Salam Alaikum. I have 12 simple questions for Traditional Muslims, and I hope you could be the first person to attempt in answering them after sincerely reflecting upon them, God-willing:
1) Throughout the Quran, we frequently see its reference to itself as “Al-Quran”. Why then is there not a single place in the entire Quran where a secondary scripture or divine revelation called “As-Sunnah” (the Sunnah) or “Al-Hadith An-Nabawi” (the Prophetic Hadith) is likewise mentioned? Doesn’t the Quran constantly claim that it is clear & straightforward? How then could God take the time to mention something as seemingly trivial as onions and lentils (Quran 2:61), and yet fail to clearly identify the most important source of guidance & revelation that all believers for all times are forever required to follow as religious guidance?
2) Why do the words “Hadith” and “Sunnah” nevertheless amazingly appear over and over again throughout the Quran, yet never ONCE refer to what traditional Muslims use them as? (as the inspired words & teachings of the Prophet). Not only this, but the words “Sunnah” and “Hadith” are in fact often used throughout the Quran in ways that refer to the supremacy & exclusive authority of the Quran’s message itself, thus in almost a taunting manner towards what traditional Muslims would later come to believe about the “prophetic Hadith” and this idea of ‘dual revelation’ (see for example Q 77:50, 46:5, 39:23). If there was actually a second scripture or revelation ordained by God called the ‘Sunnah/Hadith’, wouldn’t this be extremely deceptive and misleading?
3) Why does the Quran constantly make mention of itself and it’s perfect guidance, lack of contradictions, and promise of its preservation, and so on, yet make NO such magnificent claims about the Sunnah if it is indeed a co-authoritative revelation of God to humanity? Wouldn’t we at least expect that the Quran adds something like the phrase “ والسنة” (‘and the Sunnah’) in these numerous verses where the Quran alone is uniquely mentioned as the supreme guidance & sacred revelation?
4) Why does the so-called Prophetic Sunnah (as supposedly codified in the Hadith) contradict the Quran in so many significant ways? For example, so-called “Sahih” Hadiths tell us that tiger and other animals are forbidden to eat, whereas the Quran is manifestly clear—multiple times, in fact—that the ONLY four prohibited foods are carrion, blood, pig’s meat, and idol-offerings; nothing more (Quran 6:145). Or for example, Sahih Hadiths tell is that the Prophet will be an intercessor on Judgement Day for those in his Ummah who committed MAJOR sins, whereas the Quran clearly states that anyone who commits major sins and fails to repent will be condemned to Hell, and will have no protector, intercessor, or savior. How can these teachings be a “commentary” on the Quran (as virtually all sunni Muslim scholars posit) when they blatantly contradict it? (P.S. Ask me for any specific references if needed).
5) Why do you say that the Sunnah (as supposedly preserved in the Hadith) is a commentary on the Quran, when we know that the Hadith is actually just a collection of isolated sayings and doings of the Prophet and his companions, with less than 1% actually being direct commentary on the Quran? How can one claim this especially when considering the massive disagreement amongst traditional sects and scholars when it comes to Hadith-based theology, as well as numerous clear & major contradictions between the Quran and Hadith as pointed out above?
6) Why does the Quran constantly make mention of the Torah and Gospel, as well as the Psalms and other revealed scriptures of God—and call these “guidance” and “beacons of light”—while no such honorable mention is ever made of the supposed second revelation that God allegedly sent down to the Prophet as the inspired Sunnah? How could God possibly fail to prioritize the divine identification of the Sunnah/Hadith—which is supposedly INDISPENSABLE for understanding the Quran itself—and yet constantly make mention of the amazing wonder & authority of the previous scriptures & revelations, which we aren’t even required to follow anymore? Once again, wouldn’t this seem to be gravely misleading?
7) If we got rid of the Quran and just kept all of the accepted Hadith, don’t you think that the current religion of traditional Islam would still be perfectly intact? In other words, isn’t the Hadith alone sufficient for nearly everything you need to practice traditional Islam in its current form? What then is the need for the Quran under this framework? What other essential use or practical value does the Quran actually provide that the Hadith cannot? In fact, isn’t this why the Sunni Muslim scholars of the past were forced to admit “the Quran is in more need of the Sunnah than the Sunnah is in need of the Quran”?
8) Why is there such a massive difference between the structure of the Quran (the codified words of God) and the structure of the Hadith (the alleged codified words of the Prophet) if they are both indeed co-equal legally-binding divine revelations brought down by God? For example, the Quran is preserved word-for-word, whereas the Hadith is mainly preserved meaning-to-meaning; the Quran is unique in style and incredibly easy to memorize & recite, whereas the Hadith is clearly human literature and was not made for easy memorization; the Quran has a set ‘canon’ that is more-or-less unanimously agreed upon and was transmitted as such, whereas the Hadith consists of thousands of disjointed unrelated reports that had to be individually collected and vigorously authenticated using human-devised methods of verification; and the list goes on. If both the Quran and the Sunnah were equally divine revelations of God, why is this the case? Yet isn’t this EXACTLY what one would expect if people falsely attributed a human work of literature as being divine revelation alongside God’s true word?
9) If you were to hand a copy of the Quran to an unbiased stranger who spoke fluent classical Arabic, and had them read the Quran for the first time, from beginning to end, and with no other source of information—would they come back to you confused and puzzled, and be asking you for the secondary scripture & co-divine revelation called the “Prophetic Sunnah & Hadith” that they were allegedly supposed to read about in the Quran?
10) The Quran mentions that the Jinn (the beings of the unseen realm; the parallel creation to us human beings) can actually hear the Quran being recited and follow it as such (Quran 72:1); thus we learn that the Quran is even a source of guidance for Jinn themselves. Therefore, is it required for the Jinn to follow the Sunnah & Hadith? If not, why not? But if so, how so? What model do you propose for such a thing to work?
11) We already know and agree that the previous generations before us who were given scripture & prophethood by Allah (SWT) went far astray and added all sorts of falsehoods and fake traditions to their religion, including the Talmud of the Jews (who also interestingly claim that it contains ancient traditions of Moses passed down as commentary on the Torah) as well as the writings of Paul & the early Church fathers, whom Christians have essentially given precedence over Jesus’ own words and have thereby begun to worship the Trinity and hold other serious false beliefs, that can even lead one to eternal damnation on Judgement Day. With this (frightening) reality in mind, shouldn’t we be wary that WE too might also have gone astray from the pure teachings of God in the Quran? Wouldn’t it be utterly foolish and careless of us to ignore the warnings of Allah (SWT) about the historical corruptions & fabrications of the people of divine Scripture before us, and thus fail to consider that we too might be deviating from the right path just as they once did?… Indeed, when Prophet Moses left his people for just 40 days to meet with God, he came back to find them committing no less than the most heinous & atrocious sin of worshipping a carved idol, even after they had seen all that God did for them in Egypt. That was 40 DAYS; what then do you think of the Prophet’s followers after 1,400 years?
12) Finally, what WOULD the Quran actually have to say for you to accept that it is the only revelation brought down from God to the Prophet? The Quran already says countless times that it is clear & lucid, sufficient for guidance, detailed & self-explanatory, unmatched & supreme, and perfectly preserved—so what else could the Quran possibly say for you to realize that it is indeed what it claims to be, and that no other scriptures or revelations are mandated on us to follow? I hope you will contemplate on these questions deeply & sincerely, and reflect with a clear & open mind.
I look forward to your response. Much Salam. [Collected]