Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,
Allah says to us concerning His beloved Prophet
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ
When Allah's Prophet speaks, he doesn't speak because he's expressing a personal desire or his own preference for things or because he has a tendency towards himself rather his speech his words are a matter of a revelation revealed to him. (Surah An Najm verse 3-4)
This is in reference to Allah's Prophet. In Surah Nun Allah says.
مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ
With Allah's favor, with Allah's bounty, with Allah's privilege you are not losing your mind, you are not in the fringe group, you are not crazy, you are not mentally instable or de-stable- you're none of this. (Surah Al Qalam verse 2)
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
… and you are indeed of a most befitting and awesome moral character. (Surah Al Qalam verse 4)
And then on and on until Allah says
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ
When Allah's Prophet speaks, he doesn't speak because he's expressing a personal desire or his own preference for things or because he has a tendency towards himself; rather his speech his words are a matter of a revelation revealed to him. (Surah An Najm verse 3-4)
Now we, the Muslims, have a collection of hadiths that are give or take around a million- that's a lot of hadiths; and the problem with some of these hadiths is the matter that we are going to look at with Allah's help and with the taqwa of Allah in this short period of time.
Not many people know this, but we're going to begin by saying what many people are ignorant of and that is (that) during the time of Allah's Prophet it was forbidden to write his hadith. Did you catch that? Did you listen closely? It was forbidden to write or to register the hadiths of Allah's Prophet. The Prophet of Allah says don't write anything from me or another way or saying this is don't write anything about me except for the Qur’an and whoever is writing, (this is when he is alive), then erase these hadiths and whoever intentionally writes lies about me then let him be prepared to be seated in the fire. Another less known fact about Allah's Prophet is that after he passed away it wasn't a matter to be encouraged to quote Allah's Prophet. There wasn't this public attitude that "let us say (or) publicise what Allah's Prophet said." This is also not a known fact among the Muslims. Scholars will know this. They read these books and they read this information and they know this but for some reason or the other it doesn't take its flow or its course among the average Muslims. So what do we have in these body of hadiths- the million or so hadiths that we have; and we'll speak a little about the refinement of these hadiths.
Some of these hadiths tell us… You can consider this as not beating a dead horse because in the last khutbah we spoke about this subject matter and so we're not here trying to beat a dead horse, rather we're trying to give ourselves a head start on what is long over due i.e. filtering the authentic (and) Qur’anic compatible hadiths from the hadiths that are contrary to the Qur’an or contrarian hadiths. Some of these hadiths, (and we're not speaking about one or two), we're going to count these points in which these hadiths should disappear from existence. We have to reiterate that we're not throwing the baby out with the water in which the baby was bathed! We're not throwing everything out! The bath water is thrown out and the baby remains! Therefore the unauthentic (or) contrarian hadiths should go out and the authentic and validated hadiths in the climate of the Qur’an should stay. In these hadiths we find that there are some hadiths attributed to the Prophet that he came under some type of magical spell and being under the influence of this type of magic he would not realize whether he had an affair or conjugal relationships with his wife or not. You tell us- is this a hadith that describes Allah's Prophet or not? If it doesn't and there's no Qur’anic ayah that gives us the sense that Allah's Prophet is going to approach he's wife and he's not going to know that he's approaching his wife or not?! There are some other hadiths that claim that the Prophet read these ayaat in the Qur’an
أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّىٰ
وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَىٰ
Have you considered Al Laat and Al Uzza and Manaat- the other third? (Surah An Najm verse 19-20)
OK- these are ayaat, but the hadith tells us he added to these ayaat tilka al gharaniku al ula wa inna shafa'atahum la turtaja. What this hadith is saying is that the Prophet added (what) is not in the Qur’an. This is supposed to be, according to the hadith, an ayah but it's not because if you open your Qur’an and you go to Surah An Najm to look up and see this tilka al gharaniku al ula wa inna shafa'atahum la turtaja- it's not there! Then, some other hadiths pertaining to this same ayah tell us the Mushrikin were listening and they came and they followed Allah's Prophet in prayers. How is anyone who is reading the Qur’an going to fit that in i.e. the Mushrikin following Allah's Prophet in prayers when he mentions tilka al gharaniku al ula wa inna shafa'atahum la turtaja?! It doesn't fit, it doesn't make sense, it shouldn't be there. There are other hadiths that should not be hadiths that say the Prophet used to approach all of his wives, (you know what we mean by approach), in a conjugal manner every night and that he was given the vigour or thirty men and here, in this context it means the sexual vigour of thirty men. You tell us- this is a hadith?! There's other hadiths that say his wife Hafsah (radi Allahu anha) asked him permission one day to be absent from being with him during her night with him and he gave her permission. This is "hadith." Remember- what we're telling you is what is so called hadith. After he gave her permission to go he snuck in or he brought in surreptitiously, without anyone noticing his wife Maria (radi Allahu anha) and he spent that time with his wife Maria and- we're telling you what the hadith is saying. Unfortunately we don't have time to quote the hadiths and then to translate them because this is going to consume much of the time but it is there. Everyone who is keen with hadith literature would know what we're talking about. So he spends this night with Maria and then Hafsah comes back and she is told what happened and then she comes to the Prophet and then she rebukes him saying to him it was my night and you had this relationship with Maria and you wanted to have it secretly. Now you tell us- is this Allah's Prophet? Is this the character of Allah's Prophet? As if he's having some type of secret affair but this is in the hadith literature?! Doesn't this invite us to do something about this hadith literature?
Then, in the hadith literature, like we mentioned previously, we are told that the Prophet of Allah married his wife Aa'ishah, Umm Al Mu'minin (radi Allahu anha) when she was seven years old (or) six years old (or) nine years old- some where in there and we explained how this is nonsense in the previous khutbah but it is there is the hadith literature.
Then there is, contrary to the many ayaat in the Qur’an that speak about how it is impossible to know about al ghayb. The details of al ghayb is left up to Allah. But there are hadiths that tell us the Prophet knows the details of al ghayb. Are we to believe the hadiths or are we to believe the ayaat when they are sending conflicting messages to us?
Then there are other ahaadith that are called Isra'eeliyaat. This is another body of hadith in hadith books. When you read these Isra'eeliyaat you get the impression as if the Prophet of Allah is a Prophet of Bani Isra'eel. This is an area that has not been worked upon by the Muslim mind and therefore it lingers on in our quotes of him in the khutbahs, in the textbooks- everywhere.
There are other hadiths that the Prophet is the Prophet of epics, what is meant here is military epics. The book of Allah describes him as the Nabi of rahmah.
… as a mercy unto the peoples and the domains of the world. (Surah Al Ambiya' verse 107)
So are we to accept the malhama Prophet or the marhama Prophet? The Prophet that is described in the Qur’an or the Prophet that is described is some of these hadiths?
Another aspect of all of this is that after the Prophet passed away, during the time of the first Khalifah if some one wanted to quote for the Khalifah a hadith, he would ask him to take an oath if he was not familiar with what this person was saying. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was very close to the Prophet and if he wasn't familiar with that hadith he would ask that person to take an oath that what he said was said by Allah's Prophet. In the time of the second Khalifah if there was a person who came with a hadith and said the Prophet said something and if Umar (radi Allahu anhu), the second Khalifah, was not familiar with what this person was saying he would ask him to bring a witness that Allah's Prophet said that certain thing or that certain statement or that certain hadith. So this was the attitude. We're trying here in a summary fashion to give you the impression or the condition of the Muslims during the time of Allah's Prophet and during the time of the Khulafa' after him of how people behaved especially personalities who are in positions of responsibility and decision making (and) how their attitude was towards the statements of Allah's Prophet.
