Quran vs Hadith – Part 3
By Ayeza Nadeem
The Prophet’s (PBUH) life: An Open Book
Rasul Allah (s) life was an open book for all his enemies and friends when he was present amongst them. Those people, who accepted Islam, in his time, accepted because they were convinced about his character before prophet-hood and witnessed his whole life after that. Those who rejected, Quran confirms, did not reject because they did not know his character but they had ideas of superiority and could not lower their egos before Allah’s message or His messenger (s) and lose their worldly benefits. All of this changed when Islam was completed in the life of the Holy Prophet (s) and established as aDeen and a state religion. Most of people who came after his death and entered Islam did not accept because they heard that Prophet (s) was a great man through Hadith, they did because mostly they were born Muslims or Muslims had conquered their land and they saw what goodness that system had and became convinced or some clever people who were too weak to take a stand against a dominant state religion and converted to gain favors of the rulers even though they did not have true faith.
We are born Muslims and the majority of people who convert in our times are doing so because of the miraculous Quran with its sublime message. They later fall in love with the character of the holy Prophet (s) but sad to say, many are also disillusioned by some things they read in unrealistic Hadith which are misleading. Like there are some Hadith that cast a great shadow, again found in Bukhari, about the age of Ayesha (r) when she got married to the holy Prophet (s). It says that she was 6 when the nikah was made and 9 when she joined his household. This Hadith not only contradicts a clear statement of Allah found in the Quran but also is responsible for our Prophet (s) being called names (ma’aaz Allah) by his enemies and damaging his reputation. Quran tells us that marriage contract is a very serious binding legal contract made between a husband and wife. It should be performed with full understanding of what they are committing themselves into, the rights and duties should be clear and Allah has tied it with maturity and adulthood.
Never take anything at face value if it contradicts with the Quran
In case of orphans Allah say’s in Surah An Nisa verse 5-6, “And do not entrust to those who are weak of judgement the possession which Allah has placed in your charge for their support; but let them have their substance therefrom, and clothe them, and speak unto them in a kindly way. And test the orphans (in your charge) until they reach a marriageable age; then, if you find them to be mature of mind, hand over to them their possessions; and do not consume them by wasteful spending and in haste, ere they grow up.”
So this shows that marriageable age is an age where a person has attained mental maturity to take care of his or her money matters like inheritance and wisely make decisions independently. Can a child of 6 or 9 do that? And in verse 21 of An Nisa marriage is called a “Meesaaqun Ghaleezaa” which means, “A solemn Pledge”. A solemn pledge is a promise or an agreement you make very seriously and formally which cannot take place if a husband or wife is a child and does not know what duties or responsibilities they are taking upon themselves as a result of the agreement they are making. Can any sane person convince me that 6 years is an age where a girl can understand that legal contract and give her consent willingly for that purpose? We need another Hadith to clarify this blunder and tell us that someone got the numbers wrong. It never hurts to use our brains instead of blindly believing whatever we are told by our ancestors because this practice of child marriages has severe repercussions and yet people justify it on the basis of Hadith. We should never take anything at face value if it contradicts with the Quran but for that purpose, we should learn Quran as our text books to be understood comprehensively instead of a book to recite and earn reward without understanding a word.
We would not know what to do without the Hadith?
One common objection expressed by people in favor of Hadith literature is that we would not even know how to perform ablution or say the prayer if it was not for the Hadith. My simple answer is, if you compile all the different Hadith found on how to perform wuzu or say your prayer, you would still not come to one simple uniform way to do it. Take for example the act of whether to fold our hands or keep them at our sides, raise our hands high till the lobes of our ears to say Takbeer or lower till the shoulders or whether to say Ameen loudly or silently, joining two adjacent prayers or performing each prayer on particular time? We immediately label a person Shia for keeping his hands on the sides when people of Madinah and Imam Malik used to do it who were not Shia but Sunni. So does authentic Hadith bring us on one page? My simple understanding is that our Prophet (s) performed the daily prayers for 23 years of his life and thousands upon thousands saw him do ablution, performed daily prayers with him with slight variations, performed Umrah and Hajj with him and these things became most natural procedures which were passed down from generation to generation.
