In retaliation to the report which you have just read, Tan Sri Professor Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Rector of International Islamic University, championed the ulamaks by writing a booklet entitled "IRRATIONALITY OF THE ANTI-HADITH HERETICS" which we now reproduced in its *original state through a photocopying process. Even the page numbers are original.
This is of course not the first publication by the ulamaks in their attempt to suppress the belief spread by the pro-Qur'an group. They have the privilege to use all the medias and thus, numerous publications, talks and propagations on the indoctrinated belief of the Hadith are present in the lives of the Muslims in this country. The climax, as one can guess, is this writing of the Rector of the International Islamic University.
*the originality, however, is lost in this format – sorry!
THE ANTI-HADITH VIEWS
PUBLICITY GIVEN TO ERRONEOUS ARGUMENTS
The New Straits Times has recently, published a series of articles which advocate the misleading views of an anti-Hadith group centered in Arizona, U.S.A., with a few sympathisers in Malaysia.
It is surprising that this misguided group should have such an echo in Malaysia: whereas it has failed to make an impact anywhere else even on their neighbouring American Muslim communities. Very few know this group and its leader, and those who know of him dismiss him, I am afraid to say, as a deceptive heretic.
We would have preferred not to indulge ourselves in refuting the unworthy views of these persons who are obstinately meddling in areas for which none of them is qualified to do so. Yet, for the sake of some innocent readers who may get confused, we have decided to expose the fallacy and irrationality of their arguments. Now that the self-imposed ''imam'' leading this movement has revealed his personal ambition and declared himself "Messenger of Allah”, we pray that those lured by his deceptive, illogical views, will come round and reflect soberly and objectively, and finally realise that he is merely an opportunist.
A most serious error is the unscholarly claim repeatedly made by the Malaysian leader of the anti-Hadith trend and is blindly echoed by his supporters, saying:
“at the time of Prophet Muhammad's death only the Quran existed."
And makes the deceptive statement that:
''As history testifies, the so-called Six Sahih collections of the Hadith, among which is the revered Bukhari collection, did not exist until 200 years later.”
The intention of making these audacious remarks is obviously, to create the following impressions:
(1) that no Hadith existed, written or orally circulating, until Imam Bukhari, who was born in 193 A.H., began to record his collection about 200 years after the death of the Prophet:
(2) that Imam Bukhari and the compilers of the other five collections who followed him, as well as any one else who wrote up other compilations, fabricated these Hadiths:
(3) that, according to this writer's categorical assertion: ''great early Muslims such as Abu Bakr, Khadijah, Omar Ibn Khattab, Uthman and Ali and thousands of others who knew nothing of the Hadith, much less followed them, should be outside the pale of Islam.''
All these are capricious falsehoods. The Hadith had certainly and historically existed since the time of the Prophet, circulating among his Companions and the succeeding generations - at first mainly orally. Yet, some scribes from the early generations left behind written records of the Hadith, as we shall see presently.
EARLY HADITH WRITING
I suggest that readers unfamiliar with the study of the history, of Islamic literature go to any Islamic library and look for the following Hadith collections compiled earlier than the Six Collections mentioned by these self-proclaimed ''authorities”, and are well known to any modest scholar of Islam:
- The Sahifah collection compiled by the Prophet's young Companion: 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Amr Ibn Al-'As, which is now included in the major Hadith compilations. ('Abd Allah died circa 70 A.H.)
- The Sahifah collection compiled by Hamman Ibn Munabbih, a second Muslim generation scholar, born in 40 A.H.
- Al-Majmuc compilation of Imam Zayd Ibn Ali, d. 121 A.H.
- Al-Musnad of Imam Abu Hanifah, died 150 A.H.
- Al-Muwatta' of Imam Malik who flourished in the second century A.H. in Madina, d. 179 A.H.
- Al-Musnad of Imam Shafi'i, d. 204 A.H.
- Al-Musannaf of Imam Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Sa n ani, d. 211 A. H. (11 large volumes).
