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Authority of Sunnah Part-1: Hadith=Revelation

Authority of Sunnah
Part 1
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We bring to you a short series on some of the basics of the sciences of hadith, in order to increase our appreciation and understanding of this great field. So, perhaps next time, we may be a bit less casual in dismissing hadith as “optional”. The article begins after a short introduction. We are grateful to Umm Reem, who will be graduating this year with a Bachelors in Islamic Studies from AOU, for bringing this reminder to us

Introduction: The Muslim blogosphere is a haven for all sorts of strange opinions, many of which have no foundations in the texts or the sciences of Islam. Recently, there has been a spate of anti-hadith, anti-Sunnah rhetoric; an attempt to persuade lay-Muslims to flee from ahadith and “stick to the Qurʾān” by saying that Hadith is not revelation. What this simplistic message fails to comprehend is that sticking to the Qurʾān IN FACT forces a Muslim to “stick to the hadith” as well!

The recent decision by Turkey to perform “a fundamental review of hadith” has been celebrated by some bloggers, while others have done the same, but in a more muted way, as this sister notes in her post: “I'm sure this will cause a bit of a stir amongst the wahabis and salafis but as for the mainstream Muslims, it will really depend on exactly what they are doing”. So, “wahabis” and “salafis”, separate from the mainstream (tell that to all these Sunni Shayookh), are apparently the only ones concerned about this Turkish “review”, which by the way is occuring under the watchful eye of a Jesuit priest. I bet all traditionalists (anyone who sticks to the Qurʾān, Sunnah and our scholarly heritage = real mainstream) would take great umbrage to this sort of qualification. In fact, there are many scholars, especially among the deobandi hanafis, who dislike that even weak hadith (daeef, not batil) be rejected, let alone the authentic ones! So much for this new “mainstream”.

Some bloggers have outlined ahadith that they didn't quite appreciate, and then in the process attacked the very concept of it. There have been commentators who have actually insulted Abu Hurayrah, rd, as being misogynist, while others have just questioned his existence or his truthfulness. I would link to the posts and these derogatory comments (directed to a Sahaba!), but instead I would like to remind readers of my previous post, the conclusion of which goes over how to isolate these untrained “reformers”. If someone suggests that they operate under the realm of “hadith are not revelation”, then flee, because this view leads down to a very dangerous path (check out the Submitters, Parvezis, and other flavors as the ultimate destination).

So, I ask all these new-age intellectuals and “reformers”: has our Ummah been so bereft of knowledge that its scholars could not do justice to the sciences of hadith, and that we need Jesuit priests to help us “complete the task”? What does this say about Bukhāri, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Malik, and in contemporary times Albani, etc.; all Imams of the sciences of ahadith, yet they somehow missed knowledge only available in 21st century? I can say, with great surety, that most of these new-age “reformers” have not studied a single scholarly text on ahadith or understand the basics of this science, let alone its fine details. Because if they did, they would appreciate the enormity of this knowledge, and the greatness of the scholars who preserved and disseminated it.

-Amad

Authority of Sunnah: Hadith=Revelation by Umm Reem

Imagine you are sitting in pre-cal class and you are told to evaluate an expression: 18+18-16*6 / 3. With a little quick math, you come up with 40, but it doesn't match up with the correct answer. You ask your professor and he tells you to go back to your basics!

'Logically' there is nothing wrong with first adding, then subtracting, next multiplying and finally dividing. You go in sequence, one by one, because it seems 'reasonable'. But guess what? It doesn't lead you to the 'correct' answer! So are you going to tell your professor that since your way is more 'logical' you are going to invent a new method or are you going to play by the rules and solve the problem using the conventional 'method' laid out?

Similarly, before getting into a heated discussion on certain ahadeeth such as:
'women being a fitnah', 'women and black dogs mentioned in the same hadeeth', or 'more women being in the Hellfire', let me humbly ask the readers to let us step back and study the 'system' or 'method' in which our religion has been laid out by first understanding 'textual evidence' in its proper context.

To do this, I am going to divide this post into three parts, followed by an example:

A. Sunnah is Revelation
B. Unquestioned Status of the Companions
C. Limitations of Our Minds
Example- Women: Are they harmful “Fitnah”?!

A common misconception these days is the vociferous opinion that ahadeeth are not revelation, but merely statements of the Prophet, sallAllahu alayhi wasalam, and therefore can be overruled by intellect. Not only does this opinion not hold any water, but it reflects a complete lack of Islamic knowledge!

My intention here is not to discuss the complete sciences of ahadeeth and methodology of preservation, and for more information on these topics, one should read:

Let us, very briefly, examine some of the numerous proofs that confirm authentic ahadeeth are in fact a form of 'revelation' from Allāh azzawjal.

Firstly, let us remember that obedience to the Prophet, sallAllahu alayhi wasalam, is binding upon us by Allāh's order. There are more than 60 verses in the Qurʾān asking us to obey Allāh AND the Messenger.

“And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)” (59:7)
“O you who believe, obey Allāh and obey the Messenger…”(4:59)

Logically, if the Qurʾān was the only legislation then 'Obey Allāh…' would have been sufficient command since the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam was conveying the Qurʾān to humanity anyways. However, to emphasize 'AND obey the Messenger…' in more than sixty different places in the Qurʾān indicates that, in addition to the Qurʾān, there is also something else we need to obey, and that is 'whatever the Prophet gives you…' i.e. his statements, better known as ahadeeth.

It is also very clear from the Qurʾān that the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam never spoke from his own opinions or logic as Allāh azzawjal states,

“Nor does he speak from (his own) inclination.” (53:3)

Hence, if he never spoke out of his own desires (concerning the religious matters) then all of the ahadeeth dealing with 'permissions' and 'prohibitions' must have had a source which were not from his own self!

Revelation Other Than the Qurʾān:

There are references in the Qurʾān indicating that certain commands were given to the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam, making it binding upon Muslims to obey; however, they never became a part of the Qurʾān. In other words, the Qurʾān is referring to a 'revelation' from Allāh that is not entirely found in the Qurʾān, thereby demonstrating a source of revelation apart from the Qurʾān.

Muslims used to pray facing Jerusalem until the command was abrogated by a verse in Surah Baqarah which changed the direction of the Qiblah to the Ka'aba. However, the original command to face Jerusalem while praying is nowhere to be found in the Qurʾān, yet facing Jerusalem was an obligatory part of prayer. Some of the disbelievers during that time criticized the change in the Qiblah, so Allāh azzawjal responded by sending down:

“And We did not appoint the Qiblah on which you were earlier but that We might know the people who follow the Messenger as distinct from those who turn back on their heels.” (2:143)

In this verse, Allāh azzawjal attributed the previous command of facing Jerusalem to Himself although that order is not found in the Qurʾān. The order of facing Jerusalem during prayer was given to Muslims by the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam with no references to any verse of the Qurʾān. Still, this order was later mentioned by Allāh as His OWN order:

“We did not appoint…” instead of the words: “The Prophet did not appoint…”

This verse clearly proves [1] that:

a. The Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam used to receive some revelation apart from the Qurʾān.
b. These revelations were from Allāh, as Allāh azzawjal clearly attributed such command to Himself.
c. The orders based on such revelation were as compulsory on the Muslims as the other orders in the Qurʾān.

Ponder over this: Before the verses were revealed assigning the direction of the Qiblah to the Ka'bah, none of the companions 'questioned' the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam about the obligation of facing Jerusalem by asking, 'Where does it say so in the Qurʾān?' Ipso facto, they understood the meaning of 'Obey the Messenger…'.

Another example of a command which was given by the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam but never mentioned in the Qurʾān was the prohibition of sexual intercourse during the nights of Ramadan. If someone were to take a nap after iftaar and then wake up at night, he would lose the opportunity of sleeping with his wife for the rest of the night even though his fast was over. This rule was prescribed by the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam and was not mentioned in the Qurʾān.

