Responses to Islamic Awareness

On The Transmitters Of Isrâ'îliyyât (Judeo-Christian Material)

Saifullah & Co.:

Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

1. Introduction

This document deals with clarifying some of the misconceptions which are held by both Muslims and non-Muslims concerning the transmitters of isrâ'îliyyât or Judeo-Christian material into the Qur'ânic exegesis or tafsîr. The misconception is that the transmitters of isrâ'îliyyât narrations are 'fabricators' of hadîth and are considered as 'untrustworthy.'

We will first deal with the conditions of acceptance of isrâ'îliyyât narrations in the Islamic literature. Then we will focus on the reliability of narrators such as Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Kab al-Ahbâr, who had transmitted many isrâ'îliyyât narrations into Islamic literature.


The authors expose their bias early on since instead of allowing the evidence to speak for itself, they have already assumed that any attack on the integrity of Wahb, Kab etc. is a "misconception." Yet, the authors do not tell us why their reasoning is valid and should be believed over against the opinions of their colleagues who have come to an entirely different conclusion. After all, it is Muslims (and in some cases Sunni Muslims) who have debunked the integrity of certain hadith transmitters, not Christians.

This is not to say that we agree with these Muslims who assert that men such as Wahb forged hadiths. Our view is that the entire hadith is suspect and not worthy of any serious historical consideration. This is due to the late dating of the collections of the hadith, approximately two centuries after the Hijrah for Bukhari's collection. This allows for legends and fabrications to creep into the text without the benefit of the eyewitnesses being present to expose such alterations and fables.

The reason why we as Christians use the hadith is to demonstrate to those Muslims who do accept it that these sources clearly demonstrate the fallacy of Islam. For instance, the hadiths make it easier for Christians to demonstrate the fact that the Quran is not a perfectly compiled text, or that Muhammad was a false prophet etc.

Saifullah & Co.:

We will also deal with some of the statements made by the Christian missionary Shamoun concerning Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Kab al-Ahbâr.


What they should have said is that they would try to deal with my statements since their response fails to rebut any of my points. The authors assume certain conclusions and think that these assertions are sufficient in rebutting my points.

Saifullah & Co.:

Furthermore, Saifullah does not apply his method of criticism consistently. In one of his articles, he cites the hadith collection of Wahb b. Munabbih to prove that there were early records of Islamic traditions.

2. Wahb Or Hammâm?

According to the Christian missionary Shamoun:

In one of his articles, he cites the hadith collection of Wahb b. Munabbih to prove that there were early records of Islamic traditions.

Well, if one simply follows that link and read it is clear that we are talking about Hammâm Ibn Munabbih, the brother of Wahb Ibn Munabbih. The Christian missionary confused himself with the names. Hammâm Ibn Munabbih wrote his Sahifa which comprises of 138 ahâdîth and his collection is believed to be mid-first century AH/seventh century CE.


The authors think that they have now rebutted my argument by exposing my mistake in confusing Wahb with his brother. Had Saifullah read my articles carefully he would have picked up the following comment:

"Wahb was from San'aa of Yemen; died 110 or 114 H. He was Ikhbary (a storyteller) AND NOT A HADITH TRANSMITTER. But his main interest was what we call 'Isra'iliyat' which were transmitted to him through men like K'AB AL-AHBAR (who died 32-34 H.)... which Wahb inserted into Islamic stories." (Muhammad Abd el-Ghani Hasan from his book, Attarikh 'end al-Musleman as found in Ketaboka no. 32, p.12)

"What disfigured our literary heritage, especially the field of expounding the Quran (Tafsir) were the Israi'liyat that crept into it, and disturbed its order. THIS STARTED, REGRETFULLY, VERY EARLY, THAT IS, SINCE THE TIME OF THE COMPANIONS LIKE K'AB AL-AHBAR AND WAHB IBN MUNABBEH, AND OTHERS WHO WERE CONVERTED TO ISLAM FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK [i.e. Jews and Christians] The infiltration of the Isra'iliyat was small at the beginning, then it began to increase, unintentionally. THIS GAVE WAY TO PLOTTING, SCHEMING AND INTENTIONAL CONSPIRACY.

