Hadiths – a poll

January 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm (Islam)

I hope this works! I’m trying to create a poll to get people’s opinions on why some hadiths specify rules that are not in the Quran.

For some examples of what I mean:

– hadiths say that women can’t participate in certain religious duties during menstrual periods, which is not in the Quran;

– hadiths give a slightly different wudu procedure than that in the Quran, including modifying the washing of the feet into merely wiping over socks;

– hadiths specify the prayer ritual, and Muhammad is reported to have stated various things which make the prayer invalid;

– hadiths describe various criminal punishments that are not in the Quran, as well as many other legal injunctions.

I think this should be really interesting. Please vote!!

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30 Comments

  1. Achelois said,

    Done!

  2. susanne430 said,

    I voted for the first one because I read your post to Samer and he said that is what Muslims believe.

    • susanne430 said,

      Oh, he said they believe the Quran doesn’t mention everything because they don’t believe one book would be enough to clarify everything so God gave Muhammad instructions to clarify things that were not thoroughly explained. God did not want the Quran to only be a book of laws. So God revealed the other things to Muhammad that were not included in THE Book. He said they give example of the Old Testament and say reading all the laws make you feel bored. 🙂 I tried typing this as he told me. 🙂

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      That is certainly traditional belief, but as you can see, not all Muslims think that way!

      • susanne430 said,

        Yes, thankfully. And I only shared what HE told me, not what I think myself. 🙂

  3. hennamenna said,

    They were just Muhammad’s opinion or were needed for practical reasons, and were not intended to be taken as universal truth

    I chose this one because it is what I believe-I think?! :/

    They have always been the one thing I’ve struggled with from the beginning and the way you put it here is how I feel about it I guess. I believe that if some of the things were THAT important, God would have put them in the Quran.

    I don’t see anything wrong with following the example of someone who is pious and good-a messenger of God… but I don’t think that I have to transform into that person – like imitating every tiny little detail that person did/does- in order for God to forgive me or to be a good Muslim. Then I would no longer be me?! The me that God made. The me that God forgives. The Me that God guides. The Me that God loves. I would just be a mindless robot.

    Perhaps some of the Hadiths are needed to help guide us in certain matters-but again, I am not thoroughly convinced yet and I don’t think that I need to be. I think that God will show me and if I am wrong, then may He also forgive me.

    Take Care
    **hugs & kisses**

    Shell

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      I always had a huge problem with the ones that say “such and such makes prayer INVALID”. Sounds like something really important to know, no? So if Muhammad said that, was he right or wrong? Or maybe he didn’t say it. I didn’t want to believe he would say that.
      Thanks for commenting… hugs & kisses back! 🙂

      • LK said,

        I picked this one too! No one knows who really wrote the hadiths. And a lot of them are time period specific.

  4. ModestJustice said,

    In agreement with hennamenna: If they were seriously God’s word, why weren’t they in the Qur’an, isn’t there a verse that says it is complete? So why add on?!

    Something I’m sure has been addressed countless times 😛

    And I totally did a past post about imitating the Prophet pbuh, down to the way he ate.

    I mean, I don’t find it necessary at all, but it is a person’s choice.

    :DDD

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      I don’t find it necessary either! It’s quite funny because Christians actually believe Jesus is God, and yet they didn’t record all Jesus’s habits and imitate them down to the way he ate and used the bathroom 😀

    • aynur said,

      6:114 “Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this Scripture fully detailed?” Those to whom We have given the Scripture know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt.

  5. coolred38 said,

    Other reason…you didnt mention that many of those hadith have no verifiable chain stretching back to the prophet…which means they cant be taken as fact…if fact is what your interested in.

    Hadith have their uses up to a point…what they do NOT have is Gods stamp of approval…which is something important when claiming “its from God”,,,even if its considered second hand through the prophet.

    If you truly with all your heart believe the Quran IS the actual word of God sent through the prophet…and is PERFECT as it claims to be…then there is NO WAY IN HELL you can accept hadith as God sanctioned when they so clearly contradict the Quran in so many areas…areas that are HUGE when it comes to so called Islamic practice.

    Either God says to lash adulterers and allow them to repent…or He says to stone them and be done with it…there is a huge difference between lashing someone and letting them walk away (if they can) and killing them..in which they cant walk away from obviously. So what do we believe…the Quran or the hadith on this matter?

    Its huge people…how can there be any question as to the validity of hadith.

    Yes…some are useful and in keeping with the flavor and tune of the Quran…but most simply fall way short…but its those “short” ones that basically run Islam today…and how sad for all Muslims that have allowed that to happen.

    btw…the Quran only mentions the menses of women ONCE in the whole book…so its amazing how we got that whole…women cant do anything…touch anything..and are weak and deficient in their religion…based on one tiny little mention of their period…thank you hadith.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Coolred, from what you’ve said I would probably have selected:
      “Muhammad would not add anything on top of the Quran; those hadiths are inauthentic.”
      no?

