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It is said that the Quran contains no errors and is the direct word of Allah, flawless until the end of time.

The Hadith are not always right, hence why it's become the lifetime work by many scholars just to verify them. But they are valued as a collection of advice/rulings from those who are most knowledgeable in Islam.

So, my question is whether in the case of the Quran conflicting with a Hadith, the rulings from the Quran should be used instead? In cases of conflict between these sources, how is it normally resolved?

Some examples of conflicts:

  • Sahih hadith says that Zina is punishable by stoning, Quran says that Zina is punishable by flogging (Wikipedia)
  • "No compulsion in religion" versus death penalty on apostates (local)
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Minor note; I'm not quite sure "supersede" is the right term, as chronologically the Quran precedes the Hadiths, so doesn't really replace any part of them. I'm struggling for a better term though, other than perhaps "the Quran wins". –  Marc Gravell Aug 5 '12 at 0:11
The Hadiths are always right, If that is a Hadith. The scholars verify the hadithness, not the correctness. Yes, A hadith can be superseded by another Hadith. –  Anwar Aug 5 '12 at 7:30
@MarcGravell The (revealed) Qur'an doesn't necessarily precede the hadiths chronologically; the Qur'an was revealed piecemeal over many years, many of the events recorded in the hadith literature took place before the complete revelation. –  goldPseudo Aug 6 '12 at 21:04
@goldPseudo then I stand corrected on "chronologically", but I maintain that "supersede" isn't quite the right word either. –  Marc Gravell Aug 6 '12 at 21:30
@MarcGravell Yeah, I missed the real meaning of 'supersede'. Changed it to Override, which seems to be a bit of a strong term, but more technically accurate. –  Muz Aug 8 '12 at 6:41

7 Answers 7

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No, actually the Quran does not override the authentic Ahadeeth, because the Ahadeeth are the container of the sunnah, it is the sunnah reaches us today. The Ahadeeth are checked for authenticity by information provided by those who narrated the Ahadeeth themselves, and the information was passed down and we have it today. So every Hadith that is authenticated must be followed, in other words the Quran and authentic Hadith/sunnah come together.

Furthermore, the Quran is not meant to be an encyclopedia, and hence does not contain details on how to do things. Like Salat for example, about 90% of salat is not in the Quran. And hence, one will find rulings/orders in the Ahadeeth that isn't in the Quran, and it is an obligation on us to follow these orders/rulings from the Ahadeeth/Prophet. (We must follow His sunnah in regards to religion, in general).

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And whatever the Messenger has given you - take; and what he has forbidden you - refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty

Surat Al Hashar Ayah 7

And further more, the Quran and Authentic Sunnah do not and cannot contradict each other (as is clear in Ansari's answer). The Sunnah/Ahadeeth are also an explanation of the Quran, those who rely on the Quran, and their own (personal) understanding/interpretation only, are prone to deviation. An example, lets say that one wants to know what the ruling is for stealing, and the ruling is cutting the hand, but in Arabic Hand (يد) can mean from the finger tips to the wrist, or from the finger tips to the elbow, or it can mean the whole arm. And if the sunnah did not exist to clarify, there would be these three opinions which two of them are wrong.

So The Sunnah is an explanation/tafseer for the Quran, if you want to find a ruling you go to the Quran, but then you go to the Sunnah, and just like one cannot stop at the Quran, one cannot stop at the sunnah, and hence must go to how the Sahabah understood and implemented it. So the main point here in my answer is that the Quran and the Sunnah are two connected inseparable sources in Islam, in which rulings can be deduced (mind you, there are more than two, but I will just mention the Quran and the Sunnah here). I pray my answer is clear, and I apologize for it's lengthiness.

Sources: Islamic Online university Foundations of Islaamic Studies part 2

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Assalamualaikum. First of all I would like to say that don't ever try to mix the words of "Quran" and "Hadith" together. Actually "Quran" is the collection of every single aspect of knowledge and the shower of the correct path. If you actually read Quran with its meaning, you have definitely found that this greatest book contains only the brief summary/descriptions of various matters. No explanations have been given. So, to explain the messages of the great heavenly book, Nabi Karim(SM) was sent to this world by Allah. Hadiths are the acts, thoughts, speeches, silent agreements, forbiddings, etc. of the great Prophet(SM). Hadith is the explanation of all the messages present in the greatest heavenly book ever(Quran).

Surely, the position of Quran is above any others, though without Hadith you cannot execute the orders given by Allah in the holy Quran. For example: "Allah told in the Holy Quran to perform Salat and pay Zakat, but no idea is given in it as to how to perform Salat or what amount of wealth to be donated for Zakat. In this case, Hadith explains all these things clearly and easily."

Thus we must follow Quran and Hadiths correspondingly. Though some fault Hadiths may be found, but you can easily get the correct one through internet or any other book and for Hadiths there are many books of which the one that is thought most unfaulty is "Sahi Bukhari"

Inshallah you have got your answer I think.

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There is no fault hadith. There can be something that are leveled by "Hadith". I also think, most unfaulty word is not suitable for Sahih Bukhari. It implicitly says, there may be some faults in Bukhari and other Shahi's. But, +1 for the first part –  Anwar Aug 5 '12 at 7:32
By faulty hadith I meant the false ones that are/were created by other people –  Sazid Apr 6 '14 at 20:03

The basic principle is that Qur'an and authentic ahadith cannot contradict each other because their source is the same. The contradiction is only on the surface, and in reality one is either a specification of the other or they apply in mutually exclusive conditions.

