Quranic teachings with regard to justice, knowledge, intellect and freedom have been totally marginalized by the Muslims while inauthentic Hadith have come to distort the priorities of the ummah.
Reproduced below are excerpts from a talk by noted Saudi Islamic scholar and thinker Hassan Al-Maliki in a TV debate. He highlights the distortion that have crept into thinking of Muslims that have pushed the central issues mentioned in the Quran such as intellect, justice, freedom to the backburner.
I see freedom of belief as the basis of Quran. But there is a Hadith that calls for killing of an apostate and others that advocate freedom. Which one do I believe? I would go by what resembles the Quran which says, “There shall be no compulsion in religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (2:256)
Similarly, justice is central to the teachings of the Quran. It says: “We have sent messengers with clear proofs and sent down with them the scriptures and the balance that the people may maintain their affairs with justice.” (77: 25). That makes upholding justice as the purpose of sending messengers and scriptures. But in the books of Hadith, I do not see any section about justice, neither in Bukhari, Muslim or any other of the six most authentic books. These are elaborate on the details of worship, but neglect the central issues that are prevalent in the Quran such as intellect, justice, being honest towards Allah, attainment of knowledge and its standards, human rights and things like this.
These concepts are found all over the Quran, but undervalued and deserted in the narrative movement which was established by the authorities. Most often the biggest narrators have flourished under oppressive regimes. In any case, there is a big misconception with many people of Hadith. They think that whoever rejects a Hadith (even if it contradicts the Quran), he has rejected the sunnah. This is not right.
Defending the Inauthentic
There are Hadith in both Bukhari and Muslim that blatantly contradict the Quran. Yet the people of Hadith and their supporters who exaggerate in protecting the sunnah, defend them. Our conflict is not with them. We must specify that the conflict is not with regards to the authenticated words of Prophet but with regards to what they claimed to be authentic and it is not. Because the Prophet does not contradict the Quran as he said: I only follow what is revealed to me. (7:203).
Fabrication under Oppressive Regimes
For example, when the Quran advocates freedom of belief, there is a Hadith narrated by Ikramah to kill the apostates. The only punishments in the Quranic penal code are those regarding murder, corruption and aggression. As for the punishment for apostasy it was included by the jurists because the authorities wanted to treat any opposition as apostate. That’s how Jaad bin Dirham was killed as well as reformers such as Jahm ibn Safwan. Also when Allah says: “Paradise is not obtained by your wishful thinking, nor by that of the people of scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it”. (4: 123). But look at Sahih Muslim, where in a Hadith narrated by Abu Baradah says that on the day of judgment each Muslim will be redeemed from hell by sacrificing a Jew or a Christian. How does this oppressive Hadith compare with the Quranic justice?
Bukhari is the product of his Sheikh Ali ibn Al-Madini who is in turn the product of Suffyan Ouyana and his class. And Suffyan is the product of Al-Zuhri and his class who was the narrator at the court of Hisham Abd Al-Malik. Both Umayyad and Abbasid had people killed in the name of heresy. We must restore the spirit of the Quran. Why did the Islamic ummah become the weakest in intellect and the most obtuse and alienating human rights? Because the narrations prevailed over the Quran over knowledge and intellect.
Furthermore, I have mentioned an important point that the people of Hadith have turned the pyramid upside down. There are no sections devoted to important central issues such as knowledge, justice an honesty towards Allah in the book of Hadith.
I would not generalize against all Hadith, but most Hadith that are being circulated on people’s tongues. If you hear a preacher mention 100 Hadith, then know that 90 of them are falsely attributed to the Prophet. Their standard of authentication is wrong. They don’t examine the Hadith by Quran, and they authenticate the Hadith that contradict the Quran, the mind, the freedom and all principles.
To the hadith zealots anyone who rejects a Hadith that contradicts the Quran is accused of attacking the Sunnah. This is a fallacy.
To the people of Hadith now, the Quran has become a marginal source, rather the lowest source. When we were students, the general perception was that the Quran was not the guide, but Bukhari and Muslim were guides to the path of righteousness.
We must look at the Hadith’s matn (meaning) before its Sanaad (chain of narrators) and we must look at the Quran before the Hadith. It is the Quran that guides to the upright path and absolute text which Allah has commanded us to ponder but they don’t ponder. Often they dismiss 50 verses in favour of a questionable Hadith. They are falsifiers but they don’t realize.
As I said they have overturned Islam. They placed Quran at the bottom and glorified Bukhari, Nawawi and Ibne Hajjar as if they are angels, when in fact their compilers were poor men with known whims, flaws, hits and misses.
These are edited excerpts from the English subtext running on the TV debate. For full text of the debate log onto : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC4TuYrSNJsandfeature=youtu.be