The Sunnah And Its Role In Islamic Legislation


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Dr. Mustafa as-Siba’ee
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The Sunnah and its Role in Islamic Legislation is a groundbreaking effort by Dr. Mustafa as-Siba’ee, for it has a completeness to it in two regards: first, the author manages to cover all topics related to the Sunnah—its status, its legislative force, the stages that led to its recording, just to mention a few—in a comprehensive and organized manner. Second, he presents the views of those that have attacked the Sunnah throughout history, detailing their arguments and then refuting them. Among those groups from the past were the Shi’a and the Mu’tazilah; today, they are mainly the Orientalists and those that are influenced by them.

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The Sunnah And Its Role In Islamic Legislation

  1. 1. JLbe ~unna anb it~ role in3fslamic legislation Dr. Mustafa as-Sibaee Translated by Faisal ibn Muhammad Shafeeq
  2. 2. Table of ContentsArabic honorific symbols used in this book. 14Transliteration Chart , 15Translators Foreword , , , 17Dedication .23Introduction to the Second Edition 25Introduction .29Preface 33SECTION ONEThe Meaning of the Sunnah and how it wasTransmitted and Recorded , 71Chapter OneThe Definition of "Sunnah" 73 It was obligatory to follow the Prophet during his lifetime, and after his death as well 77 How the Companions would receive the Sunnah from the Messenger of Allah , 89 Why was the entire Sunnah not recorded during the life of the Messeger of Allah 91 The Companions attitude regarding the Sunnah after the Prophets death 95 Did Vmar imprison anyone from the Companions for relating a great deal of hadiths? 98
  3. 3. 6 Table of Contents Did the Companions stipulate conditions for a narration from a Companion to be accepted? 100 The Companions journeys to v;uious lands in order to seek out hadiths 106Chapter TwoFabricated Hadiths l09 When did fabrications first appear? 109 In which generation did fabrications begin to thrive? 110 The causes that led to fabrication and the settings in which it thrived l13 First, Political differences 114 Would the Khawfuij fabricate lies against the Messenger of Allah? 117 Second, the Zanadiqah 119 Third, Partisanship or fanaticism for ones race, tribe, language, country or Imam , 121 Fourth, Stories and sermons 122 Fifth, differences in fiqh 123 Sixth, Ignorance of the religion, yet with a desire to do good 124 Seventh, Currying favor with kings and leaders 124Chapter ThreeThe Efforts of the Scholars to Purify andAuthenticate the Sunnah l27 The Scholars war on Fabricators and Fabrications 127 First, the chain of the narration 128 Second, Verifying the authenticity of Hadiths 129 Third, Criticism of narrators 130 Fourth, Establishing general principles to categorize different hadiths and to distinguish between its categories 134 First, the ~aljeelj hadith 134
  4. 4. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 7 Second, the 1}asan hadith 134 Third, tjaeej (weak) 135 The signs that a narration being fabricated 137 The signs of fabrication in the chain , 137 The signs of fabrication in the aetnal text of a narration 139Chapter FourThe Fruits of those Labors 145 First, the recording of the Sunnah , 145 Second, the science of Mu~talal;ul-lfadeeth , 152 Third, the science of conunending or refuting narrators 155 Fourth, branches of knowledge within the science of Hadith 161 Fifth, books on fabrications and fabricators , .172 Sixth, compilations of famous Hadiths , 175SECTION TWOVarious Doubts Raised Concerningthe Sunnah Over the Centuries I77 Introduction , , , 179Chapter FiveThe Sunnah vis-a-vis the Shiah and Khawfuij 181 The Khawiirij , , 186 The Shiah 187 The majority of Muslims 188Chapter SixThe Sunnah vis-a-vis the Mutazilah and the Mutakallimeen 191Chapter SevenThe Sunnah vis-a-vis those from the Early Centuries who Rejected its Legislative Status 201
  5. 5. 8 Table of ContentsChapter EightThe Sunnah vis-a-vis Contemporary Personalities who Reject it... .215 The answer to the first argument... 219 In refutation of As-Sidqees second argnment... 221 Answering As-Sidqees third argnment... .223 A refutation of the fourth clalin 227Chapter NineThe Sunnah vis-a-vis those who Reject the Validity of AlyM Narrations .235 The argnments of those who reject the validity of AlJiid narrations 237 A refutation of the aforesaid argnments , .239 Proofs indicating the validity of AlJiid narrations as binding proofs in Islam 241Chapter TenThe Sunnah vis-a-vis the Orientalists 251 Historical overview of the Orientalists and their objectives 251 A summary of Go1dzihers attacks against the Sunnah .254 In response to Goldzihers claims 258 Were most hadiths fabricated as a result of progress among the Muslims? , .259 The Umawiyoon and Islam · .261 Were the scholars of Madinah fabricators? 264 Did our scholars sanction lying in order to protect the religion? .267 How did fabrications begin? 268 Did the Umawee government implicate itselves in the fabrication of hadiths? 269
  6. 6. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 9 Did Muawiyah implicate himself in the invention or spreading of fabrications? 270 Did the Umawiyoon use Az-Zuhri to fabricate hadiths? 271 Imam Az-Zuhri and his status in history 272 His name, birth, and life , .272 His most prominent traits and characteristics .273 His fame and popularity , 276 The scholars praise for him....................................•.........277 His status in the Sunnah 277 His contribution to the knowledge of the Sunnah , 278 What the scholars of narrator criticism had to say about Az-Zuhri .279 Who related from him - either directly or indirectly through others 280 In refutation of the doubts raised about Ituam Az-Zuhri 281 Ituam Az-Zuhris attachment to the Umawiyeen .28l The story of the rock and the Hadith, "Do not undertake to travel..." , .286 The story of Ibraheem ibn al-Waleed al-Umawee .290 Az-Zuhris saying, "They coerced us to write hadiths" 292 "Az-Zuhri frequented the castle and walked among the retinue of the ruler" , .294 His pilgrimage with Al-l;Iajjaj .294 His training of Hishams children .295 His appointment as judge , 295Chapter ElevenThe Sunnah vis-a-vis Some Contemporary Writers who Reject it. .303 A summary on the "Hadith" chapter in Fajr al-Isliim .304 Did fabrications begin during the lifetime of the Messenger? 306 Hadiths of Tafseer 310
  7. 7. 10 Table ojContents Is Imam Bukharis $aT;eeT; comprehensive of all that is authentic? 315 Was AbduWili ibn al-Mubfu:ak negligent? .319 The Hadith "Block off all doors" .325 AT;Eideeth (Hadiths) about virtues .327 The hadiths of Abu I.Ianeefah .329 Did people exaggerate in their dependence on the Sunnah? 330 The uprighmess of the Comapanions .334 Did the Companions ever accuse one another of lying? 335 Disagreement among the scholars in grading narrators .341 The principles of criticism in the chain and in the text .344 Rules laid down by the scholars for criticizing Hadith .345 A criticism of Hadiths in $aT;eeT; al-Bukhari .358 A first hadith...........................................................•...........358 The second hadith .361 The third hadith....................................................•.............363 The fourth hadith .364 Applying AT;Eid narrations 367 About Abu Hurayrah 368 His uame and nickname .368 His Islam and Companiouship .369 His traits and qualities .369 His piety and worship .370 His prodigious ability to retain information .372 The Companions and scholars praise of Abu Hurayrah 374 Those he related from and those who related from him 375 His sickness and death .376 Ahmad Ameens accusations against Abu Hurayrah .376 Did some of the Companions criticize Abu Hurayrah 377 Abu Hurayrah did not commit his narrations to writing 383
  8. 8. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 11 "He would relate that which he did not hear" .384 "The Companions found fault with him for abundantly relating too many hadiths" .388 "At times, the J::Ianafiyah forsook his hadith" .394 "Fabricators took advantage of his many narrations" .398 Abu Rayyah , , .399 Abu Hurayrahs name , ,..399 His roots and his early years 40l His illiterateness 402 His poverty .403 The reason Abu Hurayrah accepted Islam and kept company with the Messenger of Allah ..405 The story of his hunger and his constant accompaniment of the Prophet... 408 His playful joking .416 "People mocked him" .419 His many hadith narrations .421 "His favoring of Bani Umayyah" , ..430 A general word about Abu Hurayrah .431 A general word about Abu Rayyah and his book. 437SECTION THREEThe Ranking of the Sunnah in Islamic Legislation 443Chapter TwelveHow the Sunnah Ranks with the Quran 445 Is the Suonah an independent legislative authority? ..450 The proofs of those who say that the rulings of the third category are independently legislated.., ..454 Proofs of those who deny the independent status of the Sunnah in legislation , , .457
  9. 9. 12 Table ofContents The difference of opinion in this issue is superficial, revolving simply on a choice of wording .459Chapter ThirteenHow the Quran Emcompasses the Sunnah .461 Stories from the Sunnah.., .468Chapter FourteenAbrogation of the Quran by the Sunnah and Abrogation of the Sunnah by the Quran .469 Abrogation in the Quran .469 The Sunnah abrogated by the Quran , 470 Abrogation of the Quran by the Sunnah .472 When will we fill the gap? .475 o Enemy of Allah! We will continue to proclaim the troth 480APPENDIXThe Four Imams and the Compilers of the Six Books 4851 - Imam Abu l;Ianeefah .487 His lineage, birth and death 487 His formative years and schooL .487 The foundations upon which his school was established 488 The controversy surrounding him .489 The reasons for the controversy .490 What Mill and others said about hnam Abu l;Ianeefah 497 The result of the controversy , 500 Did Abu l;Ianeefah have only a small collection of hadiths with him? ........................•.............................50 I Did Abu I;1aneefah give precedence to opinion over hadith? .508 Examples of Abu I;1aneefah s understanding of certain hadiths .517
  10. 10. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 13 The study circle of Abu J::Ianeefah 520 A just word 5222 - Imam Millik , , , .523 His life and status in knowledge .523 The principles upon which his schocj[ is founded 524 Al-Muwarrii : Its status, hadiths and conuuentaries 525 Is al-Muwarrii a book of fiqh or a book of hadith? 529 Dr. Alis reasoning 5303 - Imam Ash-Shafi ee 535 His life and status as a scholar .535 His role in defending the Sunnah .536 The foundations of his school... .5374 - Imam A1}mad 539 His life and status as a scholar., , 539 The principles upon which his school was built... .540 The Musnad: Its ranking and hadiths .5405 - Imam Bukhari 5436 - Imam Muslim. .5477 - Imam An-Nasai and his Sunan , .5518 - Imam Abu Dawood and his Sunan .5539 - Imam At-Tirmidhi and his Jami 55510 - Imam Ibn Majah and his Sunan 557 The ranking of his Sunnah 557Glossary 559Index 567
  11. 11. Arabic honorific symbols used in this book(iil) : SubiJanahu wa Ta ala - The Exalted."(~) : $alla-Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam - "Blessings and peace be npon him."(li1li) : Alayhis-Salam - "May peace be upon him."(~) : Rcujia-Allahu Anhu - "May Allah be pleased with him."(~) ; Rcujia-Allahu Anha - "May Allah be pleased with her."
