I have come to know that the anti-hadith proponents are picking out many hadiths to ridicule and create doubt concerning the hadith collections.
Briefly, I would like to stress the importance of correct attitude when reading the translations of Quran and Hadith. Yes, I mean both al-Quran and Hadith. What they do with the hadith, they can also do with the Quran if they apply the same attitude.
Their sickness, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, is that they reject hadith as a source of guidance. With this, they look at hadith with contempt and ridicule, without opening up their minds and thoughts to understand the wisdom behind the hadiths.
If a non-muslim looks at Quran with similar attitude, he will also find verses that can be ridiculed!
Let’s look at some hadiths from Sahih al-Bukhari that have been ridiculed by them:
I was with Allah's Apostle in a Ghazwa, and when we returned, I wanted to hurry, while riding a slow camel. A rider came behind me. I looked back and saw that the rider was Allah's Apostle . He said (to me), "What makes you in such a hurry?" I replied, "I am newly married." He said, "Did you marry a virgin or a matron?" I replied, "(Not a virgin but) a matron." He said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl with whom you could play and who could play with you?" Then when we approached (Medina) and were going to enter (it), the Prophet said, "Wait till you enter (your homes) at night (in the first part of the night) so that the ladies with unkempt hair may comb their hair, and those whose husbands have been absent (for a long time) may shave their pubic hair." (The sub-narrator, Hashim said: A reliable narrator told me that the Prophet added in this Hadith: "(Seek to beget) children! Children, O Jabir!")
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "If you enter (your town) at night (after coming from a journey), do not enter upon your family till the woman whose husband was absent (from the house) shaves her pubic hair and the woman with unkempt hair, combs her hair" Allah's Apostle further said, "(O Jabir!) Seek to have offspring, seek to have offspring!"
The anti-hadith found these hadiths amusing because they do not read them with the correct attitude.
Actually, if you read the hadiths taking into consideration the context and that the prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was a guide and good example, you can see that there are many benefits that can be learnt. The benefits are:
- The importance of love between husband and wife, and that every detail that strengthens the bond and intimacy between husband and wife should be taken into account. This was in the case of someone who just got married (Jabir), so this is even more important for seasoned married couples to keep them together!
- When anyone comes back from a long journey, then don’t approach the house at night unless you have informed the wife so that she can beautify herself for her husband. Imagine yourself coming back from a tiresome journey hoping to meet your loved ones and you find her in her pyjamas and in her worst possible state? Ponder on this and you will find the great wisdom in the prophet’s words of guidance.
- The hadith alludes to the fact that muslim women do not beautify themselves in their husbands’ absence because this will create fitnah.
- The hadith also hints to the importance of women maintaining their beauty in their husbands presence, because they will loosen their “guard” in their husbands’ absence.
- The hadith shows the wisdom of the prophet who has given the right advice to the person who needs it. Being newly married, he will not know what to expect, hence the prophet advised what he saw fit.
- The hadith also reaffirms the aspiration of the prophet that he wishes his nation to be the biggest nation compared to the other prophets. Of course, there are several reasons for that, namely:
a. This is the fastest way to spread Islam, since all children of a muslim are muslims.
b. So that the muslim nation will be the majority in the world.
c. The offsprings are reasons that Allah will bestow more provision (rezeki) to the family
So, you see, that the hadiths that can look to be something ridiculous to someone with the wrong frame of mind, are actually full of wisdom and benefits to the one with the right frame of mind.
Let’s look at another example:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said "The Prophet Abraham circumcised himself after he had passed the age of eighty years and he circumcised himself with/in al-Qaddum." [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Actually, I see nothing wrong this hadith although the anti-hadith ridicule it! Prophet Abraham was ordered to circumcise so he did it. And it so happened that he was ordered when he was 80 years old. The hadith mentions that he circumcised with/in al-Qaddum. The actual meaning of the word is not agreed by scholars. Some say it was the tool used, whereas others mentioned that it was the name of a place where he was circumcised.
The importance of this hadith is the fact that prophet Abraham circumcised, and in this, we follow his example as confirmed by prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
Finally, I would like to recommend that we learn the religion of Islam, from the Quran and Sunnah, seeking the correct understanding from the scholars who follow the methodology of the best of generations. This is the way to salvation in the Hereafter.