Episode 7: Suspicion around the appellation and the response to it 1/2
It goes without saying when we decide: that the terms (Sunnah) and (Hadith) are Arabic, whereas among the enemies of Islam who denied this axiom was Goldziher, when he once claimed that the word (Sunnah) was taken from the Hebrew (Mishnah), he said: (Even in Islam, this idea took a place too, I mean taking a sacred law behind the Quran or an oral one as is the case with the Jews) (1).
Then said once again: it is rather a pagan term in origin, which Islam adopted and excerpted, and pursued him on that from his creed: Schacht and Margolioth, as quoted from them by Dr Mohammed Al A’dhami in his book (Studies in the Prophetic Hadith) (2).
And followed the Orientalists on that, Kasim Ahmad, when he said: (what Muslims should be aware of is the very big similarity between this opinion and the old opinion of the Jews about the written and oral revelations. The Jewish Talmud, which includes the Mishnah and the Gemara; the two resemble the Islamic Hadith and Sunnah. They are a set of oral teachings belonging to rabbis and senior Jewish scholars, the basis of their interpretation to their holy book and their explication to it over a long period, by the tongue of the Jewish scholar Yehuda Goldin (3).
The Orientalist Alfred Guillaume also claimed in his book (The Hadith in Islam): that the term (Hadith) is derived from the Hebrew word with the Jews (Hadash), which means the new, the news, or the stories (4).
The purpose for this misconception is intended to deny that the two terms are Arabic.
This false suspicion has been refuted by Professor Sheikh Mahmoud Shaltout in his book (Islam: Doctrine and Law), where he negated that the term Sunnah be taken from the Hebrew (5).
Dr. Mohamed Al-A’dhami also refuted in his book (Studies in the Prophetic Hadith) the false claim of Goldziher; that it is a pagan term in origin, but Islam adopted and excerpted it (6).
This suspicion was mentioned and refuted by Dr. Raouf Chalabi in his book (The Prophetic Sunnah between Confirmation by the Graspers and Rejection by the Ignorants), he said: it is the very nature of life that goodness is not safe from evil, that justice is not safe from injustice, and Satan had destined elements which slander against Islam and its sources. Some researchers had alleged that the designation with the term Sunnah is taken by Muslims from the Hebrew word (Mishnah), that is given in Jewish terminology to the set of Jewish narrations, which are considered, in their opinion, the main reference in learning the provisions of the Torah. It is also considered as an explication and exegesis for it, then the Muslims arabicized it to the word (Sunnah). The Jews allege that the Muslims gave it - following Arabicization – as a proper term to designate the set of prophetic narrations in return for their use of the word (Mishnah) to designate the set of Jewish accounts.
1. Doctrine and Law in Islam, p. 49.
2. Studies in the Prophetic Hadith, 1: 5, 6.
3. Re-evaluation of the Hadith p. 78, 79.
4. Quoted from: Methodology of collection of the Sunnah, by Dr. Aziah Ali Taha, p. 62.
5. Islam: Doctrine and Law, p. 492 493.
6. Studies in the Prophetic Hadith, 1: 5 -11.