Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Malaysia's Ex-PM Mahathir Stirs Up Hadith Controversy

Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, the ex-prime minister of Malaysia who is credited with transforming his country into an Asian Tiger economy,  recently made a controversial speech about the Hadith, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Here are a few excerpts of what Dr. Mahathir is reported by Malaysia's FMT news to have said last week at a conference in Putrajaya:

1. “We seem to have rejected the Quran in favor of the Hadith"

2. “The teachings, or the performance, or the traditions of the Prophet come after he had been given the message of Allah, which is recorded in the Quran.”

3. “Between the two (Quran and Hadith),  it is obviously the Quran that is superior.”

4. “Allah is merciful and compassionate. One who is merciful and compassionate would not enjoy stoning people to death.”

To put the above quotes in perspective, let's consider the following:

1.  The words of the Holy Quran were meticulously recorded and preserved in writing by the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his lifetime in the 7th century AD. However, the Hadith collections were compiled two centuries later by Persian scholars who lived and died in Khorasan (now Uzbekistan) and Persian (now Iran).

2. Many scientific studies have shown that honest people routinely make mistakes in recalling what they have directly seen and heard in person. Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari were compiled in 9th century by people who were distant from the source in both time and space. They relied entirely on long and complex chains of narrations for their work.

3. There's an old communications game, telegraph, that's played in a circle as a communication class exercise. A message is whispered around from person to person. What the exercise usually proves is how profoundly the message changes as it passes through the distortion of each person's inner "filter."

As we ponder over the above, let's deal with the suggestion to leave such matters to the "religious scholars". Should we really? Haven't we been doing it for centuries?

Leaving it to the "religious experts" has clearly not helped the Muslim ummah. It is widely believed among watchers of Islam and Muslims that taqlid is responsible for the end of the Golden Age of the Islamic Civilization (800-1100AD) and continuing decline since then, particularly in terms of the sciences and the arts.

The Holy Quran tells its readers repeatedly to seek knowledge, think, reason and reflect on our own. Afala Ta'qilun, Afala Yatadabbarun, Afala Tatafakkarun, Afala Tubsirun and similar verses appear over 700 times in the Holy Book of Muslims, far more often than exhortation to salat (prayer), zakat (charity) and saum (fasting).

To rise again, let us Muslims do what Allah commands us to do in The Holy Quran: Learn, think, reason and reflect on our own to draw our own conclusions.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization

The Prophet I Know

Muslims Have Few Nobel Prizes

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Ibn Khaldun: The Father of Modern Social Sciences

Quaid-e-Azam Vision of Pakistan Inspired by Misaq-e-Madina

Obama Speaks to the Muslim World

Lost Discoveries by Dick Teresi

Physics of Christianity by Frank Tipler

What is Not Taught in School

How Islamic Inventors Changed the World

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom


Mohammad said...

True Hadiths are the interpretatoin of the Holy Quran but their are some Hadiths which are "Zaeef". The thing is if a Haidth is in conflict with any verse in the Quran, which shouldn't be the case, then the Holy Quran truely is superior and should be consulted.
I like the idea of not doing Taqleed. muslims should be open minded and shouldn't consider anyone but Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as their ideal. With true reason and judgment, i think we can solve our problems even political ones.

Abdul said...

Mahathir has always critize Muslim extremists. His daughter is a member of Sisters in Islam which always fight for the rights of Muslim women.
Mahathir outlawed the entire Al Arcam movement. Nobody dare to touch Muslim institutions except Mahathir.
Mahathir even dare to go against the Sultans (The Elites of the elites). The nine sultans are now under the law because of him.

Once 2 Malay girls was detained by Muslim clerics after they had won a beauty contest. Mahathir and his daughter condemmed the Muslims cleric. Telling them that they should spend more time to help fix the so many social problem facing Malay Muslim youth instead of catching people not wearing tudung or catching unmarried couple holding hands etc.

Mahathir is always speak out against Religious symbolism. That is why his wife do not wear tudung.

Anwar wife on the other hand wears tudung.

Rizwan said...

This is a difficult issue that is going to take some time to sort out. I think the long term solution is not to get into debates about the relative importance of Quran and Hadith, etc. Even those who use Hadith-based fatwas will never disagree that the Quran takes primacy over the Hadith. In addition, there are multiple schools of thought, both Sunni and Shia, with different opinions on these matters. The only long term solution to this problem is to have a nonbiased constitution based on general Islamic principles like equality and justice. Issues of worship should not be covered by public law, so eg. not wearing hijab, not growing a beard, not going for Jum'a prayer or not praying 5 times a day, should not be punishable offences. They should be considered private matters under the general Quranic principle of, "there is no compulsion in religion', ie not only is no compulsion in choosing your religion, but there is no compulsion in how you follow your religion. For specific public crimes, people would have the option of being tried in secular court or Shariah court of their choice. Muslims understand that Shariah punishments are "payment" for the crime committed, thus receiving the punishment has an absolving power, and the crime is considered to be forgiven by God if the Shariah punishment is given, provided the court proceedings were held in a fair and just manner. Whether Shariah court proceedings are fair or not is an entirely separate issue. The issue of 4 witnesses for a rape allegation is a travesty of justice, since that requirement is for an accusation of adultery, not rape. If someone accuses someone of adultery, they have to produce 4 witnesses to support that allegation. But if a woman (or nowadays even a man) accuses someone of rape, that is an entirely different issue.

