There was a time when the followers of the Quran were leading the world in science, technology, philosophy, and education. This period is referred to as the Islamic Golden Age, and took place in Baghdad which was the world’s largest city at the time. This period began during the reign of the Abbasid Khalifa Harun al-Rashid (r. 786–809 CE) with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom ( بيت الحكمة / Bayt al-Ḥikmah). This is where Muslim scholars and polymaths from various parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds gathered and translated the world’s classical knowledge into Arabic, as well as adding many of their own works on a multitude of topics to the collection. The House of Wisdom and its contents were eventually destroyed by the Mongols in the Siege of Baghdad in 1258, but its decline started well before its destruction.

At the time, adherents of the Islamic faith in Baghdad were hundreds of years ahead of the rest of the world in technological, scientific, and philosophical understanding but somehow regressed back to the dark ages after its decline and eventual fall. The purpose of this article is to see how the adoption of Hadith over the Quran and the rise of Sunni Islam caused this regression in the Muslim world.

The Whale

For example, the Muslims during the apex of the Islamic Golden Age, between the years 786–846 CE, were able to not only determine that the Earth was round but were also able to calculate the size of the Earth, the degrees of longitude and latitude of the Earth to amazing accuracy, as well as making some of the most accurate maps of the world at the time. Then from such advancement, they deteriorated to believing that the Earth rested on top of a whale, and when the whale shook its head, the Earth would experience earthquakes.

The most respected exegesis (tafsīr) among the traditional Muslims is that of Ibn Kathir (1300–1373 CE / 774 AH). In his famous reference, written centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammad, we read from his interpretation of Sura 68:1 that the earth is on top of a giant whale.

[68:1] NuN, the pen, and what they (the people) write.

(١) نون وَالقَلَمِ وَما يَسطُرونَ

In Arabic, the letter “ن / N” when sounded out, is pronounced as “نون / noon.” This word also has the meaning of a whale, or large fish, in Arabic. In his Tafsir, Ibn Kathir lists three different interpretations of the meaning of this verse. Ironically you will not find this translated in many of the English translations of Ibn Kathir, but if you read the original Arabic, it spends a good bit of text on the first interpretation, which can be summarized as:

In the beginning, Allah created the pen before all else. The pen asked, “what do I write,” and Allah told it to write the letter ن “nun” or “N” which is actually a whale upon whose back he balanced the entire world:

كَمَا قَالَ الْإِمَام أَبُو جَعْفَر بْن جَرِير حَدَّثَنَا اِبْن بَشَّار حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَان هُوَ الثَّوْرِيّ حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَان هُوَ الْأَعْمَش عَنْ أَبِي ظَبْيَان عَنْ اِبْن عَبَّاس قَالَ : أَوَّل مَا خَلَقَ اللَّه الْقَلَم قَالَ اُكْتُبْ قَالَ وَمَاذَا أَكْتَب ؟ قَالَ اُكْتُبْ الْقَدَر فَجَرَى بِمَا يَكُون مِنْ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْم إِلَى قِيَام السَّاعَة ثُمَّ خَلَقَ النُّون وَرَفَعَ بُخَار الْمَاء فَفُتِقَتْ مِنْهُ السَّمَاء وَبُسِطَتْ الْأَرْض عَلَى ظَهْر النُّون فَاضْطَرَبَ النُّون فَمَادَتْ الْأَرْض فَأُثْبِتَتْ بِالْجِبَالِ فَإِنَّهَا لَتَفْخَر عَلَى الْأَرْض

“As The Imam Abu Ja’afar ibn Jareer told said (so) told user ibn Bashaar, so told us Yahya so told us Sufyaan al-Thawri so told use Sulimaan who is the sticky-eyed (al-a’mash) from Abi Zabyaan from ibn ‘Abbaas who said “The first thing that Allah created is the pen, it said “What do I write,” Allah said “write the fate of existence all that will happen from this day until the day of judgment, then Allah created the “Whale (Nun)” and raised the mist of the water and rent it from the sky and spread the earth on the back of the Whale (Nun). The Whale (Nun) was disturbed and the earth was extended and earth was fixed in place with the mountains, verily they are the pride (of Allah) upon the earth.”

– Tafsir of Ibn Kathir on the verse 68:1

In Sura 78, verse 7 of the Quran, it describes the mountains as “pegs” ( أَوْتَادًا / awtādan ).

