“And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know it.” (Qur’an 2:42)
It is a bizarre phenomenon that the modern-day Shi’a attack Abu Huarayrah (r.a) with such intensity given the fact that he narrates hadith that are very favourable towards the ‘Ahlul Bayt‘. Abu Huarayrah (r.a) and the ‘Ahlul Bayt‘ have an awesome relationship.
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (saw) looked toward Ali, Hasan, Husain, and Fatimah, and then said: “I am in war with those who will fight you, and in peace with those who are peaceful to you.”
Source: (Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p699, Sunan Ibn Majah, v1, p52)
“Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “He who loves al-Hasan and al-Husain, loved me, and he who makes them angry has made me angry.”
Source: (Sunan Ibn Majah, al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, from Abu Hurairah, Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in: al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 3, p292)
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) transmits: “I went along with Allah’s Messenger (saw) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached Bazar of Banfi Qainuqal. He came back to the tent of Fatima and said: Is the little chap (meaning Hasan) there? We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with a sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him (Hasan).”
Source: (Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5952)
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) transmits that Allah’s Messenger (saw) as saying to Hasan: “O Allah, behold, I love him. You too love him and love one who loves him.”
Source: (Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5951)
Abu Huarayrah transmits that the Holy Prophet (saw) said, “An angel in the skies who had not seen me requested permission from Allah to see me (which he was granted); he told me the good news or brought me the news that Fatimah is the leader of all women in my nation.”
Source: (Bukhari, at-Tarikh-ul-kabir (1:232#728), Tabarani, a l-Mujam-ul-kabir 22:403#1006)
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) is also known for transmitting information on the virtues of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (r.a) during the battle of Khaybar.
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) transmits:
During the Battle of Khaybar, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “I shall grant the banner to a man through whom Allah shall grant victory; he loves Allah and His messenger”
‘Umar b. Al-Khattab thus said: “That was the only day when I loved leadership, so I sought it hoping I would be granted it.”
The Prophet then called ‘Ali granted him the banner, and said: “Proceed and do not turn back, and Allah shall grant victory at your hands.”
They replied: “He is suffering from trouble in his eyes, O Messenger of Allah.
‘Ali took a few steps, and he then paused and did not turn back. He yelled: “O Messenger of Allah, what shall I fight them upon?!”
The Prophet (saw) said: “Fight them until they bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they attest to that, then they have prevented you from their blood and their wealth, except what is justified by the right of Allah; and their judgement is upon Allah.”
Source: (Muslim 4:871)
We were sitting with Abu Huarayrah when Hassan ibn ‘Ali approached us and greeted us. We returned his greeting but Abu Huarayrah was not aware that he had greeted. So we said to him, “O Abu Huarayrah , Hassan ibn ‘Ali has greeted us.” He then went to him and said, “And may peace be upon you, my leader.” He then said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying, ‘He is a leader.’
Source: ( Mustadrak, 3/169, with an authentic chain. Al Haythami has reported it from al Tabarani in Majma’ al Zawa’id, 9/178, and declared the narrators reliable.)
I saw Abu Huarayrah standing in the Masjid and weeping the day Hassan passed away, calling at the top of his voice, “Today the beloved of the Prophet (saw) has passed away, so cry!”
Source: (Al Tahdhib, 2/301, on the authority of Ibn Ishaq.)
“I was present the day Hassan ibn ‘Ali passed away; I saw Hussain ibn ‘Ali saying to Sa’id ibn al ‘As, pushing him forward, “Advance (to lead the prayer), were it not Sunnah I would not have put you forward.” And there were ill-feelings between them, Abu Huarayrah thus said, “Are you all acting miserly towards the son of your Prophet for a little sand to be buried in? Verily I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) saying, ‘Whoever loves them both loves me, and whoever hates them both hates me
Source: (Mustadrak, 3/171, with an authentic chain, corroborated by al Dhahabi.)
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) said to Marwan when he refused to allow Hassan (r.a) to be buried alongside his grandfather (saw):
You are not the governor, the governor is someone else. Leave him be!
He then said:
You are putting your nose in matters that do not concern you, seeking to gain favour with one Muawiyah who is not present.”
Source: (Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/108.)
Ahmed ibn Yunus narrated to us—’Asim ibn Muhammad narrated to us—Waqid ibn Muhammad narrated to me—Sa’id ibn Marjanah, the companion of ‘Ali ibn Hussain— narrated to me:
Abu Huarayrah said to me, “The Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave.”
Sa’id ibn Marjanah said, “I narrated that Hadith to ‘Ali ibn Hussain and he freed his slave for whom ‘Abdullah ibn Jafar had offered him ten thousand Dirhams or one-thousand Dinars.
Source: (Sahih al Bukhari, 3/178; Sahih Muslim, 4/218)
Why would Abu Huarayrah (r.a) transmit ahadith on the virtues of the Al Hassan (r.a) and Ali (r.a) if he was in the employ of their enemies? There has never really been a sufficient response to this.
What modern-day Shi’a raise questions about what is seemingly a copious amount of ahadith from Abu Huarayrah (r.a)
Two points can be raised in response to this:
- Is there any rule in the science of Rijal from the Shi’a or Sunni or anyone that says that a narrator can be rejected based upon the number of hadith they relate?
- In the book Al Rijal of Al Kashi it is mentioned that another a Shia narrator, Jabir Ibn Yazid Al-Ju’fi, has learned 70,000 ahadith from Imam Baqir. Source: (Mizan al-I‘tidal, vol.1, p.383 )
Next, there are really only two sources quoted from the Shi’a tradition against Abu Huarayrah (r.a) and both of them are without extremely weak.
In fact, the quote that is often used is from Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Al-Husayn b. Musa al-Qummi or Shaykh Al-Saduq in Kitab Al-Khisal was seen for the fabrication that it is, and one reason why Ibn Dawud Al-Hilli, an early Shia scholar of rijal felt comfortable enough to put Abu Huarayrah (r.a) in his list of:
“The list of people who are praised and have not been considered as weak by (Shia Scholar) colleagues to my knowledge“
Ibn Dawud Al-Hilli must have been familiar with Shaykh Al-Saduq’s ‘Al Khisal‘. Assuming that the text about Abu Huarayrah (r.a) was in the original he would have noted what was attributed to Shaykh Al-Saduq. This investigation led him to conclude that there were huge problems with what was recorded there. Again, assuming this was in the original text at all.
We say, ‘assuming it was in the original text‘ is because Shaykh Al-Saduq quoted from Abu Huarayrah (r.a) to fast on the eighth day of the month of Dhu-Al-Jijja because that was the day of Ghadir Khumm.
Source: (Ibn Babawayh Amali page 2)
Ibn Hajar reports that Imam Al-Baqir narrated from Abu Huarayrah (r.a)
Sources: (Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib, Vol 1, 1-12, p. 369. & Ibn Hanbal Musnad Vol 4 tradition 2153)
It is also senseless to say that Ibn Dawud Al-Hilli was ‘unaware‘ of Shaykh Al-Saduq’s position on Abu Huarayrah (r.a) because Shaykh Saduq’s works are too prominent to be avoided by those who are well recognized in the field of Rijal. Especially when there is a verdict on someone’s reliability.
Ibn Dawud Al-Hilli split his book into two parts. In the first, he gives a list of those who have been graded as reliable by the learned scholars that he has referenced. Among them are: (Al Najashi, Al-Kashi, Al-Tusi. Al-Suduq, Ibn Abdeen, Ibn Shazan, Al-Barqi, Ibn Uqdah, Al-Aqiqi, Ibn Fadhal, Al-Ghada’ir). He also includes a list of those who have been weakened by the scholars.
Abu Huarayrah (r.a) is included in the first category. A list of those graded as reliable.
As desperate many of the layman among the Shi’a are today to prove that Abu Huarayrah (r.a) was a liar, the early Imams are not authentically quoted saying anything negative about the status of this man as a transmitter of hadith in the 12er tradition.
There are only two baseless traditions cited by Shi’ite polemicists today. These traditions, surprisingly, are extremely weak according to 12er Shi’a standards, let alone standards set by the Ibadi or Sunni schools.
The first report is a tradition transmitted by Al-Saduq in Kitab Al-Khisal. He is reported to have said:
Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. Ishaq Al-Talqani informed us, he said: ‘Abdulaziz b. Yahya informed us, he said: Muhammad b. Zakariyya informed us, from Ja’far b. Muhammed b. ‘Ammarah, from his father, I heard Ja’far (as) say:
“There were three individuals who used to lie upon the Prophet: Abu Huarayrah, Anas b. Malik and a woman.”
Source: (Al-Khisal pg. 190)
Issues with the chain of narration.
