We have already seen in the articles https://secondriseofislam.blogspot.com/2016/06/obeying-allah-vs-following-allah.html and https://secondriseofislam.blogspot.com/2016/09/following-allah-and-following-rasool.html that there is difference between obeying (ata,at) and following (itba,a). Obeying is related to commandment; whereas following is related to every act/saying whether commanded or not. Itba,a e Nabi (ﷺ) means we have to follow our Nabi’s (ﷺ) all commandments as well as all sayings and acts which are not in the form of commandments, except such acts which have been specifically prohibited by Allah and Nabi (ﷺ). In other words our Nabi’s (ﷺ) all acts and sayings which have reached us through authentic ‘ahadith’ are follow-able by people; rather people are under obligation to follow ‘ahadith’ because people have been commanded by Allah to follow Nabi (ﷺ). Quran says:
““Say, [ Muhammad (s.a.w.w)] "If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (al-imran-31)."
The question is why Allah has commanded people to follow Nabi (ﷺ) in all his (ﷺ) sayings, acts and commandments. It may be appreciated our Nabi (ﷺ) is the first person to whom the meanings of Quran have been revealed. Quran says in al-qiyamah:
“ Do not move [Muhammad s.a.w.w] your tongue with it to make haste with it (16). Indeed, upon Us is its (Quran’s) collection [in your conscious/mind] and [to make possible] its recitation (17). So when We have recited it, then (you [Muhammad s.a.w.w] follow its recitation (18). Then lo! upon Us (resteth) the explanation thereof” (19). (al-Qiyamah).
These verses are addressing our Nabi [ﷺ] because for the addressee, singular verb and pronoun have been used. These verses are stating that our Nabi (ﷺ) should not move his tongue in haste (to remember) Quran during revelation (16). It is Allah’s duty to preserve and collect Quran in the mind/Conscious of our Nabi (ﷺ) . So when Allah has recited Quran during revelation, then our Nabi (ﷺ) should recite Quran (18). It is also Allah’s job to explain (to our Nabi (ﷺ) the meanings of Quran (19). Allah explained meanings of Quran to our Nabi (ﷺ) through ‘wahi e khafi’. (there is no way other than wahi to teach meanings of Quran by Allah). Quran says: “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed (al-najam-3-4). These verses tell what is spoken by our Nabi (ﷺ) is the wahi sent to him.
In short we can say our Nabi (ﷺ) was the first person to whom meanings of Quran have been revealed. Because these meanings have been revealed through prophetic ‘wahi’, it means these were the absolutely correct and comprehensive meanings conceived by any person. Other people may also conceive meanings/explanation of Quranic Words but such meanings cannot be labeled as absolutely comprehensive and correct meanings of Quran because such meanings are not conceived through prophetic wahi which is the most protected means to reveal meanings of Quran. Moreover if Quran was left to be understood by common people without determining any parameter/ benchmark, it would result in creating an environment of total chaotic understanding of Quran, in which every person would interpret Quran according to his own understanding and knowledge which would be in most cases contradictory to the understandings nurtured by other people. So there was a need to determine a parameter/ benchmark on the basis of which Quran may be understood in coherent and comprehensive manner. In the form of our Nabi’s (ﷺ) Sunnah (hadith), such parameter has been provided by Allah.
In short, our Nabi (ﷺ) was the first person who received meanings of Quran, and these meanings were revealed through wahi and as such were most comprehensive and correct meanings of Quran. In order to keep the people away from a chaotic and self contradictory understanding of Quran/Divine Guidance, a parameter/benchmark/model was required to present before the people on the basis of which they might be able to formulate a comprehensive, practicable, correct and coherent framework of Quranic meanings/Divine Guidance. For this purpose, our Nabi (ﷺ) has been made a Model and his (ﷺ) commandments and his (ﷺ) sayings and acts (whether in the form of commandments or not) have been made parameters for understanding of Quran. That is why people are under obligation to follow our Nabi (ﷺ) in all his (ﷺ) sayings and acts (whether in the form of commandment or not in the form of commandments). It is called Itba,a e Nabi (ﷺ).