S Qureshi said...

Ghulam Ahmad Pervez has written a number of books on this subject. He published a magazine Tolu e Islam from Lahore, where he also gave weekly Dars-e-Quran.


Anwar said...

Quran is understood through the lense of Hadith.Those people who have neither read enough of hadith or hadith sciences may make such fantastic claim. Each verse has to be understood in context and context is provided by hadith predominatly , seerah, otherwise you may reach the same foolish conclusion that Islamophobe try to imp-ose by translating verses out of context.
Taqlid and dogma are for faith and religion for science and knowledge inquisitiveness and questioning are necessary, no ulema ever told not to qestion , new ijtihad have been taking place daily what has been shut is that for fiqh you have to follow in sunni islam prescribed method of deduction. Hanafi school gives precedence to quran the hadith the hadith is graded as per a certain doctrine then follows deduction based on these primary sources, now you can not change and say that another primary source is west sensibility so legalize homosexuality .
As for ijtihad whole new islamic finance is based on ijtihad, classical positon was that Juma can only be established by islamic state when Britishers enslaved India the highest ulema said that Juma can not be prayed as there is no Muslim sovereignty left but every Zaid , Bakar Omar did ijtihad and prayed juma lo and behold it is now being prayed everywhere.One of classical position was that at least 40 people should attend then only congregation will be valid lo and behold in most places in west juma started with even 2 or 3 person and there are hundreds example of continuous ijtihad those who lament closure of ijtihad and taqlid they mean in their heart of heart that they should be able to import western Godless civilization in toto in muslim world in the name of ijtihad that must include interest based economy , total sexual freedom, licence for debauchery pronography , (it is free speech dear) going naked abusing sacred things and of course religion should only be some sort of celebration and not a constant connection with your creator. The contrast in both culture is clear in the west life night is Club , theater, opera booze dating and debauchery, in Islam it is praying , Isha and Tahajjud remebering your lord, reflecting on your deeds and asking forgiveness loving yor lord so much that you every night have a date with Him and rejoicing in Him.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Sir Syed loses and Allama Iqbal wins in #Pakistan? Rationalists vs Traditionalists. #Islam http://tribune.com.pk/story/504576/why-sir-syed-loses-and-allama-iqbal-wins-in-pakistan/ …

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy's Op Ed on Sir Syed and Allama Iqbal:

In Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq, he writes: “Yes, if the Mussulman be a true warrior and thinks his religion correct, then let him come fearlessly to the battleground and do unto Western knowledge and modern research what his forefathers did to Greek philosophy. Only then shall our religious books be of any real use. Mere parroting and praising ourselves will not do.” (“Apnay moon mian mithoo kahney say koee faida nahin”)

In his mind, the way forward was clear: Indian Muslims must learn the English language, practice the scientific method, accept that physical phenomena are explainable by physics only, and support British imperial rule against the rule of Mughals (who had by then sunk into decadence and depravity). This last piece of advice made him a target of bitter ridicule by secular nationalists such as Jamaluddin Afghani.

Sir Syed accepted the Holy Quran as divinely revealed but he frequently reminded his readers of Islam’s forgotten rationalist (Mutazilite) tradition, as in the works of Averroes. He proposed a radical reinterpretation of the Holy Quran to make it compatible with science and modernity. Among other matters this involved understanding miracles, which science cannot accept as factual. Sir Syed therefore explained the Great Flood, as well as various miracles of Jesus, to be purely allegorical and symbolic. He also interpreted Islamic laws as actually forbidding polygamy and amputation of limbs. Quite expectedly, his claims provoked a furious reaction from the ulema of the time and he was decried as a heretic.

Sir Syed’s writings are all in Urdu and, whether or not one agrees with him, his clarity in supporting modernity and science is manifest. Equally, his remedies for social reform are clear and unambiguous. On the other hand the Allama’s only serious prose is to be found in English, and he leaves key questions unanswered or ambiguous. At times, to revive Islamic civilisation, Iqbal appears to call for a return to the sword. But at other times he stresses the enhancement of khudi — a sophisticated philosophical construct roughly describable as self-esteem. This construct, however, has a plethora of interpretations. Does it belong to the physical world? Will more khudi bring more order or more anarchy?

Iqbal’s politics, routed through his soul-stirring poetry, is the real reason why he is Pakistan’s supreme icon today. In his epic poem shikwa, like Samuel Huntington, he frames the world exclusively in terms of us-versus-them and the superiority of one civilization over all others. His pan-Islamic mard-e-momin belongs to the ummah and this perfect human aspires to martyrdom: shahadat hai matloob o maqsood-e-momin. Like a falcon, the mard-e-momin is a fighter and above worldly desire: tu shaheen hai basera kar paharon kee chatanon main. These verses can be found in Pakistan Army magazines, on its recruiting banners, and are sung with great fervour.

