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Offline Reader Questions

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Questions on Hadith
« on: January 19, 2014, 08:50:52 PM »
Greetings Mr. Islam,
 
I came across your website and found it very interesting. It has touched on some points that I have really struggled with regarding Islam. I was born a Sunni Muslim and have practiced the faith without ever really looking too deeply into it.
 
Since moving to the Middle East about four years ago from the USA, I have a lot of time to observe Muslims and their behavior and how they go about their day to day lives and how they treat each other people from other and Non-Muslims. What I observed that actually caused to investigate the faith more deeper is a people who were once the leaders of the world in science are now struggling with the basic concept of common sense. I could write volumes on this area but my point is something else.
 
What I believe is that the Quran is the word of God for all of mankind. But in order for the Quran to be fully followed, Hadith have to play a role in that. For instance, how are we supposed to do Wudu, pray, perform Hajj, etc.?
 
On the other hand, reasons as to why we don't have any original Hadith from the Prophet (PBUH) or the Sahaba's is what's troubling me to perfectly implement the perfect book.
 
It is difficult to believe that the Prophet (PBUH) forbade the writing of Hadith because it would somehow get mixed with the Quran. These are the reasons cited in the literature. Does anybody actually believe this? He was memorizing it, having trusted people write it down, had access to an angel Gabriel, and God promised that no one could affect the perfection of the Quran. Additionally, a statement in Quran states that no one could produce even a single chapter like. I don't think anybody had anything to worry about as far as Hadith getting mixed in with Quran. But alternatively, the Prophet (PBUH) understood the importance of the written word as evidence by his knowledge of previous corrupted scripture i.e. Bible, first Testament.
 
Since the Explanation of the Quran (Hadith) is essential for its understanding and to perform what is prescribed in the Quran, it doesn't make sense that Hadith were not written.
 
From what I have read, Hadith were written down and Abu Bakr but later burned them. The reason for burning them was that he was afraid that what he wrote down may not have been in perfect alignment with what was said. If we are to accept this, then why do we accept his verbal words 20 transmitters later? Instead of burning them, he could have begun his work on perfecting them if that was really his concern. From what we read about him, he was not a bad guy who would intentionally lie about the Prophet (PBUP).
 
Umar further forbade the writing of Hadith and supposed burned other written Hadith books because he did not want anyone to abandon the Quran and focus on Hadith. Again, not sure what that means. Those people were the same illiterate society and the Hadith were alive and well verbally. Writing them down would not have increased their significance for anybody as the oral tradition was being utilized in peoples lives already. Writing the Hadith down would have kept them for around for mankind. He could have also just produced a single copy to preserve for future generations instead of making many copies to distribute. There are many he could have accomplished the task of preservation and kept focus on the Quran.
 
How can we trust one Hadith while others are not be trusted like when Aisha is quoted talking about sexual issues. Can somebody actually trust that she was so open about this issue with all of humanity? Aren't these private issues even if they were the way they are stated in Hadith? Other hadiths seem absolutely absurd.
 
Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have the original sayings of the prophet without centuries of debate about this chain or that chain, strong versus weak, etc.? And who do you follow? I'm not Shia but when they claim Hadith from Ali, it would seem those to be more reliable then generations removed from Umar and Abu Bakr? Yet these Hadiths are only used by them. I don't know enough about Shia's to have an opinion but these are things that make me think.
 
My questions for you is something that I have wanted to asked a learned person for sometime now for only my understanding:
 
Are reason why we don't have the original Hadith which are essential for the explanation of the Quran in some cases and needed for step by step practice of the faith in other cases due to what Abu Bakr and Umar did or did not do?
 
The Quran is perfect but is its understanding and implementation deficient as a result of mismanagement of Hadith?
 
If we are to follow the Quran only as Hadith are not reliable, then how can we pray, do Wudu, perform Hajj, etc? And what about the explanation of the Quran? Where does the explanation come in some cases if we discount Hadith as a explanatory source?
 
If we chose to follow Quran with good Hadith, isn't this also problematic as how will we know which ones are acceptable and which are not? We are essentially cherry picking which is not right either. But I would find it hard to believe that Aesha was talking about her intimate issues with the Prophet (PBUH) with the community.
 
What I struggle with is how can the perfect book not have the perfect implementation or explanation?
 
Regards,

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Questions on Hadith
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 09:02:34 PM »
 
Greetings to you too and please accept my apologies for the delay in response. Please see my responses to some of your comments that I have highlighted in blue italics below.
 
I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph
 
 
“What I believe is that the Quran is the word of God for all of mankind. But in order for the Quran to be fully followed, Hadith have to play a role in that. For instance, how are we supposed to do Wudu, pray, perform Hajj, etc.?”

There is not one hadith in the entire Ahadith corpus that teaches one how to pray from start to finish including all the rakats. This little fact is almost unknown to many Muslims. We learn how to pray from practical propagation of the ritual en masse, generation to generation. You will have been taught by an elder and they in turn, by their elders and so on. Even learned Muslim clerics are beginning to acknowledge this.
 
LEARNING SALAT USING HADITH IS IMPOSSIBLE ADMITS A TRADITIONALIST CLERGYMAN
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/396096647130376
 

“On the other hand, reasons as to why we don't have any original Hadith from the Prophet (PBUH) or the Sahaba's is what's troubling me to perfectly implement the perfect book.”
 
