In a recent article, Khazrajī, Ghoniem, Saifullah, and Hannan [who for the sake of brevity, will be referred to as KGSH] objected to a response that I wrote entitled Are There any Early Hadith? A large portion of this article is composed of name calling and personal attacks, to which I will not respond for several reasons. The first, and most important, reason is that Jesus Christ spoke the truth in love and so did God's Prophets - while Muhammad, by comparison, frequently cursed and insulted those who disagreed with him. I always strive to follow the example of the former and eschew the poor example set by Muhammad. The second reason is that, in philosophical and historical discussions, such discourteous behavior actually insults many thinking members of the Muslim community - although it may appeal to some of the community's less sophisticated members. Most readers can easily see that KGSH are attempting to substitute the ad hominem for a good and logical argument, and, it is to these Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters that I provide this reply.
Moving past the name calling and petty insults, there were several issues raised in their paper which need to be addressed. KGSH's paper is, for the most part, an argument that they DID NOT WRITE in response to something that I DID NOT explicitly say. In fact, much of KGSH's response was copied WITHOUT citation or proper credit from Mr. 'Abdur-Raheem Green's article Uncomfortable Questions : An Authoritative Exposition, which was a response to Joseph Smith! Keeping this in mind, please note how KGSH question my scholarship and honesty throughout this discussion.
Issue 1 : "Boastful Claims", "Foolhardy statements", "Puerile Enthusiasm" and more "Feisty Statements"
KGSH focused on a statement in the afore-mentioned article:
I wonder why they did not comment on the omitted portion? There are several points which should be noted:
1. I said that Imam Bukhari "kept only 7,397 as true", I did not say that he rejected the rest as completely false. Jay Smith may have said that they were false, I did not, so please either write your own thoughts, or at least, cut and paste those portions of Mr Green's article that are relevant to the discussion at hand.
2. I am well aware that many traditions, out of the 600,000 in question, were not exclusively separate narratives, something that could be implied from my comment on the ikhtilaf al-hadith.
KGSH tell us:
Compare this to Mr. Green's response:
Apparently, KGSH omitted their isnad, as well as a proper citation, for these, and several other, quotations in their paper!
Issue 2 : Who said that the rejected Traditions were false?
As can be seen from the original article, it was not I. However, some Muslims do make this claim!
Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad (Prime Minister of Malaysia) tells us:
A popular Muslim website Al-Islam says:
The article continues:
Muhammed A. Asadi says:
.....However even according to their own standards, they fell into a dilemma. Some hadith exist which have according to them a "sound" chain of narrators i.e it was truthfully narrated but they dispute the text of the hadith. One example of this and their whole system collapses.
Kassim Ahmad tells us:
If, on the average, a hadith consists of three simple sentences (in truth many hadiths run into paragraphs), then Bukhari would have had to collect, read, investigate, evaluate and record over 1.8 million sentences over a period of 40 years. This is the equivalent of researching (which include the long camel journeys to and fro across the desert) and attesting to the authenticity of over 300 books, each equivalent to the thickness and complexity of a Quran, over a period of 40 years!
Another popular Muslim apologist named Akbarally Meherally tells us:
Issue 3 : More insults or an interesting paradox?
KGSH go one to cite several quotes, which when combined prove absolutely nothing, in order to defend the veracity and authenticity of Imam Bukhari's Hadith. In contradiction to their claims they say:
My question is : if the hadith are authentic and true (as KGSH claim), then how can my use of these traditions, to show the true character of Muhammad, be dishonest or a misunderstanding? Muhammad is either the person who Imam Bukhari describes or Imam Bukhari's hadith is wrong! Which is it gentlemen?
Issue 4 : Questions left unanswered
KGSH chose to ignore several issues that were raised in my original response which I raised after reading A 'Perfect' Qur'an OR "So it was made to appear to them"?, so please allow me to repeat them and, if your mission is to enlighten rather than insult your readers, I look forward to your response. I asked:
Another question which needs to be asked is : where is the manuscript evidence concerning the earliest Hadith? How can we be sure that stories were not erroneously inserted into the traditions, or that existing stories did not undergo editing? After all, if someone can "create" a tradition, what would prevent them from "creating" a chain of narration? It is interesting to note that Bukhari wrote a book about the narrators (Zuafa-us-sagher). What is even more interesting is that Bukhari's book condemns several narrators including: Ata bin abi Maimoona, Ayyub bin Aiz, Ismail bin Aban, Zubair bin Muhammad, At-Tayyimi, Saeed bin Urwa, Abdullah bin Abi Labeed, Abdul Malik bin Ameen, Abdul waris bin Saeed, Ata bin As-Saib bin Yazeed, and Khamsan bin Minhal as unreliable. However, the Hadith-collection of Bukhari in its modern form actually includes many traditions narrated by these very individuals! Obviously, these traditions, which Bukhari rejected, were inserted in his book following his death.
And, a quote from this book says:
So, if there is a "science" of Hadith, which of these 16 "best transmitted" editions of the Muwatta of Malik represents your authentic "early Hadith"?
I sincerely believe that when we study the Traditions of Islam, only God knows what, if anything, is the truth!
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