Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hadeeth Must Be Understood in the Correct Context

Hadeeth is looked upon negatively because of the ignorance of certain detractors when they read it.


We see so many instances of anti-hadeeth exponents spreading their writings claiming their so-call total submission to the Quran. They came up with numerous argument arguing against Al Hadeeth of the Prophet.

In this article, I will attempt to show why such misunderstanding occurs. In one word, the main reason for such confusion is ignorance. Specifically, ignorance in the the Arabic language.

One will notice that the Modus Operandi of every Anti Hadeeth is to take the literal translations of the Hadeeth and then make commentaries on them. All of their criticism against Al Hadeeth is solely based upon the literal translation of the hadeeth.

The trouble with this method is that the Arabic language doesn’t exist only in the literal form. The Arabic language also exist in the figurative form called majaz.

By taking a hadeeth in from it’s literal meaning is not doing the hadeeth justice since not all the hadeeth is spoken to refer to it’s literal meaning.

For example, the hadeeth that True Muslim likes to quote:


‘Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 232: Narrated Abu Huraira: “Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established till the buttocks of the women of the tribe of Daus move while going round Dhi-al-Khalasa." Dhi-al-Khalasa was the idol of the Daus tribe which they used to worship in the Pre Islamic Period of ignorance. ‘

Another example TM quotes:

Allah’s Apostle said, “The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness.” - Volume 7, Book 62, Number 114

The word “while she still has some crookedness some crookedness” here actually refers to a deal with a women using methods of somewhere between hard and soft. In other words, the Prophets says that in dealing with women one should not be too hard or too soft. Those who understands Arabic don’t find this hadeeth weird.

Because TM is dumb when it comes to Arabic language, he fail to see that the phrase “the buttocks of women….move…” refers to “dancing around the Dhi-Al-Khalasa”. In making fun of this hadeeth, he makes a complete fool of himself.


And you will see this pattern throughout the entire anti hadeeth literature. And u will also see TM’s brand of ignorance throughout their hadeeth criticism.

Unfortunately for anti hadeeth Majaz also exist in the Quran. For instance in 02:187

[2:187 ……, and eat and drink, until the white thread appear to you distinct from its black thread…….

By Anti Hadeeth methodology timing for fasting during Ramadhan is determine by visual differentiation between a white thread and a black thread. But how can this be?. Everyone knows that if we put a black and white thread in a dark room, we can never tell the difference between the two. Furthermore, one’s eyes is able to tell the difference between them whether it’s night or day.

The real meaning of white thread is dawn and black thread is dusk. The words “black thread” and “white thread” are figurative and cannot be taken literarily. This is an example of “ majaz” in the Quran.

Another example is 59:21-22

21. Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect.

22. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Taking the literal translation of the verses above would force us to believe that mountains have the same faculties and abilities as humans. But, logic tells us that this is ludicrous.

To adopt the anti hadeeth’es methodology would render the Quran as ludicorous.

The verse above demonstrates to us another type of Majaz of the “similitude” type. It is used to signify the heavy responsibility of the Quran upon human beings.

Bear in mind there exist many types of Majaz in the Arabic language and the Quran uses them all.

One will noticed that each time the anti hadeeth methodology is applied, it carries similar implication upon the Quran.

OTHER FACTORS IN UNDERSTANDING THE HADEETH PROPERLY

Among factors to be considered when interpreting the hadeeth are as follows:

v Context : The context of a hadeeth must be considered. Sometimes a hadeeth may sound strange when taking out of context but when it is put into it’s context it makes perfect sense. For example the hadeeth:

……meats become bad because of the Jews…” (Bukhari).

