IRRATIONALITY OF THE ANTI-HADITH DOGMA
To deny the validity of the Hadith and claim that the Prophet Muhammad's mission was only to deliver the Quran "and nothing but the Quran", as the phrase goes, is to assume that Muhammad was a dumb person, that he was merely a parrot, or just a machine programmed to recite the text of the Quran! The expression "and nothing but the Quran" is, as Imam Ali said in a dif ferent context, "a word of truth misused to promote falsehood!" (footnote 5)
Members of that Anti-Hadith band think of themselves as rational intellectual creatures, and condemn the rest of the Muslim world who uphold the authencity and authority of the Hadith, especially the Islamic specialists known in Malaysia as Ulama who expose their fallacy, as conservative, outmoded and irrational! They describe themselves as pro-Quran, as if the rest of the Muslim world are not so.
Which party really deserves to be condemned as irrational, and even insensible? Those who portray the Prophet as a dumb, dull person, or those who uphold Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, as the "model of behaviour" for the ummah, and recognise the historical realities that the Prophet, a most eloquent person, talked, walked, delivered his message to mankind, argued with his opponents, reacted, to his contemporaries, preached to his Companions, answered their questions, settled their disputes, led them in prayers and delivered the Friday and Hari Raya ('Id) sermons?
Certainly, the Prophet communicated with members of his household, and reacted in action and in words to their attitudes. He concluded treaties with various tribes; he organised the defence of his faith and led the armies, gave instructions to his men and made serious decisions. He sent messages inviting world leaders to Islam and gave advice to those he appointed as governors of provinces when Islam expanded. He fasted, made pilgrimage and paid charity. He instructed his Companions, and through them, the succeeding generations in the right way to perform the rituals and uphold moral virtues.
The reports of all these truths, as well as the events in the life of the Prophet, such as the persecution he sustained at the hands of his enemies in Mecca, the moving story of his emigration from Mecca to Medina, the construction of his mosque, and his marriages, his death and his burial where he now rests in peace, constitute what we call Al-Hadith or the Hadith. We seek inspiration from these records in obedience to a command from the Holy Quran itself, and we eagerly learn them and enjoy repeating them not only because of our unlimited love and respect for the Prophet, may all peace and blessings be upon him, but also because of their value as an inexhaustible source of wisdom and knowledge.
THOSE WHO REJECT THE HADITH ARE ANTI-QURAN
Those who deny the Hadith and reject its authority do thereby reject the Quran, as they in fact challenge the authority of the Holy Quran which emphatically commands obedience of the Prophet. It reads:
- ''Whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it (and follow it), and whatsoever he forbids you (to do), abstain (from it). And you must fear Allah, for Allah's punishment is very painful." 59:7.
- ''Whoso obeys the Messenger obeys Allah: and whoso turns away. (do not grieve over his disobedience) for We have not sent you as a warden over them." 4:80.
- ''And establish the prayer, and pay the zakat. and obey the Messenger in order that Allah's mercy may be showered upon you.” 24:56.
- ''Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.... If you obey him, (the Messenger), you will go aright." 24:54.
- ''O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority." 4:59, See also: 4:13, 19, and 80. Also: 24:52. 33:71, 48:17, 9:71, 3:31 and 132, 5:92, 8:1, 20 and 46, 20:90, 47:32, 49:14, 58:13 and 64:12.
- "O you wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of speech .... and obey Allah and His Messenger.” 33:32 and 33.
- “....If they had referred it (the matter) to the Messenger and to such of them as are in authority - those of them who are able to think out the matter, would have known it." 4:83.
PART OF THE PROPHET'S TASK WAS TO EXPLAIN AND GIVE DETAILS
Can all these powerfully emphasised commands of obeying the Prophet be sensibly limited to merely receiving the Quran and accepting it? That would be very insensible. The texts just quoted above reject this limitation, and show that obedience to the Messenger to obey his teaching of explanation and details consistent with the Quran and within the framework of its total guidance. Giving these details by the Prophet and his explanation of the Quranic text is part of the Prophet's mission, as indicated in the following Quranic quotations:
- ''And We have revealed unto you the Reminder so that you may explain to the people that which has been revealed for them.'' 16:44.
