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4. Quran and Ismailism

Aga Khan and Sunnah: The Validity and Importance of Prophetic Traditions

Lately, I have noticed Ismaili missionaries picking up Quranists’ arguments and defending Aga Khan and in turn, modern-day Ismailism, on the basis of these Quranists’ arguments. For the average Ismaili brother who doesn’t know, Quranists are a small group of people who reject the prophetic traditions (called sunnat al-Nabi or just “sunnah” for simplicity) and insist on complying only with the Quran. Quranists have been refuted logically by a vast majority of Muslim scholars as a result of which they have never had a mainstream impact.

The Quranist Argument and its Refutation

The only feeble basis on which Quranists’ argument stands is this: The word sunnah occurs fourteen times in nine Quranic verses and nowhere does it refer to sunnah of Prophet (pbuh). In verses 8:38, 15:13, 18:55 the word sunnah is used to refer to the “way of the ancients”, or sunnat al-awwalin; whereas in 33:38, 33:62, 40:85, 48:23 it is used to refer to “way of Allah”. In 35:43, it is used to refer to the “way of Allah”, as well as “way of the ancients”. Finally, in 17:77 it is used for referring to the “way of the earlier messengers”, and then the “way of Allah”.

The insistence of the religious scholars to use the word sunnah for referring to the prophetic examples, ways or traditions has given an excuse to the Quranists (as well as the Ismaili missionaries) to argue that the word sunnah does not refer to the prophetic traditions in the Quran. However, the fact is that today, if the word sunnah is replaced with the word “prophetic traditions”, then the very foundation on which the Quranists (and Ismaili missionaries) stand, crumbles.

The major basis of Quranists’ refutation by mainstream Muslim scholars has been the question of how to establish the method of prayer, method of Hajj, percentage of Zakat and many other issues which are proven only from the prophetic traditions.

  • Quran commands us to pay Zakat – do the Quranists and Ismailis have any basis of proving the rate of zakat if they ignore the prophetic traditions?
  • Quran commands us to pray – do the Quranists and Ismailis have any basis of proving the method of salah if they ignore the prophetic traditions?
  • Quran commands us to perform Hajj – do the Quranists and Ismailis have any basis of proving the method of performing Hajj if they ignore the prophetic traditions?

The Quran DOES provide us with the answer, and that answer is to refer to the prophetic traditions – whether one chooses to call it sunnah or simply as “prophetic tradition”:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Translation:
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.

The ‘Ismaili Advantage’ for Rejecting the Sunnah

For Ismailis the fact that prophetic traditions are needed for establishing these and other Muslim practices acts as an advantage because Ismailis simply reject the prayer as offered  by the Prophet (pbuh), reject the way the Zakat was paid and the rate thereof, and also reject Hajj as the Prophet (pbuh) performed it. By rejecting the prophetic traditions (or sunnah) altogether, they reject the method by which each and every ibadah was performed by the Prophet (pbuh).

Are Quranists and Ismailis the same?

Rashad Khalifa - one of the prominent Quranists who declared that the Hadith and Sunna were ‘Satanic inventions’

Rashad Khalifa – one of the prominent Quranists who declared that the Hadith and Sunna were ‘Satanic inventions’

Until this point of rejection of the sunnah, it might seem that Ismailis and Quranists seem eye-to-eye. However, while the real Quranists conform 100% to the Quran (and nothing else, as they say), for the Aga Khani Ismailis, picking up Quranists’ arguments is just the first step to non-conformance with Islam in general by way of rejection of prophetic traditions.

In reality, along with rejection of prophetic traditions, Ismailis also reject clear Quranic commandments such as Ramadhan fasting (they instead fast only 3-4 days a year when the full moon is sighted on a Friday), giving charity to the poor (their zakat which is called ‘dasond’ is paid into Jamatkhana instead of to the poor directly), performing ablution before prayer (Ismailis never perform ablution) and performing ruku during prayer (the Ismaili prayer is ruku-less), to name a few.

Having picked up the Quranists arguments, Ismaili missionaries capitalize on the lack of knowledge of the Arabic language within the general Ismaili community and insist that the Quran only asks Muslims to obey (in command) and follow (in command) the Prophet (pbuh) and not to obey and follow the Prophet (pbuh) in practice and deeds. Unfortunately, this argument falls flat on its face when the Quranic Arabic is analyzed.

