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Is the Quran complete without Hadith?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
With the ‘ism’ of Allah, the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.

We often hear that the Quran is incomplete and it needs the Hadith to complement it. This is a wrong understanding. For Allah said in the Quran:

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding. Never was the Qur’an a narration invented, but a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of all things (tafsiila kulla shay’) and guidance and mercy for a people who believe.

Quran, Yusuf,12:111 (Sahih International)

وَلَقَدْ جِئْنَاهُمْ بِكِتَابٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And We had certainly brought them a Book which We detailed (fassalnaahu) by knowledge – as guidance and mercy to a people who believe.

Quran, Al-A’raaf, 7:52 (Sahih International)

قُلْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ شَهِيدٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۚ وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنْذِرَكُمْ بِهِ وَمَنْ بَلَغَ ۚ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ ۚ قُلْ لَا أَشْهَدُ ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ

Say, “What thing is greatest in testimony?” Say, ” Allah is witness between me and you. And this Qur’an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you [truly] testify that with Allah there are other deities?” Say, “I will not testify [with you].” Say, “Indeed, He is but one God, and indeed, I am free of what you associate [with Him].”

Quran, Al-An’aam, 6:19

With the verses above stated there should be no doubt about the completeness of the Quran. All the translations above are from are reliable from Sahih International. In case you’re thinking I’m quoting out of context here I show you more verses:

وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ ۚ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ

And on the day when We will raise up in every people a witness against them from among themselves, and bring you as a witness against these– and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything (alkitaabu tubayyina likulli syai’), and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.

Quran Al-Nahl, 16:89

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا ۚ وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ

[Say], “Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail? (alkitaaba mufassila)” And those to whom We [previously] gave the Scripture know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so never be among the doubters.

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

Quran, Al-An’aam, 6:114-115, Sahih International

It cannot get more not out-of-context than that. Just for your information, I would never deliberately quote a Quranic verse out of context. It is something I verily despise.

Those who say that the Quran is incomplete, is in clear error, as he has violated all the verses above. Those who argue that the Quran would be so long if it were suppose to be complete, is ignorant. Why would then Allah choose to put some important things in the Quran and some other important things in the Hadith? Why can’t He put all in the Quran or put all in the Hadith?

The Quran is indeed complete and fully detailed (mufassila). It is not incomplete without hadith. The hadith is used merely to help us understand the Quran, not add to the Quran. If God says 2+2=4 that means 2+2=4. The hadith cannot say that 2+2=5 or 2+2=2, instead what it can do is say 2+2=3+1 or 2+2=5-1, to demonstrate the Quran to us. The hadith only explains the Quran in simpler and more practical ways, and is in no authority to make a new ruling. To illustrate differently, the Quran is like a constitution and Hadith would be case law.

It is fundamentally important to understand this in order to be a student of the Quran. The Quran has laid out basic detailed guidelines for all areas of life, and every of our decision, big or small starts from there. We have to respect the Quran in pursuit of knowledge.

Every of our lives’ decision, must start with all the principles laid out in the Quran.

“It is only after the student of the Quran has studied what the Quran has plainly said concerning a subject of study, should the then turn to other sources of knowledge such as the Hadith of Nabi Muhammad (s.a.w), or to previous scriptures, i.e., revealed prior to the Quran, or to knowledge which has come to the world for example,form modern Western civilization. Since knowledge which has come form the Quranis absolute ‘truth’ and infallible, that knowledge from the Quran must be used as al-Furqan, i.e., that which sits in judgement over all other knowledge – regardless of source”
– Sh. Imran Hossein, Methodology for Study of the Qur’an.

Any hadith which seems to contradict or has no basis in the detailed Quran must (not be disregarded totally but) be put aside until, if God wills, make us understand why the Hadith say such a thing. If we force ourselves to apply the hadith without understanding how it harmonizes with the Quran, then we will be making a big trouble out of it. Please note I am not adopting what they call as the ‘Quran-only’ approach or ‘hadith rejectors’.

Some try to say that the salat isn’t in the Quran, so that shows how incomplete and not detailed the Quran is. Or is it so? They forgot that the salat doesn’t originate from the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) but it originated from Ibrahim. People have been practicing salat all the way from Abraham to Ishaq and Ismail and to Muhammad. That is the ‘sunnah’ – the traditional practice. The Quran doesn’t have to say the details of salat because the people already know how to salat by learning from traditions. In fact, even Jews have almost the same prayer we do. The Quran comes down to confirm the previous books and teachings. I shall write more about this in the future, in sya Allah.

To conclude, if we want to reap the best benefits and guidance from the Quran, never disrespect or by-pass the Quran. The Quran is detailed, and explains all things.

وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
And the Messenger has said, “O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned.”
Quran, al-Furqan, 25:30

And Allah knows best.

is the qur'an complete without hadith?

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