Does following prophet Muhammad mean following Bukhari?

Say: "If you do love God, then follow me. God will then love you
and forgive your sins. God is Forgiver, Merciful."
3:31

The above Quranic words instruct us to follow the messenger. From this verse, the hadith advocates claim that we cannot follow prophet Muhammad unless we follow his hadith and sunna. Is this the correct conclusion to be derived from 3:31? The following is the analysis of this matter in the light of the Quran.

FIRST
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The instructions we read in multiple Quranic verses is not to believe in or follow any hadith other than the Quran:

These are God's revelations (Quran) that We recite to you with truth, so
in which hadith other than God and His revelations (Quran) do they believe? 45:6

Or have they not looked into the realm of the heavens and the earth, and all things which God has created, and that perhaps their time may be drawing near? Which hadith after it (Quran), do they believe in? 7:185

So in which hadith after it (Quran) do they believe? 77:50

Or do you have some (other) book in which you are studying? 68:37

The claim that we must follow the hadith we find in the books of Bukhari and others clashes with all the above verses.

SECOND-
Equally, we read in the Quran that the only sunna authorised by God is the Sunna of God Himself:

Such was the Sunna of God for those who passed on before. You will find that there is no substitute for the Sunna of God. 33:62

The claim that prophet Muhammad had his own sunna that we must follow is a clear violation of the words in 33:62.

THIRD-
Further confirmation of the correct meaning of following the messenger, is given in the following verses:

O people, a proof has come to you from your Lord, and We have brought down to you a clear Light. 4:174

Those who follow the messenger, the ummi prophet ......... those who have believed in him, honoured him, supported him and followed the Light (Quran) which was brought down with him; they are the successful ones. 7:157

The genuine believers who obey the words of God in the Quran will follow "the Light" (Quran) that was brought down upon the messenger and no other source.

FOURTH
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Another reason given to justify the need to follow the personal hadith of the prophet is the claim that the religion is not complete by the Quran alone and that it is the hadith and sunna of the prophet that completes the religion for us.
Needless to say, this claim is a blatant contradiction of the following Quranic words:

Today, I have completed your religion for you, perfected My blessing upon you and approved Submission as the religion for you.
5:3

To say that the Quran is not complete is therefore a blasphemous denial of God's words.

To conclude, all the above Quranic words confirm that to follow the messenger is to follow the Quran and nothing else.

FIFTH-
Are those following the books of hadith following prophet Muhammad?
Unknown to the majority of Muslims today, the 6 hadith collections, which the Sunni scholars call "sahih" (authentic), were all written more than 200 years after the death of prophet Muhammad. The 6 collections, the names of the authors, and their dates of birth and death are as follows:

1. Sahih Bukhari, collected by Imam Bukhari (b. 194 AH - d. 256 AH).
2. Sahih Muslim, collected by Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (b. 204 AH - d. 261 AH).
3. Sunan al-Sughra, collected by al-Nasa'i (b. 214 AH - d. 303 AH).
4. Sunan Abu Dawood, collected by Abu Dawood (b. 202 AH - d. 275 AH).
5. Jami al-Tirmidhi, collected by al-Tirmidhi (b. 209 AH - d. 279 AH).
6. Sunan ibn Majah, collected by Ibn Majah (b. 209 AH - d. 273 AH).

The Sunna of prophet Muhammad is derived from the above hadith collections, and since the hadith we have today did not exist for the first 200 years after the prophet died, then the followers of the prophet, for the first 200 years after his death, could not have followed anything other than the Quran.
To counter the implication of these dates, the hadith advocates state that there was other hadith written and followed before the above 6 collections, and that Muslims always followed hadith.

The obvious question is if there were other hadith written and in circulation other than the 6 "sahih" hadith, why are they not called "sahih" (authentic) and in use today?
Surely any hadith written closer to the life time of the prophet would be more accurate than hadith written after 200 years of his death? Yet it is the 6 collections above that are labeled "sahih" and not others!
Imam Bukhari was the first to be born of the 6 hadith collectors. He was born in the year 194 after Hijra, and his hadith collection was completed in the year 232 AH. The other 5 collectors were born after Bukhari.

SIXTH
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If the hadith was truly a source of Islam approved by God and His messenger, then how can we explain the instruction left by prophet Muhammad to his people not to write his hadith?

The messenger of Allah said, "Do not write down anything from me except the Quran. Whoever writes other than that should delete it"
(Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, page 171 also Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7147)

We note that all hadith in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim are regarded to be authentic.

SEVENTH
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So if we should not follow any hadith other than the Quran (45:6) and that there is no substitute to the sunna of God (33:62) then why is God telling us to follow prophet Muhammad? What does following prophet Muhammad really mean?
If we wish to follow anyone, the first thing to do is find out what that person followed, then to follow exactly what he followed, correct?
So let us find out from the Quran what exactly did prophet Muhammad followed:

Say (O Muhammad), "I am not a novelty among the messengers, nor do I know what will happen to me or to you. I follow nothing other than what is revealed to me. I am no more than a clear warner."
46:9

The same is found in Sura 10:


When Our clear revelations are recited to them, those who do not long for the meeting with Us say, "Bring a Quran other than this or replace it." Say (O Muhammad), "It is not for me to replace it of my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me (Quran). I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a great Day." 10:15

The words above constitute a command from God to Muhammad not to follow anything other than what was revealed to him.
The words in 46:9 and 10:15 assert the following:

1- Not only did prophet Muhammad not follow anything other than the Quran, he was also commanded to proclaim to the people that he follows nothing other than the Quran. This command from God to Muhammad to make this proclamation to the people is quite significant. Its importance is that it gives the believers the correct understanding of following the messenger and what the messenger followed.