In technical terms it is called the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) that reached us through “Tawatar” and “Ijmah”. This means that there is consistency and consensus in its practice and no difference of opinion in its general form. This means that a faqeeh, a muhadith, a scholar or an ordinary man will know the very same thing like how to say your daily prayer in its general form or its quantity or timings. I did not teach any Hadith to my son when he was very young but he saw how his father and grandfather performed the daily prayer and he naturally followed what he saw. He can always improve his prayers after gaining more knowledge in case there was something lacking but the general form will remain the same.
Quran is timeless and universal
Quranic verses are timeless and universal. True they were revealed in a specific time and space but even if we sometimes do not have the information about what event took place in the back drop of a particular verse (Shan e Nazool) it still holds a universal message for us in this day and age. Now sometimes somethings were meant especially for him (s) and his time like Salatul Koof where one party would come and pray behind the Prophet (s) and then simultaneously the second group would take their place in times of war which is hinted in Quran. Why this practice was only for his time, because no one else could lead a prayer when Rasul Allah (s) was present among them and thus this unique practice of prayer during war time. In today’s world there is no such need. If there is war and fear of enemy attack, soldiers can pray in many groups, one after the other, like everyday people are praying in different masjids behind all kinds of Imams, at different times. People would not have any problem if we did not know how to pray salat ul koof so this example does not justify the need to take all kinds of Hadith.
Likewise, the three companions mentioned in surah Tauba, who made a mistake, their peers knew what had happened and what mistake they had made and the point was, Allah forgave them after a while because they sincerity repented. Even if we do not know exactly who did what, the universal massage remains the same that even if you make a huge blunder, it is in Allah’s hand to forgive you and return all his blessings unto you after taking them away. If you know this field of knowledge where we are told what happened and why that particular verse came, it usually has many versions as to what really happened. It is not some open and shut case but different versions like if you go and see the tafseer of surah Tahreem, what the wife of Rasul Allah (s) did and what mistake he made, you will find different stories. What we understand according to the surah is that the Prophet (s) made a human mistake in order to somehow please his wives. Allah checked that attitude, He Almighty forgave him (s) and guided the whole family as to what should be the correct attitude of a true believer who should never even make any halal thing haraam upon himself. Even if we do not know the specific detail of the error which was made, the universal message is there. So even this example does not justify the logic that Quran is incomprehensible without Hadith.
Minor issues: Cause of disunity
We understand that nobody could tamper with the Quranic text after it was preserved but all kinds of Hadith was used to divide the Muslim Ummah into sects and sub-sects. We know that Allah has commanded us not to be divided into sects and hold on to the Quran as a single body of Muslim nation but we ignored that command and thus became the most persecuted nation on this Earth today. The Hadith became a major source of disunity and mutual hatred because too many contradictory Hadith existed with different sects and for many Hadith that one person would quote from “his” sources, they would be contradicted by someone else’s sources.
Leave the bigger issues of Shias and Sunnis but to give you a simple example, there is deep emphasizes on “cover your face” for women by certain groups so anyone who believes in covering the face would prove beyond a shadow of doubt that it is a must and all those not doing this are earning the displeasure of Allah. Now, they will not consider all those “other” Hadith which show that there is a lot of space in this matter in which covering the head is a must but covering the face is optional. The text of the holy Quran is perfectly clear but the debate goes on with full force on all forums quoting Hadith and trying to prove the other party wrong.
Another practice that should also be shunned completely is where ordinary people keep some important books of Hadith in their homes and simply open one or two to find a solution to some hot issue. Only a person of comprehensive knowledge should carry that responsibility of reaching an opinion after deliberating firstly through Quran and then through other available material. The internet is full of common people quoting Hadith of all kinds and debating issues that require a lot of research. They just find a lone Hadith and slap it across the opponents face without realizing that there could be an answer already present in the Quran or that maybe a dozen other Hadith exist which thoroughly negate that one Hadith.
Muftis and Fatwas
Then there is the role of professional “Muftis” who come in all shapes and sizes and give “Fatwas” on all kinds of issues in the world by interpreting from some very vague Hadith. This was actually a disease of the scholars of Bani Israel that they made their religion unnatural and difficult by giving unnecessaryfatwas. Allah stated in one verse that the last Messenger would make religion easy for people by removing many things that they made haraam with their fatwas. There are so many rulings given by so many muftis that they have completely changed the real Islam and made our sublime Deen which was given as a final message for all times, a narrow and congested way of life that at times looks incompatible with the modern times that we live in.
I know for a reality that in the Sub-continent, these rulings are not given according to Quran, Sunnah or Hadith but from a book called “Fatawa e Aalamgeeri” compiled in the era of Mughal Emperor Aurengzeb Alamgir. This book is still taught in madrassas and it is the actual text book of all muftis. I don’t know what sources they use in Saudia but most of the fatwas coming from their muftis are equally ridiculous and not compatible with the time we are living in. We can see that a non-Islamic economic system based on banking, interest and paper currency is fully operational there but no fatwas will touch these most important topics rather they will deal with trivial issues like women driving should not be allowed, photography should be banned or how to properly beat your wife when the need arises. Sometimes the sheer idiocy of these rulings become too much for a sensible person because it reeks with stupidity and hypocrisy. Just search the internet and see the complete confusion these things have created which is making Muslims look like complete idiots when it comes to the war between fatwas and common sense.
Take the topic of photography for instance, is it halal or is it haraam? Does it fall in the category of making pictures as forbidden in some Hadith or are these not pictures but images of Allah’s creation which does not amount as making pictures? If it amounts to making pictures, why in the world is every scholar on planet Earth using print, television and internet to do Dawah and spread Allah’s message everywhere? This hypocrisy is so tangible that women are sharing good pieces of information on the social media but add this statement before sharing, “Dear sister’s, please lower your gaze as this video contains males!” This means that we are using the modern 21st century tools of communication to gain information but with a deep guilt that it is haraam and we should at least not look at the image even if we are using a medium which is full of pictures and videos. I swear that I heard a young preacher sitting before a camera in a video stressing the need to shun photography because it was “Image making”, why may I ask, because you press the button on the camera to take a picture and this turns you into an image maker which is a grave sin punishable by fires of Hell. The irony was, in the very same clip he declares video making halal, even though one will again have to press the button to start making a video but according to his fatwa, because the images are moving so that will not be considered as “Image making”! If that mufti was my son, I would beat him up for sheer stupidity and lack of knowledge and common sense. I would ask him to google how the movie making begun and he would find out that image makers took hundreds of photographs and moved them rapidly to give an illusion of movement and hence these pictures got the name of “Motion pictures” that improved into what we have today.
Hypocrisy or Munafqat
I know from the Quran that hypocrisy or Munafqat is one of the greatest sins in Islam and the two faced people with double standards will be thrown in the lowest parts of hell. As far as the matter of making images is concerned, what we see in the eternal Quran is that one of the mightiest messengers of Allah, Suleiman (a) used Jinn, who were given in his control by Allah, to build mighty structures for him and in some places they also decorated them with images. You can read the verses 12-13 of surah Saba and verify this. “And unto Solomon [We made subservient] the wind: its morning course [covered the distance of] a month’s journey and its evening course, a month’s journey. And We caused a fountain of molten copper to flow at his behest, and even among the invisible beings (jinn) there were some that had [been constrained] to labor for him by his Sustainers permission-and whichever of them deviated from Our command, him would we let taste suffering through a blazing flame-: they made for him whatever he wished of sanctuaries, and statues/pictures (tamaseel) and basins as (large as) great watering troughs, and cauldrons firmly anchored.”
We do not read at all that Allah was displeased at this action by Suleiman (a) or that He forbade him to ever make images again, or indirectly mentioned that He almighty had allowed it for him but has forbidden it for us, or that anybody making images or statues will be thrown in the fires of hell or any such thing. If it was a gravest sin which is punishable by fires of Hell, why did Allah Almighty mention it in His book and then fail to warn us that Muslims should never indulge in it ever? The point of this lengthy example was, no individual mufti has a right to pass fatwas for us today, as an Ummah, because it is not his responsibility to declare anything halal or haraam which Allah and his Messenger have not already done so. Read these soul shattering verses of the Holy Quran and realize that by doing exactly that, the scholars or muftis are almost committing Shirk because unknowingly they are assuming the authority to make things halal or haraam which is the sole right of Allah and He Almighty will not forgive this sin which is unpardonable.
“Say O Prophet! “Who is there to forbid (make haraam) the beauty which Allah has brought forth for His creatures, and the good things from among the means of sustenance?” Say: they are lawful in the life of this world unto all who have attained faith, to be theirs alone on the Day of Resurrection. Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people of innate knowledge. Say: Most certainly, my Sustainer has forbidden only shameful deeds, be they open or secret, and every kind of sinning, and unjustified envy, and the ascribing of Divinity to anyone at all beside Him – since He has never bestowed any warrant therefore from on high, and the attributing unto Allah anything at all of which you have no knowledge.” Al-A’raaf 31-33. Three verses later Allah again says, “And who could be more wicked than those who attribute their own lying inventions to Allah or give the lie to His message?” Al-A’raaf 37.
