Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Sharing Group Discussion on Qur'an Only 'Islam'

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was posted by Brother Abdur Rab, a ‘Quranist’, on The Sharing Group, on the 07th June, 2015.  I have added the appropriate honorifics which were missing, since adab with the pious and even the Prophet (s.a.w.) is not found with such people, and cleaned up the text to make is slightly more respectable.

He wrote, “The following is an excerpt from my book ‘Rediscovering Genuine Islam: The Case for a Quran-Only Islam’, 2014.  Sorry about the long quote.  I have tried to give an in-depth look at the question.  The so-called criteria used to authenticate ahadits are inherently flawed and simply inadequate to the massive task.  They rather mask or camouflage the real character of the ahadits and thus mislead unsuspecting Muslims.  This is elaborated below.

The ahadits believers boast of certain criteria that were used by the compilers to screen out fake ahadits and select authentic ahadits, listed in annex to this chapter.  These criteria are euphemistically labelled as ‘the science of the ahadits’, ‘ilm al-ahadits; or the science of accepting and rejecting narrations, ‘ilm al-jarh wa at-ta’dil.   However, on close scrutiny, these criteria are not fool-proof to establish undisputed authenticity of ahadits accounts, as evidenced by the inclusion in so-called swahih ahadits of numerous texts that are ‘vulgar, absurd, theologically objectionable, or morally repugnant.’

These criteria, as an anonymous writer remarks, are, ‘A system of guidelines which numerous scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have clearly shown to be seriously inadequate – if not a complete farce, as these standards are broken on numerous occasions in even the ‘best’ collections of ahadits. This of course makes the authenticity of the Hadith dubious at best – a situation with serious ramifications for the Islamic shari’ah and the religion of Islam as a whole when, of course, understood in terms of the Quran and the ahadits together.’

The criteria relate to the isnad and matn.  However good such criteria might look on paper prima facie, they are inherently grossly inadequate for the following reasons: the subjective nature of judgments by individual ahadits compilers about the character of the numerous narrators involved; the multiplicity of isanad narrators involved spanning several generations and possible problems associated with isanad; the possibility of human error committed by narrators involved due to communication, human memory, or other problems; the sheer vast number of matn text involved; observed biases of the compilers in their choice of narrators and choice of texts; and flaws in the criteria themselves.

The basic question that needs to be judged first is that it is the compilers like Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim (r.a.), and others, who are judging the character and qualifications of the narrators, and whose judgment could easily go wrong.  It is beyond anybody’s comprehension how it was possible for one to ascertain with full accuracy that a narrator had not lied or not made any unintentional mistake in stating things, even if he was known to be pious or virtuous by some traditional standards.

As Jayrajpuri aptly notes, ‘Honesty and dishonesty are internal qualities which cannot be known with any certainty by observers.  As a result, ilm ar-rijal is only an approximate science, and one can never be absolutely certain that one’s judgment about a transmitter is correct.’

Also, as already noted earlier, citing Sayyid Ahmad Khan, ‘Judging the character of contemporary people is difficult enough; accurately judging that of the transmitters of earlier generations must have been very hard indeed, if not totally impossible, especially when the transmitters involved were so numerous and the period covered was so large.’

As contemporary Muslim scholar, Jeffrey Lang aptly noted, ‘All things considered, it seems that a major drawback of classical ahadits studies is that judgments on the veracity of one set of data – the ahadits reports - are based on a second set of data – the rijal reports – that we have no compelling reason to believe is more reliable than the first, quite the opposite.’

The criteria of classical ahadits judgment is subject also to criticism that there was always the possibility of forging of the isnad, and such forging, according to some reports, took place on just as large a scale as the forging of contents.  For forgers, there was always a great incentive to attribute reports to most trustworthy authorities.  It appears that isnad tampering occurred in various ways: isnad invention and theft and, most frequently, isnad manipulation, which involved tampering with isanad in order to make them appear more reliable than they are in reality.  It consisted either of interpolating the name of a trustworthy transmitter or eliminating the name or names of discreditable transmitters from the isnad, or both of these.  This practice of what is called tadlis was widespread; and it consisted of ihala of traditions from a dubious to a reliable isnad, wasl or tawsil of missing links in the isnad by interpolating some names of authorities, and raf a tradition to the level of a more prestigious authority, mostly the Prophet (s.a.w.), by supplying the necessary links.

As Jeffrey Lang pointed out, ‘We know from rijal and other ahadits related literature that besides matn fabrication, isnad theft, invention, and tampering had also occurred on an enormous scale, so that the focal point of ahadits evaluation had also suffered from extensive corruption.  Yet if the main evidence of ahadits criticism had often been manipulated, then we have every right to wonder how well suited was isnad criticism to detecting corrupted chains of transmission.’

Lang further noted, ‘Another weak point of classical isnad appraisal is that systematic rijal criticism upon which it depends did not commence until around 130 AH / 747 CE, nearly a century after the origins of the isnad system.  Hence we find ourselves in a serious predicament: the assessment of the reliability of ahadits reports is based on information that is in nature less reliable than the material we are supposed to judge.  This is all the more disconcerting since we have every reason to believe that tadlis occurred on as massive a scale as matn fabrication.’

And how could one be fully certain that the narrator fully remembered what he had heard from another narrator, that any of the narrators involved in the chain had not made even the slightest mistake in communication, and that there was absolutely no communication gap between the narrator who narrated a certain story and the narrator who heard the story?  There was almost always the possibility for human error, even assuming that the narrators had all the good qualifications and good intentions?  As we know from the experience of extensive scientific experimentation carried out in the field of modern information science, it is a proven fact that we find most people not able to exactly reproduce statements made by others – sayings change swiftly from one set of ears to another set.  We also know that the compilers had biases in their choice of narrators and both the compilers and the narrators had biases in their choice of ahadits texts, motivated by political and theological grounds.  One critic cites that a hadits originating from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) was rejected by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), although the basically same hadits narrated by Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) was accepted, and although many other ahadits texts from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) were accepted by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.).  In a nutshell, there were too many unknowns and uncertainties as well as biases involved in the selection process of so-called authentic ahadits, which it could not be humanly possible to resolve fully satisfactorily by people like Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.).’

Kassim Ahmad noted, ‘However accurate the methodology of the isnad, the scholars first started talking about it and started writing it down only about 150 - 200 years after the deaths of the very last tabi’ at-tabi’in.  This means that when the research to establish the isnad got started, none of the companions, the succeeding generation, or the generation coming after them were available to provide any kind of guidance, confirmation or rebuttal.  Therefore, the authenticity of the statements cannot be vouched for at all.’

It is not our intention to say that Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim (r.a.) and others were fabricators.  However, even students of elementary psychology or communication will testify that a simple message of, say, 15 words will get distorted after passing through only about five messengers.  Keep in mind that the ahadits contains thousands of detailed and complex narrations – everything from ablution to jurisprudence.  These narrations passed through hundreds of narrators who were spread out over thousands of miles of desert, and spanned over two to three hundred years of history.  All this at a time when news travelled at the speed of a camel gait, recorded on pieces of leather or bone or scrolls in a land that had neither paper nor the abundance of scribes to write anything down!

