A Tiptoe through the Hadiths

Most Christians know of the importance of the Quran in Islam, but not much about the Hadiths; the second most authoritative text after the Quran. The major difference between the Quran and Hadiths is: the former contains what Muhammad claimed are Allah’s words while the latter contains Muhammad’s words and acts as reported by his close followers.

Since the Quran presents Muhammad as the “perfect example” for Muslims (33:21), no Muslim can really practice Islam unless he emulates Muhammad and no Muslim can emulate Muhammad if he relies on the Quran alone. This is because it doesn’t contain much details about him. The hadiths contain “what was transmitted on the authority of the Prophet, his deeds, sayings, tacit approval, or description of his sifaat meaning his physical appearance.” (M. Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, 1978, 23)

Muhammad’s lifestyle are called Sunna. Both the hadiths (sayings) and his sunna (examples) form the basis of Sharia- the legal code of islamic jurispudence. An 11th century islamic scholar, Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr wrote that: “The Sunna is divided into two types…whoever rejects the consensus [of the sunnas] has rejected one of Allah’s textual stipulations and committed apostasy” (Jami’ Bayan al-llm, 2:33).

Islamic scholar, Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah declared: “The teachings of Islam are based primarily on the Quran and the Hadith, and, as we shall presently see, both are based on divine inspiration” (Introduction to Islam, p 23).

There is a relatively new movement within Islam called the Quranist (or Quran-only) Muslims. These Muslims reject all hadiths as forgeries or fraud, apparently because of the monstrous image and absurd practices of Muhammad in them. But without the hadiths, there is no Islam because the rules and rites governing the “5 pillars” of Islam – the creed, fasting, prayer, almsgiving and pilgrimage – are in the Hadiths, not the Quran. Neither the companions (sahaba) of Muhammad nor the first generations of Muslims (tabium) ever dreamed of the concept of “Quran only.”

The hadiths used today were collected and recorded by Muslims in the 9th and 10th centuries whereas Muhammad died in the 7th century leaving a gap of 250 years between Muhammad’s time and the time the hadiths were collected. Since his sayings and practices were orally transmitted for over a century and half, many of the hadith accounts and stories had been shapened by a progression of transmitters. No doubt, many Islamic traditions attempted to elevate Muhammad above mediocrity. At a point, there were about 600, 000 hadithic accounts of him, each claiming to be authentic.

Devoted Muslims decided to collect the sayings of Muhammad into books. The first authentic collection is the Sahih Bukhari, by Abu Abdullah al-Jafari. He compiled his hadith within 16 years into 97. Though, he seemed to have collected them based on “suitability” instead of “reliability.” The second was sahih Muslim collected by Abul Husain Muslim (Bukhari’s student). There were also the collections of Sunan Abu Dawuud and other lesser known hadiths such as Mishkatu’l Masabih. Islamic scholars generally classify hadiths as: sound (sahih), good (hasan), weak (daif) and fabricated (maudu).

Islamic scholar and translator, Muhammad Khan states: “It has been unanimously agreed that Iman Buhkari’s work is the most authentic of all other works in Hadith literature put together … the religious learned scholars of Islam said concerning him: ‘The most authentic book after the Book of Allah [the Quran] is Sahih Bukhari” (The Translation of Sahih Bukhari, 1979, p xiv).

The teachings and sayings of Muhammad in the hadiths are a public relations nightmare to Islam. Below are some of them. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are from the Bukhari hadith:

I. Ibn Umar reported Allah’s messenger as saying that a non-Muslim eats in 7 intestines while a Muslim eats in one intestine (Muslim 3:5113).

II. “Whenever a strong wind blew, anxiety appeared on the face on the Prophet. [fearing it might be a sign of Allah’s wrath]” (Bukhari 2:144)

I wonder why Allah didn’t explain to him that strong winds are natural phenomena.

III. Abdullah ibn Salam asked him 3 questions to test his prophethood: What would be the first sign of the end of the world, the first meal to be taken in paradise and why a child resembles his father. Muhammad replied: “The first sign of the hour will be a fire that will bring together people from the East to the West. The first meal of the people of paradise will be extralobe of fish liver… If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and get his discharge first, the child will resemble the father and if the woman gets her discharge first, the child will resemble her.” (5:546)

This was where Muhammad dug a big pit for himself. One can understand why the Jews and Christians of that time rejected his claims as God’s prophet.

IV. The prophet rushed out of fear to pray on eclipse and continued his prayers until the eclipse came to an end. Allah show him the unseen during the eclipse (7:676).

How convenient. Allah showed him “unseen things,” but didn’t explain to him that eclipses are natural and need not be feared.

