“Oh you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done (Holy Qur’an 49:6).
Apart from being highly inconsistent, ignoring the reality of history, ignoring the reality of the oral tradition and mass practice in Islam, it appears that those Muslims who ascribe to the mantra of ‘Qur’an only’ are not only going to be in a great deal of sin but they will be hard pressed to practice the commands and injunctions of the Holy Qur’an without recourse to oral reports.
The above verse of the Holy Qur’an illustrates exactly that very point. A person is coming with a report is not to be dismissed but the truth is to be ascertained through a process of investigation.
If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from among you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. (Holy Qur’an 4:15)
This certainly shows the utmost importance of oral reports. The very life of someone could be ruined on the basis of oral reports of four reliable witnesses. Certainly the Holy Qur’an gives considerable weight to oral testimony.
O you who believe! When death approaches any of you, (take) witnesses among yourselves when making bequests,- two just men of your own (brotherhood) or others from outside if you are journeying through the earth, and the chance of death befalls you (thus).If you doubt (their truth), detain them both after prayer, and let them both swear by Allah.”We wish not in this for any worldly gain, even though the (beneficiary) be our near relation: we shall hide not the evidence before Allah if we do, then behold! the sin be upon us!” (Holy Qur’an 5:106)
Once again the mere testimony of men is accepted as evidence. Even though these men could obviously bare to gain by fabricating what they heard. In other words this is a classical example of a hadith. Group B heard from person A and are now relating the matter to Group or Persons C. Here we have a sanad-a chain of narration. We have a matn (that which is reported to have been said).
“And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),– flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;- “(Holy Qur’an 24:4)
Here again we have the mere testimony of moral human beings being enough to establish evidence enough to incriminate another person.
“And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own,- their solitary evidence (can be received) if they bear witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that they are solemnly telling the truth;” (Holy Qur’an 24:6)
Here we have an example of a solitary oral statement of a husband and the only thing that negates that is a solitary oral statement of the wife.
“Thus when they fulfill their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out,” (Holy Qur’an 65:2)
Once again the oral tradition of righteous men is to be accepted. Their weight and testimony is evidence even before Allah!
So just from these few short verses of the Holy Qur’an it is enough to establish that you would not even be able to fulfill the edicts of the Holy Qur’an without recourse to oral testimony.
How do courts of law solve cases of murder and cheating without recourse to oral testimony? Those so called ‘Qur’an Only’ Muslims are not even Qur’an only Muslims due to rejecting oral testimony they are rejecting the instruction from the Qur’an.
“Allah showed great kindness to the believers when He sent a Messenger to them from among themselves to recite His Signs to them, purify them and teach them the Book and Wisdom, even though before that they were clearly misguided.” (Holy Qur’an 3: 164)
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those win authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best way and the best in result.” (Holy Qur’an 4:59)
“No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them and then do not resist what you decide and submit themselves [to you] completely.” (Holy Qur’an 4:65)
It is very clear that while the Prophet (saw) was with the believers if they had any disputes it was the Blessed Messenger (saw) who was the judge. Notice that the Holy Qur’an is clear and fully detailed and it could have easily said, “Unless they make the book of Allah the judge.”
It is obvious that the Prophet (saw) would first use the book of Allah (swt) if there is mention of a particular warning and where not the Prophet (saw) would use his discretion.
For example it may be pointed out that the above reliance upon personal testimony and the oral reports of people, is not a full proof system.
“The believers are those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, making good things lawful for them and bad things forbidden for them, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains that were around them. Those who believe in him, honor and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him are successful. (Holy Qur’an 7:157)