- ''And My mercy embraces all things. I shall ordain it for those who ward off (evil) and pay, the poor-due, and those who believe Our revelations.... Those who follow the Messenger the Prophet who can neither read nor write .... be enjoins on them al-ma'ruf (that which is right) and forbids them al-munkar (that which is wrong), and makes lawful for them all good things and prohibits for them only that which is foul.” 7:156-157.
Obviously the explanation of a thing is not the same thing.
DOES THE QURAN EXPLAIN ALL MATTERS?
The responsibility of Prophet Muhammad to explain the Quran is not in any way inconsistent with the Quranic statement:
''And We have revealed unto you the Scripture as an exposition of all things." 16:89.
The meaning here is 'all relevant things' of special concern to the monotheistic creed, and is often given in a condensed way to be expanded by the Prophet. We cannot extend the meaning of the phrase "all things" in this verse so as to include all other things, as the anti-Hadith band wishes to do. Otherwise, there are many things which obviously are not given or explained in the Quran, such as the ritual details of the prayer, zakat, fasting and hajj and the prescribed procedure of financial transactions, marriages and law courts. Absent from the Quran are also the stories of many Messengers of Allah, as acknowledged in the Quran itself. It reads:
"Verily We sent Messengers before you, among them those of whom We have told you, and some of whom We have not told you." 40:78. cf. 4:164.
The Holy Quran also does not give the details of nuclear energy or of the recent scientific discoveries including those which have led to space conquest, or the cause of the fatal disease called AIDS!
Science and time have unfolded some Quranic hints. Similarly the Hadith expounded and gave details to some legal, religious and moral issues. This does not mean by any means that the Quran is incomplete. It has provided all it should. Its fullness lies in its command to accept and follow the guidance given through the Prophet.
ALLUSION IN THE QURAN TO THE HADITH AS WISDOM
This additional part of the Islamic guidance delivered by the Prophet in the Hadith is alluded to in the Quran, and is even mentioned categorically in such Quranic passages as the following:
- He it is (Allah) Who has sent among the unlettered (community) a Messenger of their own (race) to recite unto them His revelations, and to purify them, and to teach them the Book and Wisdom, '' 62:2, CF 3:164.
According to this Quranic text, Prophet Muhammad was sent to deliver two things: The Book and Wisdom. Wisdom here, according to Imam Shafi'i, is the guidance contained in the Hadith.
Let us also read the following Quranic statements which similarly speak of the Holy Quran and the Hadith as two sources to be followed and respected:
- "O our Lord and Nourisher! We believe in that which you have revealed, and we follow the Messenger. So, enroll us among those who witness (to the truth).'' 3:53
- “And when it is said unto them: Come unto that which Allah has revealed and (come) unto the Messenger, you see the hypocrites turn away from you with aversion.” 4:61, CF 5:104.
- "He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of Truth." 9:33 and 61:9.
- "So, believe in Allah and in His Messenger and in the Light which We have revealed.'' 64:8.
TO JUDGE BETWEEN PEOPLE WAS AMONG THE PROPHET'S RESPONSIBILITIES, AND HIS JUDGMENTS WERE TO BE WHOLEHEARTEDLY ACCEPTED
Moreover, the Holy Quran commanded the Prophet to judge between people in the light of the Quran, and condemned resistance to the Prophet's judgments in such verses as:
- "So, judge between them in accordance to that which Allah has revealed unto you, and follow not their desires," 5:49, Cf. 3:48.
- "But by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they let you judge in the disputes that may arise between them, then find within themselves no grudges against your decisions, but submit full submission." 4:63.
- And We have indeed revealed the Scripture unto you with the truth so that you may judge between people in the light of that which Allah has taught you.” 4:105.
- And it becomes not a believing mann or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have judged over an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in this matter. And whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he indeed goes astray in manifest error,” 33:36.
- "True believers, when they are invited to bring up their cases of disputes to Allah and His Messenger for judgment, only say: We hear and we obey.'' 24:51.
The Prophet, so appointed as a judge by Allah to decide any cases that were to go up to him, must have done so. We have records of countless cases settled and decided by the Prophet which are a great source of guidance and inspiration. Yet, the Prophet's judgments in the various disputes which came up to him for a trial could not merely be by reciting the Holy Quran, but by giving fresh decisions based on the guidance of the Quran and on his own wisdom. They could, in some cases, be based on separate revelations from heaven. (footnote 6) The cases the Prophet decided on the basis of his wisdom or on his understanding of the Quran, have the value of those based on actual revelations, because should the Prophet have made a disagreeable decision - a fatwa or a ruling or otherwise - a revelation would have come down explaining what should have been done. This happened when the Prophet gave more attention to the delegation of the leaders of the polytheists of Mecca when they called to argue with him - than he gave to a blind man, a Muslim who came to seek some guidance, and as also happened regarding his approval to release the war prisoners on the Day of Badr, on payment of ransoms. In both cases, the Prophet's attention was drawn to the right course of action.
The Prophet's judgments and fatwas constituted, of course, a component of the Hadith. Let us cite some examples of the Prophet's judgments.
A woman embraced Islam, and thereby her marriage to an unbeliever was automatically annulled. After the expiry of her 'Iddah she was married to a Muslim. Yet, it happened that her original husband had meanwhile embraced Islam. So, he went to the Prophet and claimed his wife. The Prophet ruled that she should return to her first husband as the second marriage was invalid since the original husband became a Muslim prior to it. (footnote 7)
Another woman went to the Prophet and claimed that her husband had divorced her although he denied it. She brought with her a trustworthy witness in her favour. Of course, one witness was not enough. At least two trustworthy witnesses would he read ed to make a full testimony. So when the husband was brought up before the Prophet and insisted on his denial, the Prophet ruled that he must substantiate his denial with an oath. If he did, the woman was to be considered his undivorced wife in view of insufficient witnesses: but if the husband was to decline to make an oath, the Prophet ruled that his hesitation was to stand as a second trustworthy witness and the woman was to be considered as divorced. (footnote 8)
Two men went to the Prophet disputing the owner of a piece of land in Yemen. One of them said. ''It is my land, O you Messenger of Allah. His father extorted it from me by coercive means.” The other said. "O you Messenger of Allah! I have inherited it from my father.'' The Prophet asked the plaintiff. “Do you have witnesses?" He said. ''No, but he knows that his father extorted it from me.” The Prophet asked the defendant to swear an oath that he does not know of this claimed extortion, warning:
"No person takes over the property of someone else through a false oath; except that he shall find Allah angry with him when he will meet Him on the Day of Judgement,''
The defendant, having heard this warning. said, ''O you Messenger of Allah! The land is his!” (footnote 9)
To reject the Hadith is to deny fulfilment by the Prophet of Allah's command to judge between people and to decide their cases, and to unreasonably deny firmly established historical facts.
If we reject the Hadith, how could we identify the blind person mentioned in the Quranic verse 80:2 as 'Abd Allah Ibn Umm Maktum? Or how could we know that 'Amr Ibn Hisham, (Abu Jahl) was the person referred to in the verses 96:9-19? These verses begin as follows:
"Have you seen him who strives to dissuade, a servant (of Allah) when he prays?" 96:9-10.
Or how could we learn that the background of the verses 8:66-70 was the freeing of the Badr war prisoners on the payment of ransom? Without the Hadith as explanatory notes, these and many other Quranic passages would have become mere riddles.
Without the Hadith, how could we know that the ''Prophet's friend in the cave" mentioned in the verse 9:40 was Abu Bakr whom the Prophet reassured when he panicked, having seen the feet of the enemies chasing the Prophet: “Abu Bakr! The enemies are so many and so dangerous; but what do you think of two isolated, unarmed persons with Allah on their side?''
Without the Hadith, how could we know that the spouse of Zaid mentioned in 33:37 was Zainab Bint Jahsh who was later divorced and then married to the Prophet?