[78:6] Did we not make the earth habitable?
[78:7] And the mountains stabilizers?

(٦) أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ مِهَادًا
(٧) وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَادًا

In the Sahih Hadith by Ibn Abbas, collected by At-Tabari (839–923 CE / 224 AH–310 AH), it claims that the reason that the mountains are described as pegs in the Qur’an is that otherwise, the earth would fall off of the back of the whale if the pegs were not there to hold it in place.

It is worth mentioning that according to Sahih Hadith of Bukhari, Ibn Abbas holds a special place in the eyes of upholders of aHadith. This is because they believe that Muhammad made a special du’a (prayer) for Ibn Abbas, so that Allah would teach him the true interpretation of the Qur’an.

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا وُهَيْبٌ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ ضَمَّنِي إِلَيْهِ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَالَ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ عَلِّمْهُ الْكِتَابَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (ﷺ) embraced me and said, “O Allah! Teach him (the knowledge of) the Book (Qur’an).”

Sahih al-Bukhari 7270
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:7270

Because of this honor that the Hadith bestows upon Ibn Abbas by the prophet, he was also given the title of turjuman ul-Qur’an (ترجمان القرآن) “translator of the Qur’an.” This is because he supposedly had such deep knowledge about the interpretation (tarjama), literally translation, of the revelations.

This is similar to the Hadith regarding how Abu Huraira, the most prolific narrator of Hadith, never forgot any Hadith from the prophet.

حَدَّثَنِي إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ الْمُنْذِرِ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي الْفُدَيْكِ، عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي ذِئْبٍ، عَنِ الْمَقْبُرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ مِنْكَ كَثِيرًا فَأَنْسَاهُ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ ابْسُطْ رِدَاءَكَ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَبَسَطْتُ فَغَرَفَ بِيَدِهِ فِيهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ ضُمَّهُ ‏”‏ فَضَمَمْتُهُ، فَمَا نَسِيتُ حَدِيثًا بَعْدُ‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I hear many narrations from you but I forget them.” He said, “Spread your covering sheet.” I spread my sheet and he moved both his hands as if scooping something and emptied them in the sheet and said, “Wrap it.” I wrapped it round my body, and since then I have never forgotten.

Sahih al-Bukhari 3648
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3648

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah’s saying (Nun): ‘(Nun) He says: Allah swears by the Nun, which is the whale that carries the earths on its back while in Water, and beneath which is the Bull and under the Bull is the Rock and under the Rock is the Dust and none knows what is under the Dust save Allah. The name of the whale is Liwash, and it is said its name is Lutiaya’; the name of the bull is Bahamut, and some say its name is Talhut or Liyona. The whale is in a sea called ‘Adwad, and it is like a small bull in a huge sea. The sea is in a hollowed rock whereby there is 4,000 cracks, and from each crack water springs out to the earth. It is also said that Nun is one of the names of the Lord; it stands for the letter Nun in Allah’s name al-Rahman (the Beneficent); and it is also said that a Nun is an inkwell. (By the pen) Allah swore by the pen. This pen is made of light and its height is equal to the distance between Heaven and earth. It is with this pen that the Wise Remembrance, i.e. the Guarded Tablet, was written. It is also said that the pen is one of the angels by whom Allah has sworn, (and that which they write (therewith)) and Allah also swore by what the angels write down of the works of the children of Adam,

– Tafsir: * تفسير Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs (68:1)

In another reference from the Hadith of Kitab al-Kafi, we read in al-Kafi Vol 8, part 6:

al-Kafi Vol 8, part 6, (p. 45)

As recently as 1975, and in the same location where the Quran was revealed, the president of the Islamic University of Medina, Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ben Baz, declared that the earth is flat and standing still!

So what caused this dramatic shift in understanding and regression, pushing Islam back to the dark ages? As we will see that the proliferation of Sunni Islam and particularly the placing of the Hadith literature over the understanding of the Quran, as well as above common sense, has led to this downfall in Islamic progress.

al-Ma’mun (r. 813–833 CE)

Al-Ma’mun was the 7th Abassaid khalifa and reigned from 813–833 CE. He was the son of Harun al-Rashid, who founded The House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma), but it was under al-Ma’mun’s rule that the House of Wisdom received the economic support it needed to provide a heavier focus on scholarship among Muslims of that time and region. Al-Ma’mun’s love for science was so great that it was said that his motivation for conquest was gaining access to the scientific texts of the regions he conquered, which he considered the real spoils of war.

