
3 Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 88.


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accepting Abu Hurayrah's traditions, charging anyone who is critical of him. In the book titled Ikhtisar al-hadith [summarizing the sciences of hadith], Ibn Hanbal, Abu Bakr al­Hamidi and Abu Bakr al-Sayrafi are all quoted as having said, "We do not accept the narration of one who tells lies about the traditions of the Messenger of Allah (a.s) even if he repents thereafter." 1 Al­Sam'ani has said, "One who tells a lie in one single narrative, all his previous narratives must be dropped." 2

Following we would like to display some of the "traditions" narrated by Abu Hurayrah which al-Bukhari has recorded in his

Let us start with Abu Hurayrah claiming that Moses (a.s) gouged the eye of the angel of death!!! Abu Hurayrah has said, "The angel of death was sent to Moses (a.s). When he said to him [to accompany him], he pushed him back, so he [the angel] returned to his Lord and said, 'You sent me to a servant who does not want to die.' Allah answered him by saying, 'Go back to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of a bull, for then he will be granted for-each hair one more year to live.' He said, 'Lord! What after that?' Allah said, 'Death.' He, therefore, asked Allah to bring him close to the holy land the distance of a stone's throw." 3

Abu Hurayrah has said, "... It will be said to Hell: 'Are you now full?' It will say, 'Is there any more?' It will then be the time when the Lord, Praised and Exalted is He, would put His foot on it, and it would say, 'Now, only now, am I full.'" 4

Abu Hurayrah has said, "The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said, 'Our Lord, Praised and Exalted is He, descends every night to the lower heavens during the last third of the night and says, 'Who is there to
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1 Ikhtisar- al-hadith, p. 1 I 1 .
2 Al-Nawawi, Al-Taqrib, p. 14.
3 A1-Bukhari, Vol. 2, p. 236 in the book of coffins.
4 Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 353 in the book of exegesis in a chapter about the verse "Is there any more?"


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plead to me, so I shall grant him? Who is there to seek My forgiveness, so I shall forgive him?'" 1

The latest narrative contradicts what the Sunnis believe of Allah (a.s) firmly established on the 'Arsh (the Divine Throne). His descending to the lower heavens at night, as Abu Hurayrah claims, implies His staying there for the twenty-four hours of the night and the day on account of the presence of another time of the night in another area of the earth, in various places, since the earth is globular! Had Abu Hurayrah known that the earth looks like a ball, would he have narrated "traditions" like these?!

Abu Hurayrah has also said, "The Prophet (a.s) said, 'The Children of Israel used to bathe in the nude, so each one of them would look at the other, but Moses used to bathe by himself, so they said, 'By Allah! Nothing prohibits Moses from bathing with us except that he has no sexual organs.' Moses went once to bathe. He put his garment on a rock. The rock rolled down, carrying his garment with it. Moses chased the rock saying, 'Bring my garment back, 0 rock! Bring my garment back, 0 rock!' until the Children of Israel saw Moses and said, 'By Allah! There is no harm in [the body of] Moses!' He took his garment and started beating the rock [to discipline it!!!].'" Abu Hurayrah went on to say, "By Allah! He asked six or seven other [rocks] to beat that rock with him." 2

Abu Hurayrah has also said, "The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said, 'When the call for the prayers is made, Satan would then run away. He would keep farting so that the adhän may not be heard. When the call terminates, he returns until the prayer is held; it is then that he will run away again. Once it is over, he returns and so on. One would keep telling himself, 'I remember such-and-such! I remember such-and-such [things or people, etc.]!' He would keep telling himself like that until he does not know how he prayed." 3
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1 Al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, p. 136 in the book of tahajjud.
2 Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 169 in the bock of ghusui in a chapter about one who bathes isolated in the nude.
3 Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 336 in 11- book of adhän in a chapter about the rewards of calling the adhan.


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In fact, the past "traditions" exist in the books of the Israelites which Abu Hurayrah used to quote quite often. This was due to keeping company so much with Ka'b al-Ahbar, the Jew who pretended to have embraced Islam.

About entering Paradise, Abu Hurayrah has narrated saying, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (a.s) say, 'A group from among my nation will enter Paradise who are seventy thousand in number; their faces will shine like the moon.' 'Akkashah ibn Muhsin al­Asadi stood up and said, '0 Messenger of Allah! Do pray for me so that Allah may let me be one of them!' He (a.s) said, '0 Lord! Do let him be among them!' Then a man from among the Ansar said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Do pray for me so that Allah may let me be one of them!' The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said, "Akkashah has already beaten you to it!'" 1

Abu Hurayrah also says, "While we were in the company of the Prophet (a.s), when I was asleep, I saw myself [in a vision] in Paradise. I found a woman making her ablution beside a mansion. I inquired, 'To whom does this mansion belong?' They said, 'To 'Umar ibn al-Khattab.' I remembered then how jealous he is, so I fled away. 'Umar wept and said, 'I am jealous only for your own sake, 0 Messenger of Allah!'" 2

We would like to conclude Abu Hurayrah's "traditions" by citing some fatwas (religious verdicts) narrated about him and attributed to the Messenger of Allah (a.s) whom he quotes as having said, "If anyone looks inside your house without your permission, and if you threw a rock at him and gouged his eye, you will not then be blamed." 3
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1 Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 7, p. 473 in the book of outfits in a chapter About the outer garments, mantles and towels.
2 Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 306 in the book of the beginning of creation in a chapter about the characteristics of Paradise.
3 Ibid., Vol. 9, p. 18 in the book of blood monies in a chapter about one who takes his own right or sought qi.sas without having to refer to the sultan.


