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  • Some Muslims just need to be SLAPPED

    http://www.cair-net.org/pdf/intro.pdf and http://www.cair-net.org/pdf/text.pdf, Muslim Alliance In North America, along with CAIR of US and Canada.

    Surprisingly, Muslims Weekly Women and the Masjid: Dissecting the "Women Friendly Mosque"

    By Khalid Baig



    CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has announced that it will distribute a "Women Friendly Mosques" brochure, prepared by Shahina Siddiqui, Women In Islam and Islamic Social Services Association, Inc.(ISSA) and supported by Islamic Society of North America(ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), CAIR (Canada), and Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). The brochure asserts the need for going back to the roots of Islam, offers a critique of our current practices regarding masajid in the USA, and offers a path of action to solve the problems it identifies in the first part. Unfortunately the analysis is faulty, the reference to Islamic teachings is deeply flawed, the conclusions drawn are wrong, and the prescription offered is dangerous.

    Simply stated, the brochure promotes the idea of a coed masjid.

    It is no surprise that the brochure has drawn applause from a certain quarter. Muqtedar Khan wrote: "This document, because of CAIR's legitimacy with mosque centered Muslims in North America, is a more powerful weapon for progressive Muslims than any argument that they themselves can advance." Interestingly there is acknowledgement here that the "progressive Muslims" are not centered in the mosque; they are only interested in destroying it.

    In their zeal the writers of this brochure forgot what the masjid is all about. The word masjid means the place of sijda or prostration. It is the place for the group salat. Now, everybody knows that women are permitted to enter the masjid and offer their salat there but are not required or encouraged to do so. By exempting women from the obligation to offer salat in congregation and in the masjid, Islam clearly indicated that the roles and responsibilities of men and women are not the same regarding the masjid.

    However, women may have genuine needs for using the masjid. They may be away from home at the time of salat. They may need the masjid facilities for their education. There may be other cases. That is why the permission granted to women for attending the Masjid is important. At the same time the masjid has to be the place where men and women can engage in worship, education, and remembrance of Allah without any distractions, whatsoever. Hence the requirement for segregation and other conditions regarding the attendance of women.

    While the advocates of the coed masjid claim that they are asserting the rights of women, they are in fact denying the right of a private space to both men and women. That is not an easy task. It is made even more difficult by their need to sound authentic. Consequently it has led to a distortion of Qur'an and hadith texts.

    Here is a part of one of the quotes from the Qur'an included in the brochure: "They (collaborate) to promote all that is good and oppose all that is evil." [Al-Tawbah 9:71]

    The word "collaborate" has been inserted to suggest that the Qur'an is praising men and women collaborating with each other in a coed campaign. If that is the idea, that is a blatant lie. For the word is not there and it is not implied. The Qur'an is simply asking men and women to command good and forbid evil in their own spheres. Here, for comparison, are three translations:

    YUSUFALI: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil.
    PICKTHAL: they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong.
    SHAKIR: they enjoin good and forbid evil.

    To understand the Qur'an's view of mixed gatherings, we can turn to this verse: "O you who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)" [Al-Hujarat, 49:11]. Here men have been admonished against laughing at other men and women from laughing at other women. But there is no mention of cross gender possibilities. Why? Because in Islam there is no concept of a mixed gathering. So the question of men laughing at women or vice versa simply does not arise.

    The brochure's treatment of hadith is worse. For example, read this: "Women were active in public life and regularly attended the prayer at the masjid at all times, including Fajr and 'Isha, during the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him." This clearly is a statement by the writers. However a footnote at the end of this statement claims otherwise. It states: "This hadith is also agreed upon." Hadith? Is there any hadith that begins with the words; "Women were active in public life?" Of course, there is no such hadith, yet it has been presented as such. We wish that those promoting this brochure would feel their grave responsibility in falsely presenting something as the words of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

    Certainly there are authentic reports that tell us that women did attend the prayers at the masjid. But as we shall see below they do not support the overall picture being painted by the brochure.

    This campaign also introduces a new term: "Women Friendly Mosque". The construct has serious problems. The term certainly does not come from the world of Islamic discourse. A masjid is a masjid --- a revered place because it is the House of Allah. In Islamic history no masjid has ever been described as anything friendly or anything unfriendly. That would amount to labeling this as a good masjid, that as a bad masjid. No Muslim can even think of denigrating a House of Allah with such labeling.

