The Sunnah and the Qur'an According to Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a
Having come to know that Imamite Shi`as give preference to the Qur'an over the Sunnah, making it the final judge and the dominating authority, “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” are exactly the opposite: they advance the Sunnah over the Qur'an, making it the final judge, the ultimate authority. We come to this conclusion when we observe how they call themselves “Ahlul Sunnah,” followers of the Sunnah, due to the line of thinking which they adopted; otherwise, why did they not say that they were the followers of the Qur'an and the Sunnah especially since they narrate in their books saying that the Prophet had said, “I have left among you the Book of Allah and my Sunnah”?
Because the Sunnis neglected the Qur'an and gave it the back seat, upholding the alleged Sunnah and giving it the front seat, we understand the main reason why they now say that the Sunnah over-rules the Qur'an, which is quite odd.
I think they found themselves forced to do so when they discovered that they were doing things which contradicted the Qur'an, things which they made up after the rulers they obeyed forced them to act upon them. In order to justify doing those things, they fabricated ahadith which they falsely attributed to the Prophet. And since those ahadith contradict the injunctions of the Qur'an, they claim that the Sunnah over-rules the Qur'an, and that it abrogates the Qur'an.
Let me give you a clear example of what every Muslim individual does many times daily: the ablution (wudu) that precedes the prayers:
The Holy Qur'an states the following:
“O you who believe! When you stand for the prayers, wash your faces and hands to the elbows and wipe your heads and feet to the ankles” (Holy Qur'an, 5:6).
No matter how much is said, and regardless of where the accent marks are placed when one recites [the original Arabic text of] this verse, al-Fakhr al-Razi, who is one of the most famous scholars of Arabic among “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” has said that the feet have to be rubbed (or wiped).1 Ibn Hazm has also said, “Whether the accent mark is placed underneath or above the laam, it is at any rate an injunction joining the heads in the same action (as that done to the feet), and no other possibility is valid.”2
Yet although he admits that the Qur'an mandates the rubbing of the feet in either case, al-Fakhr al-Razi is found fanatically supporting his Sunni sect and saying, “... but the Sunnah came to mandate the washing of the feet, thus abrogating the Qur'an.”3
Such an example of the alleged Sunnah which over-rules or abrogates the Qur'an has many similar examples to be found with “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.” Quite a few fabricated ahadith idle Allah's commandments based on the [false] claim that the Messenger of Allah was the one who abrogated it.
If we examine the verse referring to the ablution in Surat al-Maaida and take into consideration the consensus of Muslims that this Sura was the very last one revealed of the Holy Qur'an__it is said that it was revealed only two months before the demise of the Prophet __how and when did the Prophet abrogate the injunction in it referring to ablution?!
The Prophet had already spent twenty-three years performing his ablution, rubbing (not washing) his feet, doing so many times each day; is it reasonable to accept that only two months before his death, and after his having received the verse saying, “... and wipe your heads and feet,” he deliberately washed his feet contrarily to the commandment revealed in Allah's Book?! This is unbelievable...
How can people believe that such a Prophet invited them to uphold the Book of Allah and to act according to it, telling them, “This Book guides to what is best,” actually does the opposite of what the Qur'an enjoins?! Would his opponents, the polytheists and the hypocrites, then say to him, “Since you yourself do the opposite of what the Qur'an enjoins, how can you order us to follow it?!”
The Prophet would then find himself in an embarrassing situation, not knowing how to refute their argument; so, we do not believe such a claim, a claim which reason and tradition reject and is rejected by anyone who knows the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.
But “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” who, as we have come to know in past researches, are in fact Umayyad rulers and those who followed in their footsteps, deliberately fabricated many ahadith which they attributed to the Prophet in order to thus justify the views and the ijtihad of the imams of misguidance, and to bestow upon the latter religious sanctity.
They did so in order to justify the ijtihad of such persons versus the available texts, claiming that the Prophet himself had adopted ijtihad (and followed his own personal views) contrarily to the Qur'anic texts, thus abrogating whatever he desired of such texts. Those who harbored bid`as would thus derive their legitimacy in contradicting the Qur'anic texts. They claim that they only follow the Prophet, something which is quite untrue; it is simply a lie.