Without the Hadith, how could we know that Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca on 12 Rabi' al-Awwal? That his father was 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib Ibn Hashim, and his mother was Aminah Bint Wahb? And his wet nurse was Halimah of the desert Beduoin tribe Banu Sa'd?
Without the Hadith, how could we know that the Prophet was first married to Khadijah prior to his Prophetic mission? That he received the first revelation in the Cave of Hira'? That it was Khadijah who reassured him and was the first person to accept his religion? And that it was her unrelenting influential support and that of his uncle Abu Talib that sustained him in the face of the vigorous persecution at the hands of the polytheists of Mecca?
Without the Hadith, how could we know that on his death bed the Prophet appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers in the Mosque on his behalf, which tipped the balance in favour of Abu Bakr in his election as the First Caliph?
Without the Hadith, how could we know that the Prophet died in the room of his young wife A'ishah, in her lap and resting his noble head on her breast? That on his order, he was washed and shrouded by a team from his family headed by Imam 'Ali, and was buried in the same room where he now rests in peace?
All these and many other truths upheld by the ummah of Islam are not found in the Holy Quran which is fondly described by the leader of the anti-Hadith circus as "fully detailed.''
The Hadith may emphasise what exists in the Quran, may expand it, may explain it, and may add to it. (footnote 10)
PREJUDICED MODERNISM MAY VEIL THE TRUTH
It must have become abundantly clear from all the above that it is blasphemous, anti-Quranic and insensible to deny the Hadith or reject its authority. Those who do so are actually rejecting the Quranic authority and teachings, and are in fact Anti-Qura, not Pro-Quran as the NST article innocently but mistakenly propounds. It is not surprising that the fallacy of this misguided party, as the article claims, should appeal to certain intellectual, Western educated scholars! Doesn't this mean that those so-called "rational", “intellectual'', "Western-educated'' persons are so shallow and vulnerable as to be easily misled by the rhetoric of the anti-Hadith writers, none of whom can claim any proper training in the intricate rules and literature of the language of the Quran or in Quranic studies?
The NST article, while it quotes those so-called ''Islamic scholars" with respect, brands the ulama who know the Quran in its totality by heart, as "conservative", and describes their sober defence of the truth about the Hadith as hysterical, as if the ulama as Islamic scholars are two different factions! But the term ulama means ''Islamic scholars" with deep specialisation and legitimate claim to Islamic scholarship - as distinct from those who sought to study Islam through second-hand material written by shallow scholars in non-Quranic languages. We must also bear in mind that there is only one pattern of Islam - not a division of conservative Islam and a new brand of modern Islam!
LEADER OF THE SO-CALLED "PRO-QURAN PARTY" PROCLAIMS HIMSELF ALLAH'S MESSENGER
In a recent issue of his Bulletin (May 1988 - Ramadan 1408), the shaikh of the anti-Hadith band, and author of the slogans: ''The Quran is fully detailed," and "nothing but the Quran" has proclaimed himself the Messenger of Allah to the New World. He defiantly denies the finality of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, and arrogantly states that:
"According to the Quran he (Muhammad) was not the last messenger."
He then inserts the Qurance verse 33:40 to deceive the readers and support his lie!
So, the deceived "imam" of the anti-Hadith propaganda has unveiled his real intention behind his destructive divisive mischiefs. He now pretends that he is the messenger of Allah and that Muhammad was not the last messenger, adroitly giving the reference 33:40 as a Quranic support for his daring statement! Does this verse really state that Muhammad was not the final messenger of Allah as he claims? Of course not. The verse reads:
"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets."
So, this verse does not at all deny that Muhammad was the final Messenger of Allah. On the contrary it means that he was so as will be explained presently. This is the cunning deceptive method of this pretender and his associates! They fabricate some falsehood, feed it to uninformed readers, attributing it to the Quran by giving a Quranic reference without the actual text, thus deliberately misleading readers who are not familiar with the actual words of the Holy Quran into believing what they pretend!
