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RASHAD KHALIFA - 20th CENTURY HADITHIST?
Always controversial, Rashad Khalifa, was an "absolutist" of hadith rejection in Islam. He did NOT restrict his rejection to ahadith which he felt were illogical, contrary to natural laws or historical facts, or contradictory among themselves or with the Quran.
His stated position was absolutist:
"Hadith (oral) and Sunna (actions) were invented and attributed to the Prophet. Hadith and Sunna are satanic innovations . . . ."
Appendix 19 of the Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/suras/app19.html.
"Contrary to what the Muslim scholars and their followers falsely accused Dr. Khalifa of, he always called on the true believers to follow and obey the prophet Muhammed. . . . . This means the Quran, and not the teachings written by other men, i.e., the hadiths books that were contaminated by many lies and fabrications. . . ."
"THE PROPHET MUHAMMED was represented by the Quran alone, . . . . He was forbidden from uttering any religious instructions other than the Quran . . . . The prophet Muhammed was ordered to deliver the Quran ALONE, without the least alteration and never to fabricate anything else . . . ."
"Dr. Khalifa stressed the fact that throughout the Quran, the message is clear to the believers that Quran should be the ONLY SOURCE of religious teachings."
Dr Rashad Khalifa, the man, the issues and the truth, http://www.submission.org/khalifa.html
The Website of submission.org has an article Abu-Hurayra and the Shaping of Traditional Islam, which levels accusations against hadith-narrator Abu-Hurayra for fabricating ahadith. http://www.submission.org/Abu-Hurayra.htm.
It is against this background of hadith-rejection by Rashad Khalifa that we must seek answers for the following questions:
Did Rashad Khalifa actually advocate an Islam that is hadith-free? Or did he create HIS OWN AHADITH to "explain" the Quran, thereby committing the very wrong of which he railed against in the case of Abu-Hurayra and others?
In attempting to answer these questions, I want to emphasize that evaluation of whether there IS a "19" pattern in the Quran is outside the scope of this article.
I believe that the "19" issue is rather like disputes over authenticity of the "Shroud of Turin." In the same way that the basic claims of Christianity have not been DISPROVEN by scientific evidence that the Shroud is a fraud, the truth of Islam is no way dependent on whether there IS or IS NOT a "19" pattern in the Quran!
I. HADITH #1: CLAIM THAT RASHAD KHALIFA IS "MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT"
Rashad Khalifa claimed that he personally was one of the "The Three Messengers of Islam" :
 Abraham was the original messenger of Islam, . . .
 Muhammad was the scripture delivering messenger . . . , and
 Rashad is the purifying and consolidating messenger who delivered the religion's authenticating proof . . .
Appendix 26 of the Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/suras/app26.html.
In another "appendix," Rashad Khalifa further describes his own "messengership":
"God's Messenger of the Covenant is a consolidating messenger. His mission is to purify and unify all existing religions into one: Islam (Submission)."
"As stated in the Quran, 3:81, God's Messenger of the Covenant shall confirm all the scriptures, which were delivered by all the prophets, and restore them to their original purity."
"The following is a list of the principal duties of God's Messenger of the Covenant:
1. Unveil and proclaim the Quran's mathematical miracle (Appendix
2. Expose and remove the two false verses 9:128-129 from the Quran (Appendix 24).
3. Explain the purpose of our lives; why we are here (Appendix 7).
4. Proclaim one religion for all the people, and point out and purge away all the corruptions afflicting Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Appendices 13, 15, 19).
5. Proclaim that Zakat (obligatory charity) is a prerequisite for redemption (7:156), and explain the correct method of observing Zakat (Appendix 15).