In a previous research, we provided strong proofs and arguments that the Messenger of Allah never, not even for one day, followed his own view, nor did he ever adopt the principle of qiyas; rather, he always waited for revelation. This is proven by the verse saying,
“... so that you may judge between people according to what Allah has taught you” (Holy Qur'an, 4:105)”.4
After all, is he not the one who cited His Lord saying,
“And when Our clear Signs are recited to them, those who do not wish for the meeting with Us say: Bring us a Qur'an other than this one, or change it. Say: It is not for me to change it of my own accord; I only follow what is revealed to me. I fear lest I should disobey my Lord the torment of a great Day” (Holy Qur'an, 10:15”
Did his Lord not threaten him in the strongest terms against his trying to attribute one single word to Allah? He, the Sublime, the most Exalted One, said,
“And had he fabricated against Us any statement, We would certainly have seized him by the right hand, then We would certainly have cut off his aorta, and none of you could then have withheld Us from him” (Holy Qur'an, 69:44-47).
Such is the Holy Qur'an, and such is the Prophet whose conduct was the embodiment of the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an. But “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,”5 because of the intensity of their animosity towards Ali ibn Abu Talib and Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), deliberately contradicted the latter in everything, so much so that their motto was to oppose Ali and his Shi`as in every aspect, even if that meant contradicting a Sunnah which they themselves regard as authentic.6
Since Imam Ali was famous for reciting the basmala audibly even while reciting the inaudible prayers in order to revive the Prophet's Sunnah, a number of the sahaba expressed their view that it is makrooh to recite it in the prayers. So is the case with regard to holding the hands versus placing them on the sides, the supplication during the qunoot, in addition to other issues relevant to the daily prayers.
Anas ibn Malik, therefore, used to weep and complain thus: “By Allah! I hardly find anything being done anymore which the Messenger of Allah used to do.” He was asked, “What about the prayers?” He said, “You have altered it, too.”7
What is strange is that “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” remain silent about such differences: Their four sects differ with one another, yet they do not find anything wrong with it, saying that their differences are a mercy.
Yet they scandalize the Shi`as whenever the latter differ from them about any issue; it is then that mercy turns into a calamity. They do not endorse except the views of their Imams although the latter are no match to the Imams from the purified Progeny of the Prophet in their knowledge, deeds, merits, or dignity.
Just as we have indicated with regard to washing the feet [versus wiping them], and despite the fact that their books testify that rubbing is what the Holy Qur'an enjoins, and that it is also the Sunnah of the Prophet,8 they resent the Shi`as doing any of that, accusing them of interpreting the Qur'an and contradicting the creed.
The second example which has also to be mentioned is the mut`a marriage to which the Holy Qur'an refers and which was sanctioned by the Prophet's Sunnah. In order to justify Umar's following his own ijtihad in this regard and his prohibition of it, they invented a false tradition which they attributed to the Prophet. They aimed by it to scandalize the Shi`as for permitting such marriage relying on the hadith narrated by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, peace be upon him.
Add to this the fact that their Sahih books testify that the sahaba practiced it during the life of the Messenger of Allah and during the reign of Abu Bakr and a portion of the reign of Umar before the latter outlawed it. They also testify that the sahaba differed among themselves about it: some permitting it while others prohibiting it.
Arguments in this subject are quite numerous. They prove that the Sunnis abrogate the Qur'anic text through their use of false traditions. We have stated a couple such examples, and our objective is to remove the curtain from the sect followed by “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” and acquaint the reader with the fact that the Sunnis prefer hadith over the Holy Qur'an and openly say that the Sunnah over-rides the Qur'an.
The jurist Imam Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah, traditionist and jurist of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” who died in 276 A.H./889 A.D., openly says, “The Sunnah overrides the Book (Qur'an); the Book does not override the Sunnah.”9
The author of the book titled Maqalat al-Islamiyyeen cites Imam al-Ash`ari, the chief Imam of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” with regard to the usool saying, “The Sunnah abrogates the Qur'an and cancels its injunctions, whereas the Qur'an neither abrogates nor cancels the Sunnah.”10
Ibn Abd al-Birr also says that Imam al-Awza`i, one of the major Imams of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a,” has said, “The Qur'an is more in need of the Sunnah than the Sunnah of the Qur'an.”11
Since statements like these testify to their creed, it is quite natural that these folks contradict what is said by Ahlul Bayt in as far as comparing the hadith with the Book of Allah and weighing it accordingly. The Qur'an is the one that determines the Sunnah. It is also natural that they reject these traditions and refuse to accept them, even though they were narrated by the Imams from Ahlul Bayt, simply because they undermine their sect entirely.
