Letter to the Editor, the Sun
Re: Muslims Must Undertake Reforms
I refer to the comment by MZH (The Sun, 24 March, 2006).
Allow me to rebut him point by point.
Firstly, the subject was the necessity for Muslims to undergo reforms to enable them to live fruitfully in, and to confront, the modern world. It was not about the so-called “meticulous” methodology of Hadith collection by Bukhari and the other famous Hadith collectors.
Secondly, the fact that Bukhari (810-870) and the other Hadith collectors came 250 years after Prophet Muhammad’s death should guard us against the Hadith being taken as the words and doings of the Prophet. It should be further stressed that Prophet Muhammad neither knew, nor was he responsible for, these so-called Prophetic traditions.
Thirdly, the Hadith were simply reports purporting to relate what the Prophets said and did. As reports, they must be subject to verification. Bukhari himself rejected 99% of what he collected! Bukhari’s “meticulous” methodology of hadith verification must remain Bukhari’s and can and must be reviewed.
Fourthly, note the fact that all these official Hadith collectors came after Imam Shafi’e (767-820) whose ingenious argument about God’s order to obey the Prophet in the Quran equalled Muslim obligation to follow the Hadith as well (besides the Quran) was accepted by the then Muslim Community as a doctrine of faith. Before this the Prophet’s individual acts were simple precedents to be followed or not according to circumstances.
Fifthly, MZH should note that many hadith pronouncements in the revered Bukhari collection run directly contrary to the teachings of the Quran. No teaching directly contrary to the Quran can be accepted by Muslims. The popular belief that the Hadith dose not contradict the Quran, propagated by the clergy, tantamounts to a hoax.
Sixthly, one may compare the Muslim Community with this description. They have cleverly constructed for themselves a beautiful palace-prison and have entered it en masse. What is cleverer still is that they have locked themselves in and boasted that they are living in a perfect, completed and Shariah-regulated system – so complete and regulated that it stipulates when you should cut your nails and what prayer to say when you enter the toilet!
History is repeating itself. Baghdad, the capital city of Muslim medieval civilization, was sacked by Hulagu-led Tarters in 1258. His grandson, however, became Muslim. Today, Baghdad, the beautiful capital city of modern independent Iraq, was invaded by Bush and his hordes. The “Clash of Civilization” of Samuel Huntington is, unfortunately, happening. The deviating, secularized (Judeo-Christian) West and an equally deviating, corrupted, ulama-created Islam are already confronting each other. Out of this confrontation, the two world-deviationist systems will collapse, and a new civilization, based on truth and justice, will surely arise, precisely as the Quran predicts.
This is the Straight Path that we are looking for; neither capitalism, nor communism, neither materialism, nor ascetism.
I sincerely advise that MZH and others like him apply their God-given critical faculty in the face of human-made knowledge. This is exactly what Prophet Muhammad taught us through the Quran.