Textual Manipulation of Hadith To Advocate Prayer Positions.

“Take what the Messenger gives you, and do without what he forbids you from.” (Qur’an 59:7)

 

This entry will show the manipulation and changing of the ‘matn’ text in the chains of transmission to advocate various positions for the prayer.

 

Hopefully, in writing this in the process we will be able to defend the prayer of the Blessed Messenger (saw) as was the practice of the people of Madinah in his time, namely the practice of laying the hands at the side. This practice is continued among those who follow the Jafari and Zaydi School of jurisprudence as well as the oldest living school of jurisprudence which the people of Oman are upon, The Ibadi school.

This blog entry will also show that Imam Malik (r) only prayed that way (sadl) because it is what he saw as the practice of the people of Madinah and it’s not because he was beaten which is a lie that has been circulated by a certain group of Muslims have invented their own methodology of doing the prayer.

 

MISUNDERSTANDING NO. 1 Imam Malik only prayed like that (arms to the side) because he was beaten so badly that he couldn’t pray with one hand over the other.

 

“He was severely beaten in the year 764 CE by the order of the Ameer of Madeenah, because he made a legal ruling that forced divorce was invalid. This ruling opposed the ‘Abbaasid rulers’ practice of adding in the oath of allegiance given to them by the masses the clause that whoever broke the oath was automatically divorced. Malik was tied and beaten until his arms became severely damaged to such a degree that he became unable to clasp them on his chest in Salaah and thus he began the practice of praying with his hands at his sides according to some reports.”

Source: ( pg 78. The Evolution of Fiqh Islamic Law & The Madh-habs) By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips International Islamic Publishing House.)

 

“Some reports” such as? Doesn’t Abu Ammenah Bilal Philips have to give his evidence or are we just suppose to accept what he said?

 

Can such a claim be verified by and in any of the traditionally relied upon books of Islamic history? One will be hard-pressed to find any evidence substantiating this argument.

 

Remember what Allah said:

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence, and the guidance, which We have sent down after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.” (Qur’an: 2:159)

 

So where is the proof?

Secondly, how could Imam Malik (May Allah have mercy on him) not have enough strength to clasp his hands on his chest but still be able to do the tabkir-, go into ruku, and go into sajdah and to push his hands up from sujuud since Imam Malik’s (r) view is that the knees go up than the hands after sajdah? What about all the other Tabieen who prayed the way Imam Malik (r) did? Did each and every one of them have their arms broken as well?

 

MISUNDERSTANDING NO. 2 The Malikis get their prayer from the Shi’a in Iran!

 

Now let me ask you, people, something why would Sunni Muslims go and ask the Shi’a about how to pray? That’s just absurd! The second point is this, Why don’t the Malikis follow the Shi’a in everything on the prayer, like raising the hands in ruku and when going into sujud? Or making sujud on a stone? Or placing the knees before the hands? Or saying the whole prayer out loud? Or include the basmallah before Al Fatiha like the Shi’a do. Also, a very good question would be where did the Shi’a get their prayer from? Do the Shi’a follow some guy who got his arms broken too?!?

 

The Shi’a don’t follow Imam Malik (r) because they don’t accept him as one of their Imams in jurisprudence. This whole point again is another flat lie. If such a claim were true then you should give the evidence. You have to have tangible evidence of it.

 

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk (lahwal hadeeth) to mislead from the path of Allah without knowledge (ilm), and takes it by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment.” (Qur’an 31:6)

 

I see this ayat as applying directly to those people who will take the Hadith (reports) over the Sunnah (practice). Those who have no ilm (no fiqh). In this instance, those who will take the Hadith over the mass transmitted Sunnah of the blessed Messenger (saw).. We have to understand and this cannot be stressed enough. The Sunnah is a ‘living tradition’ it is organically passed down from one generation to the next.   The hadith WERE fragments and snippets of the sunnah, which at times became a mechanism to convince people of controversial issues.

 

“Pray as you see me pray”.

I’d like to remind myself and also my friends that the Prophet (saw) is reported to have said, I leave you two things. “The Qur’an and my Sunnah”. He (saw) did not say I leave you the Qur’an and Hadith. And with all due respect, I ask anyone reading this to find a single statement where The Blessed Messenger (saw) said I leave you “Qur’an and Hadith”.

 

People who say that the prophet (saw) said “Qur’an and Hadith” are trying to use Hambali and Shaf’i usuli methods and impose these methodological principles on the rest of the Muslim ummah.

 

By that, I am not saying that Imam Ahmad or Imam Shafi (May Allah cover them both in mercy) was wrong. In fact, I am in no position to say so. I am simply saying that our brothers from the so-called ‘Salafiyyah’ today cherry-pick their usuli methods.

