of Hadith and Muslims' Denial
By: Ali Sina
There are two categories of Muslims. Those who accept the
authenticity of the Quran and the Hadith with no ifs or buts, and those
who deny the Hadith, partially or totally and try to reinterpret the Quran
in ways completely opposite to its apparent meaning so that it become
acceptable to a reasonable mind.
For 1200 years Bukhari’s collection of hadithes was regarded (and
still is) by the majority of the Muslims only second to Quran. Apart
from the Quran, Muslims, especially the Sunnis, regard Hadithes as the
source of guidance. The hadithes are stories of the life of Muhammad,
collected by scholars in the second and third century after the
Hijra. The most famous and revered ones are those of Bukhari and his
student Muslim. They are called Sahih (correct, sound or authenticated)
because they went through a process of authentication called Ilmul
Hadith. However there is a new trend amongst some of the Muslims
especially the submitters to deny the authenticity of hadithes all
together. They would go as far as to call the eminent compilers of
the hadithes liars and
charlatans. The point is that these writers did not tell these stories
to deserve such disparaging title;
they simply collected them and preserved them.
The early Muslim scholars accepted a hadith as Sahih only when its
authenticity was established on the basis of both Fann-i-Riwaayat (The
art of sequence of narration) and
Fann-i-Daraayat (The art of logical concordance). Moreover a Hadith should not have contradicted
and the Quran. I am not interested and none of us is any more qualified to
determine the methodology that was used for accepting or rejecting a
Hadith based on Fann-i-Riwaayat. These are old stories. All those who
reported them are dead more than a thousand years ago and we have no way
to verify their trustworthiness. At this moment the only method left to
determine the sihhat (soundness) of a Hadith is Fann-i-Daraayat and its
compatibility with the Quran. Asif Iftikhar writes “Therefore, a Hadith
can be regarded as a source of religious guidance only `if the basis of
that Hadith exists in the Quran or the Sunnah or the established
principles of human nature and intellect. Moreover, it should not be
contradictory to any of these bases” (from The Authenticity of Hadith)
The same author writes “Imam Ibni Ali Jauzee is reported to have said:
“If you find a Hadith against the dictates of commonsense or contrary
to a universal rule, consider it a fabrication; discussions about the
trustworthiness of its narrators are needless. Similarly, such Ahadith
should be suspected as are beyond comprehension to the extent that they
leave no room for any possible explanation. Also, a Hadith in which
colossal recompense is promised for a minor deed and a Hadith which is
absurd in meaning are suspect.”
By examining some of the hadithes in the light of “commonsense”,
and the recommendations of Ibni Ali Jauzee we find many of them, despite
being acknowledged as Sahih do not qualify as such and can be rejected.
Take the following Hadith for example:
Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 652
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "While a man was on the way, he found a
thorny branch of a tree there on the way and removed it. Allah thanked
him for that deed and forgave him."
Here it seems that the recompense outweighs the good deed and if we had
to follow the sound advise of Ibni Ali Jauzee, we have to discard this
Hadith as false.
Well, this might seem something trivial but the implication is immense.
By proving that a hadith that has been categorized as sahih is not sahih,
we establish that is is prudent to be suspicious of the authenticity of the rest of the
hadithes classified as sahih. In fact this proves that despite the fact
that 90% of the Muslims believe in the Bukhari and in Muslim, and
despite the fact that these books were regarded the most infallible
books of guidance after the Quran for the last 1200 yeas, those books are
not trustworthy after all.
Now, let us take another Hadith and test it with commonsense. Before
that we have to define what do we mean by commonsense. I have come to
the conclusion that a simple thing like the commonsense, is not common
at all and it may have different meaning for a religious person whose
senses are flavored by his beliefs.
For example, the commonsense dictates that men and women, generally
speaking, are at the same level of intelligence. Of course there are
stupid people and intelligent people among both sexes, but this has
nothing to do with their gender. No real serious scientific study, not
marred by religious preconceptions, has ever demonstrated that there is
any difference in intelligence between men and women. What has been
found is that some part of the brain in women is more advanced than the
same parts in men’s brain while in other areas men are more
advantageous. This difference is also evident in the comparison between
the members of the same sex. Not all men are equal intellectually. Some
are more intelligent than others. Yet all men are equal in front of the
law. The testimony of Einstein and Joe Bloe, in a court of law has the
same weight. Unless Joe Bloe is a certified imbecile his witness is as
valid as that of Einstein.