Allah Ta'ala revealed His guidance with the true faith to two categories of people. One category received the divine revelations for themselves only to follow. They are called NABIS (Sing. Nabi.) The other category received the revelations not only for themselves alone to apply, but also to convey them to their society to uphold and to follow. Each of this second category is called RASUL "Messenger," because he was a conveyor of a message, the divine message. Yet, since revelation was given to him, he must also be a nabi, ''a Prophet''.
The Holy Quran does not specify those who were, only nabis (Prophets), not even all those who were Allah's Rasuls, ''Messengers'', as stated earlier. It only tells of twenty-five Rasuls, started with Adam and ended with Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. (footnote 11)
So, every Messenger was also a nabi, Prophet, but there were nabis who were not Messengers. Since Prophet Muhammad was declared the last nabi it must follow that he also was the last Messenger of Allah.
The pretender prepared for his false claim by another deceptive falsehood. He began his proclamation by the words:
“Muhammad was the final Prophet because he delivered the final Scripture.”
Some readers may be impressed by the statement, but by virtue of conveying the final Scripture, Prophet Muhammad was the final Messenger of Allah, and was at the same time the final Nabi by Allah's decree. A Messenger is the one who delivers a message.
The pretender uses his dogma about the figure 19 which he describes as a "physical irrefutable evidence, as a miracle for himself. Even if we should concede that it is a legitimate, correct and consistent discovery, which it is not, (footnote 12) it has to be accredited as a miracle to Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, not to whoever has discovered it. In recent years, a number of sober researchers have discovered miraculous scientific hints in the Quran, (footnote 13) but none ascribed the miracle to himself.
In his argument, the pretender repeats the claim that the earliest revealed passage of the Quran, 96:1-5, consists of 19 words. Apart from the fact that the passage indeed consists of more than 19 words, (footnote 14) as seen physically, using his own style, one wonders how did he know that the passage was the first part of the Quran to be revealed? There is nothing in the Quran that says so. We know that only through the Hadith which he denies. This is just one aspect of. his inconsistencies.
Counting on the credulity of his few gullible followers, the pretender sought to fascinate them by his fantasies and childish Quranic misinterpretations. (footnote 15) Who would not wish to have been in his company when Allah gathered all past Prophets to greet him when he was in Mecca some years back! (footnote 16) Can any person with an atom of wisdom still believe this hallucinating fellow? He pretends that the Quran foretold his name, but the co-incidence of the existence in the Quran of adjectival or abstract words corresponding to the name of a person means nothing. There are many people with his name, and many others whose names are in the Quran. What counts is foretelling of the mission itself as happened in the case of our Prophet whose mission was foretold in the earlier Scriptures. The pretender dares to apply verses speaking of Prophet Muhammad's mission as speaking of his own! This reminds me of another American pretender who used to employ the same blatent means!
Now that the arch-enemy of the Hadith in modern time has proclaimed himself "Messenger of Allah" and categorically denied the finality of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, one wonders whether intelligent sober thinkers, like his deluded supporters in Malaysia, will still continue to hold him in esteem! This man who obstinately and wrongly rejected all attempts to advise him sincerely to desist from his heresies out of concern for his destiny has now broken away - far away indeed - from the orbit of Islam. He rejected the Hadith and thereby rejected the Quran. He demeaned the Prophet Muhammad and denied the finality of his mission. He rejected the last two verses of the Quranic Chapter 9. And now he has declared himself Messenger of Allah. Any one of these violations is sufficient to drive a person out from the orbit of iman.
The gate of Allah's mercy is, and will always be open for those who return to Allah and repent, no matter how gross their sins might be.
"Say: O My servants who have been prodigal to their own hurt. Despair not of the mercy of Allah. Verily Allah forgives all sins. Allah is indeed the Forgiving, the Merciful." 39:53.
We still hope that this pretender will give up all his false and destructive claims, repent to Allah and use his talents constructively to serve Islam as he once did.
1. Imam Muhammad lbn Isma'i Al-Bukhari Al-Sahib, (Istanbul 1981,) Vol. 8, p.p. 162 - 163. Cf. Ibid, Vol. 1. p.p. 11-12.
2. 1bid, Vol, 7, P. 21.
