By M. Asadi
The Koran and the History of Religion
Humankind were one community, then God sent prophets as bearers of good news and as warners and revealed with them the Book with the truth that it [the Book] might judge between humankind concerning that in which they differed. And only those to whom the book was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had been given them, through mutual hatred and rivalry&127;(Koran 2:213)
According to the Koran, as has been the case in the history of all the prophets (Koran 25:30-33), Muslims have fallen victim to inventions against, the word of God, the Koran. These inventions have distorted the way that God sent down via all the prophets. The message that God has been sending down has been the same all throughout history, same in every way (Koran42:13). Even though the Koran says in well over 15 places, that it is explained in detail, Tafseel (Koran 6:114 etc.), and contains a full explanation of whatever is needed by a believer (Koran 16:89), and should be enough, Kaafi, for them (Koran 29:51), and contains the complete law (Shariah) of God (Koran 45:18 and 42:13), as against man-made law or Shariah (Koran 42:21), "Muslims" insist that the Koran needs supplements to be understood, and lacks details. This amounts to disbelieving what God himself says in unequivocal terms in the Koran.
The Koran and Hadith:
The Koran states explicitly that the messenger's duty was only to convey (Balagh) the message (Koran 29:18) contained in the Koran (Koran 69:44) and that the Koran was the only Wahi (revelation) given to the prophet to be conveyed to people (Koran 6:19), by testimony of God Himself. Therefore to follow the words of God in the Koran would be to follow the messenger. Thus following God is the same as following the messenger, who only conveyed the Koran (see Koran 4:80)
The inventions against the true words of God, revealed to the messengers, which is called their true speech (Qawl- Koran 69:40) are the so called "Hadith" (stories about the sayings and doings of the prophets) as narrated by the writers of the Old Testament, the Gospels of Jesus (i.e. the "Hadith" about Jesus), and the various Hadith about the prophet Muhammed contained in the many "extra-Koranic" books believed in by the Sunni and Shia schools of thought. People have attributed these things throughout history to the messengers, whereas the messengers could never have said them given the history of the documents and the Criterion (Furqaan) of the Koran (Koran 2:185)
The Koran states:
"Do they not consider the Koran with care, If it had been from anyone other than Allah, it would contain many discrepancies (Koran 4:82)."
Any document that claims to be from God, but in actuality is not would contain some form of error according to the Koran. What we see on analysis is that the Hadith attributed to Muhammed and the Gospels attributed to Jesus fail this test of authenticity. What we also see is the subjectivity of the various Muslims groups. They reject the Gospels of Jesus based on the same test as being corrupt whereas similar defects found in the books of Hadith are overlooked by them and they accept them as being authentic sayings of Muhammed. Let us have a look at the books of Hadith:
Hadith are the various traditions contained in specific books, believed in by the majority of Muslims to be the sayings of the prophet Muhammed. These in the major part are extra-Koranic, i.e. from outside the Koran. They either contradict or add to the Koran. Muslims sometimes present them as an explanation of the Koran or as an integral part of Islamic law, even though the Koran does not confirm them.
A minority among the Muslims does not accept the various books of Hadith as being an accurate representation of what the prophet Muhammed said. They take the Koran as Criterion (Furqaan in Arabic), according to the Koran's own claim (2:185), accepting only those Hadith [tradition or narration attributed to the prophet] which the Koran confirms and attests in totality. I represent that view in this paper. Opposition to the Hadith, and the whole body of extra-Koranic literature on Islam as doctrine, has existed from the earliest days of Islam. This is well documented by Shafi (died 204AH/ 819AD).
The Koran, historically predates any written Hadith and there is no mention of Hadith or the Sunna of the Prophet in what we possess as writings before the third century after the prophet. Koran and rationality based on its principles formed the basis of religion for first century Muslims (Rahman 1979). Thus contrary to being an innovation, following the Koran alone is historically the original Islam and hadith and other extra-Koranic literature is an innovation, introduced in its written form in the 3rd century after the prophet.
