After the Qur`aan, the Hadith is the most important source of Islaamic knowledge. Maududi‟s opinion regarding the Hadith is also very vague. Briefly, I will mention a few points.
Firstly, according to the Ulama, Hadith and Sunnat are synonymous, but Mr. Ghlaam Ahmad Parwez, Dr.Fazlur Rahman and others have differentiated between the two. Maududi has also adopted the same belief but fails to clarify the difference. [Refer to Rasaail Wa Masaa`il, page 310 part 1]
Secondly, he claims to be an authority on the Messenger. Hence he makes his own decision regarding the authenticity of a Hadith. He writes:
“If Allaah endows a person with understanding concerning the Deen, then by deeply studying the Qur`aan and Hadith a special fervour is created in him like an experienced jeweller who can perceive the most delicate subtleties in a gemstone. His sight falls on the system of Shariah as a whole and he can thus recognize the operation of the system. Thereafter when minor issues are presented to him, he is able to determine which one conforms to the Islaamic nature and which one does not. When he studies the narrations of Hadith, this natural instinct becomes a standard for his accepting or rejecting a particular narration. The nature of Islaam manifests itself perfectly in the nature of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). Whoever understands the nature of Islaam and has studied the Qur`aan and Hadith in depth becomes acquainted with the nature of Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasalam). By merely looking at a narration his insight guides him in determining which statement is in fact that of Rasulullaah (sallalahu alaihi wasalam) and which one is the closest to the Sunnah. Furthermore, if he is unable to find anything in the Qur`aan and Sunnah on a particular issue, he will be qualified to issue a verdict as Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) would have. This
ability of his stems from his spirit becoming lost in the spirit of Muhammad (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) and his insight becoming united with the insight of Nabi (sallalahu alaihi wasallam).His mind becomes Islaamically moulded and he begins to perceive and think as Islaam wishes him to.
Upon reaching this stage a person no longer really requires a sanad (chain of narrators). He does however, use the sanad but his decision is not based on it. Sometimes he accepts a weak Hadith because he perceives a valuable jewel in the stone, and at times he disregards an authentic Hadith because it contradicts the Islaamic nature and the spirit of Nubuwwat.” [Tafheemaat, page 296/7]
Thirdly, the practices of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) have been divided by the Ulama into two categories viz. Sunnan-e-Huda (those aspects relating to Deen which are essential to follow) and Sunnan-e-A`diya (personal habits which do not constitute a Shar`i command), although these acts are not compulsory to follow, taking heed of them is indeed a means of great fortune. If we find ourselves unable to imitate Rasulul laah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) we should realize that the reason is not because his lifestyle is unworthy of following, but it is due to the deficiency of our capabilities.
Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is the beloved leader of the Ummah. Every act of the beloved is beneficial. Hence to adopt his way is a declaration of true love. Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) is the embodiment of all virtue, having been protected from all evil by Allaah. Consequently imitating his example can be regarded as a means of achieving great virtue and a protection from evil. Imaam Ghazaali states: “Actual good fortune lies in following Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in every movement. Accordingly all actions are of two types; firstly, worship such as Salaah, fasting, Hajj, Zakaat, etc. Secondly, habits like eating, drinking, sleeping etc. It is essential for Muslims to follow Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in both types of acts….” [Tableegh-e-Deen, page 39]
Subsequently to deriving the Shar`i and logical proofs for following the Sunnah in general habits, Imaam Ghazaali states: “Whatever we have mentioned was for encouraging the adoption of the Sunnah in general habits. Concerning
those acts connected to worship, and whose rewards have been mentioned abundantly, the disregarding of such acts without a valid excuse can be due only to hidden disbelief or open stupidity.” [Page 42]
Contrary to this, Maududi has mocked the Sunnah of our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). He states that most pious people have the misconception that regarding the following of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasalam) and the Salf-e-Saaliheen is as follows: “Just like the clothes they wore, we must wear, we must eat the type of food they ate, just as they conducted themselves in their personal lives we must imitate them precisely in the same way.”
According to Moulana this type of imitation is incorrect, the correct way is: “This method of following which has been thrust upon the minds of religious Muslims for centuries is in reality completely contrary to the spirit of Islaam. Islaam never taught us to be living replicas of the past, nor to stage a drama of ancient civilization.” [Tafheemaat, page 209/210]
Undoubtedly to benefit from the technologies of modern times is not sinful. By remaining within lslaamic limits, it is permissible to adopt new ways of conducting our social relations. But to express the dress and manners of our beloved Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) in such despicable words as “ancient relics” and “a drama of ancient civilization” is not only contrary to the expression of love, but is also removed from the necessities of showing honour to the noble.
This Philosophy of Maududi is also unique: “Islaam does not give us a form, Instead it gives us a spirit. Due to changes in time and place, all the different forms which will be created till Qiyaamah, should be filled with the very same spirit.”
In other words, according to Maududi, the Islaamic form is unnecessary. He could create any form he chooses, but by filling it with an Islaamic spirit he could make it acceptable to Islaam. I fail to see in which factory this Islaamic spirit is made. Based on this logic, Maududi has also created two categories of the cinema – Islaamic and un-Islaamic.
If the lslaamic spirit is blown into the cinema, it becomes Islaamic. This is the understanding of Islaam and the value of the Sunnah in his view.
Fourthly, because he only believes in the Islaamic spirit, the Islaamic form is an innovation in his opinion. According to this philosophy, Rasulullaah‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasllam) external Sunnah becomes a Bid`ah (innovation). He writes: “I regard the terms „uswah‟ (example), Sunnah, Bid`ah (innovation) etc. as misunderstood, in fact they are distortions of Deen. Your belief of maintaining a long beard like Rasulullaah‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) means that you regard it as a Sunnah which the Messengers came to establish. I not only regard this definition of Sunnah as incorrect, but I perceive this to be a form of Bid`ah and a form of changing the Deen, having disastrous consequences in the past and in the future as well.” [Rasaail Wa Masaa`il page 307]
Maududi has committed two errors here. One is that he has rejected the keeping of beard as Sunnah, by naming it a habit, whereas Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has proclaimed it an unanimous Sunnah of all Messengers. The Ummah has been given clear instructions to follow it. That is, to oppose the way of the kuffaar. Hence to regard it as a Sunnan-e-Adiyah (habit) and to aver that to refer to it as a Sunnat of the Deen is audacious.
The second mistake made by Maududi is that he avers Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has commanded the lengthening of the beard, but he did not specify any length. Hence according to him the beard has no prescribed length, whereas this is incorrect because Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has commanded the lengthening of the beard but never gave a command of clipping it. Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) permitted the Sahaabah to maintain the beard at a length of one fist. If a shorter beard had been permissible he would have allowed it.
Consequently none of the jurists have permitted clipping the beard shorter than one-fist length. Maududi not only rejects this unanimous Sunnah, but mocks it by calling it a distortion. Can a person who is so daring regarding the rejection of the Sunnah be worthy of being given the status of an Aalim?
Fifthly, the Sunnah of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen is also a part of Sunnat-e-Nabawi. The decisions of the Khulafaa-e-Rashideen which were unanimously accepted by all the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) were based on a consensus of opinion among the Sahaabah.
Shah Waliullah Muhaddithy Dehlwi (rahmatullahi alaih) states: “The word Ijma which you may have heard from the Ulama does not mean that all the mujtahiddeen of a particular age, without any exceptions, agree unanimously on a particular issue because this has not occurred and is impossible. It means that the Khulafaa adopted a resolution either by consulting the Sahaabah, or not, and which was enforced until it became a common and accepted practice. Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) said: „Hold on firmly to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my Khulafaa).‟”
Contrary to the statement of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) Maududi states: “The decisions of the Khulafaa which they enforced as judges did not become law in Islaam.”
From these theories of Maududi concerning the basic sources of Shariah viz, the Qur`aan, Hadith and the Sunnah of the Khulafaa, one can gauge how distorted his views are. Regarding Ijtihaad he does not consider anyone besides himself capable of it. Accordingly his understanding of Deen is primarily based on his own reasoning and Ijtihaad. Maududi‟s outlook on Deen can be deduced from these few factors, otherwise as mentioned previously, the list of his misinterpretations is extensive. It is my opinion that Maududi cannot be counted as amongst the Salf-e-Saaliheen. He has regarded as Haqq whatever his limited understanding has fathomed to be. The deficiency in his thinking can be attributed to the following factors:
(1). He did not study Deen by anyone, but tried to understand it by himself. He is of the opinion that everyone can understand Deen by personal study.
(2). During his youth, the company of atheists and modernists had a tremendous effect on his personality. Maududi explains this himself: “The experience of one and a half years taught me that it is essential to stand on one‟s own feet in order to lead a life. There is no other method except to endeavour towards economic independence. Nature endowed me with the quality of penmanship. This ability improved by general studies. At that time I began associating with Niaz Fatehpuri whose companionship also became a consequential factor in my life. All these factors caused me to make my pen the means of earning a livelihood.”[Moulana Maududi, page 72]
(3). Allaah Ta`ala granted him excellent capabilities, but unfortunately he began to consider himself so lofty that all the pious predecessors seemed inadequate in his age. He began perceiving himself as being granted such an understanding of Deen which no person was ever granted. This elation resulted in his relying on personal opinions and founded his pride.
(4) He was overawed by modernism to such an extent that he found it difficult to present Deen in its original form. Consequently he modified the Deen to conform to modernism, regardless of the changes that would occur. Just like how nowadays, a concerted effort is made in certain quarters to „conform‟ the Deen to suit the majority.
(5) Together with all this, the power of his pen induced him to cross the boundaries of respect for the elders. As a result, the evil influence of this disrespect predominated his writings. If only an intelligent and prospective person like Moulana Maududi had been nurtured and developed in the correct channels, he would have been an asset and a source of pride to Islaam.