Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hadith

The issue of the Hadith interests me both on the level of being a Muslim, and on the sociological & historical level. I haven't studied the issue enough to make up my mind about it, but I do know that a lot of questionable practices in Islamic communities are rooted in the Hadith, often with no support from the Qur'an. Another point is that often I come across Hadith that contradict the general spirit and message of the Qur'an. An example of these are the sexist Hadith one finds pretty often. It seems strange to me that the Qur'an gives women so many rights, and then there are Hadith that take them away; or that the Qur'an affirms that women are conscious beings, and then there are Hadith that treat us like objects.

I guess my main question is this: what role are Hadith supposed to play in the life of a Muslim? I definitely don't think they should be on the same level at the Qur'an, since after all, they were transmitted by human beings. I also don't think we should reject all Hadith, especially since we wouldn't know how to pray if it weren't for Hadith.

But is it okay to just focus on Hadith we like, and ignore ones we don't? How do we know if they are authentic? I also have a problem with the whole authenticating thing, because: the Hadith were compiled more than 200 years after the death of the Prophet (pbuh); they were transmitted by human beings, who are bound to make mistakes; who decided whether a transmitter was "pious, honest, etc"? Furthermore, most of the transmitters and collectors of Hadith were men, who lived in a very patriarchal society (so patriarchal that God had to constantly remind them of how to treat women). So how do we know that they didn't pick and choose certain Hadith?

Another point is that the Prophet (pbuh) is said to have told people not to record his sayings (ironically we know this from a Hadith), and all four caliphs that came after him were against Hadith being recorded or collected. A final point is that the Qur'an says that it is complete. What does this mean in terms of how we see Hadith and the role they play in our lives?

I recently read two pieces on Hadith that I found interesting. One is an article called "Does the Hadith have a solid historical basis?" by Abdur Rab. The other is an excerpt from "Islam" by Fazlur Rahman, who is an amazing scholar. He writes:

"Unless the problem of the Hadith is critically, historically and constructively treated, there seems little prospect of distinguishing the essential from the purely historical."

And,

"What is necessary is to know the genesis and evolution of a given Hadith in order to reveal what function it did or was supposed to perform and whether Islamic needs do still demand such function or not."

I agree more with Rahman than Abdur Rab. I think we need to be very critical when approaching Hadith, and we also need to realize that most Hadith responded to the social context of that period, and may not make sense today.

I posted this about an hour ago, then had second thoughts and took it down, but then realized that I shouldn't censor myself. I really want to hear what everyone thinks, and if anyone has any advice.
Ooo and I also wrote a post below today, so don't forget to read that one too :D

42 comments:

SarahC said...

I read that Imam Bukhari evaluated 700,000 hadiths. How accurate can that have been? Even if he spent every moment of his life on hadiths (impossible), he would still have spent less than an hour on each one.

I have also read that a lot of hadiths came through Abu Hurayra, who was in disagreement with most of the other companions about a lot of things.

But I'm sure you are going to be able to educate me about all these matters before long, inshaAllah.

What amazes me is how staggeringly detailed the hadith literature is. There is a hadith on everything from plucking the eyebrows, to what to do if a fly lands in your drink. The Quran doesn't seem to concern itself with anything remotely as trivial as this. I think people believe unquestioningly in hadiths because they can't cope without that detail. Quran says use your reason... some people would rather use hadiths.

NoortheNinjabi said...

Salaam alykom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

So there's actually two parts to Hadith. The first is what it says. The second is who said it, tracing it back to the Prophet SAW.

There are some Hadith experts, literally experts, who spent their lives going from place to place, evaluating not only the words, but also who said them and who heard it from who. Some consider each transmission in a chain of transmission to be a hadith in and of itself. Anyways, it was their job to root out what was true and what was not. That's why we have volumes, such as "Sahih Bukhari" or "Sahih Muslim."

Hadith helps to back up or clarify what the Qur'an says. The way it's been explained to me is that the Qur'an is a book for all the world. So it's general. The Hadith (are supposed to) help us all apply the Qur'an to our own daily lives, in all situations.

As for Abu Hurayra RAA, he's really hard for me to understand and irritates me sometimes. The shuyukh I've been taking classes with have been able to explain some of his hadith in a way that makes posthumous assassination less tempting. Bleah.

Sunnipath has a couple of courses on Hadith and fiqh and why we use hadith. I don't know if you actually care that much, but it's an option if you do. (It's considered one of the sciences, actually...)

NoortheNinjabi said...

Salaams,
One other thing. There's hadith that require explanation in and of themselves. A lot of the shari'a comes from hadith (as does knowing how to pray and wash and do other things). The tricky part is getting the fiqh of the hadith, especially ones that are outwardly offensive. We went over Abu Hurayra's hadith about 3 things passing before a man praying invalidate his prayer (donkey, dog, woman), but I can't seem to remember the fiqh of it :( (InshaAllah I can find it in my lesson and pass it on, as mashaAllah, it was a cool explanation. Basically, women aren't donkeys or dogs, and scholars are overly blunt, but women could distract men and cause them to invalidate their prayer, so we shouldn't walk in front of each other while praying. Or something like that :S) So there's lessons we take from the hadith that are valuable, just like the lessons we take from the Qur'an are hugely valuable!

(Ironically, a lot of the explanations of the Qur'an come from hadith too :-P)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I know a professor who agrees with what the prophet said about not recording what he is saying, etcc...She only follows Quran and because of this she does not pray in the traditional ritual. She prays daily, but more to herself, like meditation, instead of the ritual prayers..

She is a very interesting woman, and she does not follow hadith because she sees them all as corrupted and even forbidden by the prophet!

I am glad you kept this post, controversy is good, it causes people to discuss. Where is the harm in that? :)

Openness brings you a large group of people who you may never have known about. I cannot tell you how many Muslims i met in college that were completely open about how and why they practiced the way they do. It completely changed my thoughts about what it means to be Muslim.

Aynur said...

Well an interesting thing to me is that Bukhari was Persian. And if you do the math of how fast he authenticated/collected hadith, it would come down to him recording one every 14 minutes, with no time to stop to sleep/eat etc. Anyway, I'm sure he had the best of intentions.

6:112 We have permitted the enemies of every prophet, human and Jinn devils, to inspire in each other fancy words in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.

We don't learn how to pray from the hadiths, but from other people - right?
Here's what I think. If the Qur'an says that it fully detailed and complete (for our salvation - which it does, several times), then if we say that it is not so then we are saying God is a liar.

"And We have revealed the Book to you which has clear explanation of everything, and a guidance, mercy and good news for those who submit." (Qur'an 16:89)

“Shall I then seek a Judge other than Allah? When it is He Who has revealed to you the Book fully detailed?” (Qur'an 6:114)

NoortheNinjabi said...

Ok, so I found an article on the matter.
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=1846

The wording is a bit harsh, but if one can keep an open mind, the arguments are interesting. It has a section specifically on Hadith. They also address the issue of Bukhari's massive knowledge of hadith.

A couple ayat they use in their argument...

You have indeed in the Messenger of God as good example for him who looks forward to God and the Last Day and remembers God much (33:21)

Obey Allah and obey the Prophet (5:92),

Whoever obeys the Prophet, he has obeyed Allah (4:80).

Allah has indeed shown grace to the believers in sending them a messenger from among themselves who reciteth unto them His revelations, and purifieth them and teacheth them the Book and Wisdom (3:164).

Consult with them upon the conduct of affairs (3:159).

NoortheNinjabi said...

"We don't learn how to pray from the hadiths, but from other people - right?"

Salaam Aynur,
"Other people" are a source of transmission. The transmissions are linked back to the Prophet SAW's actions. Therefore, they're hadith.

