Jamiatulamahind] Is Islam Incomplete without Ahaadeeth?
Wednesday, July 2, 2008 4:18 AM
question posed in the subject field above is fundamentally important for
Muslims to come out of the doldrums they are in today. In this context I had a
correspondence with a cyber-friend recently. I am pasting the correspondence
below for wider circulation among Muslims so that they give due thought to the
vitally important matter. The Muslims' very Aakhirah is dependent on how
they answer this question. I earnestly request my readers' feedback.
My response to 'madhabs' is given in bold, wherever
called for, within their post.
A Look at Hadith Rejecters' Claims
Summary of Hadith Rejecters' Claims
1. A) We, Quranists, do not make a distinction between obeying Allah
and obeying His Messenger, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Anyone who
obeys the Qur'an has no other option but to obey the Messenger,
Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, too. Had we been living with him, we
would have no hesitation in blindly following his orders. We do make
a distinction but that is between Allah and Hadith collectors like
Bukhari, Muslim, Nassai, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud. We
accept Allah's Word that He has protected the Quran from corruption,
but why should we accept the words of these hadith collectors? Are
they as infallible as Allah?
1. B) Qur'an is sufficient and does not need any further explanation.
2. Hadith is the same as the gospels of Christianity. Indeed the
time span between death of Messenger Muhammad, Salla-Allahu alayhi
wa sallam, and the compilation of Sahihs was almost the same as that
between the departure of Jesus, Alayhis salam, and compilation of
the Bible. How can Muslims reject one but accept the other?
3. Dr. Maurice Bucaille finds that Saheeh is as unscientific as the
4. The Messenger, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, may have elaborated
on items like mode of salah. Such hadith is probably from the
Messenger, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and should be obeyed. But
what about the hadith that contradict the Qur'an.
5. The root cause of Muslim decay is their reverence for the hadith.
6. Allah has protected only the Qur'an -- not Islam -- from
7. Allah expects from His slaves exclusive servitude. When Sunnis
talk of Quran and Sunnah, the Qur'an is undermined for its
exclusivity is lost.
"If anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger he is indeed on a
clearly wrong path." [Al-Ahzab, 33:36]
"He that obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the
great victory." [Al-Ahzab, 33:71].
For the past fourteen centuries Qur'an and Sunnah have been the twin
undisputed sources of Guidance for Muslims.
only genuine source of guidance for believers has been, is and will always be
the divine Guidance in the form of the Qur'aan. "... Allah's Guidance is
the Guidance ..." [2.120] "... the Qur'aan is the Guidance for
mankind ..." [2.185] It is not for you (the Messenger,peace be upon him)
to guide them, but it is Allah Who guides whom He wills ..." [2.272]
"... Say, the Guidance is Allah's Guidance ..." The Qur'aan is
replete with many such Verses to indicate that the Qur'aan is the only real
source of Guidance for not only believers, but the entire mankind.
every generation, the
Muslims devoted the best of their minds and talents to their study.
They learned both the words and meanings of the Qur'an through the
Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and made an unprecedented
effort in preserving them for the next generation. The result: The
development of the marvelous -- and unparalleled -- science of
hadith, one of the brightest aspects of Muslim history.
of hadith' is the science developed by human beings to give ahaadeeth
the false garb of being a parallel, and often competing, source of Guidance,
along with the Qur'aan.
does it mean to believe in a Prophet except to pledge to follow
him? And so the teachings of the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa
sallam, have always guided this Ummah. No body, in his right mind,
could or did question this practice. Then something happened. During
the colonial period, when most of the Muslim world came under the
subjugation of the West, some "scholars" arose in places like Egypt
(Taha Hussein), India (Abdullah Chakralawi and Ghulam Ahmed
Pervaiz), and Turkey (Zia Gogelup), who began questioning the
authenticity and relevance of hadith.
Almighty would never let the Muslim world to be subjugated by the West, had the
Muslims in general stuck steadfastly to the pure Qur'aanic teachings. The
Muslims' neglect of these divine teachings and preference for the
man-influuenced and error-prone ahaadeeth was the cause of their
humiliation. "... if there comes to you Guidance from Me, then
whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be
distressed. But whoever turns away from My Reminder, verily, for him, is a life
of hardship ..." [2.123, 124]
was not that some genius
had found flaws in the hadith study that had eluded the entire ummah
for thirteen centuries. It was simply that the pressures from the
dominant Western civilization to conform were too strong for them to
withstand. They buckled. Prophetic teachings and life example --
Hadith -- was the obstacle in this process and so it became the
Another factor helped them. Today most Muslims, including the vast
majority of the western-educated Muslims, have meager knowledge of
hadith, having spent no time in studying even the fundamentals of
this vast subject. How many know the difference between Sahih and
Hasan, or between Maudau and Dhaif? The certification process used
in hadith transmission? Names of any hadith book produced in the
first century of Hijrah, or the number of such books? A majority
probably would not be able to name even the six principal hadith
books (Sihah Sitta) or know anything about the history of their
had heard about the Sahih Sitta nor about their compilation during the
lifetimes of the Messenger and the first 4 Khulfa. But their period was the
golden period of Islam. Most of the Muslims then followed
pure Qur'aanic teachings.
such atmosphere provides a fertile ground for
sowing suspicions and doubts.