Iqbal, unlike Sir Syed, leaves the gap between science and religion unbridged. He takes no explicit position on miracles. On the contrary, he asserts that, “Classical Physics has learned to criticise its own foundations. As a result of this criticism the kind of materialism, which it originally necessitated, is rapidly disappearing.” But no real physicist can take this statement seriously. Even with the discovery of quantum physics — which superseded and improved upon classical physics — the description of observed physical phenomena requires nothing beyond material causes. In the battle for Pakistan’s soul, Sir Syed’s rational approach ultimately lost out and the Allama’s call on emotive reasoning won. Iqbal said what people wanted to hear — and his genius lay in crafting it with beautifully chosen words. Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reconstructing society cannot help us in digging ourselves out of a hole.

Riaz Haq said...

Remembering Dr Shakeel Auj: The man who wasn't afraid

The loss of a rebel
Dr Shakil Auj was a man who enjoyed and encouraged difference of opinion. Every Eidul Azha, he used to carry out the qurbaani ritual together with Mufti Muneebur Rehman, who currently heads the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.

The two were friends, but at the same time, had differing viewpoints on various subjects when it came to religion. Dr Auj would bring up so many points of disagreement in a single conversation that Mufti Munib once joked with his eldest son, saying, “Tum apnay abbu jaisay na banna!” (“Please don’t become like your father!”).

Dr Auj’s eldest son Hassan recounts that his abbu’s life revolved around asking questions about everything. He said his father had the tenacity to stick to his own argument if he had researched upon it and believed in it no matter how contentious it may be. He was someone who wouldn’t give in just because other experts held a different opinion. It was on the basis of his research that he came up with conclusions that would put off many clerics and religious scholars.

“My father was of the opinion that Muslim women can marry men who are not Muslims. He was of the opinion that Islamic war (jihad) is strictly supposed to be defensive in nature; it can never be offensive in character. He used to say that natural disasters are basically acts of nature, not results of the wrath of God. He used to say that Ramazan is about the self-restraint of an individual and it doesn’t befit the spirit of the month to close down shops and eateries by force during daytime,” recalls Hassan, while talking about what made his father different from so many others in Pakistan who have studied and researched upon Islam.

In his earlier years, Dr Auj was appointed as a ‘khateeb’ at several mosques. His family says he was dismissed from service at most of these mosques and was even banned from entering one when he didn’t tow that mosque’s hardline stance. “Haath pakar ke mimbar se le jaaye gaye thay abbu (They took abbu’s hand and removed him from the pulpit)”, Hassan says with a smile.

Hassan particularly recalls a time when a group of students approached his father and a girl among them asked, “Sir hum dance kar liya karain? (Sir, is it okay if we dance)?” To which he replied, “Haan kar liya karo, khushi ke mauqay pe tou sab dance kartay hain (Yes, one's allowed to dance. Everybody dances when they are happy).”


Riaz Haq said...

There's an old communications game, telegraph, that's played in a circle. A message is whispered around from person to person. What the exercise usually proves is how profoundly the message changes as it passes through the distortion of each person's inner "filter."


Riaz Haq said...

How #Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance, intellectually impoverish minds via censorship #Pakistan #Islam #Blasphemy http://nyti.ms/1M7oouA

These censors like to think that by protecting believers from dangerous ideas they are doing a great favor to Muslim societies. They are doing the opposite. Their thought-policing only helps enfeeble and intellectually impoverish Muslims: When Muslim minds aren’t challenged by “dangerous” ideas they cannot develop the sophistication needed to articulate their own...
This willful closed-mindedness is not an inherent feature of Islam. A thousand years ago, Muslim societies were open and curious, while Christian Europe was insular and fearful of “blasphemy.” Aristotle’s books were translated and studied in Baghdad and Córdoba, and banned in Paris and Rome. No wonder the Muslim world was then the home to groundbreaking discoveries in science, medicine and mathematics. In theology, too, Muslim thinkers like Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroës, developed sophisticated arguments that would inspire Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas — thanks to the Muslim engagement with Greek philosophy.
Today, many Muslims, including those who censor books or punish “heretics,” long for that “golden age of Islam” and lament that our civilization is no longer great. Few seem to realize, however, that the greatness of Islam was made possible thanks to its openness to foreign cultures and ideas. The Muslim world began to stagnate and then decline after the 13th century, as this cosmopolitanism was replaced with self-isolating dogmatism. In the meantime, Europe flourished as Europeans began to think more openly.
The Muslim world today is in a state of malaise. Muslim societies are underdeveloped in science, technology, economics and culture. This will be overcome only with more freedom. Progress depends on more Muslims questioning whether policies that promote ignorance are really devised to protect their faith — or to protect the power of those who rule in its name.

Riaz Haq said...

Textual analysis reveals less violence, more forgiveness in #Quran than #Bible. #Islam #Christianity #Judaism

Those who have not read or are not fairly familiar with the content of all three texts may be surprised to learn that no, the Quran is not really more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.

Personally, I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised that the concept of ‘Mercy’ was most prevalent in the Quran; I expected that the New Testament would rank highest there, as it did in the concept of ‘Love’.

Overall, the three texts rated similarly in terms of positive and negative sentiment, as well, but from an emotional read, the Quran and the New Testament also appear more similar to one another than either of them is to the significantly “angrier” Old Testament.

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface here. A deep analysis of unstructured data of this complexity requires contextual knowledge, and, of course, some higher level judgment and interpretation.

That being said, I think this exercise demonstrates how advanced text analytics and data mining technology may be applied to answer questions or make inquiries objectively and consistently outside of the sphere of conventional business intelligence for which our clients rely on OdinText.