 

 

The Blessed Messenger (saw) never handed to his followers a Mushaf of the Qur’an or a Sahih Bukhari volumes 1-4 etc. What he gave was a living breathing revelation from Allah preserved foremost as an oral tradition and then his living breathing organic practice, deeds, and ways of living that collectively we call the Sunnah; again which was orally transmitted.

 

The living breathing practice is witnessed and transmitted as a living breathing, organic practice. The hadith is transmitted on the basis of one from one and can be corrupted, added to, mistakenly transmitted, leave out important details, have hidden defects, and so on.

 

The problem today is that people who graduate from Madinah University are using Shaf’i and Hambali Usuli principles to judge the rest of the Muslim ummah on the Qur’an and Sunnah and it doesn’t work like that.

 

The point being Imam Malik (r) saw the living sunnah around him every day. For the Malikis, the ‘Amal’ or practice of the people of Madinah is mass established sunnah.  They did not need to split hairs trying to find documented sunnah evidence in the form of hadith for everything they do.

 

In fact, a principle of the Maliki madhab is that even if there is a Sahih hadith but if it clashes with the Sunnah of Madinah Imam Malik (r) drops it.

Why?

Because again you need to understand that Muhammed (saw) said, “I leave you the Qur’an and Sunnah”. If we are talking in terms of what has more weight, Rabia (r) one of Imam Malik (r) teachers said to him, “I would rather take 1000 from 1000 because that 1 from 1 can strip the sunnah right out from your hands!”

 

The vast majority of Hadith are which means narrations one from one. Imam Malik (r) is basically saying, “Look people I live in the city where the 10,000 sahabah are buried and which the Blessed Himself (saw) is buried if there ever was a sunnah established or practiced we know about it cause we live it every day.”

 

Again I am no Faqih or even close. To me, the following examples show corruption in the Hadith traditions that try and promote grasping of the hands in prayer.

 

Now I will give what I believe to be the original accounts of Sadl, and the transformation of it into Qabd, and for whatever reason, someone found it important to try and undermine the way we understand the prophet’s prayer, which Al hamdulillah is being followed by the people of Oman today.

 

 

Remember Islam began as a stranger and it will return to the world as a stranger, reflect upon that!

 

An original orally transmitted report…

 

In the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah, the following can be found:

 

Yahyaa Ibn Sa’eed declared to us: On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Al- ‘Eezaar. He said: “I used to accompany Sa’eed ibn Jubair: So, he saw a man praying while placing one of his hands on the other. This one on this one, and this one on this one. So, he went, separated them, and then returned (to me).” The Musannaf is one of the earliest hadith canons in Islamic history.

 

Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr in his book al-Tamheed narrates that (20:76):

 

‘Abd Allah ibn al-Izar said, ‘I used to make tawaf around the Kaba with Said ibn

al-Jubayr. Once, he saw a man placing one hand over the other, so he went to him, separated his hands, and then returned to me.

 

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

The Hadith of Ibn Masud

Actually reported in Abu Dawud and Sunan of Nasai

 

“The Prophet saw me placing my left hand on my right hand in Salat. So he took my right hand, and then placed it over my left hand.”

 

Abu Dawud’s chain is: Muhammed ibn Bakkar from Hushaym ibn Bashir from

Al-Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab from Abu Abi-Uthman from Ibn Mas’ud.

 

Nasa’is chain is: Hushaym ibn Bashir from Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab from Abu Abi

‘Uthman from Ibn Mas’ud.

 

In the chain is Hushaym ibn Bashir

Dhahabi states in Al Mizan [5/431], and Ibn Hajar states in

Taqrib al-Tahdhib [2/269] that he: “Often used trickery in his reports to convince others to accept unacceptable chains of narration in addition to being guilty of conveying subtly distinguishable incomplete chains of narration.” (kathir at-tadlis wa al-irsal al-khafi).

 

The Hadith of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah Reported by Ahmad and Daraqutni

“The Messenger of Allah passed by a man who was praying while placing

his left hand on the right hand. So he snatched it and placed the right on the left.”

 

But this is reported by way of Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab -from Abu Sufyan-from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah.

 

Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab has been declared to be weak by ‘Ali ibn Al-Madini, Nasa’i, Ahmad, and Daraqutni as stated by Dhahabi in Al Mizan [1/462].

