Monday, January 13, 2020

On the Quran and the Prophet's Biography Video | Gabriel Said Reynolds

"...We can see the problem of relying on the medieval biography of the prophet in our effort to understand the Quran. It is always safer to read the text of the Quran for its own message, to look to the Quran in what it is saying, the internal logic of the Quran." - Gabriel Said Reynolds

Dr IsrarAhmad, Maulana Maududi & Imam Hamiduddin Farahi | Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Ghamidi on Farahi

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Nikhat Sattar (This is a transcription by Nikhat Sattar of a video speech given by Javed Ahmad Ghamidi on Imam Hamid al-Din Farahi on the occasion of a seminar held in Azamgarh, India in Nov 2019 about the history of Madrasah al-Islah) 

The Qur'an possesses a unique place in the arrangements made by God to provide guidance to humankind until the Day of Retribution. God has mentioned as a principle that when differences arose between people, He initiated the process of sending messengers. They were prophets, warners and givers of glad tidings. Then books were revealed through them, so that they could give verdicts in case of differences in matters of religion. This same fact has been mentioned at various places in the Qur'an in different ways. The Qur'an has been given the status of a balance, a scale so that people can establish truth in matters of religious significance. If we analyze our approach to the Qur'an, we can say definitively that our religious thought has eroded the status of the Qur'an. The greatest favour that Imam Farahi has done to the Muslim ummah is that he has restored this status with utmost eminence. The manner in which he understood the Qur'an, the manner in which he taught how to teach it, the way in which he compiled its fields of knowledge and the extent to which he reached into the depths of its verses and explained who they address and how, and how the Qur'an elaborates on its decisions create the basis for a firm foundation for the establishment of the governance of the Qur'an: the final verdict; the balance through which it explains what is acceptable in religion and in the guidance from God, and what is unacceptable. I consider Imam Farahi to be one of God's signs for this world. Before this time, the world was controlled by kingdoms. Will Durant has described this period that was dominated by religion as one in which politics too was under religious control and, as a result, religion determined social and cultural systems. That period has ended. At the beginning of the new world, the birth of Imam Farahi, was in fact, an arrangement from God to bring His evidence into this new world. If we assess the consequences of such an arrangement at a global level, we observe on the one hand that the old way of thinking is over and its justifications are no more; its foundations have been destroyed. On the other hand, this age, which can also be called the age of reason, or of disbelief, if one considers its impact, was making demands for strong evidence based on the requirements of human nature. Imam Farahi's work, as evident in his books and discussions in his written material, unveils the inherent reasoning in the Qur'an with great prominence and glory. If, on the one hand, history is leading itself to disbelief, God's evidence is now in a position to highlight itself equally strongly. The age in which kingdoms flourished was an age of the ruler and the ruled. The manner in which laws were made had completely different bases and reasons, whether among ourselves or by the Roman civilization. All of this is now irrelevant. A man like Allama Iqbal had also felt the need for revival and reconstruction of religious thought along modern lines. For this, a solid foundation was not available, even to this wise man of the ummah. It is a fact that this was provided by Imam Farahi's discourse. We owe our ability to have our legal ignorance to be influenced now to Imam Farahi's presentation of the Qur'an as the balance, the standard; explanation of its arguments and determination of its foundations of thought. Only after this happens globally will it be possible that within the nation states of modern times, Muslims will be able to implement the shari'ah of God in its true spirit. This was not possible previously because the judicial framework we had developed and the premises on which it was built did not address the requirements of modern times. Human acts are extraordinary in their respective periods of time. It is only guidance from God that can be global and transcends time and place, and that can maintain its relevance and connections in all ages. In this age, when a new world is upon us and is changing rapidly, Imam Farahi has given the strong foundation with which to practice not only God's shari'ah in our individual lives, but also to make it relevant to current times, using the same discourse and the same school of thought. Just as earlier thinking had divided the world into Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, and its demands were met, Imam Farahi, by discovering the law of itmam al-hujjah, has shown us how to view the world now. The world is to be viewed from one perspective for the times of the messengers and another for current times, until the end of the world. Relations between people, nations and the way to call people to faith are all different. If the world is moving towards a global state, what should be the role played by Muslims? These points become obvious if Imam Farahi's books, exegesis and writings are studied, in which he provides a reconstruction for Muslim thought. If both students and their teachers were to study Imam Farahi with this in mind, they will find that if Western scholars think that civilization ends with their innovation in thinking, different signs from God are also emerging. Imam Farahi is one such sign, and, it is not impossible that this reasoning could be brought to completion through God's Book towards the end of the world. ______________