  12. 12. Transliteration Chart a <s . T a - b u t 0 Ih or t (when followed by anothe Arabic word) "- tb C. j C I;l kh C , d :, dh ) r ) z u-" s ,y, sh U" ~ u.b Q j, t j; dh , L
  13. 13. 16 Transliteration Chart t gh - f q " !.l k J I ill i iJ n <t...-c-....Ib h - w - (as a long vowel) 00 ~ y ~ (as a long vowel) ee , • (Omitted in initial position)Diphthongs: Arabic script Pronunciation Transliterated as: - j1 Long 0, as in dough au, aw, ow ~ , ~1 Long a, as in say ay, ai, ei / Fat!).ah a / Kasrah 1 , l?ammah u / Shaddah Double letter Sukoon Absence of vowel
  14. 14. Translators Foreword ~ll praise is for Allah (~), the Exalted; may He send Hispeace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (~), his family, and hisCompanions. Doring the last fifty years, The Sunnah and Its Role in IslamicLegislation has been received with acclaim from scholars, fromstndents of knowledge, and from the general population of Muslims.It has reached out to such a wide audience not just because itsmessage is universal, but because the author, Dr. Mu~taIa as-Sibaee,has catered to every level of reader: the scholar appreciates the well-organized, detailed, comprehensive, and academic approach taken bythe author in writing this book; the stndent of knowledge finds theproofs and arguments he needs to increase his level of understanding;and the truth-seeking Muslim is pleased to find that the difficultsubject-matter of this book is presented in readable and transparentlanguage. Before reading this work, one might hesitate, questioningwhether some of the information found in it is outdated; after all,some of it deals with the Orientalists and Muslim deviants of the1940s and 50s. It is true that some sections of this work discussthem and their ideas, yet that discussion toms out to be very timelywhen we consider that Orientalists today and some Muslim deviantswho follow them proffer the same argnments that were proffered by
  15. 15. 18 Translators Forewordtheir predecessors over half a century ago. Moreover, one appreciatesfrom those chapters the efforts undertaken by Shaykh As-Sibilee andsome of his colleagues in preserving the anthentic teachings of Islamin a historically significant University that was just beginning towane in those years. And that is important because when one seessome of the more negative aspects of Azhar today, one appreciates itshonored past, which can be restored by the will of Allah (~) whentrue Islamic, scholarly endeavor is once again encouraged and soughtafter. The rest of the book, one will find, is timeless. Today, morethan ever, people are ignorant of the role of the Sunnah in Islamiclegislation. Throughout the world, many Muslims are ignorant aboutthe Sunnah - about its legislative force in our lives. For instance,one often hears the wordlart! (obligatory) being synonymously usedwith the Quran, and reCOmmended with the Sunnah. AmongMuslims, there are many other misconceptions about the Sunnah,which like the Qur an, is in fact a binding source of Islamiclegislation. In an era when organizing and classifying the knowledge ofour pious predecessors into clear and cohesive books is the job of theMuslim author, Dr. Mu~!afil as-Sibaee presents perhaps the mostsignificant work of this century on the Sunnah, significant because ofits comprehensiveness and because of its attention to organizeddetails. The author covers all aspects of the Sunnah - he outlines thehistorical development of the Sunnah, from the time it was mainlytransmitted through oral narrations to the time it was officiallyrecorded in books; he details the scholarly achievements of hadithscholars who eradicated fabrications and in the process preserved theauthentic Sunnah; he mentions the many sciences of Hadith thatresulted from the efforts of the scholars; he discusses the views of allgroups, both from the past and the present, who attack the Sunnah
  16. 16. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 19and its narrators; and then he presents irrefutable arguments todisprove their claims. Dr. ends the book with a usefulappendix wherein he discusses the four huarns, not concentrating ontheir biographies, but rather on their approach to deriving rulings ofjurisprudence from the Sunnah. The methodology of each huam isbroken down, making it easy for the studeut to see why they differedin some matters of Jurisprudence. I pray to Allah (~) to reward theauthor well for this invaluable work, to have mercy on him, and tomake this work achieve at least the same level of acceptance inEnglish as it did in Arabic.Translators methodology When IIPH first commissioned me to translate this work, Istipulated that it had to be an abridged translation. In the origiualArabic, it is more than 5QO pages long. I felt that a book of that sizemight, and usually does, discourage the English-speaking readerfrom getting from one cover to the next. That is not to put down thereader of English; a 500-page PhD thesis is probably fonnidable tomost readers of other languages as well. So even before embarking on the task of translating this work,I had a preconceived idea that I had to reduce it in size - by pruning,getting rid of repetition, removing some of the digressions that theauthor was sometimes prone to, by mentioning only a few of themany examples resorted to in proving a point, all the while realizingthat I had to retain the gist of the authors message. When I actually got started, I found that the task of abridgingwas more difficult than I had first thought; I fell in love with thebook, appreciating it from the vantage point of a reader and student ofknowledge. Even the digressions about Azhar scholars arrested myattention; I realized that those digressions were in fact very germane
  17. 17. 20 Translators Forewordto the subject matter of the book. When the author repeated himself, Ifelt that the repetition was iutended to stress a point or to highlight theimportance of an argumeut or to summarize key ideas - all of whichare valid reasons for beiug repetitive. Therefore I found the task of pruning to be very difficultindeed. In the end, this book is an abridgement of sorts simplybecause, technically speaking, I gave the gist of what the author saidand uot a word-for-word translatiou. That being said, the translatedversiou treads a fine line between being an uuabridged translationand an abridged translatiou. Anything I left out - and that is verylittle - was so that I could make the translatiou as simple as possiblefor the reader. When many examples from the Sunnah or history aregiven to prove a point, I mentioned those that are easily understoodand do not need further elaboration. When the author mentionedconcepts that only Arabic-speaking people are familiar with, Iintroduced those concepts with a brief definition or clarification, sothat the reader can keep up with the ideas of the book. Andsometimes, when I felt that a sunuliary could better be understoodthan an entire paragraph of literal translation, I summarized. Themain portion of summarizing did not occur in the first draft; onlywhen I was editing the work did I do most of the summarizing, andeven that, only when I felt that it was in the best interest of the reader.But for the most part, the book is very similar to its Arabiccounterpart. Whenever I felt that the author would not have approvedof an expurgation - and authors rarely do, but Im sure that Islamicauthors do when they know that their readers are of another languageand would appreciate reading material that is written in a style that isappealing in their language - I kept the text as it is in Arabic. That is how I went about translating Shaykh Mu~taIa as-Sibiiees work. If I was correct in places, then that is from Allah(~); and if I erred on occasions, then that is from me and from the
  18. 18. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 21Devil, and I ask that the reader supplicate for me. I pray that Allah(~) accepts and blesses this humble effort. May Allah have mercyon the author, who strove with his pen to defend the authentic Sunnahof the Prophet (Jil!). 0 Allah, send prayers and salutations onMuhanunad, his family, and his Companions.
  19. 19. DedicationIn the Name ofAllah, the Most Beneficent, the Most MercifulJ dedicate this work to one,Who was compassionate to me when I was a child,Who advised me and trained me throughout my formative years,Who helped me acquire knowledge and supported me while I was astudent of knowledge,Who encouraged me to call others to righteousness, making it easierfor me to bear hardships in the way of Allah,Who was patient during hard times, thus inspiring me to do the samewhile I was subjected to harsh treatment or while I was in chainsduring my sojourn in prison,Who showed me a merciful heart, lightening the intensity of the painI experienced through many illnesses...To one, Whose only longing was for me to be a link in the chain ofscholars from our family, a chain that spanned hundreds of years ofdedication to knowledge. I ask my Lord to count me as one of hisgood deeds on the Day of Judgment.
