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Effects of the Hadith on the Muslim Nation (a must read!)


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Zeynab
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« on: April 27, 2007, 01:51:17 am »

By Kassim Ahmad


One of the most important aspects, neglected so far in any study of the hadith, is their collective impact and effects on Muslim society.  The fabrication of hadith took place because of the politico-religious divisions which later resulted in the emergence of sects and legal schools.  Also, the hadith became the instrument to channel views, prejudices, customs and superstitions current in society then. Most of these views and ideas were nothing but superstitions and customs rejected by Islam.

It is logical for us to assume that Prophet Muhammad would not have said or done anything contrary to the teachings of the Quran. We make this assumption because he was very conversant with the teachings of the Quran that he himself had brought from God. As a messenger of God, he would not have acted contrary to those teachings. This assumption is most reasonable and consistent with his high moral character. Therefore, the greatest weakness of most hadith, deemed to be `authentic' by classical criticism, is that they contradict the Quran. They are therefore false and could not have originated from him, but were falsely attributed to him. They actually originated from the various factions and groups who, due to reasons which we have stated, put into the hadith all manner of superstitions and customs current in society then.

The Quran tells us that God in His mercy has always sent His guidance to mankind through His messengers. He guides mankind with His revelations to the path of salvation, in this world and in the Hereafter. These prophet-messengers began with Adam in the remote Primitive Age, through Abraham at the beginning of the Ancient Age to the last prophet Muhammad at the dawn of the Scientific Age. Deviations from these divine revelations and away from the path of salvation, which is Islam (this is the meaning of the profound verse that the true religion with God is Islam), spells doom and destruction for the deviating society. The Quran tells us of the destruction of several ancient societies and civilizations as a consequence of their deviations. In the modern age (`modern' here is taken to mean the birth of the scientific method beginning with the rise of Muhammad), we have seen the destruction of the early Muslim empire and civilization and the destruction of several Eastern medieval states and European empires. Because this historical law operates objectively for all nations and civilizations, the decline and fall of Muslim society must inevitably be connected with the historical deviation from divine teachings that they had committed. We shall examine briefly the role of hadith in this historical deviation.

(a) Sectarianism

One of the first major consequences of the hadith is the division of early Muslim community into two major sects, the Sunnites and the Shi'ites. The Sunni sect splits into four major legal schools, and the Shi'ite has several of its own, each with its own political and theological beliefs. Without doubt, this division had its ground in the still strong Arab feeling of tribalism of the period of ignorance. Although Muhammad succeeded in breaking Arab tribalism and uniting them, this tribal spirit did not die with Muhammad. When he passed away, the resurrected tribalism led to the power struggle for the position of caliph. Because of the very strong Quranic prohibition against making factions in religion and the fact that they were unable to use the Quran to support factional interests, the competing parties had to recourse to the hadith — a convenient and clever way out. The Shi'ite faction that wanted Ali to be the caliph after the prophet's death fabricated hadith to support their contention. They claimed that the prophet had stated before his death:

Whoever recognized me as their master, Ali too is their master.

This forged hadith was then countered with another forged hadith by the opposing Bakriyya group. This then was how forged hadith came into being — to support political factions.

Now, let us assume for a moment that the hadith did not exist (in line with the Prophet's wishes that nothing should be written down from him except the Quran). This did not automatically mean that the split between the supporters of Abu Bakr and the supporters of Ali would not have existed. As the split was politically motivated, it would have happened anyway. But now, without the hadith, the Bakriyya and the Shi'ites would have had only the Quran for their guidance. In that case, how would they have solved their problems?

God answers this question for us:

They respond to their Lord, and observe the salat prayers. Their affairs are decided by consultation among them, and from our provisions to them they donate.

Without the hadith they would have had to read the Quran. Thus, they would have had to read the verse just quoted above. And they would have had to come to a consensus among them, because they were all Muslims, submitters to God, "those who respond to their Lord and observe the salat prayers." But such things never happened because they had more than enough hadith which they could pull out of their hats and use it to stab each other. Even if the Sunnites and the Shi'ites could not be reconciled, even if they had resorted to killing each other (which they did), they still would not have had more evil thoughts to provoke them had there not existed any hadith. They would have been forced to refer to the Quran. Therefore, sooner or later, they are bound to have solved their differences.

But unfortunately, history has merely repeated itself. The devils had laid their plan well. The Muslims listened to anything and everything except the Quran. The result is that they fell into the pits, and they are still there today!