<3

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

SarahC: exactly! The Qur'an is more like a general way to live life, which I think is why a lot of people are attracted to Islam. When one starts thinking about every. small. detail. it becomes easy to forget the broad message of the Qur'an. I'm sorry if I don't consult the Hadith to see whether or not I can pluck my eyebrows. To me, being a Muslim the way the Qur'an is asking me to be one is more important.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Noor - very rarely have I felt that I can only apply the Qur'an to my daily life only by looking at Hadith. The Qur'an is general in one sense but detailed in another.

What bothers me is that Muslim & Bukhari's collections are seen as equal to the Qur'an. They are not and will never be sacred, because they do not come directly from God. Therefore they can be mistaken. For example there is one Hadith in Bukhari that Aisha was known to have said was false, but he doesn't include her correction. That's one example, so there could be more.

And yeah Abu Hurayra's Hadith are pretty bad. Aisha allegedly told him off a few times (meaning men and women did mix!) for the stuff he was narrating.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Noor: that's the Hadith Aisha contradicted - that if a dog, donkey, or woman was in front of you while praying, your prayer wouldn't count. She said she used to sit in front of the Prophet while he prayed and it was no problem. And she also said "so what, now we are being compared to dogs and donkeys?"

I'm about to start a course on Hadith at my university so insh'Allah it'll all become more clear and I can do another post in 5 months :D

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sarah Elizabeth: you're right about openness. What I see on other blogs tends to make me think twice about posting certain things, but maybe I should stop that.

I have a friend who thinks that because we don't know which Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim are wrong, we should follow them all just in case, which is the opposite of your professor. If I had to choose one of those, I think I would just not follow Hadith at all because at the end of the day, we have the Qur'an.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Aynur - I love how you always quote lots of verses from the Qur'an :) Mash'Allah.

I wonder how ulama react to the idea that the Qur'an is complete and so we don't need Hadith? It would be interesting to see their explanation. I can't remember ever seeing someone explain why we need to trust Hadith, because it seems to be taken for granted among most Muslims.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Noor: those ayat could be interpreted in 2 ways - one to support hadith and one to mean that God is telling us to believe the Qur'an. How do we know God is referring to the Prophet's sunna and not the message of the Qur'an?
Also, for this one: "Consult with them upon the conduct of affairs (3:159)", how do we know that that means that Hadith should also be written down, collected, and used for ever? Couldn't it have meant that God was saying that people at that time should ask the Prophet about their affairs?

I think what's putting me off accepting Bukhari and Muslim is that I know how literalist and traditionalist Muslims can be, and I know that I don't ever want to be that type of Muslim. So I'm scared that that form of Islam seeped into the method of collecting Hadith. Like others have pointed out, how did Bukhari go through so many Hadith in such a short time and also analyze them all carefully? And is it realistic to say that he was completely objective, esp. in regards to women?

Haha I'm so confused. Insh'Allah this course I'm taking will clear some things up.

Candice said...

I feel the same way you do about the whole thing. And I was about to post almost exactly what SarahC posted! About obeying the messenger, which is in the Qur'an, I feel we can only obey the messenger when he has a messae. If it was to obey Muhammad in his habits, the name would have been used. The Qur'an is clear in what it means to say. So that argument does not convince me at all.

And even about praying, I am glad I can take from the tradition that has been passed down, but I don't feel it's the only way. If I ever start feeling like there could be a better way to worship, I will change it without hesitation. Even now it's not exactly like most Muslims, but enough to be able to pray in congregation with them, which I value. The Qur'an says to pray and glorify God and I feel the way I pray does that. If I thought of a more effective way for me to do it, I'd consider modifying it. But I feel it's really a good way right now.

I'm even unsure about there being 5obligatory prayers... I think there may not even be a number. But I feel 5 is a good number and unity is important so I do it for that reason mostly.

Candice said...

And I wanted to say thank you for being brave and touching on this topic!

Aynur said...

