Was Sahifa Hamam Ibn Munabbih fake?

Dear Brother

Assalam o alaikum

I read this article on ourbeacon.com. Kindly share your views about it.

Muhammad Ilyas Mir

Sri Nagar, Kashmir, India

May 2011


[Saheefah means Scroll.]

Saheefah Hammam ibn Munabbih is supposedly the earliest known collection of Ahadith compiled by the 8th century scholar Hammam ibn Munabbih. No one knew its whereabouts until the 20th century!

Strangely, Dr Muhammad Hameedullah of India/France suddenly came up with its published “translation” in English in 1994. Muhammad Hameedullah of Deccan, India (1908-2002) spent 50 years in France after the fall of Deccan to India in 1948 and exiled himself to France. He moved to the USA in 1998 and lived with his brother’s great grand-daughter until his death in 2002.

In his death confessions he admitted that he was the chief instrument in fabricating the said Saheefah.

Mullah Ikhwan Sarhadi Afindi applauds Hameedullah’s great “discovery” (in Paris) as the earliest work of Hadith. He says, “The Saheefah Hammam ibn Munabbih was prepared by Hazrat Abu Hurairah for his pupil Hammam ibn Munabbih. Abu-Hurairah died in 58 A.H./677 CE, Hammam ibn Munabbih died in 101 A.H./719 CE.”

It consists of 138 Ahadith that can also be found in Sahah Sittah with similar content and chain of narrators.

I visited Hameedullah in Nov 2002 along with some friends to meet with him and to check on his health. During the visit, he asked us to pray for his forgiveness. Haeedullah said that he had done the forgery in good faith and only when he was losing his faculties due to senility. He admitted plagiarizing from the SAHAH SITTAH.

His intentions? “To provide some credibility to the Hadith literature that is being challenged by some Quranic voices.”

Where was the Arabic original discovered? “In the basement of my house in Paris.”

Sir, where is the original Arabic scroll? He answered, “I don’t know why I burned it.”

Why did it remain hidden for 12 centuries and how did it end up in Paris? Why wasn’t it translated by anyone before? Why didn’t anyone hear about it or mention it at all through these centuries? “I don’t know”, he said. [Think and reflect!]

Now the English ‘Saheefah’ is very much there and Mullahs are using it to mislead people.

PS: Some Mullahs have recently claimed that Dr Hameedullah had discovered the scroll in 1960 in Paris.

Dear Brother

Assalam o alaikum

I don’t believe in this story due to the following reasons:

1. Dr. Hameedullah’s level is so high that we cannot accuse him just on the basis of claim of a person. We do not know the claimant. Does he have any proof of his claim? Was there any witness of his conversation with Dr.? Had he recorded the conversation?

2. Another scholar Dr. Rifat Fauzi has conducted research on the manuscripts of Sahifa. See the following link. Is he also a forger?


Dr. Rifat has consulted another manuscript available in Cairo (this was not consulted by Dr. Hameedullah). He has given photos of that manuscript in his book. For further details, Dr. Rifat can also be consulted.

3. Two manuscripts were consulted by Dr. Hameedullah of this Sahifa: one in Berlin and other in Damascus. Third one is in Cairo. Copies could be obtained from the respective libraries. I’ll ask one of my teachers about exact name and address of such libraries and will provide you soon. Full chain of people from whom the document is transmitted is available here:


 4. The claim of this author of burning the scroll is wrong as Dr. Hameedullah did not have any such scroll. He used the both manuscripts available in such libraries.

I hope this detail is enough to falsify the claim of this guy that: “Where was the Arabic original discovered? “In the basement of my house in Paris.”

Sir, where is the original Arabic scroll? He answered, “I don’t know why I burned it.”

Why did it remain hidden for 12 centuries and how did it end up in Paris? Why wasn’t it translated by anyone before? Why didn’t anyone hear about it or mention it at all through these centuries? “I don’t know”, he said. [Think and reflect!]


Muhammad Mubashir Nazir

PS: I requested Sister Sadida Ataullah, the granddaughter of the brother of Dr. Hameedullah to comment on this accusation through a brother, Naveed Ahmed. Sister Sadida witnessed death of Dr. Hameedullah as he died in her apartment. She commented as follows:

As Salaam alaikum

Dear Brothers, Naveed and Mubashir.

Thank you for asking me to comment on the website you sent. As a general rule, I let Dr. Hamidullah’s scholarship speak for itself out of respect for his work. But in this situation, I need to tell you what I know.

I hope you both own a copy of Sahifah Hammam in English translation by M. Rahimuddin. If you don’t, let me know and I will try to get you a copy.

