“Why Reforming the Hadith is so Difficult,” Elie Elhadj

This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation. Not exactly the same, but... it's changing the theological foundations of the religion Fadi Hakura, Turkey expert, Chatham House

A Turkish Martin Luther: Can Hadith be Revised?
By Elie Elhadj – July 3, 2010

The BBC reported on February 26, 2008 that Turkey’s Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University’s School of Theology to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith. An adviser to the project says some of the sayings can be shown to have been invented hundreds of years after the Prophet Muhammad died to serve the purposes of contemporary society (BBC, February 26, 2008).

Turkey is taking the lead in trying to usher the Muslim world into the modern age. However, the challenge is formidable. Islamists will undoubtedly accuse the reformers of heresy and apostasy; this will be especially true in the Arab world. Arabs act as guardians of Isalm by virtue of their Arabic tongue. The Quran states that they are the “best people evolved to mankind” (3:110). What is more, the Prophet, His companions, the Quran, and the Sanctuaries in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are all Arab.

To open the door of Hadith revision is to step into a swamp, where claims of truthfulness and authenticity are hard to substantiate.

Following the death of the Prophet in 632, the caliphs were faced with conditions in the conquered lands of Roman Syria, Iraq, and Egypt and of Persia that were very different from those of the desert peninsula where the Quran and its laws emerged. Of the 6,236 Quranic verses, less than 10% deal with legislative matters, primarily marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The rest deal with theological matters.

By the end of the ninth century the ulama succeeded in enshrining the Sunna traditions as a source of law equal to the Quran; notwithstanding, that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.

The basis for elevating the Sunna was the belief that it was a manifestation of God’s will, a guide on matters on which the Quran was silent. Incorporating the attributed sayings and actions of the Prophet into the Islamic Sharia made the Prophet more than the deliverer of God’s message. He became the exemplar for the Muslim to emulate faithfully. In so doing the coverage of Quranic law was expanded; thrusting the ulama into the tiniest details of Muslims’ daily lives. As an example, Ahmad Bin Hanbal (d. 855), founder of the orthodox Hanbalite School of jurisprudence, “is alleged never to have eaten watermelon because he was not in possession of any Prophetic precedent on the subject” (Coulson, A History of Islamic Law, 1999, 71).

Hundreds of thousands of often contradictory and partisan traditions in favor or against every imaginable thing affecting the individual, the family, the tribe, the city, the mosque, religious rituals, personal conduct, personal hygiene, business affairs, etc., were put into the mouth of the Prophet by thousands of sometimes dubious transmitters. Each transmitter claimed that he had been told by x, that y had told him, that z had told him, that f had told him, etc., claiming the Prophet had said this or done that.

We are told that leading scholars diligently verified the authenticity of every word of every attribution and the integrity of every attributer into every chain of attributions. Eventually, a few thousand traditions were accepted as authentic, with six collections elevated to canonical rank by Sunni Muslims.

The most revered and authoritative collection is that of Muhammad Bin Ismail Al-Bukhari (d. 870). Al-Bukhari selected out of 600,000 traditions he collected from 1,000 sheikhs in the course of 16 years of travel and labor in Persia, Iraq, Syria, Hijaz and Egypt 7,400 traditions (Hitti, History of the Arabs, 1970, 39). His book, titled Sahih Al-Bukhari, is classified according to some 100 subject matters. Al-Bukhari’s collection is considered by most Sunni scholars second only to the Quran in authenticity. A close second in importance is the collection of Muslim Bin Al-Hajjaj (d. 875) of Naysabur, Iran with 7,600 traditions. The other four collections are those of Ibn Maja (d. 886); with 4,300 traditions, Abi Dawood (d. 888); with 5,300 traditions, Al-Tirmithi (d. 892); with 4,000 traditions, and Al-Nasai (d. 915); with 5,800 traditions. Repetitiveness exists in the collections individually and among each other.

Notwithstanding the reported integrity of the collectors and the care that they must have taken to ensure the credibility of the thousands of attributers and the authenticity of the hundreds of thousands of Prophetic traditions that grew over more than 200 years, it remains impossible to know with absolute certainty whether every word and comma in every attribution by every memorizer was perfectly authentic and reliable and in the true chronological order in which the Prophet had announced and acted. What is known, however, is that during the first two-and-a-half centuries following the death of the Prophet, the generations of Hadith attributers and collectors were witnesses to momentous doctrinal, legal, and political conflicts.

Aside from the great Arab conquests, which established one of the world’s largest empires in a relatively short time, major intra-Muslim conflicts erupted during that era. There were four civil wars, seven state capital cities, and numerous violent political and religious rebellions. These events spilled rivers of blood and divided the nascent Islamic nation into many factions and sects. Under such circumstances, it is fair to say that some attributors, not to mention the collectors, had financial, political, career and other personal interest in the outcome, or they might have simply forgotten what was said or heard.

The first Muslim civil war was from 656 to 661 between Ali and Muawiyah. The second civil war (680-692) was during the reigns of Muawiyha’s four successors against another claimant of the Caliphate, Abdullah Bin Al-Zubair, who in 683 was recognized as a rival Caliph to the Umayyads in parts of Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria, until he was killed at Mecca in 692. The third civil war culminated in 750 with the destruction of the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus and the advent of the Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad. The fourth civil war (811-813) was between Al-Amin and Al-Mamoun, the two sons of the famed Caliph, Haroun Al-Rashid (786-809). Eventually, the former was killed and Al-Mamoun reigned from 813 to 833. Additionally, there was the cataclysmic event in 680 that eventually shook the foundations of Islam and caused a permanent split between Shiites and Sunnis to this very day: namely, the rebellion and the resulting killing of Imam Hussain Bin Ali at Karbala, Iraq.

The first capital of the Muslim State was Medina, the Prophet’s adopted city in 622. Medina remained the capital during the rule of the first three Caliphs (632-656). In 656, Ali, the fourth Caliph, made Kufa, Iraq his base. Muawiyah made Damascus his capital in 661. Damascus remained the capital of the Umayyad dynasty’s fourteen Caliphs until the Abbasids destroyed the Umayyads Caliphate in 750. The Abbasids moved the capital to Iraq, transitionally to Al-Hashimiyyah before Baghdad was built, starting in 762. In 836, the eighth Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu’tasim (833-842), moved the capital to Samarra (a short distance north of Baghdad on the Tigris River). The sixteenth Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu’tadid (892-902), moved the seat of government back to Baghdad in 892. Meanwhile, Cordova became in 756 the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate in Spain, rivaling and eventually outlasting the Abbasids in Baghdad.

To uncover the truthfulness of hundreds of thousands of Prophetic sayings and actions, which supposedly had occurred ten generations earlier, must have been a daunting task. The monumental size, the old age, and the great significance of the issues involved raise questions regarding the genuineness of some of the Traditions.

To put this challenge into perspective, the assertion that Al-Bukhari (810-870) examined 600,000 traditions means that, even if he had spent forty years of his sixty-year life exclusively on the one and only task of compiling the Sahih, working 14-hour a day without taking a vacation, a sick day, or working on anything else; be it to earn a living or compose other books, he would have had to investigate an average of more than forty traditions every single day, or one tradition every 20 minutes. But, Al-Bukhari wrote 21 books in addition to the Sahih. If we take Professor Hitti’s statement that Al-Bukhari spent 16 years of travel and labor in order to produce his Sahih, then he would have had to investigate the provenance of an average of 103 traditions every single day; or, a tradition every 8 minutes. In addition to confirming the exact text of every Hadith, Al-Bukhari had to ensure the personal integrity of the thousands of attributers over ten generations who reported the Prophet’s sayings and actions. Even if the number of the traditions involved were half as many; or one tenth, the likelihood that every tradition in Sahih Al-Bukhari is perfectly authentic requires a great act of faith to accept. Was Al-Bukhari aided by assistants? The answer is unlikely. The nature of the task was such that Al-Bukhari alone could have judged the integrity of the attributer(s).

The volume of traditions attributed to some memorizers is bewildering. “Abu-Huraira, a companion of the Prophet . . . and a most zealous propagator of His words and deeds, reputedly transmitted some 5,374 Hadiths . . . Aisha transmitted 2,210 traditions, Anas bin Malik; 2,286, and Abdullah, the son the caliph, Omar Bin Al-Khattab; 1,630” (Ibid., 394). Other transmitters with large volumes of attributed traditions include: Ibn Abbas; with 1,710, Jabir bin Abdullah; 1,540, Abu Saiid Al-Khudari; 1170, Ibn Masud; 748, the caliph Omar; 537, and the caliph Ali; 536 (Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, 1977, 26-27).

Some of these figures are in dispute. Less than fifty years earlier, one scholar, Ghundar bin Jaafar (d. 808) “alleged to have said that bin Abbas did not hear more than nine traditions from the Prophet, while Yahya bin Saiid Al-Qattan (d. 813) believed this figure to be ten” (Juynboll, 1983. Muslim tradition. Studies in chronology, provenance and authorship of early Hadith, 1983, 29). Al-Ghazali “maintained that Ibn Abbas heard no more than four traditions from Muhammad” (ibid.). Whether these disputations are true or false, whether the Prophet’s teenager wife Aisha, who when the Prophet died was 18 years of age, possibly 15 years, could have remembered accurately all 2,200 traditions is impossible to tell.

Additionally, the six canonical collectors lived under Abbasid rule during the turbulent decades of the 800s. The Abbasid Hadith transmitters, upon whom the six collectors relied, were in turn reliant on transmitters who had lived for almost one hundred years under the rule the Abbasids’ great nemesis, the Umayyads (661-750). Abbasid politics and fervent hatred of the Umayyads could have played a role in choosing or ignoring attributers, as well as altering certain attributions considered pro-Umayyad.

To add to the controversy, Shi’a Muslims disregard the Sunni Hadith collections. They have their own. Shi’a collections differ from the Sunni collections in that they emphasize the Prophet’s naming of Ali as his first successor, a claim disputed by the Sunnis. Also, while the Sunnis record the sayings and actions of the Prophet, the Twelver Shiites, the great majority of the Shiites today, record the sayings and actions of not only the Prophet but also those of the twelve Imams. Additionally, for a tradition to be credible it must be transmitted through one of the Imams. Shi’a Muslims denounce the first three caliphs, Abu Bakr (632-634), Omar (634-644), and Uthman (644-656) as usurpers of the caliphate from Ali (656-661). Shi’ites do not consider Abu Bakr, Omar, or Uthman, along with the Prophet’s companions who supported these caliphs, as reliable transmitters of traditions.

The Indian Islamic thinker Muhammad Ashraf observed that it is curious that no caliph or companion found the need to collect and write down the Hadith traditions for more than two centuries after the death of the Prophet (Guillaume, Islam, 1990, 165). Ignaz Goldziher concludes “it is not surprising that, among the hotly debated controversial issues of Islam, whether political or doctrinal, there is none in which the champions of the various views are unable to cite a number of traditions, all equipped with imposing Isnads” (Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 1890, Vol. II., 44). John Burton observes, “the ascription of mutually irreconcilable sayings to several contemporaries of the Prophet, or of wholly incompatible declarations to one and the same contemporary, together strain the belief of the modern reader in the authenticity of the reports as a whole” (Burton, An introduction to the Hadith, 1994, xi).

Leaders of Turkey’s Hadith project say successive generations have embellished the text, attributing their political aims to the Prophet Muhammad (BBC, February 26, 2008).

Comments (109)

Mika Angel-0 said:

Dear Joshua,

If ‘they’ want to revise the qur’an or the hadith they are most welcome to do it. But ‘non-they’ are under no compulsion to accept the revision.

Even if they want to revive the ataturk of old we will have no problem.

Joshua, Eli& Others,
come to the Sanctuary, Come to Langkawi

Thank you Dr Joshua Landis.

July 3rd, 2010, 11:42 pm


Maysaloon said:

The hadith situation does require some reform, but this article is a useless mish-mash of references to the real debates taking place in the Islamic world about the hadith. Note there are no examples given at all about some of these contradictory hadith (they do exist, but I doubt the author knows of them, or even cares to know), also, Mr el Hadj is an extremely suspect individual with whom I have had several exchanges on the internet and his agenda is unclear.

What is certain is that this man does not know what it is he is talking about. I state this as a fact, having undermined several of his arguments based on his misunderstanding of philosophy, and especially key periods in the history of Islamic philosophy.

In fact, it is doubtful that his name is even “Elie al Hadj” but rather it is extremely likely that he is called Tareq Heggy, a self-styled Egyptian “intellectual” whose website is on http://www.tarek-heggy.com/

His writings are not as offensive and vulgar to Muslims and Arabs as someone like Daniel Pipes, but they do come close. The sting is worse because he is allegedly an Arab.

