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Some Commonly Quoted Fabricated Aḥādīth

Ten extremely popular weak narrations and the reason why they are judged so by the scholars of Ḥadīth

Then these misguided people think that the Prophet was physically present at that time, and that his person was created before all persons, and they support this with aḥādīth which are lies [against the Prophet]; for example, the ḥadīth that he used to be Light surrounding the Throne…

1. The ḥadīth of the Messenger that he (ﷺ) said, “Allāh says, ‘I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind), then made Myself known to them, and they recognized Me.'”

Al-Sakhāwī (d.902, the student of ibn Hajr al-Asqʿalánee) said, “ibn Taymīyyah said, ‘this is not from the words of the Prophet (ﷺ), and there is no known isnād for it be it ṣaḥīḥ or ḍaʿīf.’ And az-Zarkashī and our Shaykh (ibn Hajr) followed him (in this verdict).” [‘al-Maqāsid al-Ḥasanah’ of Al-Sakhāwī (no. 838)]

Al-Ṣuyutī (d.911) said, “this has no basis (lā asla lahu)” [‘Durural Muntathira’ of al-Ṣuyutī (no.330)]

al-Ijloonee (d.1162) said, “this saying occurs often in the words of the Ṣufīs, who have relied on it, and built some of their principles on it.”[ ‘Kashf al-Khafá’ of al-Ijloonee (no.2016)]

al-Albānī (contemporary) says, “this ḥadīth has no basis” [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/166)]

2. The ḥadīth, “Allāh says, ‘were it not for you (O Muḥammad) I would not have created the universe.'”

Al-Saghānī (d.650) said, “maudu (fabricated)” [‘al-Aḥādīth al-Mawḍuʿāt’ of as-Saghaanee (pg. 7)]

and likewise al-Albānī [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/450 no.282)]

al-Shaykh Mulla ʿAlī Qārī (d.1014) said, “maudu, but its meaning is correct….” [‘al-ʿAṣrār al-Marfūʿah’ of ʿAlī al-Qārī (pp 67-68)], and quotes two narrations to prove this:

a.The ḥadīth related by ibn ʿAsākir, ‘were it not for you, the world would not have been created. Ibn al-Jawzī (d.5**) related this and said, “maudu (fabricated)” [‘al-Mawḍuʿāt’ of ibn al-Jawzī (1/288)] and likewise al-Ṣuyutī. [‘al-Lā’ee’ of al-Ṣuyutī (1/272)]

b.The ḥadīth related by al-Dailamī, “O Muḥammad! Were it not for you, the Garden would not have been created, and were it not for you the Fire would not have been created.” al-Albānī said, “it is not correct to certify the correctness of it’s meaning without establishing the authenticity of the narration from al-Dailamī, which is something I have not found any of the scholars to have addressed….Suffice to know that al-Dailamī is alone in reporting it, then I became certain of it’s weakness, rather it’s flimsiness when I came across it in his ‘Musnad’ (1/41/2)…..” [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/451 no.282)]

3. The ḥadīth related from the Messenger (ﷺ), “I was a Prophet while Ādam was between clay and water” and the ḥadīth, “I was a prophet when there was no Ādam and no clay”

ibn Taymīyyah said, “This has no basis. Neither from the point of view of transmission or intellect, for not a single scholar of ḥadīth mentions it and it’s meaning is invalid. For Ādam was never in a state in which he was between clay and water, for clay consists of water and mud, rather he was in a state between the spirit and body.

