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Understanding The Prophetic Principles In Ahadith And Principle Of Good Sunnah In Islam.


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Introduction:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said, one who introduces a good Sunnah in Islam and those who follow the good Sunnah will get equal reward. The heretics hold to the belief that this Hadith is in specific meaning of; companion in the gathering who initiated giving of Sadqa to the poor Bedouins and those who fallowed him, for all of them there will be equal reward, therefore it can not be used to substantiate good innovations. The Muslims hold to the belief that this statement of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) can be stripped completely independent of it's context and still serve as a source of guidance. Therefore this Hadith is evidence for good innovation and a justification for categorising innovation into good and evil. The aim of this article is to validate the contention of Muslims; it is Sunnah of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) to give guiding principles to his followers on which we can judge the right, wrong, permissible and prohibited. Also to explain the Hadith of good and evil Sunnah in light of Sunnah of RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). And to establish the belief of heretics; this Hadith is only restricted to its context is heretical and an innovation.

0.0 - Reward Of Deeds Is Dependent Upon Intention:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has been reported to have said: “Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: The Prophet said: “O people! The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” So, whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated to take worldly benefit or for a woman to marry, then his emigration was for what he emigrated for." [Ref: Bukhari, B86, H85] This Hadith will be interpreted in accordance with the methodology employed by proponents of Wahhabism on Hadit of good Sunnah. And then explained in light of Islamic methodology and with which the heretics cannot dispute because it is also their fundamental methodology. But when their heretical doctrines are under threat they abandon the true methodology to discredit any position which refutes their sectarian narrative.

0.1 - Interpreting Hadith In Context Wahhabi Methodology:

If one was to take the heretical approach of Khawarij, like they do with Hadith of good Sunnah, then meaning of Hadith is restrcited to two examples which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) gave. Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said: "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” Meaning reward of immigration and marriage is dependent upon intention which the person travels/marrys: So, whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated to take worldly benefit or for a woman to marry, then his emigration was for what he emigrated for."  In heretical way of interpreting Ahadith: “The reward of deeds (i.e. immigration and marriage) depends upon the intentions (i.e. of doing them for sake of Allah and Messenger), and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.”. The deeds he was referring to in the principle Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) clearly stated as marriage and immigration. The intentions he meant, he also clearly indicated. In simple words the principle means: “The reward of deeds of migration and marriage depends upon the intention of performing these two deeds for Allah and Messenger and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” This concludes that a believer does not have to intend to do everything for sake of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) and for Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to be rewarded by Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) because the context was of marriage and emigration.We have explained it and there is nothing left of interpretation of this Hadith except innovation.

0.2 - Methodology Or No Methodology But Selectivism In Progress:

Please note if methodology of heretics was correct then principle mentioned is only for marriage and immigration.Yet the Khawarij and Muslims both know and both interpret this Hadith in context of deeds mentioned by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) along side deeds which haven’t been mentioned by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). It wouldn’t be strange if someone from their side to accuse me of attributing to them a methodology which is alien to them. Yet when it suits their interest and to prevent damage to their Wahhabism they restrict principle to context. And at the very least we have one example where this methodology is applied and that we all know is Hadith of good and evil Sunnah, quoted above.

0.3 - Interpretations In Accordance With Methdology Of Muslims:

There are number of interpretation of underlined part of Hadith and few will follow. It can mean; the reward of [all] deeds depends upon the intentions [with which they are performed]. It also means; the reward of deeds [of immigration and marriage] depends upon intentions [with which they are performed]. And this interpretation agrees with the context. It can mean; the reward of [good] deeds depends upon [number of] the intentions [made before performing each deed]. And this interpretation is partly based on other Hadith and pluralistic implications of following: “… depends upon the intentions …”. It can also mean; the reward of [practicing prophetic] Sunnahs depends upon the intentions [with which they are performed]. And this is supported by the fact that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) talking about deeds which are his Sunnah. And we do not restrict this principle into context of two examples which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) gave or to context of historical event which resulted this principle. The principle mentioned in the Hadith remains general and we derive understandings from it without nullifying fundamental meaning of principle with our interpretations.

