"..........We did not leave ANYTHING out of this qur’an…! " 6:38
THE MYTH OF HADEETH
THE MYTH OF HADEETH
[ Layth Saleh al-Shaiban is one of the leading muslim intellectuals for Islamic Reform. Layth is the founder of Progressive Muslims and Free-Minds organizations. He is the co-author of the Quran: a Reformist Translation, and the author of The Natural Republic. Layth works in a financial institution as a financial adviser, and lives in Saudi Arabia.]
" Do not accept anything that you have no knowledge of. Surely the hearing, the sight and the mind you are responsible for. " (Quran, 17:36)
The above verse does wonders for the students of GOD's religion, it always reminds them what the "criteria" is for accepting and upholding what is peddled to them as "law" from above.
We, as human beings, are commanded by the Lord to use our senses (sight, hearing and mind) so that we may ascertain the truth from the falsehood…Blind following is NOT allowed in the Quran and it is given as a sign of disbelief:
"And the example of those who reject is that who REPEATS 'Yan3iq' only what he hears of calls and sounds. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they do not understand" (Quran 2:171)
In fact, the Quran preaches the opposite to BLIND following and emphasizes on "Thought" and "Contemplation" since that is the only road to true appreciation of the message the Quran has brought.
"If we revealed this Quran to a mountain, you would see it trembling, crumbling, out of reverence for GOD. We cite these examples for the people that they may THINK." (Quran, 59:21)
History of Hadeeth:
The word "Hadeeth" is inseparable from today's Islam and can best be translated as "Sayings" of the Prophet or his companions.
Hadeeth is accepted as the 2nd source of Islam (the Quran being 1st) and has been well established into an entire science where people spend a lifetime merely studying the "Hadeeth" and its compilations.
Muslims are taught that the Prophet Mohammed brought the Quran with him as well as his sayings "Hadeeth" and actions "Sunna". The Muslims believe that these pillars are inseparable and that Islam cannot stand at all if any of these pillars are taken out.
What may come as a surprise to most, is that "Hadeeth" was not actually compiled and reviewed until over two hundred years after Mohammed's death, first by Imam Bukhari (d. 256/870), then Muslim (d. 261/875), Abu Daud (d. 275/888), Tirmidhi (d. 270/883), Ibn Maja (d. 273/886), and al-Nasa'i (d. 303/915).
In his opening statement, Bukhari (considered to be the #1 source of authentic Hadeeth) states that out of nearly 600,000 Hadeeth's which were known to him at the time, he could only record 7,397 as being authentic from the prophet. This is a recognition by the upholders of Hadeeth that at least 98.76%, of what people are led to believe is the 2nd revelation to the Quran and a major source of Islamic law, is pure lies!.
What people also fail to realize is that the history of Hadeeth itself has been overlooked and is treated as if the revelations were written down at the time of the Prophet for record keeping. In fact, the record books indicate that there was a BAN on the writing of Hadeeth ordered by the Prophet himself and upheld for nearly 100 years thereafter.
"The prophet said:'Do not write anything from me EXCEPT QURAN. Whoever wrote, must destroy it" (Muslim, Zuhd 72; Hanbel3/12,21,39)
The above "Hadeeth" is recognized and accepted by Hadeeth scholars the world over, however, their justification for the ban is that the prophet feared that the "Hadeeth" and Quran would be intermingled into one book and this ban was simply a safeguard.
What these same scholars fail to explain is WHY the same ban was still in-place nearly 30 years after the prophet's death and AFTER the Quran was supposedly compiled!