Noor - Salaam, I love your heart symbol at the end of your response to me! ;)

Ah ha, yes - but, there is a difference. There are those that are transmitted in a mutawattir fashion and those that are not. Either by content or exact words. Like praying a certain amount of ra'kats in each prayer.
Hadiths are classified into 'strong', 'weak', etc. categories. The Qur'an is not.


cairo - I believe they just take the verses as "obey Allah and obey the Messenger" as proof.
I'm really not sure what to think about this topic, I can see the argument for both sides, and the argument for inbetween. ;)
And the argument for "how do we know how to pray without the hadiths" always seems to be the first thing to come up when this topic is raised. Is the exact form what's important or is it the content, the connection what's important? I really think it's the latter.

NoortheNinjabi said...

Cairo,
Those ayat were part of the argument I posted a link to. :D Basically, all of the scholars I've ever read agree that the Qur'an and sunna (hadith) and scholarly consensus (and ijtihad) make up the faith. Historically, it's been this way. Obviously, I agree with it, but to each their own.

Aynur,
Hehe, I always feel worried that people take offense to what I say, so I try to show that there's still love! :-P

I guess I trust the scholars that I study with to provide me with valid hadith, their "grade", and proof of it, which they do. I've also read a fair amount on the topic, so my conclusion has been that while there are invalid hadith floating out there, there's also really good ones that pass on important traditions or rulings. (I also think people misuse hadith when they don't understand them properly..the translation of Al-Maqasid by Sheikh Nuh has a few examples of it.) And I think the hadith experts did (from a few centuries ago) a really good job of rooting out which ones are good and which ones aren't, even if most of their work was done solely in arabic.

My husband is beckoning, lol.

Anyways, much love!

Bahlool said...

Salam Alaykum
Abu Hurayra was max 3 years with the Prophet, that he would be one of the main person to deliver so many hadiths is just stupid. While a person like Ali, who was the cousine and the adopted son of the Prophet only had some 40-50 hadiths in Bukhari you get to see Abu Hurrayra who had hundreds of them.

When the learned, this as sunnis, look at hadith they are strict. A hadith that is forwarded to us by a known liar, wont be accpted and so forth. The only group that i know of who do not like hadith are the so called Submitters, they disslike hadith and are not considered to be muslims due to the fact that they took away some verses from the holy Quran.
So the muslims shias as sunnis rely on hadith and see them as important to explain a lot of issues but be careful to not trust all the hadiths that are out there.

http://www.al-islam.org/abu-hurayra/
A great book that shows how bad it is to rely too much on Abu Hurayra..

S.Elisabeth said...

I honestly know nothing about Islam except that they have Allah. And that some idiotic people associate them with 9/11 and think they're all psycho killers.
But, this was really, really interesting. In comparing it to something I know about (Christianity), I can see where you're coming from. I have the same questions about Catholicism, bc I do not agree with a lot of my faith. As a whole, I agree with it and consider myself fairly religious. But my logic cannot allow me to blindly follow it wholly.

Fatimah said...

this has been very interesting to read and i love the comments! sometimes you get so used to thinking one way you get rigid and it's good to see other perspectives. i grew up reading from the hadith books with my family and i remember saying "abu hurrarah narrated" a LOT haha. i would love to hear you explore this topic more and let us know your results! :)

G said...

Part 1:
As always your posts seem to not only inspire but to also refresh a person with the prospect that the Muslim population can still rely on their reasoning and instincts rather than blindly follow what is enforced as the "norm" by culture and what could be un-Islamic tradition.

One of the main reasons I have shied away from Islam and I am yet still struggling to embrace it fully again is actually Hadith. Sometimes when I want to talk about Islam with Muslims everything I say is always refuted by the Hadith which I am supposedly not allowed to question because "the Prophet knows best".

Although I do not argue that the Prophet must have known best, I still don't want to entrust my opinions and actions on word of mouth. I'm sorry but at the end of the day Hadith is recorded by word of mouth. How many times have you told a friend a story and then realized that by the end of the week an altered version has reached someone else? This is a week I am talking about, not centuries which is the case of Hadith. Also I am not necessarily talking about intentional malice but also of the limits and faultiness of human memory.

I think the Prophet was a great man, especially after I read Karen Armstrong's book. I might not feel this amazing spiritual connection with him as many Muslims feel (which is sad I must say) but no matter how holy the Prophet is he does not compare with God, ESPECIALLY since the Hadiths could have been misinterpreted or misreported.

