This article examines ones of the more dangerous accusations upon the Caliphs of Islam that Muslims have ever known. The allegation that Hadith documentation was banned is one that is often repeated by Shias in order to disregard the Sunni Hadith library. In the following articles, we will examine these claims by studying the strongest Shia books that have supported this theory.
However, before even presenting these articles, we briefly quote the Shia scholars on their view on what motivated the first three Caliphs to ban the documentation of Hadith.
Al-Jalali in his Tadween Al-Sunnah Al-Shareefa (p. 415) states that this was done to “hide the prophetic narrations that were evidences of the caliphate of Ali – peace be upon him – and his Ahlul bait – peace be upon them – after the Prophet – peace be upon him – .”
He also says (p. 421) that “what supports our belief about the benefit of prohibiting the documentation of Hadith is to hide the prophetic narrations that point towards the succession of Ali and his Ahlulbayt – peace be upon them – is that the leader (i.e. Caliph) did not only prohibit documentation, but also narrating Hadiths and transmitting them.”
Hashim Ma’rouf Al-Hussaini (p. 22) in his Dirasat fi Al-Hadith wa Al-Muhaditheen also states that he could not find for the prohibition of Hadith documentation any reason except “the spreading of the narrations of the Messenger in praise of Ali and his progeny – peace be upon them – .”
Al-Shihristani in his Prohibition of Recording Hadith (p. 57) admits that the view shared above is the view of most Shia authors.
The above can all be simply refuted with one of the most famous narration that Shias love to quote:
The Prophet – peace be upon him – on the day of Khaibar, “I will give this flag to a man that loves Allah and His messenger, and Allah will bring victory upon his hands.” Omar said, “I never wanted leadership except that day,” He said, “So I put my head forward since I wanted to be called out,” He said, “And the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him – called upon Ali bin Abi Talib and gave it to him.” (Saheeh Muslim #6172)
If Omar was against the idea of banning narrations for the sake of not sharing the merits of Ahlulbayt as a whole, then he would have not made this major blunder of narrating a merit of Ali that the whole world has come to know.
In fact it was the Shia Imams themselves that insisted on secrecy and kept their narrations hidden as stated in many locations in their books. For example in al-Kafi 2/242, is a Hadith judged as “Hasan kal-Sahih” by Majlisi in “al-Mir’aat” 9/286:
[From ibn Ri’aab that he heard abu `Abdullah (as) say to abu Baseer: “By Allah, if I were to find among you three believers who keep my narrations secret, I would not have allowed myself to keep my narrations a secret from you.”]
Shia authors, however, proceeded to discuss these allegations through hundreds of pages, analyzing the evidences for the prohibition of documentation, and then dissecting any narration that could support their views. However, they all failed in proving the key points:
1) That Hadith documentation was banned
2) That the narrating of Hadiths was banned.
Below, we list the articles on this subject, categorized in order to make it easier for readers to arrive to the truths that they are searching for: