A Look at Hadith Rejecters' Claims
- Salah And Hadith Rejecters
- The Reliability of Resources
- Protection of Qur'an
- Were Ahadith Written Down for the First Time in the Third Century of Hijra?
- Saheeh and the Gospels
- The Comments of Dr.
- The Hadith Regarding the Sun
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 Bible.
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 corruption.
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.
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"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."
For the past fourteen centuries Qur'an and Sunnah have been the twin undisputed sources
of Guidance for Muslims. In 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.
What 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. It 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 target.
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 compilation.
Obviously such atmosphere provides a fertile ground for sowing suspicions and doubts.
They call themselves as ahle-Qur'an or Quranists. This is 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!
Internal contradictions are a hallmark of false ideologies. How can 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]. And 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].
How 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] And, "We have not sent you except as a Messenger
to all mankind, giving them glad tidings and warning them against sin." [Saba, 34:28]
The 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 ritual prayers.
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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
(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
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The 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
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Protection of Qur'an
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?
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Were 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
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.
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Saheeh 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?"
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The Comments of Dr.
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
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The 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 communication easier?
Also 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.
The 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.
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