(b) Anti-Intellectualism

Beside factionalism between the Sunnites and the Shi'ites, the Sunnites themselves are divided into different madhabs or schools of thought. They broke up into many schools of thought because of the differences of opinion between their founders. At the beginning of the establishment of these schools, over 16 of them came to exist, but today only the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafi`i and Hanbali schools predominate. There exist major differences between the four dominant schools as well, due largely to the differences between Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik, the respective founders of the Hanafi and Maliki schools, which subsequently influenced the Hanbali and Shafi`i schools.

Imam Abu Hanifa (d.767) pioneered the use of creative thinking or ijtihad to settle his affairs. He lived in Damascus, far away from the Hijaz and thus out of regular contact with any descendants of the Prophet or his companions. Hence, he had little opportunity to listen to any hadith or sayings of the Prophet. (These four theologian-jurists imams all existed before the writing of the official hadith). He settled disputes by referring to the Quran and by exercising his reason.

Imam Malik (d. 795) on the other hand lived in Medina. Throughout his life, he never traveled outside Medina except once to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Unlike Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik had the luxury of meeting with any descendants of the Prophet and his Companions. Therefore, he could refer to many hadith to solve his problems. Thus, while Abu Hanifa advocated creative thinking or ijtihad, Imam Malik advocated ijma' or referring to the hadith.

To compound this problem, the rulers at that time depended very much on these scholars to advise them. More often than not, the opinions of a particular scholar who was eminent under a particular ruler became the established rule in that territory.

Instead of being testimony to the dynamism of the Quran which allowed such diverse opinions to exist and thus serve as a catalyst for Muslims to continuously exercise their intellect, these differences of opinion gave birth to the rise of the likes of Imam Shafi`i (d. 820) who found it difficult to handle the freedom of thought and opinion that is allowed by the Quran. Imam Shafi`i came to view differences of opinion as a problem. To solve this problem he came up with his neat little idea to freeze everything as it were. In other words, Shafi`i came to the view that all opinions existing at that time would be acceptable, but nothing more than that – no new thinking could be allowed. The status quo would be set in stone with no possibility of new participants. Thus the idea of ijma' first and ijtihad later was crystallized and given an official authority.

Conformity became the norm. This was followed by the passivity and blind obedience that had to be fostered to maintain this conformity. The conformity and the passivity soon fused together to breed the pessimism and the fatalism which is a natural result of dead intellect. This came to be the character of the majority of Muslims until today.

On the other hand, the Europeans, who were overawed by the success of the Arabs in the earlier part of Muslim history, realized the importance of inquiry and free thought. The Europeans have progressed ever since because they never closed their doors to free thinking. The example that the Europeans copied was an excellent example of a Muslim people unimpeded by any false teachings. The early Muslims strove hard and achieved the success here on earth, precisely as God wanted them to achieve. By doing so, they earned the credits to give them an honored place in the Hereafter.

As for the hadith writers, God tells them:

Shall we treat the Muslims like the guilty? What is wrong with you? How do you judge? Do you have another book that you apply? One that gives you anything you want?

The Muslims developed the hadith that gave them everything they wanted. In fact, the hadith would envelop the whole of Muslim behavior right from prescribing the "correct" methods of sleeping to eating, dressing, etc. The Muslims under the ulama, therefore, effectively killed themselves off. For some ulama looking for easy followers, the hadith became a most effective tool to achieve that end. For other ulama with no proper objectives in sight, the hadith became an end in itself.

(c) Pessimism and Political Opportunism

Among the many myths that have also found their way into the hadith is the belief in the Mahdi. The Mahdi is expected to arise towards the Last Days and is expected to save all the Muslims from their cruel oppressors. The Quran tells us to continuously strive to do good deeds and to make strong efforts to improve ourselves. The Muslims are commanded to encourage the good and to oppose evil. All this means continuous hard work in the path of God to achieve good objectives.

God does not change the condition of any people, unless they change themselves.

Therefore, encouraging the Muslims to hang their hopes on something called the Mahdi is actually a subtle attempt to make defeatists and pessimists out of them. The suffocating belief in fate: to make the Muslims submissive to other than God and to wait for someone else to come along to save them. The truth is that no one will help us unless we help ourselves first.

This pessimism, however, is further ensconced in another equally debilitating hadith about the attestation of faith or the kalimah shahada. This fabricated hadith says that just by reciting the kalimah shahada at the time of death, one can be forgiven by God and make it to Paradise. Such hadith was a necessary precursor to the pessimism and the passive lethargy that was imposed upon Muslims. For how else could the people be made to resign themselves to such docility? The promise of a savior, the promise of Heaven, the "keys" to Heaven etc. were necessary tools to maintain the people's subservience to the hadith and to the people who propagated such hadiths.

