Why do Shiite scholars not accept hadiths reported from Abu Hurayra?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Shiites do not accept hadiths from many Companions along with Abu Hurayra.


a) Sound (sahih) hadiths according to Shiites:

Hadiths, which means the words, deeds, attitudes and consents of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) that Allah orders us to follow and obey (1), have great importance for Muslims. Hadiths have been the second resource of Islam after the Quran. The words, deeds, and consents of the Prophet (pbuh) are necessary in order to understand the Quran in a way that is in compliance with the aim of Allah and to understand what concise, general and absolute verses indicate. That can be possible only by knowing the Sunnah.

Hadiths, which are of great importance due to the reasons mentioned above and similar ones, are important in the eye of Shiites too. They also regard hadiths as the second resource after the Quran like us. (2) However, there are great differences between Ahl as-Sunnah and Shiite in terms of the conditions necessary for sound hadiths and the way sound hadith is defined. As it will be seen below, the conditions put forward by Shiite bring about very serious results and claim that the resources of Ahl as-Sunnah cannot be trusted. 

According to Shiites, the definition of sound (sahih) hadith is as follows:

Sound Hadiths: They are narrations by just narrators having dabt (good memory) and belonging to Imamiyya madhhab with an unbroken chain of narrators reaching the infallible imam even if they are shaz if they are numerous.

Acting upon this definition, let us see the conclusions Shiite writers made and the conditions they determined for sound hadiths one by one:

1. The chain has to be unbroken; there must not be any break in the chain of narrators. Otherwise, the hadith is not sound. 

2. It has to belong to one of the infallible imams. That is, it has to be a word, deed or consent belonging to the Prophet (pbuh) or one of the TWELVE imams.

3. The narrations must belong to just narrators. Otherwise, it is reduced to the level of hasan from sound.

4. A narrator belonging to Imamiyya madhhab must narrate the hadith (3).  

5. If the hadith is shaz, that is, if it is contrary to the narrations of one or more reliable narrators (4), it is still regarded sound. (5)

Shiites demand two more conditions in additions to the conditions above for the hadith and hadith narrator to be accepted and reliable:

a. The narrator has to belong to Imamiyya madhhab. Otherwise, it is not acceptable even if he belongs to other Shiite madhhabs.  

b. The narration must belong to the people whom Shiite imams regard reliable. The narrations made by narrators who do not have those two conditions are not regarded as acceptable and reliable. (6)

Besides, Imamiyya Shiites do not accept any narrations from other Shiite madhhabs and Ahl as-Sunnah but they accept the narrations of all people belonging to their own madhhab. They even accept hadiths from a narrator who belongs to Imamiyya madhhab but who do not practice that madhhab. On the other hand, they do not accept any information from Ahl as-Sunnah narrators and books. They accept it only if it is in compliance with some information or view in their own books. Otherwise, all of the books of Ahl as-Sunnah and the narrators in those books are not acceptable and reliable in the eye of Shiites. (7)

Shiites regards it as a principle not to accept hadiths from other madhhabs but Ahl as-Sunnah acts moderately regarding the issue, as it is the case in all issues, and do not reject those who do not belong to Ahl as-Sunnah by saying, "they are Ahl al-Bid'ah."

The majority of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars avoided acting based on their feelings regarding the issue and preferred to act with prudence and common sense. They did not exclude the people of bid’ah who were modest, honest and religious and who did not invite to their own madhhabs. Many scholars accepted hadiths from them. The narrations of such people are seen even in Bukhari. However, the people of bid’ah whose unbelief was apparent and who regarded telling lies permissible for the interest of their madhhab and fellow madhhab members were excluded and their hadiths were not accepted. (8)

b) The people from whom Shiites accept hadiths:

Shiites claim that they accept hadiths only from Ahl al-Bayt. They never accept any other way or chain. (9)

The writer of Aslush-Shia, which is regarded as a reliable book by Shiites, states the following: When Shiites accept the hadiths of the Prophet, they accept only the ones that come from Ahl al-Bayt and sound ways through it. This way is as follows: "Imam Jafar Sadiq from his father Baqir, from his father Zaynul-Abidin, from Hasan, from his father Amirul-Muminin Hz. Ali, from the Prophet." (10)

Shiites do not accept hadiths from anybody else except Ahl-al-Bayt.

In Shiite understanding, the value of a narrator depends upon the number of hadiths he narrated. The more he narrates hadiths and statements that praise the Shiite and their virtues, the more his value increases. According to a narration Shiites attribute to Abu Abdullah, he stated the following: Measure the value of narrators based on the number of narrations they report from us. Their value is based on the goodness of the narrations from us. (11)

As it is clearly understood from those statements, Shiites accept the hadiths they claim to have taken from the Prophet (pbuh) only through Hz. Ali. It is understood that they leave all of the Companions aside and take hadiths from only Hz. Ali. Then, they connect the chain through fathers and sons to Jafar as-Sadiq through the narrators that they accept as Shiite.  

