And when it is said to them “Come, the Messenger of Allah will pray for your forgiveness”, they turn aside their heads, and thou wouldst see them turning away their faces in arrogance. [Qur’an, The Hypocrites, 63:5]
Today, many Western educated people in Islamic circles claim to be able to reinterpret Islam by reference to the Holy Qur’an only, disregarding the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) entirely. They strike at the very foundation of Islam on which it has been firmly based for the last fourteen centuries. In vain, they attempt to derive the vast way of life from their own conception, to enable them to live a life patterned on western Europe while fixing the label of Islam to it.
The spread of these so-called “modern” ideas would have incalculably disastrous effects on the thought and practice, and collective life of the world of Islam. This sect has gone further by innovating ideas even stranger to Islam to the extent that they seek to reinterpret even basic worship like prayer and fasting. These innovations pave a way where well established Islamic beliefs and acts of worship were questioned and argued about, then distorted or abandoned.
There is a driving force behind rejecting all ahadith; it comes from the disease of hypocrisy. It is a perfect balance of belief and disbelief in the religion. On one hand, the Qur’an is believed. Yet on the other hand, the Messenger is repelled. This insinuates a new social and religious order for the Muslims which is justified by misinterpreting the Book of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). They sometimes refer to themselves as “Quranists”. This is misleading because all Muslims believe in the Qur’an. So their distinction is not in affirming the Qur’an, but in rejecting the Hadith.
We shall comment on the most outrageous antics of present-day ‘progressives’, expose their hatred for Islamic teachings and report on the complete failure of their call.
Origins of the Sect
When it is said to them: ‘Come to what Allah hath revealed and to the Messenger’: thou seest the Hypocrites avert their faces from thee in disgust. [Qur’an, The Women, 4:61]
One of the movements within the hypocrites, even in the time of the Prophet, was to separate the Qur’an from the Messenger. When the Prophet would instruct something, the hypocrites would ask if it was in the Qur’an because they would not listen to it otherwise. They would even say this to the face of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
These movements later formed sects that indulged in this practice, such as the Mu’tazilah from the 3rd Islamic Century. They gave precedence to intellect over the revealed texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The argumentation based on Greek philosophy is among innovations in the religion that created intellectual schisms in the Muslim nation and initiated deviant trends. This attitude set a precedent for all later groups who sought to make intellect and desire decisive over the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Later on, the history of these ideas took root in Orientalist critiques and attacks on Islam’s textual sources. One strategy of Orientalists has been to try to portray the hadith as inauthentic, thereby casting doubt onto the legitimacy of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). This paves a way to misinterpret Islamic texts in light of rational thought, modern values and even feelings and desires.
We can even look before the time of the Prophet to find sources of these ideas. A stark resemblance can be realized with the modernist movement in Christianity and Judaism. As a matter of fact, European modernist movements continue to provide much inspiration to their ‘Muslim’ counterparts, and therefore understanding the western-modernist helps us understand the objectives of those who seek to modernize Islamic teachings and values.
The modernist movement has origins in medieval Europe, whose basic view is that the religion should change according to circumstance. Modernism initiated a rationalist approach to the Bible that took a skeptical view of miracles and the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach attempted to evaluate the meaning of the Bible by focusing on the text alone and ignoring what the Church fathers had historically taught about it. The excesses of the Christian church in Medieval Europe and the view that the Church was a hurdle to social, scientific and cultural progress gave strength to the idea of the separation of the Church and the State – giving rise to secularism.
Modern European philosophers played an important role in forwarding Modernism, by using philosophy to integrate the Christian and Jewish scriptures with secular learning. Collectively these trends were seen as ‘progressive thinking,’ and it was forcefully argued that religion must be primarily caused and centered on the feelings of believers.
Modernist, neo-philosophers and secularists have succeeded in changing the face of Christianity to its very core. They have forced it to give into unlimited concessions, until even the most scandalous heretical action or statement is ignored. Everything seems to be permitted for everyone until there remains little to distinguish between a Christian and a secular humanist.