"Because the Jews were defeated militarily by the Muslims and wanting to resist by using another weapon-an intellectual one-they slipped into the Isra'iliyat and, WITHIN A SHORT PERIOD, THE MUSLIM BOOKS WERE FULL OF IT." (Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi Thaqafat al-Da'iah, Mu'saasat al-Resalah [Beirut, 1979], p. 41)

Notice the followng statement by Dr. Qaradwi: "...AND OTHERS WHO WERE CONVERTED TO ISLAM FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK..."

Qaradawi does not limit the introduction of Jewish source material to Wahb alone, but to the other converts from Judaism as well. This would naturally include Hammam, since he was also a convert from Judaism. Hence, my initial point still stands. In fact, according to Saifullah's article on early hadiths, Hammam was a disciple of Abu Huraira:

"The Hadîths of Hammam bin Munabbih: A few word on this person will suffice. In the book Arabic Literature To The End of Ummayyad Period we see that:

An example is the Sahifah of Hammam bin Munabbih, (d. 110/719), a Yemenite follower and a disciple of companion Abu Hurrayrah, (d 58/677), from whom Hammam wrote this Sahifah, which comprises 138 hadith and is believed to have been written around the mid-first AH/seventh century.[1]

The author went on to say:

It is significant that Hammam introduces his text with the words: "Abu Hurrayrah told us in the course of what he related from the Prophet", thus giving the source of his information in the manner which became known as "sanad" or "isnad", i.e., the teacher of chain of teachers through whom an author reaches the Prophet, a practice invariably and systematically followed in Hadith compilations.[2]" (

Interestingly, not only have some Muslims come to question the integrity of the Jewish converts, but certain Muslims have also come to question Abu Huraira's integrity as well. Noted Christian Apologist, John Gilchrist, explains why hadiths transmitted on the authority of Abu Huraira are considered questionable:

"One can hardly consider the question of the authenticity of the Hadith literature without reference to Muhammad's companion Abu Hurairah for, on the one hand, he is the greatest reporter of traditions, having handed down well over five thousand - more than double the number recorded by any other companion. On the other hand, he has been exposed to criticism throughout the ages, especially within the Islamic heritage. In this case the accusation has generally been that Abu Hurairah himself has been the forger of the hadith attributed to him, as opposed to the usual conviction that the traditions were composed many years later and fathered on various companions.

"Abu Hurairah only became a Muslim about three years before Muhammad's death and the early Muslims wondered how someone who had known Muhammad for such a short time could learn so many hadith from him. One tradition attributed to him does tend to reflect poorly on his reliability. It is reported by the other great traditionist Abdullah ibn Umar that dogs were to be destroyed unless they were kept for one of two purposes.

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "If someone keeps a dog neither for guarding livestock, nor for hunting, his good deeds will decrease (in reward) by two Qirats a day". (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, p. 284).

"Dogs, therefore, were only to be kept for watching herds or for hunting. Abu Hurairah's tradition reads as follows:

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who kept a dog except one meant for watching the herd, or for hunting or for watching the fields, he lost two qirat of reward every day. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 3, p. 827).

"In this hadith we find that dogs who look after fields were to be spared in addition to those serving the other two purposes mentioned by Ibn Umar. The tradition has an interesting addendum: "Zuhri said: The words of Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) were conveyed to Ibn Umar who said: May Allah have mercy on Abu Huraira; he owned a field" (Sahih Muslim, op. cit.). Quite clearly Ibn Umar believed that Abu Hurairah had forged the permission to preserve dogs who looked after fields to protect his own vested interests. As a Western writer says, "A better illustration of the underlying motive of some hadith can hardly be found" (Guillaume, The Traditions of Islam, p.78)." (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam [Roodepoort Mission Press, Geoffrey Street, Roodepoort Republic of South Africa 1986], pp. 246-247)

Gilchrist continues,

"... If such traditions had been fairly widespread among the earliest transmitters, one would be inclined to treat them more seriously but, coming as they do chiefly from one source, one cannot help being somewhat sceptical. Furthermore it is very significant that the author of most of the traditions should be regarded as the least reliable authority as this has serious omens for the tradition literature as a whole.

If it is possible to expose just one Companion as unreliable, the firmly constructed apparatus of tradition criticism begins to shake. It certainly topples over when this Companion happens to be the one who, of all the Companions, has transmitted the greatest number of sayings on the authority of the Prophet. (Juynboll, The Authenticity of the Tradition Literature, p. 13).

