8) The Qur’an says that we must obey Allah and the Messenger (Surah 3:31-32,132; Surah 4:13-14, 59, 61, 64, 69, 80; Surah 24:56).
There are two separate commands here. One is to obey Allah and the other is to obey the Prophet. In order to obey someone, he would need to issue a command. So if we want to obey Allah we have to do so by reading the commands of Allah in the Quran and adhering to them. If we want to obey the Prophet then we have to do so by reading the commands of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the authentic hadith and adhere to them. Or is there another way?
Some hadith rejecters claim that the command to obey the Prophet (peace be upon him) was only in regard to his contemporaries. However, there is no evidence for these claims. The Quran is supposed to benefit all of mankind. How do we benefit from this command especially since there are several verses regarding it?
A. Some other hadith rejecters claim that “obeying the Messenger” means to obey the message that he came with. So basically to “obey the messenger” means to follow the Qur’an. However, this is a weak argument because the Qur’an clearly separates obeying the Qur’an and the Messenger:
Surah 4:61 When it is said to them: ” Come to what God hath revealed, and to the Apostle”: Thou seest the Hypocrites avert their faces from thee in disgust. Notice that it is said to the disbelievers to come to what God has revealed (Qur’an) AND to the Messenger. So people are to come to two different things for guidance, not only one.
Behold, the most abused verse to support the traditionalist view on Islam.
Obey God and obey the messenger is simply OBEY THE MESSAGE, that is the revealation or scripture delivered.
To indicate that obey God is obey Qur’an while obey messenger is obey hadith is fallacy, a violation of Qur’anic principle of monotheism. One God, one Law. Muhammad is not another authority or law giver beside God. Obey the messenger is technically obey God. The only reason why “obey the messenger” is mentioned after “obey God” is because the latter is a vague command. Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and Pagans at that time all claimed to be obeying God(although they were actually obeying conjectures), to clarify what “obey God” imply, “obey the messenger” is mentioned. Thus, explaining that obedience to God is obedience to the messenger calling them, not the conjectures and man made doctrines attributed to God.
A. The words after “and” are not always distinct from the words before this conjunction. Here is a sample;
And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion AND a light AND a reminder for the righteous.
Going by Bassam ‘s logic, three different items were given to Moses here. But we know what Moses had recieved is the criterion, the Torah. Light and reminder are just other synonyms clarifying what the Torah is. Likewise, the conjunction doesn’t make ‘obey the messenger’ separate from obeying God. It is just another word clarifying what ‘obey God’ is.
Next, Bassam bore us with a lengthy article of Dr. Shafaat who certainly haven’t seen the above interpretation of “obey the messenger”. At a point Dr. Shafaat remind us that Hadith is mandatory because Quran 4:65 permit the Prophet to judge our affairs. How could the Dr. forget that 40 verses ahead, God revealed that the standard for Prophet ‘s judgement is still the Qur’an, not his wishes or initiative required to be collected as Hadith.
Also note that according to Bassam, hadith to be obeyed are the authentic hadith. But there is no consensus among the ulamas on the authentic and unauthentic hadith. The ulamas classification of hadith as authentic or unauthentic hugely depended on their time, place, ideology and feelings towards the narrators. Some hadith rejected by Salafi scholars like Ibn Tamiyyah were accepted by other Sunni or Shiite scholars and vice versa.
For instance, some orthodox scholars today reject the hadith on death for apostasy as weak while others support it as sound.
9) It says in the Qu’ran (Surah 33:21) that we have the Messenger as a good example to follow. How would we know his example without the traditions to turn to?
According to their own sanctified traditions, Muhammad was reported by Aisha to be Qur’an in practice. This added to the fact that the Prophet was ordered to live according to the Qur’an is enough to convince the traditionalist of his fallacy. Therefore, the Prophet got his example from the Qur’an. To repeat these examples, all you need is to follow the Prophet ‘s guide; The Qur’an.
Thereafter, Bassam gets us Dr. Shafaat again. The latter goes on and on insisting that unlike Abraham, whose examples were spelt out(Qur’an 60:4-6), Muhammad ‘s weren’t and so we need to learn them from hadith.