Zayd Ibn Thabit visited the Khalifa Mu'aawiya (more than 30 years after the Prophet's death), and told him a story about the Prophet. Mu'aawiya liked the story and ordered someone to write it down. But Zayd said, "The messenger of God ordered us never to write anything of his Hadeeth." (Reported by Ibn Hanbal)
According to the history books of Islam, the ban on writing "Hadeeth" was only lifted some 80 years after the Prophet had passed away by Omar Bin Abdulaziz (the grandson of Omar Bin Al-Khatab). In fact, the irony of the matter is that Omar Bin al-Khatab himself was vehemently opposed to the writing of any religion revelations EXCEPT the Quran:
Omar Bin Al-Khatab is recorded as saying: 'I wanted to write the traditions (Sun'an), and I remembered a people who were before you, they wrote other books to follow and abandoned the book of GOD. And I will never, I swear, replace GOD's book with anything' (Reported by Jami' Al-Bayan 1/67)
As we mentioned before, within a short span of 200 years from the Prophet's death (only 130 years from the lifting of the ban) there were over 600,000 Hadeeth's floating around at the time of Bukhari which were all attributed to the Prophet. Bukhari himself admitted to spending nearly 40 years studying the Hadeeth's and could only verify the chain of transmission from 1.24% of the total!.
Problems with Hadeeth:
Bukhari and those who came after him spent years and years in the research and filtration of Hadeeth's until it became its own science. Bukhari was quickly followed by Muslim (d. 261/875), Abu Daud (d. 275/888), Tirmidhi (d. 270/883), Ibn Maja (d. 273/886), and Al-Nasa'I (d. 303/915) as the most recognized compilers in this field.
Although it may be a comfort to Muslims reading this to know that a filtration process was undertaken by the above mentioned scholars, it must be clarified as to exactly WHAT this filtration process was:
San'ad (Chain of Transmission)
Bukhari relied upon the self-invented art of "Transmission" for which he states that a "Hadeeth" may be accepted as authentic or rejected based on WHOM the Hadeeth is coming from.
Bukhari made a study of the Prophet's companions and established that they were all trustworthy. He then asked about people who came after them, and if the public "hearsay" was that this or that person was reputable, then Bukhari had no problem accepting a "Hadeeth" transmitted from that source.
To get over the obstacle of "objectivity" and the fact that Hadeeth was based mainly on "hearsay", Bukhari found a very convenient Hadeeth (which Islamic scholars still quote) that gives the companions of the prophet and all Hadeeth narrators’ super-human abilities which enabled them to memorize word for word the sayings of the prophet without loss or distortion.
Although the above may not sound scientific or even objective to many, it is a factual method which was used to obtain the 2nd source of Islamic law.
While very few outsiders have been able to question the authenticity of the Quran, the Hadeeth has not been so lucky!.
Many opposing groups and other religions have made it a practice to embarrass Muslims by quoting "dubious" Hadeeth's which compare a Woman to a Donkey (the Hadeeth on what stops Prayer) or that the Majority of Women will go to Hell! (Hadeeth about Isra & Mi'raj).
Muslims typically react to the above accusations by becoming angry and evasive, saying that these people want only to "Slander" the Prophet. What these same Muslims fail to realize is that the "TRUTH" can withstand any amount of questioning and cross-examination.
More Problems with Hadeeth:
If it were only embarrassment that the Hadeeth causes, we would not have a problem. The effects of this subjective "hearsay" are far far greater.
Human beings are born with the natural tendency to be inquisitive. Anyone who has children will know that no matter how many times you tell them "no", they will still try to touch a hot pan or play with the dirt to understand WHY they should not. This is a GOD given mechanism that our Lord has bestowed on the human species to let us expand our knowledge and only accept what we understand and know.
When Muslims were ruling an living by the Quran, there was no problem with this natural human tendency for curiosity since the Quran had an answer to every question…Muslims at that time witnessed an intellectual growth unparalleled in the history of Arabia or even the world at that time…
The tendency to question and inquire led Muslim children to grow-up in an atmosphere where NOTHING was off-limits and nothing was taboo. Their questioning simply developed an unlimited appetite for knowledge, which was only fed by discoveries and advancements in just about every field.
Then, a few hundred years after the Quran had fuelled an "intellectual" revolution in the Muslim minds…Something began to change…
The widespread introduction of "Hadeeth" and its popularity with the masses began to slowly create problems with the education of Muslims. Hadeeth was not even to be compared on the same plain as the Quran due to its inferior language and its basis on "hearsay" and "conjecture".
Propagators of Hadeeth were nearly always cornered by sincere Muslim students who wanted explanations for obvious contradictions and illogical contents.