In some of the other collections of Hadith of far less authority it is recorded that the caliph Umar threatened to exile Abu Hurairah if he did not refrain from transmitting hadith, deliberately accusing him of telling lies in Muhammad's name. Whether these traditions are true or not cannot be established. One thing is clear, however, and that is that the criticism of Abu Hurairah's traditions does tend to reflect negatively on the authenticity of the Hadith literature as a whole." (Ibid. pp. 248-249; you can also read it on-line)

Apart from Gilchrist's comments on the extent of the negative impact Huraira's credibility has on the hadith as a whole, one thing sticks out clearly. The assertions that the science of hadith classification insures the reliability of a certain hadith is laughable seeing that the very starting point of the chain of transmission is suspect.

A Sunni Muslim, Akbarally Meherally, also mentions Abu Huraira:

"A Hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah is regarded as Ma'lul (defective), by the more knowledgeable authorities than Imam Muslim, such as Imam Bukhari and Yahya bin Ma'in. The reported saying "is not of the Prophet (s.a.s.) but one of Ka'b al-Ahbar". This is recorded by Ibn Taimiyyah in Majmu' Fatawa. For the complete details of Ibn Taimiyyah's recorded version and the alternate opinion given by scholar Al-Albani read An Introduction to the Science of Hadith by Dr. Suhaib Hasan Abdul Ghaffar (p. 43).

Below is the text of the above mentioned Ma'lul (defective) Hadith which I have downloaded from the following Website. Since the numbering is not uniform one may find this text under No. 38:6707 or 4:2149 or 4:1462 of Sahih Muslim.

Book No. 38, "Giving Description Of The Day Of Judgement, Paradise And Hell (Kitab Sifat Al-Qiyama Wa'L Janna Wa'N-Nar)". Hadith Number 6707:

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah:

Allah's Messenger took hold of my hands and said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light on Wednesday and He caused the animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam (peace_be_upon_him) after Asr on Friday; the last creation at the last hour of the hours of Friday, i.e. between afternoon and night.

The above mentioned day by day description of the Creation comes very close to the one that is mentioned in the Taurat. Please see the Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Chapter 1. This information does not appear in the Holy Qur'an. The above Hadith is not a Hadith-e-Qudsi. Under the circumstances one may wounder; How the Prophet could have this descriptive information. If the Prophet had not related this information to Abu Hurairah, then who was this Ka'b al-Ahbar, whose saying is alleged to have been reported as that of the Prophet (s.a.s.)? Ka'b was a Jewish scholar who had entered Islam. He was a Tabi who was known for quoting verses from the Taurat. We also know from Hadith 5:17 of Al-Muwatta that Abu Hurairah had gone to Mount Sinai to meet Ka'b al Ahbar. During their meeting Ka'b had quoted texts from the Taurat to Abu Hurairah and Abu Hurairah had quoted the sayings of the Prophet to Ka'b. This information indirectly supports the earlier criticism by Imam Bukhari and Yahya bin Ma'in concerning this Hadith." (Please see this article by Mr. Meherally [now moved here].)

According to Meherally's sources, Abu Huraira reported traditions on the authority of Kab al-Ahbar, which the latter had passed on from Jewish sources. Hence, Huraira also passed on Israiliyyat sources from Kab, one of the very Jews accused of corrupting the traditions of Islam!

Another article written by Muslims that also highlights the problems with Abu Huraira as a hadith transmitter can be found here.

Furthermore, the reason why I had assumed that Hammam and Wahb actually referred to the same person is due to comments made by Dr. Jamal Badawi in his debates with Dr. Robert Morey and Jay Smith on the topic, "Is the Quran the Word of God?" There, Badawi mentioned Muhammad Hamidullah's commentary on the early hadith collection of Wahb, and proceeded to use this particular point in his debate to prove that there were early writings of hadith. After reading Saifullah's article where he mentions Hamidullah's work, I naturally assumed that Hammam was another name for Wahb.

