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'Israelis stealing organs in Haiti'
A Study of Methodology
Attribution/Ascription in Hadith (Isnad) vs. Belief in the Quran

Attribution/Ascription in Hadith (Isnad) vs. Belief in the Quran

A Study of Methodology

 

By Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour

 

“Hadith” is the Arabic word which refers to the talks, speeches, statements and/or words (commonly translated collectively as "sayings") said to have been spoken by the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh: peace be upon him), then memorized, written down, and finally collected in books by the “Scholars of Hadith.”.

 

Those Scholars ascribed or attributed these Hadiths to the Prophet Mohammad two centuries and more after his death, writing them down after a period of generations of alleged oral transmission. The chain of narrators are then quoted by name, ultimately connected to someone alive at the time of the Prophet. This narrative chain is the meaning of "isnad" or "support" of veracity, referred to here as Attribution/ Attribution/ Ascription in Hadith: the saying is attributed to a person, who attributed it to another person, etc., until we reach Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to whom it is then ascribed.

 

Introduction

 

In the era of the Abbasy Caliph Al-Ma'moon,( 813  ;- 833 )  the poet known as Al-Attaby   was walking the streets of Baghdad when he entered the marketplace while eating, contrary to the "etiquette" of the upper class people, so his friend protested, "You eat your food in the marketplace while people are looking at you?" So Al-Attaby replied sarcastically, "Are those people? They are cows.”  His friend protested and growled.  Al-Attaby said to him, "I'll show you if they are people or cows," and then he went to higher ground and cried out to those people, "You people, come and I will tell you about the Messenger of Allah!" So people rushed and gathered around him.

 

He started telling them about a man who narrated that he heard another man who narrated that he heard a third man saying that he heard the Messenger of God say ... and he started to tell a hadith (saying), then another, and so on. The hearts, minds, and eyes of the people were fixated on Al-Attaby , who was in total control of the listeners. If he moved his hand to the right, the people would move their heads to the right, and if he nodded to the left, they would turn to the left, until he said to them, "... and it was narrated by one (or more than one) that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Anyone who can touch the tip of his nose with his tongue shall enter Paradise.” And he stopped talking.

 

Then each and every one of the listeners stuck out his tongue, trying to touch the tip of his nose with it, and all of them looked funny doing so, just like cows when they lick their noses with their tongues. Al-Attaby turned sarcastically to his friend and said, "Didn’t I tell you they were cows?"

 

What caused the absence of mind to those people with their tongues dangling like drunks?

 

Is it a belief, believing that what Al-Attaby said was truly said by the Prophet (pbuh)?

And what made ​​them believe that the Prophet (pbuh) had said so in a Hadith?

 

It is Attribution/Ascription – which is attributing any saying to the Prophet (pbuh) through a list of persons who heard that hadith narrated from one to another until it reaches the original person who said that he heard it from the mouth of the Prophet (pbuh) himself. In Arabic this process is called: “Al-An-Ana.”

This story illustrates how Attribution/Attribution/Ascription is dangerous to Muslims’ minds.

 

Absence of mind

 

Well ... let's imagine that Al-Attaby is in the streets of Cairo now riding a transportation bus. He sees an old man climbing into the bus and starts to call upon Muslims to donate to build a mosque and narrates that famous Hadith, “He who builds a mosque for God , even as small as a bird’s foothold, for him, God (GbH) will build a mansion in Paradise." Al-Attaby  will see how quickly good people start donating in order for each of them to ensure his palace in paradise!

 

Can you imagine Al-Attaby 's comments? Open up your mind and don’t give it a leave of absence, and think of the meaning of that Hadith falsely attributed to the Prophet (pbuh).  It asserts that for all those who build Allah (GbH) a mosque, Allah (GbH) will build them mansions in heaven, no matter what that person's character is – believer, non-believer, or idol-worshipper.  No matter what the source of his money is, good or bad. It means that Mr. Hitler too would get his palace in Paradise if he built a few mosques. It means that every embezzler, oppressor, or robber of other people’s wealth can, if he builds some mosques with unlawfully obtained money, enter Paradise. Does this agree with the values and goals of Islam, or indeed of any religion?

 

Also, this Hadith, which sells palaces in Paradise for any  person who donates toward building a mosque, sets for us from the beginning the smallest space acceptable for the mosque: “as small as a bird’s foothold."

 

So, to put it all together: “For anybody who builds a mosque for Allah (GbH), even if it is as small as a bird’s foothold, Allah (GbH) will build him a palace in Paradise,” even if the mosque is built by money earned corruptly, no matter who or of what personality that donor is, even if the mosque is only big enough for ants and baby cockroaches.  Is it comprehensible that the Prophet (pbuh) would say such words?

 

Yet this Hadith was attributed to the Prophet (pbuh).  It was narrated by “Ahmed Bin Hanbal” in his book “Al-Musnad” with a chain of narrators connected to the Prophet (pbuh) himself, and people believed in the authenticity of its attribution. So this false Hadith is responsible for establishing 38 thousand mosques and prayer corners in the Greater Cairo Area during the past 20 years. Some of which spread a culture of extremism using a multitude of Hadiths falsely attributed to the Prophet (pbuh).

 

Those false Hadiths contradict the Quran and the true way and methodology of the Prophet (pbuh). And instead of using the charity money to build housing projects for youth or families living in graveyards for lack of shelter, the money is diverted to building mosques exceeding the needs of Muslims who can pray anywhere, knowing that those who are passing through difficult times – some away from their homelands, as well as poor and struggling families – have an established right to charity and alms money. The money for mosque-building shouldn’t be granted until food and shelter are sufficiently provided for the local residents. What does it mean when many residents in any Egyptian town can’t find adequate housing for their families, to the extent that young people lose their dreams of getting married, and the number of unmarried young adults is increasing with alarming rates because they need housing to marry and there simply isn't any? This problem is becoming a real crisis, because charity money is being used up by Muslims building tens of thousands of podiums, some working to establish their upcoming state! One of the most important pillars of that state is the medieval cultural heritage, a culture which became sacred by falsely attributing it to the Prophet (pbuh), no matter how much it contradicts logic or Islam.

 

Genuine Islam is the religion of using the mind. Not only that, "rational thinking" or the use of the mind is the reason for revealing the Quran: “Truly, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may use your minds." (Quran 12:2)

”We have made it an Arabic Quran that you may use your minds.” (Quran 43:3)  

 

But Attribution created an entrenched feud between Muslims and rationality, so it is enough for any crook to emerge and say, “The Messenger of God said...” and people will immediately believe him and comply with what he says without thinking, regardless if s/he is educated or illiterate. At every time and place, you are surrounded by attribution....