So let us now skip a couple of hundred years after the Prophet. About two hundred years after that we find that there's about one million hadiths. If you go to these books about hadith and history you will find that there's around five hundred hadiths that were circulating after the Prophet passed away in those forty years before Monarchy and Dictatorship kicked in! Now this makes sense. People were cautious, people were sensitive, people were conscientious about what the Prophet said and honest, more or less, but then something happened in the political and social structure of the Muslim. So we skip about two hundred years and we find our selves with one million hadiths- from five hundred to one million?! What happened? All of a sudden you had people go and pick on people's minds to recall the Prophet's hadiths after all of these years?! So something began. One of the virtues of some of the scholars at that time (is that) they had to filter these hadiths- one million. All of these hadiths are valid hadiths (or) sahih hadiths- one million of them all of them? Impossible! Something has to be done about this. So what did they do? They began the process of validating the hadiths. They had to validate them. In that process they came across three categories, basically. Without getting very technical here, three categories of hadith- as sahih, al hasan and ad da'eef. As sahih is supposed to be the most reliable hadith, al hasan is supposed to be in between, (i.e.) it makes a lot of sense, it could be a hadith and then ad da'eef hadith (i.e.) well, this doesn't make very much sense (and) we are not going to really rely upon it. So these were the three categories but what happened? This is an area where not very many people pay any attention to. If a hadith is da'eef and it doesn't carry very much weight, OK- if that's the case then why is it there? Just erase it altogether! Get rid of it! Why do we still have these hadiths that are called da'eef hadiths if by your own definition a hadith da'eef hadith is unreliable, is unsubstantiated, it's spurious and spacious? If that's the case what's it doing around? But it's there probably in the hundreds of thousands. We don't need them. No one needs them. So what happened in this classification as sahih, al hasan and ad da'eef? They blurred the lines so someone would quote a hadith and say hadith hasan and with the public official atmosphere around the hadith hasan is elevated to almost a hadith sahih and the hadith that is da'eef is elevated to almost a hadith hasan and we still live with this baggage, we still carry this burden up until this very day. So when we look at tens of thousands or thousands of hadiths from this million that speak about al ghayb from the moment in which a person passes away to yawm al qiyamah to jannah and an naar- when there are these many hadiths speaking about this ghayb we think we should take, (right now is the time and it's long over due), a very disciplined, principled and informed approach to these hadiths.
Then there are hadiths that have to do with the unknowns of the Qur’an because there are unknown meanings to the Qur’an yet to be developed or yet to be discovered.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ
It is He, Allah, who has brought down to you this scripture; in this scripture (or) in this Qur'an there are ayaat (or) there are verses that are explanationarily tight, there's no doubt about their meanings; these ayaat are the basis are the foundation of the Quran and there are other ayaat that are similar or that have similar explanations and meanings; as for those who have hearts that zigzag, they follow into the courses of this uncertainty of meanings because they are in pursuit of seditious objectives, al fitnah and in pursuit of meanings that are in the context of this fitnah and the only One who knows the final and the foremost ta'wil is Allah… (Surah Aal Imran verse 7)
There are ayaat that may tolerate a range of meanings (and) there are ayaat that give themselves to different interpretations but they remain generally speaking in the area of the unknown. When there are hadiths that try to explain these unknowns we should be careful and we should be cautious.
Then there are hadiths that tell us the hadiths itself has abrogated or cancelled an ayah! Can you believe this? Hadiths that is in the books of hadiths that say the hadith cancelled the ayah. How can this be? This is what we're told and this is what we live with. There are also some hadiths that fly in the face of the meanings of the ayaat of the Qur’an, especially when it comes to the issue of justice or social justice al adl or al qist- they exist. Why? Why are we still carrying these types of hadiths around?
Then there are some hadiths that have to do with women beginning with the hadiths that tell us, (and these are in books of tafseer and these are in books of fiqh and you'll find them all over), that women were created from the rib of Adam (alayhi as salaam) or Eve (alayha as salaam) was created from the rib of Adam or women were created from the rib of men. From this hadith all the way down to the hadith that tells us all of the body of the women is aura is a private part so she should cover all of herself even some hadiths go to the extent that she is only permitted to expose one eye. You tell us, you read the Qur’an- when you come across such hadiths, are they Qur’anically compatible? This is the way you read the Qur’an?! As if here our mothers and our sisters and our daughters have been reduced to sub-humans! This is a contradiction of the meanings of equality and the meanings of mutuality in the Qur’an shining clear- so you accept the Qur’an or you accept the hadith?
Then we should be cautious when we read the many ahadith about miracles. There is a whole body of hadiths about miracles. We are not denying here that miracles occurred- the issue is a very subtle one. Of course there were miracles but these miracles are not worked up the way they are presented to us in the books of hadith. If you are reading and following closely these miracles from the hadith that said the Prophet's breast was opened at one time before he received the wahy or at the beginning of his reception of the wahy an angel came down and literally (or) physically opened up his breast (or) his bosom to the hadith that said the trunk of the tree realising that the Prophet was next to it bowed down to him in respect and there are so many others. Now we are not saying that miracles did not occur- they did occur but the issue here is not the occurrence of miracles the issue here is of accepting these miracles to eclipse the miracle of the Qur’an. We know that very clearly in the ayaat of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the Prophet the Qur’an is the miracle however way you approach it. So when you play up these miracles you denude the Qur’an (or) you subtract from the Qur’an its miraculous value and this is the problem with these hadiths. When you put them altogether they make the Qur’an appear as if it is minuscule.
There are some hadiths that also violate freedom of conscience. (In) the Qur’an Allah has guaranteed for everyone their freedom of conscience. This is a very important aspect of human life. So when you come across so hadiths that violate this freedom of conscience, and there's plenty of them, what are you going to accept- Allah's words or the compilation of people who came scores of years or hundreds of years after the Prophet and then attribute some statement or sentences to him that abridge or that cancel freedom of conscience?
Then there are some hadiths that magnify very simple deeds. They say Allah is going to give you so much rewards (or) so much ajr for, (let's say), performing you wudhu with perfection. There are some hadiths that say if the water doesn't touch your elbow that is going to be fuel for the fire, for jahannam, for an naar. These types of hadiths that build up much rewards and build up much penalties for these types of affairs and then look askance when we are dealing with issues of justice or issues of injustice or issues of inequalities or issues of discrimination- where's the hadith in this area- ask yourself.
Then you come across ahadith that have to do with dressing and eating and sleeping and these kind of things. OK- we're not going to argue this but some people raise these types of ahadith to substitute for the ayaat of the Qur’an that have us focus on much more important issues. So if we read hadiths like this it doesn't mean that we are duty bound to eat in a certain way. We'll give an example here so you can understand this a little better. These examples save us lots of explanations. One of the Fuqaha' was brought an orange, Ibn Hanbal- let us also be upfront about this. He was brought an orange and he said I'm not going to eat the orange. He was asked why aren't you going to eat the orange? He said because I don't know how the Prophet would have eaten this orange therefore I'm not going to eat it. You see- this is the type of understanding of the ahadith that has stifled and chained us. This is not to knock down Fuqaha', it's not to belittle scholars or anything- we are looking at attitudes and mentalities, we're not looking at personalities. Please relieve us of trying to evaluate what we are saying because of personalities. No! All of these and most of these people who are involved in the effort of hadith may Allah reward them, may Allah give them the best but we are looking at our selves. We are stuck with a legacy of sorts, we are stuck with this burden and we have to come free.
Then there are ahadith that speak about almost blind obedience to the ruler- any ruler. One of these hadiths end by saying pray behind every virtuous person and anti virtuous person. How can this be? Does this make sense?