There is no indication that women are less intelligent than men, and
even if there was any, there is no justification for them to not have
the same voice and rights in a court of law. Therefore science, justice
and commonsense all acknowledge that men and women should have the same
rights. Religious sense on the other hand defies all that and presents
its own criteria. Baffling as it may be, some Muslim women are delighted to
fight for their inequality and suppression of their rights and call it
“liberation”. They think that hijab elevates their statues. Being
rebuked, punished and even beaten by their husbands is good for them.
They believe that the majority of them will actually go to hell because
Muhammad said so.
So when I talk about commonsense. I am not talking about the sense of
a religious fanatic. I am talking about the real genuine commonsense
that is supported by “real” science and approved by “real” scientists and
philosophers. I put the word “real” between quotation marks because
all religions have made their own version of pseudo-science and have
their own brand of pseudo-scientists and pseudo-philosophers. (I am
referring to Maurice Bucaille and his kind)
Ok, let us get to the point and see if there is a Hadith that does not
stand up to the challenge of the real commonsense.
Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 414
…" He (Muhammad) said, "First of all, there was nothing
but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the
water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created
the Heavens and the Earth.…”
How this story can make sense? If there was ‘nothing’, how God
could have put His Throne over the water? Which water? What was
holding that water? There must have been an earth to hold it. Then how
is it that he creates the Earth after sitting on the water? How is it
that the Heavens and Earth are created after the waters? Don’t you
need to have an earth to contain the water? And don't you have to have
the heavens to hold the Earth? Beyond the fact that the whole notion
expressed in this Hadith is ludicrous, there is also an error in the
order of creation.
Now let us step back and consider what is wrong with this picture!
Isn’t the Earth a planet of the solar system, which is an
insignificant part of a galaxy that is one of the billions of galaxies of the Universe? Can anyone, including the
Maurice Bucaille who said Quran is scientific and a miracle yet refused
to become a Muslim and rather was content with the money that the Saudi
King gave him, put these two pictures together and solve this puzzle?
So we could say that the above Hadith is a fabrication because it
contradicts the commonsense and is contrary to the universal rule. Or
The problem is that it is in conformity with the Quran and as Asif
Iftikhar said “a Hadith can be regarded as a source of religious
guidance only `if the basis of that Hadith exists in the Quran or the
Sunnah”. What if we find something in Quran that corroborate the above
concept? And lo and behold there are is more than one verse that does
that. See the following for example:
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a
spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O
Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat
them with kindness."
Then followed he (another) way,
Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a
people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the
Obviously Sun rises and sets in ALL places, or actually no place at
all. One doesn’t have to go "another way" to find it rising.
This gives us the clue that Muhammad really believed that the Earth is
flat and the sun moves in the sky rising from one place, setting
But how can we be sure this is how Muhammad thought of the shape of
the Earth? The answer can be found in another Hadith.
Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421
Narrated Abu Dhar:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at
the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know
better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates
Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and
it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to
prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will
ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it
will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the
west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah:
"And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). that is
The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing." (Q.
Ok. Here we have a case in Hadith that is confirmed by the Quran, which
is again ratified by another Hadith and once more demonstrated in the Quran.
Is this Hadith against the science and commonsense? It sure is. However. it
is not against the Quran. Therefore the message conveyed by the Hadith
is wrong, despite the fact that it is an authenticated Hadith.
If we have any doubts about what Muhammad really thought of the shape
of the Earth, we can safely put them to rest when we read the following
Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse,
And the mountains as pegs?
The “expanse” gives an idea of something flat. The Arabic word
used in the Quran is Mehad, (bed). All the beds that I have seen so far were
flat. None of them where spherical.
Also the mountains are not pegs keeping the earth from shaking as
the prophet used to think.
Don’t these Hadithes, backed by these verses from the Quran, clearly describe a
flat Earth, with the Sun rising from one end and setting in the muddy
waters on the opposite end? Is there a Throne somewhere that the Sun
goes under it to get permission? What Throne was Muhammad talking about?