- Al-Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, a teacher of Imam Bukhari, (d. 241 A.H.),
So, in every age, since the time of the Prophet, there were Hadith compilations in writing, although at the beginning, most of the Prophet's Companions were reluctant to record the Hadith in writing because of their concern for the integrity of the Holy Quran. However, when the text of the Holy Quran became very distinctively identified and there was no more fear over its integrity, Muslims' reluctance gradually dissipated and the Hadith compilations commensurately grew in size and in number - committing to writing what had been lying in memory. The Hadiths were preserved in the breasts of the Prophet's Companions who heard them and saw the actions of the Prophet at first hand. They handed them over, mainly orally, to the succeeding generations both for application and inspiration.
Is it fair, after all, that this writer should repeat over and over again the false claim that the Hadith compilations were started 200 or more years after the Prophet's death at the hands of the writers of what he calls the "Six Hadith Collections"? He himself, in his own book on the Hadith, acknowledges the contribution of Imam Shafi'i in defending the authority of the Hadith. This contribution by Imam Shafi'i was made many years before Bukhari started compiling his work. If the Hadith was begun by Bukhari, how could Imam Shafi'i who died when Bukhari was a boy know about the Hadith so well?
THE PROPHET'S COMPANIONS KNEW OF HADITH AND USED IT
The writer should learn that Abu Bakr and all those he mentioned, knew the Hadith even better than we do and respected its authority. He may be reminded of the well-known argument between Abu Bakr and Omar when the former, as Caliph and Head of State, decided to put down the rebellion of the tribes who refused to pay the zakat on the pretext that its payment was only to be made to the Prophet who had just died. Omar quoted to Abu Bakr the Prophet's following words:
"I am commanded to fight people till they submit to the word of shahadah. If they do, they protect their blood and property.”
To which, Abu Bakr retorted: "Do you not recall that the Prophet added: ''Except for the duties and obligations arising from the commitment to it?" (footnote 1)
Omar then yielded to the Caliph's decision, and the rebellion known as the Riddah Movement was put down.
The argument between Abu Bakr and Omar was based on some of the Prophet's words, which is an instance of the Hadith. The writer and his supporters are also reminded of Omar, the Second Caliph when he once travelled to Syria. On the way he heard that an epidemic was spreading at the point of his destination, and Abu 'Ubaidah, a senior Companion, a very early convert to Islam in Mecca, and one of the Noble Ten given the good tiding of being among the People of Paradise, told him, "I have some knowledge in this regard. I once heard the Prophet say:
'Should an epidemic break out in a land where you happen to be, stay where you are and leave it not, If you are not there, enter it not (for the timebeing)'. (footnote 2)
Accordingly, Omar returned to Al-Madina, the capital!
Many similar instances demonstrating the use of the Hadith by each Caliph and by other Companions could be cited. Let the writer in question read - not only the Hadith compilations which he for no good reason rejects the early Shari'a literature and the annals of Islam, the huge compilations recording the early history Islam year by year. He will see how the Hadith was resorted to by every Muslim generation in settling questions for which no direct Quranic answer could be found.
Let me also recall here an interesting relevant story, about Imam Muhammad Ibn ldris al-Shafi'i when he turned 14 years old. On his return to Al-Madina he went to the Prophet's Mosque and sat with the crowd surrounding Imam Malik who was giving a public lecture. A member of the audience put a question to the Imam saying:
I sell qimri (a singing bird). In an argument with a customer. I swore by talaq (divorce) that the bird never stops singing.''
Imam Malik told him: “Your wife is divorced and you should have nothing to do with her any more."
Young Shafi'i who was sitting close to this small trader, asked him: ''Which is more with your bird: singing or silence?" He said, ''It is more often singing.'' Al-Shafi'i told him: “Your wife is not divorced.'' Imam Malik, when he was told of this, asked Shafi'i why he held that different view? Young Shafi'i responded, saying:
Because you taught me on the authority of al-Zuhri, who related on the authority of Abu Salamah Ibn Abd-al-Rahman, who, in turn, related on the authority of Umm Salamah (a widow of the Prophet), who told the story that:
Fatimah Bint Qays came up to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and told him: O you the Messenger of Allah! Abu Jahm and Mu'awiyah have proposed to me (in marriage). The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, advised her, saying:
'As for Mu'awiyah, he is su'luk, (living on charity). As for Abu Jahm, he never lays down his stick from his shoulder.'
Yet, the Prophet, peace be upon him, knew that Abu Jahm could not have kept raising his stick when he slept, ate and rested. So, it is only a style with the Arabs to emphasise the frequency of an action in this way.”
Imam Malik consented to young Shafi'i's verdict, and hence authorised him to exercise ijtihad and give fatwas. (footnote 3)
ORAL TRANSMISSION THE MAIN METHOD OF PRESERVING RELIGIOUS TEXTS
The NST writer approvingly repeats the audacious claim that “the Hadith was put together only 200 years after the death of the Prophet."
To deny the existence of the Hadith at the time of the death of the Prophet, on the ground that there was then no written compilation of the Hadith in circulation, even if we concede this was so, is to deny the existence of the Quran itself, because until the death of the Prophet, there was no single copy of the Quran put together at hand. It was only during the reign of the third Caliph that such copies began to circulate. Up until then, Muslims depended on their memories, and the text of the Holy Quran, like those of the Hadith, was kept in the breasts of men and circulated and taught by parents and teachers through the oral tradition. Even until quite recently, transmission of these sacred texts had to be authenticated orally in spite of the widespread copies of the Holy Quran and the huge compilations of the Hadith already in existence.
To mislead their readers, the anti-Hadith group includes in its argument some widely accepted truths, thus mixing truths with untruths so that simple readers may think that all they say is equally agreeable. So, the chief spokesman of the anti-Hadith band in Malaysia writes:
''The Quran clearly indicates the Prophet Muhammad completed his mission before his death with the famous verse: 'Today I have perfected the religion for you and completed My favour upon you, and I decree Islam as the religion for you.’”
He thus urges the reader, having stated that there was no hadith at the time of the Prophet, to believe that the Hadith was a later invention. But the verse quoted here states that Allah by that time had completed the religion, the total religion of Islam, - not only through the revelation of the Quran. The Islamic religion was completed by the revelation of the total text of the Quran and the delivery of its explanation, namely, the Hadith. Moreover, no one in his sound mind could imagine that the Prophet had lived and died without saying a word or doing anything except reciting the Quran.
DECLARATION OF THE PROPHET AS THE PERFECT MODEL AT ONCE IMPLIES THE VALIDITY AND AUTHORITY OF HADITH
The Holy Quran teaches:
"You have indeed in the (behaviour of the) Messenger of Allah a perfect model - for those who anticipate (success with) Allah and on the Last Day, those who often remember Allah and mention His name repeatedly." 33:21.
The fact that we are so emphatically urged to emulate the example of the behaviour of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, definitely assumes that there must be records of his action and words, the total of which makes up the Hadith. It also means that his actions and words of wisdom have the authority and power to be enforced. If he was only to deliver the Holy Quran and nothing else, how could he be a model for the ummah? Denial of the Hadith and rejection of its authority is tantamount to the rejection of the Quranic teaching which urges us to take him as a model to be followed.
Those who dare to reject the Hadith may cite the Quranic text 60:3 which urges also to take Prophet Ibrahim as a model. However, taking Prophet Muhammad as a model does not deny extending the same to Ibrahim, nor vice versa. However, in the case of the Prophet Muhammad, the Quranic command covers all situations since it is not limited to any situation or to any type of behaviour. In the case of Prophet Ibrahim, the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions who were struggling against the polytheists, were encouraged and sustained in their struggle by citing the case of Ibrahim and those who were on his side specifically in the rejection of the idols which were adored and worshipped at their time. So, in the case of emulating Ibrahim, it is limited and specified, whereas in the case of Prophet Muhammad it is generalised and comprehensive.
Of course, it would have been very hard for us to strive to follow the example of Ibrahim beyond the area which the Quran specifies. Records of the details of his actions and words could not be accessible to us in view of the exceedingly long period separating him from us, unlike the records of the words and the deeds of Prophet Muhammad. His contemporaries, in view of the Quranic commands to follow him and emulate his example, meticulously observed his actions and attentively and carefully listened to his words, and kept them well preserved in their memory. They equally, carefully and precisely transmitted their knowledge to the succeeding generation, then from the second to the third generation, then to the fourth, and so on.