Had Saifullah recalled our on-line discussion, he would have remembered the following qualification:

"ASSUMING THAT SAIFULLAH WAS REFERRING TO THE HADITH COLLECTION OF WAHHAB IBN MUNABBIH (AGAIN THIS IS AN ASSUMPTION SINCE I'M NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE FACT THAT WAHHAB WAS KNOWN BY HAMMAM)... Instead of Christian missionaries, Saifullah must now deal with his Muslim colleagues who are doing the work of discrediting men like Wahhab, affirming the unreliability of the Islamic traditions." (Taken from: this discussion)

Seeing that Saifullah never bothered to indicate that Wahb and Hammam did not refer to the same person, I then assumed that Hammam and Wahb were simply two different names for the same individual. And I do agree with the authors that I should have been more careful by going to the original sources in order to discover that Hammam and Wahb were brothers, not one and the same individual.

Saifullah & Co.:

3. Isrâ'îlîyât: Its Narrators & Rules Of Accepting The Narrations

The first and foremost issue is to know the basis of acceptance of isrâ'îliyyât by the hadîth scholars. The scholars distinguish three kinds of the isrâ'îliyyât:

Those known to be true because the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad(P) confirms them.

Those known to be false, because the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad(P) rejects them.

Those not known to be true or false, and we do not say they are true or false.

These set of rules are applied by hadîth scholars when dealing with isrâ'îliyyât material. These rules are based on the hadîth of the Prophet(P) recorded in various hadîth collections. From the above, one can conclude that it is of little consequence whether Wahb, Kacb or anyone else is narrating the isrâ'îliyyât material from them or anyone else since the same set of rules applies to everyone narrating such traditions. It does not exclude even Ibn Abbâs who also had transmitted isrâ'îliyyât traditions through Wahb, Kab and others.


First, the authors are operating under a set of assumptions that are problematic from the very start. They must assume that when the Jewish sources agree with the reported sayings or "revelations" given to Muhammad then these sources are valid. They also must assume that when these sources contradict the alleged sayings or "revelations," then the Jewish sources must be clearly wrong. Yet, the authors give us no basis why one should accept these assumptions. After all, it is equally possible that when an alleged saying or "revelation" of Muhammad contradicts the Jewish source material, it is the "revelation" of Muhammad that is faulty.

Furthermore, the authors must use circular argumentation in trying to distinguish the reliable Jewish source material from the inauthentic ones. They appeal to the hadith of Muhammad for the basis of identifying the questionable sources that are also contained within these very hadiths! Hence, one must use the hadith to prove the hadith! We wonder if whether the authors actually have pondered over this methodology, seeing that it entails them to argue in a circle.

Saifullah & Co.:

Wahb transmitted both isrâ'îliyyât and Islamic traditions. Does transmitting isrâ'îliyyât traditions along with Islamic traditions make any transmitter untrustworthy? Or is he branded as a fabricator or a liar? The above set of rules does not say so. But according to the missionary:


The only thing these set of rules point to is the complete circular method and faulty assumptions the authors must assume in order to arrive at their conclusions.

Saifullah & Co.:

This has led prominent Muslims to doubt Wahb's credibility as a compiler of hadith.

In the current discussion, we are dealing with Wahb, the transmitter of hadîth and isrâ'îliyyât traditions, not the compiler of hadîth. This distinction should be made clearer for those who are confused. The scholars of the hadîth had criticized the isrâ'îliyyât traditions transmitted by him.


Again, had the authors read my citations carefully they would have seen that Wahb's credibility as a transmitter of hadith is called into question:

"Wahb was from San'aa of Yemen; died 110 or 114 H. He was Ikhbary (a storyteller) AND NOT A HADITH TRANSMITTER. But his main interest was what we call 'Isra'iliyat' which were transmitted to him through men like K'AB AL-AHBAR (who died 32-34 H.)... which Wahb inserted into Islamic stories." (Muhammad Abd el-Ghani Hasan from his book, Attarikh 'end al-Musleman as found in Ketaboka no. 32, p.12)

According to this Muslim, Wahb is not a reliable hadith transmitter. Hence, the distinction between compilation and transmission has no relevance to Wahb's credibility, so the authors' point crumble.

