Allama Shabbir Meeruthi Found Many Ahadith in Bukhari Concocted and Fabricated

By Dr. M. Ghitreef Shahbaz Nadwi, New Age Islam

10 June 2012

Allama Shabbir Ahmad Azhar Meeruthi (1921-2005) was a great scholar of Islamic Sciences, Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and all traditional Arabic Sciences and related arts. Born at a village in Ghaziabad UP, to a very humble religious family, he got his early education in various madrasas of Meerut city, then he admitted to Imdadia seminary of the same city. Where he was taught by a very learned Alim Maulana Shah Akhtar Khan of Amroha. Alim Maulana Shah Akhtar was very loving and caring to this student of his. The disciple was brilliant, hardworking and intelligent as well as a curious boy.

 His beloved teacher Shah Akhtar Khan, noticed this shy, hard-working boy, always deeply immersed in thought, not very interactive with people and yet argumentative. He found his student always engaged in his studies, exploring new meanings and new ideas. No wonder he used to say that “this boy is a sign of God”.

After completing his formal education, on the reference of his affectionate teacher, Allama Azhar Meeruthi, went to Darul Uloom Deoband from where he graduated with distinction. And having a Fazilat degree from this reputed seminary, he engaged himself in teaching Hadith and Tafsir in various reputed seats of Islamic learning all over India including Nadwatul Ulma Lucknow. He spent his whole life time in this otherwise sacred profession, which has been hijacked now by the ulema of a lover quality.

As a senior teacher (Shakhul Hadis) he was well known in the country, but since he did not entertain any bias for any prevailing school of thought, he could not achieve success in the worldly sense, so much so that he could not even afford to publish his valuable research work properly. A courageous scholar that he was, he was very blunt in expression of his views. Time and again this would go against the vested interests of so-called Ulama and religious sectarian groups. No wonder he was virtually sidelined by the clergy.

His writings:

Allama Shabbir Ahmad Azhar Meeruthi has to his credit several seminal works on Quran, Hadith and theology and Islamic history, most important among them are:

Miftahul Quran (key to the Quran) written in Urdu is a remarkable work on Quranic exegesis.. Only a few chapters of this work have been published so far.

Dictionary on Quran (unpublished). Sharah Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal: (Urdu) a well researched work and in fact a combination of Hadith criticism research and exponent of Ahadith of the book e.g. Fiqhe hadith. (Understanding of Hadith)

Tuhfatul Qari Sharah Sahihul Bukhari (Arabic) It is a full exponential work on Bukhari, a masterpiece in Hadith literature, based on the same methodology set by Bukhari and other Muhaddisun (Hadith scholars) in research and exploring new meanings and ideas of the Ahadith of the book. The marked feature of this work is that the writer criticised many Ahadith of the book, so far considered untouched, on Riwayat (tradition) as well as Dirayat (reasoning) basis, and thus dared to breaking a centuries-old taboo among Ulama. For the majority opinion of Muslim Ulama (Sunni trend) is that everything in Bukhari is true, so it cannot be touched or criticised. The work running into at least 10 lengthy volumes remains so far unpublished.

Bukhari ka Mutalaa (3 volumes, out of which only 2 parts are published (2003) by Foundation for Islamic studies New Delhi in Urdu. The book’s second part is a critical study of 150 traditions of Bukhari (pages 350 price: Rs 150, while the first part consisting of 30 Ahadith) basically deals with a most controversial discussion about the book of Bukhari. Bukhari is considered a most credible and authentic collection of Ahadith, compiled by a great Imam and Muhaddis, Imam Mohammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari. It has always been an agreed upon belief among Muslim scholars of various schools of thought, more specifically among Sunnis, that in Bukhari there is no concocted or even a weak Hadith.  Only a very few minor mistakes, regarding the chains of a few Ahadith are supposed to be there. Notwithstanding that, in recent times there are some challenging voices that questioned this popular notion and the credibility of a set of Ahadith of the book. Among them are some Ulama, thinkers and writers who are claiming that there are several shortcomings and if studied and analysed with open mind, many errors could be found in the book.