However, some Muslims couldn't keep up with this rule and Allāh azzawjal replaced it with ease:

“It is made lawful for you, in the nights of fasts, to have intercourse with your women…Allāh knows that you used to deceive yourselves; so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So, now you can have sexual intimacy with them…” (2:187)

This verse proves, as mentioned by Taqi Usmani [2] :

a. Having intercourse during the nights of Ramadan was not lawful before.
b. Those who had intercourse during the nights of Ramadan, before this verse was revealed, were admonished and their act was described as 'deceiving themselves'.
c. 'so He accepted your repentance and forgave you', clearly shows that breaking the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam's rule was a sin, since 'repenting' and 'forgiving' only occur after a person commits a sin.

It is substantiated that the previous prohibition of intercourse during Ramadan nights was a law, binding upon all Muslims to obey, yet it was not a command in the Qurʾān, rather it was legislation instructed by the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam.

Suffice is to say that these examples, and many more, clearly prove that there is a separate revelation, apart from the Qurʾān, which is found in the commands given by Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam, as a law giver, in the form of ahadeeth.

Want MORE Proof?

In a number of verses, Allāh azzawjal mentioned that He has revealed more than the 'Book':

Allāh has revealed to you the Book and the Hikmah…” (4:113)

In another verse Allāh azzawjal describes the duties of the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam:

“…who recites unto them His revelations, and causes them to grow and teaches them the Book and the Hikmah…” (3:164)

a. There was more revealed to the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam than the Book, and this is referred to as the Hikmah. This doesn't need anymore explanation as it is in the exact words of Allāh azzawjal (4:113).
b. The Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam's duties included more than just teaching humanity the Qurʾān (referred to in the verse as 'Book'). The Qurʾān says he sallAllahu alayhi wasalam also taught them Hikmah, and the only other way by which he taught mankind anything was through his ahadeeth. This equates the Hikmah with the Sunnah of the Prophet sallAllahu alayhi wasalam.

Think about it:

We hear that Allāh azzawjal promised to preserve the Qurʾān alone. He said:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Dhikr and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (15: 9)

Firstly, Allāh azzawjal didn't say 'Kitaab' or 'Qurʾān' here; rather, He said 'dhikr' which doesn't restrict the meaning to Qurʾān alone. In fact, 'dhikr' has been used in the Qurʾān for different meanings, like in this verse:

“We have revealed to you the (dhikr) Reminder that you may explain to mankind that which has been revealed for them” (Nahl: 44).

Here 'dhikr' clearly refers to the 'explanation of the Qurʾān', because if 'dhikr' was exclusive to 'Qurʾān' alone, then this verse would mean 'Qurʾān' has been revealed to explain Qurʾān?!!

Secondly, if Qurʾān was the only form of revelation, then don't you think a more precise word would have been used like 'Kitaab', 'Qurʾān', or 'Furqan', restricting the promise of preservation for the Qurʾān alone?

What could be the wisdom behind using the word 'dhikr'? Was it because the Qurʾān is not the only form of revelation, rather ahadeeth are also from the 'revelation', and that's why 'dhikr' is preserved and not just 'Qurʾān'! ('dkhir' being both Qurʾān and ahadeeth)

Islam is logical but not based on logic and Islam is reasonable but not based on reason. In addition to all the proofs above, let me give a 'logical' example why ahadeeth preservation is a 'necessity', in addition to being the 'revelation'. In order to preserve the Qurʾān, it is understood that Allāh azzawjal will preserve the Arabic language. However, nowhere in the Qurʾān does Allāh promise to preserve the Arabic language. Similarly, without the 'explanation' (hikmah/dhikr/ahadeeth), the 'Book' cannot be understood properly and ipso facto ahadeeth are preserved!

I would like to mention that the information above was a short summary. There are numerous examples and references in the Qurʾān (and in the ahadeeth) on this subject, and to get a better understanding, I highly recommend these books:

  • The Authority and Importance of the Sunnah by Jamal Zarabozo
  • The Authority of Sunnah by Justice Muḥammad Taqi Usmani

Foot-Notes:

  • Usmani, Taqi: The Authority of Sunnah. Pg. 25
  • Usmani, Taqi: The Authority of Sunnah, pg. 27
allah bukhari muhammad quran

About Umm Reem

Umm Reem has a bachelors degree in Islamic Studies from American Open University. She studied Arabic Language & Literature at Qatar University and at Cairo Institute in Egypt. She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi. She was one of the founders of Daughters of Adam magazine and remained the publishing director until 2007. She had been actively involved with MSA, TDC, and other community activities. She has also been actively involved with the Muslim women of her community spiritually counseling with marital and mother-daughter issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities, including special workshops regarding parenting and issues related to women.

63 comments

  1. salaam alaikum,

    that was awesome masha’Allah. I want to add another reasoning with this. If someone doubts about the authenticity of hadeeth and I have a very little time to explain it to him then I would try the following logic first:

    Firstly, Allah ‘azza wa jall says to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) i Surah an-Qiyamah:17-19: “It is for Us to collect it and to give you. And when We have recited it to you, then follow its (the Qur’ân’s) recitation. Then it is for Us (Allâh) to make it clear (to you).”

    Here it is clear Allah didnt only collected it for the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), nor did he just teach him the recitation. He also explained it to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). This is an important point. If the Prophet himself needs it to be explained to him it is only logical that others of humanity will need it too. So the purpose will be defeated if the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) only RECITED the Qur’an to us but didnt provide us with the explanation he learnt from Allah ‘azza wa jall. Indeed The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was not sent by Allah just to present to us the verbatim statements of Allah, rather he had to explain it to us as well. We find in surah an-Nahl: 44 : “With clear signs and Books (We sent the Messengers). And We have also sent down to you the Dhikr, that YOU MAY EXPLAIN CLEARLY to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.”

    Having known this, I believe, one has to be an extreme nut case to deny the hadeeth.

    wallahu a’alam.

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  2. Here’s my take on the Turkey revision scandal if anyone is interested … Turkey, Islam and the Scholar/Bureaucrats

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  3. Wow! Did you bother reading my whole post? I’ve absolutely not celebrated this in any way – muted or not muted and have even pointed out why removal of hadith could be wrong and exactly in which situation it is wrong.

    You may want to go and read my zina post in regards to one of our most controversial hadiths (in the eyes of the western world) to see that I am not an opponent of hadith: http://samaha.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/zina/ and how I have shown that the same hadith can be used in moderate views.

    When I state “mainstream” I am suggesting your average typical Muslim that is not as commited to a set way – the layman. ie – someone that would be salafi – would state that they are salafi because they know exactly what that means.

    Whatever, cuz I guess you’ve just proven my point anyway :-)

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  4. The introduction and article is proving the validity of Hadeeth. I believe most Muslims accept Hadeeth, but they have trouble accepting “certain” Hadeeth that have proven to be contrary to the Quranic message and Islamic spirit.

    I would like to request, inshAllah, an explanation for the controversial hadeeths of: women are more in hellfire, women are missing religion and intellect, marry a virgin because it’s better for you, the black dog issue, etc.

    I am interested to read your next installment about the Sahabah.

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  5. salam Sr Samaha.

    You said:

    When I state “mainstream” I am suggesting your average typical Muslim that is not as commited to a set way – the layman. ie – someone that would be salafi – would state that they are salafi because they know exactly what that means.

    I am still not sure what you are trying to say here. I mean you have lay-”salafis”, and knowledgeable “salafis”, just like you have lay-tradionalists, and knowledgeable traditionalists.

    What “set way” are you referring to? In fact, I would say that the traditionalists hold on to the ways of taqleed even more than salafis. One of the best books written on this subject is by Mufti Taqi, who is a traditionalist scholar.

    I want to crystallize my point further, so it is clear what my issues is: I am not that concerned about the salafi-stereotyping. A lot of that is going on, and I dare say that some is deserved. My problem is of isolating one group as being concerned about the preservation of ahadith, as if majority don’t care that much. But I am here to tell you that the majority of the Ummah’s scholars do indeed care, and it is not healthy to attach labels to this issue.