Then these misguided people think that the Prophet (ﷺ)was physically present at that time, and that his person was created before all persons, and they support this with aḥādīth which are lies (against the Prophet), for example, the ḥadīth that he used to be Light surrounding the Throne…” [‘Radd ʿalá al-Bakrī’ of ibn Taymīyyah (pg. 9)]

al-Ṣuyutī said, “maudu” and endorsed the above words of ibn Taymīyyah. [‘Dhail al-Mawḍuʿāt’ of al-Ṣuyutī (pg. 203)]And he also says about the second ḥadīth mentioned above, “this is something added by the general masses” [ ‘ad-Durural Muntathiraa’ (pg. 155 no. 331)]

az-Zarkashee (d.794) said, “al-Ṣuyutī made clear that these two aḥādīth have no basis, and that the second was something added by the general masses. And ibn Taymīyyah preceded him in this, and ruled that the wordings were rejected and that they were lies, and Al-Sakhāwī endorsed this in his ‘Fatāwá’…” ‘Sharḥ al-Muwāhib’ of az-Zarkaanee (1/33)]

Al-Sakhāwī said, “as for what is common on the tongues, ‘I was a Prophet while Ādam was between clay and water'” then we have not found it with this wording not to speak of the addition, ‘I was a Prophet when there was no Ādam and no clay.'” [ ‘al-Maqaasid al-Ḥasanah’ (pg. 386 no. 837)]

In the above words of ibn Taymīyyah, he refers to the following authentic ḥadīth, “I was a prophet while Ādam was between the spirit and body” narrated by at-Haakim and others [See ‘Silisilah al-Ṣaḥihah’ of al-Albānī (no. 1756) for detailed documentation.]

But this ḥadīth is explained by the narration of al-Tirmidhī in which the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked, “when was the Prophethood made obligatory for you” to which he replied, “while Ādam was between the spirit and the body” [At-Tirmidhī chpt. ‘The virtues of the Prophet (ﷺ)’ (vol. 10 of the commentary of al-Mubārakfooree.)]

Meaning when Ādam was is the state in which the soul was about to enter the body. [ ‘Tuhfatul Aḥwadhī bi Sharḥ Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī’ (vol. 10, chpt. ‘The virtues of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)’) of al-Mubārakfūrī (d.1311)]

And by the ḥadīth related in the Ṣaḥīḥs of al-Ḥākim and ibn Hibbān, “I was written as a Prophet in the presence of Allāh while Ādam was intertwined in his clay.”

As for the ḥadīth, ‘I was the first Prophet to be created and the last to be sent’ narrated by Abū Nu’aym in ‘ad-Dʿalá’il’ (pg. 6) and others then this is weak (ḍaʿīf) as declared by al-Munāwī and al-Dhahabī (d.748) and al-Albānī. [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (2/115 no.661) for detailed documentation.]

4. The ḥadīth, “the One who knows himself, knows his Lord”

Al-Sakhāwī said, “Abū al-Muḍaffar as-Sama’aanee said, ‘this is not known as a ḥadīth of the Messenger, rather it is only related as a saying of Yahya ibn Muʿādh al-Rāzī.’ And likewise al-Nawawī said, ‘it is not established'” [‘al-Maqaasid al-Ḥasanah’ (pg. 491 no.1149)]

al-Ṣuyutī said, “this ḥadīth is not authentic” [ ‘Hāwī lil Fatāwī’ (2/351)]

ʿAlī al-Qārī quoted from ibn Taymīyyah saying, “fabricated” [‘al-ʿAṣrār al-Marfūʿah’ (pg. 83)]

al-Allāmaa Fairozabaadee said, “this is not from the Prophetic aḥādīth, despite the fact that the majority of people make it so, and it is not authentic at all. It is only related from the Jewish traditions as ‘O mankind! Know yourself and you will know your Lord'” [‘ar-Radd ʿalá al-Mu’taridīn’ (2/37)]

al-Albānī says, “it has no basis” [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/165 no.66)]

5.The ḥadīth, “Allāh says, ‘neither My Heaven or My earth can contain Me, but the heart of My believing servant can contain Me.'”

Al-Ghazālī mentioned this in his ‘Iḥyā Ulum ad-Dīn’ with the wording, “Neither My Heaven nor My earth can contain Me, but the soft humble heart of my believing servant can contain Me”.

Al-Ḥāfiẓ al-ʿIrāqī (the Shaykh of ibn Hajr) said in his notes to ‘al-Iḥyá’, “I find no basis for it.” And al-Ṣuyutī agreed with him, following az-Zarkashī.

Al-ʿIrāqī then said, “but in the ḥadīth of Abū Utbah in at-Ṭabarānī there occurs, ‘the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of the righteous servants, and the most beloved to Him are the softest and most tender ones'”

ibn Taymīyyah said, “it (the original ḥadīth) is mentioned in the Israelite traditions, but there is no known isnād from the Prophet (ﷺ) for it.”

Al-Sakhāwī said, agreeing with al-Ṣuyutī, “there is no known isnād from the Prophet (ﷺ), and it’s meaning is that his heart can contain belief in Me, love of Me and gnosis of Me. But as for the one who says that Allāh incarnates in the hearts of the people, then he is more of an infidel than the Christians who specified that to Christ alone.”

Az-Zarkashee said that one of the scholars said that it is a false ḥadīth, fabricated by a renegade from the religion. He also said that at-Ṭabarānī has related from Abū Utbah al-Khawlānee from the Prophet (ﷺ) that, “Truly, Allāh has vessels from amongst the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his righteous slaves, and the Most beloved of them to Him are the softest and most tender ones” [ ‘Kash al-Khafá’ (no.2256)]

al-Albānī declared the last mentioned ḥadīth to be ḥasan (good) [ ‘Silsilah al-Ṣaḥihah’ (no.1691)]

6.The ḥadīth, “love of ones homeland is part of faith”

as-Saghaanee declared it to be maudu (fabricated) [ ‘al-Mawḍuʿāt’ (pg. 7)]

Al-Sakhāwī said, “I have not found it” [ ‘Maqaasid al-Ḥasanah’ (pg. 218 no. 386)]

al-Albānī declares it to be fabricated.[‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/110 no.36)]

The scholars have discussed it’s meaning and differed to what extent the meaning is correct if at all, see the discussions in the above three references for detail.

7.The ḥadīth, “Seek knowledge even if it be to China”

Related by ibn Adee (2/207)m Abū Nu’aym in ‘Akhbār Asbahaan’ and others via many routes of narration, and all of them adding the words “for indeed seeking knowledge is an obligatory duty upon all Muslims.”

Ibn al-Jawzī mentions this and then quotes ibn Hibbān saying, “invalid/rejected, it has no basis” ‘al-Mawḍuʿāt’ (1/215)]

al-Dhahabī also endorsed the above words of ibn Hibbān, [‘Tarteeb al-Mawḍuʿāt’ of adh Dhahabee (pg. 52 no. 111)] and likewise Al-Sakhāwī [‘Maqaasid al-Ḥasanah’ (pg. 86 no. 125)]

al-Albānī declares this ḥadīth to be maudu (fabricated) [‘Da’eef al-Jāmiʿ al-Saghīr’ (no’s 1005-1006)]

In summary, the above ḥadīth is related by a group of trustworthy narrators without the words “even if it be to China” and a few narrators who are deemed weak/liars/abandoned by the scholars narrate this additional wording. So the ḥadīth with the additional wording is fabricated, but without is ḥasan (good). [See ‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (1/600 no. 416) for detail.]

8.The ḥadīth, “We have returned from the Lesser Jihād, to the Greater Jihād (i.e. the Jihād against oneself)”

Related by al-Bayhaqi with a ḍaʿīf isnād according to al-ʿIrāqī. Ibn Hajr said that this was a saying of Ibrāhīm ibn Abī Ablah, a Taabi’ee, and not a ḥadīth of the Messenger (ﷺ). [‘Kashf al-Khafá’ (no.1362)]

9.The aḥādīth on the Abdaal (The Substitutes

Al-Sakhāwī said, “it has a number of different routes from Anas (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) from the Prophet (ﷺ), with contraḍīctory wording, all of which are ḍaʿīf.”