2- Since Muhammad followed the Quran and nothing else, it follows that he did not devise any religious rituals or regulations that are not in the Quran. Any claim to the contrary would mean that prophet Muhammad disobeyed the command to follow the Quran and nothing else.

3- Prophet Muhammad did not leave for his people a source of religion besides the Quran called his hadith and sunna. Any claim for the contrary once again would imply that the prophet disobeyed the command in 46:9 and instructed his people to disobey such command! Prophet Muhammad, the obedient servant of God, is innocent of such lies attributed to him.

EIGHTH
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The pro-hadith ulama tell us that the personal hadith of the prophet was also revealed to him by God, and they base their claim on a corrupt interpretation of 53:2-4. Please see: Analysis of 53:2-5

So was the hadith of the prophet revealed to him by God?
According to numerous Quranic verses, the only revelation prophet Muhammad received from God is the Quran and nothing else. The personal hadith of the prophet was not revealed to him by God and was not part of the revelation.
The following are some of the verses that confirm this truth:

Say, "What thing is the greatest testimony?" Say, "God is Witness between me and you, and this Quran has been revealed to me to warn you with it and whomever it reaches. Do you bear witness that there are other gods besides God?" Say, "I do not bear witness." Say, "He is but One God and I am innocent of the shirk that you commit."
6:19

The words in 6:19 tell us that prophet Muhammad was commanded to make a testimony as to what was revealed to him from God. This matter was of the utmost importance that God called this testimony the
"greatest testimony". The only thing Muhammad was commanded to testify to have been revealed to him was the Quran. Surely if the hadith of Muhammad was also revealed to him, he would have been required to testify to receiving the Quran and also the hadith from God.
Can the personal hadith of Muhammad be revealed to him by God (as some claim) yet God keeps it a secret from us, and in addition, command us not to follow any hadith other than the Quran (45:6)?

And We brought down to you (O Muhammad) the Book with truth, confirming what came before it of the Scripture and superseding it. So rule among them in accordance with what God has brought down.
5:48

The opening words in 5:48 state that God revealed to Muhammad the Book (Quran) then God commands Muhammad to rule among his people with what God revealed to him. Once again, we see no mention of any hadith.

A Book has been brought down to you
, so let there be no constraint in your chest because of it, and so that you may warn with it. It is a Reminder for the believers. 7:2

Follow what has been brought down to you from your Lord
and do not follow any allies besides Him. Rarely do you remember! 7:3

The words in 7:2 and 7:3 speak to all Muslims. Once again, God tells us that a Book (Quran) has been brought down to us, and that we should
"Follow what has been brought down".
Do we see any mention of another book or hadith that we should follow?
If we should follow the books of hadith we have today, why is God giving us the following words in the Quran:

So in which hadith after it (Quran) do they believe?
77:50
Or do you have some book in which you are studying? 68:37

Add to all the above, if every word uttered by prophet Muhammad was revealed to him by God (as the claim goes), then we should be able to conclude that every word uttered by Muhammad was free from error. However, God reprimanded prophet Muhammad at least 8 times in the Quran for errors he made related to things he had said or done.
Was God revealing mistakes to the prophet then reprimanding him for them?

CONCLUSION
To follow the prophet means to follow what he followed. All the Quranic evidence shown confirms that prophet Muhammad followed nothing other than the Quran that was revealed to him.
Those who truly follow prophet Muhammad are the ones who follow the Quran that was revealed to him and nothing else. They do so because the Quran assures them that prophet Muhammad followed nothing other than the Quran (46:9). They are the believers who follow the light that was brought down to prophet Muhammad:

Those who follow the messenger, the ummi prophet ......... those who have believed in him, honoured him, supported him and followed the Light (Quran) which was brought down with him; they are the successful ones. 7:157

What exactly is the
"light" that has been brought down to prophet Muhammad which the genuine believers follow? Is it the Quran and the hadith? Or just the Book of God?
Once again, we consult the Quranic evidence which tells us that whenever the Quran speaks of a light that has been "brought down", the reference is always to the Book of God and nothing else. The following are examples:

A Light has come to you from God and a clear Book. 5:15

O people, a proo
f has come to you from your Lord, and We have brought down to you a clear Light. 4:174

You did not
know what is the Book, or what is faith, but We rendered it a Light with which We guide whom We will of Our servants, and you are to guide to a straight path. 42:52

The same applies to the other Books revealed by God to other people, the
"light" is always the Book of God:

We have brought down the Torah, containing guidance and light. 5:44

We gave him (Jesus) the Injeel, containing guidance and light. 5:46

No wonder that, after all the Quranic instructions and evidence above, prophet Muhammad instructed his people to write nothing from him except the Quran, and for those who wrote any of his hadith, to delete it.