Is it fair to insinuate about Islam?

This is an interesting way to turn my position upside down while giving the impression of addressing the issue. The issue I raised is: can we Westerners, who by our own admission know almost nothing about Islam, assume these acts to be Islamic?
Well, if that's what they call themselves, what are others supposed to call them?

Quite simply, the issue is burden of proof, which rests with the poster who is taking a position. For example, it is not my job to prove that the Saudi "witch hunt" follows from Islamic law. For starters, the poster who would suggest that it does would need to cite the Saudi law that prohibits witchcraft.
It's still a witch hunt, and it's still perpetrated under the name of Islam. No amount of formatting and presentation is going to change that.

My question was: Is it anyone's place to impute ungodliness to a certain religion? I would be more inclined to accept the propagandist's message to the effect that Islam is ungodly if it the propagandist were someone who at least showed some intellectual curiosity about the subject. But in this instance there was no evidence of that at all.

Like I said, the article on the Saudi witch trial was presented in the context of the thread on Islam without any analysis. Accordingly, I would surmise the posting was not intended to have any educational value at all. It was merely a cheap shot smear that is reducible to "Hey y'all, look at them fruitcakes! They're at it again. It must be the religion because the religious police were involved."
I wouldn't call exposing a witch hunt being a cheap shot, but that's just me.

Maybe it is the religion. I don't know. If that's the position the poster wants o take, they would need to defend it. That is, they'd need to prove it's the religion rather than merely insinuate it. Not really very complicated, is it?
Well, if the Saudis want to say that this witch hunt has nothing to do with Islam, I think it would put the matter to rest. The death sentence was overturned by an appeals court, but was reinstated by the law court "in the public interest." The article does not say whether the appeals court that overturned the death sentence was an Islamic court, or not.

Christianity had to have its own reformation in order to unmask the ungodliness associated with the Spanish Inquisition.
I see. Thanks to the Reformation, Christian peoples all over the world are now sinless, is that right? They never lie or cheat and if they do they are instantly forgiven, especially if it was for a "worthwhile" cause that pays a few dollars.
Where did I say that? According to Christianity, we are all sinners. :confused:
 
Well, if that's what they call themselves, what are others supposed to call them?
Just a thought: Call them Saudi officials instead of calling them Muslims when we know nothing about their religious commitments.

It's still a witch hunt, and it's still perpetrated under the name of Islam.
Who said it was in the name of Islam ....other than you?

No amount of formatting and presentation is going to change that.
You haven't established that the witch hunt was perpetrated under the name of Islam.

I wouldn't call exposing a witch hunt being a cheap shot, but that's just me.
Given the context, it is a cheap shot against Islam.

Well, if the Saudis want to say that this witch hunt has nothing to do with Islam, I think it would put the matter to rest.
But in the meantime we should accept the propagandist's insinuation as a basis for assuming something about the "religious" nature of the Saudi case and, on that basis, something about Islam as a whole? In other words, aspersions and remote inferential leaps have the same epistemic status as direct proof? :mad:

The death sentence was overturned by an appeals court, but was reinstated by the law court "in the public interest." The article does not say whether the appeals court that overturned the death sentence was an Islamic court, or not.
So where is the connection to Islam?

Where did I say that?
You didn't.

According to Christianity, we are all sinners.
My point relates to the need to recognize it and act accordingly. Do I need to cite chapter and verse about passing judgement?
 
Just a thought: Call them Saudi officials instead of calling them Muslims when we know nothing about their religious commitments.


Who said it was in the name of Islam ....other than you?
Well the article says that it was the religious police who started the whole thing. Which religion are the religious police representing?


You haven't established that the witch hunt was perpetrated under the name of Islam.
See above.

Given the context, it is a cheap shot against Islam.
Is it? Then perhaps Islam would do well to ask these religious police to stop witch hunting.

But in the meantime we should accept the propagandist's insinuation as a basis for assuming something about the "religious" nature of the Saudi case and, on that basis, something about Islam as a whole? In other words, aspersions and remote inferential leaps have the same epistemic status as direct proof? :mad:
If Islam is insulted by a poster posting a news article (about a human rights group appealing to King Abdullah to halt the execution of a woman condemned to death as a result of the Saudi religious police going on a witch hunt) on the internet in a thread entitled "Religion Of Peace Update," then Islam had either better get used to it, or do something about these religious police going on witch hunts.


