The relation between the Quran and Hadith – 3

Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 1 July 2022

“And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him to Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And this is the mighty achieve­ment.” — 4:13

 وَ مَنۡ یُّطِعِ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ یُدۡخِلۡہُ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ ذٰلِکَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿۱۳

“So keep your duty to Allah and set aright your differences, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers.” — 8:1

فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اَصۡلِحُوۡا ذَاتَ بَیۡنِکُمۡ ۪وَ اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱

“O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn away from Him while you hear.” — 8:20

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ لَا تَوَلَّوۡا عَنۡہُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَسۡمَعُوۡنَ ﴿ۚۖ۲۰

“…and (the believers, men and women) keep up prayer and give the due charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.” — 9:71

وَ یُقِیۡمُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ یُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ یُطِیۡعُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ سَیَرۡحَمُہُمُ اللّٰہُ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۷۱

“…keep up prayer and give the due (obligatory) charity and obey Allah and His Messenger.” — 58:13

 فَاَقِیۡمُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتُوا الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ ؕ


As I mentioned in my last two khutbas, the Holy Quran emphasises in so many places that Muslims must obey Allah and His Messenger. Apart from those verses which I recited at the beginning of those two khutbas, I have read five more such statements above. You can see from the last two verses that obeying Allah and then obeying the Messenger of Allah is mentioned along with prayer and giving Zakat, which are the most fundamental and primary duties of a Muslim.


Last week I related from Bukhari the incident, from close to the death of the Holy Prophet, when he asked for writing material to be brought so that he could dictate an important instruction for Muslims to prevent them from going astray after him. As I related, Hazrat Umar said that the Prophet is overwhelmed by his illness and that we have the Book of Allah with us which is sufficient for us. He meant that there was no need to put the Holy Prophet to this exertion when we have the Quran, which is sufficient to prevent Muslims from going astray.


There is another different incident in Bukhari in which the greatest of all Com­panions stopped the Holy Prophet from over-exerting himself needlessly, when he had done all that he could. Long before the battle of Badr, years before, the Holy Prophet had been given the promise by Allah that an army which will gather together to fight the Muslims will be put to flight and they will turn their backs. On the day of the battle he prayed to Allah within his tent with great passion as follows: “O Allah, I ask You to fulfil Your pledge and Your promise. O Allah, but if it is Your will (to do otherwise), You will not be worshipped after this day.” He meant that all Muslims, the worshippers of Allah, will be wiped out unless Allah fulfills His promise. Hazrat Abu Bakr took hold of his hand and said: “This is enough, O Messenger of Allah. You have appealed to your Lord too pressingly.” Then the Holy Prophet went out, wearing his battle dress, reciting the verse of the Quran: “Soon shall the forces be put to flight and they will turn their backs” (54:45). (Bukhari, hadith 2915, 4875, 4877).


According to the version in Sahih Muslim, it was when the Holy Prophet saw that the enemy forces numbered one thousand while his Companions were about 300 that he raised his hands, facing the Qiblah, and started saying this prayer. He stretched his hands so far in calling upon Allah that his cloak fell off his shoulders. Then Hazrat Abu Bakr came and picked up his cloak and put it back on his shoulders, and said to him as above. (Sahih Muslim, Book: Jihad and Expeditions, hadith 1763). This incident again, like the one with Hazrat Umar, shows the human nature of the Holy Prophet. His concern for his followers made him deeply emotional and wanting to do more, but his great and closest Companions could see, more objectively, that he had done all that he could. This also teaches us that it is the duty of the followers in any group to advise their leader, no matter how good, sincere or great the leader may be. The followers must not have the attitude that whatever the leader does is right or that, as Allah is on his side, we don’t have any responsibility to give the leader appropriate advice.


I mentioned last week that when Hazrat Aishah heard some people saying that if a dog, donkey or woman passes in front of a person who is praying, this makes his prayer null and void by spoiling it, she said “Do you equate us (women) with the dog and the donkey?”, and then she went on to relate that she had seen the Holy Prophet coming in to her room and start saying his prayers while she would be lying in bed in front of him, between him and the Qiblah. Obviously, she could not produce any witnesses to verify this, but her statement is accepted by all as true. Our collectors of Hadith do not say that her evidence cannot be accepted because it is the evidence of just one woman, and it needs confirmation by at least another woman. They held the principle that anything reported by a Companion, man or woman, is true. Of course, any opinion expressed by any Companion, or any conclusion drawn by him, could be mistaken. But if any of them says that he or she saw or heard something, then it is certain that they did see or hear it.