When and how the Sun prostrates itself? This concept sounds ridiculous
to us; yet in the old ages everyone believed in a flat Earth, floating
on waters surrounded by high mountains beyond which one could fall into
an abyss, etc. and the whole story made perfect sense to those who heard
In fact this story is not an invention of Muhammad. Most of the
Prophet’s stories were part of the folklore that he had heard
somewhere else. In a book entitled The Oldest Stories in the Word,
Theodor H. Gaster has compiled the lore of the Babylonian, the Hittite and
the Canaanite people of 3500 years ago. These stories were lost for
centuries and recently found and unearthed in the last century. They
were deciphered and printed in 1952. The similarities of those old
stories and the stories in the Quran, including the above Hadith, are
astonishing. It helps us understand the origin of the Quran as well as
that of the Bible.
Quran has no divine origin, what Muhammad told people were stories he
heard from others, old stories that were part of the tradition of the
people of his time.
There are also many hadithes attributing miracles to the prophet.
What should we make of them? Again as Asif Iftikhar indicated a Hadith
that is contradicted by the Quran cannot be trusted. I suppose this is
acceptable by all the Muslims. If there is a controversy between Hadith and
Quran the authority of Quran overrides the Hadith.
What Quran says in respect of the Miracles? It categorically
denies them. (See
So according to the Quran Muhammad did not perform any miracles and
all those hadithes that report stories contrary to that are false. Their
falsity also can be proven by logics. The eminent scholar Ali Dashti
asked: If Muhammad could really perform miracles, make stones speak,
split the moon, multiply the food, visit the hell and the heaven in a
night, etc as some of the hadithes suggest, why he did not perform the
logical and useful miracle and did not learn how to read and write? Does
it make sense that a man who can see the next world when given a piece
of written paper in his own language not be able to read it? Muslims believe that he could look into one’s eyes and
reads his mind. He himself claimed that when he leads the congregational
prayer he can see this followers behind him without turning. Yet he
could not read a simple letter written in his own language? Among all
the miracles that he performed wasn’t this the simplest and the most
useful of all?
Apart from the Quran, there are many hadithes that also deny any
supernatural power or knowledge attributed to Muhammad.
Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 638
(the wife of the Prophet) Allah's Apostle heard some people quarreling
at the door of his dwelling. He came out and said, "I AM ONLY A
HUMAN BEING, and opponents come to me (to settle their problems);
maybe someone amongst you can present his case more eloquently than
the other, whereby I may consider him true and give a verdict in his
favor. So, If I give the right of a Muslim to another by mistake, then
it is really a portion of (Hell) Fire, he has the option to take or
give up (before the Day of resurrection)."
How a man who is aware of this world and the next, who, as Muslims
say, predicted all the inventions that has happened since, is capable of
splitting the moon and perform any miracle cannot trust his own judgment
fearing the eloquence of one party may deceive him and make him err?
Let us examine more hadithes with our own Fann-i-Daraayat, unclogged
from preconceived ideas.
Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 315
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet said, "At every womb Allah appoints an angel who says,
'O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of
flesh." Then if Allah wishes (to complete) its creation, the angel
asks, (O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed,
and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?' So all
that is written while the child is still in the mother's womb."
This hadith resembles to a joke. Just the thought of this little
angel that gets in there and stands in front of the womb each time a man
become intimate with his wife watching the whole act and supplicating
Allah for a drop of semen right on his face, is hilarious. Shall we
discard this Hadith as a fabrication? It certainly goes against our
commonsense. But wait a minute!. this hadith was not against the
commonsense of those who used to narrate it to each other 1200 years ago.
It does not make sense to us, but it made perfect sense to them. So
whose commonsense is the standard? A few hundred years ago, the
commonsense dictated that the Earth is flat. All the philosophers and
prophets agreed. Today it doesn’t? Can we say that these hadithes that
go against our modern commonsense are false now, but they were true then
because they were in accordance with the commonsense of the ancient
The point is that we cannot dismiss the authenticity of a Hadith
based on our commonsense. Today’s Muslims have taken for granted that
Muhammad was the messenger of God and therefore he could not be wrong.
So they reevaluate the hadithes as time goes by and keep discarding
those that their newfound understanding of science proves unsound. This
method is highly biased. Of course it is consistent with defendant’s
approach and his defense council who (if unscrupulous) would
deliberately hide, deny or dismiss all the evidence that would
incriminate their client and present only those that find him an alibi
and are in his favor. On the other hand, an unbiased jury would
weigh all the evidences; the good and the bad, and pass their verdict
after taking into account all the facts.
