Writing of the Holy Qur’an & The Collection of the Hadiths
Dr. Mozammel Haque
It is very important to know and understand what is Fatwa and what role scholars play in the Muslim society. Before we discuss and understand this it is essential to know about Shari’ah and Islam. Whenever new situations or new conditions arise what we have to do? We have to find out what is the ruling under that situations in the Qur’an and Sunnah. So before we talked about Fatwa and the role of Scholars, it is necessary to know about the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). There is a lecture on Role of Scholars at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, recently. The Lecture was delivered by Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre & London Central Mosque, at the Library Conference Hall of the Centre.
Speaking about the sources of Islam or Shar’ah, Dr. al-Dubayan said, “It is very important to know about the two primary source of Shari’ah or Islam – the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, the Traditions of the Prophet peace be upon him.”
He mentioned, “When Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam died the religion of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala was complete. The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam himself delivered this to us during those days without any changes or without any addition. Two three years ago the Qur’an manuscripts found at the Birmingham University is one of the oldest surviving manuscripts in the world. It is part of Mingana Collection of 3000 Middle Eastern Manuscripts. Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment on which the text is written is to the period AD 568 and 645. The researchers placed the leaves close to the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.”
“I had some photos of that, exactly the same like the Qur’an we have. Alhamdo lillah Rabbul Alamin. This protection of Qur’an is very important. Because Allah Subhanahu wa Taala said the Qur’an is the last testimony. The Qur’an is the Word of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala delivered to Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam to mankind everywhere. Since that time, no other prophet is coming after him. This Last Book should be protected. If you told me within one hundred years or two hundred years there will be a new generation coming after; they will see the same real Qur’an,” said Dr. Al-Dubayan.
Holy Qur’an and Its Protection
We are now in 1440. Dr. al-Dubayan said, “If the Qur’an is not being protected I think we will have at least one hundred copies of the Qur’an, different from each other. Alhamdulillah, Allah Subhanahu wa Taala has protected it and it is a matter of protection. You see now everywhere you go in the Muslim world you will see that the children are memorising the whole Qur’an. If you go to India, in Africa, all countries, now even in the west, in America, here in UK, children are memorising the Qur’an. How many Hafez we have in the UK? Many; sometimes seven eight or ten years old children. They memorised the whole Qur’an. If you read in front of them they would correct you. Yes. This is one of the signs of the protection of His Book; Allah Subhanahu wa Taala protected His Book.”
Dr. al-Dubayan then mentioned, “There are, of course, many many books in the library; very big library and the heritage about the Qur’an itself; about the chapters, about the verses of the Qur’an, recounting the verses themselves; which verses are the beginning of each chapter; which verses are the last one chapter and the numbering of this each chapter.”
Talking about the early generations of Muslims during the first century, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “The early generations of Muslims, especially during the first century, did their best to have text very clear and pure without any additional thing. When the companion of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam wrote the Qur’an one of the principles they follow, they never add anything to the Qur’an. In recent Qur’an, sometimes they put like flower or sign in some pages. During those days, the companions never add anything to the Qur’an. The Qur’an must be the only text as it is without any addition. If you want to make any explanation or something, you can add in another book or in another paper but not on the same page.”
“Why they adopted this principle?” enquired Dr. al-Dubayan and immediately replied, “They wanted to protect them.”
Qur’an was written down
as soon as it was revealed
Then Dr. al-Dubayan went back to the period of the Prophet and how the Qur’an was written down immediately as soon as it was revealed. He said, “The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam delivered the whole Qur’an to us and in the last year of the life of Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam actually the Angel Jibreal revised the whole Qur’an twice, not only once, to make sure that is the last final version of the Words of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. And whenever the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam had revelation of the Qur’an, one verse, two verses or one chapter, one Surah or complete Surah or less; then he taught the companions, he dictated them to some of the companions who write.”
