Bukhari is considered the most renowned collector of Hadith in the traditional Muslim world. He was born in 810 and was the first individual to collect a compilation of only Sahih Hadith, which he published around the year 846, some two hundred years after the death of the prophet. Sahih means authentic and is said of a hadith that has been preserved and transmitted accurately. According to legend, he collected and memorized some 600,000 Hadith along with their corresponding chain of narrators. From this list, he removed nearly 99% of the Hadith because he considered them unreliable and selected only 7,563 Hadith that he put into his collection of Sahih Hadith.

One of the major mistakes people assume about Hadith is that the Hadith are explanations of the Quranic verses. Instead, these are snippets of supposed sayings or actions of the prophet and his companions. These Hadith usually lack much context or details and often times contradict one another. For instance, you will see Hadith that says the prophet lived 10 years in Mecca and 10 years in Medina and died at the age of 60 and had only twenty white hairs in his head and beard, while others state he stayed thirteen years in Mecca and ten years in Medina and died at the age of 63.

Narrated Rabia bin Abi Abdur-Rahman: I heard Anas bin Malik describing the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “He was of medium height amongst the people, neither tall nor short; he had a rosy color, neither absolutely white nor deep brown; his hair was neither completely curly nor quite lank. Divine Inspiration was revealed to him when he was forty years old. He stayed ten years in Mecca receiving the Divine Inspiration, and stayed in Medina for ten more years. When he expired, he had scarcely twenty white hairs in his head and beard.” Rabi`a said, “I saw some of his hairs and it was red. When I asked about that, I was told that it turned red because of scent. “

حَدَّثَنِي ابْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ أَبِي هِلاَلٍ، عَنْ رَبِيعَةَ بْنِ أَبِي عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ، يَصِفُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ كَانَ رَبْعَةً مِنَ الْقَوْمِ، لَيْسَ بِالطَّوِيلِ وَلاَ بِالْقَصِيرِ، أَزْهَرَ اللَّوْنِ لَيْسَ بِأَبْيَضَ أَمْهَقَ وَلاَ آدَمَ، لَيْسَ بِجَعْدٍ قَطَطٍ وَلاَ سَبْطٍ رَجِلٍ، أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ وَهْوَ ابْنُ أَرْبَعِينَ، فَلَبِثَ بِمَكَّةَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ يُنْزَلُ عَلَيْهِ وَبِالْمَدِينَةِ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ، وَلَيْسَ فِي رَأْسِهِ وَلِحْيَتِهِ عِشْرُونَ شَعَرَةً بَيْضَاءَ‏.‏ قَالَ رَبِيعَةُ فَرَأَيْتُ شَعَرًا مِنْ شَعَرِهِ، فَإِذَا هُوَ أَحْمَرُ فَسَأَلْتُ فَقِيلَ احْمَرَّ مِنَ الطِّيبِ‏.‏

Sahih al-Bukhari 3547 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3547
Sahih al-Bukhari 5900 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5900
Sahih al-Bukhari 4978, 4979 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:4978

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) started receiving the Divine Inspiration at the age of forty. Then he stayed in Mecca for thirteen years, receiving the Divine Revelation. Then he was ordered to migrate and he lived as an Emigrant for ten years and then died at the age of sixty-three (years).

حَدَّثَنَا مَطَرُ بْنُ الْفَضْلِ، حَدَّثَنَا رَوْحٌ، حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامٌ، حَدَّثَنَا عِكْرِمَةُ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ بُعِثَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لأَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً، فَمَكُثَ بِمَكَّةَ ثَلاَثَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً يُوحَى إِلَيْهِ، ثُمَّ أُمِرَ بِالْهِجْرَةِ فَهَاجَرَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ، وَمَاتَ وَهُوَ ابْنُ ثَلاَثٍ وَسِتِّينَ‏.‏

Sahih al-Bukhari 3902 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3902
Sahih al-Bukhari 3851 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3851

If something so straightforward can be so misconstrued, what does it say about all the other supposed “authentic” Hadith? Additionally, for Muslims who believe in the concept of abrogation, that the later revelations supersede the earlier revelations, the challenge is that it is unclear the dates of any Hadith. Unless a specific event is discussed, then it is unclear when in the life of the prophet the Hadith supposedly originated.

[39:29] GOD cites the example of a man who deals with disputing partners (Hadith), compared to a man who deals with only one consistent source (Quran). Are they the same? Praise be to GOD; most of them do not know.

 ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَاءُ مُتَشَاكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Because of this uncertainty, the Muslim masses resort to their scholars to try to make sense of these contradictions. By doing so, they are inevitably turning their scholars into their idols.

[9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords,* instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.

 اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

[2:170] When they are told, “Follow what GOD has revealed herein,” they say, “We follow only what we found our parents doing.” What if their parents did not understand, and were not guided?

 وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ

The Quran tells us, that our only source of religious law should be the Quran alone. This is because the Quran is complete, fully detailed, and our only consistent source.

[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.
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete,* in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
[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.

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ

Some may ask if this is true why would God allow the compilation of Hadith.

[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 يَفْتَرُونَ
وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِفُوا مَا هُمْ مُقْتَرِفُونَ

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