Maulana Farahi Ke Qurani Usoolon ki Ahmiyat w Ifadiyat by Javed Ahmad Ghamid

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Islam and Muslim - Mohammad Shaikh

Description: "A lecture for somebody who is just converted or thinking about converting and also for the Muslims by name who are interested to know about their identity given by God. In this lecture you will see who a Muslim is, what the purpose of a Muslim is and how all mankind falls into this category willingly or non-willingly."

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Kaaba And Israelite Prophets

If Ibrahim and Ismail (sws) built the Ka'aba as a center of pilgrimage for all mankind, why did the other sons of Ibrahim and their grandsons and other Prophets mentioned in the Bible never made it a point to visit Ka'aba. We don't find any evidence at all in the Bible or the New Testament of anybody going to Mecca for pilgrimage. On the contrary, Jerusalem seems to have been the center for Prophets of old including Jesus. We do find a hint in the Qur'an below, but is there one in the Bible? Hajj has been a practice that has been followed by successive generations of Prophet Abraham (pbuh). It was even known to the father in-law of Prophet Moses (pbuh) before Prophet Moses (pbuh) received his Prophethood from God. In the following verse, we note the use of Hajj as a marker to signify a contractual period. 028.027 "He said: "Indeed I intend to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine on condition that you hire thyself to me for (the term of) eight pilgrimages (Arabic: Thamaniya Hijajin). Then if you complete ten, it will be of your own accord, and I would not wish to make it difficult for you. God willing, you will find me of the righteous". Just wondering what I am missing here?

By Dr. Abdullah Rahim
The Qur'an in verse 3:96 refers to Mecca with the word Bacca. Imām Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, while explaining why this word has been mentioned here, writes:

… this word is one example of the interpolations done by the Jews by distorting the recital of a word (called layy al-lisān by the Qur'ān) in order to do away with the signs of the advent of the last prophet. The Jews garbled it from Bakkah to Bukā' and by regarding it to be a verbal noun translated it to mean "to cry". In this manner, by converting the valley of Bakkah into the valley of Bukā', they obliterated the greatest sign which could have guided people to the last prophet. By mentioning Makkah with its ancient name of Bakkah, in this verse the Qur'ān has reminded us of its name which was mentioned in the Torah and which even exists today in certain scriptures like the Psalms. (Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, Tadabbur-i Qur'ān, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), 145)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri in his book "Isaac or Ismael" presents the results of his extensive research into the texts of Bible. He brings out evidences to conclude that there are a number of references to Mecca, pilgrimage to Mecca and important places near Mecca in the Bible and that all these references have been transformed or have made vague in an attempt to divert any attention from prophet Ishmael (pbuh), son of prophet Abraham (pbuh) (the ancestor of prophet Muhammad - pbuh) and to introduce his brother, prophet Isaac (pbuh) (the ancestor of the rest of the prophets of Bani Israel) as the one who Abraham (pbuh) attempted to sacrifice.

The site of sacrifice where Abraham (pbuh) wanted to sacrifice his son is referred to as Moriah in the Bible (Gen. 22:2, II Chon. 3:1). According to Abdus Sattar Ghauri, this is what Arabs know as Marwah, that is a mountain in Mecca and one of the places included in the acts of pilgrimage. David (pbuh) has referred to pilgrimage to Baca in the 84th Psalms. As quoted above, it is our understanding that this refers to Mecca. According to Abdus Sattar Ghauri, the well of Beersheba that is referred to a number of times in the Bible is actually Zamzam in Mecca. He also analyzes the text of Isaiah chapter 60 to show that according to this text Mecca was a place of offering sacrifices.

At present I am not in a position to argue that pilgrimage to Mecca was an essential part of the Jewish law, however, based on the above, enough references and importance is given to it in the Bible.

For more details please refer to the above mentioned book.

Source: www.al-mawrid.org

Monday, December 30, 2019

Original languages of Torah, Zabur and Injil

In what languages were all the heavenly books i.e. Torah , Zabur , Injil and Quran revealed?