 

Attribution/Attribution/Ascription is a Case for Debate, Not Belief

 

Almost ten years ago a friend from Upper Egypt came to me, stressed out. He told me that he was surprised to find his hometown controlled by fundamentalist youth taking it back to what it used to be centuries ago. One of the examples was that on their wedding night, a Groom must carry his Bride home in a large bag (known in Arabic as a shawwal), because this is found in the Hadith and in the (Sunna) of the Prophet (pbuh). I told him that they misread and misunderstood the Hadith which says that “They used to marry women in the Arabic month of Shawwal." It was a huge joke. My friend returned to his hometown and read the Hadith to them properly and saved the young girls from that stuffing-in-the-bag experience. But his problem with me didn’t come to an end.

 

Believing that the Hadith attribution was correct, he started believing that weddings have to be in the month of Shawwal only and not in any other month. Getting fed up with him on the topic of Attribution/Attribution/Ascription, I finally told him, "So do you believe that the Prophet (pbuh) really said this Hadith?" He steadily replied, "Yes." So I told him, "So would you swear on divorcing your wife that he has said it?" Here he was stunned, kept his mouth shut and didn’t raise his head. So I told him, "If I read to you 'Say: He is one Allah' (Quran 112:1) and request that you swear on divorcing your wife that Allah has said it, and that it is from the Quran, would you?" He said "Yes," so I told him, "This is the difference between the Quran and the traditional Hadiths."

 

If somebody comes to you with a Quranic verse (aya), you will not ask him for proof or attribution as long as you believe in the Quran. Meanwhile, if a Hadith attributed to the Prophet (pbuh) is read to you, it is your right, even your duty, to ask about its attribution or its proof that it was truly narrated from the Prophet (pbuh). The Quran is built on the foundation of truth, while the Hadith attributed to the Prophet (pbuh) are built on doubt.

 

For this doubt, they invented Attribution/ Attribution/Ascription (isnad) to prove that this Hadith is correct. If the attribution chain is not complete or includes non-reputable people, that Hadith is deemed "weak."

 

And now in today's era, nobody cares any more if the attribution is strong or weak, authentic or fabricated. It is enough to say, “The Messenger of God said” for people to immediately believe that the Prophet really said those words.

 

Going back to attribution, or Isnad, (The Arabic word Isnad means to help something from collapsing), it confirms that a Hadith is like a crumbling wall, which attribution comes to support, so it won’t collapse and fall.

 

The Quran is a matter of belief, while Hadith is not, but instead is a debatable case from their point of view, which falls in the realm of research and argument, and not in the realm of belief and absolute truth. That is why the scholars of Hadith and Sunna differed in praising a narrator or discrediting him when proving a Hadith or denying it. So the Authentic Hadith of” Muslim” is different from the book “Authentic Hadith of Bukhari." Then “Al-Hakim Al-Neisabouri” came with his "Al-Mustedrek," with reservations about both. Before all of them, “Ahmed Bin Hanbal” compiled yet another different hadith set in his book “Al-Musnad."

 

Those who came later differed even more. And since it is a debatable case to them, built on differences between several points of view, nobody said that the other is not a believer as those differences are in human hypothetical researchable matters and not in belief and religion.  But the Quran is the source and place of faith and belief for every Muslim, which is why Allah (GbH) affirms in two phrases in the Quran that the only "hadith" in which we have to believe is Allah’s "hadith" in the Quran: “In what hadith after this will they then believe?” (Quran 7:185 & 55:50)

 

Furthermore, Allah (GbH) makes believing in Him as the One God connected to believing in His Hadith (words) in the Quran and nothing more. Allah (GbH) says in the Quran, “These are the verses (ayat) of Allah we recite to you with truth, then in which hadith after Allah and His verses (ayat) will they believe? Woe to every sinful liar, who hears the verses (ayat) of Allah recited to him, yet persists with arrogance as if he did not hear them, so give them news of a painful torment.”  (Quran 45: 6-8)

 

And in the last commandments of the Ten Commandments in the Glorious Quran, Allah (GbH) says about the Quran: “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not other paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become God-fearing."   (Quran 6:153)

 

The Quran came from Allah with a straight path for us to solely follow, and not to follow other roads and paths which lead to contradiction and misguidance. In this phrase, repeated throughout the Quran, is a confirmation that Quran is the only source for Islam. The Straight Path cannot be but the one and only. And since the straight line doesn’t branch off, then it is the shortest way linking two points. The other roads are based on disagreements, conjecture and suspicion. And it is known that narratives and attributions have varying methods and ways. Hadith scholars confirm that they are all just conjectural, or as Allah said in the Quran:

“And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path; they follow nothing but conjecture, and do nothing but lie." (Quran 6: 116) And this is directed to the Prophet (pbuh) himself, warning if he obeys most of the people, they will lead him astray from the Quran and take him where they follow conjecture and illusions.

 

Accordingly, the Prophet (pbuh) followed the Quran alone, and with this in mind, Allah’s orders for the Prophet (pbuh) and for us are in the Quran, “A Book sent down to you, so do not let your breast feel tight from it, that you may warn thereby, and let it be a reminder for the believers. And follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord and do not follow any other guides.” (Quran 7:2-3)

 

Here are two orders: something to do and something else not to do. An order to follow the Quran and not to follow anything else in place of the Quran as the only Book which is immune to falsehood. Then all must consider this: the Prophet (pbuh) was following only the Quran, and his manners and morals were from the Quran. All humans, including the Prophets, will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment based on the true holy Books alone which are one in essence, no matter what the languages and circumstances were. There is nothing in any of the divinely revealed Books called "attribution," but only the words of Allah, exalted be He. So it is up to you to believe in the words of Allah (GbH) in His holy Books, or to accept the falsehood of attribution in Hadith, knowing that your ultimate fate is with your Lord on the Day of Judgment.

 

Attribution/Attribution/Ascription Contradicts Scientific Methodology

 

Attribution is argumentative, bouncing between doubt and proof, and it is not a matter of faith. In addition to this, attribution contradicts scientific methodology and rational common sense.

 

 Al Bukhari book is the number one sacred for more than one billion Sunni Muslims.  Al-Bukhari lived in the third century, Hijri Calendar, and died in the year 256 HC. This means that there were two and a half centuries separating him from the Prophet (pbuh). If we consider a generation to be 40 years, then there are 6 generations between Prophet Mohammad and Al-Bukhari. (Please note that there are 4 generations only between us and the era of Mohammad Ali of Egypt and Napoleon of France). From a scientific point of view, how is it possible for six generations to remember some words attributed to the Prophet through verbal narrations until somebody comes to record it 250 years after the Prophet's death?..  Let us take one of Al-Bukhari's Hadiths and discuss its attribution, contents and subject.

