By Syed Iqbal Zaheer
The editorial of the previous issue dealt with a few questions raised by the Rejecters of Hadith. The history of “rejections” is quite old. It started with the first sect in Islam, the Khawarij. They thought they knew Islam better than he who was the first teenager to believe in Islam, if not the first male. That was `Ali ibn abi Talib. They rebelled against him and said, “We shall accept nothing less than the Qur’an.” Holy words, vile intentions.
The Prophet had predicted the appearance of this sect who would rise in the name of the Holy Qur’an, but would be completely devoid of faith. He had ordered that they may be killed wherever found. `Ali promptly did it. The Rejecters ofHadith of our times are the siblings of the Khawarij.
Over the centuries, this fanatical group has never suffered complete loss of numbers. They have lurked around, many times secretly, throughout the centuries. In recent times, they have been grouping under different guises, and the process has been something like this:
- It started with the rejection of the lives of the Salaf, the first three generations. These modernist Muslims thought that they were irrelevant, if not harmful to Muslims.
- When the rejection of literature dealing with the lives of the Salaf ended in success, the enemies of Islam next targeted the Wisdom literature. The primary reason was to sever the ties of the Ummah with the wisdom of the past. Sufis, Hukama’, and Spiritualists were targeted on the pretext of fighting off Shirk and Bid`ah tendencies contained in them. Again, beautiful words, but vicious intentions. Instead of separating the grain and the chaff, they worked overtime with the Devil & Co, to discard both the grain and the chaff. The chaff was not the target. The target was the grain.
- With success, the Fuqaha’ were the next target. The Four leading Fuqaha’ were made to look like fake artists who led theUmmah on to the wrong tracks. They too were criticized in the name of Qur’an and Sunnah: holy words but unholy intentions. Cut off from the Schools of Fiqh, cut off is the Ummah from Law, a sure way to increase lawlessness in a people already known for their lawlessness.
- Now Hadith is the target. The Devil & Co. will shred the tree of Islam of every bud, every flower, every leaf, and every tender branch, to leave a skeleton as dead and dry as a bone.
- The latest trend among the “unbelievers from within the believers” is that every explanation of the Qur’an coming from the past is false, unscientific, anti-social, anti-economic, and anti-progress. It must be discarded, lock, stock and barrel. The end result is predicted. A time will come when people will say, in effect, “We have heard a word uttered by our forefathers, which is what we repeat. Otherwise, we know nothing.”
One of the Rejecters of Hadith writes:
(Says a hadith), “I left for you what if you hold on to, you will never be misguided, the book of God.” Moslim 15/19, nu 1218; Ibn Majah 25/84, Abu dawud 11/56. This last version is the version hated by the Sunni and Shiite Muslims alike. This is the only version which conforms with the repeated assertion in the Quran that Muhammad’s message was only the Quran. Many Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims do not even know that this version of the sermon exists. In reality, they do not want to know, the truth hurts.
If we did not know that there is mischief behind these words, we could conclude that the writer’s brain is expired.
An objective reader may note that there are dozens of ahadith in dozens of collections that direct the Muslims to hold fast unto Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet. The Rejecter himself quotes some of them and remarks that they are all forged either by Sunnis, or by the Shi`ah, or both. But, to him, the above hadith is trustworthy and acceptable. On what basis is it acceptable, when every other is rejection? Is it simply because this version does not include the words “and the Sunnah of His Prophet,”
To be sure, if we ignore other ahadith and go by this one alone, then too, following the Sunnah of the Prophet becomes incumbent. It is because the Qur’an demands that for salvation, it is necessary to obey Allah, and obey His Messenger. There are no less than 23 verses of the Qur’an which urge the Muslims to obey Allah and obey the Messenger. E.g.:
“Believers. Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger; and do not waste away your deeds.” (3: 32)
One might note in the above that the Qur’an did not say, “Obey Allah and His Messenger,” which would have yielded the same meaning as the above verse, but it said, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.” The outcome is that there are two to be obeyed: 1. Allah, 2. His Messenger. If the verse was put differently, the emphasis on obeying the Messenger would be lost.
