Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On the Hadith

Amber asked me a question about Muhammad’s behavior in regards to his critics, as mentioned in the hadith about him ordering the death of Asmaa bint Marwan, for example, and how I could reconcile that behavior. The answer to that is very simple. I am aware that many of you will disagree with my position on this, and that’s okay. However, don't try enter into a debate with me to change my mind and tell me I'm wrong, a heretic, and going to Hell. Allah (SWT) knows my heart. If you can't restrain yourself, you’re free to stop following my blog. In fact, if it bothers you that much, I encourage you to go. I'm not looking to cause trouble, just express my point of view.

My answer is this: I don’t follow the hadith. Gasp, shock, I know. Why? Because, as far as I’m concerned, the hadith are nothing but hearsay at best. Yes, I know that they went through a chain of narration to test their authenticity, blah blah. I’ve heard all that. But it’s like that whisper game where one person is told something, and it gets passed on down the line until you reach the last person, and the last person says what they thought they were told – which always ends up being totally different from the original comment. The fact of the matter is, modern scholars can’t even completely agree on what is authentic and what is weak or outright false. If scholars can’t figure it out, how is your average Muslim supposed to know?

The hadith are also the source used most often by the crazy extremist-types to justify their behavior, by governments to continue stoning people (hello, Iran) or to prohibit women from leaving their homes, going to the mosque to pray, and a whole variety of other issues facing the Muslim world over here. In some cases, the hadith are used as a guide INSTEAD OF the Qur’an. That’s when people begin to dangerously elevate Muhammad to a near worship-like status. How can you put the hadith and sunnah anywhere near the level of the Qur’an, the Bible, or the Torah? You can’t, and by doing so, I believe that we risk associating Muhammad with God (which is often the complaint made against Christians about Jesus and the greatest sin a person can commit).

Most often, the comment I get after this is: But Muhammad himself told us to follow his sunnah and the Qur’an!

Yes, he did. I’m not arguing that. But what so many people disregard is that some 30-ish% of the Qur’an IS sunnah! It contains a lot of questions from Muhammad and God’s answers. Want to know if gambling or alcohol is allowed? Qur’an has the answer. How to behave with the opposite sex? Qur’an has that answer, too. Want to know how or when to pray? How to treat your family? What to do to be pleasing to God? You guessed it. Qur’an has the answer.

In short, the Qur’an has the answers. It states many times that it is a detailed book, complete in itself, but that if you have any questions or doubt about what was revealed in it, you are supposed to look to the Gospel (Bible) and Torah. I don’t need to look any farther than that.

If you’re interested in learning more about Qur’an alone, go to They have a lot of excellent articles on a variety of subjects, and always supported with ayat.


  1. Maybe this is answered on the site, I glanced at it but didn't see it. I'll go back later and actually do some reading.

    However, my question is this. I was under the impression that the manner of prayer, the movements, and exact wording, aren't contained in the Qur'an. That you only get those from the sunnah/hadith. I'm assuming you don't believe that to be true? So where in the Qur'an are the instructions on how to pray? Does that mean that the movements aren't important?

  2. I enjoyed reading this. I've met a few other Quran-only Muslims on blogs. :)

  3. Amber: They aren't. But you get the most important thing about prayer from the Qur'an. Prayers should be sincere and heartfelt, not recited mindlessly just because you have to. I'm all about sincerity. Form is really secondary to me. Something I've carried over from Christianity. :)

    Susanne: :) Thank you!

  4. I see. *laughs* I like form...but yes, without sincerity and understanding behind it, it's nothing.

    So does that mean that you don't pray in the same manner as other Muslims do? *is curious* I'm not sure I've ever run into a Muslim who doesn't follow hadith, sunnah, etc. so I don't really know how this works! Inform me! :)

  5. No, I often do. But it's not always possible (ex: 10 hour plane rides back to the States). I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the form -- I find it very meditative and relaxing, highly conducive to getting in the mindset for honest prayer, as well as drawing Muslims together in a shared experience. But I don't consider it the be all/end all of prayer. Closing my eyes and talking to God works just as well, as far as I'm concerned, and sometimes that's the only option we have. I think God is fine with that, and He's just happy that I'm talking with Him!

