What if someone fabricates a Hadith with a trustworthy chain of Narrators, how do the Muhaddithun know if it is fabricated?
Allah Ta’ala had inspired the Hadith Masters with such a methodology of scrutiny that anyone who studies their life and methodology will be convinced of the fact that no lie could have passed them undetected.
They would have had many methods of detecting such a sinister plot.
Essentially, when a Hadith master grades a narration, he resorts to the following two methodologies;
a) Naqdul Isnad (scrutinizing the chain) and
b) Naqdul Matn (scrutinizing the text).
The following are some examples of this:
(1) Checking the reliability of the person who made up the chain.
(2) Comparing the text that is under scrutiny to other authentic texts on the same topic.
(3) Conducting a comparative study of that text with other soundly proven principles in Shari’ah.
(4) By having a record of the narrations that a famous fabricator had forged, so that when a mischief maker tries to deceive people by taking these very forged narrations and attaching them to authentic chains, they could be detected. Ima khtaib Baghdadi (rahimahullah) has cited several such examples under a dedicated chapter in his Al-Jami’u li Akhlaqir Rawi, see Lamahat min Tarikhis sunnah, pg.223.
The books of Hadith scrutiny have many examples of this kind; where fabricators tried to do exactly what you’ve enquired about, and the Hadith Masters were able to detect it.
1. Imam Ibn ‘Asakir (rahimahullah) has cited an example of such an occurrence in his Tarikh.
(see Tadribur Rawi, vol.1 pg.556)
‘Allamah Dhahabi (rahimahullah) has called out several such culprits in his monumental book, Mizanul I’tidal.
2. One such example is of the narrator: Musa ibn Nasr At-Thaqafi.
‘Allamah Dhahabi (rahimahullah) writes:
‘He reported a fabricated Hadith with a sanad [that he stole] from Sahih Muslim.’
(See footnotes of Shaykh ‘Awwamah on Tadribur Rawi, vol.1 pg.554-556 for this and other examples)
As stated above, there are many examples of this, which leads one to believe that Allah Ta’ala had indeed inspired the Hadith Masters with a methodology that was air tight. The protection of the Hadith is part of the protection of the Quran. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala ensured that these Masters were vigilant enough to detect such mischief makers. It is highly unlikely for any such fabrication to remain undetected by the Muhaddithun.
The effort and thorough methodology of the Muhaddithun in scrutinizing the reporters is unparalleled in the history of mankind!
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar