This is an interesting comedy sketch by Monty Python on religion. But looking at the world the way it is right now, and what Islam has become in many countries, I think there is some truth here. We forget, or we conveniently forget. We ignore the Quran at our own peril. We somehow prefer to listen to some unsubstantiated sources as guidance and follow opinions of others uncritically. Despite the fact that Allah has already reminded us clearly in Surah Az-Zumar that the Quran is the best of all hadis (..ahsan alhadeeth..). In fact I find it non coincidental that Allah has chosen to use the word hadeeth to refer to the Quran in this particular instance. There is no mention of the second best or even the third best. Just the best of all, i.e. the Quran.
Allah has sent down the best statement (ahsanal hadeeth): a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah . That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whom He wills. And one whom Allah leaves astray - for him there is no guide.
39:23 (Sahih International)
So it does beg the question of why do we still refer to other sources over the Quran, and at times, we take this other source as a more authoritative guide. My simple mind seems to think that there could only be 3 possible reasons for this:
1) The Quran is not complete and there are omissions, and therefore we need a supplement.
2) The Quran is not easily readable and so we need commentary to help understand it
3) Some aspects of the Quran are no longer applicable in this day and age and therefore are abrogated (dimansuhkan).
The above are reasons that I have heard throughout my life growing up. The first reason given, i.e. “The Quran is not complete and there are omissions therefore we need a supplement” is actually a very common misconception. This is a myth. Allah has said in Surah An-Nahl that the Quran explains clearly everything and then in Surah Al-Anaam that nothing has been left out.
And on the day when We will raise up in every people a witness against them from among themselves, and bring you as a witness against these-- and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.
And there is no animal that walks upon the earth nor a bird that flies with its two wings but (they are) genera like yourselves; We have not neglected anything in the Book, then to their Lord shall they be gathered
Clearly these verses point to the fact that the Quran has not omitted anything and it is complete, and therefore the argument that we need a supplement because the Quran is incomplete is irrelevant and baseless.
Another common reasoning that I have heard is that the Quran is not that straightforward. It is not easy to understand it and you need to be an expert (Arabic speaker, religious scholar etc) to read this book. But if one were to think about it logically, this argument doesn't make sense. Why have a manual on living life as a Muslim if you cannot read it on your own in the first place? On the point that the Quran is not readable to the ordinary Joe (or Ali if you prefer! ), this is what the Quran has to say:
And certainly We have made the Quran easy for remembrance, but is there anyone who will mind?
And mind you, Allah has repeated this verse for three more times (54:22, 54:32, 54:40), so there is really no excuse that the Quran is not easy to read. It easy to remember, it is easy to understand. You don't need special skills or ability to be able to read the Quran.
And the final and possibly the most ridiculous argument I have heard is that part of the Quran is abrogated. This is just preposterous. If some verses of the Quran is no longer applicable and you need additional references to change what has been said in the Quran, then you are effectively calling the Quran obsolete…do we believe that ? I don't. But who cares about what I think, after all I don't speak Arabic and I am not a religious scholar. Let’s see what the Quran has to say:
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.
6:115 (Muhsin Khan)
Allah has said..”none can change His words”…no one can change or amend the Quran. The Quran has been fulfilled…it is complete…He knows best. How can anyone possibly claim that it is incomplete or obsolete ? What proof does anyone have to make such claims ? Haatu burhanukum inkuntum saadiqeen…show me your proof if you are truthful!
These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement after Allah and His verses will they believe?
45:6 (Sahih International)
And so I ask you, which other sources/references would you hold on to, if not the ‘ahsanal hadeeth’ (i.e. the Quran) ? Think about it……….