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I would like to comment on the issue and nature of Hadith in Islam as was discussed by Abdul Rahman Abdul Talib ( Clearing the confusion on hadith ).

I do not deny that the Hadith complements the Quran in Islam. That is a given since the authentic Hadith comes from the Prophet (pbuh). However account must be taken of the prevailing socio-political and economic conditions during the time of the Prophet.

Would the Prophet have said the same things today? I do not think so. I believe that the Prophet interpreted and elaborated upon the Quran as he saw fit for the social conditions of his time. Was the Hadith meant to be eternal and immutable? I do not believe so.

To pretend that the context of the Hadith has not changed over the past thousand years is sheer folly. I accept the Hadiths where they may apply in today's social conditions. But I do not at all doubt that some Hadiths cannot be followed because they refer to social conditions of 7th century Arabia and are no longer relevant today.

That is the harsh reality facing the Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. Until such time when this fact is openly acknowledged - I guess the debate will go on.