Analysis of Validity of Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith

Is It Truly From Muhammad And Valid Islamic Law?

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These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement (hadith) after Allah and His verses will they believe? (Quran: 45:6)

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed (the Quran) - then it is those who are the disbelievers (kafirun). (Quran: 5:44)

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. (George Orwell)

Dedication

God expects you to use your God-given brain.

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use their brains to think. (8:22)

I dedicate this book to people who use their brain.

Author

David
David is an American Muslim living in Silicon Valley, California. He has lived in Indonesia and Egypt and has visited many other Islamic countries throughout the Middle East. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and holds a masters degree in computer science. David is also familiar with and has performed Quran-based Islamic exorcisms. Fascinated by the mystical powers of the Quran to expel evil jinn living in human bodies and surprised by the proliferation of victims of black magic, David began to examine the Quran. To his surprise, he discovered that much of what the majority of Muslims believe and practice either contradicts or is not even supported by the Quran. His books on Islam are the results of this discovery.

David has also written other Islamic books and created several Islamic resources which can be found at www.uncorruptedislam.com.

READ ME FIRST!

The information presented in this book may come as a surprise to most Muslims and probably Jews and Christians. At first glance, a reader might think of it as blasphemy. However, all Muslims, whether Sunni, Shiah, Druze, Alawi, Salafi, or whatever other sect, agree that the Quran is the truth. Therefore, the information provided in this book is purely based on the Quran with references to verses to prove each claim. After reading this book with an unbiased and open mind, Muslims may wonder why the global Muslim community, Islamic scholars, and they themselves never realized the truth that this book proves. I believe the primary reason for this stems from Quran chapter 47 verse 24.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
Then do they not study / think deeply about / understand the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (47:24)

The key word here is "tadabbur" which means “study / think deeply about to understand”.

Most Muslims are non-Arabic speakers. They read the Quran but don’t understand what they are reading. They could read translations in their own language but for some reason, they seem to think it’s better to read the Arabic Quran without understanding the words. Since the Quran is not written the way today’s books are written, even Arabic-speaking readers have a hard time understanding the meaning of it. And anyone who reads the Quran in their own language will still not necessarily understand its meaning because most people don’t actually think deeply to understand (tadabbur) each verse.

The purpose of this book is to help the reader understand various topics about the religion of Submission (Arabic: Islam) and the Quran so that they can use valid and logical arguments to make better decisions about their beliefs. Before embarking on this journey to learn the truth, it is highly recommended that you prepare yourself in the following ways.

Proofs in this book that reference the Quran are shown in parentheses such as (16:123) which means Quran chapter 16 verse 123. All English translations are taken from Sahih International as I find them to be more accurate compared to others I’ve read and it tries to keep the word order more or less the same as the original Arabic text. However, the word Allah has been translated to God since Sahih International either forgot to or didn’t want to translate Allah to God even though they probably knew that Allah in Arabic means God in English.

Do not read this book with the intention to contradict and refute it, nor to believe and take it for granted, but to weigh and consider the proofs detailed herein. And most definitely, do not judge this book based on the length of my beard!

Sincerely,

David
San Francisco Bay Area, USA

What is the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad?

Hadith

The Arabic word 'Hadith' means a report, tale, story, statement, narration, a communication or a discourse. Its plural form is 'Ahadith'. Every 'hadith' has two constituent parts: silsilah (chain) and matn (text).

Silsilah (Chain)

The first part is the chain of attesters (silsila) which includes the 'Hadith Originator' and the 'Final Transmitter' of that Hadith. Between the Hadith originator and the final transmitter, there are any numbers of transmitters who have passed on the Hadith orally from one to the other over any given period of time. The complete chain is known as the 'sanad' (support) or the 'isnad' (supporting).

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Matn (Text)

The actual wording (text) of the hadith is known as the 'matn' and is carried from the originator of the hadith through all the oral transmitters to the final transmitter.

Ahad (Single) vs Mutawattir (Multiple)

A Hadith is usually classified as 'ahad' (single / limited chain(s) of transmission) or 'tawattur' (mutawattir - multiple chains of transmission of the same hadith report).

However, a more technical definition of a report which has reached the status of 'tawattur' is one which is understood to be conveyed by narrators so numerous that it is considered inconceivable that they could have agreed on a falsehood of what is being narrated underscoring its veracity (ilm yaqeen - certain knowledge). Though there is no consensus upon the number of narrators required for such a status, it is understood nevertheless that multiple narrators existed at each level of the chain of transmission. At times the terms ‘mutawatir’ and ‘mashhur’ (well-established) are also used interchangeably.

In contrast, an 'ahad' transmission is one which it has not been deemed to reach the level of qualification of a 'tawattur' transmission. Each of the transmissions is then usually divided into sub-categories by Hadith scholars.

Most Hadith are Based on “Ahad” (Single) Transmission

The vast majority of the Hadith corpus is based on an 'ahad' transmission which merely provides nothing more than a single source of evidence. So in effect, what one originator narrates, no other narrator passes on the same hadith.

“Sahih” Hadith

Sahih hadith are considered reliable and accurate hadith by most Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith

The hadith are supposed sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad died in 632 CE. Imam Bukhari was born in 810 CE and completed compiling the hadith around 846 CE. In other words, Bukhari compiled the hadith 214 years after Muhammad died. That’s over 2 centuries or spanning approximately 4 generations (assuming the average lifespan was 60 as was the age when Muhammad died). Since Bukhari was not alive when Muhammad died, Bukhari relied on asking people if they remembered hearing something that Muhammad said. Since 214 years is a long time, all hadith are based on a chain of people who claim they heard Muhammad say something. And since 214 years is longer than the average lifetime (Muhammad died at the age of 60), no hadith transmitter lived during the lifetimes of both Prophet Muhammad and Imam Bukhari.

Year Event
571 Muhammad born
611 Muhammad becomes a prophet
632 Muhammad dies
??? Person A claims they heard someone (who was dead at the time) say they heard Muhammad say something
??? Person B said they heard Person A say something
??? Person C said they heard Person B say something
??? Person D said they heard Person C say something
??? Person E said they heard Person D say something
??? Person F said they heard Person E say something
??? Person G said they heard Person F say something
846 Bukhari said he heard Person G say something

Hadith Qudsi

Hadith Qudsi (Divine / Sacred Sayings) are considered different than the Prophet’s hadith in that Hadith Qudsi are considered to be the sayings of God Himself. In other words, rather than the Prophet communicating something to person A, the sanad in a Hadith Qudsi allegedly stretches back and initiates from God Himself.

God ⟶ Prophet ⟶ Person A⟶ B ⟶ C ⟶ D ⟶ E ⟶ F ⟶ X ⟶ Hadith compiler

In this way, the Hadith Qudsi are regarding by Muslims as 'revelations' that exist outside the Quran. What is unknown to many Muslims is that the Hadith Qudsi are subject to the same issues of authenticity as the Prophet’s hadith. There are no Hadith Qudsi that were recorded during the time of the prophet. No one can prove that Hadith Qudsi actually came from God. Just as with the prophet’s hadith, people who believe the Hadith Qudsi came from God only believe it out of stubborn insistence rather than proof. As we will prove later, the Quran is God’s hadith, it is the best hadith and God says it is complete. Therefore, it should be called Hadith Qudsi.

Human Memory

Humans are very bad at remembering and relaying information. For example, if someone told you something last week, you probably could not repeat the same exact statement to me today. It happens all the time. And that’s just over a period of one week. Based on this logic, does it really make sense to put a lot of trust in a long chain of people who claim they heard Prophet Muhammad say something 214 years earlier? Common sense would say “no”. But, because religion is about “belief”, most people want to just “believe” that what they hear is true even if it’s not true, especially if they’ve been taught to believe in the hadith since they were children.

Context

Many hadith are very short and simple and lack context. This lack of context makes it difficult to correctly understand the intent of the hadith. For example, a hadith that forbids something could very well have been a joke and not to be taken seriously.

Conclusion

Based on the following facts

it is therefore highly unlikely that most hadith are accurate and reliable enough to be truly what Prophet Muhammad said.

Quranic verses against the hadith

Can the Hadith be Used as Islamic Law?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad can be used as Islamic law. However, God says in the Quran that following any law besides the Quran is forbidden.

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا
Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail? … (6:114 part)
تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ
These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement (hadith) after Allah and His verses will they believe? (45:6)
فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Then in what statement after it (the Qur'an) will they believe? (77:50)
مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ
What is [the matter] with you? How do you judge? Or do you have a book / scripture in which you learn that indeed for you in it is whatever you choose? (68:36-38)

Conclusion

These verses make it very clear that the only source by which to judge according to Islam is the Quran and nothing else. God even specifically questions why people would believe in any hadith after the Quran has been revealed.

The best hadith is God’s hadith

Many Muslims believe this hadith or that hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is the best hadith. However, God says in the Quran that God’s own hadith (the Quran) is the best.