  6. Do you try and keep to the five daily prayers as well?

  7. I actually try to do 3. Maybe I'll work up to all five eventually, but morning, mid-day, and night are sufficient for me. I base that, of course, off of a verse in the Qur'an, where those three times of the day are listed as private (and therefore, in my mind, prayer) times.

  8. Also, there are several articles on prayer on the website. :)

  9. See this one:

  10. Actually, ya'll know TWO Quran-only Muslims. Hi!^_^

  11. Hi Sarah! But I don't really know you, do I? ;)

  12. No, not really. ^_^ But I'm sure its a nice reminder for Heather to know shes not alone.I tried to make sure to warn her in the beginning: some Sunni Muslims can get VERY nasty about us. Its always nice to know you've got back up.^_^ That being said, everyone here seems lovely so I can't imagine any need for 'backup'. ^_^

  13. I imagine so, actually. My first encounters with Muslims on the net were actually Salafi's, and while they were all very nice, they're also very attached to the hadith, etc.

    Give us time. I'm sure we'll find *something* to argue about. Everyone does, eventually.

    And I thought of another question for Heather. Or you, Sarah, if you're in a question answering kind of mood - the Qur'an's authenticity as the word of God is dependent on Mohammed being a true prophet. So lay out the case for his prophethood, as you see it, please. I don't see Mohammed as a bad man, but as a very typical man on his time. Shouldn't prophets be...different? I've yet to run across anything that makes him different from, say, Joseph Smith in more modern times.

  14. I consider myself a combination of Shi'a and Quran only (although I'm a bit Quran FIRST instead of only...I think hadith are helpful in cases of prayer, history, and such, but as to which foot I need to enter the bathroom with, I'll pass!)

    Let people in on that fact and suddenly you have a whole slew of people out to "correct" you. At least you've only chosen one "deviant" view, lol, I've got two! (and no, I don't really think either is deviant, in fact, I think Islam could become a much better religion if people would quit placing hadith above or equal to Quran)

    I'm happy for you and glad that you are comfortable with this identity!

    I am curious, do you feel hijab is obligatory using the Quran only? I've read so many different translations that come from a variety of stances from it is fard to it is WRONG because it is adding something to the religion. Just curious on your view. I wear it most often, and will eventually even in front of my family (insha'Allah) but I really am not sure if it is fard or not. I mainly like it as an identifier and reminder.

  15. Amber- whats funny is that if you discount the hadith, theres not much you can say personally about Muhammed.Not like the Sunnis anyway with the whole 'muhammed did this, muhammed did that.' Historically speaking though, we know this: He was a sound leader, known to be fair to his family and community, not a dictator like you see so often in middle eastern countries today. When the ummah was under HIS control, they largely abided by the laws on warfare set in the Quran, which are surprisingly thorough and fair.

    God chose Muhammed presumably b/c he knew he possessed the unique abilities needed to be a good prophet. Charismatic, levelheaded and with a reputation in his community that would ensure he could not be quickly silenced. Its like a perfect storm, all these little elements come together exactly right to make this great thing, whether its just a thunderstorm or a prophet. ^_^ That being said Muhammed was, according to hadith and history books, a pretty typical guy. I think that worked largely in his favor. He found followers by being a respected member of the community,honest and a typical guy, just like Jesus found followers by standing out, in his own distinct way. You see this with other prophets of course. They have have their own special thing and way of doing things. Uniquely suited for their environment and time and therefore perfectly suited to be a prophet.