  20. 20. 24 DedicationTo,My father, the eminent Shaykh, I;lusnee as-Sibiiee. I dedicate my first scholarly work to him, acknowledging hisfavor and good guidance, hoping from Allah (~) to bless me withhis company, to increase his reward, and to accept the supplication ofa dutiful son to his noble father, in accordance with Allahscommand:(H :,1:,-:J1 ~r-) ~~ ~ ~Q~ r(~;,,) ~j j~ ... ,( .. And say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they didbring me up when I was small.~ (QaTan 17: 24)
  21. 21. Introduction To The Second Edition cAll praise is for Allah; to Him belongs all that is in theheavens and the earth; indeed, He (~) is upon all things capable.And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the teacher ofmankind, Muhanunad ibn Abdulliih, who was given the Quran andthat which is similar to it. Allah (~) has clarified that obedience toHis Messenger ~) is the same as obedience to Him. The Sunnah ofthe Messenger of Allah (~) is an explanation of the Quran andrepresents the second source of legislation in Islarn. So whoeveraccepts from the Messenger of Allah (JIilj) has accepted from Allah. On the intellectual front in their battle against the truth, theenemies of Islam generally aim to raise donbts about the Sunnah ofour Prophet ~); therefore, we must realize how supremelyimportant it is for us to be well acquainted with the Sunnah and itsrole in Islamic legislation. This book goes a long way to filling thevoid that has previously existed in this branch of knowledge; itsauthor, Dr. Mustaffi as-Sibiiee (may Allah have mercy on him),called it The Sunnah and Its Role in Islamic Legislation. With Allahs blessings, this second edition has beencompleted - and all praise is for Allah (~). The author herepresents the findings of a detailed study on many issues revolvingaround the Sunnah, and one will find that the contents of this book,
  22. 22. 26 Introduction to the second editionwhen considered as a whole, do justice to the title. Thoughout thebook, Dr. as-Sibilee disproves the lies and doubts that are raisedabout the Sunnab, refuting the enemies of the Sunnab by sheddinglight on how detailed and meticulous the scholars of hadith were injudging the authenticity of both the text of narrations and the chainsof narrators. One might find that certain topics are discussed only briefly,but that is because they are not closely linked to the core subjectmatter of this work; the author discussed them only inasmuch as theyhad a relation to the main theme of the book. Dr. As-Sibilee presents, in a clear and concise manner, thedifferent stages that the Sunnab went through during the earliercenturies of Islam, and he points out the factors that led to falseclaims and fabrications regarding the Sunnab in the past and present.He then clarifies how the Sunnab was purified from fabrications andlies through the contributions of the scholars. With cogent arguments he refutes the claims of opponents ofthe Sunnab, from the past and the present. Thoughout this work, henot only takes the stance of a caller to Islam and a Mujiihid, but alsoof an erudite and cultivated scholar. He presents an idea and thenalways supports it with clear evidence. It must be pointed out that Dr. Mu~tafii wrote this book indifficult circumstances, as is attested to by his brothers who wereliving with him at the time in Cairo. Lacking the reference books heneeded, Dr. Mll~tafii was forced to go from place to place in order tofind the material he needed; moreover, circumstances were such atthe time that it was very difficult for him to meet with his teachers toconsult with them on the detailed issues of his research. At first, thebook was not printed for distribution, but was limited to a close circleof students and scholars when the anthor handed it in as his Ph.D.thesis at AI-Azhar University.
  23. 23. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 27 One of the posts he assumed during his academic career wasthat of professor in the faculties of Law and Sharia. Around the timewhen the first edition of this book was finally printed, Allah willedfor Dr. Mu~tafa to become afflicted with a chronic illness; heremained content and pleased with Allah (~), knowing that even anaffliction is a blessing when one is sincere and patient. The book received a warm welcome from the reading public,especially from those who appreciated the significance of the work.Although he became extremely weak becanse of his sickness, Dr.Mustafa began to polish his work and add important comments, andhe continued to do so until he died - may Allah forgive him. Andalthough the core subject matter of the book remained his continualpreoccnpation, the reader will find here in the second edition twoappendixes. He intended to add a third, but he died before he wasable to complete it. In these times when many co-conspirators plot against Islam,mainly through attacks leveled against the Sunnah, The Sunnah andIts Role in Islamic Legislation deserves any encomium it receives, forit goes beyond mere rhetoric in refuting those who attack the Sunnah:it exposes their lies with convincing, logical, and conclusivearguments. May Allah have mercy on Professor As-Sibaee and rewardhim for his many efforts in do wah, perhaps the greatest of which isthis book. After a long period of waiting for researches, students, andreaders alike, AI-Maktab al-Islami has printed this second edition,and we hope that it is added to the scale of Dr. As-Sibaees deeds.1 da wah: calling people to accept and embrace Islam.
  24. 24. 28 Introduction to the second edition( ... And the close of their request will be: All praises and thanks be toAllah, the Lord of all that exists.~ (Quran 10: 10) GJ)r. 3YCulwmmad eAdeeC c$ate~
  25. 25. IntroductionIn the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful eAn praise is for Allah, Who has legislated rulings for Hisslaves in a Clear Book and has commissioned the seal of Prophetsand Messengers, Mnhannnad ~ - Blessings and peace be uponhim), to clarify its detailed rnlings. May the peace and salutations ofAllah be upon him, his family, his Companions - who conveyed therevelation and were trustees of the truth, calling to the path of Allahupon guidance - and all those who follow him until the Day ofJudgment. We are living in an age of turmoil and strife, when peace andjustice are almost absent throughout the globe. The systems and lawsinvented by human beings have yet to prove that they can solvehuman societys problems - wars, societal ills, and mental malaise. As Muslims, we believe that the world has no choice - ifhappiness and peace are to be achieved - except to return to Allahspure and pristine teachings, which are free of distortion and change.The message of Islam is the culmination of those teachings, for itprovides a system of laws that are suitable for every epoch and thatfulfill the needs of man in all places and times. The Sharia of Islam - with its primary sources along withderived rnlings of its scholars and Imams - is vast in its scope of
  26. 26. 30 Introductionteachings and laws, supplying a ruling for every occurrence and asolution for every problem. It erects the scales of jnstice amongindividuals, societies, and govermnents. The individuals that makeup the Muslim Nation lean toward peace when others do the same;but they defend the honor of their faith and the true meaning offreedom when others lean toward transgression against Islam. The sources of Islamic legislation are preserved; they areknown and trusted by Muslims. For the most part, the Quran - thefirst source of Islamic legislation - consists of general and universalprinciples in rulings and legislations. On the other hand, the Sunnahexplains those principles, branching off from universal principlesinto specific issues, a reality that is known to all who have a sufficientbackground in the Sunnah. An inevitable result, then, is that thescholars of Islam must rely - and have relied - on the Sunnah forgaining knoWledge of Islamic rulings. In the past, the Sunnah faced attacks froni certain sects whoascribed themselves to Islam; today it faces attacks from Orientalists,missionaries (of other faiths), and others whose sole purpose is todestroy the solid foundation of Islamic legislation; unfortunately,some writers from our Nation have been deceived into followingthem in their views. However much they plot and plan, their attackscannot have a palpable effect when counteracted by irrefutable proofsand dignified scholarly research. In 1358 AHll939 CE, I met with many people from theMuslim world who were influenced by the ideas of the Orientalists,and I attempted to persuade them of the truth and to remove anydoubts about Islam they had in their minds. And that is what led meto embarking on a study of the Sunnah and its role in Islamiclegislation. In presenting the findings of that study, I clarified thestages the Sunnah went through in history as well as the efforts of thescholars to preserve it and purify it from fabrications. Much of this
  27. 27. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 31work addresses the claims of those who have attacked the Sunnahfrom the past and present, in the end showing the purity and light ofthe Snnnah. I concluded the work with short biographies of some ofthe Scholars of Islam, particularly those who played a role inpreserving the Sunnah or in deriving Islamic legislations from it. Ihave divided this book into three sections and ended it with anappendiJcSection One: The Meaning of the Sunnah and how it was Transmitted and RecordedChapter One: The Definition of the Sunnah and the Stance of the Companions vis-a-vis the SunnahChapter Two: Fabrications - How they Originated? When? And Why?Chapter Three: The Efforts of the Scholars to Purify and Authenticate the SunnahChapter Four: The Fruits of their EffortsSection Two: Opponents of the SunnahChapter One: The Sunnah vis-a-vis the Shiah and KhawilrijChapter Two: The Sunnah vis-a-vis the Mutazilah and the MutakallimeenChapter Three: The Sunnah vis-a-vis those from the Early Centuries who Rejected its Legislative StatusChapter Four: The Sunnah vis-a-vis Contemporary Personalities who Reject itChapter Five: The Sunnah vis-a-vis those who Reject Ahfid NarrationsChapter Six: The Sunnah vis-a-vis the Orientalists
  28. 28. 32 IntroductionChapter Seven: The Snnnah vis-ii-vis Certain Contemporary WritersSection Thee: The Sunnahs Ranking in Islamic LegislationChapter One: The Ranking of the Sunnah in Relation to the QuranChapter Two: How does the Quran Encompass the SUlI1lah?Chapter Three: The Sunnah Abrogating the Quran and the Quran Abrogating the SunnahAppendix: Biographies of Some of the Great Mujtahideen andHadith Scholars of Islam:1. Imam Abu I:Ianeefah2. Imam Malik3. Imam Ash-Shilfi ee4. Imam Al;1mad5. Bukhari6. Muslim7. An-Nasi!i8. Abu Dawood9. Tinnidhi10. Ibn Majah I ask Allah (~) to protect me from falling into error, to blessme with guidance, to open for me the treasures of His mercy, and tomake us from those who listeu to what is said and then follow the bestof it. And all praise is for Allah, Lord of all that exists. GJ)r. 3r[u~!afa as-$ita ee
  29. 29. Preface ~Il praise is for Allah, Lord of all that exists. 0 Allah,send prayers and salutations upon Muhammad, his family, hisCompanions, and all those who have carried in the past, who carrynow, and who will carry until the Day of Judgment, the banner of theSunnah. The book before you is my Ph.D. thesis, which I submittedto the faculty of Sharia at Azhar University in the year 1949; based onit, I achieved my doctorate in Fiqh, U~ool, and the History ofIslamicLegislation. Since that time until only recently, I have desisted frompublishing the work. I refrained from doing so for a number ofreasons, the most important of which were the difficult circumstancesI found myself in when I wrote this book. Not to go into details aboutthose circumstances, I wish only to stress here that I was forced tosummarize many of the important topics that are discussed in thiswork. I always wanted to expand on them and thus add to the benefitof my research, and one way I intended to do that was to add othertopics that are related to the subject matter of the book. However, dueto extenuating circumstances, I never found the time to realize thatambition. Some of the chapters of this book have already appeared, inshort form, in some Islamic magazines in Cairo, Damascus, as well aselsewhere. Many readers wrote to me, asking me to publish thosechapters; however, I delayed, waiting for a time when I would be freeto realize my hopes of adding to the work and ofrefining areas thatcalled for refinement. But then A4wa Alas-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyah, by Muhammad Abu Rayyah, was published.