The context of the hadeeth was uttered during the “Khandak” war. After the Musyrikeen had withdrawn from the Madinah lines, the Prophet was ordered to deal with the Jewish for treason. As the order was to be executed immediately, the army of the Prophet had to march all day until the reach the Citadels where the Jews lived. As a result, meats that was prepared for celebration of victory became bad after being exposed for a long time. Thus, such words was uttered signifiying the Prophet’s frustration in the Medinan’s Jews’es treachery.

v Aborogation : Certain decrees were made by the Prophet as a temporary measures which in turn the Prophet SAW had repealed. In short, aborogation. Examples such as the prohibition of writing down of the hadeeth of the Prophet, the prohibition of women from visiting the grave and many more.

v Timing : Certain hadeeth is spoken in the time of peace and certain hadeeth are spoken in the time of war. If understood within the correct timing, they provide a clear picture.

v Arabic Local Slang (Ammeyyah): The Prophet SAW uses figurative, metaphorics in his hadeeth which is prevalent among the people of his time. For instance the hadeeth:

The Hadith mentions that "fever" is from the "heat of hell" [Hadith 621,622, page 417, vol 7].

The truth is, it is common among Arabs at that time to use the “heat of hell” as
comparison to high fevers.

v Expression of Miracles of the Prophet: Example, the drinking of camel urine, the separation of the moon into two parts and many more.

v Timing : The timing of a hadeeth has to be understood properly as well. For instance the hadeeth

v

IGNORANCE IS THE MAIN FACTOR BEHIND ANTI HADEETH IDEOLOGY

I have stated this once and I will state this again. Ignorance is the main reason why anti hadeeth thrives. They are completely ignorant of the Arabic language and choose to interpret Islam while being void of knowledge.

The same people are referred to by the Quran by these verses:

The other push-factor towards this ideology is total fanaticism towards western secular liberal paradigm. These people are afraid to call themselves Muslims and feel ashamed of Islam.

They, then, uses the Anti Hadeeth ideology to misinterpret the Quran to fit it into the western secular mold.

CONFUSION INTRODUCED BY ANTI HADEETH IDEOLOGY

The version I sent to Raja Petra contained tables and cannot be published on the blog, this particular part of the article was not presented properly.

1) Confusion No. 1: Punishment For theft and fornication as stated in the Quran (05:38 and 05:02)
Anti Hadeeth Way: Punishment can be carried out without due process because the Quran does not prescribe due process resulting in chaos and absolute anarchy in the society.
The Truth: The way punishment is carried out as stated in 05:38 and 05:02 is shown by the Prophet SAW. In the hadeeth, due process was clearly demonstrated to us.

2) Confusion No. 2: Inheritance to children who had murdered their parents (04:11 states on inheritance)
Anti Hadeeth way: The murdering children are allowed to receive their inheritance. Hurrah for the Menendez brothers.
The Truth: There is a hadeeth stating exceptions to children who murder their parents.

3) Confusion No. 3: Consuming the carcass of dead animals (The Quran prescribe to it’s followers that animals which are to be consumed must be properly slaughtered - 05:03)
Anti Hadeeth Way: It will cover all types of animals including sea animals. In short, the next time the Anti Hadeeth open their can of sardines, they will have to ensure that the sardines are slaughtered properly.
The Truth: There is a hadeeth making -exceptions to sea-living animals i.e. fish, squid

4) Confusion No. 4: In 05:38, there is no mention of minimum limits for a thief to be qualified for amputation
Anti Hadeeth Way: Even if a man steal a clove of garlic, he will be amputated.
The Truth: There is a hadeeth stating that only is the value of loot is more than ¼ of a deenar will a thief have his hands amputated.

5) Confusion No. 5: The Quran states many times about Az Zakah
Anti Hadeeth Way
: There is simply no methodology at all for the anti hadeeth to follow.
The truth: The methods are clearly mentioned in the sunnah, ijma and qiyas.

6) Confusion No. 6: Various ibadah clearly mentioned in the Quran, i.e fasting, solat, al hajj, jihad, sadaqah, inheritance, marriage, divorce, commerce etc
Anti Hadeeth Way: AN ABSOLUTE MESS. There is absolutely no methodology shown in the Quran, so the anti hadeeth will be practicing such ibadah at best by guessing.
The Truth: The method to carry out all the ibadah above is as shown to us by the Prophet as recorded in the Al Hadeeth.

