Let’s start with the famous smart quote from Ibn Hazm that represents the foundation of whatever is being developed after, both on the matter of jurisprudence or creeds:
“I looked up all the arguments that Shafi’i used to deny Istihsaan and I’ve found them useful to deny Qiyas also”
Well, what are they left with as a sunni sub group is Qur’an and “Sunnah”, but what’s sunnah?
Here, hadeeth comes along as the biggest, if not the only, source of sunnah with all its classes, grading, and various sources, with an estimated one million narrations, and a mighty arsenal of 1,400 books or more, and an army of over 50,000 narrators. What is the way to know what’s sunnah and whats not, a chain of questions pop up in ones mind (if the intellect is even being used)…
Did the Prophet really say this? Was it for all Muslims? Was it for a specific case? Am I included here? etc.
In defense of hadeeth, the infamous man-made remedy appears as the savior, the “science” of hadeeth. The “science”? Let’s look it up.
– If a critique is agreed upon, it’s not debatable to propose another criteria for that narrator even if the path of his narrations propose otherwise.
– If some ahadeeth are contradicted, we simply follow the conclusion of a muhaddith who attacked the issue; if muhadditheen disagree about it at one point, we see a closer generation and hope that one solved the issue.
– The categorization of “hassan,” is a cloud of thousands of narrations that can be used or not depending on…what you want. It is a free-zone.
– If two narrators lived in the same city and coexisted for some time, than surely they met each other.
– If two narrators contradicted one another we choose the narration of the one with “better creed.”
So isn’t hadeeth science a mix of qiyas , istihsaan, and taqleed after all. What makes you better or closer to the truth than any hanafi or maliki? After all, these at least show a more developed legislation structure compared to a “newbie”.