In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms
HADITH & SALAH
WHY BELIEVE IN HADITH
(Please note: When checking Qur’anic references please check a few verses before or after those that I have listed, as the numbering system may vary by translators. I have mostly used Muhammad Ali’s translation).
There are Muslims who say they do not believe in Hadith. And some who do not offer Salah and also do not believe in reciting Arabic in Salah (since they do not know Arabic and that one should only communicate with Allāh in the language he under-stands).
Allāh says to take whatever the Prophet gives us and abstain from what he prohibits1 and also for us to obey Him and obey the Prophet.2
If only the Qur’an (Allāh) was to be followed why then did Allāh enjoin taking and forbidding as the Prophet decides; and why did He enjoin obedience to the Prophet (Hadith)?
Hadith is an integral part of Islam! Prophets only act according to Divine instruction–(Qur’an 21:27.3 As the Prophet taught only according to Divine Revelation, whatever in Hadith contradicts with the Qur’an is to be discarded).
Thus, Muslims who negate or try to negate Hadith are astray.
If not for the Hadith how do you know the Prophet used to meditate in Mount Hira and that was where he received his first revelation? If not for the Hadith how do you know the Prophet’s first wife was Lady Khadijah and that when they got married she was forty and he was twenty-five?
While it may be advanced that the practical aspects of the Prophet’s life –postures in Salah and rituals of Hajj, etc– were demonstrated and copied down to us through our generations what about the sayings of the Prophet? And what about the history of Islam?
The disbelievers in Hadith will hardly know anything about Islam. Such as the names of the Prophet’s parents, wives, his pre-prophethood history, names of the Caliphs as well as their history –pre and post the Prophet.
The disbelievers in Hadith will only be guessing how much zakaat to give.
-they will not know about water and mineral rights; medicine and cures; how to properly eat, sleep and clean;
-they will not know that the night of Qadr is in the last ten nights of Ramadan;
-that we are not to pray while the sun has not fully ascended and fully descended the horizon, and at its zenith (times when the pagans worshipped the sun);
-that a month has 29 or 30 days;
-that the Qur’an is divided into seven and thirty parts;
-that the sun has set when the redness from the eastern sky has disappeared (and alternately that the sun has risen when the redness appears in the western sky);
-they will not know rulings on child custody;
-how to associate with our wives when she is menstruating –Allāh says to keep away from them during their periods. But does this mean to keep away from them as the Jews keep away from their wives? It is the Prophet who explains what this “keeping away from them” means. (The scholars can find more examples of Hadith that explains the Qur’an that are not detailed in the Qur’an).
There are many statements in the Qur’an that we would be at a loss to understand if not for Hadith; for example Allāh reveals: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go in to your tilth when and how you like”–(Qur’an 2:223).
But for the Hadith we would not know what the going into your wife “how” you like means. First a “tilth” is something that produces –and woman is the producer of children. Going into your wife “how” you like does not mean sodomy as some seem to believe; this verse is explained by Jabir:
“Jews used to say that: “If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back (posterior position)*, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child.” So this verse was revealed:- ‘Your wives are a tilth unto you, so go to your tilth when or how you will.”4
Without the Hadith we would not have known that this verse was revealed to dispel Jewish superstition. (*brackets mine).
But for the Hadith we would not have known that Abu Bakr was the one in the cave with Prophet Mohammad on the Hijrah to Madinah–(Qur’an 9:40; Bokhari Vol. 6, chap. 142, #185).
But for the Hadith we would not have known what it was that the Prophet had “forbid” himself and to which “matter” Allāh was referring–(Qur’an 66:1-5. See HAFSA SCANDAL).
But for the Hadith we would not have known that Qur’an 24:11-20 was referring to the false charge of adultery against ‘Aisha–(Bokhari Vol. 6, chap. 213, #274).
But for the Hadith we would not have known that those on whom Allāh’s wrath is upon are the Jews (for their breaking their covenant with Allāh) and that those who are astray are the Christians (for their ascribing Divinity to Jesus)–(Qur’an 1:7. Muhammad Ali notes: “The Holy Qur’an speaks of the Jews as incurring Divine displeasure (2:61, 90; 3:112; 5:60) and it speaks of the Christians as having gone astray (5:77), and the Prophet is reported to have said: “Those upon whom wrath is brought down are the Jews and those who went astray are the Christians” (Tr. 44:2).
But for the hadith we would not know how to make up for our forgetfulness in our salaah –making sahu sijdah or sijdah sawh.
That Hadith was collected hundreds of years after the death of the Prophet. So what? Hadith were written down during the life of the Prophet. Significantly, how do you know the Qur’an was written down and memorized upon its revelation? How do you know that initially the Qur’an was written on leaves and bark of trees and bones if not for the Hadith?
Notably, while hadith may have been collected hundreds of years after the death of the Prophet, Hadiths were written down during the Prophet’s lifetime.
Muhammad Ali has noted in his The Religion of Islam that Abu Hurairah says:
“None of the Companions preserved more traditions than myself, but ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr is an exception, for he used to write and I did not” (Bukhari 3:39). Also, “Abu Hurairah is reported to have said: “The Prophet of God came to us while we were writing traditions and said: What is this that you are writing? We said: Sayings which we hear from thee. He said: What! a book other than the Book of God?” Now the disapproval in this case clearly shows fear lest his sayings be mixed up with the revealed word of the Qur’an, though there was nothing essentially wrong in writing these down nor did the Prophet ever forbid this being done.” (p. 64)
That how can the Prophet say a person will go to paradise when the Prophet himself did not know where he will be going (that he does not know if he will go to Paradise or Hell)?
The answer to this is simple. Allāh says the Prophet is the best exemplar,5 that if we want Allāh to love us and forgive us our sins we must follow the Prophet;6 that the Prophet is the light-giving sun;7 that Prophets do only as Allāh instructs;8 that Mohammad will be given the right to intercession of the Day of Judgment;9 that He guides Mohammad in the Right Way;10 that Mohammad purifies;11 that Mohammad attained perfection;12 that Mohammad is to be honored/revered13 and is blessed by Allāh and His angels14 –where else could such a person be destined for but Paradise?
Allāh says that Muslims who do good will enter the Gardens/ Paradise; and in His Qur’an (33:35) He lists ten categories of men and women who will enjoy bliss in the Hereafter. Clearly then, observant Muslims know they are heading for Paradise. And as ordinary humans will inherit Paradise, how much greater a reward will the prophets of Allāh receive? Muslims are sure of the Hereafter–(Qur’an 27:2-3; 42:36-37).
The Prophet saying that he does not know where he will be going could only be an illustration of the Absolute Power of Allāh –that Allāh is not accountable to anyone or bound or constrained by any law; He can do whatever He pleases; that even with all our good deeds He can yet consign us to Hell. Allāh is the Ultimate Power; He has power over all things.15 We are subjected to His mercy. We enter paradise through His Mercy.
Muslims are to apply reason and to seek knowledge on their own and try to not blindly follow their Imams and Sheikhs. These Imams and Sheikhs could be leading them into Hell-Fire.
Notably, contrary to some opinion, while the Hereafter is unseen to mortal eyes the word “Akhirah” does not mean unseen (an invisible object). Akhirah means Here-after –the next world. This is made clear in many places of the Qur’an:
-“And this world’s life is naught but a play and an idle sport. And certainly the abode of the Hereafter (Akhirah) is better for those who keep their duty”–(Qur’an 6:32);
-“And all this is naught but a provision of this world’s life; and the Hereafter (Akhirah) is with thy Lord only for the dutiful”–(43:35);
-“And in the Hereafter (Akhirah) is a severe chastise-ment”–(57:20);
-“But, you prefer the life of this world, While the Hereafter (Akhirah) is better and more lasting”–(87:16-17).
-“No doubt that in the Hereafter (Akhirah) they (the rejecters of Allāh) are the losers–(16:109).
Not offering Salah and offering Salah in one’s own language. Who is the foremost interpreter of the Qur’an the Imams and Sheikhs or the Prophet Mohammad?
Allāh says those who bow down (make ruku) and prostrate (make sujood) will receive a mighty reward–(Qur’an 9:111-112); and for us to “keep up salāh for My remembrance”–(Qur’an 20:14).
Apart from salāh being the greatest force and that it is a prescription to help us avoid shameful deeds (in that we are to practice what we pray)–(Qur’an 29:45), Salah is the demonstration of the Holy Kalimah –there is no God but Allāh, Mohammad is the Messenger of Allāh.
It reminds and cultivates us in practical shape five times a day that Allāh is the only presence worthy of worship –that He is One and Only; the Eternal, Absolute, on Whom all depend; having no consort He begets not; being the First and Creator of all and thus could not have a mother He is not begotten; being one with Divine attributes there is none like Him; being Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent He has no need to and does not Incarnate; and that He is the Creator, Nourisher and Sustainer and Vanquisher of all things– and that Mohammad is only the Messenger of Allāh (that Mohammad is not God or son of God or partner of God or Incarnate of God).
And in this Salah we are rehearsing the Message from Allāh, which is the Supreme Divine Message. (And afterwards we can make supplication in the language we know).
-Salah is the second foundation of Islam. Allāh says to estab-lish regular Salah and gave their five daily timings16
-Salah is of such consequence that the Prophet prayed on his horse; and even during battle
-Reciting Sura Fatihah is of such significance that it is placed at the very opening of the Qur’an. And Offering Salah and in Arabic is of such significance that the Prophet admonished that whoever does not pray Sura Fatihah did not pray: “Whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha in his prayer, his prayer is invalid”–(Bokhari Vol. 1 #723. Also Muslim Vol. 1, #’s 775-782).
-The Prophet offered Salah –Tahajjud– in the deepest of night17
-Allāh says the Prophet is the best Exemplar, and we are to imitate him (and to imitate him also includes offering Salah)
-Salah distinguishes us from other religionists (and no other religionist pray in the manner Muslims pray).
How then we are not to offer Salah; and are to offer Salah in our own language other than Arabic?
Moreover, Islam is the universal religion and Muslims are of one brotherhood, as Allāh and the noble Messenger inform us.
There is no universality and brotherhood in Muslims offering Salah in their respective languages. (See Arabic-why pray in?).
One of the arguments against offering Salah is that the acts of bending (ruku) and prostration (sujood) mimics that of the sun-worshippers who engaged in the same postures.
So what? Because the sun-worshippers ate beef Muslims are not to eat beef?
When the sun-worshippers engaged in these postures they glorify the sun. When Muslims are in these positions we do not glorify the sun, we glorify the Creator of the sun (and of everything else); in ruku we praise “glory be to Allāh, the magnificent” and in sujood we praise “glory be to Allāh the High.”
So how then it is claimed that Muslims imitate the sun-worshippers?
Moreover, these postures as noted above are recommended by Allāh. So then, is Allāh imitating or telling Muslims to imitate the pagan sun-worshippers (and He sent the Prophet Mohammad to obliterate paganism)?
Again, Allāh says for us to leave off business and work and take part in Jumu’a Salah–(Qur’an 62:9-11). Do the opponents of Salah also reject this injunction of Allāh? If not, how do they pray Jumu’a? And Jumu’a Salah also has the obligation of ruku and sujood which they claim is of pagan origin. (Incidentally, the pagans also fasted, would these Muslims also abandon fasting, which is prescribed by Allah and which Allāh has designated as being for Him?)18
Another argument against Salah is the claim that the order to face the Qiblah/Ka’ba is figurative –meaning that it is a spiritual focus. But Allāh specifically enjoins the facing of the Sacred Mosque when we come to pray:
“Indeed We see the turning of thy face to heaven, so We shall surely make thee master of the qiblah which thou likest; turn then thy face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you are turn your faces towards it…And from whatsoever place thou comest forth, turn thy face towards the Sacred Mosque….And from whatsoever place thou comest forth turn thy face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you are turn your faces towards it, so that people may have no plea against you except such of them as are unjust — so fear them not and fear Me — and that I may complete My favour to you and that you may go aright–(Qur’an 2:144, 149-150).
Another facile claim against offering Salah in Arabic (but in one’s own language) is that the Qur’anic verse says to not come to prayer unless you know what you are saying: “O you who believe, go not near prayer when you are intoxicated till you know what you say”–(Qur’an 4:43).19
While it is better that one knows the Arabic (and one can know the meaning from reading translation), this verse is telling us to be conscious of the words we are uttering –we are not to be groggy with sleep or otherwise– not that we are to know the meaning of it.
The Qur’an is the Word of Allāh, the best Message, and contains no evil; thus whether we understand its meaning or not we are rehearsing the Message and the words of Allah.
Allāh instructs the Prophet to recite in Salah how much of the Qur’an is easy for him: “Thy Lord knows indeed that thou passest in prayer nearly two-thirds of the night….so READ OF THE QUR’AN that which is easy for you”–(Qur’an 73:20).
And the noble Messenger instructed us likewise: “When you stand for Prayer (Salah) say Takbir and then recite from THE HOLY QUR’AN”–(Bokhari Vol. 1, #724). And as noted above the Prophet said whoever does not pray the Fatihah, his prayer is invalid.
The noble Messenger of Allāh and his pious wives sacrificed their privacy and bare their intimate lives to help explain the Qur’an/Islam so we could have guidance; and myopic Sheikhs and Imams are teaching their (foolish) followers to negate Hadith and Salah. (???).
These Sheikhs and Imams need to use their mouths less and their heads more; they might be kindling their Hell-Fire with their tongues.
- Qur’an 59:7; Bokhari Vol. 6, #408.
- Qur’an 3:32, 132; 4:13, 69; 8:1, 20, 24; 24:54, 56; 47:33; 57:7; 64:12.
- See also Qur’an 11:12-14; 21:45; 46:9; 53:3-4. As Prophets act only according to Divine instructions they are thus sinless.
- Bokhari Vol. 6, #51.
- Qur’an 33:21; 68:4; 69:40;
- Qur’an 3:31; (7:157-158).
- Qur’an 33:45-46;
- Qur’an 11:12-14; 21:27, 45; 46:9; 53:3-4. As Prophets act only according to Divine instructions they are thus sinless.
- Qur’an 43:86; 19:87 (Bokhari Vol. 1, # 98; Vol. 4, # 556; Vol. 9, #’s 600-601); (See M. Ali comm; 2264);
- Qur’an 42:52-53; 43:61, 64.
- Qur’an 62:2.
- Qur’an 53:6.
- Qur’an 48:9.
- Qur’an 33:56.
- Qur’an 2:284; 3:29; 6:12-13, 65; 16:77.
- Qur’an 2:43, 110, 177; 6:72; 14:31; 17:78; 22:78; 24:56; 29:45; 30:31; 31:3-5; 35:29; 42:36-39; 58:13; 73:20; five daily, 4:103-104; 11:114; 17:78; 20:130; 30:17-18; (See M. Ali comm; 619; 1457; 1934).
- “And during a part of the night, keep awake by it, beyond what is incumbent on thee; maybe thy Lord will raise thee to a position of great glory;” “O thou covering thyself up! Rise to pray by night except a little, Half of it, or lessen it a little, Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an in a leisurely manner”–(Qur’an 17:79; 73:1-4)
- Qur’an 2:183-187; Bokhari Vol. 3, #118, 128; Vol. 9, #584; Muslim Vol. 2, #2564-2572.
- Muhammad Ali comments on this statement: “There is some difference of opinion as to what is meant by sukara here. Literally, the singular sakaran signifies one intoxicated, but while some consider the meaning here to be intoxicated with drink, others think it to be intoxicated with sleep, (T, LL). And sakr, no doubt, may be applied in the latter sense, for its literal significance is stopping up (LL). The word is also applied to confusion of judgment (LL). The Holy Qur’an speaks of sakrat al-maut (50:19) or the condition when one loses his senses at the approach of death. Sakrat al-hamma means the condition in which a person loses his senses on account of extreme grief. Sakrat al-naum is the condition when on account of the oppressive sensation of sleep one is not in full possession of one’s senses. The word as used here may carry any of these senses. The prohibition against praying when intoxicated was a step towards the total prohibition of drink, for the necessity of going to prayer five times a day would afford little opportunity for indulgence in drink. The verse makes it further clear that one must know the significance of what one says when praying to God.” (MA’s translation of the Qur’an can be viewed/downloaded at www.muslim.org)