Kassim Ahmad continued, ‘It stands to reason that the ahadits writers depended on much story-telling to fill in the blanks.  Many ‘authentic’ narrators whom the ahadits writers allude to in their chains of isnad were wholly fabricated names.’  It was ‘preposterous and impossible’ for Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) to have meticulously considered over six hundred thousand ahadits texts to pick his authentic 7,275 ahadits texts in his lifetime in an age when the camel journey was the only available means to cover long desert distances.  Some of the matn criteria that were used are flawed or weak on grounds as follows below.

The criterion that a text should not be inconsistent with other texts of ahadits is weak, as even if a text is not inconsistent with other ahadits texts, all such texts could be simultaneously wrong.  Also, this criterion is found violated by Hadith texts included in the so-called swahih category that are either self-conflicting or conflicting with one another.

Texts prescribing heavy punishments for minor sins or exceptionally large rewards for small virtues were rejected.  But this involved the value judgments of the ahadits compilers about what constituted too heavy or too large.  There are serious instances of violation of this criterion.  One glaring example is ahadits -prescribed punishment for apostasy by killing, though the Qur’an allows full religious freedom.

Texts referring to actions that should have been commonly known and practiced by others but were not known and practiced were rejected.  This criterion is flawed; it does not guarantee the veracity of the text about the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Most importantly, the criterion such as that the ahadits texts should not be contrary to the Qur’an, reason, or logic has been flagrantly flouted in numerous cases.  Many scholars have demonstrated that numerous ahadits texts do, in fact, contradict the Qur’an or do not stand to reason or logic or scientific truths.  Illustrations of such inconsistencies are provided in the next chapter.

As ahadits critics have pointed out, the ahadits scholars were mostly concerned with the isnad criteria and in the process they neglected the matn criteria.  Otherwise, how could they compile traditions that were clearly absurd or simply unacceptable from the point of view of the Qur’an?

Shaykh Khaled Abou El Fadl pointed out, ‘The methodologies of the field were elusive, and the judgment reached was fairly subjective.  Furthermore, most of the efforts of past scholars of ahadits were directed at authenticating the isnad of ahadits.  Matn analysis remained undeveloped and under-utilised.  Even more, the science of ahadits did not correlate the authenticity of ahadits with its theological and social ramifications.  The scholars of ahadits did not demand a higher standard of authenticity for ahadits that could have sweeping theological and social ramifications.  Additionally, ahadits scholars did not engage in historical evaluation of ahadits or examine its logical coherence or social impact.  Consequently, ahadits scholars often accepted the authenticity of ahadits with problematic theological and social implications.’

Thus the so-called criteria used to authenticate ahadits are inherently flawed and simply inadequate to the massive task.  They rather mask or camouflage the real character of the Hadith and thus mislead unsuspecting Muslims.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I thought it better to address them instead of simply deleting this nonsense.  The concerns regarding the perceived inadequacy of the ahadits are noted and valid.  But all these have been addressed a long while back.  The alternative would be to discard all ahadits on the basis of what might be, and thus diminish the religion since that would remove the context for the Qur’an.

You wrote that ‘an anonymous writer’ remarked, “A system of guidelines which numerous scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have clearly shown to be seriously inadequate – if not a complete farce, as these standards are broken on numerous occasions in even the ‘best’ collections of Hadith. This of course makes the authenticity of the ahadits dubious at best – a situation with serious ramifications for the Islamic shari’ah and the religion of Islam as a whole when, of course, understood in terms of the Quran and the ahadits together.”  What the non-Muslims think is irrelevant.  We do not take our religion from Orientalists.  But who are these numerous Muslim scholars?  Are they of the calibre of the scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, who all accept ahadits?  Certainly we know they cannot be of the same number.  Now, we consider the reasons given why the corpus is allegedly inadequate in the matn and sanad.

You mentioned “the subjective nature of judgments by individual ahadits compilers about the character of the numerous narrators involved.”  This is a non-issue since everything is subjective, even science.  Rather, we note the manaqib of the people who are making these judgements, something not even mentioned here.  And their piety is beyond question.

You mentioned “the multiplicity of isanad narrators involved spanning several generations and possible problems associated with isanad.”  What are these ‘possible associated problems’?  You have not named any problems.  There are possible associated problems with the Theory of Relativity as well.

You mentioned “the possibility of human error committed by narrators involved due to communication, human memory, or other problems.”  This is easily addressed.  One is the multiplicity of chains eliminate this.  That is why a mutawatir narration carries greater weight than an ahad narration, and that is why we do not use unsupported ahad narrations in legislation.

You mentioned “the sheer vast number of matn text involved.”  This is not a problem.  The system of verification and compilation ensures that they are all used to cross check each other.  ‘Matn’ means ‘text’, by the way, so there is a redundancy there.

You mentioned “observed biases of the compilers in their choice of narrators and choice of texts.”  This is also a non-issue.  The compilers of ahadits are there to compile and authenticate.  They are often not the people of fiqh or ‘aqa’id.  And the multiplicity of works ensures that they are all crosschecked.

You mentioned “flaws in the criteria themselves.”  Such as?

You said here, “The basic question that needs to be judged first is that it is the compilers like Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), Imam Muslim (r.a.), and others, who are judging the character and qualifications of the narrators, and whose judgment could easily go wrong.  It is beyond anybody’s comprehension how it was possible for one to ascertain with full accuracy that a narrator had not lied or not made any unintentional mistake in stating things, even if he was known to be pious or virtuous by some traditional standards.”  Actually, it is possible to judge the character and qualification of the narrators.  This falls under manaqib, which is not addressed anywhere in this as I have mentioned above.  As for accuracy, there are several criterion, and this is important in a society that places a great deal of importance in memorisation.  The narrators of ahadits are not people in isolation.  They are like the huffazh al-Qur’an.  If there is a mistake, the people of knowledge will know.  We memorise ahadits.  And if someone quotes us a hadits and there is an error in the matn, we would know.  It is the same system for 1,400 years.

You said here, “As Jayrajpuri aptly notes…”  Who is this Jayrajpuri?  Who are his teachers?  Where is his ijazat?  What are his qualifications in the religious sciences?  You cited also, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who is a Qadiani, therefore, an apostate and a kafir.  He has no ijazat in any of the religious sciences, let alone ahadits.  He is not an authority on this.  Jeffrey Lang is not a Muslim scholar.  He is a mathematics professor who converted to Islam.