One of the narrator of that Hadith is Ja’far ibn Muhammed ibn ‘Ammarah who is unknown. The same chain is used by Mohammed Baqer Majlesi in Bihar ul-Anwar Volume 2 page 217. There is another chain in Bihar ul-Anwar Volume 22 page 242, but it includes Al-Qasim ibn Muhammed ibn al-Juhri, who was of the Waqfee sect.
Both the chains in Bihar-ul-Anwar are the same, and he summarizes and shortens the names in the isnad that Shaykh Sudduq wrote in Al-Khisal.
In the second chain. Mohammed Baqer Majlesi mentions Al-Jawhari, and he is referring to Mohammed ibn Zakariya Al-Jawhari, not Al-Qasim ibn Muhammed.
This report clearly is not authentic according to the 12er Shi’a standards:
It contains unknown transmitters.
There are further problems:
Anas Ibn Malik (r.a) was a student of Jafar Al-Sadiq (r.a). his relationship with him is well known and the opinions caused him (Anas) to be punished many times by the rulers. Jafar Al-Sadiq (r.a) would never say anything about Anas or about the wife of his great the Blessed Prophet (saw). This is not the characteristic of the pious.
Not only this but Jafar Al-Sadiq (r.a) narrated from Abu Huarayrah (r.a)
‘Abdul Aziz al Darawardi, Hatim ibn Ismail, and Sulaiman ibn Bilal all three narrate — from Jafar al Sadiq — from his father, Muhammad Al Baqir — from ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’, the freed slave and scribe of Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib — from Abu Huarayrah…”
Source; ( Sahih Muslim, 3/15.)
The next alleged report is not even a hadith. The 12er Shi’a polemicist, Muhammad b. Jarir b. Rustam al-Tabari, in his book Al-Mustarshid, simply said:
And the Commander of the faithful said regarding him (Abu Huarayrah), “The most prolific of liars upon the Messenger of Allah is this young man from the tribe of Daws (Abu Hurayrah)”.
Source: (Al-Mustarshid pg. 170)
Unsurprisingly, this report too is a fabrication. Al-Tabari does not list an isnad for it. There is a 350+ year-long disconnection in its transmission at the very least. It does not meet the high standards according to the 12er Shi’a standards, let alone any of the four Sunni schools or Ibadi standards of hadith.
Al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn al-Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi al-‘Amili (Born 1871 died 1957)
He wrote a polemical work titled “Abu Huarayrah” and it was this book that was influential to the Egyptian modernist Mohamed Abu Rayyah (Who my view is Shi’a who posses as a Sunni) in the process of Shi’a-fication of Sunnism.
If Al-Sayyid Al Musnawi’s main criticism seemed to be the large amounts of narrations that came from Abu Huarayrah (r.a) it doesn’t answer the points that were addressed before.
Two points can be raised in response to this:
1) Is there any rule in the science of Rijal from the Shi’a or Sunni or anyone that says that a narrator can be rejected based upon the number of hadith they relate?
2) In the book Al Rijal of Al Kashi it is mentioned that another a Shia narrator, Jabir Ibn Yazid Al-Ju’fi, has learned 70,000 ahadith from Imam Baqir.
Other references possibly brought forward.
Abū al-Qāsim ‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā (A student of Shaykh Mufid)
Some may bring this piece of information:
Sayyid al- Murtaḍā
presents the following narration:
Ibn Fudhail narrated from Qatar ibn Khalifah from Abu Khalid Al-Rafiti, from Ali (as) who was on the pulpit and said: “Surely the most lying person against the Prophet (saw) from the living Arabs is Abu Huarayrah Al-Dusi”.
Source: (Rasail ul-Murtada, v.3, p.284)
First, Al Tusi was also a student of Shaykh Al Mufid and we have covered Al-Tusi and Abu Huarayrah (r.a).
Second, being ascribed to the ‘Mu’tazalite‘ school of theology, Shaykh Al Murtada’s view is: “Every report attributed to the Prophet (saw) or to the Imams had to be authenticated by reason.”
Source: ( Shi’ism pg 51 by Heinz/Halm, translated by Janet Watson and Marian Hill, 2nd edition, New York, Columbia University Press, 2004)
Third, the hadith attributed to Ali (r.a) has Qatar ibn Khalifah and Abu Khalid Al-Rafti in the chain. Both of them are unknown (majhool). Neither of these narrators are found in the following:
Al-Fehrist by Tusi,
Rijal Ibn Dawud and
Mu’ajam of Al-Khoie.