I spent some time reading the blog and I am amazed at what I saw at the website http://free-minds.org/forum/index.php?topic=16523.0;wap2 . In my humble opinion, French, German and other Europeans invested time and money in acquiring Arabic Manuscripts from around the world. Today many places like Bibliotheque Nationale of France, Princeton, Harvard, British library are all going online and providing access to gems that have been preserved for centuries without our knowledge.

Before the early 20th century, most learned people in Islamic countries knew Arabic and so there was no real need to translate religious literature. Dr. Hamidullah’s grandfather, Muhammad Sibgatullah Madrasi was the First person in 1860’s to write about Islam in Urdu. Much of the Islamic literature available in English in the 18th and 19th centuries was done by Orientalists to discredit the people that they were colonizing.

Just because I don’t know something does not mean it does not exist. Allah Knows all things and is The Granter of Knowledge. After doing a cursory search on the internet and then saying something is false is foolish. It does not meet the high levels of ethical conduct required of Muslim Scholars. So needless to say, it was very upsetting to read what the author  has to say.

To my knowledge there were at least 4 Manuscript (MS) copies of the Sahifah Hamman available:

—– Berlin MS, # 1384 WE 1797 in the catalogue of Arabic manuscripts in the state library (Staatsbibliothek) in Berlin and moved in 1939 to the city of Tubingen. (Dr. Hamidullah mentions consulting this work in 1932 in Berlin.)                                                                 

—– Damascus MS, is in Zahariya library, Majmu’ah 25/2

—– Cairo Ms is in Dar al Kutub al Misriyah under # 1981, 2126/1921

—– Istanbul Ms is in the Shahid Ali Pasha section of the Suleymanie Genel Kutuphanesi number 539 folio 108/a to 141/a    

Sahifah Hammam Ibn Munabbih’s collection of hadith was known to Hadith scholars both the Muslims and also the Western and European Orientalists. It was available in Arabic and copies existed in Cairo, Istanbul, Musul, Damascus and Germany.

The First published copies with notes by Dr. Hamidullah appeared in this order:

—– Arabic in the Majallat al Majma’ al ilmi, 1953, Damascus Syria.

—– Revised 2nd edition appeared in 1954. The Arab Academy, Damascus, Syria.

—– Urdu edition by Islamic Publications Society Hyderabad, Deccan, appeared in 1955 and again in 1956;                                                                                                      

—– English translation by Muhammad Rahimuddin, Retired Principal Osmania College Warangal, India in 1961,                                                                                                                Republished in English 1979. A number of revised and unauthorized versions appeared in English between 1979 and 1994.

—– Then in 1994 another English Edition was published by The Academy of Life and Letters, Karachi, Pakistan. Please note that all English translated work is by M. Rahimuddin not Hamidullah.

It was also translated by different people and published in French, Turkish and other languages.

The Nizam (Ruler) of Hyderabad sent Dr. Hamidullah to represent the State of Hyderabad at the UN Security Council meeting on 17 September 1948. Until today, the illegal occupation of the state of Hyderabad by India is an issue that remains alive in the UN.  Dr. Hamidullah could not accept citizenship of Pakistan, India or any other country, as a consequence of this outstanding issue, and felt the only moral option for him was to remain a Stateless Person. In 1996, at the age of ninety, his family brought him to the USA. He lived with (his brother’s grandchildren from 1996 until his death in December 2002. My father’s father, Muhammad Sibgathullah was his older brother. 

By November 2002 Dr. Hamidullah was no longer receiving visitors. All news about his health, his books and the medical care he was receiving up until his death was released with the help of Islamic Society of  North America.  During the period January 20th 1996 until 17th December 2002 when he died, he had no contact or met with anyone else and had a conversation regarding any of his work with anyone. All such contact was done by me by letters or his attorney in Paris.

Dr. Hamidullah lived in a rented 5th floor room for the 50 years he lived in Paris and  used the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to do his research. He had no access to a basement during his lifetime in Paris or after he moved to the USA. After he moved to USA, the Islamic Society of North America helped to bring his personal papers and books to the United States. Scholars have access to these papers by appointment with the Muhammad Hamidullah Center for Islamic Research and Dialogue, www.mhcisd.org; this is the trust that was established to provide this service.

I wonder if these gentlemen are aware that Dr. Hamidullah did not accept the prize money that came with the Hilal i Imtiaz and the medal was returned to the Pakistani embassy?                                

May Allah protect us from falsehood and from slandering the deceased Muslim scholars because to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. Ameen

Your Sister in Islam

Sadida Athaullah

Was Sahifa Hamam Ibn Munabbih fake?
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