Refuting the “Qur’an-Only” Movement

In my opinion, there is no Islam. Instead there are Bukharizm, Muslimizm… and so on. Who is saying that Holy Qur’an is incomplete? The answer is “so called SAHIH” hadith collections. Who is saying that our Prophet A.S. had forgotten Qur’an verses. Guess what? SAHIH COLLECTIONS again. Who is saying that a goat ate the Qur’an making it incomplete? You know the answer! I can go on and on.

There is no Islam any more. There are super stupid stories which no one can justify and even less defend them, especially when these stories are digitized and available to anyone. To tell the truth, I do not consider myself to be too knowledgeable in Islamic issues. But when someone cites to me “sahih” narrations the dialogue is problematic. Any children with common sense if exposed to these “sahih” narrations would be disgusted, let alone a grown person. So my problem are these “narrations” full of violence, sex, inhuman behaviour and lies attributed to our Prophet.

I would like to have your own responses, your own opinions on:

1. Hadiths which directly contradict Qur’an

2. Hadiths which present the Messenger’s moral, character, attitude,… in bad image.

3. Hadiths which promote violence

4. Hadiths which present women as lower human beings

5. Hadiths which promote fatality

6. Hadiths which promote sexual abuse

7. Hadiths which, apposteriory, made up stupid and bizarre contexts for Revelation, and FINALLY

8. Qur’an is explicitly against any hadiths, as IT calls ITSELF the BEST and the ONLY HADITH.

I think that for such kind of hadiths there is no need for any references. Just common sense, because the Qur’an asks us to Reason, think, study and ponder upon what is revealed. Once again I have to underline, that until we reject, completely, at least, kind of hadiths mentioned above and what remain we consider as not sayings of the Messenger but as “allegedly the Messenger said, or did, or commanded” we would not prosper.

– former What Would a Muslim Say visitor

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

You have sent so many emails that I did not know which one you want me to respond to. I will respond to this one since it is the latest, insha’allah. So first of all, you must realize that you are describing what is called the “Qur’an-Only” movement that started in the late 19th century but became very popular in the sub-continent in the late 20th century.

Secondly, this movement has been debunked and refuted by scholars who are more qualified than both me and you; therefore, this discussion is not really beneficial, my brother. You reject the authenticity of all hadiths based on your personal objections to some hadiths, this is a common logical fallacy of Hasty Generalizations and the fallacy of Presentism

Very simple refutation if you don’t want to read the rest of this long email:

  • Premise 1 – If the Messenger peace be upon him received wahi apart from the Quran, then the Quran-only position is false.
  • Premise 2 – The Messenger peace be upon him received wahi apart from the Qur’an (2:143, 3:123-126, 8:9-10, 33:37, 66:3, etc).
  • Conclusion – Therefore, the Quran-only position is false.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/DrShadeeElmasry/posts/2697241956962352

Hadith do not “confirm” the Qur’an. Rather, they “inform the context” of each passage in the Qur’an. The whole reason for God sending Messengers instead of just inscribing His words on a mountain face is that the people learn from another human being. That human being, the Messenger, provides the context and situation for people to understand the revelations.

Just as the Qur’an has verses about marriage, it has verses about divorce. Just as it has verses about war, it has verses about peace. If you don’t look at the hadith, or the situation when each passage was revealed, you would not know when to apply the marriage verses and when to apply the divorce verses. Likewise, you would not know when to apply the war verses and when to apply the peace verses.

Hadith are necessary to understand the context of the Qur’an. If you leave them all out, then the Qur’an can be misunderstood. Focus on the Qur’an, yes; but also look at authentic hadith that explain the situation of the verses you are reciting.

Most if not all of the hadiths that you and other “Qur’an Only” advocates flag as inappropriate are actually of questionable authenticity or they have a very specific context that make them understandable in the broader context.

Regarding the hadiths you mentioned above and your previous email:
1. Hadiths which directly contradict Qur’an 
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but only found examples of specification not contradiction. Therefore scholars of logic and history (even a non-Muslim scholar like Harald Motzky) conclude that this claim is baseless. 

2. Hadiths which present the Messenger’s moral, character, attitude… in bad image.
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but the hadiths that “seem” to present bad character are parts of a larger context where the Prophet (pbuh) is addressing someone who does not respond to general advice, so the Prophet (pbuh) must give more stern particular advice. 

3. Hadiths which promote violence 
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but all the hadiths that have violence in them were said in the context of being at war. Obviously, when there is a state of war, or a group/individual is attacking innocents, the authorities must respond with violence to stop that aggression. This is not violence for the sake of promoting violence; this is simply using force to establish rule of law, which is common in any body politic. 

4. Hadiths which present women as lower human beings 
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but the hadiths that talk about women in this way are part of a larger conversation where women were holding back their men from defending the homeland from invading Byzantium soldiers. See my attachment “Hadith About Women” that summarizes what other SCHOLARS have said about it. 

5. Hadiths which promote fatality 
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but only found examples putting one’s trust in Allah. This is from the Qur’an as you already know; so this point is also baseless. 

6. Hadiths which promote sexual abuse
I looked at the hadiths listed HERE, but did not find any promotion of abuse, sexual or otherwise. The Prophet (pbuh) was often called in to arbitrate between husband and wife, and he did so with sagacity while also understanding the cultural conditions of the couple. This claim is an example of PRESENTISM as explained above. 

7. Hadiths which, apposteriory, made up stupid and bizarre contexts for Revelation,
This claim only highlights the already-existing bias for rejecting hadith. That means your conclusion is already made up and there is no methodology or way of approaching the knowledge that can be used to reconcile. Scholars have warned about that pre-judging bias here and here

8. Qur’an is explicitly against any hadiths, as IT calls ITSELF the BEST and the ONLY HADITH. 
This is not true at all. You can find refutations of this wrong understanding herehereand here.

In conclusion, the “Qur’an-Only” philosophy simply does not correspond to the mainstream normative understanding of Islam. Even the different interpretations of Sunni or Shia, and the different philosophies of Athari, Ash’ari, Maturidi, or even Mu’tazila accept the authenticity of hadiths in general while disagreeing on the authenticity of “some” hadiths in particular.

Mufti Muntasir Zaman writes: “That many of the same ḥadīths modern critics regard as problematic were already discussed in detail by the greatest Islamic minds is often overlooked in these discussions. The difference between classical Muslim scholars and modern critics is the perspective from which the two groups look at the objection. Traditional scholars were not oblivious to scientific realities nor blind to logical fallacies; many, in fact, were actively involved in the rational and scientific fields. However, they had a more robust conception of revelation as a purveyor of actual knowledge and truth about the world, while modern detractors usually presume a more empiricist and rationalist epistemology which tends to reduce the role of revelation in providing knowledge, as well as being overly quick to subordinate the interpretation of revelation to the independent conclusions of reason and science. When presented with ḥadīths that, at first blush, seem problematic, the reader is advised to bear in mind the guidelines outlined above and not dismiss those ḥadīths summarily without a second thought.”

I don’t know if you will reply to this email, or even if you respect the logical points I have put forward to you.
I am not here to debate or convince you of anything.
I am only trying to present the mainstream, moderate understanding of Islam.

May peace be with you,
Ahmed Lotfy Rashed
Author, Instructor, Interfaith Speaker

Refuting the “Qur’an-Only” Movement
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