 

We will choose from Al-Bukhari's Hadith because it is the easiest on a reader’s mind, and because Al-Bukhari's book is widely accepted.

 

Under the title: “Chapter Regarding Having Sex with Menstruating Women,” Al-Bukhari included Hadith alleging that the Prophet (pbuh) used to have sex with his wives during their menstrual period. From it, we chose this Hadith : “Ismail Ibn-Khalil spoke to us saying that Ibn-Mussher narrated that Abu-Isshac who is Al-Shaybani from his father from Abdul-Rahman Ibn-Al-Aswad from his father from Aisha (one of the Prophet's wives) that she said, 'If one of us was menstruating and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wanted to have sex with her, he would order her to wash her blood and then wear a thin cloth then he would have sex with her.' When asked, 'and he who could control himself?' She said, 'Who of you have self-control like the Prophet (pbuh) had self-control?'” (Authentic Al-Bukhari, with Al-Sindi comments, Zahran Library, Volume 1, Chapter one, page 64.) This Hadith has two parts: attribution and content.

 

Attribution is the chain of narrators through which the Hadith was attributed to the Prophet (pbuh), and they are six: Ismail Ibn-Khalil, who narrated this Hadith to Al-Bukhari himself and lived at the time of his teacher, Al-Bukhari; who mentioned that this Hadith to him was narrated to him by Ali Ibn-Mussher whom Al-Bukhari never saw and who lived in the second century HC; and then the chain is extended to Abu-Isshac aka Al-Shaybani, then to his father, then to Abdel-Rahman Al-Aswad then to his father; then finally to Aisha the wife of the Prophet Mohamed , whom they claimed said the Hadith with its contents and terminology.

 

Those narrators were linked to each other spanning a long period of time, and Al-Bukhari saw none of them, except the one who claimed that someone narrated this Hadith to him. The previous narrators lived in previous eras, with no proof that they had actually narrated this Hadith. Using our minds and the scientific approach, we find that it is impossible to prove their honesty when narrating this statement verbally through two and half centuries of time filled with temptations, events and upheavals over six generations. Even if we imagine that they all lived together at the same time and same generation, the probability of lying, forgetting, and confusion is very high in the verbal transfer of this statement through six persons in forty years, even in forty days and maybe in forty hours. And this is a fact in everyday life. When we relate an issue or event which took place overnight, it undergoes changes and modifications through each person's separate narration. Each narrator will add to it or subtract from it until the final result is totally different from the original.  So, how about hundreds of thousands of Hadith attributed to the Prophet centuries after his death?

 

The historical facts of the science called “Science of Hadith” confirms that the invention of “Attribution” was in the second century HC. Many verbal narratives were embedded with lies. Muslim scholars made it a condition to link those narratives to narrators who died in between the middle of the second century HC and narrators from the era of the Prophet. The dead narrators with whom these links were made, however, had no knowledge of the Hadith attributed to them. Accordingly, in the more recent age of documentation, some scholars contested the names as they had been written down in the era of Caliph Al-Ma'moon. We concluded this through our specialized research.

 

Then the Hadith writers began to differ and fight among themselves in changing or slandering the narrator according to sectarian differences or personal mood. Here, Al-Zahaby says in his famous book about authentication and modification "Scale of Moderation": “The scholars of this topic were never unanimous in modifying a 'weak' rating or weakening a 'trustworthy' rating." The science of “Hadith Authentication & Modification” was based on the doctrinal, theological and intellectual differences among Muslims in the Abbasid era and what followed.

 

Going back to Al-Bukhari in his “Chapter Regarding Having Sex with the Menstruating Woman,” we conclude that the contents of this Hadith were repeated in many other Hadith claiming that the Prophet used to have sex with his menstruating wives, and they are all obvious lies attributed to the Prophet, clearly contradicting the Quran.

 

God says in the Quran: “They ask you concerning menstruation, say: it is harmful, therefore keep away from women during menses and do not go to them (for conjugal relations) until they have purified themselves, and if they have purified themselves, then approach them as Allah ordained for you to do, Truly, Allah loves those who repent and loves those who purify themselves."(Quran 2: 222). When the Prophet was asked about menstruation, he waited for God's reply. This verse came to confirm that women must be avoided sexually during their menses until after the period ends and they completely clean themselves. After that they are allowed to resume sexual relations.

 

Here we find a clear contradiction between the holy Quran and the Hadith of Al-Bukhari which, among other Hadith, used the erotic title “Having sex with the menstruating woman." The Quran not only forbids sexual intercourse with wives during menstruation, but also forbids approaching them sexually in any way in that time. But Al-Bukhari alleged

in his Hadith that the Prophet did exactly what was forbidden.

 

And there is no middle ground between the Quran and Al-Bukhari in this case, because if you believe the Quran then you have to disbelieve Al-Bukhari and if you believe Al-Bukhari's Hadith, then subsequently you disbelieve the Quran. Or else, you must believe that the Prophet himself disbelieved the Quran. Here is a prime example of how belief in Hadith creates disbelief — in the Quran, thus in Allah, whose word it is, and in Islam, the religion it was sent to confirm.

 

Allah stresses in many locations in the Quran that Belief must be only in the words of the Quran. Anything else (as a source of guidance) is not worthy of Belief as it is subject to doubt, and the facts in it are not absolute like the facts of Belief.  Believing in Attribution means one considers Hadith worthy of Belief on the hearsay evidence of men who are no longer living and left no evidence of having said such things. It is a "cheap" (easy and unverifiable) way to desert the Quran, replacing it with inferior and contradictory statements.

 

The Quran reveals that prophet Mohammad himself complains on the Day of Judgment,

"And the messenger said: 'My Lord, my people have deserted this Qur’an.'" (Quran 25:30)

God frequently warns us in the Quran not to exchange the guidance of the Quran for the wrong path of misguidance and deviation.

"These are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, so their commerce does not prosper, neither are they guided." (Quran 2:16)

"And believe in that which I reveal, confirming that which you possess already (of the Scripture), and be not first to disbelieve therein, and part not with My revelations for a cheap price, and keep your duty to Me."

(Quran 2:41)

"So woe to those who write the Book with their hands then say: 'This is from Allah,' so that they can purchase with it a cheap price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they gained." (Quran 2:79)

 

Two hundred years before the Hadith literature was written by human hands, Allah warned us in the Quran not to believe in it or replace the guidance of the Quran with it!

 

Truth "authenticates" itself, whereas falsehood or "imitation truth," which accurately describes Hadith, has an equally false or "imitation" means of false and fake "authentication."

 

The "science" of “Authentication and Modification” for Hadith mainly focuses on inspecting attribution or the chain of narrators. No attention is paid to inspecting the content or the subject of the Hadith itself. It inspects attribution based on human allegations of personal and sectarian merit. The "authenticators" can never agree on whether a particular narrator or narrator-chain is "trustworthy" or "weak," because whoever is praised by Sunnis will be attacked by Shi'a and so on between the various sects and teams.

 

Accordingly, they divided the Hadith based on their degree of trustworthiness and correctness into two large divisions.

 

The first division is the “succession” Hadith, and these are considered 100% true and reliable. But here the compilers differed among themselves. Some of them said that originally there is no repeated Hadith that is absolutely true. Some said that there is only one true repeated Hadith which is: “Let whoever deliberately lies about what I (Mohammad) have said shall have his seat in hellfire.” Others said that it is a repeated Hadith but without the word “deliberately.” Others said that there are only three repeated Hadiths while others increased the number to five or seven.

 

The second division of Hadith is Single (standalone) Hadith. Compilers/scholars said that the rest of the Hadith in the books of Attribution/Ascription are Single Hadith, which are narrated by one person from another's narration. These are dubious and not truthful – in fact, Truth is only in Quranic "hadith or sayings. But the compilers said that Single Hadiths can be followed if they are *probably* true or if they conform to a Quranic Phrase or statement. With this in mind, in our era, with the heritage of "fundamentalism" established, you will not find a "fundamental" scholar daring to cast doubt on Al-Bukhari based on the fact that his Hadith are conjecture and only as truthful as any other human narrative.

 

Going back to the attribution of Single Hadith  (which in our opinion are all Hadith) , we find that they are divided into grades as far as correctness is concerned such as “Good”, “Strange,” and “Weak.”

 

There is no doubt that this is a funny division, because as far as attributing the Hadith to the Prophet (pbuh), this means that he said some Hadith with a 70% attribution of reliability or other Hadith with, say, 50% or 10% attribution. This obviously doesn’t conform to the scientific method, because either the Prophet actually said this Hadith, which means with 100% attribution of reliability, or the Prophet never said that Hadith, and in this case, attribution has to be Zero%. There is no middle ground between the two.

 

To conclude, we can say that it is impossible, if we apply scientific methodology, to attribute any hadith or saying to Prophet Mohammad after six generations of verbal narrations have passed, and after the invention of narrator-chains dozens or even hundreds of years after their deaths, and without the narrators' knowledge of these claims about them.

 

Meanwhile, the Quranic approach totally conforms to scientific methodology.

 

Attribution/Ascription Contradicts the Quranic Approach

 

Attributing a certain saying or statement to the Prophet (pbuh) means the transformation of this saying or statement to an actual religious fact in which a Muslim is obligated to believe and implement in his life in accordance with its provisions.

 

Such belief and practical guidance should be reserved for the Quran alone. The Quran is a preserved revealed Book by the will of Allah Almighty and it has a beginning and end. It is divided to 114 Chapters or “Suras,” each of them having a defined number of verses (ayat). About the Quran, Allah Almighty told the polytheists: “And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to our servant (Mohammad), then produce a Chapter (Sura) like it and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.” (Quran, 2:22)

 

Irrespective of the verse's subject, which is challenging the polytheists to bring verses like those of Quran, the aya confirms that what was revealed to the Prophet were only verses (ayat) and those verses are only included in the Glorious Quran, which means that what was sent down to him is the Quran and the Quran alone. There is no other revelation called the revelation of the (Sunna) by those who believe that Hadith and/ or the (Sunna) attributed to the Prophet were a Divine Revelation. In Islam, there is no authentic Hadith but the Hadith of Allah Almighty in Quran. Those "heritage" Hadith have neither a beginning nor an end, and they contradict themselves throughout their books, some even on the same page.

 

Attributing a certain statement to the Prophet (pbuh) and making it a religious fact is an accusation against the Prophet that he didn’t properly convey the message. He didn’t personally report those Hadith attributed to him and he didn’t write them down and organize them as he did with the Quran. Because if those Hadith were really a part of the divine message and religion, the Messenger did not report it to the people and didn’t write it down, which means that the Messenger did not convey the entire Message and left a huge part of it in the hands of mortal people to convey to each other and debate about it until it was finally written down centuries after the death of the Messenger and they are still debating it today.

 

However, we believe that the Prophet/Messenger (pbuh) had faithfully received and recorded the entire message, which is the Quran, and he didn’t hold anything back. God praised the Prophet by saying in the Quran: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” ( 5: 3) So Islam was perfected and completed by the completion of Quran, and therefore the Prophet died immediately after that. Not only that, but the Hadith themselves, to those who still hold them to be authentic, say that the Prophet himself forbade people to write down anything but the Quran, and that his successors Abu-Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali forbade the narration and writing of any Hadith attributed to the Prophet. Therefore people refrained from attributing anything to the Prophet until the Abbasid era arrived with periods of sedition, dogmatic and sectarian confusion. Then Hadith attributed to the Prophet were written down using the newly invented Attribution/Attribution/Ascription method. Those Hadith carry all signs of contradiction with the Quran and the era of the Prophet (pbuh), but Attribution made them sacred and protected them from criticism and discussion. Thus they survived to this day to spread among us such misguidance as extremism, reactionary thought, and all that defaces the great Islam.

 

Accordingly, exiting this impasse necessitates the cancellation of so called “Attribution/Attribution/Ascription,” in order to sever any connection between those Hadiths  and the Prophet (pbuh). This would be an act of mercy to Islam and return Muslims to logic and to scientific and intellectual methodology. We can look at the contents and subjects of Hadiths in the light of the fact that they were part of a Heritage reflecting the eras in which they were written. Then, we need to research them historically and socially through the cultures of those eras with their rights and wrongs. For example, if we apply this to the Book  of Al-Bukhari, it can no longer be verified as authentic if the method of Attribution has been cancelled. This way we give justice to Islam and its Prophet -- otherwise, we would be counted among the enemies of the Prophet whom he will disavow in the Day of Resurrection as the Quran says in Chapter 6, verses 112-116 and in Chapter 25, verses 30 & 31.

We assert, based on our knowledge of the Hadiths in the book of Al-Bukhari, that it is full of sayings that stab the Prophet and Islam in the back, yet stay immune to criticism because of the protection of the holiness and veneration it gave Al-Bukhari by millions of Muslims who have been misguided by it.

 

Attribution Contradicts the Concept of Testimony

 

A murder suspect stood in court and the first witness was called out. The judge asked him, "Did the accused confess his crime to you?" The witness said, "I didn’t hear it myself, but my brother told me he confessed." The judge dismissed him and called his brother to ask him. The brother said, "I didn’t hear his confession myself, but my father told me about it." The judge dismissed him as well and called his father to the witness stand. The father said, "I didn’t hear his confession myself, but my father told me right before he died yesterday." It was only natural that the judge released the accused and kicked out all the witnesses, because they were in fact not witnesses. To be a witness who is fit to testify, one must see or hear the event directly him/herself.

