By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
16 July 2016
Let me first clarify the title of this article as the same appears to have been misunderstood. The Ahadith are normally understood to be the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh), as reported by a chain of transmitters. This is however not necessarily so. There are Hadiths of Hazrat Umar (RA) for example on several of his rulings as Caliph.
Several Lakhs of such Ahadith were collected and only a few thousand made it into the final collection of Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nasai and Ibn Maja. The criteria for selection were primarily establishing the chain of transmission and the reputation of the transmitters. There are some Ahadith which made it into all the collections and some which made it into only one collection. Interestingly, the Ahadith concerning the coming of a Mahdi are not to be found in Bukhari’s collection. What about the Lakhs of Ahadith that were rejected by the compilers as unreliable? Did Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nasai and Ibn Maja insult the Prophet by rejecting hundreds of thousands of his reported sayings? If the answer is no, then there is no insult to the Prophet if anyone rejects every Hadith as unreliable. That is every person’s choice. Believing in the Ahadith is not an article of faith for a Muslim and indeed these Books were only compiled some 250 years after the death of the Prophet. To say that believing in the Ahadith is an article of faith for a Muslim is to introduce an innovation into the Deen of Islam for which there is no authority from Allah. Believing in the Ahadith is not the same as following the Sunna of the Prophet. The Sunna of the Prophet was followed before these books were compiled and would have been followed even without the books. These books contain more than just the Sunna of the Prophet.
Imam Bukhari himself expresses reservations about many of the Ahadith in his Saheeh collection. They are categorized as Saheeh based on the unbroken chain of transmitters but not on the basis of the correctness or even on the basis of conformity with the Quran. Imam Bukhari must be credited for his academic independence, consistency and discipline. He did a great job as a researcher and rightly felt that the filtering based on conformity or lack of conformity with the Quran or based on historical evidence, cannot be done by a single person and must be done by a panel. He left this task for others but unfortunately no one took it up.
The fact therefore is that there are several extremely doubtful Ahadith in the collection. To treat this collection without further scrutiny as the sayings of the Prophet is tantamount to heaping any falsehood in these collections on the Prophet. That by definition is blasphemy. To expose a Hadith as unreliable, doubtful, contradictory to the clear message of the Quran, and contrary to all historical evidence and to say that this is falsely attributed to the Prophet is to clear the Prophet of the blame of what is being falsely attributed to him. Any alleged saying which is contrary to the Quran and contrary to the historical evidence is obviously false and the work of Satan.
The fact of the matter is that not a single of the Ahadith can be attributed to the Prophet categorically. It can only be done tentatively since the sin of false attribution is greater than not reciting or quoting any Hadith at all.
The fact of the matter is that the Ahadith are a great body of work by scholars of undoubted integrity. Yet, these remain by the very nature of the process unreliable. It has been be proven every time we conduct an experiment, that a one line simple message transmitted from one person to another in a small chain of five to six persons gets totally distorted as reported by the last person. The time lapse from the first person to the last is no more than 30 minutes. So one can imagine what may happen over a period of 200 years and with a much longer chain of transmitters. We must therefore accept that all the Ahadith are unreliable by their very nature and treat the entire body of work as Apocrypha as indeed it is so.
The scholars may read the Ahadith if it helps them understand the Quran or the early history of Islam but not treat them as authoritative evidence of what the Prophet (pbuh) actually said. To treat these as the authentic sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) exposes one to the danger of incurring the sin of false attribution and the sin of distorting the clear message of the Quran based on an extremely unreliable reference.
There are numerous verses in the Quran which affirm that the Quran is the criterion to judge between what is right and what is wrong. I have shown in part 1 of this article how the quoted Hadith has been used to distort the otherwise very clear message of the Quran. If the Quran is read wearing glasses tinted by the Ahadith, how can it remain Al-Furqan (the criterion), Kitabum Mubeen (a clear and perspicacious Book) and a Book without discrepancy and crookedness and consistent with itself? It is no wonder that it so poorly understood and there is such ambiguity about the simplest of questions. The very quality of the Quran that Allah (swt) proclaims is destroyed wilfully by “interpreting” it through the unreliable Ahadith. Who is blaspheming the Quran, Allah (swt) and the Prophet (pbuh) but these very people?
In this part of the article, I will briefly cover how the quoted Hadith contradicts the Quran as well as the historical evidence.
There are several problems with the alleged Hadith which purports to report the Prophet (pbuh) as saying:
“I was commanded to fight against the people until they proclaim, `There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.”
Who commanded the Prophet and what was the mode of communication? Was it Allah? And how did Allah communicate? Why is such an important communication not there in the Quran? Try answering these questions truthfully and you will begin to understand why this Hadith is patently a falsehood.
If he was commanded to fight until they accepted Islam, why does the Quran say: “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace”? (8:61)What if the enemy had chosen to remain peaceful for a hundred years? In that case which command of Allah do you think the Prophet would have followed and why?
Why is Allah giving such contrary commands? In the Quran it is to accept peace if the enemy offers peace, but the secret counsel appears to be to keep fighting until they accept Islam. Are such secret counsels the Sunnah of Allah and His Prophet or of Satan? “Secret counsels are only (inspired) by Satan, in order that he may cause grief to the Believers; but he cannot harm them in the least, except as Allah permits; and on Allah let the Believers put their trust” (58:10).It is Ahadith like these that bring a bad name to Islam and justifies the charge of the Islamophobes that Islam is a religion of deception!
In 628 CE, the Prophet signed a 10-year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with the Meccans. Why did the Prophet sign the treaty for a period of 10 years with the people against whom he was commanded to fight until they accepted Islam? Why is he disobeying the command to keep on fighting and entering into treaties of peace?
The Meccans broke the treaty and the Prophet conquered Mecca in 629.When they entered Mecca, Sa’ad ibn Ubada said this is the day of massacre but the Rasool corrected him and said 'this is a day of mercy and granted amnesty. Why did he declare amnesty when he was commanded to fight until they recited the Kalma?
If the Prophet is seen to be consistently not following the alleged command, what is it except a concoction of Satan to defame the Prophet (pbuh) and Islam? So are those who are defending the Hadith not the votaries and advocates of Satan?
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate
from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both
the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades.
He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com