0.4 - Commentary On Hadith; Reward Of Deeds Depends Upon Intentions:

This principle is in general meaning yet explained in a specific context to teach that any act done for worldly intentions will be judged and rewarded as such. And to teach if you intend to worship Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) your actions of worship will earn you reward. And if you give charity to poor with intention of pleasing Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) then the reward of this is with Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). If you was to marry for sake of protecting your self from adultery out of fear of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) or to marry with intention to have children who would fight for the cause of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) then the good intentions and marriag will earn reward. And to teach that if a action is done for worldly intentions and without the intention of pleasing Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) then on the day of judgment it will be judged as that and will earn its doer no reward.

0.5 - Imam Bukhari’s Objective Behind Placing Hadith First:

Imam Bukhari (rahimullah alayhi ta’ala) placed this Hadith, in the beginning, as first Hadith in his collection of Sahih al-Bukhari. Note the first chapter of Sahih of Bukhari is about Wahi (i.e. revelation) and as such the Hadith does not belong to the chapter. Hence scholars have deduced Imam Bukhari (rahimullah alayhi ta’ala) intended to warn the readers to set their intentions right before proceeding further and to read the Ahadith for sake of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). And to let the readers know what his intentions were when he set-out to collect Ahadith. This is proof that Imam Bukhari (rahimullah) did not believe principle in context is restricted to context but he believed it can be generally applied to non-contextual issues.

1.0 - Fighting For Booty And For Cause Of Allah (subhanhu wa ta’ala):

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said regarding fighting in the cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala): “Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah's cause (I ask this because) for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness?" The Prophet raised his head (as the questioner was standing) and said: "Who fights so that Allah's word should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause." [Ref: Bukhari, B3, H125] The mentioned principle in Hadith will be interpreted in historical context.

1.1 - Interpretation Of Hadith According To Wahhabi Methodology:

Hadith records a man enquired: "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah's cause?” He asked this because some of the people fighting for the cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) were fighting due to rage, anger, pride, and conceit. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said in response to the man: "Who fights so that Allah's word should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause." Implication is; out of people present in the time of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) those who fight to champion the word of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) are fighting for Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) cause. In other words: “Who fights so that Allah's word should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause." This principle is specially for the Muslims, and they were alive during the life time of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam), and for none else. Note this contextual interpretation bears negatively upon the righteous deeds of companions because the companions and hypocrites were both present during his life.

1.2 - Unrestricted Principle:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not say; “who fights from you bedouins for cause of Allah …” And he did not say: “who fights from you companions for cause of Allah …” He said: “…مَنْ قَاتَلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّه ِ…” And this indicates the statement is not restricted to group of people or companions. Rather it referrs to all the Muslims from his time to present.

1.3 - Bedouins Fighting With Wrong Reasons:

Hadith states: “Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked …” [Ref: Bukhari, B3, H125] And another Hadith indicates the man was a bedouin:“Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari: A bedouin asked the Prophet …” [Ref: Bukhari, B53, H355] Regarding the begouins Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said: “The bedouins are stronger in disbelief and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Ref: 9:97] The bedouin had said: (I ask this because) for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry …” By the underlined he meant bedouins and not companions of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Their lack of knowledge of prophetic teaching explains why one from them referred their motives to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Alhasil bedouin enquired about some of other bedouins and his saying means: "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah's cause? (I ask this because) for some of us [bedouins] fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness." Prophet (sallallahua layhi wa aalihi was’sallam) mentioned disbelief, pride, arrogance and ingoranc of Islamic teaching in connection with bedouins residing in East of Madinah:
"The main source of disbelief is in the east. Pride and arrogance are characteristics of the owners of horses and camels, and those bedouins who are busy with their camels and pay no attention to Religion; while modesty and gentleness are the characteristics of the owners of sheep." [Ref: Bukhari, B54, H520] And this interpretation of Hadith removes the companions from the equation leaving only the bedouins.

1.4 - Right Actions With Faith In Islam Being Religion Of Allah:

Hadith records that a bedouin as evidenced by following: “Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked …” [Ref: Bukhari, B3, H125]“Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari: A bedouin asked the Prophet …” [Ref: Bukhari, B53, H355] Enquired from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah's cause (I ask this because) for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness?" To which Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) responded:“Who fights so that Allah's word should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause."
The words of bedouin man nor does the word of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) explain what if striver for word of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is disbeliever like Abu Talib: Will he still be counted amongst those who strived in Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) way? And will that benefit him? This question is answered by a verse of Quran:“Verily, they who have attained to faith: and they who have forsaken the domain of evil and are striving hard in God's cause. These it is who may look forward to God's grace: for God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.” [Ref: 2:218] The first and foremost condition is of faith without which everything else in the way of Allah (subhanhu wa ta’ala) is futile.

1.5 - Meaning Of Prophetic Principle In Light Of Various Evidences:

In context of the following question: "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of fighting is in Allah's cause (I ask this because) for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness?" Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: “Who fights so that Allah's word should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause." Indirectly Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has indicated the fighting of foolish bedouins is not fight for cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Therefore it means; none from those who fight due to anger, conceit for others, for praise, show of bravery, and show-off skill fight for Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). The principle means; a righteous Muslims who fights with intention to earn pleasure of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and fights with intention that word of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is superior, then he fights in cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Prophetic statement also means; Who fights so that word of Allah be proven true [in which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has stated; Islam will be established and it will dominate all religions] over the falsehood of disbelievers, then he fights for cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Considering the fact that Quran is word of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Quran represents Islam. The prophetic words could also mean; who fights so that religion/Islam is victorious [and to defeat polytheism] then he fights in cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). And this interpertation is in light of following verse: “And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah - that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Ref: 9:40]

1.6 - Principle Is Not Limited And Restricted To Context:

The possible knowledge which can be gained from it is only limited by capacity of commentator. Despite many interpretations of the prophetic statement and all being valid in light of their evidences the fundamental text of prophetic statement remains as it was uttered and its natural meaning is intact. And it can be subjected for further interpretation without mentioned and other possible interpretations ever abrogating generality of text prophetic statement.

2.0 - One Who Pays Off Debts Handsomely Is Best From Amongst You:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said: “Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to the Prophet demanding his debts and behaved rudely. The companions of the Prophet intended to harm him, but Allah's Apostle said (to them), "Leave him, for the creditor (i.e. owner of a right) has the right to speak." Allah's Apostle then said: "Give him a camel of the same age as that of his." The people said: "O Allah's Apostle! There is only a camel that is older than his." Allah's Apostle said: "Give (it to) him for; the best amongst you is he who pays the rights of others handsomely." [Ref: Bukhari, B38, H50] Just like before this Hadith will be interpreted in context as well as various evidences of Ahadith.

2.1 - Wahhabi Interpretation In Context Of Wahhabi Methodology:

It is evident from context of Hadith; Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) owed a debt. And in response to demand of creditor Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) paid the debt pack by returning greater amount then owed. And Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: "Give (it to) him for; the best amongst you is he who pays the rights of others handsomely." [Ref: Bukhari, B38, H50] Meaning Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is best amongst the companions because he just had returned debt in handsome manner. And none else can be best from people because the historical context establishes it was said by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) in context of his own deed.

2.2 - Islamic Interpretation Of One Who Pays Of Debt Handsomely:

In the context of the event the prophetic statement; “… the best amongst you is he who pays the rights of others handsomely." The phrase can mean that one who repays the owed debt with greater amount then owed is best amongst the companions. And it can also mean best amongst umma khayra. And also Muslims. And it can also mean; Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is best amongst the companions. It can also mean; best amongst you is one who pays off debt without responding to harshness of creditor. It can also mean; best amongst you wealthy individuals is one who pays off debts quickly. And this is supported by following: “Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger said: "Procrastination (delay) in repaying debts by a wealthy person is injustice.” [Ref: Bukhari, B41, H585] And loosely connected interpretation is; Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is the best because He will pay all the debts owed by Him. How and the basis of interpertation is following verses of Quran: “If you loan Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you. And Allah is Most Appreciative and Forbearing.” [Ref: 64:17] And it also means; best amongst you is one who is of best manners and characters and one who pays of debts handsomely. This interpretation is inclusive of details from following Hadith: “Narrated Abdullah bin Amr:The Prophet never used bad language neither a vulgar and immodest. He used to say "The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character." [Ref: Bukhari, B56, H759]

2.3 - The Difference Between Islamic And Wahhabi Interpretation:

The heretics if they follow the same methodology which they selectively choose to apply to Hadith of ; whosoever introduces good Sunnah in Islam, then the statement is specificly about Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and restricted to him, just as statement of good Sunnah in Islam, is restricted to context of person who initiated act of giving Sadaqa and those who followed. Islamic interpretation doesn’t limit, or restrict its interpretation, or application. Muslims believe there are various interpretations of the prophetic statement and it is not limited to its context.