    The only masjid condemned in the Qur'an was the Masjid Dirar, built by the hypocrites, for the express purpose of plotting conspiracies against Islam. It was burnt down. The Qur'an compared it to the Quba Masjid in these words: "There is a masjid whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety; it is more worthy of the standing forth (for prayer) therein. In it are men who love to be purified; and Allah loves those who make themselves pure." [At-Tauba 9:108]. It should be noted that the praiseworthy quality is the presence of men who loved to be purified. Women are not even mentioned.

    The Women Friendly Mosque, as defined by the CAIR brochure, has never existed in Islamic history. Among their recommendations is that at least two women should be on the board of governors of every masjid, and that women should participate equally in all aspects of running the masjid, including their weekly programs, etc, etc. The brochure claims that it is trying to go back to the roots of Islam. But which Masjid in early Islamic period (or any period after that) met these conditions?

    This is Madison Avenue, not Islam. And one wonders what is next. A User Friendly Shariah?

    This strange concept has been built using other equally interesting arguments in the brochure. Here is a look at them.

    1. Mutuality2. Public Discussion3. Blocking the Means

    The brochure also takes issue with the well-established Islamic juristic principle of Sadd-udh-dharaai', or the principle of blocking the means to sin, and tries to dismiss it summarily. This assertion shows ignorance of both the Islamic principle and the wisdom behind it. In life often one thing leads to another. An act of sin is not an isolated event but is preceded by chains of other events, which facilitate it. Therefore, Islam does not just forbid the final act, but also the preceding acts that can lead to it. There are hundreds of laws in Islamic jurisprudence that are based on this important principle. Consider alcohol. All its problems arise from its consumption. But Islam banned not just consumption of alcohol, but also making it, storing it, selling it, offering it, and even eating at a table where it is being served. This is blocking the means. One only needs to look at the spectacular success that Islam had in prohibiting alcohol an! d keeping the lands of Islam dry compared to the miserable failure of other societies in achieving that goal to appreciate the wisdom of the Islamic teachings.

    Islam's laws of hijab follow the same principle. Ultimately, it is the illicit extramarital relationships that are prohibited. But Islam does not limit itself to this final result. It also prohibits a number of other practices that could lead to this final sin. Again, the result speaks for itself. For centuries, Islam has provided an atmosphere of chastity and decency in its societies that remains unmatched by any other society. And this has been accomplished through the same laws of hijab and segregation of sexes that are under attack today.

    4. Honoring the Contributions of Men and Women in the Masjid

    The brochure announces, "Now is the time for community leaders to seize the opportunity to create vibrant mosques and Islamic centers that honor the contributions of both women and men." One wonders whether the authors forgot why they had entered the masjid in the first place by the time they reached this paragraph. The masjid is a place for glorifying Allah and remembering Him, not ourselves. It is the House of Allah. A believer goes there to submit to Him and not to his own ego.

    5. Islamic Teachings

    The brochure repeatedly presents full participation in the masjid by women as a God-given right. Therefore it is important to review Islamic teachings regarding the presence of women in the masjid. Three facts stand out:

    1) Islam did not require the women to offer their salat in the masjid, or even in congregation anywhere.
    2) Islam did not encourage women to go to the masjid.
    3) Islam did permit them to offer their salat in the masjid with certain conditions.

    Given below are some of the ahadith that clearly substantiate this.

    A) Um Salama, Radi-Allahu anha, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The best masjid for women is the innermost part of their houses." [Ahmad 6/297, Tabrani in Al-Kabeer, Ibn Khuzaima, Mustadrak Hakim 1/209].

    B) Um Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd As-Sa'di, Radi-Allahu anhuma, narrates that she came to the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you. He said,

    I know that you love to pray with me, but your prayer in your bayt [e.g. bedroom] is better than your prayer in your hujra [e.g. living room], and your prayer in your hujra is better than your prayer in your daar [e.g. courtyard], and your prayer in your daar is better than your prayer in your neighborhood masjid, and your prayer in your neighborhood masjid is better than your prayer in my masjid.

