“It’s not in the Koran”

By Tom Quiner

51vzocryCxL._AA160_“How do you respond when someone says, “It’s not in the Koran” (implying that if it isn’t in the Koran it is not a part of Islam)? Usually the conversation ends.”

This is the question Dr. Stephen Kirby addressed on his Facebook page today. Dr. Kirby is the author of “Islam According to Muhammad, Not Your Neighbor.” His clarifying comments are worth sharing:

“But the Koran, believed by Muslims to be the words of Allah, is only one of two sources of Islamic Doctrine. The second source is the Sunnah (soonah), which consists of the examples, ways and teachings of Muhammad, that have become rules to be followed by Muslims. There are two sources for the Sunnah.

The first source is the authoritative collections of hadiths (hadeeths).

A hadith is a report/narrative about the examples, ways, and teachings of Muhammad believed to have come from those who were with him and observed and heard them. They are second only to the Koran in importance to Islam, and the Koran cannot be understood without relying on the hadiths.

There are six authoritative hadith collections; although they are referred to as the “Sound Six” or the “Six Books,” the English translations of these collections total 39 volumes – thousands of stories. Here is an example of a hadith from the most authoritative of the “Six Books”:

“Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger [Muhammad] said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight against the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.'”

Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 2926

The second source for the Sunnah is the authoritative biography of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, “The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah).” It is referred to as the Sira (seerah).

So when someone says, “It’s not in the Koran,” the conversation is not over. Ask if it is to be found in the hadith collections or in the Sira.

For more information about this, you can go to my site IslamSeries.org, open the Brochures page and click on the brochure “Introduction to Islam.” This brochure, along with all the others, can be opened, printed, and downloaded from the site.”

Des Moines readers can pick up Dr. Kirby’s book at Divine Treasures Catholic Book Store at 5701 Hickman Road. Or you can order it online at Amazon.com.


  1. Silai on October 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Being a muslim myself, I only follow the Quran, end of story!

    • Steve Kirby on October 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      For many centuries authoritative Islamic scholars have used the hadiths to explain the meaning of the verses in the Koran. The best example of this is the Tafsir Ibn Kathir. And the Sunnah of Muhammad is based on these hadiths.

      What do you use to help you understand the meaning of the verses in the Koran?

      The Sunnah of Muhammad provides examples for the day-to-day actions of Muslims, such as ablution, and the number of cycles and the actions done during a particular prayer. Since these are not mentioned in the Koran, what do you use to determine the nature of your ablution and prayers?