 

Of course, this story is an example, which shows how Attribution/Attribution/Ascription based on verbal tales throughout different eras have no legally admissible foundation and cannot be considered by any judicial system. Al-Bukhari didn’t live in the era of the Prophet (pbuh), and none of the narrators preceding him did. The Companions of the Prophet who lived in his era were too busy with conquests, seditions and disputes to report anything from the Prophet. And even if they reported any Hadiths, how can we be sure of what they reported if nothing was recorded at the time? We don’t have a single living witness from their timeline who survived two centuries, then wrote down what he heard with his own ears and saw with his own eyes!! Even if there was such a witness, it is our right to doubt what he said because of old age and weak memory. “And among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known quite a few things.” (Quran: 22:5)

 

Attribution/Attribution/Ascription through generations of dead people contradicts legal testimony; accordingly, it is unjust for Islam to base its regulations, which are the foundation of laws, on testimonies of a dubious nature. Therefore, genuinely sacred regulations must only come from a divinely revealed Book (as is the Quran), which is immune to perjury and falsehood with the emphasis that the (Sunna) of the Prophet is in applying the Quran to one's life and times.

 

Herein we go back to the Quran on the issue of Attribution/Attribution/Ascription and Testimony, and give two quick examples:

 

Testimony from the Quran’s point of view requires having seen and/or heard that about which testimony is to be given with human senses while alive. It is a fundamental part of law in the Quran in bearing witness to debts, for example, to be written down even in the simplest of transactions. “You should not become weary to write it whether it be small or big for its fixed term.” (Quran, 2: 282)

 

So can the regulations regarding witnesses in the Quran be applied using statements attributed to the prophet as a foundation for laws and rules across generations of dead narrators who lived between the Prophet’s era and the era of writing the Hadiths while they neither saw nor heard anything?

 

The Glorious Quran told the story of Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) when he accused his brother of stealing. Prophet Joseph orchestrated accusing his full brother of stealing so that he could keep him on his side. On their second trip to Egypt, Prophet Joseph's brothers pressed their father, the prophet Jacob, to allow them to take their little brother with them, so when Prophet Joseph, the ruler of Egypt, held his brother under the accusation of theft, his brothers lost hope in retrieving him. So the eldest brother said, “Return to your father and say, ‘O our father! Truly, your son has stolen and we do not testify except about what we know, and we could not know the unseen!'" (Quran, 12:81) This means that their eldest brother said to them to testify about what they saw when they found the stolen items in their brother’s container, and that they couldn’t know the unseen. This was the testimony of people who lived throughout the event and they testified to what they saw, and in spite of living and attending the event as it happened, they acknowledged that there might have been other unforeseen things of which they had no knowledge.

 

Testimony according to the Quran-based understanding is to testify only about what you yourself have seen and heard while stating that you know nothing but what you witnessed yourself, and what was kept from you is known only to Allah who knows and sees everything. If we apply this concept of testimony to the process of (Isnad) Attribution/Attribution/Ascription, the contradiction becomes evident to us between the true testimonies, which must be based on audible and visible truth by a present witness, and the apparent perjury of Attribution/Attribution/Ascription, in which there are neither real testimony nor any witnesses whatsoever. How can the dead testify? Or how can the living report an event which they never saw, and occurred before they were born?  

 

Topics of Attributed Hadiths

 

After talking about the concept and procedure of attribution, we now point to the subjects of attributed Hadith, to see what Attribution brought to us: topics contradicting the Quran and Islam.

 

All Hadiths can be categorized in three (3) main categories:

1) The Unknown;  2) Legislation; and 3) Ethics or "encouragement and discouragement."

 

1. The Unknown

Here they attributed to the Prophet Hadiths reporting news of past eras before his existence, as well as Hadiths about the unknown future on earth, and Hadiths about the unknown events of the Hereafter such as the signs of resurrection, its events, the gathering, intercession, and the ways of Heaven and Hell. Which are all but lies because the Quran emphasizes many times that the Prophet does not know "Al-Ghaib" (literally, that which is not with us, often translated "the unseen") -and if he did, he could have accumulated all sorts of good things, and would have never been subject to harm; and that he does not know what will happen to him or to others in the future; and that he knows none of the signs of Judgment Day nor its date or time, and that he is not entitled to speak about all these hidden issues. This can be found in the following Quran verses:

 

(Surat Al-Anaam 6:50) “Say: I do not say to you that I have the treasures of Allah, and I do not know the unseen, and I do not say to you that I am an angel. I only follow that which is revealed to me. Say: Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Will you not then think?”

 

(Surat Al-Aaraaf 7:187) “They ask you about the hour, when will be its arrival? Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord; none will reveal it at its time except He. It lies heavily upon the heavens and the earth; it will not come upon you except suddenly. They ask you as if you were hiding it. Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most of the people do not know.” (6:188) “Say: I do not possess for myself benefit or harm except what Allah has willed; and if I had known the unseen, I could have acquired much of the good and no evil would have touched me. I am only a warner and the giver of good tidings to a people who believe”.

 

(Surat Al-Ahqaf 46:9) “Say: I am no different from the other messengers, nor do I know what will happen to me or to you. I only follow what is inspired to me. I am no more than a clear warner."

 

(Surat Al-Jinn 72: 25) “Say: I do not know if what you are promised is near or if my Lord will make for it a long period.”  (72:26) “(He is ) The Knower of the unseen, and He does not reveal His (knowledge of the) unseen to anyone." (72:27) “Except any messenger of whom He has approved; for indeed, He sends before him and behind him observers."

 

(Surat Al-Naziaat 79:5) “And those (angels) who regulate (various) matters." (79:/ 42; 45 ) “They ask you about the hour: When will be its arrival?" In what [position] are you that you should mention it? To your Lord is its finality. You are only a warner for those who fear it..

These are just examples.

 

False intercession of the Prophet Mohamed:

And in the same category of knowing the Unknown, they attributed Hadiths to the Prophet referring to his Intercession on the Day of Resurrection on behalf of Muslims. These Hadiths contradict the Quran, which limits Intercession to God alone, committed by angels when they submit the good deeds of the righteous people on the Day of Judgment, but the Prophet himself and / or any human cannot benefit or harm anyone.

This is stated in the following Quranic facts:

1 –Allah alone is the Lord of the Day of Judgement, as it is mentioned in the open statement of the Quran: “In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Almighty. [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Almighty, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.”).

It is confirmed in many Quranic verses:

(32 / 4): You have not besides Him any protector or any intercessor; so will you not be reminded?”