The institution of Khilafah
Allah Almighty does not forget anything so if He has left any grey area then it has a blessing for us. Not everything is in black or white and I refuse to give this right or authority to any person to decide it for me according to his own wisdom because that is not the Islam that Allah gave his final Prophet (s). This authority goes go to the Khalifah of the Muslim Ummah after the death of the last Prophet (s), who should settle the latest issues of all Muslims from one platform, after consulting with his advisory council. This institute of Khilafah is missing from this world for almost 100 years now and should be reinstated if Muslims want to live in this world as a respectable nation with a single forum to make their voice heard. A Khalifah is actually a representative of the Holy Prophet (s) or a viceroy who will act upon the Quran and Sunnah to implement an Islamic system where all decisions would be taken keeping in view the betterment of the Muslims as a whole and not just any individual, country or sect.
In the absence of this Khilafah, the next best option to settle new issues would be to make an international council of Muslim scholars, professionals and experts who would ponder upon certain modern day issues and give their opinion based on consensus after discussing it in detail. If there is no consensus, then the majority opinion would be declared before the people and made binding upon everyone. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry has this authority to do that and that is why one billion Muslims living in 60 Muslim countries with their own rulers and many spread across the globe do not have any single authority to get rulings for their modern day issues which should be acceptable for all. If non-Muslims can make joint platforms and make decisions with one voice like European Union or G8 to protect their interests, why can’t the Muslims make a joint forum and debate their political, religious or social issues as one body?
There are many things that have led to the divisions we see in the Ummah but the things that unite us are far greater and more powerful than any of those. We have one Allah, one Quran, one Prophet (s), one Kaaba and one link with all human beings on the bases of same parents (Adam and Eve). What we lack is the awareness and the urge to unite before our enemies use these divisions to keep us subservient to them and powerless despite having the greatest man power and unlimited resources at our hands which would make us a super power by any worldly definition.
Quran is divine, sublime and unpolluted! Hadith text plus its original message as meant by Prophet (s) is a most difficult subject, which has been used carelessly by scholars with vested interest and deliberately distorted by the enemies of Islam. Scholars have been doing this practice of “partial knowledge” for centuries now and creating bad blood among the one body of Ummah. These practices get more serious and ultimately lead to throwing people out of the folds of Islam. It is not only due to faulty Hadith but also due to how it is misused by those people who use it as a tool to manipulate, which can be termed as the “Mullah” mentality. They cannot play with Quran but chose which Hadith to elevate and which to down play to justify a practice that they “want” to get endorsed. I can give you many personal examples as I was a part of a religious group but this is not my agenda so I will only speak in general terms. I got disgusted and left because I wanted to obey what Allah wants me to do and allows me to do instead of following people who wanted to decide what I should or should not do even if it is allowed in Islam. So misguiding people, quoting out of text Hadith to justify their mission and selling half-truths can be done mostly by quoting selective Hadith.
Minimum level of education for all Muslims: Quran
The minimum level of education for all Muslims, according to a brilliant student of Quran in our times, Nouman Ali Khan, should be the holy Quran. He is absolutely doing a wonderful job by using all means of modern communication to spread the message of Quran and making Arabic language easy to understand so that all of us can read the book of Allah in the language He Almighty chose to send it in. Scholars should empower students to have a basic general knowledge of Quran so that they would not be misled by anyone and they do not fall into any extremism which has become a curse in our times.
Scholars should not form cults where they gather blind followers rather they should raise awareness among their students to ask questions and enable them to strive for authentic knowledge. My only message in the end is, go ahead and get authentic knowledge of Hadith and specialize in it so you can spread its real knowledge to the world. This could be a wonderful effort on your part to get the approval of Allah but only after you have first understood the real message of Allah in the form of Quran. Know Quran and ask Allah to keep you on the right path then learn Hadith and that would make it very hard to be misguided and in turn misguide other people. Half or partial knowledge is the real killer which has distorted the face of Islam and made it a toy in the hands of jahil scholars. So keep learning and do share any other piece of information that you find because we should try and learn our Deen till our last breath. May Allah guide all of us and keep us on the right path. Ameen!