      • coolred38 said,

        Not exactly…because he did serve a purpose in explaining some actions in more minute details etc…so, as I said…SOME hadith do serve a purpose in clarification etc…but they shouldnt ADD anything that completely changes the word of God..only explain it.

        Considering the adultery issue…he can explain that the lashes should be done like this…so many a day…using whatever…with mercy shown to a certain degree as its not supposed to kill them..and ONLY after witnesses have been determined to be honest etc…and the guilty found guilty or whatever…what he CANT do is negate the order of lashes and declare adulterers must be killed, murdered by stoning. Thats changing the word of God..and the prophet was rebuked several times in the Quran for even attempting to do such a thing…but hadith do exactly that in mnany instances. Change the word of God…and Muslims declare the Prophet himself had the nerve to do that. Not if he was a Prophet of God he didnt…hence…they are fabrications and must be ignored.

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          OK, I get you. So he might have elaborated on the Quran but not changed anything or introduced any new rules. Got it!

    • aynur said,

      Yeah I don’t get it. The chapter that it talks about the punishment for zina starts out by saying that it is making the punishment clear (something to that effect, I’m not looking at it right now) – and it says nothing about stoning.

  6. Achelois said,

    I personally believe that Muhammad neither expected the Quran to be compiled like it is complied today nor did he ever imagine that hadith books would be put together. In the absence of cross referencing, we don’t know what exactly happened 1400 years ago.

    I know Bukhari had every decent intention but he did something which can get pretty difficult for Muslims today. I don‎’t understand why Bukhari even went to all the trouble to find out how many stones to use to go to the loo. That is really wrong. You can’t use someone’s life like that even if he was a prophet!

    I was reading about the Sabians on Wikipedia once because I met an Iraqi woman who told me that she was a Sabian and I thought they were extinct 😀 So I find out that they fast during a particular lunar month that coincides with some days in Ramadan and pray five times a day reciting their own verses but with the body actions of Muslims and they even circumcise their boys and girls.

    Strangely enough though if you speak to any Muslim they will say that Muhammad was taught how to pray by Gabriel who taught him how to do ablution and then pray five times a day (after Mairaj). It is like Islam was created out of a vacuum with the help of Gabriel. All Muslim boys are circumcised but we don’t know why from Quran or hadith.

    The idea is that Muhammad had social responsibilities, family responsibilities with children and about a dozen wives, he was the head of his community, there were more than two dozen wars being fought, raids conducted, and legal battles fought but he still had the time to learn every single act of his life from Gabriel. If he was constantly in the company of Gabriel then why ever wait for revelations (I’m thinking about how Muhammad had to wait for over a month for a revelation to clear Aisha’s name after the incident of Ifk)?

    And this is where hadith becomes important because we assume that he led a perfect life which was dictated at every step by God through Gabriel so we must eat as he ate, sleep as he slept, wash our noses like he did etc. My cousin has a Salafi wife and they have duas stuck on their bathroom doors to recite before going in – left foot first! Give me a break!

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      You seem to be on a roll today Achelois!

      That’s interesting. There are hadiths were Muhammad told people not to write down his sayings, aren’t there? It certainly doesn’t seem that the divine (or even human) intention would be to pass them on orally for 200 years and then compile them into books and then develop a legal system out of them! What do you think he imagined or intended his legacy to be?

      I was always happier thinking Islamic rituals did not come out of a vacuum, because I loved the idea of continuation with the past. But I suppose that doesn’t really fit with the instructions being given in the miraj… unless it’s because the instructions didn’t change and the previous traditions were still following those same instructions pretty well. But then I never believed there was just one right way to do it anyway. And I wouldn’t have entertained “left foot first” and other superstitions! 😀

      • Achelois said,

        Oops! I better calm down then 😀

        I had a day off today. You can tell that, can’t you?

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          No, it’s a good thing! Everywhere I look there are interesting comments from you for me to read. You should have more days off!! 😀

    • aynur said,

      I thought that it says in different places in the Qur’an that the other Prophets prayed also? Or am I imagining things?….

      • Achelois said,

        Yes, and in ahadith too. Even pagans “prayed” but certainly the prayer would have differed. That is one thing I never understood from the accounts of Mairaj either – I never understood how all the prophets (200,000+ as Islam says) prayed the Muslim prayer behind Muhammad in a mosque that never existed at that time –Masjid al Aqsa that is mentioned by name in the Quran was erected more than five years after Muhammad’s death on leveled ground. And they allegedly offered salah reciting from the Quran that never existed in their time and said the tashadud and sent blessings on Muhammad and his ummah.

        There is the account of Jesus’ prayers. Jesus used to prayer regularly which prompted his disciples to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray – “as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) which tells us that John prayed too (but prayed differently) that he taught his disciples. That is when Jesus told them to say the Lord’s prayer. But he explicitly warned against repeating memorized prayers – “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7). I find that very interesting because Muslim prayer/dhikr is quite repetitive. In any case, it is only fair to believe that every prophet had their own style of worship.