By Mushafiq Sultan

The Qur'an informs us that God sent prophets the people who spoke to them in their own language.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ

And We have not sent any messenger except in the language of his people, that he may explain matters to them. (14:4)

Therefore, all the divine revelations were revealed in the languages that the people of the time spoke. Based on this we conclude that the Torah and the Zabur were revealed in the Hebrew language because they were revealed to the children of Israel who spoke Hebrew. Even today the existent Torah and Zabur are in Hebrew. In their later period, the Jews began to converse in Greek rather than in Hebrew. Therefore, in mid 3rd century BCE, the Jewish scriptures were translated into Greek by 72 scholars and this became known as the 'Septuagint'.

In the case of the Injil, Jesus (pbuh), his disciples and the Jewish population spoke Aramaic and so he must have delivered the divine message of the Injil to them in this very language. However, he did not get an opportunity to put it down in writing as he faced severe opposition from the Jews. The injil was subsequently put to writing by different authors many years after Jesus (pbuh) in Greek, which was the widely spoken language in the Roman Empire at that time. The word 'Injil' is itself the Arabized version of the Greek word 'Evangelion' meaning 'Good News'.

The Qur'an, as we know, was revealed in Arabic. There is no doubt about this.

Source: http://www.al-mawrid.org/

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Occasion of Revelation

Hamiduddin Farahi

It is commonly held that the sha'n-i-nuzul (occasion of revelation) is in fact the narration of a particular incident or incidents, which spurred the revelation of a verse or set of verses. I am afraid this is not correct. The sha'n-i-nuzul of a revelation in fact refers to the circumstances encompassing the revelation's addressees at the time when it is revealed. The Holy Qur'an actually discusses certain matters, or a set of matters, as central themes within the surahs. Each revealed address revolves around that matter or a set of matters. Therefore, the best way to ascertain the sha'n-i-nuzul is to deliberate upon the contents of the surahs themselves, because surahs are always revealed while keeping contextual circumstances in view. Just as a pharmacist identifies a patient's ailment by simply analyzing the medicines mentioned in the prescription, it is possible to identify the sha'n-i-nuzul of the Qur'anic text by examining the central theme of any particular surah. In a meaningful discourse, the discourse's content and its theme must possess mutual affinity and be interrelated, just as a well-fitted dress is in accordance with the shape of a body. It goes without saying that the components of a meaningful discourse are closely tied. When a narrative instructs us that a certain verse was revealed with regard to a particular incident, it indicates the circumstances of the addressees at the time of that particular revelation. Thus we come to know of the immediate reasons for the revelation of a surah. Suyuti writes:

و قال الزركشي في البرهان: قد عرف من عادة الصحابة والتابعين أن أحدهم إذا قال: نزلت هذه الآية في كذا, فإنه يريد بذلك أنها تتضمن هذا الحكم, لا أن هذا كان السبب في نزولها, فهو من جنس الاستدلال على الحكم بالآية, لا من جنس النقل لما وقع. قلت : والذي يتحرر في سبب النزول أنه: ما نزلت اللآية أيام وقوعه

Zarkashiwrites in Burhan: When the Companions (rta) say that such and such a verse was revealed about such and such an incident, they mean that the verse embodies a ruling about that incident. It doesn't mean that the verse was primarily prompted by that incident. The narratives are not narrated just in order to report that incident. We in fact deduce a decree from the verse and argue that the verse is giving a directive similar to the one narrated in the respective sha'n-i-nuzul narratives. I believe that it is very important to appreciate that it is not necessary that a verse should have been revealed at the time when the incident took place.1

The above quoted saying of Zarkashi solves the problem Razifacedwhile interpreting '…وَ اِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذيْنَ يُؤمِنُوْنَ بِاياتِنَا'(6:54) Imam Razi has written:

و لي ها هنا إشكال, و هو: أن الناس اتفقوا أَن هذه السورة نزلت دفعة واحدة, و إذا كان الأمر كذالك, فكيف يمكن أن يقال في كل واحدة من آيات السورة ان سبب نزولها هو الأمر الفلانى بعينه.