    You say you are not an opponent of hadith. But being an opponent doesn’t mean saying that all ahadith need to be scrapped. Raising doubts about following ahadith is also opposing hadith traditions, as you say in your article:

    Additionally, Muslims are not required to follow hadiths .. a hadith should not abrogate a Quranic verse ..

    I am wondering how you came to this conclusion then? Muslims are not required to follow hadith? Indeed if Muslims don’t follow hadith, the interpretation of Quran will be free-for-all, leading to the type of groups I mentioned (submitters, etc.)

    I hope inshallah that everyone stays open-minded and reads the information presented here. Furthermore, if someone really wants to dig a little deeper, the books mentioned are worth the read.

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  6. congratulation to Umm Reem for your Bachelor’s.

    MashaAllah this is really good post. We need to educate Muslims all around the world. If we are not doing the Sunnah, we will fall into doing something else that may lead us into Shirk. Look at what’s happening in Indonesia. People are doing wierd things thinking they are part of religious rites: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/01/volcano-culture/andrew-marshall-text.html

    May Allah guide us. Ameen

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  7. Very few people completely disregard hadith, as Organic mentioned the issue is with certain hadith that upon first reading seem contrary to Islamic spirit.

    Hadith are not infallible, if Quran is open to interpretation and reinterpretation then why do people hold Hadith to be more sacred? Sciences of hadith are complex – which is why one hadith never only ever has one explanation, and just because a hadith is sahih doesn’t mean it does not have errors in it.

    There is no doubt the content of some hadith upon first read can raise many questions for a Muslim. Raising doubts about hadith is not the same as scrapping them altogether. The sooner people learn to distinguish between one and the other the better. This is called a learning curve.

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  8. Let me cut and paste the whole of that paragraph:

    “I’m sure this will cause a bit of a stir amongst the wahabis and salafis but as for the mainstream Muslims, it will really depend on exactly what they are doing. If they are going through the Hadiths to once again reinterpret them – to provide the historical backgrounds on the hadith and eliminating some of the Hadiths that are known to be very very weak or false then I think no one will mind and who knows it may even be possible that this provides a reference, a collection of hadith for moderate Muslims. However, if it is being done in a manner which is going to look like modernizing Islam by forcing the Turkish scholars to use only these new and improved hadiths – the project could fail even in secularizing the average Muslims of Turkey. Islamic jurisprudence is basically an art and science all in one. Just because one hadith seems to have one moral – that doesn’t mean that the hadith couldn’t have another moral in today’s time. Additionally, Muslims are not required to follow hadiths .. a hadith should not abrogate a Quranic verse .. although it does happen and we see that happening in cases of stonings. Those that are learned in the traditional field of Islamic jurisprudence are able to come to rulings which are fair and just for today’s society through the very hadiths that fundamentalists use to come to inhumane practices.”

    So to this: “My problem is of isolating one group as being concerned about the preservation of ahadith, as if majority don’t care that much.”

    Under certain conditions .. no, I don’t think most Muslims would mind this.

    However, in another article I have read (after the post) that they are going to use logic and reason in excluding some of the hadith – and under this circumstance I think that even mainstream Muslims will not approve – and as I have stated in my post it depends on how this is done. The logic and reason method was in the back of my mind when I read the first article emailed to me and I knew that this most likely wouldn’t be acceptable.

    “But I am here to tell you that the majority of the Ummah’s scholars do indeed care, and it is not healthy to attach labels to this issue.”

    I agree and I think it is clear in the excerpt that I just posted.

    When I talk about not being required to follow hadith – I will admit that the sentence may not be clear enough. What I meant to say was that unlike the Quran .. we are allowed to question hadith. When there is discrepency between Quran and Hadith which is supposed to take precedence?

    We allready have division amongst us because of hadith. This is where we go whenever we need to justify our actions that in my opinion are not Islamic. You have your hadith memorizers these days that have no clue in regards to the science of hadith and jurisprudence. For the sake of argument I could go back and refer to the prophet (pbuh) saying not to write his words down and there you have it – a layman trying to justify an argument (hypothetical).

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  9. One more thing – dawood pasted a link in regards to this on my blog and I thought it essential reading for those interested in this topic:

    http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=135202

    Legal actions may be taken against the BBC for the way the project has been distorted.

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  10. Sorry sisters it seems you are dividing people in the way which is not just. Every muslim in the world if he follows a madhab or not cares as much about ahadith same as Quran.

    And who told you that Prophet(SAW) didnt say not to write his words down. I mean are you thinking right?

    He told Abu Huraira (RA) to write the ahadith because everything that comes from the mouth of Prophet(SAW) is the Haqq. If he says something wrong than Allah (SWT ) used to mend his mistake. So his speech was guarded and thus he advised Abu Huraira(RA) to write what he tells him.

    Also you learn each and every detail of your life and how to practice is from Hadith not from Quran. Quran never tells you how to pray salah, or how to do Hajj you need to learn that from the way of the Prophet(SAW).

    Also the ahadith Collectors where very pious people and had rules which are much more stronger than the rules you have come up with. Have you read Usul al Hadith and how did they come to the conclusion that hadith is sahih or not. Do you have the knowledge of arabic language at all. Because if you have never read any of the initial book of fiqh and the usuls regarding hadith then this discussion is like a children talking about applied sciences.

    Please spare us the enlightenment bandwagon because we dont want to ride. We follow what Allah said “Obey Allah and his messanger if you are a believer”.

    This thing by turkish government is a fraud and a rebellion against the religion of Allah and shame on those people who are supporthing and cheering this useless idea.

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  11. “There is no doubt the content of some hadith upon first read can raise many questions for a Muslim. Raising doubts about hadith is not the same as scrapping them altogether. The sooner people learn to distinguish between one and the other the better. This is called a learning curve”

    Raising doubt about what? And do you have the knowledge to even raise a doubt about it. You are talking of Islamic spirit. What the heck does this mean “Islamic spirit”? What is the meaning of this term? Did this term existed in the time of classical scholars? Have you read the some Books on usul of grading ahadith and rules of fiqh. If not then this is a moot point and you are not qualified to discuss this subject sorry.

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  12. Suhail said: “Raising doubt about what? And do you have the knowledge to even raise a doubt about it.”

    I thought Islam and seeking knowledge of it was something that every Muslim was encouraged to do. With your attitude toward the sisters statements, it seems like you discourage a person from searching and clearing doubts. Are you trying to claim that a person can’t doubt?

    Prophet Ibrahim had his “doubts” and asked Allah to clarify them. It’s a human characteristic. The fact that you limit ‘doubt’ to a knowledgeable person is absurd and not Islamic.

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  13. “but they have trouble accepting “certain” Hadeeth that have proven to be contrary to the Quranic message and Islamic spirit.”

    The only criteria these people have for accepting or rejecting ahadith is beas desires; ahadith are ‘controversial’ only if they contradict feminism etc. This has nothing to do with the ‘Islamic spirit’- the Sunnah IS the spirit of Islam.

    “I would like to request, inshAllah, an explanation for the controversial hadeeths of: women are more in hellfire, women are missing religion and intellect, marry a virgin because it’s better for you, the black dog issue, etc. ”

    Again, your only criteria for accepting/rejecting these ahadith is because, for various reasons, you don’t like them…

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  14. I guess there is a difference between raising a doubt, or raising questions to the scholars about Islamic issues vs. promoting doubts. I would imagine that if you want to make a statement like this:

    What I meant to say was that unlike the Quran .. we are allowed to question hadith.

    So, actually if you study the sciences of ahadith and what scholars say about ahadith, they are on equal par in terms of authority as the Quran. Because both are revelations and the both have been collected/preserved in similar fashion.

    Now there is a difference between saying that the interpretation of a hadith is incorrect, just like the interpretation of a Quran verse could also be incorrect… but it is altogether a different matter to say that the hadith MUST be inauthentic since our minds do not comprehend it.