I’m sorry for the rather late response to True Muslim ( TM) ridiculous rant on Hadeeth but allow me to highlight some of his grave mistakes. We should start by highlighting TM’s inherent weaknesses in his understanding of the Quran:

  1. In spite of his reference to 17 occurances of the word Hadeeth in the Quran, he has failed to show that any of them refers to the Al Hadeeth of the Prophet SAW.
  2. He has failed to disapprove the existence of death penalty in the Quran. His reference to Sigmund Freud in interpreting 02:54 is not only laughable but also the biggest joke to date
  3. He has failed to provide us methodology on how he interprets the Quran since he rejects the “Arabic Grammar” altogether as being human-made. Any linguist can tell u that grammar is derived and never made by anyone.
  4. He fail to bring proof of Imam Bukhari declaring other than the 7000 hadeeth in his As Sahih as being unauthentic. To me that makes TM a blatant liar.
  5. Since he claims that Hadeeth comes from the Bible, then he also must answer, based on his parallel, why Al Quran is also not from the Bible based on the prohibition of pig example. To date he has been clueless.
  6. Al Kitab and Al Hikmah is not the same as Al Hikmah when it is spoken alone. This proves the existence of a second form of Revelation which TM has failed to deny until now.

and many more. What is weird is that despite his inability to provide decent explanation to his own inconsistency, he goes on to write about other topics.

THE ISSUE OF AUTHENTICITY OF SAHIH BUKHARI

TM’s entire case is based on the booklet found at http://www.central-mosque.com/biographies/asqalani2.htm which is a secondary source. His entire case cannot be considered credible at all since he didn’t really refer to the original text. That explains why in his article no reference is made to his source at all.

So, what he’s trying to debunk is merely what somebody else says about the Sahih Bukhari and not the book itself.

TM quotes this reference from Al Fath Al Bari:

“For Bukhari’s text has not come down to us in a single uniform version, but exists in several ‘narrations’ (riwayat), of which the version handed down by al-Kushaymani (d.389) on the authority of Bukhari’s pupil al-Firabri is the one most frequently accepted by the ulema”. (see “Ibn Hajar Asqalani and his Commentary Fath al-Bari”)

And he makes this ridiculous claim:

“What they have are bits and pieces of information that have been sorted and put together over a period of almost 600 years. And to them this has become 'the most authentic book after the book of Allah'.”

Here we see TM making a mountain out of a mole-hill for nothing. The truth is:

  1. All of the transcripts can be traced back to Imam Bukhari.
  1. Some of the transcript are incomplete compared to others.
  2. They serve as cross check to one another.

I fail to see why this is a problem. What is means is that Al Sahih was recorded over a number of versions of manuscripts. But, each manuscript is authentically traced back to Al Bukhari’s pupils.

This happens because Imam Bukhari’s pupil did not

Based on this, he makes his ridiculous claim that Sahih Bukhari exists in bits and pieces

His other rants in trying to show As Sahih Bukhari is not written by Al Imam Al Bukhari is a big joke by anyone’s standard. Suffice to say that manuscripts dating back to the time of Imam Bukhari exists in the hundreds all over the world.

What TM deliberately tries to confuse himself with is the fact that Sahih Bukhari is also recorded by thousands of Imam Bukhari’s students. In turn each students will provide their own commentaries. The differences in versions is due differences in the commentaries of Bukhari’s students and not in the contents.

Imam Bukhari left the task to record his As Sahih to his students and the fact that the manuscripts are all the same in terms of content proves there is no discepencies. The identities of the students are also verified to be Bukhari’s and the authenticity of the manuscript can be cross checked with other versions.

TM made another statement that reflects his ignorance:

WHY ANTI HADEETH ARE ABLE TO CONVINCE CERTAIN QUARTERS INTO ACCEPTING THEIR LIES

The real reason why Anti Hadeeth carries any credibility is that all of those who subscribe to their beliefs is ignorance.

