The human mind has proved itself effete and tardy. Very careful scrutiny and ransacking of the mind is required to reach the heart of any matter, but it eschews and cuts corners at every possible opportunity. As the world turns, new discoveries and laws are made in social circles and all the more so in the realm of religion, where some incidences have become standard clichés or myths of wisdom over the passage of years. No one deems it necessary to think twice as to how most of these parables or folklore became the criteria of wisdom and faith although, these doctrines of wisdom might have been twisted through the generations.
The insurmountable impediment while examining, scrutinizing or giving our serious thought on any religious myth or cliché is the righteous halo we have woven around it. We consider ourselves of a blasphemy, a sin of the highest intensity or committing a blunder of the superlative degree, to question the origins of any religious myth or cliché . No matter how much we make the person realize the importance of cogent rationale on these standard religious clichés, nonetheless, his level of thought hesitates to enter into broader horizons. It is commonly observed that a person is more inclined towards finding a justification of the religious cliché one adheres to, rather than having an open and an unbiased mind. More formidable than the inner turmoil are the fears of wrath from ones religious connoisseurs. The derogatory opinion and threats of being outcaste by these demigods, do not allow an individual to muster courage enough to give ones serious thoughts on these myths or stories attributed towards the bulwarks with unshakable faith.
The Need for Research
On the other hand, if we agree and are of the opinion, that only 'reality' must have value, that has been through the process of our rational sifting and only that 'faith' carries weight which has been acquired after our thorough speculation and cognitive experiences, then it becomes incumbent upon us to weigh the pros and cons of any religious issue. No matter how many treacherous peaks we may have to climb. At this point, it is advised to refrain from our personal conflicting religious experiences and do away with all external fears. In this connection we shall endeavour to consider a common religious doctrine, that in our subconscious, appears as part and parcel of the core of our religious set of beliefs.
You question any Muslim today as to how would he define the system or 'DEEN' of Islam. Without any hesitation we are replied that, 'Islam is a compound of the Holy Quran and Hadith.' The indoctrination of this reply is so deep down in our hearts, we do not have the faintest notion of doubt about it when answering, no matter how glaringly self-contradictory the myth may appear to us. The important question is, the myth or story we take so much for granted, the sentence we speak everyday with so much confidence and strong conviction; has it ever been brought to our personal scrutiny and examined by rationale, before being accepted by us? Or do we accept, merely because it has traveled down to us through many, many generations. If that does not happen to be the case, then let us have the courage to face the culmination of the ancestral paths we have chosen.
By rationalizing our belief we are obtaining dual advantage. If the myth or cliché stands the scrutiny of our cognizance, then it shall become more profound and ingrained in our minds and close to our heart beats, otherwise we will know, we relinquished a myth that was nothing else but a rigmarole of someone's fantasy. Even more so, it will open our eyes to the fact that our belief was based on sheer custom. The process of cogent reasoning when accepting any statement is also reaffirmed by the Holy Quran that characterizes momins as; These people are not swayed by emotions and they take every step after a lot of deliberation (34:76), so much so that even when the Divine Laws are presented to them, they do not submit to these by ignoring their intellect, wisdom, rationale and reason. Also, they do not respond to them as if they were deaf and blind. They adopt the Divine Laws only after careful consideration - 25:73
Reasoning also coincides with one of the postulates of the Holy Quran, wherein is said:
You should not take a stand (regarding anything) where you have no personal knowledge (Use all means of inquiry and then come to a conclusion - Allah Almighty has given you all the faculties for this purpose). Mind it, the ear and the eye and the heart - all of them shall have to answer in regard to the question
It is hoped we are of no two opinions over the fact, that Deen in reality is one that is invincible, in other words which is not based on fantasy or illusion. So it is said in Quran: Most of these (people) are prone to fantasy and hearsay. In actuality 'illusion' will have no benefit in comparison with 'reality.' And Allah knoweth everyone as to what they do
It becomes mandatory for us, when it is said, 'Islam is a composition of the Holy Quran and Hadith,' to determine whether in actuality it happens to be the case or not. Is it in reality true that both of the above mentioned books have been revealed as Deen in Islam through Muhammad peace be upon him? The Holy Book reiterates numerous times, that this Book is nothing else but the 'Truth' "What we have revealed unto you is truth