3.0 – Hadith Of Appropriating Land Wrongfully:

There are numerous Ahadith related to this incident but only two will be quoted. First one establishes historical context and second one indicates the methodology of interpretation which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa’sallam) used: “Wa'il reported it on the authority of his father Hujr: I was with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) that two men came there disputing over a piece of land. One of them said: Messenger of Allah, this man appropriated my land without justification in the days of ignorance. The (claimant) was Imru'l-Qais b. 'Abis al-Kindi and his opponent was Rabi'a bin Iban. He (the Holy Prophet) said (to the claimant): Have you evidence (to substantiate your claim)? He replied: I have no evidence. Upon this he (the Messenger of Allah) remarked: Then his (that is of the defendant) is the oath. He (the claimant) said: In this case he (the defendant) would appropriate this (the property). He (the Holy Prophet) said: There is than no other way left for you but this. He (the narrator) said: When he (the defendant) stood up to take oath, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: He who appropriated the land wrongfully would meet Allah in a state that He would be angry with him. Ishaq in his narration mentions Rabi'a b. 'Aidan (instead of Rabi'a b. 'Ibdan).” [Ref: Muslim, B1, H258] “Ibn Mas'ud says: I heard the Messenger of Allah observing: He who took an oath on the property of a Muslim without legitimate right would meet Allah and He would be angry, with him. Then the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) in support of his contention recited the verse: "Verily those who barter Allah's covenant and their oaths at a small price.” (3:77) [Ref: Muslim, B1, H256] The way Messsenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) interpreted the verse 3:77 refutes the contextual interpretation practice of heretics and establishes the truth of Islamic methodology.

3.1 - Interpreting And Restricting Prophetic Statement To Incident:

If we follow the selectively restricting the application of principle to context. Then following prophetic saying is regarding the Jewish man – Rabia Ibn Iban/Aiban: “He who appropriated the land wrongfully would meet Allah in a state that He would be angry with him.” And therefore it means if Rabia Ibn Iban takes the oath and lies then he would meet Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) when His Lord will be angry with him. And contextually it means of a non-Muslim appropriates land of Muslim … if a Muslim was to appropriate land of another Muslim it would not be so. And it would only be true for Rabia Ibn Iban and for no other Jew because the judgment was regarding him.

3.2 - The Historical Incident Between Companion And A Jewish Man:

Imrul Qais bin Abis Al Khindi (radia'allah ta'ala anh) and a Jewish man with name of Rabi'a bin Iban came to Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) regarding a dispute about land. Imrul Qais bin Abis Al Khindi (radia'allah ta'ala anh) addressed Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and said: “… this man appropriated my land without justification in the days of ignorance.” Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said to Imrul Qais (radia'allah ta'ala anh): “Have you evidence (to substantiate your claim)?” Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) asked the companion to produce evidence and he replied he is unable to. Then Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) instructed the Jew to take oath. Seeing that judgment will be made on oath of Jewish man the companion said: “In this case he (the defendant) would appropriate this (the property).” Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) replied: “He who appropriated the land wrongfully would meet Allah in a state that He would be angry with him.” And proceeded to recite the following verse: “Behold, those who barter away their bond with God and their own pledges for a trifling gain – they shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come; and God will neither speak unto them nor look upon them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He cleanse them of their sins; and grievous suffering awaits them.” [Ref: 3:77]

3.3 - Islamic Understanding Of Hadith Of Unjustly Appropriating Land:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said regarding one who unjustly appropriates property of another:
“He who appropriated the land wrongfully would meet Allah in a state that He would be angry with him.” And this means; the unjust would meet Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in a state that His Lord will be angry and is destined for hell. And interpretation is valid because of following: “And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving (as a strategy) for war or joining (another) company, has certainly returned with anger (upon him) from Allah, and his refuge is Hell - and wretched is the destination.” [Ref: 8:16] It also means; a Muslim who unjust appropriates property of a Muslim he is not from best of Ummah and his destination is hellfire. And following verse and Hadith certifies this understanding: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah .” [Ref: 3:110] “It was narrated from Abu Dharr that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Whoever claims something that does not belong to him; he is not one of us, so let him take his place in Hell.” [Ref: Ibn Majah, B13, H2319] And it means they are not from Saliheen, 3:114. It also means they are not from Muflihoon, 3:104, and are not from Momin (i.e. righteous) men and women, 9:71.