6. Unveil the end of the world (Appendix 25).
7. Proclaim that those who die before the age of 40 go to Heaven (Appendix 32).
8. Explain Jesus' death (Appendix 22).
9. Explain the Quran's delivery to, then through Muhammad (Appendix 28).
10. Announce that Muhammad wrote God's revelations (the Quran) with his own hand (Appendix 28).
11. Explain why most believers in God do not make it to Heaven (Appendix 27).
12. Proclaim that God never ordered Abraham to kill his son (Appendix 9).
13. Proclaim the secret of perfect happiness (Introduction, xx).
14. Establish a criminal justice system (Appendix 37)."
Appendix 2 of the Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/AP02.htm.
"Few years before his death, Dr. Khalifa declared that he is the messenger of the covenant . . . prophesied in the Quran in 3:81 He presented a lengthy document with proofs of his messengership from the Quran. He defended the fact that the Prophet Muhammed was the LAST Prophet according to the Quran but not the LAST messenger . . . ."
Dr Rashad Khalifa, the man, the issues and the truth, http://www.submission.org/khalifa.html.
This claim of "messengership without prophethood" sounds suspiciously like a claim of "imamate" - or a Christian claim of "sainthood"!
Can this claim of messengership be justified without ahadith?
Even in Rashad Khalifas OWN translation, Quran 3:81 does NOT name him as a "messenger":
"GOD took a covenant from the prophets, saying, I will give you the scripture and wisdom. Afterwards, a messenger will come to confirm all existing scriptures. You shall believe in him and support him. He said, Do you agree with this, and pledge to fulfill this covenant? They said, We agree. He said, You have thus borne witness, and I bear witness along with you."
To justify his "messengership," Rashad Khalifa is, this, forced to do what he started out promising NOT to do, i.e., to refer to authority beyond the words of the Quran.
Rashad Khalifa, ultimately, relies on two types of authority:
A. PERSONAL TESTIMONY:
In "Appendix 2," Khalifa claims:
"During my Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and before sunrise on Tuesday, Zul-Hijjah 3, 1391, December 21, 1971, I , Rashad Khalifa, the soul, the real person, not the body, was taken to some place in the universe where I was introduced to all the prophets as God's Messenger of the Covenant. I was not informed of the details and true significance of this event until Ramadan 1408."
"What I witnessed, in sharp consciousness, was that I was sitting still, while the prophets, one by one, came towards me, looked at my face, then nodded their heads. God showed them to me as they had looked in this world, attired in their respective mode of dress. There was an atmosphere of great awe, joy, and respect."
"Except for Abraham, none of the prophets was identified to me. I knew that all the prophets were there, including Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Aaron, David, Noah, and the rest. I believe that the reason for revealing Abraham's identity was that I asked about him. I was taken aback by the strong resemblance he had with my own family - myself, my father, my uncles. It was the only time that I wondered, Who is this prophet who looks like my relatives? The answer came: Abraham. No language was spoken. All communication was done mentally."
Appendix 2, Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/AP02.