The main area of ignorance is of course the Arabic language.

The Modus Operandi of every Anti Hadeeth is to take the translation of the Hadeeth and then make commentaries on them. The commentaries are based upon the literal translation of a hadeeth.

The trouble with this method is that the Arabic language doesn’t exist only in the literal form. The Arabic language also exist in the figurative form called majaz.

By taking a hadeeth in from it’s literal meaning is not doing the hadeeth justice since not all the hadeeth is spoken to refer to it’s literal meaning.

For example, the hadeeth that TM likes to quote:


‘Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 232: Narrated Abu Huraira: “Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established till the buttocks of the women of the tribe of Daus move while going round Dhi-al-Khalasa." Dhi-al-Khalasa was the idol of the Daus tribe which they used to worship in the Pre Islamic Period of ignorance. ‘

Because TM is dumb when it comes to Arabic language, he fail to see that the phrase “the buttocks of women….move…” refers to “dancing around the Dhi-Al-Khalasa”. In making fun of this hadeeth, he makes a complete fool of himself.


And you will see this pattern throughout the entire anti hadeeth literature.

Here we also see the hypocrisy of the Anti Hadeeth seeing that Majaz also exist in the Quran. For instance in 02:187

[2:187 ……, and eat and drink, until the white thread appear to you distinct from its black thread…….

By Anti Hadeeth methodology timing for fasting during Ramadhan is determine by visual differentiation between a white thread and a black thread. But how can this be?. Everyone knows that if we put a black and white thread in a dark room, we can never tell the difference between the two. Furthermore, one’s eyes is able to tell the difference between them whether it’s night or day.

The real meaning of white thread is dawn and black thread is duck. The words “black thread” and “white thread” are figurative and cannot be taken literarily. This is an example of “ majaz” in the Quran.

Another example is 59:21-22

21. Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect.

22. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Taking the literal translation would force us to believe that mountains have the same faculties and abilities as humans. But, logic tells us that this is ludicrous.

The verse above demonstrates to us another type of Majaz called similitude to explain the heavy responsibility of the Quran upon human being.

Bear in mind there exist many types of Majaz in the Arabic language and the Quran uses them all.

In short, should we apply the same methodology used by Anti Hadeeth on the Quran, we will render the Quran ridiculous.

10 comments:

Ubi BTHO said...

Wonderful effort bro. May Allah swt bless/prolong your life agst these antihadith people.

Salam

Ubi

Tulang Besi said...

Tq ubi. May Allah SWT Bless u as well.

akmal said...

no, hadeeth are perceived negatively because only 1% of all the hundreds of thousands collected 200 years after Prophet's death are deemed acceptable/sahih..and there are thousands more haddeths which contradict Quran

statistically and logically, one would easily decline to believe to the source with only 1% of acceptable truth

some prefer to not refer to hadeeth at all, some refer so religiously that it oveerides Quran, some emphasizes more on the Quran and refer the hadeeth once in a while.. it is all a metter of personal choice

who are we to force our belief to someone else?

in the end, only God judges

akmal said...

*pardon my spelling, i was too quick in typing

Tulang Besi said...

"Anonymous akmal said...

no, hadeeth are perceived negatively because only 1% of all the hundreds of thousands collected 200 years after Prophet's death are deemed acceptable/sahih..and there are thousands more haddeths which contradict Quran"

REPLY: Actually the statement above is a blatant lie.

All of it is a lie utterred by people who refuse to learn and chose to listen to enemies of Islam.

My challange to Akmal is, PROVE IT.

mayahalim89 said...

Assalamualaikum ya akhi.
Alhamdulillah. Just found out about your blog from another akhi fil Islam. You've done a good job in explaining about the position of Al-Hikmah in depth. I get a lot of new information from this! Subhanallah! Jazakallahu khair ya akhi!

Tulang Besi said...

All praise is to Allah brother Mayahalim

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