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Mawdu' hadith

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Hadīth mawdu’ (Arabic: الحديث الموضوع) or forged hadith is a hadith that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (s) or an Infallible Imam (a). It is also called hadith maj’ul (fabricated hadith). The jurists have stated that quoting a forged hadith is forbidden in Islam unless its forged nature is made clear.

Forged hadiths are a subcategory of weak (da’if) hadiths. In hadith sciences, certain signs are mentioned for a forged hadith, such as unreconcilable discrepancy between the content of a hadith with reason, the Quran, Sunna, or an established teaching of the religion.

Muslim scholars have written numerous works on forged hadiths. Among the works of Shiite scholars in this regard are Abu Hurayra by Sayyid Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din, Ahadith-i sakhtagi (Fabricated Hadiths) by Sayyid Ali Husayni Milani, and al-Akhbar al-dakhila (Intrusive Reports) by Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Shushtari.


A forged hadith is a report of a saying or action of someone other than the Prophet (s) or an Infallible Imam (a) which is falsely attributed to them. Hadith forgery has taken place in various ways: by fabricating a complete hadith, by adding certain words to a hadith, by omitting certain words from it, or by altering its words.

Instances of Forged Hadiths

In Tarikh Baghdad (compiled in the fifth/eleventh century), the Prophet (s) is reported to have said, "When you saw Mu'awiya speaking on my pulpit, receive him (faqbaluh); indeed, he is trustworthy and trusted." According to the Shiite hadith scholar Muhammad Taqi Shushtari (b. 1320/1902-3 - d. 1416/1996), this hadith was originally "When you saw Mu'awiya speaking on my pulpit, kill him (faqtuluh)," but the word faqtuluh was changed to faqbaluh and the fabricator added the sentence "Indeed, he is trustworthy and trusted" in order to support his forgery.

Signs of a Forged Hadith

The scholars of hadith have mentioned a number of indicators for a forged hadith, including the confession of the forger, unsoundness of the hadith's wording, and unreconcilable discrepancy between the hadith and reason, well-established principles of the religion, the Quran, or the Sunna. In addition, it is considered a sing of forgery when someone narrates a hadith on an important issue but no one corroborates his narration, such as some narrations on extraordinary rewards in the hereafter for certain deeds.

Motivation for Forgery

Various motivations have been behind hadith forgery, which include getting closer to the rulers, tarnishing the reputation of Islam, and supporting heretic sect.

Prohibition of Quoting a Forged Hadith

Quoting a forged hadith is prohibited (haram) for those who are aware of the forgery, since it is an instance of spreading falsehood and leading people astray. However, one may quote a forged hadith if one mentions that it is forged.

Unlike forged hadiths, which are the worst subcategory of weak hadiths, the other types of weak hadiths may be quoted.


Many Shiite and Sunni scholars have written works on forged hadiths or produced collections of them. Among the Shiite works in this regard are the following:

  • Abu Hurayra by Sayyid Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din (b. 1290/1873 - d.1377/1957). In this work, forty hadiths narrated by Abu Hurayra are considered forged.
  • Ahadith sakhtigi (Fabricated Hadiths) by Sayyid Ali Husayni Milani. In this book, forged hadiths are organized according to the caliphs.

The following are among Sunni works in which forged hadiths are collected:

  • Al-Mawdu'at (The Forgeries) by Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201)
  • Al-La'ali al-masnu'a (Manufactured Pearls) by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911/1505)
  • Al-Mawdu'at al-kubra (The Greatest Forgeries) by Mulla Ali Qari Hirawi
  • Ahadith al-sunan al-arba’a al-mawdu’a bi hukm al-Allama al-Rabbani Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani (The Forged Hadiths of the Four Sunan According to the Evaluation of the Divine Sage Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani) edited by Muhammad Shuman al-Ramli.