I would like to take this opportunity to stress to those who reject hadith as a source of guidance together with al-Quran:
Be mindful that your rejection tantamounts to kufr of Allah’s religion, al-Quran and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). It is not a small matter for the following reasons:
- Rejection of hadith is going against the way of the true believers, starting with the companions, then the next generation, and then the next generation, which have been confirmed to be the best of people, by the Quran and Hadith!
“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has been made clear to him, and follow OTHER THAN THE BELIEVERS WAY, We will leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Hell. What an evil abode!” [4:115]
Prophet Muhammad said in a hadith which was narrated by many companions: “The best of people is my generation, then those who come after, then those who come after.” [Hadith Mutawatir]
Quran, by itself, has many general verses and people can interpret, pick and mix as they wish to support their views, which will lead to so many understanding and versions of Islam. The only way to filter out the wrong understanding and wrong versions of Islam is to ask the following question:
“Did the best of people, starting from the companions of the prophet and the following two generations understand the Quran and Hadith the way you understand?”
Rather, they were the people who narrated the hadith as a source of revealed guidance together with the Quran!
- Rejection of hadith is going against the ijma’ (consensus) of the ummah
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey His Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you differ in anything then return it to Allah and the Messenger. That is better and most suitable for final determination.” [4:59]
So, this verse tells us to obey Allah (Quran) and His Messenger (Hadith) and those in authority (scholars and rulers, when they follow Quran and Hadith). BUT, if you differ, compare the issue back to Quran and Hadith.
This means, if the muslim ummah agree on something, then this is binding consensus. And the consensus of the Ummah at the time of the best of people is that hadith is a source of revealed guidance together with the Quran.
- Rejection of hadith is going against the Quran
“Do you believe in part of the Book (Quran) and disbelieve (kufr) in part (of it)?” [2:85]
And the Quran mentions specifically:
“Whoever obeys the Messenger then indeed he has obeyed Allah.” [4:80]
This is clear indication that Prophet Muhammad also gives instructions and guidance from revelation, together with the Quran!
“And he does not speak out of his own desire. Verily it is none other than revelation revealed (to him).” [53:3-4]
Hence, if the prophet conveyed two types of revelation, Quran and his words and actions as detailed implementation of the Quran, both revelation must, by necessity, be preserved!
Quran preserved through mutawatir transmission.
Hadith / Sunnah preserved through narrations of trustworthy scholars to the next generation and so on.
The assumption that all hadith are false and fabricated is false! There is nowhere in the world, past and present, that has a system of narration and ways of verification of these narrations like in Islam! Those who study the science of hadith with open mind can immediately spot the excellence of this science, and its effectiveness.
Of course, anyone can pick out a hadith and criticize, just as one can do for the Quran! The key is taking all the texts of Quran and Hadith on a certain issue and then one can get the correct understanding as meant by Allah and His Messenger. Of course, this will require scholarly effort, hence the reliance in scholars to understand Islam from Quran and Hadith.
- Rejection of Hadith is rejection of the explanation of the Quran from Allah
“Don’t move your tongue with it (Quran) to hasten it. Verily it is Our duty that it is collected and recited. And when We recite (the Quran) so follow its recitation. Then it is Our duty to explain it.” [75:16-19]
Here, Allah refers to the explanation of the Quran to the prophet. This shows that if the prophet was left without explanation, surely the Quran will be misunderstood! Hence, there was the need to explain the Quran to the prophet.
If the prophet needed explanation of the Quran, then surely we need the explanation even more! How else can we receive this explanation if it is not through the narrations from and regarding the prophet?! And this will require the preservation of the hadith so that we can understand the Quran. Of course, muslims have to be extra careful regarding the hadith, and verification method is available through the meticulous and effective science of hadith.