Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Aidid Safar: A reply

Aidid Safar is an author promoting the "Qur'an alone" ideology, meaning he is against the hadiths. He has written a book "Arab conspiracies against Islam" which proposes the arguments that the Arabs have hijacked Islam and made it their own religion. Ritual worship is in fact, not a commandment from God. Meaning to say, the five daily prayers, the religious tithe (zakat), hajj and fasting, all are actually corruptions, inserted into the religion by the Arabs through the so called "hadiths of the Prophet", which shouldn't be believed in.

The book uses references from the Qur'an, but takes them out of context and also changes their intended meanings. Most of the time, Safar thinks that a word has only one meaning and that's it, whereas in fact, a word may have several different meanings and this applies in all the languages of the world.

What are the arguments for following the Hadiths?
Qur'anic verses where God says the importance of obeying Him and the Messenger:

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger and those of you who are in authority. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." [4:59]

On that day those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that they were level with the ground, and they can hide no fact from Allah [4:42]

Whoever obeys the Messenger, he thereby surely has obeyed Allah  [4:80]

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 [4:65]

"It is not fitting for the believing man nor for the believing woman, that whenever Allah and His Messenger have decided any matter, that they should have any other opinion." [33:36]

And We revealed to you the message (Qur’an) that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. [ 16:44]

The last verse says that the Prophet is also told by God to "explain" the verses, and not just convey. This refers to the sunnah.

Several cases where the hadiths explain the Quranic verses.
1) Cutting of hands of thieves in Surah Maidah:38. The Sunnah explains about the circumstances behind the hudud law, such as the amount stolen being more than a quarter of a dinar, the stolen good should be properly kept and so on. If we don't know this, we would be chopping people's hands all day for any petty crime.

2) In Surah 6:82, God said: Those who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice: those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided.

According to this verse, anyone who mixes injustice with their belief will not attain security nor are they rightly guided. This could pose a problem, since who has never done injustice to themselves, in other words who is perfect in this world?

The Prophet, according to the hadiths, explained that this "Zulm" actually refers to shirk, according to Surah 31:13. This hadith is recorded in Bukhari, and it shows the importance of the Sunnah to explain the Qur'an.

Replies for some of Safar's arguments regarding hadiths:

1)God sent down the best Hadith/message a Scripture that is consistent (39:23)

The word hadith literally could either mean something new, as opposed to something old "qadeem", or it could mean "news" or "speech". The Qur'an uses the word "hadith" to mean refer to different circumstances.

And if you see those who meddle in Our verses, then turn away from them until they meddle in a different hadith; and if the devil lets you forget, then do not sit after remembering with the wicked people [6:68] And did the hadith of Moses come to you? [20:9]

There are many others as well. The technical definition that it has come to mean is the sayings, actions and also approval of the Prophet Muhammad, according to some ulamas. This then means that it has the same meaning as the word "sunnah".

Other ulamas define it differently, such as the sayings, actions and also approval of the Prophet, the Companions and the Tabi'ins, and this is the definition of al-Tibi. This is the majority opinion.

The simple response is, the Qur'an is the primary source of legislation and the Sunnah is the second, it has always been this way and it will always be. The best hadith (or the best news or speech) IS the Qur'an.

2) Which Hadith/message beside this would you then believe in. (77:50)

The context of the verse is talking about the deniers of the Day of Judgement, from verse 77:45:
45. Woe that Day to the deniers! 46. Eat and enjoy yourselves for a little while. Verily, you are criminals. 47. Woe that Day to the deniers! 48. And when it is said to them: "Bow down yourself!'' They bow not down. 49. Woe that Day to the deniers! 50. Then in what statement after this will they believe.

In responding to the disbelievers, God said what others will they believe in if they wouldn't even take the Qur'an seriously? By extension they wouldn't also believe in the sayings of the Prophet.

3) They never come to you with any example, except We provide you the truth and the best interpretation. (25:33)

The verse, in context, is from 25:32

32. And those who disbelieve say: "Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once" Thus, that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. 33. And no example or parable do they bring, but We reveal to you the truth, and the better explanation thereof.

 The verse replies to the detractors of the Prophet. Whatever parables they give, the Qur'an is the better, and the best explanation. The famous commentator, Ibn Kathir, said in his tafsir, "They do not say anything in an attempt to oppose the truth, but We respond to them with the truth of that same matter, more clearly and more eloquently than anything they say."