  30. 30. 34 PrefaceBecause it consists of an unmitigated attack on the Sunnah and on itsnarrators, my friends and colleagues insisted that this work bepublished, and they were right in saying that a work of this nature isneeded to counteract the effects of Abu Rayyahs book and to exposethe falsehood he attempts to disseminate. So now I am giving thiswork to the printers, leaving its contents unchanged, except for thatwhich I added in the discussion on Abu Hurayrah (~). I do hopethat - when my health gives me an opportunity - I will be able toput into action the hopes I had in improving this work, inshfi Allah.Points to consider about Abu Rayyahs book Any Muslim with even a rudimentary knowledge of Islamknows the role of the Prophets Sunnah in Islamic legislation and theinfluence it had on Islamic jurisprudence, from the time of theProphet ~) and the Companions until the era of the MujtahidImams, and finally until the formation and development of thefamous schools of jmisprudence. The Sunnah plays a major role inmaking Islamic jurisprudence a treasury of laws, which, among thesystems of laws in the world, are unparalleled in their superlativequalities. Whoever is acquainted with the Book2 and the Sunnah,knows that the Sunnah has had the greater role in widening the scopeof legislation in Islam and in making it a timeless set of laws -suitable for every age, epoch, and region. And every Muslim scholarrecognizes this distinction. Throughout history, the enemies of Islam have attacked theSunnah and have attempted to raise doubts about its validity as aproof in Islam. Furthermore, they have always attempted to raise2 Whenever "the Book" with the capital B is used, the intended meaning isthe Quran.
  31. 31. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 35doubts about the truthfulness of the narrators and compilers of theSunnah, focusing their attacks on the Companions and Tabioon.Whenever an opportunity presented itself, different groups, who hadin common their hatred of Islam, joined ranks to further theircommon objectives. That sort of alliance exists even this day: theOrientaIists and others who have similar objectives work incooperation. Theirs (that is, the enemies ofIslam) is a sequence and chain ofefforts, which has not broken off for over fourteen centuries. Andthey will continne to promote their aims as long as Islam and the truthhave enemies. Those enemies act with blind fanaticism, for they arecommitted to the goal of destroying everything that is attached to theQuran and the Sunnah as well as to the goal of maligning everybearer of the Prophets flag. Yet we do not doubt that todays battIe will end in the samemanner as yesterdays battIes ended - with the defeat of Islamsenemies, with an exposition of their hidden and wicked scbemes.Islam will remain like an impenetrable fortress simply becanse thebattIe in question is one between Islam and its enemies, between thetruth and desire, between knowledge and ignorance, between nobilityand malice, and between light and darkness. One of the Sunan 3 ofAllah in this life is this - truth, knowledge, nobility, and lightalways come out in the end as victors.~Nay, We fling [send down] the truth [this Quran] against thefalsehood [disbelief!, so it destroys it, and behold, it [falsehood] isvanished..) (Quran 21: 18)3 Plural of Sunnah.
  32. 32. 36 Preface It is most unfortunate to see that many Muslims haveunwittingly fallen into the trap set for them by the enemies of Islam- mainly the OrientaIists and some Western historians. It is not thatwe doubt the sincerity of those Muslims; rather, we simply say thatthey have been deceived by the guise ofscholarly research, which theenemies of Islam use as a front for their nefarious activities. In theend, such Muslims form the same conclusions and ideas that theOrientalists promote. Those ideas lead them to raising doubts aboutIslam, about the Sunnah, and about the narrators who conveyed theSunnah. Thus the enemies of Islam and some Muslims stand on thesame platform, working side by side with the same agenda. It is clear that some Muslims have become ensnared in theirtraps for one of four reasons:1. They are ignorant of the realities of our Islamic heritage as well asof its pure sources and pristine teachings.2. They have been deceived by the "scholarly research" that theenemies of Islam claim for themselves.3. They desire fame, wanting to give the appearance of free andlibertarian thought, after having freed themselves from the shacklesof blind following which they attribute to Islam.4. They are driven by deviation and desire and find no way to expresstheir feelings except by hiding behind the shield of OrientaIists andmisguided Western authors who write about Islam. Based on at least one of the reasons just mentioned, AbuRayyah wrote Atj,wfi AI as-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyah. As I wasperusing his book, I noticed that whenever his opinion was differentfrom that of the majority of Muslim scholars, the books and sourceshe cited and relied upon did not go beyond the following sources:1. The opiuions of Mutazili Imams, which he cited from their books.
  33. 33. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 372. The opmlOns held by extreme elements among the Shi ah,opinions that they proclaimed in their books.3. The opinions held by the Orientalists, which they disseminated intheir books and pnblications.4. Stories that are mentioned in books of literature, books that do notcontain historically anthentic narrations.5. Deeply embedded desires in the heart of Abu Rayyah, which heseems to have been nurturing for a number of years. And whenever he does quote from reliable sources, he doesone of the following:- What he is quoting from a source is not what the author of thatreference intended, and so, Abu Rayyah gives knew meaniug - hisown meaning - to the words of the author.- He quotes facts that are accepted by Muslims scholars; bowever,their understanding of those facts is completely different from hisunderstanding, and so he mentions them to make the readers thinkthat those scholars and he are in agreement as regards his overallconclusions.- He often quotes only a selected sectiou of a text, neglecting tomention the rest of that text, wherein the author expresses his fullview.- He sometimes quotes authors who themselves are quoting theMutazilah, but then he ascribes that quote to the authors instead of tothe Mutazilah. For example, he quoted Ibn Qutaybah as making acertain statement, but were one to refer to Ibn Qutaybahs book, onewould find that that statement was not his, but instead was astatement that he was quoting from someone else.- He often uses the names of reliable scholars to support his claims,
  34. 34. 38 Prefacewhen in reality those scholars never said anything to promote,corroborate, or give any credence whatsoever to his claims. But now let us move on to mention the reference books thatAbu Rayyah relies heavily upon, those reference books that representthe source and inspiration of his work.(In :rL:.;lI1 OJ..... )~ ... And certainly, the devils do inspire their friends [some humans]to dispnte with you.. ) (Quran 6: 121)1. Al- Arab Qabl ai-Islam, by Jrnjee Zaydan2. AI-lfa4arah al-Islamiyah, by Kramer3. Al-Maseehiyah fil-Islam, by Qays Ibriiheem Lucas4. As-Siyadah al- Arabiyah, by van Fluton5. Dairatul-Maarif al-Isllimiyah, by a group of Orientalist writers6. lfaqaratul-Isllim fee Darus-Salam, by Ibriiheem al-Yiizijjee7. History of the Arabs, by Philip K. Hitty8. Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, by Ignaz Goldziher9. Tareekh ash-Shu oob al-Islamiyah, by Karl Brockleman10. Tareekh at-Tamaddun al-Islami, by Jrnjee ZaydanII. Wijhatul-Islam, by a group of Orientalists4 The original names of these writers and titles of their books were transliteratedby the author into Arabic, and some spellings and titles in English or otherEuropean languages could not be verified. (Editor)
  35. 35. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 39 At the end of the book, Abu Rayyah proudly says that he usedthe most cogent of proofs to establish his findings and that he usedreliable sources that are above all doubt and suspicion, when inreality doubt mingles in the heart of any Muslim who reads them. Inthe following sections, we will discuss the five major sources fromwhich he derived his ideas. He described the Mutazilee scholars that he often quoted fromas possessing wonderfully lucid minds. One finds - as We did in achapter of this book - that the Mutazilah are of two groups: onegroup among them reject the Snnnah in its entirety, while the othergroup stipulates such impossible conditions for accepting a narrationfrom the Snnnah that they, for all effective purposes, reject theSunnah as well. We mention in a chapter of this book that the leadersof their movement - especially those who vilified the Companions- were very weak in their religion. We know that one of them,Thumamah Ibn Ashras, said about those who hasten to the prayerthat, they are all donkeys. They were a nationalistic group whohated Arabs. Thumamah once said, "Look at what this Arab [he wasreferring to Muhammad ~)] did with the people." If that is what hesaid about the Prophet (:i:&), then what can we expect from himregarding the Companions? And what can we expect his view on theSunnah to be? The Mutazilah, as a group, are enamored by Greekphilosophy and logic as well as by Indian philosophy and Persianliterliture. Most of them would iuterpret the Qur an in such a way asto hannonize between it and Greek philosophy. They outrightrejected hadiths that did not agree with polytheistic, Greek ideology.They considered Greek philosophers to be the prophets of the mind,prophets who were infallible in their ideas and judgments. It wasbetween those Mutazilee scholars and the majority of the Muslimscholars that a clash of ideas and ideology took place. Abu Rayyah