Fourth, Sayyid Murtada has recorded hadith of the Blessed Prophet (saw) on the authority of Abu Huarayrah (r.a) in Rasail al-Sharif-al-Murtada Volume 2 page 202.
Other than these two forgeries, there is not a single authentic quote where one of the Imams is quoted addressing Abu Huarayrah’s (r.a) reliability as a transmitter of Prophetic traditions.
There is no proof that he is untrustworthy according to the Shi’a. None.
Sunni books of Rijal do not classify Abu Huarayrah (r.a) as a liar.
Ibadi books of Rijal do not classify Abu Huarayrah (r.a) as a liar.
The following Shi’a books of Rijal do not classify Abu Huarayrah (r.a) as a liar either:
Abu Al-Abbas Al-Najashi does not criticize Abu Huarayrah (r.a) in his Rijal. What is telling about Al-Najashi’s work is that it many ways it was aimed at a Sunni audience.
nor does Al-Kashi in his Rijjal
nor has any latter work quoted Ahmed bin Muhammed Al-Jawahri’s risala as having any critique of Abu Huarayrah (r.a)
nor does Al-Tusi in his al-Fehrist.
In fact, he has recorded Abu Huarayrah (r.a) in his Rijal under the companions who narrated from The Blessed Messenger (saws). There is no ‘jarh‘ or criticism of Abu Huarayrah (r.a) anywhere at all.
Also, Abu Hurairah is a narrator in Shaykh Tusi’s Al-Amali, which some may consider to be more authentic than ‘the four‘ canonical books. There are said to be around 34 ahadith narrated from Abu Huarairah (r.a) in Al-Amali. There is no criticism or any doubts concerning the reliability of Abu Huarairah (r.a), from Shaykh Tulsi.
The major books referenced for Rijal are Najashi, Kashi, and Tusi/Fehrist – All of those works leave our Shi’a brothers coming up empty-handed time and time again.
The point really should be what do present-day Shi’a scholars say about Abu Huarayrah (r.a)?
Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Al-Khoei (Lived in the 1900s)
Sayyid Al Khoei mentions Abu Huarayrah (r.a) in his 24 volume, ‘Mu’jam rijal a-hadith wal tafsil tabaqat al-ruwat.‘ without any criticism. Instead, he simply conveys what others have mentioned about him.
Instead, he has mentioned him under “Abdullah Abu Hurayrah” in volume 11 as well as “Abu Hurayrah” in volume 22. Under the section in volume 11, he mentions the fact that,
“(He is) From the companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) (as mentioned in) Rijal of al-Shaykh (Tusi).” -which says nothing negative.
He then narrates what we have already gone over.
Al-Suduq narrated from Mohamed ibn Ibrahim ibn Ishaq al-Talaqani, from Abdul-Aziz ibn Yahya, from Mohammed ibn Zakariya, from Ja’far ibn Mohammed ibn Amarah, from his father, who said:” I heard Jafar ibn Mohammed (as) saying: there are three who used to lie against the Prophet [s]: Abu Huarayrah, Anas Ibn Malik, and a woman.” Al-Khisal, third chapter, hadith 263.
Interestingly Sayyid Al-Khoei – mentions in the chain of his Mu’ajam Volume 4 and Volume 11 the ‘hadith of the 3 liars‘ with Ja’far ibn Muhammed ibn Amarah.
However, Ja’far ibn Muhammed ibn Amarah is nowhere to be found in the entire 24 Volume Mu’ajam itself. Ja’far ibn Muhammed ibn Amarah is not to be found in classical works like Rijal al-Najash Ibn Dawud Al-Hilli.
To conclude that Sayyid Al-Khoei finds a hadith reliable based upon a majhool person is to insult his intelligence. Sayyid Al-Khoei nowhere mentioned that the hadith of ‘three liars‘ was Sahih or proof that he relies upon.
We also noted that Sayyid Al-Khoei mentioned Abu Huarayrah (r.a) was in the Rijal of al-Shaykh (Tusi). Which I have already commented on.
Although with Sayyid Al-Khoei being a critique of ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ and having been known to reference Al-Musawis polemical book ‘Abu Huarayrah‘ one could argue that Sayyid Al-Khoei also being a modern Shi’a adopting a more critical stance.
When building a case against a narrator, we cannot use a narration which in and of itself is flawed.
Muhammad Hasan al-Najafi (Lived 1788-1850)
“such as what the masses have narrated from Abu Hurayrah Al-Kazzab (the liar)…”
Source: (Jawahir-ul-Kalam, v.17, p.111)
As has already been proven the ‘masses‘ of Shi’a scholarship haven’t really said much at all about Abu Huarayrah (r.a). He provides no independent reason for his position. One must assume he relies upon either both or one of the two faulty traditions as cited above.
Jamāl ad- Din al-Ḥasan bin Yūsuf bin ʿAli bin al-Muṭahhar al-Ḥillī (1250-1325)
Allamah Hilli writes the following:
“And the answer to the first two hadiths is with refusing authenticity of its chain, as Abu Huarayrah was involved in a situation with Umar ibn al-Khattab which testified against him, that he is the enemy of Allah and enemy of Muslims, and order against him of treachery…if this is the situation then how can he be trusted and his hadith relied upon?”
Source: (Muntahal-Matlab, v.1, p.281)
Again, Allamah Hilli does not provide any source from which he makes his claim.
He too is from the ‘Mu’tazalite‘ school. This shows that even if a hadith checks out with the chain of narrators we have to employ reason.
So according to the principles of the ‘Mu’tazalite‘ school, on what consistent basis can we accept this statement without any chain of narrators?
That itself is not reasonable.
al-Muqaddas al-Ardabīlī (1585)
Muqaddas Ardabili in writing a commentary of a book of Allama Hilli, argues against Abu Hurayrah by writing:
“But the writer (Allamah Hilli) [r] rejected some of them (ahadith) due to the lack of authenticity according to him, with the lack of reliability of Abu Hurayrah according to him…”
Source: (Majma’ul-Faidah, v. 2, p.237)
All that is offered here are his musings on why Allama Hilli rejected ahadith of Abu Huarayrah (r.a). So all that he offers here is simply a quote. We already have shown that what Allama Hilli offers does not meet the standards of the ‘Mu’tazalite‘ school.
Sayid Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi. (1875-1961)
“Abu Huarayrah, a famous Aammi (non-Shia)…And his haal in the fabrication of ahadith is ash’har (most widely known) that it cannot be described…”
Source: (Hashiyah ‘ala manhaj al-maqal V.2, p 149)
Again, Sayid Hossein Borujerdi must only be relying upon the problematic narration he found in Al-Khisal. The Ayatollah has written commentaries on Rijal Al-Najashi, Rijal, Al-Kashshi, and Rijal-Al Tusi, so one wonders where his comment, “most widely known” comes from.
However, he is known to have worked with Shaykh Al Azhar Mahmud Shaltut (May Allah have mercy on them both) for the cause of Muslim unity.
Sayid Ayatollah Muhsin al-Tabatabaei Al-Hakim (1889-1970)
…And the (ahadith) before it is very weakened by Abu Huarayrah and others.”
Source: (Mutamassik-ul-Urwah, v.3, p.383)
Again no reason stated why. Just the mere presence of Abu Huarayrah (r.a) is enough to weaken the chain.
Mohammed Reza Golpaygani (1899-1993)
“.(the hadith) is weak as its narrator is Abu Hurayrah.”
Source: (Kitab-ut-Taharah, p.43)
Again no reason stated why. Just the mere presence of Abu Huarayrah (r.a) is enough to weaken the chain.
Some people may believe that the 12er Shi’a case concerning Abu Huarayrah (r.a) is gargantuan, akin to a big fish in a small pond. In reality, what we have seen is that it more like a whale in a teardrop. We have seen that the attacks on Abu Huarayrah (r.a) are primarily from 12er Shi’a in the modern era.
These comments have no original thoughts or contributions. They amount to simply quoting what those who have gone before them have said. This giant imagined edifice that the layman among the Shi’a has built up is not upon any solid foundation. It is akin to someone throwing two pieces of rice in the ocean expecting to create a tsunami when all that really happened was that the two pieces of rice sank to the bottom of the ocean. Possibly the most original contribution among all the modern-day Shi’a, perhaps indeed among their entire scholastic tradition has come from al-Musawi al-‘Amili. Even he has been answered by people from among the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘.
The early Shi’a such Al Tusi have narrations of Abu Huarayrah (r.a). The early Shi’a books of rijal are free of critique of Abu Huarayrah (r.a) and Abu Huarayrah (r.a) has many Shi’a friendly narrations that are too good to be passed up by serious Shi’a looking to prove their case to those from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘.