Hadith Forgery

History and Context

7. Careless Religious Zeal

Another category of fabricated hadith is associated with the religious zeal of individuals whose devotion to Islam led them to careless ascription of hadith to the Prophet. This is illustrated by the forgeries committed by one Nuh bin Abi Maryam on the virtues of the various suras of the Quran. He is said to have later regretted what he did and explained that he fabricated such hadith because he saw people who were turning away from the Quran and occupying themselves with the fiqh of Abu Hanifa and the battle stories of Muhammad bin Ishaq and that he did so as part of carrying out hisba, that is promoting good and forbidding evil, and that he "lied for the Prophet and not against him". This is considered as one of the worst forms of forgery as it almost succeeds to be convincing and becomes difficult to isolate. Numerous other names occur in the relevant literature, including those of Ghulam Khalil and Ibn Abi Ayyash of Baghdad, who were both known as pious individuals, but who invented hadith on devotional matters. Other examples of this kind include the so-called hadith that "the superiority of Rajab over other months is like the superiority of the Quran over other speech, and the superiority of Shaban over other months is like that of mine over other Prophets, and the superiority of the month of Ramadan is like that of God over His servants."

Other themes of hadith forgery include the urge on the part of courtiers who distorted hadith so as to please and flatter their overlords. Similarly, the desire to establish the permissibility or virtues of certain varieties of food, beverages, clothes and customary practices has led to forgery in the hadith. A number of fabricated ahadith have thus been recorded on the virtues of food items such as rice, lentils, aubergines, and places such as Asqalan, months of the year, days and even certain times of the day, and also of personal names such as Ahmad and Muhammad, etc.

Compiled From:
"A Texbook of Hadith Studies" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 70, 71