In that case, what about all of the other narrations outside this way, the Companions who narrated them, all of the hadith classifiers and compilers who brought those hadiths together including Kutub as-Sittah imams and other imams?  How will we make a decree? Are they acceptable or not? What is the decree of Shiites on the hadith books that are regarded as sound by all of the other Muslims? If they are of no value and importance, and if they are not acceptable and reliable, are all of those sound books and the decrees related to creed, deeds, law and social life obtained based on the hadiths in those books completely wrong? Hundreds of questions like the ones above will appear and there will be doubts about Islamic principles.

Let us mention briefly how the madhhab of Imamiyya or Jafariyya view the Companions, Kutub as-Sittah and other reliable hadith books. 

c) The narrators among the Companions except Ahl al-Bayt according to Shiites

As we have mentioned before, Shiites do not only say clearly that they do not accept hadiths from anybody except Hz. Ali and his descendants but they also say that the other narrators among the Companions are of no value and importance.

As a matter of fact, after stating that Shiites do not accept hadiths from anybody except Ahl al-Bayt, they state the following:

"As for the narrations by Abu Hurayra, Samura b. Jundub, Marwan b. Hakam (12) Amr Ibnul-As and similar ones(13), those narrations do not have even the value of a wing of a fly in the eye of Imamiyya (Jafariyya). There is no need to mention them." (14)

The following narrations show the view of Shiites related to the Companions:

"It is not possible to act based on the hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayra, Abdullah b. Umar and Aisha."(15)

Shiite regards the notables among the Companions who narrated the most hadiths like that.

However, the following hadith, which the Companions always mentioned and learned by heart and which was narrated by more than a hundred Companions through four hundred different chains (16), will make them even forget to think about something like that let alone doing it. 

"Anyone who tells a lie on behalf of me deliberately should prepare his place in Hell." (17)

Can Abu Hurayra, who knows this hadith, who is an important student of Suffa, which was the blessed school of the Messenger of Allah, who is a loyal follower of the Prophet and who memorized his hadiths (18), tell lies – God forbid – on behalf of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)? (19)

On the other hand, Hz. Abu Hurayra received a prayer from the Prophet (pbuh) and never forgot the hadiths he heard from the Prophet after his prayer. (20) Is it possible for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to pray for a person who will tell lies on behalf of him? How can they think of something like that for that blessed person?

Besides, it does not fit a believer to defame a woman who received the honor of becoming one of the mothers of believers, as the Quran confirms it (21), who was acquitted by Allah in the Incident of Ifk; nobody who knows Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) will tell such a lie.


1. see al-Baqara, 143, 285; Aal-i Imran, 32; an-Nisa, 59,69; al-Hashr, 7; at-Taghabun, 12; an-Najm,4. etc.
2. Mukhtasarut-Tuhfa, 50-51.
3. Shiites lay it as a condition for a sound and hasan hadith to be narrated by a person belonging to Imamiyya madhhab. They call the narrations by those who do not belong to Imamiyya madhhab “muwassaq”. A narration by a Shiite person who does not belong to Imamiyya madhhabis is still regarded as muwassaq hadith and it is not regarded as acceptable. see. Miqbasul-Hidaya, 33; ar-Riaya, 77, 84, 85.
4. Although Shiites have different views regarding the issue, they say that this is the preferred view. see ar-Riaya, 77. 80.
5. ar-Riaya, 72, 84, 85; Miqbasul-Hidaya, 33.
6. ar-Riaya, 84-85.
7. Miqbasul-Hidaya, 35; ar-Riaya, 189.
8. see Baithul-Hathith, 83-84; Kutub as-Sitta Mukhtasar, II, 6-10; Sharhu Manzumai Bayquniyya, 184-185; Mizanul-I'tidal, I, 5.
9. Ash-Shiatul-Imamiyya, 117.
10. Aslush-Shia, 79.
11. Majmaur-Rijal, I, 11-12.
12. It is said that Marwan b. Hakam is not a Companion. see al-Isaba, IH, 477; Tahdhibut-Tahdhib, X, 91.
13. What is meant by similar ones are all of the Companions except 3 or 5.
14. Aslush-Shia, 79. Besides, the writer of this book claims that there is not much difference between Imamiyya of Shiites and Ahl as-Sunnah. Is it not a big difference to slander the Companions like that?
15. Aslush-Shia 161.
16. Nazmul-Mutanasir fil-Ahadithil-Mutavatir, 20-24.
17. Bukhari, Ilm, 38, Janaiz, 33; Anbiya, 50; Muslim, Zühd. 72; Abu Dawud Ilm. 4; for other resources, see Mu'jamul-Mufahras, V, 549.
18. Mektubat, 118.
19. When Abu Hurayra said, "O Messenger of Allah! I hear very nice things from you but I cannot memorize them", the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed for him so that he would not forget. See Bukhari, Ilm, 42,1. 38: Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba 159, h. no: 2492, IV, 1939: Tirmidhi, Maenaqib, h. no: 3833, 3834, DC 365, 366.
20. Al-Ahzab, 33.
21. An-Nur, 11-12: al-Furqan, 4: Saba, 43: al-Ahqaf. 28.

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