Anti-Sunnah or Anti-Hadith is a doctrine emerging from Islam that claim the Qur'an as the only valid source of Islamic teachings, thus, rejecting the Sunnah / the Hadith as part of Islam. This doctrine call upon people to hold only to the Qur'an as the only source of guidance for humankind, which means that it does not accept the Sunnah as part of Islam. The followers of the Anti-Hadith doctrine claim to follow what Islam taught them and that their ideology originates from the pure teaching of the Qur'an. As so, they call themselves "Ahlul Qur'an", "Quranists", "Quran-aloners", "God-aloners" and some other label that did not fit with their personification, if viewed extensively through the framework of Qur'anic understanding.
Instead, this group has deviated from the righteous path of Islam by misinterpreting many of Qur'anic contents, causing deviations and denial for even the basic tenets taught by Islam, that has been accepted and practiced for centuries, not just through blind faith and acceptance by the next generations that follows the previous, who carried this teachings, but through rigorous studies and researches by tracing the tenets back into the beginning of Islam, done by scholars and experts of Islam. In other words, every Islamic tenets and teachings denied by the doctine were known to have existed at the early time of Islam with utmost certainty. People at the time witnessed the practices and beliefs as so, the teachings were known to be part of Islam and approved by the Prophet of Islam himself, and the practice continued after his death.
We will talk more about this later, Insya-Allah.
1.2 The origin of the Anti-Hadith doctrine
The talk about the origin of the Anti-Hadith doctrine may require a dedicated book to be written about it, but we will explain in summary here. It is said that people who denied the authority of Prophet Muhammad's commandments (صلى الله عليه وسلم) from his tongue has existed since the time that the Prophet was still living. However, their number was very small and they were recognized as the "munaafiqeen" - those who hypocritically shows their adherence towards Islam, but they actually hated Islam with infidelity and became the enemies of the Muslims from the inside.
Among the first people known to suggest the idea that Islam was built on the foundation of the Qur'an alone was Syed Ahmad Khan, an Indian scholar and politician. While not being a scholar trained in Qur'anic knowledge, he brought many new, radical interpretations to the Holy Book and rejected traditional interpretations by prominent scholars of the Qur'an such al-Imam as al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir, al-Imam al-Hafizh Ibn Jarir at-Thabari and al-Imam al-Hafizh Abu 'Abdullah al-Qurthubi. Many of his understanding violate the core tenets of the Qur'an itself. He suggested that al-Hadith has no legal connection towards Islam.
One another popular personality was Ignaz Goldziher (1850 - 1921). He was a Jewish Hungarian scholar of Islam. Despite of being Jewish, he possessed an intense affection towards Islam and made his way into studying Islam deeply, until he received various recognition for his intellectual works in the study of Islamic philosophy, tradition, literature and other aspects related to Islam. However, he rejected the Hadith and suggested that it contradicted to what the Islam was at the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. His rejection was a result from his weak understanding to the traditional method used by the muhaddithin (ahlul hadith or scholars of hadith). The fallacy within his idea has been proved wrong by other scholars, including traditionalists and orientalists.
These two people became several of the early founder of the Anti-Hadith doctrine. Due to the fact that they were related to Islam in such a close way, the doctrine quickly gained its way through Islam by the ideology presented by these people through the influence in their speech, discourses, intellectual works and movements.
1.3 What the Anti-Hadith community did - Their behavior in understanding the Qur'an
The Anti-Hadith community was well-known for their hold of not accepting anything other than the Qur'an as their religious hold. Resulting from this, they have a grotesque tendecy of understanding the Qur'an based on their personal opinions, without putting it on the right trail of knowledge. They did not have a neat thought governed by disciplined fields of knowledge or systematic methods to guide them in understanding the Qur'an, in comprehending the different aspect of teachings which constituted the Holy Book. This is because most followers of the doctrine are not from people educated about Islam. They did not know most part of Islamic history, therefore, they did not understand (or understand very little) the origin of Islam, how Islam was first introduced at the Arabian peninsula, how its teachings were carried and spreaded by the Prophet and his companions, passing through many phases of acceptance and rejection as times moved, and how Islam was taught and practiced by that generation and many more aspects need to be comprehended to be able to understand the relationship between Islam and its Holy Book, the Qur'an.
As a result of this presumptuous behavior, what they have done is none other than corrupting the Holy Book by transforming it into a book filled with human "man-made" ideas and thoughts. They have produced wrong interpretations not guided by correct knowledge taken from the Qur'an itself. This wrong interpretations, in turn, caused the most important and critical tenets of Islam to be negated without proper understanding and concern to its underlying subjects. Many foreign ideas were introduced into Islam, contaminating the virtuous nature of this sublime religion. We will explain about how this situation happened throughout the posts of this blog.
Various examples that could be given here including their suggestion that the 5 times daily prayers were not mentioned by the Qur'an. Instead, it only mentioned 3 times. Some of the Anti-Hadith followers even interpreted the word "sholaat" in the Qur'an as a mere concept and not ritual movements of body like what has been done by most Muslims today. Others tenets including praying for women is obligatory even though they were in period, Solat al-Jumu'ah (Friday Prayer) did not exist, zakah was not about paying money, but simply a form of "spritual purification" and many more. Because the Anti-Hadith doctrine interpreted the Qur'an basing on their personal opinion, many of them possessed unsimilar beliefs, thus resulting in multiple, yet different beliefs and tenets to be introduced in the same Anti-Hadith community. Hence, it is very difficult to classify them because they did not have a standard or organized forms of beliefs.
1.4 What the Anti-Hadith community did - Their behavior in understanding the Sunnah
The methodology they used in understanding the Hadith is the same as their way of understanding the Qur'an: Using only random opinions not based on the right trail of knowledge. They did not channel their thought to follow a guided path of understanding. Everything they knew about the Qur'an was simply forms of personal interpretations that has no source or nothing to do with Islam and its underlying aspect of teachings.
Though the Anti-Hadith community were known for disapproving the Hadith, some of them used certain Hadith to protect their ideology from rejection. Many of them used the Hadith for the purpose of denying the authority of the Hadith itself and and supporting the "Qur'an-only" tenet.