THERE is no reason whatsoever not to appropriately and immediately respond to the most recent titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in which he reminded the nation to be cautious against groups that use knowledge in an attempt to invalidate Al-Quran and Al-Hadith. All doors must be firmly shut to such efforts in order to safeguard the ummah from being misguided by a religious understanding that goes against the teachings of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.
Indeed, regardless of how advanced mankind’s knowledge is, it will never be able to invalidate the Quran and Hadith or the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). What logic can accept that something that was invented by human beings, who are full of shortcomings and limitations, can be better than or supersede the divine teachings of the Noble Quran?
Delivering his titah at the fourth convocation of the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) on Thursday, November 20, 2014, His Majesty warned the nation to be vigilant against groups that attempt to use knowledge to discredit the fundamental sources of Islamic teachings.
Specifically mentioning the group ‘Mujaddid’ (reformists of Islam), His Majesty said it appears to be a movement that is based on knowledge. Members of this group actively promote new thoughts or theories to contradict and negate what they regard as outdated. His Majesty cited an example, in terms of Syariah law, there are those who say that it must be addressed in a new way and everything must be new, including the sources of reference. According to the group’s philosophy, if the law still makes use of the “old approach,” then it can’t be accepted.
Who are we, mankind, to underestimate or repudiate the laws prescribed based on the commandments of the Creator of the Universe, the Just Giver and the All-Knowing? Who are we to claim that we know more and better than Allah does? Who are we to contest Allah’s knowledge?
As His Majesty put it, old heritage (sources) remains relevant and needed as a source of reference. “Aren’t Al-Quran and Al-Hadith as well as the muktabar (venerated) scriptures considered old? How can these be rejected?” he asked.
The Glorious Qur’an is the final Book of divine guidance revealed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala through His last Prophet, Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Each and every word of this Book is from Allah, the Creator and the Sustainer of the Universe.
The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Qur’an (the word of God) and the Sunnah (the example) of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). By Sunnah, we mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions (or disapprovals) of Prophet Muhammad, the seal of the prophets.
The word “Sunnah” is also used to refer to religious duties that are optional. Here, we are concerned with Sunnah in the sense of the recorded sayings (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). In this sense, Hadith is considered to be second to the Qur’an. It is impossible to understand the Qur’an without reference to the Hadith, and it is impossible to explain a Hadith without relating it to the Qur’an.
The Qur’an is the message, while the Hadith is the translation of the message in pragmatic terms as exemplified by the Prophet. While the Qur’an is the fundamental basis of the Sunnah, the Sunnah is the practical demonstration of the precepts laid down in the Qur’an.
The duty of the Messenger was not just to communicate the message. Rather, he was entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating that message.
That is the reason why Allah Himself has commanded the following: “Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (the Prophet) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way.” (An-Nur 24:54)
According to Islam, one of the unique characteristics of the Quran is that it is the book of all times and space. This means the rulings and the teachings of the Quran are not restricted by time and space. They are universal and transcend time. They can be applied today as they were 1400 years ago and until the end of time.
Regardless of changes in our methods, knowledge and approaches, this does not affect the validity of the teachings of the Quran. The Quran speaks of itself, and we are told that it is also a comprehensive book. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran: “We have not neglected anything in the Book.” (Al-An’am 6:38)
Allah subhanna wa ta’ala gave us a comprehensive and all-embracing Quran so that we could act based on its guidance and apply its teachings in our lives. The Quran tells us that it was revealed to be followed and applied with the intention of leading a proper, God-pleasing life.
The nation’s higher learning institutions must be vigilant against the so-called “reformist” opinions and must not overlook them because they have the potential to trigger disputes and confusion in the community. As His Majesty warned, higher educational institutions “should not open their doors” to such groups and their mission as a precautionary measure.
The Brunei Times/Editorial
Friday, November 28, 2014