A rather common factoid I see time and time again implies that the Koran is more important for Muslims than the Hadiths. Sometimes people — even learned analysts who should know better — imply that the Koran is the main, or even only, text that explains Muslim thought, speech and actions.
A typical example of this is in a piece by James M. Arlandson published on Jihad Watch.
At one point in his presentation, Arlandson writes:
“Nonetheless, most hadith were rejected if they contradicted the Quran.”
He offers no evidence for this sweeping generalization. In fact, someone far more learned than Arlandson about the subject — Professor of law and of Islamic legal history Chibli Mallat — indicates that his claim is inaccurate.
Before I present the money quote, if the reader doesn’t know, the Sunnah (from which comes the word “Sunni”) is the vast corpus of texts and tradition in Islam derived mainly from the following sources:
Hadiths (sayings of Mohammed, among which are four collections especially deemed authentic, or sahih, with the most authentic being the collection by Bukhari)
Tafsirs (commentaries on the Koran by Muslim scholars over the centuries)
Siras (biographies of Mohammed written long ago)
Fiqh (traditions of rulings on legal decisions going back centuries, and apportioned out among four major “schools” of law. The fiqh are based mainly in the hadiths, but also rely on the tafsirs and siras, and all together this constitutes the Sunnah — which forms and represents the backbone of all Sharia law which, in turn, is really the daily meat and potatoes of Islam itself — for Muslims individually, in the context of family, in terms of ritual worship, and for defining and controlling politics).
Back to Professor Chibli Mallat and what he wrote in an academic journal on the subject:
“…none [of the 4 schools of Islamic law] would disagree with the statement attributed to the Syrian jurist Awza’i (died 774 a.d.) that the Book [the Koran] is in greater need of the sunnah than sunnah is of the Book.”
“Islamic to Middle Eastern Law a Restatement of the Field (Part I)” by Chibli Mallat, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Autumn, 2003), p. 724
Why is this important? Because the inaccurate impression that is reinforced, that the Koran is the be-all and end-all of Muslim thought and behavior, can often help Muslim sophists tap-dance their evasive way out of the mountain of grotesque barbarities and violent fanaticism enshrined in the sahih hadiths, simply because “it’s not in the Koran” — as though Muslims limit themselves to the Koran, and are not, rather, positively bound by and slavish admirers of the outrageously hideous and dangerous hadiths and of all the Sharia lawmaking and laws that depend on them (not to mention all the fatwas and “answers” clerics give in their “Islamic Q&A” to so many millions of Muslims seeking anxiously fanatical “advice” on everything under the Sun from what shampoo is haram to how to beat one’s wife to whether it’s okay to have sex with your goat to finding artful ways for women to work alongside males who are not her family members by allowing them to suckle on her teats, and on and on and dry-heavingly on…).
I’m not sure if Chibli Mallat is a Muslim or a Lebanese Maronite Christian. The Wikipedia page on his father, Wajdi Mallat, notes that …he established Mallat law offices [in Lebanon] in 1949. As a lawyer, he defended celebrated cases in Lebanese modern advocacy, winning landmark judicial victories on behalf of the Vatican and the Beirut Maronite Church.
If Chibli is the latter, I have yet seen no title among his published works that would disabuse me of the suspicion that he’s pretty much a Useful Dhimmi if not a flaming stealth Islamochristian (as Hugh Fitzgerald has defined that term he coined): i.e., either way, it would be prudent to suspect him of being a stealth jihadist. (If “flaming stealth jihadist” sounds self-contradictory, it’s only because the West is currently so stupid about the danger of Islam that stealth jihadists (Muslims or Dhimmis) can pretty much operate in full view without raising an eyebrow.)
At any rate, Chibli Mallat is no academic slouch; his CV indicates a solid scholarly career:
Yale law school, 2005-2006
Virginia Law School, 2006, 2008
professor in the law department of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (where apparently he received his PhD in 1990), and Director of its Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law,
EU Jean Monnet Chair of European Law and Director of the Centre for the Study of the European Union at the University of Saint Joseph, Beirut, and SJ Quinney
Presidential Professor of Law and Professor of Law and Politics of the Middle East at the University of Utah.
A look at his published work is also impressive:
P.S.: As the reader may have noticed, I write “hadiths” where others denote the plural without the s. The most proper Arabic form of the plural is ahadith. But I say the hell with it, because that diabolical language Arabic does not deserve to be orthographically respected, except of course where necessary for our anti-Islamic purposes (similarly, I generally refuse to write “Koran” as “Qur’an” — with that arrogant Q, that presumptuous u, and most of all, that annoyingly ubiquitous Arabic apostrophe).