One of the conditions for the strength of a hadith is that it doesn't contradict something more authentic than itself (the Qur'an, as you alluded, is most authentic by virtue of its unparalleled tawatur). By definition, the sunnah explains the Qur'an, and so if some hadith appears to contradict the Qur'an and this contradiction cannot be reconciled, then that hadith is severely diminished in strength and authenticity and not applied to the ruling. Usually however, scholars find ways to make both work together. The contradiction is usually just superficial and it turns out that one specifies the other (makes it more specific - like the Qur'an orders the establishment of prayer, the sunnah specifies exactly how). Usually this reconciliation works.

This is usually not a problem - the hard part is reconciling between different hadiths!

Source: Sh. Yusuf al-Qaradawi - summary at http://www.onislam.net/english/shariah/hadith/hadith-studies/436311.html

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Hadith is like a window in the past to the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. All Muslims alike, irrespective of whatsoever sectarian or other bent they may have, agree that the Sunnah is the first, foremost and canonical interpretation of the Quran. The Quran itself testifies to that, for example in 33:21. Taken this way, Sunnah as an interpretation is ontologically an extension of the source ("Quran"), and no matter how esoteric, by definition, can not stand orthogonal to its source.

The only question with respect to an interpretation can be of its correctness. In the case of Sunnah, it is an axiom of Muslim faith that the Sunnah is flawless.

A hadith is only a narration that claims to ascertain a Sunnah and is therefore subject to sincere and hard criticism. There are cases where authentic Ahadith elaborate and/or seemingly override the verses of Quran. An example is that of the permissibility of easting dead locust.

He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful. [2:173]

However, we find Hadith like

Imam Ahmed and Imam Ibn Majah narrate from son of Omar (may Allah be pleased with them all) that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said for us two dead animal are lawful and two bloods. The two dead are fish and locust, and the two bloods are liver and spleen.

The eating of locust is also narrated in

Narrated in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari that Abd’Allah bin Abi Auffi (may Allah be pleased with him) said we were with the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) in a holy battle [ghazwa'] and we use to eat locust in the presence of the Messenger Allah (PBUH).

Considering only the Quranic verses, one can arrive at one of the two possibilities

  • Easting insects - including locust - is permissible.
  • Easting insects - including locust - is impermissible.

It is from the Ahadith that the commonly accepted rulings of the general non-permissibility of consuming insects except locust are formed.

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According to shia Islam yes, there is a rule in shia Islam saying:

Any Hadith contradicting Quran should be thrown to wall.

Therefore we have to strictly adhere to the well established principle that any hadith going against the Qur'an must be discarded and 'thrown to the wall' - if it cannot be reinterpreted in an acceptable way.

Reference: al-islam.org

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First of all, let me clarify the verification of Ahadeeth included that they do not contradict with the Quran. So, all Sahih Ahadeeth do not and can not contradict with Quran. As far as your stated example is concerned, flogging or lashing is the punishment for fornication and stoning is the punishment for adultery so both of them are correct.

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What is the difference between "fornication" and "adultery"? In Arabic both are called zina. –  aasheq Jun 28 at 23:30
Fornication is illegal intercourse committed by a bachelor or a spinster while adultery is the illegal intercourse committed by a married person. –  Muhammad Ali Jun 28 at 23:46
Can you translate these into Arabic? –  aasheq 2 days ago

Quran is the final unchanged and unadulterated book of Allah, narrated to us by Rasool Allah directly and he recorded those verses and protected these for posterity in unchanged form. Ahadith are written hundreds of years 250-400 years later of the Prophet. so, in his life and in the lives of the 5 Rashidun and for up-to 400 years after the Prophet these had no role in the lives of muslims. each ruler ruled according to what they felt was the right way. 5 Rashidun in their own way, the ommayyids in thier own way and the abbasids in their own way. and those after them , in their own way, the ottomans the Safavid and others in their own ways. these were collected from memory of some of the great great grand children who may or may not have recorded or remembered these ahdaith completely as they were ordinary humans and did not have tape recorders or even if they had they did not record the Prophet. so their mention even in the same breath as Quran seems to me as almost Kufr of the lowest kind! the new human worship, the new pagan worship Muslims have started worshiping imams and hadith writers of 400 years after the Prophet and so called scholars rather than God almighty. some Muslim, or should they be called muslims, say that hadith should veto and cancel the Quran! now, that is the pits of blasphemy and kufr! and those who say that, in my humble opinion should start making statues of the imams and like hindus, start worshiping them. as equating partial or imperfect memories of ordinary men with the unchanged recorded verses from Allah, preserved by Rasool Allah. so, those who say things like that, are in huge misguiding error! Hadith may be read but always tested by Quran, Allah's final word narrated to us and recorded by Rasool Allah! it is said that 1.2 million ahadith were collected and a few humans, a few scholars after hundreds of years decided from their old imperfect knowledge and memorries and archaic methods to select some and stated that those, in their personal opinions were correct ahadith. one book has 3000+ the other 7000+. so out of 1.2 million a minimum of about 2000+ and maximum of 7000+ for sunnis were considered correct. so, you choose, God's word or man's? Bow before God or before Man!


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