And they scattered not, those who were given the Book, except AFTER the clear sign came unto them. They were commanded only to serve God, making the way PURE for Him alone(Koran 98:1-)
Hadith and the Gospels:
The various books of Hadith that we see in Muslim society today are the same in relation to Muhammed, as the gospels are to Jesus. They are both similar in that both were complied [in what we possess today] centuries after Muhammed and Jesus respectively [unlike the Koran which was memorized and written down at the time of its revelation] and they both present no proof of authenticity [unlike the Koran in which numerous verses say: In this is a sign [or proof]&127;", and then asks you to refute it]. Therefore, objectively speaking both the Hadith and the gospels do not present any evidence as to be considered a 100% reliable representation of the words of the prophets, Muhammad and Jesus. Modern scholarship of both the gospels [the Jesus Seminar] and the Hadith finds them an unreliable representation of the words of the prophets or even their close companions.
Fazlur Rahman, who was the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago wrote in his book Islam (1966) on the historic study of the Hadith. Summarising I. Goldziher's scientific study of the Hadith, he writes:
But his argument runs, since the corpus of the Hadith continued to swell in each succeeding generation, and since in each generation the material runs parallel to and reflects various and often contradictory doctrines of Muslim theological and legal schools, the final recorded product of the Hadith, which date from the 3rd/ 9th century [over 250 years after the death of the prophet], must be regarded as being on the whole unreliable as a source for the prophets own teaching and conduct (1979:44)
Professor Schacht, who according to Fazlur Rahman is the first scholar to have undertaken a, "extensive and systematic comparison of legal traditions in their historical sequence, is unassailably scientific and sound in method&127;(1979:47-48), did not believe that the Hadith or the concept of "Sunna of the Prophet" were part of first century Islam. Shafi [150-204/767-819] introduced them, at the earliest, nearly two hundred years after the death of the prophet. The Koran states exactly the same. The Koran was the only "Hadith" that was conveyed by the prophet and formed the guidance for the early Muslim community.
Most Muslims who have taken on themselves the responsibility of teaching Islam to others have themselves abandoned the Koran by upholding Hadith. They say without hesitation: "The majority of Shariah (Law) in Islam is contained outside the Koran in books of Hadith and fiqh." Such a saying is a direct attack on the validity of the Koran, which claims to contain the complete Islamic law from God. We need to ask ourselves, what kind of submission (Islam) is this when you are rejecting God's words to follow your traditions.
"...If any do fail to judge by what Allah(God) has sent down (i.e the Koran), they are unbelievers (Kaafiroon)." (Koran 5:45).
"...If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, they are tyrants (dhilamoon)." (Koran 5:45)
"...If any do fail to judge by that which Allah has sent down, such are evil-livers (fasikoon)." (Koran 5:47)
The Koran reports that the messenger himself will complain to God about his so called followers abandoning the Koran: "And the messenger says,"O my Lord, my OWN people have forsaken the Koran." (Koran 25:30)
Muslims, those, who claim also to believe in the Hadith as being totally true, need to be objective and not subjective. They should, as concern for truth demands not change standards while evaluating phenomena. If they reject the Gospels as being true based on reasons that are valid, i.e. contradictions, history etc (and they almost all do), then they should also reject the Hadith on the same criteria. Hadith have the same problems of authenticity as the gospels do. Hadith do not represent the words of Muhammed just like the gospels don't represent the words of Jesus in total.
One would be mistaken in thinking that once the Gospels were written they constituted the basic Scriptures of the newly born Christianity and that people referred to them the same way they referred to the Old Testament. At that time, the foremost authority was the oral tradition as a vehicle for Jesus' words and the teachings of the apostles. The first writings to circulate were Paul's letters and they occupied a prevalent position long before the Gospels. They were, after all, written several decades earlier. It has already been shown that contrary to what certain commentators are still writing today, before 140 AD there was no witness to the knowledge that a collection of Gospel writings existed. It was not until circa 170 AD that the four Gospels acquired the status of canonic literature (Bucaille 1987).
Both the Hadith and the Gospels are based on oral traditions that were written down, in the written form that we have today, centuries after the prophets, Muhammed and Jesus. In recalling events, a gap of even a year can be distorted by memory beyond recognition. However, when the gap is of more than a hundred years, and you're narrating something to support a point of view [the Ahl-al Kalam and Mutizila, against the Ahl al Hadith in early Islam or the Judeo Christians against the Pauline Christians in early Christianity], your own as against conflicting points of view, the distortions are immense. Since history shows that eventually the followers of the Hadith and the followers of Pauline Christianity, politically dominated the scene both the teachings of Muhammed and Jesus got distorted. Modern scholarship recognizes this. Except for the Koran, we have no reliable historical record of the message that Muhammed conveyed.