To examine the truth of the claim of Muhammad, we have to decide
which side we are standing. Are we part of the defense team or are we
part of the jury? The majority of Muslims, as you would expect, choose
to be part of the defense team. They are not interested to know whether
Muhammad was right or he was an impostor. That question does not even
arise in their minds. They already “know”, for they were told, that
he was the messenger of God and they have accepted it as a fact.
Choosing to remain in that position, they naturally would not know the
truth and are not in a position to see it.
Today more educated Muslims find many absurdities in the hadithes and
their first reaction is to deny them. However, since the majority of the
hadithes are nonsensical, the growing consensus is to deny all the
hadithes and vilify the unfortunate Bukhari and Muslim who were revered
for over a millennium. This is unfair. Bukhari and Muslim, along with
other Muhaditheen did not invent these hadithes but recorded them as
they were told. It is not right to shoot the messenger if the message in
unpleasing. And it is highly unethical to defile these scholars and
deny what they painstakingly collected, because what they reported
blemish Muhammad. Some of these reports are fabricated and false but
many of them are true. Because many of these hadithes are of dubious
nature, we should not rely on them as religious source of guidance but
to dismiss them as historic source is committing a grave mistake. These
hadithes are all we have about the life of the Prophet. They narrate the
stories of the historic Muhammad. They should not be taken as a
substitute to Quran (assuming that this is a revealed book) but they are
the biography of the Prophet. If you deny all the hadithes how can you
prove the historicity of the Prophet? If all those stories are false and
someone with a diabolic wit has forged all of them, then perhaps someone
equally malignant has fabricated the Quran and the whole Islam is
nothing but a fanciful tale. Without the Hadith, we know nothing of
Muhammad, his life and his history. With out hadithes, Muslims have
no way to know how to perform their prayers or fast. These are pillars of
The Absurdities of Quran:
To deny the authenticity of the hadithes on the ground of their
logical absurdity poses another yet bigger problem and that is: what to
do with the equally absurd verses of the Quran? Can we dismiss the Quran as
fabricated and forged because it is as absurd as the hadith? Certainly this is a line that a Muslim would
never cross. So what would they do when confronted with quranic verses
that are absurd and nonsensical?
The common reaction is to reinterpret the meanings of the verses and
find some esoteric meanings for them.
The desire to interpret the Holy Scriptures and assign esoteric
meanings to them is born out of the fact that these scriptures are crude
and lack meaning. The Shiites were first to notice the inadequacy of the
Quran and Sufism is entirely based on giving esoteric meanings to the
revealed book. Sufism is, par exultance, the effort to ‘interiorize’
the quranic revelation, to break away with the purely legalistic
religion and experience the mystical significance of the encounter of
Muhammad with Allah in the night of Mi’raj, which to the Sufis was
also spiritual in nature. Imam Ja’far Sadiq is reported to have said.
“Our cause is a secret (siir) within other secret. The secret of
something that remains hidden; a secret that only another secret can
reveal. It is a secret about a secret that is based on a secret.
[Henri Corbin, Historia de la Filosofia Siglo XXI editores. V.3 p.253]
Apart from the fact that when you crack that sentence it becomes yet
another absurdity, it also contradicts the Quran's repeatedly claims to
be a "clear book" (5:15)
"easy to understand” (44:58
"explained in detail" (6:114), "conveyed
and with “no doubt” in it (2:1).
Nonetheless it justifies the Imamat and Ja’far’s own raison d'être
as an Imam. Of course he had to convince the Shiites that Quran is a
secret (siir) that needs to be interpreted. And no one could do that
except someone vested with authority and Ismat (infallibility).
therefore Imamat became a necessity for the Shiites. The question
is what would they do when there were no more Imam? Who would interpret
the obtuse secrets of the Quran and the Shariat? That is when they came up
with another institution called velayat. Vali is the guardian of the
Faith. He is the intermediary
between the Imam Qayeb (hidden Imam) and the Ummah. Wherefrom the
Ayatullah Khamanei of Iran gets his authority, whose rule overrides the
decision of all the nation. But who gave authority to the Imams and the
valis? No one! These institutions have no backings from Quran. Few
hadithes that support them are dubious and most likely were forged by
the Shiites to justify their version of the religion.
The question is why should God send a message of guidance to all the humanity in the form of a
secret? What kind of prank is that? How much
he wants to toy with us?