Please find linked a series of rebuttals for this man’s many fallacious arguments here:


I do have a higher regard for SyriaComment than I do for other blogs about Syria, so it is disappointing to say the least that someone like “El Hadj” is given a platform to air his confusing and distorting messages. This person is not credible, in my opinion and I am happy to defend my opinion on this matter with those who disagree.

July 4th, 2010, 4:49 am


David said:

Having met both Tareq Heggy and Elie al Hadj, and enjoyed their lively conversation–and occasionally off-the-wall idas–I can vouch that both are indeed who they say they are — respectively a former oil executive and a former banker.

July 4th, 2010, 7:43 am


Joshua said:

Dave, thank you for confirming that Elie Elhadj is who is says he is – an ex-banker, who quit banking after living in Saudi Arabia for many years, returned to Univ in London to get a PhD, and authored books and articles on various topics.

Maysloun, I enjoy reading your blog and recommend it to all. Your recent post on Arab intellectuals is very funny, even if over the top.

Is Elhadj provocative? Yes, he is. I have published a number of extracts from his articles. He expresses one point of view in the long clash between Syrian and Saudi influence over ideas. In the 19th century, Wahhabi ideas from Arabia had a profound effect on Syrian Islamic practices. The Sufi orders, which had for so long played a dominant role in Syrian religious life, were thrown on the defensive. This was not only because of Wahhabism emanating from the Gulf, but also because of the Salafi influences from Egypt and within Syria itself, which also attacked popular and heterodox practices of Islam that many claimed did not accord with the original and authentic Islam.

In this article, Elhadj does not say much that is controversial beyond describing why sorting out the hadith problem is so difficult and ultimately impossible. In suggesting that hadith are often seen to have political origins and much disputed, Elhadj is doing nothing that hundreds of predecessors have not already done. Attacking hadith is a sport with a long pedigree. The Salafis of the early part of the last century were expert in it themselves.

Elhadj provides a very condensed expose of what the difficulties are.

July 4th, 2010, 9:52 am


Mika Angel-0 said:

“The Quran states that they are the “best people evolved to mankind” (3:110). What is more, the Prophet, His companions, the Quran, and the Sanctuaries in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are all Arab.”

Is there a Sahih that support this statement, Joshua? Or shall we ask the Hadith experts?

July 4th, 2010, 10:31 am


Husam said:

Elhadj said: “Whether these disputations are true or false, whether the Prophet’s teenager wife Aisha, who when the Prophet died was 18 years of age, possibly 15 years, could have remembered accurately all 2,200 traditions is impossible to tell.”

We all have seen 5 year olds recite the Quran completely. Kids are like a tape recorders, aren’t they? Elhadj questioning is clearly a play with words, and he knows it. This is distorting the reality? We all can acknowledge that our memory served us well when we were in high school and college, certainly much more profound than in adult life. So, why question if Aisha could have…when it is clear that her age was actually a positive factor as we all know.

I don’t respect this type of manipulations. Many moderate Muslims are aware of the danger when we listen to such ridiculous non-logical statements that try and dictate and INFLUENCE change.

July 4th, 2010, 1:44 pm


idit said:

An alarming trend:Syrian Schoolgirl Dropouts Rise


July 4th, 2010, 1:49 pm


Maysaloon said:

THank you for correcting my assumption on the identities of these two men. I saw startling similarities in the perspectives these men presented and, being a naturally suspicious person, saw a conspiracy. I am an Arab after all.

As for Mr Al Hadj’s perspective, it is not just controversial but it can be at times inaccurate and simplistic. Reducing the issues concerning the hadith and the development of Islam, as well as Islamic history, to a simplistic reactionary versus progressive Muslim struggle is problematic. Regardless of how condensed his article might have been, this is a fundamental theme in Mr al Hadj’s writings and it cripples his argument fatally.

Naturally this is not a personal criticism of the man, but if one publishes their work they must expect a fair amount of criticism, and many of his articles deserve far more of that than anything I have provided.

Thanks Joshua.

July 4th, 2010, 2:22 pm


Husam said:

(@ Comment 4)

I disagree with your statement that Elhadj’s essay is nothing more than provocative. Actually, it is more than that. It is a distortion and manipulation of words that lead to confusion, misconceptions and deliberate attack on Islam. You have giving him the floor to selectively use unpopular fatwas and his mathematical skills to try and debunk Al-Bukhari’s work (Al-Bukhari had an incredible, miraculous amount of memory, but of course that is a debate by itself). The question is: will you give the floor on an article regarding the authenticity of certain elements of Christianity or Judaism?

About the adult-suckling fatwa that he is peddling, we have to understand what a fatwa is? In Sunni Islam, a fatwa is nothing more than an opinion of a mufti and is non-binding. Bin-Laden made fatwas on fake tapes, and what:) ? How many Christian, Jewish “fatwas” do we know of that can be put under the microscope?

Why is the attack on Islam when other religions are filled with questionable innovations and contradictions far larger and certainly more damaging than a suckling or two? Interpretations by any representative in any religion can be false. Papal statements have been grandly wrong throughout history.

My point is this: Josh, will you publish on Syria Comment an article of facts, I or others, write about Christianity and its voluminous contradictions? How about if I write about the teaching of the Talmud or its “genuineness” as Elhadj puts it, will you publish it? Certainly, you cannot dispute relevancy because Christianity and Judaism are part of the Middle East history.

How about for this starters: The Roman priesthood was not instituted by Christ; it is a human invention. Many Muslims and Non-Muslims think that “intimate’ confessions are sickening. Or the Vatican’s long silence of abuse of boys by priest. Or, should I list declarations by Chief Rabbis of the highest order. Here is one: “The Arabs are Donkeys and Beasts” Rabbi David Batzri, head of the Magen David Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Orthodox Jews install automatic light on/off switches as they themselves can not turn on light on the Sabbath. Stupid? Perhaps… but who are we or who is Elhadj to question right or wrong, or even morality for that matter? I can then bridge my piece to the Talmud & Zionism much like Almasri does; would you publish it?

Will you, Josh, publish on your SC “wall” criticisms of Christian or Jewish holy books and doctrines? Or, will you be afraid of a backlash? If not, you allowed it for Islam, explain why not for others? Kindly, don’t ignore me or dodge the questions.

July 4th, 2010, 2:42 pm


Husam said:


the post is not about christianity or judaism so please dont pull the typical excuse muslims come up with when their religion is criticised (i.e. you would never dare to criticis judaism so why should we listen to you criticising islam etc.)

the question on hand is whether many of the hadiths have been created by people long after the prophet’s death and manipulated them to suit their needs.

so my question to you is, do you believe that all the hadiths are accurate or that many of them are contradictory and wrong?

July 4th, 2010, 3:51 pm


Innocent Criminal said:


the post is not about christianity or judaism so please dont pull the typical excuse muslims come up with when their religion is criticised (i.e. you would never dare to criticis judaism so why should we listen to you criticising islam etc.)

the question on hand is whether many of the hadiths have been created by people long after the prophet’s death and manipulated them to suit their needs.

so my question to you is, do you believe that all the hadiths are accurate or that many of them are contradictory and wrong?

July 4th, 2010, 4:04 pm


Norman said:

Husam ,
Islam doe not need approval from anybody , and nobody is attacking Islam , just remember the Rabbi that said Arabs are dogs , he did not say Muslim Arabs but Arabs , Muslim Christians and Jews for the matter , what the Catholics do in their tradition has nothing to do with Christianity many of the practices were established after Jesus was crucified , The catholic church , other churches and even the Jewish faith do not interfere in the laws of the land , the west christian could care less what Jesus said that what GOD unite in Marriage can not be separated by man in Divorce , they still do it so religion in the West and probably in Israel is for ones comfort not to impose it on others ,

religions are for the faithful and what gets people into Heaven , laws are what keep people out of jail ,

you might want to write about Islam and what you think about the Koran and what DR Ehadj said that was wrong , just remember that he did not dispute Islam or the Koran but the accuracy of the hadith and it’s influence in countries with Muslim Majority ,

July 4th, 2010, 4:05 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Mr Elhadj seems to be merely calling for a philosophical reasoning in Islam and for the separation of religion and state. I don’t see where he attacks Islam as a religion. The questioning of the status quo must not be seen as Kufr. Just because Elie is a Christian ought to not disqualify him from discussing this subject and asking questions about the role of clerics in religion. He has also questioned Christianity’s involvement in state affairs in Europe of the past.

July 4th, 2010, 4:40 pm


Maysaloon said:

Your point is noted, but I would like to tell you that philosophical is a word used too often by people who do not know what it means. In the case of Mr el Hadj, he has generously referred, in other articles, to the Mutazilites, to al Ghazali and Avicenna, and even to Averroes, however, and therein lies the rub, he does not know what they actually said or what it is they were actually debating.

He is certainly not disqualified from making any comments about Islam or Muslims, it is just that the grounds for his arguments are very shaky. I just don’t see how they can be acceptable when they do not withstand scrutiny. We need to discuss the actual issues instead of repeating tired cliches, stereotypes and discredited orientalist assumptions.

July 4th, 2010, 5:05 pm


Norman said:

Maysaloon ,

Can you explain where the mistakes are so we can learn ?.

July 4th, 2010, 5:22 pm


EHSANI2 said:


But this is exactly what smart people like you must do. You ought to pick on Mr. Elhadj’s arguments and prove that they are “very shaky”. Thus far, I have noticed a blanket attack on the man’s character and so-called lack of depth or knowledge without taking on his arguments and proving analytically what is wrong with them.

July 4th, 2010, 5:27 pm


almasri said:

Innocent Criminal, Norman, Joshua, others

Elhadge is not just questioning hadith. In fact he is attacking the faith as a whole with all its branches, i.e. Sunni, Shia etc…

“By the end of the ninth century the ulama succeeded in enshrining the Sunna traditions as a source of law equal to the Quran; notwithstanding, that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.”

The Qura’n itself commands the Muslims to follow the Prophet’s (PBUH) example in their conducts. The verses are numerous to this effect. Neither the Shia nor the Sunnis differ on this point. In fact, they both claim they are following the Sunnah – literally in English means example of a person to emulate, in this case Muhammad (PBUH). The Shia quote Sunni sources and the Sunnis quote Shia sources with no qualms whatsoever. The Shia teach the collections of hadith in their schools and the Sunnis teach the Jaafari school of thought.

The Sunnah was not enshrined by the ninth century as elhadge alleges. Anyone who does not mention the likes of Malik Ibn Anas, Shafei, Jaafar al-Sadiq and others who preceded these compilers that elhadge is throwing their efforts into doubt has no inkling how Islamic Jurisprudence as well as Hadith evolved. All these pious men came one to two hundred years before the compilers came into being. These are the people who created the schools of thought in Islam which continues up to the present. Anyone who has not heard that the Copts of Egypt used to attend the Halakas of Shafei (a Qureishi born in Gaza and a kin of the Prophet) in the mosques is ignorant of Islamic history and is not worthy of any consideration in a topic like this. When the Copts were asked why they do that they would say in order to learn Arabic from the most eloquent Arab of his time who before embarking on a tutorship under Malik used to memorize by heart all the epics of the early Arab poets. He was among the first scholar to lay down the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence in writing. So it is an obvious contradiction and lack of competent knowledge when someone claims something was enshrined one or two hundred years after it was already enshrined.

I apologize for previous misunderstandings but Innocent is correct in one sense. This is not about comparative religion. It is about another attempt to revive the desperate efforts of orientalism and extend the hopeless life of colonialism over the Arab and Muslim people. I do understand your zeal but please try to read between the lines.

You are correct that Joshua should not have allowed his website to steep so low as to post for a mediocre person with no claim whatsoever to competent knowledge in a subject that requires the sincere efforts of scholars of completely different calibre.

Of course, Elhadge has the right to express an opinion but he certainly doesn’t deserve to generate sensationalism in any medium of any repute on a subject that needs a forum of different kind of readership and different set of skills.


You have erred in posting this article. Of course you can cite freedom of information act(s) or freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution of the US. After all it is your website. However, where, do you draw the line between defamation of a whole civilization and misinformation about a great culture and objectivity? What purpose would such misinformation serve if read by those in the US or anywhere else in the West who do not have the tools to verify or the knowledge to criticize what is in it? Does it widen or narrow the gulf between cultures? This is not the concern. But the agenda is clear – Let’s pose as the teachers of those Muslims who we know are ignorant about their religion and teach them the way we think they should think about their religion.

July 4th, 2010, 5:58 pm


Jad said:

Dr. Elie,
Good informative post, and I don’t see any wrong in writing this analyse.

Dear Ehsani
Thank you for your excelent comments, I had the same understanding you wrote about.