They call themselves as ahle-Qur'an or Quranists.
who believe in the Qur'aan being the only authentic source of Islam, call
themseves simply as believers.
misleading. For their distinction is not in affirming the Qur'an,
but in rejecting the Hadith. The ideas of munkareen-e-hadith evolve
into three mutually contradictory strains. The first holds that the
job of the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was only to
deliver the Qur'an. We are to follow only the Qur'an and nothing
else, as were the Companions. Further, hadith is not needed to
understand the Qur'an, which is sufficient for providing guidance.
The second group holds that the Companions were required to follow
the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, but we are not. The
third holds that, in theory, we also have to follow the hadith but
we did not receive ahadith through authentic sources and therefore
we have to reject all ahadith collections!
are no contradictions in the minds of those who follow the Qur'aan. They reject
anything that is contradictory to the teachings of the Qur'aan. And that is how
it should be for every believer.
contradictions are a hallmark of false ideologies.
are no contradictions in the Qur'aan. That is why it is divine. But there are
contrdictions galore in ahaadeeth. That is because they are
man-influenced and therefore error-prone.
anyone hold the first position yet profess belief in Qur'an while it
says: "And We have sent down unto You the Message so that you may
explain clearly to men what is sent for them." [An-Nahal, 16:44].
generally need a teacher to teach them anything. Mankind's first
teacher of the Qur'aan was Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him).
this: "Allah did confer a great favor on the Believers when He
sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, rehearsing unto
them the Signs (Verses) of Allah, purifying them, instructing them
in Scripture, and teaching them Wisdom. While before that they were
in manifest error." [A'ale Imran 3:164].
my preceding response.
can anyone hold the second position (limiting the Prophethood to
23 years) yet profess belief in Qur'an, while it says: "We did not
send you except as Mercy for all creatures." [Al-Anbia, 21:107]
Messenger was indeed Allah's Mercy to the worlds, because with him Allah sent
His Message, the Qur'aan.
"We have not sent you except as a Messenger to all mankind,
giving them glad tidings and warning them against sin." [Saba, 34:28]
glad tidings and the warnings were contained in the Message, the Messenger
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third position seems to have avoided these obvious pitfalls, yet
in reality it is no different. Consider statements 1, 4, and 7 in
the summary of hadith rejecters' claims. So hadith undermines
Qur'an's exclusivity, yet would have been followed blindly at the
time of the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Ahadith cannot
be followed because they are not reliable, yet can be followed for
Salah And Hadith Rejecters
But we don't need a favor for hadith about salah (coming from the
same books and the same narrators who are declared as unreliable).
We need an answer to this question: If the Qur'an is the only
authentic source of Guidance, why did it never explain how to offer
salah, although it repeatedly talks about its importance,
associating it with eternal success and failure? What would we think
of a communication that repeatedly emphasizes a certain act but
never explains how to perform it? There are only two possibilities.
Either it is a terrible omission (and in that case it cannot be from
God) or another source for the how-to information is provided and it
is a terrible mistake for any recipient to ignore that.
(Recently some hadith rejecters have realized the difficulty of
their position on salah. But they have made a claim that is even
more ludicrous, namely that the Qur'an gives details on how to offer
salah. "A careful reading of the Koran reveals that we are to get
our Salaah from the Masjid-el Haraam [the continuous practice at
Mecca since the time of Abraham]," says one proponent, "specifically
the 'place of Abraham (moqaam e Ibraheem).'" Let us leave aside all
the practical questions about such a fluid answer. Whose Salah?
When? Are we to follow anyone and everyone we find praying at Muqame
Ibrahim? How are those offering salah there are to determine proper
way of offering Salah? How do you resolve their differences? In his
enthusiasm in proposing this innovative solution, this proponent
even forgot that the Qur'an says the following about the salah of
mushrikeen at the Masjid-el Haraam: "Their prayer at the House of
Allah is nothing but whistling and
clapping of hands. (Its only answer can be), 'Taste the
chastisement because you blasphemed.'" [Al-Anfal 8:35] )
And stand in total devotion to Allah." [2.238] The Qur'aan thus gives the
essence of every ritual prayer. The rukoo and the sajdah are
the natural offshoots of that total devotion. The Islam taught by the Qur'aan
is very simple. Allah does not want His worshippers to be budened. But the
ahaadeeth seekers seek to make everything burdensome. Verses 2.238,
11.114 and 17.78 specify the exact timings for the ritual prayers. Other Verses
like 4.103, 7.29, 7.56, 7.205, 23.2, 23.9, 70.23 give us further details for
the proper conduct of the prayers.
Reliability of Resources
To accept one and reject the other source on the basis of
reliability (statement #2) also defies reason, unless we received
the Qur'an directly from Allah. But we have received both Qur'an and
Hadith through the same channels. Same people transmitted this as
the Word of Allah, that as the word of the Prophet, Salla-Allahu
alayhi was sallam. Even the verse claiming that Qur'an will be
protected came to us through the same people. Through what logic can
anyone declare that the channels are reliable for Qur'an and
unreliable for Hadith? On the contrary the Quranic promise of
protection must apply to Hadith as well for there is no point in
protecting the words but not the meanings of the Qur'an.
could one say that when the Qur'aanic Verses were recorded in writing
immediately after those were revealed during the lifetime of the Messenger
(peace be upon him) itself, whereas the ahaadeeth got recorded in
writing hundreds of years after the Messenger's death!? You are making a grave
mistake in considering the ahaadeeth as meanings of the Qur'aan. The
divine Book repeatedly asserts that it is easy to understand and that the
Qur'aan itself contains the best interpretation of its Verses. If one does not
believe in what the Qur'aan says, then that one is not a believer at all!
To say that Allah promised to protect only Qur'an but not Islam (#6)
is being as ridiculous as one can get. Let's ignore the obvious
question regarding the point of this Heavenly act. The question is
if Islam has been corrupted and its true teachings have been lost,
how can anyone claim to be its follower? Moreover, Qur'an says "If
anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be
accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of
those who have lost" [A'al-e-Imran, 3:85]. How are we to follow the
religion acceptable to Allah if it was not to be protected?
true teachings of Islam are not lost! Those are enshrined in the Qur'aan, which
is divinely protected. But, unfortuneately, most Muslims today do not follow
the Islamic teachings contained in the Qur'aan. We would follow the Religion
acceptable to Allah, by following the Qur'aanic teachings.
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Ahadith Written Down for the First Time in the Third Century of
The above proves that ahadith must have been protected. Were they?
The very existence of a huge library of hadith -- the only one of
its kind among the religions of the world -- answers the question in
the affirmative. To dismiss all that as later day fabrication (#1A,
#2) requires lots of guts -- and equal parts ignorance. Were ahadith
written down for the first time in the third century of Hijra? Not
at all. Actually hadith recording and collection started at the time
of the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Abd-Allah ibn Amr ibn
al-'As, Radi-Allahu unhu, sought and was given the permission to
write everything he heard from the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa
Sallam, who said: "By the One in Whose Hands is my life! Whatever
proceeds from here [pointing to his mouth] is the truth." He
produced Sahifa Sadiqa, which contained more than six thousand
ahadith. Anas ibn Malik, Radi-Allahu unhu, who spent ten years in
Prophet's household, not only
recorded the ahadith but also presented them to the Prophet, Salla-
Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and got corrections. Abu Hurairah, Radi-
Allahu unhu, had many volumes of his collections and even produced
smaller compilations for his students. Prominent Hadith scholar Dr.
Mustafa Azami has shown in his doctoral thesis that in the first
century of Hijra many hundred booklets of hadith were in
circulation. By the end of the second century, "by the most
conservative estimate there were many thousands."
Of course most of these books do not exist today. They were simply
absorbed into the encyclopedic collections that emerged in the third
century. One manuscript from the first century was discovered in
this century and published by Dr. Hamidullah. It is Sahifa Hammam
ibn Munabbah, who was a disciple of Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu unhu.
It contains 138 ahadith. Muhaddithin knew that the ahadith of this
Sahifa had been absorbed into Musnad Ahmed and Muslim collections,
which have been published continuously since their third century
debut. After the discovery of the original manuscript it was
naturally compared with the ahadith in Muslim and Musnad Ahmed that
were thought to have come from that Sahifa. And what did they find?
There was not an iota of difference between the two. Similarly
Mussanaf of Abd al-Razzaq is extant and has been published. As has
been Mu'ammar ibn Rashid's al-Jami. These recently discovered
original manuscripts bear out the Sihah
Sitta. The recent appearance of these original manuscripts should
bring the most skeptical into the fold of believers.
existence of original manuscripts of ahaadeeth is nothing
but hearsay. The so-called 'original manuscripts' are literary
fabrications and concoctions. There is no proof of those being authentic.
and the Gospels
Regarding comparison of Saheeh with Gospels (#2), let's listen to
Dr. Hamidullah. "The compilation of the Gospels, their preservation
and transmission from one generation to the other, has not taken
place in the way which governed the books of Hadith... We do not
know who wrote them, who translated them, and who transmitted them.
