Despite all the evidence that the only hadith followers of the Quran should follow is the Quran itself, some people ask what if the other hadith is considered highly trustworthy, should it still be rejected?
For this argument the Quran provides two examples that took place during the life of the prophet regarding these other forms of hadith attributed to the prophet. These examples show that irrespective if the prophet actually made the statement or not that it is (1) the responsibility of the people who heard any other hadith attributed to the prophet to never spread or repeat such information, and (2) the responsibility of the people who heard such rumors attributed to the prophet to never accept such statements.
The First Example
The first example is in Sura 66 entitled appropriately enough Prohibition (Al-Tahreem / الـتحريم). In the following verse we see that the prophet gave some of his wives a hadith, then one of them spread it.
[66:3] The prophet had trusted some of his wives with a certain statement (hadith), then one of them spread it, and GOD let him know about it. He then informed his wife of part of the issue, and disregarded part. She asked him, “Who informed you of this?” He said, “I was informed by the Omniscient, Most Cognizant.”
وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَنْ بَعْضٍ فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَهَا بِهِ قَالَتْ مَنْ أَنْبَأَكَ هَٰذَا قَالَ نَبَّأَنِيَ الْعَلِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ
It is worth noting, that God did not inform us of the specific hadith that was stated to His wives. My understanding is that if God did not inform us of a detail in the Quran then it is because it is either common knowledge, for instance God does not need to inform someone how to eat or wash, or because it is not important for the lesson we are to learn. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what the hadith was, this lesson is letting us know that the wives who had received such information from the prophet had a duty not to spread such hadith.
This is a perfect example of a statement that was actually made by Muhammad, and that God is letting us know that such hadith should not be repeated. This is the reason that it doesn’t matter what it was that Muhammad stated to his wives, but that the take away for the followers of the Quran is to not repeat such information even if it did come from Muhammad himself.
Yet, when we look at the hadith attributed to the prophet we see that Aisha, one of the wives of the prophet, is supposedly responsible for narrating some 2,210 hadith. These hadith are not just on religious matters such as prohibitions, punishments, marriage, sex, inheritance, pilgrimage, eschatology, among other subjects, but also related to Muhammad’s private life. It is hard to believe that these hadith have any legitimacy as what would it indicate about the prophet’s wives as they would be breaking such an important commandment from God as stated in this Sura.
[66:4] If the two of you repent to GOD, then your hearts have listened. But if you band together against him, then GOD is his ally, and so is Gabriel and the righteous believers. Also, the angels are his helpers.
إِنْ تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا وَإِنْ تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ
Not only that, but we see in the first verse of the Sura that Muhammad made a critical mistake for prohibiting something God did not prohibit.
[66:1] O you prophet, why do you prohibit what GOD has made lawful for you, just to please your wives? GOD is Forgiver, Merciful.
ياأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ ما أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ تَبتَغي مَرضاتَ أَزواجِكَ وَاللَّهُ غَفورٌ رَحيمٌ
In the Quran, God informs us that attributing false prohibitions to God is one of the worse offenses a person can commit, and it appears from this what Muhammad accidentally has done.
[16:116] You shall not utter lies with your own tongues stating: “This is lawful, and this is unlawful,” to fabricate lies and attribute them to GOD. Surely, those who fabricate lies and attribute them to GOD will never succeed.
وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٌ لِتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ
Now we cannot say for sure that this mistake committed by Muhammad, for prohibiting something God did not prohibit, was the same hadith that was spread in 66:3. But it should also not be down played that these two events juxtapose each other in the verses of the Quran. I take this to indicate that not only was the wife of the prophet not supposed to spread any hadith she was entrusted with by the prophet, but they could have been spreading a false prohibition not authorized by God. I believe this is the reason these two verses are paired next to one another. That even if someone legitimately heard something from the prophet, but if it is not covered in the Quran then it is impossible to know if we have the full story behind what was stated.