V. Some Bible characters were also mentioned in the hadiths, not without legendary flavours: “…So once Moses went out to take a bath and put his clothes over a stone and that stone ran away with his clothes. Moses followed that stone saying ‘my clothes, o stone! My clothes, o stone! Till the people of Bani Israel saw him and said ‘by Allah, Moses has got no defect in his body.’ Moses took his clothes and began to beat the stone.” Abu Huraira added ‘By Allah, there are still 6 or 7 marks present on the stone from that excessive beating” (1:5:277).

Moses, a great Bible prophet, is portrayed as an insane man running around butt naked, chasing a stone. What a harebrained book.

VI. Allah created Adam, making him 60 cubits tall (4:543).

That means Adam was 90 ft tall like the height of a 3 storey building! Subhanallah, isn’t Allah great?

VII. The Prophet said, ‘Fever is from the heat of the [Hell] fire, so cool it with water (7:619)

Everyone knows water cools down a hot body, but it takes a cave man to think body temperature is from hell fire.

VIII. When one of his men asked: “What about the bone and animal dung?’ He answered ‘They are of the food of the jinns [demons] (5:58:200).

That shouldn’t be a surprise. The jinns told Muhammad they loved his Quran (Q 72:1). If they loved the Quran, they should also find dung appealing.

IX. The Prophet said, ‘By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me (5:266).

If the person you are following or emulating is saying he doesn’t know what will become of him after death, then it;s foolishness to follow him.

Any educated, reasoning person who has not been blinded by cultish devotion, who reads the hadiths will be terribly disappointed (if not shocked) at the draconian laws and silly rules that permeates its pages. Here are some:

1. Eating garlics/onions forbidden. “Whoever has eaten garlic or onion because of hunger or otherwise should not come near our mosque” (1:812)

Why would God be offended by mouth odour?

2. Playing chess forbidden. Allah’s apostle said: “he who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine” (Muslim 4:5612).

3. Looking up during prayer forbidden. Muhammad said “people should avoid lifting their eyes towards the sky while supplicating in prayer, otherwise their eyes would be snatched away” (Muslim 1:863:1573).

4. Rules on drinking and touch. Muhammad said: “Whenever any of you drinks water, he should not breathe in the drinking utensil, and whenever any of you goes to a lavatory, he should neither touch his penis nor clean his private parts with his right hand” (1:4:156)

5. Holy Spit. “By Allah, whenever Allah’s Apostle spitted, the spittle would fall in the hand of one of them [i.e his companions] who would rub it in his face and skin” (3:891).

6. Flatulence forbidden. “The prayer of a person who does Hadath (passes urine, stool or wind) is not accepted till he performs [repeats] the ablution…What is Hadath? Abu Huraira replied ‘Hadath’ means the passing of wind from the anus” (1:4:137).

I think it was Muhammad himself who was offended by flatulence, mouth odour etc so he made them into laws.

7. Pictures forbidden. “Angel” Gabriel informed Muhammad: “We angels do not enter a house which contains a picture or a dog” (4:450)

8. Knots on Muslim Heads. Allah Apostle said “during your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you…” (4:54:491)

Oh my. How I wished these knots were described. Do they look like dreadlocks? Brazillian weaving? Rapunzel’s hair?

9. Evil Spirits in your toilets. “Whenever the prophet went to answer the call of nature he used to say…O Allah, I seek Refuge with You from all offensive and wicked things (evil deeds and evil spirits)” (1:4:144).

This is why good Muslims temporarily play dumb in the restroom.

10. Defecation rules. “If anyone of you goes to an open space for answering the call of nature he should neither face nor turn his back towards the Qibla, he should either face the east or the west” (1:4:146).

11. Wiping genitals with stones. “…whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do it with odd number of stones.” (1:4:162)

12. Shoe rules. “If you want to put on your shoes, put on the right shoe first, and if you want them off, take the left one first.” (7:747)

13. A fly in the cup. “If a housefly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease” (4:537).

14. Urine stains and Hell “Once the Prophet, while passing one of the grave-yards of Medina or Mecca, heard the voices of two persons being tortured in their graves. The Prophet then added, “Yes! [they are being tortured for a major sin]. Indeed, one of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine” (1:57:215).

How interesting. The same man who could supposedly hear the dead talk in their graves eventually ate a poisoned meat which led to his death.

15. Let the beards hang! “Trim the moustache and lengthen the beard (let the beard hang). Oppose the fire worshippers” (Muslim 1:29). This is done to imitate Muhammad whose beard was said to be dense (2:259).

From these cited examples, two main facts can be deduced:

(a) Islam is essentially a personality cult revolving around the superstitious ideas, teachings and obsessions of one man – Muhammad. The day a Muslim starts to question what he taught and practiced on the basis of reason, history or science, his faith in Islam (imaan) will wither and die. This is why it is considered a great danger in Islam to speak against Muhammad. To doubt him is to extinguish Islam!

(b) Islam is a legalistic religion without any personal relationship with God. It is rather based on silly, retrogressive traditions: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! These things are all destined to perish with use because they are based on human commands and teachings” (Colossians 2:21-22).

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