Prof. Landis,
you did the right thing, thank you. Because through questionning and research things get better.

July 4th, 2010, 6:21 pm


Norman said:

AL Masri,

I can not believe that you think that we do not have high regard for Islam , the question is and should be yours , are the customs of the countries being as they are different being enforced in the name of Islam , every Muslim and Arab should have that inquisitive mind ,

The second thing , the Christian fundamentalist have the same idea that they should live the life of Jesus , and for that they think that everybody who disagrees with them as a sinner and needs to be born again , WE LAUPH AT THEM ,The Prophets just want people to be good people , being good is not something needs significant explanation ,

July 4th, 2010, 6:33 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Mr. Haytham Maleh was sentenced to jail for three years.Is this justice for human right lawyer in his 80,just to send a letter to the president telling him about the corruption in Syria?

July 4th, 2010, 7:04 pm


almasri said:

Norman (19)

Where did I say that you or anyone besides elhadge has no regards to Islam? Without meeting in person any of the participants on this forum the high regard to Islam is more than obvious to me. But there is fundamental lack of knowledge about Islam, its history and its tenets.

There is no comparison whatsoever between Christian fundamentalists ideas about Jesus and Muslims ideas about following Muhammad.

Christendom long ago abdicated political authority of its religion. Islam has never done so and it is not in the process of doing so any time now or in the future. Muslims by and large are not convinced that Mosque and State separation is the proper thing for them. They are convinced that Islam is a complete way of life which elhadge would like to see come to an end by his own admission.

It is an insult to Islam itself as well as to the intelligence of its adherents for someone from outside the faith to pose as a ’sage’ even without enough knowledge and ask Muslims to reform and emulate another civilization, and particularly to ask Muslims to fall into the secular abyss.

July 4th, 2010, 7:08 pm


Norman said:

AL Masri,

I took this as hint hint , you are all against Islam ,and attacking the faith ,

((( Innocent Criminal, Norman, Joshua, others

Elhadge is not just questioning hadith. In fact he is attacking the faith as a whole with all its branches, i.e. Sunni, Shia etc…

July 4th, 2010, 9:12 pm


Roger said:

Wasn’t the central point of Martin Luther’s Reformation an attack on the central authority of the Church of Rome? That is, it was fundamentally a political issue over Church governance.

The assumption that the Reformation was a panacea which led to more liberal thought is directly refuted by facts/

Fact: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Graham Franklin, Fred Phelps et al are all members of Protestant denominations. All heirs of the Reformation.

Fact: A check on the tenets of several “mainstream” Protestant denominations would reveal doctrines and beliefs highly similar to what are described as extremist Islamic sects.

Perhaps, the time has come to recognize that like patriotism, religion is sometimes used by unscrupulous individuals for purposes far removed from religion or by those with serious psychological issues.

The solution is to call out the crazies and the charlatans. Slavish imitation of a Western development that did not achieve the results imagined for it is worse than useless.

July 4th, 2010, 11:05 pm


Averroes said:

Dr. El Hadj,

Thank you for this article, but I would be interested about learning more of this ambitious Turkish project.

Some subjects are ultra taboo to most Muslims today, unfortunately. Bringing up similar thoughts at various occasions I have faced reflexes as if I were treating my audience with a severe electric jolt.

I don’t see any attack on Islam, as I understand it, if we look with a critical eye on the Hadith establishment. There are certainly questions that cannot be easily swept under the carpet to any inquiring mind. The interrelation between the organized religion that Islam morphed into under the Umayyads and especially the Abbasis, and between the profound political bitterness between the several character rivaling for political dominance cannot be ignored.

I have long thought about what building a database of all the available traditions and narrators would be like. Putting all the books, all the narrations, all the narrators, all the dates, and all other available information into a well built database and then inquiring and cross correlating at that database to come out with new knowledge. That would be a fantastic academic project, and I think that, yes, it does have to happen in a country like Turkey whose scholars are Sunni, yet they can’t be bought with Saudi money. Turkey has its own proud Islamic tradition and a secular culture that has allowed its people to think outside the box.

I salute the Turks for undertaking this monumental project, and I do hope that its outcome will be an electric jolt … for the betterment of Islam and Muslims.

July 4th, 2010, 11:55 pm


Husam said:

My question remains unanswered:

Will I, or anyone else, be given the floor on SC by Prof. Landis to publish a “clean” write up on any issue about religions other than Islam? I, and I am sure many others have serious, elaborate, and supported questions in regards to traditions and teachings of the Talmud, in a philosophical, political, and historical manner. Will we be given equal footing as has been given to Elhadj? My point was never about comparative religion but about why only Muslims and why only Islam? Otherwise, I am led to believe this forum is biased? Last month Dr. Landis suspended Trustquest for one month, but not Akbar Palace nor Amir who all broke the rules ten times over. Again, Why? Supposedly it was random.


The specific example about Rabbi Batzri was about Arabs, there are dozens others attacking Muslims or Islam. I am also disappointed that you state “Christianity and Judaism as a religion do not at all interfere with the law of the land” What do you call what is happening in Israel and what happens in the Knesset on the table and under the table? Biblical Israel, anyone? Are you telling me that Christian doctrine did not influence law as we know it? It may have separated Church and State as Almasri pointed out, but certainly many laws are derived from the ten commandments. Are you telling me that Empirical America’s quest in the Middle East is only for power and oil, and nothing to do with Evangelical fear of Islam adherents overtaking Christianity by numbers in 2050? Religion is not a non-issue in the west as you stated. Please tell me, what the Sharia in Syria TODAY does to impose on Non-Muslims (I read the story about your great-grandfather in Hama, that is not the norm and there is no legality for that, so I think something is missing from the story, someone was corrupt, or something else). Elhadj strategically chose not to talk about the Quran because he knows that he will be discredited as many before him have. However, he cleverly chose to talk about what the media loves to sensationalize: weak Ahadiths, unpopular Fatwas, the 4 wives, Niqab, etc… He also chose and Dr. Landis granted, a forum knowingly absent from any Muslims who have the time, the capacity and the understanding of Fiqh needed to refute his claims. Norman, aren’t you tired of this? Also, I pointed Aisha’s age and she being his wife as a plus and not a minus explaining why this particular point Elhadj is making is very weak to say the least, do you buy that? Are you really that interested? Most of us are not theological experts here. If you are interested in learning more about Ahadiths and deep arguments about religion (you asked Maysaloon: “teach us“), there are many forums about Islam pro and con.

Innocent Criminal:

I am not qualified to answer about all the Ahadiths. But the few common ones I have read make perfect sense to me. How about you, would you like to talk about the Talmud, and do you believe in it completely? I have many questions about the authenticity, the practices, the injustices, the contradictions in many chapters of the Talmud? Perhaps Joshua can give me the floor….I am still waiting for an answer. Josh, are you there?


You said everyone has a right to question the “status quo”, I buy that. Then, again by the same token, kindly allow me, or others, to question certain problem areas within the Evangelical connections with Zionism and their political agenda disguised under religion, or again the authenticity of the Talmud and its teaching on this forum. As you say, being a Muslim shouldn’t disqualify me, or anyone else from mere questioning the Pope in Rome, the Priest in Yellowknife, the Mufti in Cairo, nor the Rabbi in Timbuktu, correct? Do you think I will be given the green light to a simple write-up and follow up questions in equal footings as was granted to Elhadj on this forum. I think not! But why? Did I open a Pandora’s Box? Or perhaps, my credentials don’t suffice. I will even accept your so called: “blanket attack on character”. I can assure you I will not even be able to reach that point. Joshua will never, ever allow any critical study or essay on his forum about serious questions regarding non-Islamic teachings like the Talmud, or events like the Holocaust or any sensitive issues, but he did about the Ahadiths. Again, Why?


I accept your apology, I still disagree with you about one major issue in particular: Jews & Israel. I don’t like it when anyone bundles up any creed of people into one basket. There are good Jews and many among them have nothing to do with political Zionism.


Thank you for thanking Professor, Doctor Landis. I perhaps would like to thank him too, one day very soon, for allowing me or others who perhaps are more qualified than I, the same freedom of speech given to Elhadj.


So according to you, if I understood correctly, Protestants need psychological help? And no, Luther’s Reformation was not about politics, it was about the truth and the corruption of the Vatican which continues to this day.


I have no problem to see the results of the Turkish Project, or cross referencing the various Ahadiths. I think this is a great idea. My beef is why is the focus nowadays only on Islam. Don’t you think there are questions about other religions that should also not be, as you stated, “swept under the carpet to any inquiring mind”?


1. Please give us your sources which you claim that Al-Bukhari was the sole person who listened and written down the Ahadiths himself from A to Z for his books, and that he had no help or used other sources? This is very important, kindly advise.

2. Do you know the meaning of Barakah? Do you believe that some people are bestowed with talent unimaginable to the average person. Dare me post a video of one my twin daughters aged 8 months, playing the Piano since she was 6 months and 2 weeks old. She listens and differentiates from one tune to the next using almost all her finger and both hands (we are NOT talking about a baby slamming any random key). According to my paediatrician, I am out to lunch, as she did not believe me. Do you know how many 6 year olds that have memorized and can recite the whole Quran? You are not the only gifted one 🙂

3. There are modern day scholars who have memorized ahadith numbering several hundred thousands. It is not unheard of for certain gifted scholars who had memorized Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Nasa`i, and Abu Dawud, as well as books of fiqh, tafseer, and other sciences.

4. I, myself have witnessed first hand and watched an Imam (in his early 40‘s), who is also a medical physician, from India in a conference in Toronto (2007) who can answer ‘any’ random questions from the audience on any subject using ‘all” major scriptures simultaneously: The Quran, the New Testament, the Torah, the Talmud, the Bughavat Gita, the Buddha scriptures and several other books! He will answer and state the relevant text, the chapter, the exact location on any miniscule subject where it is written throughout any book. Sort of like if you enter a word on your outlook search box or your find a file on Word, and bingo you get all the results matching those keywords. Don’t believe, his name is Dr Zakir Naik, and I have bought the DVD as a reference. I am not endorsing him or his talks, I am only stating that it is possible to memorize, recite, and write large volumes with such speed and accuracy even in modern times. So, the numbers you presented about Albukhari don’t shock me, but they may shock the average non-muslim reader, you have certainly achieved that goal.

July 5th, 2010, 12:42 am


Joshua Landis said:

Dear Husam,

I think SC readers would be interested to have you lay out any topic on Christianity that you chose. We have heard quite a bit on Judaism and have a pretty clear picture of your views on Israel and its religion. Why not write about Christianity and, if possible, Syrian Christians in a way that will help us see it and them from a fresh perspective or some way that we may not have considered properly.

July 5th, 2010, 1:38 am


jad said:

Dear Husam,
Couple friendly notes:
1- The fellow who was banned is Ghat Albird not Trustquest, and I personally was very disappointed to see him baned over nothing by Dr. Landis. But the fact that this is not my own site I didn’t bother to question the decision.

2- I think that you are taking things out of their context and away from the reasoning this article was written under, as Ehsani wrote ‘Mr Elhadj seems to be merely calling for a philosophical reasoning in Islam and for the separation of religion and state.” I don’t see this post as an attack on Islam as you describe it at all, and please if you see that show it to me because I honestly don’t understand your emotional and angry reaction over Dr. El Hadj post and over almost everybody on SC who dare to accept his ideas.

3- I’m not sure if you know or noticed that most people on this site are leftists/secular and religion for them is nothing more than another subject to discuss and I may say many of them are not even religious therefore they wont mind to discuss openly anything so when you are asking Dr. Landis to let you or anybody else to write against the Talmud, the bible, the new testament or against the Pope and the church I doubt that you will have the same reaction you and some others are expressing, you might be surprised that many wont even bother to comment and many will even agree with you. I’m also sure that your article will be posted on here like this one, so for you to challenge Dr. Landis thinking that he will refuse to do it is a lost bet.

4- Criticizing and questioning any religion practice in the name of building a stable, secular and strong state is nothing wrong or taboo to do, it is a necessity.

5- If you disagree with whatever you read and that things make you uncomfortable you can either point out the mistakes written as you are doing or ignore it all together and move on, but you can’t go vocal against everybody on SC who has a different opinion than yours and ask to criticize other religion just in spite, it sounds unusual from you.

July 5th, 2010, 2:23 am


almasri said:


I am happy you accepted the apology. But, I am bewildered that you still do not see that I do make clear distinction between a Jew and a Zionist and I do not bundle as you say. Obviously, when a Jew declares himself a Zionist, then he automatically becomes an enemy participating directly or indirectly in ethnic cleansing and theft of Arab lands. I met many Jews who are good and care the least about Zionism and I do talk to them. Some Jews may have been deceived by Zionism and are now living in Israel. I do not deny that. Amir however, proved to us through a poll he posted not long ago that these so-called ‘good’ Zionists may not count more than 3 to 6% in Israel nowadays. Facts on the ground also prove that. Unless and until the Palestinian refugees and their descendents go back to their homes in Palestine, we would be fools to deal with these guys. The cart cannot go before the horse. Right? Is it not enough they hijack our corrupt scholars? We should prove to them even if they do so they will never be able to hijack us commoners.