I hope you found this project as interesting as I did and I welcome your thoughts.


For instance—and not surprisingly—“Jesus” is the most unique and frequently mentioned term in the New Testament, and when he is mentioned, he is mentioned positively (color coding represents sentiment).

“Jesus” is also mentioned a few times in the Quran, and, for obvious reasons, not mentioned at all in the Old Testament. But when “Jesus” is mentioned in the New Testament, terms that are more common in the Old Testament—such as “God” and “Lord”—often appear with his name; therefore the placement of “Jesus” on the map above, though definitely most closely associated with the New Testament, is still more closely related to the Old Testament than the Quran because these terms appear more often in the former.

Similarly, it may be surprising to some that “Israel” is mentioned more often in the Quran than the New Testament, and so the Quran and the Old Testament are more textually similar in this respect.

Old Testament is Most Violent

A look into the verbatim text suggests that the content in the Quran is not more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts. In fact, of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent.

Killing and destruction are referenced slightly more often in the New Testament than in the Quran (2.8% vs. 2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).

New Testament Highest in ‘Love’, Quran Highest in ‘Mercy’

The concept of ‘Love’ is more often mentioned in the New Testament (3.0%) than either the Old Testament (1.9%) or the Quran (1.26%).

But the concept of ‘Forgiveness/Grace’ actually occurs more often in the Quran (6.3%) than the New Testament (2.9%) or the Old Testament (0.7%). This is partly because references to “Allah” in the Quran are frequently accompanied by “The Merciful.” Some might dismiss this as a tag or title, but we believe it’s meaningful because mercy was chosen above other attributes like “Almighty” that are arguably more closely associated with deities.

Riaz Haq said...

A Saudi Morals Enforcer Called for a More Liberal Islam. Then the Death Threats Began.


JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — For most of his adult life, Ahmed Qassim al-Ghamdi worked among the bearded enforcers of Saudi Arabia. He was a dedicated employee of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice — known abroad as the religious police — serving with the front-line troops protecting the Islamic kingdom from Westernization, secularism and anything but the most conservative Islamic practices.

Some of that resembled ordinary police work: busting drug dealers and bootleggers in a country that bans alcohol. But the men of “the Commission,” as Saudis call it, spent most of their time maintaining the puritanical public norms that set Saudi Arabia apart not only from the West, but from most of the Muslim world.

A key offense was ikhtilat, or unauthorized mixing between men and women. The kingdom’s clerics warn that it could lead to fornication, adultery, broken homes, children born of unmarried couples and full-blown societal collapse.

For years, Mr. Ghamdi stuck with the program and was eventually put in charge of the Commission for the region of Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. Then he had a reckoning and began to question the rules. So he turned to the Quran and the stories of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, considered the exemplars of Islamic conduct. What he found was striking and life altering: There had been plenty of mixing among the first generation of Muslims, and no one had seemed to mind.

So he spoke out. In articles and television appearances, he argued that much of what Saudis practiced as religion was in fact Arabian cultural practices that had been mixed up with their faith.

There was no need to close shops for prayer, he said, nor to bar women from driving, as Saudi Arabia does. At the time of the Prophet, women rode around on camels, which he said was far more provocative than veiled women piloting S.U.V.s.


The Unexpected Reformer

The first time I met Mr. Ghamdi, 51, formerly of the religious police, was this year in a sitting room in his apartment in Jidda, the port city on the Red Sea. The room had been outfitted to look like a Bedouin tent. Burgundy fabric adorned the walls, gold tassels hung from the ceiling, and carpets covered the floor, to which Mr. Ghamdi pressed his forehead in prayer during breaks in our conversation.

He spoke of how the world of sheikhs, fatwas and the meticulous application of religion to everything had defined his life.

But that world — his world — had frozen him out.

Little in his background suggested that he would become a religious reformer. While at a university, he quit a job at the customs office in the Jidda port because a sheikh told him that collecting duties was haram.

After graduation, he studied religion in his spare time and handled international accounts for a government office — a job requiring travel to non-Muslim countries.


Kaust followed the precedent of Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, which had also been shielded from clerical interference, highlighting one of the great contradictions of Saudi Arabia: Regardless of how much the royal family lauds its Islamic values, when it wants to earn money or innovate, it does not turn to the clerics for advice. It puts up a wall and locks them out.

Most clerics kept quiet out of deference to the king. But one member of the top clerical body addressed the issue on a call-in show, warning of the dangers of mixed universities: sexual harassment; men and women flirting and getting distracted from their studies; husbands growing jealous of their wives; rape.

Riaz Haq said...

Sharia law compatible with human rights, argues leading barrister
In 2008, Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, sparked controversy when he appeared to suggest that sharia law should be more widely adopted.

A leading barrister has called for the UK to become more sharia-literate, while arguing that Islamic law can be compatible with the toughest human rights legislation.

Sadakat Kadri told the Guardian that so-called "sharia courts", such as the Muslim arbitration tribunal, were good for "the community as a whole" by putting Sharia on a transparent, public footing and should be more widely accessible to those who want to use them.

Kadri said they played a role in safeguarding human rights: "It's very important that they be acknowledged and allowed to exist. So long as they're voluntary, which is crucial, it's in everyone's interests these things be transparent and publicly accessible. If you don't have open tribunals, they're going to happen anyway, but behind closed doors."