You said, “The criteria of classical ahadits judgment is subject also to criticism that there was always the possibility of forging of the isnad, and such forging, according to some reports, took place on just as large a scale as the forging of contents.  For forgers, there was always a great incentive to attribute reports to most trustworthy authorities.  It appears that isnad tampering occurred in various ways: isnad invention and theft and, most frequently, isnad manipulation, which involved tampering with isanad in order to make them appear more reliable than they are in reality.  It consisted either of interpolating the name of a trustworthy transmitter or eliminating the name or names of discreditable transmitters from the isnad, or both of these.”  We have books on forged ahadits.  A sanad cannot be tampered with and not be discovered.  No one will take a chain that is not verified from another source.  Chains of transmission do not just appear out of thin air.

You said, “This practice of what is called tadlis was widespread; and it consisted of ihala of traditions from a dubious to a reliable isnad, wasl or tawsil of missing links in the isnad by interpolating some names of authorities, and raf a tradition to the level of a more prestigious authority, mostly the Prophet (s.a.w.), by supplying the necessary links.”  This is true, especially in Kufa’.  But although there were thousands of fabricated ahadits, no fabricated ahadits were ever accepted into the corpus since, although the Kufans and others could forge the chains, they could not make us accept them.  These forged ahadits were invariably ethnic or tribal based, praising this or that group or ruler at the expense of another.  As such, they were easily discarded.  Some of them were used to justify deviant theological positions.  The failure of these forgeries is that they invariably contradicted the Qur’an or the mutawatir ahadits.

You said, “Another weak point of classical isnad appraisal is that systematic rijal criticism upon which it depends did not commence until around 130 AH / 747 CE, nearly a century after the origins of the isnad system.”  This is false and misleading.  In the early days, there was no need for this because the people were taking directly from the swahabah.  There were people who were alive from the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Therefore, everything they said were eyewitness accounts.  You cannot have a sanad of one.  Thereafter, as they passed one, people wrote down these chains of transmission.  The sanad system is not to verify the chains.  That is what the manaqib would do.  The sanad was to qualify the number of chains, whether ahad, mutawatir and the categories of both.

You said, “And how could one be fully certain that the narrator fully remembered what he had heard from another narrator, that any of the narrators involved in the chain had not made even the slightest mistake in communication, and that there was absolutely no communication gap between the narrator who narrated a certain story and the narrator who heard the story.”  The matn was in Arabic.  Arabic is an exacting language.  Simply changing one inflection sometimes changes the entire meaning.  The recounting of ahadits was not just in the words, but the way it was spoken.  I suggest you read up on anthropological studies of human memory in societies where the majority are illiterate.

You said, ” However accurate the methodology of the isnad, the scholars first started talking about it and started writing it down only about 150 - 200 years after the deaths of the very last tabi’ at-tabi’in.  This means that when the research to establish the isnad got started, none of the companions, the succeeding generation, or the generation coming after them were available to provide any kind of guidance, confirmation or rebuttal.  Therefore, the authenticity of the statements cannot be vouched for at all.”  This is a common lie of the Quranists.  The first books of ahadits were written down in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The most well-known were the Swahihayn of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) and ibn ‘Umar (r.a.).

Here, we come to the juicy part.  You said, “The criterion that a text should not be inconsistent with other texts of ahadits is weak, as even if a text is not inconsistent with other ahadits texts, all such texts could be simultaneously wrong.  Also, this criterion is found violated by Hadith texts included in the so-called swahih category that are either self-conflicting or conflicting with one another.”  Minor inconsistencies in text that do not change the substance of the message are tolerated.  Going by this logic in the English equivalent, if I used the article ‘a’ instead of ‘the’ in a sentence, everything is wrong since it is not ‘consistent’.  Interpretation of ahadits is the study of the sharh.  It is a separate field.  Ahadits without the sharh may seem conflicting, but they are snapshots of moments that require context.

You said, “Texts prescribing heavy punishments for minor sins or exceptionally large rewards for small virtues were rejected.  But this involved the value judgments of the ahadits compilers about what constituted too heavy or too large.  There are serious instances of violation of this criterion.  One glaring example is ahadits -prescribed punishment for apostasy by killing, though the Qur’an allows full religious freedom.”  This is a red herring.  The ahadits on killing for apostasy actually refer to either sedition, or apostasy followed by forcing others to apostatise.  Again, this is Quranist fallacy where they take ahadits at face value and ignore the sharh.  This is the same sort of literalism that afflicts deviant sects such as the Wahhabis.

You said, “Texts referring to actions that should have been commonly known and practiced by others but were not known and practiced were rejected.  This criterion is flawed; it does not guarantee the veracity of the text about the Prophet (s.a.w.).”  Could you give an example?

You say, “Most importantly, the criterion such as that the ahadits texts should not be contrary to the Qur’an, reason, or logic has been flagrantly flouted in numerous cases.  Many scholars have demonstrated that numerous ahadits texts do, in fact, contradict the Qur’an or do not stand to reason or logic or scientific truths.  Illustrations of such inconsistencies are provided in the next chapter.”  Every example brought forth by a Quranist has been shown to be a misunderstanding.  They would lift from Swahih al-Bukhari something, for example, but ignore the explanation if Fath al-Bari.  Why?  Because they do not understand that the jami’ is just a listing of narrations for scholars in the field.  It is a reference book.  The sharh is always found somewhere else.  This would be like me taking the meaning of a word or phrase from several types of English dictionaries and then complaining that they are all contradictory.

I note you also quoted Shaykh Khaled Abou El Fadl.  I know him and we have met.  He is not a Quranist.  The point he was making was that whilst we cannot disregard ahadits, we must be cognisant of its limitations in ifta’ and place more consideration on ‘urf.  If you are going to quote someone, be honest about it and quote the rest of it.  We are not fools here.

Brother Jon Beatty: Jeffery Lang is not a ahadits rejecter either.  He lives a half an hour from me and many of my friends know him.  He is an academic but he does not reject our religion.  He is well known and he is not a fool.  Many of my friends would not like him or praise him so often if he were.  I am guessing like everything else his statements are taken out of context to fit the Quranist heresy’s agenda.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I know Lang.  We have spoken and we have hosted him years ago.  He is not a Quranist.  He has a fascination with Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.).  He is well-spoken and an intelligent man.  But he is not a scholar.

Brother Colin Turner: These Quranists really are making a play for this group, are they not?  The comeback is simple: those who narrated the ahadits are the same people who narrated and transmitted the Qur’an; the only difference being that the Quran is mutawatir, something which can be said of only a handful of ahadits.  Nevertheless, if ahadits are suspect in principle, that must also apply to the Qur’an.

Brother Jon Beatty: Why are they kidding themselves?  They reject the Qur’an too, time and time again; they ignore problematic verses, anything that contradicts their agenda.