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As for other "fatwas" from Abu Hurayrah, one says that the Messenger of Allah (a.s) has said, "None of you should walk wearing only one single sandal. Let him wear them both or take them off both." 1

A Halt With Al-Bukhari In His Sahih
It has become necessary to cast a look, though swift, at al-Bukhari's Sahib as the most accurate of all the books of hadith according to the Sunnis who, on one hand, believe in the authenticity of all what is narrated in it. On the other hand, it contains many narratives by Abu Hurayrah and such a huge quantity of the narratives which cast doubt about the infallibility of the Prophet (a.s) in addition to other such narratives.

Al-Bukhari records ahadith which, according to him, are authentic from among 600,000 (six hundred thousand) traditions, as narrated about him. He himself has said, "I have not included in this book except what is authentic, and what I have not included of such authentic ahadith is even more numerous."

The first objection which we have against al-Bukhari, the mentor, is his reliance on the "justice" of a series of traditionists as the only condition for fixing the authenticity of the narrated hadith and without considering its context, what meanings it contains, etc. This explains the presence of instability, error and contradiction in many narratives which he has recorded. Even if the narrator is just, this does not stop him from forgetting a portion of one hadith which he had heard in addition to the possibility of his narrating the hadith according to its meaning, not in the wording which he had heard. This causes the hadith to lose some of its original wording which may have another meaning to which the narrator did not pay attention especially since the series of the narrators is so lengthy and may sometimes include seven or eight persons.

If we add the difficulty of verifying the "justice" of traditionists,
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1 Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 7, p. 496 in the book of outfits in a chapter about one who walks wearing one single sandal.


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especially the hypocrites from among them whose inner secrets are known only to the Lord of all, the greatest fault with al-Bukhari's procedure in recording traditions becomes quite obvious. Underscoring this point, Ahmed Amin has said, "Some traditions whose traditions he recorded are not trustworthy. Huffaz (those who know the Qur'an by heart) have deemed about eight [out of ten] of those quoted by al­Bukhari as weak." 1

Following are some of the traditions which al-Bukhari labels as "authentic" (Sahih) and, as time passed by, the Sunnis adhered to their contents:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri is quoted as having said that the Messenger of Allah (a.s), with regard to Judgement Day, said the following, "... so they shall keep falling (into Hell) until only those who used to worship Allah, be they righteous or sinners, remain, and it will be said to the latter, 'What keeps you while all other people have gone?' They will say, 'We parted with him, and we this Day need such parting the most, and we heard a caller saying that all people should join those whom they used to worship; we, therefore, are waiting for our Lord.' The Mighty One will come to them not in the form in which they saw Him the first time, and He will say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say, 'You are our Lord,' and only the prophets will speak to Him. One will ask them, 'Is there between yourselves and Him any sign whereby you identify Him?' They will say, 'It is the leg,' so He will unveil His leg, and every believer will prostrate to Him ..." 2

Jarir ibn 'Abdullah is quoted as having said, "One night, we were sitting with the Prophet (a.s). He looked at the moon when it was the fourteenth of the month (i.e. full moon) and said, 'You shall see your Lord just as you see this [moon], and you shall not be blamed for seeing Him.' 3"
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1 Ahmed Amin, Duha al-Islam, Vol. 2, pp..117- 118.
2 Al-Bukhari, 5'40, Vol. 9, p. 396 in the book of Tawhid in a chapter about "Faces that Day shall be fresh".
3 Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 355 in the book of Tafsir in a chapter about the verse "... So celebrate your Lord's praises" (Qur'an, 110:30).


