In medicine, you first and foremost have to treat the source of the problem. Treating symptoms is important as well, but if you don’t prioritize the source and, instead, focus on the symptoms, the patient will continue to suffer and the disease will only get worse.
When it comes to those who attack the authenticity of hadith, we have to ask: What is the source of their discomfort with hadith? Of course, we can and should push back against their claims of in-authenticity. That is important. But our effort will be limited, if not wholly ineffective, if we don’t address the root cause.
For example, some attack the authenticity of certain hadith because they view those hadith as unscientific. Arguing the ins and outs of hadith authentication with such people is akin to merely treating the symptoms. If you refute them on one point, they quickly drop the point and move on to the next bizarre claim.
The disease afflicting their minds, however, will continue unabated and in fact it will spread. Why? Because it won’t be long before they see that the Quran also contains many verses that can be seen as conflicting with current-day scientific consensus, and soon they will be rejecting Quran.
In actuality, all the “problems” hadith rejectors have with the content of hadith are also found in the Quran in spades. Those who criticize hadith for being contrary to science, women’s rights, modernist ethics, etc., also must criticize the Quran on those exact same grounds.
Is it any surprise, then, that hadith rejection is the gateway to apostasy? The more consistent hadith rejectors end up rejecting the Quran and leaving Islam. It’s easy to see why. They reject hadith because they have put man-made ideologies — scientism, feminism, liberalism, materialism — above the words of the Prophet ﷺ. They try to force Islam to conform to those ideologies and when they discover that it’s impossible, they reject Islam.
This is not something new. The same flawed mentality was found in past deviant groups who abandoned authentic Islam because they viewed some man-made philosophy as the ultimate truth.
The modern philosophies some Muslims are holding onto at the expense of their Islam are also man-made speculative ideologies that eventually will be dumped in the trash bin of history, along with their adherents.