So where is the connection to Islam?
We do know the witch hunt was done by the religious police. We don't know if the appeal court that overturned the death sentence was Islamic, or not. {If it was, then kudos to them. :) } We do know that the death sentence was reinstated "in the public interest," and that this woman's last hope rests with King Abdullah.


You didn't.
Thank you for noticing. :)


My point relates to the need to recognize it and act accordingly. Do I need to cite chapter and verse about passing judgement?

I am not the one who went on a witch hunt and sentenced this woman to death. :mad:
 
Well the article says that it was the religious police who started the whole thing. Which religion are the religious police representing?
Since you're asking the question, I would surmise that we have no information on it. Is that about right?

See above.
Sorry, but your foregoing comment adds nothing to the analysis. It merely concedes the point I've been making that we don't have enough information.

Then perhaps Islam would do well to ask these religious police to stop witch hunting.
Since you feel this strongly about it, I imagine you'll be making a serious effort to reach Mr. and Ms. Islam about this. When you get their contact information, if you would please share it with me. I'd like to contact them as well because I am concerned about Saudi Arabia, too. Perhaps you could ask President Bush, who is a close friend of King Abdullah. In fact, the Bush family has long-standing ties to the Saudis.

If Islam is insulted by a poster posting a news article ... on the internet in a thread entitled "Religion Of Peace Update," then Islam had either better get used to it, or do something about these religious police going on witch hunts.
Where did Mr. or Ms. Islam say they were insulted by some silly self-indulgent obscurantist bigotry that flutters about in a remote corner of Cyberspace? What makes you think the propagandist's web site is of any interest to them at all? You seem to be drifting off into imaginary issues. Let's stick to the facts, shall we?

We do know the witch hunt was done by the religious police.
Yes, we do know that much. Or at least that's what it says in the BBC article. Unfortunately, this does not establish a connection to Islamic doctrine. It does not even establish that these officials were acting in their professional capacity and in accordance with Saudi law.

Again, let's stick to the facts. I would still appreciate some research effort on your part as far as documenting the Saudi law that prohibits witchcraft. Thanks.
 
Since you're asking the question, I would surmise that we have no information on it. Is that about right?

Sorry, but your foregoing comment adds nothing to the analysis. It merely concedes the point I've been making that we don't have enough information.


Since you feel this strongly about it, I imagine you will be making a serious effort to reach Mr. and Ms. Islam. When you get their contact information, if you would please share it with me. I'd like to contact them as well because I am concerned about Saudi Arabia, too. Perhaps you could ask President Bush, who is a close friend of King Abdullah. In fact, the Bush family has long-standing ties to the Saudis.

Where did Mr. or Ms. Islam say they were insulted by a some silly self-indulgent obscurantist bigotry? What makes you think the propagandist's web site is of any interest at all to them? You seem to be drifting off into imaginary issues. Let's stick to the facts, shall we?
Well, then, what is the purpose of this thread? If there is no Mr or Ms. Islam to slight or insinuate about, then is there any unfairness as per the title of the thread? :D

Yes we do know that much. Or at least that's what it says in the BBC article. Unfortunately, this does not establish a connection to Islamic doctrine. It does not even establish that these officials were acting in their professional capacity and in accordance with Islamic law.
I can't decide which possibility is more disturbing: If the religious police conducted this witch hunt in an official capacity, or if they just did this witch hunt that lead to this woman being sentenced to death on their spare time, just for fun. :eek:

Again, let's stick to the facts. I would still appreciate some research effort on your part as far as documenting the Saudi law that prohibits witchcraft. Thanks.
Hey, wait a minute! Since when did you start passing out homework? :p
{The article mentioned that witchcraft is an "undefined crime."}
 
Well, then, what is the purpose of this thread? If there is no Mr or Ms. Islam to slight or insinuate about, then is there any unfairness as per the title of the thread?
You seem to be assuming a purpose other than the one that was intended, which was merely to point out the possibility of manipulating contextual cues as a rhetorical ploy. Apart from the fact that I'm into propaganda analysis, it is my way of raising people's awareness about how language can be used to promote religious prejudice, which in turn can lead to religious conflict.