 4) A Qur’an (reading) in Arabic, without ambiguity so that they may attain success. (39:28) 

 Actually, the word "'Iwajin", translated as ambiguity by Safar, properly translates as "crookedness". As in, a Qur'an without crookedness. The Qur'an itself says that it has clear and ambiguous verses.

He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. (3:7)

These are in Arabic, the "muhkamat" and the "mutashabihaat" verses.

5)We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they (all) shall be gathered (6:38)

This should be understood to mean that the Qur'an is a book that outlines all the general information about how we should carry out our responsibilities as submitters to God. It is not in the sense that it is detailed to the max, for that would make the Qur'an to be volumes long. How are we going to establish our solat, zakat, fasting and haj without the Sunnah? The Qur'an never specifies this. Safar has a very interesting take on this matter, which is what makes the bulk of his book, upon which I will deal with in the future, God willing.

Also, if we are to understand the Qur'an to be "fully detailed" as in it is complete per se, then I want to know can we get details about Jesus' ministry? Can I know when was Solomon's temple destroyed from the Qur'an?  What happen to Enoch and Elijah, were they transported to Heaven alive, or not? So many questions exist about our glorious Prophets, but the Qur'an is absolutely silent about many of them.

I am planning to do a reply to Safar's book, "Arab conspiracies against Islam", in the near future. I have read the book and there are many things that needs to be cleared up. I am not a scholar or anything, but I will try to respond in the capacity that I have.


  1. salam,
    hope you could clear up the confusion soon.. thanx for your hard work.. matalie80

  2. Chopping people's hand in any circumstances is barbaric. Please don't justify it.

    1. Then could you give an alternative explanation for the Quranic verse concerned, I would like to hear it. tq

    2. In classical Arabic idiom, the "cutting off of one's hands and feet" is often synonymous with "destroying one's power", and it is possibly in this sense that the expression has been usedSo by cutting off a thief's hands it means cutting off a person's ability/need to steal - perhaps by providing for his needs (if he stole due to poverty), rehabilitating him etc.etc. It doesn't mean physically cutting off a person's hands - that is not social justice as per Quranic injunctions which states that punishment should equal the misdemeanor - also a person without a hand becomes an unnecessary liability on society. All this goes against the tenets of Islam.

    3. Ok, so putting aside the enormous amount of hadiths which do speak of a literal cutting of the hand, since you don't believe them, what does cutting hands and feet on opposite sides refer to, in 5:33? Why mention opposite sides, and if it is a metaphor, shouldn't God made thiis absolutely clear? Can u prove to me that ot really is an idiom?

      how do you interpret the verse about crucifixion in 5:33? What does it mean?it is a very slow and painful way to die, does that go with the tenets of islam?

      What about flogging? Is it really equal for the crime of fornication? Does flogging mean something else?

    4. My point is, some of the things that you think is against the principles of Islam, might not be so. Crucifixion is a cruel punishment, so does flogging 100 times, but it is there in the quran. Please explain.

    5. Hello ILIYAS,check the verse again.there is no hand,as a word, mention in the verse.We can cut a portion of his income or money to repay what is stolen.Crucification is not the law from God.God does not mention how hard or with what to flog;thus He wants us to use common sense.The flogging is not to harm the one punished but to bring shame and therefore to deter.The main aspect of punishment is never to exceed the crime with regard to its intensity or harshness.

    6. Hello there Rashid

      You talking about 5:33? Actually there is, it mentions "Aidiyahum" which refers to hands and "arjuluhum" which means feet. All the major Qur'anic commentators (for eg. Yusuf Ali, Shakir, Pickhtall, Muhsin Khan, Dr. Ghali) translate it this way. Maybe you can say they have been infected by the hadith virus, even so, what reasons do I have to trust your opinions instead of those scholars.

      The verse also mentions "Yusallabu" which means crucify. Aidid Safar likes to argue that a word in the Qur'an would have to mean just one thing for the entire book. An example is Solaa, which he describes Muslims as doing the Solaa shuffle to give it a variety of meanings, instead of the correct, one meaning which is "commitment".

      Going by Aidid's argument, "Yusallabu" should mean crucify, since the same root word was used to refer to Jesus being claimed by his enemies, to have been crucified in the verse 4:157, and we know this word could mean no other thing when referring to Jesus.

      For flogging, I don't have much to comment, but from a modern perspective, flogging people 100 times for the sin of fornication does seem a bit harsh. It would still be painful, since like you said, there is no guide. People might use this loophole to hurt the fornicator. It is only in the hadith, where we find the guidelines to carry out this punishment, and even that people would still get hurt.