    There are other ways of verifying the Quran and God actually requests you to do so.I'll save you the novel and point you to free minds. Theres a few articles on it ,if I recall correctly. ^_^

  16. Nikki- Salafis? Ewwww. It tends to be a bit worse about the quran alone thing though. Sunnis are used to having Shias around. They're all of a sudden noticing WE exist and now they are categorically PISSED. And why not, we threaten there entire belief system and make them look like I do know some great Sunnis though who are completely cool with it so, I think its kinda hit or miss. Just don't yell it in a crowded masjid.lmao

    The prevailing opinion amongst moderate 'quran aloners/quranists/etc" is that hijab, as in the headscarf, is neither a requirement nor a sin. God asks only that you cover your chest and dress modestly and appropriately. I think this may be b/c Allah in his infinite wisdom knew there would be Muslims of every culture and that they would want to wear their own ethnic dress. This is a very simple rule, very adaptable no matter where you are.No We are Muslims, not Arabs. Why should we have to look like them? Just b/c the first muslims wore specific clothing(which looks nothing like modern arab clothing for the most part btw) doesn't mean we should wear that if we are more comfortable in our native dress. That being said, as long as your hijab fulfills the requirements Allah asks for (covers your chest properly), there is no harm in wearing it, as long as you realize it is cultural dress and not a required part of the Islamic faith.It is a sin to make things haram or halal that Allah did not and to put words in his mouth and tell lies. If we said the hijab, as it currently is, was explicitly commanded in the Quran, it WOULD be a lie. The current mode of hijab has hardly been popular for 100 years in most places.
    I have heard some quran alone muslims say though that we shouldn't wear it lest we be confused for Sunnis. Its a valid point but I think its really up to the individual to find what they are comfortable with. *shrug* I wear the headscarf off and on.

    Whats your take Heather?

  17. Re: hijab

    I think it's a matter of personal choice. If you can and want to wear it, do it. If you don't want to wear it, or extenuating circumstances make it practically impossible, then don't. I only wear it during prayer here, but when I get home I'll be wearing it all the time (except when I go home to see my family -- they don't know, and I don't think I'll be mentioning it anytime soon.). It's my preference. I love it, feel comfortable in it, and it definitely identifies me as a Muslim. But I'll never give someone else a hard time if they don't wear it.

  18. Amber: Thanks! You just gave me inspiration for a post about prayer. :)

  19. All this back and forth has been interesting!

    A thought that came to mind: for me Quran only makes sense and perhaps it's why I've often questioned all those rules from the ahadith (how to enter a bathroom comes to mind as absurd and too controlling of people not to mention a mite superstitious!)

    I grew up Protestant without the Church Tradition that comes along with Roman Catholicism,Eastern Orthodoxy and some of the Protestant groups that are closer to those (e.g. Episcopalians, Church of England).

    However, for someone who has grown up with their faith using Scripture PLUS Tradition and thinking we Protestants have cut off half our legs by ditching Tradition, I can see where throwing out the ahadith can be problematic.

    Basically the Quran only is Sola Scriptura in the same sense many of the Protestant Reformers were. :)

  20. Sarah,

    Actually, it was I who mentioned the salafi's, not Nikki. :)

    And they were very nice people, really. They get such a bad reputation and I don't always get it, but then I don't have to deal with them as someone whom they think is following their religion wrong, so maybe that's it. :)

    If each prophet was chosen for their time and their place, why is Mohammed the last prophet? Times have changed, obviously. I'm just questioning, I guess, what it is that makes him so special?

    I will check out that site, but there's a lot of information there so it's not a quick looksee, of course. :)


    There's a difference though. Tradition doesn't contradict Scripture. There are instances where information contained in the ahadith contradicts that in the Qur'an. Tradition helped to create the Bible that we have. The Qur'an came before the sunnah was codified and the ahadith compiled.

  21. Amber - I do think that tradition sometimes contradicts scripture in the Christian faith, as well. Nowhere in the Bible does it suggest praying to Mary as catholics do, does it mention sainthood and the process of obtaining it, etc. Maybe you don't see this as a contradiction, and perhaps it's not as clear cut as in Islam where the Quran says punishment for adultery is lashes and hadith say stoning, but it is still contradictory to the monotheistic teachings in the Bible. Also, it doesn't make a lot of sense that the Bible contains the story about the golden calf made while Moses was receiving the commandments, yet certain churches (again, catholics...I don't mean to pick on them but I don't know much about others aside from what I was raised as (church of christ)) have statues of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, and various other prophets and saints. Another contradiction is the clear teaching of baptism as immersion at adulthood in the Bible, and the now traditional sprinkling baptism of babies. I do NOT think babies should be immersed in water (dangerous) but I don't think babies should logically be baptized at all (again, I was raised church of Christ, which means although no longer Christian, I do see their logic on baptism when using the scripture as reference rather than tradition).

