Umar’s Ban on Hadith

In many conversations and discussions with Muslims who acknowledge hadith as a source of law, I would often mention how Umar Bin Al Khattab disallowed the recording of hadith and the narration of sunan. Most of the time, I was asked for proof and could not quite provide any. “Fair enough,” I’d say to myself, “I learned about this on a missionary-kind of Hadith-rejection TV show after all, and never did my homework on it as I should.”

But today is the day.

Umar ibn al-Khattab once tried to deal with the problem of committing the Hadith to writing. The companions of the Prophet whom he consulted, encouraged him, but he was not quite sure whether he should proceed. One day, moved by God’s inspiration, he made up his mind and announced: “I wanted to have the traditions of the Prophet written down, but I fear that the Book of God might be *encroached* upon. Hence I shall not permit this to happen.” He, therefore, changed his mind and instructed the Muslims throughout the provinces: “Whoever has a document bearing a prophetic tradition, shall destroy it.” The Hadith, therefore, continued to be transmitted orally and was not collected and written down until the period of al-Mamun. (The Life of Muhammad, Cairo, 1935) [Source].

Many Muslims already argue that Umar outlawed hadith so that the Quran would not get mixed up and neglected at such an early, vunerable stage. They offer the same argument when you tell them the Prophet himself ordered his companions to burn what they recorded of his sayings. But it seems to me that people were doing well without hadith during the time of Umar.

There’s also the interesting view of Shi’a on this.

Muhammad lived in the hearts of his companions and friends. After his death, they wished to preserve all their recollections of his life. These recollections were of two kinds – his words and his deeds. The two together formed his Sunnah (the trodden path). Anything he said, and was quoted by a companion, is called a hadith or ‘tradition.’

But Umar did not want the companions to preserve any recollection of the words and the deeds of the Prophet. He, apparently, had many reservations regarding the usefulness, to the Muslim umma, of these recollections. He, therefore, forbade the companions to quote the sayings of the Prophet in speech or in writing. In other words, he placed the Hadith of the Prophet under a proscription. [Source].

Turning the tables, most Shi’a believe that this is a conspiracy-kind of act coming from Umar to prevent Ali of being declared a successor by the Prophet on his death bed. It’s actually surprising, to some level, that the Prophet wanted to leave behind anything beside the Quran. This means the very notion of the Prophet having preached anything outside the boundaries of the Quran are redicilous. How could Umar remember that statements outside the Quranic verses were unlawful while the Prophet could not?

Most Sunnis view that Muhammad himself proclaimed that no hadith are to be recorded to ensure that people would not confuse any hadith with the Qur’an, and that this decision of Muhammad was upheld by his successors (Arabic: caliph), including Umar, the second Sunni Caliph. [Source]

So, until the second Caliphate, people survived without documented hadith. In fact, they survived with it being illegal and advertised as haraam (being made illegal for religious purposes). Why did that ever have to change?

And just for the sake of reading, I give you this:

Abu-Dhahabi reports: The Caliph Abu-Bakr compiled a work, in which there were 500 traditions of the Prophet, and handed it over to his daughter ‘Aishah. The next morning, he took it back from her and destroyed it, saying: “I wrote what I understood; it is possible however that there should be certain things in it which did not correspond textually with what the Prophet had uttered.”

As to Umar, we learn on the authority of Ma’mar ibn Rashid, that during his caliphate, Umar once consulted the companions of the Prophet on the subject of codifying the Hadith. Everybody seconded the idea. Yet Umar continued to hesitate and pray to God for a whole month for guidance and enlightenment. Ultimately, he decided not to undertake the task, and said: “Former peoples neglected the Divine Books and concentrated only on the conduct of the prophets; I do not want to set up the possibility of confusion between the Divine Qur’an and the Prophet’s Hadith.” (Introduction to Islam, Kuwait, pp. 34-35, 1977)

One of the companions whom the Sunni Muslims consider one of the greatest authorities on Hadith, was Abu Hurayra. He was ever ready to quote a Hadith. There was never an occasion when recollection did not come to him of something he had heard the Prophet saying or something he had seen him doing. Once Umar asked him:

“O Abu Hurayra! Tell me this. Did the Messenger of God have nothing in the world to do except to whisper Hadith in your ears?”

Umar then ordered Abu Hurayra not to narrate any more Hadith.

You can read the rest here: I’ll have to disagree on the last part of the article that claims Quran cannot be understood without hadith. Also that Umar acted alone when all others actually wanted to record and document hadith.

Adultery in Islam from two different angles: Traditional Islam vs Quranism – Part I

In this article (defining our terms), Traditional Islam is Sunnism and Quranism is the belief that the Quran is the supposed sole authority of sharia in Islam.

I have recently been investigating details on the adultery penalty in Traditional Islam compared to Quranist Islam. I would like to share them with you if you are interested in truth, because a part of truth is to hear your “opponent”, although I don’t want to be one.

The subject is adultery in the Quran and sunnah. Lately, I’ve had the chance to read a book on the interpretation of chapter 24 (Tafseer Surat An-Noor by M. A Al-Hasan and A. F Abu Albah – dated 1983. Old, I know), where the first part exclusively dealt with the penalties and regulations of adultery in “Islam”. I found them to be awfully bigot and contradicting. I still don’t understand why any Muslim woman ever got into an Islam-ruled marriage.

Moving on, this book preaches that chapter 24 is dealing with the social relationship between men and women, highlighting the act of fahisha. The writer/s insisted that adultery is, indeed, an act of fahisha – thus saying that 24:2 is an abrogation of 4:15-16.

I wish to discuss the penalty of adultery in traditional Islam with you bit by bit, simply because it is a must. The first detail includes abrogation in the Quran.

Although the Quran mentions that a verse (ayah, actually) could have been abrogated (and only ONCE, being 2:106), there’s a big chance “abrogation/naskh” in the Quran means something else. Well, whether it means abrogation or not, who said you can “cancel” one verse using another? What logic would allow this? All based on a possible contradiction you found? What about the many verses that state the Quran is clear, comprehensive, and of no fault (39:28, 41:3, 10:37, etc)? So in what name dare you annul or abolish a certain law made by the deity you acknowledge as GOD by another law made by Him when you have previously learned that no contradictions exist?

In fact, 39:28 mentions the Quran is free of awaj, literally meaning something free of crookedness. The Quran is thus straight-forward, and so, there is no chance of sudden “turn-backs”. And yet, some scholars of traditional Islam recognizes such turn-backs under the name of abrogation.

4:15, roughly speaking, states that if “women” among you commit a fahisha, and four witnesses gave testimony against them, they should be sentenced to house-arrest for life or until “God helps them find a way out”. Then 4:16 states that, if “two of you” commit it, then you should hurt them; that, if they repent, you can stop. Traditionally, 4:15 is an exclusive call against “obscene” women while 4:16 can be general (considering the grammar rules of Classical Arabic) and yet is not (to them). To them the verses say that (as the writer himself explained) if a woman commits such an obscenity, she would be locked up in her own house for life or until God offers her a way out, and if a man commits the same level of crime (the crime at level fahisha) would only be rebuked and admonished.

You think this is bigot? Wait ’till we discuss more of this. This, after all, if you are a traditional Muslim, the religion you settled for, and are thus obliged to study and know it.

Anyway, the entire point is that 4:15-16 were abrogated by 24:2. But let us, for a moment, imagine a world where no “contradiction” such as this was ever found (no, reader, it is not a contradiction, but a technicality). We have two options: ONE, we either say that a fahisha can be something horrible, but non-sexual, or that, TWO, “adultery” in the Quran could be something horrible, but non-sexual. Either ways, those two verses will have to work together, in harmony. Only one can be about adultery (if you think it’s about adultery anyway – I don’t), and only one can be about fahisha, and yes, either “adultery” or fahisha is sexual, but not both. Adultery can not be fahisha neither be a part of it, and vice versa.

Now, was it so hard to find a way to fit both statements of LAW in one book without having to abrogate either of the two?

Major Concepts within the Quran


I got the file originally from here. If you speak Arabic, then terrific! You should read those articles! If you do not, I will try to translate as many as possible of them simply because they fascinate me.

