Hadith Encyclopedia

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

In defense of Hadith (6) - My people deserted Quran...

There is a verse of the Quran often used as proof to discredit hadith. The verse reads:

“And the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) will say: "O my Lord! Verily, my people (qaumi) deserted this Qur'ân (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and orders).” [25:30]

This verse seems to be concrete proof for them because there is no mention of hadith or the prophet himself as guidance!

We say that the use of this verse to prove that there is no hadith but just the Quran is inconclusive. We can refute this claim in several ways:

1. If you read the verse in Arabic, you will notice that the verse mentions: “qaumi” which means “my people”. Is this contradictory to other verses that mention the message of prophet Muhammad was for all mankind, and not just for his people, ie. the tribe of Quraish or the Arab? Other verses say:

"And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists)." [21:107]

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allâh - to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. None has the right to be worshipped but He; It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allâh and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write who believes in Allâh and His Words , and follow him so that you may be guided."” [7:158]

No, there is no contradiction.

Actually, the call to Allah spearheaded by prophet Muhammad was initially directed to his people, ie. Quraish. And this was the period where many challenges were made to the Quraish, and arabs, in general, as native Arabic speaking people at the peak of language appreciation. So Allah revealed verses to challenge them to produce anything similar to the Quran:

“Say: "If the mankind and the jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur'ân, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another."” [17:88]

So, the verse about the people rejecting the Quran was regarding the rejection of the Quraish even though they knew the Quran was the truth, since they failed miserably to compete with the Quran. And there are verses of the Quran that shows this stage (Meccan Period) in the call to Islam, example:

“And you (O Muhammad SAW) were not at the side of the Tûr (Mount) when We did call. But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord, to give warning to a people (qaum) to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.” [28:46]

“Or say they: "He (Muhammad SAW) has fabricated it?" Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, that you may warn a people (qaum) to whom no warner has come before you (O Muhammad SAW), in order that they may be guided.” [32:3]

“In order that you may warn a people (qaum) whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.” [36:6]

As for the people of the Book, because they have received revelation before, hence addressed as such:

“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad SAW) making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: "There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner." But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And Allâh is Able to do all things.” [5:19]

So, it is clear that the verse concerned (25:30] was the prophet lamenting to Allah regarding the Quraish who rejected the Quran while they know that the Quran is from Allah.

2. The challenge from Allah to all the worlds of man and jinn, past and present, was to produce something like the Quran, the miraculous words of Allah:

“Or do they say: "He (Muhammad SAW) has forged it (this Qur'ân)?" Nay! They believe not! Let them then produce a recital (hadith) like unto it (the Qur'ân) if they are truthful.” [52:33-34]

Note: The word “hadith” used in this challenge to mean a similar type of speech or recital like the Quran. Hence, all other verses negating believe in “hadith” actually meant similar type of book or words like the Quran, and not meant to negate hadith of the prophet.

“Or they say, "He (Muhammad SAW) forged it (the Qur'an)." Say: "Bring you then ten forged Sûrah like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allâh (to your help), if you speak the truth!"” [11:13]

“Or do they say: "He (Muhammad SAW) has forged it?" Say: "Bring then a Sûrah like unto it, and call upon whomsoever you can, besides Allâh, if you are truthful!"” [10:38]

Note: Three similar verses but the challenges were different. Could this be a contradiction in the Quran? Definitely not, because these happened in 3 different times, and it shows how incapable are all created beings to match the Quran in anyway, even as little as to produce a chapter like it! First, challenge them to produce like the whole Quran, then only 10 surahs, and finally just one surah, but they are still incapable of such a feat! In this way, their feeling of shame and helplessness gradually built up to its peak!

These verses were revealed in Mecca and Allah reiterated the challenge in the Madinan period, as in this Madinan Surah:

“And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'ân) to Our slave (Muhammad SAW), then produce a Sûrah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allâh, if you are truthful.” [2:23]

So, the verse concerned [25:30] referred only to the miracle, the Quran, in relation to the challenge and their rejection. The hadith was not part of any challenge since it is the words of man, nevertheless it contains the inspired message of Islam. So it makes no sense to say that the verse negates hadith as a source of law in Islam.