3.4 - Quranic Verse 3:77 In Context And Demonstration Of Prophetic Methodology:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states:
“Behold, those who barter away their bond with God and their own pledges for a trifling gain – they shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come; and God will neither speak unto them nor look upon them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He cleanse them of their sins; and grievous suffering awaits them.” [Ref: 3:77] There are two interpretations of this verse: i) In context of what precedes verse 3:77 then bartering bond with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for trifling gain referrs breaking trust and not returning what was trusted. In context of what follows verse 3:77 then bartering bond with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for little gain reffers to altering/distorting scriptures given to Jews.[!] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “And, behold, there are indeed some among them who distort the Book with their tongues, so as to make you think that [what they say] is from the Book, the while it is not from the Book; and who say, "This is from God," the while it is not from God: and thus do they tell a lie about God, being well aware [that it is a lie]” [Ref: 3:78] And this is also supported by other verses of Quran in which Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) points distortion of scriptures by Jews to damage control: “Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:"This is from Allah," to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.” [ref: Surah 2:79] “Nor sell the covenant of Allah for a miserable price: for with Allah is (a prize) far better for you, if ye only knew.” [ref: Surah 16:95] Against both interpretations Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) interpreted the verse as taking false and to be specific taking false oath in order to unjustly appropriating someone elses property. This establishes that Muslims follow the methodology of Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) when we interpret Quran and Ahadith. And those who oppose the believers have abandon his Sunnah and distort the Hadith of; good Sunnah in Islam, for a miserable price and they are upon Sunnah of Yahood.

3.4 - Lesson Learnt And Universality Of Prophetic Principle Statements:

We learnt some important lesson from this: i) The guiding principle is not absolutely connected with the disputants which the Hadith mentions. ii) Even though the verse does not indicate anything about land Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) interpreted it in context of danger of usurping ones land unjustly. This establishes the principle that verse of Quran can be used out of its context if the language permits. iii) Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) states that in the stories of past nations there are lessons instructions of guidance: “There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding.” [Ref: 12:111] Accounts of lives of companions have been recorded and passed to us so men of understanding to learn lessons and take instructions from the stories of companions. And the guiding principle is warning of what to stay away from therefore it is according to Allah's (subhana wa ta'ala) statement: “Verily in this is an instructive warning for whosoever feareth (i.e. Allah).” [ref: Surah 79:26] And more importantly we learnt the principle and its implications are not restricted to historical context of people involved nor is limited to the era. Rather the injunction is universal for all Muslims and living during and after life of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam).

4.0 - Quran Revealed In Context Of Arabian Religions And Customs:

The Quran was revealed in specific context of Arabia, its religions and customs. Yet we do not restrict the understanding of it to only what Quran and Sunnah explicitly establish. Rather we use Quran/Ahadith to meet the challenges of modern tribulations and refute Shirk, may it be the Greek mythology, or Chinese, or Indian. This can only be done if the verses of Quran are stripped from their historical context and used as guiding principles against these polytheistic creeds. The language of the Quran and statements of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) allow a broader interpretation therefore to restrict the meaning of a verse/statement (i.e. guiding principle) of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) to a specific context is very dangerous. Without which we will be unable to address various forms of polytheism and practices. It will virtually eradicate Ijtihad. Therefore contextual and non-contextual meaning of prophetic words are absolutely fundamental for Islamic jurisprudence.