This verse(33:21) is sandwiched by verses discussing a war. Even if Muhammad ‘s examples weren’t given, could they be anything other than perseverence, courage, faith in God and moderation on the battle ground. These are qualities already enjoined in the Qur’an. And besides, even if we badly have to learn about the Prophet ‘s examples verbatin, does these explain the existence of large volumes of non-battle ground related hadith?
Later on Dr. Shafaat cites 7:158 as a clear indication to follow the messenger as in the hadith. Dr. Shafaat has neglected the context of ‘follow’, interpreting it to mean everything the messenger said or did. Comm’ on, follow a messenger is to follow his message, not picking everything from his words and acts, intruding in his private life as hadith reporters have done to Muhammad.
Books that report that the Prophet committed pedophilia, engaged in slave trade and concubines, killed his critics, slaughtered Jewish men, enslaving their women and children can’t be source of examples for believers. Go to the Qur’an and ponder. You won’t find even the need to read beautiful examples of the Prophet in hadith books to live like the Prophet.
10) We have different forms of reciting the Qur’an, which means that certain letters are taken away from the word or pronounced differently. Through authentic hadith, we know that these were accepted forms of reading approved by the Prophet (peace be upon him). But without hadith, how would we know this? Using the Qur’an alone, if I see that there are different forms of recitation then I would think that there is more than one Qur’an and I wouldn’t know which one is correct.
No, you don’t need hadith for that. Qur’an was originally written with only consonants and no vocalization mark. So, the pronunciation may vary among readers but what matters is the message, the Quranic text is uniform and untampered.
11) In Surah 2:221, God forbids us to marry polytheist women. Yet in Surah 5:5, God says that we can marry the believing women and the chaste women from the People of the Book. This is a clear differentiation between believing women and People of the Book. You can’t have a believing person today from the People of the Book who is not a Muslim. So if God were talking about the believing women from the People of the Book then He wouldn’t have differentiated the “believing women” phrase from them. Furthermore, the believing people from the People of the Book were the ones who truly followed the teachings of Jesus and Moses, which are lost today. So by using the Quran alone, how do I know which verse was revealed first? Did Surah 2:221 come first and then God sent down Surah 5:5 making an exception or did God send down Surah 5:5 first and then send Surah 2:221 by completely prohibiting us from marrying the women from the People of the Book?
Qur’an 2:221 and 5:51 are mutually exclusive, no need bothering on which came first and which modify the others.
2:221 stands, polytheists or idolators are prohibited in marriage for muslims. These are people who believe in multiple gods, sculptures or inanimate items etc. However 5:51 stands distinct. The Qur’an never use Polytheist and People of the Book interchangeably. The People of the Book may have some idolatry doctrines as even some muslims do. But for the fact that they have the scriptures, believe in the messengers and unity of God, they cannot be classed entirely as polytheists and so they remain lawful in marriage to muslims. If the tampering of their scriptures has any consequence on this, God would have mentioned it, after all the Gospel and the Torah had been distorted even before the Qur’an came.
Then again it is possible to have believers from among the people of the Book who are not muslims today. Bassam has no evidence for to state otherwise, if he hasn’t met any, that doesn’t mean they are extinct. That is why the Qur’an didn’t condemn all of them, it even cite for us the characters of the true ones(3:113-115). We can still meet them today, even if they aren’t common.
12) Surah 24, verse 31 says “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof” What exactly is this part that “appears thereof”?
A. Some will try to argue back by saying that “what appear thereof” is referring to seductive parts of a women’s body. However, some men may be seduced by a woman’s fingernails and face. Does this mean that she must cover them as well? This is subjective. Where is the objective standard to follow regarding such a law?
As a woman, upon dressing up and covering your sexually attractive parts like bosom, groin, thighs and backside, any part beyond these that may appear are the parts that appear thereof. The traditionalist assumed that ‘zinatahunna’ is the whole body, so when ‘appear thereof’ comes in, they are puzzle; “which part appear thereof after all the body has been covered fully?’. “Zinatahunna” can be revealed to children without sexual knowledge and male servants without libido. So, zinatahunna has to be parts of the body with sexual elements and not the whole body. Once you dress up, covering these parts, the part may be revealed like head, neck, hand, arm, shin, feet are the parts that ‘appear thereof’. These aren’t sexual parts.