I can't decide which possibility is more disturbing: If the religious police conducted this witch hunt in an official capacity, or if they just did this witch hunt that lead to this woman being sentenced to death on their spare time, just for fun.
I don't expect you'll be able to decide either way since you have no relevant information to help you decide.

Hey, wait a minute! Since when did you start passing out homework?
Just an information request is all. I thought you were genuinely interested in the topic. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

The article mentioned that witchcraft is an "undefined crime."
Yes, I know. Maybe there is some place in Saudi law that says that people can be tried and punished for an "undefined crime."

Just wondering, how many passages in the Koran endorse the prosecution of an "undefined crime"?
 
I'm a bit disappointed about the way you guys are treating Netti here. She's patiently and carefully pointing out a rather commonplace fact: that we have biased news. As a member of my local Stop The War Coalition I am well used to balancing biased new coverage with a more balanced view from another source.

An example: in the Palestinian struggle, the news here will usually announce some strike against the Palestinians as "in retaliation for a recent attack on Israel". They do not say that the Palestinian attack was in retaliation to an attack on them. This happens all the time. It suits the media in these days of the Iraq occupation to paint all Muslims as a threat. Well, who attacked and occupied an almost defenceless country six years ago? Was it Islamic terrorists or was it a well-know Western superpower?

At the present, the Western powers are busy making themselves rich while the poor countries are ground into the dust. But when the poor people strike back they are "evil".

The Saudi Arabian religious police are a bit of a law unto themselves. When I was in Riyadh they would come and beat on the shutters of shops that stayed open during Sallah (prayer-time), or they would berate or occasionally strike a woman that was showing too much bare arm or leg. The state police would not touch them because of the power base they derive from the ordinary people.

They are not necessarily representative of any shade of Islam or the state of Saudi Arabia. They are just a part of Arabian life. To put it into context, they are directly comparable to England's own Puritans who founded the USA.

Netti is right: a little more understanding and a little less reflex would make the world a safer and a better place.

Love,
Cliff
 
I'm a bit disappointed about the way you guys are treating Netti here. She's patiently and carefully pointing out a rather commonplace fact: that we have biased news. As a member of my local Stop The War Coalition I am well used to balancing biased new coverage with a more balanced view from another source.
<...>
The Saudi Arabian religious police are a bit of a law unto themselves. When I was in Riyadh they would come and beat on the shutters of shops that stayed open during Sallah (prayer-time), or they would berate or occasionally strike a woman that was showing too much bare arm or leg. The state police would not touch them because of the power base they derive from the ordinary people.

They are not necessarily representative of any shade of Islam or the state of Saudi Arabia. They are just a part of Arabian life. To put it into context, they are directly comparable to England's own Puritans who founded the USA.

Netti is right: a little more understanding and a little less reflex would make the world a safer and a better place.

Love,
Cliff
I'm sure that would be a great comfort to the woman who has been sentenced to death as the result of a witch hunt. :rolleyes:
 
What an interesting thread, may I add my 2p worth.

Islamic view of witchcraft/magic/sourcery:

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah
saws.gif
said:

"Avoid the seven destroyers." They (the Companions) asked: "Oh, Messenger of Allah
saws.gif
! What are they?" He
saws.gif
replied: "Shirk (associating partners) with Allah , sorcery, taking the life which has been prohibited by Allah , except in truth (i.e. in accordance with Islamic Law), devouring usury, consuming the property of the orphans, running away on the day of battle and making false charges against the chaste, unmindful
3 women." (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Please note it doesn't say behead them. Punishments can be decided by three ways, the first is where the crime and punishment are clearly set out in the Quran and Sunnah and there is no room for a judge to decide otherwise. The second is where the crimes are set out in the Quran and Sunnah but the punishment is intended to be equal to the crime - therefore requiring a judge to decide what punishment is equal to the crime. Lastly discretionary which largely falls under the 'we make it up as we go along because there is nothing clear in the Quran or Sunnah about it' category.