I am quite mystified here. The scholars are unanimous that the whole surah was revealed at one time. Then how could one say that such and such verse is prompted by such and such incident?2

Therefore, in my opinion, as is obvious from the above discussion, all the surahs were revealed to explain matters which needed an explanation, being careful that the surahs' text is coherent and unambiguous. This is similar to when an expert orator delivers a speech regarding the conditions and requirements around him in such a way that he mentions nothing specific yet his speech covers all the pertinent issues. Likewise, sometimes he mentions a particular person or incident, but his address is all embracing and universal in nature. The same holds true for the revelation of the Qur'an, as is obvious from the Holy Qur'an itself:

وَ إِنْ تَسْئَلُوْا عَنْهَا حِيْنَ يُنَزَّلُ الْقُرْآنُ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ

If you ask about them when the Qur'an is being revealed they will be made plain to you. (5:101)

This verse testifies to the fact that the Holy Qur'an during the time of its revelation would answer queries that arose in the minds of its addressees without disturbing the flow of its discourse. So when a surah would be completed to meet the objectives of the discourse, it would not be insufficient regarding the clarification of a matter, nor would it contain any excess material.

Sometimes the need for instruction on a particular matter was not fully met in one surah, which necessitated the revelation of another surah. The 'occasion of revelation' would be the same but the style would be different, hence avoiding monotony and dullness. That's why the surahs revealed in the beginning deal with subjects like resurrection, monotheism, belief in the Messenger of Allah and many other issues, which were similar in nature, but whose style of revelation often differed at different points. Sometimes it was felt that a particular element of a surah needed a further explanation so an explanatory verse would be revealed and placed there. This was in accordance with the promise Allah made in Surah Qiyamah:

ثُمه َإِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ

Then upon Us is its explanation. (75:19)

In such cases, the gathered discourse would follow the context of the surah rather than its period of revelation. Usually such clarifying verses would be followed by a revealed statement making it clear that that part was revealed in order to clarify a matter. Therefore, verses similar to the following would be placed at the end of the clarifying directive:

كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

Allah explains his verses to make people understand so that they may be fearful. (2:187)

If we want to be utterly clear regarding the explanation of a certain part of the Qur'an, we should notlet go of the context of the verses lest we become like a desert traveler who gets to a cross-roadin the dark of night and doesn't know where to go. Thus the sha'n-i-nuzul of a surah should be determined from within the surah. Only those narratives should be considered worthwhile in this regard which are in harmony with the context of the surah rather than those which disrupt its coherence. Therefore, the best conclusion regarding the utility of a sha'n-i-nuzul is that which is derived from the Qur'anic context. One should hold tight to it. When a general decree is revealed on a certain occasion this (occasion and condition) alludes to the reason and wisdom behind that decree. For instance the Holy Qur'an mentions both monogamy and polygamy. If we consider the sha'n-i-nuzul by reflecting on the context, it becomes clear that the first decree is related to justice with orphans and the second with wives. The two directives themselves are based on the underlying principle of justice with the weak. Circumstances will tell which one is applicable in a particular situation.

(Translated by Tariq Hashmi)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Relationship between the Qur’an and the Previous Scriptures regarding Divine Injunctions

Hameed Uddin Farahi

A traveller does not need to turn to stars for direction in broad daylight. Similarly, after the revelation of the Holy Qur'an Muslims abandoned seeking guidance from the previous scriptures since they are an amalgam of truth and falsehood. However, the previous scriptures rival the Holy Qur'an in that the latter is one of God's revelations and the prophet who brought it is also a member of the community of the prophets and messengers of God. All Muslims, from Adam to us, in spite of the great number of the prophets sent in different times and regions, are one ummah following a single religion. This makes it imperative for us to know the teachings of the earlier books. A study of these books can afford us a great variety of benefits. It will help us appreciate the excellence of the Qur'an over the previous scriptures which in turn will lead us to thank God for blessing us with the unparalleled Book. It will also help us discern the points lost upon commentators of the later generations which in turn made it impossible for them to get to the true purport of certain Qur'anic passages. This will also avail us with sound proofs to establish arguments against the People of the Book. This last point alone is a great benefit.

With the earlier scriptures already present, the Holy Qur'an was revealed to serve two basic purposes.

First, parts of religion which were not yet revealed in those books were revealed.

Second, it clarified the matters which were forgotten by the earlier communities. Many matters were disputed among them and the Holy Qur'an decided these differences. Some of the matters did not remain clear to them and they lost the right course. The Qur'an revealed the true nature of such matters. Most importantly, they had manipulated and adulterated many parts of the divine revelation. The Holy Qur'an corrected such things. The Almighty says:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً

Then woe be to those who write the book with their own hands and then claim that it is from God in order to earn some trivial benefit!(2:79)

These are the basic reasons which called for a fresh divine revelation. Besides fulfilling these purposes, the Holy Qur'an helps us remember God, propagate His teachings and disseminate His message which are characteristics common to all the divine revelations.