4.1 - Principles Remain Universal Even In Context:

Prophet (sallallahua layhi wa aalihi was’sallam) provided for the Muslims many guiding principles via which Muslims could interpret the event which resulted it. And use the guiding principle to understand many non-contextual matters due to the general nature of statement. In their context these guiding principles may have some contextual relevance, or absolute relevance to context, or have absolutely no relevance to its context. Yet their partial or absolute contextual relevance does not restrict the implications of these guiding principles to a particular person, or  an era, or a meaning. Rather these guiding principles remain universal and serve as rules for Ummah of RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) via which we can judge matters and interpret Ahadith because the nature of language used is as such. On other occasions principles are quoted but the incident/context which resulted it have not been narrated.[1] This in itself is evidence that principles are to be used generally without restricting their interpretation to context. In historical context the principle is the key which unlocks the understanding of an event. We open the locks with the key and not key with the lock. In other words we interpret the event in light of principle and not principle in light of the event. Even if someone does interpret the principle in light of evidences the generality isn’t over ruled by the interpretation. In other words no interpretation should contradict the fundamental meaning of principle if it does so then generality is being negated. Also any understanding derived by interpreting another evidence in light of principle will never limit and restrict the meaning of principle and the coupled evidence.

4.2 - Foolish Interpreting Quran And Sunnah Without Knowing Fundamentals:

One plus two equals three. Based on the result we cannot deduce; one is two, or two is one, or two is three, or one is three. The outcome of, three, does not effect the fundamentals (i.e. one and two). In other words the fundamentals will remain on their natural value/meaning. And … we … don’t … restrict … the … value/meaning … of … fundamentals … due … to … the … result/interpretation … we … get … after … we … multiply/interpret … a … number/principle. When two verses, or a portion of Hadith and verse, or two Ahadith, are being interpreted, it is same as, Hadith plus Hadith, equals a new interpretation which did not exist until the two fundamentals were paired. Just as, one, by itself does not give meaning of three, nor does two by itself. One and two have to be coupled to get meaning of three. No one, alters the fundamentals, due to result of three. Yet fools hold to positions which nesseciates; they believe due to the interpretation resulting; Hadith plus Hadith, two fundamentals have been altered by the result, and have lost their own literal value. It should be known to all; what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) made mutliq (i.e. general) cannot be made muqayyid (i.e. specific), nor other way around via interpretation. The fundamental text of Hadith/Ayat will remain as it was uttered by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) or revealed by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). To restrict/limit the general revealed text via Tafsir/Sharh is an indirect claim to being Ilah (i.e. God) beside Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Or claim of Prophet-hood after the door of Prophet-hood has been closed. Because only Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) can alter limit/restrict the fundamentals (i.e. Ayaat and Ahadith) by making the general into specific, and specific into general.

5.0 - Hadith Of Introducing Good Sunnah In Islam:


Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has said: He who initiates a good Sunnah in Islam, there is a reward for him for this and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards; and he who sets in Islam an evil Sunnah, there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Ref: Muslim, B5, H2219] Following Hadith is being quoted with context of above prophetic statement: “Jarir bin Abdullah reported that some desert Arabs clad in woolen clothes came to Allah's Messenger. He saw them in sad plight as they had been hard pressed by need. He (the Holy Prophet) exhorted people to give charity, but they showed some reluctance until (signs) of anger could be seen on his face. Then a person from the Ansar came with a purse containing silver. Then came another person and then other persons followed them in succession until signs of happiness could be seen on his (sacred) face. Thereupon Allah's Messenger said: He who introduced some good practice in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without their being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] This Hadith is proof of good innovated Sunnahs.

5.1 - Heretics Interpret And Restrict Hadith Of Good Sunnah To Context:

They argue no Sunnah in Islam was introduced by companions. Therefore the prophetic words referr to prophetic Sunnah. In other words referr to starting Sunnah of Islam. And they say therefore the phrase is not introducing a good Sunnah in Islam. They also say this statement is about reviving prophetic Sunnahs and not introducing new innovated Sunnahs into Islam.  And their justification for this is; companions had forgotten the prophetic Sunnah and the companion who started to give Sadaqa was first one to re-introduce it to companions hence in actuality he was reviving a prophetic Sunnah. See brother Amar Iqbal’s position in, here.