“Those who write the Qur’an for the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam as soon as it was revealed are many. Some of them are as follows: Zayd Ibn Thabit, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Othman Ibn ‘Affan, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Ubay Ibn Ka’b, Muath Ibn Jabal, Al-Arqam Ibn Abi Al-Arqam, Abdullah Ibn Amr and others also. And the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam dictated to them and he is the one who used to tell them where to put this verse exactly. Put this verse after this verse Allah Subhanahu wa Taala says so and so. So we have the Qur’an as it is,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned.
The ICC Chief said, “But it was not actually collected as one Book; many of the companions memorised some parts of the Qur’an; but few of them memorised the whole Qur’an, not all of them. But if you bring them all together, they all memorised all Qur’an.”
Sunnah – The Traditions of the Prophet
Peace be upon him
The second source of Islam is the Sunnah, the Traditions of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam. Sunnah means the Traditions of the Prophet, his sayings, his actions or his approvals. When he sees something then he approves; this is a Sunnah. Dr. al-Dubayan said, “If Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam does not do it but he approves something, some people did something in front of him and then he did not object. When the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam did not object when it was done in front of him; it means yes; otherwise if it was not allowed we don’t think the Prophet would be quite; he would of course clarifies.”
“The companions themselves radi allahu anhum see themselves what he used to do in front of them; then hundred times, thousand times they memorised that also. But sometimes, some of them were absent; they did not come that day, for example; others come; those who attend Prophet they remember this. Those who did not attend they would ask the others who attended and they will learn from each other,” said Dr. al-Dubayan.
In this connection Dr. Al-Dubayan mentioned the story of Umar bin al-Khattab when he was travelling to Jerusalem. He said, “We all know the story of the Umar bin Khattab when he went to Syria; let’s say south of Syria on his way to Jerusalem. When he hears from some people that there is a very big disease in one of the small villages of that time; then Umar bin Khattab with the people who came along with him from Madinah asked whether I go to the village where there is epidemic disease or not. Well, he had the companions; whether there is anything Prophet’s saying; some of them said you have to go relying on Allah Subhanahu wa Taala; you have to have the trust; then you have to go. What Allah Subhanahu wa Taala decides to happen will happen. Then others said no; it is your choice; you should not go; because you think some of them would be affected; they will have the infection and then they will die and you have the option or choice is on your hands to avoid this; so don’t go to the village.”
“Then he asked if there is anyone who knows Prophet said anything in such cases. You see follow the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam. That happened after eight years of the Prophet’s death. One of the Companions Abdur Rahman bin Auf was absent at that moment. Then he came after the meeting; he said I have the knowledge about this; about the Prophet’s saying. Umar bin Khattab called him and asked what he said. He hears the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam said; with this epidemic disease somewhere; when you are out of the area of the disease then don’t go in; but if it happens and you are in the city, then don’t go out. This is actually to protect people. If you are inside and it happens, if you go out you will take infection to other people to other village; but if you are outside, then don’t go there to avoid it. Then Umar bin Khattab said Alhamdolillah. He avoids and change the caravan going to Jerusalem. So you see the knowledge of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam,” said Dr. al-Dubayan.
Speaking about the second generations of the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “After the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam, the followers of the second generation of the companions used to try to memorise Hadiths of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam. After the first century, of course, as usual Muslims had lots of disputes, lots of discussions; most of the subjects or topics were political but some of them started as political but then religious after the centuries. Then everybody started to support his point of view about this and this dispute about this thing; okay specially those who have political interest; they create some fake Hadiths and they said the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam said this.”
Distinction between Fake Hadiths and Real Sunnah
Now the question is: how do we distinguish between the Fake Hadiths and the real Sunnah. This mission of separating fake Hadiths from the real Sunnah is very very important. Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned, “Alhamdulillah, this has been done for us by the Muhaddissin; the great Muhaddishin like Sheikh Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Ahmed bin Hambal, Imam Shafie, Imam bin Mazed; Imam Abu Hanifa; Imam al-Tabawi and others. These scholars have great followers who did their best and they spent all their lives on religious distinction; criticising and checking all these texts related to Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam. Whether they are really taken from the Prophet honestly or they are fake or created after.”
