Censorship: The signs of scholarship, truth and confidence?

“And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know what it is.” (Holy Qur’an 2:42)

I believe I have been quite fair in not censoring the views of others who disagree with me.

I also believe I have been quite fair in posting links to other sites as well.

I do this primarily for two reasons:

1) My conviction in the following verse:

“Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” (Holy Qur’an 28:56)

2) Personal experience.  I know of brothers and sisters (Muslims) who have had very ‘religious’ back grounds, from all ethnic and national back grounds who have committed heinous sins and betrayed their trust.

I also know of people, neither of their parents were Muslims.  These people were surrounded by a culture of drugs, and contempt for religion in general.  Yet Allah (swt) had guided them to Al Islam.

So some Muslims will say to new converts or other Muslims.  “Don’t listen to them“.  “You will get confused“.  “You better just stick with us.

99.9% of the time these are people who are inviting to their sectarian affiliation.   In my entry ‘light is information and darkness is lack of information‘ I discussed this.

Anyone who would not want you to have information on a particular subject matter would want you to remain in darkness on that matter.

The caveat here being unless that subject matter is something that is absolutely forbidden for us to pursue.  Like ‘the dark arts‘ or ‘magic‘.

“And they followed instead what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve.” And they learn from them that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife. But they do not harm anyone through it except by permission of Allah. And the people learn what harms them and does not benefit them. But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew. (Holy Qur’an 2:102)

I want to say before I continue. I have no issue publishing comments that have links to other sites (relevant to the material at hand).

However, if anyone thinks for a moment that they will use this site as a platform to advertise for their sectarian affiliation you can forget about it!

Any how It was brought to my attention that a particular sectarian Sunni web site made some comments about an entry that I did.

However, they did not want to post a link to my site.

Yet, because I have conviction of my position I have no issue in giving the site.  I have also taken a snap shot of the site.  I am quite sure that once they know that I am aware of what they wrote, their particular entry will be taken down.

I hope I am proven wrong. I do not say that to be mean spirited. I am truly hoping that an atmosphere of communication can prevail.  Allah (swt) knows best.

The link is as follows:

http://muslimanswers.net/2013/05/13/draft-article-shaykh-hamaz-yusuf-and-500-infallible-ahadith/

(Draft Article) Shaykh Hamaz Yusuf and 500 Infallible Ahadith

(Please read the notice concerning our draft articles)

By a member of the MuslimAnswers.net Team

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

I recently read an article entitled “Sheikh Hamza Yusuf “We only have 500 hadith that are of the status of the Qur’an!”. This is an article where a bona fide Hadith Rejector is trying to use the statements of the very well-known Sunni Shaykh given in one of his videos towards his premise that we should only follow the Qur’an and nothing else[1].

Let me make some very quick observations, and Insha Allah as time permits in the future I will be able to expound on these matters either in this article or in other future works.

Firstly, the details of what “a Hadith that is of the status of the Qur’an” actually means, and the repercussions of this are very important. What is denoted in such a statement is that the transmission of such Ahadith have reached the level of Tawaatur (mass-transmission) – Shaykh Yusuf in other works of his uses the term “Infallible Hadith” for such types of narrations.

This means the Ahadith are Infallible in their wording and there is absolutely no doubt about their phrasing, and that just as denying any Verse of the Qur’an will land one in the realm of the disbelievers, denying any of these Infallible Ahadith will likewise land the denier of such Ahadith among the disbelievers, may Allah save us from such a fall.

Secondly, the video in which Shaykh Yusuf makes this assertion is not an academic-type lecture given to his students, but rather a general talk given to the masses about the input that Muslims have to give to the wider world and how they have to shun blind terrorism (the Infallible narration quoted being a indicator towards this fact). This point is important, because he would not have discussed the sources of “Infallible knowledge” in Islam are and how they are connected to the Dhanni (probabilistic) evidences, but would have instead oriented his lecture towards the subject at hand.

Even so, in that very lecture Shaykh Yusuf mentions the Hadith where the Prophet ﷺ said that he was innocent of the killing that Khalid bin al-Waleed (Radhia Allahu Anhu) inflicted on a certain tribe, which to the best of my knowledge is not an “Infallible”, mass-transmitted Hadith. If the situation was really such that Shaykh Yusuf believed that only “Infallible Ahadith” are to be quoted, then his quoting of this second narration is incomprehensible. Rather, the first “Infallible” narration was uttered in order to show the sanctity of the narration, not to make an academic point concerning Islamic fundamentals.

