Reply to common arguments of Hadith Rejecters (Part1)March 8, 2012
Articles in this Series :
– Introduction to ‘Hadith: The Integral Part of Islam’
– Article 1: What are Hadeeth and Sunnah?
– Article 2: Is Quran the only form of Revelation to Mohammad (SAS)?
– Article 3: Role of Prophet Muhammad (SAS)
– Article 4: Importance of Sunnah, Hadith & Scholars
– Article 5: Referring to Messenger (SAS), on the issue of Hadiths
– Article 6: Reply to common arguments of Hadith Rejecters (Part1)
– Article 7: Reply to common arguments of Hadith Rejecters (Part2)
– Conclusion & References
Article 6 – Reply to common arguments of Hadith Rejecters (Part1)
The previous articles in this series have given us a clear picture of the Importance of Sunnah and Hadith, and how Islam would have (Naudubillah) been incomplete without it. The articles are a tiny little compilation from the massive library of scholarly work on the subject. Insha’Allah, we believe these articles would be enough for a person genuinely seeking answers to his doubts regarding the matter of Hadith and their importance. But as for a person who has closed his heart already, instead of reflecting on the points made, he only comes up with silly arguments regarding various issues ranging from authenticity of Hadith to making claims that some Hadith classified as Saheeh contradict the Quran, etc, etc. And this has always been the case of people who deny the clear proofs. That’s a really easy strategy used by even the Jews at the time of Prophet (SAS). They would continuously keep raising questions like “Who brings the revelation?” “who were the people of cave?” “what is ruh?” “why is it sometimes a boy is born and sometimes a girl?” “will we be raised after we are dust and bones?”. They want to keep you busy answering their questions so that you never get time to make your own point. No matter how many arguments you answer, they will always keep coming with more. So throughout these articles, we concentrated on highlighting the necessity of Sunnah and Hadith. But now, we will be answering some of the arguments that Hadith rejecters usually come up with. Again, the intention is not to answer them, because if they haven’t understood it in previous articles, there is little chance they will understand now. These answers to their arguments are only to show how false are their claims and how silly are those arguments, and how little is their knowledge on the subject of compilation and preservation of Hadith.
Argument 1: How should I believe that Sunnah is preserved?
First and foremost, one needs to understand that Allah commands us in the Quran to follow the messenger (SAS). And that not following the messenger takes one out of Islam.
But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee (Prophet Muhammad [SAS]) judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (Translation of Qur’an 4:65)
…And whoever disobeys God and His Messenger, for him there is surely the fire of Hell, to abide therein forever.(Translation of Qur’an 72:23)
So if Allah has made it compulsory on us to follow the messenger, then there MUST be a way that his statements, actions, approvals and character description must have been preserved. If someone claims that these are not preserved till date, then Naudubillah, he is alleging that Islam does not give complete guidance for someone to enter jannah.
The question arises, where is the Sunnah of the Messenger (SAS) recorded authentically? Now the fun begins. The Hadith rejecter wants to reinvent the wheel himself. He doubts the classification done by scholars like Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, etc. And he does so because he is completely, in the sense, COMPLETELY unaware of the procedure by which Hadiths were compiled and preserved. As a simple test, ask him what part of the compilation procedure has a loop hole. Ask him to give a better procedure. Forget all that, just ask him to name any 5 people from Tabe’een who he thinks are weak narrators but scholars classified them as strong. They cannot. They just cannot. They will only do what they do the best. They’ll change the line of argument and start a new one.
Don’t worry. The thing is, it is not obligatory upon every Muslim to reinvent the wheel and classify things as saheeh, weak, fabricated, etc. Allah does not burden the common man with these things. He does not leave them misguided either. This work is of the scholars. Scholars, who know the deen in and out, and have spent years and years studying various aspects of it, not like these Hadith rejecters who think they have all the knowledge in the world because they probably know Arabic and have read a few books here and there.
The Saheeh classification of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim are unanimously agreed upon by Ijma (consensus) of scholars. Apart from that, even the authenticity of other Hadith collections and application of Hadiths can be verified by referring to works of other scholars.
We have had great contemporary scholars, al-hamdulillah, to whom we can refer back to in the past. We have major scholars, who passed away in recent times as well, like Allamah Ibn Baaz, Allamah Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen, and many others – may Allah have mercy on them all. And we have major scholars who are alive today like Allamah al-Fawzaan, Shaikh ar-Rajihi, Shaikh Saaleh aal-Shaikh, Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Aal-Shaikh, and others.
What is obligatory upon a Muslim is to have a basic fiqh (understanding) of Aqeedah, ie. belief. One must know the names and attributes of Allah, what is tawheed and what nullifies Tawheed, so that he cannot be fooled. Don’t forget that whatever these scholars say is with EVIDENCE from Quran and Sunnah only, and not out of their own minds. But it is the ego of Hadith rejecters that stops them from accepting the fact that someone else is more knowledgeable than them.
For people who are genuinely seeking knowledge, here is the link to basics on Usool-al-Hadith by Dr.Bilal Philips.