Saifullah & Co.:

What we do is a simple exercise of going through the books that deal with the transmitters of hadîth compiled by the famous hadîth scholars of the past. This study in the hadîth sciences is known as Rijâl al-Hadîth (the study of the reporters of hadîth). This would enable us to check the reliability of Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Kab al-Ahbar as the transmitters of hadîth. We have also included Hammâm Ibn Munabbih for the sake of completeness of the argument.


The authors again are operating under the assumption that the study of reporters of hadith is reliable and therefore can be used to safely argue for the integrity of Wahb, Kabb and Hammam. The authors seemingly are unaware that to use the hadith to prove the reliability of these hadith transmitters is circular reasoning. To say that Wahb is reliable since the scholars of hadith say that he was is begging the question since their very opinions are derived from the hadith itself. You cannot use the hadith to prove the hadith, unless you like to argue in circles as the authors do.

Furthermore, the authors also assume that the arguments of certain Muslims who uphold the integrity of Wahb etc. supposedly refutes those Muslims that do not. Yet, all this simply proves is that Islamic scholarship is confused and chaotic, since we find that Muslims do not unanimously hold to the same views on the essentials of their faith.

The opinions of these Muslims are unlike those of liberal Christians who do not believe in revelation, miracles etc. The reason why is due to the fact that these Muslims all believe in prophets, divine books, revelation, miracles and so on. Hence, their opinions are not due to any anti-supernatural bias, but on the lack of credible historical evidence and the faulty method used by Muslims at arriving at the different classifications of the hadith collection.

Saifullah & Co.:

Wahb Ibn Munabbih

Concerning Wahb, al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar (d. 852H) said:

Thiqah... [precise and trustworthy].[1]

Ibn Hajar places him in category three of hadîth narrators who come immediately after category two, which includes extremely precise and firmly established hadîth narrators, and after category one which is reserved purely for the Companions of the Prophet(P).

According to al-Ijlî (d. 261H), Wahb is:

A successor, thiqah...[2]

The editor of this edition placed a footnote to al-Ijlî's comment saying:

He is also declared thiqah by Abû Zurah, an-Nasâ'î, Ibn Hibbân and others.[3]

Imâm as-Suyûtî (d. 911H) includes him in his book of hadîth memorisers.[4]

Many of the hadîth scholars have recorded his hadîth, including al-Bukhârî, Muslim, Abû Dâwûd and al-Tirmidhî.

To summarize the views of various hadîth specialists on Wahb, let us consider the following quote: (Arabic Text Follows)

The translation of which is:

If we examine what the scholars and critics said concerning Wahb, we would be convinced that he was above the defamation made Against him, innocent from any accusation that would scratch his fairness and honesty. Al-Dhahabî said: He was trustworthy and honest and transmitted a lot from the books of isrâ'îliyyât. Al-Ijlî said: Trustworthy and a successor, he was appointed in the Court of Sanâ'. Ibn Hajar said: Wahb Ibn Munabbih of Sanâ' was a successor. He was trusted by the public of scholars except al-Fallâs who said: He is weak, what led him to this stance is that [Wahb] was suspected of having a controversed opinion regarding Qadar [i.e., predestination]. An-Nasâ'î and Abû Zurah said: He was trustworthy. Ibn Hibbân has mentioned him in his book of trustworthy narrators. Al-Bukhârî himself used to rely on him and trusted him. We can find in al-Bukhârî one report from him through his brother Hammâm from Abû Huraira concerning the writing of hadîth....[5]

So the conclusion here is that Wahb is consider to be a thiqah even though he transmitted isrâ'îliyyât traditions along with the Islamic ones. The scholars have rejected the isrâ'îliyyât traditions which do not satisfy the criteria as listed above.


This conclusion is valid only if you first assume that the opinions of these men hold more weight than the opinions of those Muslims that disagree with them. Yet, we will demonstrate the weakness behind such assumptions.

Saifullah & Co.:

Kab al-Ahbâr

Al-Bukhârî records a single narration from him, and Muslim, Abû Dâwûd and al-Tirmidhî have also recorded his hadîth.

Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar said:


And he places him in the second category of hadîth narrators.

Hammâm Ibn Munabbih

Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar said:


And he places him in category four which is a category of narrators that just falls below the status of those in category three.

