Section Two Of Hadith Book
'MYTHS AND REALITIES OF HADITH -- a critical study'


3.  The Ongoing Debate of Authenticity

An Authentic Hadith can be Defective

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the categorization of Hadith literature, debate has persisted throughout the centuries concerning the authenticity of many narrations.

A hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah is regarded as Ma'lul (defective), by more knowledgeable authorities than Imam Muslim, such as Imam Bukhari and Yahya bin Ma'in. The reported saying "is not of the Prophet (s.a.s.) but one of Ka'b al-Ahbar". This is recorded by Ibn Taimiyyah in Majmu' Fatawa. For the complete details of Ibn Taimiyyah's recorded version and the alternative opinion given by scholar Al-Albani read An Introduction to the Science of Hadith by Dr. Suhaib Hasan Abdul Ghaffar (p. 43). Below is the text of the above-mentioned Ma'lul (defective) hadith, downloaded from the web. 8
8.    No. 38:6707; 4:2149; 4:1462 of Sahih Muslim. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/
038.smt.html#038.6707 

Book No. 38, "Giving Description Of The Day Of Judgement, Paradise And Hell (Kitab Sifat Al-Qiyama Wa'L Janna Wa'N-Nar)". Hadith Number 6707: Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: 

Allah's Messenger took hold of my hands and said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light on Wednesday and He caused the animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam (peace be upon him) after Asr on Friday; the last creation at the last hour of the hours of Friday, i.e. between afternoon and night. 
This day-by-day description comes very close to the creation story in the Torah. Please see the Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Chapter 1. This information does not appear in the Holy Qur'an. The above Hadith is not a Qudsi hadith. Under the circumstances one may wonder how the Prophet could have narrated this descriptive information to Abu Hurayrah. If the Prophet did not relate this information to Abu Hurayrah, then who was this Ka'b al-Ahbar, whose saying is alleged to have been an authentic hadith? Ka'b was a Jewish scholar who had entered Islam. He was a Tabi (one who has met a companion of the Prophet) who was known for quoting verses from the Torah. We also know from hadith 5:17 of Al-Muwatta that Abu Hurayrah had gone to Mount Sinai to meet Ka'b al Ahbar. During their meeting Ka'b had quoted texts from the Torah to Abu Hurayrah and Abu Hurayrah had quoted the sayings of the Prophet to Ka'b. This information indirectly supports the earlier criticism by Imam Bukhari and Yahya bin Ma'in. 

In the forward of his book, An Introduction to the Science of Hadith, Dr. Suhaib Hasan Abdul Ghaffar has listed twenty-six hadiths that are endlessly repeated by the Sunni and Shiah Alims as well as from members of both sects. Some of these hadiths even belong to the group called Qudsi. They provide just a few examples which show how we keep attributing statements to the Prophet not realizing or acknowledging that learned scholars who have studied the Science of Hadith have ruled that these hadiths "actually vary tremendously in their degree of authenticity from the Prophet." The author has also added a critical word of caution for those quoting these twenty-six hadiths; "(of) being in danger of contravening the Prophet's widely narrated stern warnings about attributing incorrect/unsound statements to him." 

A saying erroneously attributed to the Prophet

The following ‘Question and Answer’ published in the October 1999 issue of a monthly Islamic Journal ‘Renaissance’ 9 tells us that the “Symbols of Bad Luck” attributed erroneously to the Prophet are not his views.
9.    Published from Lahore, Pakistan, Vol: 9, No: 10, pp: 48-49. 
   <http://www.Renaissance.com.pk>

Question:  I read a Hadith which mentions that a house, horse and a woman are three things that could either prove good or bring bad luck for a man. Can you explain the meaning of this please? How can we label anything as a symbol of bad luck?

Answer:  …The Hadith you have mentioned has come in most of the major books of Hadith in the words near to the ones you have quoted. However, the following text of it contained in the sixth volume of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal’s Musnad presents the true picture in this regard:

Abu-Hassan reports that two people came to A’ishah and said to her that Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet used to say that bad luck is to be found only in women, horses and houses. At this A’ishah replied: By the God who revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet! The Prophet never said this; what he did say was that the People of the Jahilliyyah hold this opinion…

    It is evident from this text of the Hadith that this saying has been erroneously attributed to the Prophet (sws). He had actually quoted the views held by the people of Jahilliyyah (age of ignorance). 10
10    The answer was given by the editor, Shehzad Saleem.
 

Abu Hurayrah the biggest contributor
     Less than three years before the passing away of the Prophet, Abu Hurayrah joined Islam. He happens to be the biggest single contributor to the Hadith Literature. He has narrated 5374 narrations. 11  Many of his narrations are to be found in Sahih Al-Bukhari. 
11   This is recorded in ‘Hadith Literature: It’s Origin, Development, and Special Feature’ by Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqui.

      When Abu Hurayrah was questioned about him quoting so many sayings of the Prophet, his reply was: 

The people say that Abu Huraira narrates too many narrations. In fact Allah knows whether I say the truth or not. They also ask, "Why do the emigrants and the Ansar not narrate as he does?" In fact, my emigrant brethren were busy trading in the markets, and my Ansar brethren were busy with their properties. I was a poor man keeping the company of Allah's Apostle and was satisfied with what filled my stomach. So, I used to be present while they (i.e. the emigrants and the Ansar) were absent, and I used to remember while they forgot (the Hadith). (Sahih Bukhari 3: 540, also repeated in 3: 263)
       Abu Hurayrah also admits that he had a bad memory and used to forget things. But after the under mentioned incident, which he has self-narrated, the situation had changed around. Abu Hurayrah records: 
I said to Allah's Apostle “I hear many narrations (Hadiths) from you but I forget them.” Allah's Apostle said, “Spread your Rida (garment).” I did accordingly and then he moved his hands as if filling them with something (and emptied them in my Rida) and then said, “Take and wrap this sheet over your body.” I did it and after that I never forgot any thing. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1: 119, also repeated in 4: 841)
'Sahih Al-Bukhari' Commended and Criticized by Muslim Scholars

The Commendation:
    "The most authentic book after the Book of Allah is Sahih Al-Bukhari" 
A prominent Muslim scholar of our times, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin of the Islamic University, Al-Madina Al-Munawwara, Saudi Arabia writes: 

It is said Imam Bukhari collected over 300,000 hadiths and he himself memorized 200,000 of which some were unreliable. He was born at a time when Hadith was being forged either to please rulers or kings or to corrupt the religion of Islam... So it was a great task for him to sift the forged hadiths from the authentic ones. He laboured day and night and although he had memorised such a large number he only chose approximately 7,275 with repetition and about 2,230 without repetition of which there is no doubt about their authenticity... Many religious scholars of Islam tried to find fault in the great remarkable collection, Sahih Al-Bukhari, but without success. It is for this reason, they unanimously agreed that the most authentic book after the Book of Allah is Sahih Al-Bukhari. 12
12   'Sahih Al-Bukhari' Arabic-English translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, publishers Darussalam, Vol. 1, pp 18/19.
My Comments:
The phrase to “corrupt the religion of Islam” confirms that within the Hadith literature there was deliberate input from non-Muslims. 
The following text by another Muslim scholar questions the veracity of the last paragraph from the above commendation. 

The Criticism:
A prominent Muslim scholar of our times, Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Azami, M.A., Ph.D. and Professor of Science of Hadith, University of Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia writes: 

Many scholars criticized Bukhari's work. The criticism concerns about 80 narrators and some 110 ahadith. 13
13  Quoted from: 'Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature' by M. A. Azami, published by Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur, page 92.
      The number of questionable narrators mentioned above is very high. Dr. Azami has in the footnote given references of the following two prominent works of the fourteenth century Muslim scholars, based upon which he has made the above statement:
 1.   'Abdur Rahman b. Abu Bakr Suyuti's book ‘Tadrib ar-Rawi’, ed. by A. R. Latif, Cairo, 1379, vol. I, page 134. 

2.  Ibn Hajar's book ‘Hadyal-Sari’, Cairo 1383, vol. II, page 106.

Upon Which Verses Rests Your Faith (Imaan): Al-Qur’an or Al-Bukhari?

      Here is what the Revealed Words of Allah tell us about the character of the Prophet:

And thou [Muhammad] (standest) on an exalted standard of character. Qur'an. 68:4 

Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah.  Q. 33:21 

We sent thee not but as a mercy for all creatures. Q.21:107 

It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted they would have broken away from about thee; so pass over (their faults) and ask for (Allah's) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then when thou hast taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). Q 3:159 

Here is what the recorded hadith by Imam Bukhari tells us about the character of the Prophet: 
(Narrated by Anas bin Malik). A group of people from 'Ukl (or 'Uraina) tribe--but I think he said that they were from 'Ukl--came to Medina and (they became ill, so) the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) she-camels and told them to go out and drink the camels' urine and milk (as a medicine). So they went and drank it, and when they became healthy, they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels. This news reached the Prophet early in the morning, so he sent (some) men in their pursuit and they were captured and brought to the Prophet before midday. He ordered to cut off their hands and legs and their eyes to be branded with heated iron pieces and they were thrown at Al-Harra (a rocky place near Medina), and when they asked for water to drink, they were not given water... Al-Bukhari 8: 797. 
   The same narration is repeated in Al-Bukhari numbers 8: 794 and 1: 234.

   This incident is not recorded within the published biographies of the Prophet. Allah has given us Wisdom (A'ql) to judge between Truth and Falsehood. May He guide us all to use it wisely and honestly. Ameen.

Futuristic Narrations

It is not uncommon to read narration after narrations that speak of what will happen in the future, after the death of the prophet. These do not belong to the group classified as Qudsi Hadith as such, the ultimate and final sources of these non-Qudsi narrations appear to terminate with the Prophet. 
 

Say: "The Unseen is only for Allah (to know)..."   Qur’an 10:20
Below I have quoted a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah that is not Qudsi and can be found on the internet at an Islamic website. 
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Jews were split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be split up into seventy-three sects. (Sunan Abu-Da’ud, Book Number 40, Hadith Number 4579.) 
Here are a couple of more narrations from Sunan of Abu-Da’ud that even mention the times when the predicted events will take place.
 
      Narrated by Abdullah ibn Busr
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The time between the great war and the conquest of the city (Constantinople) will be six years, and the Dajjal (Antichrist) will come forth in the seventh. 
                            Hadith Number 4283

  Narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The greatest war, the conquest of Constantinople and the coming forth of the Dajjal (Antichrist) will take place within a period of seven months.
        Hadith Number 4282 

    A hadith by Muslim (1372) predicts that the Sun will appear from West and that will be the first sign for the appearance of the Dajjal. 

    Some hadiths even predict what will happen to each group of mankind on the Day of Judgement; in Heaven and Hell, yet many of these re-narrated statements do not belong to the Qudsi Group, but belong to the Sahih Group. The following Revealed verses of the Qur’an raise serious questions about the futuristic hadiths belonging to the Sahih Group and the reliability of those who have narrated them. 

Say: "As to the knowledge of the time, it is with Allah alone: I am but a plain warner."  Q. 67:26 
Say: "I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden (unseen)...."  Q. 6:50 

Say: “I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you.”  Q.46:9

Credible or Credulous?

   The following hadith and attending commentary exemplify the logistical gymnastics believers must engage in to assert the credibility of certain narratives. One must ask, whose authenticity is in question here, the Prophet’s or the compilers?

      Under the Book Classification: 'The Beginning of Creation', Volume 4, Book 59, Chapter 17, Page 322, Hadith No. 3320 appears a Sahih (Authentic) Hadith Narrated by Abu Hurayrah. 14  The text reads:

The Prophet said, "If a housefly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease." 
                    (Hadith No. 4: 537 in CD Alim)
14 'The Translation of the Meanings of SAHIH AL-BUKHARI Arabic - English' Translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by DARUSSALAM, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   The text of the Hadith and the footnote appear in Volume 7, Book 76 Entitled  'The Book of Medicine', Chapter 58, Hadith Number 5782, Pg. 372.