Since the Holy Qur'an was revealed to fulfil a specific purpose, it does not but discuss teachings of the highest value. It has left out the details of narratives, dispensable explanations of divine commandments and events of micro-history. The general addressees of the Qur'an were fully aware of these things. Repeating such things would have been futile and wearisome for such an audience. Therefore, the historical narratives the Holy Qur'an discusses have been put very cogently either in order to provide precedence or a historical allusion (talmih) or to unveil any hideous cheating by the People of the Book. Similarly, it has also not dealt with the well-known religious practices the humans were obligated to carry out except for explicating those aspects which still needed completion and perfection.

The believers in the call of the Holy Prophet (sws) had either been the People of the Book or those who had intermingled with them. The latter category too was, owing to their acquaintance with the former, aware of the teachings of the earlier books. They did not find it difficult to understand the Qur'anic passages which only alluded to the things mentioned in the earlier books leaving out certain details. They noticed the gulf of difference between the Qur'anic style of expression and the earlier books in spite of the unity of purport and this raised the status of the Holy Qur'an in their eyes. Regarding such audience of the Holy Qur'an, the Almighty says:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُواْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُواْ مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

And when they listen to what has been revealed to the Prophet, you see their eyes fill with tears as they recognize its truth. They spontaneously say: "Lord! We believe. Count us among the witnesses." (5:83)

The above discussion leads to the following conclusions:

a) Errors in the earlier scriptures should be determined in the light of the Holy Qur'an. Difficulties in deciphering the meaning of their complex passages should also be explained in the light of the last revelation. The only way for the People of the Book to get to the truth is to follow the last revelation of God.

b) Since the Holy Qur'an is a completely authentic and secure word of God, it will serve as the final word where the earlier books differ with it on certain historical facts.

c) Those having full exposure to the history of divine revelation, starting from the first prophet to the last, and thus having a clear understanding of the gradual divulgence of the shari'ah of God to mankind, will certainly be able to see clearly the excellence of the Muslim ummah.

d) The contradictory isra'iliyyat,which are an amalgam of truth and falsehood, will be explained away. Those of us who have been on error because of such narratives will see the light.

e) The People of the Book will be able to learn that the Holy Qur'an does not draw upon these books rather it removes errors found in them and guides them out of the labyrinths of assumptions and conjectures to the right path.

f) Many of the Qur'anic verses which refer to the Torah but the Muslim scholars take them to be referring to the Qur'an will be correctly understood. The following two verses are examples:

مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا

Any verse which We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar one. (2:106) 

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ إِلَّا إِذَا تَمَنَّى أَلْقَى الشَّيْطَانُ فِي أُمْنِيَّتِهِ فَيَنسَخُ اللَّهُ مَا يُلْقِي الشَّيْطَانُ ثُمَّ يُحْكِمُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ 

And every prophet or messenger that we sent before you, whenever desired something, Satan interpolated with his desires. But God cancels the whispers of Satan and establishes his commands firm. (22:52)

Before concluding this discussion, I want to discuss a point which the Christians usually put before Muslims in order to deceive them, dubbing it as the most manifest argument against Muslims' stance. They maintain that the Holy Qur'an at one place clearly requires from the Muslims that they believe in the Gospels. Granted this, they say, the Qur'an contradicts itself when, on any other occasion, it negates any of the evangelical statement, something it often does. This, they assume, provides them with an opportunity to invite the Muslims to have faith in whatever falsehood they have inserted in their book. In this effort, they usually present proofs from the Qur'anic verses some of which are produced below…[1]

(Translated from Farahi's Majmu'ah Tafasirby Tariq Mahmood Hashmi)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Why the row over the Anti-Hadith but silence over Quran illiteracy?

"Excerpts from "Open Letter To The Nation’s Leaders And Intellectuals" written by Dr. Kassim Ahmad from Malaysia."

