I remember going to a Qur’an study circle (within a few days of reverting/converting) where there was no Qur’an present because (I was told) “it is too holy and we mere mortals cannot attempt to try to understand it” So that is why we have the Ahadith, so I was told. So the Scripture that had initially brought me to Islam (The Sublime Qur’an) was something I shouldn’t have been reading in the first place?! Something didn’t add up. And then my investigation started!
I think that the ahadith have a purpose, (which I will not go into here), and certainly for people who don’t know which hadiths are from the Qur’an and which ones are not, it must be terribly confusing. I heard a lot of weak/false/fabricated ahadith when I was first converted, and some of the more knowledgeable sisters at University were keen to point out that Ahadith could be either weak, strong, authentic etc, so I guess I learned early on to check what is in the Qur’an and what isn’t. I have heard some woppers of hadiths in my time, honestly, some of the most strange and most bizarre superstitions that people actively make place for in our beautiful deen, and (in my own opinion carelessly / heedlessly / disrespectfully) abrogating God’s final message to mankind. Alhamdulillah, having not been born into the religion with no dogma/pre-conceptions/falsehood already ingrained, it was fairly simple to “sort the wheat from the chaff” to use a very English expression, if I may!
So I guess I got into the habit (early on) of cross referencing or checking against the Master. So much so, that I found many many interesting topics. I remember reading about Hypocrites and Shirk and then suddenly I was seeing a lot of questionable practises everywhere, at university in the prayer rooms, and in islamic lectures; especially what I perceived to be “Shirk” – ascribing partners to God or outright worship of the Prophet, or discussing scholars as if the scholars were their “gods”. I carried on reading the Qur’an and the more I read, the more I believed that I was being warned. Not just about evil and the Shaytan, but also the ones who went astray when they didn’t obey the Message they were sent and corrupted it by adding / concealing /abrogating /twisting / disregarding / disobeying. It particularly struck me as odd when a lot of the lectures aimed at showing Christians that the Bible’s own words were telling people that Jesus never claimed to be God, but then when it comes to the Qur’an and what the Qur’an’s own words say, people are happy to do what they claim the Christians did and follow the hearsay / tradition / superstition and disregard the Scripture.
Nearly all the Muslims I’ve met in real life say the Sunnah+Ahadith is the 2nd divine source of guidance, the 1st being the Qur’an. But the Qur’an never mentions a second divine source. “Sunnah” is mentioned in the Qur’an (Sunnat’Allah). Ahadith are mentioned in the Qur’an. (The links show the verses that those words appear in). The Ahadith collection of Bukhari is not mentioned at all. It became apparent to me that God has given us instructions about the BEST hadith (see 39:23) to follow, which is the Qur’an, and asks us “which hadith other than THIS will you follow?” I fear the Day when I will be asked about all my actions and why I did them (or did not). From what I have learned, it is not going to look good if I say “because Scholar A said this and Sheikh B said that” in case it is seen that I am taking OTHER than God as my Lord. The Qur’an warns us not to take religious scholars/sheikhs/imams/priests/rabbis as our Lords. The Qur’an says Obey God and Obey the Messenger. The Messenger’s sole duty is to clearly deliver the message. So by obeying the Qur’an, I am obeying the Messenger, insha’Allah.
I fear God and I do my best to avoid the unforgiveable sin of commiting Shirk, insha’Allah. I just want to worship Allah alone as instructed in the Qur’an (and previous Scripture) and obey the instructions. (Here is a good article on Reading and interpretation).
I have found there is a misperception that if you do not “accept” Bukhari’s Ahadith collection, then this is rejecting the Prophet/Messenger so it means we are not obeying the Messenger so we are not obeying God.
I am not “unwilling to accept” ahadith which correspond exactly with the Qur’an. Nor do I have a problem with “good advice” in general. I do however have a problem with ahadith / hearsay / gossip that are falsely attributed to the Messenger and labelled as divine guidance, as this does not respect him as the Servant, Messenger and Prophet like he ought to be respected, in my opinion. And I will not knowingly attribute anything falsely to God or lie about God, insha’Allah. I like to think that, by not deviating from the Message the Prophet brought, that God protected/guarded, this is the best way to support and obey him, which is to obey God. The Qur’an tells us what to ignore, and also tells us to verify before we accept. The Qur’an is a book in which there is NO doubt, unlike the ahadith which are claimed to be weak, strong, authentic, fabricated, baseless etc which makes it surplus to requirements. Even the “strong” and “authentic” ones are questionable when you look into the “Science of Hadith” (see Wikipedia’s article on Criticism of Hadith) and what criteria/conjecture are used for determining/speculating about the authenticity. Even if the authenticity was not highly questionable, it still remains that there is no authority given in the Qur’an for judging by anything other than the Qur’an itself and the Qur’an warns us about fabricated/baseless ahadith and conjecture.
It is my belief that there are many ways in which we are tested. I am trying to pass the Test, insha’Allah. We know from what the Qur’an says about the Shaytan, who will come and try to make people stray from the right path, making their doings seem goodly to them. I guess this is why I tend to (over)analyse everything to make sure it is “bona-fide” and not Shaytan’s trickery. Insha’Allah.
If the Qur’an (the divine guidance) was from any other than God then it would be full of contradiction. And there is NO contradiction in the Qur’an. It is only in the “reported” sayings and actions of Rasulallah that there are contradictions, so therefore how can this be divine guidance from God? (don’t forget the reports are just that, and look at the newsreaders today and what they report – is it always accurate? no of course not – often propaganda, conjecture and bias with a socio-political agenda) I am not saying I believe ALL ahadith are conjecture / misreports. But I am saying that I believe that if they are NOT conjecture then they WILL be found in the Qur’an, and the Qur’an clarifies. So that’s what I try to establish, insha’Allah. The “sects” or schools of thought in Islam have one thing in common: the Sublime Guarded Qur’an. So how better to make sure I am NOT in a sect than by following the one common denominator? And of course because God commanded us to and to NOT follow conjecture.
Why Quranism is not a sect – Justifying the Quranist / Quranism labels
Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’
Prophetic “Sunnah” in the Quran