Allama Meeruthi not only claimed this very loudly and clearly, he proved his viewpoint with abundant reasons and sufficient evidences. He was a great Alim of Hadith art, having a vast knowledge of chains of narrators of Hadith literature as well as a vast erudition of Hadith’s texts and

particularities of significant books and methods and styles of them, like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Nasai, Musnad Ahmad and other major works in the field.

He decided to write the book in three volumes, in first volume he was to discuss only the Ahadith that were totally wrong in his view. The second volume was to consist on Ahadith which were partly false and partly true, and the third volume was to examine some Ijtihadat and opinions of Imam Bukhari and other Muhaddisun .When he prepared the draft to be published, it was containing only 30 Ahadith, but latter on when he went on his research he found that there were many more Ahadith which come under this first category, then he was compelled to divide the volume1 into two parts. The third part of the book is yet to be published.

A few examples from his work will illustrate the point Allama Meeruthi is trying to make:

The truth of Ahadith regarding Dajjal

Ahadise Dajjal ka Mutalaa, a critical study of Ahadith regarding Dajjal.Second coming of a Messiah( مسيح ), emergence of imam Mahdi, and resurging of Dajjal (Behemoth) or a supernatural man are also, falsely, a part of Muslim mythology. 6 These have become a part of Muslim belief and their psyche. Be they Sunni or Shia, they deeply believe in miraculous things to happen in future, especially when doomsday will come close. The fact of the matter is that all these notions have no basis in Islam.

Quran does not refer to them even in allusion, and no true Hadith proves them either. In fact some people belonging to clergy or secret groups in early period of Islam invented these false narrations, so that in the long run they could exploit them for their vested interests. We see throughout the long Muslim history that there was a long list of aspirants who came up with the big claim to be a Mahdi appointed by God. I will just name a few. In Sudan, in recent history, there was a movement called “Mahdi Movement” stirred up by a man Mahdi Sudani. Even in the Indian sub continent centuries ago there was a movement motivated by Mahmood Jaunpuri, who still has a thin following in southern India.

Maulana Meeruthi made an exclusive study of all the narrations in this regard, reported in Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad and other major Hadith works. He examined all these Hadiths one by one, on the same pattern evolved and used by Muhaddisun themselves. Applying the same method and tools of Hadith criticism he refuted all these Ahadith as baseless. He found that these had been concocted in latter periods of Islamic history. Then he published his findings in one volume named Ahadees Dajjal ka Mutalaa ( a critical study of Ahadithe dajjal ) The book was published by Foundation for Islamic Studies, New Delhi, and is now out of stock but republished in Pakistan also by Daruttazkeer, Lahore.

Now you cannot understand and evaluate the achievement of Allama unless and until I give you an insight, giving some details, into the nature and vitality of the work he accomplished. For this purpose we take some examples of his studies that show his wisdom and sound reasoning.

Did the Prophet have the sexual prowess of 30 men?

For instance there is a narration that the prophet of Islam had made sexual intercourse in one go ,with all his wives, who were 9 at that time, and bathed only at the end. Not only that but it is also reported it was his usual practice. Prima-facie, it is impossible for any human being to have sex with so many women in one go, however stout and physically strong he may be. So sensing the absurdity of this event reported in Bukhari, traditionalists, who are blindly following their predecessors, were compelled to invent another narration in order to justify the first, that the prophet was given the sexual prowess of 30 people.

Maulana Meeruthi’s view about the incident is that: first of all there is no proof from the Holy Quran or any true Hadith to this effect that Mohammad was given an extra sexual strength of 30 people. In sharp contrast to that in Quran in many places it is mentioned very clearly that Mohammad is but the messenger of God, and he is a humble slave of his Lord Allah. Secondly the Allama pointed out, “the wording of the Hadith is true but it is utterly misunderstood, because in Arabic it reads:أنس بن مالك حدثهم أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يطوف على نسائه في الليلة الواحدة وله يومئذ تسع نسوة صحيح البخاري كتاب

النكاح 785

The correct translation is that Anas reported that the prophet used to make rounds of all his wives, who were nine women at that time. It means that the prophet used to see them every day, to look after them and to ask them if they had any problem and so on, so as usual, he, one night might have gone around to meet all his wives, then he stayed with the last one whose turn ,that day, was . Because he had scheduled their turns on a daily basis, and he then might made love with her and bathed only one bath which was due. In fact it was a simple matter but the narrators made a sexual miracle out of so simple an event”.