    And actually there is no contradiction between Quran and authentic hadith. Scholars have always found a way to interpret them in harmony.

    So, my question again, before we raise/promote doubts in a public forum, shouldn’t we do our research first? Read the literature first? Talk to scholars first? Because if you honestly evaluate the situation, what would a layman conclude after reading these doubts? No doubt he’ll believe that it is not necessary to follow hadith. Isn’t that a grave burden? Shouldn’t one be extremely careful before talking about such a fundamental manner?

    Finally, I am glad that the sisters here are not rejecting hadith, because there are many out there who indeed are. So, I think we have a good platform to build upon and hopefully clear some of the doubts raised. If hearts and minds are open, then inshallah pure knowledge will always find a way in.

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  15. “So, actually if you study the sciences of ahadith and what scholars say about ahadith, they are on equal par in terms of authority as the Quran. Because both are revelations and the both have been collected/preserved in similar fashion.”

    Not so. The Quran was required to be memorized word for word, down to items we can not explain. We do not label verses of the Quran as weak or follow a chain of narration. The Quran itself is Islam’s miracle. Let’s just take a look at how the age of Aisha is determined. According to Hadith the chain working its way down to Aisha herself, she was about nine years old but there has been much research done by scholars that show according to other hadith that her age was much older.

    This is from my zina post (please forgive the length):

    Again, quoting Kemali, modern jurists are finding stoning (derived from hadiths) to be a punishment not fitting:

    “Ali Mansur, the author of Nizam al-Tajrim wal-’Iqab fil-Islam, a former President of the Constitutional Court of Egypt and Chairman of the Committee on the Harmonisation of Shari’a and Law wrote that: “Muhammad Abu Zahrah, who is one of the leading ulema of Shari’a this century has sent to me in writing his opinion on the subject of stoning where he concluded that the evidence for this punishment was doubtful and it was therefore preferable not to apply it”. Mansur added that Abu Zahrah expressed his views in a conference in the Moroccan city of bar al-Bayda on the 22nd of Rabi al-Awwal 1392 H, corresponding to 6 May 1972. Abu Zahrah’s views on this issue have also to a large extent appeared in his own book (published earlier in 1959) which may be summarised as follows:

    (1) There is no disagreement among the jurists and ulema of the four leading madhahib that the punishment of flogging for zina, prescribed in the Qur’an, applies to unmarried men and women who are referred to in the Qur’an as ghayr muhsan. The majority (jumhur) of jurists have added that a male fornicator is also liable to banishment, that is removal from society, or imprisonment, for a year so that he is not ostracised for what he has done and that in the course of time people may forget about it. Imam Malik has held that banishment should not apply to women convicted of zina for fear obviously of immorality and corruption.

    (2) As for the punishment of stoning for a married person, Abu Zahrah refers to the relevant ahadith. But then he notes that all of these ahadith are Ahad and the mere fact that there are several of them does not elevate them to the rank of mutawatir. Only the mutawatir inspires conviction and precludes the possibility of lying and doubt in the transmission of Hadith.

    (3) Abu Zahrah draws attention to the Hadith recorded in Sahth al-Bukhari that one of the Followers (tabi’un) asked a mujtahid among the Companions whether the Surah al-Nur, which prescribed the punishment of flogging, was revealed before the ahadith on stoning or whether these latter came after Surah al-Nur. The Companion answered that he did not know. The person who asked the question was al-Shaybani and the Companion was Abd Allah Ibn Abi Awfa. The ulema of Hadith have, however, attempted to resolve the doubt raised in this report by saying that the ahadith of rajm came after the revelation of Surah al-Nur and therefore abrogated the latter. which is why ‘Umar al-Khattab acted on the ruling of these ahadith.

    (4) At this point Abu Zahrah relates the views of the Kharijites, some Shi’ah and Mu.’tazillah to the effect that there is no other punishment for zina other than flogging. They have further argued that stoning is the most severe of all punishments, it should therefore be proven by decisive evidence, that is either the Qur’an or Hadith mutawatir, and all the ahadith or rajm fall short of mutawatir. Added to this is the doubt expressed by a Companion as to whether the stoning of Wiz and al-Ghamidiyah preceded or succeeded the Qur’anic text in Surah al-Nur. Rajm as a punishment thus collapses on the basis of the rule that doubts invalidate the hudud.

    Ali Mansur added that another prominent jurist, Professor Mustafa al-Zarqa, was present at the same conference and heard Abu Zahrah’s views on the subject of rajm: He too (al-Zarqa) sent his opinion in writing to me to the effect that stoning as a punishment in zina should not be enforced, not because of the doubt in the authenticity of Hadith but because it is quite possible that stoning was imposed as a ta’zir punishment. AI-Zarqa then added that this was also the opinion of Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut. The text of al-Zarqa’s letter contained the following:

    In my view there is a distinct possibility that the Prophet s.a.w. ordered rajm, in the related incidents by way not of hadd but of ta’zir punishment. . For he saw under the circumstances that only a strong and decisive stand on this issue could curb the rampant immorality and corruption of the time of ignorance. The lawful government and the ulu al-amr are within their rights to introduce ta’zir punishment in their efforts to combat criminality and to secure benefit for the community. It is likely that the Prophet s.a.w. also exercised his authority in this way and introduced rajm as a ta’zir punishment.

    Our review of the evidence in the ahadith tends to confirm al-Zarqa’s observation. For a period of time when there was no definitive ruling on a fixed punishment for zina, that is prior to the revelation of Surah al-Nur in the year 4 or 5 Hijrah, it would appear that rajm was not a hadd punishment. If there were instances of its application around that time it was clearly on a discretionary basis. Supposing that the Prophet employed rajm in those years by recourse to the ruling of the Torah, that by itself would not render it into a hadd punishment either and it would still be reasonable to think that it was applied on a discretionary basis until the revelation of Surah al-Nur. Whether the Qur’anic hadd was subsequently and partially abrogated or specified in a certain way and how this was done, whether by the Qur’an itself or by the Sunnah, and in what chronological order, are among the widely debated questions, and the answers they have received are not totally devoid of uncertainty and doubt.”

    By that – we are definately seeing that use of hadith in certain circumstances is questionable and the excerpt shows some doubts in terms of the particular hadith being used.”

    “So, my question again, before we raise/promote doubts in a public forum, shouldn’t we do our research first? Read the literature first? Talk to scholars first? Because if you honestly evaluate the situation, what would a layman conclude after reading these doubts? No doubt he’ll believe that it is not necessary to follow hadith. Isn’t that a grave burden? Shouldn’t one be extremely careful before talking about such a fundamental manner?”

    My post states that I don’t believe that the reformism I was reading about was going to work. My final paragraph offers a solution which didn’t require elimination of hadiths and I have statements that are pro-hadith. So, I’m not quite sure how I am going to give some layman the idea that we shouldn’t follow hadiths.

    Furthermore, my readers tend to not be Muslim. I tend to cater to them in my writting and getting too technical seems counter productive. I was emailed the article by another blogger (non-Muslim) and asked for my thoughts.

    If you’re so concerned about how it appears – you should have asked me on the post in my comments section so that there could be clarification on my blog – on the record.

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  16. Organic Muslimah: InshaAllah I will talk about the ‘fitnah’ hadeeth and if time allows other too.

    As for you mentioning about troubling to accept a certain ahadeeth because of their content, I will inshaAllah discuss that in part 3.

    Once a hadeeth qualifies to be ‘sahih’ then no doubt it becomes a legislation of Islam and as we believe that each and every legislation of Islam is infallible so is a ‘sahih’ hadeeth!

    Not so. The Quran was required to be memorized word for word, down to items we can not explain. We do not label verses of the Quran as weak or follow a chain of narration.

    So was hadeeth. In fact, the companions had said that they used to memorize ahadeeth just like they used to memorize the ayahs of the Quran. It is for that reason that the MOST mutawatir hadeeth is when the Prophet sallallahu alihi waslam said, ‘whoever attributes a lie to me, he should prepare his seat in the Fire’.