“To do this; this mission on the right way, they must on their time check every narrator. Is he a reliable person? Is he a liar? Is he a man, sometimes honest, does not lie but he is old; he starts to forget; then they take him out, of course. Sometimes he is not a liar but he is honest person and he is not old; he is young but he is not that much authentic; his memory is not strong enough to carry the Hadith of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam. They give him like fifty-fifty. So after all this, we have now collection of the Hadiths. We have judgements about thousands of Hadiths of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam; those which are authentic and those which are not authentic. Those which are very weak, you should not rely on them; should not do your rituals or Ibadah,” said al-Dubayan.
Equality of People
What happened after the death of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam? We have to know about this period. This is very important. You have to know. Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned what happened after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him.) He said, “Since the religion is for all mankind, for everybody, and since the message of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam or the message of Islam - The main value of it is really equality of people; we are equal in the sight of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. There are no differences. Islam comes for everybody. If you read the Qur’an, the Qur’an revealed in Arabic; but you will never find verse which will speak only for Arabs. Instructions such as - do this or don’t do this - includes all Muslims. When the Qur’an talks to the community, to the followers of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam, it uses the word Muslimun, not used the word Arabs. Never. Other nations, other people from other nations, of course from Far East till France and now America, South America you have many followers of Islam. Muslims are now everywhere; all continents, all countries, all languages and in all races.”
“In Islam, there are no differences among all these people. They are equal in front of Allah Subhanahu wa Taala. - male and female. Allah Subhanahu wa Taala, as we said many times, does not see how we look like; He sees, of course, but it does not matter how you look like. Does not matter who you are; who is your father; who is your mother; who is your family; which class they are; it does not matter how much money you have; it does not matter how many children you have; many daughters or not. Allah Subhanahu wa Taala sees your hearts and sees your actions; how good you are yourself. Allah says on the Day of Judgement everybody is to be judged; to be discussed alone; even your father or your daughter or your son or your mother; at that moment, they say to you I can’t do anything to you. I am busy with myself, sorry. If you want from them one rakah of Salah or one Tasweeh they will not give you; because everybody is busy with themselves at that moment. Everybody is looking to be saved. The only way to save yourself is actually your belief; your actions,” mentioned Dr. al-Dubayan.
The ICC Chief also said, “When the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam delivers this message to all of us; he never actually hides anything. Nothing was hidden in the message. If any one tells you that there is a part of Islam which was hidden only for certain people, don’t believe it; because this is not true. For the moment, you believe in this, then the message is not for all people; it is for certain people. Very important. You will find some people who will say that. If they say to you that a part of the Qur’an was kept aside just for certain family or the family of the Prophet or certain scholars it is not correct also. Because logically or rationally this message is for all of us; then why you keep some part of it hidden from me. I am one of the Muslims, I want to read. I need to know about it. Nothing was hidden. Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam delivered them as he received it for all of us. Then Allah Subhanahu wa Taala is going to see what we are going to do with it. Are we going to carry it or are we going to cheat it; or are we going to play with it. That’s the question.”
We accepted the decisions of the Companions
Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan then introduced the Caliphs. He said, “Even the Caliphs after the Prophet Sallallu Alayhe Wassallam were actually like the Councils of the Prophet. When the Council or the Companions of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhe Wassallam met after the Prophet; they chose Abu Bakr Siddiqui RA. We accept what they have chosen. If they chose Umar it is also okay for us; if they chose Othman, there is no problem. If they chose Ali ibn Abu Talib it is not a problem. If they chose somebody else, it is not a problem at that moment. If they chose Bilal it is not a problem; because this is the message of Islam itself.”