these false stories are things that become widespread among those who do not understand their religion properly and who do not know the Oneness of their Lord (Tawheed). They are propagated by liars and storytellers who fabricate lies against the laws of Allah.
Allah has issued a stern warning against these liars. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al‑Fawaahish (great evil sins and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge” [7:33]
What khateebs (orators) and preachers must do is be above being mere storytellers who tell the common folk stories that go against sharee’ah (Islamic teachings). The salaf (pious predecessors) of this ummah (nation) issued a stern warning against these storytellers, because of the bad effects that their stories have on the common folk and because they contain things that go against the laws of Allah.
In a hadeeth that was classed as hasan (sound) by Shaykh al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah it was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When the Children of Israel were doomed they started to tell stories.”
Shaykh al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
It says in al-Nihayah: “when they were doomed they started to tell stories” which means they relied on words and forsook deeds, and that was the reason for their doom, or vice versa: when they were doomed it was because they stopped doing good deeds and turned to stories.
Al-Albani said, commenting on this:
It may be said that the reason they were doomed was that they paid too much attention to stories at the expense of fiqh (jurisprudence) and beneficial knowledge which teach the people about their religion, and motivate them to do righteous deeds. Because they did that, they were doomed. Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah.
This is the case with the storytellers; they pay too much attention to stories and myths, which they narrate to the common folk, without any understanding or knowledge, and the common man hears a lot but does not understand any ruling or gain any knowledge.
Ibn al-Jawzi said in Talbees Iblees:
The storytellers are not condemned just for being storytellers, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“We relate unto you (Muhammad) the best of stories” [12:3]
“So relate the stories” [7:176]
Rather the storytellers are condemned because they tell many stories without mentioning any beneficial knowledge, and usually they mix sound and unsound material in what they narrate and rely on things that are mostly impossible. End quote.
It was narrated that Abu Qilabah ‘Abd-Allah ibn Zayd said: Nothing kills knowledge but stories. A man may sit with another man for a year and not learn anything from him, and he may sit with a knowledgeable man and not get up until he has learned something. Hilyat al-Awliya.
How often do these storytellers narrate from bad reports to the masses, and tell them these fables, which reach such a status among the masses that they believe everything that they hear and even give them precedence over the scholars and seekers of knowledge.
Al-Hafiz al-‘Iraqi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
One of the problems with them is that they speak to so many people and tell them things that they are unable to comprehend, and that leads them to confusion and makes them develop misconceptions. This applies if what they tell them is sound, so how about if it is false?
Tahdheer al-Khawaas by al-Suyooti,quoting from al-Baa’ith ‘ala al-Khalaas by al-‘Iraaqi.
Ibn al-Jawzi said:
The storyteller narrates weird reports to the masses, and tells them that even if he had even the slightest whiff of knowledge he would not have told them. So the masses leave with a lot of false notions in their minds, which they discuss amongst themselves. If a scholar denounces them, they say: we heard this, he narrated it to us. How many storytellers have misled others by means of the fabricated reports they narrate to them; how many people have turned yellow with hunger (because of what they heard encouraging asceticism); how many people left their families, homes and cities to wander like monks; how many have refrained from doing that which is permitted; how many have refrained from learning and teaching knowledge, believing that he is going against his own whims and desires; how many have made their children orphans because of their asceticism whilst still alive; how many have turned away from their wives and not given them their rights, so that she is neither single nor truly married. End quote. Al-Mawdoo’aa
This is why the storytellers are criticized by many of the salaf.
Maymoon ibn Mahran (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The storyteller may expect punishment from Allah, and the one who listens to him may expect mercy.
Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said, following hadeeth no. 4070 in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah:
This was narrated by Ibn al-Mubarak in his book al-Zuhd with a saheeh isnaad (authentic chain).
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The greatest liars among the people are the storytellers. The people need truthful storytellers who will remind them of death and the punishment of the grave. It was said to him: Didn’t you attend their gatherings? He said: No. Al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah by Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali.
We ask Allah to set straight the affairs of the imams (leaders) and khateebs (orators), and to guide them to that which is best for them and others.