(39 / 34: 35): ““Or have they taken other than Allah as intercessors? Say, "Even though they do not possess [power over] anything, nor do they reason? Say, "To Allah belongs [the right to allow] intercession entirely. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. Then to Him you will be returned.”

 

2 – Angles are committed to intercede for the righteous one according to the permission of Allah:

 (53: 26) “And how many angels are there in the heavens whose intercessions will not avail anything except after Allah has given permission to whom He wills and approves."

Who are those angles?

They are Angles who keep our deeds and sayingsin this life:

(82 /10: 12)” And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, Noble and recording; They know whatever you do.”

There are two angles for every man to keep ones sayings and deeds:

(50 / 17: 18) “When the two receivers receive, seated on the right and on the left. Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].

On the Day of Judgements the two angles will become a drivers and witness:

(50 / 21) “ . And every soul will come, with it a driver and a witness.”

If he/ she is righteous, the angles were given the permission to intercede for him according to his good deeds.

(2/:255). “. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?”

(20:/109: 110) “On that day, intercession will not benefit except the one to whom the Compassionate has given permission and has accepted from him to say something. He knows what is before them and what will be after them; and they do not encompass it in knowledge."

(21/:26: 28) “And they said: 'The Almighty has taken a son!' Be He glorified, they are all but honored servants. They do not precede Him in speaking and by His command they do works .He knows what is before them and what will be after them, and they cannot intercede except for one whom He approves. And they are, from fear of Him, apprehensive."

 (43/:86) “And those upon whom they call other than Him do not possess intercession, except one who testifies to the truth while they know."

 

3 - No human (including the Prophets) will have the power of intercession on the Day of judgement:

 

(2:/48) “And fear a day when no soul will avail another in anything, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be made to win.”

(2 / 123) “
And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, and no compensation will be accepted from it, nor will any intercession benefit it, nor will they be aided.”

 

 (2:/ 254) “O you who have believed! Spend from what We have provided for you before a day comes in which there will be no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the unbelievers are the unjust."

 

4 - All the humans will be questioned including Prophets and messengers of Allah:

(16 / 111)” On the Day when every soul will come disputing for itself, and every soul will be fully compensated for what it did, and they will not be wronged.”

(7 / 6) “Then We will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and We will surely question the messengers.

(82 / 17: 19)” And what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?. Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?. It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah.”

 

5 – No one can intercede for his relatives:

(23 / 101) “So when the Horn is blown, no relationship will there be among them that Day, nor will they ask about one another.”

(80 /33: 37) “But when there comes the Deafening Blast. On the Day a man will flee from his brother. And his mother and his father. And his wife and his children, for every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him.”

(31:/ 33: 34) “O people! Fear your Lord and fear a day when a father will not avail his child, nor will a child avail his father in anything. Indeed, the promise of Allah is true, so let not the life of this world delude you and be not deluded about Allah by (any) deceit. Indeed, Allah has knowledge of the hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow; and no soul knows in what land it will die. Indeed Allah is all Knowing, all Acquainted."

 

6 - Prophet Mohamed himself will be questioned like any one of his enemies:

 (43: 44) “And indeed, it is a remembrance for you and your people, and you [all] are going to be questioned. “

(39 /:31: 32) Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die. Then indeed you, on the Day of Resurrection, before your Lord, will dispute.

.

(39:/ 19) “Is one against whom the word of torture is justified (like others)? Can you save one who is in the fire?” Then indeed you, on the Day of Resurrection, before your Lord, will dispute.

 

In spite of all these Quranic ayat (verses), the Hadiths invented the lie of human intercession as a "known fact" of religion, while it is in fact false and a dangerous factor in deteriorating the ethics of Muslims.

 

2. Legislation

In this category, Hadiths attribute to the Prophet that he was setting various rules and laws. This contradicts a fundamental Quranic truth which is that the Prophet, when asked by those in his community about anything, would wait for the Revelation to come down to him with the answer. (Which often came down in the form of "They ask you about so and so – tell them so...) When we look at the subjects he was asked about and waited for the answer to come from Allah, we find that he could have answered on his own from his personal general knowledge, like when he was asked about the crescents: “They ask you about the crescents, Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.” ( 2:189)  Also, when he was asked questions regarding orphans, the Quran encouraged the kind treatment of orphans in many instances, yet still they would ask the Prophet about the same subject again and again, and every time he wouldn’t answer on his own but wait for the Revelation to come down, often to emphasize the same previously sent commands to, for example, treat the orphans well and care for them, as God says in ( 2: 23: “And they ask you concerning orphans, Say: The best thing is to act honestly in dealing with their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers."

 

And in the subject of “Zihar," which is a form of divorce, a woman insisted that the Prophet rule in her case, but the Prophet refused to speak and waited for the Revelation which came down with the answer from Allah Almighty: “Indeed God has heard her argument that disputes with you concerning her husband and complains to God and God hears the argument between you both, truly, God is All-Hearer, All-Seer.” (58: /1)  So the woman was in a hurry and kept on disputing with the Prophet to make him rule in her case, but he kept on refusing, then when she despaired and complained to God, the Exalted, so the judgment came down in the above verses.

 

And so it goes: people ask the Prophet for rules and answers, and he refuses to answer on his own, but waits for the ruling or response to come as a Revelation from God. Thus God says in the Quran: “And they ask for your legal instruction concerning women, say: God instructs you about them.” (4: 127) . Here God didn’t say to the Prophet, “Instruct them,” because only God instructs and gives commandments and sacred Laws, so he said “Say: God instructs you.” A similar expression can be found in the same (4:176.).

 

In brief, the mission of the Prophet was limited to conveying the rules and instructions from God only. He neither issued rules nor instructions from his own experience. And when he was asked for an opinion or a ruling, he would await the answer coming from God's Revelation, even in subjects about which he is familiar. His “Sunnah" was to apply the Revelations that Allah "sent down" to him with his human faculties and with the resources available in his own time and place. This was how he fulfilled his duties as the Prophet during his era, which confirms that Islam has only one source, which is Quran. But we have the right to strive to implement the Laws of the Quran according the circumstances of our time. Our conclusions may be right or wrong, but we are responsible for them. This way Islam is kept higher than time and place, its Laws kept as they were sent by Allah for guidance until Judgment Day, immune to our mistakes and sins. . (Please refer to our book Quran is enough.)

In the meantime, by using Attribution, many false rules contradicting the Quran were attributed to the Prophet and hence became accepted and implemented as law. Such false legislation includes stoning, killing the apostate who reverts from Isla, execution for "blasphemy," and giving the right to the Ruler to own or claim land (including what is on it), even if it was in the property of his subjects and their families. In addition to inventing Attribution for these contradictory and unjust laws, the Abbasid era brought a new concept to cancel the Quranic legislations: the claim of "aborting and the cancellation of a Quranic rule.

3. Ethics: Encouragement and Discouragement

 

The third category of Hadiths attributed to the Prophet are the "encouragement" and "discouragement" hadiths, which caused damage to the ethics and morality of Muslims. These hadiths grant great rewards for merely saying a word or reading a Quranic verse or performing a short prayer, and once the Muslim says that or does this, s/he is guaranteed Paradise, no matter how many sins and guilt s/he accumulated in his/her life. This means that one can lead a life of harm to people and property with no consequence, but on the contrary, get a guarantee to enter Paradise just by stating that “There is no God but Allah” in so many words. Magic words, apparently, that trump the need for ethical behavior. This totally opposes the ethical approach of the Quran, which makes Paradise the final destination for those who believe and do good deeds (as defined in the Quran, mostly acts of charity and compassion), those who fill their lives with practical belief and compassion for others. Reading the Quran and mentioning Allah with gratitude and reverence are also good deeds, but cannot guarantee Paradise unless one's actions are consistent with one's words. Simply mouthing a word or donating ill-gotten money amidst a life overwhelmed by sins, crimes, cruelty, and shameful behavior, ignoring God, will not lead to Paradise. Yet this hadith asserts that making a verbal statement or reading words off a page (maybe not even paying attention to their meaning!) will guarantee Paradise forever. This defies the Quran, justice, and even logic.

 

With the Hadiths of the Unknown, Legislation, and Ethics, Attribution established a new religion different from that confirmed in the Quran, one in fact contradicting it. This new false religion asserted itself as sacred when it was attributed to the Prophet. It is shameful that although 150 Quranic verses deny that the Prophet has the "right of Intercession" -- to intercede between Allah Al-Hakeem (Ruler and Judge) and humans on Judgment Day -- Muslims ignore the Quran and follow (fighting tooth and nail anyone who suggests otherwise) the Hadith of Intercession in the “Authentic of Al-Bukhari.” People take the side of Al-Bukhari against the Quran…. And, without seeming to recognize it, against Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), and the One who sent that Quran whose truth they deny or willfully ignore: their Creator, Almighty Allah.

 

Sacred and Non-Sacred Heritage: the Three Major Sects and Attribution

 

The previous presentation is based mainly on the Sunni Heritage in which the narrators attributed Hadiths to the Prophet (pbuh) and made the Sunni Heritage a Sacred Religion.

 

On the other hand, we find that the Shi'a also had their own sacred Heritage which they attributed to the Prophet (pbuh) and to the Prophet's cousin Ali, his daughter Fatima and her children, and their holy imams. That heritage also came to be considered a sacred religion, although contradicting Islam, separated by political, religious and dynamic differences between Sunnis and Shi'a.

 

After that, Sufism came along as an offspring of the Shi'a, leaving behind its political ambitions, defaming and attacking major companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Sufism ignored Attribution/Attribution/Ascription altogether and didn’t care much for inventing the narrators’ chain. Sufism in its belief is based on union with Allah (GbH) and that the Sufi Sheikh has the Divine Self in him, and when the light of Divine shines inside him, as they say, he pronounces the inner Divine Knowledge, then there is no need for narrators because, as they say, the Sheikh sits with Allah (GbH) in the Divine Companionship.

 

That is why in the second Abbasid era, the Sufi would say, “My heart told me from my Lord.” The famous book, “Resurrecting the Sciences of Religion,” by Al-Ghazali, was filled with stories and sayings of this kind. Al-Ghazali also used to say: “It was revealed to some of the righteous people” in addition to some Hadiths related to the Prophet (pbuh) without attribution. “Al-Iraqi” recorded those sayings, declaring that “They have no origin,” meaning that Al-Ghazali was the only one to "extract" them – in other words, they were invented entirely by Al-Ghazali. After that, the Sufis added to those lies the invention of “Visions,” the lies of “Premonitions,” which means that the Sufi would hear a non-audible sound telling him so and so. In the Al-Mamlouki era, Visions permeated the Sufi Heritage, affecting the political, social and religious aspects of the Mamlouki life. It was common that someone would claim that he saw the Prophet (pbuh), not only in his dreams but also when he was awake. Al-Sayouti was the most famous one with this claim, as Al-Sha'rani mentioned in his biography, the “Smaller Ranks” book.

 

Briefly we say that Attribution/Attribution/Ascription transformed Sunni and Shi'a heritages into false and non-Islamic religions, claiming to be Islam, and it also encouraged the Sufis to lie about Allah (GbH) and His Messenger (pbuh) without even bothering with attribution. Attribution/Attribution/Ascription, with its claimed route to holiness, cannot withstand criticism because it bears loads of mysticism and logical mistakes, which are in desperate need of this alleged holiness to protect it from the arrows of criticism and opposition.

 

However, the intellectual, rational heritage (which is worthy of respect even if we disagree with it) required neither attribution nor holiness. That is why the Heritage of Mu'tazilis and thinkers was attributed to the scholars who were pillars of those intellectual factions. Al-Jahiz, for instance, didn’t try to attribute his own opinions the Prophet (pbuh), but rather to himself, and to whoever said it from his colleagues and friends. And if you read Al-Jahiz's books, such as “ The Scrooges” and “Eloquence and Exposition," as well as the rest of his work, you will find the smell of the (Jahizm) culture, his era and his environment and you’d respect him even more because he was true to himself. Al-Jahiz died in the year 255 HC., the same era of Al-Bukhari who died in 256 HC. But unlike Al-Jahiz, Al-Bukhari attributed the Abbasid culture to the Prophet (pbuh) through the fateful methodology of Attribution/Attribution/Ascription, and so he caused the grossest damage to the legacy of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and Islam.

 

Unfortunately, the triumph at that time was not for Al-Jahiz's and Al-Mu'tazilis' intellectual and logical approach, but due to political circumstances, power and legitimacy went to those who were called, in the first Abbasid era, "The Mind Stuffers," meaning those who stuffed their minds with false interpolations and false attribution to the Prophet (pbuh) in order to spread their opinions.

 

The Abbasid Caliphs Al-Maamoun, Al-Mo’tassim, and Al-Wathiq took the side of Al-Mu’tazilis. Then the fights over whether the Quran was Created or not, during which Ibn-Hanbal was persecuted, the Caliph Al-Mutawakel took the reins with a grudge against Al-Mu’tazilis and their leader Ibn-Alazayat, so he killed him and took the side of the "Mind-Stuffers," the “People of Hadith and Sunnah." He sent their messengers and supporters everywhere to gain victory for the "Sunnis" as Ibn-Aljozy said in his book “Al-Muntezim – The Systematic Methodologist.”

