Why are Hadith required?

I would like to break this article down into parts so it’s easier to understand.

What are Hadith?
The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Glorious Qur’an (the word of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) and the Sunnah (the example) of the Prophet (peace be upon him). By Sunnah, we mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions or disapproval’s of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

The Glorious Qur’an, the book of Allah (SunhanawaTa’ala), is the primary source of Islamic Law. The second is the Hadith, which as mentioned above includes the sayings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The Hadith also include eye witness reports of all that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did on different occasions. The Hadith explains the Qur’anic revelation and gives details regarding certain matters that are briefly mentioned in the Qur’an.

The word “Sunnah” is also used to refer to religious duties that are optional. Here, we are concerned with “Sunnah” in the sense of the recorded sayings (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In this sense, Hadith is considered to be second to the Glorious Qur’an.

Why do we need Hadith?
It is difficult to understand the Qur’an fully without reference to the Hadith, and it is difficult to explain a Hadith without relating it to the Qur’an. Basically, the Qur’an is the message, while the Hadith is the verbal translation of the message into pragmatic terms, as exemplified by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), who is our teacher and who Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la)  commanded us to follow as an example, as mentioned in the verse below:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.
(Qur’an (Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 21)

In the verse above, the almighty Allah (SubhanawaTaa’la) has commanded us to follow the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example. This, therefore, means that those who claim to be believers and followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), should see how the Messenger conducted himself. How do we follow the Prophets teachings today? Via the Sunnah/Hadith

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) set the best example in leadership. He endured along with others every toil and labour that he asked others to endure, and endured better than others; there was no trouble which others might have experienced and he himself did not. He was among those who dug the trench, and endured hunger and other afflictions just as the common Muslims did. He did not leave the battlefront for a moment during the siege nor retreated an inch. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was not one of those who would sit back whilst sending his companions forward. He worked as hard throughout his life and his actions have been recorded within Hadith which gives the Muslims the education on how the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) conducted himself throughout his life. The almighty Allah (SubhanawaTaa’la) has commanded the Muslims to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example, and the Hadith allow us to follow the Prophet’s example.

The Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life is a model for the person who is hopeful of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la’s) grace and his favours, and who is also mindful that the Day of Judgement will come when his well being will wholly depend on how closely his conduct resembled the conduct and character of the Messenger of Allah in this world.

In which verses does Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) ask the Muslims to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)?
There are lots of verses where the almighty has commanded us to follow the prophet (pbuh). See a few of the verses below, but there are more:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.
(Qur’an (Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 21)

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. (Surah Al Imran, Verse 164)

And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.
(Surat al-Hashr: Verse 7)

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 59)

But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 65)

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
(Surat al-Ahzab: 36)

The believers` reply, when they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger so that he can judge between them, is to say, “We hear and we obey.” They are ones who are successful.
(Surat al-Nur: Verse 51)

All of these verses show that those who abandoned the Sunnah are false and incompatible with the Glorious Qur’an. Islam is the totality of the Glorious Qur’an and the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah; there is no question of eliminating either one. We require both to lead a good life. Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has clearly mentioned within the Qur’an that we must follow the prophet (Peace Be Upon him) and to allow us to follow his example and teachings, we rely on Hadith. The verses also make crystal clear, the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah is an absolute and immaculate source of commands, because it is the way of interpreting, explaining, and applying the Qur’an.

Was the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) sent to communicate the verses of the Qur’an only?
The duty of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was not just to communicate the verses of the Qur’an, rather, he was entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating that message. That is the reason why Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) Himself has commanded the following:

Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (the Prophet) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way.
An-Nur 24:54

Muslims should be eager to learn and follow the teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as expressed in Hadith. If we are negligent in this respect, it is we who have to answer before Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la),

We know that the Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) revealed the Glorious Qur’an to his chosen Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We also know that through the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) we come to hear the word of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la). We also know that it is the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) himself who can properly explain and demonstrate the precepts within the Glorious Qur’an. Without the required explanations and illustrations given by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the Qur’an may be misunderstood and misinterpreted by people. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) took care to explain and demonstrate to his companions how the Qur’anic verses must be read and understood. That is to say, the importance of Hadith is linked to the importance of the Qur’an.