John Dominic Crossan, in his book, The Birth of Christianity (1998), cites a study done after the Challenger explosion:
The morning after the Challenger explosion, the 106 students in Psychology 101 [Personality Development] at Emory University filled out questionnaires on how they had first heard of the disaster. That established a baseline for their memories within twenty four hours of the even itself in January of 1986. Then in October of 1988, the forty-four of 106 students still at Emory were requestioned (only 25% remembered the original questionnaire) and their two answers compared. Finally in March of 1989, follow up interviews were given to the forty students willing to participate in the final phase of the experiment&127;When those second versions were compared with the first ones for accuracy and graded on a 0-7 scale for major and minor attributes of the event, the mean was a 2.95 out of a possible 7. Eleven subjects were wrong about everything and scored 0 (25% of the sample). Twenty two of them [50% of the sample] scored 2 or less, this means that if they were right on one major attribute, they were wrong on both of the others&127; what makes these low scores interesting is the high degree of confidence that accompanied many of them (Crossan 1998: 62-63)
The Koran captures the similarity of what has happened in the case of both Jesus and Muhammed in this statement:
Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts should engage in the admonishment from God and the truth that has been revealed to them and that they should not become like those to whom was given the Book before, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard..(Koran 57:16)
Hadith believing Muslims make big claims on the so-called scientific compilation of Hadith. Let it be clear however, that no matter how scientific you are in your compilation of what is "false" to start with, the compilation cannot make it true. Even the criteria that is presented are un-objective, i.e. the truthfulness of a particular narrator with a story of how truthful he was. To repeat, falsehood is not converted to truth by its scientific compilation.
The scientific method demands that "subjective" proof i.e. how truthful a person was be ignored and the item tested on objective criteria. What does the content say? THE DILEMMA:
Hadith doctors have traditionally evaluated Hadith on its chain of narrators and its body text, according to their own criteria of what should be correct. However even according to their own standards, they fell into a dilemma. Some Hadith exist which have according to them a "sound" chain of narrators i.e. it was truthfully narrated but they dispute the text of the Hadith. One example of this and their whole system collapses. The Koran gives us the standard for judging anything that is presented. If the Koran confirms it in total its true. If the material adds to or contradicts the Koran, its source is not God or his messenger.
History of compilation of Hadith:
Out of the books that the majority of Muslims believe in as being authentic, Sahih Bukhari is presented as being the MOST authentic. However a analysis of the history of the books shows that it is anything but authentic. Imam Bokhari the collector of the narration lived in a period over 230 years after the death of the prophet. Out of the 600,000 Hadith (narrations) that he collected, which were initially attributed to the prophet, he threw out as fabrication 592,700 of them and kept only 7300 as being genuine. They further reduce to 2762 Hadith after repetition. The margin of error in these numbers is so great, that any rational inquirer can see that accepting the book of Bukhari as containing all authentic Hadith or even a majority of authentic Hadith is stupidity. Yet the majority of Muslims unquestionable accept it as "gospel" truth!
There are many scientific and logical errors and contradictions in the Book of Bukhari, as well as the other books. Some examples:
1.The prophet according to Bukhari in one of the narration tells his companion Abu- Dharr Ghafari that the sun goes around the earth, in the apparent description that he gives (Hadith 421, pg. 283, vol. 4 of M.Muhsin Khan's translation of Sahih Bukhari).
This erroneous view was very popular at the time Bukhari compiled his collection. However this is absurd, we know today that the earth rotates around the sun, proven by scientific evidence. The Koran not only corrected this erroneous notion but also gave an accurate description of a round earth centuries before scientists discovered it.
