Following the Qur’ān without Ahādīth
Question asked by .
Answered by Jhangeer Hanif

I am sure all you people are sincere. But I would like to remind you that you are treading dangerous grounds. To take the Qur’ān without the Sunnah is like trying to walk one-legged. You can do it, but you will eventually fall. The Sunnah is the explanation and companion of the Qur’ān. There are verses upon verses in the Qur’ān that ask the Muslims to follow Allah and the Rasūl (the Messenger). How can you follow the Rasūl without the Sunnah? The movement of Qurānion and in America the Submitters have all fallen in serious errors that have existed throughout history. Those who try to cast doubt on the Ahādīth and the Sunnah, in fact want to pursue their own desires. When making fatwa or answering questions, using phrases such as ‘my opinion’ or ‘I think’, etc. is extremely arrogant. The answer simply lies in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah and also in the understanding of the Companions (rta); because who can better understand the actual true message than these noble Companions (rta). In summary, the Qur’ān is the text book; the Sunnah is its twin explanation and the Companions’ (rta) lives are the workbooks. You need all three to pass the trial of life.


I appreciate that you visited out website and expressed your heart felt sincerity for us suggesting that we must follow the right and secure path by following the Holy Qur’ān and the Sunnah. Every sincere Muslim should feel as you felt under your impression for your brothers and sisters in Islam.

However, there are certain things that somehow eluded you in understanding our point of view. I do not know how you perceived that we give less importance to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sws) and take the Qur’ān as the sole source for divine guidance. Please allow me to correct you that this is not where we stand. We fully believe that salvation lies in professing faith in and following the Prophet (sws) of Islam. There is no concept of inferring complete guidance from the Qur’ān unless one combines it with the second source of Islam, which is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sws). The entire religion, Islam, hangs on to these two fundamental sources. However, the case of Ahādīth is different. These are mostly referred to by the Hadīth scholars as Akhbār A%hād. In other words, these are reports that have been transmitted to us by some individuals. The very nature of this transmission entails that we exercise prudence before we accept or reject any report. I mean we will need to see whether the reporters involved in the chain of any particular report are righteous and also competent enough to understand, retain and then properly transmit what they heard or saw regarding the Prophet (sws) of Islam. We also need to ascertain whether the chain of reporters is continuous and there is no substantial time or place difference between the two consecutive reporters. In addition, we also need to look for other corroborating reports to support the one at hand. After going through this process, we become able to say that a certain report is reliable. However, we must know that the criteria just explained give a certain degree of authenticity to a report. They can never substantiate its authenticity beyond a shadow of doubt. Because a transmitter may have a highly good character, exceptionally good memory and outstanding ability to comprehend and express the facts and figures; it can, however, never be claimed that he has an ‘infallibly’ good character, ‘unfailing’ memory and ‘perfect’ understanding. Furthermore, the expedition to collect information about those involved in the transmission of a report is another task that could never be fault free. It is for this reason that the authenticity of an Hadīth cannot be substantiated beyond a shadow of doubt. Therefore, every reasonable person would agree that this source of knowledge should not be treated as a fundamental source for religious decrees. However, we may benefit from it in the light of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah. Allah has promised to protect the Book from every kind of change. Moreover, it has been transmitted to us by such a majority of people found in every Muslim generation as to eradicate the possibility of any mistake. Same is the case with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sws): every Muslim generation has acted upon the practices of the Holy Prophet (sws) instituted as Sunnah and has thus transmitted them to the next generation. So both these sources are reliable and will form basis for our religion—Islam. I therefore very humbly place before you that exercising prudence while taking any Hadīth is incumbent on every student of Islam.

Obviously, everyone who puts aside what is right no matter if it is in the Ahādīth or a saying of a ten year old child in order to be pleased with his own opinion, will come to account on the Day of Judgment. However, I really think that his case is to be decided by the Almighty and not by us—humans.

My dear brother, phrases like ‘in my opinion’ or ‘I think’ are not really intended to make the writer feel big. Suppose, you have an issue on which you do not find any direct opinion in the fundamental sources of Islam. You do ijtihād (pondering over an issue for solution) and come up with an opinion. What should you do now? Should you label it as if it is come from the Almighty? Of course, you need to mention that you—a fragile servant of Allah—has arrived at this particular opinion. Really, I fear the time when I should be held responsible for expressing an opinion which has been taken by some person as the opinion of Allah!

As regards what you mentioned about the understanding of the Companions (rta) of the Prophet (sws), I fully agree with you. They must have comprehended the religion better than we can. But you need to consider the fact that their understanding is conveyed to us only through some Ahādīth which I have explained are not free from errors because of the nature of their mode of transfer. Above all else, they were also humans like us. A true Muslim takes only the opinion of Allah and His Prophet (sws) beyond errors and mistakes. Everything else is subject to deliberation and constructive criticism. This is what the approach of the Companions (rta) of the Prophet (sws) also was.  

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