    I think part of the draw I feel to Quran only/Quran FIRST (again, my own term) comes from my original upbringing as a scripture following Christian. Sure our church had little rituals, lighting the candles before service, the method of passing the communion tray, etc. but they were clear in telling us there was no RULE stating that these things had to be done in this way in this order. I appreciate that about my old church still and wish Islam could find a way to separate tradition and culture from religion once and for all.

  22. Nikki,

    Wow. What is it that so many of us, especially Qur'an aloners, come from the Church of Christ? I attended it from about the age of 5 until I was 17.

    1. I am a quran aloner, and I come from the church of christ too!! :)

  23. Is Church of Christ the same as the UCC?

  24. lol Yeah, wasn't that the church that Sister Andi attended too? Andi is a mutual friend of mine and Heathers on Yet another convert to Islam, although, she has not gone to way of Quran Alone yet.Shes too busy trying not to get lynched. Being a an artsy, smart, convert Muslim teenager in a VERY small town in Alabama? BAD

  25. Nikki,

    I disagree, obviously. :)

    Tradition, when correctly understood, never contradicts Scripture. There are those (in Protestant circles) who misunderstand or misrepresent what Tradition teaches and then claim that it contradicts Scripture, but this is not the case.

    Catholics and Orthodox do not pray to Mary (or any of the Saints) in the same way that we pray to God. It's a longer explanation than the comment box will allow, but there is a line between worship (which belongs to God), and the relationship that one has with the Saints. Sainthood is mentioned in the Bible, as are relics and many of the things associated with saints and their remains.

    One of the major issues that people who come from a Protestant background have is that they come under the illusion that the Bible is the be all and end all of the Christian faith. That it contains every piece of information necessary. But it doesn't. The Bible is an aid, a very important one, but it is not the pillar and foundation of the truth. That would be the Church. And the Church is Tradition and Scripture, not one or the other.

    Also, it doesn't make a lot of sense that the Bible contains the story about the golden calf made while Moses was receiving the commandments, yet certain churches (again, catholics...I don't mean to pick on them but I don't know much about others aside from what I was raised as (church of christ)) have statues of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, and various other prophets and saints.

    Not a contradiction, as the issue with the golden calf was that they were worshiping it as a god. Catholics do not worship the statutes within their churches. That being said, I do understand that it is a fine and easily misunderstood line, and that is why I hold with the Orthodox position wherein there are no statues, but rather icons.

    Another contradiction is the clear teaching of baptism as immersion at adulthood in the Bible, and the now traditional sprinkling baptism of babies.

    I won't argue that one, actually. Except to say that it is Tradition to Baptise by triple immersion. Most churches no longer do this. I am converting to the one which does, the one which upholds the true Tradition.

    As for the 'adulthood' portion of your comment, while it is not spelled out in the Bible, there is the baptism of entire households, which would contain children and infants. Aside from that, it is Tradition for children to be baptised as infants. It's a matter of bringing them into the family of the Church so that they can be full participants in the life of the Church from the beginning. It makes no sense to cut them off from necessary spiritual food until they are a certain age.

    As for it being dangerous to baptise infants...have you ever seen an infant baptism by immersion? The babies are never in any danger. They're held the entire time, the Priest cups his hand over their face so that there's a pocket of air, and it's done very quickly.

