Authority of Hadith in the light of Qur’an

Since the beginning the Muslim Ummah has unanimously believed in Hadith as an established secondary source of the Islamic Law after Qur’an. Infact it has always been recognized only another kind of revelation i.e. it is called Wahy Ghayr Matloo, Revelation that is not recited.

In recent past some pseudo-scholars have come up with a heretic view of Hadith rejection. What are their motives and what are the consequences, is a separate topic of interest itself. In this session we find some of the evidences for the Authority of Hadith from Qur’an, the primary source of the Islamic Law and belief system.

Hadith Source referred to in the Holy Qur’an:

Proof 1:

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an;

ูˆَู…َุง ุฌَุนَู„ْู†َุง ุงู„ْู‚ِุจْู„َุฉَ ุงู„َّุชِูŠ ูƒُู†ْุชَ ุนَู„َูŠْู‡َุง ุฅِู„َّุง ู„ِู†َุนْู„َู…َ ู…َู†ْ ูŠَุชَّุจِุนُ ุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ู…ِู…َّู†ْ ูŠَู†ْู‚َู„ِุจُ ุนَู„َู‰ ุนَู‚ِุจَูŠْู‡ِ

“And We did not prescribe the Qiblah which you used to observe except to know the one who follows the Messenger as distinct from the one who turns on his heels.” (Qur’an 2:143)

We know that initially during the stay at Makkah and during first one and a half years at Medina the Muslims used to pray facing Baitul Maqdas (i.e. Jerusalem) and later it was ordained to pray facing the Ka’ba as categorically told in Qur’an 2:144. But once this order of change was given the Jews and the hypocrites at Medina objected to the idea. This verse gives a response to the objection. The point of interest for us here is that the appointment of the previous Qibla has been attributed to Allah himself even though it has never been mentioned in the Qur’an. Obviously it was Holy Prophet (PBUH) who used to teach the people to face Baitul Maqdas prior to the change without referring to Qur’an yet we find the same to be attributed to Allah. The verse reads;

We did not prescribe the Qiblah …” and not,

The Prophet did not prescribe the Qiblah …”

This is solid evidence that the earlier order was given by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on the authority of a revelation which did not form a part of the Qur’an. This is what Hadith is, only another kind of revelation!

Proof 2:

ุฃُุญِู„َّ ู„َูƒُู…ْ ู„َูŠْู„َุฉَ ุงู„ุตِّูŠَุงู…ِ ุงู„ุฑَّูَุซُ ุฅِู„َู‰ ู†ِุณَุงุฆِูƒُู…ْ ู‡ُู†َّ ู„ِุจَุงุณٌ ู„َูƒُู…ْ ูˆَุฃَู†ْุชُู…ْ ู„ِุจَุงุณٌ ู„َู‡ُู†َّ ุนَู„ِู…َ ุงู„ู„َّู‡ُ ุฃَู†َّูƒُู…ْ ูƒُู†ْุชُู…ْ ุชَุฎْุชَุงู†ُูˆู†َ ุฃَู†ْูُุณَูƒُู…ْ ูَุชَุงุจَ ุนَู„َูŠْูƒُู…ْ ูˆَุนَูَุง ุนَู†ْูƒُู…ْ ูَุงู„ْุขَู†َ ุจَุงุดِุฑُูˆู‡ُู†َّ ูˆَุงุจْุชَุบُูˆุง ู…َุง ูƒَุชَุจَ ุงู„ู„َّู‡ُ ู„َูƒُู…ْ ูˆَูƒُู„ُูˆุง ูˆَุงุดْุฑَุจُูˆุง ุญَุชَّู‰ ูŠَุชَุจَูŠَّู†َ ู„َูƒُู…ُ ุงู„ْุฎَูŠْุทُ ุงู„ْุฃَุจْูŠَุถُ ู…ِู†َ ุงู„ْุฎَูŠْุทِ ุงู„ْุฃَุณْูˆَุฏِ ู…ِู†َ ุงู„ْูَุฌْุฑِ ุซُู…َّ ุฃَุชِู…ُّูˆุง ุงู„ุตِّูŠَุงู…َ ุฅِู„َู‰ ุงู„ู„َّูŠْู„ِ

“It is made lawful for you, in the nights of fasts, to have sex with your women. They are apparel for you, and you are apparel for them. Allah knows that you have been betraying yourselves, so He relented towards you and pardoned you. So now you can have sexual intimacy with them and seek what Allah has destined for you and eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread; then complete the fast up to the night.” (Qur’an 2:187)

1- The words ‘relented towards you and pardoned you’ show that prior to the revelation of this verse having sexual intimacy with ones wife during the nights of Ramadan was a sin.

2- And the words ‘now you can have sexual intimacy with them’ show that with the revelation of this verse alone has it become lawful.

All these points imply that the earlier prohibition was indeed from Allah yet we do not find that in the Qur’an. Who was then the authority to prohibit it before this command if not the Holy Prophet (PBUH)? If he was the one, and surely he was, then is it not an evident proof in favor of Hadith, the words of the Prophet, as a source of Law?

Proof 3:

We read in the Holy Qur’an;

ู…َุง ู‚َุทَุนْุชُู…ْ ู…ِู†ْ ู„ِูŠู†َุฉٍ ุฃَูˆْ ุชَุฑَูƒْุชُู…ُูˆู‡َุง ู‚َุงุฆِู…َุฉً ุนَู„َู‰ ุฃُุตُูˆู„ِู‡َุง ูَุจِุฅِุฐْู†ِ ุงู„ู„َّู‡ِ ูˆَู„ِูŠُุฎْุฒِูŠَ ุงู„ْูَุงุณِู‚ِูŠู†َ

“Whatever palm-trees you have cut down, or have left them standing on their roots, it was with Allah‘s permission, and so that He might disgrace the transgressors.” (Qur’an 59:5)

The verse was revealed about an event during the siege of the treacherous Banu Nadair, a Jewish tribe of Medina. It is clearly mentioned that Muslims cut down trees with Allah’s permission. Where is the leave to cut down trees during a battle given in the Qur’an? How was the leave of Allah, not found in the Qur’an, conveyed if not through a revelation that does not form a part of the Qur’an? Obviously the only reasonable answer is that Allah conveyed the leave through ‘un-recited revelation’ and it was Holy Prophet (PBUH) who gave the command to cut down trees in his words during the siege. Such a command given by the Prophet (PBUH) is what is knows as Hadith. And the companions who carried out the command followed Hadith knowing fully that it was from Allah.

There are more examples on these lines.

Obeying the Prophet means obeying Sunnah/Hadith:

There are 11 verses in the Holy Qur’an which have the words; ‘Obey Allah and [His] Messenger’

Allah Almighty says;

ูˆَุฃَุทِูŠุนُูˆุง ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ ูˆَุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ู„َุนَู„َّูƒُู…ْ ุชُุฑْุญَู…ُูˆู†َ

“Obey Allah and the Messenger, so that you may be blessed.” (Qur’an 3:132)

ูˆَุฃَุทِูŠุนُูˆุง ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ ูˆَุฑَุณُูˆู„َู‡ُ ุฅِู†ْ ูƒُู†ْุชُู…ْ ู…ُุคْู…ِู†ِูŠู†َ

“And obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers.” (Qur’an 8:1)

ูŠَุง ุฃَูŠُّู‡َุง ุงู„َّุฐِูŠู†َ ุขَู…َู†ُูˆุง ุฃَุทِูŠุนُูˆุง ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ ูˆَุฃَุทِูŠุนُูˆุง ุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ูˆَู„َุง ุชُุจْุทِู„ُูˆุง ุฃَุนْู…َุงู„َูƒُู…ْ

“O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not nullify your deeds.” (Qur’an 47:33)

Other verses are 4:59, 5:92, 8:20, 8:46, 24:54, 58:13 and 64:12.

Every single verse of the Holy Qur’an which speaks of the ‘Obedience to Allah’ without an exception mentions ‘Obedience to the Messenger’ as well.

Why is the Obedience to the Messenger mentioned separately if it has no implication other than obeying Allah’s commands in the Qur’an?

Same is true for all the verses in which there is a warning for not being obedient to Allah.

ูˆَู…َู†ْ ูŠَุนْุตِ ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ ูˆَุฑَุณُูˆู„َู‡ُ ูˆَูŠَุชَุนَุฏَّ ุญُุฏُูˆุฏَู‡ُ ูŠُุฏْุฎِู„ْู‡ُ ู†َุงุฑًุง ุฎَุงู„ِุฏًุง ูِูŠู‡َุง ูˆَู„َู‡ُ ุนَุฐَุงุจٌ ู…ُู‡ِูŠู†ٌ

“Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses the limits set by Him, He shall admit him to the Fire, where he will remain forever. For him there is a humiliating punishment.” (Qur’an 4:14)

Other verses are 8:13, 9:63, 33:36 and 72:23.

Thus we find that in all the verses that deal with the positive and negative aspects of obedience mention ‘Obedience to the Messenger (PBUH)’ along with ‘Obedience to Allah’ separately.

