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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Are Mohammad Shaikh and the IIPC anti-Hadith?

Wrote this recently to clarify some misconceptions being spread about Mohammad Shaikh and the IIPC, in response to the article at this link:

You wrote:
As radical as their stance is, but still there isn’t enough evidence that the men and women at IIPC are deliberately trying to start a new cult. A quick glance suggests a dearth of profound knowledge required to instrument the progressiveness of religious dogmas and harmonization of modern-day life with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Ahadith. IIPC should at least study the Hadith and the other books of knowledge before embarking on a mission to revise the doctrines held secured and sacred by the major contemporary Muslim schools of thought.
In a similar vein, contemporary scholars should invite Muhammad Shaikh and his disciples for peaceful dialogue and debate, before labelling them as non-believers or anything.They should do it at the least for the sake of clearing common man’s misconceptions.
First I appreciate that you didn’t outright label them as non-believers or anything and that you encourage peaceful dialogue and debate. It is important to hear the other side of the story as well. I will attempt here to clarify that they are not rejectors of Hadiths, and it will be very unjust to label them as anti-hadith or any such thing.
The next two statements, work in tandem to shed some light at their level of expertize at reasoning and logic.  …

I have not read the hadith, I am honestly telling you I have … not … read … any hadith; except few … after that I stopped. That is my stand, but those who want to argue with me, they must read it first …

… No hadith explains any Ayat! …

IIPC uses her own “interpretation” of the words of Holy Quran to turn down all other “interpretations”, like for example interpreting that the Holy Quran is the “Furqan” (criterion) that rejects the Hadith (IIPC better come up with at least one concrete example to prove their point).
The Quran is indeed the Furqan/Discriminator/Criterion(2/185), but the purpose of the Furqan is not to reject outright, but to evaluate, to discriminate/distinguish between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. That is precisely how the Quran/Furqan is used at the IIPC. Shaikh made it clear that they are not anti-Hadith, but rather pro-Quran.

According to their understanding, the Quran comes before, or above, any other book or information. Any hadees/narration, be it in the Bible, Hadith or from any other book or person, any information at all about any topic that is dealt with in the Quran, must be compared with the Quran for its verification.

Mr Shaikh has done comparative studies between the Quran and the Bible but not with the Hadiths, therefore he does not reject the Hadith collection but would rather have it evaluated in the light of the Quran by those who also study the Hadiths.
Apparently, this looks like an axiom to which there is no counter-proof, but a little digging out deep reveals that there are a lot of Ahadith that definitely and most definitely explain, and in some cases even refine, the meanings of the Quranic verses. Obviously, one would demand an example or two.
That is not logically possible.

It is possible that a hadees is confirmed by the Quran. But it is not possible that it can detail the Quran. The important point to understand is that a criterion cannot be lacking details. The Quran is The Criterion that will judge(and not necessarily reject) the Hadiths and the Bibles etc as well as all other information. So if one wants to verify the Hadiths, first he will read and understand the Quran alone(without help from Hadiths of course), and THEN judge the Hadiths according to what he has read in the Quran.

The irrefutable logic above shows that the Quran does not require Hadiths to be detailed. Because if the Criterion requires Hadiths to be detailed, then it is not much of a criterion to begin with, because then it would not be a criterion over those Hadiths which detail it. If I remember correctly, Shaikh explained this in his lecture about the Quranic concept of hadees.
On a different note, the type of picture that IIPC tries to paint is that a majority of Ahadith overrule some verse of the Holy Quran, and that the Muslims have probably invented a lot of Ahadith, and that they are so stubborn to prove their point that they would even challenge the Holy Quran by projecting an orthogonal Hadith. Such a standpoint is very much a reactive offense than anything substantial; an invention out of necessity. For anyone who tries to interpret the Holy Quran in radically new ways antonymic to existing doctrines, breaking the barrier of established rulings purported by the great majority of Muslims, across a wide span of time, is a showstopper.
Majority is not the criterion. The Quran is. In fact, the Quran warns us:

25/44: Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle. No, they are worse off.

Majority of people are worse than cattle. Do you really think that they verify all the traditions they claim to accept? Do you think they have read even half of them?

Also read 6/113-116:

6/113-116: Additionally we have appointed for every prophet enemies from among the human devils and the jinn devils, who invent and narrate to each other fancy speech in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their inventions. This is God’s will so that the minds of those who do not really believe in the Hereafter may listen thereto, and accept it, and to have them commit what they are supposed to commit. Shall I seek other than God as a ruler/judge, when He revealed to you the Book fully detailed? Those who received the Book recognize that it came down from your Lord, truthfully. Therefore, you shall not harbor any doubt. The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His Words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They only follow conjecture, and they only guess.

What we understand from the above verse:

1. Allah has allowed the enemies of the prophet to inspire zukhruf al-qawl/”fancy saying” in order to deceive.

2. The believers should disregard such inventions. These inventions are designed to deceive those who do not believe in al-akhira. The believers should therefore be aware that there are many fabrications out there about all the prophets. We cannot prevent people from making these fabrications, but we can at least not allow ourselves to be deceived, by comparing with the Quran all stories attributed to the prophets before accepting them.

3. Look how the disregarding the inventions is linked with the book of Allah being fully detailed. Why should we judge according to anything other than the book of Allah, when all details are right there? Even when Allah tells us that we should not doubt that?

4. We should not doubt. If Allah says that it is fully detailed, then fully detailed it is. If the attributed stories/sayings circulating about the prophets are not confirmed by the Quran, so be it.

5. If we choose to take the majority as the criterion instead of the words of Allah, then they will definitely lead us astray. What they follow is conjecture, without any verification or evidence.
The biggest hurdle in their way is the knowledge of Ahadith; the Fiqh and the rest, everything, stems from it. It is therefore a dire must for them to undermine the importance of the Ahadith. Different groups have employed different strategies to their benefit, and IIPC treads along the most blunt lines of flat-out rejection.
Again, the IIPC does not flat-out reject Hadith. Shaikh’s comparative study is between Quran and the Bible. You will not even see Shaikh comparing the Quran with the Hadiths(like he does with the Bible), let alone flat-out rejecting it altogether.

Their intent is not to reject everything other than the Quran but to have everything else evaluated in the light of the Quran. He tells people to read the contents of the Hadiths for themselves and verify them in the light of the Quran. I think no reasonable Muslim should have a problem with this stance.

Fahad Ali Khan
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