In our common Islamic history, we have received, through successive generations, what we all agree on in general and digress on the particulars. In this latter category falls the five daily salat. This profoundly established everyday occurrence does not rely on any one narrator. It is acknowledged by Muslims everywhere throughout the nearly fifteen centuries. The details of performing the salat, though, are sometimes dissimilar and/or assorted.
This minor difference in the performance of salat can be traced back to the books of fiqh relying on certain hadiths that were available to a certain faqih at a certain time and place. It must be noted that not all hadiths were available to every faqih. The reliable Qur’an has many ayats about al-salat in its collective meaning and purpose; i.e. iqamat al-salat (the demonstrable institutionalization and substantial socialization of the salat). Sadly, this meaning is almost absent from the social life of the nearly two billion Muslims in the world today. What we have these days are individualized salat. The transition of salat as an amiable social institution into a self-regarding individualistic prayer session is an issue that can be traced back to the books of hadith. The same comparison applies to zakat, siyam, and hajj.
There are ayats in the Qur’an about all these obligations as there are hadiths about them. So, whenever we read or hear any hadith that is not compatible with the ayats of the Qur’an we should discount such a “hadith”, especially if it contradicts the ayats of the Qur’an. We know that the Prophet (pbuh) explained and exemplified the meanings of the Qur’an; so how could we accept any sentence or statement attributed to him that disagrees with the Qur’an?
Let us clarify this. All of us celebrate or honor the Isra’ & Mi‘raj (the Prophet’s night journey from Makkah to al-Quds, and thence to heaven). In the hadith literature there is information that says that the Prophet (pbuh) saw his Sustainer during that night journey to heaven. This is not the time to parse the word “saw”. But there are many Muslims who understand this to mean that the Prophet (pbuh) saw Allah (swt) with his own anatomical eyes. But the distinct ayat in the Qur’an says: “No human vision can encompass Him, whereas He encompasses all human vision” (Surat al-An‘am, ayat 103).
Here is another example of how some hadiths cannot be reconciled with the Qur’an. This particular hadith, in vogue among the hardcore salafis, discourage any emotional expression of grief when some loved one passes away. The purported “hadith” says that a deceased person in his/her grave is tormented because of his folks weeping/crying over him (during burial time). How can this be when an ayat in the Qur’an clearly says: “And no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden” (Surat Fatir, ayat 18). How can a deceased person be made to suffer because of a wrong (the weeping) that someone else is doing?!
We will, insha-Allah, see in future articles how the Prophet’s companions were very restrained and cautious about quoting the Prophet (pbuh). We will visit the information in the books of “hadith” that tell us that the Prophet (pbuh) himself discouraged inscribing his hadiths, and that the only thing that should be inscribed per the Prophet’s orders are the ayats that were being revealed from heaven above to him (pbuh).
I want to go off on a tangent here and say that if the books of “hadith” need to be cleaned and clarified, our books of history need to be cleansed and decontaminated. I know I may be treading on sensitive areas when I say what is to follow, but with all the Muslims in the world today being divided and decimated and destroyed because of their ignorance and because of their enemies’ arrogance, I feel a responsibility to try to stimulate our conscience and open up our eyes.
We Muslims all know that the second successor to the Prophet who assumed his responsibilities in very difficult times was assassinated. The assassination of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab is still a mystery and an ambiguity. In the Muslim public mind, the whole issue was that he was assassinated by someone in the masjid at the time of salat al-fajr. Is there more to this than this simplistic generalization? Of course, there is but not in our collective minds. Our history books avoid this whole subject because we are told it is “controversial”, or that it was a freak event!
We beg to disagree.
