Dispute Concerning the Authenticity of Certain Hadiths
Some people have disputed the authenticity of certain hadiths. Among such sayings is: "No prayer is accepted without ablution and no ablution is accepted without mentioning Allah's name." The first part of this hadith is to be understood as in the Prophet's saying: "There is no prayer without tuhur, purification.” This is agreed upon among Muslims since tuhur is obligatory before performing prayer. If the obligatory tuhur, is negated, then the prayer is negated. Concerning the second part of the hadith, there is a well-known dispute about whether it is obligatory to mention Allah's name or not when performing ablution. Most scholars of the MalikI, Hanaff, and Shafi c I schools do not consider it obligatory. This is, however, one of the two opinions on the authority of Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] that has been accepted by al-Khirqi, Abu Muhammad and others. The second, which is also on the authority of Ahmad and is accepted by some scholars, makes mentioning Allah's name when making ablution obligatory. Among them are Abu Bakr ‘Abd al-'AzIz and the judge Abu Ya'la and his followers. The Prophet also said: "No prayer is accepted from the neighbor of the mosque except in the mosque itself (recorded by al-Daraqutn!). Some scholars consider this hadith marfu'; while other scholars consider it as the words of 'AIi [Ibn Abi Talib], may Allah be pleased with him. Still others among them, such as c Abd al-Haqq, have confirmed its authenticity. The Prophet also said: "No fast is accepted from the one who breaks the fast at night." This hadith was narrated by scholars of the books of al-Sunan, Books of Hadith, who said that it is not correct to consider it marfu’, but it is correct to consider it mawquf, on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar and Hafsah. It is not right for anyone to attest to words of the Messenger in order to fulfill a wish to negate a desire for perfection. Definitely if these words of the Prophet were correctly and properly claimed, then they would fulfill an obligation, otherwise they would not. For nothing can negate the essence of the Book and the Sunnah. It is very important to know what is intended by the words of Allah and His Messenger before anyone uses them in order to suit his own madhab, school of law. The statements of the scholars should follow the words of Allah and His Messenger, and not the reverse.
If there is a dispute concerning an obligatory matter among the religious scholars, the words of Allah have clear significance in this regard. Then it is not permissible to negate the well-known essence of the words of Allah and His Messenger by the disputed sayings of the scholars. But some people grew up knowing only one line of thought of a particular madhab. Those people believed that their opinion constitutes the religion in its totality. It is like the person who prays alone and not in congregation, thinking that he has completely fulfilled his obligation. The truth of the matter is that scholars have two well-known opinions concerning the reward of such a prayer. In the madhab of Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] two opinions on this matter were expressed. The first opinion is of the older followers, represented by the judge Abu Ya'la, in explaining their madhab. The latter group, represented by Ibn ‘Aqil and others, said: "It is permissible for one to pray the prescribed prayers alone, without excuse; he is like the one who prays the noon Friday prayer. If he could perform it in congregation after that, he should do so; otherwise it would result in a sin similar to that of the one who abandons the Friday prayer. In this case he could still receive repentance." The source of this statement is tendered by more than one among the scholars, and most of the reported traditions from the earlier Muslims, Companions, and Successors also support this.
The religious scholars affirmed and based their opinions on the hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), who said: "Anyone who hears the call for prayer [at the masjid] and does not respond without having an excuse, his prayer will not be accepted."
Some scholars responded by referring to hadith al-Tafdil, that it is in the realm of al-ma’dhur', the excused, who is permitted to pray alone. It was also affirmed that the Prophet said: "The prayers of a man who performs [his prayers] while sitting counts as only half of the prayer performed while standing, and the prayer of the one lying down counts as only half of the prayer of the one who is sitting." What is meant by "the excused one" mentioned above is that if someone becomes sick while praying, he will be excused. He also said that none of the earlier Muslims permitted the voluntary prayer while lying down without an excuse and none of them practiced this. However, it was permitted in one instance by the madhabs of al-Shafi'i and Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal], and its source from earlier Muslims is not known. Indeed, this question could spread and bring calamity among the Muslims. If it were permissible for every Muslim to perform his voluntary prayer lying on his side when he is well, and not sick, it would be just as permissible to perform voluntary prayer while sitting or while riding on a camel. The Messenger (Peace be upon him) would certainly have pointed this out to his community and the Companions would have known it. Since there is a strong desire to do good, it is inevitable that some would do it. However, no one of them did that, thus this indicates that this practice was not allowed among the Muslims. This will be explained more fully in the proper place.
What is intended here is that the Muslims should seriously value the words of Allah and His Messenger, and no one is permitted to transmit the words of other people except as they were originally intended, and not what they have been interpreted to mean. Some people may interpret certain texts of the Qur'an that express thoughts that are contrary to what they believe in terms that suit their thinking and their behavior. The intention behind this is to use a certain text as a proof, and this is wrong. We must believe in all that Allah and His Messenger said, for indeed we cannot believe in some parts of the Book and disbelieve in other parts. Thus, being careful of what is intended in one of the two versions of a particular text, without considering the other, is not necessarily good. Therefore, if the text is in harmony with what one believes, then follow what the Messenger intended. The same is true for the interpretation of other such texts. What is intended to be known is what the Messenger desired. This is what is intended in the explanation and interpretation of any situation in which two different meanings are possible. Anyone who merges the two into a single meaning, as is often the case among the interpreters, considers ta'wil to be like tafsir. But the real meaning of ta'wil, with regard to the words of Allah and His Messenger, is different from the meaning of tafsir, as commonly understood by the people, and its meaning is also different from what is meant by later religious scholars. This will be explained fully in its proper place.
