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Or has been stated in the following Hadith, ‘Be aware that I have been given the Qur’aan and its analogue also.’ (Abu Dawud)

These show that particular aspect of the Hadith which invests it with an independent position in respect of the Shari’ah. There is, however, another facet to the Hadith – certain commands are contained in the Hadith but not in the Qur’aan as evidenced by the Hadith reported by Maqdam bin Ma’adi Karb, which unequivocally establishes the authoritative stance and independent position of the Tradition in respect of Shari’ah. According to it, the meat of the domestic ass (himaar ahli) is prohibited, although it is not prohibited by the Qur’aan. Likewise, the meat of carnivorous or hunting animals has been forbidden by the Hadith and not by the Qur’aan. these and many other commandments which derive from the Tradition show the independent nature of the Hadith as the source of Shari’ah apart from the Qur’aan.

Sometimes, even the link between the Hadith and the Qur’aan is not visible, which is contrary to the Hadith being exposition of the Qur’aan and the assumption made above to the effect that the Ahadith are but exposition of the Qur’an. The answer to this would be that such reports and commands cannot escape being exposition of the Qur’an, for, even if they do not appear in any particular aayah in part, they would, on the whole, be an exposition of the following ayah in which the matter has been put down as a general rule:

‘Whatever the messenger giveth you, take it and whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain from it).’ (Qur’an, 59:97)

Thus, all commandments of this type made by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) are an exposition of the above aayat. Here, the holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has been directed to issue commands on his own and the legal decisions are declared to be parallel to those of the Qur’aan.

By this token, the two Ahaadith quoted above are according to this aayat (59:7), expositions of the latter, and all the commandments given by the holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) consequently stand confirmed as the exposition of the Qur’aan. the companions of the holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and the virtuous ones of the succeeding generations (salaf saalih) called such commandments and exposition of the Qur’aan according to this very Hadith. Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mas`ud was once asked by an old woman, ‘You curse a tattoing woman (daashimah), but nowhere in the Qur`aan has tattooing prohibited.’ Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (Radhiallaahu Anhu) replied, ‘I wish thou hadst been reading the Qur`aan. Does it not say ‘whatever the messenger giveth you?'” The old woman said, ‘Yes, so is written.’ Hadhrat ibn Mas`ud then said, ‘If so, because of this authority the Prophet of Allah has cursed the tattooing woman and has commanded us to desist from this abominable act. This command of the holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), by virtue of being an exposition of this aayah, has become a Qur1aanic command itself.”

Another episode regarding the permanent nature of the Hadith as a primary source of the Shariah relates to Imaam Shafi’ee. Once, when Imaam Shafi’ee was in the precincts of Ka’bah, he said with a scholar’s exuberant confidence: “Today I propose to reply every question on the authority of the Qur’an.” One of those present asked: “Where is the commandment to kill a wasp within the precincts of Ka’bah in the Qur’aan, which is permitted by the Shaafi’ee school?” Imaam Shafi`ee replied: the ayah “Whatever the messenger giveth you, take it,” shows that it is obligatory upon us to obey the Holy Prophet, while the hadith, “Follow Abu Bakr and `Umar after me, makes it obligatory to follow both Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. And since ‘Umar has said, “The wasp can be killed in Ka’bah,” this command is derived from the aayah, and being its exposition, constitutes a Qur`aanic commandment.

In sum, two aspects of the Hadith stand established. One is its derivative aspect, being an elaboration of the Qur`aan, and the other is its subtle relationship with the Qur`aan, being its standing authority, even though it is the elaboration of the latter. But manifestly, since the commandments of the holy prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) are proof of the Qur`aanic text, the Qur`aan and the Hadith are kindred. The Hadith, therefore, logically branches off into two kinds, (i) as a primary source, (ii) as the derivation of the Qur`aanic text.

From the viewpoint of the Qur`aan, it will be regarded as derived, for it is its exposition (and exposition is subservient to what it discusses) and from the juridical point of view would be equated with the original source, as legal principles are derived from it also. The Hadith is, therefore, a great intermediary (barzakh-e-kubra) which acquires knowledge from the Qur`aan and passes it to Fiqh. Were the Hadith not there, no connecting link between the Qur’aan and Fiqh could have been possible, and the same is true of the significance.
Qari Muhammad Tayyib (Late)
Rector – Darul Uloom (Deoband)