He regularly initiated discussions and seminars among experts called kalām (speech). Kalām is the art of philosophical debate that al-Mamun carried on from his Persian tutor, Ja’far. During debates, scholars would discuss their fundamental Islamic beliefs and doctrines in an open intellectual atmosphere.

The House of Wisdom flourished under al-Ma’mun’s successors al-Mu’tasim (r. 833–842 CE) and his son al-Wathiq (r. 842–847). These were considered the glory years for the House of Wisdom and produced some of the best minds in history.

al-Khwarizmi (780–850 CE)

Besides their translations of earlier works and their commentaries on them, scholars at the Bayt al-Hikma produced important original research. For example, the noted mathematician al-Khwarizmi, who lived from 780–850 CE, worked in al-Ma’mun’s House of Wisdom and is famous for his contributions to the development of algebra, whose name comes from his book Kitab al-Jabr. He was instrumental in introducing the world to Hindu numerals, which were more widely proliferated under the name “Arabic numerals.” In addition to being known as “The Father of Algebra,” it is from the Latinized version of his name, Algorithmus; we get the term algorithm. Al-Khwarizmi also contributed vastly in the fields of astronomy and geography, providing some of the earliest geographic coordinates for hundreds of cities in the world.

al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi (718–786 CE)

Another famous scholar of that time was Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi (718–786 CE), known as al-Farāhīdī, or al-Khalīl. He was a linguist, philologist, lexicographer, and grammarian. He made the first dictionary of the Arabic language – and the oldest extant dictionary – Kitab al-‘Ayn ( كتاب العين “The Source”) – introduced the now standard harakat (vowel marks in Arabic script) system and was instrumental in the early development of ʿArūḍ (study of prosody – the pattern of rhythm and sound used in poetry), musicology, and poetic meter. His linguistic theories influenced the development of Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, and Urdu poetry.

He was also a pioneer in the field of cryptography and influenced the work of al-Kindi. Al-Khalīl’s Kitab al-Muamma “Book of Cryptographic Messages” was the first book on cryptography and cryptanalysis written by a linguist. The lost work contains many “firsts,” including the use of permutations and combinations to list all possible Arabic words with and without vowels. Later, Arab cryptographers explicitly resorted to al-Khalīl’s phonological analysis for calculating letter frequency in their own works.

al-Kindi (801–873 CE)

As mentioned above, the work of al-Khalīl influenced the Muslim philosopher al-Kindi in the field of cryptography. Al-Kindi (801–873 CE) is known as one of the fathers of cryptography. Building on the work of al-Khalil (717–786 CE), al-Kindi’s book entitled Manuscript on Deciphering Cryptographic Messages gave rise to the birth of cryptanalysis, was the earliest known use of statistical inference and introduced several new methods of breaking ciphers, most notably the use of frequency analysis.

Al-Kindi was a Muslim philosopher, polymath, mathematician, physician, and music theorist. He was the first of the Islamic peripatetic philosophers, which dates back to Aristotle, and is hailed as the “father of Arab philosophy.”

He wrote hundreds of original treatises on a wide range of subjects ranging from metaphysics, ethics, logic, and psychology to medicine, pharmacology, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, and optics, and further afield to more practical topics like perfumes, swords, jewels, glass, dyes, zoology, tides, mirrors, meteorology, and even earthquakes.

In the field of mathematics, al-Kindi, along with al-Khwarizmi, played an important role in introducing Indian numerals to the Islamic world and their further development into Arabic numerals, which was eventually adopted by the rest of the world. Using his mathematical and medical expertise, he developed a scale that would allow doctors to quantify the potency of their medication.

al-Jāḥiẓ (776 – ~869 CE)

Abū ʿUthman ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Kinānī al-Baṣrī ( أبو عثمان عمرو بن بحر الكناني البصري ), commonly known as al-Jāḥiẓ ( الجاحظ ), 776 – ~869 CE, was a prose writer and author of works of literature, theology, zoology, and politico-religious polemics.

Thousand years before Darwin, al-Jahiz came to the conclusion that there must be some mechanisms that influence the evolution of animals. He writes about three main mechanisms; the struggle for existence, the transformation of species into each other, and the environmental factors. He is therefore credited with outlining the principles of natural selection.

