Oral Torah, Sacred Tradition, Ahadith

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Cino, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    375
    A common theme in (at least) the Abrahamic faiths: the dual authority of written and (initially) oral transmission.

    Torah and Mishnah, and later Talmud. Both trace their authority back to the revelation at Mount Sinai.

    The Gospel and the Sacred Tradition (and later, Protestant efforts to derive it purely from scripture). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, legitimized by apostolic lineage.

    The Quran and the Ahadith, both traced back to the Prophet, either his revelation or his example.

    Scripture and tradition have this interesting relationship, either one is meaningless without the other, and yet people have gotten seriously angry at each other about the authority and content of oral tradition. Schisms, sects, and worse.

    Where do you all stand regarding the oral traditions of your faiths? And I'd love to include the Baha'i members in this discussion as well.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,099
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    From a Catholic viewpoint, the two go hand-in-hand. The Protestant rejection of Tradition was a means of rejecting the authority of Rome, rather than any criticism of Tradition as such.

    For myself, I always think the Tradition gave rise to the Scripture, not the other way round.
     
  3. OrtaYol

    OrtaYol Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    21
    As a Muslim I reject hadith, in my view there is no support for them to be followed. I disagree that one is meaningless without the other, at least in the case of Islam.

    The Quran claims that it is complete, fully detailed and nothing has been left out of it. Muslims who follow hadith claim for example that you cannot do your daily prayers properly without hadith as the full instructions are not in the Quran, which if they are correct proves the Quran wrong.

    Circumcision is another point, there is absolutely no mention of it in the Quran. In fact the Quran states:

    4:117-119 - They do not call besides Him on anything but idols, and they do not call on anything but a rebellious Shaitan. Allah has cursed him; and he said: Most certainly I will take of Thy servants an appointed portion: And most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah's creation; and whoever takes the Shaitan for a guardian rather than Allah he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,099
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    But the Quran was written down by, collated by, edited by, the tradition.

    As for hadith, in the Christian Tradition we have the 'Patristic Fathers'. Their writings provide the first commentaries, exegesis, etc., but they are not 'gospel', rather they're guides.

    It's said that where all the Fathers are in accord, you can pretty well rely on what they say. Where they differ, you can make your choices. Only one, as far as I know, is agreed to be entirely without fault in everything he wrote.

    Same with popes. Only when a teaching is delivered ex cathedra is it regarded as doctrine. That's why Pope Francis makes the off-the-cuff statements he does — they won't change anything.
     
  5. OrtaYol

    OrtaYol Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    21
    I'm not sure what you mean by this and how it relates to hadith.

    Similar things are said about hadith and Quran, that if the hadith is inline with Quranic teachings then it can be considered authentic.. however if it is inline with Quranic teaching then what's the point of it?
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,099
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    The Quaran as Scripture, is the product of the Tradition.
     
  7. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    168
    The point - for me - is Tafsir of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which details the specifics of The Revelation, such as the specifics Salah.

    The Tafsir of many Scholars & Imams (or just fellow Muslims) are valued, while the words of The Prophet are ignored.

    I also believe that the historic context of many Quranic passages is extremely important in understanding the meaning of the Revelation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    375
    Interesting points! I didn't know those details about the Patristic Fathers, or that the Hadith are considered Tafsir in themselves.

    It occurred to me that in Buddhism, the commentaries are kept well separate from the Suttas, and that the Abhidamma (also ascribed to the Buddha), an early systematization of the doctrine, was maybe a similar phenomenon to oral tradition as discussed here, in that different schools had the same sutras but different Abhidarma. This was then overlaid by the development of Mahayana Sutras, which had their own commentarial traditions... similar but more complex situation.
     
  9. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    168
    The systematization of doctrine in Islam primarily took place with the Four Madhahib beginning roughly 150 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
     
  10. Abdullah

    Abdullah Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    8
    It is through the oral tradition the the Holy Quran and hadith has been preserved

    Whereas writings can get distorted, preservation in from of memory by many people that can corroborate with another is the undistortable form of preservation

    And to this day there continue to be thousands of Hafiz (those who have memorized the entire Quran) and Muhaddithin (those who have memorized tens of thousands of hadith).

    Oral form of carry this religion is considered the way true knowledge enters one's heart. A story is a prime example:

    This great pious Scholar used to carry his hundreds of books around on his cart. One day a robber started to rob him.. he said, 'take what you like but please don't take my knowledge', the robber laughed and replied, 'stupid man, people carry knowledge in their hearts and not in books'. The Scholar realised this is true and that if that robber robs all his books then away goes his knowledge too, so after this incident, he memorized every single book he had and became a true scholar!
     
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    375
    Thank you, @Abdullah!

    I know a fun story too, about one of the ancient Jewish sages, I don't remember which one, unfortunately.

