Saudi Arabia recently published its new school textbooks for the 2019 school year. Following the publication of the books Dr. Suhaila Zain Al-‘Abidin Hamad, a researcher of Islam and the daughter of Sheikh Zain Al-‘Abidin Hamad (d. 1975), a former imam and preacher at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, published an article in which she opposed the inclusion in the high school curriculum of a hadith (tradition attributed to the Prophet) which calls for fighting the non-Muslims until they convert to Islam. Writing in the Al-Madina daily, she argued that the hadith is not authentic because it contradicts the Quran, and said that it has been included in the curriculum only because it is quoted in the two most important Sunni collections of hadiths, Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, which grants it credibility in the eyes of many.
Hamad noted that Muslim jurisprudents have used this hadith to issue fatwas condoning the killing of all non-Muslims, and of Muslims who do not fulfill all the commandments of Islam, and calling to fight them until Islam is the religion of the entire world. Furthermore, she said, the Islamic State (ISIS) has used it and the fatwas based upon it to justify its acts of terror.
The following are translated excerpts from Hamad’s article:
“[According to a hadith, the Prophet said:] ‘I have been commanded to fight against people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and fulfill the obligation of prayer, and pay the zakat; and if they do it, their lives and property are guaranteed my protection on condition that [they conduct themselves] according to the law of Islam, and [on Judgement Day] Allah [will determine] their fate.’
“This hadith contradicts the Quran, according to which Allah says:
“1. ‘And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason.’ [Quran 10:99-100]
“2. ‘And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, “I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together.”‘ [Quran 11:118-119]
“3. ‘There is no coercion in religion.’ [Quran 2: 256]
“4. ‘Not upon you, [O Muhammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.’ [Quran 2:272]
“5. ‘Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.’ [Quran 28:56]
“Presenting [Quran] 8:39 – ‘And fight them until there is no fitna and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease – then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do’ – as proof [of the need to force non-Muslims to convert] is [also] inappropriate, for this verse descended in the context of the infidels of Mecca, who led the Muslims astray and tormented them, forcing them to emigrate to Al-Habash [a region in the Horn of Africa] and later to Al-Madina, after they conspired to kill the Prophet Muhammad. It did not [descend] in the context of fighting all non-Muslims until they convert.
“Although this [hadith] contradicts all of these Quranic texts, it turns out that those in charge of our religious studies insist on including it in the high school curriculum on the topic of tawhid, or the oneness of God…, because it appears in the [major collections of hadiths considered authentic in Sunni Islam], Sahih Bukhari… and Sahih Muslim… [Bukhari and Muslim, who compiled these collections] apparently failed to notice that this hadith contradicts the Quran, [but 8th century theologian] Imam Malik [ibn Anas] omitted it from his [compilation of hadiths,] the Muwatta… because it contradicts the Quran. Hadith scholars agree that texts which contradict the Quran must not be accepted as authentic, for [whoever does so] attributes greater sanctity to the books of Bukhari and Muslim than to the Quran.
“Some scholars relied on this hadith in issuing fatwas that accuse others of heresy and permit the killing of any [Muslim] group which refrains from saying certain prayers or [performing certain religious] duties… Some [scholars] even issued fatwas obliging [the Muslims] to fight until all religion [in the world] is for Allah. If we follow this fatwa, we must fight until Judgement Day in order to impose Islam on the entire human race.
“Fatwas like these strengthen the lies of the Orientalists, that Islam was spread by the force of the sword. The members of ISIS used this hadith and the fatwas based upon it to justify the killing of people whom they accused of heresy, including Muslims. In fact, they went very far in accusing Muslims of heresy, killed them and their families, destroyed their property, and captured and raped their wives.
“How long will we remain hostage to the understanding and interpretations of religious texts provided by certain ancient religious scholars, despite the fact that [these interpretations] are clearly at odds with the Quran? [How long will we] accept the authenticity of hadiths that lack a chain of transmission [leading back to] the Prophet even though they contradict the Quran? Who benefits from [including] this hadith in our curricula in the age of terror organizations that exploit hadiths of this sort to justify their acts of terror and the accusations of heresy they make against others?”
 Al-Madina (Saudi Arabia), August 23, 2019.
 Tawhid is the oneness of God, i.e., the belief in Allah alone (monotheism) and the public declaration of this by means of the phrase “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The Salafi-jihadi stream stresses the centrality of this Islamic principle and its adherents and even use the term muwahhidoun (“those who declare the oneness of God”) to designate themselves.