  36. 36. 40 Prefacedescribed those Mutazilee leaders as being scholars and men of highintellect, whereas he disparages the Imams and jurists of Islam,scholars such as Malik, Shiifiee, Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn al-Musayyib,and others. It is also clear from Abu Rayyah s writings that he higWypraised those leaders and rulers wbo tortured and incarceratedMuslim Imams and jurists. Though most of his ideas are taken fromthe likes of those leaders, he often resorts to duplicity, ascribing hisviews to accepted Muslims scholars, when in reality those scholarsnever dealt with his views except to refute them. Before we talk about Abu Rayyahs reliance on Shiahsources, I feel that it is important to preface our discussion with abrief historical overview. We feel as much pain as we do sadnesswhen we read about the dispute that occurred between Ali (~) andMu awiyah (~) over the caliphate as well as about the ripple effectsof that dispute, which continue to affect us until this very day. I donot doubt in the least that the Jews as well as many foreigners, whoselands were conquered by the Muslims, played a great role in ignitingthe fires of those tribulatious and then in broadening the scope ofdifferences among Muslims, resorting for the most part to duplicity,to evil plotting, and to fabricatiug lies against the Messenger of Allah(~). Throughout history, the majority of Muslims - I am referringhere to the people of the Sunnah - have been most just and noblewhen it came to speaking about the Companions of the Messenger ofAllah ~); after all, it was those Companions whom Allah (~)praised in His Book, when He (iIfit) mentioued their worthy migrationand their support for the Prophet (~). That the Companions changedto an evil state after the death of the Prophet (~), as is claimed by theShi ah, is not conceivable, nor is it consistent with the honor andsuperiority of Allahs Religion. Were you to read what they write aswell as what they say in their gatherings about the Companions, youwould think that the Shiah represeut a group of base criminals, who
  37. 37. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 41have neither religion nor conscience to prevent them from falling intoignominy. Despite what the Shi ah say, history establishes that theCompanions were more righteous in their lives and loftier in theirvirtues than any other generation known to humankind. Furthermore,we know that Islam did not spread to the different regions of theworld except at their hands and through their efforts and through theirsacrifices in the way of Allah (~) and in the way of the truth thatthey believed in. As regards our differences in the past, which were a result ofdisputes over the caliphate, we have to understand that for a very longtime now, since we have become shackled in the chains ofcolonialism, we no longer have a caliphate to fight over. Thisrequires from us that we cooperate with one another, that we narrowthe gap between us, that we unite the Muslims upon the truth, and, inorder to mend our past differences, that we look with a critical eye atthose fabricated hadiths that were used to vilify the Companions ofthe Messenger of Allah (iI!!;). In response to the demands of the masses, scholars of theSunnah have taken practical steps to narrowing that gap; they havetaken it upon themselves to study Shiah jurisprudence, comparing itwith their own accepted schools. This kind of comparative study hasbeen introduced into the curriculum of some universities as well asinto the books of many Muslim writers. However, most scholars of the Shi ah have not taken anypractical steps until now to do the same. The most they have done isto give the appearance of tolerance in conferences and gatherings; inreality, though, many of them persist in cursing the Companions andin speaking about them in an evil manner. They persist in believingthe lies and fabrications that are related in the books of theirpredecessors. You will find that, while one of their scholarsostensibly shows support for narrowing the gap between the people
  38. 38. 42 Prefaceof the Sunnah and the Shi ah, he at the same time writes a book that isfull of accusations and lies against the Companions. In 1953, I visited Abdul-Husain Sharaf ad-Deen, in Tyre.With him were· seated some Shi ah scholars. We began to talk aboutprevailing conditions in Muslim lands, and we agreed that the Shiahand the people of the Sunnah should cooperate with one another inthe hope of alleviating the plight of many Muslims. During thatgathering, Abdul-Husain showed a great deal of enthusiasticapproval for the propositions we were putting forward. In the end, itwas agreed that a conference should be held between scholars of theSuunah and scholars of the Shiah for the very purpose of bringingabout a practical cooperation between both groups. However, afteronly a short period of time, I was shocked to see that Abdul-Husainhad just authored a book, which he filled with curses against AbuHurayrah (~). I was tmly amazed at the disparity between Abdul-Husainsclaims and between his actions, actions that did not in the least pointto a sincere desire to establishing some form of cooperation betweenboth groups and to erasing bitter memories from the past. I witnesseda similar attitude from many other Shi ah scholars. Although theyprofess to desire harmony between both groups, Shi ah scholarscontinue to portray the Companions in an evil light, because the goalof narrowing the gap between the people of the Sunnah and theShiah, to them, is nothing more than bringing the people of theSunnah closer to the beliefs of the Shiah. While Shi ah scholars will launch an unmitigated attackagainst any author from the people of the Sunnah who writes adetailed history of hadith compilation, saying that the author iscreating barriers between Shi ah and Sunni, they see nothing wrongin books, such as the one written by Abdul-Husain, in which one ofthe most trusted narrators of hadith is being vilified and depicted as a
  39. 39. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 43liar. They do not perceive that such books are iu fact the main barriersthat prevent us from reaching an understanding. Shiab scholars do not limit themselves to attacking AbuHurayrab (~); rather, there are books printed in Iraq and Iran, inwhich the Mother of the Believers, .A:ishab (~), is portrayed asbeing evil, and in which many other Companions are treated in asimilar manner, which no person who has a conscience can bear toread. Abu Rayyabs book is a clear example of what we arediscussing here, for in it, this stance of the Shiab is represented. I, among other scholars who count themselves among thepeople of the Suunab, have written about the history of Hadithcompilation, yet I have not done injustice to any person who ishonored by the Shiab, in the sense that we love Ali (~) and reverehim for his ranking in Islam, for his knowledge, and for his virtoes;similarly, we love and revere the Prophets family. But now we arewaiting for the Shi ab to do the same justice to other Companions, sothat we can meet upon common ground. In some sections of this work, I briefly discuss thoseOrientalists who formed Abu Rayyabs ideas; however, I wrote thosechapters before I visited many European universities in 1956, when Ihad a chance to meet with them in person and to discuss with themtheir views. Through the experience of meeting them in person, I amnow surer than ever that they represent a grave danger to our Islamicheritage, and that is because their hearts are filled with hate andrancor against Islam, Arabs, and Muslims, When I landed in Europe, the fIrst scholar I met with wasProfessor James Andersou, Dean of one of the law faculties thatspecialized in affairs of the Muslim world, at the University ofLondon. He had graduated with a degree in theology from theUniversity of Cambridge, and during World War II, he had been a
  40. 40. 44 Prefacesoldier in the British army, stationed in Egypt. From my longdiscussion with the professor, I learned much of the deeplyembedded prejudice he had in his heart against Islam. But here, Imention a simple example only, which he related to me himself. Hehad a student removed from the University for one reason only, andthat was because his thesis was entitled, The Rights of Women inIslam. hI that paper, the student had established that Islam gives aMuslim woman all of her rights. I asked the professor why he haddismissed the student, pointing out to him that Western schools claimto promote freedom of thought. He said, "The student said: Islamgives such and such rights to women and Islam has given womensuch and such status ... and is he the official spokesman for Islam? Ishe Abu I;Ianeefah or Sh&fi ee who has the right to do that?" This wasthe kind of inane reasoning I wituessed from many other professorsthat I met with. At the University of Edinburgh, the Orientalist who was theDean of the Facnlty of Islamic Studies was a Christian priest. And theDean of Arabic studies in Glasgow was also a priest who had been amissionary in Palestine for almost twenty years. In Oxford, the Deanof Islamic Studies was a Jew who previously worked for the BritishSecret Service in Libya during the Second World War. When I metwith him, I asked him what reference books he used for hiscurriculum, and he told me that he used the books of the Orientalists,for the main part books written by Ignaz Goldziher, D.S.Margoliouth, and Josef Schacht. As for Cambridge, the Dean ofArabic and Islamic studies was an Orientalist who specialized in theArabic language only. His name was Ariri. s At one point in ourconversation he admitted, "We - the Orientalists - make manyerrors in our research about Islam. And we must not delve into this5 The original name of this person was transliterated by the author into Arabic,and its spelling in English could not be verified. (Editor)
  41. 41. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 45field, for you - the Muslim Arabs - are more able than us to carryout that research." And in Manchester, England, I met with Professor J. Robson,whose views for the most part are in agreement with Orientalists thatare known for their fulminations against Islam. I tried to convincehim that Orientalist studies in the past were biased and as a result,were prone to faulty logic and erroneous conclusions. I pointed outthe many errors in the claims of Goldziher, claims that wereinconsistent with historical facts. He politely asseuted, saying that hedid hope to improve on the works of his predecessors. In the University of Leyden, in Holland, I met with the JewishOrientalist, Josef Schacht, who in those days, was the flag-bearer ofGoldzihers message, a message that is wrought with distortions,misrepresentations, and twisting of facts, behind which he aimed atbringing down the foundation of Islamic legislation. I pointed out toSchacht the many errors of Goldzihers books, first beginning withhis misrepresentation of Imam Az-Zuhri. Together we lookedthrough reference books, and Schacht said, "You are right, Goldziherdid make a mistake here." I said, "Is it simply a mistake?" He flaredup in anger and said, "Why do you accuse him?" I presented proofafter proof, showing that Goldziher was wrong in many issues. As Iwas talking, Schacht noticeably became more and more enraged, andhe refused to change his opinions in the least. It is interesting to notethat Schacht wrote a book about the history ofIslamic legislation; it isfilled with distortions and lies, proving that he followed the samemethodology as his teacher, Goldziher. During my voyage, I was able to meet with many otherprofessors from Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Fiuland,Germany, Switzerland, and France. From my discussions andmeetings with all of those professors, the following points becameclear to me:
  42. 42. 46 Preface1. Among Orientalists, you will rarely find one who is not a priest, acolonialist, or a Jew.2. Orientalists in non-colonialist countries, such as the Scandinaviancountries, are less extreme in their views when compared withOrientalists in colonial countries.3. In non-colonialist countries, contemporary Orientalists are willingto forsake the views of Goldziher as soon as the truth regarding hisevil objectives become clear to them.4. In a general sense, Orientalism is being spread through the church.In colonialist nations, the church and the foreign ministry work side-by-side, lending one another full cooperation.5. Colonial countries such as Britain and France see Orientalistactivities as being a tool they can use to attack Islam and to malignthe reputation of Muslims. The two most influential Orientalists in France today, LeonBercher and Louis Massignon, work in the French foreign ministry asexperts on Arab and Muslim affairs. And as we have seen,Orientalism is well accepted in British universities, such as theUniversities of Oxford, London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, andGlasgow. The Deans of Islamic Studies in those universities are notMuslims, but rather they are Jews, British colonialists, ormissionaries. They are bent on keeping the books of Goldziher,Margoliouth, and Schacht the primary reference books of theirfaculties. If an Arab or a Muslim wishes to complete his thesis for hisPh.D., those in authority in the University will never permit him to dojustice to Islam in his paper, nor will they allow him to speak againsttheir ideals - that is how they apply the freedom of speech they sofervidly promote in their speeches. Dr. Mohammed Ameen, a graduate of Azhar University, toldme that he was appalled by how the Orientalists, especially Schacht,
  43. 43. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 47distorted the teachings ofIslam, and so he decided to make the topicof his thesis a criticism of Schachts book. He told ProfessorAnderson what he wanted to do, hoping that, as the supervisor of thefaculty, he would approve of the topic, but of course, he refused.When Muhammad lost hope at the University of London, he went toCambridge and proposed the same topic for his Ph.D. thesis.However, he was plainly told that if he wanted to pass, it was betterfor him not to write negatively about Schacht, because the Universitywould never allow that to happen. He then changed his topic to TheStandard ofHadith Criticism among the Scholars ofHadith. Finally,they approved his topic, and he was able to gain his degree. This, in short, is what I found through my,own investigationsabout the Orientalists. I found that the books and opinions ofGoldziher play a most important role in influencing and guidingOrientalists of today, and so I dedicated an entire chapter of this bookto refuting his lies and distortions. It is unfortunate to see that students of the Muslim world are toa great extent forced to enter English-language universities, andstudents of Islamic studies, not knowing the Arabic language, arelimited to English-language sources. The same Orientalists we havejust spoken of have written most of the books about Islam that areavailable in English and other European languages, and so Muslimstudents in Islamic universities unwittingly accept what they say asbeing the truth, especially since those authors claim to be taking fromMuslim sources. It is therefore crucial for our Arabic universities to plan and toestablish some branches of our universities abroad and also to puttogether a curriculum in English, so that students can not onlyachieve their Ph.D. degrees while they study through the Englishmedium, but can also learn the correct teachings ofIslam. I think thatthat will serve to encourage many Muslim students to study in our
  44. 44. 48 Prefacecountries as opposed to universities from the West, and in that waythey will have protected themselves from the propaganda and liesspread by the Orientalists and colonialists. Muslim students are not alone in this regard, for a number ofMuslim writers have also been deceived by the Orientalists ingeneral, and by the Jewish Orientalist, Goldziher, in particular.Ahmad Ameen is one of them, and I have dedicated a chapter of thisbook to discussing his views. Ali Hasan Abdul-Qadir is anotherexample. When I was a student, studying in the second year of mydegree program, Abdul-Qadir was assigned to teach us a class on theHistory of Islamic Legislation. He had just recently completed hisstudies in Germany, where he received his Ph.D. degree from theFaculty of Philosophy. He began his first lecture with approximatelythe following words: I will teach you the history of IslamicLegislation, but upon a scholarly way that knows no precedent inAzhar University. I acknowledge before you that I have studied inAzhar for approximately fourteen years, without gaining a trueunderstanding of Islam. I only understood Islam when I studied it inGermany. We were amazed at his words and we said among ourselves,"Let us hear what our teacher says, for perhaps he does havesomething worthwhile to teach us about Islam, even though he saysthat it is something new to Azhar." He began his lesson with thehistory of the Prophet (~), and he was dictating from a huge volumehe had before him, which we later found out to be Muslim Studies, byGoldziher. Our professor would quote Goldzihers words and thencomment on them as if they were established scholarly facts. Weoften protested, but he refused to go against Goldzihers view in anymatter whatsoever. Soon he came upon the section whereinGoldziher accused Imam Az-Zuhri, the Imam of the Sunnah, ofhaving fabricated hadiths for the Banu Umayyah rulers. We debated
  45. 45. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 49the issue with him, and just from geueral knowledge I had gained, Ipointed out Imam Az-Zuhris status as a trusted scholar of hadith,who, among the scholars, was above snspicion. However, Abdul-Qiidir did not budge in his view; he remained intransigent in the faceof all argument and reasoning. I went to the library and sifted throughany book I could get my hands upon in which Imam Az-Zuhri wasdiscussed. My research about the Imam continued for three months;every night after I left the faculty, I would continue that research untilthe late hours of the night. After I had gleaned a good amount ofauthentic information, I said to the Professor, "It has become clear tome that Goldziher has distorted many facts that pertain to Az-Zuhri."Without even considering the proofs I had before me, he simplyanswered, "That is not possible, for the Orientalists - especiallyGoldziher - are a group of just scholars, who would never distorttexts or facts!" At this point, I decided to deliver a lecture on the topic. Uponreserving an auditorium, I sent invitation cards to the scholars andstudents of Azhar, among whom was Abdul_Qadir, for his presenceI especially desired. He graced us with his presence and I noticed thathe carefully listened to the entire lecture, which revolved on thewritings of Goldziher, bnt more specifically, on what he wrote aboutImam Az-Zuhri. In my final words, I said, "This is my opinionregarding the topic and this is the opinion of our scholars about ImamAz-Zuhri. If our teacher, Dr. Abdul-Qadir, disagrees with anything Ihave said, then I hope that he is willing to discuss the issue now." Hestood up and proclaimed in a loud voice, "I admit that I had notknown who Az-Zuhri was until now, and I object to nothing that youhave said." The above-mentioned incident between Abdul-Qadir and mewas the reason why I wrote this book. I think that Dr. Abdul-Qadirdid change his opinion in the end, realizing that the Orientalists werenot honorable and trustworthy in their research.
  46. 46. 50 Preface Abu Rayyah is the third author from the Muslim nation who Ifound to be influenced by Goldziher. I sincerely hope that he readsthis book with the desire to seek out the truth, and perhaps, inshfiAllah, 6 he will retract many of the views that he expounded in AqwaAI as-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyah.Some final words about the Orientalists Since the end of the crusades, or if you will, since the timewhen the crusaders met with military and political failures, the Westhas continually sought to exact revenge against Islam and itsadherents through other means. The first strategy they resorted to wasto stody Islam and then to present its teachings in a negative light.And no sooner did Muslim countries begin to suffer economically,politically, militarily, and intellectually than did the West decide tocontrol Muslim lands through the use of power. They seized controlof country after country, and as soon as the West gained control overmost Muslim lands, they began to study Islam more vigorously inorder to justify their colonial ambitions. In the last century they wereable to study and research Islamic civilization from manyperspectives - for example, from religious, historical, and societalperspectives. However, they did not arrive at the truth in theirresearch, mainly for two reasons:First, many political and military leaders in Europe were driven byreligious fanaticism. When the Allies entered Jerusalem in WorldWar I, Lord Allenby said his famous words, "Now the crusades havetruly come to an end." As for religious fanaticism, its effects are stillfelt in much that is written by Westeru writers about Islam. When wefind that a Western writer has done justice to Islam in his research, we6 Allah willing.
  47. 47. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 51will more often than not find that he is one who has forsaken not onlyChristianity, but all forms of religion as well. The most prominentexample in this regard is the book The Civilization of the Arabs byGustave Le Bon, for it is perhaps the most unbiased book authored bya Western writer who wrote about Islam and its civilization. Gustave Le Bon7 is a philosopher who rejects all religions. Forthat reason and because he is fair to Islam, Western scholasticismignores his research, considering it to be of no value. Without adoubt, he is perhaps one of the more eminent scholars of history andsociology in the 19th century, yet for the reasons mentioned above,Western scholars disparage him.Second, material as well as intellectual prosperity achieved by theWest in the 18th and 19th centuries has had the effect of instilling agreat deal of pride and haughtiness in the hearts of their scholars,writers, and historians. They go as far as to claim that, with theexception of the Egyptians, they represent the root of all civilizations.They claim that the Western mind is one that is precise and is able tothink logically. As for other peoples, especially Muslims, their mindsare simple and slow. They base their judgments on what theywitnessed from the weak popnlace that they colonized, weak in theirignorance and in their backwardness. When we came into close contact with Western civilization atthe beginning of this century, with the exception of scholars of theSharia, Muslim intellectuals could not compete with Westernscholars in presenting their heritage in the form of organized andlucid scholarly research, for ancient books of our civilization aredisorganized when compared to the ordered scholarly work of7 Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) was a French social scientist and philosopher.Originally trained as a physician, Le Bons primary contribution was insociology, where he developed major theories on crowd behavior. (Editor)
  48. 48. 52 PrefaceWestern writers. As for our heritage, it was the Orientalists whodedicated their lives to studying our culture, our treasury of books,and our civilization. It is not an exaggeration to say that one of themwould spend 20 years in writing a book on a very specific topicrelated to our history, and during that research, he would refer to anyreference book he could get his hands on from the works of our earlyscholars. Because of their continual efforts and because of their totaldedication to colonial and religious ambitions, they were able toorganize their research about our civilization in such a way as amazedour own intellectuals, especially when our intellectuals compared theorder and methodology of their books with the disorder and lack ofmethodology in ours. They hastened to accept and take fromOrientalist books, being deceived into thinking that their knowledgewas vast, and moreover, being deceived into thinking that they onlyspoke the truth. They felt that Orientalists followed a precise set ofprinciples in their scholarly research, from which they neverdeviated. And this is how some Muslims came to trust the researchand studies carried out by Orientalists. Those intellectuals who readily accepted the views ofOrientalists did not refer to the same Islamic reference sources thatthe Orientalists referred to, either because,- They found it difficult to get their hands on those sources- They desired a quick road to scholarly achievement- Or their desires led them to want to bring forth ideas that arecontrary to what is accepted in religious or scholarly circles inMuslim lands, i.e., they desired notoriety. For a period of time, a feeling of weakness and insiguificanceoverwhelmed many among us; some of us lost trust in ourselves dueto our being in awe of Western researchers. But as soon as we wereable to shed off the shackles ofpolitical subjugation, we began to feel
  49. 49. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 53that it was necessary to achieve intellectual independence as well,and we began to feel the 1rue value of our heritage and civilization.We even began to feel ashamed for our previous attitudes and for theway in which we depended totally on Orientalists to leam about ourown heritage, beliefs, and legislations. lbis new consciousnesspenueated the ranks of religious scholars as well as scholars fromother fields. We discerned that the Orientalists had an agenda thatconsisted of religious as well as colonial objectives. Though we havenot achieved as much as we had hoped to achieve in tenus of thatindependence, we continue to work and strive, by the will of Allah(~). The day will come, inshd Allah, when the tables will beturned and we will study Western heritage, producing criticism oftheir religion, their sciences, and their civilization. At that time, ourchildren and grandchildren will use the same principles of criticismthat Western scholars themselves invented, in order to study Westerncivilization, and in order to show the decadence and disintegration ofWestern society. If we were to use Western standards of scholarly research incriticizing historical and sacred books of Western civilization, wewould certainly prove them to be of questionable worth andauthenticity. If we were to use the same principles in criticizing theircivilization and culture as they use in criticizing our history, I am surethat we would arrive at results that would be highly unfavorable tothem. I often wish that our scholars had the time and resources tostudy Western civilization in the same detail and depth that Westernscholars study our civilization. Perhaps that would make Westernscholars feel ashamed of the distortions and lies they resort to whenthey attack Islam and Muslims. At any rate, I feel that we must no longer depend onOrientalists to leam our religion and our past, for the reference books
  50. 50. 54 Prefacethey rely on are none other than the books of our predecessors, eventhough we have hitherto been ignorant of them. If there remains anyMuslim who is still under the spell of Orientalist research, then lethim read this book and others like it that expose the plots and lies ofthe Orientalists. But if we are to be severe with those who distort the truth, thenwe must be just and fair with those who are just and fair, forknowledge is not held as a monopoly by a single nation. Islam isAllahs religion for all of humankind; it is therefore not possible thatonly one nation or group of people understands it to the exclusion ofothers. Anyone can, by the will of Allah, understand it, provided thatone adorns himself with the qualities of the true scholars - justice,integrity, and a sincere desire to leam and then to disseminate thetruth. Let us read what Gustave Le Bon wrote8 in The Civilization ofthe Arabs:"The reader may then ask, why do present-day scholars deny (andattempt to hide) the contribution of the Arabs even though thosescholars give, at least in appearance, more importance to freedom ofthought and expression than to any religious principle? I askedmyself this question as well, and the only answer I can find is that ourfreedom of thought is limited to outward appearance only, and thatwe are not truly free to think as we wish to think upon certain issues.Anyone of us is composed of two personalities: the first is formedthrough study and intellectual pursuits, while the second is formed bybiased and intransigent thinking that has its source in the works ofour fathers and grandfathers... The truth is that the followers of8 Due to the fact that Le Bon, like the other European scholars mentioned bythe author, wrote not in Arabic but in a European language, the words in thisquote, and the others like it in this book, are not his own, but the translatorsrendition of the words of the Arab scholar who had originally rendered themeaning of the French-language text into Arabic. (Editor)
  51. 51. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 55Muhammad have remained bitter enemies of Europe for a number ofcenturies. When they have not instilled terror into us with theirweapons... they have humiliated us with the superiority of theircivilization. And it is only yesterday that we have freed ourselvesfrom their penetration. Through inheritance from our forebears, wehave accumulated a great deal of myths about Islam and Muslims, tothe extent that the animosity we feel toward them has become a deep-rooted instinctive feeling, such as is the deep-rooted malice that theJews have for the Christians, which is hidden sometimes, but whichalways runs deep. Compounded with our inherited myths (againstIslam) are the myths that tell us that Greek and Latin alone are thesources of knowledge and manners from the past. From these factors,it is easy to understand our general disregard for the greatcontribution of the Arabs in the civilization of Europe..." Moving on to Muslims who are disciples of the Orientalists, we must give consideration - only because he thrust himself upon us - to Abu Rayyah and his writings. When one thinks of Abu Rayyah, the question arises, what sources did he depend on to arrive at his conclusions, which, for the most part, are contrary to the views of most Muslims? In lfikfiyat, Abu Rayyah relies on books ofliterature to establish historical facts. Whereas he rejects all that isrelated by the Imams of Hadith and fiqh, he readily accepts frombooks that were not written for the purpose of relating thebiographies of important historical figures, but rather were written toprovide anecdotes and stories for people to amuse themselves in their gatherings. Although that was the purpose of those books, AbuRayyah uses what is written in them as proofs to establish adangerous claim, one that attacks the very foundations of Islamiclegislation. We must ask ourselves, is this a dignified and honest and scholarly approach to any academic research? Or is Abu Rayyah simply following the methodology of his predecessor, Goldziher,
  52. 52. 56 Prefacewho rejected all that was in al-Muwarra, by Mill, wbile heaccepted all that he found in lfaydt al-lfayawan, by Ad-Dumairee? It is a known and accepted fact among our scholars thatknowledge of hadith is not taken from books of jurisprudence, frombooks of tafseer 9 , or from books of literature, simply because everybranch of knowledge has sources and reference books that areparticular to it. Also agreed upon by scholars is that knowledge ofhistory may only be taken from authentic, trusted sources. So whenone establishes occurrences from sources that are not trustworthy, hisresearch is of no scholarly value, and moreover he has no placeamong the honored scholars. Then what can we say about Abu Rayyah, who has delved intoa most dangerous topic in an attempt to destroy the reputation of aman who, for fourteen centuries, from the time of the Companionsuntil our present time, has had an honored and high status in thehearts of millions, some among whom are revered scholars. And inthat research, Abu Rayyah relies on Thimar al-Quloob, by Ath-ThaaIibee; Maqdmdt Badee az-Zaman, by Al-Himdhiinee; and al-Hi/yah, by Abu Naeem. This last book was written for Muslims ofan ascetic bent, and it contains many narrations that are not authentic.The author never claimed that his book should be used as a referencein history. Anyone who has read it and has followed up on its chainsknows that it contains both authentic and unauthentic narrations. We can summarize the conclusions of Abu Rayyahs researchas follows:1. He maintains that the Sunnah was not officially recorded duringthe life of the Prophet ~). He says that the reason why it was notrecorded during that period was because the Prophet (~) forbade that9 Exegesis or explanation of the meaning of the Qur an.