I also related another incident of Hazrat Aishah in the last Khutba where she said: “The Quran is sufficient for you”: حَسْبُكُمُ الْقُرْآنُ. And I related the incident of Hazrat Umar where he said to the Holy Prophet: “We have the Book of Allah with us which is sufficient for us” وَعِنْدَنَا كِتَابُ اللّٰهِ حَسْبُنَا. It is not meant that Muslims don’t need anything other than the Quran. What is meant is that if a teaching or principle is established from the Quran, then it cannot be overturned by something outside the Quran, nor can it be perfected and completed by something outside the Quran as if the Quran was deficient. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, has also referred to these words of Hazrat Aishah and Hazrat Umar. In his book Ayyam-us-Sulh he has given a list of the beliefs held by him and his followers. He writes:


“However much our opponent ulama create hatred against us among the people and declare us kafir and devoid of faith, and try to make the Muslims believe that I, along with all my Jamaat, have deviated from the Islamic beliefs and foundations of faith, these are all fabrications of those jealous Maulavis. No one with even a grain of fear of God in his heart can make such fabrications. We believe in the five funda­mentals upon which Islam is based, and we abide by the word of God, i.e., the Holy Quran, which it is obligatory upon us to follow. Like Hazrat Umar we say “the Book of Allah is sufficient for us”, and like Hazrat Aishah when there is a conflict and contradiction between the Hadith and the Quran, we give preference to the Quran. … We believe that whatever Allah has said in the Holy Quran, and whatever the Holy Prophet Muhammad has said, is true, in accordance with what I have stated above.


To proceed further on the subject of this series of khutbas, I now need to explain the following. Hadith collections such as Bukhari and Muslim, which properly examined and classified the reports and sayings attributed to the Holy Prophet that were in circulation were made about 250 years after the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. These collections were complete and comprehensive as regards the subjects mentioned in them. Before these collections were produced, some compilations had already been made in the previous century but they only contained hadith reports on a limited number of topics and only those reports which were known in the region where the compiler lived. During this time, you couldn’t find any properly-recognised collection of Hadith. So Muslim scholars of this period produced books of Islamic law known as the books of Fiqh. These books dealt with questions about prayer, fasting, charity, hajj, trading, war, marriage, divorce, inheritance etc. They answered them on the basis of the Quran and whatever reports about the Holy Prophet’s practice that they had access to. There were four main scholars who, separately and independently, produced their own books of Fiqh. So there were four different sets of Islamic law which spread in different countries, and these are named after their founders. So we have Hanafi, Shafi‘i, Maliki and Hanbali types of Fiqh. In the Indian subcontinent it was Hanafi Fiqh which came to be generally followed. Many centuries later, under Mughal rule of India, the emperor Aurangzeb, about 300 years ago, gathered together about 500 Ulama of the Hanafi Fiqh to produce the official Islamic law for his empire. This book is known as Fatawa al-Alamgir. Later on, under British rule of India, this was used as the law book to apply Islamic law to Muslims in personal and civil matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance.


So the situation in the Muslim world became that the practice of Islam, what you did in practice to act on Islam, was understood to be what was contained in these books of Fiqh. People, including scholars, stopped checking whether the conclusions drawn in these books, and their rulings and fatwas, were justified from the Quran or if they were applicable in the circumstances of a thousand years ago but were no longer applicable in the later changed circumstances. On some issues, the books of Fiqh started with one wrong idea which they misunderstood from the real teachings of Islam. But then, on the basis of that one wrong idea, they built an entire structure of laws. Practices such as a man divorcing his wife by saying to her three times “I divorce you” are based on Fiqh. Another example is the death penalty for apostasy, that Islam teaches that if a Muslim leaves the religion of Islam he must be killed. More generally, the wrong concept of Jihad, as fighting a war against all non-Muslims, is largely based on Fiqh, and not the Quran and Hadith.


So may Allah grant success to the work of those scholars of Islam who have tried to remove these misconceptions, and enable us to take forward their work — Ameen.