Modernists look to the West and try to reinterpret the “old religion” with modern science and modern times; however, their premises and assumptions are wrong. They fail to realize that Islamically, an advanced society is not measured by material progress, but rather the one that shows the most obedience to the commands of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) and has a better understanding of the Deen. This is why in matters of the Deen, the later generations have to refer back to the understanding of the first generations of Islam, which were much more advanced and pure in their religious understanding. In fact, the current societies have the things of the old societies (such as homosexuality, etc.) as mentioned in the Qur’an.
Lost in Translation
The people did not become ignorant and begin to differ until they abandoned Arabic terminology and adopted the terminology of Aristotle. It should be well understood that this sect is entirely devoid of the essential knowledge required for expressing any opinion about Islam. The Qur’an has been studied in translation without any solid grounding in the Arabic language. The books of Hadith and the earliest sources of Islamic Law have not been studied at all; even Islamic history is only known at third or fourth hand. History is blatantly contradicted and logic is flouted, as if these two essentials of intelligent human thinking are of no value. Indeed, they are of no value to those who wish to put forward pure fictions of their imagination as truth, for history and logic are their worst enemies.
A Complete Religion
Hadith-rejectors usually use the below verse to say that the Qur’an alone is sufficient:
One day We shall raise from all peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide a Mercy and Glad Tidings to Muslims. [Qur’an, The Bee, 16:89]
The problem is they usually leave out the first part of this verse, leaving the verse out of context. Prophet Muhammad is a witness against his people. So his understanding of the Qur’an is the true understanding that was intended by Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). Indeed the Qur’an is complete, but are we complete? This is why Allah illustrated the Qur’an through the Messenger. We are commanded to follow his examples and interpretations of the Qur’an to understand the true inner meanings as it was intended.
Allah has told us of four functions of the Prophet, of which only the first refers to the Qur’an, “reciting His revelations”; the other three are “purifying”, “teaching the Book” and “teaching Wisdom”. These four functions have been described as the purpose for which God has sent the Messenger, and God’s guidance to man will be fulfilled and completed by all and not by one only.
A similar (favour have ye already received) in that We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our Signs, and sanctifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and Wisdom, and in new knowledge. [Qur’an, The Cow, 2:151]
The explanation by the Messenger is not only needed by people at the time of the Prophet, but by all subsequent generations until the last day. Rather, the greater the distance in age from the time of the Prophet, the greater the need to solve differences in understanding by reference to the original state of affairs.
(We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought. [Qur’an, The Bee, 16:44]
Furthermore, the above verse also gives instructions about the order in which the Qur’an should be understood. First the Messenger explains Allah’s revelation clearly to mankind and then they give thought. People are not free to let loose their thoughts and speculate about the message of the Qur’an whilst ignoring the teachings of the Messenger.
Our religion is truly complete and this includes everything that came with it: Qur’an and Sunnah. Anything that came after the death of the Messenger is innovation.
Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swine-flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Qur’an, The Table Spread, 5:3
Best of Nations
”And We have made you the best nation so that you bear testimony against mankind.” [2:143]
Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) states in the Qur’an that we are the best of nations and a witness over humanity. This implies that there should be no possibility of agreeing on a mistake in a fashion of collective consensus of the Ummah (ijma`). Hadith-rejectors would have you believe that their ideas are logical and normal, but their marginal ideas are outside the collective reasoning of the Ummah.
Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear signs; for them is a dreadful penalty.― [Qur’an, The Women, 3:105]
Authenticity of Hadith
Hadith-rejectors shed doubts on the validity of the process by which ahadith are declared as authentic or fabricated. Their uncertainty is a result of their ignorance or lack of correct appreciation for the science of hadith verification, which is more comprehensive than information brought forth by western literature of modern times.
To accept the Qur’an and reject the Hadith on the basis of reliability defies reason. We have received both the Qur’an and the Hadith through the same channels. The same people who transmitted the Qur’an from the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also transmitted the Hadith. They are reliable believers, to say the least, who are actually protected until the Day of Judgement in the Qur’an.