In Quran 4:59, Allah (swt) asks Muslims to “obey” Allah and “obey” the Messenger”:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ

Transliteration:

“Ya ayyuhal lazina aamanu ati’ullallha wa ati’ur rasul …”

Translation:

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger…”

(The above is the same verse a part of which is recited in part daily in the Ismaili Dua)

Exact Instruction to Obey the Prophetic Methods in the Quran

Examining closely the Arabic, in the above verse, Allah (swt) asks Muslims to do itaat – the Arabic root word of which is ṭā wāw ʿayn (ط و ع), as in أَطِيعُوا, which means to obey. That is, obedience to Allah’s commands and His Messenger’s commands in the Quranic context.

However, in the verse 3:31, Allah (swt) asks Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي

Transliteration:

“Qul in kuntum tuhibbunallaha fattabi’uni…”

Translation:

Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me”

Here, the word used is ittiba’ which comes from the root word is tā bā ʿayn (ت ب ع) as in فَاتَّبِعُونِي which means not just to obey as commonly translated in English, but to adhere, to comply and in the Quranic context, means to comply with the practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Allah (swt) had the ability to use the exact same term in both places. However, due to the vast difference in meanings, the words ita’at and ittiba’ are used in two places where two different meanings are intended, since ittiba’ emphasizes on the need to follow the prophetic traditions in practice including his method of prayer, his implementation of Quranic law, his method of performing Hajj as well as his general mannerisms.

Conslusion

In conclusion, the validity of prophetic traditions (simply called, ‘sunnah’), is further reinforced by its being practiced diligently by a vast majority of the expert and knowledgeable scholars over the centuries of Islam. It is these prophetic traditions which give us the method of prayer, the method of performing Hajj, the method of calculation of zakat, the commandment of not engaging in trading of alcohol, and many more since the Prophet’s (pbuh) life has been set by Allah (swt) as the best example for us to emulate:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Transliteration:

Laqad Kāna Lakum Fī Rasūli Al-Lahi ‘Uswatun Ĥasanatun Liman Kāna Yarjū Al-Laha Wa Al-Yawma Al-‘Ākhira Wa Dhakara Al-Laha Kathīrāan

Translation:

There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.

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About Akbar Khoja

Giving out free #LessonsInIsmailism.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Aga Khan and Sunnah: The Validity and Importance of Prophetic Traditions

  1. Reading your explanation proves you hve the right understanding of the Quran, which is as same as millions of Muslims have. Agakhan has completely rejected Islam, Allah and the Quran, so he is out of the Ummah, yet using the fake ID of the trade mark titles of Islam and Muslim. Why an Imam needs to steal the titles for his cult?

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Gulshanin | January 5, 2015, 7:39 pm
  2. Ihavebeen amaZED atthe constipaTeDentirely tragically WONG IdEOlog Y.it Wouldbe better you moveaWAy entirelyfRom ignoranceWITHAlU Loo K inGSO sick

    Like

    Posted by Nizarali Kajani | August 23, 2015, 6:04 am
  3. As a matter of fact Ismailis aren’t Muslims at all. The Agakhans have made it clear that they don’t need Islam and that is the reason they created new religion Hindu-Ismailism. As the Dua daily congregation prayer was the Hindu prayer,until about 1961/62. Then it was changed about 4 times removing the Hindu deities names and words and added a few Quranic words to cheat the Muslims and the poor followers. After rejecting Islam why would the Agakhan use the fake ID of Shia Muslim? He is an atheist have no interest in any religion yet he pretends to be the Imam.
    Why? Why doesn’t he give Islam to his followers? Those who are leaving his cult are abused for leaving the cult.
    Some are even killed for accepting Allah and Islam. Isn’t it a grave sin to reject Allah and take the fake Imam as
    god and worship him? Who is only interested in collecting billions cash from them by selling the Hindu religious
    rituals. He is running a ‘Money Making Machine’ in the name of false charity foundations that are his business
    and not charity at all.He is earning good profit from it.
    When will people understand this truth?
    Salaam/peace
    A convert to Islam

    Like

    Posted by Gulshanin Aalani | October 23, 2015, 2:55 am

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