Saudi has no written penal, judicial or criminal procedure codes so police and judges are largely left to their own 'discretion'. They also have a council of senior religious scholars that interpret Sharia according to the Wahabbi sect of the Hanbali school (the most conservative school based on the interpretations of a 14th century jurist ibn Taymiya, with the wahabbi sect being the most conservative within the school).

This is a very new and ugly episode in Saudi, the first to be killed (for centuries as far as I can find out) under witchcraft 'crimes' was an egyptian man who was beheaded in Saudi last year for sourcery - interesting to note he was having a bit of an argument with a Saudi prince over a lot of money he was owed at the time. Now if I was a cynic, I would think it was a great way to get out of a large debt and now it has reared it's ugly head others are jumping on the bandwagon and using this insanity to deal with 'undesirable' people.

From what I can find on this subject Islamic jurists outside Saudi have said 'yes witchcraft is a major sin but certainly not punishable by death as there is no way to prove witchcraft unless their home is decked out in satanic symbols and they chant a lot, etc'. Here we have the Saudi story, the woman was forced to confess and a confession is proof, therefore was deemed apostacy but then she retracted her statement which has to be accepted in Islamic law, so she was no longer admitting to any wrongdoing and left them in a spot of bother but of course they have the 'discretionary law' to fall back on and so will kill her anyway just to be on the safe side (well I mean what if another sex crazed madman becomes impotent society will go to hell in a handbasket??).

My conclusion - the Saudis are 9/10ths bonkers and are finding any way they can, no matter how much they have to twist the religion, to prove just how bonkers they really are.


Just to add, I love the expression 'no Mr & Mrs Islam to complain to' and believe me if there were they would be hearing from me on a few topics.
 
What an interesting thread, may I add my 2p worth.

Islamic view of witchcraft/magic/sourcery:

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah
saws.gif
said:

"Avoid the seven destroyers." They (the Companions) asked: "Oh, Messenger of Allah
saws.gif
! What are they?" He
saws.gif
replied: "Shirk (associating partners) with Allah , sorcery, taking the life which has been prohibited by Allah , except in truth (i.e. in accordance with Islamic Law), devouring usury, consuming the property of the orphans, running away on the day of battle and making false charges against the chaste, unmindful
3 women." (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Please note it doesn't say behead them. Punishments can be decided by three ways, the first is where the crime and punishment are clearly set out in the Quran and Sunnah and there is no room for a judge to decide otherwise. The second is where the crimes are set out in the Quran and Sunnah but the punishment is intended to be equal to the crime - therefore requiring a judge to decide what punishment is equal to the crime. Lastly discretionary which largely falls under the 'we make it up as we go along because there is nothing clear in the Quran or Sunnah about it' category.
Thank you for posting this.

My conclusion - the Saudis are 9/10ths bonkers and are finding any way they can, no matter how much they have to twist the religion, to prove just how bonkers they really are.
It certainly looks that way.

Just to add, I love the expression 'no Mr & Mrs Islam to complain to' and believe me if there were they would be hearing from me on a few topics.
:D You go, girl! :cool:
 
I'm a bit disappointed about the way you guys are treating Netti here.
Not to worry, Cliff. I'm holding up alright. :)

The Saudi Arabian religious police are a bit of a law unto themselves....They are not necessarily representative of any shade of Islam or the state of Saudi Arabia. They are just a part of Arabian life.
Unclear to me how religious police can be representative of any kind of meaningful legal system at all in the absence of written penal, judicial or criminal procedure codes.

As it turns out, "Islamic law" did not take any meaningful, comprehensive form until the 10th century -- long after the Prophet's death. It is therefore hard to make the case that any legal system purporting to be "Islamic" is fully rooted in core legal doctrine as set forth by the Prophet in the Koran. It took hundred of years for legal doctrine to develop. So the Koran apparently was not sufficient to inform Islamic law.

Practically speaking, it appears the Koran actually has only a small part in the Sharia system of legislation. That alone should make outsiders of the West cautious when they undertake broad characterizations of "Islam" and "Islamic law."
 