Indeed everything that Allah and His Messenger negated concerning the obligatory constituents — such as Iman, Islam, religion, prayers, fasting, purification, pilgrimage, and other such obligation — was simply because the practice of such obligatory constituents has been abandoned. Allah says: "But no, by your Lord, they can have no belief, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, and submit with full submission" (Surah An-Nisa', 4:65). This verse indicates that one's belief is negated if he does not regard the Messenger as a judge in all his disputes, and hence it is an obligation for belief. On the contrary, whoever does not acknowledge the Messenger as a judge should be punished, as he lacks the true belief required for entering Paradise without punishment. It is well known that whosoever performs some obligations but neglects others is subject to punishment.
Also, Muslims unanimously agree that it is an obligation to regard the Messenger as a judge in all disputes, both in matters pertaining to their religion and in their worldly affairs. This applies to the essence of their religion as well as to its various branches. Thus they should find in their souls no resistance to the Prophet's judgments in disputes between themselves, but accept those decisions with the fullest conviction. Allah says: "Have you not turned your vision to those who declare that they believe in the revelations that have come to you and to those before you? Their real wish is to resort together for judgment in their disputes to the taghut, the evil one, though they were ordered to reject him. But Satan's wish is to lead them far astray from the right. When it was said to them: 'Come to what Allah has revealed, and to the Messenger,' you will see the hypocrites avert their faces from you in disgust." (Surah An-Nisa', 4:60-61)
His [Allah] saying, "to what Allah revealed" refers to the Book and Wisdom as illustrated in the following verses. Allah says: ". . . Remember Allah's favors to you, and that He revealed to you al-Kitab wal-Hikmah, the Book and the Wisdom, for your instruction . . ." (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:231); and ". . . For Allah has revealed to you the Book and the Wisdom and taught you what you did not know: and great is the grace of Allah unto you" (Surah An-Nisa', 4: 113). The call to acknowledge what Allah reveals indicated in "come to what Allah revealed, and to the Messenger," requires the call to acknowledge the Messenger, which in turn requires the call to accept what Allah reveals. Such a mutual connection is found between obedience to Allah and to His Messenger. That is, whoever obeys the Messenger obeys Allah, and whoever obeys Allah obeys the Messenger.
This connection is also found in the following verse. Allah says: "If anyone opposes the Messenger, even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, he follows a path other than the believers' way . . ." (Surah An-Nisa’, 4: 115). Thus, whoever opposes the Messenger, even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, follows a path other than that becoming to men of belief; and whoever follows a path other than that becoming to men of belief, and opposes the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him. This asserts the mutual connection between Allah and His Messenger. Therefore, if one thinks that he is following the way of the believers while he is wrong, he will be in the same position of the one who thinks that he is following the Messenger, yet he is wrong too.
 The complete text of this hadith reads: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "No prayer is accepted without purification and no charity is accepted from the ghulul, dishonest person."
 Al-Khirqi. ‘Umar Ibn al-Husayn Ibn 'Abd Allah Ibn Ahmad (?-334 A.H.), was a famous Hanbali jurist from Baghdad. [Ibn Badran, 'Abd al-Qadir. al-Madkhal II a Madhab al-lmam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, 2d. ed. Edited by 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abd al-Muhsin al-Turkl. Beirut, 1981 [this work is referred to in the text as Ibn Badran, al-Madkhal], pp. 416-17 and Kitab al-Iman MZ, p. 54.]
 Abu Muhammad, Muwaffaq al-Din Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Hanbali (?-620 A.H.), was a scholar of fiqh. He wrote two books about jurisprudence, al-Kafi and al-Muqni'. [Kitab al-Iman MZ, p. 54.]
 Abu Ya’la, Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn (?-458 A.H.) was a well-known Hanbali jurist. He wrote several books, among which are al-Khilaf al-Kabir and al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah. [Ibn Badran al-Madkhal, p. 417.]
 Al-Daraqutni, Abu al-Hassan 'All Ibn 'Umar (306-385 A.H.), was born in one of the large quarters of Baghdad called Dar al-Qutn, where he obtained his nisbah. He was a man of wide earning, including hadith, recitation of the Qur'an, and fiqh. He contributed greatly to the critical study of hadith. Some of his well-known books are Kitab al-Sunan and Kitab (Ilal al-Hadith, which deal with the causes and weaknesses of the study of hadith. [EI 2, vol. 2, p. 136 and Sezgin, vol 1, pp. 418-24.]
 'Abd al-Haqq, Abu Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd Rahman, also known as Ibn al-Kharrat (?-58 1 A.H.), was a jurist and a scholar of hadith. He wrote a book entitled al-Mu'tal Min al-Hadith concerning weaknesses of hadith. [Kitab al-Iman MZ, p. 54.]
 Hadith mawquf is the type of hadith whose isnad, chain of transmission, goes back to a Companion who received it from the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
 Hafsah, daughter of 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab and wife of the Prophet, was born about five years before Prophet Muhammad's mission. [EI 2, vol. 3, p. 63-65.]
 Ibn 'Aqil, Abu al-Wafa' ‘Ali Ibn ‘Aqil (431-513 A.H.), was a well-known Hanbal! Jurist and theologian and is considered one of the great scholars of Islamic religious thought. [El 2, vol. 3, pp. 699-700 and Ibn Badran, al-Mudkhal, pp. 410 and 416.]
 Hadith al-Tafdil, preference, is reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet (Peace be upon him): "The prayer in congregation is preferred twenty-five [in some versions twenty-seven] times over praying alone."
 Al-Shafi’i Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Idris (50-204 A.H.), was the founder of the Shafi’i school of law and a scholar of fiqh and hadith. His most famous work is al-Umm. [Al-Zirikh, vol. 6, p. 249 and El-old edition vol. 7. p. 252)
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