Islam and the Quran

How to Approach Hadith

Question: I want to know about ahadeeth. I don’t believe in ahadeeth. I follow the Quran alone. What do you say about this? Should we follow ahadeeth or not?

Ahadeeth (plural of hadith) are reports from the last Prophet (nabi) of God. Prophets are the best implementers of God’s religion, and believers are commanded by God to take them as examples. God the Almighty decrees:

“Surely there is a good example for you in the Messenger of God, for all those who look forward to God and the Last Day and remember God much.” (33:21)

The main problem in this context is summarized below :

We have many books that include narrations from the Messenger, but we do not exactly know which of those narrations are authentic and which of them are not. Even Saheeh al-Bukhari, one of the earliest and most respected of  Kutub al-Sittah was written two centuries after the Messenger’s decease. We know that in those books, there are fabrications, manipulations, too much misinformation, and other people’s words presented as Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh). The Prophet warned Muslims and taught them a method to solve this problem in his lifetime by saying:

“There will be people after me narrating you some words from me. Present their words to the Quran (Check them against the Quran). Take the ones that accord with the Quran for granted. Do not take the ones that contradict the Quran.” (Sunan al-Daraqutni, 4476)

As long as we have a responsibility to take the Prophet (nabi) as an example, we need to have information about him. We cannot shut our ears to hadith. We need to read the narrations and try to understand them in accordance with the Quran. The Messenger cannot say/do anything that contradicts the divine Message. If any narration we read is contradictory to a Quranic verse, we know that it cannot be a hadith, even though it may be categorized as “sound (saheeh)” by some scholars.

On the other hand, it is a wise thing for us to take hadeeth into our lives because the acts and sayings of  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were the applied form of the Quran into human life. After all, he is the Messenger of God, the best implementer of the Quran, and the best model for not only Muslims but also all humanity.

“We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world.” (21:107)

“As for those who follow that Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them; he will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and forbid them only from the foul, and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Those who believe in him, support him with respect, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him (the Quran) will attain the ultimate success. Say: “Oh humankind! I am God’s Messenger to you all. He is whom the dominion of the skies and the earth belongs. There is no deity but He. He grants life and brings death. Have faith, then in God and in His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write. He believes in God and His words. So follow him that you may be guided aright”.” (7:157-158)

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