Does the Hadith clearly explain ‘appear thereof’? i highly doubt it. One Hadith often narrated by scholars imply that only hands and face may appear while another hadith informs that the women covered their faces when Qur’an 24:31 was revealed. Hence, the Hadith does not clarify the matter at all.
A. There are always norms and there exist anomalies. We all know seductive parts of our bodies. If a man is seduced or sexually attracted to a woman ‘s face or fingers then he either lowers his gaze or get psychological help. As we would not cover children from head to toes because some men are seduced by children, we ‘ll not have women do the same because some men are seduced by a simple face.
13) If the Quran is so easy to understand on our own, then why did Allah have some Muslims staying behind in Madinah in order to become very well versed in religion, while the others go out to the battlefield so that they can then come back to be taught (Surah 9:122)? Indeed, if we can all just simply read the Qur’an and be equal in knowledge and understanding then what is the point of having people specialize in it in order to teach us? Why would this require so much time?
A. Some Quranites might argue back that people could specialize in Qur’an more than others, yet this does not justify that there are other sources besides the Qur’an to refer to.
B. They would also argue that if one reads the Qur’an on his own then that would be enough because it is easy to understand and that those who specialize in it are only gaining extra knowledge that is not significant. However, this is not the impression given by the verse:
Surah 9:122 It is not possible for the believers to go forth all together. Why, then, does not a party from every section of them go forth that they may become well-versed in religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may guard against evil.
Here we see that one purpose that the party of Muslims that stayed behind in order to master the religion was to make sure that they warn their people and help them guard against evil. This would not be necessary if anyone could just read the Qur’an on their own. No, there must be more details (e.g. detailed issues of prayer, zakah, fasting etc.) that must be communicated to the Muslims in order to ensure that they practice their religion properly and this is not to be found in the Qur’an. For if it was, then anyone can have the time to refer to it and this would not require specialization, for any lay man would then be able to accomplish this task.
The writer get it wrong because he doesn’t understand the verse properly.
The Qur’an is easy to understand but you won’t understand everything in just a day. The more you read, the more you learn from it.
Those going to war are going to be preoccupied with no time to study. Instead of everyone going to war and forgetting learning, the Qur’an demand some stay behind to study and update the fighters once they return. This is no indication that the Qur’an is hard to understand and readers require the liturgy of hadith, hadith commentary, tafsir, usul, fiqh, tawhid e.t.c. A book requiring all these is a complicated, non user friendly book. How can such a book emphasize repeatedly of its ease to be understood(54:17, 22, 37, 40)?
14) Allah says in the Qur’an (Surah 75:19) that the Qur’an will be recited. But then in the verse right after (verse 20) it is also said that the Qur’an will be explained. If the Qur’an is self-explanatory then the only thing that needs to be done is reciting it out. However, in verse 19 the function of reciting is done and then in the verse right after, the function of explaining is done. Clearly these are two different tasks, which mean that reading the Qur’an alone would not give you the full explanation required. It has to be explained through some other source. What is that other source?
And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as explanation for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.(Qur’an 16:89).
But the Qur’an itself is an explanation(12:111, 16:89). Which mean it explains itself. It was revealed periodically. Some verses were brief on a subject while other verses were broader. Thus, the latter verses explain the former verses. This is what God mean by the Qur’an will be explained, not that another literature explaining it will be revealed distinctly.
For instance after explaining divorce and inheritance to us(2:236-241), the next verse says;
God thus explains His revealations for you, that you may understand(2:242).
Several other verses(2:266 3:103) has that sentence, indicating that within the Book itself, its explanations are found.
The Hadith books do not explain the Qur’an. Under Book of Tafsir, Sahih Bukhari for instance, has barely more than half of Qur’an chapters explained. Didn’t Bukhari seek understanding the other chapters? Why aren’t they found in his collection.
You may get few ideas helpful ideas from the Hadith book that may aid you understand some Qur’anic verses BUT to pick the Hadith books as a guide to the Qur’an will lead you even further from it. Even orthodox scholars and translators like Muhammad Asad commented that the best interpretation of the Qur’an is via the Qur’an. Nothing else.
That brings us to the end, it has been a lengthy piece. I hope i have clarified most of the misconceptions. Peace be with you.