    He sallallahu alihi wasalam also said, ‘may Allah bestow vigor to a person who hears my saying and learn sit by heart, then conveys it to others exactly as he hears it’.

    The ahadeeth were also memorized in the same fashion, word for word, letter for letter. In fact, if only the sequence would be changed in a hadeeth, Imam Bukhari would not collect it in his saheeh. (Read if you wish about him, his memory, his traveling in search of authentic ahadeeth, his ‘extremely strict criterion’ of accepting the isnaad and matn.)

    When the Quran was being compiled in Abu Bakr’s time, Zaid would confirm each ayah from at least two companions as well, except for one ayah, so Quran (the way we have it in our mushafs’) too has gone through a ‘process’ of compilation. Imam Bukharim, too, has compiled the ‘sahih’ ahadeeth through a similar ‘process’ for us in his book!

    As for Quran ayah being fabricated, did you know that shi’ee Quran has added words here and there (to change the meanings), and in fact they had a whole chapter called ‘surah wilayyah’!!!

    My point of mentioning this is that whenever there is an attempt to ‘alter’ Quran we stay mentally at peace that Allah will safeguard Qur’an (and He has). However, what we fail acknowledge is that Allah has, also, safeguarded the ‘authentic’ ahadeeth of Prophet regardless of how much people have tried to fabricate or cause doubts against it.

    As for the other point of hudood punishment, in all honestly this is not even relevant to the topic and is a completely separate topic of ahad vs. mutawatir ahadeeth. We are trying to establish the fact that Sunnah (authentic ahadeeth) is a form of revelation.

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  17. this should be required reading before discussing this issue

    http://islamicbookstore.com/b6120.html

    :)

    (i know it was already mentioned in the post, but i want to highlight it again as its an essential book)

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  18. AA- Amad,

    “So, actually if you study the sciences of ahadith and what scholars say about ahadith, they are on equal par in terms of authority as the Quran. Because both are revelations and the both have been collected/preserved in similar fashion.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you are referring to Mutawatir hadith. The vast majority of hadith are Ahad and , although sahih, are not considered on par with the Quran and Mutawatir.

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  19. I totally agree with Br. Ibnabeeomar!

    Prophet Ibrahim had his “doubts” and asked Allah to clarify them. It’s a human characteristic. The fact that you limit ‘doubt’ to a knowledgeable person is absurd and not Islamic.

    Prophet Ibhrahim didn’t have ‘doubts’. It is very clear from the ayah in surah baqarah, when he said, ‘yes (I believe) but to be strong in my faith.’ (when he had asked Allah to show him how He gives life to dead)

    In fact, the characteristics of the believers described both in Qur’an and Sunnah is that they believe and then they do not doubt.

    Doubt is different from asking for ‘explanation’ or from not being able to ‘understand’ something.

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  20. Pertinent to this discussion for those who live in Houston:

    Dr. Mohamed Salah, a well known scholar from the Sharia Academy of America is coming to Houston from Egypt for only ONE weekend to give a seminar on Fiqh of Hadith Saturday & Sunday March 8th-9th insha’Allah. Please find attached the flyer for the seminar which will be FREE of charge!!! At ISGH-Main Center

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  21. the usual suspects *barfing*

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  22. the usual suspects *barfing*

    ** Nuqtah, while we appreciate your gheerah for the preservance and authentic understanding of the deen, we ask that you please keep the tone of the discussion academic. The above comment does nothing to add to the discussion, and only creates more ill-will from all sides.

    InshaAllah, give the “other side” the benefit of the doubt that they are being sincere, and instead of responding with such outbursts, please respond academically and politely, in such a manner that will not cloud the content of your message. JazakAllahu khayran. – MM**

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  23. Sister Samaha,

    No need to copy post an article. It doesn’t make any sense in this discussion because I am not asking about the knowledge of the author and even if he disagrees on certain things there are tons and tons of scholars who have refuted his points.

    I am asking about you since you are creating doubt about following ahadith. What is your level of knowledge? Have you read any books of usul al fiqh and ahadith?

    Do you know the rules of the muhaadith in grading the hadith and how can they be applied to certain rulings? Do you know how Imam bukhari and other great muhaddithin graded the hadith and how strict there rules where?

    Also do you know what Khabar-e-ahad means and how can they be used if they are sound?

    When you are embarking on a territory which you have no idea about and then you are creating doubts among common muslims about ahadith than it is not a simple thing but it is a munkar which needs to be stopped.

    You are not talking about the interpretation of hadtih but you are talking about doubting the hadith itself.

    Also Sister Organic Muslimah the problem is not with the hadith but with our head because we are so suck up in all the desires and feminism stuff that when we see hadith regarding more women in hell then we run to condemn it without realizing that you are condemining Prophet(SAW) himself.

    Also when i ask that do you have knowledge then i am right in asking you that because no layman can come and start doubting ahadith based on his desires and preconcieved notions. You have to learn the sciences of ahadith before commenting on there validity. You cant barge into a surgery and say that “Well i am not a doctor but i dont like your surgical procedure so i will do it myself”.

    Please refrain from making comments about ahadith if you are not knowledgable enough.

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  24. sorry I didn’t realize MM was suppose to be ‘academic’.

    Given the history of mass hysteria of these individuals, these ‘makhanith al-orientalists’ (wow this is a cool term)…[please refrain from namecalling - MM], samaha, acheoilas etc…, given the history of their outbursts over anything islamic…For God’s sake they didn’t even spare ‘angels’ (sheesh). I thought my comment was quite beffitting in a satarical way (not angry outburst), that rejecting hadith is perhaps the culmination of the nonsense they come up with…which is no better than vomiting your guts out.

    Or maybe they should take the extra leap of faith and faults in qur’an too….

    (on a serious note, all of my mistakes and lack of knowledge notwithstanding, ill be writing on this issue insha Allah)

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  25. lol thanks for moderating…i really enjoy it ;)

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  26. oops my comment disappeared….i thought it got moderated arghhh….anyway i said:

    i was being sarcastic….

    ** Sorry, things get caught in the spam filter -MM **

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  27. Pertinent to this discussion for those who live in Houston:

    Dr. Mohamed Salah, a well known scholar from the Sharia Academy of America is coming to Houston from Egypt for only ONE weekend to give a seminar on Fiqh of Hadith Saturday & Sunday March 8th-9th insha’Allah. Please find attached the flyer for the seminar which will be FREE of charge!!! At ISGH-Main Center

    I actually attended the first part of Sh. Salah’s class back in August, and it was great mashaAllah, but just to clear up any confusion, the class is about fiqh, and deriving points of fiqh from certain selected ahadith. It is not about the sciences of hadith (at least the first part wasn’t, so I am pretty certain this second class also will not be).

    JazakAllahu khayran for announcing the class though, akhi :) .

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  28. “samaha, acheoilas etc…, given the history of their outbursts over anything islamic…For God’s sake they didn’t even spare ‘angels’ (sheesh).”

    Excuse me? What outbursts over anything Islamic? Unless you of course are going to be considering terrorism, honor killings, stonings, girls burning to death because they weren’t wearing hijab and suicide bombing as “Islamic” – then I have no argument except that I do not consider those things to be Islamic and obviously I am in the wrong place if that is the mentality I am dealing with. I have never said anything about angels. What is wrong with you?

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  29. Suhail said: “Please refrain from making comments about ahadith if you are not knowledgable enough.”

    What comments have I made about ahadeeth? Umm Reem, the author of the post, has kindly noted my request and will discuss it in future posts. When I responded to your ‘doubt’ comment, I was simply trying to acknowledge that doubt isn’t unIslamic, the unIslamic action is not try to resolve your doubt and seek the knowledge.

    I am quite sick of accusations of feminism and what not from readers on here. I am here to learn and if stating my ‘doubts’ and seeking understanding of them is ‘haraam,’ then I shall keep my mouth shut and find another forum that will be happy to oblige.