These are just two of the very many fabricated hadith that can be quoted. Not only that; these fabricated hadith, unlike other fabricated hadith, sought to freeze the dynamic thinking encouraged by the Quran. These hadith sought to make vegetables of the people and hence make them totally subservient to the hadith proponents. The result is that the Muslims lost everything that they had striven so hard to achieve.

Why did the ulama advocate such defeatist hadith? Fazlur Rahman says that these hadith reflect the ulama's thinking and their objectives with regard to the factionalism and the civil war that was going on between the Muslim factions. To them the hadith appeared as very handy tool to neutralize the dissenting and damaging effects of the Khawarij and the Mu`tazilites camps. By this simple means of creating hadith and attributing it the Prophet, the orthodox Ahl'ul-Sunna wa'l-Jamaah hoped to save the community from its internecine warfare.

Although these false hadiths were advocated to serve as a bridge to link up all the warring factions in peace and harmony, it became evident soon enough that these false hadith standing on their false foundations would collapse. How could the advocating of pessimism and passivity guarantee peace and harmony, unity and justice? Obviously the orthodox scholars were very short sighted. And on top of everything, all these false teachings were clearly against the teachings of the Quran. It would become all too clear how easily the corrupted and cruel rulers, the foreign invaders and the colonialists would overwhelm a docile and almost indolent Muslim populace. The Muslims had been perfectly molded into its submissive and servile form through the indoctrination of all these false hadith. This was the cause of their fall.

God enjoins believers in the Quran to get fully involved in community affairs, to consistently advocate good and to oppose evil.

Therefore, did the Quran not pose a serious problem for the hadith writers then? Any careful reading of the Quran and any serious discussion would definitely point out the errors of the hadith. So, how did the ulama handle this potential threat to their hadith? Very simple. They sought to cut off all intellectual discussion and inquiry in Islam. They came up with the not-too-original but effective idea that only the ulama, the priestly class, would be allowed to handle all matters pertaining to the religion.

They would teach people that they were the inheritors of the Prophet's mission. Despite the fact that Islam never allowed any priesthood, the ulama would go on to successfully set up not only a priestly class but a whole hierarchy of priests. Much like the Brahmins of Hinduism, they would seek to impose this hierarchy upon the Muslim masses and deny the masses any access to a true understanding of the religion without first being screened by them. Unfortunately, these ulama have been most successful to this day. Once again, to sustain their position and to nick any buds of dissent that might decide to bloom, the ulama resorted to their good old panacea for all their ills — the hadith! Consider these:

The ulama are the heirs to the Prophet. (Abu Daud and Tirmidhi)

Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet said, "Whoever seeks to interpret the Quran using his own intellect, he should also prepare to burn in the hell fire." (Tirmidhi)


The following must remain a jewel among all the false hadith:

Jundub reported that the Prophet said, "Whosoever interprets the Quran, and his interpretation is correct, that person has committed a sin." (Tirmidhi and Abu Daud)

It should not come as a surprise to us that after a thousand years of adhering to the false teachings of such hadith, the Muslims' condition has progressively worsened.  If the present Islamic movement for reform and regeneration aims to achieve its objectives, it absolutely must face up to the reality of the corrupting influence of the hadith and other false teachings arising from it, and return to the divine Quran. There is no evading the issue. There is no shortcut to the truth except through the destruction of falsehood.


[Source: Excerpt from Kassim Ahmad's "Hadith: A Re-evaluation" Chapter 3]
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salaam2011
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 02:15:45 am »

Thanks very much.

I often ask those obsessed with hadith a simple question and no one answers them except tell me I am ignoran,

1. If hadith was so important why did not the Prophet (SAW) have it compiled and printed when he was alive.

2. If hadith was so important why did not the 4 Caliphs made it printed and distributed like they did with the Quran.

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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 03:04:16 am »

Well yes, these are exactly the questions which I've put in my post titled "Hadith Qudsi."  The Noble Quran which is purely Divine has been fully preserved and compiled on the orders of the Prophet (S) and the 4 righteous Caliphs.  Most importantly, Allah Almighty has Himself taken the responsibility to protect His Final Message. 

