Why were the hadiths of the Holy Prophet (s) prohibited and banned from being said?


I have read in another Q&A on this site that ‘the Ahadith of Prohibition’ (narrations that prohibit the narration of Hadiths) are “undoubtedly either fabricated to justify the mistakes of the Caliphs or they were special instruction for specific people such as Abu-Horayra”.

Why do you say this?


Analysis of the Motivations Behind the Prohibition of Hadith

1. The best evidence of this claim is that many Companions including Abu-Bakr had books of Hadith. Is it possible that the Prophet of Islam (P) has forbidden something yet many Companions disobey him and do otherwise?! The narrations concerning prohibition of Hadith indicate to us that the Companions in general were into the good tradition of collecting the Ahadith of the Prophet (P). It was due to this tradition that when Omar sought their opinion about compiling the Hadith, they all consented (see here).

2. If they were truly concerned about the forged Hadith, would it not be more reasonable to form a committee of Hadith investigation and then compile the Ahadith that there was enough trustworthy testimonies on them? Moreover, Abu-Bakr had accompanied the Prophet (P) for many years, could he then not at least keep the Ahadith that he had heard directly from the Prophet (P)? Why did he have to burn all of them?! Is it possible that he meant to hide something from the next generations lest they used it against him? Abu-Bakr asserted that he was concerned about the further future disputes amongst the Muslims and hence decided to uproot the problem by eradicating the Prophetic Hadith! Today and for many centuries, Muslims suffer various sectarianism primarily due to the fact that the collection of the Prophetic Hadith was prohibited over the first century of the advent of Islam.

3. In our opinion, the main root for prohibition of the Hadith must be sought in the critical issue of the caliphate after the Prophet (P). The following are some proofs for this opinion:

3/1: As mentioned earlier (in this Q&A) it was Qoraysh- not the Prophet (P) – who forbade Abdullah son of ‘Amr Ibn ‘As to narrate the Prophetic Hadith. The reason mentioned in the narration is interesting: “The Prophet (P) is only a human and has rage and pleasure.” This expression is used only when the speaker has spoken about the virtues or vices of someone else. Surely, the Prophet of Islam (P) did not speak in favour of the Qoraysh or else they would never abandon Abdullah from narrating it. Thus, it seems more likely that Abdullah had collected some Ahadith that could be used against the party of Qoraysh.

3/2: Omar had ordered the Companions of the Prophet (P) to lessen the narrations from the Prophet (P) except if it was about the practical laws of Islam. This again indicates that the main concern of Omar was about the Ahadith that dealt with the virtues of his opponent, i.e. Imam Ali (a.s). This claim can be proven by studying the trend of the Hadith prohibition at the time of Mo’awiyah who –unlike Omar- explicitly abandoned any narration concerning the virtues of Imam Ali (a.s).

3/3: The fabricators of the law of Hadith Prohibition did not apply it to their sincere and loyal friends, nor would it apply to themselves. Among those selected people on whom the law of Hadith prohibition did not apply was the mother of the believers; Aiysha, the loyal daughter of Abu Bakr. During the reigns of Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman, she was the official spokeswoman of the government. Similarly, Omar freely fabricated some narrations concerning himself such as “The Agreements” (al Mowafiqaat).

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei