Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's understanding of Qur'an (1)

Question:
Islamic history is not without its fair share of terrible dividing distortions .Whether they were deliberate conniving endeavours or human errors, is something difficult to decide. Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Pervez also has his views on the subject of hadith and Islamic history. How do your views differ from his?

Response:
The question of hadith and Islamic history is a complex one; and it is divisive too. One thing is certain: since neither of them come to us through absolutely certain sources, unlike Qur’an and sunnah, they are not a part of the basic structure of our religion. Except for Ibn Hazm, I don’t know of an eminent Muslim scholar of the first era of Muslim scholarship who thought that ahadith gave us certain knowledge. We therefore derive explanations and clarifications from them, but we cannot equate them with the original content of Islam.

My policy would differ with Pervez Sahib’s on hadith and Islamic history in the extent of information we would accept and reject from these sources. We would both accept some part of the body of knowledge that lies therein and would reject some part of it. I would accept the information of hadith and would consider its meanings binding on me if I am convinced that it has come to me through a reliable source and it is within the parameters of the principles of Qur’an. Pervez Sahib is likely to consider most part of the information emerging from hadith as inapplicable to the modern times, even when it is authentic and not running contrary to the Qur’an.

I find myself even less comfortable with his ideas in the domain of sunnah and Qur’an. Sunnah, to me, like Qur’an, is a completely preserved set of practices, like salat etc. Pervez Sb seems to be equating it with hadith and therefore appears to be rejecting its pivotal position in Islam. Likewise, while interpreting Qur’an he seems to be employing a way of understanding Qur’anic words which is unique to him: Instead of giving meanings to Qur’anic vocabulary the way Arabs of those times understood, he developed a new science for understanding meanings of Qur’anic words. The end result was that he understood from Qur’an a message which, at least in some cases, was completely unique, unknown to anyone before him.

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