Top five sharia myths

That amputation is a typical punishment for theft in Muslim countries

Of the world's 50 or so Muslim-majority states, only about half a dozen allow for amputations and at least one of those countries – Pakistan – has never carried out the penalty in practice

That veiling is mandatory under sharia law

Women are simply advised by the Qur'an to wear modest clothing and – like men – to lower their eyes and maintain their chastity

That suicide bombing is permissable under sharia law

Most interpreters of the Qur'an understand it to forbid suicide. The first suicide bombing by Muslims was carried out in 1983 during the Lebanese civil war

Stoning is mentioned in the Qur'an

Stoning is not mentioned as a punishment in the Qur'an. It was institutionalised on the basis of hadiths (reports about Muhammad) which were themselves not written down until more than a century after his death

Capital punishment for apostasy is mentioned by the Qur'an

The Qur'an repeatedly warns believers who abandon their faith that they will have to account to God in the afterlife, but it does not provide for their punishment on earth. Again, it was hadiths that later served to justify the death penalty


Riaz Haq said...

Einstein: "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind"


Riaz Haq said...

Global Center for Combating Extremism in #Riyadh uses new ways. #moderation #terrorism #Trump http://ara.tv/2rhre via @AlArabiya_Eng

- The center is established as a result of the international cooperation in facing the extreme ideology leading to terrorism, the world’s first common enemy.

- It was founded by a number of countries who chose Riyadh as its headquarters in confronting extreme ideologies by monitoring and analyzing it, to confront and prevent it, cooperate with the governments and organizations to prevail and promote a culture of moderation.

- The center was established on three basic pillars: confronting extremism by the latest intellectual, media and numerical methods and means

- The center has developed innovative techniques that can monitor, process and analyze extremists’ speeches with high accuracy, all phases of data processing and analysis are done in no more than six seconds once the data or comments are posted on the Internet, allowing unprecedented levels of facing extremist activities in the digital world.

- The Center works to refute the hate and extremist speech and promote concepts of moderation, accepting the other, and the production of media content that confront the content of the radical thoughts in order to defy it, and reveal its promotional propaganda.

- The center includes a number of international experts specialized and prominent in confronting extremist speech on all the traditional media means and electronic world.

- The center operates in the extremists’ most widely used languages and dialects. Advanced analytical models are being developed to locate digital media platforms, highlight extremist focal point, and secret sources of polarization and acquiring activities.

- The importance of establishing the center lies in that it is the first time that the world countries seriously come together to face the threat of extremism, which poses a threat to the communities and endanger them, therefore it is the center’s duty to fight together to win and to be able to protect people from its danger.

- The selection of the (12) representatives of the Board of Directors from states and organizations; reflects the independence of the center's work, which is characterized by a governance system that applies international management best practices of major international organizations, which allows neutrality, flexibility, efficiency and transparency to fulfill the Center's functions and achieve its objectives.

Riaz Haq said...

#SaudiArabia to ‘vet and verify’ authenticity of #hadiths to counter #extremism in #Islam


Saudi Arabia is to monitor interpretations of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teachings to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism, the Culture and Information Ministry has said.

In a decree, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud ordered the establishment of an authority to scrutinise uses of the hadith – accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet (PBUH) that are used by preachers and jurists to support teachings and edicts on all aspects of life.

The ministry said late on Tuesday that the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts”.

The body will be based in Madina and overseen by a council of senior Islamic scholars from around the world, according to the decree. The ministry offered no specific details of how it would work in practice.

Terrorist groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda have used their own interpretations of hadiths – numbered in the thousands and pored over by scholars for centuries – to justify violence and to urge supporters to carry out attacks.

Senior clergy have denounced militant doctrines such as those of al Qaeda or Da’ish, while the government, which vets clerics in Saudi Arabia’s 70,000 mosques, has sacked many for encouraging violence or sedition.

Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said last month that thousands of extremist clerics had been dismissed, although he gave no timeframe.

The ministry said the body would serve Islam by creating “a solid scientific reference to vet and verify the authenticity of hadiths”, which are second in importance only to the Holy Quran. It did not say what form the reference would take.

The decree issued by the king, whose official title is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said the body would be chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hassan al Sheikh, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which serves as the kingdom’s highest religious body.

Riaz Haq said...

Turkey’s Hadith Project: Diyanet Presents Prophet’s Sayings For The 21st Century


By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

ANKARA, May 22 (Reuters) - Scholars around the Muslim world were alarmed five years ago by news reports that Turkey planned a new, possibly heretical compilation of the Prophet Mohammad’s sayings that might scrap those it thought were out of date.

Turkish religious leaders and theologians received anxious calls asking about Western media reports they would edit a “radical” new set of hadiths, scriptures that are second only to the Koran in Islam.

“Will you write a new Koran next?” one irate Arab scholar asked a baffled Turkish academic.

The new work, finally ready after six years in the making, is nothing like the 95 Theses in which Martin Luther condemned practices in the Roman Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation.

Instead, its 100 authors have selected a few hundred of the about 17,000 reported quotes from Mohammad to examine Islamic views on God, faith and life in terms that the average modern Turk can understand.

“We don’t live in the 20th century anymore,” said Mehmet Ozafsar, director of the project and vice-president of Ankara’s Religious Affairs Directorate, or Diyanet, a state agency.