In the Qur’an, Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us not only to obey the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), but also to abide by his decisions , so how do we learn how the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) dealt with disputes at the time? We go to the hadith.

Here is the verse:

But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you (the Prophet] judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (An-Nisaa’ 4:65)

It is therefore obligatory that we look up to the Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) morals and exemplary character and carry them out in our lives. We can never do so without studying Hadith.

What about those who reject the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)?
Those who reject the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). They say: “We interpret the Qur’an for ourselves without the need for any clarification by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).” They turn their backs on the Sunnah, the practical application and implementation of the Qur’an.

The fact is that these people who have abandoned the Sunnah in fact ignore the Qur’ans commandments. That is because the Sunnah is an explanation of the Qur’an and more importantly, the Qur’an orders Muslims to follow it. Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has not only made obeying the Qur’an obligatory, but also obeying the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

For this reason, Islam can only be practiced together with the Sunnah and Muslims can only apply the Qur’an into real life with its help.

In the verse below, the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) asks the Prophet to teach us the Qur’an:

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.
(Surah Al Imran, Verse 164)

There were verses revealed where people did not understand, and the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) taught them. How do we learn that teaching today? When we are not sure about a verse, we require education from the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). We therefore visit Hadith to allow us to learn what the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him ) taught.

The next question they (who reject the sunnah) may ask is, “But I can learn everything from the Qur’an”.
No doubt, the Qur’an is complete, but for us to understand the Qur’an, we sometimes need to refer to a teacher. For example, you want to become a doctor or Surgeon. You visit University and ask that they provide you with 5 years worth of material/books. You leave University and go home to learn without a teacher. You’re not going to get far and will most likely end up causing lots of problems.

The same applies with the Qur’an. The almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has mentioned within the Qur’an to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example and as a teacher, so why do some think it’s OK to pick up the Qur’an without the teachings of the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

At this point, you will know by now that in the Glorious Qur’an obedience to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is considered as the same as obedience to Allah (swt). Believers are told to take the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah as their guides in matters on which they disagree. The following command is given in the Glorious Qur’an:

No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them and then do not resist what you decide and submit themselves [to you] completely.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 65)

Each verse in the Qur’an that deals with obeying the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) states that doing so is obligatory for all believers. That is why the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) practices are impeccable and are under the protection of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la). To put it another way, everything in the Sunnah is, in essence, based upon revelation.

See verse below:

Nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed.
(Surat al-Najm: 3-4)

 

Those who are unable to understand the importance of the Sunnah and who criticise it, despite what has been related above, are acting directly against the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

Muslims can only understand and discharge their duties as Allah`s (SuhabhanawaTa’la) servants by studying the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) practices. The source of information for this is the great Hadith compilations of Muslim, al-Bukhari, and other classical-era hadith scholars. The vast collections of his words, deeds, and personal attributes, particularly those displayed during his prophet hood, were collected with great care and hard work by narrators or reporters whom scholars consider reliable.

We also rely on hadith to be able to explain verses of the Qur’an further. For example, the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us to pray Salah/Namaz. But it was the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) who taught us how to pray. Some may argue that the Qur’an mentions you should kneel and bow, but what do we read? Is it just kneel and bow and we’re done praying? Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us to pay zakaat (Charity) to feed the prayer, but the sayings of the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) educate us on how much we need to pay. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was not only sent to us to reveal the Qur’an from the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) but he was also sent to teach and explain each verse to us, as mentioned in the verse below:

And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Dhikr [reminder and the advice (i.e. the Quran)], that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.
Al-Nahl 16:44 

I hope this article was of interest to you and may the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) forgive for any errors.

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