2.According to Hadith no disease is contagious [Adwa]. This as we all know is inaccurate. What about the common cold and viruses like Ebola etc. [Hadith 649, page 435, volume7]
3.Books of Hadith contain many home-remedies, according to ideas prevalent at that time, which are scientifically absurd. The Hadith mentions there being a cure for every ailment in black cumin seed [Hadith 591, pg.400, vol 7]. This is evidently not true. Can it cure cancer or AIDS, not to mention even the common cold? Hadith suggests that we drink "camel-urine" to recuperate after an illness [Hadith 590, pg.399, vol.7]. This is disgusting, naturally speaking. Urine is toxic stuff. The Koran places extreme importance on cleanliness and clean eating (tayyab). The Hadith mentions that "fever" is from the "heat of hell" [Hadith 621,622, page 417, vol 7]. Atrocious!
4.The Hadith books insult the prophet by giving him a contradictory personality. In one instance it mentions that the prophet ate with a leper and in another it mentions that he refused to meet with a leper who had come to take allegiance at his hand and accept Islam. He told the man to leave and accepted his allegiance in absentia.
5.The famous Hadith about the fly: "If a fly falls into the vessel of any of you, let him dip all of it (in the vessel) and then throw it away [and use the material in the vessel], for in one of its wings there is a disease and in the other there is a healing [Bukhari, Hadith 673, pg. 452, vol 7] Beware world, there is going to be an outbreak of typhoid and cholera if people take the above as "Hadith-truth", just like "gospel truth" made some people get castrated just because it reports Jesus saying, "....and there are some who make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of God." Beware these myths can harm you!
6.According to Hanbel 6/136, 192,213, the prophet "Never urinated in a standing position." However Bukhari in his "authentic" book of Hadith says that the prophet indeed urinated in a standing position. (Bukhari 4/60-64)
7.According to Bukhari 56/152 and Hanbel 3/107, 163; the prophet recommended that people drink camel urine to recuperate after an illness Later on when the same people killed the prophet's shepherd, he commanded that they be seized, their eyes taken out and their hands and feet cut and left them thirsty in the desert. This does not fit in with the personality of the prophet presented in the Koran. The Koran says that the prophet was compassionate. How could the prophet recommend the drinking of camel's urine, considering the importance that the Koran gives to hygiene?
8.The Koran commands believers not to make any distinction between any of God's messengers (Koran 2:285 and many other places), yet according to Bukhari's books of Hadith (Bukhari 97/36), the prophet contradicted the Koran saying that he was the "most honorable" among all the messengers. Not only this, the books of Bukhari make the prophet even contradict himself by saying in a different Hadith (Bukhari 65/4,6 and Hanbel 1/205,242,440) that we should not make any distinction between the messengers and that he was not better than even Yunus. Could the prophet have contradicted the Koran? Could the prophet of Allah have contradicted himself? The books of Hadith in fact insult the prophet by attributing to him things he never said or did.
9.According to the books of Hadith, a woman is compared to a black dog or a monkey (this Hadith pre-dates Darwin but it refers to women only) Bukhari 8/102 and Hanbel 4/86. The Koran on the other hand honors women and lifts up their status contrary to what is contained in the Hadith. A woman is called bad luck in the haidth (Bukhari 76/53). Also, according to the collection of Muslim (Sahih Muslim), most of the people in hell were of the feminine gender! According to Bukhari, "Women are naturally, morally and religiously defective." Therefore, according to the standard of the Koran, no Muslim should accept such prejudiced Hadith as issuing from the lips of the prophet of God.
10.According to Bukhari (Book of Jihad, 146) and Abu Dawd 113, the prophet gave permission to warriors to kill women and children in war. Indeed these people are attributing tyranny to a prophet held in honor by Allah, and described as having mercy for the people. The Koran says, even about the people that attack us first, that we should quit fighting if they offer peace, leave alone killing women and children. According to the standard of the Koran, the prophet could NEVER have asked his warriors to kill women and children.
11.The Koran describes accurately, the shape of the earth as being rounded (Koran 39:5), and the cause of night and day as being the rotation of the earth. The Hadith and similar writings however contain mythological concepts, which are then by hook or by crook attributed to the prophet. The most famous commentary of the Koran, that by Ibn Kathir (2/29 and 50/1) makes extensive use of the Hadith as explaining the Koran. In that spirit, Ibn Kathir suggests that the earth is "carried on a giant bull." When the bull shakes its head, an earthquake results. As stated earlier, Bukhari's book of Hadith states that the sun revolves around the earth.