It may be appreciated Itba,a e Nabi (ﷺ) constitutes such a framework of Quran which is based on thousands of Quranic verses and many more thousands of ‘ahadith’ meant for Quranic understanding (it may be noted when we talk about framework of Quran, our focus is overall understanding of Quran, not only individual verses of Quran). Once we enter such a framework of understanding of Quran, we are likely to reach the truth even if we are unable to have access to many hundreds or a few thousands of ahadith or even if we have wrong understanding of a few thousands of ‘ahadith’. The reason is that many thousands Quranic verses and many thousands ‘ahadith’ constituting Quranic Framework are interlinked and all pointing to the truth. Quranic Framework is like a Grid in which there are so many ways to reach to the truth; if a person is unable to adopt some or many ways to reach the truth, he can adopt many other ways to reach the truth; if a person is unable to have access to some or many correct ahadith, he can reach the truth through many other ahadith and verses found in the Quranic Framework. Therefore even if we are unable to find out many or even thousands in number correct ahadith out of incorrect ahadith, we are still able to reach the truth through correct ahadith which we have found and through Quranic verses found in Quranic Framework. What is important is to adopt the framework based on Quran and hadith. But if we do not adopt ‘hadith’ as an essential part of the Quranic Framework, as some disbelievers/ munkareen e hadith do, such framework would not be as envisaged by Deen.
Disbelievers of Hadith can take us nowhere except to a chaotic understanding of Deen divided into so many groups having contradictory understanding of Deen. Disbelievers of hadith label hadith as human intervention in Deen. They need to understand whether or not Nabi’s (ﷺ) actions and sayings were according to framework of Quran. If the answer is yes, it would mean our Nabi’s (ﷺ) actions and sayings were according to meanings contained in framework of Quran. Now the question arises how our Nabi (ﷺ) came to know meanings contained in Quranic Framework. Disbelievers of hadith say our Nabi (ﷺ) took resort to Ijtihad for undertaking his actions/sayings contained in hadith. But the Quran says Allah has revealed meanings of Quran to our Nabi (ﷺ) as mentioned above regarding verse al-Qiyamah-19. If meanings of Quran have been revealed to our Nabi (ﷺ) through wahi, how a Muslim can disbelieve this part of wahi which contains meanings of Quran. How a Muslim can dare understand Quran in total disregard to hadith which contains Quranic meanings revealed to our Nabi (ﷺ). How a Muslim can adopt a Deen or Quran different from that one adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ). Disbelieving in hadith means to adopt a Quranic understanding different from that adopted by our Nabi (ﷺ). Keeping in view importance of hadith in understanding of Deen/Quran, our scholars have set very stiff criterions to ascertain whether or not hadith is rightly assigned to our Nabi (ﷺ). Disbelievers/ ‘munkareen e hadith’ label these criterions as intervention in Deen; they mean by declaring some ahadith as right ones and others as wrong ones, we take it in our own hands what is Deen and what is not Deen. Disbelievers of hadith actually mis-understood the issue. By fixing criterions for scrutiny of hadith, our scholars actually ascertain what is rightly assigned to our Nabi (ﷺ); by declaring any hadith as fabricated, scholars actually declare such hadith is not rightly associated with our Nabi (ﷺ); similarly they declare any hadith as rightly assigned to our Nabi (ﷺ). Our scholars do not decide what should be Deen and what should not be Deen; they only ascertain Deen should reach us in its correct form. It is not the basic role of our scholars/ 'muhaddaseen' to decide whether or not a hadith is correct in its implications. The basic role of scholars/ muhaddaseen is to find whether or not a hadith has been rightly attributed to our Nabi s.a.w.w. It is not the basic role of scholars/Muhaddaseen to decide what is correct or incorrect form of Deen; the basic role of muhaddaseen/ scholars is to find what provisions of Deen have been rightly attributed to our Nabi s.a.w.w. (continued).