Hi Netti

I am sorry, I meant to add to my post my thanks to you for taking a balanced and non-propagandist view on this matter. It is very difficult as a Muslim sometimes to get across that a vast majority of us do not support such nonsense as this, killing people for cartoons or naming a teddy bear, etc. As we can clearly see from the money owed to the first man to be beheaded for sorcery last year, it was just a way of using our religion for greed and politics (something done all too often).

You are absolutely right about the Sharia, most of it comes from the Sunnah and not the Quran. We know that there are weak and untrustworthy hadiths but these are used to justify killing and oppression - which is totally unIslamic (go figure). It is like the issue of rajm (stoning to death), which is one of my soap box issues. The word rajm is not contained in the Quran and this comes entirely from the hadiths but even those hadiths state that the narrators do not know whether stoning for adultery was used before or after the revelation of the verse about zina. It is simply political will and tradition imo and if you speak against it you are seen as a bad Muslim or not a Muslim at all (apostacy also has the death sentence - again from the Sunnah). Reformists take the view that life has moved on considerably since the days of tribal warfare on the Arabian Steppes but traditionalists still insist we follow rulings we cannot be certain are accurate (but they say they are certain because someone 600 years ago said so).

One of the funniest jokes going around Egypt at the moment is about an Egyptian religious scholar that stated last year that if your wife wants to work in an office with a man she must let him suckle at her breats!!!! Needless to say we aren't getting many men sending their wives out to be suckled. It is a nonsense and we all know it. Is it Islamic? Well strictly speaking yes, because a man cannot have sexual relations with a woman he was suckled by but it goes against all sense and reason and we all just shrug, get on with our day and make up funny jokes about it.

So again, thank you it is very refreshing to hear from someone that is prepared to stand back and look at the bigger picture.

Salaam
 
I think we in the West are tend to get the impression that "fundamentalist" interpretations of Islam are predominant and thus representative of Islam mainly because those are the ones we hear about: The media is known to pick up on weird, extreme cases. There has always been a demand for freakshows. Right wing propaganda outfits know this and are therefore on the lookout for the weird stuff. This kind of material is generally useful for generating interest. Dissing other cultures is of course also what you'd expect for folks who like to indulge in cultural hubris. As Tao Equus noted aptly, it boosts "the collective ego" when we engage in social comparisons where we seem less savage or backwards than the people we are comparing ourselves to. The main problem I see with this kind of narcissistic self-indulgence is that it makes the propagandists who get involved in this kind of seem stupid. Rather than explore the issues in any kind of systematic and rational way, they just pile on the insinuations and generate much anti-Islamic imagery as possible, providing grist for the proverbial self-congratulatory mill.

For some reason I don't really understand they want to discuss these weird cases as though the theology is the culprit instead of allowing for the possibility that some of these weird cases reflect more on the self-serving judgment of persons who have a vested interest in rigid social control or creating the impression of paragon-of-virtue type piousness by espousing puritanical views that defy common sense, or some combination thereof (e.g., Iran's billionaire Ayatollahs).

While the Prophet Muhammad did not formulate much in the way of formal legal doctrine, it seems he did try to provide a methods for incorporating reason and compassion in legal judgments. These methods are especially notable when deriving exemptions to existing penal codes. A functional role for reason and compassion ensures that the enforcement of law is not arbitrary and abusive. Example: forgive an offense in light of extenuating circumstances (a poor man stealing to feed his family).

The fact that some crimes require multiple witnesses (e.g., adultery) is yet another indication of a commitment to justice that was inspired by the Koran.

In the Saudi witch-hunt case, a lack of legislation and codification raises serious questions about the integrity of the process from the get-go. It seems no one is even paying any attention to the need for evidentiary standards. I mean, what is anyone to make of a publicized case that centers on a forced confession to an "undefined crime"? Too weird.

We note here that many of these bizarre legal cases in certain Islamic countries result in acquittal in the end, which at least affirms that reason and compassion are not totally out the window. Only the most extreme regimes actually carry out the extreme penalties. As noted previously, many (most?) Muslims countries actually have a de facto ban on the death penalty.