    The narrator says: "So she ordered and a masjid was constructed for her in the farthest and darkest corner of her house, and she continued to pray there until she died." [Ahmad 6/371, Ibn Khuzaima 3/95, Ibn Hibban 2214]

    C) Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "No woman prays a prayer more beloved to Allah, than that in the darkest part of her home." [At-Tabrani in Al-Kabeer. Also Ibn Khuzaimah 3/96]

    D) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The woman is worth hiding ('awrat) and when she leaves her home, the Shaytaan raises his glance to her, and she is never closer to Allah than when she is in the innermost part of her home." [Tabrani in Al-Awsat. For similar ahadith see Tirmidhi, Abwaab-ur-Ridaa' 1173; Ibn Khuzaima 3/93; Ibn Hibban 5570]

    E) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Do not prevent your women from (entering) the mosques, but their houses are better for them." [Abu Dawud Kitab-us-Salat. Bab Ma Jaa'a fi Khuroojin-nisaa-i ilal Masjid]

    F) Abdullah Ibn Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Do not prevent your women from (entering) the mosques of Allah." [Sahih Muslim. Kitab-us-Salat, Babu Khuroojin Nisaai ilal masjid iza lam utarattab. #668]

    This last hadith has been used as a justification for an unmitigated and unconditional right of women to fully participate in the main hall of a masjid. But this is not how it has been understood by hadith scholars and Muslim jurists. In his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Imam Nawawi writes:

    From this hadith and other ahadith like this it appears that women should not be prohibited from the masjid, but with conditions that the scholars have mentioned and which are deduced from ahadith and these are:

    1) She should not wear any perfume.
    2) She should not be adorned (with makeup, etc)
    3) She should not be wearing jingling jewelry
    4) She should not be wearing fancy clothes.
    5) She should not mix with the men.
    6) She should not be young, through whom fitna can erupt
    7) The path to the masjid should be safe (i.e. there should be no fear of any problem on her way to and from the masjid).

    Stopping them from going to the masjid will be lightly discouraged (makruh tanzihi) if she meets all the conditions listed here and has a husband or guardian. Stopping them will be haram when she meets all the conditions and does not have a husband or guardian."

    We can gain further insight into this issue by looking at the positions of the schools of fiqh.

    Shafi'i Fiqh
    Taken from the Reliance of the Traveler:

    It is better for women to pray at home than at the mosque (A: whether they are young or old). It is offensive for an attractive or young woman to come to the mosque to pray (O: or for her husband to permit her), though not offensive for women who are not young or attractive when this is unlikely to cause temptation. (N: the authors words here must be interpreted in the light of the following details: If a woman in going to a group prayer or elsewhere will definitely lead to temptation between the sexes, it is unlawful for her to go. If such temptation can be definitely prevented her going to attend group prayer remains sunnah, as is attested to by the ahadith that have reached us on the subject. If temptation is feared but not certain to occur, her going becomes offensive. Whether such temptation is likely to occur is something that differs with different times, places, and people. An old woman is not like a young one, nor a righteous society l! ike one in which temptation between the sexes is the rule; nor is a special prayer place set aside for women in a mosque like a prayer place which they share with men. This is why A'isha (Allah be well pleased with her) said:

    "Had the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani-Israel were forbidden." (A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

    Hanafi Fiqh
    Translated from Al-Lubaab:

    And it is offensive for young women to attend the congregation at all, because in that there is a fear of fitna (but there is no harm that old women attend Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha). And that is according to Imam Abu Hanifah. And according to them (Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad) old women can go out in every salah, because there is no fear of fitna because they lack attractiveness. According to Jawharatun Nayyara, the offensiveness is in all salah because of the appearance of fisq in our time period. The bad people come more during Zuhr, Asr, and Jumuah prayers while they are sleeping at the time of Fajr and Isha and eating at the time of Maghrib.

    The positions of the Maliki and Hambali schools are also similar.

    Conclusion

    As has been shown above, the case for a full and equal participation by men and women without barriers in the main hall of the masjid, therefore, has no foundation in the Shariah.

    However, women may have genuine needs for using the masjid and they have been permitted to do so. It is the responsibility of the administrators of a masjid to see to it that these needs are met by providing them with a safe, protected, and private space. Where women are denied entry in the masjid, or where they are required to enter the main hall, the situation should be corrected.

    The central argument of the proponents of the coed masjid is that segregation is exclusion. But it is not. No one would take the demand seriously that medical and engineering students at a university must share the same classroom to prove that they are not unequal. Their needs are different, and so are their spaces.

    The prohibition of free mixing of men and women and their equal, unrestrained participation in public affairs is not something to be ashamed of. This has been meant to provide for chastity and purity of hearts and conduct and that has been its result. In contrast, houses of worship of other religions became horrible centers of corruption on this account precisely because their leaders chose to ignore this principle.

    CAIR and ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) have received the support of the community because of their good works. But their leaders should remember that no one gets a blank check. When they are providing service to Islam they will get the support of the Muslim community. When they start engaging in disservice, as they have with the careless promotion of this brochure, they will cease to deserve that support.