The same Hadith is also repeated in Volume 7 – with this very interesting footnote:

(1) (H. 5782) Medically it is well-known now that a fly carries some pathogens on some parts of its body as mentioned by the Prophet (s.a.s.), [before 1400 years approx. when the humans knew very little of modern medicine]. Similarly Allah (S.W.T.), created organisms and other mechanisms which kill these pathogens, e.g., Penicillin Fungus kills pathogenic organisms like staphylococci and others etc. Recently experiments have been done under supervision which indicate that a fly carries the disease (pathogens) plus the antidote for those pathogenic organisms. Ordinarily when a fly touches a liquid food it infects the liquid with its pathogens, so it must be dipped in order to release also the antidote for those pathogens to act as a counter balance to the pathogens. Regarding this subject I also wrote through a friend of mine to Dr. Muhammad M. El-Samahy chief of Hadith Dept. in Al-Azhar University, Cairo (Egypt), who has written an article upon this Hadith, and as regards medical aspects, he has mentioned that the microbiologists have proved that there are longitudinal yeast cells living as parasites inside the belly of the fly and these yeast cells, in order to repeat their life cycle, protrude through respiratory tubules of the fly and if the fly is dipped in a liquid, these cells burst in the fluid and the content of those cells is an antidote for the pathogens which the fly carries.
    The Prophet was an Ummi (unlettered) and there is no Revelation on this subject in the Qur'an. Could he have given such a Command "he should dip it" (in the drink) to his followers? If he really knew of these modern medical discoveries 1400 years ago, why was he inaccurate about the location of the antidote? Would the dipping of a fly in a cold drink or glass of drinking water burst open the contents of its belly? What about the bursting of other impurities, slimy materials and excretions those are normally stored in the belly of a fly? 

     Would those who profess to believe in this hadith and its attending medical evidence be willing to carry out its instructions?

     And more importantly, can the faith of a Muslim be questioned if he or she thinks that the above narrations are either unsound or non-authentic and discards the fly or throws out the beverage instead of re-submerging the insect and drinking?

   There are many Believers and Muslim scholars who very devoutly claim and strongly propagate that each and every hadith of Imam Bukhari is a Sahih hadith, meaning; "The Authentic Hadith".

    To deny the authenticity of any one of Bukhari's Hadith means that his entire work is called into question. Anyone who has denied the work of Bukhari has at least undermined the rest of the entire literature of Hadith and as such his Imaan (Faith) as a believing Muslim can be questioned according to the traditionalists.

The Need for Caution

    In effect, each and every "published" hadith that is identified and enumerated cannot be justly labeled "authoritative or sound". Also, the possibility of a "weak" or "faulty" hadith falling under the wrong criteria and/or regarded as "sound" by a compiler, cannot be ruled out with absolute surety. We need to be especially careful in referencing Hadith on the internet, for almost certainly, any text quoted will be taken out of its context and placed in another. Our use of incorrect terminology or classification may end up putting the credibility of the Messenger or the integrity of Islam on the line. Instead it would be preferable to reject the hadiths of a certain narrator or a compiler should the sayings contradict the teachings of the Qur’an. 

   There is a narration that is compiled by Imam Bukhari, whose dedicated, devoted and untiring efforts in the compilation of narrated reports has earned him the unique status, and this authoritative narration speaks of the severe penalty of Hell Fire for "attributing any falsehood to the Prophet". Hence, the need to observe caution should be felt most of all by those who devoutly propagate with uncritical confidence narrations by Bukhari or indeed any other compiler. 

4  Sectarianism and Faulty Hadith

Two Self-contradictory hadiths

      The above warning is also applicable to all those who knowingly propagate falsely attributed sectarian notions, attested to as sayings of the Prophet, especially concerning what will happen after his death. Most of these are not recorded as " Qudsi Hadith". As observed earlier, and attest by the Qur’an, the knowledge of the future is with Allah Alone. Many of the present divisions within the Ummah would not have happened if the narrators and propagators, who want us to obey the Messenger of Allah, had been honest enough and obeyed the Messenger of Allah. 

    The following provides an example of the simultaneous propagation of two self-contradictory hadiths with an accompanying commentary by a Shi'ah Ithna-Ashri scholar and myself. 

From the Shi’ah scholar:

Now consider this hadith report recorded by Mulla Ali Qari in his Sharh-i-fiqh-i-Akbar, 15 “man mata wa lam y’arif Imam-i-zamanihi, faqad mata meetat-al-Jahiliyya.” (One who dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of total ignorance).
15 Mulla Ali Qari is a Sunni Alim and this book is a commentary on Imam Abu Hanifa’s book of Islamic laws FIQH AKBAR

My response:

How could the Prophet, have spoken the text of the above hadith, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari or by anyone for that matter, when the actual concepts of the “Imamah" and the "the Imam of his time" were not even known by the Ummah, who lived during the life of the Prophet? The Concepts of the Caliphate and the Imamat were developed after the death of the Prophet. Even at the Gadir-e-Khoom, in accordance with the Shi’ah Traditions and Riwayats, the Prophet did not declare Hadhrat Ali as the "Imaam" of the Ummah. 
The Shi’ah scholar responded:
The hadith report from the Prophet about the Muslims having twelve Imams is so strongly vouched by Isnaad that it is really impossible to deny it. Consequently, Muslims had to invent at least twelve names to fit that hadith. However, in every century and every generation the list of names has been changing, depending upon who was running the government. It is only the Shi’ah Ithna Asharis who have maintained the list of the twelve Imams from day one and it has not changed.
My further response:
There is a serious problem of reconciliation within these two hadiths. In the earlier hadith, recorded by Mulla Ali Qari, the Prophet is supposed to have said “one who dies without knowing the Imam of his time dies the death of Jahiliyya”. In the latter, so called strongly vouched hadith, the Prophet is supposed to have said “the Muslims having twelve Imams [only]”.
   These two statements contradict each other. If the Prophet knew the future and he also knew certainly that there were not going to be any more Imams (Leaders) after the twelfth Imam, he could not have made the earlier statement to the Muslim Ummah that it was imperative to know the “Imams of their own times". How could those that were to be born after the twelfth Imam, know the "Imams of their own times" when there were going to be none during their lifetime? The earlier statement in effect acknowledges the perpetuity of the Imams that the later statement negates. This demonstrates that the hadiths accepted by the Shiah Muslims also have self-contradictions.

Sunnah and Hadith

   Sunnah means the prophetic ways, traditions and orders that have become models to follow by his followers. It is erroneous to interchange the word Hadith with Sunnah or vice versa. There are several hadiths that have nothing in the least to do with the traditions of the prophet.

    It is not correct to contend that the Sunnah of the Prophet has been communicated to the Ummah by the Hadith literature alone. Historically, the Hadith literature that is in circulation, was non-existent for the first few centuries of Islam. The Prophet’s example has been mostly communicated through the practical examples of the living and practicing Muslim communities. A question asked over and over again by the traditionalists is: How else would I have known how to recite my ritual prayers and how many rakats to recite for each prayer, if not through the compiled Hadith literature, since the Qur’an is silent on these issues? The obvious response would be; In the same manner it was known to the Muslim community for more than two centuries before the compilation of the Hadith literature. 