When the scholars began to write these records, they were careful to cite the chain of persons (narrators), through whom the words were traced back to the Prophet. The number of narrators between the author and the Companion who first related a hadith depended on the generation to which the author belonged. The fewer the better, since errors were less likely to occur. However, in the classical compilations, the number of narrators between the author and the Companion are one, two, three, four, five or six at the most. Compilations authored by Companions were directly attributed to the Prophet, and compilations by members of the second generation were directly attributed to Companions. The Hadith compilers were also careful to narrate only on behalf of persons well known for their piety and accuracy. All this led to the development of vast literature on the biographies of the Muslim scholars of each of the early generations, and the assessment of the degree of the reliability of each of the Hadith narrators.
WERE RITUAL DETAILS HANDED OVER FROM IBRAHIM?
All the above arguments are historical truths. Yet, some may wish to arbitrarily create their own imaginary fictions like our Malaysian writer who, following his mentor's childish attempt to escape from the trap when asked where in the Quran we could find the details of the shari'ah including those of prayers, fasting, zakat, hajj, etc., if we did away with the Hadith said,
“...... this was a practice handed down since the time of Ibrahim, according to the evidence of the Quran itself!"
A sympathetic article published in the NST dated 6th May 1988 dramatizes this unworthy fiction saying:
''All religious practices in Islam came to Muslims from Ibrahim. Anyone who does not know this, reveals total ignorance of the Quran.”
Does the Anti-Hadith author and his supporters really know the Quran? Or rather, has either of them bothered to check the Quran to find where the Quran says so? In fact, the Quran is totally free from this accusation.
They may quote the Quranic verses 22:78 and 60:4 as the source of their fiction. But verse 22:78 merely states that:
He (Allah) has chosen you, (Muhammad's nation) and has laid upon you in religion no hardship. The faith of your father Ibrahim (is yours). He (Allah) has named you Muslims in old times and in this (Scripture).”
The verse speaks of the faith only; that is, "the monotheistic creed."
Sharing the basic monotheistic faith with Ibrahim does not at all include the details of the shari'ah which, as the Quran states, was given differently to the various nations; whereas the faith revealed to all Prophets was the same. The Holy Quran reads:
"We have indeed revealed unto you as We had revealed unto Noah and the Prophets after him, as We had revealed unto Ibrahim, and Isma'il and Ishaq and Ya'qub and the tribes, and 'Isa and Ayyub. and Sulaiman." 4:163.
The Quran also states:
"For each of you, We have designed a divine law (shari'ah) and a traced-out way.'' 5:47
As for verse 60:4, it merely teaches that Ibrahim should be taken as a model in our obligation to dissociate ourselves from the unbelieving polytheists and their idols. This is also obviously limited to the area of the monotheistic creed.
So, neither verse 22:78 nor 60:4 supports their claim of the Anti-Hadith group even if their interpretation of the verse 22:78 is conceded to. They claim that the subject pronoun of the verb: "He named you Muslims" in this verse refers to Ibrahim, but it really refers to Allah. Otherwise how could Noah, who came much earlier than Ibrahim, say that he was commanded to be a Muslim? (footnote 4)
If the details of the shari'a were handed over from Ibrahim, we wonder how the complex details of prayers, hajj, etc., which by comparison are not by any means more important than the elements of the monotheistic creed, could survive intact and remain practised by Abu Jahl and the polytheists of Mecca, as the anti-Hadith proponents claim, whereas the more basic teachings of the creed were so completely lost and replaced by rampant idolatry!
After all, who was the medium through which the teachings of Ibrahim were handed over to us? Of course, it could not be Abu Jahl or a similar polytheist. If the author of this absurd fiction and his company concede it was Muhammad, then they must acknowledge the validity of the Hadith. In short, the claim that the details of prayer, zakat, hajj, etc., were handed down from Ibrahim is not only ficticious and absurd, but is also in conflict with the meaning of the Quran itself.
We do acknowledge the fact that some inauthentic hadiths were fabricated early by the enemies of Islam, not by the Ulama, as the NST article crudely puts it. Yet the existence of such fabricated material does not by any means affect the validity of the vast number of authentic hadiths. The false hadiths were gathered and put together long ago in large volumes in order to protect the authentic hadiths from confusion. No reasonable thinker would take the existence of such material as a pretext to generalise and condemn the Hadith as a whole. The presence of a few rotten apples in an orchard does not mean that all the sound healthy fruit should be dumped.