How were they transferred from the original Aramaic to Greek? Did
the scribes make arrangements for a faithful reproduction of the
original? The four Gospels are mentioned, for the first time, three
hundred years after Christ. Should we rely on such an unauthentic
book in preference to that of Bukhari who prefaces every statement
of two lines with three to nine references?"
does not give references of any written documents, but merely of different
narrators who transmitted to him the stories orally. The fact that
Bukhari did not give references of any written documents is proof enough that
no such document existed as long back as during his time.
Comments of Dr. Maurice Bucaille
Dr. Maurice Bucaille earned the admiration of many Muslims because
of his study of some scientific phenomena mentioned in the Qur'an
and his testimony based on that study that Qur'an must be the Book
of Allah. However he is not a hadith scholar and it is unfair to
drag him into this discussion. His account of history of hadith
compilation contains many errors, for example the claim that the
first gathering of hadith was performed roughly forty years after
Hijra or that no instructions were given regarding hadith
collection. He questions about a dozen or so entries in Bukhari that
he thinks deal with scientific matters. Even if all that criticism
were valid, would it be sufficient ground to throw away the 9082
total entries (2602 unique ahadith) in Bukhari? He himself does not
think so, for he writes: "The truth of hadith, from a religious
point of view, is beyond question."
Verse 4.82, Allah Ta'ala gives the criterion for any book being divine. The
criterion is that a divine book contains no contrdictions and errors. The fact
that Dr. Bucaille pointed out some contradictions and errors in Bukhari, which
the author of the above write-up himself is not sure of being all invalid,
goes to show that the ahaadeeth are not divine. It is therefore
basically wrong for the believers to believe in such man-influenced and
error-prone books, in preference to the Allah-protected Qur'aan.
Hadith Regarding the Sun
But even his criticism is of questionable value. Consider the hadith
about the sun: "At sunset the sun prostrates itself underneath the
Throne and takes permission to rise again, and it is permitted and
then a time will come when it will be about to prostrate itself...
it will seek permission to go on its course... it will be ordered to
return whence it has come and so it will rise in the West." His
criticism: "This implies the notion of a course the sun runs in
relation to the Earth." Bucaille fails to understand the real
message of this hadith. It was not meant to teach astronomy. Its
clear message is that sun is a slave of Allah, moving always through
His Will. The hadith brings out that message very powerfully so that
even the most illiterate bedouin would understand it fully. Moreover
Bucaille should know better than to criticize the implied notion of
sun's rotation around earth. Even today the astronomers, when
calculating the time of sunrise and
sunset, use a mathematical model in which the sun revolves around
the earth. If that is acceptable for scientific work as it makes
calculations easier, why is it questionable, when it makes
was a human being like any of us. He could also therefore make errrors of
judgement. But apart from his views, what makes the quoted hadeeth
unacceptable is that it seeks to give information about the Unseen, which
none but Allah knows. And His authentic Book of information about future
events, the Qur'aan, nowhere mentions that the sun would anytime rise from the
West. Had this alleged future event been in fact revealed by Allah
Almighty to the Prophet (peace be upon him), it would certainly have found
mention in His complete and protected Meassage to mankind, the Qur'aan. There
is no valid reason why it would not! And the Qur'aan repeatedly asserts that it
explains everything mankind needs to know about.
there are other ahadith which clearly demonstrate a scientific
fact beyond the knowledge of the times but Bucaille has failed to
take notice. For example the hadith about solar eclipse: "The sun
and moon are two signs of Allah. They are not eclipsed on account of
anyone's death or on account of anyone's birth." (Muslim, hadith
#1966]. The eclipse had coincided with the death of Prophet's son. A
false prophet would have tried to exploit the occasion. A fabricated
hadith would require scientific knowledge that did not exist then.
mixed bag of truths and untruths does not qualify the entire bag to be
sanctified as containing nothing but the Truth.
munkareen-e-hadith think that their beliefs are built on solid
rock. Well, it is as solid as wax: The religion based on this idea
can be fitted into any mold. For some hadith rejecters that was the
motivation. For everyone, that is the inevitable result. But the
good news is that their arguments are the same way. On the surface
they appear to be solid. But faced with the light of truth, they
melt away like wax.
'solid rock' you speak of is the Qur'aan, Brother! Do not betray your lack of
belief in it, by describing it 'as solid as wax'.
Keep us on the Right Path, Allah!