a.the ḥadīth related by al-Kḥalāl in ‘Karaamaat al-Awliyaa’, “the Abdaal are forty men and forty women, each time a man dies Allāh substitutes another in his place, and each time a woman dies Allāh substitutes another in her place”

b.the ḥadīth related by at-Ṭabarānī, “there will always be on the earth forty people like al-Khalīl (Ibrāhīm), ʿalayhis salām, and by them, the people will given to drink (or have rain come down), and by them, the people will be aided, not a single one of them dies except that Allāh substitutes another in his place.”

c.the ḥadīth related by ibn Adee in ‘Kāmil’, “the Abdaal are forty, 22 from Shaam, and 18 from ʿIrāq, each time one of them dies Allāh substitutes another in his place. And when the Command comes then all of them will be taken (qubidū) and at that time the Hour will be established.”

d.the ḥadīth related by Aḥmad, al-Khallāl and others from ʿUbādah ibn Saamit (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) from the Messenger (ﷺ), “There will always be thirty people in this Ummah like Ibrāhīm, each time one of them dies Allāh substitutes another in his place.”Ṭabarānī has the wording, “and by them the earth will be established, and by them it will rain, and by them they will be aided.”

f.the ḥadīth of Abū Nu’aym in ‘al-Hilya’ from ibn ʿUmar from the Messenger (ﷺ), “the chosen ones of this nation are 500, and the abdāl are 40 in every generation, and neither the 500 or the 40 will decrease, each time one of them dies Allāh substitutes another in his place.” The Companions said, “tell us of their actions” He said, “they forgive those that do ẓulm to them, and they behave well with those that behave badly to them…”āl has the wording, “There will always be forty people by whom the earth is preserved, each time one of them dies Allāh substitutes another in his place.”

h.the ḥadīth in al-Hilya from ibn Masʿūd (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū), “there will always be 40 people from my Ummah whose hearts are like the heart of Ibrāhīm, Allāh will drive away (evil from?) the people of the earth by them, they will be called the Abdaal. Indeed they will not attain it (the position of Abdaal) by (a great deal of) prayer or fasting or giving in charity.” So they asked, “so how will they attain it O Messenger of Allāh?” He said, “through generosity, and by advising the Muslims.”

i.The ḥadīth reported by at-Ṭabarānī in ‘al-Ajwaad’ from Anas (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) from the Messenger (ﷺ), “indeed the Abdaal of this ummah will not enter Paradise due to (a great deal) of prayer or fasting, but they will enter due to generosity and secure hearts and advising the Muslims.”

j.and the similar ḥadīth of al-Kharāʾitī in ‘al-Makārim’ related by Abū Saʿīd

After mentioning these Al-Sakhāwī goes on to say, “and some of them are more severely weak than others.”[‘Maqaasid al-Ḥasanah’ (pp 26-28 no.8)]

There are other ḥadīth Al-Sakhāwī mentions after this but fails to give a clear verdict on them, some of these will be discussed below.

al-Albānī talking about ḥadīth f) above says, ” Maudu (fabricated) related by Abū Nu’aym in ‘al-Hilya’ (1/8) from the route of at-Ṭabarānī. And from him by ibn al-Jawzī in ‘al-Mawḍuʿāt’ (3/151 his book on fabricated ḥadīth)….[biographical detail on narrators omitted]

Al-Dhahabī said in ‘al-Meezaan’, ‘…it is not known, and the story to do with the manners of the Abdaal is a lie’ talking about this ḥadīth. And ibn Hajr endorsed this in ‘al-Lisaan’.” [‘Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (2/339 no.935)]

As-Suyuti incorporated this ḥadīth in his ‘Jāmiʿ al-Saghīr’ and declared it ḥasan. But al-Munāwī followed this up by pointing out the defects of the ḥadīth, then after quoting the aforementioned words of al-Dhahabī he said, “and ibn al-Jawzī ruled it to be fabricated, and the author (al-Ṣuyutī) agreed with him in ‘Mukhtasar al-Mawḍuʿāt’ and he endorsed ibn al-Jawzī’s verdict and did not follow it up.”

al-Albānī concludes his discussion on the ḥadīth by saying, “and know that there is no ḥadīth to do with the Abdaal which is authentic, all of them are defective, and some of them are more severely weak than others. And I will mention a few of them for you, and unveil their defect, if Allāh the Exalted and Blessed Wills.”[Ibid]

He then discusses ḥadīth d) and e) above and declares them to be munkar (rejected). [Silsilah al-Ḍaʿīfah (2/339+ no.936) for a detailed discussion.]