Then, there are some people who are very zealous- as we said at the beginning they just want to throw the baby out with the bath water, they want to throw everything out. No! Yours truly here in going through some of these hadiths, we don't want to do that. We want to be careful, we are conscious of Allah in this day of taqwa. Then, they tell us there are some scholars who took issue with the hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim, these are the Fuqaha'; but upon further investigation these Fuqaha' came before Bukhari and Muslim so how can they take issue with them when they weren't around?! But this is how zealous some writers are. Now all of this has to be understood with the context of the time. This wasn't happening in a vacuum. There's a lot of things happening in the social and in the political and the military climate of the day. One thing that happened, (it was a sort of miracle itself), was the speedy extension of Islam throughout the land. In just about a hundred years (or) a couple of generations or so this beleaguered besieged Islam in Makkah and in Al Madinah became the law of the land in areas thousand of miles away. This is not an easy thing when you think about it. Number one, (you're going to need a little help around here), in today's world if you wanted to go from country to country there are procedures- you have to obtain a visa, you need a passport and in some cases there's a limitation of time if they give you permission to go to a certain country, etc. That wasn't the case. We don't know- never has it happened. We don't know of any place anywhere, any book, any reference that tells a person in the Islamic sphere of decision making that if you wanted to go from one geographical area to the next you needed permission. It didn't exist. So what happened here was a confluence of difference in cultures and peoples and folklores and civilizations and mentalities and religions and philosophies- all the doors were opened for all of them in this Islamic domain and many of them didn't understand the Qur’an. Remember, these were initiated Muslims. They just became Muslims- how are they going to understand the Qur’an? But their minds were at a higher working level then the purveyors of the Qur’an themselves, (i.e.) these Arabians that left the Arabian Peninsula. They were not developed so they encountered other peoples from India, from Greece, from Persia, from North Africa, from Egypt and all over the place. They encountered a more developed lifestyle and they had to respond to some of the questions around and being that these rulers at that time- remember, we had Muawiyyah who had officialised the condemnation of Al Imam Ali (radi Allahu anhu) from the Manabir and Masajid all over the place, and then we had Ziyad, his Lieutenant, who was ruthless, (and we can quote for you, (we have the quotes but we don't have the time), the terrible statements that he made that he is going to level the land, he is going to destroy everyone who is going to stand in his way, nightly curfews. You know in our world today they speak about military curfews and states of emergencies and these things- during the time of Ziyad he imposed a night curfew on Muslims. You couldn't go out at night! Then came Al Hajjaj with his famous statement I see that some heads have ripened, you know like a fruit that is ripe on a tree. He was looking at his subjects as if they were plants or trees, the body is the trunk or stem and the head is the fruit he said I see some of you out there whose heads are ripened and it's time for me to pick those heads. That's what he said as if he's picking fruit from a tree. Believe it or not- in today's world they speak about globalization (and) how this has become a global village. We don't know how? It has become a global village for big business, for corporations, for capitalists. They go around- there's no visa requirements, there's nothing that stands in their way but for the poor person on the bottom it's not very easy for him to go anywhere. There are financial difficulties, there are cultural difficulties, there are official regulations and difficulties- there's a whole string of issues in their way; but the time period that we are speaking about, (remember we're still speaking about the hadiths here), is where we had different types of people globalised. Their history, their backgrounds- everything came together. In this, (what you may call), melting pot of Islam the Murji'ah and the Qadariyyah, the Sunnah and the Shi'ah, the Khawarij and the Mu'tazilis and on and on.
Then we had the tragic incidents that took place pertaining to Karbala’' and pertaining to Al Madinah itself. The Umawi army was sent to Al Madinah and there was a massacre there. Many structures were destroyed, many Muslim women were raped, many innocent people were killed. Now you tell us, (and we'll try to end it with this), if we had a political order that was calling the shots during those times that would do all of this- they had no compunction (and) their conscience didn't prick them if they killed tens of thousands of Muslims at one time (do) you think they will be bothered if someone is going to fabricate a hadith that would serve their political survival, the continuation of their reign (and) the preservation of their personal or their tribal or their national interests- whether it was the Umawis on one side or whether it was the Abbasis on the other side?! This guy, called and Al Imam Ibrahim- some scholar during the time of one of the Abu Muslim Al Khurasani one of the leaders of the Abbasis who revolted against the Umawis- the ruler (or) the governor was told by this scholar if you find anyone who is speaking Arabic in Khurasan do away with him (or) if you suspect anyone of that type who is five lengths of the distance between your thumb and your index finger finish him off. Now you tell us we didn't have issues at that time with the sensitivities against those who speak Arabic and those who don't?! Those who were with Al Imam Al Husayn (radi Allahu anhu) and those who were against him?! We live with this and some of it unfortunately, with the preponderance of ignorance, lives on until this day. That world was a mosaic world. The Umawis may have written the manifesto of terrorism and in light of that they could live with hadiths that were lies, (i.e.) they are no hadiths at all! It's a lie! It's a contradiction to say it's a hadith and it's a lie. The Prophet of Allah doesn't lie but these administrations- yeah, they'd love it. At that time a very famous Arab poet called Al Muttanabbi would go long distances in the area of Iraq or in the area of Persia or in the area of Syria (or) some areas that are by their own history and background Arabic speaking and because of the influx of people (and) the movement of populations he couldn't find anyone who'd speak his language. This is the language of the Qur’an. Moses Mymonidies (or) Musa ibn Maymun- this is the well known Jewish philosopher would appear like a Muslim in Cairo and he'd go to Qurtuba and he'd appear like a Jewish philosopher. You couldn't distinguish whether this person is a Muslim or whether he is a Yahudi. He used to write Hebrew with the Arabic script. This is the type of world that generated these numerous hadiths that if we just care to open our minds- that's all it requires, dear brothers, dear sisters, dear loved ones- just open your eyes (and) open your minds and see whether many of these hadiths fit in the frame work of the Qur’an or they don't. If they do, they are in our hearts and they are in our minds if they don't then we have nothing to do with them.
Dear committed Muslims…
You and I know nowadays there's this very troubling and destabilising phenomenon that has one Muslim look at the other Muslim with suspicion. This is unwanted and it should have no character in us but we have some Muslims coming up to other Muslims and inside themselves they actually want to kill this other Muslim. If we read our Qur’an thoroughly and accurately, conscientiously and mentally, there's no justification for this penchant that has become policies that are costing us precious lives. What do you say? You read in these weeks, in these months, in these years that go by explosions (and) bombs in Masajid in certain areas where Muslims congregate killing twenty (or) a hundred and twenty (or) hundreds of Muslims. Where did this come from? Some of it comes from these false, (what they call), hadiths. If we have the God-given confidence to trim away these alien hadiths that violate our Iman and our togetherness (and) if we have what it takes to exclude our hadith literature from sentences and statements that spill the blood of other Muslims we could come a long way; and mind you, just like it was in those times when there were certain rulers who wanted to use Islamic hadith and literature to justify their positions they still exist today. We spoke very briefly- one of the points in the previous khutbah was about how some hadiths are demeaning (or) dehumanising women. Well, one of the news items has come our way in the past couple of days- two or three days ago of all places in Makkah. A person in Makkah goes (to where) they have a celebration hall where marriages are enacted. So he retains this place to have a marriage ceremony and what does he do? At one time, (we don't know if this happened before, it may have happened and we don't know about it- we're just human beings just like you), this person after all preparations and everything he brings the officiate, (i.e.) the person who is supposed to officiate this marriage and then he brings two women. He says "these are my wives. I want to get married to this wife and this wife at the same time" and he's proud of this because he says "hopefully this will be a harbinger of things to come. We are breaking new grounds here." When we have that type of religious establishments in that land subduing the Qur’an to these types of hadiths that we are talking about, almost anything can happen and this should not surprise anyone. We don't know what other oddity will be generated by that mess- the historical and the contemporary mess- that is behind the problems that we are suffering from. Reports not from Muslims, in the Western press, reports that Qatar, this miniature nation state or this mini nation state, has financed the internal strife in Syria so far with $three billion dollars and that Amir, the head of that country is called an Amir, sees himself as the Islamic Jamal Abdul Nasser (or) the new hero of the masses. What do you expect if we don't filter our Islamic information and if we don't have the Qur’an as our reference? These types of things will continue to happen and reoccur and regenerate until we exhaust our potential and we cannot achieve our obligations.