In one of his articles Prof. Israr Ahmad Ahmad, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), in what is practically a bid to subject Hadith to subjective analysis of ordinary people vis-a-vis its relation with Qur’an clearly departs from established scholarly morals.
He tries to amass references from scholars for the said purpose. Among the scholars he refers to is Imam al-Shafi’i. He alleges;
Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘ i (d.204 A.H.) observed in his masterpiece, al-Umm that if a Hadith was in contrast with the Qur’ an, it could not be from the Prophet (s.a.w.), even though it was narrated by authentic narrators. For that matter he quoted a Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w.):
Hadith will, indeed, spread far and wide in my name; whatever thereof is in conformity with the Qur’an is genuinely mine; and whatever thereof clashes with the Qur’ an is certainly not from me.
In his notes, he gives the following reference for this;
Al-Dumayni, Misfir Ghuram Allah, Maqayis Naqd Mutun al -Sunnah (Self published by the author, Riyadh, 1403 A.H.), p. 297.
See, “The Qur’an as a Criterion for Hadith-Text Examination”, Islamic Perspectives – [Journal of ] Center for Sociological Studies, London Academy of Iranian Studies, vol. 4 2010 p.287, 308
This appears nice however it is cunningly deceitful for two reasons;
1) Imam al-Shafi’i has himself clarified that the report is not sahih
2) The work he cites itself clarifies this was not the final opinion of Imam al-Shafi’i and therefore it is wrong to attribute it to him anymore.
1) Imam al-Shafi’i himself clarified this report is not authentic
Following is the excerpt from al-Risala the well known work of Imam al-Shafi’i;
It is a part of a dialogue between Imam al-Shafi’i and some other person;
He (the other person) said: … can you give me an evidence against those who related a saying on the authority of the Prophet which runs as follows:
Compare whatever is related on my authority with the Book of God; if it agrees with it, I have said it, but if it does not agree, I have not said it.
[Shafi’i] replied: This tradition was not related by one whose authority on any matter, significant or insignificant, has been recognized so as to constitute a proof for what he related. Besides this is an interrupted transmission from an unknown person and is unacceptable to us.
 This tradition has been transmitted in a variety of forms and is regarded as weak. For a critical evaluation, see Ibn Hazm, Kitab al-Ihkam fi Usul al-Ahkam, Vol. II. pp.76-82
See, Al-Risala fi Usool al-Fiqh- Treatise on the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Translated by Majid Khadduri, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, 1993 pp.186-187
2) Prof. Israr A. Khan’s intellectual dishonesty
The Prof. gives the narration from al-Shafi’i’s work citing another book i.e. Al-Dumayni’s Maqayis Naqd Mutun al-Sunnah. On page 297 of Al-Dumayni’s work we do find what Prof. writes however, Al-Dumayni clarifies on the very next page i.e. p.298 that though earlier Imam al-Shafi’i did mention the narration in his work al-Umm but in later work al-Risalah (as quoted above) he recanted from his view of testing every hadith against Qur’an because a sahih Hadith can never contradict Qur’an even if someone short of brains people thinks it does.
Al-Dumayni then writes;
وعلى هذا يكون القول بعدم العرض هو الراجح عنه، أو: هو القول الأخير له فى المسألة
“And for this reason the word about not presenting a hadith (against Qur’an for testing) is the more solid thing proved from him. Or (we may say): It is the last of his opinions on the issue.” (p.298)
This makes it very clear that Imam al-Shafi’i did not hold what the Prof. alleged. The learned Professor of Department of Qur’an and Sunnah wonderfully deceives his readers. Interestingly the well known and final opinion of Imam al-Shafi’i is mentioned even on p.296 of Al-Dumayni’s work. So both before and after what the Prof. quotes the clarification is given but he signally fails to share the truth.
Download al-Dumayni’s work HERE and see for yourself.
Had the professor quoted from al-Umm directly it would have not been too serious an issue because it is possible that a person reads one book and doesn’t know if some later work has a different thing though true scholarship doesn’t warrant that as well. But the fact that Prof. Khan quoted from a secondary source and that secondary source in very categorical terms clarifies against what he cherry-picks raises serious questions. It is next to impossible to take it as an honest mistake.
May Allah help us have see through the things and preserve our ‘iman from tricks of the opponents of sunnah.
Indeed Allah knows the best!