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ ...
Allah has sent down the best statement (ahsan hadith): a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. ... (39:23 part)

Conclusion

This verse makes it very clear that the Quran, which is the word (statement / saying) of God, is the best hadith that is consistent and without contradiction. As such, why would anyone choose to follow an inferior saying (hadith) such as the hadith compiled by Bukhari, Muslim, and others, many of which contain contradictions?

Is the Quran incomplete such that we need the hadith?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is necessary to complete the Quran. However, God says in the Quran that the Quran is complete (6:115, 6:38).

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled / completed in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6:115)
وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم ۚ مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ
And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Book (Quran) a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered. (6:38)

Conclusion

These verses make it very clear that the Quran is complete. God even specifically says that He did not neglect anything from the Quran. To argue that the Quran isn’t complete because, for example, it doesn’t detail how to pray the way Muslims currently pray is no different than saying that Muslims don’t believe everything that God says in the Quran. (Below, it will be proven that the details of prayer were given to Abraham and passed down thru the generations . Praying did not begin with Muhammad). Since Muslims must believe everything in the Quran, Muslims therefore must genuinely believe and accept the fact that the Quran is complete. Furthermore, since God is Perfect, it would make no sense to believe that the Quran is incomplete as if God was too busy to finish authoring it.

Is the Quran not fully detailed such that we need the hadith?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is necessary to provide details that are missing from the Quran. However, God says in the Quran that the Quran is fully detailed of all things.

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا
Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail? … (6:114 part)
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was the Qur'an a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things and guidance and mercy for a people who believe. (12:111)
كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
A Book whose verses have been detailed, an Arabic Qur'an for a people who know, (41:3)
الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ
Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. (11:1)

Conclusion

These verses make it very clear that the Quran is detailed. God even specifically says that it is “a detailed explanation of all things.” To argue that the Quran isn’t detailed because, for example, it doesn’t detail how to pray the way Muslims currently pray is no different than saying that Muslims don’t believe everything that God says in the Quran. Since Muslims must believe everything in the Quran, Muslims therefore must genuinely believe and accept the fact that the Quran is detailed.

Is the Quran unclear such that we need the hadith?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is necessary to clarify certain topics in the Quran. However, God says in the Quran that the Quran clear.

وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ ۚ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims. (16:89)

Conclusion

This verse makes it very clear that the Quran itself is clear. God even specifically says that it is a “clarification for all things.” To argue that the Quran isn’t clear because, for example, it doesn’t clarify how to pray the way Muslims currently pray is no different than saying that Muslims don’t believe everything that God says in the Quran. Since Muslims must believe everything in the Quran, Muslims therefore must genuinely believe and accept the fact that the Quran is clear.

Is the Quran its best tafsir (explanation) or do we need the hadith to explain it?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is necessary to help support the tafsir (explanation) of certain topics in the Quran. However, God says in the Quran that the Quran is the best tafsir (explanation) of itself.

وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا
And they do not come to you with an argument except that We bring you the truth and the best explanation (ahsan tafsir). (25:33)

Conclusion

This verse makes it very clear that the Quran is the best tafsir (explanation) of itself. Many Muslims try to explain verses of the Quran using other sources which may or may not be accurate. To explain the Quran, this verse indicates that one should use the Quran to explain itself. Since the Quran itself provides the best tafsir (explanation) of itself, then Muslims should not rely on explanations that are based on sources outside of the Quran such as the hadith.

Is the Quran and/or the hadith the criterion between right and wrong?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad is necessary to help serve as a criterion for right and wrong. However, God says in the Quran that the Quran is the criterion between right and wrong.

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا
Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner - (25:1)

Conclusion

This verse makes it very clear that the Quran contains the criterion for judging between right and wrong. Note that nowhere in this verse, nor anywhere else in the Quran, does God say that one must use the Quran along with other sources, such as the hadith, to judge.

Are you a "kafir" if you judge by the hadith?

Many Muslims believe that the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad can be used as Islamic law.

However, God says in the Quran that whoever judges by other than the Quran is a kafir (disbeliever).

... وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
… And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is they who are the disbelievers (kafirun). (5:44 part)

Conclusion

This verse makes it very clear that Muslims are not allowed to judge by anything besides the Quran. The seriousness of this statement is made absolutely clear by the fact that God says that if anyone were to judge by other than the Quran, then they are considered disbelievers (kafir). Therefore, if anyone were to judge by the hadith, then according to this verse, they have become disbelievers (kafir).

Are Muslims allowed to pick some hadith and ignore other hadith?

Many Muslims realize that some sahih hadith are questionable and therefore only follow the hadith that they feel are okay to follow. However, with respect to Islamic guidance, Muslims are not allowed to pick and choose which statements or laws they like and ignore ones they don’t like. God even says so in verse 68:36-38.

مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ
What is [the matter] with you? How do you judge? Or do you have a book / scripture in which you learn that indeed for you in it is whatever you choose? (68:36-38)

Conclusion

The verse above makes it very clear that Muslims are not allowed to follow a book, such as the hadith, where they can pick and choose which statements or laws they want to follow.

Frivolous hadith to lead astray

Everyone, including Muslims, will agree that some hadith are just outright ridiculous and non-sensical, including some that are rated “sahih”. Muslim scholars themselves do not all agree on which hadith should be followed. Logically, religion would be must simpler if the hadith did not exist and everyone just followed the Quran. However, according to verses 6:112-113, God allowed the hadith to exist as a test for people who disbelieve in the Hereafter and for people who do not solely believe in the Quran for matters of religion.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِيٍّ عَدُوًّا شَيَاطِينَ الْإِنسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِي بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُورًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُ ۖ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ وَلِتَصْغَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَفْئِدَةُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَلِيَرْضَوْهُ وَلِيَقْتَرِفُوا مَا هُم مُّقْتَرِفُونَ
And thus We have made for every prophet an enemy - devils from mankind and jinn, inspiring to one another decorative speech in deception. But if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so leave them and that which they invent. And [it is] so the hearts of those who disbelieve in the Hereafter will incline toward it and that they will be satisfied with it and that they will commit that which they are committing. (6:112-113)

Verse 31:6 should make it very clear that whoever follows these frivolous hadith are unknowingly misleading people. As such, they will have a humiliating punishment.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
And of the people is he who buys the idle / frivolous tales (lahw al-hadith) to mislead [others] from the way of God without knowledge and who takes it in ridicule. Those will have a humiliating punishment. (31:6)

The word “buys” here obviously doesn’t mean “purchase with money” but rather “believes in and follows”.

Notice how the verse indicates that these people are unknowingly misleading people. That sounds a lot like what many Muslims do today who insist on believing in and following the hadith without first understanding the Quran. Consequently, their belief in the hadith misleads people and they will be punished. God has already made it clear in many verses throughout the Quran, e.g. verse 45:6, that only the Quran is to be followed, and that we are not allowed to follow what we don’t understand (17:36), and that we must understand and think deeply about the Quran (47:24). Therefore, if people choose to ignore these and many other statements in the Quran, then it’s their fault for unknowingly misleading others by believing in and following the hadith. And for that, they will be punished.

Prophet Muhammad

Did Prophet Muhammad follow the Quran in addition to his own hadith?

Many Muslims believe that, in addition to the Quran, Prophet Muhammad followed his own day-to-day sayings (hadith) and therefore, Muslims should also follow the prophet’s hadith.

However, Muhammad says in the Quran that he himself only follows what was revealed to him in the Quran. He doesn’t follow his own hadith for religious purposes.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ ۙ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا ائْتِ بِقُرْآنٍ غَيْرِ هَٰذَا أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ ۚ قُلْ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُ مِن تِلْقَاءِ نَفْسِي ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ ...
And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Bring us a Qur'an other than this or change it." Say, [O Muhammad], "It is not for me to change it on my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. ... (10:15)
قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say (O’ Muhammad), "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner." (46:9)
قُل لَّا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِندِي خَزَائِنُ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ وَلَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ إِنِّي مَلَكٌ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ ۚ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَىٰ وَالْبَصِيرُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
Say, [O Muhammad], "I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allah or that I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me." Say, "Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?" (6:50)
وَإِذَا لَمْ تَأْتِهِم بِآيَةٍ قَالُوا لَوْلَا اجْتَبَيْتَهَا ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَتَّبِعُ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ مِن رَّبِّي ۚ هَٰذَا بَصَائِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
And when you, [O Muhammad], do not bring them a sign, they say, "Why have you not contrived it?" Say, "I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This [Qur'an] is enlightenment from your Lord and guidance and mercy for a people who believe." (7:203)

What was revealed to Muhammad was the Quran. This is proven in 6:19. There is no proof anywhere that indicates that the sayings of the prophet Muhammad (hadith) besides what’s in the Quran are a revelation from God.

... وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ ...
… this Qur'an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches … (6:19 part)

Furthermore, if the hadith of the prophet Muhammad were so important that it needed to be followed just as the Quran is to be followed, why didn’t Muhammad have his day-to-day sayings written down in a book while he was alive? Even after the prophet died, none of his companions made any effort to preserve the prophet’s hadith. What they preserved was only the Quran.The prophet left us nothing except for the Quran because the prophet and everyone else are only allowed to follow the Quran. There is even a sahih Bukhari hadith (Sahih al-Bukhari Book 66, Hadith 41) that states that the prophet didn’t leave anything for his people except the Quran. https://sunnah.com/bukhari/66/41

Conclusion

The above verses make it clear that Prophet Muhammad himself only follows what was revealed to him and nothing else. Verse 7:203 and 6:19 also make it clear that what was revealed to him was the Quran.

Is the hadith a revelation from God?

Many Muslims believe that, in addition to the Quran, the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad was also a revelation from God. They often cite verse 53:3 which reads

وَمَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى
and he does not speak from his own desire.(53:3)

Their argument is that if Muhammad didn't speak from his own desire, then his speech must have been a revelation. However, the mistake most Muslims make is they take individual verses out of context. The very following verse (53:4) reads

إِنْ هُوَ إِلا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى
It is nothing less than a inspiration that is inspired to him (53:4)

This verse clearly indicates that there was a thing (it) that Muhammad did not speak from his own desire but rather by inspiration / revelation. The thing, referenced as "it" in verse 53:4, is obviously the Quran. Therefore, the Quran which Muhammad spoke was inspired or revealed to him and wasn't from his own desire. It wasn't his day-to-day hadith that was not from his own desire.

Verse 66:1 of the Quran further proves that not everything Muhammad said was a revelation from God. This verse describes God as questioning Muhammad as to why he forbade something that God never forbade.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ...
O Prophet, why do you forbid what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? … (66:1 part)

Muhammad had the capacity to say a lie

In verses 69:44-46, God threatened to kill Prophet Muhammad if Muhammad ever made false statements about God. This proves that not everything Muhammad said was a revelation from God since if everything was, God would not have needed to make this threat.

وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ الْوَتِينَ
And if Muhammad had made up about Us some [false] sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand; Then We would have cut from him the aorta. (69:44-46)

Conclusion

The verse above makes it very clear that not everything Muhammad said was a revelation from God. Since Muhammad only follows what was revealed to him (10:15, 46:9, 6:50, 7:203) and that what was revealed to him was only the Quran (7:203), then Muslims are only allowed to follow the Quran and not the prophet’s hadith.

Was Prophet Muhammad’s job just to deliver the Quran or more than that?

Many Muslims believe that the job of the Prophet Muhammad was to do more than just deliver the Quran. However, God says in the Quran that the job of the Prophet Muhammad was only to deliver the message (the Quran) and nothing more.

مَّا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ ...
Not upon the Messenger is [responsibility] except [for] notification. And Allah knows whatever you reveal and whatever you conceal. ...(5:99)
فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا ۖ إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ ...
But if they turn away - then We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], over them as a guardian; upon you is only [the duty of] notification. ...(42:48 part)
وَإِن مَّا نُرِيَنَّكَ بَعْضَ الَّذِي نَعِدُهُمْ أَوْ نَتَوَفَّيَنَّكَ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
And whether We show you part of what We promise them or take you in death, upon you is only the [duty of] notification, and upon Us is the account. (13:40)

One might think that this “message” is the “hadith” but it’s not. The “message” is obviously the “Quran” as stated in verse 6:19.

... وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ ...
… this Qur'an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches … (6:19 part)

Conclusion

The verses above make it very clear that Prophet Muhammad had one job and one job only which was to deliver the Quran.

They ask you about ... Say

In the Quran, there are many occurrences of "They ask you (Muhammad) about..., Say...". People were asking Prophet Muhammad about something and God was telling Muhammad what to tell them. For example, in verse 2:222, people were asking Muhammad about menstruation. God then told Muhammad what to tell them.

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. ... (2:222 part)

The fact that Muhammad is always being told what to tell everyone emphasizes the fact that only God is allowed to make Islamic laws. Muhammad only relays God's message which is whatever is in the Quran. Muhammad himself wasn't allowed to make up laws on his own.

Is Prophet Muhammad exclusive and superior to the other prophets?

Many Muslims believe that prophet Muhammad is more special than the other prophets.

However, the Quran makes it clear that all prophets are equal and that Muhammad is no more special than the other prophets.

آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination." (2:285)
قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say (O’ Muhammad), "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner." (46:9)

Conclusion

The verses above make it clear that Muhammad is not a new messenger that preached a different religion than the previous messengers. They also prove that Muslims are not allowed to differentiate between any of the messengers. In other words, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and all other messengers must be considered equal.

How did the prophet guide his people?

Many Muslims believe that being guided by the prophet is done by following the hadith. However, God instructed Muhammad to guide people with the Quran, not with anything else.

نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ ۖ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ
We are most knowing of what they say, and you are not over them a tyrant (forceful leader). Therefore remind by the Qur'an whoever fears My threat. (50:45)
... وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ ...
… this Qur'an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches … (6:19 part)

Conclusion

The verses above make it clear that Muhammad guided people using the Quran and not any of his hadith that were not captured in the Quran. Therefore, if Muhammad guided people with nothing but the Quran, why are Muslims today not doing the same and using nothing but the Quran for guidance?

Problematic hadiths

Do some "sahih" hadith contradict each other?

Many Muslims believe that sahih hadith are reliable and consistent with each other. However, there are many sahih hadith which contradict each other as shown below.

Number of times to wash during ablution

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 1, Book 4, Number 159:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet performed ablution by washing the body parts only once.
BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 1, Book 4, Number 160:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zaid:
The Prophet performed ablution by washing the body parts twice.
BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 1, Book 4, Number 196:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zaid:
Once Allah's Apostle came to us and we brought out water for him in a brass pot. He performed ablution thus: He washed his face thrice, and his forearms to the elbows twice, then passed his wet hands lightly over the head from front to rear and brought them to front again and washed his feet (up to the ankles).

The sahih hadith above clearly contradict each other. How are we supposed to know which one to follow? Should we just pick whichever one we like and ignore the others? If we were to do so, we’d be guilty of what God warns us of in verse 68:36-38.

مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ
What is [the matter] with you? How do you judge? Or do you have a book / scripture in which you learn that indeed for you in it is whatever you choose? (68:36-38)

Many Muslims consider the hadith to be revelations from God via Prophet Muhammad. However, this can easily be proven false. Verse 4:82 indicates that if a book contains contradictions in it, then it could not be from God.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا
Then do they not think deeply about / understand / reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (4:82)

Since the three hadith above contradict each other in the number of times to wash when performing ablution (wudhu), then according to verse 4:82, the hadith could not be from God.

Dogs drinking and urinating

The following two hadith contradict each other.

USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 2, Hadith 36
Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If a dog drinks from your vessel, wash it seven times."
http://sunnah.com/urn/400660
SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 4, Hadith 40:
And narrated Hamza bin 'Abdullah:
My father said. "During the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, the dogs used to urinate, and pass through the mosques (come and go), nevertheless they never used to sprinkle water on it (urine of the dog.)"
http://sunnah.com/bukhari/4/40

Conclusion

It is proven above that sahih hadith can be self-contradictory. If the three sahih hadith above contradict each other, that proves that they are unreliable and therefore other sahih hadith could also be unreliable, even though they are labeled as “sahih”. Is it really wise to follow sahih hadith knowing that they are likely to be unreliable?

Do some "sahih" hadith contradict the Quran?

Many Muslims believe that sahih hadith are reliable and in line with Quranic teachings. However, there are many sahih hadith which contradict the Quran.

Racist insult

The following hadith shows Prophet Muhammad making an insulting comparison about an Ethiopian man.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 9, Book 89, Number 256:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle said, "You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/10/91

Violation of religious right to worship

The following hadith shows Prophet Muhammad limited a woman’s freedom to worship.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 120:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "A woman should not fast (optional fasts) except with her husband's permission if he is at home (staying with her)."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/126

Knowledge of the future

The following hadith described God forgiving a prostitute just because she gave a thirsty dog some water.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 4, Book 54, Number 538:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/59/127

This hadith suggests that Muhammad was able to know whether someone would be forgiven or not. However, the Quran clearly proves that Muhammad had no ability to know what was going to happen to him nor anyone else.

قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say (O’ Muhammad), "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner." (46:9)

Best Muslim has most wives

The following hadith shows Prophet Muhammad saying that the best Muslim is one who has the most wives. It’s pretty clear that this statement (hadith) is non-sensical, contradicts the Quran, and sounds more like a joke than anything else.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 7:
Narrated Said bin Jubair:
Ibn 'Abbas asked me, "Are you married?" I replied, "No." He said, "Marry, for the best person of this (Muslim) nation (i.e., Muhammad) of all other Muslims, had the largest number of wives.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/7

Temporary contract marriage (Nikah Mut'ah)

The following hadith describes Prophet Muhammad allowing nikah mut’ah (temporary contract marriage) which clearly contradicts the Quran.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa:
While we were in an army, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut'a (marriage), so do it."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/54

Forbidding Maghrib prayer

The following hadith describes Prophet Muhammad forbidding the offering of prayers at the time of sunrise and sunset which clearly contradicts the Quran.

BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 2, Book 26, Number 1629:
Narrated `Abdullah:
I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) forbidding the offering of prayers at the time of sunrise and sunset.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/25/113

Transfer of sin

The Quran states that no one will bear the sins of another which the following hadith contradicts.

SAHIH MUSLIM HADITH: Book 50, Number 60:
There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with as heavy sins as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah's Apostle (ﷺ)? I said: Yes.
https://sunnah.com/muslim/50/60

Stone to death

The Quran in verse 24:2 states that the punishment for adultery is 100 lashes only whereas the following hadith adds stoning to death.

SAHIH MUSLIM HADITH: Book 29, Number 19:
Ubada b. as-Samit reported:
Take from me. Verily Allah has ordained a way for them (the women who commit fornication),: (When) a married man (commits adultery) with a married woman, and an unmarried male with an unmarried woman, then in case of married (persons) there is (a punishment) of one hundred lashes and then stoning (to death). And in case of unmarried persons, (the punishment) is one hundred lashes and exile for one year.
https://sunnah.com/muslim/29/19

The prophet's nightly activities

According to Sahih Bukhari, prophet Muhammad used to spend his nights sleeping with each one of his 9 wives one by one at night.

BUKHARI HADITH 5068 Book 67, Hadith 6
Narrated Anas:
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/6

This is reiterated in another Sahih Bukhari which goes further and says that Muhammad had the sexual strength of 30 men.

BUKHARI HADITH 268 Book 5, Hadith 21
Narrated Qatada:
Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet (ﷺ) used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number." I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet (ﷺ) the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet (ﷺ) was given the strength of thirty (men)." And Sa`id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/5/21

On the contrary, the Quran describes a very different picture of what Muhammad did at night. According to verses 73:1-5, Muhammad was instructed by God to spend his nights praying and reciting the Quran, which he must have tried to do.

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ
O you who wraps himself [in clothing] (i.e. Muhammad), (73:1)
قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
Arise [to pray] the night, except for a little - (73:2)
نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا
Half of it - or subtract from it a little (73:3)
أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا
Or add to it, and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation. (73:4)
إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا
Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word. (73:5)

However, being the leader of the Muslims, he must have been busy. His friends also tried meditating with Muhammad at night but, as you can imagine, not everyone could do it all night long. Hence, God revealed verse 73:20 to ease their burden and forgive them if they were ill.

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ثُلُثَيِ اللَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن لَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُم مَّرْضَىٰ ۙ وَآخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ ۙ وَآخَرُونَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ ۚ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا وَأَعْظَمَ أَجْرًا ۚ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (73:20)

Verse 73:20 proves that Muhammad spent much of his nights praying and, more importantly, it proves that the two Sahih Bukhari hadith above are complete lies about Muhammad, which should also make you wonder about the authenticity of other Sahih hadith.

Conclusion

It is proven above that sahih hadith can contradict the Quran. If the example sahih hadith above contradict the Quran, that proves that they are unreliable and therefore other sahih hadith could also be unreliable, even though they are labeled as “sahih”. Is it really wise to follow sahih hadith knowing they are likely to be unreliable?

Are all "sahih" hadith acceptable?

Many Muslims believe that sahih hadith are reliable and acceptable to follow as Islamic guidance. However, there are many sahih hadith which are blatantly unacceptable and questionable as shown below.

Curse on women for refusing to sleep with their husband

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Number 127:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/127

Angels don't like dogs and pictures

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 77, Number 165:
Narrated Abu Talha:
The Prophet said, "Angels do not enter a house which has either a dog or a picture in it.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/77/165

Fight people walking in front of you

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 59, Number 83:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
The Prophet said, "If while you are praying, somebody intends to pass in front of you, prevent him; and should he insist, prevent him again; and if he insists again, fight with him (i.e. prevent him violently e.g. pushing him violently), because such a person is (like) a devil."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/59/83

I wonder what would happen in the Masjid Al Haram if everyone followed this hadith.

Because of Eve, wives betray their husbands

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 60, Number 5:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "But for the Israelis, meat would not decay and but for Eve, wives would never betray their husbands.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/5

Marriage during ihram

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Number 51:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet got married while he was in the state of Ihram.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/51

Satan in the nose

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 59, Number 104:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "If anyone of you rouses from sleep and performs the ablution, he should wash his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it out thrice, because Satan has stayed in the upper part of his nose all the night."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/59/104

Fevers are from hell fire

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 59, Number 74:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "Fever is from the heat of the (Hell) Fire; so abate fever with water."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/59/74

Moses argued with Adam

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 82, Number 20:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/82/20

Women (and horses and houses) are inherently evil

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Number 31:
Narrated Abdullah binUmar:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Evil omen is in the women, the house and the horse.'
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/31

Best women are camel riders

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Number 20:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "The best women are the riders of the camels and the righteous among the women of Quraish. They are the kindest women to their children in their childhood and the more careful women of the property of their husbands."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/20

The origin of Tayammum (dry ablution)

In the following hadith, it is claimed that God revealed the verse of Tayammum (dry ablution) just because the prophet's companions were busy looking for Aisha's (Prophet Muhammad's) necklace when the time of prayer came upon them. Clearly non-sensical!

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 62, Hadith 120:
Narrated `Aisha:
That she borrowed a necklace from Asma' and it was lost. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent some of his companions to look for it. During their journey the time of prayer was due and they prayed without ablution. When they returned to the Prophet (ﷺ) they complained about it. So the Divine Verse of Tayammum was revealed. Usaid bin Hudair said (to `Aisha), "May Allah reward you handsomely. By Allah, whenever you have a difficulty, Allah took you out of it and brought with it, a Blessing for the Muslims."
http://sunnah.com/bukhari/62/120

Drinking camel urine and gouging one's eyes out

NASA'I HADITH: Book 37, Hadith 62:
Narrated Anas:
"A group of men from 'Ukl, or 'Uraynah, came to the Prophet [SAW], and when the climate of Al-Madinah did not suit them, he told them to go to some camels and drink their milk and urine. Then they killed the herdsman and stole the camels. He sent (men) after them, and had their hands and feet cut off, and their eyes gouged out."
http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/62

Child abuse

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Hadith 69:
Narrated Aisha:
that the Prophet (ﷺ) married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/69

Women are crooked

TIRMIDHI HADITH: Book 13, Hadith 15:
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
The Messenger of Allah said: "Indeed the woman is like a rib, if you try to straighten her you will break her, and if you leave her, what you enjoy from her will be with the crookedness."
https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/13/15

Drinking while standing is forbidden

SAHIH MUSLIM HADITH: Book 36, Hadith 153:
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
None of you should drink while standing; and if anyone forgets, he must vomit.
https://sunnah.com/muslim/36/153

Urinate while standing

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 46, Hadith 32:
Narrated Hudhaifa:
I saw Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) coming (or the Prophet (ﷺ) came) to the dumps of some people and urinated there while standing.
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/46/32

Majority of women in Hell

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 67, Hadith 132:
Narrated `Imran:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I looked at Paradise and saw that the majority of its residents were the poor; and I looked at the (Hell) Fire and saw that the majority of its residents were women."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/132

Eat with left hand

SAHIH MUSLIM HADITH: Book 38, Hadith 138:
Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) having said:
Do not eat with your left hand, for the Satan eats with his left hand.
https://sunnah.com/muslim/36/138

Dip house fly

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 59, Hadith 126:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said "If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink) and take it out, for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/59/126

Black magic

Following is one more so-called “sahih” Bukhari hadith which can be tested for authenticity. According to this hadith, if one eats seven Ajwa dates every morning, they will not be affected by black magic and toxins / poisin throughout the day.

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Volume 7, Book 71, Number 671:
Narrated Sa`d:
I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "Whoever takes seven 'Ajwa dates in the morning will not be effected by magic or poison on that day."
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/76/91

It’s unfortunate that so many people today are affected by black magic. Many are so desperate to get help and many have spent much money paying spiritual healers for help. If eating 7 dates every morning is good enough to block you from the effects of black magic, then why don’t people do it? Is it because they’ve tried and it doesn’t work? Or is it because the hadith was mislabeled as a sahih one? Could it be that the hadith was spread by someone who had something to gain from the sale of Ajwa dates?

Fondling menstruating wives

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 6, Hadith 7:
Narrated `Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad:
(on the authority of his father) `Aisha said: "Whenever Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) wanted to fondle anyone of us during her periods (menses), he used to order her to put on an Izar and start fondling her." `Aisha added, "None of you could control his sexual desires as the Prophet (ﷺ) could."
http://sunnah.com/bukhari/6/7

This hadith suggests that the prophet used to have sexual intercourse with his wives which clearly is a violation of verse 2:222 which forbids sexual intercourse while one’s wife is menstruating.

Reciting Quran on lap of menstruating wife

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 6, Hadith 4:
Narrated `Aisha:
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to lean on my lap and recite Qur'an while I was in menses.
http://sunnah.com/bukhari/6/4

Of all the places the prophet could recite the Quran, why in the world would he do it while leaning on his wife’s lap when she was menstruating?

