When I am talking to Shias on the correctness of Aqidah i.e. that all Muslims should follow only the Quran and Sunnah, they say that we cannot accept the authenticity of the hadeeths
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
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As sal;aam aleikum.
When I am talking to Shias on the correctness of Aqidah i.e. that all Muslims should follow only the Quran and Sunnah, they say that we cannot accept the authenticity of the hadeeths. How do you reason with them on this issue and convince them of the authenticity of the hadeeths?
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Authenticity of hadiths
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21:
There is indeed the best example for you to follow, in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisa verse 79-80:
We have sent you (O Mohamed) as a Messenger to mankind, and Allahs witness suffices for this. Whoever obeys the Messenger, in fact obeys Allah, and whoever turns away from him, he will be accountable for his deeds. Anyhow, we have not sent you (O Mohamed) to be a guardian over them.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 31-32:
O Prophet, tell the people, If you sincerely love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful. Also say to them, Obey Allah and His Messenger. And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.
It is indeed unfortunate that some people have gone to the two extremes when dealing with the ahaadiths of the Messenger of Allah (saws). One extreme declares belief in each and every hadith of the Prophet (saws), without confirming whether the hadith is authentic or not! The other extreme declares their complete opposition and rejection of any and all ahaadiths, regardless of whether they are fabricated or not!
The true muslims must take a balanced view or the middle way when dealing with anything. Just because someone calls a statement or a deed a hadith, we are not to completely submit to it, nor completely reject it; but the right and correct mode of conduct would be to do a thorough investigation to determine whether the Messenger of Allah (saws) indeed did do or say the thing claimed by the raavi or narrator.
The great and eminent scholars like Bukhari and Muslim have done an exhaustive research and investigation in each of the hadiths to determine their authenticity, and only when they were completely satisfied, they recorded these hadiths in their Sahih or Book of Authentic Hadiths. They investigated each aspect of the saying or deed whether it was in conformity with the Quran or not, for it is inconceivable for a believer to assume that the Messenger of Allah (saws) would have done or said anything against the dictates of the Quran. Then they thoroughly checked and investigated the chain of narrators to see whether they were truthful people or not, or whether one who claimed to have heard it from the other was alive at the same time or not, and if alive, did they ever meet each other or not! If there was even a slight doubt in any event or chain of events, these eminent scholars refused to accept the hadith as authentic.
Even after all their exhaustive efforts and thorough investigations, it is impossible to claim, nor does anyone ever claim, that each and every hadith in their collection of sahih is absolutely authentic; for after all, this is a work of man, and man is prone to shortcomings and error. For the believers, the only guaranteed authentic Book of Guidance has to be the Glorious Quran, whose authenticity is guaranteed until the end of time by none other than Allah Subhanah. For every aspect of guidance, emaan, belief, faith, aqeedah, tawheed, shirk, etc., one need not look beyond the Quran. The hadiths, once they have been declared authentic by the scholars, will only be used when one finds the Quran silent on a particular subject.
Whatever the Prophet (saws) said, and whatever he did are known as his Sunnah, which means The Prophets (saws) way. Hadith is the name given to the record of writing down the Prophets (saws) Sunnah by somebody.
What concerns us first and foremost is the guidance and the teachings in the Holy Quran. There is absolutely no doubt in the mind of any believer that these are the very words of Allah Subhanah. The Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) is the way he followed the commandments of the Holy Quran in a practical way and showed his companions and believers to act accordingly. To follow the way and example of the Prophet (saws) is a commandment of the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Al Ahzaab verse 21:
There is indeed the best example or model for you (to follow) in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person who looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
For example: The Quran says establish Prayer, but does not give other details of the number of rakah, etc. This the Prophet (saws) showed us practically by praying five times a day for a number of years in front of thousands of believers. He prayed two rakahs for fajr, three for magrib, and four for zuhr, asr and isha. This is how the Prophet (saws) established the Prayer commandment of the Holy Quran practically. And that is known as His Sunnah. Another example is that the Prophet (saws) kept a beard, and instructed the believers to grow a beard. Thus keeping a beard is regarded as Prophet Mohamed (saws) Sunnah. In other words, Sunnah is the way of the Prophet Mohamed (saws).
The Sunnah is something that the believers followed immediately after the Prophet (saws) did or said something himself. They did not wait for 120 years for the hadith to be recorded and then started doing it, but rather as soon the Prophet (saws) did it, they started following it as his way or Sunnah. The Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) was followed by the believers from the first day of the Prophets mission.
The Hadith is only a record of the acts or words of the Prophet (saws), written down by some muslims 120 years after the Prophets (saws) death, for reference to future generations. The reason we pray the five prayers or the 3 rakahs of magrib prayers today, is not because they are recorded in the hadiths of Bukhari or Muslim, but because hundreds of thousands of the believers saw the way or Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) and followed it. And this Sunnah or way of the Prophet (saws) was being followed by all the believers, who narrated to their next generation, and they to the next. The Sunnah was followed when the Prophet (saws) was alive, and will be followed, Insha Allah, until the end of time.
The original laws and commandments are all in the Holy Quran for the guidance of mankind. The Sunnah or way of the Prophet (saws) is exactly according to the teachings of the Holy Quran. And the Hadiths are just a record of these ways written by man some 120 years after the death of the Prophet (saws) as reference for future generations.
Because the hadiths were recorded by man, they are prone to error. Not every hadith recorded is genuine. In fact a lot of them are fabrications and may have been recorded by people with political or material bias.
Some might say the Prophet (saws) said or did this act, which, he (saws) might never have done or said! But a lot of the hadiths are genuine, and the Prophet (saws) did say and do these things, and these are the ones we have to follow. It is said that Bukhari collected in excess of 300,000 hadiths, but only 7500 were considered authentic by him and recorded in his volumes of Sahih Bukhari. So, how can we gauge which hadiths are genuine and which ones are fabrications?
There are a few rules, if followed, one can easily realize if the hadith is genuine or not.
1. If any hadith is directly against any commandment or statement of the Holy Quran, it will be immediately rejected. Simply because, it is inconceivable that the Prophet (saws) did or said anything against the Holy Quran. His whole life was a practical example of following the Quran, and Allah Himself certifies in the Holy Quran that the Prophet (saws) is a good example to follow for anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day.
2. If any hadith is directly against any established Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), it will be rejected. For example, if one hadith says the Prophet (saws) prayed four rakahs for magrib prayers, it will not be accepted.
3. If any hadith goes against the foundation of Islam, it will not be accepted. For example, if one hadith says that the Prophet (saws) went to an idol or grave and invoked it, it is against the basic foundation of Tauheed or worship and invocation of one-God, and will thus be rejected. It would just be inconceivable for the Prophet (saws) to do such an act!
4. If any hadith is against basic common-sense, it will not be accepted. For example if one hadith says that a man talked to a tree and the tree started walking! This sort of things are absolutely against basic common sense, and will be rejected.
A lot of unscrupulous people wrote a lot of slander and false statements and attributed the falsehood to the Prophet (saws). These people might have had any number of agendas, be it political, or material, or otherwise. If one wrote that the Prophet (saws) said this or that, it does not mean by any means that the Prophet (saws) actually said or did those things. If the saying or act goes against any of the four principles or laws laid above, chances are that the hadith is a fabrication and should be rejected.
Thus in conclusion, the genuine hadiths are a record of the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), and the false hadiths are the work of unscrupulous people in pursuit of their own agendas.
Your Question: How do you reason with them on this issue and convince them of the authenticity of the hadeeths?
Dear and beloved brother in Islam, each and every aspect of ones aqeedah or articles of faith are detailed and derived from the Glorious Quran alone and one need not refer to any hadith for the purpose of aqeedah!
To believe in the works of Bukhari or Muslim is neither a part of our deen nor obligatory upon a muslim, but to believe and follow the Sunnah of the Last Messenger of Allah (saws) is indeed an integral part of a believers aqeedah. Thus if one wishes not to believe in the documented ahaadeeths of eminent and accepted scholars of the likes of Bukhari, Muslim, etc. and chooses to verify and accept the works of another, there is absolutely no harm. As long as one strives to follow the Guidance of the Glorious Quran and the authentic and established Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws), one would indeed be on the Straight Path.
Our Shia brethren indeed reject and deny the collection of hadiths followed by mainstream muslims and have developed their own sets and documentations of ahaadeeths from their chosen scholars in their effort to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Because the collection and documentation of ahaadeeths are a work of man, there is absolutely no way one party can convince the other in this world.and this dispute can and will only be settled in the Just and Supreme Court of the All-Knowing Lord on the Day of Judgment.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 45 Surah Al-Jathiyah verse 17:
Then they differed amongst themselves after the knowledge (of Islam) had come to them, only because they wanted to wrong one another. Your Lord will Judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning the matters in which they have been differing!
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,