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rebuttal on Ahlul Quran's Claim?

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I doubt you are aware of him, but there is also a prominent Pakistani scholar who, although using a different reasoning/methodology, practically reaches a somewhat similar conclusion. He differentiates between Sunnah of the Prophet and the Hadiths.

He argues that because it was the responsibility of the Prophet to teach to the people, the Deen of Allah that will remain in effect until the day of Judgement, it is not possible that he would have taught those things to just a few people. When it comes to matters of Deen or Sunnah the Prophet clarified those by addressing large gatherings, because of which such commandments we obtain through Muttawatir, Khabr-e-Mustafid traditions or Ijma (Consensus) of the generations of Muslims. These are the matters on which there is very little, if any, difference of opinion. For example, the basic skeleton of prayers, the essential parts of Hajj etc.

On the other hand, when it came to matters that were supposed to be primarily for the time of the Prophet, or something that he wanted to explain, or advise for or against something, to someone; the Prophet told such things to a few people. Such narrations we obtain from traditions classified as Khabr-e-Ahad. These are the matters on which there is usually huge and wide-ranging difference of opinion among scholars. It can be more pious for Muslims to follow these advices of the Prophet but it does not hold the status of obligations or Deen.

If such an understanding is true, it does reconcile nicely and provides a better explanation for the fact of why the Deen of Allah which has to remain in effect until the last Day has so much difference of opinion among its adherents. However, the problem with this interpretation is that it puts into question the obligatory nature of a lot of beloved Muslim traditions which have taken deep-roots in Muslim cultures and societies of today. For example, the "obligation" of keeping beards etc.

On the matter of "...NO hadeeth should have extra-quranic religious authority", that Pakistani scholar also has similar conclusions (albeit different reasoning) but he also argues that there are a lot of Hadiths which apparently look like to be adding to or restricting Qur'anic commands are in reality going along with the actual Arabic wording of the Qur'an verse. For example, there is a Qur'an verse which enumerates the conditions for the things that are Halal for Muslims to eat (animals whose blood has been spilt, Allah's name has been pronounced on them etc.) But there are other traditions of the Prophet which tell us that the Prophet prohibited some additional things too. The scholar argues that these additional prohibitions are based on other Qur'an verses which tell the Muslims that pure things have been made allowable for them and impure things prohibited. If I remember correctly the Arabic words for these were Tahura't and Najais. He gives a similar explanation to the tradition regarding Caliph Umar (or Usman) when he, at a time of famine, did not implement the Qur'anic punishment of thievery on some people.


Din Yaqin:
Wa Alaykumu-salaam,

Thank you for responding to me with courtesy and intelligence. I would go a bit further and question the tawaatur of even the number of prayers (5 being based on hadeeth Aahaad associated with the mi'raaj). It is very true that the skeleton of the salaat could be tawaatur, however as far as I have seen it has only been shown to be mash-hoor. Lisanul-Arab has a portion that defines a rak'ah, in its meaning of unit of post-Quranic Salaat it states that the bowing of rukoo' does not have to be made, although most consider it makrooh. I am looking for further evidence/proof of the tawaatur of the formula of the rak'ah for Salaah as we know it. The 5 prayers seem to be mash-hoor (as with most practices assumed to be sunnah 3amaliyyah) but both the Quran and Ibn Katheer conform more with 2 prayers a day before the Ahaad hadeeth associated with Salaat after the Mi'raaj. I also watched a Hanafi scholar on youtube talk about how some commands attributed to the last prophet in hadeeth are interpreted as recommendations (like where he is recorded to have said in a saheeh narration 'Wear white clothes') and others are taken as commands that must be followed. This approach seems highly hypocritical and disingenuous where scholars arbitrarily determine what is a command and what is a recommendation using very flimsy logic. Not to mention that each scholars or group of scholars studies of jarh wa ta'deel can change the status of a hadeeth in any given book of "saheeh" traditions. For instance I have heard that Bukhari did not leave a jarh and ta'deel study or methodology for the hadeeth he declared a saheeh. Other scholars did this for him later.

What is the name of the Pakistani scholar?  I have no problem with scrapping "beloved traditions" as long as we do not make obligations where Allah has not made them, and the true religion of the Qur'an is not distorted. At this point is seems TOO many distortions have been made in the name of acquiring and adhering to our last prophet's sunnah using hadeeth which are generally agreed upon as possibly being false, and assuming that such hadeeth are so representative of the last prophet that they are equal to or superior to what the Quran seems to be saying to us through its words and wordings.

Din Yaqin

What I have personally seen is that, although average Muslims have throughout the centuries, usually believed in the concept of blind belief in Hadiths, this, however, has not been the attitude of notable Muslim scholars. Muslim scholars have gone critically through all the traditions and based on their differing reasoning and understandings given different conclusions. When it came to traditions that were ambiguous, either due to content or reliability, there was difference of opinion, giving us with a range of conclusions, which in most cases has been recorded in our books. For example, in the case of keeping beards, while there have been scholars who have termed it obligatory, there also have been others who have termed it as preferred but not obligatory.

For traditions whose evidence was pretty much unequivocal, there wasn't much difference of opinion and the conclusions were pretty much the same. This, I believe, is the case for Salat.

One thing that you have to understand is that, the kind of work that was done by the early Muhaddithin is extremely extraordinary. From what I have read, any logical method of historical criticism that can be thought of, was used by these scholars to criticise the narrations of the Prophet that reached them. Additionally, A'ima Rajal (scholars who studied the characters of the narrators) also provided us with an invaluable service. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (the Pakistani scholar) in one of his talks said that he, for years studied the methods of the Muhaddithin and did it with the objective to find some fault in their methodology, but he was unable to do so. Therefore, he, although reaches different conclusions, uses the same methods of historical criticism used by the Muhaddithin.

For example, from a video I once saw (I think it was Sheikh Hamza) the ruling in the matter of raising hands after Rukuh is based on Muttawatir Hadith (or some other strong evidence) but Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa did not accept it. Imam Abu Hanifa gave the reason that the person from whom the tradition was narrated, himself was not known to do it. Imam Malik gave the reasoning that, thousands of people of Madina did not use to do it.

Apparently, while average Muslims might have accepted completely the Kitab-e-Sittah (or the Shia' Hadith books) notable Muslim scholars, even today keep on critically analysing the traditions. On the matter of "... scholars arbitrarily determine what is a command and what is a recommendation...", I really don't think that happens. Even if some group of scholars does this, there would be another group of scholars who will oppose them. Because of the presence of different Islamic schools of law, such callous handling of Islamic law does not appear to be possible.

On the matter of Bukhari, I doubt your assertion. One thing that you have to keep in mind is that unlike today, when these books were being written, the scholars didn't just accept them without any criticism. The scholars of those times had no (at-least for the most part) conflict of interest, that they wanted to promote a particular interpretation of Islam. These famous books became so popular because they held against criticism, and were comparatively extraordinary works. Now, I am not saying that there cannot be anything wrong in them, but what I am saying is that, huge extraordinary efforts have been made on determining the reliability of these traditions.

The Pakistani scholar's name is Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Wikipedia article:
Most (if not all) of his work is in Urdu, although some has been translated into English.

Din Yaqin:

I have yet to see tawaatur being proven in these methods. Imam Malik saw that the people of Medina did certain things in their majority, but it seems that he did not get further than mash-hoor in what he put forward. If you read about him you will learn about MANY scholars in Medina during his time who held many different opinions.

I have also seen a lot of inconsistency in what is considered tawaatur. Sometimes Ahaad hadeeth that can be attributed to a number of sahaabah is considered mutawaatir, even if there are common narrators in the chains that coincide or could have colluded. These hadeeth are often not really mutawaatir. The concept of mutawaatir is flawless and the hadeeth that all scholars agree upon as being mutawaatir are only a handful. Much of what is mash-hoor or seemingly widespread is wrongly called mutawaatir. Some may assume that because all Muslims or schools of thought agree upon something that that thing is mutawaatir. That is mistaken. The thing is mash-hoor but not mutawaatir. Mutawaatir has to be clearly demonstrated and that is where the scholars lack. I have not seen them clearly demonstrated tawaatur, but rather settling for mash-hoor or other "acceptable" aahaad hadeeth that conform what seem to be preconceptions or alread established practices or beliefs.

In a way you have highlighted the problem...too many methodologies, and too may concepts of what is obligatory and what is not based on hadeeth. Much is said about these scholars but none of their methodologies are made fully clear. Ijmaa' is not mutawaatir, and neither is mash-hoor. When that is taken into consideration it seems that much of the consistency of the methodologies fade away. 

Din Yaqin:
I recognize the efforts that many of these scholars put forth to try to discern the truth from the many sayings and practices that developed after the prophet Muhammad passed (saas). However, the problem is that they made obligatory what should not have been made obligatory. As I said, mash-hoor is not mutawaatir. And sound Ahaad are not either. Practices and sayings that are not demonstrably mutawaatir and Quranic simultaneously cannot be made obligatory upon any Muslim. And I cannot just trust the scholars blindly. It's funny that it's hard to determine if the work of Imam Abu Haneefah and Imam Malik were given correctly recorded from them, as they did not actually author their own works. So it is difficult to tell if what we have inherited from them is mutawaatir and true or fabricated by their self-proclaimed students.


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