Brother Abdur Rab: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I did not know you are a staunch ahadits lover.  Excellent.  But, unfortunately, you have hardly succeeded in rebutting my post.  Your points are hollow.  If you can brand all critics of ahadits as non-scholars, if you can call Sayyid Ahmad Khan an apostate, a kafir, if you brush aside numerous other ahadits critics like Shaykh Khaled Abou El Fadl, Aisha Musa, Reza Aslan as non-scholars, non-entities, then there must be something seriously wrong with your capacity to judge things.  By the way, I cited Jeffrey Lang using his book.  He is definitely a ahadits critic.  He has raised some very pertinent questions regarding the ahadits.  Because of his ahadits criticism, he is no longer wanted in mainstream Muslim discussions.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I am not a ‘staunch ahadits lover’.  I am an orthodox Muslim.  There is nothing wrong with being a critic of the corpus.  We all are.  But to state that we should get rid of it puts one out of the fold of Islam.  A Qur’an-only ‘Muslim’, therefore, is an oxymoron.  Such a person is not a Muslim, but a kafir.

Reza Aslan is an academic, not one of the ‘ulama.  His field of study is neither theology, nor jurisprudence, nor Qur’an or ahadits.  I know Shaykh Khaled Abu El Fadl and Jeffrey Lang.  They are not Quranists and you quoted them out of context.  Sayyid Ahmad Khan believes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad may be the Prophet (s.a.w.) reborn and rejects khatm an-nubuwwat.  That is also kufr.  In essence, there is not, and neither has there ever been a scholar of the Quranist movement.  There are a lot of intellectuals, but nobody learned in the sciences of religion.

I have addressed all your points comprehensively.  Whether you accept them or not is irrelevant.  I would not expect a Quranist, a kafir, to do so.  But we must set an example for the Muslims here, and be firmly against deviancy.

Brother Imran Price: Do so-called ‘Quranists’ follow the 5 pillars of Islam or reject them because they are based on ahadits?  Do they pray and if so, how, as the Qur’an does not give directions?

Brother James Harris: On the basis of recent discussion here, we have learned that they do not recognise that Islam even has 5 pillars.  Furthermore, while they say that the details of wudhu’ and swalah can be found in the Qur’an and so ahadits are unnecessary, they do not pray 5 times a day or according to any particular practice.  ‘Swalah’ is performed whenever and however they feel like it.

Sister Sabine: Where are you getting this from, Brother James?  It is not true at all.  The question of how do Quranists pray has been addressed numerous times here.  Even some people who are not Quranists are getting irritated with the fact that this question is being repeated over and over again although the answer is easy to find if you care to do a five minute google search.

Brother James Harris: I am basing this on what was said on numerous threads here, mainly from Sister Eleanor.  I mentioned this in my comment above.  Perhaps she has not done her homework on Quranism.  If she is misrepresenting Quranism, I would strongly suggest that you correct it when she posts it.

Sister Sabine: Is Sister Eleanor now the official spokesperson for Quranism?  I remember that references and long answers have been posted by various people on various threads.  If someone believes there are no directions for prayer in the Qur’an, it makes me wonder whether they actually read it.

Brother James Harris: Well, you and others have defended everything she has said so far, so why would we assume she was wrong?

Brother Jon Beatty: So define the full prayer with Qur’an only and using the Arabic language as the basis for ensuring that everything is correct.  Why is it that I have not seen one Quranist define the prayer completely?  Why is it always an attack or negative when we ask the Quranists to provide evidence as opposed to whining that they are not taken seriously?  The Quranists all claim to read and know the Qur’an and many even claim to know Arabic, yet not one of them can formulate a consistent approach to something as simple as prayer.  I have heard everything from praying 3 times a day to prayer is nothing more than a feeling.

Sister Sabine: There is a whole discussion on this posted by Sister Amanda Grace on the 21st March.  I cannot link it but you can use the search button.  The following are some sites: Qur’an Alone: How to Perform the Contact Prayers (Swalah), Swalah in the Qur’an, What is Swalah?, and True Islam: Swalah.

Brother James Harris: Yes, it mentions swalah in the Qur’an.  That was clear.  The point that Sister Eleanor has made in numerous posts is that Quranists do not pray 5 times a day, and do not follow a formalised practice.

Brother Jon Beatty: A lot of the stuff in the first link are not found in Qur’an, but in the ahadits in terms of the details.  The second link has a complete mistranslation of Surah al-Hijr:87.  Nothing in the Arabic that says anything in sets of two.  There are tons of misconceptions and misinterpretations in these links and still they use ahadits-based prayer systems.


And We have Bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-Repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur’an. (Surah al-Hijr:87)

Brother James Harris: Yes.  As they base it on the Qur’an alone, according to the first site given by Sister Sabine, they pray only three times a day.  This is in spite of the fact that the five times prayer was practiced by all Muslim communities since the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Brother Jon Beatty: They use a lot of ahadits-based positions in that first link.

Brother James Harris: If Sister Eleanor is not speaking on behalf of Quranism and has in fact got it wrong, why has every single comment from a Quranist on the threads so far strongly defended all of her statements on the issues raised and criticised the mainstream positions vehemently?  If the aim has been simply to annoy Sunnis and Shi’ah for that purpose alone, then I consider the comments that have done this to be trolling the group.

Sister Sabine: Some people find every question or comment that is not in line with their established line of thinking annoying.

Brother Jon Beatty: There are deliberate mistranslations and additions to the Qur’an verses in that second link and that first link has a lot of ahadits-based material in it.  Can you explain that?

Sister Sabine: I just posted those links to show that there are different approaches.  If you are interested in detailed answers and explanations I suggest you join one of the many Quranist forums or Facebook groups and ask there.

Brother Jon Beatty: I have been in the Quranist forums.  I have never gotten answers there either except links and rude behaviour.  I have been down the Quranist path, Sister Sabine.  I know the games they play and they do not have answers.  Those sites proved that those links do not have any approach at all.  They are outright lies and mistranslations.  They use ahadits, they mistranslate and add to the Qur’an and still with those attempts, they cannot explain a simple process such as prayer.  Can you explain to me why there are additions to the Qur’anic verses in the second link?  If you guys follow the Qur’an, I would think there would be at least some consistency and integrity there.

Sister Sabine: I am not going to explain any of those articles to you, Brother Jon.  Sorry, but I think the topic has been done to death.  As I said, my reason for posting them was to show that there is no such thing as one unified prayer practice for people who do not follow ahadits.

Brother Jon Beatty: You claim they do not follow ahadits but those links are laden with ahadits-based practices so your sites only serve to prove that Quranists have no argument with regards to their rejection of everything.  They, in fact, even reject the Qur’an by altering it dishonestly.  So, to keep it simple, your sites have in fact proven my point.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis:  There is no group more contemptible, more mislead, more foolish than these Quranists.  If a Wahhabi is a kafir, this group is more so, for they do not even have the shahadah.  All they have is the pretence that they are somehow of the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.).  They have no respect for the Qur’an, for the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Allah (s.w.t.).  They know nothing of the religion, and they know nothing of faith.  They are idolaters who worship their nafs.

Brother Imran Price: And they are dishonest.

