How many an instance have we heard Twelver polemicists object to Abu Hurayrah’s reliability as a transmitter of hadith by citing his alleged transmission of 5374 reports?
In this misleading appeal, which we have already addressed in this article, Shi’ite polemicists insinuate that Abu Hurayrah’s prolific transmission and limited companionship with the Prophet are indicative of his dishonesty.
Though the figure cited by the Shia (5374 reports) is inaccurate and misleading, I will entertain it in this article to demonstrate the Shi’ite double standard when dealing with Abu Hurayrah.
What is the reasoning of our Shi’ite friends?
Their reasoning is that a man who spent three years with the Prophet cannot possibly transmit 5374 traditions from him. Essentially, they are claiming that it was impossible for Abu Hurayrah to have heard ~ 1,792 reports/year from the Prophet.
Asides from the fact that there is no evidence to substantiate this claim, let us evaluate the Twelver double standard:
Jaber b. Yazid Al-Ju’fi (d. 128) was a prolific Shi’ite transmitter and an alleged student of Imam Al-Baqir. He was said to be an extremely prolific transmitter of the Imams such that he was granted access to some of their “secrets”.
How many reports did Jaber claim to transmit from Imam Al-Baqir? 70,000! Al-Baqir’s Imamah started in 93 AH with the death of his father, and ended in 118 AH. This means that Jabir heard 70,000 reports over a span of 25 years…. 2800 reports/year.
It does not end there. As stated by ِAl-Hurr Al-‘Ameli, Jaber transmitted around 140,000 reports in total . Al-‘Ameli further states that Jaber was the most prolific transmitter from the Imams. If we were to be generous with Jaber and say that he lived for 70 years, this means that Jaber continuously heard 2,000 reports/year since the day he was born!
What is further ironic is that Ja’far Al-Sadiq, when asked about Jaber b. Yazid, is authentically quoted saying: “he only entered upon my father once, and he never entered upon me!” . The fact that an allegedly prolific transmitter from Al-Baqir only entered upon him once had Twelver scholars in circles. Eventually, they agreed to pull the “Taqiyyah card” as a cop-out to pardon Jaber.
Another example of this double standard is the authentic report in Al-Kafi , which Al-Kulayni transmitted from:
‘Ali b. Ibrahim, from his father:
A group of Shi’ites from the surrounding regions asked for permission to enter upon Abu Ja’far [Al-Jawad], so he granted them permission.
They entered upon him and he answered 30,000 of their questions in a single gathering while he was 10 years old.
If we were to be generous and and assume that every question took 30 seconds to ask, and every answer took the same time as well, then that session should have been 30,000 minutes long = 500 hours long = 20.83 days long.
Twelver grand cleric, Muhammad bin Al-Mahdi Al-Shirazi, commented on this report saying: “Such a feat is not surprising from the household of revelation.”
A group of Shias hearing 30,000 statements from the Imam in a single day is totally acceptable to the Shia, but Abu Hurayrah hearing 5367 reports in a period of three years suddenly becomes an impossible endeavor!
Let us summarize our findings regarding the Twelver double standards:
|Transmitter||# of Reports||Time Period||Rate:|
(according to Shias)
|Jaber Al-Jo’fi||70,000||25 years||2,800||Reasonable|
|Group of Shias||30,000||1 Day||10,950,000||Reasonable|
|Abu Hurayrah||5374||3 years||1,791||Impossible|
In this article, we have already pointed out that the number, 5374, is a severely exaggerated misrepresentation of Abu Hurayrah’s transmission. Nevertheless, many students of knowledge today complete reading Sahih Al-Bukhari (7000+ reports) in a few months; thus, it is not a mind-blowing catastrophe for a man who spent three years with the Prophet to transmit 5374 reports from him.
Similarly, we find various Twelver authorities accepting much more significant feats in transmission from Twelver transmitters while objecting to Abu Hurayrah’s alleged transmission of 5374 reports in a period of three years.
This double standard should be a source of shame for every Twelver polemicist who has cited this baseless talking point in an attempt to implicate the innocent and truthful companion of the Prophet, Abu Hurayrah. Any excuses/cop-outs the Twelvers may cite to absolve their aforementioned transmitters can be cited to absolve Abu Hurayrah from the slander of the Shia today.
And Allah is the Witness of Abu Al-Abbas.
 Al-Hurr Al-‘Ameli. Wasa’il Al-Shia ed. Muhammad Al-Razi, (Beirut), II, 151.
 Abu Al-Qassem Al-Khoei. Mo’jam Rijal Al-Hadith. (Najaf, 1413 ), IV, 344.
 Muhammad b. Ya’qub Al-Kulayni. Al-Kafi ed. Ali Akbar Ghifari, (Tehran, 1388), I, 496.