Al-Ijlî said:

...Thiqah, a successor.[8]

The editor of this edition placed a footnote to al-Ijlî's comment saying:

There is agreement on the fact that he is thiqah, his hadîth are in the six books [i.e., Bukhârî, Muslim, Abû Dâwûd, al-Tirmidhî, an-Nasâ'î, Ibn Mâjah].[9]


Here are the opinions of Muslims who not only cast doubt on Wahb, but on the hadith collection as a whole. In Andrew Vargo's excellent article, he cites the following Muslim views on the hadith, specifically the hadith collection of Bukhari:

Muhammed A. Asadi says:

Imam Bokhari the collector of the narration lived in a period over 230 years after the death of the prophet. Out of the 600,000 hadith (narrations) that he collected, which were initially attributed to the prophet, he threw out as fabrication 592,700 of them and kept only 7300 as being genuine. They further reduce to 2762 hadith after repetition. The margin of error in these numbers is so great, that any rational inquirer can see that accepting the book of Bukhari as containing all authentic hadith or even a majority of authentic hadith is stupidity. YET THE MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS UNQUESTIONABLY ACCEPT IT.

...However even according to their own standards, they fell into a dilemma. Some hadith exist which have according to them a "sound" chain of narrators i.e it was truthfully narrated but they dispute the text of the hadith. One example of this and their whole system collapses.

Kassim Ahmad tells us:

But the hadith writers are still insistent. According to some, at least Bukhari's hadith is infallible. Why? Because Bukhari is reported to have sifted through more than 600,000 hadiths and had picked only 7,275 to be included in his `authentic' collection. This fact is put forward to impress upon the reader that Bukhari was meticulous and thorough in his life's work. Bukhari merely took 1.25% of all the hadiths he came across as authentic. But a simple calculation will show that these figures are preposterous and impossible to be achieved by Bukhari or any other human being.

If, on the average, a hadith consists of three simple sentences (in truth many hadiths run into paragraphs), then Bukhari would have had to collect, read, investigate, evaluate and record over 1.8 million sentences over a period of 40 years. This is the equivalent of researching (which include the long camel journeys to and fro across the desert) and attesting to the authenticity of over 300 books, each equivalent to the thickness and complexity of a Quran, over a period of 40 years!

Vargo concludes with the following question:

Another question which needs to be asked is : where is the manuscript evidence concerning the earliest Hadith? How can we be sure that stories were not erroneously inserted into the traditions, or that existing stories did not undergo editing? After all, if someone can "create" a tradition, what would prevent them from "creating" a chain of narration? It is interesting to note that Bukhari wrote a book about the narrators (Zuafa-us-sagher). What is even more interesting is that Bukhari's book condemns several narrators including: Ata bin abi Maimoona, Ayyub bin Aiz, Ismail bin Aban, Zubair bin Muhammad, At-Tayyimi, Saeed bin Urwa, Abdullah bin Abi Labeed, Abdul Malik bin Ameen, Abdul waris bin Saeed, Ata bin As-Saib bin Yazeed, and Khamsan bin Minhal as unreliable. However, the Hadith-collection of Bukhari in its modern form actually includes many traditions narrated by these very individuals! Obviously, these traditions, which Bukhari rejected, were inserted in his book following his death. (The preceding citations taken from Vargo's paper)

Sunni Muslim Meherally continues:

The word "Hadith" literally means; "a saying", "a report", "an account". Within the Islamic circle and literature, the term Hadith is used to identify a text that is related to a "re-narrated" saying or account of deeds or approval by the Prophet. However, if one was to review the physical process involved in the collection and compilation of these texts one has but to admit the fact that these "reported" texts have gone through a process of several "re-narrated" verbal transmissions involving a chain of narrators going through three or more generations. Some of these narrators were reliable and unfailing in their verbal reports whereas others were not. Often, a narrator being "a man of faith" cannot utter a lie was the criteria used by a compiler. But, there was a lapse of nearly two centuries from the year of the passing away of the Prophet to the dates in which most of these compilations did happen. To say that the memories of human beings did not or do not slip away in the course of time would be a hollow claim.