5.2 - Critical Accessment Of Heretical Understanding Of Good Sunnah In Islam:

If the first part of Hadith (i.e. good Sunnah in Islam) is referrence to prophetic Sunnahs then following is referrence to prophetic Sunnahs: And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without their being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] Note both parts begin with exactly the same words: ٌ وَمَنْ سَنَّ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَامَنْ سَنَّ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَا …” Indicating in both parts same group of people are being referred. If it is conceded for argument sake the good Sunnah part referrs to prophetic Sunnah then opponents of Islam must admit the evil Sunnah part also referrs to prophetic Sunnah. And to believe a prophetic Sunnah is evil is Kufr which would invalidate Islam of anyone who holds to this belief because Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and (who) remembers Allah often.” [Ref: 33:21] Also Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) used the words Sunnah and denoted innovation in the following Hadith: "Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, "None is killed unjustly, but the first son of Adam will have a part of its burden." Sufyan said: "..a part of its blood because he was the first to establish the Sunnah of murdering" [Ref: Bukhari, B92, H423] Note son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salam) was first one to start Sunnah of killing and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said he will inherit the sin of every murder because of starting this evil innovation which did nto exist before his evil act. He is guilty of each murder because he is being judged in light of following principle: And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without their being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) indicated the same meaning more clearly: And whoever بِدْعَةً ابْتَدَع (i.e. introduces an innovation) that is acted upon, will have a burden of sins equivalent to that of those who act upon it, withot that detracting from the burden of those who act upon it in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H209] Alhasil the last of Hadith of evil Sunnah is in actuality referring to evil Sunnahs innovated into Islam. And if the second part is referring to innovated evil Sunnahs then naturally the first part also referrs to innovated good Sunnahs into Islam.

5.3 - Islamic Understanding Of Hadith Of Good Sunnah In Islam:

Muslims believe; innovation is not part of Islam and prophetic Sunnah is part of Islam. The Hadith states: He who introduced some good practice in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] And in this Hadith Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) told of reward for introudcing a Sunnah in Islam and this naturally means reward is for a Sunnah which is not already part of Islam. Innovation is not part of Islam therefore the reward being told is for those good Sunnahs which have been innovated into Islam. With regards to evil Sunnah in Islam: And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without their being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] The burden being told is for those evil Sunnahs which have been innovated into Islam. In order to familiarise with Islamic understanding please referr to following article, here.

Conclusion:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) gave guidance in context of events but no where restricted the implications to the context transpired event, or persons involved. Guiding principles can be interpreted in context of event and can be coupled to derive new understandings. And general rule is as long as the derived interpretations do not contradict and do not go against natural/literal meaning of prophetic statement then they are valid if the coupled evidence is authentic. Natural/literal meaning of a general statement is fundamental and no interpretation can abrogates its generality. Therefore the guiding principles can be stripped from their historical context and be applied to life of Muslims where ever they maybe and who ever they maybe. And Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) demonstrated how a verse can be employed. Also note that these guiding principles were given in historical context because Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) sent revelation (which became hadith) on basis of the necessity. RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) guided the Muslims with rules/principles so Muslims judge according to what Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) has revealed and know the limits which His beloved Messengers (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) has set. In this context Hadith of Good Sunnah in Islam is proof innovated good Sunnahs in Islam. And it tells of equal reward for one who introduces a innovates a good Sunnah and tells its innovator will get same amount of reward when another acts on his innovated good Sunnah. This principle also applies to evil Sunnah part of Hadith. And son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salam) being equally responsible for every murder as the murderer is proof of it.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

FootNotes:

- [1] “The following was revealed with regard to the Jews when they distorted the descriptions of the Prophet s and God’s covenant with them in the Torah and God’s covenant with them regarding one that swears an oath to a falsehood when bearing witness or when selling merchandise Those that sell exchange God’s covenant with them that they believe in the Prophet and return faithfully what has been entrusted to them and their own oaths their invoking God’s name in mendacity for a small price of this world there shall be no share no lot for them in the Hereafter; and God shall not speak to them out of wrath against them nor look upon them nor have mercy upon them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them cleanse them and theirs will be a painful chastisement.” [Ref: Tafsir Al Jalalayn, 3:77, here]

- [2] Reports like these are too numerous to list all: “... Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: He who died knowing (fully well) that there is no god but Allah entered Paradise.” [ref: Muslim, B1, H39] and “... the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: he who as in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” [ref: Muslim, B1, H166] Existence of such reports is also proof that Sahabah (alayhi ridwan) stripped such ahadith from their historical context to educate people.

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