I personally would like to see your attempt to show Evangelical connections with Zionism and their political agenda disguised under religion, or again the authenticity of the Talmud and its teaching on this forum. But don’t you see that you are allowing your hot blood to take the best of you, thereby giving elhadge more credit than he really deserves? Muslims have been around for over 1400 years. They never found the need to create institutions in order to produce occidentalists for the purpose of colonizing the West. As a matter fact it is an honor in disguise to Islam when we see it being studied in earnest in quarters that are hostile to it in order to defame it and seek its destruction and every time it proves these attempts futile. And guess what? These are the supposed brightest minds that the West can produce with huge funds spent on their education while Islam grew out supposedly out of a desert with no resources whatsoever!!!


Disregarding talk about hadith and authenticity for the moment, do you not see elhadge statement ”Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.” as an attack on Islam? Did the Qura’n not command Believers to follow the Prophet? Can mankind (short of al-Mahdi appearance) know the Qur’an without knowing the Sunna?

July 5th, 2010, 2:27 am


Sham.D said:

I am sorry my comment is off subject, but I came to Syria comment after I read in multiple sources including the guardian of the 79 year old Syrian human right activist Haitham Maleh sentencing by a military court today to 3 years in prison for “weakening the national morale”. I am not sure if you had mentioned his case in your Syria comment before, but it would be appropriate and appreciated at this time if you could do so, specially that president Bashar of Syria voiced his commitment to reform. Thanks

July 5th, 2010, 2:38 am


Husam said:

I have a full plates on my table and an extremely hectic schedule. Thank you Dr. Landis, I shall take your offer in the near future and will contact you once I have something that will interest your readers.

With the little time I have now, I think it wiser to address the distortion and half truths that Elhadj has unleashed. Unfortunately, many Muslims have been put on the defensive nowadays and it is our duty to clarify misconceptions and point out those who claim to know the meaningings of the verses or the ahadiths. I will have to do it slowly, one by one, as I am no scholar and my time is tight, so please bear with me. Perhaps some currently silent, but knowledgeable Muslim readers on SC can pitch in.

The only point I agree with Elhadj is about some fatwas that are coming out to satisfy the ruler, king, dictator in the name of Islam. But we know that these are corrupt,and the fatwas, as I said before are non-binding.

In response to Elhadj @ 50 in the previous non-related Essay “What effects will Turkey’s switch….etc” – Debunking myth number 1: Women testimony are half those of men.

Let me start by saying in some circumstances, you need not one, two, or three but four male witnesses to count against one woman. No one mentions that or calls it inequality towards men! Mr. Elhadj asked to be enlightened, so please allow me to do so. Further, you said show me “the out of context”. I will do exactly that, one by one. Also, since many readers are showing interest, they must also allow me some patience, as I am not a retired 30 year ex-banker with nothing better to do, but I am in the midst of my career 🙂

Elhadj brings about various Ahadiths which supports the verse I quote below, stating that women are half of men in testimony, period.

Please note, that the verse starts out clearly about, and only about transactions (like business) meaning contractual law. We are not talking about Criminal Law, or Family Law, or any other law. Even my mother, let alone most women in those days were not the best when it came to contractual law. Trading was done mostly between men in those days and many women wouldn’t know any contractual terminology if questioned.

Noble Quran, Verse 2:282
O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing; let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as God Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord God, and not diminish aught of what he owes. If they party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can correct or remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (For evidence). Disdain not to reduce to writing (your contract) for a future period, whether it be small or big: it is juster in the sight of God, More suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves but if it be a transaction which ye carry out on the spot among yourselves, there is no blame on you if ye reduce it not to writing. But take witness whenever ye make a commercial contract; and let neither scribe nor witness suffer harm. If ye do (such harm), it would be wickedness in you. So fear God; For it is Good that teaches you. And God is well acquainted with all things. If ye are on a journey, and cannot find a scribe, a pledge with possession (may serve the purpose). And if one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust, and let him Fear his Lord conceal not evidence; for whoever conceals it, – his heart is tainted with sin. And God knoweth all that ye do.”

Elhadj, why did you omit this important information? Are you not taking it out of context? Do I have the right now to start asking you what is your agenda? Okay, you can answer in the next rebuttal if you like, which I will post soon inshallah. It is currently 2:37 AM and I have work and deadlines tomorrow.

July 5th, 2010, 2:38 am


Husam said:

Oh God, I wont’ sleep tonight.


1. I stand corrcted, it was Ghat, he is gone… I hope not. I think he got upset to be singled out.

2. See my post @ 30 above, he is not merely calling for a “philosophical”. I began as you asked to show you… but please bear with me as I deconstruct. Won’t be an easy task, he has spend a good part of his retirement on the M.E. and now this Ahadiths issue.

3. Really? I don’t think so. Lets see who’s blood will boil? Time will tell. I do appreciate Dr. Landis’s offer, as I have already thanked him. I will take it up inshallah some time in the future. Almasri, are you interested?

4. I am not sure agree with that. I have not reached the same conclusion you have.

5. I have already started pointing out the mistakes. You quesion my “Vocal” but I just started 🙂 Jad, what bothers me is this latest upheaval since 9/11 against Muslims. I was pointing out to everyone, that what Elhadj is talking about is not as easy as seems.

Hey Jad, I gotta clock out (3:02 AM). I do very much appreciate your pointers.


P.S. Almasri, your tone changed, rencently…as well as your choice of words and I did learn a lot from your recent posts… Before, it sounded like all Jews are evil everytime you commented. I tried to demonstrate to you about my lifetime partner being Jewish, you then lashed out me claiming I am showing off… anyways forgdahaboutit.

July 5th, 2010, 3:05 am


jad said:

very simple question:
Are you with or against changing this rule and making the test of one woman equal to the test of one man in the justice system of a majority Muslim country called X?
If your answer is yes; are you considering yourself now changing the Sharia?
if No; why not being able to change this rule and keep it in the ‘contractual law’ as you point out and not generalize it to the family and criminal law the way we see it today, if you, Husam, an average Muslim man knows that, how come all those Ulma don’t recognize your simple discovery and change the rule?

That is exactly what I understood from El Hadj argument not the way you are hinting about that he has some hidden agenda of attacking the faith of Islam.

July 5th, 2010, 3:29 am


jad said:

Thank you Husam for being cool,
I agree with you about post 9/11 attack on Islam by many writers, but I don’t believe that El Hadj post fit under that, it doesn’t have the evil spirit I sometimes come across in anti-Islam articles.
I’m sorry for keeping you awake, will continue when you have time, have a good night 🙂

July 5th, 2010, 3:39 am


almasri said:


I too have to go to sleep at 2:03 am. I didn’t have time to fully read your number 30 ‘presumed’ rebuttal. I may get back to it later.

However, even though I believe this is a useless post by elhadge, I do agree with Joshua’s Elhadj is doing nothing that hundreds of predecessors have not already done. Attacking hadith is a sport with a long pedigree. The Salafis of the early part of the last century were expert in it themselves.

I do not see why we should go through an exercise that is deja vu. Besides, it is still my conviction that this is not the forum to discuss these issues. We may even provide misinformation inadvertently that we may be responsible for. To me, proving the malicious intents of elhadge is more than sufficient to discredit his pretensions. I believe between the comments in this section, the previous post comments and Maysaloun’s efforts, elhadge’s agenda has become clear – at least to the Muslims. And believe me, we do not feel we are on the defensive.

I will try my best to review your input and see if I can provide any positive feedback. But I caution you fiqh is a very complex. All the best.

July 5th, 2010, 4:29 am


Innocent Criminal said:

Al Masri,

i appreciate your attempt to defuse the situation but again i would have to disagree. I genuinely dont care if he is attacking islam, on the contrary i wholeheartedly welcome him and others to attack Islam and all other religions for that matter. it’s his right. one of the biggest problems in the middle east specifically and Islamic world in general is the unwillingness to accept any sort of criticism, constructive or not.

Besides, you’re argument on how certain men are pious doesn’t mean they were without fault. they were alive after the prophet’s death and even if they weren’t they could have embellished or even made things up.

July 5th, 2010, 6:49 am


Husam said:


Quickly, if you are asking me to accept the testimony of one woman as sufficient in contractual law, I cannot. Such a declaration is in my view going against the Quran which I truly believe to be the actual word of God.

And if you are asking to seperate Islam from State completely, I have answered you already that I have not reached that conclusion yet.

About Elhadj evil intention. I did not say he was evil, I don’t know the man. I said his agenda may not be as innocent as a suckling or two. Anyone who bring about and quotes out of context becomes a suspect. Why not quote the whole story, knowing fully well and someone supposedly so well read, that the Quran is the reference to the Ahadiths and note the other way around. One cannot go without the other to fully understand its true intended meaning.

July 5th, 2010, 8:57 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Question Mr. Elhadj staement has obvious mistakes ,we previously point them out,and they are obvious, when Mr. Landis post all this mistakes would that disredit Mr. Landis.
When Mr. Elhadj made several mistakes,yet he doesnot admit his mistakes,I think that arrogance indicates malicious intentions.

Jad you want to allow ElHadj to criricize,but you are against Husam to criticize him ,is this not double standard?
Finally; is this religious forum?

July 5th, 2010, 9:18 am


Norman said:

I think that the discussion has become futile ,



July 5th, 2010, 10:17 am


jad said:

Dear Husam,
I appreciate your honesty in your answer and I do understand your position from a religion point of view especially when it contradicts with what you believe in, however, when it comes to building a country I will disagree with that since I strongly believe that Women are equal to Men in everything in front of a civil judge in the justice system and I believe that Syrian women deserve to get all and every equal rights the State can offer regardless of any religion rule.
One other thing, even when you are saying that Dr. El Hadj agenda (may not be as innocent) because he didn’t write the whole story, yet you end up agreeing with the point he raise that one man test equal 2 women’s and for me with or without the whole explanation you brought you actually end up in the same corner Dr. El Hadj is debating and you agreed with that point, this is why I respectfully disagree with you regarding an ‘agenda’ in the critics, I don’t see any agenda whatsoever.

Dear Majed,
I’m not against Husam in criticizing El hadj, I’m trying to rationalize the accusations and the critics against this post, he and everybody can write whatever they want and I have the right to question and ask to understand their views, that is not a double standards it’s a discussion.

I’m with a Secular system to run a country and I’m against any religion taking over any civil society, that (secular system) in my opinion is what makes nations to last longer, be strong and be immune to any civil wars.
There shouldn’t be any forcing of religion rules over the society as a whole in the justice system, I don’t believe in dictating on people what they have to do in every second of their lives it doesn’t make a good society, it creates a fearful society run by clergy that doesn’t write, doesn’t’ read, doesn’t create, doesn’t advance and doesn’t move anywhere and I doubt that anybody want to live in such society.
Do you think that all the inventions and science happened during the golden ages of Arab were done under a a strict rules? Almost all those big names in our Arab history were protected by the ‘Amir Al Mou2menin” and almost all of those scientists, philosophers and writers were not that religious people, we didn’t get backward until a strict rules were imposed on our society and that is when we lost everything.

July 5th, 2010, 12:24 pm


EHSANI2 said:


I do not see Elie Elhadj as a Christian taking on Islam as part of an evil and sinister agenda. He is as quick to criticize the time when Christianity ruled politics and the state back at the time. What he attacks are the clerics who have advanced their own agendas and essentially hijacked the religion. The fact that he tackles this very sensitive subject is sure to solicit a sharp and negative response from readers. I believe that both Mr. Elhadj and Dr. Landis who agreed to publish this note were well aware of this. Some have wondered why this forum would discuss such a sensitive subject matter. I strongly disagree. Syrian politics, history and religion is the title of the blog as can be seen at the top of this page. As Dr. Landis invited you to do, please feel free to write about the other religions of Syria and the region. I am of the view that no subject matter must be regarded as taboo including religion. Many readers seem to react to this discussion as kufr. I do not share this sentiment.