So, the above verse means: “Not wasting away the deeds depends on two factors: obedience of Allah and obedience of the Messenger. If one of the two goes missing, the good deeds will go waste; i.e., unrewarded.”
It is argued by the Rejecters of Hadith that by the statement, “obey the Messenger,” the Qur’an is urging Muslims to obey the Prophet when he presents the Qur’an to them. But that interpretation would run against common sense because the verse will have to be then translated as, “Obey Allah, and obey Allah!”
When you say, for example, “Obey the law and obey the custom,” then, you are advising obedience to two separate entities: law and custom. You are not saying, “Obey the law, obey the law!”
Another ayah makes it all the more clearer. It says (4: 59),
“Believers. Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; and those of authority amongst you.”
So, the ayah is not saying, “Obey the Qur’an, obey the Qur’an, obey the Qur’an.” It is commanding that three authorities: Allah, His Messenger, and those of authority among the Muslims, should be obeyed – obviously, the Hadith is to be obeyed only if a clear Qur’anic injunction is not available, and “those in authority” are to be obeyed only after the command from Allah or his Messenger is found unavailable.
As if two dozen verses were not enough to emphasize the importance of the Messenger, the Qur’an instructs more emphatically, leaving no crack in the wall for the Hadith Rejecters to escape out (4: 80),
“He who obeyed the Messenger, indeed obeyed Allah.”
This verse renders obedience of the Prophet as a matter of belief or disbelief. He who obeyed Allah, believed in Him; and he who obeyed His Messenger, believed in Allah. In matters of command and prohibitions both Allah and His Messenger are equal.
Now, where are those injunctions obeying which one will be considered as obeying Allah? Where are those commands and prohibitions that the Prophet issued, except in the Hadith literature?
A question that arises is, was the Prophet a Law-giver? And the answer is, yes, that is what the Qur’an said. Or, rather, the Qur’an goes a step further. It instructs the believers to wage war against those who will not follow the Law as given by the Messenger. It said (9: 29),
“Fight those of the People of the Book who do not believe in Allah nor in the Hereafter, (who) do not declare unlawful that which Allah has declared unlawful, nor that which His Messenger declared unlawful, and (who) do not follow the religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute out of hand and they are humbled.”
Thus, when the Hadith said, “I am leaving behind something which if you followed, you will not be misguided, (and that is) the Qur’an,” then, as we look into the Qur’an we find in the above verses, that it declares the Prophet a Law-giver, and instructs believers in it to wage war with the People of the Book for five reasons:
- They do not believe in Allah,
- they do not believe in the Hereafter,
- they do not declare unlawful that which Allah declared unlawful,
- they do not declare unlawful that which His Messenger declared unlawful, and,
- they do not follow the True religion.
Consequently, anyone who declares that he is a Muslim but he will not follow the Messenger’s commands, deserves that war be waged against him.
The sum of the above paragraph is that the Qur’an informs and directs Muslims that:
- They have to obey the Prophet. If they do not, they are not believers.
- The Prophet is a Law-giver.
- Those (within the Arabian Peninsula) who do not accept the Prophet as the Law-giver, must be fought against.
- Without obeying the revelation in full, one is not a believer.
Someone may object: “On what basis can you restrict the command to fight against the People of the Book within the Arabian Peninsula alone, by adding the parenthesis above? But rather, we shall fight against the entire population of the People of the Book spread over the globe.”
The answer is, the text in parenthesis is not our free-will introduction. It is introduced by the Hadith. We follow the Qur’an, yes. But the Qur’an has instructed us to follow the Hadith. The Hadith has directed the Muslims only to remove the presence of a second religion in the Arabian Peninsula. So, if we wish to fight all the Jews and Christians, we may. But that is not the instruction contained in the Sunnah. This goes to demonstrate how important it is to give the Sunnah juridical status.
It may be asked: is there, in the Qur’an, any mention of a command issued by the Prophet (but not in the Qur’an) which was to be obeyed? That is, yes, the Sunnah has the Prophet’s command and prohibitions, but is there anything in the Qur’an itself which gives us an example of a command issued by the Prophet, and treated by the Qur’an as the command equal to Allah’s command? The answer is, yes. The Qur’an said (2: 143),
“We did not appoint the Qiblah on which you were (O Messenger), except to know who follows the Messenger, and who turns away on his heels.”
But, where in the Qur’an is the command issued to the Prophet that he should face Jerusalem during Prayers? There is none. The conclusion can be none other than that either:
- Allah issued the command to the Prophet without placing the command in the Qur’an, or,
- the Prophet made his own decision to face Jerusalem as the Qiblah, and Allah approved of the decision of the secondary Law-maker.
In either case, the Prophet’s commands and prohibitions as in the Hadith literature, acquire juridical value. The Hadith cannot be rejected, without rejection of the Qur’an in consequence.
The command to face Jerusalem was not issued in the Qur’an, yet only those were believers who obeyed the Prophet.
The above example confirms what a hadith reports as the Prophet’s words (Abu Da’ud),
أَلاَ إِنِّي أُوتِيتُ الْكِتَابَ ، وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ أَلاَ يُوشِكُ رَجُلٌ شَبْعَانُ عَلَى أَرِيكَتِهِ يَقُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ بِهَذَا الْقُرْآنِ فَمَا وَجَدْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ حَلاَلٍ فَأَحِلُّوهُ ، وَمَا وَجَدْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ حَرَامٍ فَحَرِّمُوهُ ، أَلاَ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ لَحْمُ الْحِمَارِ الأَهْلِيِّ ، وَلاَ كُلُّ ذِي نَابٍ مِنَ السَّبُعِ
“Lo! I have been give the Book, and its equal. Lo! It is possible that a stomach-full man on his easy-chair will say, ‘Follow only the Qur’an so that whatever you find in it as lawful, treat it alone as lawful; and whatever you find in it as unlawful, treat it alone as unlawful.’ Lo! (Do not listen to him, but note that), the meat of the domestic donkey is not lawful, nor eating flesh of that predatory animal which uses its paws (on its prey).”
It is not merely in matters of Law that the Qur’an binds its followers to the Hadith. It is also in morals and manners. It tells us that developmental methods to high moral values may be sought from the Prophet because, as it put it, the Prophet possesses them. It says (68: 4):
“Surely, you posses (O Messenger) high morals.”
And where are the reports that deal with the excellent morals of the Prophet, except in the Hadith?
In addition to the legal and moral values, the Hadith also offers us intellectual and spiritual values. No less than the Qur’an itself informs us that if we wish to be spiritually alive, we must respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger. It says (8: 24):
“Believers, respond to the call of Allah, and to the call of His Messenger whenever he calls you, to that which will give you (spiritual) life.”
Those then, who will not respond to the Messenger’s call, as contained in his Sunan, will remain spiritually dead. How great the punishment unto those who will not accept the spiritual guidance offered by the Prophet! Little surprise then that we discover Hadith Rejecters as so poorly intellectually, morally, and spiritually developed as to be having expired brains.
Another verse of the Qur’an powerfully declares the importance of the Sunnah. It says (33: 21),
“There surely is for you in the Messenger of Allah, an excellent model – for him who hopes for Allah and the last day.”
Can any Muslim be ready to face Allah on the Day of Judgment without having kept the life of the Prophet as a model before him?
Many Muslims seek the deeper meaning of Islam. For such of them, love of their Lord occupies the central position and the axial pillar to go around. For them, importance of love for Allah can never be over-emphasized. Obviously, they wish to know, “Does Allah love me too?” What does the Qur’an says about this most common human concern: “Does God love me?” And, “How can I win God’s love?” The Qur’an addresses this question. It says (3: 31),
“Say, ‘if you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you.'”
Blackened are the faces of those who do not seek to be loved by their Lord.
(To be continued)
Source: Young Muslim Digest, Editorial, Oct-2012….