Sleeping with strangers

SAHIH BUKHARI HADITH: Book 79, Hadith 55:
Narrated Thumama:
Anas said, "Um Sulaim used to spread a leather sheet for the Prophet (ﷺ) and he used to take a midday nap on that leather sheet at her home." Anas added, "When the Prophet (ﷺ) had slept, she would take some of his sweat and hair and collect it (the sweat) in a bottle and then mix it with Suk (a kind of perfume) while he was still sleeping. "When the death of Anas bin Malik approached, he advised that some of that Suk be mixed with his Hanut (perfume for embalming the dead body), and it was mixed with his Hanut.
http://sunnah.com/bukhari/79/55

This hadith claims that the prophet would go sleep at other women’s homes and allow them to collect the sweat off of his body and put it in a bottle.

False knowledge of the future

Sunnah.com reference: Book 18, Hadith 237:
Ibn 'Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) said:
Once, towards the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) concluded the 'Isha' (night) prayer and said, "After one hundred years from tonight none of the people on the surface of the earth will survive."
http://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/18/237

This hadith claims that the prophet knew the future which contradicts Quran verses 46:9, 6:50, and 7:188. Even if the prophet knew the future, this prophecy is clearly false. If it were true, Bukhari would have never been born since he was born 200 or so years after the prophet’s death.

Conclusion

It is proven above that sahih hadith can be utterly unacceptable and without a doubt questionable. If the example sahih hadith above are unacceptable and questionable, that proves that they are unreliable and therefore other sahih hadith could also be unreliable, even though they are labeled as “sahih”. Is it really wise to follow sahih hadith knowing that they are likely to be unreliable?

Following others

If most Muslims believe the hadith, is it safe to just follow them?

Many Muslims believe that they are safe and on the right path if they just do what the majority of Muslims do. However, God says in the Quran that if you follow most people on earth, you will be misled.

وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ
And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying. (6:116)

Conclusion

This verse proves that the majority belief is a belief that could lead you astray. The verse indicates that many people follow assumption without proof. This is easily proven by asking Muslims if they can show proof that supports the practices they follow. Many will respond saying that they just follow what everyone else does with the assumption that everyone can’t be wrong.

If most Islamic leaders believe the hadith, is it safe to just follow them?

Many Muslims believe that they are safe and on the right path if they just follow the advice of Islamic leaders. However, according to verse 33:67, many people who follow their leaders will have been mislead.

وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَا
And they will say, "Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way. (33:67)

Conclusion

This verse proves that blindly following Islamic leaders and scholars (ulama’) can lead one astray. This isn’t to say that everything that all Islamic leaders say is misleading. Rather, some or much of what they say may be misleading and therefore, one must see proof of any statement given by a leader and only follow something if it is supported by the Quran.

Are many Muslims today like clueless trained monkeys?

Many Muslims believe that they understand Islam and are knowledgeable about their practices.

However, many of them can’t provide proof to support their practices and just insist that their practices are correct. This behavior is no different than that of clueless trained monkeys.

Following assumption

Is It Okay to Assume the Hadith is Truth?

Many Muslims simply follow nothing but assumption that the hearsay that is the hadith are the true statements of prophet Muhammad. However, according to verse 10:36, most people foolishly follow assumption.

وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ إِلَّا ظَنًّا ۚ إِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ
And most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do. (10:36)

The only truth (35:31) that has not been corrupted (15:9) is the word of God, namely the Quran

If I Don’t Think and Seek Proof Regarding Islamic Issues Such as the Validity of the Hadith, Will God Consider Me Worse Than a Cow?

Many Muslims believe that it’s okay to just believe and follow what everyone else does without thinking and seeking proof to support their beliefs and actions. However, God gave everyone a brain and expects everyone to use it to think and see proof before following any particular practice. As a matter of fact, God considers people who don’t use their God-given brains to be worse than cows that just blindly follow one another.

إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِندَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason. (8:22)
وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ ۖ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like cattle; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. (7:179)
أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ ۚ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ ۖ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not except like cattle. Rather, they are [even] more astray in [their] way. (25:44)

Conclusion

The verses above make it clear that we must use reason (think with our brains to make logical decisions) and that people who don’t bother to see, listen, and think are worse than cows as they live astray following nothing but assumption.

Can you follow a practice without understanding it?

Many Muslims think it is acceptable to just follow a certain practice, e.g. believing in the hadeeth, without first understanding or seeing proof as to the validity of the practice.

However, God instructs in the Quran that one is to not follow something without first understanding it.

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned. (17:36)

Is “Tradition”, e.g. the Prophet’s “Sunnah”, Valid Islamic Law?

Many Muslims believe in and follow the Quran (Word of God), Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith (word / sayings of Muhammad), and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah (the behavior / tradition of Muhammad). Proof of the invalidity of the hadith as Islamic law has been proven in another one of my books. Regarding the “Sunnah” or “tradition”, we find no proof in the Quran that the day-to-day behavior and personal preferences of Prophet Muhammad, e.g. wearing a turban, long beard, etc, should necessarily be followed.

Obey God and His Messenger

Many Muslims misinterpret verse 3:32 which reads

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
Say, "Obey Allah and the Messenger." But if they turn away - then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. (3:32)
They incorrectly assume that “obey the messenger” means to copy every single thing he does including wearing a long beard. A lengthy analysis of this has been provided in the section titled Does “obey God and His messenger” mean I must follow the hadith and sunnah?

Other Traditions

If you travel to different Islamic countries, you will find different traditions practiced which the local people may argue are part of Islamic law. In Pakistan, for example, women may only cover their hair whereas in Saudi Arabia, they may cover their hair and face revealing only their eyes whereas in Afghanistan, they cover their entire heads including their eyes with a burqa. Of course, there are many other traditions some of which are specific to smaller local areas.

If you ask anyone who follows these local traditions, you will most likely get the same answer - something along the lines of “we’ve always done it this way” or “this is according to the sunnah / tradition of the prophet”. The Quran provides guidance in different forms, some of which are stories. One story in verses 21:52-68 is about Prophet Abraham who questioned why his people worshipped statues. Unsurprisingly, their answer was, “We found our fathers worshippers of them." In other words, they just followed their tradition without thinking whether that tradition even made any sense or originated from a valid source, e.g. scripture. Abraham then proved to them that their statues were not gods by breaking all but the largest statue. Obviously, if the statues were gods, they could not have been broken. Instead of thinking about this proof, Abraham’s father and his people instead threatened to burn Abraham. This story also shows that even one’s parents may be wrong.

When he (Prophet Abraham) said to his father and his people, "What are these statues to which you are devoted?" They said, "We found our fathers worshippers of them." He said, "You were certainly, you and your fathers, in manifest error." … And [I swear] by Allah, I will surely plan against your idols after you have turned and gone away." So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it [and question]. … They said, "Have you done this to our gods, O Abraham?" … They said, "Burn him (Abraham) and support your gods - if you are to act." (21:52-68)

This attitude of “blind belief” is similarly mentioned in verse 2:170.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ قَالُوا بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۗ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ
And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided? (2:170)

Conclusion

The above verses, along with simple common sense, makes is absolutely clear that a society’s tradition has nothing to do with Islamic law. Rather, Islamic law is based on whatever God has revealed, namely the Quran.

Does “obey God and His messenger” mean I must follow the hadith and sunnah?

Many Muslims believe that the verse containing the statement “obey God and His Messenger” is proof that Muslims must follow the hadith (sayings of the prophet) and Sunnah (traditions of the prophet). However, the Quran makes it clear that Muslims during the time of Muhammad were expected to obey his authority regarding matters related to the Quran, not regarding his personal preferences that have nothing to do with the Quran.

Taking words out of context

If we look at verse 3:32, we see that if one takes only the first part of the verse, we lose the context and don’t know who the specific verse was targeting.

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
Say, "Obey Allah and the Messenger." But if they turn away - then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. (3:32)

We need to know who “they” are. The people who were being disobedient to the prophet were contemporaries of the Prophet who were around the Prophet when he was alive.

Analysis of the word “obey"

Verse 25:33 indicates that the Quran is its own best tafsir (explanation). So, we should use the Quran to help explain what is meant by “obey” instead of just guessing that it means to follow the hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet. Following are verses that have to do with “obeying the messenger” which clearly show that to “obey” him meant to obey his authority.