 

 

My comments after using reasoning logic and deduction:

 

Now in the original report, we see that someone was praying with hands folded (qabd) to which offense was taken and so their hands were separated during the prayer. Now what happens is that in order to support the practice of folding one hand over the other (qabd) the highest authority in the land the Prophet (saw) himself is invoked in the story. To make the argument more clever the issue is not even the releasing of the hands but ‘how the hands were folded‘. So the person who hears the narration would assume that folding hands leaving at the sides is not an issue at all but would learn that the person in the narration simply folded it the wrong way! Then Ibn Hajar gives sweeping condemnation of Hushaym ibn Bashir in his commentary. It’s interesting to see that Hushaym Ibn Bashir in all three reports gets his information from Al Hajjaj ibn Abu Zaynab who does not fare any better when he is critically examined.

 

What was added: The prophet was seen doing it to make it more authoritative

What was changed: The issue was on how to fold the hands properly (sadl: laying of the hands at the side) was taken out completely!

 

An original orally transmitted report.

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-karim ibn Abi-LMukhariq Al Basri said, “Among the things, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said and did are: ‘As long as you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you wish’, the placing of one hand on the other in prayer (one places the right hand on the left), being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.”

 

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

 

The Hadith of ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr Reported by Daraqutni and Bayhaqi

Aisha said: “Three things are from prophecy: Making haste to breakfast, delaying the predawn meal, and placing the right over the left during Salat.”

 

Point 1) Ibn Hazm related it in Al-Muhalla [4/113] as a statement of ‘Aisha but without a chain.

 

Point 2) there is a break in the chain. So it even cannot be ascribed to ‘Aisha.

Hafiz ibn Hajar said in Talkhis al-Habir [1/223]: “Daraqutni and Bayaqi related it as a statement of ‘Aisha. And it has a break in its chain.”

 

Comments: Now we do not even apparently have the complete chain of this. Now I do not expect devilry at work at every corner. But if you compare the statement in the Muwatta to that of Imam Malik (r) then look at the following: It is the word for word with two very huge changes.

 

The change is now some unknown comes along and either intentionally and maliciously invokes Aisha (r.a) to make it authoritative. After all, she’s the prophet’s wife and spent so much time with him so she would be an authority right?

Or the reporter relying upon memory makes a mistake. I believe the former that the change is intentional due to what was actually changed.

So this is a very obvious question.

What is from the prophecy (or from the prophet)?

 

Did He (saw) say to place the right hand over the left? Or did He (saw) say that doing such indicates that a person really has no shame?

 

Two original orally transmitted reports

In the following, I will give you two original reports of the hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (r) and then the attempt two combine the two hadiths into one due to oral corruption in the transmission.

 

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

 

Yahya related to me from Malik that ‘Abd al-karim ibn Abi-LMukhariq Al Basri said, “Among the things, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said and did are: ‘As long as you do not feel ashamed, do whatever you wish’, the placing of one hand on the other in prayer (one places the right hand on the left), being quick to break the fast, and delaying the meal before dawn.”

 

Muwatta of Imam Malik 9.15 Placing One Hand on the Other in the Prayer

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Hazim ibn Dinar that Sahl ibn Sa’d said, “People used to be ordered to place their right hands on their left forearms in the prayer.” Abu Hazim added, “I know for sure that Sahl traces that back to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

 

The corrupted oral transmission of the story and the attempt to change it.

 

Hadith of Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas reported by Daraqutni.

“Verily we -assembly of Prophets-have been ordered to hold our right hands over our left hands.”

Weakness #1 One of the transmitters, Talha ibn ‘Amr, has been classified as being an unreliable narrator. The author of Awjaz al-Masalik says, “And in its chain is Talha ibn ‘Amr who is relinquished (matruk).

Likewise, it is mentioned in Al-‘Ayni (Sharh of) Al-Bukhari.”

Dhahabi said in Al-Mizan (3/54): “Ahmad and Nasai’i said (about Talha)” “(He is) relinquished in hadith. And Bukhari and Ibn Al-Madini said: “He is insignificant” (Laysa bi shayin).”

 

Comments: It can be seen above the original hadith statement in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (r) slowly evolved into a statement that supposedly the Prophets were ‘ordered’ to place one hand over the other.

 

Finally, the two hadiths were joined together to get the following ‘Sahih’ narration.

(Ibn Hibban relates it in his sahih, (13-14/3 #1767)

The prophets were ordered to delay the suhoor and expedite the breaking of the fast and hold with our right hands our left hands in our prayer

 

Comments:  So here you have it the finished product. What were two distinct hadiths in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (r) that were transformed into one hadith that combined elements of both?

In this new hadith, we find that it wasn’t people who were ordered it was the Prophets who were ordered and of course the only one to give orders to the prophets is Allah (swt) himself!