Brother Abdur Rab: I am sorry, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis.  You are too vitriolic against the Quranists with too broad and swift generalisations about whether they are really Muslims.  Anyway, you have the right or freedom to have a different opinion.  I respect differences of opinion.  That is fine with me.  God is the Ultimate Judge of who is on the right side.

Some of you have raised the question of what is the position of the Quranists on the question of prayer.  Do they really pray and pray five times?  This question is posed as if five-time prayer is a sine qua non of Islam.  As a Quranist, I recognise there are some differences among Quranists about how they approach this question.  There could be differences, we should welcome this.  Since prayer is largely a means to connect to God, there could be differences about how individuals approach the question of how to connect to God.  As for myself, I believe what I really intend from my heart is more important than any ritual.  Anyway, I have written a piece on prayer.  If you're interested, please take a look at it here: Explore the Quran | My Articles.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: In issues of ‘aqidah, truth is clear from error.  A Quranist is no more a Muslim than a Wahhabi is.  Whilst the Wahhabi sect have made their God into an idol through their anthropomorphism, the Quranist group has made their nafs into that idol with their insistence that their limited understanding of the Qur’an is the sole arbiter of truth.  It is inconceivable for anyone to believe that their understanding of the religion is superior to the pious predecessors.  And it is outrageous that they denigrate the role of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and then claim to be of his ummah.  It is essentially hypocrisy.

If, in a cursory glance, I could find so much that is in error in this one article, what would I find if I bothered to go through it thoroughly and decided to write a proper refutation with dala’il?  What takes the Quranist out of Islam is not just their rejection of the corpus of the ahadits.  That is in error.  It is the consequences of that where they have deviated from the ‘aqidah of the body of Muslims.  There is absolutely no compromise in issues of creed.  I would no more pray behind a Quranist as my imam, than I would a Wahhabi, or a Zionist.  All are non-Muslims.

Brother Abdur Rab: I understand that you declare the Quranists non-Muslims.  But it is not clear to me what makes you treat the Wahhabis on the same level?  Another thing, tell me if you like to kill the Quranists and Wahhabis on the ground that they are apostates.  Do you believe in this ahadits-prescribed punishment for apostates? Do you believe in ahadits -prescribed punishment of stoning to death for adultery?  Do you believe in the shari’ah that demonises and victimises women in various ahadits influenced ways?  Do you believe that our Prophet (s.a.w.) had the capacity to go to 32 women at the same night?  The list could go on and on.  Why are you so hostile to the Wahhabis when they literally follow the ahadits and, ostensibly, the Qur’an as well?  What really makes you different from the Wahhabis, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: It is quite obvious you do not participate in the threads since my position on all that is well-known, and extensively explained.  We cover a wide variety of topics at great depth and we provide dala’il.  A Quranist is not merely a non-Muslim, but an unlearned one at that.  You bring these little things as if they are major issues thinking that you are clever.  1,400 of scholarship have addressed all these in great depth.

Brother Abdur Rab: You have avoided the questions.  Strange!

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No, I am telling you that I have already answered all this on multiple threads on this very group if you had bothered to actually read.  And I have a blog, A Muslim Convert Once More, that has these archived threads and more than a thousand articles about all this.  You did not bother to look.

Brother Abdur Rab: I had a glance at your link.  I did get some of your ideas and I do appreciate some of them - like your liking for spirituality, your idea of judging the relevance of ahadits in the light of changes in the modern age, which means accepting ijtihad.  But I could not locate the answers to my specific questions, excepting on apostasy of a special kind.  And you think my specific questions are not that important.  Why?  They have been dealt with by many earlier scholars.  However, I wanted to know your answers to them.  Another question, how do you make a clear demarcation between the corpus of ahadits that you find acceptable and those contained in the so-called swahih collections?  What do you make of the theological case against the ahadits - numerous Qur’an texts that speak voluminously against the ahadits - that the Qur’an is complete as guidance, that the Qur’an is the best ahadits, that God has Told the Prophet (s.a.w.) and us to follow only the Qur’an, that he was Told only to deliver the Quran and not to explain it, as the burden of explanation is left with God Himself, and so on?  I reject the ahadits on the very important ground that it is Unreliable.  There may be some good traditions, but they are easily eclipsed by the bad ones.  Note that no other source has corrupted so much of our traditional Islam.  It is because of the faulty ahadits ideas that extremist groups like the Wahhabis, al-Qa’idah, the Taliban, the Boko Haram, and the ISIS have come to exist.

You reject the Wahhabis as apostates.  But traditional Islam represented by what is being followed by Saudi Arabia and other parts of the globe to which Saudi Arabia has successfully exported their Wahhabi version.  What is your Islam, as distinguished from Wahhabism?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I will try and keep this simple since I dislike repeating myself.  If you want an in depth answer, I suggest you start a separate thread for each one.

Regarding this, “...your idea of judging the relevance of ahadits in the light of changes in the modern age, which means accepting ijtihad,” the interpretation of ahadits is a science in and of itself.  There is nothing unusual about my interpretation.  That is the position of the scholars.  The doors of ijtihad were never closed.  We have not had major ijtihad in a long while but that is simply because we do not have enough scholars of that calibre.  The following is taken from A Muslim Convert Once More: The History & Sources of Islamic Law by Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.  As a religion which includes doctrine, law and ethics, Islam forms a complete and comprehensive worldview for human life.  Islamic law, fiqh, for its part, is the means by which we are capable of producing appropriate rulings through derivation from the revelatory foundational texts.  Such foundational texts come in two forms: ‘recited,’ the Holy Qur’an; and ‘not recited,’ the pure Prophetic sunnah.  After its initial period of direct legislation in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Islamic law has undergone many stages, each of which has its own distinctive features and impact on its current form.  It is appropriate, then, that there be a study of these stages, which is not simply a description and explanation of the past, but which also serves the present by contributing to greater expertise and depth in understanding the shari’ah.

Regarding apostasy, there is actually no blasphemy law in shari'ah.  Neither is there an apostasy one.  The ‘shari'ah’ of Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not actually shari’ah.  They are tribal laws masquerading as such.  They cannot be taken as examples, let alone exemplars.  There are laws against sedition, and that is from the Qur’an, not ahadits.  This refers to those who leave the religion and wage war against it.  If we had an Islamic state of the Madinan model, and Ayaan Al Hirsi were a citizen, she might be liable for this sort of apostasy law.

From my blog post, A Muslim Convert Once More: The Punishment for Apostasy in Islam, there was an early convert who renounced Islam and became a Christian.  ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh was the brother of Zaynab bint Jahsh (r.a.), Hammanah bint Jahsh (r.a.) and ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh (r.a.).  He was famed as one of the prominent hunafah mentioned by Shaykh ibn Ishaq (r.a.) along with Waraqah ibn Nawfal (r.a.), ‘Utsman ibn Huwarits (r.a.) and Zayd ibn ‘Amr (r.a.).  He married Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan (r.a.), also known as Umm Habibah Ramlah.  They had a daughter named Habibah bint ‘Ubaydullah (r.a.).  His wife and he converted to Islam and took part in the first hijrah to Christian Abyssinia in order to escape persecution.  At Axum, they were given sanctuary.  ‘Ubaydullah eventually converted to Christianity and testified his new faith to the other Muslim refugees.

