The Actual Status of Hadith – Part 1
June 28, 2006
The human mind has proved itself effete and tardy. Very careful scrutiny and ransacking of the mind is required to reach the heart of any matter, but it eschews and cuts corners at every possible opportunity. As the world turns, new discoveries and laws are made in social circles and all the more so in the realm of religion, where some incidences have become standard clichés or myths of wisdom over the passage of years. No one deems it necessary to think twice as to how most of these parables or folklore became the criteria of wisdom and faith although, these doctrines of wisdom might have been twisted through the generations.
The insurmountable impediment while examining, scrutinizing or giving our serious thought on any religious myth or cliché is the righteous halo we have woven around it. We consider ourselves of a blasphemy, a sin of the highest intensity or committing a blunder of the superlative degree, to question the origins of any religious myth or cliché. No matter how much we make the person realize the importance of cogent rationale on these standard religious clichés, nonetheless, his level of thought hesitates to enter into broader horizons. It is commonly observed that a person is more inclined towards finding a justification of the religious cliché one adheres to, rather than having an open and an unbiased mind. More formidable than the inner turmoil are the fears of wrath from ones religious connoisseurs. The derogatory opinion and threats of being outcaste by these demigods, do not allow an individual to muster courage enough to give ones serious thoughts on these myths or stories attributed towards the bulwarks with unshakable faith.
The Need for Research
On the other hand, if we agree and are of the opinion, that only ‘reality’ must have value, that has been through the process of our rational sifting and only that ‘faith’ carries weight which has been acquired after our thorough speculation and cognitive experiences, then it becomes incumbent upon us to weigh the pros and cons of any religious issue. No matter how many treacherous peaks we may have to climb. At this point, it is advised to refrain from our personal conflicting religious experiences and do away with all external fears. In this connection we shall endeavour to consider a common religious doctrine, that in our subconscious, appears as part and parcel of the core of our religious set of beliefs.
You question any Muslim today as to how would he define the system or ‘DEEN’ of Islam. Without any hesitation we are replied that, ‘Islam is a compound of the Holy Quran and Hadith.’ The indoctrination of this reply is so deep down in our hearts, we do not have the faintest notion of doubt about it when answering, no matter how glaringly self-contradictory the myth may appear to us. The important question is, the myth or story we take so much for granted, the sentence we speak everyday with so much confidence and strong conviction; has it ever been brought to our personal scrutiny and examined by rationale, before being accepted by us? Or do we accept, merely because it has traveled down to us through many, many generations. If that does not happen to be the case, then let us have the courage to face the culmination of the ancestral paths we have chosen. By rationalizing our belief we are obtaining dual advantage. If the myth or cliché stands the scrutiny of our cognizance, then it shall become more profound and ingrained in our minds and close to our heart beats, otherwise we will know, we relinquished a myth that was nothing else but a rigmarole of someone’s fantasy. Even more so, it will open our eyes to the fact that our belief was based on sheer custom. The process of cogent reasoning when accepting any statement is also reaffirmed by the Holy Quran that characterizes momins as:
[25:73] And those who do not fall (forsaketh reason) for these ayats (Allah’s words) like the dumb and deaf.
Reasoning also coincides with one of the postulates of the Holy Quran, wherein is said:
[17:36] Do not follow that of which you knoweth not; remember, your sense of sight, hearing and cognitive capabilities will be questioned.
It is hoped we are of no two opinions over the fact, that Deen in reality is one that is invincible, in other words which is not based on fantasy or illusion. So it is said in Quran:
[10:36] Most of these (people) are prone to fantasy and hearsay. In actuality ‘illusion’ will have no benefit in comparison with ‘reality.’ And Allah knoweth everyone as to what they do.
It becomes mandatory for us, when it is said, ‘Islam is a composition of the Holy Quran and Hadith,’ to determine whether in actuality it happens to be the case or not. Is it in reality true that both of the above mentioned books have been revealed as Deen in Islam through MuhammadPBUH? The Holy Book reiterates numerous times, that this Book is nothing else but the ‘Truth.’
[35:31] “What we have revealed unto you is truth…………”
The opening words of this book of wisdom are… . There is absolutely no doubt about this book. In other words, it is factual and not based on fantasy or illusion. This is as far as the spirit of the Book is concerned. Now how was it revealed and compiled and in what capacity is it going to exist, Quran further says:
[75:17] Verily, unto us is the compilation and transmission of its knowledge.
It goes beyond compilation and explicitly asserts that we hold its responsibility as far as its preservation is concerned. Till the Day of Judgment not a single letter will be changed. It augurs:
[15:9] Verily! We have revealed, unto us lies its preservation.
To give this notion of preservation a practical shape, it further commands:
[5:67] O Muhammad! Deliver it to the people, what is being revealed unto you.
What did the Messenger MuhammadPBUH do to implement this command of Almighty, we nearly all of us are aware of it. Whatever was revealed unto the Messenger, he had each and every letter of the revelation dictated to his disciples or followers. Thousands were made to memorize the revelations on MuhammadPBUH by heart. Not only that, MuhammadPBUH himself listened to those verses who had learnt them by heart and then cast his seal of approval upon them. Messenger MuhammadPBUH before taking his last breadth, ascertained and made sure that whatever had been revealed unto him, had been delivered to the humankind in its complete form. In his famous sermon of last Friday of the last Ramadan, before his soul departed from this world he bore Allah as his witness and confirmed from his audience, that he had delivered all revelations to them in its complete form. In the caliphate period, after the unbearable demise of MuhammadPBUH, the four caliphs made it obligatory upon themselves, the sacred duty of preserving the Holy Quran. Henceforth, these holy scriptures, which are in the hearts of myriad of Muslims and also on paper, are coming down through the years in its original and true shape. Even foreign religious scholars do not question its verity.
Muqaam-e-Hadith (The Actual Status of Hadith)
by Allam Perveez