Maulana’s point of view is supported by the fact that in the wording of the said narration there is no word referring, even remotely, to any sexual activity, the word طاف عليه means only to make round, to walk about and to roundabout and other similar meanings. The second point he made is that “Anas was a very young boy who was living as a slave in the prophet’s house. How can a boy of a younger age, come to know these secret things between a husband and his wives. It cannot be imagined that the prophet himself revealed all this to a young boy. How could then, Anas tell these things to other narrators? Meeruthi wonders. He explained all this saying:“ It seems that Anas only reported the event of prophet making rounds to see the respected wives, and some narrators of later period foolishly took the incident as the Prophet going on a sexual spree”. (See Bukhari ka Mutaala p: 201-208 volume 1)

Was the Prophet’s armour in mortgage with a Jew at the time of his death?

There is a narration in Bukhari that when the prophet died his armour was kept on mortgage with a Jew. Now Meeruthi says: “It is totally wrong on the premises that the prophet had died in 10 AH and after the suppression of Banu Quraiza in 5 AH, no Jew had remained in Madina, because the two other Jewish clans namely, Banu Canucaa and Banu Nazir too had been expelled from the city long ago”. The second reason to refute this narration is that when the prophet died all of Arabia was under his rule. Makka, Taif and other major cities of Arabia were conquered, things had changed and economic hardships and financial difficulties had disappeared. Where then does the question of keeping his armour on mortgagee to borrow money from a Jew arrive? ”

Was Hazrat Aisha (RA) married to the prophet in her childhood?

It is also generally believed that Aisha (RA) was married to the prophet in her childhood as it is reported by herself in Bukhari, She said : I was married to prophet when I was only of six and he had sexual relations with me when I was of nine. 4 (تزوجني رسول الله وأنابنت ست ودخل علي وأنابنت تسع ) Maulana Meeruthi accepted the wordings of the narration, yet he criticised and rejected its interpretation saying that” it is a common style to shorten a sentence in all languages when there is a connection to link the mind of the addressee to it instantly, and if he catch the purport easily. It was common with Arabs also and more specifically they do so when it comes to numerical statements, so when Aisha told that I was of six, she was meaning six after ten, that is 16 and that when the prophet did consummate with her she was nine after ten, that is 19.So the exact wording of the Hadis should be considered as:

تزوجني رسول الله وأنابنت ست ( أي بعد العاشرة) ودخل علي وأنابنت تسع (أي بعد العاشرة) When I was married to prophet I was six (after ten;16),and when he had intercourse with me I was nine (after ten:19)

To prove his point he cited an example from the Hadis itself. So he quoted the narration reported by Bukhari himself on the blessed night ( ليلة القدر ) as prophet said : فالتمسوها في التاسعة والسابعة والخامسة(أي بعد العشرين) بخاري كتاب الصيام ص 271 (Seek this night in ,25,27,29 of the month of Ramadhan)

AS it is crystal clear that he shortened the sentence to say, في التاسعة والسابعة والخامسة e.g. in the ninth night after twenty and in the seventh night after twenty and so on. ”So the argument is that Muhaddisun and their blind followers of all shades, do not give the Hadis the required thought and they did not ponder upon the Arabic stylish phrasing and took it in verbatim. And thus made the issue of Aisha’s age on marriage time an emotional one”. This also supported on another count, for some may say that because the Arabia is a very hot country so it is possible for a woman to reach puberty at the age of nine or so.