    If one were to stand up before a congregation in any mosque and ask: “When and how did the worshippers learn to recite their ritual prayers?”. The majority of the Jamaati members would probably answer: 

i. At an early age when he or she had not or could not read the books of hadiths.

ii. In their own homes from the family members or in the Madressahs (religious schools) from the teachers.

     The reality is that the majority of the Sunnahs of the Prophet have been communicated to the society through the examples of living Muslims. 

An Honest Proposition from Dr. J. Lang

     Dr. Jeffery Lang was brought up as a Roman Catholic and educated in a Catholic School. He converted to Islam in the early 1980s. His book Struggling to Surrender - Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam has been a runaway success since its publication in 1994. 16  The following excerpt from its third printing begins with his personal experience and concludes with an honest proposition. 
16 Amana Publications Beltsville, Maryland, USA

Almost a year had passed since I said the Shahadah, and Mahmoud and I had become much more than friends; we were brothers in Islam. We drove together to Fairfield to hear a lecture sponsored by one of the Muslim student groups at the local masjid, which was a small house that had been converted into a place of prayer. We stood out in the large audience, not only because I was the sole American, but because we were practically the only ones wearing Western clothing. Not long after we had found a space to sit on the floor, the first speaker began. Seeking to remind his listeners of the impotence of their faith as compared to that of the Prophet’s Companions, he told the following story. 

The Prophet met a bedouin in the desert and invited him to Islam. The bedouin was resistive and demanded proof of his claims. Muhammad then asked if a witness would do. “We’re in the middle of nowhere! There isn’t another man for miles. Who could possibly serve as your witness?” The Prophet pointed to a nearby tree. “This will be my witness.” At that moment the tree tore one side of its trunk out of the ground and took a step toward the two men; then it ripped the other side of its base from the ground and came another step closer. The bedouin watched in terror and then shouted, “I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah!”

Mahmoud saw the discomfort in my face and tried to redress the damage after the lecture. Of course, he was correct in saying that the audience was not representative of all Muslims and that the value of such a story lies not in its historicity but in its ability to inspire greater awe and consciousness of God.  Indeed, many in the audience had listened transfixed to that and similar stories during the lecture, always following them with outbursts of praise. But I felt that Mahmoud’s argument was more of a Western apology than an Islamic one. In my opinion, such stories violate the Qur’an’s appeal to reason and its de-emphasis on the supernatural in favor of the wonders of nature and creation. However, Mahmoud, with his usual diplomacy, drove home a significant point: who are we to deny the legitimacy of another perspective simply because it disagrees with ours? I now knew that, for my own sake, I needed a better understanding of the place of hadith (the Prophetic traditions) in the life of my new community. I was about to enter a maze of confusion, distortion, suspicion, and dogma, a field to be explored only submissively and superficially, in which there is little room for misgiving. It is to this science that orientalism directs its most formidable criticism. Unfortunately, the literature written by Muslim scholars, whether originally in English or translated from other languages, to counteract this attack has been an entirely inadequate response. And the need for an effective response is urgent for Muslims living in the West, because this subject plays an important role in directing and binding the community, and in meeting the challenge of self-maintenance in a radically foreign environment. A convert to Islam quickly discovers the need to adopt a position on the role of the Sunnah and the hadith in his or her life. The problem is that the options presented are so extreme that many converts soon come to feel estranged from the community they have joined. In my opinion, this situation could be avoided if there were a real chance for honest and open discussion on this subject. (pp. 76-78)

   Doubtless, both lifelong Muslims and the recently converted have had encounters similar to Dr. Lang’s. Perhaps some have feared that open skepticism would ostracize them from their community. 

   At times I have attempted to have honest and open discussions with such speakers (in private) about the dubious narrations. Unfortunately, many would seem to prefer the sacrifice of the prestige of the Prophet (s.a.s.), rather than that of their esteemed narrators and/or compilers, as if they were the infallible ones! 

    Allah alone is Infallible and He alone Knows the Truth behind every "re-narrated report". In Islam, qualifying any one besides Allah as an infallible individual would be a Shirk (the unpardonable sin of associating some one as equal to Allah).

5   A Closer Look at Some Dubious Hadiths

The Prophet and Knowledge of the Unseen

   In preparing to examine various narrations, let us consider the following two hadiths from Sahih al-Bukhari: 

   Hadith 9:477 quoted below tells us that the Prophet did not have the knowledge of the unseen. Narrated by Masruq: 

Aisha said, `If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, he is a liar, for Allah says: “No vision can grasp Him.” [Q.6:103] And if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen the Unseen, he is a liar, for Allah says: "None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allah." ‘[Q. 6:103] 
My Comments:
    The above hadith has valid support from the verses of the Qur’an (10:20; 6:50). Hence, if there are narrations which directly and explicitly contradict the above statement made by Bibi 'Aisha and have no support from the verses of the Qur'an, then all such narrations need to be carefully re-examined if not rejected.

    What could have prompted Bibi 'Aisha to make the above statement and denounce the narrators, calling the propagators liars? Obviously, there must have been false narrations circulating in the name of the Prophet, promoting the Prophet's knowledge of the unseen. Who could be the narrators of such lies? Clearly, some narrators who lived during the life of Bibi 'Aisha. 

   If for some reason, one is not ready to accept this logic because one has been conditioned to think otherwise, then one has to reject this hadith. And of course, if even one sound hadith is rejected, then all of the others are immediately suspect. We cannot pick and choose the hadiths to believe in as a matter of preference; rather the Qur’an must guide us. If all Muslims were to truly believe; Allah Alone has the knowledge of the unseen, some of the sub-Sects of Islam would lose their holds upon their followings. 

    Hadith 1:277 from Bukhari quoted below tells us otherwise and tells us that the Prophet had knowledge of, unseen, past events.
 

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah. The Prophet said,
    'The (people of) Bani Israel used to take baths naked (all together) looking at each other. The Prophet Moses used to take a bath alone. They said, 'By Allah! Nothing prevents Moses from taking a bath with us except that he has a scrotal hernia.' So once Moses went out to take a bath and put his clothes over a stone and then that stone ran away with his clothes. Moses followed that stone saying, "My clothes, O stone! My clothes, O stone! till the people of Bani Israel saw him and said, 'By Allah, Moses has got no defect in his body. Moses took his clothes and began to beat the stone." Abu Hurayrah added, "By Allah! There are still six or seven marks present on the stone from that excessive beating." Abu Hurayrah Narrated: The Prophet said, "When the Prophet Job (Aiyub) was taking a bath naked, golden locusts began to fall on him. Job started collecting them in his clothes. His Lord addressed him, 'O Job! Haven't I given you enough so that you are not in need of them.' Job replied, 'Yes!' By Your Honor (power)! But I cannot dispense with Your Blessings.' " 
My Comments:
   The above is not Qudsi hadith, that is, its source of knowledge does not go beyond the Prophet. The Qur’an does not reveal the details of what is narrated in this hadith. Anyone who has read biographical material on the Prophet can understand that he was not in the habit of telling his companions the stories of the earlier Prophets and/or their intimate conversations with Allah, unless revealed to him by Allah. The earlier verified hadith tells us that the Prophet had no knowledge of the unseen (future or past). Could the Prophet have narrated these things? 