“We needed a new work with Islamic beliefs in the perspective of today’s culture.”

The hadiths record Mohammad’s words and acts during his life. Preachers and jurists use them to understand the Koran and support Muslim teachings and fatwas (religious edicts) on all aspects of life, from prayer to education for women.

Digests of selected hadiths are nothing new in Islam. Scholars have produced them for centuries to help Muslims learn about the Prophet’s sayings without having to navigate through the long and sometimes confusing classical compilations.

What makes this one different is that it selects and explains the hadiths from the perspective of today’s Turkey, whose mix of a secular state, dynamic economy and Muslim society has aroused considerable interest in the Middle East since the Arab Spring revolts two years ago.

A senior religious official in Egypt, where traditional Islamic scholars, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and radical Salafis differ over key issues in the faith, said the hadith collection could bring a new perspective to the debate.

“Among intellectuals in Egypt, there is a welcome for this new interpretation which they think is very important for the Arab world to be exposed to,” said Ibrahim Negm, advisor to Egypt’s grand mufti, the highest Islamic legal authority there.

The hadith project first attracted attention in 2008 when the BBC called it “a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.”

Diyanet, Turkey’s top Islamic authority, called this and other reports “entirely wrong” and based on Christian misreading of Islamic practice. Media interest dropped off and the project went ahead, leaving scholars abroad wondering what to expect.

What has emerged is a seven-volume encyclopaedia of what its authors considered the most important hadiths. Grouped according to subjects, they are followed by short essays that explain the sayings in their historical context and what they mean today.

The collection is the first by Turkey’s “Ankara School” of theologians who in recent decades have reread Islamic scriptures to extract their timeless religious message from the context of 7th-century Arab culture in which they arose.

Unlike many traditional Muslim scholars, these theologians work in modern university faculties and many have studied abroad to learn how Christians analyse the Bible critically.

Riaz Haq said...

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi says Hadiths are a historical record, and like any history it is subject to constant investigation to establish its authenticity.


Here's an excerpt of a piece " Fundamentals of Ḥadīth Interpretation" by Amin Ahsan Islahi, the main teacher and mentor of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi:

Those seeking to ponder over aḥādīth have to remain on guard. The condition of alertness and vigilance in studying aḥādīth is as important for the student of the prophetic knowledge as in any other discipline. Our great scholars and muḥaddithūn have, using their abilities, with utmost perfection and quality, accomplished the task of ḥadīth investigation. They have compiled the ḥadīth works and established the discipline of ḥadīth criticism. The scholars in the present day can improve this discipline in the light of the principles set by the muḥaddithūn. They can add to them some other natural principles. The only obligation on the scholars, however, is that they should not think that the process of ḥadīth criticism and analysis has been perfected and accomplished fully by these great pioneers and that we have only to study the content of aḥādīth. The scholars should, on the contrary, target improving on the accomplishment of these great scholars of the past.


Riaz Haq said...

Amin Ahsan Islahi on difference between Hadith and Sunnah:

Difference Between Hadith and Sunnah
Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi January 1 1998

Hadith and Sunnah are generally taken as synonymous terms. This is not a correct impression. The words Hadith and Sunnah have entirely different connotations, and each one holds a different status in the Shari`ah. If we assign the same meaning to both the terms, it would create a lot of complications. For a proper understanding of the science of Hadith, therefore, it is necessary to know precisely the difference between Hadith and Sunnah.

Hadithimplies the narration of a saying, or of an act, or of an approval (Taswib) of the Prophet (sws), irrespective of whether the matter is authenticated or still disputed. The Muhaddithin (the scholars of Hadith) use the word Taqrir to express Taswib. It implies that while doing something in the presence of the Prophet (sws), a Muslim acted in a particular manner and the Prophet (sws) observed it and did not disapprove it. In this way, that person received the tacit approval of the Prophet (sws) regarding that particular action.

The Muhaddithin employ the term, Khabar for Hadith. A Khabar bears the possibility of being either right or wrong. In other words, the Muhaddithin believe that a Khabar may be authentic or it may be false. On this account, the A%hadith(plural of Hadith)are also termed as Zanni (presumptive or undefined). This means that a Hadith could be anything ranging fromSahihto Hasan, Da`i$f, Mawdu`, or Maqlub*

Therefore each one of these categories should be treated on its own merits.

Classification of Hadith or Khabar

The Muhaddithin divide Hadith or Khabar into two main classes:

1. Khabar-i-Tawatur (multiple evidence Hadith)

2. Khabar-i-Wahid (single evidence Hadith)

Khatib Baghdadi, the author of "al-Kifayah fi`ilm al-Riwayah"** defines Khabar-i-Tawatur as follows:

It is that Khabar which is quoted by such a large number of persons that in normal circumstances it is impossible that on a manifest subject so many people would, at one and the same time, agree on a false matter, when there is no evidence of any pressure on them too.
To my knowledge, no Hadith exists which satisfies the definition of Khabar-i-Tawatur. Sometimes a Hadith is assigned the status of a Khabar-i-Mashhur***. However, on investigation, it is discovered that during a span of three periods only one or two narrators could be established, whereas their number was found to increase during the period of the third or fourth period. Likewise, in my opinion, such A^hadithas have been declared as Khabar-i-Mutawatir stand in need of investigation. If they come up to the prescribed standard, only then should they be accepted as Mutawatir. Without this investigation, it would not be correct to accept anything as Mutawatir. It must, however, be remembered that so far as the Sunnah is concerned, it does hold the status of Tawatur (continuity), as we shall explain further. And this Tawatur is not verbal, but practical.

