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FW: Fw: Living in The Age of “Email Forwards”

Posted on: December 3, 2011


In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

FW: Fw: Living in The Age of “Email Forwards” !

The advent of modern technology has provided an unprecedented platform for individuals and groups to manufacture and spread false information about Islam at a large scale. This phenomenon is carried out by both, people who are members of the faith and others who are open adversaries of Islam. Whilst the latter group is less successful in its attempts to penetrate and circulate false teachings among Muslims, the first group for a long time, has had almost total success with very little opposition.

Though there is a small and growing circle of Muslims ever cautious and alert, aware of the dangers of false teachings and always demanding evidence and proof, the vast majority are completely oblivious to this predicament. Throughout the years, I have personally witnessed Imams of mosques, students at universities and the average Muslim at home or work, all inadvertently and naively involved in tampering with the pristine teachings of Islam.

Commentaries are given of the Quran with the aid of strange and fictitious Israelite traditions, ahadith are quoted, unanimously agreed by the scholars as fabrications, irrational statements are dressed up and put into the mouth of early Muslim scholars to gain legitimacy, and ridiculous rumours are spread without anyone questioning its authenticity or asking for a reference. Emails in particular is used as a vehicle to spread false information from person to person with astonishing rapidity by encouraging recipients to forward messages, to everyone they know.

It is now quite normal to find our emails inundated with supposed miracles like the Shahadah in German trees, or new conversion stories like, Neil Armstrong hearing the Adhan on the moon and accepting Islam, or warnings on the birth of Dajjal or worst still fabricated ahadith on the merits of different actions.

Of course, this phenomenon is nothing new. Preachers, zealots, heretics, pamphleteers, story tellers and ignorant ascetics of every age give currency to legendary narratives and furnish it with a few of their own inventions. Conscious of this problem, in the early centuries of Islam, a group of Muslims scholars took on the challenge and dedicated their lives to preserve the authentic statements of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and to purge out later additions. They travelled long arduous journeys, leaving their families and children and sacrificing the luxuries of food and comfort, deciphering hundreds of manuscripts, interrogating a multitude of men and writing volumes of books all with the aim of protecting this faith and eliminating any fabrications.

Yet, the task is not over. Even today, the circulation of fables and fictitious legends continues via the pulpit, books, television and most recently the internet. If this trend continues unchecked it will lead to disastrous results.

It is only when we as Muslims work together, that we will be able to eradicate this problem. We must show a high level of caution and vigilance and avoid forwarding emails without verification. We must not quote or cite ahadith whose authenticity is unknown or doubtful. We should not feel inhibited or shy to ask someone for a reference or source.

In conclusion I would like to leave you with a few sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the early Muslim scholars on the dangers of falsely attributing a statement to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the importance of verifying information before it is passed on to others.

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The Seriousness of Telling Lies About the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

On the authority of ‘Ali, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Do not tell lies about me, for whoever tell lies about me will enter the Fire.” [Reported by Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “What prevents me from narrating many ahadith to you is the fact that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his seat in the Fire.” [Reported by Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prohibition of Passing On Any or Every Information That Reaches You Without Verification

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“It is sufficient lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

Imam Malik said: “You should know that no man who speaks of everything that he hears will be free of faults, and he will never be an Imam who speaks of everything that he hears.”

He further states “A person will not become an Imam in knowledge if he relates everything that he hears, and he will not be an Imam if he narrates from every single person and narrates odd (weak) reports.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) Warning Us of People Fabricating Stories & Ahadith

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“At the end of my Ummah there will be imposters and liars who will narrate to you ahadith that neither you nor your forefathers ever heard. Beware of them and stay away from them, and do not let them mislead you or confuse you.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

The Importance of Isnad & Taking Knowledge Only From Recognized Authorities

Imam Muhammad bin Sirin said: “This knowledge (Hadith) is the foundation of religion, so watch from whom you learn your religion.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

Ibn Abu Zinad narrated that his father said: “In al-Madinah, I met one hundred men, all of whom were reliable, but no one accepted ahadith from them. It was said: “He is not one of its people.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

Imam ‘Abd Allah bin Mubarak said: “The chain of narration (Isnad) is part of religion, were it not for the chain, anyone could say whatever he wanted.” [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

Imam Sufyan ath-Thawri said: “The Isnad is the weapon of the Believer. So if he does not have a weapon with him, what will he fight with?” [Sharaf Ashabal Hadith (1/15)]

Even People Who Appear Righteous Could Fabricate Ahadith Unintentionally

Imam Yahya bin Sa’id al-Qattan narrated from his father: “You will not see in good people anything worse than in telling lies about ahadith.

Imam Muslim commented: “This means, lies would flow from their tongues but they do not lie deliberately. [Reported by Imam Muslim in the Introduction to his Sahih]

Some Atatements From The Early Scholars

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Mahdi: “it is not permissible for a man to be an Imam until he knows what is authentic (in Hadith) from what is not authentic.”

Imam Sufyan ath-Thawri: “Increase in (the knowledge of) Hadith as it is a weapon (for you).”

Imam Sufyan al-Thawri: “The angels are guardians of the sky, and the scholars of Hadith are the guardians on Earth.”

Imam Yazid bin Zari’: “For every religion there are knights, and the knights of this religion are the scholars of Hadith.”

‘Imam Abd Allah bin Mubarak said: “The example of the one who studies his Religion without an Isnad is like the one who attempts to ascend a roof without a ladder.” [Sharaf Ashabul Hadith (1/15)]

Abu Mansur bin Sallam al-Faqih said: “There is nothing heavier upon the people of heresy and more hated by them than listening to the Hadith and its narration with its Isnad.” [Sharaf Ashabul Hadith (2/36)]

An Example of The Efforts That Were Taken By The Scholars To Ascertain The Authenticity of a Hadith

Al-Mu’mal ibn Isma’il was once informed of a Hadith on the authority of Ubay bin K’ab detailing the virtue of every Surah in the Quran.

Al-Mu’mal inquired of his teacher: “Who narrated (this Hadith to you)?”

The teacher replied: “A man in Madain, and he is still alive.”

Al-Mu’mal continues: “So I traveled to meet this man in person. Once I met him, I asked him who had narrated the Hadith to him.

He replied: “A Sheikh in Wasiť and he is still alive.”

So I traveled to Wasiť and asked the man who narrated the Hadith to him.

He replied: “A Sheikh in Basra”.

So I traveled to Basra and asked the Sheikh the same question.

He replied that he was informed by a Sheikh in ‘Abadan.

So I traveled to ‘Abadan and asked the Sheikh who had narrated the Hadith to him.

The Sheikh got hold of my hand and took me to a house where some Sufis had gathered and among them was a Sheikh.

“This Sheikh reported the Hadith to me” said the man holding my hand.

So I asked: “O Sheikh, who reported this Hadith to you?”

The man replied: “No one reported the Hadith to me, but when I saw the people turning away from the Quran, I fabricated this Hadith to bring the people back to the Quran.” [ash-Shadha al-Fayah 1/228]

Imam ash-Shawkani describing the efforts of the early Hadith scholars writes:

“The scholars went to great extents to inform the people of fabricated ahadith, and they exposed the fairytales of liars, and removed from the ahadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the false attributions of the fabricators, the distortions of the transgressors, and the erroneous explanations of the ignorant…” [al-Fawa’id al-Majmu’ah: 3]


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