Hadith rejectors

critique of the classical Islamic consensus on the collection and use of hadith

Hadith rejectors (Arabic: منكرو الحديث) are Muslims who reject the authority of the hadiths. Reasons for rejecting the Hadith include opposition to an extra-Quranic source of scriptural authority, problematic contents of the Hadith, and authenticity of the Hadith. Opponents of the Hadith often say that the Hadith have nothing to do with the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[1] Critiques of the rejectors of Hadith have existed both in the contemporary Islamic world and the greater modern-secular world.[2] Groups that have rejected the Hadiths include Ahl al-Kalām, Mu'tazilites, Kharijites, modernist Muslims, and Quranists.

Ahl al-Kalām, Mu'tazilites, and Kharijites


Historically, Ahl al-Kalām, who have been described as the forerunners of the Mu'tazilites (Arabic: المعتزلة), rejected the authority of the hadith on the grounds that its corpus was "filled with contradictory, blasphemous, and absurd" reports, and that in jurisprudence, even the smallest doubt about a source was too much. Thus, they believed, the true legacy of the Islamic prophet Muhammad was to be found elsewhere, i.e. in the Sunnah, which is separate from the hadith.[3]

Similarly, some sects of the Kharijites (Arabic: الخوارج) also rejected the hadith; there were some who opposed even the writing down of the Hadith itself for fear that it would compete, or even replace the Qur'an.[4] The Khawarij believed in the Quran as the only source of Islamic law.[5]

Like Ahl al-Kalām, Mu'tazilites also rejected the hadiths as the basis for Islamic law, while at the same time accepting the Sunnah and Ijma. For Mu'tazilites, the basic argument for rejecting the hadiths was that "since its essence is transmission by individuals, [it] cannot be a sure avenue of our knowledge about the Prophetic teaching unlike the Qur'an about whose transmission there is a universal unanimity among Muslims".[6]

Quranists and modernist Muslims


Hadith rejectors include Quranists,[7] who view the hadiths as un-Quranic; they believe that obedience to the Islamic prophet Muhammad means obedience to the Qur'an;[8][9] some further claim that most hadiths are fabrications (pseudepigrapha)[10] created in the 8th and 9th century AD, and which are falsely attributed to Muhammad.[10][11][12] Similar to Quranists, modernist Muslims also believe that the problems in the Islamic world come partly from the traditional elements of the hadith and seek to reject those teachings.[13]


  1. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Bw7UEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA12&dq=hadith+rejecters&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_mobile_search&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjA6_3nr7eFAxVg1QIHHRU9DRI4HhDoAXoECAUQAw#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. Erdil, Mustafa (5 September 2023). On the Path of the Prophet: Fethullah Gulen's Understanding of Sunnah. Tughra Books. ISBN 978-1-59784-990-6.
  3. Brown, Rethinking tradition in modern Islamic thought, 1996: p.15
  4. Sindima, Harvey J. (2 November 2017). Major Issues in Islam: The Challenges within and Without. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7618-7017-3.
  5. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=coMlEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT3055&dq=Khawarij+-+they+believe+in+the+Qur%27an+as+the+only+source+of+Islamic+law&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_mobile_search&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi_2fGE7LeFAxXi8wIHHSb-Ab4Q6AF6BAgNEAM#v=onepage&q&f=false
  6. Deen, Sayyed M. (2007). Science Under Islam: Rise, Decline and Revival. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781847999429.
  7. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Bw7UEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA12&dq=hadith+rejecters&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_mobile_search&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjA6_3nr7eFAxVg1QIHHRU9DRI4HhDoAXoECAUQAw#v=onepage&q&f=false
  8. "DeRudKR - Kap. 27: Was bedeutet 'Gehorcht dem Gesandten'?". Alrahman (in German). 2006-03-06.
  9. Dr Rashad Khalifa (2001), Quran, Hadith and Islam (in German), Dr. Rashad Khalifa Ph.D., retrieved 2021-06-12
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Hadith and the Corruption of the great religion of Islam | Submission.org - Your best source for Submission (Islam)". submission.org. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  11. Aisha Y. Musa, The Qur’anists, Florida International University, accessed May 22, 2013.
  12. Neal Robinson (2013), Islam: A Concise Introduction, Routledge, ISBN 978-0878402243, Chapter 7, pp. 85-89
  13. "10 Forgotten Sects of Major Religions". 8 April 2016.