    A would-be convert approached the sage wanting to learn - but the written Torah only, not the oral tradition. The sage told him he'd have to learn the alphabet first, and taught him the first few letters. After a week, they repeated last week's lesson - but this time, the letters the student had learned suddenly looked different! What he had learned as Alef, was now Bet, and Gimel was Alef and so on. When the confused student asked about this, the sage told him, "The written letters are still the same. So how did you learn what they letters mean? By listening! That is why you can not have the written tradition without the oral one."
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    10,099
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    I'm glad to see the idea of oral tradition, Tradition as such, taking its rightful place in the dialogue.
     
    Craz and Cino like this.
  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    506
    The reason that African shamans, Irish bards etc, were 'protected species' is that they remembered tribal history in long poems. The rhyming form was an aid to memory. They were the archives of history, before writing?

    They were highly trained through years of initiation.
     
  14. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    27
    Hillel.

    It is from the Talmud, Shabbat 31a to be precise.
     
  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    375
    Thank you, @RabbiO! That's an interesting loop-back.
     
  16. rosends

    rosends Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    18
    That story is somewhat different from the one posted here. Same idea, though.
     
  17. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    375
    I probably mangled it in my retelling.
     
  18. rosends

    rosends Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    18
    From dafyomi.co.il

    The first day, Hillel taught him Aleph, Beis, Gimel, Dalet; the next day, Hillel reversed the order of the letters.

    5.The non-Jew: Yesterday you taught differently!

    6.Hillel: You rely on me to know the letters - you can also rely on me regarding oral Torah!

    -----------
    The story ends up being about rabbinical authority more than about the specific information in the oral code.
     
    Craz likes this.
  19. The Artis Magistra

    The Artis Magistra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    22
    My policy is that found in the Qur'an in this verse:

    Qur'an 39.18
    Who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding.

    So I don't feel excluded from any group of humans communicating things, but will hear it all and take what seems best, maybe what they call "cherry picking" even, but why should one devour dirty or poison things just because they grow together or near something beneficial or grow from the same tree? Pick the best, take it all, leave off what seems to be of no help or leads towards detriment.

    I take this policy in everything, meaning I exclude nothing from the potential of being of some use or extraction or conversion to some use. Fiction, religions, history, certain fields of practice and expertise, every sort of communication from everywhere, which I feel is the great heritage of all people, and even if ut weren't, a gift to the seizer and conqueror, the appropriator that is mankind and has led to their survival and improvement over time.

    In the case of Islam though, I really don't like the hadith at all, and find it predicted in the Qur'an in this verse:

    Qur'an 6.112
    Thus have We appointed unto every prophet an adversary - devils of humankind and jinn who inspire in one another plausible discourse through guile. If thy Lord willed, they would not do so; so leave them alone with their devising;

    The Qur'an to me is a great tool and one of many which any people can attempt to prosper from in various ways.

    Qur'an 17.110
    Say: "Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names...

    If the Qur'an had said other things, it is my hope that I would have rejected it and that I genuinely hold to this policy of wide collection and use regardless of what it says or would have said.

    I place the Qur'an atop all the religious scriptures as the most clear and useful, accurate and permissive or inclusive of them (contrary to popular impressions).

    In opposition to Islam and what might radically be considered its Late Antiquity Pan-Paganism in the manner of Apollonian oracular proclamations such as what is mentioned in this excerpt from a wikipedia article on monotheism: "A number of oracles of Apollo from Didyma and Clarus, the so-called "theological oracles", dated to the 2nd and 3rd century CE, proclaim that there is only one highest god, of whom the gods of polytheistic religions are mere manifestations or servants."

    or perhaps in the case of Islam, legitimate and useable names or epithets referring to the multifarious domains of God's power and creations. God who is the God of Sea, Sky, Earth, Fertility, Destruction, Commerce, and so on and so forth. Having no qualms knowing the Lord as truly and rightfully the real Odin, the rightful Lucifer, the true Hermes, who is indeed Khaos, Kronos, Jupiter, Apollo, Ares and all the rest. The Titan, the whole of Olympus and the Aesir, the Daeva, Deva, Asura, and Ahura, who fills the lives and minds of people with various signs and images and appearances which all point back to their remote and pure controller.

    It feels good, at least to me, to know Thor and that Thor has an appearance even in the Qur'an if one simply understands the meanings of various words, and that varieties of Thor in a multitude of senses can be accepted logically and thus confidently once an openess in meaning and understanding and translation is self-permitted.

    So I don't deny any of those religions or languages. Where it can become an issue is usually surrounding the very specific rules and regulations and traditions which develop or taking everything in a certain very literal fashion.

    Qur'an 22.67
    " For every People We have appointed rites which they perform. So, let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance. "

    It feels good to feel permitted to the general use of what has been provided to people in its abstract or general form withing their languages.

    The Qur'an is a somewhat unique text in its style, whereas the hadith in its fashion of talking about a religious figure and their acts and deeds seems to have been a rather popular style for the transmission of religions prior.

    Now the Qur'an may largely be a lie or unknowing in what it says about things, but if its mythology, its mythology is preferable to me than what for example the Bible may say about the same intended characters.