Thirdly, the matter is ultimately one of the faith we have in the exact words having been passed down to us without any mistakes whatsoever, and this is where the distinction between indubitable and probabilistic manifests itself (and correspondingly, the distinction between belief and disbelief). It should be noted that the Qur’an has a number of mass-transmitted, infallible recitations such as the ones people are generally familiar with nowadays, but has many more that are not infallible, and cannot be called “Qur’an” with certainty. But note that such recitations do exist, and the situation is somewhat analogous to the transmission of the Prophetic narrations – that is, a comparatively small number of “Infallible” and “Indubitable” transmissions, and an enormous number of transmissions that are not to the same level of certainty (even some of which are rejected).

If someone were to use the methodology of the Hadith rejecters and apply it to the Qur’an, then one would probably reject the Qur’an as well, due to the fact that there are recitations that do not reach the level of certainty. (To be honest, there are those from among the anti-Islamic groups who try to use this very fact in order to plant the seed of doubt in the hearts of Muslims.)

It is obvious then, that the problem with the Hadith rejecter is not that there are Ahadith having only a level of probabilistic certainty (sometimes approaching certainty and sometimes falling considerably off of this level), but rather that the Hadith rejecter does not consider the Ahadith to be the transmittal of meaningful speech to begin with. In fact, he considers the corpus of Ahadith as being unable to give any information at all, whether this information is of probabilistic certainty or whether it has actually approached infallibility of transmission, such as the “five hundred” Ahadith that Shaykh Yusuf mentioned in his talk.

Fourthly, and most importantly, one has to consider that we, as Muslims, are to take the “indubitable” primary texts of our religion as such, and not make an artificial distinction between the Qur’anic revelation, the Prophetic narrations, and those acts of the Companions that are pointers to what the Prophet did[2], even if the Companions did not specifically narrate it as a Prophetic tradition – like for example, if the Companion were asked as to how to perform the ablution, and he performs it in a certain way, we trust that this is a faithful transmission in practice of what the Prophet ﷺ himself did. If the details of such an ablution reach the level of mass transmission (meaning that a huge number of Sahabah performed the ablution the exact same way), then there is no way we can reject it as coming from the Prophet ﷺ himself.

Finally, we need to consider that these matters in which the Hadith rejecters consider themselves as novel, and of having found out some hidden truth have already been discussed many centuries ago by the scholars of Islam, and have their elucidation in the books of Usool (the fundamentals of the religion). It should be noted that the matter of deriving the final ruling, or explanation of a Hadith (or even a Qur’anic Verse) go well beyond the authenticity of the text itself, but also include matters of linguistics, comparison between the texts, and the different modes of understanding prevalent among people.

For example, it is well-known by the people of knowledge that an issue in jurisprudence or belief may rest on how the meanings of different Qur’anic Verses are taken by the scholars of Islam and not so much on the (probabilistic) Prophetic narrations, even though the words of the Qur’an itself are never in doubt. The Hadith rejecter has made the egregious mistake of supposing that a difference of opinion rests solely on the falsity of non-Qur’anic texts, but we can envisage him at a loss to explain how a situation developed, where the discussion and debates among the scholars was predicated on the different Verses of the Qur’an, and not on the Ahadith.

We can further envisage them making wild claims about Islamic doctrine (such as the very real postulation by certain Hadith rejecters that Prophets are to come in the future of this world, based on their understanding of certain Qur’anic Verses). We can even see some of them openly apostatizing from the religion, since they would not have any basis for information other than the strict text of the Qur’an itself– even though in order to even be able to read the Qur’an, one needs to have information outside of the Qur’an, such as how to pronounce the letters of the Arabic alphabet, what conglomeration of Arabic letters produce which words, or what the Arabic words mean in the real world, information not found in the Qur’an at all. These and similar issues are matters that may be hidden to the common Muslim in their evaluation of the Islamic religion, but they should not be used to doubt the truthfulness of Islam as a system.

We will stop at this juncture, hoping that soon we may be able to expand upon this topic. May Allah guide all those who are sincerely seek the truth. And with Allah is our success.


[1] I do not wish to give the link of this article because it is quite well-known that the Mutawaatir Ahadith are only a fraction of the total Ahadith corpus, and the Sunnis knew this long before Hadith rejecters to brought this up as an issue. With regards to the video, its title is: “an american muslim speaker haveing a go at muslims part 2/2” and is available on video sharing sites.

[2] That is, in terms of conveying true information. Obviously, the Qur’an has its own miraculous style that cannot be replicated by the normal words or actions of the Prophet

My response:

The “draft article” is simply reactionary. It is also written by a person upon an entry that I wrote here:

https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/sheikh-hamza-yusuf-we-only-have-500-hadith-that-are-of-the-status-of-the-quran/

The person whom wrote the article obviously didn’t even take time to read anything else in my web site.

