IS THE CHEATING OF THE HORSE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE BEATING OF OMAR?
The following anecdote shows how fastidious were the transmitters of hadiths in checking to what extent they stood the test: “A prominent transmitter of hadiths goes to see a person from whom he is going to receive a hadith. Arriving at his destination, he observes how he calls his horse as if he were going to give it fodder, but fails to do so. He concludes that a person who cheats his horse may cheat people as well, and does not include the hadith he heard from him in his work.” Those who recount this anecdote as evidence of the insight of the transmitters believe to have proved the authenticity of the hadiths they transmitted. We have demonstrated so far the reasons why the true and the false had been jumbled together. This chain of reasoning is illogical of course. Most of the transmitters upon whom the hadiths were drawn had already died during the compilation. The rest were scattered over a vast area of Islamic lands. To have paid a visit to each of them is inconceivable given the state of the means of communication of the time. Supposing that this had been possible, the honesty of the people concerned and the trustworthiness of their memories should be questioned. Not every transmitter of hadiths could have been as lucky as the collector who had detected the cheating of the horse by its master! As for Abu Hurayra, how can he still be trusted despite the accusations and beating of Omar and Ali and in the light of Aisha’s flat denial of the account of the given by the man?
It is told that Caliph Omar had dismissed Abu Hurayra from office of governor to which position he had assigned, because of embezzlement. Omar is reported to have spoken as follows: “When I appointed you governor to Bahrein, you barely had a pair of shoes on your feet. Yet I have been told that you bought horses for 1000 dinars and 600 hundred dinars. Did you come from the remotest corner of Bahrein with a view to having people give the tributes they owed to Allah and the Muslims to you?”
In a hadith transmitted by Hurayra himself Omar spoke to him as follows: “O you, enemy of God and His Book! You stole God’s money, didn’t you? How else could you be in possession of ten thousand dinars?”
Ibn Sa’d, Tabakat
Abu Hurayra himself gives this account despite this fact the believers in hadiths quote the largest number of the hadiths from him as they find him credible. In the meantime, they contend that they have quoted no hadith from a source that had not been established to be reliable. The believers in hadiths, who affirm that they have not quoted from any transmitter unless he was proven to be dependable, consider Abu Hurayra, declared by Omar to be an enemy of God and his Book, as dependable!