 

Meanwhile, the Abbasid state started to weaken and needed more urgently to subdue commoners and the general populace using religion. So the role of Sunni and Sufi Sheikhs increased. In order for those Sheikhs to subdue the commoners, it was imperative to invoke religious authority as a banner to which people would defer without discussion. Attribution/Attribution/Ascription filled that task. And gradually people became accustomed to submit once the Sheikh told them:, “It was narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said so.” The invention of Hadith became the tool of achieving political, sectarian and social goals as long as Attribution/Attribution/Ascription had the sanctification-by-belief of the common folk. As time passed by, the Sheikhs would say with full confidence: “Peace be upon him said so,” as if he had heard it from the Prophet (pbuh) himself, without needing attribution and without saying that it is a story told by human beings like them who could be wrong or right, just as you hear even now from Sheikhs riding means of public transportation in Cairo talking about the mosque as small as a bird’s foothold.

 

Now in our era, the era of the Salafi awakening, a new direction has appeared among the current Salafi groups, which use the invention of Hadith to serve their point of view, such as this Hadith: “Whoever honors a policeman, Allah (GbH) will insult him.” When some enlightened people objected to this newly invented Hadith, asking "How can you accept lying about the Prophet (pbuh)?" the extremist Sheikh replied saying that he is not lying about the Prophet, he is lying for the Prophet, the same old excuse given by those who lied about Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in the past.  This means that inventing Hadiths is still going on today.

 

Between Hadeeth and Sunnah

 

The final question remains: Are those Hadiths the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)?

 

Here we need to establish some Quranic and Traditional facts:

 

The meaning of the word Sunnah in the Quran is "the way and "the method.” as far as Allah’s treatment of and dealing with the non-believers ("deniers"), it also means “The Divine Legislation.” With these two meanings in mind, Sunnah in Quran is attributed to Allah (Glorified be Him), meaning the Sunnah of Allah (GbH).

 

Allah Almighty (GbH) says in a special legislation to the Prophet (pbuh): “There is no blame on the prophet in that which Allah has made legal for him; that has been Allah’s Sunna ( law ) with those who have passed away before, and the Command of Allah is a decree determined.” (Surat Al-Ahzab 33:38) This Quranic passage reveals that “what has made legal for him” means “has been Allah’s (Sunnah),” which in turn means “the Command of Allah,” which is “Allah's Law.” The conclusion is that Sunnah means Quran-based legislation. This is consistent with the linguistic meaning of the word Sunnah in Arabic language. You say in Arabic "Sanna Qanoon," which means "enacted a Law," and if a law is enacted, it becomes an enforceable legislation.

 

This is also consistent with the idiosyncratic meaning of the term "Practical Sunnah," which means acts of worship like Prayer, Zakat purification, Hajj, and fasting.

In all, Almighty Allah (GbH) is the author of the legislation which came down in the Holy Quran, and the Prophet (pbuh) is a role model for us in the application of that legislation, about which the Almighty says, “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have a good (Uswah) example.” (Quran, Surat Al-Ahzab 33: 21)

He did not say "Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have a good Sunnah," because the only Sunnah in Islam is the Sunnah of Allah (GbH), while the Prophet (pbuh) is the good example in the application of the Sunnah and Law of Allah (GbH).

 

But nowadays some heritage/tradition scholars say that the "Practical" Sunnah refers to the acts of worship to which we referred above, and that the anecdotal/oral Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is comprised of those Hadiths that have been attributed to him centuries after his death in what is known as “Books of Al Bokhari ” and others. And here we entirely disagree with them, because the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is only what was mentioned in the Quran after the word "Say," which is the verbal "cue" in the Quran indicating what the Prophet should say to his followers and others.

 

The word “Say” is repeated 332 times in the Quran. The topics that echo the word "Say" include all that is needed by the believer in matters of religion, and some confirm matters mentioned elsewhere in the Quran without the word "Say." And the Prophet (pbuh) was ordered to say the words as prescribed in the Quran exactly without any addition or deletion, as he had no right to say anything on behalf of Allah in matters of religion without authorization.

 

“And if he had forged a false saying concerning us – We surely would have seized him by his right hand – And then certainly would have cut off his aorta – And none of you could withhold us from him.” (Quran, Surat Al-Haaqah 69:44-7)

 

In a nutshell, the true Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is what comes after the word “Say” in the Quran, because Sunnah means Allah’s Laws and directives we are supposed to follow.

 

They say that those Hadith are the source of knowledge of how to pray and worship. This is a manifest error, because those Hadiths are hearsay, and the Sunnah is the method of worship.  It has been known how to perform acts of worship not only before the age of Al-Bukhari and others, but also known before the Revelation of the Quran, as they were the basic features of the religion of Abraham, which Allah (GbH) ordered Muslims to follow. Not only that, but those Hadith recounted centuries after the Prophet (pbuh) did not detail how to perform salat prayer; on the contrary, they distorted salat prayer and raised skepticism about it.

 

It is natural that when the Prophet (pbuh) was establishing a new state and forming a nation, while facing the machinations of his enemies, to have his own words and instructions, as well as having his own applications in the implementation of the laws of the Quran outside the issue of worship, such as the preparation of the army and military force. And all that falls within the subject of history and biography, and not within the subject of religion, which is above time and place.

 

It is noticeable that when the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was retroactively scripted in the Abbasid era, it ignored what benefitted people from it, because that which was good for people was detrimental for the ruling dictatorial Caliphs. On the other hand, the Islamic State of the Prophet (pbuh) was established on the foundation of direct democracy along with a people’s council, where people ruled themselves, and where people were the givers of authority. Those to whom authority was given had to answer to the people. The people of Medina lived this way during the life of the Prophet (pbuh), and he left them to rule themselves by themselves without having appointed them a governor. The true biography of the Prophet (pbuh) confirms this through more than five hundred sermons of the Prophet (pbuh) in Medina, and through council gatherings, which the Glorious Quran mentioned in the final verses of chapters (Suras) Al-Nour, Al-Mujadalah, and Al-Nisaa. This direct democracy in the era of the Prophet (pbuh) was in complete opposition to the Abbasid tyranny, where the Caliph owned the land and what was it with no one to monitor this and no checks or balances.

 

Therefore the Abbasid era of recording and writing neglected more than five hundred sermons of the Prophet (pbuh) and hundreds of council meetings. They replaced them with authored legislation and a biography consistent with the culture of the Abbasid era, and then attribution transformed this Abbasid culture into religion. As time went by, the Abbasid culture was deemed sacred, with no one daring to criticize its sources from “Books of Al Bokhari “ and others.

 

The proof of how thoroughly its sacred status filled the hearts and minds of Muslims is: the dread felt by the reader of this article.


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