For example notice that the person wrote, “This is an article where a bona fide Hadith Rejector.” 

I find that a very odd statement considering that here is not a Muslim on the face of this earth that doesn’t reject at least one hadith!

The Imams of the Shi’a sect rejected hadith.  The Imams of the Sunni sect rejected hadith.

This person may not be familiar with my position on the hadith as is clearly stated here: https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/my-position-on-the-hadith/

So to say that I am an all out ‘hadith rejector‘ is said by someone who is either

a) ignorant of my position or

b) a malicious individual who intends to misrepresent others.

The person whom wrote the entry made a very important point here when they said, “Firstly, the details of what “a Hadith that is of the status of the Qur’an” actually means, and the repercussions of this are very important.” 

Very good!  In fact I wasn’t aware until one of the visitors of this site whom goes by the name of ‘Field Muslim‘ pointed something out the following entries to me:

http://globalwebpost.com/farooqm/study_res/islam/fiqh/hallaq_hadith.html

&

http://ebooks.rahnuma.org/religion/hadith/Did-the-Prophet-Say-It-or-Not-PDF.pdf

Not to mention the fact that Dr. Jonathan Brown said in his book the following:

“the famous Sunni hadith scholar Ibn Salah proclaimed that ‘there was no such thing as mutawatir hadith

Source:  (p.109 Hadith: Muhammed’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World by Dr. Jonathan Brown ).

In fact unlike those people who want to invite the world to Islam but are afraid to hold their positions up to scrutiny let me point out to you another link

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=1813&CATE=120

Sunnipath is about as ‘traditional‘ as you are going to get my respected readers.

Please  note some things in this entry as stated by Shaykh Musa Fuber,

Before giving some otherwise startling information the Shaykh tries to soften the blow to those investigating the subject matter by saying:

“Being numerous is one of the (five, or four) conditions for the Mutawatir [continuous mass testimony], when it is mentioned without being confined by a specific number (al-Sakhawi added: and without being qualified by being upright or Islam. The Sheikh omitted it here since the states of the men of the Mutawatir are not asked about) rather it is normally impossible for them to simultaneously agree on lying, and likewise for it to occur from them unintentionally. (Not being confined to a specific number means that what is considered regarding the informers being numerous is that they reach a limit where the mind rejects them simultaneously agree to lie, not that it does not fall under a specific number.) There is no meaning in specifying the number (al-Asili said: indeed, the parameter is obtaining knowledge, so whenever this group informs and it achieves knowledge, then we know that their khabr is Mutawatir, and otherwise it is not), according to the sound position.”

He continues:

Some of them specified that it is four, five, seven, ten, twelve, forty, seventy, or something else. Everyone held firm to evidence (with a verse or a hadith) that came with that number and was beneficial for certain knowledge (`ilm), and it is not necessary for it to be forced on the others (…the summary is that that number will contribute to knowledge in every situation, and likewise it is not obligatory that less than it not contribute to knowledge in another situation) since it possible that is it specific to it.”

Than finally:

“Ibn al-Salah mentioned that examples of the Mutawatir according to the previous particulars are rarely found, except that it is claimed for the hadith Whomsoever ascribes a lie to me ((intentionally takes his spot in the Hellfire)) (since it was related by more than one hundred companions (Allah be well pleased with them), including the ten announced to have Paradise, and its narrators did not cease to increase the conditions are gathered in it). What he claims about it being rare is refused, and also what others (like Ibn Hibban and al-Hazimi) claimed about it being non-existent, since this is a result of their lack of familiarity with the many paths and states of the people and their attributes which necessitate that their agreeing to lie or simultaneously lying is normally far fetched.”

So once again the desperation of Sunni scholarship is laid bare for all to see.

So after learning that those who do accept the concept of Mutwatir are not in agreement (with the numbers ranging from 4 to ‘seventy or something else‘) We are told not to worry because the ‘MIND rejects them simultaneously agreeing to lie‘.

Than in a brush of apologetic Musa Fuber offers us “Everyone held firm to evidence (with a verse or a hadith) that came with that number and was beneficial for certain knowledge (`ilm), and it is not necessary for it to be forced on the others.

So in the case of those who have a great disparity in number never mind because “everyone held firm evidence“.

However, never mind great scholars like Ibn Hibban who claimed that Mutwatair are non existent.   They had a ‘lack of familiarity‘ with said science!

So you mean people like Ibn Hibban, Al Hazimi and Ibn Al Salah cannot be said to have ‘held firm evidence‘ ?  Why not?