Just finished translating a second one. To those who have read the first one (about the Quranic language), I’ve improved the writing style and made it much easier to read. It just might get posted tomorrow as well (the old version has been deleted off my blog). This one is a much shorter article, and I’m hoping to get some feedback.

The original writer (Ibrahim Bin Nabi) holds discussions on an Arabic forum called “Miraj Al-Qalam”. I took liberty to translate a few. Please download the file and read it. And please DO write back.

Download file from here (49 KB):

Major concepts within the Quran

Why roots are super-awesome

This is a rant. This post is angry. If you’re a happy unicorn folk, go away. Shoo!

Why are roots of the Arabic/Quranic language so super-awesome? Simply because they are the foundation of that language we’re supposed to know about in order to understand the Quran. I’m not saying you need to know Arabic to read Quran, but I’m saying you need the REAL Arabic to read Quran, whether you can actually read/speak Classical Arabic language or not.

Actually, the “Qurano-Arabic” language is dead easy and 100% consistent. We just don’t see it that way because it hasn’t been fully documented although many scholars and researchers wrote so much about the Quranic language. Now, now, don’t turn your back! If you want to read the Quran, you’ll need logic, a clean heart, and yes, you will need to know what words mean.

You want to trust the words in translations? Well, these words were transformed into other meanings thanks to HADITH, your biggest enemy yet again. (Wow, it keeps striking back like in a Comic! Darn!)

No, you don’t need to take Arabic lessons. I know so many who study the Quran without being able to speak Arabic, but rather to speak “Quran-ic”, this is because Arabic itself does not even fit in the Quran.

So before you mock our need to re-evaluate the “Qurano-Arabic” language, please go get a life and then maybe re-consider your decision. We’re not trying to ruin the Quran, we’re trying to reestablish a sane method of reading it. Now, is that so bad?

You can go whore for your translators all you want. It will never be REAL Arabic, just fake, hadith-based sad and pathetic Arabic.

Again, we, oh so humbly, apologize for trying to understand the Quran in an alternative way. Oh, so sorry! But we’re not going to stop, so get over it and buy a puppy or something.

Hajj vs Moshpit

I, for one, do not believe hajj is the travel to Mecca, nor do I believe it happens during a certain months, simply because calenders are man-made. Anyway, before we get into a deadly discussion about hajj, I wanted to show you this.

These are roughly gathered online, but I don’t think it’s full of errors. The Hajj data were from wikipedia itself, listing deaths by year, cause and location.

  • Number of people who died in a moshpit from 1993-2006 were 10 (the first death was during a show by Motörhead). Some of these deaths had been reported from the Ozzfest, Wacken Open Air and by the band Limp Bizkit.
  • Number of people who died during Hajj in crowd-related accidents and stampedes from 1994-2006 were 1034. Not only that, but the overall deaths of hajj before the year 2007 were 2460 (as 1462 died in 1990 during a stampede in Al-Ma’aisim tunnel).

10 vs 2460.

Meaning vs Metaphor

As Quranists, many of us were often accused of taking the Quran to an excessive, over-metaphorical level. You would think this accusation came from anti-Quranic (and NOT Sunni, Shitte of other) parties, yet instead it came from fellow Quranists who first refused the name at the time Farouk was launching the website and forum (!

I can hardly say I’m religious in the terms of organized religion. My belief in God is still natural rather than based on a sacred text, which is safe for now. I figured that before reading the Quran again, I had to establish a mechanism, a way, a more appropriate language than the currently dealt-with Arabic, and a new (yes! brand new) mentality… and probably more age since I doubt my brain is developed enough for all this.

Many things in organized religion never appealed to me. The constant call for rituals that I did not understand (although I don’t deny the beauty of rituals), the unnecessary-seeming Quranic details (for example, why it was so important to say that Abraham offered his Angelic guests roasted beef, or why Moses was traveling with a Whale, he lost for some reason etc), and the constant call for fundamentalism – all these seemed of no value whatsoever.

So, many Quranists began to question these details. They were NOT questioning Allah SWT, and NOT questioning the validity of the Quran, but they were questioning the Quranist-Traditional (which Farouk might like to call QFists) understanding of Quranic verse.

Based on many Quranists challenging the current “silly” (oh, yes it is silly!) understanding of many well-known Quranic verses, other fellow Quranists accused them of exaggerating in extracting a metaphorical, symbolic, “wider” meaning, and by that “drifting away” from God, trying to “make our life easier by eliminating rituals”.

What is worse that all this is that these Quranists deny the title and study approach “Quranist”, prefer to be called on Muslims AND call any those who have tried to think harder, dig deeper and find another way “Quranists”, and by that refusing us, dividing the ummah on a mini-scale on the internet. I have absolutely no issue with people calling themselves “Muslims”. That is simply beautiful and up to them, but to entirely separate themselves from those who seek a wider Quranic meaning (which doesn’t include all Quranists) in the name of God? Why, any 17-year-old can spot the intolerance there!

In response, many Quranists stood up to say, “Yes, we do take the Quran metaphorically and we believe many verses were meant to be understood metaphorically!”

Here is where I highly disagree. There is no “metaphorical” meaning, but the words are deeper and have more angles than we assume. We’re not trying to find a metaphorical meaning in the Quran, but we’re trying to find the actual meaning!

Once you reach the point of realizing Salaat cannot be a ritual, you start wondering what ablution is for. Then you follow a trace, and you discover that “ablution” has much greater angles. Later on, you discover that the “whale/hoot” means something “unstable” and that this instability would visit The People of the Sabbath on the Day of “Sabbath” – the Day of “Rest” when they are under-equipped and unprepared for trouble.

I doubt the Quran is a life schedule, but it’s a grand philosophy by which Allah teaches those who seek guidance the means to patience, balance, “prayer” and life.

Traditional Islam created a whole new language called “al-mustalahat ash-sharia”, where (ironically) every Arabic word connected or found in the Quran has a “sharia” meaning and an “actual” meaning. For example, “safira” is a word Islamists use to describe an “exposed” hijabless woman, but they don’t tell you how it’s from the same root as the word “safar” which is found in the Quran,  roughly translated as “traveling”. Now, everything has a twisted sharia meaning to fit into a religion that aims to drown you in sunnah details of eating with your right hand and entering the bathroom with your left foot.

I highly disrespect those who say Quranists joggle with root words (as if it’s a sin to brush up on our Arabic!). They would tell me the Quran is easy to understand which to them means that words have a limited range of meanings as long as the majority of translators agree to deliver to us, (good enough for any mediocre thinking style), EVEN if these words were based on hadith, historical sources and other things they themselves consider to be “dogmas”. Due to this faulty understanding of the Quran, they themselves end up relying on outside sources to complete their religion, such as using a calendar to know when Ramadaan is, although we made that calendar with our own hands.

God’s word is clear. Sure, but do your eyes know clarity? Are you not looking through the eyes of traditional, intolerant, “ban-thinking” people?
– Take the word “nisa'” for example, which, root-wise, has nothing to do with women! Can you find anyone who ever translated “nisa'” as anything beside “women”?

– Take the word “rajeem” (a word used in the Quran to describe the Devil) that everyone flipped from “the oft-banishing” to “the banished one”.

– Take how “fatayat” and “banat” are both translated as “daughters”, or how both “zawj” and “imra’a” are both translated as “wife”.

– Take how Satan is The Devil although the two concepts are different and featured separately in the story of Adam.

– Take how “jald” could mean many other things beside flogging and whipping.

– Take how Sujjud (prostrating) does not fit as “physical prostration” in many verses and means “submission” at the same time. Do you see how many people are afraid to give up the meaning stuck in their head (that sujjud is about kneeling and lowering your forehead to the ground) although it doesn’t always fit?

Understanding God’s word cannot and will not happen overnight. It’s a life-long journey of giving and taking.

Rajeem & Kareem

The other day during a conversation with Farouk, I mentioned how “rajeem” is exactly in the same format as “raheem”, “kareem”, “saqeem”, “samee'” and many other words. The traditional understanding roughly translates or presents the word rajeem as to mean “the accursed, the banished” which would mean that kareem must be “the one we are compassionate with” and samee’ would be “the one heard” which is utter blasphemy.

In conclusion, rajeem must be “the one who banishes” instead of being the object.

A detailed description coming up, i’A. 🙂