3. The call to Islam towards non-muslims will always start with the combat kit, the tool of da’wah (call to Islam) ie. the Quran.

“So obey not the disbelievers, but strive (jihad) against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavour, with it (the Qur'ân).” [25:52]

Once they are convinced about the Quran as the words of Allah, as proof that Islam is the truth and, they entered into Islam, then they will be taught the details of Islam which are derived from Quran, Sunnah, Ijma’ (concensus) and Qiyas.

But, if they reject the Quran, hence there is no meaning to convince them about the Sunnah and the rest of it. Hence, the verse concerned cannot be taken to mean that the Sunnah or hadith is not a source of guidance, inspired by revelation.

Just like when you try to convince a friend to join you at a restaurant to dine. You will speak about its wonderful food, in general, and certain foods, in particular, that you are able to relate and hopefully convince your friend to dine with you. Usually, restaurants have their promotional materials or brochures that you can handover to your friend to convince him. Once he is convinced and has agreed to join you, then all the other details can be seen when he enters the restaurant.

4. The word “Quran” in the verse was used in place of Islam. In other words, we can say the meaning of the verse is that the Messenger lamented to Allah regarding his people who have deserted Islam, ie. turned away from it. This is one of the ways or methods that are used in the Quran by Allah, to mean a whole of a thing by mentioning part of it. Example:

“Perform Salat from mid-day till the darkness of the night, and Quran al-Fajr. Verily, the recitation of the Qur'ân in the early dawn is ever witnessed (by the angels).” [17:78]

This verse started with an order to establish the prayers (four prayers) during the times between mid-day to the darkness of the night, and another prayer in the morning called the Fajr prayer. So the word “Quran al-Fajr” literally means recitation of the Quran in the early dawn, but the intended meaning in the context of the full verse is the salat al-Fajr. So, Allah used the word “recitation at al-Fajr” which is part of the salat al-Fajr to mean Salat al-Fajr itself! There are many examples of this in the Quran.

An added benefit by using this way or method is to mention a thing and to mean two things at one time. The word actually means salat al-Fajr but it alludes to the importance of recitation of Quran in Fajr salat, specifically, and in Fajr time, generally.

Note: The Dajjal, Richard (AKA Rashad) Khalifa totally misled his followers in his translation. He translated this verse as follows:

“You shall observe the Contact Prayer (Salat) when the sun declines from its highest point at noon, as it moves towards sunset. You shall also observe (the recitation of) the Quran at dawn. (Reciting) the Quran at dawn is witnessed.”

He totally mistranslated the words “to the darkness of the night” (in Arabic: ila ghasaq al-Lail) to mean “as it moves towards sunset” (in Arabic: jihhat ghurub ash-shams)! Hence, his followers cannot see the five prescribed salat signalled in the Quran! Not to mention his ignorance of the principles of tafsir because he maintained the words “Quran al-Fajr” to mean “(reciting) the Quran at dawn”. May Allah punish him with the worst of chastisement!

The opposite way is also used by Allah. Example the verse:

“Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allâh ever encompasses the disbelievers .” [2:19]

The word “fingers” in Arabic actually mean the whole finger, whereas “tips of the fingers” is a different word, which is used in this verse:

“Yes, We are Able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers.” [75:4]

However, Allah used the word “fingers” in the verse above to mean “tips of the fingers”. The added benefit of using the word “fingers” rather than “tips of the fingers” is to paint the picture of someone who is so scared of the deafening sounds of thunder that he thrusts his fingers into his ears, pressing as hard as he can, trying to block it out.

This is the beauty of the words of Allah, al-Latif (All-Subtle), al-Khabir (All-Aware).

But those who believer part of the Book and reject the other part will not be able to grasp this.

Hence, the word "Quran" in this verse [25:30] is part of Islam, which is complemented by Sunnah.

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