But fact of the matter is that Aisha’s case is a singular one of this kind, if her marriage could be justified on tropical ground, then there should be some other similar cases too, which are not there because if there were any history will must tell us. Meeruthi also refuted this narration on historical basis,” for Aisha’s elder sister Asma daughter of Abu Bakar was older to her by ten years, as it is reported by Tabari: هي أكبر من أختها عائشة بعشر سنين وتوفيت أسماء سنة ثلاث وسبعين وقد جاوزت مئة سنة (ابن كثير، البداية والنهاية 8ص 346 and see also Bukhari ka Mutalaa, vo 2 p.254)

The translation says: She (Asma) was older than Aisha by ten and died in 73 AH in the age, exceeding to 100. It means that she surely was of 27 years on the eve of Hijra, and Aisha respectively should have been of 17 years then. According To Tabari, all the children of Abu Bakar were born before the advent of Islam, in a time which is called in Islamic parlance as Jahillia period.( فكل هولاء الأربعة من أولاده (عبد الله، أسماء، عبد الرحمن وعائشة ) من زوجتيه اللتين سميناهما في الجاهلية (ابن جرير طبري ج4ص50) See also Bukhari ka Mutalaa. P.254 The messenger of Allah had migrated to Madina when the 14th year of his mission was started, and since he had married with Aisha before his emigration, so it is very likely that she was 16 years old then, and after coming to Madina and settling therein when she was brought to her husband’s house, she was then 19 years old”.

Was the Holy Quran revealed in seven dialects?

It is also a common belief among Muslims that the Holy Quran was revealed in seven dialects ( سبعة أحرف), because it is reported in Bukhari and other Hadith works. It means that you can recite the Quran in seven different ways. The reason they give is that Allah made this provision on the request of the prophet himself, in order to make things easy for his Ummah.أقرءني جبريل على حرف فلم أزل استزيده فيزيد لي حتى انتهى إلى سبعة أحرف (بخاري كتاب فضائل القرآن ص427

Angel Gabriel taught me Quran in one word (dialect) but I kept insisting that the number of dialects be increased, so he kept increasing it till he reached seven words (dialects). Now Maulana Meeruthi wonders “how can the matter be easy when you spell a verse or a sentence in seven different ways? Nay, even is it be possible for a man to spell and recite a word so to say, in seven ways? Take a word or a phrase, for example أنعمت

If you recite it in one way, it will be very easy but if you recite it in seven ways, how can it be easy? Moreover is it almost impossible to recite, any word, say, Quran, Allah, Rabb, Alhamd etc in seven ways”. On this sound ground Meeruthi rejected this Hadith too.

In fact it is the tip of the iceberg. There are many more Ahadith of this kind, reported by Bukhari, whom Maulana Meerithi vehemently rejected on viable reasoning and after a thorough study of their chains of narrators and inconsistency of various versions of their statements. He also closely checked whether they made any sense at all. He also verified whether they were in conformity with the general spirit of Islam.

Allama Meeruthi had great respect for Imam Bukahri and Imam Muslim

Here I must clarify that Meeruthi never meant to be, in person, against Imam Bukahri and Imam Muslim. Both were in his eyes great persons, who served Islam well and set a model of Hadith criticism to be followed by the coming generations. Not only that but he gave them due respect and high regards. (See his preface for the first part of his book, p.1) In fact he was a true follower of them, imitating their footsteps in vast reading, hard research and correcting the narrations and thus reviving their methodology without any bias for this Islamic sect or that school of thought. (See his preface P.1).

Why did Allama Meeruthi criticise and reject so many Ahadith of Bukhari? Clearly because, after his vast research into it, he concluded that it contains concocted stories and they are aplenty. So he deemed the book fit to be re-examined. After a thorough reassessment, he criticized and eventually rejected many traditions of the same. And this because, in his opinion these false Ahadith, are either causing great damage to Islam or are creating a hindrance to a correct understanding of the holy Quran.

With these few examples, one can understand the enormity, intensity, significance and necessity of the work Meeruthi tried to do. It is imperative that this work is continued. For, the reform of the Muslim mind wedded to stereotypes, cannot be effected without this hammering job.

Dr. M. Ghitreef Shahbaz Nadwi is the director, Foundation for Islamic Studies C-303/3 Shaheen Bagh Jamia Nagar New Delhi 25 and can be reached at:


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