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  30. I think the undercurrent here is a defense against “Progressive Muslims” and not strictly a defense of Hadith…

    Although I’ll probably respond to the whole “anti-Progressive” vibe (interpret that term however you want) I wanted to mention a few extra points to the hadith discussion that were missed.

    1) The very existence of Hadith al-Qudsi is a sufficient bridge between the Quran and the Sunnah. Whereas the Quran is strictly the word of Allah and the Hadith the word of the Prophet SAAWS–Hadith Qudsi is a combination of both. The Being that is quoted directly is Allah via the Prophet SAAWS.
    What more can be said?
    I think this is enough to silence the dispute.
    See: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/hadithqudsi.html

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  31. Umm Reem:

    “The ahadeeth were also memorized in the same fashion, word for word, letter for letter. In fact, if only the sequence would be changed in a hadeeth, Imam Bukhari would not collect it in his saheeh. (Read if you wish about him, his memory, his traveling in search of authentic ahadeeth, his ‘extremely strict criterion’ of accepting the isnaad and matn.)”

    How many hadiths are mutawatr which are word for word and not just an agreed upon content even from Bukhari? From my understanding – the sequence had to be exact but there are mutawatir hadeeths that are not word for word. Additionally, I’ve run accross articles which refer to approx. 300 mutwatir hadith – although I’m not sure if it is refering word for word or content.

    My other point is shown in the excerpt which you claim irrelevant to the discussion – it’s not irrelevant as it shows the divide amongst Muslim in regards to Hadiths. There are Muslims that believe the ahad hadiths to be obligatory which shows the discrepency amongst Muslims in regards to hadiths and the different ways that hadiths are viewed.

    I know if we turn back to Bukhari’s collection we can come to different conclusions as to the age of Aisha – the same collection.

    So for me, in particular, a layman .. I find that hadiths provide a glimpse of the prophet’s exemplary life, offer me the inspiration to be the best Muslim I can be, do offer further explanations of the Quran HOWEVER, as a layman .. I have to leave the interpretation, the hadeeth science and any judgements to be reserved to those who are far more knowledgeable than I am and as a layman – I could never place hadiths on the same divine level as the Quran or label them as infallible.

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  32. assalamalikum
    The Prophet (S) said,

    “The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth and the Lord of the Heavens will be merciful to you.”

    When some non-Muslims greeted the Prophet (S) with an insult, A’isha, insulted them back. But the Prophet (S) did not. He replied,

    “And upon you,” which is the standard reply to the greeting of, “Peace be upon you.” Then, he said to his dear wife, “A’isha! Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters.” [Bukhari]

    And the Prophet (S) said,

    “Gentleness is not found in anything except that it makes it beautiful; and gentleness is not taken out of anything except that is makes it ugly.” [Muslim and others, also from A'isha]

    So, brothers, this is an advice to myself first, and then to you. That if we are defensive about the hadith and the Sunnah, then let’s pay heed to the person who gave it to us. His manners were kind and gentle.

    I am requesting that we stick to the topic, keep away from name-calling and other old baggage, and answer questions in a positive gentle way. Regardless of what we may think someone’s intention is, we cannot pierce their hearts to confirm our suspicions. When we resort to harshness, instead of establishing a point, we look like we have something to be afraid of.

    I apologize to anyone who has been offended here. This is NOT the forum for insults and accusations. But a forum for learning and teaching, EVEN if some of us find some positions unacceptable.

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  33. Suhail – exactly in which way am I creating doubt about following ahadith?

    I don’t think a single one of you on this forum would like laymen pretending to have knowledge in regards to jurisprudence because they have some idea in the way that hadith science works.

    That’s the point, my friend, every ahmed thinks he can be judge because he’s memorized a few hadiths.

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  34. Yes, we have to leave hadith interpretation to the scholars. We cannot take one or two hadith and pass judgement on that basis. I don’t think anyone who follows the real methodology of Ahl Sunnah wal Jamaah would do that. Some level of Taqleed is required depending a person’s knowledge.

    The point is that it is the scholars’ unanimous opinion… and I am talking about the 4 imams and all the other great MAINSTREAM scholars, not new-age “reformers” who have established the Hadith to be an EQUAL hujjah (proof) to Quran. Today, if you talk to any scholar of the Ahl-Sunnah (from the Asharis to the Salafis), you will hear the same thing. So, we cannot formulate an opinion about the validity or the status of hadith based on one or two strange opinions.

    Thus, I think we are mixing the two issues: One is of not making judgments on the basis of hadith or for that matter on the basis of Quran. Because you have to take the deen as a whole and understand context, language and proofs to get to a judgment. Second is of somehow claiming that hadith is not equal to Quran in hujjah, because that does indeed contradict the mainstream, orthodox consensus. So, sister, if you can find anything for us from any of the great scholars of the past or today who are “Imams” for the Ummah, that support your contention, then I’d love to hear it inshallah.

    w/s

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  35. Actually Amad – the whole point of my being on this thread was that you have falsely portrayed me as supporting the scrapping of hadith and you went on to say:

    “You say you are not an opponent of hadith. But being an opponent doesn’t mean saying that all ahadith need to be scrapped. Raising doubts about following ahadith is also opposing hadith traditions, as you say in your article:”

    If I’ve raised doubts in you or anyone on this thread’s mind about following hadith – I apologize as this was not my intention. I’ve gone on to provide further explanation that I am not questioning authenticity but have gone on to give examples of how hadiths have been critiqued to provide a glimpse of how hadith science is used amongst scholars and further my own post discourages scrapping of hadiths and offers an explanation of why.

    Hadith are complicated and the general consensus is that Hadith are a second source for Muslims – that I will agree on and do not dispute. I do have much learning to do and that I shall do on my own time. I’ve never claimed neither here nor on my blog that I am “learned” in hadith science, jurisprudence, etc…

    I still think you owe me an apology for how you portrayed me and quite honestly as I said before if you’re whole worry is that some poor Muslim out there is going to get the wrong idea from me – then you should have pointed out my flaws on my post so that it would be on the record.

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  36. Samaha,

    How many hadiths are mutawatr which are word for word and not just an agreed upon content even from Bukhari? From my understanding – the sequence had to be exact but there are mutawatir hadeeths that are not word for word. Additionally, I’ve run accross articles which refer to approx. 300 mutwatir hadith – although I’m not sure if it is refering word for word or content.

    If they are so careful as to not even switch the order of the words in a hadeeth, they do you think they will change the words of the ahadeeth. Here is an example:

    “A hadith is known as maqlub (changed, reversed) when its isnad is grafted to a different text or vice versa, or if a reporter happens to reverse the order of a sentence in the text.

    As an example relating to the text, in his transmission of the famous hadith describing the seven who will be under the shelter of Allah on the Day of Judgment, Muslim reports one of the categories as, “a man who conceals his act of charity to such an extent that his right hand does not know what his left hand gives in charity.” This sentence has clearly been reversed by a reporter, because the correct wording is recorded in other narrations of both al-Bukhari and Muslim as follows: “… that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives …”

    Please read this small booklet just to get a glimpse of how much efforts and research is done before a hadeeth is classified ‘authentic’. It is a small book and a SUPER short summary:
    http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/sunnah/0008.htm

    From this book we also learn about the amazing memory of Bukhari:

    The famous trial of al-Bukhari by the scholars of Baghdad provides a good example of a maqlub isnad. The traditionists, in order to testtheir visitor, al-Bukhari, appointed ten men, each with ten ahadith. Now, each hadith (text) of these ten people was prefixed with the isnad of another. Imam al-Bukhari listened to each of the ten men as they narrated their ahadith and denied the correctness of every hadith. When they had finished narrating these ahadith, he addressed each person in turn and recounted to him each of his ahadith with its correct isnad. This trial earned him great honour among the scholars of Baghdad.5″

    In any case, ‘agreed upon’ hadeeth is referred to those ahadeeth that are found both in Bukhari and Muslim (obviously both books containing authentic ahadeeth only).

