A typical verse that individuals use to attempt to justify Hadith is the following:
[33:21] The messenger of GOD has set up a good example for those among you who seek GOD and the Last Day, and constantly think about GOD.
(٢١) لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
The primary claim is that since God is referencing the prophet as a good example in this verse, this means that individuals should follow the Hadith, which are falsely attributed to the prophet. This argument is flawed for multiple reasons.
If we look at this verse in context, we see that the Quran is stating that the prophet served as a good example in regard to the specific Battle of the Parties mentioned, and this is clarified in the immediate next verse, where it clearly spells out how the prophet served as a good example in this regard.
[33:22] When the true believers saw the parties (ready to attack), they said, “This is what GOD and His messenger have promised us, and GOD and His messenger are truthful.” This (dangerous situation) only strengthened their faith and augmented their submission.
وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَٰذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا
Additionally, if we read the previous verses, we see how the prophet’s and believer’s example compared to that of the hypocrites.
[33:9] O you who believe, remember GOD’s blessing upon you; when soldiers attacked you, we sent upon them violent wind and invisible soldiers. GOD is Seer of everything you do.
[33:10] When they came from above you, and from beneath you, your eyes were terrified, your hearts ran out of patience, and you harbored unbefitting thoughts about GOD.
[33:11] That is when the believers were truly tested; they were severely shaken up.
[33:12] The hypocrites and those with doubts in their hearts said, “What GOD and His messenger promised us was no more than an illusion!”
[33:13] A group of them said, “O people of Yathrib, you cannot attain victory; go back.” Others made up excuses to the prophet: “Our homes are vulnerable,” when they were not vulnerable. They just wanted to flee.
يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَاءَتْكُمْ جُنُودٌ فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا وَجُنُودًا لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرًا
إِذْ جَاءُوكُمْ مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ وَمِنْ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَإِذْ زَاغَتِ الْأَبْصَارُ وَبَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ وَتَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ الظُّنُونَا
هُنَالِكَ ابْتُلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَزُلْزِلُوا زِلْزَالًا شَدِيدًا
وَإِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا
وَإِذْ قَالَتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ يَاأَهْلَ يَثْرِبَ لَا مُقَامَ لَكُمْ فَارْجِعُوا وَيَسْتَأْذِنُ فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمُ النَّبِيَّ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ وَمَا هِيَ بِعَوْرَةٍ إِنْ يُرِيدُونَ إِلَّا فِرَارًا
وَلَوْ دُخِلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَقْطَارِهَا ثُمَّ سُئِلُوا الْفِتْنَةَ لَآتَوْهَا وَمَا تَلَبَّثُوا بِهَا إِلَّا يَسِيرًا
From the above verses we see that the hypocrites left the worst example, where they doubted God’s promise and wished to join the disbelievers rather than trusting in God and fighting.
Individuals who attempt to justify that since God is informing the believers that the prophet has set a good example in this verse means that one should uphold the Hadith literature that is falsely attributed to the prophet are falling into a false equivalence. Because the example specifically mentioned in the Quran that clarified the prophet’s example does not equate to the entire Hadith literature that portrays the prophet in the worst light, which depicts him as a bigot, warmonger, and pedophile.
People who make this argument want to elevate the prophet and falsehood attributed to his actions and sayings at the expense of the lessons that God has set forth in His scripture. Ironically, the same verse extols the example for those who seek God and the Last Day, as well as those who (وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا) “constantly think about God.”
The basic tenet of the entire Quran is that our life, death, and religion must all be devoted absolutely to God alone, without exception. If we think some other entity can serve as a gateway to draw us closer to God, then it simply shows a lack of devotion to God alone.
[39:3] Absolutely, the religion shall be devoted to GOD alone. Those who set up idols beside Him say, “We idolize them only to bring us closer to GOD; for they are in a better position!” GOD will judge them regarding their disputes. GOD does not guide such liars, disbelievers.
أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَىٰ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ
Only individuals who are exclusively devoted to God alone will be saved from the Hellfire and be protected from the devil’s influence and control.
[15:39] He said, “My Lord, since You have willed that I go astray, I will surely entice them on earth; I will send them all astray. [15:40] “Except those among Your worshipers who are devoted absolutely to You alone.” [15:41] He said, “This is a law that is inviolable. [15:42] “You have no power over My servants. You only have power over the strayers who follow you.
[38:82] He said, “I swear by Your majesty, that I will send them all astray. [38:83] “Except Your worshipers who are devoted absolutely to You alone.” [38:84] He said, “This is the truth, and the truth is all that I utter.
God informs us that He allows the devil to fabricate lies regarding our religion to convince people to follow such lies and therefore distinguish those who genuinely believe in the Hereafter from the falsifiers.
[6:112] We have permitted the enemies of every prophet—human and jinn devils—to inspire in each other fancy words, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.
[6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا
وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِفُوا مَا هُمْ مُقْتَرِفُونَ
The fundamental flaw for equating 33:21 with the upholding of additional Hadith besides the Quran is that it is conflating following the prophet’s actual example with following the lies attributed to the prophet. The two are not the same. For example, if I am told to obey my parents, and some stranger tells me a lie that they attribute to my parents, if I followed the stranger’s commands, then I would actually be disobeying my parents.
Muhammad’s sole duty was to deliver this Quran (29:19, 24:54, 64:12). The Quran that he was to deliver was contained in the Quran (21:10). And on the Day of Resurrection, his testimony to God is that his people have abandoned the Quran, and not that his people have abandoned the Hadith and Sunnah attributed to him.
[25:27] The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, “Alas, I wish I had followed the path with the messenger.
[25:28] “Alas, woe to me, I wish I did not take that person as a friend.
[25:29] “He has led me away from the message after it came to me. Indeed, the devil lets down his human victims.”
[25:30] The messenger said, “My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.“
(٢٧) وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَالَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
(٢٨) يَاوَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
(٢٩) لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ خَذُولًا
(٣٠) وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَارَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
The majority of Hadith are lies attributed to the prophet that either contradicts the Quran or cannot be verified. The Quran warns us from following sources that cannot be authenticated in the following verse with the example of the Jews during the time of the prophet listening to stories attributed to the prophet from sources that never met the prophet themselves.
[5:41] O you messenger, do not be saddened by those who hasten to disbelieve among those who say, “We believe,” with their mouths, while their hearts do not believe. Among the Jews, some listened to lies. They listened to people who never met you, and who distorted the words out of context, then said, “If you are given this, accept it, but if you are given anything different, beware.” Whomever GOD wills to divert, you can do nothing to help him against GOD. GOD does not wish to cleanse their hearts. They have incurred humiliation in this world, and in the Hereafter, they will suffer a terrible retribution.
يَاأَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لَا يَحْزُنْكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِنْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّاعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَٰذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِنْ لَمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُوا وَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ فِتْنَتَهُ فَلَنْ تَمْلِكَ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُطَهِّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
The word that is used to signify “a good example” in 33:21 is أُسْوَةٌ / us’watun. We see this same word applied twice to Abraham as well.
[60:4] A good example has been set for you by Abraham and those with him. They said to their people, “We disown you and the idols that you worship besides GOD. We denounce you, and you will see nothing from us except animosity and hatred until you believe in GOD ALONE.” However, a mistake was committed by Abraham when he said to his father, “I will pray for your forgiveness, but I possess no power to protect you from GOD.” “Our Lord, we trust in You, and submit to You; to You is the final destiny.
[60:5] “Our Lord, let us not be oppressed by those who disbelieved, and forgive us. You are the Almighty, Most Wise.”
[60:6] A good example has been set by them for those who seek GOD and the Last Day. As for those who turn away, GOD is in no need (of them), Most Praiseworthy.
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنْكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّىٰ تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ رَبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِيهِمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ
Quran Contains Every Example
So the Quran uses this word for both Muhammad and Abraham. So the question is, where can we find a reliable source that would apply to both of them? The answer should be obvious.
God informs us that the Quran is complete, fully detailed, and contains every example we need for our salvation.
[18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.
(٥٤) وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِلنَّاسِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ وَكَانَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا
[39:27] We have cited for the people every kind of example in this Quran, that they may take heed.
(٢٧) وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
The second we start looking for examples to justify religious laws outside of the scripture then we are showing that we are rejecting God’s words when He tells us that the Quran is complete, fully detailed, contains every example, and should be our only source of religious law.
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
(١١٥) وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
[6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.
(١١٦) وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