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          “Masjid al Aqsa that is mentioned by name in the Quran was erected more than five years after Muhammad’s death”
          Wow! How do we explain that? :O

          I think Jesus just meant, don’t think that mindlessly rattling off repeated words is of any value. I think repeating memorised prayers in a meditative way is still OK personally… each to their own… although it’s harder to be mindful when there’s no variety.

        • susanne430 said,

          Have you ever had people mindlessly say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” – maybe out of habit. It’s like you KNEW their heart was not in it, but they were just repeating a phrase they knew you’d “want” to hear.

          I think repeating rote prayers – or any prayer – can be mindless words IF our hearts are not behind them. We can rattle off a holy sounding prayer while our minds are a thousand miles away wondering what to prepare for dinner or wondering who is winning the football game or trying to remember where you were supposed to take your child tomorrow.

          I believe Jesus was warning against these types of prayers where we just repeat words and it becomes so habitual that we don’t think about what we are saying. Our lips are into the prayers while our hearts/minds are far, far away.

          The Lord’s Prayer is a model. It’s a nice prayer said on its own, but it’s more importantly a model teaching us how to pray. First we glorify God “Hallowed be your name”, pray according to His will, pray for our needs (give us this day our daily bread), pray for our forgiveness which is in accordance to how we have forgiven others, pray for deliverance from temptations, and so forth. Even repeating the Lord’s Prayer can become rote and we can say it without thinking of what we are saying.

          Basically God wants heart worship. Remember the words in the OT where God declares, “These people worship me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from me.” God doesn’t want lip service, He wants heart worship and heart thankfulness and heartfelt prayers.

          We don’t want our loved ones to merely *say* “I love you,” we want to know it by the way they act. We went the genuine thing … not mere words.

          Now that I’ve said the same thing about three times within this comment and become repetitive myself, I will hit “submit comment.” 😀

          • Wrestling With Religion said,

            I think we were typing at the same time – amazing how similar the words we used!

            Church hymns are repetitive, aren’t they? They can become mindless. I think the trick is not necessarily to look for endless variety but just be aware of this. Jesus was saying, be aware of it and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s perfectly OK not to be mindfully present.

            • Achelois said,

              I agree. I too think this is what Jesus was saying, but like I have been praying like a Muslim for over 20 years and most of the time I just repeat the motions and prayers without thinking. It has become second nature and the only time I conciously think what I’m doing is when I forget how many rakats I have offered and how many to go.

              I am so used to the ayat al kursi, I say it in my sleep if I forget to recite it. And I recite it as soon as I get into the car. I think it is a good thing, in a way, actually. However, I will admit I have never ever thought about what it means 😀

              • Wrestling With Religion said,

                Haha! I’m like that with the Lord’s prayer, it was something I learnt as a child and it’s actually quite difficult to peel off the years of accumulated associations and just hear it as it is. But then if those associations are good, maybe that’s no problem. Maybe it’s a different way of being mindful… not on the text itself but on the thoughts surrounding it.

              • aynur said,

                I’m wondering how it can be a benefit to us, if we don’t understand what we are reciting?? Like, the Qur’an says that we aren’t to pray if we are intoxicated, because we need to know what we are saying. But if we’re just repeating words in a different language then we don’t understand what we’re saying.

                • Achelois said,

                  Exactly! I agree with your Aynur.

                  I understand Arabic although I must admit I had to learn classical Arabic to understand the Quran. There are still passages that seem to fly right out of the window if I don’t read carefully. I often have to sit with my Quran notes and my own copy of the Quran is filled with margin notes and post-its where I feel my interpretation fits better (I cross-refer with the Bible and make notes for my family).

                  But there are millions of Muslims who don’t understand a word of what they recite. Like in ‘Khuda ke liye’ the male protagonist was held by the FBI over a verse from the Quran that he wore around his arm and the agent asks him what it meant and he says “how do I know? It’s something in Arabic from the Quran. Lots of Muslims can READ it but don’t know what it means”!

                  South Asian Muslims can read the Quran fluently perhaps because the Urdu-Arabic script is the same (see them speed-reading at funerals; they can read one chapter in record time!) but often the average Muslim doesn’t understand a single word.

                  There is the story my friend told me once of an old Bengali man who picked up a piece of paper from the footpath on which there was something written in Arabic, folded it, kissed it and placed it in his book he was carrying. My friend asked him what it was and he said “it is a leaf from the Quran.” Turns out it was an Egyptian porn ad! 🙂

                  Last year my friend gave me a beautiful hand-loomed rug with ayahs on it. She said she got it from Pakistan. When I read it they were just random words in Farsi and Arabic! Utter gibberish sold as Quranic verses and Muslims buy it!

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