Kerala scholars hail Saudi move to scrutinize Hadiths

Kozhikode—Muslim scholars in Kerala have welcomed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to set up a body of scholars to scrutinize Hadiths or Hadis (the accounts of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions reported by his followers) “to prevent them from being used to justify violence or terrorism”,

Quoting the Saudi culture and information ministry, Reuters reported that King Salman has ordered the establishment of an authority (King Salman Complex) to scrutinize uses of Hadiths.

According to media reports, the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts”. The King Salman Complex will become a “trusted source of the correct and authentic hadith”, said the reports.

In Islam, Hadiths are revered as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to Quran. Hadiths are classified as authentic (sahih) and weak (daif) considering various factors and the most authentic compilation is that of Imam Bukhari, who was born in 810.

“It is a welcome move to examine the Hadiths as there are allegations that some of them were manufactured with mischievous intention,” said social activist and writer M N Karassery.

“Chekannur Moulavi vehemently questioned the authenticity of Hadiths saying that they are all fabricated. Quranists like Chekannur said that Quran should be the only accepted text in Islam. C N Ahammed Moulavi also had questioned the validity of Hadith though in moderate way. Rejection of Hadith was one of the reasons that led to Chekannur’s murder,” Karassery said adding that Hadiths are one among the sources of inspiration for fundamentalism, theocracy and extremism.

Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) state president T P Abdulla Koya Madani was cautious in his reaction to the development. “I have not come across the news about the Saudi government decision. But there is nothing wrong in examining them, especially in the context of terror outfits like the Islamic State misusing the religious concepts. The extremists are using the religious texts to justify their evil deeds,” he said.

Madani said that the Salafis in Kerala have a well-structured and system in accepting or rejecting a Hadith. “We strictly follow the Usul al-Hadith (the science of Hadith) while accepting a Hadith,” he said.

Abdul Salam Sullami, the scholar who is criticised for his tough attitude towards Hadith, said Hadiths should be revisited not just to ward off terrorism. “It is not enough to say that a particular Hadith is authentic only because it is there in Bukhari. You can find contradictory Hadiths in Bukhari. After all he is a human being who is prone to mistakes,” said Sullami.

“The best way to accept a Hadith is to test it by empirical reasoning. Any text which says that fire is not hot can be summarily rejected,” he said.

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