It is really amazing to know how much care was taken by these scholars and their students is compiling and preserving the Sunnah. It is easy to reject the work of these great scholars reclining on a couch in luxury homes reading a few articles here and there on Google. It is only after one contemplates their pain and efforts, will one understand its real value.
Argument 2: Hadiths were written 250 years after death of Muhammad (SAS).
First of all, it is a very western ideology that anything that is not written down is bound to be forgotten or changed with time. We need to understand that the Arabs were absolutely amazing memorizers. One cannot doubt the memorization of the narrators, because it is the same people through whom even the Quran came to us. The Quran was not compiled into a single book until the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (ra). People had bits and pieces written here and there, but there was nothing in a book form. Same was the case with Hadith. Famous memorizers among the Sahaba include Abu Hurayrah, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Aisha Siddiqa, Abdullah ibn Umar, Jabir ibn Abdullah, Anas ibn Malik and Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri. Each had memorized over 1000 hadith word by word. The list continues in the era of Tabi’een and tabe’tabe’een and so on.
But even if talk about writing down the Hadith, we know from history that they were being written even at the time of Prophet (SAS) himself. We find numerous Hadith in these regards.
We suggest seekers of knowledge to read the second chapter “Compilation” (just 12 pages) from the Usool-al-Hadith of Dr. Bilal Philips for further understanding. For sake of convenience we have uploaded the 2nd chapter separately. It available at the link below:
Some manuscripts who’s originals are still available in libraries deserve special mention here,
– Hamman bin Munabbih was one of the students of Abu Hurayrah (RA) (died in 53Hijri/678AD), and his saheefa is still in existence today (Berlin and Damascus), and has been translated into English too. It contains 138 hadith, virtually all of which are also found in either Saheeh Bukhari or Saheeh Muslim or both. This shows that even though there is a gap of 200 years between these scholars and Abu Huraira (RA), the Science of Hadith preservation is so comprehensive that there is no chance of missing any authentic narration.
– Another work from that time is al-Muwatta composed by Maalik ibn Anas (d.801AD)
– One other important point to be seen is in student written Musnad of at-Tayaalisee (died in 813AD) in Khuda Oriental Public Library of Patna. At the time, they used to write down the names of people to whom these books would be passed. This book bears the names of more than 300 male and female students of hadeeth, who had read it at different periods. Among them are found the names of great traditionists such as ath-Thahabee, al-Mizzee, and others. The Hyderabad edition of the musnad has been published on the basis of this manuscript. This shows the degree of desire to learn the Sunnah knowledge.
In addition, al-Azami has produced a list of 437 scholars who had recorded Hadith and all of them lived and died before the year 250 A.H. See “Studies in Early Hadith Literature – Muhammad Mustafa Azami” for more details.
So what really happened after 200 years?
If Hadith were written and passed right from the time of the prophet (SAS), then why do we refer collections of Hadith that were compiled after such a long time? So here’s the answer. The four Imams lived between 80AH to 241AH. Imam Abu Hanifa lived from 80-150AH. Imam Shaafi also lived from 135-188AH. The only imam who lived between 200-300AH was Imam Hanbal who lived from 164-241AH. Imam Bukhari lived from 194-256AH. It was also between 200-300AH that the other great Imams such as Imam Muslim, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhee, Nasaa’i lived.
Till that time, there were many personal collections of hadiths which were transmitted with at most care to make sure that hadiths are transmitted through verifiable channels. The methods of transmission were as follows:-
1. Samaa: Reading by the teacher.
2. Ard: Reading by the student.
3. Ijaaza: Permission to transmit.
4. Munaawalah: Grating books.
5. Kittabah: Correspondence or distance learning.
6. I’laam: Announcement.
7. Wasiyyah: Bequest of books.
8. Wajaadah: Discovery of books.
On further reading we understand that during the initial three hijri centuries there was a system which was more or less like modern day copyrights system. One was not recognized as a hadith narrator unless he had permissions to transmit hadiths from his/her teacher. Thus even methods like ‘Wajaadah’ were not recognized as way of learning hadiths.
So hadiths were always transmitted, followed and implemented but recognized as authentic only when it came through the strict copyright laws now included in ‘Science of Hadiths’. After nearly 175 hijri the only change was that scholars improved on this by better selection methodologies, and utilized the combined knowledge of the predecessors to compile masterpieces such as Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. They also organized these Hadiths properly into musnads, sunans, jamis, mujams, mustadraks etc. so that they could be unanimously agreed upon as authentic and there would be very less need to check for the their authenticity anymore, especially for lay man when Islam was entering every house from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In short, what really happened after 200 years was only refining and organizing of Hadiths.
But probably Google is not the place where the arrogant Hadith rejecter could learn about this history. He makes this argument out of sheer ignorance on this topic.
Conclusion for this article
Here the conclusion is much simpler than that other articles. If someone has a disease (doubts regarding authenticity) he/she must either:
- Become a Doctor (study science of Hadith) OR
- Go to a Doctor (refer scholars of Hadith) OR
- Remain sick and die with it.
Choice is yours…
Next Article in the Series
– Reply to common arguments of Hadith rejectors (Part 2)