Khabar-i-Wahidis that Khabar which is not as authentic as Khabar-i-Tawatur. Even though the narrators in this case too be more than one, their number is not so large that one is able to assert that there is no possibility of doubt or falsehood in the Khabar. It is actually this category of Hadith which has contributed to the greater part of our treasure of Hadith.


Riaz Haq said...

The Classification Of Hadith: According To The Number Of Reporters Involved In Each Stage Of The isnad

Mutawatir & Ahad

Depending on the number of the reporters of the hadith in each stage of the isnad, i.e. in each generation of reporters, it can be classified into the general categories of Mutawatir ("consecutive") or Ahad ("single") hadith. A Mutawatir hadith is one which is reported by such a large number of people that they cannot be expected to agree upon a lie, all of them together.29

Al-Ghazali (d. 505) stipulates that a Mutawatir narration be known by the sizeable number of its reporters equally in the beginning, in the middle and at the end.30 He is correct in this stipulation because some narrations or ideas, although known as Mutawatir among some people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, originally have no tawatur. There is no precise definition for a "large number of reporters"; although the numbers four, five, seven, ten, twelve, forty and seventy, among others, have all been variously suggested as a minimum, the exact number is irrelevant (some reporters, e.g. Imams of Hadith, carry more weight anyway than others who are their contemporaries): the important condition is that the possibility of coincidence or "organised falsehood" be obviously negligible.31

Examples of Mutawatir practices are the five daily prayers, fasting, zakat, the Hajj and recitation of the Qur'an. Among the verbal Mutawatir ahadith, the following has been reported by at least sixty-two Companions from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and has been widely-known amongst the Muslims throughout the ages: "Whoever invents a lie and attributes it to me intentionally, let him prepare his seat in the Fire."

Ahadith related to the description of the Haud Kauthar (the Basin of Abundant Goodness) in the Hereafter, raising the hands at certain postures during prayer, rubbing wet hands on the leather socks during ablution, revelation of the Qur'an in seven modes, and the prohibition of every intoxicant are further examples of verbal Mutawatir ahadith.32

A hadith ahad or khabar wahid is one which is narrated by people whose number does not reach that of the Mutawatir case. Ahad is further classified into:

Gharib, `Aziz & Mash'hur

A hadith is termed Gharib ("scarce, strange") when only a single reporter is found relating it at some stage of the isnad. For example, the saying of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace),

"Travel is a piece of punishment" is Gharib; the isnad of this hadith contains only one reporter in each stage: Malik --- Yahya b. Abi Salih --- Abu Hurairah --- the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). With regard to its isnad, this hadith is Sahih, although most Gharib ahadith are weak; Ahmad b. Hanbal said, "Do not write these Gharib ahadith because they are unacceptable, and most of them are weak."33

A type of hadith similar to Gharib is fard ("solitary"); it is known in three ways:

similar to Gharib, i.e., a single person is found reporting it from a well-known Imam;
the people of one locality only are known to narrate the hadith;
narrators from one locality report the hadith from narrators of another locality, such as the people of Makkah reporting from the people of Madinah.34
If at any stage in the isnad, only two reporters are found to narrate the hadith, it is termed `Aziz ("rare, strong"). For example, Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "None of you (truly) believes until I become more beloved to him than his father, his son, and all the people."


Riaz Haq said...

Many Muslims and non-Muslims who study Islam are overwhelmed by the number of Ahadiths narrated by or attributed to Abu Hurayra. The corruption that entered traditional Islam came through many false hadiths. Thousands of these hadiths were narrated by Abu Hurayra. Next to QURAN, the word of God, Abu Hurayra is the second source for many religious matters for traditional Muslims.

Who is Abu Hurayra any way?

Islamic history books have enough about him to support the commandment in the Quran to accept no hadiths but the Quran. See Quran 7:185, 45:6, 77:50, 39:23, 50:45......etc.

Abu Hurayra, came from Yemen in the seventh year of Hijra and converted to Islam. He stayed in the company of the Prophet Muhammed less than two years

He narrated more than 5000 hadiths, about 5374 hadiths, from this two years company, (Compare this with the few hadiths narrated by Aisha, Abu Baker, or Omar after very long company of the prophet) .

" Taken from a book entitled Hadith Literature: It's Origin, Development, & Special Features by Muhammed Zubayr Siddiqui:

1. Abu Hurayra narrated 5374 hadiths

4. 'Aisha Umm al-Mu'minin, 2210 hadiths

10. Umar Ibn al-Khattab, 537 hadiths

11. Ali Ibn Abi Talib, 536 hadiths

31. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, 142 hadiths

First number indicates rank among all of those who narrated hadiths,...second number indicates number of Ahadith given.

Compare the numbers of Hadiths given by Abu Baker by that of Abu Hurayra while keeping in mind that Abu Baker accompanied our beloved Prophet for about 23 years, while Abu Hurayra accompanied the Prophet for less than 2 years. 142 hadiths for 5374 hadiths.