3. Shaikh Kamil Al-Dimeiri, Hayat Al-Hayawan, "Life of the Animals, " (Subeih Press, Cairo 1348 A.M.,) Vol. 2, p. 364. Cf. lbid, Vol. 1, p. 230).
4. The Holy Quran, 10:71-72.
5. AI-Sharif al-Radi, Nah; Al-Balaghah, compiled by Al-Sharif Al-Radi, Ed by Muhammad Abu al-Fadl Ibrahim, Halabi Press, Cairo 1963, p. 103.
6. For example: Muhammad Ibn Farai Al-Maliki who died in 497 A. H., relates in his work called, Aqdiyat Rasul Allah, "The Judgments of the Messenger of Allah, " (Dar al-Kitab, Lebanon 1982,) in p. 338, that the Prophet ruled that the father's sister and the mother's brother of a deceased person have no right to a share in his estate, adding: "Jabriel, the Archangel, peace be on him, told me that they have no inheritance right."
7. Ibid, p. 350.
8. Ibid, P. 379.
9. Ibid, p.p. 454-455.
IO. This is like the prohibition of combining in marriage a woman and her father's sister or her mother's sister.
11. Eighteen of them are mentioned by name in Chapter 6, verses 83-86. They are: Nuh Ibrahim, Lut, Ismail, Ishaq, Ya'cub, Dawud, Sulaiman, Ayyub, Yusuf, Musa, Harun, Zakariyya, Yahya, 'Isa, Ilyas, Al Yasa', Yunus.
The other seven are mentioned elsewhere in the Quran; namely, Adam, Idris, Hud, Shu'aib, Salih, Zu'l-kifl and Muhammad.
12. This is because it is based on inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Some of his counts to be 19 or a multiple of 19 are not true; and the counted phenomenon is not the same thing. He counts words; and when it suits him he counts the letters or the verses or chapters. He even counts arbitrary letters numberical values which he calls gematrical values.
13. A good example is the French thinker Maurice bucaille, author of a fascinating work called:. The Bible, The Quran and Science.
14. He, for example, wrongly counts as 19 the words occurring in the first five verses of Chapter 96, believed to be the first revealed Quranic passage. He counts the two words: ma, "that which", and lam, "did not," as one word. He also counts as one word, each combined words like, bismi, "with the name". rabbika, "your Lord", and similar other combinations.
15. Unfortunately, he always twists the meaning of the Quranic words in his own favour to support his argument, whether in rejecting the Hadith or promoting his fabricated dogmas. One of these fabrications and lies against the Quran is his Quranic definition of the term nabi as "a messenger commissioned by God to deliver a new message.” (See P. I of his Bulletin dated June 1982). Any Arabic school pupil can detect the deception here. Nabi or rather Nabiyy, is derived from a root meaning simply: “to inform" not to convey, and nabiyy is "one who shows the way." See: Lisan Al-'Arab, (Beirut, copied from a 1300 A.H. Edition,) Vol. 15, p. 303. But Rasul is a term derived from a root meaning “a message". Hence, Rasul means "one who carries a message from a party to convey it to another party. Even the word rasul itself is also used in the sense of "a message" and therefore naming Allah's Messenger as such is because he carries a message to convey to mankind. (See: Ibid, Vol. 11, p.p. 284-285).
But the pretender wishes to arbitrarily strip the term rasul from its basic connotation and to impose on it a new meaning; i.e., a confirmer. It is true Prophet Muhammad confirmed the original teachings of earlier Messengers of Allah, but he was not called Conveyer. He also reformed human society, but was not named the Reformer. He is basically the Rasul of Allah with the commission to deliver the teachings of Islam to humanity. And as such he made numerous great achievements. It will be much too long to pursue this point further to demonstrate the unjustified twists of the Quranic texts and gross misinterpretations by the pretender to suit his personal ends.
16. In his June 1988 Bulletin he claims:
"God has shown me literally hundreds profound signs that led me to announce my messengership. The most prominent among these signs was a vision, while I was awake in Mecca where I was introduced to all the Prophets and told that I am to confirm them and correct their Scriptures by God's leave."
To Part Three