     How did the narrator Abu Hurayrah know which particular stone ran away, more than a thousand years ago in a distant land with the clothes of Prophet Moses? It is unlikely that Abu Hurayrah could have traveled to the distant land, located the place of Bath, identified the stone and then actually seen the markings of the excessive beating on the stone "with his own eyes" to swear "By Allah"! (A Muslim is not likely to swear "By Allah" without first verifying the true facts with his own two eyes, especially when the story happens to be so unlikely.) 

Dr. Jeffery Lang writes:

   It is also hard not to question the authenticity of those accounts that seem incompatible with what one might expect of a prophet or that endorse something that seems to be extreme and unreasonable behavior. On top of all this, a Muslim is expected to accept the assertion that all the hadiths accepted by the majority of earlier and contemporary Muslim specialists are true and accurate reports of Prophet Muhammad's statements and actions. 
    This places many converts in the uncomfortable position of having to rationalize and then yield to a dogma that, because one is not supposed to question it, is very hard to believe in and often forces a compromise of one's commitment to the truth. (p. 81)
(From 'Struggling to Surrender - Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam', p. 81).
 
 

6    Hadith Seen as the Weak Link by Non-Muslims

Rejected narrations inserted later in Al-Bukhari?

     Finally, there are many non Muslim Scholars and critics on Internet who have studied the Qur'an and the Hadith. Some are genuine scholars who point out the inconsistencies in Hadith literature as a matter of scholarly concern. Yet there are others whose primary motive is to shake the foundations of Muslim Brothers and Sisters, especially in the younger generation. When these non-Muslims have a hard time finding facts from the Revealed Verses of the Qur'an that cannot be rebutted, they simply turn to the next document in line, the collections of Hadith. 

   Well-known Christian critic Andrew Vargo has recorded the following observation on the internet website titled <answering-islam>: 

As a matter of scholarly concern, it is interesting to note that Bukhari wrote a book about the narrators ( ‘Zuafa-us-sagher’ ). 

What is even more interesting is that Bukhari's book condemns several narrators including: Ata bin abi Maimoona, Ayyub bin Aiz, Ismail bin Aban, Zubair bin Muhammad, At-Tayyimi, Saeed bin Urwa, Abdullah bin Abi Labeed, Abdul Malik bin Ameen, Abdul waris bin Saeed, Ata bin As-Saib bin Yazeed, and Khamsan bin Minhal as unreliable. 

However, the Hadith-collection of Bukhari in its modern form actually includes many traditions narrated by these very individuals! Obviously, these traditions, which Bukhari rejected, were inserted in his book following his death. 


7    My Response to Six Passages Sent by a Critic

A Muslim critic emails six passages

Before the publication of this book, I had placed on my Internet website 17 an article on the subject of Hadith. A Muslim critic from British Columbia, Canada emailed the following passages from al-Baa’ithul Hatheeth Sharh Ikhtisaar ‘Uloomul Hadith. The writings are from the famous scholar : Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer with commentary by: Shaykh Ahmad Muhammad Shaakir Al-Hamdulillah.
17   <http://www.mostmerciful.com>

Passage Number One:

Al Haafidh Ibn Katheer said 18 : Indeed it is mentioned in Saheeh Muslim from Abee Sa'eed al-Khudree in marfoo' form, 
“Whoever writes from me something other than the Qur'an, then let him erase it.” 

"Marfoo'" comes from the Arabic root word, 'rafa'a', which means: to be raised, or to raise. Marfoo' means something which is raised, in this case - a marfoo' narration is one that stops at a Companion in the chain of narration, but the text is such that none other than the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) could have spoken it. It is used when the Companion does not state that he heard the narration from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), as is the case here. 

18   The above is taken from al-Baa'ithul Hatheeth Sharh Ikhtisaar 'Uloomul Hadeeth p. 129-130.

My Response:

This narration does not give the reason for "erasing" whatever was written. However, there is another narration asking the Companions to "erase whatever was written" and here the reason given by the Prophet was so as not to follow the path of the people of the earlier Prophets. History records that the writings of the Rabbinic literature -the Talmud, did overshadow the Torah, which was revealed to the earlier Prophet Moses. The writings of Paul - the Epistles, did overshadow the Injeel 19 that was revealed to Prophet Isa. In other words, the Prophet did not want his Ummah to repeat the same mistake of Creating a "Secondary Document" that would at a later date overshadow what was revealed to him. 
19   The term “Injeel” used in the Qur’an may literally translate “Gospel”. Specifically, it refers to the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God’ preached by Jesus Christ (see Mark 1:14), as opposed to the four gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Passage Number Two:

Al Bayhaqee and Ibnus Salaah and others have said:
Perhaps the prohibition of that was for when it was feared that it would get mixed in with the Qur'an, and then afterwards it was secured from that. And Allah knows best.
My response:

The use of the word "Perhaps", and the phrase “Allah knows best" indicate that the above statement is based upon an assumption or a surmise. The statement has no supporting evidence that would qualify the passage as a definite statement of Truth and not a speculative conjecture. 

Passage Number Three:

I say, that it has been established in the two Saheehs that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, 
   'Write for Abee Shaah.' And indeed we clarified this topic in the introductions of our first books. And for Allah is the praise.
My Response:

There are reports that when an individual had a weak memory, the Messenger of Allah gave such individual instructions. There are always exceptions to well-defined rules. Even within the Revealed Verses of the Qur’an, there are exceptions for certain groups of people for certain reasons. Such exceptions are not the norm and cannot be applied to everyone or to normal circumstances. This particular isolated incident concerned the writing of a Khutbah (the nature of which is different from that of the prophetic sayings or deeds). One cannot with all sincerity elevate an isolated instruction to a valid command from the Messenger, to repeal the earlier command; “Whoever writes from me something other than the Qur'an, then let him erase it.” 