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suffices to rebut these past two "traditions" what al-Bukhari himself records when he relies on the isnad of Masruq who says, "I asked Wishah, 'Mother [of the faithful]! Did Muhammed (a.s) ever see his Lord?' She said, 'My hair stood up on account of what you have said. Where do you stand with regard to three things which, if anyone mentions them to you, he lies? Whoever told you that Muhammed (a.s) saw his Lord lies. Then she recited the following verse: 'No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp encompasses all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet He is acquainted with all things' (Qur'an, 6:103),' Il is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil or by sending a messenger to reveal, with God's permission, whatever Allah wills, for He is Most High, Most Wise' (Qur'an, 42:51)." 1

Allamah al-'Askari says, "The verse saying, 'Some faces that Day will beam (in brightness and beauty), looking to their Lord' (Qur'an, 75:22) means they look in anticipation for the Command of their Lord [to be lodged in Paradise], that is, they are expecting it. It is like the context of the following verse about what the sons of Jacob who said to their father: 'Ask the town where we have been' (Qur'an, 12:82), that is, 'Ask the people of the town.' Thus, interpreting the verses in the light of their outward meaning leads to that Allah, the most Praised, the most Exalted One, has a body." 2

Among the other Israelite concepts found in al-Bukhari's book is one narrated about 'Abdullah saying, "A rabbi went to the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and said, '0 Muhammed! We find [in our books] how Allah will place the heavens on a finger, the trees on a finger, the water and the earth on a finger and all other creatures on a finger, then He will say, 'I am the King!' The Prophet (a.s) laughed until his molar teeth became visible on account of testifying to the truth of what that rabbi hjd said. Then the Messenger of Allah (a.s) recited this verse: ' They did
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1 Al-Bukhari, Nit, Vol. 6, p. 359 in the book of Tafsir in a chapter about Surat al-Najm.
2 Al-'Askari, Ma 'dill,' al-Madrasatayn, Vol. 1, p. 31 (2" edition).


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not estimate Allah as He deserves' (Qur'an, 6:91)." 1

[Abdullah] Ibn 'Umar is quoted as having said, "The Messenger of Allah (a.s) said, 'If the sun's arch comes out, abandon saying the prayers until the sun comes out [completely]. And when the sun's arch sets, abandon the prayers until it sets, and do not time your prayers with the rising of the sun or with its setting, for it rises between both horns of the devil.'" 2

I do not know how anyone can believe such superstitions!

Here is another from Abu Tharr al-Ghifari who is supposed to have said, "The Prophet (a.s), when the sun set, said to Abu Tharr, 'Do you know where it went?' I [Abu Tharr] said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He (a.s) said, 'It truly goes until it prostrates under the 'Arsh (the Divine Throne). It will seek permission, and it will be granted permission, and it almost prostrates under the 'Arsh, so it seeks permission, and it is granted permission. And it almost prostrates, but it is not accepted from it. It seeks permission, and permission is not granted to it. It will be said to it, 'Return from where you have come,' so it rises from its setting place. This is a reference to this verse of the Almighty: 'And the sun runs its course for a period determined for it: That is the decree of the One Exalted in might, the all-Knowing One' (Qur'an, 36:38)."

'Umar ibn al-Khattab is quoted as having said, "Have you not come to know that the deceased person is tormented by the living weeping over him?" despite this verse of the Almighty: "No bearer of the burden (of sins) bears the burden of someone else" (Qur'an, 17:15).

'Abdullah is quoted as having said, "The name of a man was pronounced in the presence of the Prophet (a.s). It was said that he kept sleeping until the morning and did not wake up for the prayers. The
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1 A1-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p. 317 in the book of Tafsir in a chapter about "They did not estimate Allah as He deserves."
2 Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 319 in the book about the beginning of creation (genesis) in a chapter about the characteristic of Iblis and his hosts.


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Prophet (a.s) said, 'Satan urinated in his ears.'" 1

Jabir ibn 'Abdullah (al-Ansari) is quoted as having supposedly said, "Put lids over your pots, cover your drinks, close your doors and keep your children at home during the night, for the jinn spread and snatch. Put out the lamps when you go to bed, for the oil lamp's tape may burn and may cause the house to burn." 2

We find this much of such narratives sufficient, and others are quite numerous, causing a large question mark to be placed before al-Bukhari and his Sahih. The first that is based on our proving the error of the common claim that all what is recorded in this Sahih is accurate is that any tradition in it deserves to be used as evidence simply because al­Bukhari granted it the feature of "authentic." We, therefore, have to cast a second look at the beliefs which were derived based on some of this book's traditions such as the possibility of seeing Allah Almighty, His placing His foot in Hell, the infallibility of the Prophet (a.s) being incomplete, the Prophet (a.s) not memorizing the entire text of the Qur'an, Moses gouging the eye of the Angel of Death and many, many such stuff which has occupied a place of prominence and in which [some] people believe despite the doubts and superstitions which it carries and which can be used to level charges against the Islamic faith itself. The same applies to other books of hadith as well.

As a result, we are obliged to refer to our Islamic history and cast another look at a great deal of what al-Bukhari and other traditionists have narrated about the status of a sahabi, be he this person or that, especially with the presence of the disputes among these sababah and which stirred a dissension the results of which are apparent in our own time: the presence of different sects which divided and weakened the Muslims.
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1 Al-Bukhari, Sahli!, Vol. 2, p. 135 in the book of tahajjud.
2 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 336 in the book of the beginning of creation (genesis) in a chapter about "If flies fall into the drink of one of you, let him take it out with a piece of bread."

 

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