12.According to Hanbel 4/85, 5/54, the prophet ordered that all black dogs be killed because they were devils. Inspired by that Hadith so called "Muslims" kill hundreds of dogs all over the world and consider them unclean.
The Koran, on the other hand talks about the sleepers in the cave (sura 18) as having a dog, inside their dwelling place and allows meat killed by hunting dogs. There is nothing in the Koran, which even remotely suggests that dogs are unclean as pets. Indeed the Koran states that God has subjected animals to be of use to humankind.
13.The Koran states that," Vision cannot comprehend God, who comprehends all vision," yet the Hadith of Bukhari 97/24 and 10/129 says that to prove his identity to Muhammed, God showed the prophet his thigh.
14.The Koran mentions with absolutely no ambiguity that the punishment of adultery or fornication is 100 lashes (Koran 24:1-3); which is half in the case of slave girls (50 lashes) and double in the case of the wives of the prophet (200 lashes) if they were to become guilty. The Hadith, contrary to this mention "stoning to death," as being the punishment of adultery in the case of married couples. This is completely against the commandment of Allah in the Koran, which makes no distinction between married or unmarried in the case of adultery.
The Hadith is definitely borrowed from a similar ruling in the Old Testament. It contradicts the Koran. Could the prophet have issued a ruling contrary to the ruling of Allah in the Koran? There is no verse on stoning adulterers in the Koran. Hadith forgers knew about this so they inserted another Hadith which claims that a verse on stoning existed in the Koran but it was eaten by a goat and so vanished from the earth (Ibn Maja 36/144; Ibn Hanbal 3/61;5/131, 132, 183;6/269). The Hadith also tells of a "planet of the apes" type story in which the prophet helped stone a monkey guilty of adultery whom the other monkeys had caught in order to bring it to justice. Why do they attribute such fairy tales to the prophet? Could not God protect his book from the goat? The Koran suggests halving or doubling the punishment for adultery, how can you kill someone (stone to death) half or double?
15.The Koran states that God is the protector of true believers, yet the Hadith states that the prophet was bewitched by a Jew and for many days, he didn't know what he was doing (Bukhari 59/11, 76/47; Hanbel 6/57 and 4/367). This Hadith goes completely against the Koran, which counters in many places the claim of the unbelievers that the prophet was bewitched.
16.The Koran talks of itself as being the only message that God intended the prophet to convey (Koran 42:52, 14:52;69:44;6:19 etc.). The Hadith of Muslim quotes the prophet as saying (Muslim, Zuhd 72, Hanbel 3/12,21,39) that no one should write anything from him other than the Koran. This particular Hadith is in harmony with the Koran, but then another Hadith contradicts not only the Koran but this Hadith. The prophet is quoted as asking, in Hanbel 2/162, Amr bin As, his companion to write everything he spoke.
17.The Koran states that those who forbid things even though God has allowed them, are committing a great sin. Yet the followers of Hadith have forbidden (haraam) the use of silk and gold by men, even though Allah never forbade these in the Koran. Contrary to that Allah specifically allows them (Koran 7:30-32, 42:21;22:23; 35:33). The Hadith in keeping with its reputation of contradictions, even contradicts this forbidding law by stating that the prophet allowed a "gold ring" to be worn by one of his companions and forbade the others! Could the prophet have invented laws not in the Koran? Could he then have been partial in implementing those laws?
18.The Koran only prohibits the meat of one animal, the pig. Certain sects in Islam however, based on the authority of the Hadith forbid clams, shrimp, crab etc. Why are they attributing against God a lie if they are submitters?
19.According to the Koran, division into sects is the work of evil, and is the result of following man made ideas like the Hadith (Koran 23:52-56 and 6:159) Division into sects can never be a mercy as claimed by some schools of thought.
The Koran claims to be the best Hadith (Ahsan ul hadeeth 39:23), and states that after Allah and his ayat (verses) no other Hadith is to be followed (Koran 45:6). The Koran also states that people have fabricated Hadith to mislead from the way of Allah (Koran 31:6 Lahwal Hadith). The Koran challenges people to produce a "Hadith" like the Koran (Koran 52:34) if they are truthful. The difference in language, style and content between the Koran and the other "Hadith" has been evident and is not denied even by those who believe in the Hadith as being genuine. "These are the verses of Allah (God) which we rehearse to you with truth. Then in what Hadith will they believe after Allah and His verses? (Koran 45:6)."