As we said somewhere else, there are two categories of Muslims. The
first are those that defend Muhammad and whatever he did irrespective of
any consideration for decency, rightness or justice. They do not deny
him marring with a 9-year-old child, assassinating his opponents,
massacring up to 900 of his prisoners of war, performing genocide of the
Jews of Arabia, raping
his war captives, sleeping with the maids
of his wives and other his less than admirable deeds. These
are known as Muslim fanatics. The second group, are those that
deny all these facts about him and try to twist the evidence to make
Muhammad acceptable by modern morality and values. These are called
Muslims. I don’t want to pass judgment,
but I certainly admire the honesty of the first group, which the
second group lacks. Many so called moderate Muslims try hard to hide the
brutalities of the Quran and present it in a different light. They would quote the earlier verses of
Quran when Muhammad was weak and his preaching were sugary.
But they would play down the harsher verses of the Quran that were
“revealed” in Medina when the prophet was already a chieftain and
did not need to humbug the Quraish, the Jews or the Christians for
Interpreting the Quran with a different meaning than its obvious one
plays also a great role in explaining the scientific absurdities of that
holy book. The majority of the Muslims prefer to live in denial. Denial of
the authenticity of Hadith is easy but to deny the authenticity of the Quran
is not something they would like to think about. So reinterpretation is
the only option.
During the 70s an Egyptian Muslim scholar came up with his brilliant
solution that would entice many educated Muslims and renew their faith
in Islam. His name was Rashed Khalifa. At first he claimed to have found
the mathematical miracle of Quran. This claim was refuted by several
thinkers as a "lie-free deception."
However because of this claim he gained respect and fame amongst the
Muslims, until he decided to start his own messenger business, a
decision that angered the established clergy and finally cost him his life. But his
contribution was important as by his complete denial of the Hadith and
his serious effort to translate the Quran reinterpreting it in a way
that would down play its harsh and intolerant message, he started a new
movement amongst the pseudo-intellectual Muslims who now could cling to
the primitive Quran while pretend to promote a gentler Islam that does
not advocate killing the apostates and instigating holy wars. Their
denial of the hadith goes as far as denying everything about the history of
Muhammad. They deny all his wars, all his assassinations, and the
genocide that he committed against the Jews of Medina, his killings and
his robberies. They deny that his sudden attacks at the merchant
caravans were attacks but rather call them self-defense. They deny the
age of Ayesha (who was only 9 when the prophet at 54 slept with her) and
the deny Muhammad's licentious lifestyle reported in hundreds of stories
narrated by his followers and preserved faithfully for posterity. Their zest to present
the Quran as a modern logical book of miracles has
made them bend every rule of reason to the extent that they would
misrepresent deliberately the Quran and interpret it in the most absurd
ways to rationalize its absurdity.
One submitter went as far as to assure me that the mistake in the
addition of the inheritance in the Quran is not actually a mistake but a
misunderstanding and that the share of 1/3 for the parents + 2/3 for the
daughters + 1/8 for the wife that is commanded in the Quran equals one. He
explained that the 1/8 share of the wife must come out of 2/3 of the
daughters. Quran doesn’t say such thing but the enthusiasm to
justify the errors of the Quran goes beyond any rational thinking.
Those who deny the hadithes use these verses of Quran to prop up
“In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding.
It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture)
and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for
folk who believe.
“And of mankind is he who payeth for mere pastime of discourse, that
he may mislead from Allah's way without knowledge, and maketh it the
butt of mockery. For such there is a shameful doom”.
As the above verse reveal, Muhammad was ridiculed by his
contemporaries and his Quran was called “non-sense stories” and
“idle tales”. The word story or tale in Arabic is Hadith. So in
these verses he is defending his revelation arguing that it is not a
tale (Hadith) invented or a frivolous discourse. He compares his words
to the idle tales (hadithes) of the people of his time and claims that
they will mislead men while the Quran guides them.
When Muhammad said these words, Bukhari, Muslim and other Hadith
collectors were not yet born and there were no tales or hadithes about
him. In the above verse, the prophet is rejecting the tales or the
hadithes of the unbelievers not the stories of his own life that were
not yet told. But since in referring to the idle stories of his
contemporaries he used the word “Hadith”, which in Arabic means
story, tale or tradition the zealot deniers of the hadith have taken it
as the proof that Muhammad was against the Hadith. What confusion!