These compilations were not made from the "recorded" documents. There are reports which do confirm that whatever was recorded by the companions of the prophet, other than the revealed verses of the Qur'an, had been effaced during the life time of the prophet. This was done at the expressed command of the prophet. There are diverse opinions as to why the prophet had so instructed. In the opinions of some scholars a few of the expressed reasons do hold good today and can be regarded as valid apprehensions and genuine concerns for all times and others were of a transitory nature. One such reason of a genuine unending concern that is reported speaks of this ummat following the path of those of the earlier prophets. This could be a reference to the association of the rabbinical teachings called Mishna or Talmud with the Torah, after the passing away of prophet Moses and the inclusion of the Letters (Epistles) in the New Testament along with the Gospels taught by Christ, after the passing away of prophet Jesus.

On the other hand, the prophet had not only permitted the recording of the revealed verses of the Qur'an but had personally dictated the revealed texts to the scribes who were good in the art of calligraphy. Here I may add that the prophet had permitted the recording of his Sermons (Khutbahs), and also in some exceptional cases (e.g. when a person had a weak memory), permitted the writing of his sayings. The prophet's command to efface the texts of his sayings was reaffirmed and reenacted in around Hijri 40 by Khalipha Muahwiyyah, when his attention to the prophet's command was invited by Zayd ibn Thabit.

Meherally goes on to say:

"Should one defend each and every narration that is thrown at him, because it is allegedly identified as an authentic Hadith? I do not think so. Many of these narrated texts can be based upon weak narrations or spurious reports and others can be presented out of contexts or intentionally distorted. Often it is mentioned that the Arabs living in the era of the prophet had far greater capacity than what we have today, of memorizing and then repeating without error later on, what the prophet had narrated. The question is how can one verify an unwritten text, years later? Anyone who has read the article on this site 'Qur'an does not say; Jesus was substituted on the Cross', would realize how easily texts can be added, even to the pre-recorded texts of the Qur'an, and then such a version is published and circulated, even in this century.

"One may argue that this wholesale rejection demonstrates that the early compilers like Bukhari (d. 256/870), Muslim (d. 261/875), Tirmidhi (d. 279/892), Abu Dawud d. 261/875), Nasai (d. 303/915) and Ibn Majah (d. 273/886) had very strict standards and the dubious or unreliable reports were weeded out. Another may argue that the probability of bypassing the scrutiny goes higher as the percentage of such a rejection goes higher. The later rationale gets a valid support from the fact that the compiled and published Ahadith are "Classified" into various categories, by the scholars who have spent years studying the Science of compiled Ahadith. It is also noticed on the Internet that a particular narration classified by one Muslim student or writer under a certain category or class is strongly disputed by another. Even the recorded classification done by an earlier learned scholar is being revised by a subsequent scholar. Majority of the Shiah reports are of even later date. Mostly they are from the Buyid period of around 454 Hijri."

Meherally brings up two interesting points. First, how can one definitely know that what is stated in a text that is compiled nearly two centuries after the events it reports is accurate? One simply cannot, and therefore all the talk of classification of hadiths is circular since one must prove the reliability of the transmission by the text, and then proceed to verify the text by the chain of transmission contained within it!

Secondly, Meherally states that certain hadiths that are placed by some Muslims in a particular classification are then placed in a totally different classification by other Muslims! Perhaps Saifullah & staff can sort out the mess and confusion left by Islamic scholarship over the authority and authenticity of the hadith.

Meherally also mentions the crimes of the so-called "Storytellers" who would fabricate stories as well as falsifying chains of transmission and their related texts:

"The worst crime was committed by the Storytellers. They were often caught manufacturing enchanting, highly vivid and totally strange anecdotes (riwayats) of miraculous nature. The narrating storyteller (al-Qussas) would do that to collect larger rewards from the audiences and earn greater fame in the country. To learn of a superb example from this category of how proficient were these Storytellers in the manufacturing of the fabricated texts as well as the fabricated chain of narrators (matn and isnad), and on top of it boldly lying when caught and confronted; please read 'Criticism of Hadith among Muslims with reference to Sunan ibn Maja' by Dr. Suhaib Hasan, page 106, published jointly by Ta-Ha Publishers and Al-Qur'an Society, London, England."

Interestingly, we had pointed out earlier that Wahb was accused of being a "Storyteller." This indirectly implies that if Meherally is correct, Wahb's witness would be suspect since "Stortytellers" were proficient in effectively passing off fabricated hadiths as factual. Hence, Saifullah and his staff do not have a problem with Christian "missionaries", but with their fellow Muslims who are debunking the integrity of the Islamic traditions as well as hadith transmitters like Wahb.

Meherally continues to document why certain hadiths, even though considered reliable, are actually questionable in nature:

"It is not uncommon to read narrations after narrations that speak of what will happen after the passing away of the prophet (e.g. how many Sects there will be), others that give elaborate details of what will take place in the end time, on the day of judgement, in the heaven or in the hell, etc., etc. And, many of these narrations do not belong to Ahadith Qudsi, meaning the sources of these narrations terminate with the Prophet and do not go to Allah (S.W.T.), who ALONE has the Knowledge of the Unseen. Such narrations do support the notion of manufactured narrations having crept into all Classifications of Ahadith."


"The above list tells us that each and every "published" Hadith that is identified and enumerated cannot be justly labeled "authoritative or sound". Also, the possibility of a "weak" or "faulty" Hadith falling under the wrong criteria and/or regarded as "sound" by a compiler, cannot be ruled out with hundred percent surety. Hence, the use of incorrect terminology/classification by us or our resentment to observe the needed caution because of personal attitude, may end up putting the Credibility of the Messenger or the Integrity of Islam on the line, instead of the rejection of the credibility of a narrator or a compiler." (The preceding citations from Meherally can be found in his article)

Seeing that the issue over the integrity of the hadith and its transmitters is a Muslim-Muslim debate and seeing that the problem is far from resolved the authors have proven incapable of rebutting any of my original points.

Saifullah & Co.:


The above discussion is self-explanatory. The obvious conclusion is that each hadîth is discussed on the basis of its strengths and weaknesses; whether in chain of narrators (isnâd) or the text (matn). We find that Wahb Ibn Munabbih and Kab al-Ahbâr are considered as trustworthy narrators of hadîth because they transmitted the Islamic traditions faithfully along with isrâ'îliyyât traditions. Just because they had also transmitted isrâ'îliyyât traditions along with the Islamic ones does not make them 'untrustworthy' or 'fabricators' of hadîth because they did not attribute these isrâ'îliyyât traditions to the Prophet(P). Muslim scholars have rejected the isrâ'îliyyât traditions on the basis that they do not satisfy the critieria of truthfulness according to the above set of rules.


Indeed, the above discussion is self-explanatory. Muslims must use circular argumentation to prove their points. They must use the chain of transmission to prove the reliability of the text and yet the only way for them to verify this chain is by the text in question! Furthermore, the authors must assume that the set of rules established by Muslims themselves is reliable and therefore a valid method of authenticating Islamic sources. Yet, they fail to tell us why these set of rules are valid and binding on the conscience of Muslims seeing that they were developed by fallible men who were neither inspired nor prophets.

Saifullah & Co.:

In a response to an accusation against Kab al-Ahbâr, Wahb Ibn Munabbih, and others who had knowledge in the previous books and transmitted it in the Islamic literature, Dr. Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabî says:

As for his saying [i.e., the critic]: "In general they [Kab and the others] introduced to the Muslim's creed and knowledge a lot of what had left bad affects." If [the critic] wanted to put the blame of the bad affects upon Kacb and the others then we don't agree on this, because whatever Kab and the others narrated from the People of the Book they didn't say it is from the Prophet(P) and [thus] they didn't lie to Muslims about it, but they were only reporting it as the Israelite tradition which existed in their own books. We are not obliged to believe anything of it nor we are requested to trust it..."[10]

That actually sums up the whole case rather nicely.


Yet another modern Muslim authority, Dr. Yusuf Qaradwi, disagrees exposing the problems inherent in Islamic exegesis and methodology.

Saifullah & Co.:

Finally, if the Christian missionary Shamoun can't distinguish between Wahb and Hammâm and a major difference between a compiler and a transmitter of hadîth, he has no right to comment on the hadîth literature itself.


Ahh, the ad hominem attack and petty slurs. Indeed, this is the only thing one can say when their circular methodology, faulty assumptions, and poor rebuttals are exposed - demonstrating the complete shallowness and bankruptcy of Islamic scholarship. Once again, Saifullah & his staff are long on words but very short on substance.

In the service of King Jesus, our risen Lord, forever.

Sam Shamoun

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