Obviously, attempts to portray Islam as supportive of misogynistic and arbitrary legal action (like convicting someone on bogus Nonesuch crimes) just ignore all these things. This is an example of how much can be left out of the analysis by certain forms of propaganda.


So again, thank you it is very refreshing to hear from someone that is prepared to stand back and look at the bigger picture.
As-Salaam 'Alaikum, Muslimwoman. Good to meet you and thank you kindly for the thoughtful reply. In connection with big-picturing you refer to, I would note that flawed views of Islam and Muslims arise from a tendency to see an anomaly as representative of a general trend or essential characteristic. To portray the Saudi case as typical of Islam would seem to involve a gross logical error combined with a selective use of evidence. Indeed, I'm not aware of any other witch prosecution in a contemporary Muslim country other than the one you mentioned.

To the best of my knowledge, Muslims are not all that different from westerners. Their emotional makeup is that of human beings all over the planet, as are their hopes, personal aspirations, love of family and friends, and the desire for G-d. Healthy, fully functional, spiritually sound Muslims are just like healthy, fully functional spiritually sound persons all over the world. Portrayals of the Muslim world as Extreme Other bespeak not only the workings of sinister propaganda serving to dehumanize; it also indicates xenophobic paranoia, a lack of empathy, and a lack of intellectual curiosity. Maybe it's part of the "Dumbing Down" phenomena noted elsewhere.

a way of using our religion for greed and politics....

Sadly, all religions are subject to this.
 
As-Salaam 'Alaikum, Muslimwoman. Good to meet you.


wa aleykum salaam, Netti. Good to meet you to, I have been reading your posts with interest.

Unfortunately the Saudi's are 99% insane, with the other 1% generally on a tea break when it comes to certain issues but of course it makes much more sensational reporting than reporting something decent a Muslim country has done.

I came across a comment on a business forum I use about the fact that no Muslims protested in the streets about 9/11 or terrorism. So I took time from my day to post an entire list of Muslim countries that have seen Muslims demonstrating in the streets against terrorism. I was so saddened when the replies I received were along the lines of 'how brainwashed are you'. It as simply assumed that the media here had made it all up.

To me this demonstrates that in the current atmosphere people are not even willing to open their minds enough to see the good Muslims do. It really saddens me and I pray the media will get it's act together one day and help to build dialogue and understanding, rather than propagate hate and fear.

Salaam
 
Hi Netti

<SNIP>

You are absolutely right about the Sharia, most of it comes from the Sunnah and not the Quran. We know that there are weak and untrustworthy hadiths but these are used to justify killing and oppression - which is totally unIslamic (go figure). It is like the issue of rajm (stoning to death), which is one of my soap box issues. The word rajm is not contained in the Quran and this comes entirely from the hadiths but even those hadiths state that the narrators do not know whether stoning for adultery was used before or after the revelation of the verse about zina.

I have always been sincerely interested in the most updated chronologies of the earliest foundational texts for all faiths. I have been hopelessly fascinated by (addicted to!;-) the newest translations of texts like the Confucius Analects (particularly Chapters 3 through 9, generally reckoned the earliest chapters), the earliest Buddha sermons from the Digha-Nikaya (in the Tripitaka), the close work done by the Jesus Seminar on the "Q" passages in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and so on.

Please, it's been difficult for me to find thorough modern chronologies of the foundational texts for Islam, and I've found that very disappointing! Please, could you elaborate on what the most recent scholarship has generally concluded regarding the dating of specific Hadiths, specific chapters in the Qur'an, specific sections in the Sunnah, etc.? Heartfelt thanks.

Depending on whom I speak with, some will say the Sunnah was written down first, others say the Qur'an was, and so on. This doesn't necessarily involve the point at which these works were first conceived in (possibly?) oral form -- although it could; above all that, I'd truly like to know when these texts were first actually written down -- and the answer to that has proved harder for me to pin down. Again, heartfelt thanks.