G said...

Part 2:

Therefore I agree with the fact that a Muslim's life should be directed by the Quran. In my opinion, at best, Hadiths should be supplementary knowledge that you can use if your reason and instincts after reading and understanding the Quran tell you this Hadith might have actually been the words of the Prophet.

But this post and comments have made me see that there is some controversy about the topic, even if a minute controversy. I think its good to discuss these things and I applaud you for this. I shiver when I think our enlightened generation can be just another one that will follow blindly. I mean isn't that what happened pre-Islam? People blindly followed the religions and teachings of their ancestors without thinking and then the Prophet came with another message which they ferociously rejected and fought. I hate to see this trend now a days. We are blindly following the Islam that is narrated to us by our ancestors without emphasizing the usage of reason which is what Islam itself EMPHASIZES! I think in today's world we can be brave and strong enough to use our brains and search our soul AND speak up about our opinions. Healthy debate is and should be a part of Islam.

So, I just think that I don't agree with Hadiths' priority and emphasis. Some Hadith I read just seem to strike me as wrong, unfair and (I'm sorry to say this) evil, every fiber in my soul, mind, intellect and reason tell me this CANNOT be true. It contradicts the beauty of Islam!

Again, I have left another long comment! But your posts do get me fired up and excited about Islam again. I am sure this blog's effect on me will reward you one day Sarah :)

So on a final note, I don't mean offense to anyone here. I just speak my mind and that's the way I am. I think I am entitled to that and I am sure Islam just doesn't want me to shut up, nod and applaud just any traditional norm that is passed down. If humans weren't supposed to reason, I am pretty sure Allah would have given us smaller brains.

Also, I would like to ask a small request although I know you guys don't know me. But if you find it in your heart and have time, I would like for you in these holy last days of Ramdan to pray that I am returned to the correct and righteous path!

Thank you and GREAT POST!!
Lots of love, respect and missing you Sarah!!

Jasmine said...

I agree with what Sarah Elizabeth wrote of her friend, however its a catch 22 situation.

Q: How do we know the prophet did not want hadith?
A: because it says he said this in some hadith.

Also, Quran says "beat women" , Hadith says: "Prophet never did this, and also does not want this - therefore beat them lightly" etc etc -

So basically we all pick and choose what we like or dont like, on purpose or subsconsiously.

My experience is that wherever I see badness in Islamic practice, usually it can be traced back to Hadith rather than Quran. Also, a lot of people focus more on hadith than Quran and that is bad.

I think people need to be taught to take the hadith with a lot of salt, as people can get a bit obsessed with it and that is bad.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Candice - sometimes it's also hard for me to know what comes from the Qur'an and what comes from the Hadith. For example, only 3 prayers are mentioned in the Qur'an, so the fact that we pray 5 times a day must come from the Prophet's Sunna. I guess one has to be very knowledgeable in the science of Hadith as well as in the Qur'an to know how to use the Hadith in our lives.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Aynur - the fact that I've never questioned the way we pray is interesting to me, since I question a lot of things people say we should "just accept". How to pray is not detailed in the Qur'an, but the fact that the Prophet prayed a certain way makes me want to pray that way too. That's why I don't think I would ever reject all Hadith. I'm just unsure of how to sift through them and know which are reliable, and also whether we are supposed to follow every single Hadith?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Noor - I didn't even realize that was a heart at the end of your msg to Aynur...that's so cute! I had to tilet my head sideways and stare at it for a few seconds to understand lol.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Bahlool - yes, I've heard that Abu Hurayra is responsible not only for a strangely large amount of Hadith, but for a lot of sexist ones. Apparently Aisha reprimanded him in front of other people for this.
It's interesting that the 4 caliphs that came after the Prophet were VERY careful about Hadith, and some ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to narrate any.