    Both Bukhari and Muslim have sets of mutawatir and ahad ahadeeth, however, all ‘authentic’.

    Mutawatir means that a narration is narrated by a number of companions, whereas, ahad is narrated by narrators less then the narrators required to classify a hadeeth as ‘mutawatir’.

    However, it doesn’t mean that ‘mutawatir’ ahadeeth are the only authentic ahadeeth.

    And that is why I said that your hudood post is irrelevant because it goes into a whole ahad vs. mutawatir ahadeeth discussion which is irrevlenat to the topic.

    Per related to your hudood post:
    In my view there is a distinct possibility that the Prophet s.a.w. ordered rajm, in the related incidents by way not of hadd but of ta’zir punishment. . For he saw under the circumstances that only a strong and decisive stand on this issue could curb the rampant immorality and corruption of the time of ignorance.

    hmm…very strange that the Prophet salllAllahu alihi wasalam would impose rajm as ta’zir punishment, when he himself had ordered Muslims not to exceed ta’zir punishments over hudood punishment.

    “There is no punishment greater than ten blows except in the case of one of the hadd punishments prescribed by Allaah.” (Bukhari: 6457)

    Then why would he himself impose the ‘most strict’ punishment as ‘ta’zir’?!!

    No, dear sister, Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam had imposed ‘rajam’ because it was an order of Allah (sunnah=revelation). Similarly how he had told Muslims to face Jerusalem (and it was later confirmed as an order of Allah).

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  37. Sr Samaha, I am not sure how I falsely portrayed you. So, this is what I have mentioned about you:

    1) Your muted response to Turkey’s revision. I did not say you supported scrapping hadith, instead I pointed to your claim of salafis/wahhabis as the only group concerned with this issue.

    2) Then I quoted you saying that “Additionally, Muslims are not required to follow hadiths”, after which you provided some clarification.

    3) I mentioned the difference between asking questions vs raising doubts on a public platform.

    4) I even mentioned: “I am glad that the sisters here are not rejecting hadith ”

    5) Finally, I explained how we seem to be mixing up issues, and using our weak understanding of the difference between ahad/mutawatir as a judge on the merit of hadith in general.

    You still insist that: “Hadith are a second source for Muslims”

    If you mean a source after Quran in the pecking order of usool-al-Fiqh, then fine. But if you mean secondary source vs primary source, then we disagree. Both are primary texts and both are evidence within themselves as well as in support of each other.

    Finally, the intention was never to embarrass you or hurt your feelings (if that happened, then I am sorry), but challenge you on your words and hopefully sort out what I believed was a significant misunderstanding in religion. You know well that’s how blogging works, so this is not anything personal. If it was a personal issue, I would definitely have approached it differently.

    w/s

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  38. Wow, big fight on hadeeth. I decided to save myself some time and not read much of it =)

    I’ll just add a resource for the authority of the sunnah:

    http://strangersoasis.com/1990/01/01/authority-of-sunnah-quranic-proofs/

    These are all the proofs that Jamal Zarabozo lists in the back of his book of the very same title (in English).

    As a reminder, if the ahadeeth in question are in question because they seem to conflict with our understanding of values according to Western humanism vs consistent themes found not only in the Hadeeth, but as well in the Qur’aan, then you’re not using an objective basis by which to even begin the discussion.

    Ta ta kiddies.

    Siraaj

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  39. “The recent decision by Turkey to perform “a fundamental review of hadith” has been celebrated by some bloggers, while others have done the same, but in a more muted way, as this sister notes in her post: “I’m sure this will cause a bit of a stir amongst the wahabis and salafis but as for the mainstream Muslims, it will really depend on exactly what they are doing”.”

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  40. Why only wahabis and salafis? What are the other Muslims who use ahadeeth, chopped liver?

    Siraaj

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  41. Br. Siraaj, as you have admitted, you haven’t read through the comments :) The sister has tried to explain what she meant by the statement in an earlier comment.

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  42. True, and it’s clarified in the first post, I suppose – jzk for pointing it out.

    Siraaj

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  43. My intention is not to argue for or against the hadith, but simply to comment on the logic being used in this article and by the commenters.

    Umm Reem states: “Islam is logical but not based on logic and Islam is reasonable but not based on reason. In addition to all the proofs above, let me give a ‘logical’ example why ahadeeth preservation is a ‘necessity’, in addition to being the ‘revelation’.”

    I can sympathize with such a position. Allah is beyond logic and reason. However, we, hopefully, are not. At the same time, such a statement is logically a problem. The author is using logic to prove concepts that are not based on logic or reason. That’s like using music to prove engineering concepts.

    Umm Reem gives an example from mathematics and notes that someone not trained in math comes up with a wrong answer using the wrong system. In this example, the answer determines whether or not the system is correct in achieving the answer. That is the same logic that those opposed to hadeeth are using. That is, they say that a particular hadeeth doesn’t make sense, and therefore the system validating that hadeeth is not sound.

    Actually, that is how science works. That is, there’s a theory, or system of theories, that answers what is seen in the world. But eventually, it doesn’t answer all the questions, and in time, the theory is revised or discarded in favor of a new theory or system of explanation. And that new theory is often resisted and rejected by those scientists who hold to the theory. Check out how the concepts of tectonic plates and bacteria causing ulcers were resisted by experts.

    Of course, it’s usually experts in a field that question older findings, but even so, if a theory cannot answer a question, then the experts should investigate why rather than just reject it because they don’t like it.

    Suhail wrote: “Have you read the some Books on usul of grading ahadith and rules of fiqh. If not then this is a moot point and you are not qualified to discuss this subject sorry.”

    Of course, studying books on ahadith and fiqh gives one knowledge. But to disqualify someone on the basis of their credentials is an attack against the person, but it is not a response to their argument.

    Amad wrote: “And actually there is no contradiction between Quran and authentic hadith. Scholars have always found a way to interpret them in harmony.”

    I cannot imagine a contradiction between authentic hadith and the Quran. The question is, How is authenticity established? The Muslimmatters position seems to be claiming that the early scholars, such as Bukhari, are as infallible in their collecting as the Prophet was in his receiving revelation. Although I have no doubt as to Bukhari’s (and others’) great intellect and piety, they are not prophets. Consequently, their method of collecting cannot be considered infallible and beyond question.

    On the notion of questioning traditional scholarship, consider the word ‘alaq. It is my understanding that until recently ‘alaq (Quran 96:1-2) was considered by Muslim scholars to mean “clot of blood.” Science has shown that this interpretation cannot be, and so scholars have come to another interpretation, a legitimate interpretation, that does justice to science and to the meaning in the Quran. So, again, as particular understandings and interpretations of traditional scholarship seem to have problems explaining new events, it is appropriate to ask questions, which does not mean that we should assume traditional scholarship is wrong because we don’t like something. Rather, asking questions can lead to better understanding.

    Amad wrote: “So, my question again, before we raise/promote doubts in a public forum, shouldn’t we do our research first? Read the literature first? Talk to scholars first? Because if you honestly evaluate the situation, what would a layman conclude after reading these doubts? No doubt he’ll believe that it is not necessary to follow hadith. Isn’t that a grave burden? Shouldn’t one be extremely careful before talking about such a fundamental manner?”

    This position seems reasonable, but perhaps some don’t have easy access to scholars, although we all should read the books recommended, which may answer questions and allow this discussion to move to a higher plane. Still, if some has these doubts, then likely others do, too. Giving reasonable responses to doubting questions in a public forum can help others who question but have no one they can go to or trust to go to without being considered heretical.

    Doubts: There seems to be a position that one should not, or cannot, have doubts about the positions held by traditional scholarship. As I mentioned in a comment on another post, I was once a Christian. If I had not questioned what I had been taught and had doubts about it, I could never have become a Muslim. It is a double standard to expect everyone outside of your own tradition to have doubts about their tradition and so come to your understanding but not for those inside your tradition to have doubts.

