Historical Perspectives and Implications of Hadith in Islam (by Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

INTRODUCTION

In the affairs of social life in general and those of the religious in particular, some matters attune the status of a priori where deep thought and mature deliberation are no more considered sine qua non. One of the arguments for this is that the human mind has usually happened to be very easy-going. The other more argumentative discourse is when a hallow of religious sanctimony enshrines such a priori, the human being frightens, and shudders to inspect it with a critical look. He understands that drawing inference with human thought and intellect is a heinous crime and a grievous sin. Even if he is taught the importance of thinking and reasoning, his frontiers of deliberations lead him to a mental juncture where, if he finds a reason justifying his maxim, he offers it as an accepted authority. And abruptly rejects the very argument and authority that harps against that professed maxim. He experiences exorbitant fear from the outward antagonism of the religionists than that of his own inner qualm. The taunting, the reproaching, and the denouncing of him as an infidel frighten him in the garb of a will- o’th’ wisp. And he dares not, in propria persona, go even in the proximity of the “forbidden tree” of research.

On the contrary, in the realm of reality the fact is that a priori of any sort ought not to be accepted without sharpening on the whetstone of research, though, how long that may have been transmitting. Ask any Muslim: “Deen is the name of what?” Unhesitatingly a pun would be made: “Deen is the name of the composite configuration of the Quran and Hadith”. But the question is has any one accepted it on the touchstone of research, and has admitted it on the basis of knowledge of discernment? Or has any one simply bogged it down in the core of one’s heart just because that parlance has been inherited through generations? If research and reflection lead to conclude that the maxim is indeed based on reality, then this belief of the believers would be founded on knowledge of discernment and the true satisfaction hemmed in would be quite evident. But if, on the ground of knowledge and research, one reaps the conclusion that the obvious is not based on any reality, the believers would be capacitated to dispense with the belief that they have simply been clinging conventionally. In doing so, they will make compliance of a peremptory command of the Quran in which it has been ordained:

Wala taqfu ma laysa laka bihi AAilmun inna alssamAAa waalbasara waalfu-ada kullu ola-ika kana AAanhu mas-oolan (17/36)

Do not follow that you have knowledge not. Remember, your hearing, seeing and faculty of thinking, all will be questioned of it.

AN INTRIGUING QUESTION

Now the question is: When Deen as comprehended usually is a compendium of two parts, the Quran and the Hadith, isn’t anyone of these two presumptive, and that has Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) bestowed these two parts to the Muslims as the ingredients of Deen?

First consider the Quran. The proclamation of this reality has tens of hundred times been made in the Quran that this is a Book of truth:

Waallathee awhayna ilayka mina alkitabi huwa alhaqqu . . .   (35/31)

Whatsoever We have revealed to you from the Book is (absolutely) truth.

This magnificent Book unravels itself with these words:

Thalika alkitabu la rayba feehi  (2/2)

There is no room of uncertainty, ambiguity, skepticism, or psychological perplexity in this Book. It is out and out a truth; it is definitive, neither speculative, nor presumptive; it transcends the barriers of skepticism.

Now, how did this benefaction come to the hand of Muslims, and in what outward form would it remain with them? It is evident, it was revealed to Mohammed (PBUH) and Allah took on Himself the responsibility of its lay up and compilation:

Inna AAalayna jamAAahu waqur-anahu  (75/17)

Assuredly the compiling out of this (book) and its reading out is upon Us.

And not only of its lay up and assembling, but also of the dictum that there could neither be any altero-modification in it; nor could there be any human interpolations of any nature to the last syllable of the recorded time. The Quran affirms:

Inna nahnu nazzalna alththikra wa-inna lahu lahafithoona (15/9)

Surely We have revealed this Quran, and it is We who are surely its guardians.

For executing this preservation into practice, the exalted Messenger (PBUH) was unequivocally ordained:

Ya ayyuha alrrasoolu balligh ma onzila ilayka (5/67)

O Rasool, whatsoever has been revealed to you, deliver it to the mankind.

The Messenger (PBUH) made a party of his companions to pen down the Quran verbatim et literatim. There were, as the history unfolds tens of thousands of Quran-conners who used to recollect the Quran by words, then the Messenger (PBUH) himself used to listen to what they had recollected. He used to rectify and emendate. Thus before departing this world he got himself fully satisfied, pleno jure, that whatever the message of Allah was revealed to him had been communicated to the humans in its complete and perfect form. And that it had been preserved – not only in black and white but also within the hearts of tens of thousands of Quran-conners. After the Messenger (PBUH), the guided caliphs (concordant with the will of Allah) looked to the preservation of the Quran as their bounded duty and adopted practical measures for this purpose. Thus, up till now, this text of the Nourisher has come down safely preserved not only through the hearts of the Quran-conners but also through the pages of papers writ large in a way that the protagonists and the antagonists (aliens) both have assented: The Quran extant with Muslims is word by word the same that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has handed over to them. (Muqaam-e-Hadith, 1992, p.1). Since Allah has undertaken the responsibility to have it preserved on His own, thus, the last of His massages, will remain preserved till the day of Resurrection. This is the definitive entity, far beyond any speck of suspicion and speculation. Had the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) undertaken the same measures he exercised for the preservation of the Quran?

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES OF HADITH

The historical record proves that he did not make any of such stringent arrangements. There is a saying of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in the books of Ahadith:

Do not write from me anything other than the Quran and rub off whosoever have written something other than the Quran (Sahih Muslim). It is said it was but a pro tempore order because in some traditions it is found: On his request, Hazart Abdullah Bin Umroo was accorded permission to write down the sayings if he so desires. But this, at the most, would prove that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) simply granted permission. He never sparked any order; he never made any arrangements. And that after showering this permission no proof is available to this effect that the Messenger (PBUH) had enquired of some one who had written such and such sayings and that he had heard out, rectified or emended these sayings.

It is usually said that in those days Arab’s memory was very sharp, so it was confidently relied upon. If reliance upon memory was enough in the matters of Deen, then “What was the need of the write-up of the Quran?” Why was the memory of the people not considered squarely enough for this purpose? This may be recalled here that every word of the Quran was recollected to the mind, was heard out and then was certified. If some one had recalled a few sayings on ones own, these could command no authority for the Ummah till the Messenger (SAW), after hearing these out, had attested their authenticity. It was only when he had handed over them to Ummah fully preserved in the form of a book. And it was unless and until these very sayings would have passed on word by word in their original dictate like that of the Holy Quran. But none of these traditions passed through this process during the exalted period of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). (Muqaam-e-Hadith, 1992, p.1).  Pause and meditate: had the Ahadith been the integral part of Deen, would have the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) not made any of the convoluted approaches for their preservation?

The traditions unravel the fact that some miscellaneous articles other than the Quran were also penned down on the orders of the Messenger (SAW). These included the written contracts, orders and proclamations etc. that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sent to the tribes and his executives. In this way whatever could be known today, in addition to the Quran, is simply these written documents found at the time of the sad demise of the Messenger (PBUH): (i) Names of 1500 companions of the Messenger (PBUH) written in a Register; (ii) Letters the Messenger (PBUH) wrote to the rulers and the kings; (iii) A few written orders, proclamations and contracts etc.; and (iv) A few traditions, which Hazrat Abdullah Bin Umroo, or Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Uns wrote so jure  –about these Ahadith, it is neither proved from any source that the Messenger (PBUH) had certified them, nor are these extant any where in their original form; so what the Messenger (PBUH) handed over to the Ummah was nothing but the Quran only. He did not give any collection of Ahadith to the Ummah. Even in Bukhari this saying is extant that Hazrat Ibn-e-Abbass was asked: What has the Messenger (PBUH) left for the Ummah? He said: The Messenger (PBUH) did not leave any thing but the Quran. (Bukhari, vol. 3rd, Kitah-ul-Fazaa-i-lul-Quran, p. 173)

THE PRACTICE OF THE  MESSENGER’ S COMPANIONS

After the exalted Messenger (PBUH), the practice of his companions, especially those of the guided caliphs, radiates with lucid light. It is written in the Masnat Iman Ahmed that the companions of the Messenger (PBUH) said: Whatever we heard from the Messenger (PBUH), we used to have it written down.   Then one day the Messenger (PBUH) appeared in front of us and commanded: What is it that you are used to write? We submitted: whatever we hear from you (we write it down). Then he commanded: What? Another book along with that of Allah’ s book? (i.e.  it ought not be done). He commanded again: (Manifest elegance: Keep pure) the Book of Allah and keep it pure from any kind of doubt-speck. (The companions of the Messenger, PBUH, say): Then whatever we had written, we gathered it in a ground; then we burnt it up.   (Tadveen-i-Hadith, p. 249)

About Hazrat Abu Bukr Siddique, Imam Zehbi has also written this tradition: After the death of Rasoolullah (PBUH), Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique gathered the people and said, “You narrate traditions from Rasoolullah (PBUH) in which you contradict conjointly. And the people to come after you will become more sordid in their contrariety hence it ought to be that nothing be narrated confided to Rasoolullah (PBUH). Then if any one amongst you asks (of it), tell: there is Allah’s Book between you and us, hence it ought to be that ‘the things this Book has made lawful, declare them lawful and those it has made unlawful, declare them unlawful’.”(Tazkarat-ul-Haffaz Zehbi Quoted in Jadveen-i-Hadith, p. 321)

Imam Zehdi has also written: Hazrat Aesha said: My father (Hazrat Abu Bakr) assembled the traditions of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH). Their number rose to 500. Then it was seen at one night that he (i. e. Hazrat Siddique, the great) was adversely turning on his side. I beseeched: Is it due to any physical pain that you are tuning your side or has any news reached you (the hearing of which has made you restless)? He did not respond to it. When it was morning, he said: “My daughter, bring the copy of the Ahadith you have with you.” He, then, asked to bring fire and inflamed that copy. (Tadveen -i-Hadith, pp. 285 – 88)

Regarding Hazrat Ummar, Allama Ibn-e-Abdul Barr has copied this tradition in his reputed book, Jamey Biyan-ul-Ilm: Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab desired that the Sanen i.e. the traditions, be got transformed in written statements. He, then, asked the companions of the Messenger for a legal opinion regarding the lawfulness of this write-up. The people asseverated that the traditions might be got written down. But Hazrat Umar was not heartily satisfied with this counsel, so he practiced divination on this matter for one month complete. Then – one morning God vested in him perfect sense of solace for this decision – Hazrat Umar said to the people I intended to get the traditions written down. I thought of the nations, which have passed you by. They wrote books, pounced upon them, and gave up Allah’s Book; I swear I do not desire Allah’s Book to be mingled with any of the others. (Tadveen-i-Hadith, p.394)

And it was because of the fact that as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had himself said: Do not write any thing else from me except the Quran; whosoever has written from me any other than the Holy Quran, he ought to scrub it off. (Saheeh Muslim)

I t was not the only thing that Hazart Ummar decided – that the work of assembling and laying up of Hadith ought not to be carried out – he also went one step ahead. It is written in Tabqat: At the time of Hazrat Umar, the traditions abounded in number. On oath, he ordered the people to produce the copies of the traditions to him. The people, in compliance to these orders produced their copies. He then ordered to burn these to a cinder. (Tabqat, vol. 5, p. 141) (Tadveen -i- Hadith, p.399)

This is what happened in the capital. And what about afterwards? Hafiz Ibn-e- Abdul Barr has copied this tradition in his Jamey Biyan-ul-Ilm: Hazrat Ummar Ibn-e-Khattab first desired that the traditions be written down. But later on it became quite clear to him that the writing of the traditions would not be appropriate. He then sent dispatches to Al-Ahrar (i. e. cantonments and other District Cities) in black and white that whosoever has had any of the serials pertaining to traditions, he ought to efface these out i. e. expend these to no purpose. (Jamey Biyan-ul-Ilm, vol. 1, p. 65 quoted in Tadveen -i-Hadith, p. 400)

Maulana Manazar Ahsan Gilani (Deceased) has particularly reserved a separate chapter in his book: “In the primus inter pares period (of Islam), Making of no Superintendence for Preservation and Propagation of Hadith From the Government side was not a Matter of Chance, but of a Matter Founded on Advisability.” Prior to it, he has reproduced this quote of Imam Ibn-e-Hazam: “When Hazrat Umar died, the number of copies of the Quran spread abroad from Egypt to Iraq, from Iraq to Syria and from Syria to Yemen  – if not exceeded to one lac  – was nor less even than that.” (Tadveen-i-Hadith, p. 216) He then described in detail when such a control was exercised for the propagation of the Quran, had the Government so desired, what could have been the barrier deterring the propagation of Ahadith? He has concluded that the Government did not do so intentionally.

This is the status of compiling the traditions during the period of the companions of the Messenger (PBUH). In a summery, it can be said:

  1. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) ordered not to write any thing from him except the Quran.
  2. Whichever Abadith the companions of the exalted Messenger wrote on their own, they burnt these out on the commandment of the Messenger (PBUH).
  3. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique burnt his own compiled collection and ordered the people not to narrate the Abadith.
  4. Hazrat Umar – after deep meditations and mature considerations for a period of one month  – decided that the Abadith ought not be collected and compiled.
  5. Hazrat Umar gave oath to the people to bring the copies of their collections of the Abadith and burnt these out. He also issued orders for the remaining cities to waste the Abadith if any one has had a collection thereof in written form.
  6. This whole was not done by chance, but in the words of Maulana Manazar Ahsan (Deceased): This was all done with intention.

Hazrat Umar became more intense in this matter. He harshly abandoned the people for propagating the Ahadith. Qez’ah bin Ka’ab narrates: when Hazrat Umar sent us to Iraq, he emphatically made us remember, “ You are going to a place where the voices of the people, like the humming of the bees, resonate with the recitation of the Quran, so do not make them unmindful of the Quran by simply implicating them in Ahadith”. (Muqaam-e-Hadith, 1992, p.1). Hazrat Abu Huraira was asked: Did you also use to narrate the Ahadith at the time of Hazrat Umar in the same manner? He said, “If I had narrated the Ahadith at the time of Hazrat Umar in the same way, he had whipped me”. It is also narrated: Hazrat Umar had put Hazrat Abdullah Bin Masood, Abu Darda and Abu Masood Ansari behind the bars on their crime of narrating the Ahadith exasperatingly. (For all these sayings, consult Tazkirat-ul-Hiffaz.)

These descriptions make this clear: had these caliphs considered Ahadith an integral part of Deen, they would have definitely published a collection of these Ahadith under the patronage of their caliphate – just like the management they made for the general propagation and publication of the Quran. That is why, after the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), no measures were taken for the collection and compilation of Ahadith during the period of Khailafal-i-Rashida.

FOUND COPIES AND THE CONTRIBUTORS

  1. SAHEEF-E-HAMMAM IBN-E-MENBAH

This is the first century Hijra Compiled Collection of Ahadith known as Saheefa-e-Hammam Ibn-e-Membah, It was published by Dr. Hameedullah, Hyderabad Daccan. It is said of Imam Hammam Ibn-e-Membah that he was a student of Abu Huraira. He died in 131 H. In this Saheefa, there are 138 Ahadith of which he said he wrote these in front of his teacher, Hazrat Abu Huraira. Hazrat Abu Huraira died in 58 H. Therefore, it can be understood that this collection was compiled prior to 58 H. In this connection, this is worth noting that Imam Hammam Ibn-e-Membah, while in Madina prior to 58 H, compiles this collection of Ahadith and gets 138 Ahadith only. And, in the 3rd century Hijra, when Imam Bukhari intends to collect Ahadith, he gets six Lac Ahadith. Imam Ahmed Bin Hambal got ten Lac and Imam Yahya Ibn-e-Moin got twelve Lac Ahadith. Likewise, this fact is also worth noting that the Ahadith narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira come up to the tune of thousands, but the collection of his student contains 138 Ahadith only. Anyhow, the outcome of the individual efforts in the first century Hijra assembling the Ahadith is the 138 Ahadith of Saheefa-e-Imam Hammam Ibn-e-Membah. Besides no other trace of any written collection of Ahadith during this period is traceable.

  1. IMAM ZAHRI (ON HIM THE MERCY)

In about the year 100 H, Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (on him the mercy), the caliph got a few Ahadith assembled. Thereafter, Imam Ibn-e-Shahab Zehri (d. 124 H), by the orders of the caliphs of Bani Umayyad, prepared a brief collection of Ahadith of which he himself says: “I found this work unpleasant” (Mukhtaser Jamey Biyan-ul-Ilm ). But neither the assembled Ahadith of Hazrat Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (on him the mercy), in any lay-up form, nor those of Imam Zehri’s above mentioned collection are extant, though their traditions are found in the later-on-compiled books of Ahadith.

  1. OTHER COMPILATIONS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Thereafter started the era in which the idea of writing down the complete state-of-affairs, the whereabouts (the History) of the best period burgeoned in the mind of the people. The material of the writings was the traditions (sayings) coming down generally on the tips of the Muslims’ tongues. Some fellows raked up this vast vista and assembled the talks confided to the exalted Messenger (PBUH) alone.

The First collection of Ahadith extant today is Mauta, the Book of Imam Malik (d. 179 H). The number of Ahadith found in its various versions ranges from 300 to 500. After Imam Malik, this stream continuously went on widening and other scholars also thought of compiling the collections of Ahadith; so a number of books were compiled during this period. In the period of the Abbassides, various branches of Islamic Arts and Sciences flourished extra-ordinarily, and the printing and publication of the books of Ahadith, also, attained a distinctly widened circulation. The most important, among these books, are Sahiheen (Sahih Bukhari and the Muslim). Imam Bukhari (d. 256 H) assembled nearly six Lac (traditions), out of which – after rejecting, discarding and eliding the repetitives – the collection he prepared contains 2600 Ahadith. This book is called As-hul-Kutub Ba’ad az Kitab Allah (i. e. after the Qur’an, the most correct book in the world). These are the very collections of Ahadith, which are now called the integral part of Deen. Six of these collection are the ones, which the Ahl-i-Sunnat wal Jama’t (the Sunnis) accept as the most correct collections. These are called the Sihah-i-Sitta, the correct six books of Ahadith. These  are: (i) Sahih Bukhari; (ii) Sahih Muslim; (iii) Tirmzi; (iv) Abu Dawood; (v) Ibn-e-Majah; and (vi) Nesaai.

The various collections of the Shiites are: (i) Al Kaani known by the name of Jamey Abu Ja’far Muhammad Jok-leeni; he died in 239 H;(ii)Min La Yastah Zera Al Faqyya: this is the compilation of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn-e-Ali (d. 381 H); (iii) Tehzeeb: compiled by Shaikh Abu Ja’far Muhammad Bin Hassan, died in 460 H. No one amongst them is Arab. Neither the Shiites, nor the Sunnis consider each other’s compilations worth-accepting.

A brief introduction of the compilers of these collections in paucis verbis is given below:

  1.                   IMAM BUKHARI (ON HIM BE MERCY)

He was born in Bukhara and died in 256 H (or, according to some others, in the proximity of 260 H) in the vicinity of Sam-ar-qand. It is said he collected approximately six Lac Ahadith – roaming from city to city and village to village –, out of which he found nearly 7300 Ahadith as the correct ones by judging on his own criterion and compiled these in his book. The remaining – nearly 5,93,000 –, he rejected. Many – out of these (7300) – have been repeatedly written in various Chapters. If these repetitives are not included, the remaining number comes up to the tune of 2762 or 2630.

  1.                   IMAM MUSLIM (ON HIM THE MERCY)

The compiler of Sahih Muslim was Imam Muslim Bin Hajjaj, the inhabitant of a well-known city of Neishapur in Iran. He was born in 204 H and died in 261 H.

  1.                   TIRMZI

Imam Abu Essa Muhammad Tirmzi was a native of Iran’s prominent city, Tirmiz. His year of birth is 209 H and of death is 279 H.

  1.                   ABU DAWOOD

He was a resident of Seestan (Iran), born in 202 H and died in 275 H.

  1.                   IBN-E-MAJA

Abu Abdulah Muhammad Bin Zaid Ibn-e-Maja was a resident of Qizwain city in North Iran. His year of birth is 209 H and of death is 273 H.

  1. IMAM ABDUL RAHMAN NESAAI

He was born in a village Nesaa of Khurasaan Province in Eastern Iran. His year of death is 303 H.

With this brief introduction of these scholars of Hadith, the following points gush forth to the mind:

  1. They were all Iranian; no one was from Arab. It is the occasion of consternation that no one from the Arabians accepted the responsibility of this great work – and the non-Arabians (aliens) materialized the work of assembling and compiling of the Ahadith.
  2. All these fellows came to pass in the 3rd century Hijra.
  3. They found tens of thousands of Ahadith but there were a few which – considering these to be correct  – they entered in their collections.
  4. The people verbally narrated all these Ahadith. There was no prior extant written record of these Ahadith.
  5. Their selection out of the thousands of the Ahadith was the result of their personal vision and decision. For judging whether these Ahadith are correct, they neither enjoyed the authority of God (i.e. God had not revealed to them that so and so Ahadith are correct, so retain them, and such and such are incorrect so reject them), nor the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) conferred any attestation (that the Ahadith you selected are, in fact, My sayings), nor had they any prior written record with them on the basis of which they could make the selection of these Ahadith. These were simply the people’s verbal discourses based on their vision and wisdom – they incorporated these in their collections.

Now reflect considerably: can it, in any way, be said that the results of such individual efforts are actually the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)? Also keep this point in mind: it can not be said of any one of these verbal talks, transmitted through the people during these 200 to 250 years that these were the actual words of the Messenger (SAW), which were remembered by heart when the son heard from his father and the student from his teacher verbatim et literatim, word for word and letter from letter. Every narrator described these talks in his own words.

COLLECTION, COMPILATION AND RETENTION

How many Ahadith did these fellows collect? And making selections, how many Ahadith did they retain for their collections? The detail is given below:

1.                   Imam Bukhari, out of six Lac, removing the repetitives, retained 2762 or 2630.2.                   Imam Muslim, out of three Lac, retained only 4348.3.                   Tirmzi, out of three Lac, retained only 3115.4.                   Abu Dawood, out of five Lac, retained only 4800.5.                   Ibn-e-Maja, out of four Lac, retained only 4000.6.                   Nisaai, out of two Lac, retained only 4321.

It is obvious when the touchstone for repudiating the Ahadith was the personal, subjective vision of the compilers, no one can say how many would have been wasted. More over, out of the selection they made, how many – which could not be called the sayings or deeds of the Messenger (PBUH) – would have been included.

TRADITIONS AS UNDERSTOOD: NATURE AND SCOPE

All the books of Ahadith, including the Bukhari and the Muslim extant today, do not have the actual words of the Messenger (PBUH). These Ahadith are the traditions as understood. It means their style is like this: when, for instance, any companion of the Messenger (PBUH) heard anything from him, whatever he comprehended, he narrated it to the other companion in his own words. Whatever that fellow deduced, he passed it onward. Now pause for a while and think: if this state of affairs is allowed to continue on this pattern – not for days, for months, not for a few years, but for a period of 200 to 250 years – and then these talks so spread among the people are compiled together. Then the extent of the relevance of these talks to that of the stated exposition of the first narrator, the Messenger, the exalted, is quite evident. Allowing ten persons sit jointly in a room, simply narrate the detail of an incidence in the ear of one man only. After that when that detail having transmitted from ear to ear, reaches you, you will find how different that is what you said and what you heard from the tenth person. And when this state of affaires continues for 250 years – and these talks incessantly go on transferring downward to at least Lacs of people, if not Crores, – then the genuineness reflected through these talks would be, sans doute, quite clear.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS IN UNDERSTANDING THE EXPOSITION

In this connection, the criticism of Syed Abu-ul-Aala Maudoodi is worth considering. So far as the understanding of the correct exposition of the quotes of the Messenger (PBUH) is concerned, he sweeping aside the narrators coming later on, writes (while criticizing a Hadith of Bukhari) about Hazrat Abu Huraira (on him the mercy): It seems either Hazrat Abu Huraira misapprehended the statement of the Messenger (PBUH), or he could not hear the full talk . . .The examples of such type of misunderstandings are found in numerous traditions out of which certain traditions have certified certain other traditions and certain have remained hum and haw. The happening of this sort in verbal traditions is not a matter of any awe. (Tasneen, Ahadith Number, Dated 14/10/1959)

For gushing forth the exposition onward, he writes in the first part of his book, Tafheemaat (PP. 329-30): As an example, I deliver a speech today and thousands of the persons hear it. Just a few hours (neither months, nor years, but just a few hours) after the gathering is disbanded, ask the people, “What did the speaker say?” You will find no uniformity in copying down the contents of the speech. Some one will chaw a certain fragment, other will cop the other. Some one will copy a certain sentence word by word, other will describe in his own words the exposition, he has understood. Some one more sharp – intellectual – will elicit the correct gist of the speech he has comprehended, other of less comprehension will not be able to give effect of his import. Some one whose memory is sharp will transcribe most of the portions of the speech verbatim, other of low sharpness will commit blunders in transcription and encryption.

This was the mechanism by which the collections of Ahadith were compiled – 200 to 250 years after the sad demise of the Messenger (PBUH). That is why when you recite the Qur’anic verses, you say with full conviction: “Qaal Lallah-u-Ta’ala” i.e. Allah has said. And when any Hadith is narrated, it is said in the beginning, “ QAAL-UR-RASOOL.” (The Messenger of Allah said). And at the end it is said,“Auo Kamaa Qaal Rasoolullah Sall-ullah-o-Elaih-i-Wa Sallam,”(in this way or as such said the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). That is why, the Ahadith are never called the quotes of the Messenger (PBUH), but, an contraire, the quotes confided to the Messenger (PBUH) i.e. the talks which the people confided to the Messenger (PBUH) at the time of the compilers of Ahadith.

INHERENT INFIRMITIES IN ASMAAR-UR-REJA, THE CHAIN OF REPORTERS

It is obvious that in this way many a narrator pop up in narrating each tradition.  When the collection of Ahadith were made, there heisted a cross purpose whether research ought to be instituted about those narrators whose names have been mentioned in Ahadith to ascertain whether or not they were really reliable. When they are judged as such, each tradition (Hadith) is taken up one by one to scrutinize as to what kind of quality its narrators have been. It is this art of cross-questioning, cross equivocating and cross-examining of the narrators i.e. Asmaa-ur-Rejaal, the chain reporters, which is bragged so flamboyantly as if it has no other precedence. There is no doubt that the scholars of this art burnt the midnight oil for this work. But the question is, can any one reach any edge of fervid conviction, what so ever, in this way? You can say of a person from whom you have heard anything personally that he is trust worthy. But if, in describing an incidence, there is a mention of 5 to 7 persons who are dead now – during the last 200 to 250 years – what source you can possibly dig out to determine whether or not they were really reliable. And, more over, ‘to be or not to be reliable’ is not the only question. The matter in hand is that it must even be made sure whether they had the essential potential to comprehensively understand the talk and after understanding, they are capacitated to transmit its true exposition onward in their own words. Is it possible to say this all – for the people who lived during the past 200 to 250 years – with confidence and conviction? This is impossible. That is why Syed Abu-ul-Aala Maudoodi (Tafheemaat, Part-1, p. 318) writes:

“These people (i.e. those who attend to Hadith as Deen), in their servitorship to the traditionists (Muhadithin) opsonise aggravation far beyond the limits of justification. Their premise is that the traditionists have cast the straw off as a fly from milk. Now our assignment is to affix the same label of credit and credence to the Ahadith, as these notable predecessors have imputed to, e.g. the weak in contrast to the strong authentic Ahadith are deserted. The contributions of the traditionists (May they are blessed) are taken for granted. And this too is accepted that the material they provided for the settlement of Ahadith is very conducive in the search of the gazettes, the relics and the vestiges of the prime period (of Islam). It is above and beyond any speck of double. But objection lies in this point: To what extent is the total reliance upon them justifiable? By all means, they were the humans – they could not transgress the limits of human knowledge God’s creation is destined to. They were never guarded against the natural phenomenon of ‘to err is human’. Then how can you claim ‘the things they established to be true were true in the real earnest’? They were themselves never polite for ‘to fart’.”

Again he writes:“The traditionists (Mohadithin) embellished a grand vast vista of Ismaa-ur-Rejal (the chain of reporters), which, beyond any shadow of doubt, is very precious but there is nothing that is not devoid of even an inkling of the possibility of error.” (p. 319)

The errors are not based on inadvertence or oversight, but are founded on the factual grounds. It is because: “Concupiscence was stuck deep with every anima. And there was a strong possibility that there be any degree of distinct extent – in forming good or bad opinions about others. It was not merely the feasibility of any vision; but a proof of this occurrence is extant.” (Tafheemaat, Part-1, p. 319)

After this, he writes: “By such example we do not mean the total knowledge of the discipline of Asmaa-ur-Rejal, the chain of reporters, is farce and false, but our purpose is to make this fact known to all that the fellows who have burgeoned cross-questioning and cross-equivocating the witnesses were, any-how, the humans. ‘To err is human’ was stuck deep to them. Is it a must that those whom they adjudged to be reliable, must be reliable with confidence and be confirmed trustworthy in the repertoire of all Ahadith and whom they determined to be unreliable, be unreliable with firm conviction!” (Tafheemaat, Part-1, p. 312)

Again he writes: “They have investigated all these matters to the extent that the humans could do. But it is not essential that, in the conduct of research for narrating the Ahadith, they would have identified all the facts accurately and correctly. It may just be possible that the tradition adjudicating to be contiguous to reliance is cut off in terms of its patent authenticity in the real sense  . . .. This and the many more are the factors on the basis of which the knowledge of accreditation, of cross-questioning and of cross equivocating can not be thought of as accurate in earnest. This material is reliable only to the extent that it can be used in taking help for the purpose of conducting research in the areas of Sunnah and the relics, the vestiges of the companions of the Messenger (PBUH) – and be given due consideration. But it is not so reliable, that it be absolutely doted upon.” (Tafheemaat, Part-1, pp. 321-322)

As far the personal preferences are concerned, it is obvious that when a man makes judgement about the other man – whether he was reliable or not – the feelings of his heart would generally adulterate his decision – how unbiased that decision might be. And in the feeling of the heart, the belief relishes a tremendous encroachment. On the issue ‘whether conviction augments or diminishes,’ Imam Bukhari had difference of opinion with Imam Abu Haneefa. The result of this difference is that he did not accept Imam Abu Haneefa trustworthy. The matter does not end up here. Since Imam-e-Azam (on him the mercy) was a native of Kufa, so all the Kufians were adjudged to be unreliable, incapacitated for narrating the Ahadith. And as Kufa is in Iraq, the Iraqians were also bracketed in the same category and it was finally decided that out of the 100 Ahadith narrated by the Iraqians, 99 are bequeathed – even the one taken to be accepted be termed dubious. Similarly on the contrasting bases of preliminary doctrine of faith, the two most respect worthy Imams, Imam Abu Zara’a and Imam Abu Hatim, themselves questioned the reliability of Imam Bukhari and abandoned to accept the Ahadith narrated by him. The Books of Bukhari and Muslim are called Sahiheen. Their mutual interaction is on such a contrasting scale that Imam Muslim considers Imam Bukhari as ‘refractory and rabid for Ahadith.’ Numerous examples of this type of mutual wrangling and refit among these scholars are found paved in the Books of traditions. With the difference in beliefs, the difference in perceiving the Ahadith to be true or weak is the ‘glaring’ manifestation of the two factions, the Sunni and the Shia. As already written, Sunnis have their own collections of Ahadith and their sequence of narration goes as far back as to the Tabain and the companions of the Messenger. From the teaching confided to the Exalted Messenger (PBUH) in these collections, a very much contrasting teaching is found stemmed in the collections of Ahadith, the Shias hold. Similarly their sequence of narrating the Ahadith gets back to thetabain and the companions of the Messenger (on them be mercy). Now these fellows (at least the Sunnis) can not even imagine that those noble ancestors, who are the narrators of those Ahadith included in the collections of Shias, were all (God forbid) liars and unreliable. – These, too, would have to be accepted, undoubtedly, to be reliable and trustworthy. – Now the statement of the facts emerged to be like this: that the Ummah, from a group of reliable narrators, came upon the Ahadith which are held to be true among the Sunnis and another body of trustworthy narrators also clasped those Ahadith which are held true among the Shias. And both of these types of Ahadith stood to be disfigured mutually. Now lookout: which of the teaching be judged to be the true teaching of the Exalted Messenger (PBUH), which to be thought of as an integral part of Deen and which one to be erroneous? For being a reliable narrator, if the necessary condition is that he too be a co-doctrinaire of those who cross-question, of those who cross-equivocate, or of those who compile Ahadith, then this is obviously partisanship – not a fair play. Is it necessary that a partly, which is not of your doctrine be a composite body of the numbers who are en bloc false and unreliable? Another inveigling phenomenon is that Imam Bukhari himself (as well as other compilers of Ahadith), who adjudge the predecessors unreliable – and their traditions outcast, – incorporate the very traditions narrated by them in the repertoire of their own collections of Ahadith. ( For more detail consult Meezan-ul-Aeta Daael by Allam Zehbi and Tadreeb-ur-Raavi etc)

These are the external evidences, which lead us to the conclusion that the Ahadith were neither the integral part of Deen in the opinion of the Messenger (PBUH) himself, nor to the companions of the Messenger. And that the collections of Ahadith held today are not the real words of the Messenger (PBUH). And beyond any shadow of doubt, the contents of these collections in perpetuumare the internal evidence. Even a mention of the matters, written in these collections, shakes the very soul, and totter the very pen held in the grip of the very hand.

This is because the honor of these recollections puffed up in the hearts has reached at par with that of the Quran’s. Take out Sahih Bukhari, bring it under your own study and scale out ‘to what extent, whatever have been said is right.’ You would be asked: How erudite Imam Bukhari relished his position! Then – during the last 1000 years – how many clans of scholarly qualified persona and reputed predecessors, who assigned this book the rank of ‘the most correct book after the Book of Allah,’ have passed; hark! “Can (God forbid) there be found such an obnoxious material stemmed in this book?” There is no doubt that the honor and dignity of these noble predecessors is above-aboard. But, when the text of Bukhari is available, why any one should not cast a look over it and decide as to what ever has been written is right or wrong. You’ll find such a material written over there. You will never dare confide this type of material to the noble balanced personality of the Messenger (PBUH), who was the persona grata, the propitious and splendid persona, the perfect manifestation of the highest ascension of humanity, the elevator, the exalted, the noble. It was he who owned the vast vista of erudition and vision. You will be taken aback to note the kind of absurdities ascribed to him, the excellent of the created.

That is why Syed Abu-ul-Aala Maudoodi (Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, October-November, 1952) had to

pen down:“This assertion is not valid that the contents of all the Ahadith embedded in Bukhari be accepted in toto   – without imbuing any tint of criticism.”

Commenting upon the Hadith of Bukhari in which it has been said that Hazrat Ibrahim (AS)- God forbid- thrice told a lie, Maulna Abu-ul-Kalam Azaad writes: “Out of the lot of traditions, how best any kind of tradition it may be, it cannot be taken more than the evidence of an uningenuous (non-innocent) narrator in anyway. – And the evidence of an uningenuous (non-innocent) narrator, in comparison to the faith fervidities of Deen, can not be accepted for a moment even. It ought to be confessed this tradition can not be the word of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH); the narrators have committed some mistake here. And having confessed this, there would neither be Divine Wrath, nor would the World cry shame upon.”(Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, vol. II, pp. 499-500)

Maulana Ubaidallah Sindhi went too ahead and declared: “I can not even teach the Hadith of Bukhari to any new European Muslim.” (Risalat ul Furqan Wali Allah No. 287)

This is the criticism of the individuals. The whole rank and file of the Hanafee faction does not consider nearly 200 Ahadith of Bukhari and Muslim to be true (Muqaam-e-Hadith, 1992, p.1).

It is said: let these collections be considered presumptive, but there are many presumptive things in the world accepted to be true; even the diurnal routine of life regulates on it. Hark! You accept the historical events, though they too are presumptive, – and you study the newspaper, though they are also not surely definitive – Then why to jeer at Ahadith. That you abandon these just on the plea that these are speculative. This argument appears to be reasonable on its face value, but after making judgement of how diverging these two entities are, the reality unveils itself.

History or newspapers do not attain the position of Deen. If you wish, you may accept an incident as true and if you have arguments against it, you may refute it simply because you doubt its validity. Contrary to it, if Ahadith are adjudged to be Deen, it means these are beyond any tint of criticism. You saw how contrasting these two are! If there is a mention in the history that so and so a king gave the lie to job at such and such a place, you may accept it to be true – if you wish so – and you may reject it – so as you desire. Neither is any limit imposed on you, nor is your conviction affected upon. But when this Hadith of Bukhari comes to your mind that “Hazart Ibrahim(AS) thrice told a lie” – since Ahadith is adjudged to be an integral part of Deen – its acceptance, hence forth, became imperative upon you. If you do not accept it as true, you are criminated in suspecting the very soundness of Hadith. And if you believe in its soundness, you are constrained to concede a noble Rasool of Allah (PBUH) to be false (God forbid). Or take another example: you read in the newspaper that a person has cut the nose of another person in a certain city, its acceptance or denial is not an integral part of your conviction. But when you study this Hadith of Bukhari: “When the angle of death approached Moses (AS) to captivate his soul away, he gave it such a slap that it lost one of its eyes,” you have to accept this incidence because giving an element of doubt to this Hadith means you are very much doubting the Deen itself. This made it very clear to you that what a difference does it make in accepting the worldly speculative things to be true and in accepting a speculative thing which has been adjudged to be the integral part of Deen!

What is the practical bearing of Hadith? Let this example help you take it off. When a verse of the Qur’an about a matter is presented, it is possible that one may differ with its translation, but no one will say it is not known whether or not this is the verse of the Qur’an.  But in case of Hadith, the first, the foremost, question that will come under discourse will be whether or not this is the word of the Messenger (PBUH). In this regard, Maudoodi Sahib (Resaail-o-Masaail, Part-I, p. 290) writes: “The real incidence in the tradition, which is confided to the Messenger (PBUH), in terms of its correct and reliable imputedness, is disputable in itself. To you (the opposite group) the acceptance of the tradition – which the traditionists (Muhadethin) adjudge to be true from the credibility of its attestation –it’s being the Hadith of the Messenger (PBUH), is a must. But to us, it is not a necessary condition. We do not take the credibility of attestation a necessary justification to accept the Hadith as true.”

Whenever any Hadith is presented, the first question that arises is whether or not that Hadith is the word of the Messenger (PBUH). All the haggling among the various factions of Muslims are pinned around this phenomenon. One sect presents any of its beliefs and brings forth any Hadith in support of it; the other sect refutes with these words “this Hadith is absolutely not the word of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)”. These wrangling are continuously pouring in since the last thousands of years. And it is evident there is no possibility to blot these out. Therefore, the whole of the Ummah has no means on the basis of which it may be investigated that such and such Hadith is the word of the Messenger (PBUH) in the real sense.

ANOTHER DIMENSION: WEEK AND STRONG

Hark this fact : No body will say about any verse of the Qur’an that it is weak, not strong. Every verse of the Qur’an is strong. The question of its being weak or strong does not arise. But when any Hadith is presented, the opposite group refutes it in these words: It is a weak Hadith. Since the mutual disagreements on the basis of divergent view of Ahadith are, more or less, infiltrating down among the various factions – there is no way to blot these out.

THE MESSENGER’S (PBUH) TEMPERAMENT ACQUAINTED

It is told: A form of obliterating these disagreements is extant – because there is a touchstone on the basis of which it can safely be decided whether or not such and such is the Hadith of the Messenger (PBUH). This does not end up here alone. It goes further. This is also possible that if regarding any matter, there is no Hadith found in any of the collections of Ahadith, it can even be judged with confidence what the Messenger (PBUH) would have affirmed at such an occasion. Syed Abu-ul-Aala Mandoodi (Tafheemaat, Vol. I, pp. 323-324) says: “The person whom God bestows the blessing of the art of jurisprudence – with the in-depth study of the Qur’an and the conduct of the Messenger (PBUH) – comes by a particular type of taste, the quality of which is exactly like that of the lapidary’s vision that tests the most delicate characteristics of the germs. His eye scans the system of the real Sharia comprehensively and he perceives the ins and outs of that system. Later on, when the subsidiaries come to pass, his taste makes him cognize: which of the matters suit the nature and the intrinsic quality of Islam and which does not. When he casts his eye on the traditions, the same touchstone-taste comes to be the standard of approval or disapproval. The nature of Islam is exactly the temperament of the personality of the Messenger (PBUH). Who-ever understands the nature of Islam – and who has intensively and frequently studied the Book of Allah (the Qur’an) and the Sunnah of the Rasoolullah (PBUH) – becomes temperament-acquainted of the Messenger (PBUH) to such an extent that his vision, with a simple causal eye over the traditions, automatically tells him: which one of these can be the word or action of my chief, the Messenger (PBUH) and which one is the nearest to the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Not suffice this alone; if he finds no precedence of the Qur’an and the Sunnah in any matters, he can ever say: ‘Had a problem of such a nature come by the Messenger (PBUH), he would have decided it in such and such a manner.’ It is because his soul synchronizes with the soul of Mohammed (PBUH) and his eye harmonizes with the vision of the Messenger (PBUH). His brain runs down with the mould of Islam; and he does see and contemplate in just the same way Islam desires it to be seen and contemplated. After clinching such an elevated position, the man remains no more confined to the serfdom of any authentication, his judgement is no more founded on these. He often takes out even a tradition – poor, weak, authenticity-cut off, hexed – his vision perceives, the brilliance of a gem in that untilled stone. And, more often than not, he even deflects his face aside from a Hadith – non-schismatic, unexceptional, authenticity-contiguous, popular – just because the meaningfulness of the ‘wine’, brimmed onto the precious goblet, does not look to him appropriate to the temperament of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).”

Did you ponder as to what merit is there in it? This made it clear that:

  1.                   Either you believe in Imam Bukhari and Muslim (and other Imams of Ahadith). You will, surely, have to believe in it on merit: All that the compilers of Ahadith said is the word of the Messenger (PBUH); if you do not do so, you are judged to be the refuter of Ahadith, – hence the one ousted from the fold of Islam.
  2.                   And if you did not believe in the compilers of Ahadith, you will have to believe in the vision of a temperament-acquainted with the Messenger (PBUH) of your time. It means it would have to be accepted ‘whatever he says on any matter’, is the edict of the Messenger (PBUH) [whether that is present in any of the recollections of Ahadith or is found no where under the canopy of this firmament].’ You will have to confess: ‘That is the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)’; if you do not do so, you are judged to be the refuter of Ahadith’ – hence the apostate and infidel.
  3.                   But if you believe in the selecting-eye of the compilers of Ahadith -but do not believe in the visionary-look of the one acquainted with the temperament of the Messenger (PBUH), – you are a refuter of Ahadith in the opinion of the acquainted with the temperament of the Messenger (PBUH), – hence infidel. And if you believe in the visionary-look of the one acquainted with the temperament of the Messenger (PBUH), and likewise refute the acceptance of any of the Ahadith of Bukhari or Muslim to be true, you are the refuter of Ahadith in the opinion of Ahl-i-Hadith (the pro-Ahadithians), – hence infidel.

RUNNING -DOWN-BELIEF OF HADITH

What type of belief about Hadith is successively running down? Late Maulana Muhammad Ismail in the periodical “Theory of Ahadith of Jama’et Islami” P. 48 writes: “After research and consolidation, Hadith occupies exactly the same position as that of the Qur’an. And its denial, in fact, implicates exactly, the same effect on conviction and honesty as is that of the denial of the Qur’an. . . the denial of the Ahadith which according to the correct principles and exposition of the Imams of Sunnah are proved to be correct will be infidelity and liable to exodus from the Ummah.”

It means the denial of anyone of the Ahadith, which are held true among the sect of Ahl-i-Hadith is paganism and the one who utters this comes to disengage from the fold of Islam. To this sect, the Bukhari and the Muslim are Sahiheen, so the retracting of anyone of the Ahadith of theirs is infidelity. He further writes: “The Ummah is united on the Ahadith of Bukhari and Muslim. . . The validity of these Ahadith is peremptory.” Theory of Ahadith of Jama’et Islami, P. 55

Why is the disavowal of these Ahadith infidelity? Late Maulana Ismail (“Theory of Ahadith of Jama’et Islami” P. 60) writes about it: “Jibril (Gabriel) used to come upon with the Qur’an and Sunnah both, used to make the Messenger (PBUH) learn the Sunnah just like the Qur’an. In this respect, we are not confuted to the division of revelation.”

It means the Qur’an and Hadith is both the Divine Revelation. And any kind of division between these two is not admissible. Therefore, for this purpose a tradition was coined that the Exalted Messenger (SAW) said: “The Qur’an, also, comes upon me and along with it – exactly analogous to it – an other thing (Hadith too).” This led to the concept of two kinds of Hadith: “Wahee-i-Jali” – Handwritten Revelation (Qur’an) and “Wahee-i-Khafi” – Clandestine/Hidden Revelation (the Hadith). The Wahee-i-Jali – Handwritten Revelation is also called “Wahee-i-Matlau” – Revelation-to-be-recited- and “Wahee-i-Khafi” – Hidden Revelation – as “Wahee-i-Ghair Matlau” – Revelation-not-to-be-recited. It may be known that there is no mention of these two types of revelations anywhere in the Qur’an. Even no trace of this term is found imprimis, in the foremost instant literature of Hadith. It was the belief among the Jews that “Wahee” – Revelation – is of two kinds: One “Shab kutab” (that which is written) and the other “Shab Al’afah” (that which is not written and conventionally transmits onwards). These fellows borrowed this belief from the Jews and then, transforming it to be the exact Deen, projected it forward. – How is this belief the antithesis of the Qur’an? And how does it let the entire edifice of Islam crumble down? The question to be asked is: If Hadith, along with the Qur’an – exactly homologous to the Qur’an –, was also the revelation of God – God took the responsibility to preserve the revelation himself – why did God not preserve this revelation (i.e. Hadith)? Neither did the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) hand over this revelation fully preserved to the Ummah, nor did the Khulfa-i-Rasshideen – the guided caliphs get it written and preserved. Nor did anyone amongst the companions of the Exalted Messenger (PBUH) bring it up in the written form. Whoever wrote anything on one’s own either put it to flames or got it inflamed. If the Qur’an and Hadith were equally the revelation, then making such a magnificent arrangement for safeguarding one part of the revelation (i.e. the Qur’an) and laxing its second part (i.e. the Hadith) stand to mean what? By the way, hark back to answer this objection: if Hadith was equally revelation, why was it not included in the Qur’an? Mandoodi (Tafheemaat, part-I, p. 236), responding to this objection, writes: Had this been done “The volume of the Qur’an would have become equal to that of the Encyclopedia of Britannica at least.” In other words it can be said that since it would have brewed up the volume of the Qur’an many folds, Allah (TWT) did not think it proper to add up this part of revelation. But when it was asked: All right – the miasma of brewing up the volume of the Qur’an did not allow it to be added up in the Qur’an – why was it not written up in a separate volume? He ((Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, March, 1954) said: its reason was “At that time, the literate were few and the copying material was even less procurable.”  But Dr. Hameedullah of Hyderabad (Daccan) speaks of a different legend. In his article (published in The Al-Islam issue of 1st and 15th of January 1959), he writes: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), as a man, happened to be careful and modest in his behavior. As a Messenger of God, he – for this purpose – took every possible and necessary steps so that the message of God (i.e. the Qur’an) is not only transmitted to the people but be also preserved. Had he taken the same steps for the preservation of his own sayings some of the people would have conceited egoism on his behalf? On this count, the story of Hadith is at variance from that of the Qur’an.”

It is, thus, the story of “Revelation,” which, inclusive of the Qur’an, is adjudicated to be homologous to the Qur’an. It is that same revelation which the Gabriel used to come upon with; in just the same way he used to alight with the Qur’an. And with its denial infidelity becomes incumbent on, in just the same manner as that of the Qur’an.

IMPLIED CONNOTATIONS OF HADITH

  1. HADITH, PREFERRED OVER THE QUR’AN

It is being said that Hadith and the Qur’an both are of the same parlance. Now proceed a bit ahead. Imam Auzaai’s saying is: “The Qur’an wants far more Ahadith than do the Ahadith for the Qur’an.”(Mukhtaser Jamey Biyan-ul-ilm, p. 223). It means if the Qur’an and Hadith conjointly confront each other, the judgment founded on the Hadith ought to be accepted – and not the one confounded on the Qur’an.

  1. THE HADITH    CAN REPEAL  THE  QUR’AN

These fellows also hold the belief: Hadith can repeal the commandment of the Qur’an. In his booklet, “Fitna Inkaar-i-Hadith (P. 85) – Hadith denial coup de theatre”  – late Allama Hafiz Muhammad Ayub writes: “It is not essential for the saying of the Messenger that it may conform to the Qur’an – then it be justified – and if it does not conform, it be not shown to be well-founded . . . Its reason is, the Qur’an says: Kutiba AAalaykum itha hadara ahadakumu almawtu in taraka khayran alwasiyyatu lilwalidayni 2/180: Prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leave behind goods, is to make testament for the parents. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said “Laa waseyya tu lil warise”. There is no testament for the heir. And it is proved from contiguity that the business is being acted upon this very Hadith. It means testament has been identified to be unfair for the heir. The Hadith annulled – coup de theatre – the Qur’an and the saying of the Messenger (SAW) bolstered well founded against the verse of the Qur’an and became the primary swamp of action.”

  1. HADITH IS A  PERMANENT  DEEN

The people say that Hadith invariably elicits the exegesis of the injunctions of the Qur’an – the details of the Quran’s summed injunctions are found in it. But these people say so only to respond to the objection. Their own belief is divergent to it. When they adjudge Hadith homologous to the Qur’an, they do not refuse the natural consequence, which is deduced from it. They do not accept Hadith as the exegesis of the Qur’an. On the contrary, they acknowledge it as a permanent Deen – just as the Qur’an is. Hence, in this regard, Maulana Mandoodi (Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, July – September, 1950) writes: “If, by the negation of the Hadith being the permanent source, it is intended that the locus standi of Hadith is merely that of an annotator and interpreter – i.e. it explains those issues and events which got bogged down in a summed up manner in the Qur’an and holds no permanent position on its own behalf – then it is an unfounded claim…. In connection with issues and status, Hadith holds a permanent locus standi.”

Did you dilate upon the belief about Hadith? It emerged as:

1.      Hadith and the Qur’an have both been revealed from God2.      Hadith is homologue to the Qur’an3.      Hadith is not so much wanting for the Qur’an, as is the Qur’an for Hadith4.      Hadith is judge over the Qur’an5.      It is not an interpreter and annotator of the Qur’an; on the contrary it enjoys a permanent position in the matters of Deen6.      Hadith can repeal – coup de theatre – the Qur’an7.      Whoever does not stick to such a belief, is a renouncer of Hadith – hence an infidel and out-thrown of the fold of Islam.

  1. EXEGESIS OF THE  QUR’AN

It is said the Qur’an was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (SAW); he got it understood to his companions (on them by the mercy); so no exegesis can come out to be better than the exegesis of the Qur’an he gave light to. Therefore, if any one draws upon an exposition of any verse of the Qur’an different from the one, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) has illuminated that one’s exposition cannot be correct.

This thing looks to be very reasonable. There is no doubt that the exposition, the Messenger (SAW) has expounded is the only correct one. But the question is, ‘Is the exegesis of the Qur’an elucidated through the Ahadith really the one illumined by the Messenger (SAW) himself?’ In this regard, let it be understood first that the exegesis of the entire Qur’an has never been expounded through the Ahadith – only a few of its verses have been provided with the exegesis. There is simply one chapter of the exegesis in the Bukhari and that too has contained explanation of a few verses from here and there. Imam Ahmad had said of the traditions given in the exegesis: These have absolutely no tangibility.

Harp it: If – about the exposition of any verse of the Qur’an – it can surely be said that it is the edict of the Messenger of Allah (SAW): who among the Muslims, will be the one whose head does not bow to it. But you can not say of any Hadith with conviction that it is really the saying of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Then if any body says this exegesis of the Qur’an can not be the exegesis of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), he does not deny the ‘told’ exegesis of Messenger of Allah (SAW). Whatever he says is simply that the exegesis confided to Messenger of Allah (SAW) is, in fact, not the exposition of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Just think for a while. If Imam Bukhari rejected 5,94,000 Ahadith simply on the plea that to the best of his understanding, these could not be the Ahadith of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and that he had not been convicted to be the renouncer of Hadith – then, if anyone based on one’s vision of the Qur’an says about Hadith that it cannot be the Hadith of Messenger of Allah (SAW), how can one be convicted to be an infidel and hence out thrown from the fold of Islam? Factually one denies the judgement of the compiler of Hadith or the incorrectness of the narration of the reporter; one does never refute the injunction of the Messenger (SAW) – One does not disavow the saying of the Messenger (SAW). What one says is: Whatever saying is confided to the Messenger of Allah (SAW), cannot be his saying; its imputedness to the Messenger (SAW) is not correct.

  1. IF HADITH NOT ACCEPTED, THEN HOW TO OFFER PRAYER (NAMAAZ)

For example, there is order of offering prayer (Namaaz) in the Qur’an. But no where has it been written as to how to offer prayers (Namaaz), how many are its rak’ahs, what to recite in each rak’ah etc. The Allah’s Messengers (SAW) showed how to act upon it. And every Muslim ought to act upon it in the like manner.

But the question is, even after accepting the Ahadith surely to be true, how ought the prayer to be offered? You know, the prayer (Namaaz) of Shia is different from Sunnees. And Shia and Sunnee both claim about their prayer (Namaaz) that it is compatible with the prayer (Namaaz) of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW). Then take to the Sunnees: The big contradiction, the vast difference between the prayer (Namaaz) of Ahl-e-Hadith and Sunee is known to every body – and even both of these factions judge their prayer to be exactly in accordance with the prayer (Namaaz) of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW). The question is: Which one of these prayers be accepted to harmonize with the prayer ‘told’ by the Allah’s Messenger (SAW), when the Ahadith are extant in the authenticity of each one’s prayer (Namaaz) and its subsidiaries? Can any such method be identified today, on the basis of which it could surely be searched out as to how the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) offered the prayer (Namaaz)?

It is said that “extraditing the prayer of Shia, the disagreement found among the prayer of the various sects of Sunnees is just a sort of ad-libbed – as of principle, prayer is a common denominator among all the religious factions. – And the disagreement linked to the matters related to the preliminary doctrines of faith carries no weight.” First of all to say that the disagreements crept in the matters not related to the basic doctrines of the faith absolutely carries no weight is exceedingly wrong and erroneous errand. Take the followers of Sunnee’s sects and sweep aside their offering of prayer (Namaaz) jointly with other religious sects. Suppose any one sect saying Aamee in low pitch in the congregation of prayers, offers prayer (Namaaz) in the mosque of the other religious sect saying Aameen loudly. Look to the daily raving up of a trial of tiffs in the mosques of “vahabis” and “Bid’atis” (heretics) or “Bralevis” and “Devbandis”, where Imams are assassinated, brawl erupts in “Muqtadis”, police intervenes, mosque is locked up and the case goes to the court of law. This all is due to these jurisprudential disagreements in the congregation of the prayer (Namaaz). Therefore to say that these jurisprudential disagreements carry no weight is nugatory to the reality and tantamount to escape.

Again mark this point: When an order is judged to be God-defined (or His Messenger’s) its principles and preliminary doctrines – all – carry weight on their own and can never be ruptured – not even a single one of these in any way. Take an example, in connection with ablution, the Holy Qur’an says:

“Wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows.” (5/6)

Now, if one person washes hands up to wrists and the other up to elbow, then will you say: “This is correct and that too is correct”, because this convergence of actions, in its nature, is ascribable simply to a branch of religious sect, not of principle? Saying like that would be expressly wrong. Only one of these two can be correct at a time  – and that too of the one whose deed synchronizes the command of the Qur’an. Hence unless and until the details of the prayer (Namaaz) are strictly acted upon in the same manner the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) has prescribed, the prayer (Namaaz) will not be judged to be on par with the prayer (Namaaz) of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW). To say that some one raised hands to the ears or a bit below, some one folded hands up to the chest or under the umbilicus, some one recited Aameen loudly or kept the voice low, some one kept this or that much space between the feet, some one recited Surah Fateha behind the Imam or not, or offered such and such benediction this way or that way, some one offered eight “traveeh” or twenty, some one offered a little more or less “takbireen” in the congregation of Eid prayer, some one offered prayer (Namaaz) on so and so a time – it all makes no difference because it is a difference of factional details alone. This is simply an excuse for avoiding demur. If it makes no difference, then (take just as an example) and ask any one of the Ahl-i-Hadith, who has just offered the prayer (Namaaz) in the way the Hanafees offer, to proclaim that his prayer (Namaaz) is valid. You will mark he will never do so. (Muqaam-e-Hadith, 1992, p.1)

Can you reckon upon that at the time of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW), some people used to offer Shia-like prayer (Namaaz) and some Sunee-like? Or some people used to offer Ahl-i-Hadith-like prayer and some Hanafee-like? Or the condition of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) himself was that he some times used to offer or made others offer prayer (Namaaz) on the method the Shia offer now-a-days and some times on the method the Sunnee offer today. And still some times on the method the Ahl-i-Hadith offer and yet some times on the method the Hanafee offer! This would have never happened. The Allah’s Messenger (SAW) would have offered or have made others offer the same type of prayer (Namaaz) and the entire Ummah would have offered exactly the same one prayer. There is no room for any dimensional dissension in Deen. The Holy Qur’an determines ‘dissension’ as Allah’s torment and that of sect-dichotomy as polytheism. If this is the state of affairs, then the question is: Can now, in any way whatsoever, such a condition be ingrained in which the same oneness is insinuated in the Ummah and the Muslim community starts offering the prayer (Namaaz) of the same nature? The Ahadith cannot put forth any solution to this impasse; it is just because this very impasse is the creation of the Ahadith!

DISCOURSE ON SUNNAH: ANOTHER DIMENSION

Besides Hadith, there is another word “Sunnah” which has gained more momentum and is held tightly hung with the utmost delicate passions. “Obeisance to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) is the real Deen.” The religious scholars are not unanimous on any agreed definition of Sunnah. Some years back, late Maulana Muhammad Ismail, – President, Jamiat Ahl-i-Hadith, – published a magazine, “Hadith-Theory of Jama’et-i-Islami,” where he fiercely rebutted Maudoodi Sahib’s (and his associate’s) precept of Hadith and told that with the exposition of “Sunnah” they doted upon the precept of Hadith-renouncers. He has written about them that: “These fellows are not the renouncers of Hadith but the locution they adopt looks to reflect indignity and despicability of Hadith and the way they converse can liable for making the clandestine doors wide open for denial (of Hadith).” Late Maulana Ismail had written Sunnah and Hadith are both synonymous words. It means Hadith alone is called Sunnah. With his very definition of Hadith, “Kitab-o-Sunnah” will mean “the Qur’an and Hadith.” But Maudoodi Sahib upholds a different connotation of Sunnah. In his book “Resaa’el-o-Masaa’el (part-1, Pp. 311, 317)”, he writes: “Sunnah is that mode of practice – for the teaching and sustaining of which – Allah (TWT) had sent his Messenger(s). The methods of private life which the Messenger (SAW) adopted as man or as a person born at a specific juncture of human history are excluded from it. And from this very form, making of any distinction or discrimination as to which part of it is Sunnah’s and which of it is habit’s is not possible till any person acquires the in-depth insight of the nature of Deen. . . . In the matters of culture and social setting, the principles of morality to be perpetuated in the blood of life are the first entity for which the Allah’s Messenger(SAW) honoured his presence. And – for the pursuit of these principles – the second entity is that practical form which the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) himself opted in this own life. These practical bearings were founded on a few of his personal traits and temperamental liking – some on the social fabric of the country where he was born and a few on the circumstance of the time in which he was sent to. To make even one of these things to be Sunnah for all people, for all nations and for the entire human population was not the end product.”

At page 314 of the same book, he writes: “There are a few things which pertain to his (SAW) own temperament, to the social fabric at the nation level, and to the culture of his (SAW) age. To make them worthy of Sunnah was neither the desired purpose. Nor can its pursuance be stressed on the ground that the Allah’s Messenger (SAW), in consonance with Hadith, used to have a peculiar modus operandi. And that neither the DivineSharaa’e used to come upon for the only aim of making the personal taste of a particular person, or of the specific culture of a nation or of the customs and rituals of a distinct age of Sunnah to remain operative for ever and for the entire world. If this particular definition of Sunnah is kept in view, it can very easily be comprehended that willy-nilly making the things – not bogging down under the terminology of Sharia as Sunnah – is inclusive of those innovations in religion which cause anagram to come into effect in the system of Deen.”

