By Debi Brand
Yesterday, posted over at Jihad Watch, “Islamic Reform: How Firm a Foundation?”
In that post, discussion on Christine Douglass-Williams’ new book, The Challenge of Modernizing Islam: Reformers Speak Out and the Obstacles They Face.
Among the statements cited from the interviews relayed in and excerpts from the above-mentioned book, the argument of the “Koranic movement” that “holds that the Hadith is an unreliable source, and that the Koran is comprehensive and sufficient in itself.”
To that position and claim of the “Koranic movement” I answer, the Qur’an commands obedience to “Allah and Allah’s Messenger.”
Moreover, it declares, “Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.” (4:80.)
It instructs Muhammad to command, follow me.
It declares, of Muhammad, that he is an exemplary example to follow. (33:21)
It declares, Allah rested upon the shoulders of his messenger, Muhammad, the duty to explain the intended divine meanings of the Qur’anic texts.
Moreover, it hinges Allah’s love for the believer on the believer’s’ willingness and compliance in following Allah’s messenger—“ If you love Allah, follow me and Allah will love you.” (3:31)
It commands, “Whatever the Messenger gives you you should accept; and whatever he forbids you, you should forego.” (Surah 59:7)
Therefore, I ask, how is one to comply with Allah’s command to obey him thus to obey his messenger, if one has no means of discovering or knowing precisely what the messenger commanded?
How can one know he has obeyed Allah if obeying “the Messenger” is obeying Allah if one is clueless as to precisely what the Messenger commanded?
I further press, how is one to follow the command of Allah to follow the actions of his messenger if one has no record or source that details and delineates the actions of the said messenger?
How is one to follow that which the Qur’an asserts is the exemplary model believers are commanded to follow absent works, as stated above, that spell out and detail the precise actions one is to emulate?
How is one to understand the intended divine meaning of Qur’anic verses, if the one that the Qur’an declares was sent to this world for the precise purpose of explaining and making clear those intended meanings left no authoritative works bearing out those crucial intended meanings?
If the Qur’anic claim, as cited above, “follow me and Allah will love you” has a wiggles’ worth of worth to it, how is the believer to be assured of Allah’s love for him/her if that love is dependent on his ability to follow the actions of a messenger of whom there exist no authoritative written records?
What’s more, how is one to know what “the Messenger gives you” that is that which you are commanded to “accept, ” how does one find what it is that “he forbids you” so that one might know that which “you should forego” if there are, as stated, no authoritative works spelling out those details?
In other words, pray tell me, how can a book that instructs its readers to follow and obey such a man be less than intrinsically connected to, thus, categorically dependent upon works that detail and delineate what that messenger did, commanded, instituted, or forbid?
Pray tell me, how can anyone who can reason the distance to the tip of one’s nose, assert that “ the Koran is comprehensive and sufficient in itself”?
Nonsense, by it’s own declarations and commands, as shown above, it points the believer to the details and example of the life of the alleged prophet of Islam.
“Obey Allah and His Messenger,” “Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah,” and “If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you.” (3:32, 4:80, 3:31 respectively)
“The explanatory role of the Sunnah in relation to the Qur’an has been determined by the Qur’an itself, where we read in an address to the Prophet in sura al-Nahl[sic] (16:44): ‘We have sent down to you the Remembrance so that you may explain to the people what has been revealed to them.’”
(Kamili, Dr. Mohammad Hasim, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, The Islamic Texts Society, UK, 2003, p. 81)
What was allegedly revealed? The actions “Allah” wanted to see in his body of Believers, those actions seen in the life of His Messenger, Muhammad.
Where does one who desires to obey “Allah” thus obey his messenger, thus follow the example of his messenger, thus, accept what he ordered, forgo what he forbid, as he is commanded to do, where does one find the details needed to comply with all the aforementioned obligations?
Answer: in the pages of sira, ahadith, maghazi, brought together, along with Qur’anic text, into one full picture on the pages of tafsir.
The Qur’an is dependent upon those works, as stated above, is so by its very own commands and declarations, as shown above.
Hence these words, guidance and admonition from the revered, Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, under the Heading, The Messengers Are Indispensable:
It is imperative that a servant knows the messenger and his guidance, and it is also imperative that he affirms his message and obeys him. The joy of this life and the afterlife are only attainable through the messengers. Similarly, it is only through them that good and evil can be identified, and it is only through them that one can please Allah.
The messengers are the scale upon which statements and actions are weighed, and obedience to them is what separates the guided from the misguided. Consequently, they are more vital to man than his body is to his soul.
If the joy of this life and the afterlife is dependant [sic] upon the guidance of the prophet (may Allah send salutations upon him), then all who desire success must know his biography and teachings.
(Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zad Al-Ma’ad, Provisions for The Afterlife Which Lie Within Prophetic Guidance, Translation: Ismail Abdus Salaam, Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmihay, 2010, Lebanon, 1st Edition, P. 18.)