Al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn al-Qayyim states in ‘al-Manār az-Munīf’, “the aḥādīth concerning the Abdaal, Aqtaab, Nuqabaa, Agwaath, Najabaa and Awtaad are all false (bāṭil)”

Imām Aḥmad follows up ḥadīth d) up by saying, “it is a munkar ḥadīth”.

As for this same ḥadīth al-Haythamī said, “reported by Aḥmad, and it’s narrators are that of the ṣaḥīḥ except for Wāḥid ibn Qays who has been declared thiqah by al-Ijlee and Abū Zurʿah but weak by other than these two” (Mujma 10/62)

Wāḥid ibn Qays has been declared to be ḍaʿīf by a group of scholars amongst them ibn Maʿīn (in one of two reports from him), Abū Ḥātim, and Ṣāliḥ ibn Muḥammad al-Baghdādī. Al-Dhahabī points out that Wāḥid ibn Qays only met some tābiʿīn so according to this the isnād is also munqati as he reports directly from the Companion ʿUbādah ibn Saamit.

As for ḥadīth e) then ibn Hajr al-Haythamī declared this ḍaʿīf in his ‘Mujma al-Zawāʾid’ (10/63) due to it’s isnād containing two unknown narrators.

al-Albānī then discusses another ḥadīth not mentioned above to do with the Abdaal related from Shahr ibn Hawshab from Awf ibn Mālik (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhū) and declares it to be severely weakened, and likewise, he declares a ḥadīth related from ʿAlī to be ḍaʿīf.

Al-Dhahabī quotes ḥadīth, d) and one similar to e) and others and concludes by saying, “…by Allāh there is no one in the Ummah of Muḥammad like Abū Bakr, and the distance between him and Ibrāhīm in excellence cannot be measured. But this is from the fabrication of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Marzooq at-Tarsoosee may Allāh not give him victory.” Then he endorses ibn al-Jawzīs verdict on ḥadīth c) that it is fabricated. [Tarteeb al-Mawḍuʿāt (pg.272 no.’s 974-977)

9.The ḥadīth of Abū Dāwūd [Eng. Trans no.4273] from Umm Salamah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “disagreement will occur at the death of a Khaleef and a man of the people of Madīnah will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the corner and the maqām. An expeditionary force will then be sent against them from Syria but will be swallowed up by the desert between Mecca and Madīnah, and when the people see that, the Abdaal of Syria and the best people of ʿIrāq will come to him and swear allegiance to him between the corner and the Maqaam….”

al-Albānī says in ‘al-Ḍaʿīfah’ (no. 1965),

“Da’eef. Reported by Aḥmad (6/316), Abū Dāwūd (4286), and via their route ibn ʿAsākir (1/280) from the route of Hishaam from Qatādah from Abū Khalīl from a companion of his from Umm Salamah from the Messenger (ﷺ).

I say: it’s narrators are all thiqah except for the companion of Abū Khalīl for he is not named and is therefore majhūl.

Then Abū Dāwūd and at-Ṭabarānī in ‘al-Awsaṭ’ (9613) report it via the route of Abū al-Awaam from Qatādah from Abū Khalīl from ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Ḥārith from Umm Salamah from the Prophet (ﷺ).

al-Tabarānī said, “no one reports this ḥadīth from Qatādah except ʿImrān.

I say: the majhūl narrator has been named ʿAbdullāh ibn Haarith, and he is ibn Nawfal al-Madanee and he is thiqah being depended upon in the Two Ṣaḥīḥs. But on the route to him is Abū al-Awaam who is ʿImrān ibn Dāwūd al-Qattaan and he has some weaknesses arising due to his memory.