It is simply political will and tradition imo and if you speak against it you are seen as a bad Muslim or not a Muslim at all (apostacy also has the death sentence - again from the Sunnah). Reformists take the view that life has moved on considerably since the days of tribal warfare on the Arabian Steppes but traditionalists still insist we follow rulings we cannot be certain are accurate (but they say they are certain because someone 600 years ago said so).

And I'd be sincerely interested in that, too. Please, could you elaborate a bit on the various aspects that place the accuracy in question, the earliest apparent sources for such rulings, and the extent to which there may be textual/literary reasons for some rulings being less accurate than others? Thanks.

Looking forward to any enlightenment you can give on all this.

Best,

Operacast
 
the close work done by the Jesus Seminar on the "Q" passages in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and so on.

Hi Operacast

I would be very interested in hearing more about this.

A most interesting subject and one I have been looking into for a while, although sometimes it is like banging my head against a brick wall.

The bare facts that we know from texts. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) died in 632AD, during his lifetime verses of the Quran were written on stones, bones, leaves, leather, etc and also memorised. The first Caliph (leader of the Muslims) was Abu Bakr, who died after 2 years). In 633AD there was a great battle (al-Yamamah) and many of the men that had memorised the Quran were killed. Umar (who was to become the second Caliph) was concerned that the Quran may be lost so suggested to Abu Bakr that he compile it as a book, this was done using all the verses they could find written down and from the memories of men and the copy was kept in the home of one of the wives of the Prophet. The third Caliph Uthman then compiled the 'authorised' text and completed this in 651.

As with most religious issues you get two conflicting views.

The first are the literalists, who believe that the Quran was compiled as a book during the life of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), with verses and chapters placed word for word in the order they were revealed and remains to this day exactly the same. This view comes from the classical scholars, whose writings still exist.

As evidence for their assertions they would point to the two oldest surviving copies of the Quran (in Istanbul and Tashkent). The authorised text we have today was produced in 651 and sent to major Islamic cities, of which the 2 copies mentioned are the only known survivors.

However a majority of serious modern Islamic scholars do not agree with this. There are a number of questions about the history of the Quran which arise from Islamic texts that need to be answered and so in 2002 a project began which seeks to study and then answer these questions.

You can read about these questions here: Understanding-Islam.org - History of the Qur'an Project

It is a difficult subject because literalists would see it as blasphemy to even discuss these but I am a realist and am aware that things are not as neatly 'bound' as some would suggest.

We must also remember that the revelation of the Quran came over a 23 year period, right up to the last year of the Prophets life, so it would not be possible to make it into a book until after his death.

None of this suggests that any part is fabricated or has been altered to change the meaning, we can trace the Quran back to within 19 years of the Prophets death and can see from comparing the Istanbul and Tashkent versions to the Quran I have that it is essentially unchanged.

Please, could you elaborate on what the most recent scholarship has generally concluded regarding the dating of specific Hadiths, specific chapters in the Qur'an, specific sections in the Sunnah, etc.?

If you go here USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts and click the link for Quran (3rd link down), scroll down and then click any chapter, at the top you will find Maududi's introduction. He explains briefly the period of revelation of each chapter. There is no historical data but he uses such issues as wars, treaties etc to establish the time period.

If hadiths were written down in the first 100 or so years they have not survived. The earliest collection still in existence was by an author that died in 720CE. Of course hadiths came down in oral tradition too.

The first Fitna (Islamic civil war) was between 656-651CE and during this period people began to question the origin and authenticity of hadiths. This was when the first real Sunni/Shia split happened and you can see today how different our collections of hadith are.

The most relied upon scholar of hadith is Imam Bukhari. There is a short biography of Bukhari here Imam Bukhari
(the dates on the biography are from the Islamic calendar not the Christian but he died in 869CE)

And I'd be sincerely interested in that, too. Please, could you elaborate a bit on the various aspects that place the accuracy in question, the earliest apparent sources for such rulings, and the extent to which there may be textual/literary reasons for some rulings being less accurate than others?

There is an entire 'science' to authenticting hadith which is briefly explained here USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts just scroll down to the bottom.

It was after the first Fitna that people began to state 'name me your narrators'.