July 5th, 2010, 1:12 pm


Husam said:


I don’t feel cornered at all, on the contrary. You wanted a simple answer and you wanted to see if I fit in your seperation of religion card. If that was the case, and it was that easy, my vote would have been casted. However, since you are not at all interested in the context, the story, the time, the exceptions and dismiss logical arguments, as in the case of contractual law, it makes me wonder if I am wasting my time. I presented you with the whole story which gave a much more clearer picture which you wrote off and stuck to one area and one sentence. The same is true for the the quote that many Islamophobes and the media love to misquote:
“call to kill all kufar where you find them!” This quote is repeated by Elhadj’s type all over the internet claiming terrorism is an inherit part of Islam’s doctrine. All one has to do is read a few sentences before and after to realize that this is related to battlefield and war. And, every single major religion advocates the same in time of war. Spare me the time to provide proofs, they are all there.

So, what you are asking me to do is accept extracts as complete. Why? And, why not tell the whole story and let others be the judge for themselves rather than cut and paste in order to tactically and wrongfully show Islam as the religion, or any other religion for the matter, the source of all evil, injustice, etc…

You state every Syrian women regardless of her religion should get equal rights. Kindly, show me where Shari’a law in Syria today does the contrary for non-muslim women to what you are stating.

If I may ask, if religion is not the basis of a good society, notwithstanding corrupted Mulahs, Rabbis, and Cardinals, what is the alternative? Where did society derive its good vs. bad since the time of Adam?

July 5th, 2010, 1:13 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

وزير الخارجية التركي: سننهي علاقتنا باسرائيل اذا رفضت الاعتذار

July 5th, 2010, 1:14 pm


Ghat Albird said:

Hopefully Dr. Landis will allow muy comments to be published and hopefully the participants will enjoy reading what is “thought of them” by one people and their religious leaders.

Defenders of the “Jewish interest” often attack persons who write critically about Jews and/or Judaism … Rabbi Kook, the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism, said “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews – all of them in all dlfferent levels – is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

Rabbi Kook’s entire teaching was based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. One of the basic tenants of the Lurianic Cabbala is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body.

According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary.

If an influential Christian bishop or Islamic scholar argued that the difference between the superior souls of non-Jews and the inferior souls of Jews was greater than the difference between the human soul and the souls of cattle, he would incur the wrath of and be viewed as an anti-Semite by most Jewish scholars

July 5th, 2010, 1:37 pm


Al Waleed said:

I have been following the debate about the Hadiths with interest. I am a Syrian Muslim but I do not claim to know a great deal about the topic. However I would like to make the following comments. Mr Elhadj has presented cogent arguments about the Ahadith which are relevant and need to be investigated and debated and may in no way be considered provocative or an attack on Islam ( otherwise why should the Islamic-oriented government of Turkey feel the need to delve into the subject?). On the other hand the few Islamist commnetators responded with nothing better than venom and feigned indignation, and as is always the case when your position is weak, you attack the person of the opponent and try to denigrate him. Mr Elhadj, who at one point, they claimed he did not exist, quoted chapter and verse in his piece, but they accused him of not having done his research, they accused him of evil intentions, of having a hidden agenda, conspiracies, you name it!!! but they provide no counter-arguments of any consequence whatsover (except in one or two instances where they were frankly risible). I therefore say to those islamist commentators: GROW UP and accept the fact that in today’s world there is no taboo subject any more, and stop jumping up and down like crazed people each time someone dares to hint that there is a possible problem with some aspect of Islam.

July 5th, 2010, 1:39 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

Dear Professor Landis,

Thank you for lifting what was a response of mine in the Comment Section into the Front Page.

The reaction among the Islmists was not surprising. Their shallowness and ignorance of their own religion, however, was surprising. I failed to find a single criticism of my facts worthy of a response. I stand with every word I wrote.

These men are the product of ulama’s indoctrination, of half truths, and of constructed falsehoods. Their rantings and ravings, vulgarities and obscenities, offensive name calling and character assassination is particularly deplorable. Had they come from the Tora Bora Mountains they might have behaved more civilly. Their personal attacks on myself are nothing short of intellectual thuggery. I wish they reveal their true personalities and resumes.

Calling for religious and political reforms to lift Arab societies, Syria included, from poverty, illiteracy, disease, the demagoguery of believing in predestination, angels, and djinn and teaching of the palace ulama is the highest form of patriotism.


July 5th, 2010, 1:50 pm


husam said:


I am not against what he saying, nor against constructive discussions on any religion. I am against those who claim to be experts on religion, those who distort the facts, and those who publish statements on the wrong blogs when all they are doing is causing confusion about complex subjects. You are right religion is part of Syria Comment, but according to JAD, an overwhelming majority of SC readers aren’t religious, meaning: that religion is not their area of expertise or interest. People are already getting tired, and we just started. If Elhadj wanted a constructive response to his Essay, why not post it first on a religious blog, and then bring us his write-up along with the views and the results (via a link)???

Ehansi2, we all know one single word, or an omission thereof, can change the whole meaning. Elhadj’s writings about politics or his criticism of Christianity in the past doesn’t make him an expert in Islam. More importantly, Elhadj or anyone for that matter, who chooses to present only excerpts to serve a specific purpose, will in my view or in the view of any commoner, attract suspicion.

However, you are right, it was calculated.

July 5th, 2010, 1:55 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I agree that we should leave the criticism of Islamic natters to Muslims. A Christian criticizing Islamic Ahadiths is counterproductive.

And this is achieving (as we see) the opposite of what is desired. Defensiveness, instead of thoughts of reforms.

As a Jew, I would preferred that Jewish issues and criticism of Jewish practices, be discussed by Jews, and not by Christians or by Muslims. We should be patient, and wait for Muslims to take up the gauntlet, and not rush them into something that clearly they aren’t yet ready to do themselves.

July 5th, 2010, 2:04 pm


jad said:

I think you misunderstood my points;

1- I didn’t mean that you are cornered, I meant that we get back to square one even with the explanation you did which is that one man test equal to two women only in ‘Contractual law’ and my reply to you meant to explain that the case on the ground in strictly Muslim countries ruled by Sharia doesn’t reflect what you wrote, the clergy there instead of putting this specific rule in one subject (contractual law) not the family nor the criminal law as you wrote they actually generalize it on everything, so my point was that the clergy didn’t relay on the right thing you are calling for hence the problem.

2- this is my exact words about women’s right and not the way you wrote it, I do appreciate if you don’t put words in my mouth that I didn’t say (I strongly believe that Women are equal to Men in everything in front of a civil judge in the justice system and I believe that Syrian women deserve to get all and every equal rights the State can offer regardless of any religion rule.)
I didn’t and wont say that all Syrian women of any religion should get under the SHARIA law, I’m against that.

3- All religions are ‘sources’ of the civil law and not the only ones, Sharia is a source, Christianity is another and Judaism as well, therefore, Sharia is not the only and the complete one humankind have that should be implemented.
To make things work in a a mixed society with different ethnic and religion backgrounds you can’t force everybody to kneel for one religion’s rules otherwise we will have a society like today’s Taliban Afghanistan, Shabab Somalia, Alqaeda rules, aren’t they claiming that they are under the true and only Sharia rules unlike other kuffar who happened to be Muslims as well or like middle ages Europe where people where burned out of crazy religion ideas.

In all my comments to you Husam, I had one main point, a Civil and advanced society can’t flourish under rigid rules, you need free way of thinking to flourish, that what we are all seeing in the west and that what is making Muslims or non-Muslims and even atheists to do their best and live the way they want even without a Sharia law to dictate what they should do as citizen in the somehow secular adopted countries.
I’m not challenging your thought, your believes, your faith or your explanation, I’m discussing these things with you as a Syrian brother and I know that at the end of the day, you will keep your views and I’l keep mine and we wont compromise on our believes but at least we understand each others and that what counts for me, Thank you.

July 5th, 2010, 2:27 pm


Badr said:

…the ulama succeeded in enshrining the Sunna traditions as a source of law equal to the Quran; notwithstanding, that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.

I think that from an objective point of view, this statement by Mr. ELHADJ is incorrect.

July 5th, 2010, 2:28 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Mr. Elhadj’s credentials have been attacked by you and other readers. The man has written a book (The Islamic shield). He has spent seven years of his life at London university studying history. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on water and food self sufficiency in the Middle East. I have had the pleasure of reading through it and found it extremely intelligent and relevant. The character assassination that he has been subjected to here is both unfair and sad. When a man spends seven years of his life seeking answers to questions on culture, religion, politics and reform in Arab countries, I for one prefer to spend the time to read, reflect, learn, agree or disagree with his writings and thought process . When and if I choose to disagree with someone like Mr. Elhadj, I prefer to stick to the facts, educate myself and argue back effectively and pointedly rather than shooting the messenger because he makes me feel uncomfortable.


It would help if you would expand on the your comment and explain why you find the statement “incorrect”. That way we would all learn your perspective. I think that you cut your self short when you refer to a statement as incorrect without elaborating further.

July 5th, 2010, 2:35 pm


Averroes said:


I absolutely think that there are questions about other religions that should not be swept under the table, and in particular about Judaism. However, that is not our subject here today, as this article, and the exercise yet to be done by Turkish scholars is a internal one to Muslims (I’m Muslim). Weather or not other religions deserve their share of scrutiny should not impact allowing the subject of this article to see the light of day, wouldn’t you say?


The sentence you quoted ”Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.” is inaccurate and can indeed be misleading, in my opinion, so I think Dr. Elhadj may consider elaborating on it a little bit. However, I think that what he means (and please correct me if I’m wrong Dr. Elhadj) is that the Qur’an was not referring to the tradition that slowly evolved into what centuries later, became known as “Sunnah Nabawiyah”. What is under scrutiny here is the process and the product that was built and then used extensively by the Arab Muslim states (in particular the Abbasid dynasty). The article is raising questions that some would like to mute down. Questions about Abou Hurairah, Anas ibn Malik, and the role of politics in their (and others’) narrations. This manufactured-if I may use this term-product, was utilized extensively to empower rulers’ already unchecked power, giving them lethal tools. For example you have a Hadith that says “من بدل دينه فاقتلوه” or “Anyone who changes his religion should be executed”. This is in clear contradiction to what the Qur’an says: “لا إكراه في الدين قد تبين الرشد من الغي” or “There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error”. A lot has been built on this twist to enable rulers to execute political dissidents throughout history and up to this day. And this is just one example.

July 5th, 2010, 2:53 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

To: Averroes,

Nice hearing from you.

you are absolutely correct in saying:

“the Qur’an was not referring to the tradition that slowly evolved into what centuries later, became known as “Sunnah Nabawiyah”.

Abu Saiid Al-Khudari reportedly said that the Prophet had said: “Do not write from me anything except the Quran and whoever has written anything from me other than the Quran should erase it” (Muhammad Mustafa Azami, Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, 1977, 28).

The basis upon which the early ulama argued to recognize the Sunna as a source of law equal to the Quran was the belief that God’s will was manifested in the Sunna as confirmed by the Quran’s (8:20): “O you who believed, obey God and his apostle.” They contended that the actions and sayings of the Prophet reflected the general provisions of the Quran and gave guidance in matters on which the Quran was silent.

As indicated in the article: The Indian Islamic thinker Muhammad Ashraf observed that it is curious that no caliph or companion found the need to collect and write down the Hadith traditions for more than two centuries after the death of the Prophet (Guillaume, Islam, 1990, 165).


July 5th, 2010, 3:30 pm


Badr said:


I’m sorry but I don’t have neither the desire nor the time required to get involved in discussing very controversial issues like religion. But for instance, does the Quran really contain everything mankind needs to know? Or, doesn’t the Quran exhort or even require the muslims to follow the teachings of their prophet? And let’s hear from the commentators, who are arguing vehemently against Mr. ELHADJ, say which comes first if there is a contradiction: Quran or Sunna!

July 5th, 2010, 3:58 pm


Husam said:

You are calling me an “Islamist”; yet don’t know anything of me. I don’t even pray, but I am an Islamist. Go figure! Wow, I am blown away by such a primitive assumption.

The term “Islamist” or “Islamist Militants” you digested from the media is a misnomer. It was minted in the West and portrays Islam to be directly linked to terrorism and violence, aimed at tainting the image and presenting Islam as a barbaric religion. On the other hand, the terms “Christian, Jewish” or “Hindu militants” have never been used. This deception leads Islam, and Muslims alike, to be depicted negatively even in the minds of neutral people.

Elhadj, who said anything vulgar about you? Tell me, I will make it right and advocate suspension.

You state “These men are the product of ulama’s indoctrination, of half truths, and of constructed falsehoods.” Who are you referring to, please for the sake of this highly respectable forum, and tell us? Is it Maysaloon, Almasri, part of this group?

I, personally have never met any “ulamas”, never been to Tora Bora, and I don’t wear a turban. I am 41, and was a rebel and a complete loss case only a few years back. I just got tired, of this type B.S. and find it inexcusable to grant you full access without presenting the complete story and full views. I am shocked that you have pulled out so quickly. I am shocked further, that you claim “character assassination”, but you yourself so brazenly indulged in blanket assassination of “men”.

Dr. Elhadj, your requesting of a resume is no indication of anyone’s character, intelligence or morality. Last time I checked, I didn’t need a resume to speak my mind as SC is not a private club. I thought you are promoting dialogue and change which should be comprehensive.

Geez, I can’t get over the Tora Bora Mountains remark. This is astonishing for someone who has written books, got a PhD and a 30-year banking experience under his belt.

You said:“Calling for religious and political reforms to lift Arab societies, Syria included, from poverty, illiteracy, disease, the demagoguery of believing in predestination, angels, and djinn and teaching of the palace ulama is the highest form of patriotism.”

So your deduction is that Syria is where it is (poverty, illiteracy, etc…) today because of its leaders peddling fatwas about angels, jinn, etc… and nothing to do with political fist; as if Syrians are some stupid group of people who don’t read the Quran and they just follow their Imams and believe everything anyone throws at them. Please give me a break. Syrians, en masse don’t need their Imams or you to clarify Ahadiths nor Quranic verses. They are well aware of the going-ons and political influence. You can reform all you want, but if corruptions exist, it won’t change a single thing. Don’t blame Islam, Ahadiths, nor its scriptures, blame some corrupt Muslims. Big difference Dr. Elhadj!

Lastly, please explain to me how a fatwa about adult-suckling the breast and Aisha’s testimony being 18 years old fits directly into the poverty, illiteracy that Syria is in.

A man is not judged, at least in my opinion, by how many books he wrote. I have not read any Elhadj’s works or books, and I believe you that some may be very informative, interesting and thought provoking. That doesn’t mean he is an expert on Islam, even having written a book called the “The Islamic Shield”. It is just his views, and perhaps I may agree with most of them. However, it was a big red flag when you omit the context of any statement you make.

You got me interested in reading that book, perhaps when I have time in the near future, I will buy it. It is truly a remarkable title “The Islamic Shield”; let’s see if it holds up to its title.

Amir: Dr. Elhadj’s Christianity only came to my attention after the fact, and in no way did this influence my respones. I don’t see color, race, beliefs or background. I only see facts and total truths. BTW, I think some Muslims themsleves have made worst distortions than Elhadj has.

July 5th, 2010, 4:00 pm


Husam said:


Of course, any Muslim will tell you that the Quran supersedes the Sunnah in case of contridictions.

July 5th, 2010, 4:05 pm


Averroes said:

Dr. Elhadj,

Thank you for your reply. I think we’re on the same page there.

I saw your frustrated post above. As I said, almost always, the reflex I got raising such questions (just the questions, mind you) was similar to an electrical jolt. You jolt someone with a live electric cable and you can pretty much expect a nasty response. 🙂

I would not go all the way to calling them uncivil and all that, though. They’ve been brought up to believe that the slightest doubt you voice against the faith is blasphemy. Challenging such givens really shakes the foundations of people’s sense of identity, security, world model, and that really really scares people. It’s a survival mechanism, and it works, and so we must be aware of it.
I know that first hand, because I was there. I was raised in Saudi Arabia and attended public schools there. I saw and heard first hand the place they wanted everyone else to be at, be those Shiites or others.

When Darwin wrote The Origin, he was extremely meticulous and careful in backing up all his claims, yet still he was attacked viciously. He shook people’s worlds and it scared them mindless.

I am Muslim, and I love my religion, but I’ve been fortunate enough to get some good exposure to the writings of some great Muslim scholars that I do not see a threat anymore in attempts to research the process and product of much of our heritage. My core belief is that Islam was hijacked early on and that much of the accumulated luggage it carries today should be (must be) shaken off.

At the core of Islam, the true Islam, that Prophet Muhammad conveyed to us is a great religion, and it deserves to be rid of the increasingly dangerous luggage that’s been parasitizing on it for so long.

Your work, and the work of many other scholars are the small steps we need to make in order to advance Muslim Thought, and I really hope the Turks can make a mark in that regard. A good start was a few months ago when they announced the reversal of Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwas … very encouraging.

Small steps. That’s the way to go.

July 5th, 2010, 4:10 pm


almasri said:

Only for competent Arabic speaking. Strictly Qura’nic commands for Sunnah enshrimenment

قال تعالى : ( قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (31) قُلْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ) . (32) آل عمران

(وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ أَندَاداً يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبّاً لِّلّهِ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلّهِ جَمِيعاً وَأَنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ(165) البقرة

(فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ . (63)النور

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ . (7) الحشر

No further comments on the subject from these quarters. Thank you for the ‘entertainment’ produced in the London school of Orientalism

July 5th, 2010, 4:16 pm


Norman said:


What you write is very interesting and is the real threat to the West ,

July 5th, 2010, 4:16 pm


Averroes said:


Could you explain what you mean by that please. I’m not sure I follow.

July 5th, 2010, 4:50 pm


Averroes said:


My apologies for the typo. 🙂

July 5th, 2010, 4:52 pm


Husam said:

Can someone please respond to Almasri’s comment @58 about Elhadj stating “The Quran contains everything mankind needs to know.” Is he lying? Does that verse suggest otherwise?

What is wrong with protecting misconceptions or mistakes, intentional or not, on Islam or any other subject? If it were your children, would you protect them so strongly against any iota of harm? Nothing do with an electrical jolt and everything to do with protecting what is dear to you. Blindly, hell no!

With all my respect to Dr. Elhadj’s entitlement to opinion, why are you guys idolizing him as if he is not infallible? We all make mistakes, but we should retract and rebuild when shown differently, or other point of views, especially when your intentions are truly genuine.

A great example of professionalism, I look no further than Dr. Landis, because thus far, he has been nothing but accommodating to all of us. And, when something is brought to his attention where he might have been wrong or partially wrong, he admits it. That says tons about his character.

July 5th, 2010, 5:03 pm


Averroes said:


We’re not disputing that Muslims should look at the Prophet for guidance. The subject here is totally different and it has to do with the legacy left to us by scholars generations ago. Is that totally above and beyond any scrutiny? If you believe that it is, then it’s up to you, but I , for one, am not afraid of what can come up from a detailed and comprehensive study, because I believe that unveiling the truth will in fact benefit Islam.

July 5th, 2010, 5:04 pm


Joshua said:

Dear AlMasri, As Averroes says, Elie did not questioned the Quran or the verse that you quote commanding believers to obey the Prophet.

The problem is not “obeying the Prophet,” it is knowing what the Prophet actually said and did.

The problem is how best to obey the Prophet. If the hadith are wrong or politicized, it is wrong to follow them.

All the early collectors recognized this problem. If I understand Elie’s essay, he is not questioning the Prophet, he is questioning the Hadith collectors. He suggests that their task was a difficult one.

July 5th, 2010, 5:17 pm


Norman said:


What i meant is that Islam as you see it will make it easier to spread in the West , it is the teaching of Islam that is attractive while the restriction that some want Muslims to follow like a dress code or a beard or a special custom , these are the things that stand in the way , the Islam as seen with MR Erdogan and Turkey is the one that will be attractive and i think that you like , That Islam is what the West fear the most ,because of it’s qualities ,

July 5th, 2010, 5:51 pm


Averroes said:


I don’t see where anyone who’s defended Dr. Elhadj’s article is claiming him infallible. Come on … you can’t be serious with this statement.

All I’ve seen then man do is raise questions in areas that are considered so dear to so many faithful, that it’s just taboo to even talk about it.

The Islamic tradition, heritage, and history is dear to me as well, but the truth is even dearer. Can you make a positive statement that every single Hadith in Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi and others is absolutely accurate in text and punctuation, and absolutely true to what the Prophet said? Can you make a statement on behalf of all the tyrant rulers that you and I know would stop at nothing in order to establish their place at the throne, that they have never ever influenced the recording, erasing, or inventing of any of the Hadiths in the said books?

Can you make such a statement with a clear conscious?

All we’re trying to do here is shed some light of logic and extract information from the vast amount of data that’s out there. The new IT tools enable us to do so for the first time ever. Prior to computers, databases, data mining technology, such an effort would not have been humanly possible.

July 5th, 2010, 5:56 pm


Husam said:


His presentation was not a mere suggestion that it was a difficult one, rather an impossible one due to his mathematical formula.

I agree with you that if the Ahadiths are wrong or politicized, following them is wrong. That is why we have strong and weak Ahadiths and that is why we have the Quran to be the ultimate reference point. Herein lies the reason Almasri provided from the Noble Quran answering directly to the statement that “The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.” Why is that hard to see?

Are you aware of one Richard Kalif (a.k.a Rashad Khalifa) famous for pushing the number 19 myth? In order to establish a cult known as “the submitters” in America and gain flexibility, he produced his own “commentary” of the Holy Qur’an, with the intent of launching an attack against Hadith & Sunnah and branding those Muslims who follow the Sunnah as “false Muslims” and heretics.

Such an example of this is found on page 94 of his commentary, titled Quran: The Final Scripture, where he wrote:

“When they grow up in an environment that equates goodness with belief in God and the Hereafter, consequently this person may profess belief in God and the Hereafter; and in order to be good while in fact, his innermost convictions are contrary. [he then makes reference to the Holy Qur’an, referring to Ayats unrelated to his feeble point] God teaches us in these verses that the invention of Hadith and/or Sunnah was designed to distinguish the true Muslims from the false Muslims. The true Muslims upheld the Qur’an, the whole Qur’an, and nothing but the Qur’an.”

Now compare that to Elhadj statement, they are identical.

July 5th, 2010, 5:57 pm


jad said:

With all due respect, your last couple comments are confusing; your thoughts are all over the site without a clear direction of what you want and why you are mad about. I got it! El Hadj didn’t write the whole Hadith he is calling for to be researched but that doesn’t change the Hadith being used politically by the clergy in many Muslim countries to prove the points El Hadj rise.
Are you against the idea of doing the research and get the truth in Ahadith? If the research is done what’s the problem you see in doing that?
Isn’t there a 0.0001% possibility that some of the Sharia rules and some of the Hadith are contradict with one another and some of them doesn’t fit the society of 2010 anymore?
Why what Dr. El Hadj wrote considered an insult to Islam from your point of view even after all what Averroes wrote and El Hadj himself explained? I still can’t see the insult you are angry about because the way you translate the points are not the same as I understand them from Elie’s post.
You still insist that Dr. El Hadj has an agenda in his writing and you even compared him with Rashad Khalifa because he dared to ask courageous questions, and you still insist that we who agreed with what’s written up there are defending El Hadj wrong doing, why? Can’t we agree on the idea he is talking about without being accused of defending the person behind that idea?
Even your rage about him using the word ‘Islamist’ doesn’t make sense after your hint for a Sharia law to be imposed on the society, if that is not ‘Islamists’ in the literally meaning of the word, what is?
Even the points he raised that poverty and illiterate are a result of misuse of religion is actually has lot of truth to it as well as the political corruption and the dictatorship that lives in our Arab societies you mentioned so there is no lies there.

I don’t know what others think but I personally start to see that you are making the subject very loose without a specific point that we can discuss and learn something from.

July 5th, 2010, 7:09 pm


jad said:

Dear Husam,
I need to be very clear to you that when I wrote my last comment I wasn’t not looking for an argument at all (it sounded like that when I read it the second time after publishing it, sorry!) I’m just in the middle of doing some work and I’m writing the comments very quickly so I didn’t have time to make it sound calmer, be sure that what I wrote is a friendly discussion nothing more nothing less 🙂

July 5th, 2010, 7:28 pm


Norman said:

DR Elhadj ,

You can see by now , i hope ,that for the Syrian government and Baath party to change civil status laws without demands by the people is probably a suicide ,

July 5th, 2010, 7:30 pm


Husam said:


I don’t dispute your love for Islam, nor do I judge you. My statement about idolizing Elhadj’s is because no one dared question his errors (save for one or two so-called “Islamist” J). Averroes dare jump to the other side, you too will be labeled a XLKJF:D whatever!

I never said that “all” of any Ahadiths are facts. If you are a Muslim, then you will know that many Ahadiths are extremely weak and are not followed by Muslims.

Dr. Elhadj, in my opinion, made errors and many, including yourself fail to see them, or perhaps choose to ignore them. Dr. Elhadj has laminated that Al-Bukhari “AS A WHOLE” was sort of a mission impossible. Are you reading, or skimming? He hinted that Aisha, was perhaps too young! Please. I produced a counter-arguments, from my own life and facts available to all, that her young age and position (wife) served her memory well. Could she have been misunderstood or misquoted, absolutely. But to discredit her as a teenager is wrong outright. Averroes, can you say that Aisha was too young to understand and remember anything? Can you say for sure that she did not have Barakah?

If he said that some Ahadiths are weak, some may be false or influenced, or that a cross reference using IT and research of the day is needed, full stop, I would have agreed. But he went on and injected statements that any Muslim with a tiny bit of knowledge will find wrong.

July 5th, 2010, 7:42 pm


jad said:

Dear Norman,
Be very sure and be SUPER confident that the personal status law we will get is going to be worse than the existing one and more closer to the first and second version we got last year, there are many administrations been created very quietly just for that version to be passed without letting anybody to protest it even online and they are run by strictly religious group.
and I can assure you that it wont be as suicidal as you think since it will be very ‘Sharia-Oriented’ for our conservative society.
You will ‘love’ it when you read the 3rd version of it, I can’t wait!
I better save this comment’s link just to come back to you and write
“I told you so” 🙂
An that, is my Take!

July 5th, 2010, 7:48 pm


Norman said:

Jad ,
and that is why they should let go and try not to change anything until they need to , people seems to be happy with the status qua ,

Husam ,

you are going to hate me for this one ,

Aisha is a woman , does her recollection count as much as men of her time ,

July 5th, 2010, 7:59 pm


jad said:

Unfortunately, it’s going to happen, not only out of necessity or because the government want the best for Syrians, it will happen for pure political reasons to show that the regime is O.K. with radicals, and it needs their support to stay in power, all this news about moving around teachers with niqabe is nothing more than a political move for something more substantial.

P.S. the hate you are getting is not from Husam it’s from me now;
It’s unfair and sad to hear that from you, I’m shocked and seriously SPEECHLESS!!! WOW!!

July 5th, 2010, 8:11 pm


Husam said:


Obviously, you are busy. My time is important to me, so please don’t ask me redundant and generic question like “what are you mad about” or “are you in favor of a cross reference of Ahadiths”, you have asked me such questions twice, and some thrice and I have answered you. Go ahead, ask me one more time. Are you trying to tire me out?

My point and position is clear, black and white in plain English on this wall. Perhaps, you are skimming through, because I have addressed your issues very clearly.

I did not say what he wrote entirely is an insult to Islam. Don’t push words in my mouth. I said he made errors and important omissions.

My intentions was not based on preaching something new, rather to point out and to correct.

You find it the statement courageous: “Quran contains everything mankind needs to know”…and you agree with this? I think this is a serious error, why can’t you accept that this may be error? Do you think it is ok to use a mocking tone about Aisha or Albukhari’s so called mission impossible? Ok you do, I don’t. End of story.

July 5th, 2010, 8:44 pm


Norman said:


I did not see wink wink , it was a question not my take ,

July 5th, 2010, 8:47 pm


Husam said:


Depends what? But generally I think yes, and I have stated over and over again that her, being his wife, and her age as a plus to her memory perhaps even more than men of her time. Did you remember my post, twice? Is it possible that she was misunderstood or misquoted, anything is possible.


July 5th, 2010, 8:54 pm


Jad said:

I’m sorry that I even considered asking you Husam.

July 5th, 2010, 8:56 pm


Husam said:

Don’t apologize, as I am not worthy of consideration, even. Why, because I disagree with you? Or because I brought your attention that you have asked me this a couple times over which I gave you answers for?

You corrected the suspension of Ghat when I thought it was Trustquest, and I thanked you and apologized for the confusion. Wasup, bro?

July 5th, 2010, 9:40 pm


another David said:

Thanks Josh for allowing this thread to run. It’s not a discussion that will be resolved here, but public examination of these fundamental issues can no longer be suppressed. Unilateral statements by believers that their beliefs are beyond questioning won’t let them avoid scrutiny anymore. Surely, if ones’ religion is the true religion of the universe, it should withstand any scrutiny.

What I don’t see recognised in any comments is the common origin of judaism, christianity and islam. Basically, they’re all in this together- if something, say new archaeological research, disproves statements in the Pentateuch/Old Testament, that has implications for any religion based on them. Christianity has been undergoing a discomforting examination at the hands of scholars for a century or more, but judaism and islam haven’t received the same degree of attention.

July 5th, 2010, 11:43 pm


Averroes said:


I think that the West should have nothing to fear from the Islam I tried to describe. But maybe you’re right, maybe some forces in the West have reason to wish for the endurance of Islamic doctrines that do not allow people free thought and for Muslims who are immature and too afraid to ask questions. In the eyes of forces that want to subdue and conquer, those are exactly the type of inhabitants wished for.

Why? Because minds that are too afraid to ask difficult questions are also too afraid to confront tyranny, and in our region, tyranny almost always comes bundled and wrapped in thick layers of religion. A people that cannot face up to tyranny shall not prevail at major strategic challenges. A people that cannot see through the smoking mirrors that rulers play on them, mostly exploiting their religious emotions, are still not mature.

July 5th, 2010, 11:54 pm


Averroes said:


First, I like your responses. You’re disagreeing, but you’re not using extreme language and sharp accusations. Thank you for that.

Second, I don’t think Dr. Elhadj or myself said that ALL Hadiths were false. The issue at stake here is weather or not we’re able to inquire with an inquisitive mind about some, shall we say, less than perfect settings.

For instance, Abou Hurairah spent less than two years with the Prophet, was found by Khalifa Omar to steal using his post as governor of Bahrain, and was beaten by him using Omar’s famoud Durra in Medina with his money confiscated, and spent the last years of his life basically as an entertainer of Mu’awiya. This man narrated more than 5000 Hadiths. How trustworthy could such a person be?

Anas ibn Malik, whi was the Prophet’s servant, also spent his last years a servant of Zian ibn Abeeh (who was later claimed to be the son of Abu Sufyan, and was the son of a prostitute). Ziad was a ruthless governor that Mu’awiya used on Iraq and one that shed so much blood. Which do you think is easier to do, kill people, or falsify a Hadith to enhance you rule? Anas ibn Malik narrated about 2000 Hadiths. Do you see a trend here?

Questions, Husam … questions that will not go away. You can look the other way and pretend they don’t exist, but don’t ask everyone to do so.

Dr. Elhadj may not be correct in everything he says. In fact he may have a few errors, but that does not collapse his entire argument. The subject he’s bringing up deserves to be studied seriously and not swept under the carpet.

July 6th, 2010, 12:07 am


Jad said:

Husam Bro!
Go back and read the way I wrote to you and notice my language and the way I addressed you or my apology when I noticed that my tune wasn’t correct yet you came back with Almasri style rude reply, this is why I’m sorry for and not because we disagree.

July 6th, 2010, 12:13 am


almasri said:

Dear Dr. Landis,

Thank you for your input. I did say I will not comment again on this subject. But I have to clarify what you said @64 in light of what evolved in the thread since it started until you and Averroes provided inputs. My first comment started with a direct quote of elhadge,

““By the end of the ninth century the ulama succeeded in enshrining the Sunna traditions as a source of law equal to the Quran; notwithstanding, that the Quran never made the Sunna a source of law. The Quran contains every thing mankind needs to know.”

My comment @58 shows the Sunnah was enshrined from day 1, and that indeed the Qura’n did make the Sunnah a source of law contradicting elhadge on both counts. Hence elhadge’s knowledge of Islam’s history, tenets and doctrines is vastly deficient.

The issue of hadith authenticity or how it evolved in this logic does not have any bearing. This is also my reply to all your posts Averroes.

Thank you again.

July 6th, 2010, 12:51 am


Ed Webb said:

I may be misremembering, but I thought the Diyanet had denied the original 2008 BBC report. I certainly have not been able to find confirmation from any other source that the Diyanet is engaged in such a project.

July 6th, 2010, 9:32 am


Husam said:

Another David:

I agree with all what you said, everything…except: no one faulted Elhadj for “questioning” for that is, the essence of gaining knowledge. However, making “statements” claiming them to be facts, when they are not is a different matter. Would you prefer, if we let the mistakes, half truths go on without correction? I also don’t appreciate his cut and paste he did on the previous wall.

That seems to be what some people want here. That because Elhadj brings about some interesting issues, errors should be, well ignored. What some people don’t understand is that if we allow errors regardless of how small or big they are to float around about Islam or its scriptures, generations later, they become traditions linked to Islam when they are not. The exact same thing Elhadj is advocating happened!!!

Take for example Misyar marriage which Elhadj points out. By his omission to let the average reader know (who aren’t experts on Islam here) that this “fatwa” is of huge debate within Sunni Islam. He never told us that many well known scholars have backed out away from endorsing this marriage and some even reversed their previous decision due to abuses in KSA and Egypt.

His rhetoric that these fatwas are one way or the highway is of course false, as no fatwa is biding. If a women willingly agrees, and she believes what she is doing is good for her, then what is the issue? Why is that degrading to women? In the west, many couples consciously choose to be common law partners to get around the financial burden and other obligations found in a regular marriage, which in some ways similar to Misyar. This is freedom. But, then so is Misyar. The problem is people abuse it, and many men (in KSA) especially, use it solely for sex. Men who lie about their intentions are key to the problem. Isn’t this the same with common law partnership when one lies about their seriousness or intentions. The reason I bring this comparison is to show that men and women get together in so many ways, but Misyar is singled out to be barbaric. And why is it so interesting for Elhadj to hammer away only “excerpts” from a story or an issue that if told in its entirety, will have different meaning, or a different scope. This is the key to misinformation or partial information that is wrong, especially in a complex subject like religion.

Another Mike, I agree that it would be an interesting topic to write about: the origin of Judaism, Christianity or/and Islam. Do you have any knowledge in this field? Would you like to participate?

Take care,


July 6th, 2010, 10:04 am


Husam said:


Kindly point out to me where I was “RUDE” @75, so I can be more careful in the future.


July 6th, 2010, 10:09 am


Husam said:


Why do you think Elhadj has been silent to our corrections? Perhaps he prefers an audience that agrees with him 100% or he prefers private conversations with people who have PhDs with a long resume as he mentioned.

Afterall he is the author of this write-up. ..

July 6th, 2010, 10:34 am


almasri said:


I liked your response to Another David. I am not really concerened or eager to conduct any ‘debate’ with elhadge and would not care less to read him. We gain nothing from debating with such pretenders. Aside from discrediting his claims to Islamic knowledge and proving them shallow, I have no further interests in this thread. His ignorance of Islam’s history, tenets and doctrines became clear to me from the outset. I also hope others have seen it and I would consider my mission accomplished in this case. I do not follow any labels and whoever labels me whatever he thinks is his problem.

Good luck with your efforts and raising up your daughter(s).

July 6th, 2010, 10:58 am


husam said:

Ed Webb:

Here is the official comment from:

Dr. Mehmet Görmez, the directorate’s deputy director, said: “Our project is not aimed at effecting a radical renewal of the religion, as is claimed by the BBC. Our objective is to help our citizens attain a better understanding of the hadith. Though I underlined several times during our interview with a BBC reporter that our project cannot be considered a reformation of Islam, he distorted the facts, saying Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam — and a controversial and radical modernization of the religion.”

“I had an interview with BBC reporter Robert Pigott around two months ago about the project. I underscored during our interview that it cannot be termed a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam. But, his article read ‘the very theology of Islam is being reinterpreted in order to effect a radical renewal of the religion.’ This does not reflect the truth. We are going to take the appropriate legal measures for redress,” he added.

“It would neither be scientific nor correct to expurgate certain hadith. Sometimes insufficient information could be used to reach to precise information. Thus, we will not expunge certain hadith; we will make a new compilation of the hadith and re-interpret them if necessary,” he noted.

Why did Elhadj put a link to the BBC without mentioning Gormez’s allegations that the BBC twisted the story??? He could have easily Googled it as I have and realized the credibility of the BBC report to be faulty to say the least. I found the results of on the first page in Google, I did not have to go digging, it was the second result after the official BBC report! Wouldn’t that have given him more credibility? We are talking PhD here?


Almasri: I think your comment @90 was intended for me, if so, I hear you and agree. I think I am done here as well. Thanks for your warm wishes. One of the twins this morning tired me out of clapping her hands wanting me dance forever.

July 6th, 2010, 11:41 am


Husam said:

Dr. Landis:

What do you think about the official response from the Deputy Director himself regarding the BBC story?

July 6th, 2010, 11:50 am


almasri said:


Sorry for the typo. It was for you.

July 6th, 2010, 12:03 pm


Shami said:

I think that criticism of Islam and the culture of criticism within our culture is a good thing for helping us ,muslims to evolve better ,even if it comes from non-Muslims scholars, when Muslims were at the peak of power,it was recorded that discussions between Muslims and non Muslims about the validity of their respective doctrines and concepts were not rare, Al Kindi, the first systematic Muslim philosopher, had debated with Christians in Baghdad, and attacked the concept of Trinity using Aristotelian logic for this purpose. We also know the opinion of St. John of Damascus, whose relative and himself served the Caliphate state before choosing the monastic life,he openly regarded Islam as a new “heretic” Christian sect.
Also, the great Ibn Hazm of Andalusia, has made a comparative study of different religions(and Islamic sects)and debated with Jews and Christians.
So I believe it’s a sign of weakness if we do not want non-Muslims to have their views on Islam.
From a philosophical point of view, the superiority of Islam over early christianism to me is precisely that it is a religion without clergy, and despite the wars that Elie El Hajj quoted, Muslims are not as divided around the principles , plurality of Opinions doesn’t mean separation and animosity ,on the contrary, an integration of different opinions have been digested ,we know for example the disagreement between Abu Hanifa and Ibn Hanbal, or later, between Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Ata Allah Al Iskandarani.
Elie says that Islam or Arab culture is allergic to democracy. I say not more than in the Scandinavian culture who are nowadays the most advanced democracies in the world .
Consultation with political aim existed before Islam among the Arabs,the pre islamic Shura was praised by the Quran
After the death of the prophet,the elective process was maintained against the idea of an hereditary caliphate and even when Caliph Muawiya took the controversial decision to give the Caliphate as an inheritance to his son Yazid, he sought to win the approval of the greatest number possible among the Arabs.
Muawiya ,as clever man of state did probably the right thing in order to save the Islamic Umma from collapsing ,indeed the Umayyads have succeeded in building an effective and strong state which provided an effective administration that helped Islam to reach a sophisticated and prestigious civilization from Spain to the borders of China.
Also ,Elie,The importance of the state sovereignty given by these Islamic religious thinkers should not be understood as resignation in front of a rude dictatorship and injustice, we all know the struggle that opposed the Umayyad caliphs and Abu Hanifa or the Abbasid caliphs with Ahmad Ibn Hanbal or Ibn Taymiyyah who opposed the Mameluk sultan who jailed him several times in Egypt and Damascus and eventually died in jail, despite all this disagreement ,he called the Muslim masses to respect the the state as guardian of the Umma. I think this stance is a good understanding for state sovereignty,for this reason, theocracy and clericalism have been avoided in mainstream Islamic culture. Europe had to wait centuries before reaching such political maturation.(Hume and Locke).
Also ,Elie,Democracy had been badly viewed by the most important Greek philosophers, like Plato, who never resigned himself to the death sentence against his master Socrates by an democratically elected assembly or Aristotle, who equated democracy with demagoguery.
So democracy is a value that has been only successfully worked recently, it must go hand in hand with the development of the generalization of education, civism , and also technology, in order to lessen the influence of demagoguery…

July 6th, 2010, 12:29 pm


Shami said:

Of course Abu Hanifa ,did not know ,Ahmad Ibn Hanbal born after Abu Hanifa’s death ,but the later one ,had criticized Abu Hanifa writings(as in an other field ,the response of Averroes on Al Gazali criticism of philosophy),for Ibn Ata Allah and Ibn Taymiyya they had debated directly.

July 6th, 2010, 12:50 pm


Husam said:


Thank you for saying it like it is (Jad thinks I am rude! I still can’t figure out why) The questions you bring about regarding the Ahadiths are noted. But please don’t fall in the trap of “If I can’t do it, no one can” relating to numbers or memory, or ability to do things the average person can not. Have you seen Acrobats that bend in half? Although, yes, even an acrobat can fall or hurt himself.

Questions will be asked in so many ways, on many platforms, and in many books. But the most likely correct answers, in my opinion, will lie with the consensus of people (35 Adhadiths experts in the case of the Turkish project) who have spent their lives studying the Ahadiths. That is why I think what Turkey is doing is by all means refreshing and useful.

July 6th, 2010, 2:26 pm


Al Waleed said:

I am appalled by Al Masri’s arrogance and lack of logic (comment #90). He refuses to read Mr. Elhadj published works; yet he allows himself to pontificate on his so called absence of knowledge about islamic matters. I have followed the current debate and was less than impressed by the quality of Al Masri’s contribution. I found his arguments shallow and small minded. He and his group of islamist commentators persist in referring to Dr Elhadj only as “Elhadj”. What happened to good manners, civility, courtesy? I thought that these were part of the ethical code of islam, but these men seem to have forgotten it. Mr Elhadj, has many accomplishments both academically and in the business world and, as such, he deserves our respect. In this connection, I would be very interested to know what achievements, if any, can his detractors claim to their credit

July 7th, 2010, 4:45 pm


Husam said:

Mr/Dr. Al Waleed… how does that make you feel? Any better? smarter, perhaps? 🙂

Okay, perhaps Almasri was a little arrogant with 90, but so were so many statements on this thread made by others as well. The most arrogant of all was the comment by ELHADJ himself (see comment 46, you have to re-read it in full) If Dr. Elhadj had any morals himself, he would not have labelled people whom he doesn’t know and who question his wrong “statement” Islamists. Tora Bora! He asserts that we “men” are less civilized than tent dwellers in Tora Bora! And, you want me to refer to him is Doctor! He failed to take control of the debate and prove us all wrong, but of course we are not of his calibre.

Why don’t you read comment #91, which proves 100% that the BBC piece attached to his work is tainted? And, what… no one commented! Where did everybody go…hellooooo…BBC is a farce!

I have to admit Elhadj was skilful in words (not truthful), but I personally felt after reading his piece, that he was distorting some facts and purposely omitting important information that could have altered the outcome.

July 7th, 2010, 8:30 pm


Husam said:

Al Waleed:

Also, since you are following the thread, what about 84, 67, & 58… why are you writing them off?

July 7th, 2010, 10:59 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

Al Waleed,


Aside from their shallow rhetoric, I am yet to find an intelligent criticism of my article worthy of a reply.

Salafi Islamists are determined on keeping their people underdeveloped. Oh, enemies of Arabs, celebrate.

العبيكان: توجد أحاديث تخالف القرآن فى صحيح “مسلم”


أكد العالم السعودى الشيخ عبدالمحسن ناصر العبيكان وجود بعض الأحاديث النبوية الشريفة بكتاب صحيح “مسلم” تخالف نص القرآن الكريم وتخالف أيضا ما جاء فى صحيح البخارى حتى إنها جعلت من قبيل الشاذ عند أهل الحديث.

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi demanded in 1978 that the Hadith “be cast aside as superfluous to the message of the fundamental Quran.”


July 8th, 2010, 3:15 am


Husam said:

Elie said:

“Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi demanded in 1978 that the Hadith “be cast aside as superfluous to the message of the fundamental Quran.”

You are quoting a tyrant, a womanizer, a psycho, and a disgrace to Arabs – Qaddafi! Why would you do that? Afterall, you know his “resume”. Are you advocating that we should “cast aside as superfluous” referring to the hadith? You are aligning your thoughts with Qaddafi. If that is not what the intention is, then please clarify, as thus far I have not been impressed Elie.

We all know that the Quran is the supreme actual word of God, and if there is contradiction between scriptures, the Quran supersedes the Hadith. I have said that already, twice. It doesn’t matter what one Sheikh thinks, what matters is the consensus, like what is happening in Turkey (I am assuming it won’t be corrupted).

Why don’t you comment on the BBC piece you pasted? Did you know it was tainted?

Why don’t you save us the trouble, and come out of the closet..are you a “submitter” or follower of “Richard Kalif”?

Your popping in every now and then to remind us that we are not “worthy” is arrogance-to-the-max. Many interesting points, responses, and proofs were raised by people who disagreed with you, but you ONLY responded to those who agreed with YOU! Instead, you resorted to name calling people who disagreed with you as Islamists, and now you have added Salafists. I am a Sunni BTW.

Averroes: This is for you, read 71, and your response @82.

July 8th, 2010, 8:20 am


Henry said:

“We all know that the Quran is the supreme actual word of God”

We all? You must be excluding the many the Christians and Jews who read this site. Not to mention most of the world… What arrogance!

July 8th, 2010, 8:34 am


Husam said:


🙂 Welcome to the thread.

I was responding to Elhadj who is referring to us “we” Islamists. Are you an Islamists? So, you don’t believe the Quran to be the actual word of God. That is why you are Christian / Jew / Athiest. Otherwise, you would convert. I hear you in the background sayin’: Meee, Neverrrr!

July 8th, 2010, 4:08 pm


Husam said:


I unsuccefully searched and asked everywhere for some hard evidence about the number of Ahadith that Albukhari, as you suggested, analyzed (as you stated hundreds of thousands). All the figures are based on off the wall estimates which seem like exaggerations (allahu ‘alam).

Also, there is no evidence that he did NOT have help from the many scribes/students that followed him.

So, can you kindly tell me where you found your numbers and how you came to the conclusion that it was “highly unlikely” that he had any help?

July 19th, 2010, 10:05 pm


almasri said:


The whole thesis upon which this argument of analyzing hadith (i.e. one by one or word for word) is false because it is based on false assumptions.

First, you are right. Al-Bukhari did not start from the void. There were already people of hadith who have made their own individual collections and in writing. They either witnessed the Prophet during his life time or were one generation away (such as malik who already compiled his Muwattaa). Al-Bukahri only needed to access those collections to start.

Second, if you know the Qura’n which Bukhari did know for sure, you do not need to spend much effort to strike off thousands of hadiths at a glance – i.e. anything contradicting the Qur’an. Once you gain the experience through identifying the narrators of those false hadiths, your task becomes even much easier – that is, any so-called hadith narrated by those suspects is stricken off the record without even looking at it.

Third, your original comment about the power of memory is overlooked by most if not all modern critics. We are used nowadays to search for information we need in the usual places such as particular online storage locations or in printed forms. In most instances, we do not bother to commit that information to memory. Today most information is stored in our ‘RAM’ and it is gone the moment we are done with it. It wasn’t so in those days. People did make use of their memories and if the information is available in your head analyzing it will only take a flash of a second. Al-Bukhari’s exceptional talent was in identifying those companions who had this particular gift and there were quite few of them.

That’s as much as I can say about this.

July 19th, 2010, 10:59 pm


Husam said:


Your insights and comments are without question valid. Of course, Al Bukhari did not start from nil. My issue from the very beginning is this: why was everyone defending Elhadj knowing the falacy of his Essay? I mean, I myself don’t know more than a drop in the ocean regarding Islam, and yet, I saw clearly that there was distortions from the beginning.

Questions are welcome, bring them on. But when Elhadj passes B.S. and doesn’t check the validity of his statements and the sham BBC article, it pisses me off. He then refuses to back up or answer anyone who disagrees with him stating that we are too low for him, and gets further applaud and hoorays from the participants. I began to question the readership here. It is puzzling to me…really.

July 20th, 2010, 12:18 am


almasri said:


I do not see that many people agreed with elhadge. In fact, I believe his post has been exposed as sham. You were right in one comment in which you pointed out his failures such as he only thanked those who agreed with him and tried character assassination with others. That is enough to dissmiss his post as irrelevant. You also pointed out the BBC contradiction of his claim which was more than a clear rebuttal of his sensationalism.

I realize there were some who used the sensational nature of the post to vent off their frustrations with current status. Some also had certain agendas and you may have seen that coming up recently in a form like ‘my way or the highway’. We do not need to worry about these because they have predetermined minds. It is useless to argue with them.


July 20th, 2010, 12:53 am


Mushtaq said:

اسلام علیکم
I endorse the views of Elie Elhadj except that instead of wasting our energies in proving the veracity of احادیث which has been deliberated upon by many scholars in the past and is available, to resolve any issue, we should first refer to Quran ( and this is in line with Ahadiths). Seldom, you will find an issue or matter, for which basic guidance is not there in Quran. And this is the only book which can eradicate the menace of تفرقہ بازی and فرقہ بازی because all the firqas draw their essence from علم الحدیث، روایہ اور تاریخ. Only this book can unite the مسلم امہ if they stop interpreting and translating the Quran with their preconceived theologies. وللہ علم

March 12th, 2011, 11:24 pm


Maverick said:

This article is a great example of ignorant people spouting garbage don’t know jack about. it makes the assumption that each and every one of the 600,000 narrations were exclusive and individually distinct narrations, completely different than the next.

But the fact is, one narration can have the exact same words reported down through five narrators – and that counts as five separate narrations, because the transmission chain is also part of the narration.

Secondly, as often was the case, there were multiple witnesses to whatever the Prophet did or said. If there were 10 witnesses to a speech he made, and each witness told 10 other distinct people, you now have 100 (one hundred) narrations that, in the sciences of hadith reporting, constitute ONE HUNDRED SEPARATE AND INDIVIDUAL REPORTS.

Seriously, what happened to the days and times when people actually cared about integrity and accuracy in their writings?

(OH WAIT. Those were the days of men like Bukhari. DUH)

September 21st, 2011, 5:41 pm


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