Al-Bukhārī said, “truthful but makes mistakes.”

al-Dāraqutnī said, “he used to commonly be inconsistent and make mistakes.”

And al-Ḥāfiẓ depended upon this saying of Bukhārī in his ‘Taqreeb’

Therefore his adding a thiqah narrator (in the isnād) is something that the soul does not find tranquillity in.

Al-Ḥākim also reports this ḥadīth via him (4/431) with the wording, “a man from my nation shall be sworn allegiance to between the Corner and the Station by a number of people like the number of the people of Badr, then the best of the people of ʿIrāq shall come to him and the Abdaal of Shām. Then an expedition from Shaam will set out against him….”

Al-Ḥākim did not give it a ruling but al-Dhahabī said, “Abū al-Awām ʿImrān has been declared ḍaʿīf by more than one, and he was a Khārijī.”

Then I saw the ḥadīth in ‘Mawaarid al-Dham’ān’ (1881) via the route of Abū Ya’la (4/1651) from Muḥammad ibn Yazīd ibn Rifā’a from Wahb ibn Jarīr from Hishaam ibn Abū ʿAbdullāh from Qatādah from Ṣāliḥ Abū Khalīl from Mujāhid from Umm Salamah.

The narrators of this isnād are the narrators of the Two Ṣaḥīḥs except for ibn Rifaa’a, and he is Abū Hishaam ar-Rifaa’ee and he is ḍaʿīf. And he additionally mentioned Mujāhid in his isnād but his addition is not counted.

Then I found a follow-up to this ḥadīth reported by at-Ṭabarānī in ‘al-Awsaṭ’ (1164) via the route of ʿUbaydullāh ibn Umru from Mu’mar from Qatādah from Mujāhid and at-Tabraanee said, “ʿUbaydullāh ibn Umru said: Then I narrated it to Layth and he said Mujāhid reported this to me.”

al-Tabarānī said, “this ḥadīth has not been reported from Mu’mar except by ʿUbaydullāh.”

I say: and he is thiqah like the rest of the narrators of this isnād. But they have differed about it’s isnād to Qatādah in 4 ways:

1.Qatādah from Abū Khalīl from a companion of his from Umm Salamah. This is the report of Hishaam ad-Dastawaa’ee from him.

2.The same except the companion of his has been named as ʿAbdullāh ibn al-Ḥārith

3.The same except that the companion of his has been named as Mujāhid

4.The same except that Abū al-Khalīl has been omitted between Qatādah and Mujāhid.

This is a severe difference which necessitates investigation and declaring which is the strongest isnād. It is obvious that the first three options deserve credence due to their agreeing that between Qatādah and Umm Salamah there are two narrators whereas the fourth option mentions only one. So upon considering this the fourth option is to be left due to its opposing the group.

Then we carefully studied the remaining three options. It is totally clear that the third option is to be left due to the weakness of ibn Rifaa’ah. Close to this is the second option due to the poor memory of ʿImrān as has preceded. Therefore the first option remains, and this is the weightiest out of the four. And when this (first isnād) revolves around the companion of Abū Khalīl who is unnamed in a route that otherwise would be free of defect then he is the defect. And Allāh knows best.

The ḥadīth has a number of other routes from Umm Salamah and other than her summarised, not containing mention of the story of the pledge of allegiance and the Abdāl and it is investigated in ‘al-Ṣaḥihah’ (no.1924).

[NB it should be noted that the term ‘Abdaal’ was a term known amongst the salaf and other early scholars as mentioned by Al-Sakhāwī in ‘Maqāsid’. Ibn Taymiyyah in ‘al-wasatiyyah’ and al-Albānī. What is differed about is what it refers to – the strongest opinion is that it refers to the Ahlul Ḥadīth as mentioned by a number of early scholars amongst them Khateeb al-Baghdādī in his ‘Sharf Ashābul Ḥadīth.]

Published: June 8, 2007
Edited: August 26, 2022


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