In recent discusion in another section of the forum, Beebok made the statement that the Quran is complete by itself and doesn't need other scripture. This is a point I have brought up before, but as I've been away from this forum for a while I hope you won't mind if I raise it again.
I did a bit of Net surfing and came across an article called http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/questions_that_the_quranites_have_no_good_logical_responses_to - Questions that the Quranites Have No Good Logical Responses To , by Bassam Zawadi. I don't know who he is or what authority he has, but he lays out a fairly comprehensive (I think) number of objections to the Quran-only position, to which I would like to respond.
By the way, in case anyone is wondering why (as a non-Muslim) I care about this issue, it is because IMHO most of the problems caused by Islam in the world are the result of this elevation of the hadith from simple tradition and historical anecdotes to core Muslim doctrine. As I have said before, I can defend the Quran as a scripture that promotes peace, but I cannot say the same about the hadith.
Also, I should apologize in advance if I am unable to participate in this discussion as actively as I would like. I'm very busy these days, but I'll do the best I can.
Here are Zawadi's fourteen objections, and my responses:
1) Why don't we have any record of early Muslims completely rejecting hadith?
Because the hadith were directed to them, not to us. The words of Allah, as dictated to Muhammad in the Quran, are for all people. Muhammad's words were never intended to apply to anyone other than his contemporaries, which is why he did not want them written down.
2) How do you know how to pray using the Quran alone?
How do you know how to tie your shoelaces using the Quran alone? If it's not in the Quran, then it obviously is not important to Allah. Exactly how you tie your shoelaces, and how you pray, is up to you. The important thing is that you do these things, and do them sincerely. That's all.
3) How do you know how much Zakah to pay using the Quran alone?
See (2) above.
4) The Quran says that men can beat their wives. But we know according to the hadith that this is meant to be a light beating that inflicts a spiritual punishment and not a harmful physical punishment. What is to stop a man from misinterpreting the Quran and beating his wife severely?
Compassion, for one thing. Common sense for another. Religion is not meant to take the place of good judgement and personal responsibility.
6) The Qur'an says to cut the hand of the thief. Does the word 'cut' in the verse mean to cut off or to cut in the sense of making a mark, or could it be metaphorical and mean cutting off the resources of the thief?
Good question, but not one which IMHO argues in favour of the hadith. Again, if the Quran left the punishment open to interpretation (and therefore open to compassion and common sense), that's probably how Allah wanted it. It would be in keeping with His compassionate nature.
7) The prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came true from the hadith, thus proving that there are divine revelations sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) other than the Quran. How do you explain this?
The claimed "prophecies" of Muhammad are extremely weak and unimpressive (a topic for another time, perhaps); but even if true, how does that show that the hadith were intended as Muslim doctrine for all time?
8) The Qur'an says that we must obey Allah and the Messenger (Surah 3:31-32,132; Surah 4:13-14, 59, 61, 64, 69, 80; Surah 24:56). There are two separate commands here. One is to obey Allah and the other is to obey the Prophet. In order to obey someone, he would need to issue a command. So if we want to obey Allah we have to do so by reading the commands of Allah in the Quran and adhering to them. If we want to obey the Prophet then we have to do so by reading the commands of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the authentic hadith and adhere to them. Or is there another way?
They are not separate commands, and to suggest otherwise would imply that Allah's message is incomplete or different from Mohammad's. Obviously, we are to obey the Messenger as a messenger, which means to obey his Message, i.e. the Quran. The repetition "Allah and the Messenger" is simply for emphasis.
On the other hand, there is no question that Mohammad's contemporaries were expected to obey Mohammad as their leader, e.g. in battle, in settling disputes, in establishing civil laws etc.; but there is no reason to expect those commands to apply to us. If they did, they would be in the Quran.
9) It says in the Qu'ran (Surah 33:21) that we have the Messenger as a good example to follow. How would we know his example without the traditions to turn to?
Muhammad (peace be upon him) is dead. He may have been a good example for his time, but nothing says that he was or was ever intended to be a good example for all time; nor that he is the only example or even the best example. There is nothing wrong with remembering and following traditions, but to raise them to the level of doctrine is to commit shirk.
10) We have different forms of reciting the Qur'an, which means that certain letters are taken away from the word or pronounced differently. Through authentic hadith, we know that these were accepted forms of reading approved by the Prophet (peace be upon him). But without hadith, how would we know this? Using the Qur'an alone, if I see that there are different forms of recitation then I would think that there is more than one Qur'an and I wouldn't know which one is correct.
Why does it matter if you pronounce it differently? Do you really think that Allah cares how you pronounce it? (What a small-minded god you believe in!)
11) In Surah 2:221, God forbids us to marry polytheist women. Yet in Surah 5:5, God says that we can marry the believing women and the chaste women from the People of the Book. This is a clear differentiation between believing women and People of the Book. You can't have a believing person today from the People of the Book who is not a Muslim. So if God were talking about the believing women from the People of the Book then He wouldn't have differentiated the "believing women" phrase from them. Furthermore, the believing people from the People of the Book were the ones who truly followed the teachings of Jesus and Moses, which are lost today. So by using the Quran alone, how do I know which verse was revealed first? Did Surah 2:221 come first and then God sent down Surah 5:5 making an exception or did God send down Surah 5:5 first and then send Surah 2:221 by completely prohibiting us from marrying the women from the People of the Book?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but I don't see a contradiction. The People of the Book are monotheists, not polytheists.
12) Surah 24, verse 31 says "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof" What exactly is this part that "appears thereof"?
It varies according to the local culture and circumstances. The Quran says only that women should dress modestly, which is good advice. If most of the women at the beach are wearing skimpy bikinis, then a standard one piece bathing suit might be considered modest. But people need to use their own judgement, as always.
13) If the Quran is so easy to understand on our own, then why did Allah have some Muslims staying behind in Madinah in order to become very well versed in religion, while the others go out to the battlefield so that they can then come back to be taught (Surah 9:122)?
This is probably the silliest objection of the bunch. First, nobody claims that the Quran can be studied in an afternoon. It's a pretty big book and takes time just to read it and assimilate it -- but most of the soldiers were illiterate and needed someone to read or recite it for them anyway. It's hardly something they could study in the midst of battle. Besides, this has nothing to do with the hadith. The same question could be raised with or without the hadith.
14) Allah says in the Qur'an (Surah 75:19) that the Qur'an will be recited. But then in the verse right after (verse 20) it is also said that the Qur'an will be explained. If the Qur'an is self-explanatory then the only thing that needs to be done is reciting it out. However, in verse 19 the function of reciting is done and then in the verse right after, the function of explaining is done. Clearly these are two different tasks, which mean that reading the Qur'an alone would not give you the full explanation required. It has to be explained through some other source. What is that other source?
Again, the Quran is a big book, and there are some parts that are obscure if you don't know the historical traditions, cultural references etc. It's nice to have somebody explain it to you, especially if you're illiterate and can't read it for yourself. But it's not necessary if all you want is the basic principles of Islam.
Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.