Ibn al-Nadim lists nearly 140 titles attributed to al-Jahiz, of which 75 still exist. The best known are Kitāb al-Ḥayawān (The book of Animals), a seven-part compendium on an array of subjects with animals as their point of departure; Kitāb al-Bayān wa-l-tabyīn (The book of eloquence and exposition), a wide-ranging work on human communication; and Kitāb al-Bukhalāʾ (The book of misers), a collection of anecdotes on stinginess.

Banu Musa brothers (~803–~873 CE)

The Banū Mūsā brothers (“Sons of Moses”), namely Abū Jaʿfar, Muḥammad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir (before 803 – February 873); Abū al-Qāsim, Aḥmad ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir (d. 9th century); and al-Ḥasan ibn Mūsā ibn Shākir (d. 9th century), were three ninth-century Persian scholars who lived and worked in Baghdad. They are known for their Book of Ingenious Devices on automata (automatic machines) and mechanical devices. Another important work of theirs is the Book on the Measurement of Plane and Spherical Figures, a foundational work on geometry that was frequently quoted by both Islamic and European mathematicians.

The Banu Musa worked in astronomical observatories established in Baghdad by the Abbasid Khalifa al-Ma’mun and did research in the House of Wisdom. They also participated in a 9th-century expedition to make geodesic measurements to determine the length of a degree, as well as determining that the length of a solar year was 365 days and 6 hours. They are credited with inventing the first music sequencer which was the earliest type of a programmable machine.

al-Mutawakkil (r. 847–861 CE)

As mentioned above, the House of Wisdom flourished under al-Ma’mun (r. 813–833 CE) as well as under his successors al-Mu’tasim (r. 833–842 CE) and his son al-Wathiq (r. 842–847 CE), but then considerably declined under the reign of al-Mutawakkil (r. 847–861 CE). So what was it about the ideology of al-Mutawakkil and his predecessors that would have such an impact on the trajectory of knowledge and understanding within the Muslim world?

Mu’tazila (833–851 CE)

The creation of the House of Wisdom corresponded with the predominant ideology of that time and region known as Mu’tazila, which saw its height of adoption between the years 833–851 CE. Their ideology had three major tenants: the oneness (Tawhid) and justice (al-‘adl) of God, human freedom of action, and the creation of the Quran.

While they are most remembered regarding their debate around the creation of the Quran, their biggest impact actually came towards their criticism regarding the Hadith. At that time, the majority view on Hadith was that the prophet prohibited his companions from writing any Hadith from him besides the Quran and that the aHadith in circulation were at best unreliable but most likely complete fabrications. They had a certain disdain towards the most prolific narrator of Hadith, Abu Huraira, and they criticized their contemporaries that focused nearly exclusively on determining the trustworthiness of Hadith based on the reliability of the isnad, chain of narration, and not the matn, content. Because of this, they firmly rejected any Hadith that contradicted the Quran.

It just happens that al-Ma’mun supported the Mu’tazila ideology as well as his successors, al-Mu’tasim and al-Wathiq. With this Quran-first ideology, people were free to investigate scientific inquiry. And since the Quran did not conflict with science and reason, this allowed for the proliferation of scientific and philosophical understanding, but this was not the case with Hadith, which was in direct conflict with science and reason.

Muwatta Imam Malik (711–795 CE / 93–179 AH)

For the first 150 years after the prophet’s death, the Quran was considered the only source of legitimate 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

But as the religion expanded, the adherents of the religion started asking questions that they could not find directly in the verses of the Quran. Interestingly, the Quran addresses this very topic in the following verse:

[5:101] O you who believe, do not ask about matters which, if revealed to you prematurely, would hurt you. If you ask about them in light of the Quran, they will become obvious to you. GOD has deliberately overlooked them. GOD is Forgiver, Clement.

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ وَإِنْ تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهَا وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ

[20:114] Most Exalted is GOD, the only true King. Do not rush into uttering the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase my knowledge.”

(١١٤) فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ وَقُلْ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

But despite this clear recommendation from God in the Quran, certain individuals resorted to searching for supposed Hadith attributed to the prophet to try to clarify these topics. Ironically, all this did, as we will see, was only add confusion to their religion.

Up until this point, the Hadith of the prophet was not used as a legitimate source of law, despite being in circulation. This is apparent because there was no formal attempt to document and preserve the Hadith until the second-century Hijra. The oldest written copy of aHadith attributed to the prophet is from Malik ibn Aanas, 711–795 CE / 93–179 AH, in his book Muwatta which consists of ~1,720 narrations.

At the time of the publication, most individuals of the faith still considered the Quran as the primary source but used the Hadith to give color to the verses of the Quran as well as guidance for topics that were not covered in the Quran. While doing such things is still problematic, the fact that the Hadith were firstly viewed in the light of the Quran and secondly that the Hadith that contradicted the Quran were discarded allowed people to be able to explore any line of inquiry that didn’t conflict with the Quran.

The main reason for this stance among the masses at that time was because the field of Hadith sciences was not well established, and with the circulation of many false Hadith, it was unclear which Hadith were authentic and which ones were not. Based on the shabby state of the verifiability of Hadith, individuals resorted to the Quran and their reason and logic to determine religious jurisprudence.

As time progressed and the field of Hadith sciences became more formalized, and more Muslims were being pressured and persuaded to start accepting the Hadith through the misuse of the repeated statement in the Quran to “obey God and His messenger” as justification to accept the supposed Hadith attributed to the prophet.

Shafi’i (767–820 CE)

This ideology took shape through the Shafi’i school of thought, founded by al-Shafi’i (767–820 CE). Al-Shafi’i argued that the Quran needs to be understood through the light of the Hadith attributed to the prophet. This meant that the Sunna ruled over the Book of God and that the Book of God does not rule over the Sunna. They also propagated the idea that if the isnad, chain of narration, of a Hadith is sound, then the Hadith is sound, irrespective of how absurd the content of the Hadith may appear.

Hanbal (780–855 CE / 164–241 AH)

After the Shafi school of thought came the Hanbali, founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855 CE / 164–241 AH). Hanbal amplified the reliance on Hadith laid by al-Shafi’i with the understanding that one should always take the Hadith over the Quran if the Hadith is found to be authentic. They said that any teaching from Hadith should be taken over one’s own reason and logic because we can be wrong, but the messenger was infallible. Due to this ideology, adherents of the Hanbali madhhab focused only on the reliability of the isnad, chain of narration. If the chain of narration is sound, therefore, the Hadith must be sound, and the understanding of the Hadith should always be taken over any other understanding. Hanbal argued that even if a Hadith was flawed, it is still better than a scholar’s mere opinion. Followers of Hanbal complied The Book of Reliable Transmitters and The Great Book of Weak Transmitters as part of their Hadith sciences.

Mihna (833–851 CE)

During the reign of the Mu’tazila Khalifas, individuals like Hanbal and other Sunni scholars were tortured and imprisoned for their teachings. The Mihna ( محنة خلق القرآن, Miḥnat Ḵẖalaq al-Qurʾān “ordeal [regarding] the createdness of the Qur’an”) refers to the period of religious persecution instituted by the ‘Abbasid Khalifa al-Ma’mun in 833 CE in which religious scholars were punished, imprisoned, or even killed unless they conformed to Muʿtazila doctrine. The policy lasted for eighteen years (833–851 CE) as it continued through the reigns of al-Ma’mun’s immediate successors, al-Mu’tasim and al-Wathiq, and four years of al-Mutawakkil who reversed it in 851. The abolition of Mihna is significant both as the end of the Abbasid Khalifa’s pretension to decide matters of religious orthodoxy and as one of the few instances of specific religious persecution in Medieval Islam.

al-Mutawakkil Embraces Sunni Islam (r. 847–861 CE)

Eventually, this ideology become predominant and was eventually adopted by the tenth Abbasid khalifa, al-Mutawakkil, who openly endorsed Hadith over Quran. Unlike his predecessors, al-Mutawakkil was not interested in science and moved away from rationalism, seeing the spread of Greek philosophy as anti-Islamic. The idea was that reason and logic should never be taken over the supposed teachings attributed through the sayings and actions of the prophet.

Al-Mutawakkil and his successors violently persecuted any Muslims and non-Muslims they deemed unorthodox to their Sunni ideology. This included the top scholars of The House of Wisdom. For instance, al-Kindi was beaten, and his library was temporarily confiscated and died “a lonely man” in Baghdad during the reign of al-Mu’tamid (r. 870–892).

Dark Ages (850–Present)

This shift in ideology pushed the adherents of Islam from the most advanced forward-thinking group of people back to the dark ages. Rather than a Quran-first ideology, the victors accepted a worldview that put the supposed teachings of the prophet over the words of God in the Quran. Their ideology is that if the isnad, chain of narration, is sound, then it doesn’t matter how illogical the Hadith is it should be considered irrefutable truth.

Sunnis believe that the two most revered books of Hadith are that of Bukhari and Muslim. After that, there are four other collections that, in aggregate, Sunnis call the Sihah Sitta – The Six Authentic Hadith Books. All these books came to fruition right at the decline of the House of Wisdom, with Bukhari being the first four of the six being published around the year 846 CE, just a year before the reign of the first Sunni Khalifa, al-Mutawakkil.

The Sunni ideology was that once a Hadith was labeled as authentic, it should be considered infallible and to be accepted despite its contradiction to the Quran or reality. So, for instance, the Quran confirms the orbits of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, but the Hadith says otherwise.

The Hadith are replete with terrible science that makes a mockery of the relgion. Below are several examples.

Planetary Orbit

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ التَّيْمِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لأَبِي ذَرٍّ حِينَ غَرَبَتِ الشَّمْسُ ‏”‏ تَدْرِي أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَإِنَّهَا تَذْهَبُ حَتَّى تَسْجُدَ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ، فَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَيُؤْذَنَ لَهَا، وَيُوشِكُ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ فَلاَ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهَا، وَتَسْتَأْذِنَ فَلاَ يُؤْذَنَ لَهَا، يُقَالُ لَهَا ارْجِعِي مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتِ‏.‏ فَتَطْلُعُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى ‏{‏وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَهَا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ‏}‏‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet (ﷺ) asked me at sunset, “Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” He said, “It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: “And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). that is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.” (36.38)

Sahih al-Bukhari 3199
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3199

Medicine

حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدُ بْنُ مَخْلَدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ بِلاَلٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي عُتْبَةُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عُبَيْدُ بْنُ حُنَيْنٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا وَقَعَ الذُّبَابُ فِي شَرَابِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلْيَغْمِسْهُ، ثُمَّ لِيَنْزِعْهُ، فَإِنَّ فِي إِحْدَى جَنَاحَيْهِ دَاءً وَالأُخْرَى شِفَاءً ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said “If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink) and take it out, for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 3320
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3320

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ بُكَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ عُقَيْلٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو سَلَمَةَ، وَسَعِيدُ بْنُ الْمُسَيَّبِ، أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، أَخْبَرَهُمَا أَنَّهُ، سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ فِي الْحَبَّةِ السَّوْدَاءِ شِفَاءٌ مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ إِلاَّ السَّامَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ ابْنُ شِهَابٍ وَالسَّامُ الْمَوْتُ، وَالْحَبَّةُ السَّوْدَاءُ الشُّونِيزُ‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “There is healing in black cumin for all diseases except death.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 5688
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5688

حَدَّثَنَا جُمْعَةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ، أَخْبَرَنَا هَاشِمُ بْنُ هَاشِمٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَامِرُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ تَصَبَّحَ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ سَبْعَ تَمَرَاتٍ عَجْوَةً لَمْ يَضُرُّهُ فِي ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ سُمٌّ وَلاَ سِحْرٌ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Sa`d: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 5445
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5445