  • The time may have come for us to do a final reckoning with ourselves, our people, and the international community. Never in the history of mankind have we faced such total collapse as we do today.... Where has morality gone? Where on the face of this earth is a group or groups of moral human beings?... There is a limit to human endurance of suffering without protest; that limit has been passed!
  • When a group of our people in Malaysia wants to bring back the Quran to the hearts of the populace today, this is the significance and the implication. For a thousand years, Muslims have strayed so far away from God’s teachings and lived in such ignorance that they are powerless to destroy the evil perpetrated before their eyes. Western civilization too has strayed far away from the teachings of the prophets, including Moses and Jesus.... Both East and West must return to God’s teachings, particularly the Quran, His final, complete, perfect, and detailed scripture.
  • Alas, when Jema'ah Al-Quran Malaysia (Quranic Society of Malaysia or JAM) was formed precisely for this mission, a number of our leaders and intellectuals leapt up and protested. "Anti-Hadith group! Anti-Hadith group!" they screamed in accusation. What? Bringing the Quran to the people so that they would understand, this is anti-hadith? So, letting the people remain Quran illiterate, as in the past five hundred years in Malaysia, is acceptable?
  • I write this open letter to the nation’s leaders and intellectuals in all communities in the hope that we can study this matter calmly and rationally, without hurling accusations and threats and creating an atmosphere of animosity and tension. It is with a sense of responsibility and humility that I ask this, for it is not a matter involving religious ritual, but one of life and death for our people.
  • In 1986, this writer published a book, Hadis - Satu Penilaian Semula (its English translation, Prophetic Traditions, A Re-evaluation will also be published, God willing) with the intention stated above. Many of the hadith compiled by Bukhari, Muslim and others that we use today, according to this writer’s study, are in conflict with the teachings of the Quran. I give instances in three areas:
  • One, adulation of or unquestioning acceptance of the teachings of a leader. Since this principle was instilled, Muslims have feared others besides God; they have been afraid to question leaders. Hence they became slaves of the leaders, whereas the Quran exhorts us to free ourselves of all forms of subservience, except to the One God....
  • Two, prohibiting the use of the rational mind. Generally, Muslims are taught not to use their minds in religious matters. This teaching is spread through some false hadith. Purportedly, the use of the mind in religious matters would lead us astray. If the mind may not be used in religious matters, why may it be used in other matters? Are religious and secular matters to be kept separate? Indeed, this is what has paralyzed the intellects of Muslims in comparison with others. The minds of Muslims have been dead for a thousand years, killed by these false hadith. On the contrary, the teaching of the Quran give the mind a noble place. God deems human beings who do not use their minds worse than animals! (7:179) God bars those who do not use their minds from the fold of the faithful. (10:100)
  • Three, suppression of creativity. It is evident that for a long time, Muslims have not been creative. Since the thirteenth century when Islamic civilization began to decline, modern scientific discoveries and technological inventions have been made by others, particularly those who hold that human beings may know and may create progress. In the early days, Muslims were highly creative because they adhered to the Quran’s dynamic teachings, which urge Muslims to work and strive for success in this world and the next. But since they turned to the teachings of the hadith, their creativity declined, for these false hadith teach resignation to taqdir (divine pre-destination) or fatalism. Purportedly, good and evil are from God. The Malay proverb, "If you are fated to gain a cupak (a small measure of rice) you will not gain a gantang (a big measure of rice)," reflects this world-view.
  • All three teachings from certain false hadith are clearly in conflict with teachings in the Quran. The Islamic education system from the village pondok (rural religious seminary) right up to the Azhar university, based on rote learning and unquestioning acceptance, teaches that hadith cannot possibly be in conflict with the Quran. This would be true of hadith that are really from the Prophet. But history tells us that the hadith compilations by Bukhari and others were made between 200 and 250 years after the Prophet’s death. These compilations are the responsibility of Bukhari and others, not of the Prophet. The Prophet’s responsibility as God’s messenger was to convey the Quran....
  • Some religious leaders label as apostates those who adhere to the Quran, accusing them of being anti-hadith. According to certain hadith, apostates are punished by being put to death. Are they not aware that leaders of Christian Church during the Middle Ages in Europe also put to death apostates from Christianity? Thus, this is not punishment under God’s law, but one from the age of ignorance which entered the hadith through the Torah (Old Testament), which had been tampered with. (Refer to Deut. 13:5-10) Do our people know that according to the teachings of the Quran, one is given full freedom to choose one's religion? Thus, killing someone for religion is totally forbidden by God and is a great sin.