The opening words of this book of wisdom. There is absolutely no doubt about this book. In other words, it is factual and not based on fantasy or illusion. This is as far as the spirit of the Book is concerned. Now how was it revealed and compiled and in what capacity is it going to exist, Quran further says;
We have undertaken the responsibility upon Ourselves to collect the entire stock of his deeds, past and present, and to preserve it with extra care - 75:17
It goes beyond compilation and explicitly asserts that we hold its responsibility as far as its preservation is concerned. Till the Day of Judgment not a single letter will be changed. It augurs;
There is no doubt that it is We, Ourselves, who have bestowed this Quran step by step and it is We who shall see that it always remains preserved - 15:9
To give this notion of preservation a practical shape, it further commands;
Despite their opposition, O Rasool, you should continue delivering Allah's message to mankind. If you do not do this you will fail to perform the function of a Rasool. Allah Almighty will safeguard your mission from evildoers (3/144). Those who deny the truth deprive themselves of the chance to follow the right path
However moved we may be, by the uniformity of our religious liturgy, the case with our Hadith somehow, does not seem to hold water. We must not omit the fact that nowhere has Allah Almighty held the responsibility of hadith, as it has done in the case of the Holy Quran. That is of utmost significance, since the hadith consists of parables and sayings of Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him and nothing else, we must consider Muhammad's attitude towards Hadith. If Hadith is a part of Deen, then the procedures Messenger adopted for Quran are not implemented in the case of hadith. Like having it memorized, then listening to his followers for any errors or that he satisfactorily approved what had been dictated and written, that over and above all, it was in its pure and authentic form. Though the mind questions, if hadith is all that significant, why the Messenger did not take the same measures as he did in the case of Holy Quran? On the contrary, we find in that very hadith, Muhammad peace be upon him clearly says; Do not have anything else dictated from me, save the Quran. If anyone of you has written any word other than the Quran, erase it! We are also told that this was a temporary mandate from the Messenger. That at another time, it is observed, upon the request of Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar, the Messenger permitted them to write down his sayings. As is noticed, the Messenger only permitted his followers, he did not make it mandatory for them to write, as we find he did, in the compilation of the Holy Quran. Moreover, he did not at anytime, ask as to what they had written or heard or question the verity of their writings. Neither we find Muhammad PBUH adopting measures to safeguard or preserve those hadiths as he had done with Quran. It is usually said and believed that in those days the Arabs had stupendous memory and also those sayings were very dear to the hearts of the disciples. Now the mind again questions, if memory was enough of a viable resource to be depended upon, why then was the need felt to have the Holy Quran dictated and written on paper, then recited again to remove any possibility of errors or mistakes during the process of its dictation. If any disciple of the Messenger had learnt those hadiths or sayings of the Messenger by heart, we still are not in a position to vouch for it. Until and unless those sayings were not verified, and the seal of approval cast on them by the Messenger Muhammad PBUH himself, we cannot depend on them. We also have no knowledge of the Messenger ever giving to the Muslims the Hadith in the form of a book and coming down to us through the generations. We observe the Messenger Muhammad PBUH did not take any of the precautions in the case of hadith, as he did for the Holy Quran.
What we have gathered from the historical resources, is that we do find documents other than the Quran, that were written under the orders of Muhammad PBUH. For example, contracts, treatises and letters that he sent to other tribes. What in this matter, has come to our knowledge and what we have been able to gather, at the time of Messenger's demise, are the following:
» A register containing the list of names of 1500 holy disciples or followers of Muhammad peace be upon him .
» The letters Muhammad PBUH wrote to various kings and rulers of that age or time.
» Documents of treatise and other obligatory rules.
» Hadiths from Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Uuns who wrote them on their own.
No one knows if these sayings written down were ever verified by the Messenger himself or not and whether they have come down to us in its original version. We have no knowledge of any collected works or hadith that Messenger himself gave to the Muslims before his departure from this world. We do in fact find in the Hadith of Bukhari, that someone asked Hazrat Ibn e Abbass as to what Muhammad PBUH had left behind for the Muslims. He said, 'The Messenger left behind nothing, save the Quran.' (Bukhari, Vol. III, Fuzail ul Quran.) (Sahih Bukhari: Virtues of the Quran)