  53. 53. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 57from happening. And in this regard, his conclusions are inaccordance with those of the majority of scholars.2. Abu Rayyah said that, because the Sunnah was not recordedduring the life of the Prophet (~), differences resulted amongvarious Muslims factions, and furthermore, fabricated hadithnarrations were allowed to spread. Hence according to Abu Rayyah,the Prophet (~) was the cause of much wrongdoing, and had he beenendowed with the foresight of Abu Rayyah, that wrongdoing wouldhave been prevented! I do not know - is Abu Rayyah pleased withthe implications of his conclusions? I do not think that any Muslimwho believes in Allah and the Last Day can reach such a level ofhaughtiness. The only excuse we can find for him is that he was notable to work out all of the implications of his conclusions.3. He does not regard the authentic Sunnah as being a legislativeauthority that Muslims must follow. The religion, according to him,is the Qur an, supplemented by Sunnah acts, but not Sunnah sayings.Oral narrations, according to him, are not to be applied; rather, onemay take from them what one pleases and abandon what one pleases.Not only is this claim contrary to the clear verses of Allahs Book, itis also an invitation to chaos in beliefs and in legislation, which noman who is honorable in himself or in his religion would call to.4. He judges the scholars of Islam to be unfit for the task ofscrutinizing the Sunnah and distinguishing between the authentic andfabricated; he instead considers men of literature and philosophyfrom the Mutazilah to be worthy jndges in that regard.5. Abu Rayyah claims that, over a span of thirteen centuries, AbuHurayrah ( . ) has deceived the Companions, the tabioon,1O thejurists of Islam, and the Imams of hadith. Over and over again, he10 Those who knew or met any of the Companions and transmitted hadithsfrom them.
  54. 54. 58 Prefaceclaims that they were blind to his lies and deceptions. It isunfortunate, in his view, that the Muslims have been blessed by hissuperior intellect only after thirteen centuries of waiting.6. His next claim is as follows: Because fabrications crept intocompilations of the Sunnah, because some narrations are related bymeaning only, and because some narrators made mistakes in theirnarrations, the Sunnah in its entirety is open to doubt. Abu Rayyahwas not the fIrst to make this claim; it was his forebears, or rather hiscolonial masters, who have always attempted to establish it. But thenAbu Rayyah had the temerity to claim that he authored his book inorder to defend the Sunnah and that his intention all along was toplease Allah (~). This was the fIrst time I had heard that onesupports a view or an idea by raising doubts about it or that oneserves Islam by cooperating with its enemies. Indeed, we belong t{)Allah, and to Him is our return.7. He raised doubts about every authentic narration that containsinformation that is also found in the books of the Jews and Christians.He maintains that if a hadith confIrms what is in the Torah and theBible, we can be sure that a Jew or a Christian fabricated the hadith.He then says that if a hadith informs us about somethiug from theTorah or Bible, yet we do not now fInd those words in the Torah orBible, then we can also be sure that those hadiths are fabrications!This is not the talk of a scholar; more than anything, it seems like thecontradictory prattle of a man totally bereft of knowledge. As regardsthe Torah, the Bible, and all other hooks of previous Prophets, Allah(~) clarilled the following two principles:First, that Allah (~) revealed those books to the Prophets and thatthe principal teachings of those books are one and the same.Second, the followers of those Prophets later on distorted andchanged those revealed Books.
  55. 55. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 59 .£fWI ! IN ~ ~I; _ f ~ ,~ },.(, "-,,WI,-,.r-) "t~ ... oj, SY i..P~1 ..:..c...;.Jf;." r( ... They change the words from their [right] places..) (Quran 5: /3) The way of the believing scholar, therefore, is to compare ananthentically narrated hadith to Allahs Book. If the former is inharmony with the latter, then his heart is at peace with that hadith andhe believes it to be true. Bllt if its implications are contrary to AllahsBook - and there does not exist a single authentic hadith of thisdescription - then one may reject that narration, no matter howmuch he trusts the narrators. It is this principle that our scholars followed from the time ofthe Companions until later generations - they would take from thepeople of the book so long as their narrations did not contradictAllahs Book, the authentic Sunnah, or the universal principles ofIslam. If a narration from the People of the Book did contradict any ofthose three, then scholars would reject that narration. Abn Rayyahinvents a new methodology: any hadith that speaks about the Torahor the Bible is a lie, fabricated by the Jews or Christians. Based onthis understanding, he rejected Abu Hurayrahs narrations fromKab, in which it is affirmed that the Torah mentions the name of theMessenger of Allah ~). In this and similar narrations, he accusedthe Jews who accepted Islam of inventing lies. If Abu Rayyah is the eminent scholar that he considers himselfto be, how did he arrive at that conclusion, when it is clear that versesof the Qur an establish the same facts that are established in the saidnarration?(Those who follow the Messenger, the prophet who can neither read
  56. 56. 60 Prefacenor write [i.e. Muhannnad] whom they find written with them in theTorah, and Gospel...) (Quran 7: 157)~~ , ~- 1>-::. U!! d_ ~; -:.~ f-:!, ~ ?:i ~I J"~ cJ. _ JyJ I ,.!. ~>J" ~ _.~( ".~ <J. {V ~i ~ j~ ~~). ,~),.. A~ k >F 1 r ,t J >, r;~k" ~:;((1 : ~I _!J--) ~~ »- ,.....-1 c>:!,,! ~ ~, j->",-J,. ~- ~J-",I >/ •••~And [remember] when Eesa [Jesus], son of Maryam [Mary], said:0 Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you,confinning the Torah which came before me, and giving glad tidingsof a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Al;1mad. .. ) (Quran 61: 6) ,,-__ b< . /,J. __ -" Ii:. >~ (,5j ~ j.>;; {G; ~GSJi ~ ~.41 ,~ &~r; ;1 Jj.; ~~r(i/: ~, ~~ , -::ll-: ~ ~,{( /~~.. .J..J,. ~.J./ 7-:/~ -- -: :" /" / . -: /.-/"/ ~)I ~ ~"",,"J -! l""~ G~-»;" ~).,;,> il~~ I>~: .:~ l.i;:: ,;~ ~:;jb ~~k &? i7 cH~ ~ ~~ ~jJ ~( r~ _"") . c- ..J.Y "lW .,. jl15::Ji ~ ..L.J.... ~G:I ~ <",;~ A~ 1:-:- ~/ l.l....r .:- ~ /-<..7~Muhannnadis the Messenger of Allah and those who are with himare severe against disbelievers, and merciful to each other. You seethem bowing and falling down prostrate [in prayer], seeking Bountyfrom Allah and [His] Good Pleasure. The mark of them [of theirFaith] is on their faces [foreheads] from the traces of prostration[during prayers]. This is their description in the Torah. But theirdescription in the Gospel is like a [sown] seed which sends forth itsshoot, then IIlllkes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straighton its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage thedisbelievers with them.. ) (Quran 48: 29) These verses from Allahs Book clearly show that the name ofthe Messenger (~) is explicitly mentioned both in the Torah and inthe Bible; furthermore, he (~) and his Companions (may Allah bepleased with them all) are described in those sources. Where is the
  57. 57. The Sunnah and its role in Islamic legislation 61contradiction in these verses? And why is it so strange that one whoaccepted Islam from the People of the Book shonld know that thename of the Prophet (~) is mentioned in the Torah or the Bible? It istrue that the information we receive from some narrations is notfound today in the Torah or the Bible, but does that indicate that thosenarrations are fabricated? The obvious and plain answer is no; thereason that the Bible or the Torah do not contain some of theinformation found in authentic hadith narrations is given to us byAllah (~), when He (~) told us that the Christians and the Jewsdistorted the books that were revealed to their Prophets (~). AbuRayyah can either acknowledge that the Bible and Torah still remainanthentic and unadulterated revealed sources, in which case he willdisbelieve in every single authentic narration from the Prophet (~)that gives us some information about them; or he can acknowledgethat the Bible and the Torah have been changed and distorted, inwhich case he should acknowledge and accept authentic hadiths,even if the information imparted to us in those hadiths is not foundtoday in the Bible and the Torah. But the reasoning he presents isself-contradictory. He says:- that if a narration is in accordance with the Torah and the Bible,we know that the narration is fabricated by a Jew or a Christian.- and that if a narration imparts knowledge about those two sources,but is not found today in them, we again know that the narration is afabrication.8. After having criticized our pious predecessors for their derelictionin scrutinizing hadith narrations, Abu Rayyah mentioned a principlethrough which we can avoid making the same mistakes: to compare ahadith to the mind; if it is in harmony with the mind, Abu Rayyahaccepts it, and if not, then he rejects it. The idea of testing the validityof a hadith by comparing it to what ones mind accepts is an old one,which the Mutazilah applied; they would reject every hadith that theclear mind rejected.