    The Masjid is the pivot for the Muslim community. It has to be the place that sets the standards for proper behavior. It is the responsibility of everyone to protect it from all corruption, including the one promoted in the name of reform.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jawed Anwar
    Editor in Chief
    Muslims Weekly
    Website: www.muslimsweekly.com
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية






  • #2
    My islamic studies teacher told me that back in the Nabi(sas) time there was no such thing as a 'sisters' section separate from the brothers, in fact that the sisters sat directly behind the brothers. I think we should start using the sunnah as our guidance and stop bringing in random cultural ideologies into the deen.

    There is this hadith relating to this man who went to see with his friends and landed on an island where the djaal was..anyways, the hadith was reported by Fatima and in the narration she said she SAW the RusulAllah make certain gestures with his hands, which means she was sitting somewhere visible, I'll see if I can find it.

    We should also have open dialogue in the most, mind you I don't mean women start going in front and doing kutbahs but open dialogue.

    I know some Muslim brothers who cringe at the word feminism, but they fail to realize that the Prophet(sas) was the ultimate feminist for women's rights.
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    • #3
      the prophet had many names

      i never saw the word feminist associated with him

      and yes, the idea of a curtain between brothers and sisters section is not something you may see in the sunnah, but the scholars have agreed if the masjid is small and it would help prevent fitnah, that it is permissible to install

      i really dont even think this subject is an issue, but obviously muslims believe that we must put this on the front burner

      maybe it takes our minds off of the 100,000 muslims that have been killed by the american forces
      .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
      نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
      دولة الإسلامية باقية





      Comment


      • #4
        Fair enough.

        Oh on the feminist issue, he so was a feminist!

        Feminism isn't burning bras and asking to be treated like men, that's a mere myth.

        I work at a rape crisis centre for women and we take feminism to mean the concern for plights and oppressions facing women in society. Under that definition I would like to think that the Nabi(sas) did exactly that.

        N e ways refreshing topic compared to the umteenth posts about violence.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Muslimah006
          Fair enough.

          Oh on the feminist issue, he so was a feminist!

          Feminism isn't burning bras and asking to be treated like men, that's a mere myth.

          I work at a rape crisis centre for women and we take feminism to mean the concern for plights and oppressions facing women in society. Under that definition I would like to think that the Nabi(sas) did exactly that.

          N e ways refreshing topic compared to the umteenth posts about violence.
          I agree that our beloved Prophet SAW was very sensitive to female issues, but calling him a feminist is a little too much. Well historically feminist movement was founded in the 18th century by Mary Wollstonecraft who was a Protestant before adopting atheism. She fought for women's rights and equality in France during the French Revolution. so, branding him (SAW) as a feminist to me, is actually an insult.

          I have no issues with women fighting against opression of women, taking care of rape victims among women, women education etc. That's fine, and infact, very noble. BUT fighting for the rights of women holding posts in the mosque board (well perhaps a sane, responsible, pious (better an a'limah) female's say is needed in case of providing space for female classes and learning facilities in the mosque etc), mixed prayers male and female and female leading prayers is sheer nonsense. There is a hadith that says, a male's prayer is best in the first front row and female's prayer is best in the last back row. What do we lose if we don't lead prayers? Do women lose anything if they dont lead Jumuah prayers? are not women allowed to lead prayers among their fellow sisters? why the fuss???

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          • #6
            salaam brothers/sisters

            i see alot of people here quoting hadith, but can anyone tell me a verse in the Quran where it states that men and women cant pray together, or in fact, mingle together in any way?
            Doesnt it say:
            "tell the believers, men and women, to lower their gaze.."
            what would be the point of that verse if we were to forever remain seperated from each other?
            just curious
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            • #7
              Originally posted by xphile101
              salaam brothers/sisters

              i see alot of people here quoting hadith, but can anyone tell me a verse in the Quran where it states that men and women cant pray together, or in fact, mingle together in any way?
              Doesnt it say:
              "tell the believers, men and women, to lower their gaze.."
              what would be the point of that verse if we were to forever remain seperated from each other?
              just curious
              Huh? does the above quranic verse mean, males and females can pray together, shoulder to shoulder? are u one of those who prayed jumuah behind Amina Wadud and Pamela Taylor?