Al-Bayhaqi, in his book Dala'il al-Nubuwwah, transmits saying that the tradition wherein the Prophet says, “If you come across one hadith reported about me, compare it with the Book of Allah,” says, “This tradition is false and inaccurate, and it is self-contradictory, for there is no evidence in the Qur'an suggesting making a comparison between the hadith and the Qur'an.”
Ibn Abd al-Birr quotes Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi saying that the tradition in which the Prophet is quoted saying, “Whenever I am quoted to you, compare it with the Book of Allah; if it agrees with the Book of Allah, then I have said it, but if it contradicts the Book of Allah, then I never said it,” cannot be accepted by people of knowledge as having been authentic, especially since traditions to its contrary have been authenticated. He concludes by saying that atheists and Kharijites were the ones who fabricated it.12
Notice such blind fanaticism which leaves no room for scientifically verifying something and the yielding to the finding: they label the narrators of this tradition, who are the Imams of guidance from the purified Progeny of the Prophet, as atheists and Kharijites, accusing them of fabricating hadith!
Can we ask them, “What is the goal of atheists and Kharijites behind fabricating this tradition which makes the Book of Allah, the one which falsehood can never approach from the front or the back, the reference for everything?!
Any fair-minded wise person would even sympathize with these so-called “atheists” and “Kharijites” who thus glorify the Book of Allah and give it the highest status to derive legislation therefrom rather than with such “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” who put an end to the Book of Allah through the medium of false traditions and abrogate its injunctions through alleged innovations.
“A grievous word, indeed, comes out of their mouths; surely what they utter is a lie.” (Holy Qur'an, 18:5)
Those whom they label as “atheists” and “Kharijites” are none other than the Imams of the Prophet's family, the Imams of guidance, the lanterns that shatter the dark, the ones who were described by their grandfather the Messenger of Allah as the security of the nation against dissension: if one tribe differs from them, it will become the party of Satan.
Their only “sin” is that they upheld the Sunnah of their grandfather and rejected anything besides it of innovations introduced by Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Mu`awiyah, Yazid, Marwan, and Banu Umayyah. Since the ruling authority was in the hands of the afore-mentioned individuals, it is only natural that they condemned their opponents, labelling them as “Kharijites” and “atheists,” fighting and denouncing them. Were not Ali and Ahlul Bayt cursed from their pulpits for eighty years? Did they not poison Imam al-Hasan ? Did they not kill Imam al-Husayn and his offspring?
Let us not go back to discuss the tragedy of Ahlul Bayt, injustice to whom is still ongoing, and let us go back to those who call themselves “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” and who reject the hadith enjoining comparing the Sunnah with the Qur'an.
Why did they not label Abu Bakr “al-Siddeeq” a Kharijites since it was he who burnt the hadith then delivered a sermon in which he said, “You quote ahadith about the Messenger of Allah regarding which you differ with one another, and people after you will be more intense in their differences; so, do not quote anything about the Messenger of Allah. If anyone asks you, say: `Between us and you is the Book of Allah; so, follow what it permits and refrain from what it prohibits.”13
Did Abu Bakr not put the Sunnah ahead of the Qur'an? He even regarded it as the sole reference, rejecting the Sunnah altogether, claiming his reason for doing so was people differing among themselves about it.
Why did they not call Umar ibn al-Khattab a Kharijite since he was the one who rejected the Sunnah from day one saying, “The Book of Allah suffices us”? He, too, burnt all what the sahaba had collected of the ahadith and sunan during his reign14, going beyond that to forbidding the sahaba from publicly narrating hadith.15
Why did they not call the mother of the faithful Ayesha, from whom they derive half of their creed, a Kharijite since she was the one who was famous for comparing the hadith with the Holy Qur'an? Whenever she heard one hadith with which she was not familiar, she would compare it with the Book of Allah and reject it if it contradicted the Qur'an.
She, for example, objected when Umar ibn al-Khattab quoted one hadith saying, “A dead person is tormented in his grave on account of his family weeping over him.” She said to him, “Suffices you to refer to the Qur'an where it says: `No sin-bearing soul shall ever bear the sin of another.'“16
She also rejected one hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar saying that the Prophet came once to a cemetery where some atheists were buried after having been killed at the Battle of Badr and communicated with them then turned to his companions and said, “They most surely hear what I say.” Ayesha denied the dead could hear. She said, “Rather, the Messenger of Allah said, `They now know that what I used to tell them is the truth,'“ then she cited the following verse to testify to the falsehood of that tradition:
“And surely you cannot make those in the graves hear you” (Holy Qur'an, 35:22).17
She rejected many other ahadith. In each time, she would compare each hadith with the Book of Allah. Once someone told her that Muhammad had seen his Lord, so she said to him, “My hair stands on account of what you have just said... Where do you stand with regard to three things about which anyone who narrates a tradition lies: whoever tells you that Muhammad saw his Lord is a liar,” then she cited the verse saying,
“No vision can ever conceive him while He conceives all vision, and He knows the subtleties, the Aware” (Holy Qur'an, 6:103), and also the verse saying, “And it is not for any mortal to speak to Allah except by revelation or from behind a barrier” (Holy Qur'an, 42:51).
“And whoever tells you,” she went on, “that he knows what tomorrow holds for him is a liar.” Then she cited the verse saying,
“No soul knows what it shall earn tomorrow” (Holy Qur'an, 31:34).
“And whoever tells you,” she continued, “that he kept any revelation for himself (without revealing it to others) is a liar,” then she cited the verse saying,
“O Messenger! Convey what has been revealed to you from your Lord” (Holy Qur'an, 5:67).
Likewise, Abu Hurayra, the narrator of Ahlul Sunnah, used to quite often narrate one hadith, then he would say: “Recite whatever you please of what the Exalted One says,” then he compares his hadith with the text of the Book of Allah so that the listeners might believe him.
So why don't “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`ah” call all these persons “Kharijites” or “atheists” since they all compare the ahadith they hear with Allah's Book and falsify whatever contradicts the Qur'an?! Surely they would not dare to do that.
But if the matter involves the Imams from Ahlul Bayt, they will not hesitate to curse them and attribute shortcomings to them without these Imams having committed any sin other than comparing the hadith with the Book of Allah in order to expose those who fabricate and forge, those who wish to render Allah's commandments idle through the medium of false ahadith.
They do so because they fully realize that had their ahadith been compared with Allah's Book, nine out of ten of them will be found contradicting the Book of Allah, and the remaining tenth, which agrees with the Book of Allah because it actually is the speech of the Prophet, they interpret it in a way which the Messenger never intended it.
Examples include the hadith saying, “The caliphs after me are twelve; all of them are from Quraysh,” and the one saying, “Uphold the Sunnah of the righteous caliphs after me,” and the one saying, “The differences among my nation are a mercy,” besides many traditions whereby the Prophet meant to refer to the Imams from his purified Progeny. But they claimed they referred to their own usurping caliphs, and to some turn-coat sahaba.
Even the titles which they attach to the sahaba, such as their calling Abu Bakr “al-Siddeeq,” Umar “al-Farooq,” Uthman “Dhul-Noorayn,” and Khalid “Sayf-Allah,” all these titles were given by the Prophet to Ali; for example, he has said, “The siddeeqs are three: 1) Habib al-Najjar, the believer referred to in Surat Yasin, 2) Ezekiel, the believer who belonged to the family of Pharaoh, and 3) Ali ibn Abu Talib who is their best.”18
Ali himself used to say, “I am the greatest siddeeq; none says so besides me except a liar.” And he also is the greatest farooq through whom Allah distinguished the truth from falsehood.19 Did not the Messenger of Allah say that loving Ali is a sign of conviction, while hating him is a sign of hypocrisy, that the truth revolves around him wherever he went?
As for the title of “Dhul-Noorayn,”20 Ali, peace be upon him, is the father of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be upon them, masters of the youths of Paradise, two lights that descended from the loins of Prophethood. As for “Sayf-Allah,” Ali is the one who was described by Gabriel, peace be upon him, during the Battle of Uhud thus: “There is no youth like Ali, and there is no sword like Dhul-Fiqar.”
And Ali in truth is the sword of Allah whom He sent upon the polytheists to kill their heroes, arrest their brave warriors, and crush their noses till they submitted to the truth against their wish. He is the sword of Allah who never ran away from any battle, nor did he ever dread any duel. He is the one who opened the fort of Khaybar, a task that frustrated the most distinguished sahaba who had to flee away in defeat.
The caliphate, since its inception, was based on isolating Ali and stripping him of all distinctions and merits. When Mu`awiyah ascended the seat of government, he went far in cursing and belittling Ali, elevating the status of his opponents, attributing to them each and every merit of Ali, including his titles, out of his perfidy and calumny. And who could at that time oppose Mu`awiyah or call him a liar especially since they agreed with him on cursing and condemning Ali, dissociating themselves from Ali?
Mu`awiyah's followers from “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” turned all facts upside down, so much so that right appeared to them as wrong and vice versa, to the extent that Ali and his Shi`as came to be labelled as Kharijites, and Rafizis the cursing and the killing of whom was permissible, while the enemies of Allah, of His Messenger, and of his Ahlul Bayt came to be identified as the ones who adhere to the Sunnah..., so read and wonder, and if you have any doubts in this regard, research and investigate.
“The similitude of the two parties is like the blind and the deaf, the seeing and the hearing: are they alike? Will you not mind?” (Holy Qur'an, 11:24)
Surely Allah says the truth.
- 1. He says so in his book Al-Tafsir al-Kabir (the grand exegesis), Vol. 11, p. 161.
- 2. Ibn Hazm, Al-Muhalla, Vol. 3, p. 54.
- 3. Al-Fakhr al-Razi, Al-Tafsir al-Kabir, Vol. 11, p. 161.
- 4. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 8, p. 148.
- 5. We mean those early ones who made a covenant with Ali and his offspring after him and who founded the sect of “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a.”
- 6. We have discussed this issue in detail and quoted their own statements which they have published in their books as well as the statements of their imams in a book we called Ma`a al-Sadiqeen (So Let us be with the Truthful); so, it must be referred to it.
- 7. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 74.
- 8. Ibn Sa`d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 6, p. 191.
- 9. Al-Darimi, Sunan, Vol. 1, p. 145. Ibn Qutaybah, p. 199, in the section dealing with interpreting disputed traditions.
- 10. Maqalat al-Islamiyyeen, Vol. 2, p. 251.
- 11. Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm, Vol. 2, p. 234.
- 12. Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm, Vol. 2, p. 233.
- 13. Al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, Vol. 1, p. 3.
- 14. Ibn Kathir, Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 5, p. 237. Al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, Vol. 1, p. 5.
- 15. Al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, Vol. 1, p. 5.
- 16. This is quoted in al-Bukhari's Sahih in The Book of Coffins in a chapter dealing with the Prophet's hadith: “A dead person is tormented even by a little of the weeping of his family over him.” It is also recorded in Muslim's Sahih in The Book of Coffins in a chapter dealing with a dead person tormented by his family grieving over him.
- 17. This is recorded in both al-Bukhari's and Muslim's Sahih books in The Book of Coffins written by each in the chapter referred to above.
- 18. This tradition is quoted on p. 223, Vol. 2, of al-Hasakani's book Shawahid al-Tanzil, Vol. 2, p. 223. on p. 417 of Ghayat al-Maram, p. 417. Al-Riyad al-Nadira, Vol. 2, p. 202.
- 19. This is indicated in al-Tabari's Tarikh in a chapter dealing with Ali's conviction. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Vol. 6, p. 44. Al-Nasa'i, Khasa'is. Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p. 112.
- 20. “Ahlul Sunnah wal Jama`a” call Uthman “Dhul-Noorayn,” justifying it by saying that he had married Ruqayya and Ummu Kulthoom who, according to them, were the Prophet's daughters. This is not true. The truth is that they were his step-daughters. Even if you suppose [erroneously] that they were his daughters, how can they be described as “noorayn,” two lights, since the Prophet never narrated any of their merits? Why not attach this title to Fatima whom he described as the Leader and the light of all the women of the world? Why did they not call Ali “Dhul-Noor” based on such a premise?