of Hujjiyyat al-Sunna (Shaykh `Abd al-Ghani `Abd al-Khaliq, Herndon, VA: Dar al-Wafa', 1993) translated by Dr. Gibril F. Haddad which attempts to prove the fundamental importance of Sunna in Islam
By brother Ayman (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the name of GOD, the Almighty, Most Merciful.
The types of proofs that rely heavily on Sunna are the easiest to refute because they lack objectivity and scientific value. As one can see from below, although Dr. Haddad’s arguments are quite lengthy, it didn’t take much to refute them. That is why I only put the links to the various parts of his booklet before the respective refutation.
PARTS 1, 2, 3, 4: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Dr. Haddad’s use of the Sunna to proof the so-called probativeness of the Sunna is a circular argument that lacks objectivity. For example, here is one of the hadiths he cites to support his argument for the so-called probativeness of the Sunna:
Al-Hasan al-Basri narrated that while the Companion 'Imran ibn Husayn was relating hadiths from the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --, a man said to him: "O Abu Nujayd! Talk to us from the Qur'an." Whereupon 'Imran said to him: "You and your friends all read the Qur'an, so can you tell me about the salat, what it contains specifically and what its features are? Can you tell me in what consists the zakat for gold? camels? cows? the different types of goods? No. But I witnessed it, and you were not there." Then he said: "Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and greet him -- imposed upon us such-and-such in the zakat etc." The man said: "You have given me new life, may Allah give you new life also!" Al-Hasan said: "This man did not die before he had become one of the authoritative jurists of the Muslims."
Narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan with a chain declared sound by Ibn Hajar in Lisan al-Mizan (1:3) and by al-Hakim (1:109-110) with a sound chain as confirmed by al-Dhahabi. Cf. al-Suyuti, Miftah al-Janna (p. 73 #131, p. 23-25 #23).
How come this hadith did not show up in the earlier and supposedly more authoritative books of Bukhari and Muslim? Perhaps it was one of the roughly 593,000 hadiths that Bukhari rejected. The only thing that this hadith and its defensive tone prove is that the serious doubts about the so-called probativeness of the Sunna are not new and they have been around at least since the time of Abu Dawud.
PARTS 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: ATTEMPTED PROOFS FROM THE QURAN
a) Verses that indicate the obligatoriness of believing in the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --;
We believe in the Prophet and all the messengers and make no distinction between them as clearly commanded in verses 2:285 and 4:152.
b) Verses that indicate that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- elucidates the Book and explains its wisdom in a manner that carries authority on Allah's part;
It is God, not the Prophet, who explains the Quran directly to each of us through our own mind that He created as clear from the following verses:
“Once We recite it, you shall follow such a Quran. Then it is We who will EXPLAIN it” (75:18-19)
“The Almighty. Teacher of the Quran. Created the human. Taught him how to EXPLAIN.” (55:1-4)
c) Verses that indicate the obligatoriness of obeying the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- in absolute terms in whatever he orders and whatever he prohibits;
Nowhere in the Quran it is mentioned that obeying Bukhari is obeying the Prophet.
d) Verses that indicate the obligatoriness of following and imitating him in all that issues from him as being examplary so as to be loved by Allah;
Following and imitating Bukhari is not the example of the Prophet. The example of the Prophet is in following the Quran that he followed.
e) Verses indicating that Allah has tasked him with following and conveying whatever is revealed to him whether in recitative (matlu) or non-recitative form.
What was revealed to the Prophet is the Quran not the book of Bukhari or any of the books of hadiths.
PART 10, 11, 12, 13, 14: ATTEMPTED PROOFS FROM THE SUNNA
Again using the Sunna to proof the so-called probativeness of the Sunna is a circular argument that wastes the reader’s time.
PART 15: ATTEMPT TO CLAIM IT UNFEASIBLE TO ACT SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE QURAN
Below, I quote Dr. Haddad’s main argument, and I refute each of his points:
It is impossible for any human being upon whom divine revelation did not descend with Allah's support, to understand the Shari`a, its details, and its rulings autonomously, from the Qur'an alone. Where in the Qur'an does it state that:
- Zuhr prayer is four rak`as?
Only Isha and Fajr prayers and their timings are mentioned in the Quran and are thus obligatory. There is no mention of Zuhr prayer.
- Maghrib is three rak`as?
- Ruku` is done in such-and-such a way?
Physical ruku’ is not bowing. According to the Quran one is to go down and sit on the knees. See 5:55 and 38:24:
But your ally is God, His messenger, and those who believed who keep up the “salat”, and give the “zakat”, while they are “raki’oun.” (5:55)
How can one give “zakat” while bowing? Therefore ruku’ means to sit on the knees or kneeling.
“… he fell “raki’an”…” (38:24)
One cannot fall into bowing, however, one can fall to his knees. Therefore the bowing position has no support in the Quran.