Verse Reference
24:51 Allow the Prophet to judge between your disputes
4:59 Listen to the Prophet and those given authority and if there is a dispute, take it to the Prophet to resolve. This is a better way.
33:33 The wives of the Prophet - Obey the Messenger
49:14 To those that have not yet had faith fully entered into their hearts. Obey God and the Prophet
8:46 Do not fall into disputes - Obey God and the Prophet
24:48 Don't turn away like the Munafiqs (Hypocrites) when they are called to God and His Prophet that he may judge between them
8:1 In matter of 'gain/ windfalls' and to end your disputes - Obey God and the Prophet
49:3 Subdue your voices in his (Muhammad’s) presence
8:20 Obey God and the Messenger - Do not turn away from him when he speaks!
8:24 Respond to God and his Prophet - when he calls you (Arabic: Astajibu)

Obey others as well

If we look at similar verses in the Quran, we find that the phrase “obey God and the Messenger” is not limited to them two but also includes people who were charged with authority, as proven in verse 4:59.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. (4:59)

Obey the “messenger”

Even though the Quran often mentions obedience to the messenger, it’s interesting to note that it never specifically says “obey Muhammad”, even though Muhammad is the messenger of the Quran. The significance of this specific address by the title “messenger” is often not appreciated. The “message” (the Quran) is connected to the “messenger”. Therefore, it was with respect to the message in the Quran that Muhammad needed to be obeyed. The Quran never demanded people obey “Muhammad” in his personal preferences such as if he liked to keep a long beard. As a matter of fact, the Quran only makes use of the name “Muhammad” four times in the entire scripture (3:144, 33:40, 47:2, 48:29). All these verses clearly emphasize his capacity as a messenger of God.

Obey other messengers

Muhammad was not the only messenger to be obeyed (with respect to the Quran) but other messengers were to be obeyed as well by their respective communities. This is evident in verse 4:64.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ جَاءُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا اللَّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُوا اللَّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا
And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (4:64)

To "obey": an analogy

To help understand how to "obey" the messenger is only meant to mean to obey the messenger with regards the Quran, we can use an analogy of how employees are expected to "obey" their supervisors at work. If your boss asks you to work on a project, you, as a paid employee, are expected to obey your supervisor and fulfill that request. However, if your boss was a skinhead who always shaved his head or was a cow worshipper, if he tells you to shave your head or worship a cow, you obviously don't have to obey him because you understand that to "obey" him is limited to work-related matters. Similarly, obeying the prophet is limited to obeying him with regards the Quran and his time-bound orders as the temporary leader of his community during his lifetime, e.g. during times of war, if the prophet told his army to follow a particular strategy, his army was expected to obey him.

Conclusion

The verses above make it clear that obeying the “messenger” means the following:

Obeying the messenger does not mean to obey Muhammad’s personal preferences that are unrelated to the Quran.

The difference between prophet and messenger

Understanding the difference between “prophet” and “messenger” can help us understand the instruction “to obey and follow the messenger”.

Prophet

The prophet is Muhammad bin Abdullah - the man himself, in his life, in his private affairs, in his social relations with those around him, and in his human conduct. God addresses Muhammad literally as “prophet” in a number of verses regarding matters unrelated to his duties as a messenger of God.

In verse 66:1, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” when Muhammad makes a mistake regarding the law.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (66:1)

In verse 8:67, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” regarding matters of prisoners of war.

مَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسْرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ يُثْخِنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ الدُّنْيَا وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
It is not for a prophet to have captives [of war] until he inflicts a massacre [upon Allah 's enemies] in the land. Some Muslims desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires [for you] the Hereafter. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (8:67)

In verse 3:161, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” regarding matters of the spoils of war.

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَن يَغُلَّ ۚ وَمَن يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
It is not [attributable / appropriate] to any prophet that he would act unfaithfully [in regard to war booty, i.e. take more of the spoils of war than he is entitled to]. And whoever betrays, [taking unlawfully], will come with what he took on the Day of Resurrection. Then will every soul be [fully] compensated for what it earned, and they will not be wronged. (3:161)

In verse 9:113, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” when God tells Muhammad not to seek forgiveness for the polytheists.

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ
It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire. (9:113)

In verse 9:117, God address Muhammad as “prophet” regarding a battle against the disbelievers.

لَّقَد تَّابَ اللَّهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ فِي سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوبُ فَرِيقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِهِمْ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhajireen and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful. (9:117)

In verse 33:1-3, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” when God tells Muhammad to revere Him and to not obey the disbelievers.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
O Prophet, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. (33:1)
وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. (33:2)
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا
And rely upon Allah ; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (33:3)

In verse 33:28, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” when God tells Muhammad to advise his wives.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا
O Prophet, say to your wives, "If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release. (33:28)

In verse 66:3, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet’ when Muhammad trusted some of his wives with a certain statement.

وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا ...-
And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; ... (66:3)

In verse 33:30 and 33:32, God addresses Muhammad’s wives as “wives of the prophet” when God describes potential punishment and the fact that they are unlike other women.

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ مَن يَأْتِ مِنكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا
O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality - for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy. (33:30)
يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ ...
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. (33:32)

In verse 33:59, God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” when God tells Muhammad to tell people around him to dress modestly.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (33:59)

Following are some other verses were God addresses Muhammad as “prophet” instead of “messenger”.

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ...
The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers. (33:6)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ ...
O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. (33:53)
وَإِذْ قَالَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَا أَهْلَ يَثْرِبَ لَا مُقَامَ لَكُمْ فَارْجِعُوا ۚ وَيَسْتَأْذِنُ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمُ النَّبِيَّ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ وَمَا هِيَ بِعَوْرَةٍ ۖ إِن يُرِيدُونَ إِلَّا فِرَارًا
And when a faction of them said, "O people of Yathrib, there is no stability for you [here], so return [home]." And a party of them asked permission of the Prophet, saying, "Indeed, our houses are unprotected," while they were not exposed. They did not intend except to flee. (33:13)

One thing you will find in common with all of the above verses is that the word “prophet” is used to describe Muhammad as the man he was in his behaviour and in his private and public social relations and interactions.

Messenger

However, when the prophet speaks with the Quran, he is the “messenger” who should be obeyed. As such, God addresses him using the word “messenger”.

مَّن يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ ۖ وَمَن تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا
He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away - We have not sent you over them as a guardian. (4:80)

In verse 24:54, God uses the word “messenger” instead of “prophet” because God is instructing people to obey Muhammad in his role as the messenger of God, that is to say to obey the “message” the messenger was bringing, namely the Quran.

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا ۚ وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ
Say, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away - then upon him is only that [duty] with which he has been charged, and upon you is that with which you have been charged. And if you obey him, you will be [rightly] guided. And there is not upon the Messenger except the [responsibility for] clear notification." (24:54)

There does not occur a single instance in the Quran of God saying ‘Obey God, and obey the prophet.’ This is because obedience is not due to the prophet who is a human, but it is due to the message, i.e. the messenger, i.e. the word of God which was revealed to the prophet, and which the prophet was the first to obey. There also does not occur a single instance in the Quran of the messenger being rebuked, as is the case for the prophet when he was rebuked in verse 66:1.

Meaning of “prophet”

The word “prophet” has a single meaning. It is the man who was chosen by God from among the people to inform him of the revelation so that he becomes a messenger of the revelation.

Meaning of “messenger”

The word “messenger” has multiple meanings.

So, the prophet is Muhammad the man, in his private and public life. As for the messenger, he is the prophet when he utters the Quran and delivers the message “O you messenger, deliver what is revealed to you from your Lord… (5:67)”. Whenever God orders the prophet to follow the revelation, He orders us all to obey God and the messenger, i.e. the message. There isn’t a single instance in the Quran where God says ‘the sole duty of the prophet is to deliver the message,’ rather, He says “The sole duty of the messenger is to deliver the message… (5:99).” Therefore, delivering the message is associated with the message, just as ‘the prophet’ is associated with the human side of the messenger in his life, his conditions, and his relations.

Sayings of the messenger

In the Quran, we see evidence that Muhammad said things that only God wanted him to say. Beginning with verse 10:15 we see that disbelievers tried to change the Quran by getting Muhammad to invent verses.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ ۙ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا ائْتِ بِقُرْآنٍ غَيْرِ هَٰذَا أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ ۚ قُلْ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُ مِن تِلْقَاءِ نَفْسِي ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ
And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Bring us a Qur'an other than this or change it." Say, [O Muhammad], "It is not for me to change it on my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous Day." (10:15)

The word “say”, whereby God tells Muhammad to say specific things, occurs 332 times in the Quran. It emphasizes the fact that Muhammad was told what to say by God.

According to verses 17:73-75, disbelievers almost succeeded in influencing Muhammad to change the Quran.

وَإِن كَادُوا لَيَفْتِنُونَكَ عَنِ الَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ لِتَفْتَرِيَ عَلَيْنَا غَيْرَهُ ۖ وَإِذًا لَّاتَّخَذُوكَ خَلِيلًا
And indeed, they were about to tempt you away from that which We revealed to you in order to [make] you invent about Us something else; and then they would have taken you as a friend. (17:73)
وَلَوْلَا أَن ثَبَّتْنَاكَ لَقَدْ كِدتَّ تَرْكَنُ إِلَيْهِمْ شَيْئًا قَلِيلًا
And if We had not strengthened you, you would have almost inclined to them a little. (17:74)
إِذًا لَّأَذَقْنَاكَ ضِعْفَ الْحَيَاةِ وَضِعْفَ الْمَمَاتِ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ عَلَيْنَا نَصِيرًا
Then [if you had], We would have made you taste double [punishment in] life and double [after] death. Then you would not find for yourself against Us a helper. (17:75)

According to verse 7:203, when people asked Muhammad to invent verses, God told Muhammad to tell them that he only follows what was revealed to him by God.

وَإِذَا لَمْ تَأْتِهِم بِآيَةٍ قَالُوا لَوْلَا اجْتَبَيْتَهَا ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَتَّبِعُ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ مِن رَّبِّي ۚ هَٰذَا بَصَائِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
And when you, [O Muhammad], do not bring them a sign, they say, "Why have you not contrived it?" Say, "I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This [Qur'an] is enlightenment from your Lord and guidance and mercy for a people who believe." (7:203)

According to verses 69:43-47, Muhammad never invented any verses. All Quranic verses originate from God.

تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
[It is] a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. (69:43)
وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ
And if he (Muhammad) had made up about Us some [false] sayings, (69:44)
لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ
We would have seized him by the right hand; (69:45)
ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ الْوَتِينَ
Then We would have cut from him the aorta. (69:46)
فَمَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ عَنْهُ حَاجِزِينَ
And there is no one of you who could prevent [Us] from him. (69:47)

Muhammad was often asked about different things but if he didn’t have an answer for them, he’d wait for an answer from God. This further proves that Muhammad never invented anything in his role as a messenger. Evidence of this in the Quran usually follows the format “they ask you about such and such …. say ….”. Following are some examples.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنفَالِ ۖ قُلِ الْأَنفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the bounties [of war]. Say, "The [decision concerning] bounties is for Allah and the Messenger." So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers. (8:1)
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا ۗ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, "In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they should spend. Say, "The excess [beyond needs]." Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought. (2:219)
فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۗ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَامَىٰ ۖ قُلْ إِصْلَاحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ ۖ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَأَعْنَتَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
To this world and the Hereafter. And they ask you about orphans. Say, "Improvement for them is best. And if you mix your affairs with theirs - they are your brothers. And Allah knows the corrupter from the amender. And if Allah had willed, He could have put you in difficulty. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (2:220)
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ رَبِّي ۖ لَا يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ ثَقُلَتْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلَّا بَغْتَةً ۗ يَسْأَلُونَكَ كَأَنَّكَ حَفِيٌّ عَنْهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the Hour: when is its arrival? Say, "Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None will reveal its time except Him. It lays heavily upon the heavens and the earth. It will not come upon you except unexpectedly." They ask you as if you are familiar with it. Say, "Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most of the people do not know." (7:187)

Sayings of the prophet

In the Quran, we see evidence that the prophet said things in his role as a prophet during his day-to-day life. As these testimonies of what Muhammad said were reported by God, then we know that these sayings (hadith) of Muhammad are authentic, unlike the hadith found in secondary sources such as the Bukhari hadith compilation which contain reports from different people who may have wanted to lie about what Muhammad reportedly said. Following is an example of Muhammad’s authentic saying as a prophet.

In the battle of Badr, Muslims were outnumbered by the enemies and were afraid to engage the enemy. Muhammad then tried to encourage the believers. In verse 3:124, God reports what Muhammad told his people at this time.

إِذْ تَقُولُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَلَن يَكْفِيَكُمْ أَن يُمِدَّكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَاثَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ
[Remember] when you said to the believers, "Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down? (3:124)

The difference between sayings of the prophet and sayings of the messenger

Based on the analysis above, we can conclude the following.

How can we learn how to pray if we don’t have the hadith to teach us?

Some Muslims argue that since the Quran doesn’t explain how to pray and that the hadith does, then the hadith are therefore necessary to supplement the Quran. However, upon careful analysis of the Quran, it becomes clear that the hadith is not what teaches people how to pray.

Consider the following:

Aspects of prayer

The Quran does explain most aspects of prayer, e.g.

Praying began with Prophet Abraham, not Prophet Muhammad

Praying was not originally established by Prophet Muhammad. It began with Prophet Abraham (2:128, 14:40, 21:73) and practiced by all monotheistic communities (including Christians) after him. People already knew how to pray before the revelation of the Quran.

رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (2:128)
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۚ رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ
My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. (14:40)
وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ
And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us. (21:73)

Contrary to popular belief, many Muslims are in denial of the fact that Abraham founded Islam, not Muhammad, and Muhammad was actually told to follow the religion of Abraham, as proven in verse 16:123.

ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah. (16:123)

Prayer continued with people after Abraham

After Abraham, people continued to pray, as indicated in Quran verses 2:43 and 3:43. In a dialog with the Children of Israel (Jews), God instructed them to bow down with those who bow down in worship.

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]. (2:43)

In the case of Mary, mother of Jesus (Isa), God instructs Mary to prostrate and bow down with others.

يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
"O Mary! Be obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow down with those who bow down" (3:43)

To bow down with those that bow down means that the Jews and Mary, Mother of Jesus (Isa), prayed in congregation like Muslims currently do on Fridays. Therefore, it is clear that people already knew how to pray from long before Muhammad’s time.

Jesus also prayed, as proven in verse 19:31.

وَجَعَلَنِي مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا
And He has made me (Jesus) blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive. (3:43)

Additional proof that people prayed before Muhammad’s time

In verses 19:58-59, we are told that God blessed many prophets before Muhammad and that after them, some generations stopped praying. This indicates that they did know how to pray.

أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِن ذُرِّيَّةِ آدَمَ وَمِمَّنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْرَائِيلَ وَمِمَّنْ هَدَيْنَا وَاجْتَبَيْنَا ۚ إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَبُكِيًّا فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا
Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping. (19:58) But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil. (19:59)

Example prayer form before Muhammad’s time

Since the Jews before Muhammad’s time were instructed to pray and bow down with those that bow down (2:43), one might be curious to know what their form of prayer was. According to Hayim H. Donin in his book titled “To Pray As A Jew”, we see diagrams as shown below describing the ancient way Jews prayed. Unsurprisingly, the way they prayed is very similar to how Muslims today pray, even though Jews today no longer pray the way ancient Jews prayed.

It is interesting to learn from this book that Jews also wash before praying (like ablution / wudhu for Muslims) and have a call for prayers (like the adhan for Muslims).

The following YouTube video also shows how Jews originally prayed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aHWASyMjwg

Prayer purpose overrides prayer form

The Quran doesn’t explain specific prayer form. Since the Quran is complete (6:115, 6:38) and detailed (6:114, 12:111, 41:3), it is reasonable to believe that God did not specify a particular form because He did not want people to feel restricted and obsessed with a specific form, e.g.

As stated in the Quran, the purpose of prayer is to remember God alone (20:14).

إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. (20:14)

Being obsessed with prayer form could possibly distract people from being able to focus on God because they may be concerned that God may not accept their prayer if they, for example, didn’t raise their hands to their ears while saying “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest).

God went into great detail to describe certain things in the Quran such as divorce details, transaction details, inheritance details, ablution (wudhu) details, punishments for various acts such as murder, etc. However, God chose not to go into detail with regards other things such as the form of prayer and the number of rakaats (units) for each of the five daily prayers. Therefore, the fact that God chose not to go into great detail to describe how to pray must have been intentional rather than because God forgot or for some other reason.

Prayer specifics in the hadith

The hadith actually doesn’t provide all details of prayer. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single hadith that clearly describes an entire prayer from start to finish. Considering how important prayer is and how frequent people did it (at least 5 times a day), it’s hard to believe that there aren’t many hadith that clearly explain how we pray today. An astute and unbiased reader would reasonably find this to be very suspicious and cannot dismiss this observation.

Prayer before the hadith existed

The hadith were compiled 214 years after the prophet’s death. If the hadith explains how to pray, then how did everyone pray during the 214 years since the prophet died? An astute reader would reasonably find this to be very suspicious.

How people learn to pray

If you think about it, people just like yourself don’t learn to pray from searching through the hadith. Rather, they learn to pray from their parents or society, just like people did before the hadith were compiled. Congregational prayers every Friday would have, no doubt, assisted in maintaining the consistency of prayer form.

Conclusion

People knew how to pray from long before Muhammad’s time. People don’t learn to pray from the hadith but rather from society and congregational prayers.

Are Muslims overcomplicating Islam by following the hadith?

God intends ease

If you compare Islamic laws only drawn from the Quran to popular Islamic laws drawn from multiple sources, you'll easily notice that Quranic laws are much simpler and easier to follow. This should come as no suprise considering the following verses.

People are inclined to dispute issues of religion

In the Quran, there are many verses that describe how the Jews and Christians dispute with one another, and how the Jews and Christians dispute with Muslims who follow the Quran. As we can see in society today, even Jews dispute amongst themselves, Christians dispute amongst themselves and Muslims dispute amongst themselves. Apparently, God already informed us of this in verse 18:54 which states that, despite the many examples provided in the Quran, people will still dispute Quranic issues.

وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِلنَّاسِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ ۚ وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا
And We have certainly diversified in this Qur'an for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute. (18:54)

Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise, then, that despite the many examples provided in the Quran, many Muslims still insist that the hadith is necessary to complete and explain the Quran and will continue to dispute the completeness and sufficiency of the Quran.

Changing the Quran

People wanted to change the Quran

According to verses 17:73, disbelievers almost succeeded in influencing Muhammad to change the Quran.

وَإِن كَادُوا لَيَفْتِنُونَكَ عَنِ الَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ لِتَفْتَرِيَ عَلَيْنَا غَيْرَهُ ۖ وَإِذًا لَّاتَّخَذُوكَ خَلِيلًا
And indeed, they were about to tempt you away from that which We revealed to you in order to [make] you invent about Us something else; and then they would have taken you as a friend. (17:73)

And according to verse 9:101, there were many hypocrites around the prophet whom the prophet himself didn’t know were hypocrites.

وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ ۖ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ ۖ مَرَدُوا عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ ۖ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍ
And among those around you of the bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment. (9:101)

Seeing that the disbelievers tried to get Muhammad to change the Quran outside of revelations and that there were hypocrites around him, it is reasonable to believe that after Muhammad’s death, disbelievers could have lied about their testimony of what they heard Muhammad say. Considering the many nonsensical and Quran-contradicting hadith, it is actually likely that some, if not many, hadith are based on lies.

Is belief in the hadith Satan’s way of misleading most Muslims?

God says in verse 15:9 that He revealed the Quran and that He will guard it from corruption.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Indeed, it is We who sent down the reminder (Qur'an) and indeed, We will be its guardian. (15:9)

God also says in verse 6:115 that no one can alter his words.

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled / completed in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6:115)

We know from the Quran verse 17:62 that Satan will mislead most people on earth except a few.

قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَكَ هَٰذَا الَّذِي كَرَّمْتَ عَلَيَّ لَئِنْ أَخَّرْتَنِ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَأَحْتَنِكَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[Iblees] said, "Do You see this one whom You have honored above me? If You delay me until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few." (17:62)

Satan could try to mislead people one by one or he could try to mislead a lot of people all at once. Obviously, if Satan could cause people to alter the Quran and add and remove verses, similar to how there are now many different versions of the Christian Bible, then Satan could easily mislead many people by causing people to follow a modified version of the Quran. However, since God guards the Quran from corruption, one way Satan could accomplish the same goal is by influencing people to create another book and slowly making them believe that this other book is a valid book for all Muslims to follow. Could it be that this other book is the hadith and that belief in the hadith is Satan’s way of misleading almost all Muslims with a single effort. If that’s true, which is not an unreasonable possibility, then Satan will have succeeded in misleading generation after generation as Muslims all over the world are taught from a very young age to belief that the hadith is the second book of Islam besides the Quran.

What to believe

Many Muslims think that they are supposed to believe in both the Quran and the hadith. However, there is nowhere in the Quran that says you are to believe in the hadith. According to verse 2:285, what you must believe in is only

  1. God
  2. God's Angels
  3. God's Books (e.g. Torah, Zabur, Quran)
  4. God's Messengers (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad)

Obviously, the hadith books such as the one compiled by Imam Bukhari is not God's book because it was a man-made book containing man-made statements as opposed to divine revelations. Belief in God's Messengers (all of them) obviously means that those specific individuals were messengers of God as opposed to regular people. It doesn't mean you have to or should believe in the hadith books.

آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination." (2:285)

Quranism, Karaites and Sola Scriptura

This book has analyzed the validity of Islamic hadith and concluded quite easily given the clear proof available that the hadith are not valid sources of Islamic law. In other words, only the Quran, which all Muslims agree is the Word of God, can and should be used in Sharia (Islamic religious law). People who solely follow the Quran and reject any secondary sources such as the hadith are often labeled "Quranists" who follow a sect of Islam called "Quranism". However, followers of the Quran and only the Quran do not necessarily call themselves Quranists as, for some, doing so would be a violation of verse 6:159 which forbids dividing religion into sects.

Karaite Judaism

Unsurprisingly, secondary religious sources aren't limited to Islam. Whereas the hadith is a compilation of man-made sayings about Prophet Muhammad, the Talmud is a man-made text to complement the Jewish Torah. The Talmud has two components:

Rabbinic tradition holds that Moses learned the whole Torah while he lived on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights and both the oral and the written Torah were transmitted in parallel with each other. Where the Torah leaves words and concepts undefined, and mentions procedures without explanation or instructions, the reader is required to seek out the missing details from supplemental sources known as the oral law or oral Torah. This concept is similar to the beliefs of most Islamic scholars who say that, whereas the Quran leaves words and concepts undefined, the reader is required to seek out missing details from supplemental sources, e.g. the hadith.

Rabbinic writings indicate that the Oral Torah was given to Moses at Mount Sinai, which, according to the tradition of Orthodox Judaism, occurred in 1312 BC. The Orthodox rabbinic tradition holds that the Written Torah (the Torah in the Tanakh) was recorded during the following forty years, though many non-Orthodox Jewish scholars affirm the modern scholarly consensus that the Written Torah has multiple authors and was written over centuries.

Karaite Jews recognize the Tanakh (which includes the written Torah) alone as having any authority in Halakha (Jewish religious law). Rabbinic Judaism, on the other hand, believes that the Oral Torah, codified in the Talmud, to be authoritative interpretations of the written Torah. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation. As a result, Karaite Jews do not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Midrash or Talmud. Karaites believe they observe the original religion of Ancient Israel as prescribed by God in the Tanakh. They place the ultimate responsibility of interpreting the Tanakh on each individual. Karaite prayer books are composed almost completely of Biblical passages. Karaite Jews often practice full prostration during prayers, like Muslims, while most other Jews no longer pray in this fashion. As of 2018, there were approximately 35,000 to 50,000 Karaite Jews in the world as compared to 14.5 million Jews in total.

Karaites do not accept the existence of an Oral Law because:

  1. The Mishnah quotes many conflicting opinions.
  2. The Mishnah does not define in which opinion the truth lies. Rather, the Mishnah sometimes agrees with neither one nor the other, contradicting both.
  3. They argue that the truth of the oral law given to Moses could only be in one opinion, not many opinions.
  4. They question why the Mishnah does not solely speak in the name of Moses.
  5. They say that Oral Law is not explicitly mentioned in the Tanakh.
  6. When God told Moses to come up to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah He said, "Come up to me into the mountain, and be there: and I will give you tablets of stone, and a law, and commandments that I have written"; (Ex 24:12). The text states the commands are written, and no mention is made of an Oral Law.
  7. The Tanakh reports that the written Torah was both lost and completely forgotten for over 50 years and only rediscovered by the Temple priests (2Ki 22:8; 2Chr 34:15). It is inconceivable that an Oral Law could have been remembered when the written Law was forgotten.
  8. The words of the Mishnah and Talmud are the words of people living in the 2nd–5th centuries CE, in contrast to the Torah, which is held to be a direct revelation by God through Moses.
  9. The Torah states, "You shall not add to the word that I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHVH, your God, which I command you." (Deut 4:2) They argue that this excludes the possibility of later interpretation being viewed as divinely ordained.
  10. Joshua 8:34–35 states:
וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן, קָרָא אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה, הַבְּרָכָה, וְהַקְּלָלָה—כְּכָל־הַכָּתוּב, בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה.לֹא־הָיָה דָבָר, מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה—אֲשֶׁר לֹא־קָרָא יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, נֶגֶד כָּל־קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף, וְהַגֵּר, הַהֹלֵךְ בְּקִרְבָּם.
After that, he [Joshua] read all the words of the Torah, the Blessing and the Curse, according to all that is written in the Torah scroll. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua failed to read in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that walked among them.

Since Joshua read from the Torah every word Moses had written, this implies that Moses had not been given an Oral Law, since Joshua could not have read an Oral Law from the written Torah. Secondly, there could not have been additional commandments outside of the written Torah, since all the commandments that existed could be read from the Torah scroll.

In addition to this, Joshua 1:8 states: "This book of the law is not to depart out of your mouth, but you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it."

Sola Scriptura View of Protestant Christianity

Sola Scriptura means "by scripture alone". It is a theological doctrine held by some Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura rejects any original infallible authority other than the Bible. Church councils, preachers, Bible commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach. Sola scriptura was one of the main theological beliefs that Martin Luther proclaimed against the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation. Catholic doctrine is based in sacred tradition, as well as scripture. Martin Luther said, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it" and "The true rule is this: God's Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so." Lutheranism teaches that the Bible of the Old and New Testaments, i.e. scripture, is the only divinely inspired book and the only source of divinely revealed knowledge.

Questions worth thinking about

Back cover text

Most Muslims believe that the hadith (statements) of the prophet Muhammad as compiled by the various compilers (Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidzi, etc) are accurate, reliable and must be followed just as the Quran is followed. Many go so far as to equate the hadith books as the second book of Islam besides the Quran being equal in truth and accuracy. This book examines the validity of the hadith using verses from the Quran. It also presents logical arguments to help draw conclusions.

God warns people not to follow that which they do not understand.

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned. (17:36)

It is the goal of this book to help the reader have a better understanding of the hadith and whether it should be followed or not.