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Status of Hadith

By: admin

Question

To my understanding, Hadith cannot give us any teachings or laws which are not mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah. However in one of your articles regarding the hadith about delaying the Zuhr prayer, you mentioned that it is mentioned that Zuhr can be delayed under intense heat. So I was just wondering whether or not this is a new teaching because it isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an? Or did I misunderstand you, and the hadith can give new separate teachings?

In the same way a friend invited me to a group discussion on hadith every day after Zuhr, he also mentioned to me that if a Muslim man wears a turban he gets a certain amount more reward than if he doesn’t (I forgot the amount he mentioned). Although he didn’t mention that he got this from Hadith I suspect that he did because I am certain that this is not from the Qur’an or Sunnah. Since the people in that group probably don’t agree with your view, do you think that it would be better for me not to go, or should I go and give them my view? I think that if I do that I may make a lot of enemies. As for the Hadith (if there is such a hadith) concerning the turban, since it has no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah (the two primary sources of Islam) and since it seems to be culture bound and against logic, I, therefore, think that it can be rejected, would you agree?

It may seem like I am asking more than one question, so to make it easier, I will put my question in one sentence:

Can the Ahadith give new teachings or laws, and should I talk to others about your view of the Sunnah (which I feel is correct) because it may not be accepted by the general Muslim (most Muslims think that the hadith is the sunnah, and this includes scholars, I too thought that hadith was Sunnah before I found your site and read your explanations less than a year ago).

Answer

The timing – as a starting and ending time range – for the five prayers is a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). One may offer one’s prayers within the prescribed time range for each of these prayers, according to one’s convenience.

The referred narrative merely tells us that during times of intense heat, the Prophet (pbuh) would offer the Zuh’r prayers at a latter time within the prescribed time range for that prayer. Thus, in my note on the narrative, I have written:

In carrying out the directives of the Shari`ah, as for example in organizing congregational prayers, there is absolutely no reason to put oneself and those participating in the congregation in any inconvenience, especially where the Shari`ah has allowed us the opportunity to take an easier and a more convenient route. Thus, in keeping with the principle of taking to the easier and more convenient course, the Prophet (pbuh) recommended that the afternoon prayers be delayed till a slightly cooler time, especially on a severely hot day. It should, however, be kept in mind that the prayers were only delayed to such a time that was within the time range prescribed for that prayer.

Keeping the foregoing explanation in perspective, it should be clear that the referred narrative does not entail any new teachings or directives. On the contrary, the narrative only mentions one of the practices of the Prophet (pbuh) that was clearly within the prescriptions of the Sunnah.

Discussing ideas and concepts with people with an academic bent of mind should always be encouraged, in principle, as this discussion provides us an excellent opportunity to invite criticisms and comments on our understandings. Nevertheless, these discussions should be taken up with people who have an academic bent of mind and are willing to consider ideas and concepts that are contrary to their existing understanding. However, it is generally no use discussing ideas with people who lack proper understanding of even their own concepts and are more emotional than academic about these concepts.

I hope this helps.

Fond regards,

Moiz Amjad
November 13, 2003

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