The reason behind the forbiddance of Zakat for the progeny of the Prophet (pbuh), forbiddance of fasting during the Eid festival day is acceptable. But according to the Qur’an (66:1), Prophet (pbuh) cannot forbid anything – whatever may be the wisdom behind the directives- on his own accord. This obviously means that the referred prohibitions are a commandment of God. Hence either the directives should be considered as Sunnah or Hadith should be considered as an independent source of Islam because this prohibition is external to Quran and Sunnah.
As for the intercession of the Prophet (pbuh) in the hereafter, the cited verses of Surah At-Taubah (9:100-102) deal with the Prophet (pbuh)’s prayer for the Muslims when he was alive. It is not related to the Prophet (pbuh)’s prayer in the hereafter. Intercession is not alien to Qur’an but belief in the Prophet (pbuh)’s intercession specifically is in fact alien to the Qur’an.
Regarding the Lailathul Qadr, the information that the “Prophet (pbuh) knew that the revelation of the Qur’an was initiated during the last few days of Ramadan” is again only from Hadith. At most what we can say from the Quran is that the “Lailathul Qadr” falls somewhere in Ramadhan.
Kindly offer your thoughts.
If you look closely at the explanation that I have given, you shall see that neither of the two ‘prohibitions’ – relating to Zaka’h and Eid – is independent of the very concept and spirit of Zaka’h and Eid. Such directives, according to my understanding, can in no case be considered as independent of the original overall directive on the related issue. Thus, for instance, anyone who understands the spirit and concept of Sala’h can easily see that the very concept of Sala’h requires a person to cut-off all unnecessary communications with the outside world, while offering Sala’h. For such a person, the directive of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding restraint from talking and responding to the greetings of others while offering prayers is only a clarification of the very spirit of Sala’h rather than an independent and/or additional directive of Islam. However, a person who does not understand the spirit of Sala’h can easily be prone to interpreting this directive as an additional directive of the Shari`ah. Similarly, every person who understands the spirit of festivity entailed in the concept of Eid, the Prophet’s directive against fasting on this day of festivity would only be a clarification of the very spirit of Eid, but for a person who has not fully understood the concept of Eid would, obviously, interpret this directive as an addition to the corpus of Islam. Likewise, for all those who understand the spirit of equity that should always remain alive in the distribution of Zaka’h, any of the Prophet’s directives, which further ensures this equity would be interpreted only as one safeguarding the very spirit of the initial directive.
As for the concept of ‘intercession’, if one has fully understood its justification, independent of the concept of the life of this world or that of the hereafter, then one would have no problem in the placement of the related narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) within the scope specified in the Qur’an. Obviously, if the Prophet’s prayers and supplications during the life of this world can benefit any deserving people in the hereafter, then I do not understand what is ‘alien’ in the idea that the Prophet’s supplications and prayers during the life hereafter shall also benefit the deserving people in the hereafter.
As for the specification of the Laylatul Qadr, you write:
… the information that the “Prophet (pbuh) knew that the revelation of the Qur’an was initiated during the last few days of Ramadan” is again only from Hadith.
The Prophet’s knowledge of the time of initiation of revelation of the Qur’an was not through Hadith, but through personal experience of this initiation. We should not forget that:
The Qur’an was revealed upon the Prophet (pbuh);
The Prophet (pbuh) practically experienced the revelation of the Qur’an;
It is quite predictable and understandable that the Prophet (pbuh) would have had an idea of the time of the year when the revelation of the Qur’an was initiated;
Keeping the three stated points in mind, if the Qur’an informs us that its revelation was initiated on a night called ‘Laylatul Qadr’, then why do you consider it strange that the Prophet (pbuh) – on the basis of his personal practical experience of the initiation of revelation – inform the Muslims that the Laylatul Qadr was somewhere in the last ten days of Ramadan.
I hope this helps.
July 28, 2002