So, if Hadith Qudsi is also the "message of Allah" as claimed by the medieval and modern imams and their followers, then why was it not given any importance by Allah (Subhan Wa'Taala) and the Prophet (S)?  As a Quran alone follower, for me the answer is simple.  We are NOT obligated to follow Hadith Qudsi as the word of Allah, and the Prophet didn't either.  There was no such thing as "hadith qudsi" or "hadith" during the time of the Prophet.  These are the guile of the imams and the so-called sahabahs, comprising of several younger new converts with selfish motives. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 07:03:42 am »

 salamem

JazakAllah kahir ! Thanks for this thought provoking article.May Allah continue to give us more wisdom.The article has very rightly put the political myth behind hadith and the initial cause of dividing unity of muslims into different sects- not proper understanding of our religion and also not taking the religion seriously. Imam's has developed their own concepts, idealogy and philosophy of religion  and generation to generation they uphold wishful false self made collection of hadith and the shame is ulma's also know that they are standing on fabricated lies but to cover one lie, they create thousand more lies . Unfortunately, the situation today is just that a muslim ummah at odds with itself at all levels .Allah revealed and the Prophet(pbuh) propagated ONE Islam ,religion of Ibrahim(pbuh) and ONE set of teachings. Yet, though all these groups claim to be Muslims and desire to be called as one a large chasm separates all these groups.Islam is not about school of thought ,sect rather it’s about being on the “straight path” as defined by Quran Only .yes indeed the horrible figure of this wasted literature sucks .This hadith  literature puts ummah on separate paths and engaged in endless and senseless debates of trying to make haram as halal and halal as haram.Isn't sounds bizarre mock that hadith is a collection of disagreement between imams And this literature of Hadith is assumed a splendid collection of pearls ??  so a famous question that remains unanswered by the ulma ?  Pick any hadith and then point out which verse of the Quran is explained by that hadith,such that the verse cannot be understood without that hadith ? that's why if u ask any ulma/aalim /imam basic questions about the Quran and they will stare u blankly and quote a bunch of hadith and if u argue they usually reply Lol  !! hadith cannot be understood without referring to the complex debates among the ulma. This must be a joke. The ulma say that without hadith u cannot understand the Quran and  without their complex debates u cannot even understand their hadith. They do not know the Quran. Is it any wonder then that the Prophet will one day complain ? 


And the messenger saith: O my Lord! Lo! mine own folk make this Qur'an of no account.25:30


 I compeletly agree to the views of the writer after going through the very informative and very knowledgeable text here i want to bring that verse from the Noble Quran, in which Allah says !
 
And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate
3:103
 
Which is the cable of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Noble Quran. The Noble Quran is the cable of Allah which all muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse beside saying  !!hold fast all together it also says be not divided

simple question to today's ulma ,muslims why would ALLAH send down the greatest book ever known to man ? Not a single word has changed . ALLAH has made Quran and religion simple and practical so why prefer to hold on hadith ? sadly The problem with our ummah is that majority of muslims are what I would call the born-muslims or many generations muslims. Most don’t bother to acquire more knowledge about the religion.  Sad







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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 06:00:47 pm »

Walaikum Salaam.  Very beautiful reply posted Sister Muslima.  You got the point right on.  The motto of Hadith with all its differences & contradictions is to divide the community.  The Noble Quran, on the other side, aims at uniting the community (as in V.3:103 you quoted and more).  The Hadith literature does surely put the Ummah on separate paths .. very correctly put.  You are also absolutely right that not a single Hadith is able to explain a single Verse of the Quran correctly.  It's for this reason that if we ask the ulema to show us the Hadith tafsirs even of some simple Verses of the Quran, we find that far from explaining those simple Verses, the ulemas make it difficult and complicated by referring to the Hadith because the Hadith contains completely wrong explanations.  Verse 25:30 you quoted of Surah Al-Furqan is really thought provoking, Alhumdulilah, especially at present when we see how widely the Ummah has abandoned the Noble Quran in preference to their own rules & laws.  Allah is surely watching, and He knows who are the ones who have gone wayward. 

May Allah forever keep us on the right path of His guidance and make us die as none but believers and followers of the Quran only.

Thanks a lot for your valuable input sister Muslima. 


P.S.   Sorry haven't been too active here lately.  Down with a very, very severe attack of flu, chest congestion and hacking cough.  Please pray to Allah that I feel better soon.   The kindness of Allah is endless. 
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 08:28:36 am »

u are most welcome sis Smiley
 


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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 09:06:16 am »

 


P.S.   Sorry haven't been too active here lately.  Down with a very, very severe attack of flu, chest congestion and hacking cough.  Please pray to Allah that I feel better soon.   The kindness of Allah is endless. 



Ahh  Sad


May Allah give u a speedy recovery that leaves no illness behind ameen  Allah will  grant u health and relieve u from every  pain InshAllah Smiley

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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111

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