The sedition of attacking the Sunnah has not abated in this time, but the attacks increased and orientalists and their westernized students are the leaders of these attacks.
Al `Aqqad mentioned in his book "Al Islam Fi Al Qarn Al `Ishrin (Islam in twentieth century)" that Europe has set plans to attack Islam by commanding its experts and thinkers to study Islam and outline the elements of power so that they can fight it based on knowledge.
Those elements of power were: The Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
This abstract shows why attacks are focused on the Sunnah?
The meaning of the Sunnah according to the European experts is the theoretical aspect of the Prophet's saying which are represented in his current certified Hadiths.
As for the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him), it means to them the behavioral, practical, and moral aspect because he is the high moral example to follow for those who have believed and done righteously.
Moreover, the Hadith of the Prophet (the Sunnah) is the record of his behavior and the elements of his personality.
In this context, we understand clearly why attacks are focused on the Sunnah, because it represents two elements of power in Islam, which are:
1- The huge heritage of Hadith.
2- The personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
These are the priorities which are laid by the enemies of Islam to eradicate it because they understand that if they succeed to drop the Sunnah from the lives of Muslims, they will succeed to drop the Glorious Qur'an without approaching it because Muslims cannot apply the Qur'an without the Sunnah, as it is the explanation of the Glorious Qur'an.
The students of orientalists spread their poisons:
There were times during which the West was executing this mission by itself then they found (the alternative) which was the Muslims who are fascinated by them: A deceived group which received education at the hands of orientalists and that group drank the purposes and diseases of the West, so they no longer see but by Western eyes, do not hear but by Western ears, and do not understand except by Western minds. They were charged with doubts which they pushed into education houses and media to spread their poisons and to arouse doubts in the Sunnah. Hence, they left no rule of Hadith but aroused doubts in its value and importance and did not leave a narrator of the grand narrators either from the Companions and the Followers but aroused doubts about him, accusing them with terrible accusations in order to reject all their narrations.
Furthermore, they did not leave a book from the Sunnah which the entire nation approved and attested for its narrators with knowledge, understanding, and virtue but doubted its fundamentals its narrators, chain of transmissions, and texts.
Among the most eminent students was: Mahmoud Abu Rayyah who wrote "Adwa' `Ala As-Sunnah Al Muhammadiyyah (Lights on the Prophetic Sunnah)" book which was not lights but darkness. The was full of attacks against the Sunnah and its narrators, as he attacked the authentic Hadiths in their most authentic sources [books of authentic Hadiths]. Many times he declared his denial to many Hadiths that were reported in Al Bukhari, Muslim, and others. Moreover, he claimed that the books of authentic Hadiths contain many Israelite and Christian narrations (reported from the Jews). He ignored the rules and standards which the scholars of Hadith laid to identify authentic and fabricated Hadith.
You can realize his approach in grading a Hadith as authentic or weak from the following: He said: "I have come to know the Hadiths and narrations reported from the Messenger (peace be upon him) to the extent that I take what I take with full contentment and leave what I leave while my heart is comfortable, and there is no harm in taking or leaving these narrations (because I can distinguish well the authentic from the fabricated)." (1) He made his reason and mind a standard to accept or reject the Hadith. However, if we accept his approach, the Sunnah will be a toy in the hands of people; each group belie what the other group believes in.
Abu Rayyah went too far in attacking Abu Hurayrah by saying: "History recorded that he was gluttonous and used to eat daily in the house of the Prophet or in the house of anyone of his friends to the extent that some of them used to run away from him." (2) Moreover, he denied the Hadiths that were reported from the way of that venerable Companion.
By writing such a book, Abu Rayyah opened a great door of evil and many hateful people followed his steps, so there is no writer has attacked the Sunnah but benefitted from the doubts of Abu Rayyah.
It is enough to know that the roots of Abu Rayyah's doubts trace back to the writings of the enemies of Islam. This is not a claim against him but a truth which he wrote in his book: "Whoever wants to know more about the Israelite and Christian narrations found in Islam may refer to the books of Hadith, history, and to the books of the orientalists such as Goldzieher and Fone kramer." (3) However, those who follow the same way in attacking the Sunnah will not reach their goal but will keep wandering in darkness until they die at the end out of envy and hatred because Allah (Glory be to Him) has undertaken to protect His Religion. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)." (4)
(1) Adwa' `Ala As-Sunnah Al Muhammadiyyah p. 13, first edition 1958, Dar At-Ta'lif Print House.
(2) Adwa' `Ala As-Sunnah Al Muhammadiyyah p. 154.
(3) Adwa' `Ala As-Sunnah Al Muhammadiyyah p. 148. And see: Al Adwa' As-Sunniyyah `Ala Madhahib Rafidy Al Ahtijaj Bas-Sunnah An-Nabwiyyah p. 33-39.
(4) [Surat Al Hijr: 9].