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Thread: Sunnah and Hadith

  1. #1
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Default Sunnah and Hadith

    Salam All,

    Upon the request of our member Atif I have moved parts of another thread and continued it here. The original thread began at this link:

    I have pasted all the pertinent dialog here:

    <font color="#FF0000" size="4">Exioce - Posted-11/26/2003:
    23:14:02 </font></p>

    my own view about UI is that it's a kind of 'liberal' Islamic website. there's less dogma here than you would find elsewhere - more rounded and nicer people - but it's precisely because there's less dogma that UI suffers in credibility.

    if someone says "Islam says X" then you must have a majority of sources (Quran and hadith) where it says "X" (and you must explain away the parts where it says "Y"). but not every source of Islam sits comfortably with a liberal persuation, so the sources are generally left alone at UI.

    <font size="4" color="#FF0000">Atif - Posted-11/27/2003:
    03:45:31 </font></p>

    if someone says "Islam says X" then you must have a majority of sources (Quran and hadith) where it says "X" (and you must explain away the parts where it says "Y"). but not every source of Islam sits comfortably with a liberal persuation, so the sources are generally left alone at UI.

    Actually, it's not that simple. A lot of the confusion and difference of opinion amongst the muslim scholars is due to the consideration of the Hadeeth as a source of Islamic law on par with the Quran and Sunnah. This has led to a lot of problems and made things more complicated then they should have been.

    I think this basic assumption regarding the Hadeeth (as opposed to the sunnah) being a source of Islamic law is one of the fundamental reasons behind the erroneous beliefs of many muslims today.

    The team of UI maintain that they have not set out to project a politically correct 'version' of Islam. The are committed to presenting Islam based only on the Quran and Sunnah and faithfully adhere to only this creterion when presenting their opinions.

    To say that a lack of dogma lends a lack of credibility shows that you've come to think of Islam as a religion of unthinking fanatics. I can understand why you may think this is so. However, muslims scholars don't have to be dogmatic to be credible. On the contrary, it is the dogmatic Islamic scholar that in my eyes lacks credibility. It is hoped that anyone immersed in religious thinking would have developed the tolerance and open-mindedness of true scholarship so that dogma is never a feature of his work.


    <font size="4" color="#FF0000">Exioce - Posted-11/27/2003:
    14:00:43 </font></p>

    i'm confused, Atif.

    when you speak of "Sunnah" what else is the source of Sunnah except the hadith? naturally, not all hadith are reliable - and more people would do well to accept this - but without the hadith Muslims would not even know how to pray. after all, the Quran just orders Muslims to pray - it does not give the method.

    if one does not consider hadith authoritative enough to be a source of Sharia, then one cannot consider it authoritative for anything else. and what happens then? Muslims don't even know how to pray.

    remember also that Mutawaatir hadith share the same degree of authenticity as the Quran, because the Quran IS mutawaatir (having so many identical chains of narration that it's extremely improbable the people narrating them came together to forge the account). to reject a mutawaatir hadith is akin to rejecting the Quran.

    hey, click click click... is UI what might be referred to as a "Purvayzi" website?

    EDIT - okay, i read the article about the alleged difference between hadith and "Sunnah" and i'm afraid to say it only reinforces my opinion as to the lack of credibility.

    the crux of the argument rests on the flawed basis that a physical practice passed from one generation to the next is less susceptible to corruption than an orally transmitted account. to back that up it goes on to make the claim that a Muslim praying in the USA prays exactly the same as a Muslim in Pakistan. we both know this is false. there are usually slight - and in some cases large - variances. in fact, one of the bigger problems that new Muslims face is how to pray, because they find so many different accounts on the method.

    so is "Sunnah" any more authentic than hadith? given the evidence, i personally would have to say no.

    Edited by - Exioce on 11/27/2003 14:17:23

    <font size="4" color="#FF0000">Atif - Posted-11/27/2003:
    17:14:09 </font></p>


    You say that the 'assumption' of transmission of practical aspects of Shari'ah is flawed. You then back up your contention by pointing out to the difference in the methods of prayer b/w people in different places on this planet.

    These differences that you speak are minor. For instance, some people fold their hands over their chest when they are standing in prayer. Others fold them over their stomach. Yet others don't even fold their hands. It has to be understood that these differences are not contradictory but rather variant styles arising from some basic fundamental rules.

    Those muslims who are confused on the issue do not appreciate that such flexibility is permitted. The basic rules of prayer are universally agreed upon. Variances will indeed seem a big issue to those who believe that they will be called to account for the smallest naunces of their movements in prayer.

    The perpetuation of the method of prayer by physical demonstration throughout the generations cannot be corrupted. Keep in mind that prayer is not carried out once or twice in a person's life, but rather 5 times a day. This is carried out by the entire population of muslims. If the transfer of knowledge of the format of prayer were corrupted, you'd see a much bigger difference b/w the muslims in it throughout the world. After 1400 years, we muslims still agree on the basic format of the 5 prayers. Whatever differences exist are due to the freedom to have to work within the basic format of prayer.

    BTW, the body of reliable hadeeth in their entirity does not give us a total picture of how to pray. Remember that the first really authentic hadeeth compilation was gathered more than 100 years after the prophet's death. Even then, this compliation was not available to everyone in the muslim ummah at the time. Therefore we can deduce that it was the practical perputation of the format of salah and not a hadeeth compliation that allowed muslims during those 100 years to pray correctly.


    <font size="4" color="#FF0000">Exioce - Posted-11/27/2003:
    20:05:11 </font></p>

    but this is my very point. the fact that a variance exists at all points to the fact that the physical transmission is imperfect. just as oral transmission.

    question - if you wanted to know if the way you pray is in any way similar to the way the Prophet prayed, what would you do?

    <font size="4" color="#FF0000">Atif - Posted-11/28/2003:
    04:49:24 </font></p>


    As I said before, the minor differences that exist are the result of legitimate freedoms that were allowed in the format of prayer. If for example, the prophet kept the distance b/w his feet while standing during prayer X centimeters, that does not mean X centimeters is a divinely ordained length to keep your feet apart. Another person may feel more comfortable keeping his feet a little further apart or closer together.

    The only absolute way to determine if my prayers are in any way similar to the prophet's prayer is to travel back in time and watch him. Since that is not possible, I place my trust in the integrity of the transmission through the generations. Why do I believe this transmission is unflawed? Because there are no significant differences in the way I pray and the way a billion other muslims pray all over the world - that too more than 1400 year after the prophet first taught us the prayer.

    As I said before, the differences are minor and then too, do not indicate contradiction. They are valid freedoms allowed to us muslims. It's only common sense that if every naunce of prayer were rigidly defined, it would too difficult learn how to pray in the first place, lest propagate it to others.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Salaam `alaykum

    <>"the fact that a variance exists at all points to the fact that the physical transmission is imperfect."[/i]

    Perhaps you could expand on why you believe the existence of variant physical practices to be an "imperfection"?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003


    Salam All,

    The difference in salat is of form (slight variance in physical actions) and not of content (what is being recited in the salat). I dont think one should make a 'big deal' about the slight differences in the physical form of prayer, as long as the content has not been tampered with.

    May peace and the blessings of Allah be upon you!

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