The Koran's Verdict:
" And the messenger says of Judgment Day, "O my Lord! My own people took this Koran as a thing to be shunned (KORAN 25:30)."
The Koran says in well over 15 places that it is "explained in detail (6:114 etc)." One word used is Tafseel which means a detailed explanation. It further says that it contains a Biyan or clear exposition of everything (16:89). God says in the Koran that He neglected nothing in the Book (6:38). The Koran talks about Moses' Book being Tamam (which means complete), and that the Koran is in no way less than that. The Koran also suggests that it should be Kaafi meaning "enough" for guidance by itself (29:51).
The Koran states explicitly that the messenger's duty was only "to convey the message (29:18)," and he said nothing on his own as his own sayings (69:44). It states that the message that the messenger conveyed was the Koran only (42:52 & 14:52 & 69:44). Therefore, to follow God's words in the Koran would be to follow the messenger, (4:80), as the words of the Koran is the messenger's speech (69:40). It also claims to be the Qawl or the speech of the messenger (69:40). The Koran claims that it contains answers to ALL relevant questions (25:33) and contains the best explanation (Tafseer) of itself (25:33 & 2:159). The Koran claims to be the Hukm or commandments of God, according to which humankind is to be judged (5:48). It also states that it is the Shariah or law/way with which God sent the messenger (45:18 & 42:13). Who would know best on how to talk to humankind but their creator? Therefore, it makes no sense to say that outside sources better explain God's word.
The Koran claims that it is explained fully in detail and lacks nothing. Therefore it must, according to its claim, contain a full explanation of everything in Islam, including Salaah (prayer). It surely does, we just need to study it. A careful reading of the Koran reveals that we are to get our Salaah from the Masjid-el Haraam [the continuous practice at Mecca since the time of Abraham], specifically the "place of Abraham (moqaam e Ibraheem)." The Koran tells us that the purpose of Hajj is to educate Muslims in Islam (Koran 22:27-28) and that the Masjid-el-Haraam is "guidance for all the worlds (3:96)."
By indexing the verses of the Koran, we can check all relevant details on the Salaah [the daily prayer]. The Koran confirms and covers every aspect of Islam, more comprehensively and with no discrepancy compared to the books of Hadith. The Koran states explicitly that it guides to that "which is the MOST STRAIGHT PATH (17:9)."
In Koran 2:185 it is stated explicitly that the Koran is the Criterion (Furqaan). It is the distinguisher between what is correct and what is wrong. If the Koran is missing details, as Muslim sects purport, how can it be a criterion or a distinguisher over those details?
The Koran is in detail [6:114; 2:159-160; 10:37; 11:11; 41:1-3; 22:16; 6:38; 12:111; 14:52; 17:89; 75:16-19; 18:54; 20:113; 39:27-28; 54:17; 25:33; 16:89 etc.]
The messenger's duty is only to convey the Book [5:102; 16:35; 16:82; 24:54; 36:16-17; 14:52 etc.]
The way sent down by God has been uniform in history in every way [41:43; 42:13; 46:9; 30:30; 6:20; 23:68; 21:24; 4:26; 1:7 read together with 19:58; 6:83-88]
Extra-Koranic Hadith an innovation [6:112; 22:52; 17:73-77; 10:15; 16:116; 42:21; 10:69-70; 5:47-49; 7:28; 33:64-68; 6:123; 6:144; 49:16; 39:23; 45:6; 31:6; 52:33-34; 31:20; 6:116; 2:170; 69:38-49;81:15-19; 51:7-11]
Koran. Translated from the Arabic The Bible. Revised Standard Version (1971) Fazlur Rahman. Islam (1979). University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Illinois. Sahih Al Bokhari. English Translation by M. Muhsin Khan. Bucaille, Maurice. The Bible, The Qur'an & Science. 1987. Seghers. Paris
References to the Koran in this paper e.g. 39:23 refer to Koran chapter or sura 39, aya or verse 23. References to the various books of Hadith e.g. Bukhari 56/152 refer to the Book of Bukhari, book (chapter) 56, Hadith number 152. Copyright © 1997 Muhammed Asadi