Heritable Traits

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ سَلاَمٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا الْفَزَارِيُّ، عَنْ حُمَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ بَلَغَ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ سَلاَمٍ مَقْدَمُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمَدِينَةَ، فَأَتَاهُ، فَقَالَ إِنِّي سَائِلُكَ عَنْ ثَلاَثٍ لاَ يَعْلَمُهُنَّ إِلاَّ نَبِيٌّ، ‏{‏قَالَ مَا‏}‏ أَوَّلُ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ وَمَا أَوَّلُ طَعَامٍ يَأْكُلُهُ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ وَمِنْ أَىِّ شَىْءٍ يَنْزِعُ الْوَلَدُ إِلَى أَبِيهِ وَمِنْ أَىِّ شَىْءٍ يَنْزِعُ إِلَى أَخْوَالِهِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ خَبَّرَنِي بِهِنَّ آنِفًا جِبْرِيلُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ذَاكَ عَدُوُّ الْيَهُودِ مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَمَّا أَوَّلُ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ فَنَارٌ تَحْشُرُ النَّاسَ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ إِلَى الْمَغْرِبِ‏.‏ وَأَمَّا أَوَّلُ طَعَامٍ يَأْكُلُهُ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ فَزِيَادَةُ كَبِدِ حُوتٍ‏.‏ وَأَمَّا الشَّبَهُ فِي الْوَلَدِ فَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ إِذَا غَشِيَ الْمَرْأَةَ فَسَبَقَهَا مَاؤُهُ كَانَ الشَّبَهُ لَهُ، وَإِذَا سَبَقَ مَاؤُهَا كَانَ الشَّبَهُ لَهَا ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الْيَهُودَ قَوْمٌ بُهُتٌ، إِنْ عَلِمُوا بِإِسْلاَمِي قَبْلَ أَنْ تَسْأَلَهُمْ بَهَتُونِي عِنْدَكَ، فَجَاءَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَدَخَلَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ الْبَيْتَ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَىُّ رَجُلٍ فِيكُمْ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَلاَمٍ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا أَعْلَمُنَا وَابْنُ أَعْلَمِنَا وَأَخْبَرُنَا وَابْنُ أَخْيَرِنَا‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَسْلَمَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا أَعَاذَهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ‏.‏ فَخَرَجَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْهِمْ فَقَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالُوا شَرُّنَا وَابْنُ شَرِّنَا‏.‏ وَوَقَعُوا فِيهِ‏.‏

Narrated Anas: When Abdullah bin Salam heard the arrival of the Prophet (ﷺ) at Medina, he came to him and said, “I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a prophet: What is the first portent of the Hour? What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise? Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Gabriel has just now told me of their answers.”Abdullah said, “He (i.e. Gabriel), from amongst all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be Extra-lobe (caudate lobe) of fish-liver. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.” On that Abdullah bin Salam said, “I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah.”Abdullah bin Salam further said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! The Jews are liars, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they would tell a lie about me.” The Jews came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and Abdullah went inside the house. Allah’s Apostle asked (the Jews), “What kind of man is Abdullah bin Salam amongst you?” They replied, “He is the most learned person amongst us, and the best amongst us, and the son of the best amongst us.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “What do you think if he embraces Islam (will you do as he does)?” The Jews said, “May Allah save him from it.” Then `Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, “I testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.” Thereupon they said, “He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest amongst us,” and continued talking badly of him.

Sahih al-Bukhari 3329
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3329

Human Height

حَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، عَنْ مَعْمَرٍ، عَنْ هَمَّامٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ آدَمَ وَطُولُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعًا، ثُمَّ قَالَ اذْهَبْ فَسَلِّمْ عَلَى أُولَئِكَ مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ، فَاسْتَمِعْ مَا يُحَيُّونَكَ، تَحِيَّتُكَ وَتَحِيَّةُ ذُرِّيَّتِكَ‏.‏ فَقَالَ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ‏.‏ فَقَالُوا السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَزَادُوهُ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَكُلُّ مَنْ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ آدَمَ، فَلَمْ يَزَلِ الْخَلْقُ يَنْقُصُ حَتَّى الآنَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah created Adam, making him 60 cubits tall. When He created him, He said to him, “Go and greet that group of angels, and listen to their reply, for it will be your greeting (salutation) and the greeting (salutations of your offspring.” So, Adam said (to the angels), As-Salamu Alaikum (i.e. Peace be upon you). The angels said, “As-salamu Alaika wa Rahmatu-l-lahi” (i.e. Peace and Allah’s Mercy be upon you). Thus the angels added to Adam’s salutation the expression, ‘Wa Rahmatu-l-lahi,’ Any person who will enter Paradise will resemble Adam (in appearance and figure). People have been decreasing in stature since Adam’s creation.

Sahih al-Bukhari 3326
https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3326

Conclusion

[5:50] Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than GOD’s for those who have attained certainty?

(٥٠) أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ

[4:60] Have you noted those who claim that they believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you, then uphold the unjust laws of their idols? They were commanded to reject such laws. Indeed, it is the devil’s wish to lead them far astray.

 أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

[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

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