  26. For informational purposes and not for the sake of argument,the Islamic tradition agrees with Nikki.

    We do not believe children are accountable for 'sin' until they are adults.(So, no babies in hijabs, however cute they may be. ^_^) Therefore, if we HAD baptism, we don't for obvious reasons :), we would agree with the generally protestant opinion, that there is no sense in baptizing babies.Not from a spiritual standpoint anyway.Community is another thing entirely. Its not surprising then that Nikki has this opinion on it. Shes just switched from a faith where thats the minority opinion to one where its the

    That being said:

    1. I was baptised.My family is Lutheran. It never made me feel like a full participant in church, even as a child. I was always there somewhat I was the first person anyone could remember in church history who went all the way through with the Confirmation process,bought the gown and everything and when asked to decide a few days before the ceremony, said no.Actually, I believe it was an emphatic,"Hell no." What can I say, I was a crazy kid.My poor parents.....^_^ lol

    And 2. I think its just sunnah, but Muslims have a celebration that accomplishes roughly the same thing, community-wise. A small amount of money is donated to charity, a lot of food is bought and everyone is invited over for a huge party to celebrate the new baby. I think some people also name their children at this time.

    Regardless of religion, I think thats a good way of introducing Baby to the world. My husband and I plan on adopting and whether the child is a baby or not, we will be doing something similar to this I think.^_^

    Certainly less shocking than a face full of I love the look on some babies faces ,even if they're only sprinkled. Its like"How dare you?! What are you DOING?" Completely priceless. Super cute.Everyones always busy taking pictures of their pretty baptismal gowns. I want pictures of THAT instead. Babies make the GREATEST faces.lmao

  27. Sarah,

    :D Well, the Islamic tradition is free to agree with Nikki. I happen to disagree with both of them.

    Baptism is not to remove sin from children. The only sins a person is responsible for are their own personal sins, and at infancy, they have no sins. It's a misunderstanding in the Western churches. Baptism is Christian circumcision, basically.

    Baptism brings the child into the family of God, and with Chrismation allows the child to receive Holy Communion. Which is holy, spiritual food, strengthening the child and helping them to grow up right in God's spirit.

    I've seen it put like this. Say you have a child, and you don't let it participate in anything that the family does. You keep it outside, deny it food, etc. until it hits a magical age of reason. And then you tell the kid that it can be part of the family now, if it really wants to. Would you do that? Or would you feed the child what it needed from the beginning? Have it in the home with you and offer it the love and comfort and everything it needs in the first place? That's the difference between infant baptism and adult baptism.

    Not to be insulting, but (and I was raised Lutheran as well), that's because Lutheran's don't have correct understanding and theology. They baptise as infants, but they do not involve the child in the church life as a full member. I never felt like a part of the church either. I very explicitly felt rejected because I asked questions. I left the Lutheran church when I was 14 and now I know it was one of the best things I could have done.

    Don't Muslims also whisper the shahadah in their infants ears? Thus making the child Muslim from birth? Or is that something Qur'anists don't do?

    I wish you luck in your future adoption! I think it's a wonderful thing to do!

    Babies make the most awesome faces anyway. They're adorable!

  28. Just thought I'd come back and answer Got some updated info. for ya Amber.^_^

    Yes, they do,kind of.They whisper the adhan, the call to prayer. It is so that the first words the child hears are in praise of God, on their parents lips. It is a sweet idea I think but obviously it is just a tradition, like the aqeeqah, with all the food and whatnot. I do not know about other Quranists but it is something I will be doing possibly.What better words to start off your life with?^_^
    This will be sooner rather than later too I found out not to long ago (a few weeks) that after over a year of trying to have kids, my husband and I will finally be starting our family.^_^ SO, adoption will have to wait a bit but it will still be in our future. Our plan has always been to have one and adopt one. We will see where Allah takes us in the future. ^_^

    The Muslim idea on children can be confusing for some people. We do not believe babies are Muslim, in the practicing religious sense, b/c they are unable obviously and b/c they are not yet accountable for their sins.
    But we do believe they are muslim, in the general sense of following God's will b/c we feel that like others that are unaccountable (animals for instance) they have no choice yet. They just behave the way God has made them.^_^ They are perfect followers of God, beautiful in every way.^_^

  29. Ah, thanks for the info, Sarah.

    And I did know of the distinction between children being born muslim and being born Muslim. :) Amusing side note, though, if kids are so perfect in following God, why are they so sociopathic? Kids are selfish, believe that it's all about them and that the rules don't apply to them until they get close to ten or so.

    Aside from all of that, congratulations to you and your husband!