Could it be because Musa Fuber himself belongs to a faction of Muslims whom already agree to the idea of ‘mutwatir hadith’ ?

Because, you can bet the family farm that if the hadith scholar Ibn Hibban was alive today Musa Fuber wouldn’t even appear on the radar!  Musa Fuber would meet with a sound refutation; and Allah (swt) knows best!

So yeah when the person writes, ” Firstly, the details of what “a Hadith that is of the status of the Qur’an” actually means, and the repercussions of this are very important.

I can only say to that ‘Amen!’   I also noted that the writer did not attempt to agree or disagree with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and his assessment of 500 hadith that ‘are of the status of the Qur’an‘.

You will also find the following interesting:

The number of ‘mutwatir hadith‘ according to Sheikh Salih Bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al al-Sheikh the minister for (The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da’wah and Guidance) has given us  324 hadith that are said to be ‘mutwatir’

http://web.archive.org/web/20061031015411/http://hadith.al-islam.com/bayan/Index.asp?Lang=ENG&Type=3

So once the scholarship of the Sunni sect come to a consensus on the number of hadith that are actually considered to be ‘of the status of the Qur’an‘  I’ll be here waiting…. Allah-willing.

Than the writer of the article goes on to say,

“If someone were to use the methodology of the Hadith rejecters and apply it to the Qur’an, then one would probably reject the Qur’an as well, due to the fact that there are recitations that do not reach the level of certainty.

This would assume that I even accept all the recitations to be authoritative to begin with!  In fact this is yet another area that is embarrassing for the Sunni sect.

I would be highly interested to see the author of this particular entry tell us the agreed upon, and authoritative number for qiraat -‘modes of recitation‘ for the Holy Qur’an.

I’m also quite disappointing because it seems as if the author does not believe that the Holy Qur’an contains in internal evidence on why it is of divine authority.  In fact by making such a statement the author indirectly showed their own lack of confidence in the integrity of the Holy Qur’an.

Why?

Let assume that the Holy Qur’an was not  mass transmitted at all.   Does the Holy Qur’an not lay down falsification test?  For example for those early converts to Islam, what was it about the Holy Qur’an that opened their heart?   Once a person ponders this you can see how silly it would be to make the claim ‘then one would probably reject the Qur’an as well, due to the fact that there are recitations that do not reach the level of certainty.

The author of the entry goes on to make another false accusation where he/she says,

In fact, he considers the corpus of Ahadith as being unable to give any information at all, whether this information is of probabilistic certainty or whether it has actually approached infallibility of transmission, such as the “five hundred” Ahadith that Shaykh Yusuf mentioned in his talk.”

I would refer the author of the entry as well as the interested reader to my entry here: https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/my-position-on-the-hadith/

To say that I do not think that the hadith corpus of the Ibadi sect, the Sunni sect or the Shi’a sect do not give us any information at all is simply not true. It is not how I approach the hadith literature.

The author of the entry goes on to say,

If the details of such an ablution reach the level of mass transmission (meaning that a huge number of Sahabah performed the ablution the exact same way), then there is no way we can reject it as coming from the Prophet ﷺ himself.

I do not disagree with such a sentiment at all.  However, the point is how do we know if it was mass transmitted or not?  This is going back to the point above about what actually is ‘mutwatir’ or mass transmitted?   I have mentioned in my entry above ‘my position on the hadith‘ that I would feel comfortable relying upon ‘mass transmitted practice.’

Even than there are some incidents that raise an eye brow.

Take for example the following:

Ibn Wahb said: “I heard Maalik being asked about cleaning between the toes during ablution. He said, ‘The people do not have to do that.’ I did not approach him until the crowd had lessened, when I said to him, ‘We know of a sunnah about that.’ He said, ‘What is that ?’ I said, ‘Laith ibn Sa’d, Ibn Lahee’ah and ‘Amr ibn al-Haarith narrated to us from Yazeed ibn ‘Amr al-Ma’aafiri from Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Hubuli from Mustawrid ibn Shaddaad al-Qurashi who said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) rubbing between his toes with his little finger.’ He said, ‘This hadeeth is sound; I had not heard of it at all until now.’ Afterwards, I heard him being asked about the same thing, on which he ordered cleaning between the toes.”   Source: (From the Introduction to Al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel of Ibn Abi Haatim, pp. 31-2.)

To be honest this entire report seems to me like polemic.   Because anyone who knows the approach to Islam as practiced by Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) his view was that the mass practice of the people of Madinah was stronger than a lone narrator report.

In order to smooth this over apologist may say, “Well, this injunction simply added to what was already being done but didn’t contradict with it!”  But that should make people think.

How could a whole city of people who’s forefathers were very intimate with the Blessed Messenger (saw) miss out on this particular aspect of feet washing?