  • The study of the hadith has been developed into a complex one in Islam from the 9th to the 15th century. The early hadith scholars established a method of sifting out the weak hadith and retaining only the genuine ones. However, we must realize that knowledge develops, and one of the conditions for development is freedom to criticize. No philosopher, scientist or scholar is free of weaknesses, and one of the ways of overcoming weaknesses is through scientific criticism. We have seen the weaknesses of the method used by the early hadith scholars in the existence of many hadith which are in conflict with the Quran in Sahih Bukhari (Bukhari’s compilation of hadith that are regarded as genuine) and others.
  • Now we need to review the definition of sahih or authentic hadith. Does it mean confirmed as genuine only on the basis of isnad (chain of narrators) or also on the basis of matan (meaning of text)? Between isnad and matan, which is the more important? As we are talking about the sayings and doings of the Prophet, the term sahih must be based on matan which is in line with the Quran, for the sayings and doings of the Prophet Muhammad could not possibly be in conflict with the teaching of the Quran.
  • It is clear why we need to do a re-evaluation. Every Muslim believes in the Quran and puts it above all other teachings. Our problem is the Quran-illiteracy of Muslims whose language is not Arabic, and of Arab Muslims whose language is Arabic. They do not know which of the hadith taught to them are in conflict with the teachings of the Quran and which are not. Many false teachings have been slipped into the hadith by foes of Islam in those days (the Jews, the Christians, the Persians) to undermine Islam from within. If Muslims wish to be great again, and surely they do wish it, re-evaluating the hadith on the basis of the Quran and understanding and practicing the teachings of the Quran are unavoidable conditions.
  • Certainly, when this re-evaluation is carried out, certain changes and adjustments will need to be made in our beliefs and practices. As these changes are made to correct and improve, we need not fear making them. In fact, we should welcome them. What we should fear is going on practicing wrong traditions after knowing them to be so.
  • But these few changes and adjustments involve major matters:
  • One, we must reject adulation of leaders. We must bow only to God. All human beings are equal--none higher or lower than the other. This will rekindle the spirit of jihad (struggling in God’s cause) among Muslims....
  • Two, we must reject taqlid (un-questioning acceptance of human authority). We must use our minds to gain knowledge. We read all books, but critically. We learn from all teachers, but without forgetting our critical faculty. In this way, we shall inherit only the good from our ancestors; the bad we shall cast aside. Thus will the Islamic intellect blossom again.
  • Three, we must reject fatalism. Our fates as individuals and as a nation is shaped by ourselves, not by taqdir (divine predestination). The law is: those who strive will attain; those who do not strive will not. Man cannot know his capacity until he tries. The Omniscient God knows everything from beginning to end, but man does not know what God knows. This change will revive the creativity of Muslims; and science, philosophy, art and technology will bloom again in the Islamic world.
  • These are the three major changes we must make as individuals and as a people when we re-evaluate the hadith on the basis of the Quran and when we return to the Quran. Is this impossible? I think not. The best ways of making these changes can be discussed and decided by our leaders and intellectuals.
  • As we have seen, the anti-hadith allegations hurled at us are the result of ignorance or misunderstanding on the part of the people and a handful of leaders who fear for their position and authority. These can be overcome through sincere and fair discussion. We all declare ourselves to be Muslims. What, then, prevents us from holding talks to find an amicable solution based on truth? If both sides are sincere, adhere to the spirit of brotherhood among the faithful, and base the talks on the Quran, as God commands, there is no reason why we cannot solve this problem.
  • We have no intention of toppling the ulama (religious scholars or leaders) or wresting away their positions. We only want the Muslims, including the leaders and the intellectuals, in our country to adhere truly to the Quran.
  • Some claim that this problem need not be re-opened as it was solved long ago. These people are like ostriches, burying their heads in the sand and saying there is nothing to worry about since they can see nothing! Islamic communities all over the world as well as in our country are bogged down with problems they cannot overcome. Why? Because we live in darkness. How could we see in the dark? We need to get out of the darkness by using a bright torch. That torch is the Quran.
  • As I stated in the beginning of this letter, the time has come for Muslims and mankind in general to return to God’s teachings. Our society, both national and international, is hit by crisis after crisis; the only way we can overcome these is by returning to the teachings of the Omniscient God, i.e., the Quran. Such is the importance of the Quran to us and to the world.