The Book (the Quran) claims to perfect [1]. The clergy teach otherwise by implying that the Quran cannot be completely understood for religious purposes without Ahadith to support them.
 
[1] http://quransmessage.com/articles/quran%20sole%20guidance%20FM3.htm
 

“It is difficult to believe that the Prophet (PBUH) forbade the writing of Hadith because it would somehow get mixed with the Quran.”
 
Very true. One must entertain the strong possibility in light of the Quran that there was a conscious effort to suppress the dissemination of Ahadith given its hearsay nature. No caliph ever instructed a concerted effort to collect Ahadith when they were best placed in time, proximity and authority (as caliphs) to do so.
 

“Since the Explanation of the Quran (Hadith) is essential for its understanding and to perform what is prescribed in the Quran, it doesn't make sense that Hadith were not written.”
 
Please consider how a perfect source in religion such as the Quran can ever need explanation from another source that is inherently imperfect, such as Ahadith, which are the efforts of fallible humans, canonised centuries after the death of the prophet and did not receive Divine protection (15:9)? The Quran does not teach that it requires an explanation from any other source / literature in matters of Divine appointed religion, especially one that was not put in canon form at least a few centuries after the death of the Prophet. This is what the clergy claim.
 

"Instead of burning them, he could have begun his work on perfecting them if that was really his concern. From what we read about him, he was not a bad guy who would intentionally lie about the Prophet (PBUP)."
 
I agree. As I respectfully shared, the caliphs were best placed to undertake this task. They did not. The other possibility that the clergy refuse to admit is that they never instructed such a corpus to be collected as they knew not to. The focus was to intended to remain solely on the Quran. Later rulers and men had their own political, sectarian, personal needs / agenda and possibly used reports ‘in the name of the prophet’ to support their own theological and political worldviews.
 

"Umar further forbade the writing of Hadith and supposed burned other written Hadith books because he did not want anyone to abandon the Quran and focus on Hadith. Again, not sure what that means. "
 
It could mean that his views were correct and aligned to the Quran's teachings.
 

"How can we trust one Hadith while others are not be trusted like when Aisha is quoted talking about sexual issues. Can somebody actually trust that she was so open about this issue with all of humanity? Aren't these private issues even if they were the way they are stated in Hadith? Other hadiths seem absolutely absurd. "
 
Absolutely agree. A logic question.
 

"Are reason why we don't have the original Hadith which are essential for the explanation of the Quran in some cases and needed for step by step practice of the faith in other cases due to what Abu Bakr and Umar did or did not do? "
 
Please consider that the Quran was to remain the focal consideration. The earliest Muslims knew this. Many lands saw the expansion of Islam through the teachings of the Quran in distant lands in the earliest periods of Islam. The Ahadith corpus wasn't even canonised at this point. What were they taught? Ahadith or the core message of the Quran?
 

"The Quran is perfect but is its understanding and implementation deficient as a result of mismanagement of Hadith?"
 
Please see my following post:
 
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/361590613978072
 

“If we are to follow the Quran only as Hadith are not reliable, then how can we pray, do Wudu, perform Hajj, etc? And what about the explanation of the Quran? Where does the explanation come in some cases if we discount Hadith as a explanatory source?”
 
The Quran provides us all that is necessary for religious matters. It sets out guiding principles. Everything else is 'best practice' in light of the Quran. For example, from a Quranic perspective, there is nothing wrong with placing your hands on your navel, on your chest or even dropping them completely. These are pedantics. The Quran governs the 'purpose' and sets out basic aspects of physical routines it expects. Today, form has overtaken purpose and the whole ritual has become robotic. Aspects of the rituals are explained by the Quran. For example, the method of Wudu is given by the Quran. Anything extra is additional.
 
http://quransmessage.com/articles/wudu%20FM3.htm
 
I have also discussed Hajj and prayer from a Quranic perspective in the Quran. Here is an example of Hajj from the Quran. There are dedicated articles on prayer on my website which may assist, God willing.
 
http://quransmessage.com/articles/hajj%20FM3.htm
 

“If we chose to follow Quran with good Hadith, isn't this also problematic as how will we know which ones are acceptable and which are not?”
 
As long as 'Ahadith' are not considered religiously binding as ordained by God there is no problem in extracting 'wisdom' and best practice from a corpus using the lens of the Quran as the criterion to judge right and wrong. After all, the Quran calls itself the ’furqan’ (The criterion). The problem only starts when one considers 'Ahadith' as religiously binding. Then one can be accused of 'picking' and 'choosing' in the name of religion.
 

"What I struggle with is how can the perfect book not have the perfect implementation or explanation? "
 
We can only strive to become better. Perfection is an attribute of God. The Quran only expects us to do the best we can from the best we understand from the Quran.
 
064:016
“So keep your duty to God as best you can / what you are able (Arabic: ma is’tata’tum), and listen, and obey, and spend; that is better for your souls. And whoso is saved from his own greed, such are the successful”
 
The Arabic word 'istata'a' means to be able, can or to be capable of. Therefore, given the above verse, one is only expected to do the best they can whilst striving in the way of God.
 
039:018
"Those who listen to the Word (the Quran) and follow the best meaning in it / best of it (Arabic: fayattabi'una ahsanahu) those are the ones whom God has guided and those are the one's endowed with understanding (Arabic: Albabi)
 
039.055
"And follow the best of what is revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes to you suddenly while you do not perceive!”
 
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell