Regarding Historical Āhadīth
Hadith & Sunnah
Question asked by .
Answered by Adnan Zulfiqar

There are some Āhadīth that seem to be of a ‘historical’ nature, recounting stories that do not seem to make any sense. It is acceptable to leave these Āhadīth and not consider them?


With regard to the issue of accepting ‘historical’ Āhadīth that don’t make sense to us, the issue of ‘acceptance’ must first be clarified. It should be clear that the Sunnah (simply put: the established or perpetual practice of the Prophet (sws), and Prophets before him) is distinct from Hadīth. Āhadīth itself are not an independent source of the Sharī‘ah, nor a necessary component of it. However, this does not preclude the importance of Āhadīth literature as an important means of ascertaining information on the life of the Prophet (sws), historical occurrences of the time, the Prophet’s perfect example, and even elements related to his religious understanding. Having placed Āhadīth in their proper place, there are certain principles regarding acceptance or rejection of a Hadīth, upon which a person can apply the Hadīth to their actions or thoughts. Of these principles, one of them relates to a Hadīth not negating established fact or reason. However, it is vital that two things be kept in mind. First, a person must be sure that a Hadīth he believes to be against reason is not simply a Hadīth that he is failing to properly understand. There is a distinct difference between something being misunderstood, as opposed to, unreasonable. Second, the determination of the acceptance or rejection of a particular Hadīth should primarily be left to scholars trained in this field. This is primarily because it often happens that one Hadīth might give a particular sense which is in direct opposition to the sense obtained from examining all pertinent Āhadīth related to the topic. This is in addition to a scholarly examination of whether the Hadīth in question fulfills the other requirements for acceptance, for instance, it should not negate the Qur’ān, etc.

Bearing this in mind, in the case you mentioned, if the ‘historical’ Hadīth makes no sense to you, despite your best efforts/intent to understand it, then it is fine to disregard it.

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