 

So if we can’t ascribe it to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), let’s ascribe to the Prophet (saw), and if that doesn’t work let’s ascribe it as an order to all the Prophets -which only comes from Allah!

 

So what this hadith effectively does is eliminate any doubt on where such an order would come from. Also as in the “Aisha Hadith” quoted above the original hadith in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (r) was changed so that instead of folding the hands in the fard prayer being an act of shame it becomes meritorious, and not only that, but something directed by the divine himself!

 

And this is also supported by the fact that ibn Turkamaanee, the Shaykh of al-Haafidh az-Zayla’i mentioned in his ‘al-Jawhar’ two weak hadeeth to support his madhab where he said, ‘Ibn Hazm said, “it is reported to us from Abu Hurayra who said, ‘place the hand upon the hand below the navel.’ And from Anas who said, ‘three are from the manners of the Prophethood: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in the prayer.’”’

 

The hadeeth that ibn Hazm mentions in ‘al-Muhalla’ in ta’leeq form from Anas with the wording, ‘three are from the manners of the Prophet-hood: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in the prayer.’

 

Ash-Shaikh Haashim as-Sindee said in his letter, ‘Diraahim as-Surra’, ‘and from them is what az-Zaahidee mentioned in his ‘Sharh al-Qudooree’, and ibn Ameer al-Haaj and ibn Najeem mentioned in ‘al-Bahr ar-Raa’iq’, that it is reported from the Prophet (SAW), “three are from the habit of the Messengers: hastening the iftaar, delaying the suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left below the navel in prayer.”

 

He said: I have not come across the sanad to this hadeeth except that az-Zaahidee added that it is reported by Alee bin Abu Taalib (RA) {3} from the Prophet (SAW). But ibn Ameer al-Haaj and ibn Najeem said, “that the reporters of hadeeth do not know the wording, ‘below the navel’ from a marfoo or mawqoof narration.”’

 

Anas reports that there are three aspects from the character of Nubuwwa [Prophethood]: to open fast early, to delay the suhur [pre-dawn meal], and to position the right hand over the left one beneath the navel while in salat. [al-Jawharal-naqiyy 2:31]

 

Since the graduates of Madinah University cherry-pick Shafi’i and Hanbali usuli principles to establish daleel (namely that a person has to have documented sunnah in the form of hadith) than let us entertain them.

 

The hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’ad -PEOPLE WERE ORDERED TO PLACE THE RIGHT OVER THE LEFT IN PRAYER

 

“Abdullah ibn Maslama related to us from Malik from Abu hazim from Sahl ibn Sa’d. He said:

“The people were ordered that a person is to place the right hand over his left forearm during Salat.” Abu Hazim said: “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet.” Isma’il said: “(I know only that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika). And he didn’t say: “He attributes” (yanmi).  Source: (Bukhari, 224/2)

 

The weakness of this hadith

In spite of being in both the Muwatta of Imam Malik (r) and the Sahih of Bukhari is not definitive proof that the Prophet’s sunnah was to pray while holding his left hand with his right hand. What weakens such an assumption made from this hadith are the following:

  • This is not an explicit statement, report, or action of the Prophet.

 

  • Sahl does not say that the prophet gave the order, so it’s possible someone else gave the order.

 

  • The saying, “I know only that he attributes that (yanmi dhalika) to the Prophet” is not the statement of Sahl. Rather it is the statement of the Tab’i, Abu Hazim. So there is no certainty that Sahl actually attributed this to the Prophet since Abu Hazim is merely conjecturing about what he remembers.

 

  • The statement of Ismail that, “(I know only that) That is attributed (yunma dhalika).” And he didn’t say: “He attributes” (yanmi)” further emphasizes the belief that Abu Hazim didn’t actually hear Sahl attribute that order to the Prophet.

 

  •  The above mention hadith further corroborates with what is in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaibah,

“Ibn ‘Ulayyah declared to us: On the authority of Ibn ‘Aun about Ibn Seereen that he was asked about the man who holds his right hand with his left. He said: “That was merely done because of the Romans’ (influence).”

 

Also, people who claim that Imam Malik (r) only prayed sadl because his arms were broken need to look at the above hadith if the people were indeed ‘ordered‘ to pray one hand over the other means that they didn’t always do that!

It means indeed there was a time the Prophet (saw) and his blessed companions prayed with their arms to the side and this hadith is absolute proof of it.

 

The proof is out there for anyone to see we know who fabricated the hadith chains. We know claims are inconsistent and who wish to attack the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and bring in place of it lahwal hadeeth (Qur’an 31:6)

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Textual Manipulation of Hadith To Advocate Prayer Positions.

  1. ✊ I’m Hanafi, and I even pray sadl.

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