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              • #8
                no...lol....i am just asking, if there were any verse in the Quran that says that women and men CANT pray together. I dont even go to mosque, i pray at home.
                I didnt even have that in my mind to be honest, i know that there are mosques where women must pray upstairs, so i suppose what i meant was, is there anything in the quran that rules against, say, women praying in the same room, but maybe different section.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by xphile101
                  no...lol....i am just asking, if there were any verse in the Quran that says that women and men CANT pray together. I dont even go to mosque, i pray at home.
                  I didnt even have that in my mind to be honest, i know that there are mosques where women must pray upstairs, so i suppose what i meant was, is there anything in the quran that rules against, say, women praying in the same room, but maybe different section.
                  I would advise you to check the meaning of the quranic verse u just quoted in reliable tafsir of Quran first.

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                  • #10
                    the meaning of the verse really had nothing to do with what i was asking. I was merely asking for anyone to show me in the quran, where it says that women and men must not pray together
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by xphile101
                      the meaning of the verse really had nothing to do with what i was asking. I was merely asking for anyone to show me in the quran, where it says that women and men must not pray together
                      maybe i should also advice you to get hold of some books on the authority of Hadith after the Quran, well, u wont lose anything if you check the tafsir of the quranic verse u just quoted, will you? take it as an added knowledge, and you'll be rewarded for that inshaAllah.

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                      • #12
                        does the quran tell us about the authority of the hadith?
                        ok, let me put this another way. Can you please show me a verse in the Quran where it tells us to follow another book, apart from the Quran?
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by xphile101
                          does the quran tell us about the authority of the hadith?
                          ok, let me put this another way. Can you please show me a verse in the Quran where it tells us to follow another book, apart from the Quran?
                          Before I post some of the ayat, I want to make a point to think about why Allah sent Muhammad with His Word. What is the wisdom behind sending a prophet if there is no use for him, if there is no use to look at his example, to look at him to explain to us those things that aren't clear? Why not just give the book amongst the people and khalas, that's it? That's all we need, right? So that Bob and Joe can interpret it one way, and you can interpret it another way, and I can interpret it in yet another way??

                          Now for the ayat you requested:

                          "And He has revealed upon you the Kitab and the Hikmah." - an-Nisa

                          Kitab = Qur'an; Hikmah = Sunnah

                          "And remember what is recited in your houses of the ayat of Allah and the hikmah." [33:34]

                          Ayat of Allah = Qur'an; Hikmah = Sunnah

                          "Surely we have revealed the Dhikr and we will surely preserve it." [15:9]

                          Dhikr = Qur'an and Sunnah

                          In these few ayat Allah has promised to us that He will preserve both the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, and that both the Qur'an and the Sunnah were a revelation from Allah.

                          Adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet isn't about "following another book" it is about knowing how the "living Qur'an" lived and striving to follow his example. Dpn't fall under the trap of questioning the authenticity and authority of ahadith - if you took even the simplest course on the sciences of hadith you would be speechless at the precision, commitment, and devotion that the ashab, tabi'een, and the ulema that followed them took in order to preserve the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Muslimah006
                            My islamic studies teacher told me that back in the Nabi(sas) time there was no such thing as a 'sisters' section separate from the brothers, in fact that the sisters sat directly behind the brothers. I think we should start using the sunnah as our guidance and stop bringing in random cultural ideologies into the deen.
                            True, but the women of today are nowhere near the women of that glorious time, and the men of today are nowhere near the men of that glorious time.

                            It's not about bringing random cultural ideologies into the deen. It's about doing our best to lessen the fitan.

                            I for one would not feel comfortable praying in an area where men could see me, nor sit during a dars where men could see me, etc.

                            I have seen what goes on in masajid that have the separate praying spaces for men and woman - audhu billah! - and I cringe to think about what would go on in masajid where men and women are in the same room.

                            Most Muslim men and women don't know how to lower their gazes, don't know where to draw the very fine line that should exist, and are completely oblivious to the hayaa' that we should have.

                            And like brother Abu Mubarak pointed out, this really isn't the priority of Muslims nowadays. It's sad that we even have to bring it up. "Women's rights" blah blah blah. Give me a break! Liberating Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, etc. has been bumped down because some woman somewhere wants to have a seat on the board of directors of a masjid. Please.
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                            • #15
                              "In these few ayat Allah has promised to us that He will preserve both the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, and that both the Qur'an and the Sunnah were a revelation from Allah"

                              I'm sorry, i fail to see where, in these verses, it says sunnah. Maybe i am being blind here, but it says nothing about the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It mentions wisdom, but not sunnah. I do not see where Allah is promising to preserve the hadith.
                              And as far as the "science" of hadith goes, why then, are there so many contradictions, and what appear to be downright fabrications in there?
                              Why then, are there many collections, which each teacher not being able to decide 100% which are authentic?
                              That seems like a weird science to me.
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