    Doubts, questions, and even fear are a normal aspect of being human when something new contradicts your previous ideas. Even Prophet Muhammed, when he received his first revelation, was afraid of what had happened. It was after he understood the nature of the revelation coming to him was his fear removed. And if reasonable responses are given to questions here, then doubts may be removed.

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  44. I can sympathize with such a position. Allah is beyond logic and reason. However, we, hopefully, are not. At the same time, such a statement is logically a problem. The author is using logic to prove concepts that are not based on logic or reason. That’s like using music to prove engineering concepts.

    We are using logical reasoning to prove concepts that are “logical”!
    And no it is not like using music to prove engineering concepts since Allah azzawjal Himself asked us to use our minds to think, ponder and has given Himself several examples in Quran to make parables for our understanding. (By this I don’t mean to compare the example I used with the ones in Quran)

    There is nothing wrong in using our ‘mental abilities’ to think and understand Islam/Islamic concepts.

    In fact, it is our brain that we use to acknowledge the truthfulness of Islam, but then once we enter Islam then we must put Islam above our minds (i.e. revelation over intellect!).

    That is, they say that a particular hadeeth doesn’t make sense, and therefore the system validating that hadeeth is not sound.
    Then they really haven’t studied the system then!

    The Muslimmatters position seems to be claiming that the early scholars, such as Bukhari, are as infallible in their collecting as the Prophet was in his receiving revelation. Although I have no doubt as to Bukhari’s (and others’) great intellect and piety, they are not prophets. Consequently, their method of collecting cannot be considered infallible and beyond question.

    Hmm..i have no idea how you can reach to this conclusion that MM is claiming early scholars are infallible. No one said that no one believes that, at least not here!

    “Authentic ahadeeth” of the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam (i.e. once confirmed that the statement is said by the Prophet) then it is infallible!

    Having said this, let me in very simple terms conclude:

    The post above is meant to show that there was revelation OTHER then Quran, revealed to Prophet sallallahu alihi waslam from Allah azzawajal (either through Jibreel, or through ilhaam or through dreams) which did NOT become a part of Quran.

    So where did that revelation go?

    Allah ta’ala Himself said that He had revealed to Muhammad (sallAllahu alihi wasalam) Hikmah & Dhikr (in ADDITION to Kitaab), so what happened to It?

    It disappeared? Got lost? (iyyadhobillah)

    He (azzawjal) promised to safeguard DHIKR (which is not bound to Quran alone—see the post above), so where is the other half of the Dhikr?

    SOOO, if we truly believe in the promise of Allah azzawjal, then know and realize and acknowledge (and make an effort to learn) that the part of Dhikr which is APART from Quran is also preserved.

    Quran was preserved through a system, collection, compilation, memorization, and Allah azzawjal chose the companions by using them for this honorable task. Similarly, the ahadeeth also went through a process of ‘preservation’ and the same people who were used to preserve Quran were also the ones who transferred the ahadeeth to next generations!

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  45. Hmm..i have no idea how you can reach to this conclusion that MM is claiming early scholars are infallible. No one said that no one believes that, at least not here!

    “Authentic ahadeeth” of the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam (i.e. once confirmed that the statement is said by the Prophet) then it is infallible!

    If the early scholars are not infallible, then the method by which they confirmed hadith to be authentic is not infallible. So, you cannot make a claim of infallibility for any particular hadith, because you did not show that the process of confirmation was infallible.

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  46. But Charles, there is a fundamental flaw in your argument that renders Quranic preservation also doubtful. The same people who wrote, memorized and transmitted the Hadith, are the same ones who did so for Quran. All fallible.

    But the process and science of ilmul-rijaal, takhreej and all the other tools to screen out mistakes made the hadith into a source of authority.

    Someone asked Sh. Suhaib Hasan if there is 100% surety that hadith were exactly right. Sheikh’s response was to ask “who’s your father?” and the person replied, “so and so”. Sh. Suhaib replied, “are you 100% sure?”. And the guy was “yes”. But then Sh. Suhaib asked, “but how are you sure?”. The man finally got the point. There is always an element of doubt in everything, even in knowing who the one’s own father is.

    However, we don’t let these doubts make us question our lineage, and most of our everyday decisions. So, why do we let minuscule doubts cast a shadow upon what the deen is built upon (Quran AND hadith)? Think about it.

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  47. There are levels of doubt or its opposite, certainty.

    Seeing the Prophet is a different level of certainty than only hearing him. Hearing about him is a different level of certainty.

    Once a hadith fulfills the criteria of sahih then it falls into the category of certainty.

    It depends on what an individual’s definition of infallible is. These are english terms so we must be precise in what we mean.

    Our criteria is not secular humanism, historical-critical method or any other twentieth century moral epiphany.

    This discussion was over before it began. The writing has been concluded and the ink has dried.

    As Muslims we have our own science of hadith, developed based upon the principles of the Quran. Scholars until this day have been authenticating and reauthenticating ahadeeth (i.e Al Albani). The rulings and the differences for the vast body of ahadeeth have not changed since they were compiled.

    The forgeries are compiled in books of forgeries. The authentic, in compilations of sahih and so on. Minor alterations have been pointed out and specialist scholars are always rechecking ahadeeth.

    There is an agenda (not from the sister of course), to reform Islam based upon current moral values. Whilst our values are defined from the authentic Sunnah. We don’t need to reform the authentic Sunnah through a filter of current ‘moral’ values.

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  48. Amad and Abu Muhammad, Thank you for your clear explanations.

    Having made the decision to leave Christianity meant that I decided that my previous understanding of Christianity had been wrong. Having been wrong once (of course, more than once) also brought home to me that I can never be 100% certain as to the truth of anything. Even so, my faith is based on the evidence of the Quran and of what I have read about Prophet Muhammad, who confirmed what had come before him. From this, I believe that the eternal principles of Allah do not change, although how they’re expressed may. Guided by principles (not “current ‘moral’ values”). I do not let little things shake my faith. The evidence of the Creator is too abundant.

    However, having seen that Christian scholars have distorted through misunderstanding the message of Jesus, I can not accept that “The writing has been concluded and the ink has dried.” I need to understand and evaluate how Muslim scholars have come to the decisions they have, and so I’m grateful for Umm Reem’s recommendation of two books, which I’ve ordered.

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  49. Charles, I really appreciate your journey to the truth. As born-Muslims, it is easy for us not to truly recognize the blessing that we have. The decision to be Muslim was easy for us, we were born thus!

    But for converts, and this is something that applies to all converts, you took it upon yourself to challenge what you were born with, educate yourself about “foreign” religions, and then take a decision that undoubtedly put great new stresses on your existing interactions (with family, etc.).

    So, in appreciating that courage, I understand why you should be so picky and careful in what you take and what you don’t. The challenge to enter the deen has been met, the challenge to reach the truths WITHIN the deen remains open for many converts, may Allah guide us all to the truth.

    I look forward to receiving an update from you after you read the two books and hoping that the gaps in our understandings will be narrower inshallah.

    Feel free to continue sharing your thoughts with us.

    w/s

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  50. ameen to Amad’s dua.

    and brother Charles I would like to read your feedback after on the books you ordered.

    May Allah help you reach truth

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  51. Jeffery Lang, in his recent Losing My Religion book, seems to make some very strong arguments that attack the reliability of apparently authenticed hadeeth. Maybe i will summarise them for this thread when i get some time.

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  52. salam Br. Gohar. While I appreciate the desire to share other views, my first question is: Is the person trained in hadith, i.e. a muhadith? Has he known to be one?

    While we are very picky and careful where we get our secular information from, esp. if it affects our health or wealth, we should be even more careful and picky about what affects our spirituality and deen. Qualifications, ijazah, etc. should be the first questions to be asked before accepting anyone’s information. I hope you agree with me inshallah.

    This thread will be closed in light of the new post on Authority of Sunnah QA. Future comments can be posted there.

    jazakumAllahkhair

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