The Quran informs us of a number of mistakes that Muhammad made during his life (33:37, 80:1-12, 9:43). In these instances, The Quran preserved the aspects of these mistakes that we were meant to learn from and corrected them. This is why the Quran is a complete book, but if we go with sources beyond the Quran the same cannot be said for these other sources as these may be missing crucial aspects and details, or fail in delivering the correct lesson from the occurrence, or even possibly be a complete fabrication as we will see in the next example. Therefore, without the best History of the Quran any other narration or testimony cannot be trusted when it comes to determining religious laws.
[12:3] We narrate to you the most accurate history through the revelation of this Quran. Before this, you were totally unaware.
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ
[12:111] In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the details of everything, and is a beacon and mercy for those who believe.
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
The Second Example
The second example for us to learn from regarding how to deal with hadith that occurred during the time of the prophet can be found in Sura 24. This time it is dealing with a rumors and unproven accusations, which is no different than most of the modern day hadith. As we have seen the earliest compilers of hadith did not start their work until some 200 years after the prophet’s death. In this second example we read the following:
[24:11] A gang among you produced a big lie. Do not think that it was bad for you; instead, it was good for you. Meanwhile, each one of them has earned his share of the guilt. As for the one who initiated the whole incident, he has incurred a terrible retribution.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِنْكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ مَا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
Why would God state that this was good for you, despite it stating that such people who partook in this lie earned a sin for their actions? I believe this is because the lesson is greater than the punishment if they take heed. This is true except for the one who initiated the lie, their retribution will be severe. This is similar to the Children of Israel who began to worship the golden calf. While they all held part of the responsibility and punishment for such flagrant defiance of God, it was only the Samarian, who initiated the whole matter, who was not to be forgiven.
So what was the big lie that was stated? From the context of the verses along with the adjacent verses before and after this lesson, we know that this lie appears to have to do with some sort of adultery. Again if God did not inform us about the specifics, then it shows that it is not important for the lesson we are to pull from this example. And we see what this lesson emphasized in the following verse:
[24:12] When you heard it, the believing men and the believing women should have had better thoughts about themselves, and should have said, “This is obviously a big lie.”
لَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا هَٰذَا إِفْكٌ مُبِينٌ
[24:13] Only if they produced four witnesses (you may believe them). If they fail to produce the witnesses, then they are, according to GOD, liars.
لَوْلَا جَاءُوا عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِالشُّهَدَاءِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ
God informs us that we are not to accept any information unless we can verify it for ourselves.
[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
God additionally, informs us that a wicked person, a proven liar, provides us any information we are not to accept such information.
[49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
Think about how many of the so-called “sahih” hadith are proven fabrications. Not only were 99% of the original compilers work considered unreliable with many confirmed as complete fabrications by the compilers themselves, but even the vast majority of the remaining “trustworthy” hadith still blatantly contradict the Quran as we have seen in previous articles, as well as here, and here.
In addition, many of these hadith are full of lewd and disgusting lies attributed to the prophet and the believers of that time. Rumors that as the lesson above inform us should not be repeated. So how can anyone who claims to believe in God and His words in the Quran still uphold such flimsy, baseless, narrations despite the lessons and warnings from God?
Keep in mind this was for the people who were living among the prophet at that time, let alone people who are compiling this not only 200 years after his death, but for us living 1400 years after the revelation of the Quran. How much more important is it that we do not accept such unverifiable information?
The individuals who are reading this and still accept hadith beside the Quran perhaps it is time to take heed and reconsider your decisions for accepting such information so that you can be spared the terrible retribution that is destined for the original compilers of these hadith who initiated this whole matter to start.
[24:14] If it were not for GOD’s grace towards you, and His mercy in this world and in the Hereafter, you would have suffered a great retribution because of this incident.
وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِي مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيهِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
[24:15] You fabricated it with your own tongues, and the rest of you repeated it with your mouths without proof. You thought it was simple, when it was, according to GOD, gross.
إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ
[24:16] When you heard it, you should have said, “We will not repeat this. Glory be to You. This is a gross falsehood.”
وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُمْ مَا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَنْ نَتَكَلَّمَ بِهَٰذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هَٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ
[24:17] GOD admonishes you that you shall never do it again, if you are believers.
يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَعُودُوا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
[24:18] GOD thus explains the revelations for you. GOD is Omniscient, Wise.
وَيُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