The vanguard (of Islam)― the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds― well― pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He prepared Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the Supreme Felicity. [Qur’an, The Repentance, 9:100]
In this verse, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) is saying that the Muhajirin (those who migrated from Mecca to Medina) and the Ansar (the people of Medina) and those righteous people that came after them have been promised heaven. If these people supposedly fabricated the Hadith, how can Allah promise heaven to them? As a matter of fact, they are the same people who also passed the Qur’an down to us.
It is important to note that the Hadith is passed on to us by “Mutawattir” narrations. Mutawattir narrations are narrations that have been transmitted by so many people that it would be impossible for all of the transmitters to fabricate such a narration. It is not believable that ALL those Muslims could have corrupted Islam, especially if they were promised paradise by Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He).
Follow the Leader
Lo! those who disbelieve and turn from the way of Allah and oppose the messenger after the guidance hath been manifested unto them, they hurt Allah not a jot, and He will make their actions fruitless. O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the messenger, and render not your actions vain. [Qur’an, Surah Muhammad, 47:32-33]
Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) tells us in the Qur’an that we have no real faith unless we obey the Messenger without any doubts. We know the Qur’an is timeless and for Muslims until the Day of Judgement, so following the Messenger includes us.
We sent not a Messenger but to be obeyed, in accordance with the Will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. But no, by thy Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. [Qur’an, The Women, 4:64-65]
Prophet Muhammad did not come just to hand us the Qur’an like some delivery person. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) could have dropped the Qur’an on a mountain and have mankind stumble on it if this was the case.
Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah, such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect. [Qur’an, The Exile, 59:21]
Instead, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) sent down the Qur’an on Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and indeed it humbled him to be the best example to walk the face of the earth. How can anyone think they can practice or understand the Qur’an better than the Messenger?
Say: “O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believed in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.” [Qur’an, The Heights, 7:158]
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah. [Qur’an, The Combined Forces, 33:21]
Say: “If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, The Family of Imran, 3:31]
The Messenger was sent as a leader of the Ummah until the Day of Judgement. Modernists put themselves and their logic as their leader instead; an arrogant practice that results in the idolization of oneself.
No, by your Lord, they will not become true believers until they put you [Muhammad] as a ruler in that which they dispute. [Qur’an, The Women, 4:65]
O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination. [Qur’an, The Women, 4:59]
The Messenger of Allah plays a vital role in Islam even today. Without this, we are left with nothing but opinions of moderate, extremist and arrogant “scholars” who try to elevate themselves over the Messenger.
O Ye who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger; but fear Allah: for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things. O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. [Qur’an, The Rooms, 49:1-2]
Not only are we commanded to follow and emulate the Prophet, but to also respect and honor him. The hypocrites say disgusting things about the Prophet in public and in private. This contradiction with the Qur’an proves they do not read or understand it.
“In order that ye (o men) may believe in Allah and His Messenger that ye may assist and honour Him and celebrate His praises morning and evening.” [Qur’an, The Victory, 48:9]
Allah and His angels, send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! send ye blessings on him and salute him, with all respect. [Qur’an, The Combined Forces, 33:56]
And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. [Qur’an, The Pen, 68:4]
It is quite clear from the numerous above-mentioned verses that there is no room in the Qur’an to disregard the teachings and examples of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The movement of hadith-rejectors is nothing more than a movement of hypocrites trying to destroy Islam, as was done to other religions. The Qur’an cannot be changed, which drives the enemies of Islam to other tactics.
If you wish to be firm upon the truth and upon the way of the Ahlus-Sunnah before you; beware of the theological rhetoric and of disputation, arguing, analogy and debating about the religion with hadith-rejectors. Listening to them, even if you do not accept from them, throws doubts into the heart. This is sufficient for you to be destroyed. There has never been any heresy, innovation, innovated sect or misguidance except through rhetoric, disputation, argumentation and analogy. These are the gates of innovation, doubt and heresy.
They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds. [Qur’an, The Hypocrites, 49:1]