Meeting 5 Causes For Weak Ahadith In The Books Of Shi'a

Meeting 5: Causes for Weak Ahadith in the books of Shi'a Abstract

1. Different versions 

Some of the problems of the Ahadith are due to different versions of the manuscripts of the books. In the old days the publication of a book was by writing many copies from the original manuscript. The books were either dictated to a calligrapher or he would copy the contexts of the book. It would be quite natural to make mistakes in either mishearing a word or misspelling it. For instance, we mentioned a Hadith earlier from Imam Baqir (a.s) concerning al-Jame'a in which the Imam (a.s) was answering the questions of Hakam Ibn Oyayna. In one of the manuscripts of 'al-Najashi' it is written that the Imam (a.s) answered him 'MOKREMAN' (respectfully), whereas in the other manuscript it is written 'MOKREHAN' (without any interest). As you can see the change of a letter (H or M) changes the meaning significantly. 

2. Perversions 

Another reason for weak Ahadith is the deliberate perversions occurred in their books of Hadith. Such perversions would usually occur at the time of duplication of the secondary copies. The book of Solaim Ibn Qays is an example of this type of perversion.

3. Political pressure 

Although the law of Hadith prohibition was removed from the second century, the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) had no freedom to narrate or compile their books of Hadith. Listening to a Hadith from the Imams of Ahlu-Bait (a.s) was sometimes so hard that often they had to attend the house of the Imam (a.s) as a fruit seller or the like. 

Keeping books of Hadith for many Shi'a was an offence. Some Shi'a narrators had hidden their books all their life until they died. Others lost their books naturally during their imprisonment such as Ibn Abi Omair. 

4. Sectarianism 

Tyrants have always been ruling people by dividing them into small groups and creating disputes amongst them. The Abbasid rulers caused some divisions amongst the Shi'a. Sects such as Kisaniyyah, Fatahiyyah, Ismaeiliyyah, Zaidiyyah, Gholat [47] and the like were created to divide and pervert the path of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). The followers of such groups often fabricated some Hadith to justify their sects. Sometimes naive Shi'a narrated from them assuming that they are Shi'a. for instance, Ammar Ibn Musa al-Saabaati was one of the companions of Imam Sadiq (a.s) and Imam Kadhem (a.s). He then became one of the chiefs of the Fatahiyyah sect. [48] The Shi'a scholars argue about the authenticity of Ammar. Sheikh Tousi (died in 460 A.H) asserted: "Narrations that are narrated only by Ammar Ibn Musa can not be relied upon."[49] Thus, one of the sciences of Hadith is the study of different sects amongst the Shi'a. 

5. Defamation of narrators 

Another reason for regarding some Ahadith as weak is defamation of some narrators. Scholars of the sciences of Hadith rely on the testimony of the early scholars about the narrators. For instance, if al-Najashi (died in 450 A.H) testifies the justice of a narrator we consider him just and rely on his narration. Unfortunately, however, some books were fabricated and related to the early Shi'a scholars in which many Shi'a narrators are regarded unjust. 

An example of such books is the book of 'al-Dho'afa (the weak narrators). This book is claimed to be compiled by al-Ghadha'eri; al-Husain Ibn Abdullah; one of the Shi'a scholars died in 411 A.H, or by his son; Ahmad Ibn al-Husain. If the book is truly related to them, then many Ahadith become weak. The scholars however disagree as whether the book is truly compiled by al-Ghada'eri or his son or it is a fabrication to detest many Shi'a narrators.

6. Narrating from the Sunnis 

The Hadith narrated from the unreliable Sunni sources [50] are not reliable. Sadly, often the Shi'a scholars have quoted some Ahadith form the Sunni books without any comments on them or unknowingly have formed an opinion based on the Sunni Ahadith. For instance, the eminent Shi'a scholar of the 5th century; Sheikh Tousi in his interpretation of the Quran; al-Tebyan under the Ayah 11-16 of Surah 24 narrated the myth concerning the accusation of the hypocrites towards Aisha from the Sunni sources without any comments.

Similarly, Sheikh Mahdi Naraqi (died in 1209 A.H) in his book 'Jame' Sa'adat' quoted some Hadith from 'Ehya'o Oloome Din' written by al-Ghazali; the famous Sunni Sufi (died in 505 A.H). Finally Mohaddeth al-Noori (died in 1320 A.H) formed a wrong opinion concerning the perversion of the Quran based on many unreliable Ahadith he quoted from the Sunni books. [51]

7. al-Taqiyyah (Protection(

Al-Taqiyyah (protection) is a Quranic principle that the Shi'a believe in. There are quite a number of Ahadith that are expressed by the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) with the intention of protecting the Shi'a. although these Ahadith could have been the actual words of the Imams (a.s) the Shi'a scholars do not act upon them for they Imams (a.s) had expressed it for certain circumstances only. 

8. Not every Authentic Hadith should be accepted and not every week should be rejected. 

We shall learn in the coming lessons that sometimes a Hadith is weak as far the chain of the narrators are concerned, yet the scholars accept its content. On the other hand, there may be an authentic Hadith as far as the chain of its narrators is concerned. Yet the scholars do not rely on it. For if a narrator is weak it does not mean he would never tell the truth. Similarly, it could be that a Hadith is truly narrated from one of the Imams (a.s), yet the Imam did not have a real intention in expressing it such as the Ahadith of Taqiyyah. Finally according to the absolute majority of the Shi'a scholars [52] there is no book of Hadith that all its Ahadith are authentic. Thus, every Hadith in every book is subject to scholarly investigation.