Thanks for commenting :)

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

S. Elizabeth: I agree with you completely. I can't bring myself to accept the Hadith/Sunna completely, unless I ignore my logic, which I definitely don't want to do! And anyway, I don't think God wants us to do that (as opposed to many ulama/clergy).

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Fatimah: LOL, yeah, Abu Hurayra really did narrate a lot! Seriously, it's weird.
Insh'Allah I'll be poasting about this again soon, after I finish my Hadith course :D

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

G: Like you said, questioning Hadith is not about questioning the Prophet (pbuh), it's about questioning whether the transmission has been 100% infallible. The fact that the first Hadith collections were written down 200 YEARS after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) makes me worry!

And like you said, it's not that transmitters may have wanted to intentionally misreport the sayings, but they may have made mistakes.

By the way, I suggest you continue reading biographies of the Prophet - that helped me with the spiritual connection to him that you say is missing. "The Messenger" by Tariq Ramadan is great!

Healthy debate and using logic should definitely be part of Islam and it's sad that it isn't anymore, esp. on sensitive topics such as non-Muslims, the veil, the Hadith, etc. The orthodox Muslims and the ulama have stifled most expressions of personal opinion, and Islam and the ummah is suffering as a result.

And OF COURSE I'll keep you in my prayers! Insh'Allah everything will work out for you G!

"The prospect that the Muslim population can still rely on their reasoning and instincts rather than blindly follow what is enforced as the "norm" by culture and what could be un-Islamic tradition."

INSH'ALLAH!!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! We should all pray for the time when using intellect and debating is the norm, rather than the exception!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Jasmine - same for me, almost everything I see that is negative in Muslim communities and practices seems to stem from a Hadith.

The sad thing is that there are many beautiful Hadith and Sunna, ESPECIALLY the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) did not beat his wives. However, this in a sense is not what the Qur'an says, since the Qur'an does not technically ban beating of women (even if it does limit it to a beating with a toothbrush). And it's not very honest to follow the Hadith we like over the Qur'an, and then the Qur'an over the Hadith we don't like.

Insh'Allah things will clear up at some point. It's something I'm struggling with a lot at the moment.

Linus Abdul said...

Assalamu alaykum. Help me share the message of Islam to the world. Link my article to your blog. May Allah reward you.

nadia said...

Like you said, most Hadith responded to the social context of that period. I think our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) said certain things specifically for certain situations, or addressed a certain group of people after a certain incident - but we don't usually get that entire picture in most Hadith. What we end up with is just a few sentences.

Though I strongly advocate putting Qur'an first as a guideline, we also cannot ignore the hadith. If it weren't for these hadith, each Muslim would have his/her own way of making wudhu and praying.

The collections of hadith by Imam Bukhari and Muslim are the ones I turn to when I need certain clarifications. Actually, I realized also that a huge number of Muslims don't even know who Imam Bukhari is, how he lived, how he collected and authenticated all those hadith.

I live a normal, moderate Islamic life (I follow the 4 pillars of Islam - praying to Allah to grant us the opportunity to perform Hajj), wear the hijab, watch tv, work outside home, etc ... and I don't remember any hadith that made me act in a way that would cause me - or the people around me - any pain or harm.

Regarding the wife beating issue, Surah Nisa mentions "... (and last) beat them (lightly)..." Some of our Muslim brothers have taken this line as a license to beat their wives. They tend to ignore the fact that beating is the "last resort" in extreme situations. So we can safely assume that the Muslims at the time of the Prophet did the same, hence the need for the hadith "Do not beat the female servants of Allah" and "Some (women) visited my family complaining about their husbands (beating them). These (husbands) are not the best of you."

Allah knows best.

Great post, Sis!

Sam said...

We cannot neglect the ahadith for they tell us how to pray, how to perform wuduu, what is permissible and not permissible during the fasting, how to perform haj and umra. The quran gives us the general basis for islam and the ahadith give us the details. Sure there are some that are doubtful and if something is doubtful avoid.
Remember the final sermon of the prophet peace be upon him . "I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray."

Umm Omar said...

