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 ofFiqh, 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 theSunnah 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.