This "personal" account is strikingly - maybe blasphemously - similar to one of the hadith accounts of the Prophets "night journey":
Muslim, Book 001, Number 0309:
"It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq Who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of version. . . .Then he took me to heaven. Gabriel then asked the (gate of heaven) to be opened and he was asked who he was. He replied: Gabriel. He was again asked: Who is with you? He (Gabriel) said: Muhammad. It was said: Has he been sent for? Gabriel replied: He has indeed been sent for. And (the door of the heaven) was opened for us and lo! we saw Adam. He welcomed me and prayed for my good. Then we ascended to the second heaven. Gabriel (peace be upon him) (asked the door of heaven to be opened), and he was asked who he was. He answered: Gabriel; and was again asked: Who is with you? He replied: Muhammad. It was said: Has he been sent for? He replied: He has indeed been sent for. The gate was opened. When I entered 'Isa b. Maryam and Yahya b. Zakariya (peace be upon both of them), cousins from the maternal side. welcomed me and prayed for my good Then I was taken to the third heaven and Gabriel asked for the opening (of the door). He was asked: Who are you? He replied: Gabriel. He was (again) asked: Who is with you? He replied Muhammad (may peace be upon him). It was said: Has he been sent for? He replied He has indeed been sent for. (The gate) was opened for us and I saw Yusuf (peace of Allah be upon him) who had been given half of (world) beauty. He welcomed me prayed for my well-being. Then he ascended with us to the fourth heaven. Gabriel (peace be upon him) asked for the (gate) to be opened, and it was said: Who is he? He replied: Gabriel. It was (again) said: Who is with you? He said: Muhammad. It was said: Has he been sent for? He replied: He has indeed been sent for. The (gate) was opened for us, and lo! Idris was there. He welcomed me and prayed for my well-being (About him) Allah, the Exalted and the Glorious, has said:" We elevated him (Idris) to the exalted position" (Qur'an xix. 57). Then he ascended with us to the fifth heaven and Gabriel asked for the (gate) to be opened. It was said: Who is he? He replied Gabriel. It was (again) said: Who is with thee? He replied: Muhammad. It was said Has he been sent for? He replied: He has indeed been sent for. (The gate) was opened for us and then I was with Harun (Aaron-peace of Allah be upon him). He welcomed me prayed for my well-being. Then I was taken to the sixth heaven. Gabriel (peace be upon him) asked for the door to be opened. It was said: Who is he? He replied: Gabriel. It was said: Who is with thee? He replied: Muhammad. It was said: Has he been sent for? He replied: He has indeed been sent for. (The gate) was opened for us and there I was with Musa (Moses peace be upon him) He welcomed me and prayed for my well-being. Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven. Gabriel asked the (gate) to be opened. It was said: Who is he? He said: Gabriel It was said. Who is with thee? He replied: Muhammad (may peace be upon him.) It was said: Has he been sent for? He replied: He has indeed been sent for. (The gate) was opened for us and there I found Ibrahim (Abraham peace be upon him) reclining against the Bait-ul-Ma'mur and there enter into it seventy thousand angels every day, never to visit (this place) again. . . ."
Ironically, Rashad Khalifa ridiculed Imam Muslim for "inventing an indefensible story about [Muhammads] ascension to the heavens on a horse, at the speed of light, and talking God out of 50 Salat prayers. At the speed of light, he would still be traveling within the Milky Way Galaxy."
Appendix 33, Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/suras/app33.html.
Yet, while rejecting the famous Muslim hadith, he expects believers to accept HIS OWN HADITH about a meeting he had with the prophets of Islam!
Even Rashad Khalifa did not claim his name appears in the TEXT of the Quran. Rather, the claim is that:
"The name of this messenger is mathematically coded into the Quran as Rashad Khalifa. This very special verse warrants the presentation of specific evidence. By adding the gematrical value of Rashad (505), plus the value of Khalifa (725), plus the sura number (5), plus the verse number (19), we obtain a total of 505+725+5+19 = 1254, or 19x66. Nineteen is the Quran's common denominator, which was revealed through Rashad Khalifa."
Detailed numerological calculations - showing that the name "Rashad Khalifa" fits a "19" pattern are contained in Appendix 2, Authorized English translation of the Quran of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, http://www.submission.org/suras/app2.html.
All of this, however, begs the fundamental point: Even if there IS a "19" pattern in the Quran, and under this "19" pattern "Rashad Khalifa" COULD be the name of a "messenger," how would this prove the "messenger" is "Rashad Khalifa" and NOT SOMEONE ELSE with a name WITH THE SAME NUMEROLOGICAL VALUES?
Doesnt the resort to numerology merely conceal the fact that Rashad Khalifas claim of "messengership" MUST depend on EXTRA-QURANIC TESTIMONY, i.e. ahadith?
Logically, how can supporters of Rashad Khalifa criticize Abu-Hurayra, when they, themselves rely upon numerological ahadith and personal testimony to establish that Rashad Khalifa was allegedly "Messenger of the Covenant"?
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