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Is It True That Hadith Was Not Written in the time of the Prophet, pbuh?
and Hadith transmitted by same people or different ones?
Question from Sis. N. in Detroit [From a long letter]:
I am originally from
moving to real Islam, Qur'an and Hadith. I read a good book by
Fazlur Rahman (Chicago University) but it confused me on some points.
He writes, Hadith was written in third century after the Prophet.
New Trend's web site says follow Qur'an and Hadith. I am confused
please explain why Hadith was not written in time of the Prophet ?
Dr. Fazlur Rahman was influenced by Christian missionaries and Jewish
orientalists. He tried to confuse the Muslims of
with the support of the military government, but was defeated and fled
to America where he was immediately given a senior position at
Chicago University to teach Islam.
Both the Qur'an and the Hadith were written down in the time of the
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Qur'an is the word of Allah revealed to
Muhammad (peace be on him). The Hadith is the commentary, explanation,
implementation of the Qur'an by Muhammad (pbuh). Both are interlinked
and essential to each other. No authentic Islamic scholar has ever
tried to say that Hadith is not necessary or was written later.
The people who wrote down the Qur'an, on bits and pieces of materials,
were the SAHABA or companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Paper and printing
were not available at that time. So, people could not go around with
printed and bound copies of the Qur'an. Even the collation and putting
together of the Qur'an was done by the SAHABA so that the Qur'an became
a BOOK between two covers after the Prophet (pbuh) passed away. This
great work was done under the supervision of Abu Bakr, Umar, Osman and
Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all) who were the first four rightly
guided Caliphs of Islam.
The same SAHABA also wrote and transmitted the Hadith and made sure that
nothing was falsely attributed to the Prophet (pbuh).
The QUR'AN was also MEMORIZED by the Sahaba. In fact few of them had it
in writing but many of them knew it from memory. The cross checking of
memory with writing was carried out to make sure that the Qur'an as
revealed to the Prophet, pbuh, was transmitted to future generations.
The HADITH was also memorized by the SAHABA and transmitted to future
generations. Any scholar of Hadith had to MEMORIZE the HADITH from the
written collections of the Sahaba and then RECITE IT FROM MEMORY to
his/her teacher. Thus an accurate record of the Prophet's, pbuh, life
and teachings was enshrined in the scholarship of the Muslim world.
In the era after the SAHABA various kinds of sects arose which tried
to disseminate their own versions of the Qur'an. Some of them claimed
that Hazrat Ali (r.a.) had received suras of the Qur'an from the Prophet,
pbuh, which no one else had. The scholars of the line of Ali (r.a.) and
Fatima (r.a.), such as Imam Jafar and Imam Baqir, were able to repudiate
these claims because they had the Qur'an both by memory and in writing.
Similarly attempts were made to invent "Hadith." This was a very serious
effort by Kings and emperors who wanted religion to justify their tyranny
and to creatre a "tame Islam." The problem was aggravated by the fact
that various SAHABA had migrated to various cities, and after they passed
away, various people could claim that they had heard Hadith from them.
It was in that context that great scholars like
stepped forward to ENSURE that fabrications did not enter the corpus
of Hadith. I think that these scholars were a bit too strict and as a
result they sometimes designated as "weak" even those Hadith which were
authentic but which would not pass the test of extremely severe scrutiny.
Imam Bukhari and other imams are the ones Dr. Fazlur Rahman was abusing
when he claimed that Hadith was written in the third century after the
Prophet. Fazlur Rahman really was quite ignorant of Hadith and hence
recklessly fell into the trap set for him by Christian missionaries and
WAS HADITH WRITTEN in the TIME OF THE PROPHET (pbuh)? Yes, the evidence
is overwhelming. Here is one sample from a prominent companion of the
Prophet, pbuh, Abdullah ibn Umru ibn al-Aas. It is authenticated by two
distinct and separate compilers of Hadith, Abu Dawud in his Sunan
(chapter kitabut al-ilm) and Darimi in his Musnad (chapter on Rukhs fi
"Whatever I heard from the messenger of Allah, peace be on him, I would
write it down so as to be able to memorize it. Then some in the Quraish
(tribe) said to me: You write down whatever you hear though the
messenger of Allah is a human being and speaks both in anger and in joy.
On hearing that I stopped writing and then I mentioned this to the
messenger of Allah. He pointed with his finger to his mouth and said:
Write on! By Him in whose Hand is my being, no word comes out of this
mouth but the Truth."
Abdullah ibn Umru (r.a.) collected the Hadith he had written in the
presence of the Prophet (pbuh) in a book titled Al-Sadiqa. Abdullah said:
"There are two things I love in life: Al-Sadiqa and al-Wahat." He
explained: "Al-Sadiqa is that manuscript which I heard and wrote from the
messenger of Allah and Wahat is that land which (my father) Umru ibn
al-Aas donated to the cause of Allah and which I take care of."
The compendium Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb tells us that on the death of Abdullah,
r.a, the manuscript of Al-Sadiqa was secured by his grandson Shuaib bin
Muhammad and then transmitted to the next generation by his son also
named Umru. THE HADITH WRITTEN BY Abdullah, r.a., DIRECTLY FROM THE
PROPHET, pbuh, AND AT HIS COMMAND, are to be found in the collections
of Hadith which we have under this chain of narration:
"From Umru son of Shuaib from his father from his grandfather." As Hadith
is a very strict discipline, some classical scholars wanted to classify
the collection as Mursal because they thought the grandson should have
SAT DOWN IN FRONT OF THE GRANDFATHER AND RECITED THE WHOLE COLLECTION TO
HIM FROM MEMORY! However, some of the greatest scholars of Hadith, like
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, accept the authenticity of Al-Sadiqa.
What makes Al-Sadiqa's authenticity irrefutable is that it was also
transmitted by OTHER STUDENTS of Abdullah (r.a.) who had nothing to do
with his grandson.
So, don't let anyone tell you that Hadith was not written in the time
of the Prophet, pbuh.
FINALLY, spend a couple of months in trying to understand this verse of
the Qur'an. It will help you to understand why the Hadith is essential
and ALWAYS goes with the Qur'an:
"The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his
wives are their mothers. [33:6]
2003-09-15 Mon 19:13ct