Shaykh ibn Ishaq (r.a.) related, “'Ubaydullah went on searching until Islam came; then he migrated with the Muslims to Abyssinia taking with him his wife who was a Muslim, Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan.  When he arrived there he adopted Christianity, parted from Islam, and died a Christian in Abyssinia.  Muhammad bin Ja’far al-Zubayr (r.a.) told me that when he had become a Christian, as 'Ubaydullah passed the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) companions who were there, they used to say, ‘We see clearly, but your eyes are only half open.’”

Due to his conversion, he was divorced from his wife.  Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) eventually married his former wife, Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan (r.a.) and later on his sister, Zaynab bint Jahsh (r.a.).  When reports of his apostasy reached the Prophet (s.a.w.), he did not order any action to be taken upon him.

Regarding this, “Another question, how do you make a clear demarcation between the corpus of ahadits that you find acceptable and those contained in the so-called swahih collections,” the question does not make sense.  ‘Swahih’ is merely a grading.  There are collections of ‘swahihahadits such as the jami’ of Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), but they are still part of the corpus.  There are more than 87 gradings of ahadits that I know of.  In any case, they are reference collections.  They are a resource for jurisprudence and other sciences.  We are not obliged to follow every single ahadits since some of them are for specific people in specific circumstances.  They are not applicable to us.  A sharh on them would tell anyone about it.

The following is extracted from A Muslim Convert Once More: An Introduction to Ahadits by Ustadzah Zafirah Jeffrey.  The study of ahadits is one of the most extensive and excruciatingly detailed fields of study in Islam. It emphasises greatly on verification and authenticity, and a lot of investigation has gone into the collections of ahadits that we see today.  What is generally accepted amongst the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is known as Kutub as-Sittah, the six major books of sunnah.  They are also known as Swihah as-Sittah, the ‘Authentic Six’.  The Kutub as-Sittah are six books containing collections of ahadits compiled by six scholars in the ninth century.  They were first formally grouped and defined by Imam ibn al-Qaysarani al-Maqdisi (r.a.) in the 11th century.  Prior to his work, despite their importance, no one had undertaken such a task.  There was no way to search any of these books based on key words or important terms.

Regarding this, “What do you make of the theological case against the ahadits - numerous Qur’an texts that speak voluminously against the ahadits - that the Qur’an is complete as guidance, that the Qur’an is the best ahadits, that God has Told the Prophet (s.a.w.) and us to follow only the Qur’an, that he was Told only to deliver the Quran and not to explain it, as the burden of explanation is left with God Himself, and so on…,” this is what separates a scholar from a pseudo-scholar.  The word ‘hadits’ that appears in the Qur’an refers to different things depending on the context.  It never, it any circumstances refers to the collection of sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

This is a mistake made by people who read the Qur’an, Muslim and non-Muslim.  They see a familiar word such as ‘Muslim’ ‘Islam’ or ‘shari’ah’ and they think they know what it means without considering the fact that the same word would have differing meanings depending on context.  The following is written by Shaykh Abdul Ghafoor bin Abdul Raheem and is a good example of this phenomenon: A Muslim Convert Once More: ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’ & ‘Shari’ah’ as Understood from the Qur’an.

You said, “I reject the ahadits on the very important ground that it is unreliable.  There may be some good traditions, but they are easily eclipsed by the bad ones.  Note that no other source has corrupted so much of our traditional Islam.  It is because of the faulty ahadits ideas that extremist groups like the Wahhabis, al-Qa’idah, the Taliban, the Boko Haram, and the ISIS have come to exist.”  Please refer to the post about the collation and verification of ahadits.  We can go into depth separately.

All these groups you have named are Wahhabi groups except for the Taliban who are Deobandi, which is essentially the same.  Wahhabis are not Muslims.  This also pertains to this: “You reject the Wahhabis as apostates.  But traditional Islam represented by what is being followed by Saudi Arabia and other parts of the globe to which Saudi Arabia has successfully exported their Wahhabi version.  What is your Islam, as distinguished from Wahhabism?”  You are conflating issues of taswawwuf, ‘aqidah and fiqh with ahadits.  That is like blaming the oil when the engine of a car is badly made.  When a heart is filled with hate and violence, what is sees is through that prism.  These people look at the Qur’an and justify murder and worse.  Why is it ‘ahadits’ that are the problem when they are quoting the Qur’an?  Should we throw away the Qur’an as well?  Since when was their interpretation legitimate?

Wahhabism is a separate distinct sect with a distinct theology.  They are not a ‘version’ of Islam.  They are considered apostate.  I have more than a hundred articles on their theology and I refute it.  However, instead of flooding this thread I will summarise it thus.  They have taken the mutashabihat verses of the Qur’an literally.  As such, they believe that God has a form, that He literally sits on a chair, that He has two eyes, two legs, two hands, moves between the Seven Heavens, and is at a point above Creation.  That is not Allah (s.w.t.).  That is an idol.  As such, they are considered polytheists, not Muslims.  Should we then discard the Qur’an because they believe such?

The following is a summary of the comparison of the doctrine of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah and the heretical Wahhabi sect, as extracted from al-Fajr asw-Swadiq fi ar-Radd ‘ala Munkiri at-Tawaswswul wa al-Khawariq, “The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Denying Miracles and Intercession in Islam” by Imam Jamil Swiddiqi ibn Muhammad Faydhi az-Zahawi al-Kurdi (r.a.), the Mufti of Baghdad: A Muslim Convert Once More: Summary of the Deviation in the Wahhabi Doctrine.

Brother Abdur Rab: Thanks for the elaborate responses.  But please note that the Quranists also do not take the literalist interpretation of the Qur’an, but emphasise its worldviews and contextualised uses on various issues.  They also condemn out-of-context citations from the Qur’an by the Wahhabis and the Muslim extremist groups as well as by the Islamophobes such as Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and their ilk to support their special agendas.  Another very important point, you say the swahih ahadits are just references and not statutory guidance to be followed.  However, traditional Muslims are doing just that using the ahadits as sacred guidance.  You do not do that.  That is understandable. But there is the rub.  You do not have an exact outline of what is to be followed as a Muslim.  We, as Quranists, are clear on this: steer clear of the ahadits since it provides a lot of misguidance.  Stay on the Qur’an as it gives us complete guidance.  Last, but not the least, you do not recognise that Muslims currently follow shari’ah, which overwhelmingly draws on the ahadits.  You say, shari’ah is different from this ‘shari’ah law.’  But you do not have any definite outline of such shari’ah. And tell me, who is going to accept and follow your shari’ah?

Brother James Harris: How can Quranists take a contextualised view when they reject all of the sources from which that context is determined?  The literature that provides the context of the Revelation is the asbab an-nuzul literature.  This literature is dependent on the major ahadits collections.

Brother Abdur Rab: The Quranists do not need to depend on any other literature to take a contextualised view.  For example, the provision that a male heir should inherit twice as much as his female counterpart depends on the context that women at that time were solely dependent on husbands for their financial and other support.  The Quranists can apply a gender-neutral understanding of this provision because of the changed context in modern time when women are not fully dependent on their husbands.  Also, the so-called asbab an-nuzul literature does not appear to be fully satisfactory and reliable either, just as the ahadits is not fully reliable.

Brother James Harris: How do you know that women were solely dependent on their husbands at that time?  Also, can you give an example of any historical literature that is completely reliable in terms of personal bias?  No scholars of history, even western ones, reject a historical document entirely because there may be some bias in the content.  Bias should be considered when interpreting any text.

Brother Abdur Rab: A historical document is of value, when it's reliable enough - when its historicity is not suspect.  The historicity of the ahadits is highly questionable.  If you have patience enough, please check out my piece on this here: Explore the Quran | My Articles.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The historicity of the ahadits are not questionable.  The interpretation by people who are not qualified is the issue.  Putting aside all that and applying logic, are you trying to tell me that a select group of people, born in this age, with no knowledge of the Arabic language, with no knowledge of sirah, with no training in the sciences of Revelation, found something that 1,400 years of scholarship did not?  That would mean that God and His Prophet (s.a.w.) failed for 1,400 years.

Also, since we are talking about inheritance, the premise of the fara’idh you brought forward is itself wrong.  The reason males get twice that of females is that whatever they get is for the family, and whatever the women get is only for herself.  It is actually biased towards the women.  Not even her husband may touch her money.  If Quranists cannot even get that right, what else do they get wrong?

On one hand, Quranists insist we all go by the Qur’an alone.  On the other hand, you want it ‘gender-neutral’ when the ayat are clearly not.  Arabic is such that we can tell whether it specifically addresses the male or the female.  So you are merely claiming lip service to following the Qur’an but changing the verses to suit your conceptions.

Brother Abdur Rab: Only those who upheld the validity of ahadits literature are scholars?  Others who critiqued this literature are not scholars?  That is your conclusion.  What about the prohibition of ahadits collection and compilation by the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself, the vehement opposition of the Caliph ‘Umar (r.a.) to the ahadits and his burning of ahadits, and also by Abu Bakr (r.a.).  The criticism of ahadits started since the very beginning of compilation and collection of ahadits stories.  Read Aisha Musa’s Ahadits as Scripture: The Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I have read it.  It is pathetically weak.  She does not even have any qualifications in the field, and it shows.  She makes basic assumptions and brings up genuine problems as if they are new without considering that they have already been addressed.  She makes so much hay about alleged inconsistencies in the Shaykhayn when the very same issues have already been comprehensively addressed in Fath al-Bari and Sharh Swahih Muslim.  If I were to jump on the anti-ahadits bandwagon, I could write a better ‘refutation’ of ahadits.

Brother Abdur Rab: I have also read Aisha Musa’s book, but my impression is quite the opposite.  She has done a good job, making a solid contribution to the anti- ahadits rhetoric.  You say others have addressed her concerns, but she actually deals with these very scholars.  She has also translated Imam ash-Shafi’i’s (r.a.) book.  Anyway, I did write a review of her book.  The link I give at the end.

Now let me talk about Swahih Muslim’s ahadits.  She presents a ahadits that says that the Prophet (s.a.w.) put a ban on the recording of ahadits and ordered erasure of existing recordings.  Do you believe the veracity of this ahadits?  If so, it negates all other ahadits texts, does it not?

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (r.a.) reported that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) said, “Do not take down anything from me, and he who took down anything from me except the Qur’an, he should erase that and narrate from me, for there is no harm in it and he who attributed any falsehood to me, he should in fact find his abode in the Hell Fire.”  And Hammam (r.a.) said, “I think he also said, ‘Deliberately.’”

There are similar other ahadits reports, such as one from Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.), and another from Taqyid by Khathib al-Baghdadi (r.a.) confirming the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) prohibition on ahadits writing, and direction for erasure of any ahadits.

Now about Fath al-Bari, I am told this commentary on Swahih al-Bukhari was written 500 years after Imam al-Bukhari’s (r.a.) book. About Imam al-Bukhari’s (r.a.) ahadits itself, let me comment that he has shamelessly insulted the Prophet (s.a.w.) by defaming and tarnishing his noble character by portraying him as a sex maniac, going to nine wives at the same night, and having the strength of 32 people!  Now see how he demonised women:  Some examples of such texts are that women constitute the majority of the inhabitants of Hell, that women are more deficient than men in intelligence and religion, that women represent a bad omen and an affliction more harmful than anything else for men, and that women are ungrateful to their husbands.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That she translated Imam ash-Shafi’i’s (r.a.) book is hardly any indication of scholarship.  For example, she brought up the hadits by Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (r.a.).  This was a Makkan hadits, in the early days of Revelation.  Did she consider the fact that the sharh of this hadits pertains to its time and place?  She took one narration, and thought she was being smart.  After the hijrah, they were not only allowed, but encouraged to write ahadits.  That is why we have the Swahifah of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.), and ibn ‘Umar (r.a.).  That is why this hadits is in a jami’ of hadits.  If it contradicted everything, would it not have made sense that the scholars would have hidden it as part of a conspiracy as you have alleged?

There are a lot of supposedly mushkil ahadits.  But they are mushkil because people do not know the sharh.  They take from the jami’ or elsewhere, and they think they are being smart.  For example, there are two ahadits that seemingly contradict each other in Swahih al-Bukhari.  When asked how the Prophet (s.a.w.) began his istinja’, ‘Aishah (r.a.) said he began with the right hand.  Umm Salamah (r.a.) said it was the left.  So whom do we follow?  Were they wrong?  The answer is both are correct.  However, ‘Aishah (r.a.) meant that he took wudhu’ first, and so it is the right hand, whereas Umm Salamah (r.a.) was referring to the istinja’ alone, and so it is the left hand.  But you cannot get this from simply reading the text of the jami’.  And this is why the Quranists fail.  They take these narrations in isolation and seek to find faults instead of understanding.  In their quest to lead others astray, they themselves are led astray.  Aisha Musa’s book does not mention this particular example, if I recall, but it does try to raise doubts with all these supposedly mushkil ahadits.  And I can refute each and every one of her points.  Imagine what an actual muhaddits could say about her nonsense?  She has not brought forward anything new.  She is only exhibiting her ignorance.

And concerning Fath al-Bari, whoever told you it as written 500 years after Swahih al-Bukhari is hilariously wrong.  Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), was the student of Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.).  So you gain show you have no idea what you are talking about here.  You lack any credibility in this field, and yet you insist on maligning the scholars of this field.  Swahih al-Bukhari was always written as a jami’, an index where ahadits that were graded swahih were collated according to subject matter.  There is no sharh.  Fath al-Bari, a separate book, is that sharh.