We should be able to understand our history and write our history without “officialdom” dictating to us their version of events. Was the assassination of ‘Umar a conspiracy? Was Ka‘b al-Ahbar at the center of that conspiracy? Ka‘b al-Ahbar was a Yahudi who proclaimed being a Muslim during the reign of ‘Umar. In some history books we have narrators telling us that Ka‘b told ‘Umar that he will be assassinated after three nights. When ‘Umar asked him: but how do you know that? He replied: I gathered my information from the Torah. ‘Umar was surprised: how can my name be in the Torah, he asked. Ka‘b’s answer was: I don’t find your name in the Torah, I find the description of you in it. Then Ka‘b came to him the following day and told ‘Umar: you have two days left. Then he came to ‘Umar the third day and said: two days have passed, you have one more day left (to live). You will be killed tomorrow! And at fajr time of that day along came a “Persian” servant (retainer) who stabbed ‘Umar to death while ‘Umar was in the process of commencing salat al-fajr. Could this have been a conspiracy thought up and executed by those who are “most relentless in their hostility to committed Muslims”?
We know that the Islamic liberation-stretch out of the Arabian Peninsula extended into the domains of two superpowers at that time: the Persian and the Roman (or Byzantine). We know some of the Islamic internal developments: Hurub al-Riddah (the battles by some Muslims to break away from the central authority in al-Madinah, the battles of Yarmuk and al-Qadisiyah, etc…) But what we do not know, and this is the gap that has allowed our common enemies to divide us, is the type of clout and influence a bloc of antagonists (those who are most relentless in their enmity towards committed Muslims) had in both Persia and Byzantium. This would be the first step in the process of a long overdue discovery of our early history.
Today’s antagonism between “Sunnis” and “Shi‘is” is fueled by a misreading of history by both sides. Neither the “Sunnis” take into account the sway and weight of the lobby belonging to “those who are most relentless in their antagonism towards the committed Muslims” and the role they played via imperial Persia in the assassination of al-khalifah ‘Umar, nor do the “Shi‘is” take into account the sway and weight of the lobby belonging to “those who are most relentless in their antagonism towards the committed Muslims” and the role they played via imperial Byzantium in the martyrdom of Imam Huseyn.
There were three dubious individuals who were involved in the assassination of ‘Umar besides Ka‘b al-Ahbar who lived on for seven or eight years after the assassination. Ka‘b al-Ahbar was a regular visitor of ‘Uthman! Why wasn’t there an investigation into Ka‘b al-Ahbar who accurately predicted the day on which ‘Umar was assassinated? Why did he live on for seven or eight years after ‘Umar’s assassination, fled Arabia, and died in Bilad al-Sham (the Levant)? Why wasn’t ‘Ubaid-Allah ibn ‘Umar brought to court and put on trial for his killing of two of ‘Umar’s assassination co-conspirators (Hurmuzan and Jufainah) the first whose allegiances may have been to the defeated Persian ruling class as he was an ex-high ranking Persian commander, and the latter who it may be assumed had ties to Byzantium as he was Christian by faith.
On the other hand, why isn’t there public information about Mu‘awiyah’s relationship with the Byzantines, the ex-colonialist power in the Holy Land? Why doesn’t the average Muslim know that Mu‘awiyah’s chief adviser in Damascus was a non-Muslim, a “Christian” a Byzantine shill? Why isn’t it public knowledge among the Muslims that Yazid’s mother was a non-Muslim, a “Christian”, and most likely also a Byzantine proxy? We have nothing against Christians as long as they are not surrogates of imperialism, past or present.
Why don’t we have enough maturity and good faith in our own selves without the interference of stinking sectarianism or nasty nationalism to reach a conclusion substantiated by reasonable research and dispassionate investigation that says: the assassination of ‘Umar was payback by a pain-feeling Persian ruling class and empire that was roundly defeated by an Islamic force primarily during ‘Umar’s period in office with probable collaboration with the Byzantine imperialists who lost their hegemony position and governance of the Holy Land during the time when ‘Umar was the Khalifah.
And the assassination of Imam Huseyn was payback by a battered Byzantine empire that was on-the-run because of the expanding Islamic forces. And the movers and shakers in both of these empires, if it can be proven, are “those who are most severe in their hostility towards the committed Muslims” who were defeated in Madinah, in Khaybar, and in the Arabian Peninsula… all the way to al-Quds Jerusalem.
We will be back next month to continue with our examination of “hadiths”, Insha-Allah.
And never say about anything, “Indeed, I shall do this at some time in the future,” without [adding], “if Allah so wills.” - Surat al-Kahf, ayat 23