According to Shi`as, the Prophet's Sunnah does not Contradict the Qur'an

Having researched the faith of both parties, i.e. that of the Shi`as as well as that of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” we found out that the Shi`as derive all their juristic injunctions only from the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah.

Then they put the Holy Qur'an first and the Prophet's Sunnah second. We mean, by saying so, that they submit the Sunnah to scrutiny, comparing it with the Book of Allah, the Exalted One. They accept it when it agrees with Allah's Book and they act accordingly while rejecting and disregarding it when it contradicts it.

In doing so, Shi`as refer to what the Imams from Ahlul Bayt, peace be upon them, have sanctioned for them. These Imams do so in accordance with the hadith they narrate from their grandfather the Messenger of Allah wherein he says, “If someone quotes one of my ahadith to you, compare it with the Book of Allah. If it agrees with Allah's Book, act according to it, and if it disagrees with Allah's Book, discard it.”1

Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq, peace be upon him, has quite often said, “Any hadith which does not agree with the Qur'an is nothing but a trifling.” Usul al-Kafi indicates that the Prophet delivered a sermon once at Mina wherein he said, “O people! Anything you hear about me which agrees with the Book of Allah is something which I said, and whatever you hear about me which contradicts the Book of Allah is something which I never said.”

Upon such foundation have the Shi`as set up the foundations of their jurisprudence and creed. No matter how accurate the isnad of one hadith may be, they still weigh it thus, comparing it with the Book which no falsehood can approach from before it or from behind it. And Imamite Shi`as are the only ones among the followers of Islamic sects who insist on such a prerequisite especially in a field wherein narrations and stories contradict one another.

In his book Tasheeh al-I`tiqad, Shaykh al-Mufeed says, “The Book of Allah, the most Exalted One, is given preference over ahadith and narrations. It is the final judge in as far as the authenticity of narrations, or the lack thereof, is concerned.

Only its decision is correct.” According to this condition, that is, comparing the hadith with the Book of Allah, the most Exalted One, Shi`as differ from “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” with regard to many fiqh-related injunctions as well as many beliefs.

Any researcher will find out that the ahkam and beliefs of the Shi`as are in total agreement with the Book of Allah, unlike the case with “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.” One who thoroughly researches this issue will find the beliefs and injunctions upheld by the latter clearly contradict the Holy Qur'an. You will come to know the truth in this regard, and we will shortly provide you with some of our own proofs, Insha-Allah.

The researcher, therefore, will also come to understand that the Shi`as do not label any of their books of hadith as “Sahih” or grant it the sanctity they grant the Holy Qur'an as is the case with “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” who brand as “Sahih” all the ahadith narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim although they have among them hundreds of ahadith which contradict the Book of Allah.

Suffices you to know that the book titled Al-Kafi, though written by a great author, namely Muhammad ibn Ya`qoob al-Kulayni, who delved in depth in the science of hadith, Shi`a `ulema never claim that all what is compiled in it is “Sahih,” authentic. Rather, some of their scholars have discredited and labelled as “unauthentic” half of its contents.

Even the author of Al-Kafi himself does not claim that all the ahadith he compiled in his book are authentic. All this may be the outcome of the policy of the caliphs with regard to each of these two groups. “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” on one hand, followed in the footsteps of religious leaders who were ignorant of the Sunnah and of the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an, or they knew them but preferred to follow their own ijtihad, thus contradicting the existing texts for various reasons some of which we have already explained above. Shi`as, on the other hand, emulated the purified Progeny of the Prophet who were the peers of the Holy Qur'an and the ones who explained it. Shi`as do not contradict these Imams, nor do they differ among themselves in this regard.

“Can they [at all] be (like) those who accept a Clear (Sign) from their Lord, and who are taught by a witness from Himself, as did the Book of Moses before it, [who was] a guide and a mercy?” (Holy Qur'an, 11:17)

Surely Allah has said the truth.

  • 1. The exact words of the Prophet were: “... slam it on the wall,” an expression the Arabs use meaning “discard” or “ignore” it. __ Tr.