Fiqh Lesson by Amirah / Umm Ahmad ( 5th March, 2013)

In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
 Chapter 2:
 Tradition of the Prophet (pbuh):

Question135: What are the differences among the following terms: Holy Qur’an, the hadith (saying, action or approval of the prophet pbuh) and the qudsi (sacred) hadith?

Answer 135: The Holy Qur’an is the primary source of Islamic law. It tells how a good Muslim should be and how he should behave with his family and in society at large. The rules set by the Qur’an are religiously binding and no Muslim is allowed to break these rules. The Qur’an was revealed to prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in a sequence and on certain occasions that necessitated certain rules. Each sura was either revealed in full or in part according the occasion. The prophet (pbuh) used to ask the revelation writers of his companions to write down what was revealed, and that is how the Holy Qur’an was preserved. The prophet used to recite verses of the Holy Qur’an in his prayers and during his Friday sermons, and teach it to his companions. Ibn Masoud said: “I memorized from the mouth of the Prophet seventysuras of the Holy Qur’an.”
[1]. The companions used to memorize the Holy Qur’an to recite it in their prayers.
It was the divine inspiration that was used to reveal the verse and show its location in the Holy Qur’an. This is why the arranged sequence of the verses and suras in the Holy Qur’an is divine and cannot be tampered with by humans. The Holy Qur’an challenged the Arabs, who were well versed in language, to write an equivalent book to the Qur’an, tensuras, or even one sura. But they failed to do so, and so did the one who followed until our present day, and those who attempted came out with some funny texts.[2]
The tradition or hadith of the prophet is defined as any “sayings and/or actions of the prophet (pbuh)”. The differences between the Holy Qur’an and the hadith can be summarized in the following points:
1. The Holy Qur’an is the word of God, which is unique in its style, rhythm and content.
2. The wording, meaning, style, stories, proverbs and laws of the Holy Qur’an are miraculous.
3. God has promised to preserve this miracle, the Holy Qur’an, from any changes or alterations till the Day of Judgment. He says: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (Holy Qur’an: 15: 9). Therefore, it is one of the conditions of correct reading that the style of writing should be identical to that which was written in era of caliph Uthman, which was in turn identical to the version that was written in the time of prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
4. The Holy Qur’an has been transmitted from one generation to the other in a traditionary way (tawatur), whereby reciters of the Holy Qur’an have been groups of people who could not have conspired to lie. Therefore, the Holy Qur’an has been the most correct book on earth since it was revealed through Angel Gabriel to the Prophet (pbuh).
5. Anyone denying the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an –or part of it- is regarded as blasphemous (kafir).
6. The Holy Qur’an consists of a limited number of Chapters (suras) amounting to 114 suras, and each sura is divided into smaller parts called verses (ayat).
7. Reciting certain verses of the Holy Qur’an in each prayer is obligatory, and no prayer is true unless verses of the Qur’an are recited in it.
8. Anyone with minor ritual impurity is not allowed to touch the Holy Qur’an, and anyone with a major ritual impurity is not allowed to recite it.
9. Muslims are rewarded one merit for reading each letter of the Holy Qur’an.
10. The Holy Qur’an should be recited literally and not in the form of interpretation.
The above are the main characteristics of the Holy Qur’an that distinguish it from all other religious texts, including the traditions of the prophet hadith.
The qudsi (sacred) hadith are those that did not originate from the prophet (pbuh), but from God. Thus, the qudsi hadithoccupies an intermediate place between the Holy Qur’an and the tradition of the prophet (nabawi hadith). The wording, meaning and sequence of the Holy Qur’an were revealed from God directly to the prophet (pbuh). The qudsi hadith was revealed as meaning only to the Prophet (pbuh) from almighty God, but the wording was from the Prophet (pbuh) himself. Therefore, the qudsi hadiths share with the Holy Qur’an the quality of being ascribed to almighty God, and differ with it in all other qualities. The qudsi hadith shares the qualities of the nabawi hadith in being subject to categorization: true, sound, or weak hadith. The qudsi hadith can not be recited in prayers, a person with minor ritual impurity may touch the book containing it, a person with a major ritual impurity may recite it, and it can be related in the form of interpretation, etc.
The tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) differs from the qudsi hadith, although they were both inspired by almighty God in the light of what He says in the Holy Qur’an: “For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and Wisdom and taught thee what thou knewest not (before)” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 113); and
“Nor does he (the Prophet) say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him” (Holy Qur’an: 53: 3-4).
The prophet (pbuh) also says “I have been given the Holy Qur’an and another similar thing” in a reference to the fact that the qudsi hadith was revealed by God like the Holy Qur’an. But while the Qur’an was a direct revelation, the qudsi hadithwas a mere inspiration. It must be stressed that the tradition of the prophet was guided by God so that the prophet (pbuh) would not do anything against the teachings of Islamic laws. It is in this sense that the tradition of the prophet is ascribed to divine inspiration as well.

Question 136: What is the difference between the tradition (sunnah) of the prophet and the biography (sirah) of the prophet (pbuh)?

Answer 136: The tradition (sunnah) of the prophet is, as we have already defined it, the collections of recorded words, actions, and sanctions of prophet Mohammad (pbuh). It is a recommended, rather compulsory deed. It is usually organized according to the subject under discussion, such as belief, prayer, purity, alms, fasting, pilgrimage, etc. On the other hand; the biography (sirah) of the prophet (pbuh) is the story of the life of the prophet. It tells the actions that happened to him in a historical order. However, sunnah and sirah do sometimes, because sunnah itself is one of the sources of the sirah. And any prophetic saying relates what happened with the prophet at a certain time is recorded as part of the sirah.
Sirah is the practical application of the Holy Qur’an and sunnah, and thus it is more general because it incorporatessunnah as well as what the Prophet as the leader of the Islamic nation and as a human, i.e. actions that did not have religious implications.
[1] Agreed upon.[2] Cf. Dr. Saleh Redha, Alsunna Alnabawya: ta’reefuha wa hejjyatuha.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.