Most of Abu Hurayra's narrated hadiths are called the "Aahad" hadiths, i.e. hadiths only witnessed by one person, this one person was Abu Hurayra himself. ( where is the rule of two witnesses for the truth, disregarded for the sake of Abu Hurayra).

Some of the Prophets companions (Sahaba) accused him of being a liar, telling lies about the prophet just to make up more hadiths and gain some status. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second guided Khalifa threatened Abu Hurayra to send him to exile if he does not stop telling hadiths about Muhammed, he did stop until Omar's assassination then started again.

He kept telling hadiths to please the Khalifa of the Muslims then, all the time, including the time he lived in the royal palace of Muawaya in Syria. Abu Hurayra told his audience that he is telling them hadiths that if he ever mentioned when Omar was alive, he would be given several lashes.

Abu Jaafar Al Iskafy mentioned that the Khalifa, Muawaya, chose some of the people, including Abu Hurayra to tell fabricated stories and hadiths about Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the Prophet's cousin, to degrade him. Abu Hurayra lived in Mu'aawiyah's royal palace then and served him including serving his political views. He produced some of the hadiths that demean Ali, insult him and at least make him in a lower grade to Abu Baker, Omar and Othman, only for the pleasure of Mu'aawiyah. Abu Hurayra's stomach was more important than the trtuh, then.

During Mu'aawiyah's rule, many hadiths, with the help of Abu Hurayra were invented that support the view that the Imam or Khalifa, should be obeyed just like God or the messenger. Contradicting the rule of the Quran that all the matters should be democratic by consultation.(Do not forget that Abu Hurayra was living in the Khalifa's royal palace at the time.)

Many of the hadiths that were narrated by Abu Hurayra contradict other hadiths, including his own narrated hadiths and other people's hadiths and contradict the Quran and contradict common sense.

Abu Hurayra narrated hadiths after Kaab Al Ahbar, who was a Jewish convert who tried to explain the Quran by using the corrupted books of the Jews. He produced some of the most outrageous hadiths that is full of contradiction to the Quran, taken from false stories in the Torah.


Riaz Haq said...

#Muslim Convert Prof Jeffrey Lang : 97% of the #Quran teaches #ethics, relationship between #God and humans, faith and reason. Only 3% emphasizes rules but we are obsessed with them but all sermons are about rules, not the essence of #Islam https://youtu.be/kvomfF0Pjn4 via

Riaz Haq said...

Saudi documenting Hadith to stop misuse by Islamic radicals, terrorists


The Hadith documentation project is ordered by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman who believes that in the absence of this, the plethora of hadith in circulation are liable to be misused by terrorists and extremists.

The outcome of this project will have far-reaching implications in the Islamic world. It may be recalled that the death punishment for blasphemy prevalent in countries like Pakistan and radicals asking for beheading people for the same in India is justified by them on the basis of Hadith as Quran doesn’t ordain these harsh retributions.

A year ago in an interview with The Atlantic, an American magazine, MBS claimed that the misuse of hadith had become the key reason for division in the Muslim world into extremist and peaceful people.

“You have tens of thousands of Hadith. And, you know, the massive majority, are not proven and are being used by many people as the way to justify doing what they are doing. For example, Al-Qaeda followers, ISIS followers, they are using Hadith which are very weak, not proven to be true Hadith, to propagate their ideology.” The Crown Prince said.

Explaining it, he said: God and the Qur’an tell us to follow the Prophet’s teachings. At the Prophet's time, people were writing down the Qur’an, and also the Prophet's teachings. At this, the Prophet ordered that his teachings should not be written down to make sure that the main base of Islam remains the Holy Quran. So when we go to Prophet’s teaching, we have to be very careful.

MBS explained that the Hadith falls into three categories: The first one is called mutawatir. It means several people heard it from the Prophet, a few people heard from those few people, and a few people heard (it) from (those) few people. And that has been documented. Those are almost super strong, and we have to follow them.

According to MBS, there are around 100 Hadith in this category and these are the strongest.

In another interview with the Saudi television channel, MBS explained, “So, when we talk about a Mutawatir hadith, i.e., narrated and handed down from one group to another group to another starting with the Prophet, PBUH, these hadiths are very few in number, but they are strong in terms of veracity, and their interpretations vary based on the time and place they were revealed and how the hadith was understood at the time.”

He said, “The second category is what we call the individual Hadith. So, one person heard it from the Prophet and another person heard it from that person, all the way to the one who documented it. Or a few people heard it from the Prophet, a few people heard it from the Prophet, and one person heard it from those few people. So, if there is a one-person link in the lineage of the Hadith, we call it one-person hadith.”

“And this type of hadith, called ahad, is not as compelling as the mutawater hadiths; the ones narrated by a chain of groups, unless paired with clear Quranic stipulations and a clear mundane or worldly good to be had, especially if it’s a correct ahad hadith,” MBS explained.

The Crown Prince said this category needed a lot of sifting and research. ‘One should study whether it is true, whether it goes with the teachings of the Qur’an if it goes with the teachings of mutawatir, and if it goes with the interest of the people. And based on that, you use it or not.”

The third one was called Khabar. Someone heard it from the Prophet, etc, etc., and among the links are some that are unknown. Those are the tens of thousands of Hadith, and that you shouldn't use at all, except in one case: