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 www.free-minds.org. They have a lot of excellent articles on a variety of subjects, and always supported with ayat.