It means, to late Maulana Ismail, all that has been given in Sahih Hadith, comes in the fold of the Sunnah of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW); and its denial is infidelity. But, to Maulana Maudoodi those matters in Sahih Hadith – that the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) had habitually exercised as a human being – are not included in the fold of Sunnah. But if any one judges these very matters to constitute the fabric of Sunnah, Maudoodi Sahib writes: “I uphold this belief that adjudicating such matters to constitute Sunnah and then go on stressing for their pursuance is a fierce kind of heresy and a dangerous form of anagram in Deen. It has been bringing adverse results prior to it and are liable to wring danger in the days to come.” (Ibid, p. 308)

A few pages earlier, he writes: “Stemming the matters he (SAW) did as of his habit to form Sunnah and staking a claim from all the people of the world to put these habits into their practice was never the will of Allah and His Messenger (SAW). This is anagram in Deen.” (Ibid,p. 300)

In the light of these illustrations, vie for a practical situation: a law is enforced. Late Maulana Ismail and his co-believers challenge it in the court of law: that (the law) is repugnant to Sunnah, hence it is unrecognized. They, supporting their stance, produce a Hadith. Opposing them, Maudoodi Sahib says that the law is not repugnant to Sunnah. The former group enquires whether or not the Hadith it has produced is true. Maudoodi Sahib says: That Hadith is true but Allah’s Messenger (SAW) had performed that deed as of habit being a human – not as a Messenger of Allah (SAW). They enquire of him what argument you have to support that the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) did these deeds as of his habit. In answer to this question, Maudoodi Sahib says such matters are not decided on the plea of any authority and argument; only the “one-acquainted-with-the-taste-of-the-messenger” is empowered to make its decision.

The second group responds to it: “If any faction, esteemed of its religious reverence, considering any of it’s noble or guide acquainted-with-the-taste-of-Allah or that of Allah’s Messenger (SAW), allows him to exercise his option for accepting or rejecting any Hadith, in contrary to the principles of Muhaddetheen. Or a scholar or guide, without ascertaining any reason or rhyme about the validity of any topic or of the various congruent or incongruent Hadith, stakes this claim, “I have seen in it the essence of the diamond”, then this ridiculous position is definitely unbearable to us. We will, by Gods grace, resist it to the last – and will struggle to ward off the Sunnah of the Messenger from the aerial marauders.”

(Hadith, Theory of the Jama’et-i-Islami, P. 63)

It means the matters which Maudoodi Sahib hymns to be the Sunnah of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW), the Ahl-i-Hadith interpret them as the aerial marauding; and consider to lynch them for warding off the Sunnah from such raids as the integral part of rendering their duty.

Regarding this phenomenon Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi Sahib (Hadith, Theory of the Jama’et-i-Islami, P. 25) pens down: “Hadith is that very saying or deed or articulation the reporting of which is confided to the Allah’s Messenger (SAW)! But Sunnah is alone that established and recognized method of the Messenger (SAW) he has repeatedly acted upon; he has preserved; he has adhered to in general.”

In this connection, Maulana Ismail writes: “Maulana (Islahi) has narrowed down the definition of Sunnah to such an extent that it would merely be confined to a few deeds, the proof of which lies through the manner the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) has proceeded consistently, such as, a few elements of prayer (Namaaz) . . . . Tens of thousands times it be said: “If any person does not accept this Sunnah as the source of Deen, I do not accept him as a Muslim.” – The question is: What is the vastness of the spread of this Sunnah? – Its precincts would not gain ground beyond a few deeds. The entire Islam would have to be proved from some where else. Then what is the need of this drooling.” (Ibid, p. 26)

It is this disagreement on Sunnah’s definition on the basis of which late Maulana Ismail had written: “In my opinion the concepts of Maulana Maudoodi and Maulana Islahi are not only repugnant to precept of Ahl-i-Hadith but are also contradictory to all the scholars of Ahl-i-Hadith. Today’s innovative germs of meandering and waffling – hellish – are clandestine in them.” (Ibid, p. 110)

It is obvious from these expositions that the-unanimously-agreed-upon-claim- projectors of “Kitab-o-Sunnah” too have no concurrence on what the Sunnah is. Anything worthy of Sunnah to one is “schism and anagram in Deen” to the another.

On this issue, there was a big hurly-burly against Tolu-e-Islam: it is renouncer of Sunnah, is cedar of the radiance of Messengerhood, is an infidel, is a renegade etc.   Tolu-e-Islam was and is of the view that no unanimously agreed upon code of law strictly in consonance with “Kitab-o-Sunnah”, could be established. At last Maudoodi Sahib (Asia, Dated 23 August, 1970) had to accept that: “No such interpretation of Kitab-o-Sunnah – unanimously agreed upon among the Hanafis, Shias and Ahl-i-Hadith in the matters of public laws – is possible.”

This makes it clear that so far Islam remains segregated among the various outfits, every faction will go on obeying the Sunnah suited to the genius of its own pluralistic discretion (or norms). But no sooner did you try to transform it onto the configuration of a unified Ummah than (as par the prevalent concept) the followings of Sunnah will become impossible.

This gushes forth that aspect, which is the hub of all this discourse i.e. it is the Commandment of Allah through which you obey the Messenger (SAW). Whosoever obeyed the Messenger (SAW), obeyed Allah; whosoever defied the fidelity of the Messenger (SAW), harbored straight forth to the hell. So this question cropped up “if Ahadith are not accepted, what can be the possible form of obeisance to the Messenger of Allah (SAW)?”

Whatever so far is said is this:

1.      Since obeying the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) – as per the teachings of the Quran – is obligatory2.      And, beside Ahadith, there is no other go for obeying the Allah’s Messenger (SAW)

Therefore it is imperative that the Muslims may accept the Ahadith. It means, though the History of Ahadith unfolds that these are speculative, not definitive, but the duty of obeying the Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) can not be discharged; so it became necessary – causa sinequa non – that these (Ahadith) must be accepted to be definite.

A STRANGE DICHOTOMY

Now hark back to the original issue. It is a stark fact that eluding the observation of the real insight of the concept of “Obedience of Allah and His Messenger (SAW)”, is the basic cause of the entire rumpus and confusion about Hadith (nay, about Islam itself). A general sense drawn from this concept is that there are two segregated kinds of obedience to Allah (TWT) and to His Messenger (PBUH): Obedience to Allah by means of the Qur’an and obedience to His Messenger (SAW) by means of Ahadith. So the first thing to begin with is that this very footing – that there are two kinds of obedience – is not correct. The nitty-gritty of the teachings of the Qur’an lies on this count: Obedience is to Allah alone, it includes the obedience to His Messenger.

The aim of Allah’s obedience does not mean to obey the very things the Muslims adjudge them to be Allah’s Commandments at par excellence to their own concept. The obedience to Allah is aimed to obey the Book of Allah – the preservation of which Allah has undertaken on His own and the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) has handed it over to Ummah in its most secure and firm form. And that it is continuously transmitting down to Ummah – most secure and safe in the original form. Similarly, from the standpoint of obedience to the Messenger (PBUH), it can not also be aimed that any individual of a faction may start obeying the very matters one adjudge these to be the orders of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW) at par excellence to ones own concept. Clearly and explicitly defined commandments for obedience is a must. So this fact – that neither Allah (TWT) undertook the preservation of Ahadith to carry on His own, nor the Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) handed these over to the Ummah in a firm and secure form – is an ample proof of this fact that the obedience to the Messenger (PBUH) by means of Ahadith was neither the will of Allah (TWT), nor the sole purpose of the Allah’s Messenger (PBUH).

This again generates a question: If obedience to Allah can not be conducted by means of Ahadith, then what else is the tack to take. This involves the paradigm of permanence and change in Islam. It is discussed in a separate paper. This is all about the historical perspectives and implications of hadith in Islam.

REFERENCES

1.      Asia, 42-Chamber Lain Chowk, Nisbet Road, Lahore, August 23, 19702.      Ayub, Allama Haafiz Muhammed(deceased): Fitna Inkaar-I-Hadith3.      Bukhaari, Vol. III, Book Fazaael Alquran4.      Gilaani, Manazar Ahsan(deceased): Tadveen-i-Hadith5.      Iqbal, Allama Muhammed: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam(2nd Edition), Iqbal Academy, Institute of Islamic Culture, Lahore, 19866.      Ismaael, Muhammed: Jamaaet-e-Islami ka Nazaria-i-Hadith7.      Maudoodi, Syed Abu ul Aala: Risaael-o-Masaael (Part-I), Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, April, 19818.      Maudoodi, Syed Abu ul Aala: Tafheemaat, Vol. I,(18th Edition), Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore, January, 19939.      Maudoodi, Syed Abu ul Aala: Tafheemaat, Vol. II,(16th Edition), Islamic Publications Ltd., Lahore,  November, 199210.  Muqaam-e-Hadith, Tolu-e-Islam Trust(Rgd), Lahore Muqaam-e-Hadith, Tolu-e-Islam Trust(Rgd), Lahore11.  Nishaan-e-Raah quoted in Muqaam-e-Hadith, Tolu-e-Islam Trust(Rgd), Lahore, 199212.  Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, October, November, 195213.  Tarjamaan-ul-Quran, October, March, 195414.  Tarjamaan-ul-Quran,   April, 195415.  Tasneen Ahaadith Number. Dated 14. 10. 1959

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