The deniers of hadith or Munkar e Hadith
(Sahih Muslim, Book, 4, No, 1032)Apparently the mother of the believer is questioning the validity of this statement and saying that the Prophet could not have said it because his practice was different from this statement.
According to many people anyone who questions the validity of this hadith can be termed as denier of the hadith or munkar e hadith.
Interestingly in the same book of Sahih Muslim, four hadith later, a statement is attributed to one of the wives of the Prophet. "Urwa b. Zubair reported: 'A'isha asked: What disrupts the prayer? We said: THE WOMAN AND THE ASS. Upon this she remarked: IS THE WOMAN AN UGLY ANIMAL? I lay in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) like the bier of a corpse and he said prayer. (Sahih Muslim, Book, 4, No, 1037)Sahih Bukhari also includes a similar hadith in his collection: Narrated 'Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him." Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 9 :: Hadith 490
This hadith and the response of the mother of the believers summarizes the debate on Munkar e hadith.Like the mother of believers, there are millions of Muslims now who know their religion, as they have gone through the vast literature produced by Muslims throughout the centuries and who have questions about not just one but several statements attributed to the Prophet. They are sincere in their commitment to the divine guidance. They care about their faith and they genuinely believe that silencing people or ignoring their questions, will only create more confusion.
There have always been people who looked at such statements and responded to them according to their ability. For instance the six canonized compilers of hadith, namely, Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam Nasai, Imam Ibn Maja and Imam Tirmidhi (Before the inclusion of Ibn Maja, it was Imam Malik's muwatta that was part of the six most accurate books on the statements of the Prophet) had access to some 2.3 million statements of the Prophet. But all of them included only 23 thousand in their collections. Even in the 23,000 they collected, only a few thousands seems have commonalities either in the text or in the meaning. Can anyone call them munkar e hadith. Obviously, they were the deniers of overwhelming majority of the ahdaith they had access to. The selection of the collected statement was not divinely revealed. It was the outcome of the human efforts that they put in constructing a a methodology to verify the statements as much as one can.
They were first formally grouped and defined canonical by Ibn al Qaisarani in the 11th century, who added Sunan Ibn Maja. Since then, they have enjoyed near-universal acceptance as part of the official canon of Sunni Islam.
- In the Sunni Islam the six canonical work are, Sahiah al Bukhari, Sahih Musli, Jamia Tirmidhi, Sunan Nasai, Sunan ibn Maja and Sunan Abu Dawood. However, Malikis do not accept Ibn Maja part of the six canonical work. They include al Muwatta in those collections.
- The Twelver Shia sext has four hadith collections: Kitabul al Kafi, ManLa Yahduruhu al FAtih, Tahdib ul Ahkam and Al Istibsar.
- The Ibadi sect has Tartib al Musna as their book of hadith. .
- The Ismailis use the Daim al Islam as hadith collections.
However, the Quran makes it clear that nothing should be attributed to Allah and his messenger unless it is true. Muslims believe that the Prophet ensured in his life time that every word that God revealed upon him was preserved in writing in his life time. But his statements were not. Thus, many Muslims believe that despite the presence of the canonical work and other books of ahadith, people have to be extra cautious when dealing with such statements. They suggest the best way to determine their accuracy is not only the chain of narrators and their integrity but also the relationship of the statement with the Quranic dictates. If the statement is in the context of the Quranic verse and it elaborates or explains within the Quranic context, then its validity and accuracy is proven, but if it questions the Quranic statement, then it must not be used for making any decision or argument that that impacts individual or social life,
They do not deny the fact that the Prophet did not leave instructions for his followers. But they say that not every word of what he said was preserved and approved by him in his life time. They do not deny the hadith, rather they argue to have stricter and logically sound methodology to determine the accuracy of the statements attributed to the Prophet.
On the other hand there are people who say, that all the research and all the work has already been completed by the scholars living from 7th to 11 centuries.Their logic defies the Quran that ask human beings including the believers to be in constant search of signs of Allah. This verse of the Quran places emphasis on continuous research and by saying that all answers have been given and all issues have been resolved, they are only challenging God and his wisdom. So please be careful when you use the term munkar e hadith.