We can only assume that the establishment of Hadeeth as a source of Islamic law was only achieved many centuries after its initial gathering by Bukhari and others ONLY by having it forced on the Muslim masses with a rejection for scrutiny or questioning.
Muslim school children today are taught from a very early age not to question or over analyze their sources for religion as they might be incurring the wrath of GOD and walking the path of Hell.
Student's questions are typically answered with statements like: 'Are you BETTER that the previous generations who fought with the Prophet?', or 'Do you hate the Prophet that you QUESTION his Sunnah?'.
With such a barrage of accusations, young Muslim students learn for early on to simply accept what they are given without thought or questions…And when they are older, they simply repeat to the younger generation what was told to them about going to Hell and disrespecting the Prophet…The cycle goes on!.
The REAL Story:
Although the historical data in itself leaves much to be desired…The real story is far more dangerous than may be expected.
"When our verses are recited for them, those who do not expect to meet us would say, 'Bring a Quran other than this, or change it.' Say (O Muhammad), 'I cannot change it on my own initiative. I simply follow what is revealed to me. I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the retribution of a terrible day.' ...Who is more wicked than one who invents lies about God, or rejects His revelations? The guilty never succeed. Yet, they idolize beside God those who possess no power to harm them or benefit them, and say, 'These are our intercessors with God.' ...such is idol-worship." (Quran, 10:15-18)
The above verse clearly states that the people who's hearts did not believe the message from GOD asked the Prophet to bring a "different" Quran, or even "change" it.
And Mohammed's response was: 'I CANNOT change it, I simply FOLLOW what is revealed to me!'.
The Prophet could not "make-up" his own religion to suite the desires of all those around him….He was COMMANDED to adhere to the Quran and nothing but the Quran.
Yet, it seems that after Mohammed's death, those who's hearts did not really accept the message that he brought started to in-fact "change" the Quran by adding to it.
It seems these people who were spreading false teachings and attributing them to GOD did not heed the Prophet's warning:
"Shall I seek OTHER THAN THE GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed THIS BOOK FULLY DETAILED? ....The word of your Lord is COMPLETE, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words; He is the hearer, the omniscient. Yet, if you obey the majority of people, they will take you away from the path of The God. That is because they follow CONJECTURE, and they fail to think." (Quran, 6:114-116)
The Prophet taught people NOT to seek other than GOD as their source of law since He had revealed a FULLY DETAILED book!.
The Prophet also warned people not to listen to what the MAJORITY have to say, because he knew that they only follow CONJECTURE!.
Yet, despite all these clear warnings, the people after Mohammed could not resist to make false claims that the Quran was NOT detailed, and that it needed a mish-mash of hearsay to interpret.
They claimed that although the Quran was complete (as per GOD's statement), it still did not cover all the areas of jurisprudence that needed covering.
Perhaps they did not reflect upon the following verse:
"And we have sent down the Book to you as a CLARITY FOR EVERYTHING, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who Submit." (Quran 16:89)
In light of such evidence, it is extremely difficult for any sincere followers of GOD to simply turn their backs to what the Quran has to say and hand their destinies over to people for whom GOD was not enough.
The BEST 'Hadeeth':
For those who still have a desire to hold onto 'Hadeeth' after all the evidence presented...there is just ONE Hadeeth that we deem to be authentic and also encourage all people to goto:
"The GOD has revealed herein the best Hadeeth; a book that is consistent, and points out both ways. The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe there from, then their skins and their hearts soften up for The GOD's message. Such is The GOD's guidance; He bestows it upon whoever wills. As for those sent astray by The GOD, nothing can guide them." (39:23)
Idol worship, or associating partners with GOD, is the only unforgivable sin that is mentioned in the Quran. Yet, it seems that for the majority of us, our minds cannot accept GOD Alone!.
"The God DOES NOT FORGIVE that partners be established with Him, but He forgives other than that to whom He wishes" (4/48)
And the ultimate litmus test can only be:
When The God ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the hereafter shrink with aversion. But when idols are mentioned besides Him, they rejoice (39:45).
Did talking about upholding the Quran Alone bother you?. Or does your heart really believe?.
"They are the ones who examine all words, then follow the best. These are the ones whom GOD has guided; these are the ones who possess intelligence." (39:18)