One of the biggest problems with hadith science is that over time it would be easy to fabricate the chain or narration (or to add in a missing link to give more weight to it) and as time marched on these could be accepted as authentic based on a fabricated chain. We can see the period of time between the death of the Prophet and the first surviving collection of hadith and a lot can change in that period of time.

As I say Bukhari is accepted as the most reliable source of authentic hadith and I do believe he worked very hard to authenticate hadiths but I have a bit of a problem with a few hadiths in Bukhari - here is an example:

Volume 5, Book 58, Number 188:

Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun: During the pre-lslamic period of ignorance I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it, because it had committed illegal sexual intercourse. I too, stoned it along with them.​
This to me simply smacks of political will based on tradition and custom (ie we want to keep doing it so we will back it up with this).

I hope that has given you a couple of reference points to begin your research and I would be very interested to hear anything you find out.

Salaam
 
I pray the media will get it's act together one day and help to build dialogue and understanding, rather than propagate hate and fear.
Hello Ms. Sally. I hope you are well.

I agree with all of what you said. Alas, in some sectors progress is slow - for example at the website that led to the start of this thread. On that same thread there was a new post today to the effect that Islam won't tolerate women in engineering schools. For some reason the regulars over there forgot to mention that the proportion of female university students in Islamic countries has been rising steadily, and that in some of these countries Muslim women are more likely to be enrolled in science coursework than men are (up to 70% female), and this even though one would expect the opposite given the the population's male-female ratios in some of these countries. At least one predominantly Muslim nation (Morocco) has a larger proportion of women engineering graduates than in the US!!

It is astonishing to me that a single US website can have so much inane cultural stereotyping about other parts of the world, particularly with respect to the position of women, all the while totally ignoring gender inequalities and sexual exploitation in Western countries. It is an almost daily thing for them to paste junky bottom-of-the barrel anti-Islamic hit pieces that reek of ignorance and obscurantist bigotry. Disgusting. :(

Btw, the most truly liberated women I have known -- who were fully functioning and feminist without being strident and reactive -- were Muslim women. Go figure.

 
I agree with all of what you said. Alas, in some sectors progress is slow - for example at the website that led to the start of this thread. On that same thread .....
I mean the anti-Muslim thread at that other web site.
 
Reply to Tao Equus

What you are really objecting to is human nature.
Or maybe just one of the less desirable traits.

The west are taught, and in some sense rightly, to fear the rise of Islam. And so we will always find the extreme end of Islamic faith portrayed as mainstream
It would be one thing if there were an exaggeration of some element of truth. However, much of the West's propaganda is blatantly false and actually very easy to dispute. Much of it is written by uneducated right wing fanatics who have evidently not taken the trouble to research the issues and are unable to form meaningful arguments. It's embarrassing and hard to believe there is an audience for this kind of thing - which in my opinion is quite different from legitimate criticism.

That western "justice" can be equally as inhumane and barbaric as that found in Islamic nations is not lost on me.
Indeed. The US still has the death penalty and uses methods that are clearly inhumane.

the nature of the case you highlight is in some sense a glorification of western advancement.
You're so right. Ingroup/Outgroup schemas are part of a nationalistic mindset. At some level, the West's overt displays of indignation and the persistent tendency to attack the spiritual character of entire populations may actually be expressions of this self-congratulatory attitude you are referring to. But the exercise in vanity is largely unjustified. The ever increasing crime rates in Western societies even now would seem to indicate that the much-touted advancements are to a large extent illusory. Among the largest increases have been observed with respect to white collar crime. One might go so far as to say that business practices are actually criminal to a large degree. Further, the US now has a record number of hate groups. Fools celebrate their presumptive moral superiority while ignoring the contradictions of Western society, which are many and profound.

We, westerners, are all aware of our own brutal flirtation with witchunting and it boosts the collective ego to point out that Islam is savage or backwards in still performing such acts in this modern era.
It seems to me that scapegoating and stirring up xenophobic fears is ironically just a continuation of the old witchunting worldview.

In short, it would seem the West is boosting its collective ego with delusions of grandeur.

Thank you for your thoughtful post, Tao. And sorry for the delayed reaction.
 
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