I don't really get what the gripe with Abu Hurayrah is all about? Just because he was with the prophet (saw) for a short time means he's incapable of remembering his words? Khaled ibn Walid didn't memorize much Quran because he was more "specialized" in fighting. Everyone has their own personal intelligences/talents/abilities, and the companions were not an exception to that rule. Abu Hurayrah had a gift for transmitting hadith. Anyway, I personally have never thought about hadith the way you present it here. I've always taken authentic hadith hand-in-hand with the Quran. Well, almost anyway. Most hadith are appealing to people (even women) and give us further insight into the quran, and a few questionable ones shouldn't cancel out all hadith. I remember once I read a hadith in Abu Dawud and I found it questionable. I asked someone I trusted when it came to Islamic knowledge about it and he told me that not all hadith=sunnah (meant for everyone) and even some believe there are unauthentic hadith in collections traditionally labeled authentic. After all, hadith were recorded and compiled by humans; there is no way it would have the accuracy of the Quran.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Nadia - my view is that we cannot reject all Hadith but at the same time we cannot simply accept any ruling because it's in a Hadith without firstly checking whether it is authentic, and secondly whether it will even apply to the context we are now in. One possible reason that there are so many Hadith is that people then had so many questions about how to live Islamically. But of course the responses dealt with that time and place, so we need to now re-evaluate the ones that are like this, and whether they can apply to today's world.

What also bothers me is people who put the Qur'an on the same level as the Hadith.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sam - I guess I'm not sure about that. I wouldn't say the Qur'an only gives us a basis, because 1) it says it is complete and 2) it's actually quite detailed.
I agree with you about avoiding Hadith that seem doubtful - I think common sense is definitely one way of sifting through the Hadith.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Umm Omar - from my own experience I remember reading in a few different books that many of the sexist Hadith come from Abu Hurayra, and that Aisha contradicted him quite a few times.

I agree with the last 2 points - the Hadith can definitely not have the same accuracy of the Qur'an, and that the questionable Hadith shouldn't cancel out all Hadith.

Anonymous said...

The question isn't whether or not we should accept hadith, it's how we should accept it and of what degree it should be relevant to one's "Islam".

What offends me in our current state of affairs, is that all the "transmission traditions" and the current form of "shariah" is not only born out of the efforts of men, but the whole notion of actually collecting and transmitting hadith is not something that was authorized by God or the prophet.

There's this line: "Bukhari is the most accurate book after the Quran". I feel that that in itself is a purely subjective perspective that has been taken as gospel truth and often cited with authority (as if it was mentioned in the Quran or something).

I believe if the current method of Hadith transmission were subjected to our current academic rigors and criteria it would experience difficulty.

Now with that said, I'm not saying we should completely abandon hadith traditions like some progressive muslims have been doing. However, my objection is that while people claim that the hadith is not on par with the Quran in terms of authority, it does not seem to be far behind. In my opinion, the best way to approach hadith, is that we approach it the same way we approach any knowledge in life. We use it to attempt to enhance our experience of the Quran, but the Quran will always remain our dominant filter.

We cannot push hadith traditions on people the way they are now. Essentially, weren't the inaccuracies in the bible due to it's compilation years later from similar traditions (oral or otherwise ?) by supposedly trustworthy disciples ?

Abandoning it is wrong. But I doubt creating our religion out of Hadith, with the Quran being its equal is the alternative solution.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Anon: "In my opinion, the best way to approach hadith, is that we approach it the same way we approach any knowledge in life. We use it to attempt to enhance our experience of the Quran, but the Quran will always remain our dominant filter."

Beautiful. Couldn't have said it better!

MuSe Sphere said...

i really believe that we should check the hadith- any hadith in question- with the quran, is they weren't the same, then go with the quran. it's known that a lot of hadith have been made up for political reasons back then, so we should be careful .

Candice said...

"In my opinion, the best way to approach hadith, is that we approach it the same way we approach any knowledge in life. We use it to attempt to enhance our experience of the Quran, but the Quran will always remain our dominant filter."
Thank you for that anon. I understand it the same way.