The second point and this will counter the claim that I don’t believe the hadith can give us ‘any information‘ is the fact that this hadith doesn’t really give specifics.

How does the person who claimed to have witnessed this event know the circumstance?  Perhaps , for example there was some filth, or mud, and it needed a nudge.

The writer of the entry continues:

The Hadith rejecter has made the egregious mistake of supposing that a difference of opinion rests solely on the falsity of non-Qur’anic texts, but we can envisage him at a loss to explain how a situation developed, where the discussion and debates among the scholars was predicated on the different Verses of the Qur’an, and not on the Ahadith.

1) I already answered the ‘hadith rejecter‘ claim.

2) I think the egregious mistake is writing an article without knowing the position of the person you are addressing.  I hope that this person will read this; and understand the difference between ‘Sola‘ and ‘Prima‘.

All one would have to do is read my entry that was written long before my entry about Hamza Yusuf’s claims concerning the hadith.

That particular entry that would have prevented the writer of the above article to avoid egregious mistakes and assumptions is the following entry:

https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/are-we-to-take-the-quran-alone-as-a-source-of-guidance/

For example in that entry I state:

“Here are some reasons why I feel it is not practical to take from the Holy Qur’an alone.   I will also present some reasons why it can be problematic to take from the Holy Qur’an alone.”

And than go into detail on why I do not take the Holy Qur’an alone.   alone = sola

The writer of the entry goes on to say:

We can even see some of them openly apostatizing from the religion, since they would not have any basis for information other than the strict text of the Qur’an itself– even though in order to even be able to read the Qur’an, one needs to have information outside of the Qur’an, such as how to pronounce the letters of the Arabic alphabet, what conglomeration of Arabic letters produce which words, or what the Arabic words mean in the real world, information not found in the Qur’an at all.

Another example of why its soo important to accurately understand the position of those you are writing about.  In fact if the person had done some research it would be very hard to fathom people who rely upon ‘the strict text of the Qur’an itself‘  ‘openly apostatizing from the religion‘.  The fact of the matter is there are Muslims today who take the Holy Qur’an alone!   There were Muslims in the early period who took the Holy Qur’an alone.   In fact the Holy Qur’an was, is, and shall always be our primary religious authority throughout time.

We are merely trying to understand how the Blessed Messenger (saw) understood and applied certain text.  We are trying to get to this information, by sifting through the train wreck that calls itself scholarship, from both the Shi’a and Sunni factions.

Lastly one last statement from the article of the entry:

because it is quite well-known that the Mutawaatir Ahadith are only a fraction of the total Ahadith corpus, and the Sunnis knew this long before Hadith rejecters to brought this up as an issue.

The fact of the matter is I was never trying to present this information as something novel.

In fact if you read the entry on Hamza Yusuf,  I clearly state the following:

https://primaquran.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/sheikh-hamza-yusuf-we-only-have-500-hadith-that-are-of-the-status-of-the-quran/

“I wish more of my Muslim brothers who believe in giving primacy to the oral traditions along side the Holy  Qur’an would go back over their notes taken during hadith classes, and/or lectures they recorded and take a look at two terminologies and really reflect upon it:

1) Hadiths that convey certainty of knowledge or in Arabic  (al-`ilm al-yaqînî) and

2)  Hadiths that  convey only the compelling assumption of truth or in Arabic (al-zann al-ghâlib).

Now, the truth of the matter is the bulk of the hadith collection especially for the Sunni sect falls under the category of al-zann al ghalib. Now, do you want your faith to be based upon 100% certainty,  or only a compelling assumption of truth?”

Now obviously Muslims wouldn’t be taking notes during ‘hadith classes‘ in a Qur’an only Muslim organization.  So I most assuredly wasn’t presenting Hamza Yusuf’s information as something novel.  I am just asking Muslims to ponder it.

Like I would encourage Muslims to engage their teachers and ask questions like:

Why is it speculative?”  ” What  is about this category of hadith that even if they have reached a level of being ‘sahih’ (or sound) would still cause them to be speculative?”

Also in light of the fact that there is a wide range of opinions on the number it takes to be considered mutwatir (which the scholars would say is ‘al-ilm al yaqin).

So those of you who are reading this and don’t really like this information going to the public let me just say this to you.

Allah (swt) himself has decreed that truth will over come falsehood

because that which is false is by its very nature perishing!

“And say: “Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.” (Holy Qur’an 17:81)

500 hadith

The above picture was taken just in case there becomes a case of ‘now you see it now you don’t.’ Unfortunately some of my Muslim brethren can be a little slippery at times. 🙂

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