There is not a single verse in the Holy Qur’an wherein ‘Obedience to Allah’ is mentioned without that of the Messenger. On the other hand there are certain verses in which only ‘Obedience to the Messenger’ has been mentioned. Same is the case with the verses warning about disobedience. Following are a couple of examples;

ูˆَุฃَู‚ِูŠู…ُูˆุง ุงู„ุตَّู„َุงุฉَ ูˆَุขَุชُูˆุง ุงู„ุฒَّูƒَุงุฉَ ูˆَุฃَุทِูŠุนُูˆุง ุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ู„َุนَู„َّูƒُู…ْ ุชُุฑْุญَู…ُูˆู†َ

“Establish Salah and pay Zakah and obey the messenger, so that you may be favored with mercy.” (Qur’an 24:56)

ูŠَูˆْู…َุฆِุฐٍ ูŠَูˆَุฏُّ ุงู„َّุฐِูŠู†َ ูƒَูَุฑُูˆุง ูˆَุนَุตَูˆُุง ุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ู„َูˆْ ุชُุณَูˆَّู‰ ุจِู‡ِู…ُ ุงู„ْุฃَุฑْุถُ ูˆَู„َุง ูŠَูƒْุชُู…ُูˆู†َ ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ ุญَุฏِูŠุซًุง

“On that Day, those who have disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger shall wish that the earth were leveled with them. They shall not (be able to) conceal anything from Allah.” (Qur’an 4:42)

Also see 4:115 & 24:54.

The reason for attaching this much importance to the obedience to the Messenger (PBUH) is that obedience to Allah is simply not possible without following the Prophet (PBUH) i.e. it is not possible to follow Qur’an without Hadith. And as to the verses that mention only ‘Obedience to the Messenger’ or warn against disobedience to him, it is because whatever the Messenger (PBUH) says is from Allah and obedience to him is in reality obedience to Allah. Qur’an itself says;

ู…َู†ْ ูŠُุทِุนِ ุงู„ุฑَّุณُูˆู„َ ูَู‚َุฏْ ุฃَุทَุงุนَ ุงู„ู„َّู‡َ

“Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys Allah” (Qur’an 4:80)

The summary is that Obedience to the Messenger, so often mentioned separately, always mentioned along with Obedience to Allah and sometimes mentioned alone as well ,establishes the fact that the words and deeds of the Prophet (PBUH) (i.e. Hadith) are also a source of guidance and are required to be followed along with the Holy Qur’an. Had it only been about following the Qur’an there was no need to add ‘Obedience to the Messenger’ after ‘Obedience to Allah’ in all these instances. Verily the Book of Allah is free from pointless verbosity!

Jibra’il and the Holy Prophet (PBUH); a comparison:

Qur’an is the Last and Final revelation of Almighty Allah to mankind. It came through Jibra’il (Archangel Gabriel) first to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and then through him to the whole world.

The task of Jibra’il (AS) was to simply bring down the words of Allah (i.e. Qur’an) and recite them to the Prophet (PBUH) while this alone was not the task of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He was not only to recite the verses but also to teach the Book of Allah. We read in the Qur’an;

ู„َู‚َุฏْ ู…َู†َّ ุงู„ู„َّู‡ُ ุนَู„َู‰ ุงู„ْู…ُุคْู…ِู†ِูŠู†َ ุฅِุฐْ ุจَุนَุซَ ูِูŠู‡ِู…ْ ุฑَุณُูˆู„ًุง ู…ِู†ْ ุฃَู†ْูُุณِู‡ِู…ْ ูŠَุชْู„ُูˆ ุนَู„َูŠْู‡ِู…ْ ุขَูŠَุงุชِู‡ِ ูˆَูŠُุฒَูƒِّูŠู‡ِู…ْ ูˆَูŠُุนَู„ِّู…ُู‡ُู…ُ ุงู„ْูƒِุชَุงุจَ ูˆَุงู„ْุญِูƒْู…َุฉَ

“Allah has surely conferred favor on the believers when He raised in their midst a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses and makes them pure and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom.” (Qur’an 3:164)

The verse implies that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has the final word in interpretation of the Book [i.e. Qur’an] as he has come to teach the Book and not merely to recite its verses.

If the task of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was similar to that of Angel Jibra’il why is it that Allah so often mentions the Obedience to the Prophet along with Obedience to Himself while there is no injunction about Obedience to Jibra’il?

Had the Prophet’s (PBUH) task been the same as that of Jibra’il (AS) there would have been no mention of obedience to him just as there is no mention of obedience to Jibr’ail.

This is a strong notion in support of Hadith along with Qur’an as a source of Law in the House of Islam!

May ALLAH make us have faith in all the articles and fundamentals of His Deen!


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    1. Excellent article. Well researched!

    2. Very good points MashaAllah! May Allah s.w.t. grant Jannatul Firdaus to the brothers/sisters involved with this project. Ameen!