    In choosing between the Abraham of the Bible and the Abraham (or Ibrahim) of the Qur'an, even if neither or true or the former is true, I'd rather take the Ibrahim than the Abraham because of the qualities he holds and promotes.

    In my very unstable assessment of reality, where time and history are as false and changeable as anything by whatever has the greatest power, or in my view, the only power, I find the Qur'an's characters better as role models than the things the Bible says in practically every case, even in the New Testament, which again is frequently stories about someone rather than what is supposed to be direct ongoing divine speech "to" the receiver, which sets the Qur'an somewhat apart overall in what it really claims to be.

    So if Islam and Universal Monotheistic Pantheism and Pan-en-theism, and Pagan Monotheism is my all encompassing heresy of preference, since I can use terms rather freely from any language or religion with such an underlying skeleton or framework, the extreme opposite of such is the material literalism of the ideas of the LDS or Mormon Church, and similar extreme materialistic interpretations of religions or paganism such as one might frequently find in some young neo-pagans as well, who when questioned seem to despise monotheism and the philosophical calculations which lead to such conclusions or acknowledgment, and prefer instead to believe in "very real", to the point of being literal space monkeys or aliens, things which hide away from the direct senses of people, except in their imaginations (which to me seem like cartoons or comic books). Such beliefs may also have existed among people throughout the ages, but did not seem to be the preference of intellectuals or educated and elite classes largely.

    These are the same sorts of things the Qur'an seems to abhor as well, still positioning it as the book most apparently like me and my own ideas.

    Again, I wonder if its something truly rationalized by me or if it is the influence of this mind-warping (for some) scripture.

    One would perhaps an enemy to a devout monotheist might be a Satanist, but Satanic and Demonic or opposites or enemy philosophies from other religions are very much compatible and useable linguistic frameworks within my belief system. Calling the One Power Lucifer or the Devil is just the same to me as calling it anything else just as true to me, as the source of Good, Evil, Lies, Truth, and everything in between and at all extremes.

    So there is no issue there as much as with those who limit God to the borders of a form or body or some kind of set of information ("stuff"), when to me it is the opposite of "stuff" which is all that it generates and destroys endlessly and without entropy.

    I must also have issues with authority. I have a real distaste when it comes to imagining people really having my respect, especially based on the stories told of them in these additional scriptures.

    Every single character, except those described in the Qur'an, and maybe with the partial tolerance of Paul and Ananda, annoy the heck out of me. I really don't like or admire how Jesus seems to be described as behaving in the New Testament. How could I be found an ally of the unjust Jacob? The Buddha irritates me greatly as well, and reading about some of his radical intolerance towards the man who destroyed his practice by giving in to his wife's pleas for a child. Even Muhammed in the hadith seems very unpleasant compared to the version the Qur'an seems to give, and anyone who acts very sagely and knowing is probably irritating.

    I guess I like Job and relate to him, probably exclusively out of the Old Testament.

    I have the same sort of ill will towards "the divine" probably as well, its just that the reality, the nature, the power is so overwhelming, that it leads some (like myself) towards pitiful groveling, but where I might perceive I can dominate or overcome, then I wouldn't feel the need to ask anything or try to save myself from such a thing.

    Sometimes I wonder, had I been there, which side I'd be on, but I have an anti-tradition revolutionary sort of attitude which makes me think I might join or at least lend some support towards efforts tearing down old authority structures and leading towards varieties of protestant freedom and anarchy.

    The other issue is, even though any unverifiable news is perhaps difficult to confirm as certainly a lie, I consider most of the things said in these books when talking about historical matters to be unpleasant and kind of take them to be untrue and lies and slander, even if they aren't.

    This goes hand in hand with a contemporary conspiratorial attitude towards reports in the news and other things like that:

    Qur'an 49.6
    " O you who believe, if a wicked person comes to you with any news, then you shall investigate it. Lest you harm a people out of ignorance, then you will become regretful over what you have done. "

    Yikes, it looks like that book has a bunch of stuff I want to say, making it my favorite religious bashing (as in the term Bible Bashing as in using the Bible to say what one wants to say to people but with a high and mighty ancient authority, ineffective of course when one could care less what some old book from an outside faction says anyway) tool in my image.

    Qur'an 6.116
    "
    Sahih International: And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.

    Pickthall: If thou obeyedst most of those on earth they would mislead thee far from Allah's way. They follow naught but an opinion, and they do but guess.

    Yusuf Ali: Wert thou to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead thee away from the way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie.

    Shakir: And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah's way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie.

    Muhammad Sarwar: Most of the people in the land will lead you away from God's guidance if you follow them; they only follow their own conjecture and preach falsehood.

    Mohsin Khan: And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.

    Arberry: If thou obeyest the most part of those on earth they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only surmise, merely conjecturing. "
     
  20. Abdullah

    Abdullah Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thanks. Cool story!

    We have the same concept too, it's said you cannot become learned until you sit at the feets of a scholar and listen and learn
     

Share This Page