- Sujud is done in such-and-such a way?
In physical sujud the chin is to rest on the floor as opposed to the forehead as the Sunnis do (see 17:107).
- Qur'anic recitation in the prayer is done in such-and-such a way?
The only obligatory part of the Quran that one is required to say is one that Sunnis don’t normally say in their prayer (See 17:111).
- Salam is given at the conclusion of prayer, in such-and-such a way?
Salat is supposed to be for God. Who are you giving salam to? The last utterance should be “Alhamdu l’Allah rabi al alamin” (see 10:10).
- What one must avoid when fasting?
Food, drink, and sexual contact during the day. If one is retreating to a place of prostration during the night then sexual contact is not permitted during the night either (see 2:187).
- The modality of zakat for gold and silver, sheep, camels, and cattle?
How about stocks, cars, computers, diamonds, intellectual property (software, patents, books)? Moreover, as a result of hadith, zakat has been confused with sadakat, which is purification of wealth. Zakat is purification of other’s minds such as what I am doing now, with God’s help (see 80:3).
- The determination of the zakatable capitals and amount of their zakat?
Sadakat is what one can spare (see the clear answer to the question in 2:219).
- The rituals of hajj from the time one stands in `Arafa?
See 2:198, 22:28-30, 22:34-35.
- The modality of prayer at `Arafa and Muzdalifa?
There is no mention in the Quran of a special prayer at “Arafa” and “Al masha’ar al haram”.
- The modality of stoning at the three jimar in Mina?
Physical stoning is a pagan ritual that has no basis in the Quran and doesn’t serve any purpose (except to give the pilgrims in the front row a concussion or a really bad headache). The same logic can be applied to the black stone and the water of Zamzam.
- The description of the pilgrim's sacralized state (ihram)?
Wearing towels is not required for pilgrims. The only requirements are in 2:197.
- What must be avoided in ihram?
- The amputation of the thief's limb?
Cutting the thief’s resources by making him/her work to payback what he/she stole is prescribed, not cutting a limb. See 12:75-79 together with the fact that “yad” in Quran often means resources.
- The definition of the breast-feeding that creates non-marriageable kinship?
Any breast-feeding creates non-marriageable kinship.
- What prepared foods are prohibited to eat?
For prohibited foods (prepared or non-prepared), see 5:3 and 6:145.
- The description and definition of butchering and sacrificial slaughters?
Any mode of killing that drains the maximum amount of blood out of the animal.
- The modalities of penal rulings (ahkam al-hudud)?
If what is meant are rulings such as stoning for adultery, then please see the hadiths and the bible. There are no medieval penal rulings in the Quran.
- The description of the enactment of divorce?
- The rulings that pertain to selling?
- The exposition of usurious transactions (al-riba)?
Riba is excessive interest that adds up to over double the principal (See 3:130).
- The modalities of juristic verdicts and appeals?
See the Quran’s natural law http://www.free-minds.org/government.htm and common sense.
- Those of solemn oaths, water-dams (al-ahbas), life tenancy resulting in ownership of the tenant's heirs (al-`umra), collection of legal alms (al-sadaqat), and all the other topics of the Law?
For the law on solemn oaths (see 5:89), for water-dams (al-ahbas) (see will or “wasiya” in 4:12). Life tenancy resulting in ownership of the tenant's heirs (al-`umra) is unlawful consumption of wealth. Ownership can only be transferred through buying and selling, gift giving, or a “wasiya” that is executed upon death. There is no such thing as “al-`umra” in 4:12. As for the collection of legal alms (al-sadaqat) see 9:60.
I would like to conclude with an interesting quote from Dr. Haddad (emphasis mine):
Therefore, it is indispensable to refer back to the hadith. And if someone were to say: "We do not take except what we find in the Qur'an," that person would be an apostate by consensus of the Community, and would not thereby be obligated to pray more than one rak`a between the going down of the sun and the dark of night, and another one at dawn [cf. 17:78]. For this is the least that has been called salat, and there is no limit (hadd) set for the most in that chapter. One who follows such a position is an idolatrous DISBELIEVER (KAFIR mushrik) whose life and property are licit.
According to 2:256, we should all hope that God counts us among the DISBELIEVERS in the “taghoot” of Bukhari and the like:
“There is no compulsion in religion. The rational and the unjust had been made distinct. So whomever DISBELIEVES (“YAKFOR”) in institutionalized tyranny (“taghoot”) and believes in God, had gripped the affirmed handle, no breaking to it, and God is hearing, knowledgeable.” (2:256)
Finally, those who embrace religious decrees from so-called scholars such as Shafi’i and Bukhari and believe in the intercession of the Prophet Mohamed should read God’s definition of “mushrik” in verses such as 42:21 and 6:94 before recklessly accusing others of being so.