And the claim that any of the a’immah were disrespectful of the Prophet (s.a.w.) is spurious.  I fail to see how a man going to his wives makes him a sex maniac.  He is doing his duty.  That is only in the conception of the reader.  If there is a disease in the heart, everything is hurtful.

Consider how you write, Brother Abdur Rab, and how I write.  When I mention the Prophet (s.a.w.), the companions and the scholars, I always put the appropriate honorifics.  That is respect and love.  And the a’immah, Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and the rest, are all like that.  We send swalawat, something Quranists do not believe in doing, even though it is clear in the Qur’an.  We engage in dzikr, we believe in wasilah; all this from the Qur’an, but Quranists do not believe in.  And yet you would claim that Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) is the one being disrespectful?  This is a man who saw the Prophet (s.a.w.).  This is the man who prayed istikharah for every hadits he put in his jami’.  The piety of these people is unquestioned.  And unless someone is of that level, they have no real cause to doubt their sincerity.

As for your last few points, for some of them, I have already written some articles explaining their seeming contradictions.  You may find it on my blog.  And they comprehensively refute Aisha Musa’s assertions in her book, as well as this idea that ahadits are a war against women.

Brother Abdur Rab: I shudder to think that there are people like you, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, who have no problem with the garbage in Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) maligning the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his wives, who believe in fantasies that Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) was such a superman that he could perform istikharah for each and every one of 600,000 of reports he considered to choose his some 7,000 reports.  Have you done the mathematics?  How much time he took for istikharah of each ahadits report?  Was it humanly possible in his lifetime and that, too, with his travels?  Come on, you people do not really respect the Prophet (s.a.w.) with swalawat; you just insult him.  The Quranists do not believe that the Prophet (s.a.w.) and any of his wives who were to be regarded as mothers by all believers would shamelessly share their private life with third persons.  The Quranists believe that it's beneath propriety to ask any of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) wives about their private life.  Do not boast of your level of knowledge in ma’arifat.  My own teacher was a great spiritual teacher.  And he was a dedicated Quranist, earning the ire of the mullahs.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Abdur Rab, because you are unable to do something, it does not mean others are.  I have seen a lot of things in my time.  That is the Sufi Path.  The shaykh of my shaykh used to khatm the Qur’an 40 times a day.  Should that be impossible?  But Allah (s.w.t.) is the Master of time.  The father of one of other shuyukh fasted for several years and only broke it at the end.  Should that be impossible?  But Allah (s.w.t.) is the Sustainer.  What do you know of impossible?

If your teacher was truly a spiritual person, he would not be a Quranist.  His ma’arifat would have led him to the truth.  He could have asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) directly.  There is no boast in anything I have said.  There are students of my shuyukh in this group, and the students of their teachers.  And they could tell stories of greater phenomenon.  If I made a mistake in my retelling of our teachers, be assured, they will tell me on this thread.

You talk about ahadits as if they are something found in books, and some academics of no knowledge and less piety.  We talk about the Prophet (s.a.w.) as if he is here, and he is.  There was once, in my younger days, when we had a doubt regarding a certain hadits, and it was transmitted by Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.), and my shaykh asked him, and he came to explain.  The chains of true knowledge in Islam are not broken to us.  They may be broken to you, but only because you are not Muslims, pretending to be.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: You cannot claim any sort of piety when you have no adab with Rasulullah (s.a.w.) himself.

Brother Abdur Rab: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I do not understand what you mean by saying that I am unable to do something.  What something?  I am aware of the Sufi path, more accurately the spiritual path.  Your characterisation that Quranists cannot be spiritualists shows your utter ignorance.  The man who has written ‘Creator and Creation’, a marvellous treatise on spirituality, is a close student of my spiritual teacher.  His name is Panaullah Ahmad, a former top civil servant of Bangladesh.  According to him, the “chequered history” of ahadits recording, collection, and compilation “due to bribery, sabotage,” and a long lapse of time from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) death points to its “grave shortcomings.”  He continues, Islam does not entertain “monarchical imperialism and any state or even priestly interference” with the Divine code, but examples of such interference abound in the ahadits.  This has resulted in numerous ahadits texts that give up or negate “parts or key points of the Quran” or “clouding of the real issues.”  In the process, the ahadits has become “more a detractor of the Qur’an and the Prophet than a real guide.”  Non-compilation by the Prophet’s contemporaries during his lifetime, non-systematisation for about two centuries, concoction and ingenious forging of reports by pseudo-enemies and faulty transmission; all contributed to a spurt of spurious ahadits that led to clouding of the real issues; and so practice of religious principles affected by this inimical process tended towards rigidity rather than elasticity so beautifully inherent in God’s Revelation.  This has contributed to regimentation of thoughts and ideas.  Being “more or less confined to the ritual aspect of Islam,” it “tended towards regimentation not only in thought but also in habits.”  It has painted the Prophet (s.a.w.) and some of his illustrious wives in ways that go beyond the “bounds of propriety.” It has given four schools of thought, which stultify the Quran itself.  The excerpt is from my ‘Rediscovering Genuine Islam: The Case for a Quran-Only Understanding.’

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The foundation of taswawwuf is sound ‘aqidah and shari’ah.  No one can claim to be of us if they reject the Rope of Allah (s.w.t.).  And any who claims to be a Sufi, by whatever name they call themselves, and reject ahadits are charlatans and liars.  A former top civil servant from Bangladesh wrote a books on spirituality?  Perhaps I could find a cardiologist and be moved by his description of farming mushrooms on the moon?

Essentially, Quranism as a doctrine is a fraud.  The Quranists are frauds.  You have no scholars.  You have no academic and intellectual integrity.  You have no credibility.  You have no religion beyond you pretensions.  Your people are deluded and irrational, not to mention very emotional. You are small people trying to feel big when you do not even understand the basics of the very things you contemplate.  Yet, instead of actually investigating, you manufacture conspiracies and theories and then look for ‘evidence’.  Every point you have brought up in this thread has been already refuted.  And instead of addressing the refutation, you brought up new points, and they were also refuted.  I suggest you look at what you have quoted and consider.  You have given nothing but polemics.  And when pressed to cite actual examples, they were found to be misrepresentations and misunderstandings.  And they were soundly refuted.

Do you really want to be like the Qurayshi polytheists, being indignant in kufr when there is enough evidence to consider the truth?  Have you ever considered the absurdity of your position; that either the entire ummah was astray until you lot came along, or that there is a massive conspiracy covering more than a thousand years and hundreds of thousands of scholars all over the world?  And then, what makes you all so special that you can claim to know the religion better than the body of the ummah when you do not even know Classical Arabic, the language of the Qur’an?  If, as you say, God Speaks to us spiritually, and that is true, why do you hear something radically different from the other 99.99% of Muslims?


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