Passage Number Four:

Indeed it was related that scholars of later times agreed upon the permissibility of writing the hadiths, and this matter is exhaustive, widespread, and well known, without disapproval. 
My response:

The Statement speaks of “agreement(s)” by and between the scholars. Such agreement(s) may be “exhaustive, widespread, and well known and without disapproval”, yet if they are applied to annul, rescind or invalidate a maroof Command of the Prophet, they have to be based upon a similar maroof or explicit Command by the Prophet. The Statement does not speak of receiving such a directive. Indeed, if there was a valid maroof or explicit narration for the permissibility of writing the hadiths then the need for such agreement was un-called for, redundant and superfluous. The Statement speaks of the scholars of later times but does not specify the time period(s) of such accord(s). It does not mention the names of the scholars that had reached an agreement. This agreement seems to be a kind of verbal thing because there is no mention of any written document or the text having been recorded. In absence of these essential data the quoted statement appears to be lacking the necessary support to rescind the earlier Command of the Prophet; 'Whoever writes from me something other than the Qur'an, then let him erase it.' 

Passage Number Five:

Ibnus Salaah said,
“And from what has been narrated to us about it is that it was disliked by: 'Umar, and Ibn Mas'ood, and Zayd Ibn Thaabit, and Abu Moosaa, and Abu Sa'eed in a group of late comers from the Companions, and the following generation.” 
My Response: 

The above statement tells us that those who dislike the act of the "writing" of the hadiths are in the company of: Umar ibn al-Khattab - the second Caliph and a very close companion of the Prophet; Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ood an early convert and close companion of the Prophet. He was a prominent Qari who was also knowledgeable on the Shariah and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Zayd Ibn Thaabit was personal secretary to the Messenger and took dictation from him. Zayd was also appointed the head of a Commission that collected the verses of the Qur’an for the final compilation, under the direction of Caliph ‘Uthman. Abu Moosaa al-Ashari was a companion of the Prophet whose real name was Abdullah Ibn Qays Ibn Saleem. He was a reputable Faqih endowed with intelligence and could give sound judgement based upon the Qur'an, Sunnah and Hadith. He was also the Governor of Basra. Abee Sa'eed al Khudree was the one who narrated the above quoted maroof hadith about erasing the "sayings of the Prophet" that had been written by the companions.

Passage Number Six:

He (Ibnus Salaah) also said,
   “And from what has been reported to us regarding the permissibility of that or doing it: 'Alee, and his son al-Hasan, and Anas, and 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar Ibnul 'Aas in a group from amongst the Companions and the following generation.”
My response:

   The above Statement tells us that those who like the idea of the writing of hadiths are in the company of: 'Alee Ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet. He was among the earliest to convert. His eloquent sermons and letters are well preserved. He was very knowledgeable in the Qur'an. Al-Hasan Ibn 'Alee Ibn Abi Talib was the senior grandson of the Prophet from his daughter Fatima. The Prophet used to play with him and loved him. Anas Ibn Malik Al-Ansari was the brother of the famous valiant companion of the Prophet, Al-Baraa Ibn Malik Al-Ansari. ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar was son of Caliph ‘Umar and had joined the army of the prophet at very young age. 

   It is a natural response that these companions – perhaps those who were nearest him and loved him most – would want to preserve all that they could surrounding the life of their beloved Prophet. They could not have foreseen the chaos that would arise from these re-narrated reports.

    From the Glorious Qur’an:

 Most of them follow naught but conjecture. Assuredly conjecture can by no means take the place of truth. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.   Q. 10:36
8    The Qur’an on Ludicrous Hadiths

Hadiths that mislead from the Path of Allah

Allah’s Command about Ludicrous Hadiths in the Qur’an:

But there are among men those who purchase idle tales without knowledge (or meaning) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty." Qur'an 31: 6
The Arabic phrase translated by Yusuf Ali as "idle tales" is "lahw al-Hadeethi". In the Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur'an the word "lahw" is translated as "ludicrous (ridiculous)". The word "al-Hadeethi" is translated as "the narrative, the story, the tale, the event, the discourse, the saying, etc." In the literal sense this verse of the Qur'an tells us not to purchase (patronize) "ludicrous (ridiculous) hadiths" and mislead others from the Path of Allah, without knowledge of the real facts. Do not purchase (patronize) the "ludicrous (ridiculous) hadiths"... This is Allah's Command. 

Here is the alternate literal translation of the verse 31: 6:

But there are among men those who patronize ridiculous hadiths without knowledge (thereby) misleading (men) from the Path of Allah and throwing a butt of mockery (on the Path): for such there will be a humiliating Penalty." 
Ridiculous Hadiths that Undermine the Credibility of the Prophets
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah in Sahih Al-Bukhari 20
Allah's Apostle said, 
    (The Prophet) Solomon once said, 'Tonight I will sleep with ninety women, each of whom will bring forth a (would-be) cavalier who will fight in Allah's Cause.' On this, his companion said to him, 'Say: Allah willing!' But he did not say Allah willing. Solomon then slept with all the women, but none of them became pregnant but one woman who later delivered a half-man. By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad's soul is, if he (Solomon) had said, 'Allah willing' (all his wives would have brought forth boys) and they would have fought in Allah's Cause as cavaliers. 
20  Hadith no. 8:634 as per CD Alim
My Comments:

Earlier we have observed that a hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah was regarded as Ma'lul (defective) because the reported saying was not of the Prophet but of Abu Hurayrah's friend named Ka'b al-Ahbar. This is recorded by Ibn Taimiyyah in Majmu' Fatawa. Ka'b al-Ahbar was a former Jew. The story of 'The Creation' narrated by Abu Hurayrah, was very similar to the version found in the Book of Genesis. We have also observed that a hadith recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, in connection with the earlier Prophets Moses and Job, "both taking baths naked", is also a Ma'lul (defective) hadith. Such ludicrous tales of the earlier Prophets may also have been interpreted from the tales of the Jewish friends of Abu Hurayrah and not from the Prophet. The above preposterous and ludicrous narration in Sahih al-Bukhari, about the sexual exploits of the earlier Prophet Solomon on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, is also a Ma'lul hadith. One need not be a professor of mathematics to work out the probabilities of a person having "slept (had sex) with all the ninety women" in one night. Clearly, Abu Hurayrah has been influenced by stories from the Jews, although the hadith bears no resemblance to stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. Abu Hurayrah has repeated this ludicrous hadith six times, and they all are recorded in the Sahih al-Bukhari. Surprisingly, Abu Hurayrah has not been consistent in his narrations. He has given five different figures for the number of women Prophet Solomon "slept with in one night". In hadith 9: 561, there were sixty women; in hadith 4: 635, seventy women; in hadith 8: 634 and 711, ninety women; in hadiths 4: 74A and 7: 169, ninety-nine or one hundred women. The question is; which of the above narrations is authoritative and true? If you accept only one of the above listed narrations to be authoritative and true, then the rest of the recorded narrations have to be declared as non-authoritative and untrue. If one acknowledges all the recorded narrations to be authoritative and true then one has to accept not only this most unlikely story, but that the similar events were repeated on at least five different nights and narrated by the Prophet at least five times with five different figures. 21 Imam Bukhari is said to have been extra meticulous in his collection. If so, could he have recorded all these self-contradicting narrations in his own work? If not, whose compilation is this and what other hadiths has this anonymous storyteller added to the collection? 
21  The above-mentioned numberings for the hadiths are from the computer CD Alim. The numberings may vary in the printed volumes of Sahih al-Bukhari.

   The verses of the Glorious Qur'an revealed to the Prophet say:

To David We gave Solomon (for a son) how excellent in Our service! Ever did he turn (to Us)!  Q. 38:30 
    Having known and preached the above verse, the Prophet could not have narrated such a ludicrous story about the Prophet Solomon. The Prophet would not narrate any tale that would throw ridicule in the Path of Allah, after having preached verse number 6 of Sura Luqman. 

    Do not turn away from Allah's Sign revealed in 31:6 and quoted above. In the subsequent verse Allah has described the fate of those who continue purchasing (patronizing) ludicrous hadiths and turn away in arrogance as if they did not hear the above quoted Message. 

When Our Signs are rehearsed to such a one he turns away in arrogance as if he heard them not as if there were deafness in both his ears: announce to him a grievous Penalty. Qur’an. 31:7
Please bring to your remembrance the above Command of Allah whenever you hear or read any ludicrous or ridiculous hadith. Try not to patronize these kind of narrations (Hadiths). It is incorrect to contend that there are no ludicrous or ridiculous narrations within the authentic hadiths. In volume one of Sahih Al-Bukhari under books number 5 entitled ‘The Book Of Ghusl (Bath)’ and number 6 entitled ‘The Book Of Menses’, there are several narrations that are sexually so intimate and implicit that neither the Prophet nor any of his wife could have reported such preposterous reports to any narrator. It is the duty of every Muslim to defend the reputation and character of the Prophet from such ludicrous re-narrated dubious reports. 
“The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves…” (Qur’an 33: 6) 
The Vivid Stories of "Dajjal" and the "anti-Christ" in the Qur'an?

   A short time ago, I was sent a complimentary copy of the recently published book entitled American Muslims: the new generation by Asma Gull Hasan. 22

   On page 58, I found the following passages on the subject ‘Jesus – Islam’s Messiah at the End of the World’. 

   The Qur’an describes the beginning of the end of the world: famine, storms, floods, vandalism, and rampant immorality prompting the arrival of Dajjal, the name of the anti-Christ in the Qur’an. Dajjal is described as a monster of God’s creation, brought into existence by, and as an expression of, man’s increasing savagery… 
   Dajjal’s reign of terror lasts only forty days, however, because God sends Jesus down from Heaven on a white horse with a lance in his hand to save the world for the righteous people… Jesus’ throne will also be lowered to Earth from Heaven… Jesus will lead an army of the righteous against Dajjal, who will be defeated by this army but will manage to escape. Nevertheless, Jesus finds Dajjal and kills him with God’s lance. 
22  Hasan, Asma Gull. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, New York, NY 10017. ISBN 0-8264-1279-3, Year 2000
     Significantly, neither the terms "Dajjal" and "anti-Christ" nor the vividly described futuristic events associated with these personalities appear within the Glorious Qur'an. However, the above terms and the events similar to the ones mentioned by the author - a young educated Muslim student - appear within the Hadith literature. The confusion is obvious because the vividly described gripping stories of Dajjal and anti-Christ are narrated in nearly one hundred or so hadiths. They are often repeated in the sermons at the Mosques to warn the worshippers of the future calamities and foretell the eventual solution for the Islamic Ummah. 

  The author's contention that the quoted passage is or could be the interpretation of the verses of the Qur'an is specious since the main characters and activities - the animal (white horse), the object (God's Lance) and the described durations of the events - are not to be found in the Qur'an.

Isra’iliyat Narrations within Hadiths and Commentaries

   Earlier in this article we examined an "Isra'iliyat" (of Jewish or Judeo-Christian origin) narration that had been introduced within Sahih Muslim (Book 38:6707). The implanted material promotes the "Creation Story" from the Torah. The following "Isra'iliyat Narration" within Sahih Al-Bukhari that promotes the "Law of Moses" also asserts that the Qur'an is incomplete. Since this is a very serious allegation, I wish to direct your attention toward recorded evidence from the books written by Muslim scholars that confirm that some Jews used to manufacture hadiths and write tafseer of the Qur'an. Dr. Suhaib Hasan writes in his book, An Introduction to the Science of Hadith:

…[W]hen the second caliph, Umar bin al- Khattab decided to expel the Jews from Khaibar, some Jewish dignitaries brought a document to Umar apparently proving that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had intended that they stay there by exempting them from the jizyah (tax on non-Muslims under the rule of Muslims); the document carried the witness of two Companions, Sa'd bin Mu’adh and Mu'awiyah b. Abi Sufyan. Umar rejected the document outright, knowing that it was fabricated because the conquest of Khaibar took place in 6 AH, whereas Sa'd bin Mu’adh died in 3 AH just after the Battle of the Trench, and Mu'awiyah embraced Islam in 8 AH, after the conquest of Makkah! (pp 49-50) 
Interestingly enough the footnote to this text speaks of the repeated attempts by Jews to deceive Muslims. Ibn al-Qayyim mentions more than ten clear indications of the forgery of the document, which the Jews repeatedly attempted to use to deceive the Muslims over the centuries, but each time a scholar of Hadîth intervened to point out the forgery - such incidents occurred with Ibn Jarîr al-Tabarî (d. 310), al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî (d. 463) and Ibn Taimiyyah (d. 728), who spat on the document as it was unfolded from beneath its silken covers. 23
23 "See Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Manar al-Munif fi 'l- Sahih wa 'l-Dacif (ed. A.F. Abû Ghuddah, Lahore, 1402/1982), pp. 102-105 for a fuller discussion.

     Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi Thaqafat al-Da'iah, in his book, Mu'saasat al-Resalah24  observes: 

    Because the Jews were defeated militarily by the Muslims and wanting to resist by using another weapon --an intellectual one-- they slipped in the Isra'iliyat (narrations and tafseers) and, within a short period, the Muslim books were full of it. 
24  Published from Beirut, page 41

   Dr. Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabi, in his book, Al-Tafsir wal-Mufassirun, Volume 1, 25  has recorded the fact that Wahb ibn Munabbih ibn Kamil Sanani al-Yamani, his brother Hammam ibn Munabbih (who is reported to have written 138 Hadiths in his Sahifa), Ka'b ibn Mati al-Himyari, Abu Ishaq also known as Ka'b al-Ahbar, and other converts from the “People of the Book” introduced into the Muslim's creed the Israiliyah traditions from their own books. Similar evidence is also found in Muhammad Abd-el-Ghani Hasan's book Attarikh 'end al-Musleman. It is also known that Wahb ibn Munabbih and Ka'b al-Ahbar taught the Tafseer of the Qur'an to Muslims. Scholars like Abdullah ibn Ma'sud had warned people not to learn the Tafseer of the Qur'an from the “People of the Book,” because they used to interpolate their own biblical beliefs, teachings and history with the Islamic creeds and preaching.
25 Published by Dar al-Qalam, Beirut

    It is now time that we Muslims of this century try to distinguish the authentic material from the material that was implanted centuries ago. 

Hadiths that assert the Qur’an is incomplete

   The following text appears in Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 86, The Book of Al-Hudud, Hadith No. 6829 26 . Please note that the following narration is not the saying of the Prophet, but is claimed to be that of Umar ibn al-Khattab (r.a.). He is alleged to have spoken this passage after the death of the Prophet. Since the documents have been forged in the name of the Prophet then it would have been an easy matter for a forger to fabricate unrecorded spoken words of a companion of the Prophet as well as to forge the names of the narrators. 
26 In the computer CD Alim the number is 8: 816.

Hadith narrated by Ibn 'Abbas. Caliph 'Umar said, 
    I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, 'We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,' and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." 'Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him. 
    The extended text of the above report appears in the next hadith 86.6830 (8-817). It is also narrated by Ibn 'Abbas. The obvious questions that would arise after reading the above text are: What is the penalty prescribed in the Qur'an for those who commit illegal sexual intercourse? Is that a substituted penalty for the abrogated or caused to be forgotten, earlier penalty of "stoning to death"? Did the Prophet and his companions in fact carry out the penalty of "stoning to death" as narrated? 

The Qur’an on adultery

   The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case in a matter prescribed by Allah if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty or an Unbeliever, nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden. Q.24:2-3 (Translation by Yusuf Ali)

My Comments: 

1. The above Command does not state that the penalty prescribed is a substituted penalty for the earlier revealed penalty for the same crime (sin). Neither the quoted Hadith nor the commentaries to the Qur'an has recorded the text of the so called abrogated or caused to be forgotten Verses of "stoning to death".

2. The quoted verses of the Qur'an speak of "marriage" for the guilty parties. That fact conclusively proves that Allah has Himself granted the guilty parties an opportunity to live on within the society and have a family life. Also the fact that Allah has forbidden the Believers from marrying the adulterer or adulteress clearly indicates that men and women who had committed these sins were not being killed but were spared and allowed to live on. In the translation by M. M. Pickthall the guilty man and guilty woman are called adulterer and adulteress. The punishment of flogging is commanded for both - man and woman. The punishment of flogging is commanded for fornication and adultery. 

3. If one was to assert, based upon the recorded text of the hadith, that stoning to death was indeed the prevalent penalty even after the death of the Prophet, ("Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.") then one has but to admit that either Umar and his party ("we") had been knowingly disobeying the above command of flogging or they had never heard the verses of Sura An-Nur which were most probably revealed in the latter half of 6 A.H. These are most unlikely stories in either case. When a question was asked if Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, (stoning to death) before or after the revelation of Sura An-Nur, the answer given by 'Abdullah bin Abi Aufa was "I don't know". (see Sahih Al-Bukhari 8: 804 and 8: 824). 

4. There are lengthy arguments presented by the upholders of the Hadith such as; Whenever Allah wants to abrogate His earlier Command He makes us forget it (verses 2:106 and 16:101 of the Qur'an) or the earlier text is expunged or removed from the Qur'an in some mysterious manner, as for an example; A goat ate up the page or leaf on which the missing Verses of stoning to death were written! (Note: The question is: what about the reciters who had memorized the entire Qur'an?). There is also a hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari (5: 188), which records that the Prophet had joined a group of stoning monkeys and had personally stoned a she-monkey who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. {Note: Allah has forbidden the purchase of ludicrous hadith. Qur'an 31: 6}. 
    There are several narrations in Sahih Al-Bukhari stating that the Prophet had asked for the guilty Jewish individuals to be stoned to death, when he was informed of the fact that this was the prescribed punishment for them in Torah.  However, none of these arguments and examples can or does change the undeniable fact that the penalty prescribed in Sura an-Nur is the final known Command on this subject. It is inconceivable that Umar who was known for his strict discipline could have personally disobeyed the final Command of Sura An-Nur and instead observed a hypothetical earlier Command that was not in the Book. 

5. The text of the fabricated narration records that it was the wish and desire of Umar to re-insert the verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Qur'an, so that the future generations might not go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. If for some reason or reasons, one was adamant in his or her claim that whatever is compiled within Sahih Al-Bukhari has to be nothing but authentic then he or she must also believe that spoken words of Umar are hundred percent authentic and those who are reciting and reading the Qur'an complied and circulated by Khalifa 'Uthman have certainly gone astray. I hope he or she knows what that in reality means! 

6. This narration could have been inserted by interested parties who sought support from the Prophet for the Mosaic Law of Rajam.

7. Allah has undertaken to protect the Qur'an from corruption and He has done so. The hadith insinuates that the verses of Rajam are missing from the Qur’an. 

Consider. (Allah wants the believers to think and then decide). Should one uphold anything that directly, indirectly or remotely give rise to a totally unsubstantiated assertion that the Qur’an is incomplete? It is now time that we Muslims of this century try to distinguish the authentic material from the fabricated material in the corpus of Hadith.

We have without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)  Qur’an 15: 9 
Praise be to Allah Who hath sent to His Servant the Book and hath allowed therein no Crookedness:  Qur’an 18: 1


 HADITH BOOK - SECTION THREE 


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